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Title: Judge Haliburton's Yankee Stories (Part 2 of 2)

Date of first publication: 1844

Author: Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865)

Date first posted: June 24, 2014

Date last updated: June 24, 2014

Faded Page eBook #20140613

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Paulina Chin & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net








——Garrit aniles

ex re fabellas———Horace.

The cheerful sage, when solemn dictates fail,

Conceals the moral counsel in a tale.


















Dear Sir,

In consequence of the favourable opinion expressed by you of the First Series of The Clockmaker, an English Publisher was induced to reprint it in London; and I am indebted to that circumstance for an unexpected introduction, not only to the British Publisher, but to that of the United States. The very flattering reception it met with in both countries has given rise to the present volume, which, as it owes its origin to you, offers a suitable opportunity of expressing the thanks of the Author for this and other subsequent acts of kindness.

As a political work I cannot hope that you will approve of all the sentiments contained in it, for politics are peculiar; and besides the broad lines that divide parties, there are smaller shades of difference that distinguish even those who usually act together; but humour is the common property of all, and a neutral ground on which men of opposite sides may cordially meet each other. As such, it affords me great pleasure to inscribe the work to you as a mark of the respect and esteem of


Nova Scotia,

21st April, 1838.


1. The Meeting 7
2. The Voluntary System 10
3. Training a Carriboo 21
4. Nick Bradshaw 27
5. Travelling in America 38
6. Elective Councils 46
7. Slavery 53
8. Talking Latin 62
9. The Snow Wreath 72
10. The Talisman 79
11. Italian Paintings 86
12. Shampooing the English 93
13. Putting a Foot in it 101
14. English Aristocracy and Yankee Mobocracy 109
15. Confessions of a Deposed Minister 118
16. Canadian Politics 126
17. A Cure for Smuggling 135
18. Taking off the Factory Ladies 142
19. The Schoolmaster Abroad 152
20. The Wrong Room 160
21. Finding a Mare’s Nest 168
22. Keeping up the Steam 176
23. The Clockmaker’s parting Advice 185



Whoever has condescended to read the First Series of the Clockmaker, or the Sayings and Doings of Mr. Samuel Slick, of Slickville, will recollect that our tour of Nova Scotia terminated at Windsor last autumn, in consequence of bad roads and bad weather, and that it was mutually agreed upon between us to resume it in the following spring. But, alas! spring came not. They retain in this country the name of that delightful portion of the year, but it is “Vox et preterea nihil.” The short space that intervenes between the dissolution of winter and the birth of summer deserves not the appellation. Vegetation is so rapid here, that the valleys are often clothed with verdure before the snow has wholly disappeared from the forest.

There is a strong similarity between the native and his climate; the one is without youth, and the other without spring, and both exhibit the effects of losing that preparatory season. Cultivation is wanting. Neither the mind nor the soil is properly prepared. There is no time. The farmer is compelled to hurry through all his field operations as he best can, so as to commit his grain to the ground in time to insure a crop. Much is unavoidably omitted that ought to be done, and all is performed in a careless and slovenly manner. The same haste is observable in education, and is attended with similar effects; a boy is hurried to school, from school to a profession, and from thence is sent forth into the world before his mind has been duly disciplined or properly cultivated.

When I found Mr. Slick at Windsor, I expressed my regret to him that we could not have met earlier in the season; but really, said I, they appear to have no spring in this country. Well, I don’t know, said he; I never see’d it in that light afore; I was athinkin’ we might stump the whole univarsal world for climate. It’s ginerally allowed, our climate in America can’t be no better. The spring may be a little short or so, but then it is added to t’other eend, and makes amost an everlastin’ fine autumn. Where will you ditto our fall? It whips English weather by a long chalk, none of your hangin’, shootin’, drownin’, throat-cuttin’ weather, but a clear sky and a good breeze, rael cheerfulsome.

That, said I, is evading the question; I was speaking of the shortness of spring, and not of the comparative merit of your autumn, which I am ready to admit is a very charming portion of the year in America. But there is one favour I must beg of you during this tour, and that is, to avoid the practice you indulged in so much last year, of exalting every thing American by depreciating every thing British. This habit is, I assure you, very objectionable, and has already had a very perceptible effect on your national character. I believe I am as devoid of what is called national prejudices as most men, and can make all due allowances for them in others. I have no objection to this superlative praise of your country, its institutions or its people, provided you do not require me to join in it, or express it in language disrespectful of the English.

Well, well, if that don’t beat all, said he; you say, you have no prejudices, and yet you can’t bear to hear tell of our great nation, and our free and enlightened citizens. Captain Aul (Hall), as he called himself, for I never seed an Englishman yet that spoke good English, said he hadn’t one mite or morsel of prejudice, and yet in all his three volumes of travels through the U-nited States (the greatest nation it’s ginerally allowed atween the Poles), only found two things to praise, the kindness of our folks to him, and the State prisons. None are so blind, I guess, as them that won’t see; but your folks can’t bear it, that’s a fact. Bear what? said I. The superiority of the Americans, he replied; it does seem to grig ’em, there’s no denyin’ it; it does somehow or another seem to go agin their grain to admit it most consumedly; nothin’ a’most ryles them so much as that. But their sun has set in darkness and sorrow, never again to peer above the horizon. They will be blotted out of the list of nations. Their glory has departed across the Atlantic to fix her everlastin’ abode in the U-nited States. Yes, man to man,—baganut to baganut,—ship to ship,—by land or by sea,—fair fight, or rough and tumble,—we’ve whipped ’em, that’s a fact, deny it who can: and we’ll whip ’em agin, to all etarnity. We average more physical, moral, and intellectual force than any people on the face of the airth; we are a right-minded, strong-minded, sound-minded, and high-minded people, I hope I may be shot if we ain’t. On fresh or on salt water, on the lakes or the ocean, down comes the red cross and up go the stars. From Bunker’s Hill clean away up to New Orleens the land teems with the glory of our heroes. Yes, our young Republic is a Colossus, with one foot in the Atlantic and the other in the Pacific, its head above the everlastin’ hills, graspin’ in its hand a tri——A rifle, shooting squirrels, said I; a very suitable employment for such a tall, overgrown, long-legged youngster.

Well, well, said he, resuming his ordinary quiet demeanour, and with that good humour that distinguished him, put a rifle, if you will, in his hands, I guess you’ll find he’s not a bad shot neither. But I must see to Old Clay, and prepare for our journey, which is a considerable of a long one, I tell you,—and taking up his hat, he proceeded to the stable. Is that fellow mad or drunk, said a stranger who came from Halifax with me in the coach; I never heard such a vapouring fool in my life;—I had a strong inclination, if he had not taken himself off, to show him out of the door. Did you ever hear such insufferable vanity? I should have been excessively sorry, I said, if you had taken any notice of it. He is, I assure you, neither mad nor drunk, but a very shrewd, intelligent fellow. I met with him accidentally last year while travelling through the eastern part of the province; and although I was at first somewhat annoyed at the unceremonious manner in which he forced his acquaintance upon me, I soon found that his knowledge of the province, its people and government, might be most useful to me. He has some humour, much anecdote, and great originality;—he is, in short, quite a character. I have employed him to convey me from this place to Shelburne, and from thence along the Atlantic coast to Halifax. Although not exactly the person one would choose for a travelling companion, yet if my guide must also be my companion, I do not know that I could have made a happier selection. He enables me to study the Yankee character, of which in his particular class he is a fair sample; and to become acquainted with their peculiar habits, manners, and mode of thinking. He has just now given you a specimen of their national vanity; which, after all, is, I believe, not much greater than that of the French, though perhaps more loudly and rather differently expressed. He is well informed and quite at home on all matters connected with the machinery of the American government, a subject of much interest to me. The explanations I receive from him enable me to compare it with the British and Colonial constitutions, and throw much light on the speculative projects of our reformers. I have sketched him in every attitude and in every light, and I carefully note down all our conversations, so that I flatter myself, when this tour is completed, I shall know as much of America and Americans as some who have even written a book on the subject.


The day after our arrival at Windsor, being Sunday, we were compelled to remain there until the following Tuesday, so as to have one day at our command to visit the College, Retreat Farm, and the other objects of interest in the neighbourhood. One of the inhabitants having kindly offered me a seat in his pew, I accompanied him to the church, which, for the convenience of the College, was built nearly a mile from the village. From him I learned, that independently of the direct influence of the Church of England upon its own members, who form a very numerous and respectable portion of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, its indirect operation has been both extensive and important in this colony.

The friends of the establishment, having at an early period founded a college, and patronised education, the professions have been filled with scholars and gentlemen, and the natural and very proper emulation of other sects being thus awakened to the importance of the subject, they have been stimulated to maintain and endow academies of their own.

The general diffusion through the country of a well-educated body of clergymen, like those of the establishment, has had a strong tendency to raise the standard of qualification among those who differ from them, while the habits, manners, and regular conduct of so respectable a body of men naturally and unconsciously modulate and influence those of their neighbours, who may not perhaps attend their ministrations. It is, therefore, among other causes doubtless, owing in a great measure to the exertions and salutary example of the Church in the Colonies that a higher tone of moral feeling exists in the British Provinces than in the neighbouring states, a claim which I find very generally put forth in this country, and though not exactly admitted, yet certainly not denied even by Mr. Slick himself. The suggestions of this gentleman induced me to make some inquiries of the Clockmaker, connected with the subject of an establishment; I therefore asked him what his opinion was of the Voluntary System. Well, I don’t know, said he; what is your’n? I am a member, I replied, of the Church of England; you may, therefore, easily suppose what my opinion is. And I am a citizen, said he, laughing, of Slickville, Onion county, state of Connecticut, United States of America: you may therefore guess what my opinion is too: I reckon we are even now, ar’n’t we? To tell you the truth, said he, I never thought much about it. I’ve been a considerable of a traveller in my day; arovin’ about here and there and every whare; atradin’ wherever I seed a good chance of making a speck; paid my shot into the plate, whenever it was handed round in meetin’, and axed no questions. It was about as much as I could cleverly do, to look arter my own consarns, and I left the ministers to look arter theirn; but take ’em in a gineral way, they are pretty well to do in the world with us, especially as they have the women on their side. Whoever has the women, is sure of the men, you may depend, squire; openly or secretly, directly or indirectly, they do contrive, somehow or another, to have their own way in the eend, and tho’ the men have the reins, the women tell ’em which way to drive. Now, if ever you go for to canvass for votes, always canvass the wives, and you are sure of the husbands.

I recollect when I was last up to Albama, to one of the new cities lately built there, I was awalkin’ one mornin’ airly out o’ town to get a leetle fresh air, for the weather was so plaguy sultry I could hardly breathe a’most, and I seed a most splendid location there near the road; a beautiful white two-story house, with a grand virandah runnin’ all round it, painted green, and green vernitians to the winders, and a white palisade fence in front, lined with a row of Lombardy poplars, and two rows of ’em leadin’ up to the front door, like two files of sodgers with fixt baganuts; each side of the avenue was a grass plot, and a beautiful image of Adam stood in the centre of one on ’em—and of Eve, with a fig-leaf apron on, in t’other, made of wood by a native artist, and painted so nateral no soul could tell ’em from stone.

The avenue was all planked beautiful, and it was lined with flowers in pots and jars, and looked a touch above common, I tell you. While I was astoppin’ to look at it, who should drive by but the milkman with his cart. Says I, stranger, says I, I suppose you don’t know who lives here, do you? I guess you are a stranger, said he, ain’t you? Well, says I, I don’t exactly know as I ain’t, but who lives here? The Rev. Ahab Meldrum, said he, I reckon. Ahab Meldrum, said I, to myself; I wonder if it can be the Ahab Meldrum I was to school with to Slickville, to minister’s, when we was boys. It can’t be possible it’s him, for he was fitter for a State’s prisoner than a State’s preacher, by a long chalk. He was a poor stick to make a preacher on, for minister couldn’t beat nothin’ into him a’most, he was so cussed stupid; but I’ll see any how: so I walks right through the gate, and raps away at the door, and a tidy, well-rigged nigger help opens it, and shows me into a’most an elegant farnished room. I was most darnted to sit down on the chairs, they were so splendid, for fear I should spile ’em. There was mirrors and varses, and lamps, and picturs, and crinkum crankums, and notions of all sorts and sizes in it. It looked like a bazar a’most, it was filled with such an everlastin’ sight of curiosities.

The room was considerable dark too, for the blinds was shot, and I was skear’d to move for fear o’ doin’ mischief. Presently in comes Ahab slowly sailin’ in, like a boat droppin’ down stream in a calm, with a pair o’ purple slippers on, and a figured silk dressin’-gound, and carrying a’most a beautiful-bound book in his hand. May I presume, says he, to inquire who I have the onexpected pleasure of seeing this mornin’. If you’ll gist throw open one o’ them are shutters, says I, I guess the light will save us the trouble of axin’ names. I know who you be by your voice any how, tho’ it’s considerable softer than it was ten years ago. I’m Sam Slick, says I,—what’s left o’ me at least. Verily, said he, friend Samuel, I’m glad to see you; and how did you leave that excellent man and distinguished scholar, the Rev. Mr. Hopewell, and my good friend your father? Is the old gentleman still alive? if so, he must anow be ripe full of years as he is full of honours. Your mother, I think I heer’d, was dead—gathered to her fathers—peace be with her!—she had a good and a kind heart. I loved her as a child: but the Lord taketh whom he loveth. Ahab, says I, I have but a few minutes to stay with you, and if you think to draw the wool over my eyes, it might perhaps take you a longer time than you are athinking on, or than I have to spare;—there are some friends you’ve forgot to inquire after tho’,—there’s Polly Bacon and her little boy.

Spare me, Samuel, spare me, my friend, says he; open not that wound afresh, I beseech thee. Well, says I, none o’ your nonsense then; show me into a room where I can spit, and feel to home, and put my feet upon the chairs without adamagin’ things, and I’ll sit and smoke and chat with you a few minutes; in fact I don’t care if I stop and breakfast with you, for I feel considerable peckish this mornin’. Sam, says he, atakin’ hold of my hand, you were always right up and down, and as straight as a shingle in your dealin’s. I can trust you, I know, but mind,—and he put his fingers on his lips—mum is the word;—bye gones are bye gones,—you wouldn’t blow an old chum among his friends, would you? I scorn a nasty, dirty, mean action, says I, as I do a nigger. Come, foller me, then, says he;—and he led me into a back room, with an oncarpeted painted floor, farnished plain, and some shelves in it, with books and pipes and cigars, pig-tail and what not. Here’s liberty-hall, said he; chew, or smoke, or spit as you please;—do as you like here; we’ll throw off all resarve now; but mind that cursed nigger; he has a foot like a cat, and an ear for every keyhole—don’t talk too loud.

Well, Sam, said he, I’m glad to see you too, my boy; it puts me in mind of old times. Many’s the lark you and I have had together in Slickville, when old Hunks—(it made me start, that he meant Mr. Hopewell, and it made me feel kinder dandry at him, for I wouldn’t let any one speak disrespectful of him afore me for nothin’ I know,)—when old Hunks thought we was abed. Them was happy days—the days o’ light heels and light hearts. I often think on ’em, and think on ’em too with pleasure. Well, Ahab, says I, I don’t gist altogether know as I do; there are some things we might gist as well a’most have left alone, I reckon; but what’s done is done, that’s a fact. Ahem! said he, so loud, I looked round and I seed two niggers bringin’ in the breakfast, and a grand one it was,—tea and coffee and Indgian corn cakes, and hot bread and cold bread, fish, fowl, and flesh, roasted, boiled, and fried; presarves, pickles, fruits; in short, every thing a’most you could think on. You needn’t wait, said Ahab, to the blacks; I’ll ring for you, when I want you; we’ll help ourselves.

Well, when I looked round and seed this critter alivin’ this way, on the fat o’ the land, up to his knees in clover like, it did pose me considerable to know how he worked it so cleverly, for he was thought always, as a boy, to be rather more than half onder-baked, considerable soft-like. So, says I, Ahab, says I, I calculate you’r like the cat we used to throw out of minister’s garrat-winder, when we was aboardin’ there to school. How so, Sam? said he. Why, says I, you always seem to come on your feet some how or other. You have got a plaguy nice thing of it here; that’s a fact, and no mistake (the critter had three thousand dollars a-year); how on airth did you manage it? I wish in my heart I had ataken up the trade o’ preachin’ too; when it does hit it does capitally, that’s sartain. Why, says he, if you’ll promise not to let on to any one about it, I’ll tell you. I’ll keep dark about it, you may depend, says I. I’m not a man that can’t keep nothin’ in my gizzard, but go right off and blart out all I hear. I know a thing worth two o’ that, I guess. Well, says he, it’s done by a new rule I made in grammar—the feminine gender is more worthy than the neuter, and the neuter more worthy than the masculine; I gist soft sawder the women. It ’taint every man will let you tickle him; and if you do, he’ll make faces at you enough to frighten you into fits; but tickle his wife, and it’s electrical—he’ll laugh like any thing. They are the forred wheels, start them, and the hind ones foller of course. Now it’s mostly women that tend meetin’ here; the men-folks have their politics and trade to talk over, and what not, and ain’t time; but the ladies go considerable rigular, and we have to depend on them, the dear critters. I gist lay myself out to get the blind side o’ them, and I sugar and gild the pill so as to make it pretty to look at and easy to swaller. Last Lord’s day, for instance, I preached on the death of the widder’s son. Well, I drew such a pictur of the lone watch at the sick bed, the patience, the kindness, the tenderness of women’s hearts, their forgiving disposition—(the Lord forgive me for saying so, tho’, for if there is a created critter that never forgives, it’s a woman; they seem to forgive a wound on their pride, and it skins over and looks all healed up like, but touch ’em on the sore spot ag’in, and see how cute their memory is)—their sweet temper, soothers of grief, dispensers of joy, ministrin’ angels.—I make all the virtues of the feminine gender always,—then I wound up with a quotation from Walter Scott. They all like poetry, do the ladies, and Shakspeare, Scott, and Byron are amazin’ favourites; they go down much better than them old-fashioned staves o’ Watts.

“Oh woman, in our hour of ease,

 Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,

 And variable as the shade

 By the light quivering aspen made;

 When pain and anguish wring the brow,

 A ministering angel thou.”

If I didn’t touch it off to the nines it’s a pity. I never heerd you preach so well, says one, since you was located here. I drew from natur’, says I, a squezin’ of her hand. Nor never so touchin’, says another. You know my moddle, says I, lookin’ spooney on her. I fairly shed tears, said a third; how often have you drawn them from me! says I. So true, says they, and so nateral, and truth and natur’ is what we call eloquence. I feel quite proud, says I, and considerable elated, my admired sisters,—for who can judge so well as the ladies of the truth of the description of their own virtues? I must say, I felt somehow kinder inadequate to the task too, I said,—for the depth and strength and beauty of the female heart passes all understandin’.

When I left ’em I heerd ’em say, ain’t he a dear man, a feelin’ man, a sweet critter, a’most a splendid preacher; none o’ your mere moral lecturers, but a rael right down genuine gospel preacher. Next day I received to the tune of one hundred dollars in cash, and fifty dollars produce, presents from one and another. The truth is, if a minister wants to be popular he should remain single, for then the gals all have a chance for him; but the moment he marries he’s up a tree; his flint is fixed then; you may depend it’s gone goose with them arter that; that’s a fact. No, Sam; they are the pillars of the temple, the dear little critters.—And I’ll give you a wrinkle for your horn, perhaps you ain’t got yet, and it may be some use to you when you go down atradin’ with the benighted colonists in the outlandish British provinces. The road to the head lies through the heart. Pocket, you mean, instead of head, I guess, said I; and if you don’t travel that road full chissel it’s a pity.—Well, says I, Ahab, when I go to Slickville I’ll gist tell Mr. Hopewell what a most precious, superfine, superior darn’d rascal you have turned out; if you ain’t No. 1, letter A, I want to know who is, that’s all. You do beat all, Sam, said he; it’s the system that’s vicious, and not the preacher. If I didn’t give ’em the soft sawder they would neither pay me nor hear me; that’s a fact. Are you so soft in the horn now, Sam, as to suppose that the gals would take the trouble to come to hear me tell ’em of their corrupt natur’ and fallen condition; and first thank me, and then pay me for it? Very entertainin’ that to tell ’em the worms will fatten on their pretty little rosy cheeks, and that their sweet plump flesh is nothin’ but grass, flourishin’ to-day, and to be cut down withered and rotten to-morrow; ain’t it? It ain’t in the natur’ o’ things, if I put them out o’ concait o’ themselves, I can put them in concait o’ me; or that they will come down handsome, and do the thing ginteel, its gist onpossible. It warn’t me made the system, but the system made me. The voluntary don’t work well.

System or no system, said I, Ahab, you are Ahab still, and Ahab you’ll be to the eend o’ the chapter. You may decaive the women by soft sawder, and yourself by talkin’ about systems, but you won’t walk into me so easy, I know. It ain’t pretty at all. Now, said I, Ahab, I told you I wouldn’t blow you, nor will I. I will neither speak o’ things past nor things present. I know you wouldn’t, Sam, said he; you were always a good feller. But it’s on one condition, says I, and that is that you allow Polly Bacon a hundred dollars a-year—she was a good gall and a decent gall when you first know’d her, and she’s in great distress now to Slickville, I tell you. That’s onfair, that’s onkind, Sam, said he; that’s not the clean thing; I can’t afford it; it’s a breach o’ confidence this, but you got me on the hip, and I can’t help myself; say fifty dollars, and I will. Done, said I, and mind you’re up to the notch, for I’m in earnest—there’s no mistake. Depend upon me, said he, and, Sam, said he, a shakin’ hands along with me at partin’,—excuse me, my good feller, but I hope I may never have the pleasure to see your face ag’in. Ditto, says I; but mind the fifty dollars a-year, or you will see me to a sartainty—good b’ye.

How different this cussed critter was from poor, dear, good, old Joshua Hopewell. I seed him not long arter. On my return to Connecticut, gist as I was apassin’ out o’ Molasses into Onion County, who should I meet but minister amounted upon his horse, old Captain Jack. Jack was a racker, and in his day about as good a beast as ever hoisted tail, (you know what a racker is, don’t you squire? said the clockmaker; they bring up the two feet on one side first, together like, and then t’other two at once, the same way; and they do get over the ground at a most an amazin’ size, that’s sartin,) but poor old critter, he looked pretty streak’d. You could count his ribs as far as you could see him, and his skin was drawn so tight over him, every blow of minister’s cane on him sounded like a drum, he was so holler. A candle poked into him lighted would have shown through him like a lantern. He carried his head down to his knees, and the hide seem’d so scant a pattern, he showed his teeth like a cross dog, and it started his eyes and made ’em look all outside like a weasel’s. He actilly did look as if he couldn’t help it. Minister had two bags roll’d up and tied on behind him, like a portmanter, and was ajogging on alookin’ down on his horse, and the horse alookin’ down on the road, as if he was seekin’ a soft spot to tumble down upon.

It was curious to see Captain Jack too, when he heerd old Clay acoming along full split behind him; he cock’d up his head and tail, and prick’d up his ears, and look’d corner ways out of his eye, as much as to say, if you are for a lick of a quarter of a mile I don’t feel much up to it, but I’ll try you any way;—so here’s at you. He did try to do pretty, that’s sartin, as if he was ashamed of looking so like Old Scratch, gist as a feller does up the shirt-collar and combs his hair with his fingers, afore he goes into the room among the galls.

The poor skilliton of a beast was ginger to the backbone, you may depend—all clear grit; what there was of him was whalebone; that’s a fact. But minister had no rally about him; he was proper chap-fallen, and looked as dismal as if he had lost every friend that he had on airth. Why, minister, says I, what onder the sun is the matter of you? You and Captain Jack look as if you had the cholera; what makes you so dismal and your horse so thin? what’s out o’ joint now? Nothin’ gone wrong, I hope, since I left? Nothin’ has gone right with me, Sam, of late, said he; I’ve been sorely tried with affliction, and my spirit is fairly humbled. I’ve been more insulted this day, my son, than I ever was afore in all my born days. Minister, says I, I’ve gist one favour to ax o’ you; give me the sinner’s name, and afore daybreak to-morrow mornin’ I’ll bring him to a reck’nin’ and see how the balance stands. I’ll kick him from here to Washington, and from Washington back to Slickville, and then I’ll cow-skin him, till this riding-whip is worn up to shoe-strings, and pitch him clean out o’ the State. The infarnal villain! tell me who he is, and if he war as big as all out-doors, I’d walk into him. I’ll teach him the road to good manners, if he can save eyesight to see it,—hang me if I don’t. I’d like no better fun, I vow. So gist show me the man, that darst insult you, and if he does so ag’in, I’ll give you leave to tell me of it. Thank you, Sam, says he; thank you, my boy, but it’s beyond your help. It ain’t a parsonal affront of that natur’, but a spiritual affront. It ain’t an affront offered to me as Joshua Hopewell, so much as an affront to the minister of Slickville. That is worse still, said I, because you can’t resent it yourself. Leave him to me, and I’ll fix his flint for him.

It’s a long story, Sam, and one to raise grief, but not anger;—you musn’t talk or think of fightin’, it’s not becoming a Christian man, but here’s my poor habitation, put up your horse and come in, and we’ll talk this affair over by and by. Come in and see me,—for, sick as I am, both in body and mind, it will do me good. You was always a kind-hearted boy, Sam, and I’m glad to see the heart in the right place yet;—come in, my son. Well, when we got into the house, and sot down,—says I, minister, what the dickens was them two great rolls o’ canvass for, I seed snugg’d up and tied to your crupper? You looked like a man who had taken his grist to mill, and was returnin’ with the bags for another; and what onder the sun had you in them? I’ll tell you, Sam, said he,—you know, said he,—when you was to home, we had a State Tax for the support o’ the church, and every man had to pay his share to some church or another. I mind, said I, quite well. Well, said he, the inimy of souls has been to work among us, and instigated folks to think this was too compulsory for a free people, and smelt too strong of establishments, and the legislatur’ repealed the law; so now, instead o’ havin’ a rigilar legal stipind, we have what they call the voluntary,—every man pays what he likes, when he likes, and to whom he likes, or if it don’t convene him he pays nothin’;—do you apprehend me? As clear as a boot-jack, says I; nothin’ could be plainer, and I suppose that some o’ your factory people that make canvass have given you a present of two rolls of it to make bags to hold your pay in? My breeches’ pockets, says he, Sam, ashakin’ o’ his head, I estimate, are big enough for that. No, Sam; some subscribe and some don’t. Some say, we’ll give, but we’ll not bind ourselves;—and some say, we’ll see about it. Well, I’m e’en a’most starved, and Captain Jack does look as poor as Job’s turkey; that’s a fact. So I thought, as times was hard, I’d take the bags and get some oats for him, from some of my subscribin’ congregation;—it would save them the cash, and suit me gist as well as the blunt. Wherever I went, I might have filled my bags with excuses, but I got no oats;—but that warn’t the worst of it neither, they turned the tables on me and took me to task. A new thing that for me, I guess, in my old age, to stand up to be catekised like a convarted Heathen. Why don’t you, says one, jine the Temperance Society, minister? Because, says I, there’s no warrant for it in Scriptur’, as I see. A Christian obligation to sobriety is, in my mind, afore any engagement on honour. Can’t think, says he, of payin’ to a minister that countenances drunkenness. Says another,—minister, do you smoke? Yes, says I, I do sometimes; and I don’t care if I take a pipe along with you now;—it seems sociable like. Well, says he, it’s an abuse o’ the critter,—a waste o’ valuable time, and an encouragement of slavery; I don’t pay to upholders of the slave system; I go the whole figur’ for abolition. One found me too Calvinistic, and another too Arminian; one objected to my praying for the President,—for, he said, he was an everlastin’ almighty rascal;—another to my wearin’ a gown, for it was too Popish. In short, I git nothin’ but objections to a’most every thing I do or say, and I see considerable plain my income is gone; I may work for nothin’ and find thread now, if I choose. The only one that paid me, cheated me. Says he, minister, I’ve been alookin’ for you for some time past, to pay my contribution, and I laid by twenty dollars for you. Thank you, said I, friend, but that is more than your share; ten dollars, I think, is the amount of your subscription. Well, says he, I know that, but I like to do things handsum’, and he who gives to a minister lends to the Lord;—but, says he, I’m afeer’d it won’t turn out so much now, for the bank has fail’d since. It’s a pity you hadn’t acall’d afore, but you must take the will for the deed. And he handed me a roll of the Bubble Bank paper, that ain’t worth a cent. Are you sure, said I, that you put this aside for me when it was good? O sartain, says he, I’ll take my oath of it. There’s no ’casion for that, says I, my friend, nor for me to take more than my due neither;—here are ten of them back again. I hope you may not lose them altogether, as I fear I shall. But he cheated me,—I know he did.

This is the blessin’ of the voluntary, as far as I’m consarned. Now I’ll tell you how it’s agoin’ to work upon them; not through my agency tho’, for I’d die first;—afore I’d do a wrong thing to gain the whole univarsal world. But what are you adoin’ of, Sam, said he, acrackin’ of that whip so, says he; you’ll e’en amost deefen me. Atryin’ of the spring of it, says I. The night afore I go down to Nova Scotia, I’ll teach ’em Connecticut quick-step—I’ll larn ’em to make somersets—I’ll make ’em cut more capers than the caravan monkey ever could to save his soul alive, I know. I’ll quilt ’em, as true as my name is Sam Slick; and if they foller me down east, I’ll lambaste them back a plaguy sight quicker than they came; the nasty, dirty, mean, sneaking villains. I’ll play them a voluntary—I’ll fa la sol them, to a jig tune, and show ’em how to count baker’s dozen. Crack, crack, crack, that’s the music, minister; crack, crack, crack, I’ll set all Slickville ayelpin’!

I’m in trouble enough, Sam, says he, without addin’ that are to it; don’t quite break my heart, for such carryin’s on would near about kill me. Let the poor deluded critters be, promise me now. Well, well, says I, if you say so it shall be so;—but I must say, I long to be at ’em. But how is the voluntary agoin’ for to operate on them? Emitic, diuretic, or purgative, eh? I hope it will be all three, and turn them inside out, the ungrateful scoundrils, and yet not be gist strong enough to turn them back ag’in. Sam you’re an altered man, says he. It appears to me the whole world is changed. Don’t talk so on-Christian: we must forget and forgive. They will be the greatest sufferers themselves, poor critters, havin’ destroyed the independence of their minister,—their minister will pander to their vanity. He will be afeer’d to tell them unpalatable truths. Instead of tellin’ ’em they are miserable sinners in need of repentance, he will tell ’em they are a great nation and a great people, will quote more history than the Bible, and give ’em orations not sarmons, encomiums and not censures. Presents, Sam, will bribe indulgences. The minister will be a dum dog! It sarves ’em right, says I; I don’t care what becomes of them. I hope they will be dum dogs, for dum dogs bite, and if they drive you mad,—as I believe from my soul they will,—I hope you’ll bite every one on ’em.

But, says I, minister, talkin’ of presents, I’ve got one for you that’s somethin’ like the thing, I know; and I took out my pocket-book and gave him a hundred dollars. I hope I may be shot if I didn’t. I felt so sorry for him.

Who’s this from? said he, smilin’. From Alabama, said I; but the giver told me not to mention his name. Well, said he, I’d arather he’d asent me a pound of good Virginy pig-tail, because I could have thank’d him for that, and not felt too much obligation. Presents of money injure both the giver and receiver, and destroy the equilibrium of friendship, and diminish independence and self-respect: but it’s all right; it will enable me to send neighbour Dearbourn’s two sons to school. It will do good. ’Cute little fellers them, Sam, and will make considerable smart men, if they are properly seed to; but the old gentleman, their father, is, like myself, nearly used up, and plaguy poor. Thinks I, if that’s your sort, old gentleman, I wish I had my hundred dollars in my pocket-book ag’in, as snug as a bug in a rug, and neighbour Dearbourn’s two sons might go and whistle for their schoolin’. Who the plague cares whether they have any larning or not? I’m sure I don’t. It’s the first of the voluntary system I’ve tried, and I’m sure it will be the last.

Yes, yes, squire, the voluntary don’t work well,—that’s a fact. Ahab has lost his soul to save his body, minister has lost his body to save his soul, and I’ve lost my hundred dollars slap to save my feelins’. The duce take the voluntary, I say.


In the evening we sauntered out on the bank of the river, Mr. Slick taking his rifle with him, to shoot blue-winged duck, that often float up the Avon with the tide in great numbers. He made several shots with remarkable accuracy, but having no dogs we lost all the birds, but two, in the eddies of this rapid river. It was a delightful evening, and on our return we ascended the cliff that overlooks the village and the surrounding country, and sat down on the projecting point of limestone rock, to enjoy the glories of the sunset.

This evenin’, said Mr. Slick, reminds me of one I spent the same way at Toronto, in Upper Canada, and of a conversation I had with a British traveller there. There was only himself and me at the inn, and havin’ nothin’ above partikilar to do, says I, ’spose we take the rifle and walk down by the lake this splendid afternoon; who knows but we might see somethin’ or another to shoot? So off we sot, and it was so cool and pleasant we stroll’d a considerable distance up the beach, which is like this, all limestone gravel, only cleaner and less sedement in it.

When we got tired of the glare of the water, and a nasty yallor scum that was on it at that season, we turned up a road that led into the woods. Why, says I, if there ain’t a Carriboo, as I’m alive. Where? said he, seizin’ the rifle, and bringin’ it to his shoulder with great eagerness,—where is it? for heaven’s sake let me have a shot at it! I have long wish’d, said he, to have it to say, before I leave the province, that I had performed that feat of killin’ a Carriboo. Oh, Lord! said I, throwin’ up the point of the gun to prevent an accident,—Oh, Lord! it ain’t one o’ them are sort o’ critters at all; it’s a human Carriboo. It’s a member, him that’s in that are gig, lookin’ as wise as a barber’s block with a new wig on it. The Toronto folks call ’em Carriboos, ’cause they are untamed wild critters from the woods, and come down in droves to the legislatur’. I guess he’s agoin’ to spend the night to the hotel, where we be; if he is, I’ll bring him into our room and train him: you’ll see what sort o’ folks makes laws sometimes. I do believe, arter all, says I, this univarsal suffrage will make univarsal fools of us all;—it ain’t one man in a thousand knows how to choose a horse, much less a member, and yet there are some standin’ rules about the horse, that most any one can larn, if he’ll give his mind to it. There’s the mark o’ mouth,—then there’s the limbs, shape, make, and soundness of ’em; the eye, the shoulder, and, above all, the action. It seems all plain enough, and yet it takes a considerable ’cute man to make a horse-jockey, and a little grain of the rogue too; for there is no mistake about the matter—you must lie a few to put ’em off well. Now, that’s only the lowest grade of knowledge. It takes more skill yet to be a nigger-jockey. A nigger-jockey, said he; for heaven’s sake, what is that? I never heer’d the term afore, since I was a created sinner—I hope I may be shot if I did. Possible, said I, never heer’d tell of a nigger-jockey! My sakes, you must come to the States then;—we’ll put more wrinkles on your horns in a month than you’ll get in twenty years here, for these critters don’t know nothin’. A nigger-jockey, sir, says I, is a gentleman that trades in niggers,—buys them in one State, and sells them in another, where they ar’n’t known. It’s a beautiful science, is nigger flesh; it’s what the lawyers call a liberal profession. Uncle Enoch made enough in one year’s tradin’ in niggers to buy a splendid plantation; but it ain’t every one that’s up to it. A man must have his eye teeth cut afore he takes up that trade, or he is apt to be let in for it himself, instead of putting a leake into others; that’s a fact. Niggers don’t show their age like white folk, and they are most always older than they look. A little rest, ilein’ the joints, good feed, a clean shirt, a false tooth or two, and dyin’ the wool black if it’s got gray, keepin’ ’em close shav’d, and gist given’ ’em a glass ’o whiskey or two afore the sale, to brighten up the eye, has put off many an old nigger of fifty-five for forty. It does more than trimmin’ and groomin’ a horse, by a long chalk. Then if a man knows geography, he fixes on a spot in the next State for meetin’ ag’in, slips a few dollars in Sambo’s hand, and Sambo slips the halter off in the manger, meets massa there, and is sold a second time ag’in. Wash the dye out, let the beard grow, and remove the tooth, and the devil himself couldn’t swear to him ag’in.

If it takes so much knowledge to choose a horse, or choose a nigger, what must it take to choose a member?—Who knows he won’t give the people the slip as Sambo does the first master; ay, and look as different too, as a nigger does, when the dye rubs out, and his black wool looks white ag’in. Ah, squire, there are tricks in all trades, I do believe, except the clock trade. The nigger business, says I, is apt to get a man into court, too, as much as the horse trade, if he don’t know the quirks of the law. I shall never forget a joke I passed off once on a Southerner. I had been down to Charleston, South Carr, where brother Siah is located as a lawyer, and drives a considerable business in that line. Well, one day as I was awalkin’ along out o’ town, asmokin’ of my cigar, who should I meet but a poor old nigger, with a’most an almighty heavy load of pine-wood on his back, as much as he could cleverly stagger onder. Why, Sambo, said I, whose slave be you? You’ve got a considerable of a heavy load there for a man of your years. Oh, Massa, says he, Gor Ormighty bless you (and he laid down his load, and puttin’ one hand on his loins, and t’other on his thigh, he tried to straighten himself up.) I free man now, I no longer slave no more. I purchased my freedom from Gineral Crocodile, him that keeps public at Mud Creek. Oh, Massa, but him gineral took me in terrible, by gosh! Says he, Pompey, says he, you one werry good nigger, werry faithful nigger. I great opinion of you, Pompey; I make a man of you, you dam old tar-brush. I hope I may be skinned alive with wild cats if I don’t. How much money you save, Pomp? Hunder dollars, says I. Well, says he, I will sell you your freedom for that are little sum. Oh, massa gineral, I said, I believe I lib and die wid you;—what old man like me do now? I too old for freeman. O no, massa, leab poor old Pomp to die among de niggers. I tend young massa Gineral and little missy Gineral, and teach ’em how to cow-skin de black villains. Oh, you smart man yet, he says,—quite sound, werry smart man, you airn a great deal o’ money:—I too great regard for you to keep you slave any longer. Well, he persuade me at last, and I buy freedom, and now I starve. I hab no one to take care ob me now; I old and good for nothin’—I wish old Pomp very much dead;—and he boohood right out like a child. Then he sold you to yourself, did he? Yes, massa, said he, and here de paper and de bill ob sale. And he told you you sound man yet? True, massa, ebbery word. Then, says I, come along with me; and I toated him along into Siah’s office. Sy, says I, here’s a job for you. Gineral Crocodile sold this poor old nigger to himself, and warrinted him sound wind and limb. He cheated him like a cantin’ hypocritical sinner as he is, for he’s foundered in his right foot, and ringboned on the left. Sue him on his warranty—there’s some fun in’t.—Fun, said Sy, I tell you it’s a capital joke; and he jump’d up and danced round his office asnappin’ of his fingers, as if he were bit by a galley-nipper. How it will comflustrigate old Sim Ileter, the judge, won’t it? I’ll bambousle him, I’ll befogify his brain for him with warranties general, special, and implied, texts, notes, and comentries. I’ll lead him a dance through civil law, and common law, and statute law; I’ll read old Latin, old French, and old English to him; I’ll make his head turn like a mill-stone; I’ll make him stare like an owl atrying to read by day-light; and he larfed ready to kill himself. Sure enough he did bother him so agoin’ up from one court to another, that Crocodile was glad to compound the matter to get clear of the joke, and paid old Pomp his hundred dollars back again; that’s a fact.

In the course of the evenin’, Mr. Buck, the member elect for the township of Flats, in the Home district, came in, and I introduced him with much ceremony to the Britisher, agivin’ of him a wink at the same time, as much as to say, now I’ll show you the way to train a Carriboo. Well, Squire Buck, said I, I vow I’m glad to see you;—how did you leave Mrs. Buck and all to home?—all well, I hope? Reasonable well, I give you thanks, sir, said he. And so they’ve elected you a member, eh? Well, they wanted some honest men among ’em—that’s a fact, and some onderstandin’ men too; how do you go, Tory or Radical? Oh, pop’lar side of course, said Mr. Buck. M’Kenzie and Papinau have open’d my eyes I tell you; I had no notion afore our government was so rotten—I’m for elective councils, short parliaments, ballot, universal suffrage, and ag’in all officials. Right, said I, you are on the right side then, and no mistake. You’ve a plain path afore you; go straight ahead, and there’s no fear. I should like to do so, said he, but I don’t understand these matters enough, I’m afeer’d, to probe ’em to the bottom; perhaps you’ll be so good as to advise me a little. I should like to talk over these things with you, as they say you are a considerable of an onderstandin’ man, and have seed a good deal of the world. Well, said I, nothin’ would hapify me more, I do assure you. Be independent, that’s the great thing; be independent, that is, attack every thing. First of all, there’s the Church; that’s a grand target, fire away at that till you are tired. Raise a prejudice if you can, and then make every thing a Church question. But I’m a churchman myself, Mr. Slick; and you wouldn’t have me attack my own church, would you? So much the better, said I, it looks liberal;—true liberality, as far as my experience goes, lies in praisin’ every other church, and abusin’ of your own; it’s only bigots that attacks other folks’ doctrine and tenets; no strong-minded, straight ahead, right up and down man does that. It shows a narrer mind and narrer heart that. But what fault is there with the church? said he: they mind their own business, as far as I see, and let other folks alone; they have no privilege here that I know on, that other sects ha’en’t got. It’s pop’lar talk among some folks, and that’s enough, said I. They are rich, and their clergy are larned and genteel, and there’s a good many envious people in the world;—there’s radicals in religion as well as in politics, that would like to see ’em all brought to a level. And then there’s church lands: talk about dividin’ them among other sects, givin’ them to schools, and so on. There’s no harm in robbing Peter if you pay Paul with it—a fair exchange is no robbery, all the world over; then wind up with a church tithe sale, and a military massacre of a poor dissentin’ old woman that was baganuted by bloody-minded sodgers while tryin’ to save her pig. It will make an affectin’ speech, draw tears from the gallery, and thunders of applause from the House.

Then there’s judges, another grand mark; and councillors and rich men; call ’em the little big men of a little colony, the would-be aristocracy—the official gang—the favour’d few; call ’em by their Christian and surnames; John Den and Richard Fen, turn up your noses at ’em like a horse’s tail that’s double-nick’d. Salaries are a never-ending theme for you; officials shouldn’t be paid at all; the honour is enough for ’em; a patriot sarves his country for nothin’. Take some big salary for a text, and treat it this way: says you, there’s John Doe’s salary, it is seven hundred and thirty pounds a year, that is two pounds a day. Now, says you, that is sixteen common labourers’ pay at two and six-pence each per day;—shall it be said that one great mammoth official is worth sixteen free citizens who toil harder and fare worse than he does? then take his income for ten years and multiply it. See, says you, in ten years he has received the enormous sum of seven thousand five hundred pounds: then run over all the things seven thousand five hundred pounds would effect on roads, bridges, schools, and so on, and charge him with havin’ been the means of robbin’ the country of all these blessin’s: call ’em blood-suckers, pampered minions, bloated leeches. Then there’s the college, says you; it’s for the aristocracy, to keep up distinctions, to rivet our fetters, to make the rich richer, and the strong stronger; talk of native genius and self-taught artists, of natur’s scholars, of homespun talent; it flatters the multitude this—it’s pop’lar, you may depend. Call the troops mercenaries, vile hirelings, degraded slaves; turn up your eyes to the ceiling and invoke defeat and slaughter on ’em, if they dare to enforce the law; talk of standing armies, of slavery, of legionary tyrants,—call ’em foreigners, vulturs thirsting for blood,—butchers,—every man killed in a row, or a mob, call a victim, a murdered man,—that’s your sort, my darlin’—go the whole hog, and do the thing genteel. Any thing that gives power to the masses will please the masses. If there was nothin’ to attack there would be no champions; if there is no grievance you must make one: call all changes reform, whether it makes it better or not,—any thing you want to alter, call an abuse. All that oppose you, call anti-reformers, upholders of abuses, bigots, sycophants, office-seeking Tories. Say they live by corruption, by oppressin’ the people, and that’s the reason they oppose all change. How streaked they’ll look, won’t they? It will make them scratch their heads and stare, I know. If there’s any man you don’t like, use your privilege and abuse him like Old Scratch,—lash him like a nigger, cut him up beautiful—oh, it’s a grand privilege that! Do this, and you’ll be the speaker of the House, the first pot-hook on the crane, the truckle-head and cap-sheave—you will, I snore. Well, it does open a wide field, don’t it, said Mr. Buck, for an ambitious man? I vow, I believe I’ll take your advice; I like the idea amazin’ly. Lord, I wish I could talk like you,—you do trip it off so glib—I’ll take your advice tho’—I will, I vow. Well then, Mr. Buck, if you really will take my advice, I’ll give it to you, said I, free-gratis for nothin’. Be honest, be consistent, be temperate; be rather the advocate of internal improvement than political change; of rational reform, but not organic alterations. Neither flatter the mob, nor flatter the government; support what is right, oppose what is wrong; what you think, speak; try to satisfy yourself, and not others; and if you are not popular, you will at least be respected; popularity lasts but a day, respect will descend as a heritage to your children.


We left Gaspereaux early in the morning, intending to breakfast at Kentville. The air was cool and bracing, and the sun, which had just risen, shed a lustre over the scenery of this beautiful and fertile valley, which gave it a fresh and glowing appearance. A splendid country this, squire, said the Clockmaker; that’s a fact; the Lord never made the beat of it. I wouldn’t ax no better location in the farmin’ line than any of these allotments; grand grazin’ grounds and superfine tillage lands. A man that know’d what he was about might live like a fightin’ cock here, and no great scratchin’ for it neither. Do you see that are house on that risin’ hummock to the right there? Well, gist look at it, that’s what I call about right. Flanked on both sides by an orchard of best-grafted fruit, a tidy little clever flower-garden in front, that the galls see to, and a’most a grand sarce garden over the road there sheltered by them are willows. At the back side see them everlastin’ big barns; and, by gosh! there goes the dairy cows; a pretty sight too, that fourteen of ’em marchin’ Indgian file arter milkin’, down to that are medder. Whenever you see a place all snugged up and lookin’ like that are, depend on it the folks are of the right kind. Them flowers too, and that are honeysuckle, and rose-bushes show the family are brought up right; somethin’ to do at home, instead of racin’ about to quiltin’ parties, huskin’ frolics, gossipin’, talkin’ scandal, and neglectin’ their business. Them little matters are like throwin’ up straws, they show which way the wind is. When galls attend to them are things, it shows that they are what our minister used to call “right-minded.” It keeps them busy, and when folks are busy, they ha’n’t time to get into mischief; and it amuses them too, and it keeps the dear little critters healthy and cheerful. I believe I’ll alight and breakfast there, if you’ve no objection. I should like to see that citizen’s improvements, and he’s a plaguy nice man too, and will be proud to see you, you may depend.

We accordingly drove up to the door, where we were met by Squire James Horton, a respectable, intelligent, cheerful-looking man, apparently of about fifty years of age. He received me with all the ease and warmth of a man to whom hospitality was habitual and agreeable,—thanked Mr. Slick for bringing me to see him, and observed that he was a plain farmer, and lived without any pretensions to be other than he was, and that he always felt pleased and gratified to see any stranger who would do him the favour to call upon him, and would accommodate himself to the plain fare of a plain countryman. He said he lived out of the world, and the conversation of strangers was often instructive, and always acceptable to him. He then conducted us into the house, and introduced us to his wife and daughters, two very handsome and extremely interesting girls, who had just returned from superintending the operations of the dairy. I was particularly struck with the extreme neatness and propriety of their attire, plain and suitable to their morning occupations, but scrupulously nice in its appearance.

As the clock struck seven, (a wooden clock, to which Mr. Slick looked with evident satisfaction as a proof of his previous acquaintance,) the family were summoned, and Mr. Horton addressed a short but very appropriate prayer to the Throne of Grace, rendering the tribute of a grateful heart for the numerous blessings with which he was surrounded, and supplicating a continuance of divine favour. There was something touching in the simplicity and fervour of his manner and in the unpretending style of his devotion, while there was a total absence of that familiar tone of address so common in America, which, often bordering on profanity, shocks and disgusts those who have been accustomed to the more decorous and respectful language of our beautiful liturgy.

Breakfast was soon announced, and we sat down to an excellent and substantial repast, every thing abundant and good of its kind, and the whole prepared with a neatness that bespoke a well-regulated and orderly family. We were then conducted round the farm, and admired the method, regularity, and good order of the establishment. I guess this might compare with any of your English farms, said the Clockmaker; it looks pretty considerable slick this—don’t it? We have great advantages in this country, said Mr. Horton; our soil is naturally good, and we have such an abundance of salt sludge on the banks of the rivers, that we are enabled to put our uplands in the highest state of cultivation. Industry and economy can accomplish any thing here. We have not only good markets, but we enjoy an almost total exemption from taxation. We have a mild and paternal government, our laws are well and impartially administered, and we enjoy as much personal freedom as is consistent with the peace and good order of society. God grant that it may long continue so! and that we may render ourselves worthy of these blessings, by yielding the homage of grateful hearts to the Great Author and Giver of all good things. A bell ringing at the house at this time, reminded us that we were probably interfering with some of his arrangements, and we took leave of our kind host, and proceeded on our journey, strongly impressed with those feelings which a scene of domestic happiness and rural felicity like this never fails to inspire.

We had not driven more than two or three miles before Mr. Slick suddenly checked his horse, and pointing to a farm on the right-hand side of the road, said, Now there is a contrast for you, with a vengeance. That critter, said he, when he built that wrack of a house, (they call ’em a half-house here,) intended to add as much more to it some of these days, and accordingly put his chimbley outside, to sarve the new part as well as the old. He has been too lazy, you see, to remove the bankin’ put there the first fall, to keep the frost out o’ the cellar, and it has rotted the sills off, and the house has fell away from the chimbley, and he has had to prop it up with that great stick of timber, to keep it from comin’ down on its knees altogether. All the winders are boarded up but one, and that has all the glass broke out. Look at the barn!—the roof has fell in in the middle, and the two gables stand starin’ each other in the face, as if they would like to come closer together if they could, and consult what was best to be done. Them old geese and vetren fowls, that are so poor the foxes won’t steal ’em for fear of hurtin’ their teeth,—that little yaller, lantern-jawed, long-legged, rabbit-eared, runt of a pig, that’s so weak it can’t turn its tail up,—that old frame of a cow, astandin’ there with its eyes shot-to, acontemplatin’ of its latter eend,—and that varmint-lookin’ horse, with his hocks swell’d bigger than his belly, that looks as if he had come to her funeral,—is all his stock, I guess. The goney has showed his sense in one thing, however, he has burnt all his fence up; for there is no danger of other folks’ cattle breakin’ into his field to starve, and gives his Old Mooley a chance o’ sneakin’ into his neighbours’ fields o’ nights if she find an open gate, or a pair of bars down, to get a treat of clover now and then. O dear, if you was to get up airly of a mornin’, afore the dew was off the ground, and mow that are field with a razor, and rake it with a fine-tooth comb, you wouldn’t get stuff enough to keep one grasshopper through the winter, if you was to be hang’d for it. ’Spose we drive up to the door to light a cigar; if Nick Bradshaw is to home, I should like to have a little chat with him. It’s worth knowing how he can farm with so little labour; for any thing that saves labour in this country, where help is so plaguy dear, is worth larnin’, you may depend.

Observing us pause and point towards his domain, Nicholas lifted off the door and laid it on its side, and, emerging from his den of dirt and smoke, stood awhile reconnoitering us. He was a tall, well-built, athletic-looking man, possessed of great personal strength and surprising activity, but looked like a good-natured, careless fellow, who loved talking and smoking better than work, and preferred the pleasures of the tap-room to the labours of the field. He thinks we want his vote, said the Clockmaker. He’s looking as big as all outdoors gist now, and waitin’ for us to come to him. He wouldn’t condescend to call the king his cousin gist at this present time. It’s independent-day with him, I calculate; happy-lookin’ criter, too, ain’t he, with that are little, short, black pipe in his mouth? The fact is, squire, the moment a man takes to a pipe he becomes a philosifer;—it’s the poor man’s friend; it calms the mind, soothes the temper, and makes a man patient under trouble. It has made more good men, good husbands, kind masters, indulgent fathers, and honest fellers, than any other blessed thing in this univarsal world. The Indgians always buried a pipe and a skin of tobacco with their folks, in case smokin’ should be the fashion in the next world, that they mightn’t go unprovided. Gist look at him: his hat has got no crown in it, and the rim hangs loose by the side, like the bale of a bucket. His trousers and jacket are all flying in tatters of different colour’d patches. He has one old shoe on one foot, and an ontanned mocasin on t’other. He ain’t had his beard cut since last sheep-sheerin’, and he looks as shaggy as a yearlin’ colt. And yet you see the critter has a rakish look too. That are old hat is cocked on one side quite knowin’, he has both hands in his trousers pockets, as if he had somethin’ worth feelin’ there, while one eye, shot-to on account of the smoke, and the other standin’ out of the way of it as far as it can, makes him look like a bit of a wag. A man that didn’t smoke, couldn’t do that now, squire. You may talk about fortitude, and patience, and Christian resignation, and all that sort of thing, till you’re tired; I’ve seen it and heerd tell of it too, but I never knew an instance yet, where it didn’t come a little grain-heavy or sour out of the oven. Philosophy is like most other guests I’ve seed, it likes to visit them as keeps good tables, and though it has some poor acquaintances, it ain’t more nor half pleased to be seen walkin’ lock and lock with ’em. But smokin’——Here he comes, tho’, I swan; he knows Old Clay, I reckon: he sees it ain’t the candidate chap.

This discovery dispelled the important airs of Nicholas, and taking the pipe out of his mouth, he retreated a pace or two, and took a running leap of ten or twelve feet across a stagnant pool of green water that graced his lawn, and served the double purpose of rearing goslings and breeding musquitoes, and by repeating these feats of agility on the grass several times, (as if to keep himself in practice,) was by the side of the wagon in a few minutes.

’Mornin’, Mr. Bradshaw, said the Clockmaker; how’s all to home to-day? Reasonable well, I give you thanks:—won’t you alight? Thank you, I gist stopt to light a cigar.—I’ll bring you a bit o’ fire, said Nick, in the twinklin’ of an eye; and bounding off to the house with similar gigantic strides, he was out of sight in a moment. Happy, good-natured citizen, that you see, squire, said Mr. Slick, he hain’t been fool enough to stiffen himself by hard work neither; for you see he is as supple as an eel. The critter can jump like a catamount, and run like a deer; he’d catch a fox a’most, that chap.

Presently out bounded Nick in the same antelope style, waving over his head a lighted brand of three or four feet long. Here it is, said he, but you must be quick, for this soft green wood won’t hold fire in no time—it goes right out. It’s like my old house there, and that’s so rotten it won’t hold a nail now; after you drive one in you can pull it out with your finger. How are you off for tobacoo? said Mr. Slick. Grand, said he, got half a fig left yet. Get it for you in a minit, and the old lady’s pipe too, and without waiting for a reply, was curvetting again off to the house. That goney, said the Clockmaker, is like a gun that goes off at half cock—there’s no doin’ nothin’ with him. I didn’t want his backey, I only wanted an excuse to give him some; but it’s a strange thing that, squire, but it’s as sure as rates, the poor are every where more liberal, more obligin’, and more hospitable, according to their means, than the rich are: they beat them all hollar,—it’s a fact, I assure you.

When he returned, Mr. Slick told him that he was so spry, that he was out of hearing before he could stop him; that he didn’t require any himself, but was going to offer him a fig of first chop genuine stuff he had. Thank you, said he, as he took it, and put it to his nose;—it has the right flavour that—rather weak for me, tho’. I’m thinking it’ll gist suit the old lady. She smokes a good deal now for the cramp in her leg. She’s troubled with the cramp sometimes, away down some where about the calf, and smokin’, they say, is good for it.

He then took the tobacco very scientifically between the forefinger and thumb of his left hand, and cut it into small shreds that fell into the palm. Then holding both knife and fig between his teeth, he rolled, untwisted, and pulverised the cut tobacco by rubbing and grinding it between his two hands, and refilled and lighted his pipe, and pronouncing the tobacco a prime article, looked the very picture of happiness. How’s crops in a general way this year? said Mr. Slick. Well, they are just about middlin’, said he; the seasons ha’n’t been very good lately, and somehow the land don’t bear as it used to when I was a boy; but I’m in great hopes times are goin’ to be better now. They say things look brighter; I feel a good deal encouraged myself. They tell me the governor’s agoin’ to appoint a new council; I guess, they’ll do sun’thin’ for the country. Ah, said the Clockmaker, that indeed, that would be sun’thin’ like,—it would make times quite brisk agin—farmers could afford to live then. It would raise markets considerable. So I see in the papers, said Nick: the fact o’ the matter is the assemblymen must do sun’thin’ for the country, or it will go to the dogs, that’s sartain. They tell me too that the council doors are to be opened, so that we can hear the debates;—that will be a great privilege, won’t it? Very, said the Clockmaker; it will help the farmers amazin’ly that; I should count that a great matter: they must be worth hearin’, them counsellors. It’s quite a treat to hear the members in the house, particularly when they talk about bankin’, currency, constitution, bounties, and such tough knotty things;—they go so deep into these matters, and know so much about ’em, it’s quite edifyin’. I’ve larnt more new things, and more things I niver knew afore, in half an hour in the assembly, than ever I heerd afore in my life, and I expect t’other house will be quite as wise. Well, I’m glad to hear you say so, said Nicholas; I feel somehow quite encouraged myself: if we had a bounty of about a shilling a bushel for raisin’ potatoes, two-and-six-pence a bushel for wheat, and fifteen pence for oats, I think a body might have a chance to make out to scratch along to live here; and I’m told when the council doors are opened, we shall actually get them. I must say, I feel quite encouraged myself. But stop, said he, laying his hand on Mr. Slick, do you see that are varmint alookin’ arter the old lady’s chickins over there by the barn? I had a crack at him yesterday, but he was too far off—wait abit; and he scampered off to the house, brought out his gun, which had been previously loaded, and throwing himself on all fours, proceeded towards the barn as rapidly as a quadruped. Stop, stop, daddy, said a little half-naked imp of a boy, stop till I get my cock-shy. Well, bear a hand then, said he, or he’ll be off: I wont wait a minit.

The boy darted into the house, and returned in an instant with a short round hard wood club in his hand, and throwing himself in the same posture, thrust his head under the skirts of his father’s coat, and crawled after him, between his legs, the two appearing like one long monstrous reptile. The hawk, observing this unusual motion, rose higher into the air, as he slowly sailed round the building; but Nicholas, not liking to be balked of his shot, fired at a venture, and fortunately broke his wing. Stop, daddy, said the boy, recovering his feet, stop, daddy, it’s my turn now; and following the bird, that flew with inconceivable rapidity, like an ostrich, half running, half flying, threw his cock-shy at him with unerring aim, and killed him. Ain’t he a whopper, daddy? said he. See! and he stretched out his wings to their full extent—he’s a sneezer, ain’t he? I’ll show him to mammy, I guess, and off he ran to the house to exhibit his prize.—Make a smart man that, said Nick, regarding his boy, as he carried off the bird, with looks of entire satisfaction: make a considerable of a smart man that, if the assembly men would only give us a chance; but I feel quite encouraged now. I think we shall have a good brood of chickens this year, now that thievin’ rascal has got his flint fixt; and if them three regiments come to Halifax that’s talked of this winter, poultry will fetch a’most a grand price, that’s sartain. It appears to me there’s a hawk, or a wild cat, or a fox, or a lawyer, or a constable, or a somethin’ or another for everlastin’ly a botherin’ of a poor man; but I feel quite encouraged now.

I never seed that critter yet, said the Clockmaker, that he didn’t say he felt “quite encouraged;” he’s always lookin’ for the Assembly to do great things for him, and every year feels “quite encouraged” that they will do sun’thin’ at the next session that will make his fortin. I wonder if folks will ever larn that politics are the seed mentioned in Scriptur’ that fell by the road-side, and the fowls came and pick’d them up. They don’t benefit the farmer, but they feed them hungry birds,—the party leaders.

The bane of this country, squire, and indeed of all America, is havin’ too much land; they run over more ground than they can cultivate, and crop the land so severely that they run it out. A very large portion of land in America has been run out by repeated grain crops, and when you add that to land naterally too poor to bear grain, or too broken for cultivation, you will find this great country in a fair way to be ruined.

The State of Varmont has nothin’ like the exports it used to have, and a plaguy sight of the young folks come down to Boston to hire out as helps. The two Carolinas and Varginia are covered with places that have been given up as ruined, and many other States. We hav’n’t the surplus of wheat and grain we used to have in the U-nited States, and it never will be so plenty agin. That’s the reason you hear of folks clearin’ land, makin’ a farm, and sellin’ off agin and goin’ farther into the bush. They’ve exhausted it, and find it easier to clear new lands than to restore the old.

A great deal of Nova Scotia is run out, and if it war’n’t for the lime, marsh-mud, sea-weed, salt-sand, and what not, they’ve got here in such quantities, there’d be no cure for it. It takes good farmin’ to keep an upland location in order, I tell you, and make it sustain itself. It takes more to fetch a farm to that’s had the gizzard taken out of it, than it’s worth. It actilly frightens me, when I think your agriculture in Britain is progressin’, and the land better tilled every day, while thousands upon thousands of acres with us, are turned into barrens. No traveller as I’ve seed has noticed this, and our folks are not aware of it themselves to the extent of the evil. Squire, you and I won’t live to see it, but if this awful robbin’ of posterity goes on for another century as it has progressed for the last hundred years, we’ll be a nation of paupers. Very little land in America, even of the best, will carry more than one crop of wheat arter it’s clear’d afore it wants manure; and where it’s clear’d so fast, where’s the manure to come from?—it puzzles me (and I won’t turn my back on any man in the farmin’ line)—the Lord knows, for I don’t; but if there’s a thing that scares me, it’s this.

Hullo! hullo!—said a voice behind us, and when we turned to look from whence it came, we saw Nicholas running and leaping over the fences of his neighbours like a greyhound. Stop a minit, said he, I want to speak to you. I feel quite encouraged since I seen you; there’s one question I forgot to ask you, Mr. Slick, for I should like amazin’ly to have your opinion. Who do you go for? I go for the Squire, said he: I’m agoin’ for to go round the sea-coast with him. I don’t mean that at all, said he;—who do you go for in the election? There’s to be a poll a Monday to Kentville; and Aylesford and Gasperaux are up; who do you go for? I don’t go for either of ’em; I wouldn’t give a chaw of tobakey for both on em: what is it to me who goes? Well, I don’t suppose it is, but it’s a great matter to us: who would you advise me to vote for? Who is agoin’ for to do the most good for you? Aylesford. Who promises you the most? Aylesford. Vote for t’other one then, for I never seed or heerd tell of a feller yet, that was very ready with his promises, that warn’t quite as ready to break them, when it suited his purpose; and if Aylesford comes abotherin’ you, call our little Nick with his “cock-shy,” and let him take a shot at him. Any critter that finds out that all the world are rogues, and tells of the great things that he’s agoin’ for to do, ginerally overlooks the biggest rogue of all, and that’s himself. Oh! Gaspereaux for ever! he’s the man for your money, and no mistake. Well, said Nicholas, I believe you’re half right. Aylesford did promise a shillin’ a bushel bounty on potatoes tho’, but I believe he lied arter all. I’ll take your advice,—I feel quite encouraged now. If you’d like a coal to light your cigar by, said he, I’ll step in here and get you one. Thank you, said Mr. Slick; I have no occasion for one gist now. Well, I believe I’ll drop in and light a pipe there myself then, anyhow. Good-b’ye—I feel quite encouraged now.

Oh dear! said the clockmaker, what a good-natered, good-for-nothin’ simple toad that is. I suppose when the sheriff takes the vote of such critters, he flatters himself he takes the sense of the county. What a difference atween him and Horton! The one is a lazy, idle critter, wanderin’ about talkin’ politics, or snarin’ rabbits, catchin’ eels, or shootin’ hawks, and neglectin’ his work, and a pretty kettle of fish he’s made of it. The other, a careful, steady-goin’, industrious man, that leaves politics to them as likes dabblin’ in troubled waters, and attends steadily to his business, and he’s a credit to his country.

Yes, too much land is the ruin of us all this side o’ the water. Afore I went to England I used to think that the onequal divisions of property there, and the system of landlord and tenant, was a curse to the country, and that there was more dignity and freedom to the individual, and more benefit to the nation, for every man to own the land he cultivated, as with us. But I’ve changed my mind; I see it’s the cause of the high state of cultivation in England, and the prosperity of its agriculture. If the great men had the land in their own hands there, every now and then an improvident one would skin the soil, and run it out; bein’ let to others he can’t do it himself, and he takes plaguy good care by his lease his tenant shan’t do it neither. Well then, there he is, with his capital to make great improvements, substantial repairs, and so on, and things are pushed up to perfection.

In Nova Scotia there are hundreds and thousands that would be better off as tenants, if they would but only think so. When a chap spends all his money in buying lands, and mortgages them to pay the rest of the price, he ain’t able to stock his farm, and work it properly; and he labours like a nigger all his life, and dies poor at last, while the land gets run out in his hands, and is no good for ever after. Now if he was to hire the farm, the money that he paid for the purchase would stock it complete, enable him to hire labour,—to wait for markets,—to buy up cattle cheap, and to sell them to advantage. He’d make money hand over hand, while he’d throw the cost of all repairs and improvements on the owner. But you might talk till you were grey-headed, and you wouldn’t persuade folks of that in this country. The glorious privilege of having a vote, to give to some goney of a member, carries the day. Well may they call it a dear privilege that, for it keeps them poor to their dyin’ day. No, squire, your system of landlord and tenant is the best for the farmer, and the best for the nation. There never can be a high state of general cultivation without it. Agriculture wants the labour of the farmer and the money of the capitalist,—both must go hand in hand. When it is left to the farmer alone, it must dwindle for want of means—and the country must dwindle too. A nation, even if it is as big as our great one, if it has no general system of landlord and tenant adopted in it, must run out. We are undergoin’ that process now. I’m most plaguy afeerd we shall run out; that’s a fact. A country is but a large estate at best;—and if it is badly tilled and hard cropped, it must, in the eend, present the melancholy spectacle of a great exhausted farm. That’s quite encouragin’ now, as Nick Bradshaw says,—ain’t it?


Did you ever drink any Thames water, squire? said the Clockmaker; because it is one of the greatest nateral curiosities in the world. When I returned from Poland, in the hair spekelation, I sailed from London, and we had Thames water on board. Says I to the captain, says I, I guess you want to pyson us, don’t you, with that are nasty, dirty, horrid stuff? how can you think o’ takin’ such water as that? Why, says he, Mr. Slick, it does make the best water in the warld—that’s a fact; yes, and the best porter too; it farments, works off the scum, clarifies itself, and beats all natur’;—and yet look at all them are sewers, and drains, and dye stuffs, and factory-wash, and onmentionables that are poured into it;—it beats the bugs, don’t it? Well squire, our great country is like that are Thames water,—it does receive the outpourin’s of the world,—homocides and regicides,—jail-birds and galley-birds,—poor-house chaps and workhouse chaps,—rebels, infidels, and forgers,—rogues of all sorts, sizes, and degrees,—but it farments, you see, and works clear; and what a’most a beautiful clear stream o’ democracy it does make,—don’t it? Not hot enough for fog, nor cold enough for ice, nor limey enough to fur up the bylers, nor too hard to wash clean, nor raw enough to chop the skin,—but gist the thing; that’s a fact. I wish to gracious you’d come and see for yourself. I’d go with you and cost you nothin’. I’d take a prospectus of a new work and get subscribers; take a pattern book of the Lowell factories for orders; and spekilate a little by the way, so as to clear my shot wherever we went.

You must see for yourself,—you can’t larn nothin’ from books. I have read all the travels in America, and there ain’t one that’s worth a cent. They don’t understand us. They remind me of a lawyer examinin’ of a witness; he don’t want either the truth, the whole truth, or nothin’ but the truth, but he wants to pick out of him gist so much as will prove his case, d’ye see, and would like him to keep dark about the rest; puts artful questions to him on purpose to get an answer to suit him; stops him when he talks too fast, leads him when he goes too slow, praises his own witnesses sky high, and abuses the other side for lyin’, equivocatin’, parjured villains. That’s gist the case with English travellers; instead of lookin’ all round and seein’ into things first, and then comin’ to an opinion, they make up their minds afore they come, and then look for facts to support their views. First comes a great high tory, and a republic smells so bad in his nostrils, he’s got his nose curl’d up like a pug-nose dog all thro’ his journey. He sees no established church, and he swears there’s no religion; and he sees no livery helps, and he says it’s all vulgar; and if he sees a citizen spit, he jumps a one side as scared as if it wor a rifle agoin’ off. Then comes a radical, (and them English radicals are cantankerous-lookin’ critters—that’s a fact,—as sour as vinegar, and lookin’ as cross and as hungry as a bear gist starved out in the spring,) and they say we have the slavery of opinion here; that our preachers want moral courage, and that our great cities are cursed with the aristocracy of wealth. There is no pleasin’ either on ’em. Then come what minister used to call the Optimists, a set of folks, who talk you deef about the perfectibility of human natur’; that men, like caterpillars, will all turn into beautiful critters with wings like butterflies,—a sort of grub angels;—that our great nation is a paradise, and our folks agettin’ out o’ the chrysolis state into somethin’ divine.

I seldom or never talk to none o’ them, unless it be to bam ’em. They think they know every thing, and all they got to do is, to up Hudson like a shot, into the lakes full split, off to Mississippi and down to New Orleans full chisel, back to New York and up Killock, and home in a liner, and write a book. They have a whole stock of notes. Spittin’,—gougin’,—lynchin’,—burnin’ alive,—steam-boats blowed up,—snags,—slavery,—stealin’,—Texas,—state prisons,—men talk slow,—women talk loud,—both walk fast,—chat in steam-boats and stage-coaches,—anecdotes, and so on. Then out comes a book. If its a tory writes it, then the tory papers say it’s the best pictur’ they have seen;—lively, interestin’, intelligent. If a radical, then radical papers say it is a very philosophical work, (whenever a feller gets over his head in it, and cruel unintelligible, he’s deep in philosophy, that chap,) statesman-like view, able work, throws great light on the politics of the day. I wouldn’t give a chaw of tobackey for the books of all of ’em tied up and put into a meal-bag together.

Our folks sarve ’em as the Indgians used to sarve the gulls down to Squantum in old pilgrim times. The cunnin’ critters used to make a sort o’ fish flakes, and catch herrin’ and tom cods, and such sort o’ fish, and put ’em on the flakes, and then crawl onder themselves, and as soon as the gulls lighted to eat the fish, catch hold o’ their legs and pull ’em thro’. Arter that, whenever a feller was made a fool on and took in, they used to say he was gulled. Well, if our folks don’t gull them British travellers, it’s a pity. They do make proper fools on ’em; that’s a fact.

Year afore last, I met an English gall a travellin’ in a steam-boat; she had a French name that I can’t recollect, tho’ I got it on the tip o’ my tongue too: you know who I mean—she wrote books on economy,—not domestic economy, as galls ought, but on political economy, as galls oughtent, for they don’t know nothin’ about it. She had a trumpet in her hand,—thinks I, who on airth is she agoin to hail, or is she agoin’ to try echoes on the river? I watched her for some time, and I found it was an ear trumpet.

Well, well, says I, that’s onlike most English travellers any way, for in a giniral way they wear magnifying glasses, and do enlarge things so, a body don’t know ’em ag’in when he sees ’em. Now, this gall won’t hear one half that’s said, and will get that half wrong, and so it turned out. Says she to me, Beautiful country this Mr. Slick; says she, I’m transported. Transported, said I, why, what onder the sun did you do to home to get transported?—but she larfed right out like any thing; delighted, I mean, said she, it’s so beautiful. It is splendid, said I, no doubt; there ain’t the beat of it to be found any where. Oh! said she, what views, what scenery, what woods, what a river! how I should like to soar away up with that are eagle into the blue sky, and see all its beauties spread out afore me like a map! How grand—every thing is on a grand scale! Have you seen the Kentuckians? said I. Not yet, said she. Stop then, said I, till you see them. They are on a scale that will please you, I guess; whopping big fellows them, I tell you; half horse, half alligator, with a touch of the airthquake. I wasn’t a talking of the men, said she, ’tis the beauties of natur’ I was admiring. Well, said I, once on a time I used to admire the beauties of natur’ too, but I got cured of that. Sit down on this bench, said she, and tell me how it was;—these kind o’ anecdotes serve to illustrate the “moral of feelin’.” Thinks I, this is philosophy now, “moral of feelin’!” Well if the musquitoes don’t illustrate your moral of feeling for you, some of these nights, I’m mistaken. Very immoral fellows, those ’skeeters.

Well, said I, my first tower in the Clock-trade was up Canada way, and I was the first ever went up Huron with clocks. When I reached our fort, at Gratiot, who did I find there as commander of the party, but the son of an old American hero, a sargent at Bunker’s Hill. Well, bein’ the son of an old veteran hero myself, it made quite a fellowship atween us, like. He bought a clock o’ me, and invited me to stay with him till a vessel arrived for Michigan. Well, in the arternoon, we went for to take tea with a gentleman that had settled near the fort, and things were sot out in an arbour, surrounded with honeysuckle, and Isabella grape, and what not; there was a view of the fort from it, and that elegant lake and endless forest; it was lovely—that’s a fact; and the birds flocked round the place, lighted on it, and sung so sweet,—I thought it was the most romantic thing I ever seed since I was a created sinner. So said I to his wife, (a German lady from one of the emigrant ships,) I prefer, said I, your band of birds to the Bowery band of New York, by a long chalk; it’s natur’s music, it’s most delightful, it’s splendid! Furder off, said she, I like ’em more better hash nearer; for the nasty, dirty tivils they tirt in the tay and de shuker; look there, she said, that’s de tird cup now spilte. Lord, it made me sick! I never had any romance in me arter that.

Here the English gall turned round and looked at me for a space quite hard. Said she, you are a humorous people, Mr. Slick; you resemble the Irish very much,—you remind me greatly of that lively, light-hearted, agreeable people. Thank you, said I, marm, for that compliment; we are ginerally thought to resemble each other very much, both in looks and dress; there’s often great mistakes made when they first land from the likeness.

Arter a considerable of a pause, she said, This must be a religious country, said she, ain’t it? for religion is the “highest fact in man’s right, and the root of all democracy.” If religion is the root of democracy, said I, it bears some strange fruit sometimes, as the man said of the pine-tree the five gamblers were Lynched up to Vixburg. I’m glad to see, said she, you have no establishment—it’s an incubus—a dead weight—a nightmare. I ain’t able, said I; I can’t afford it no now; and besides, said I, I can’t get no one to have me. Them that I would have won’t have me, and them that would have me, the devil wouldn’t have, so I don’t see as I’m like to be troubled with a nightmare for one while. I don’t mean that, said she, laughin’; I mean an Established Church. Oh! an Established Church, said I; now I understand; but when I hear ladies talk of establishments, I always think they have matrimony in their heads. The truth is, squire, I don’t like to hear English people come out here, and abuse their church; they’ve got a church and throve under it, and a national character under it, for honour and upright dealin’, such as no other people in Europe have: indeed, I could tell you of some folks who have to call their goods English to get them off in a foreign land at all. The name sells ’em. You may boast of this tree or that tree, and call ’em this dictionary name and that new-fangled name, but give me the tree that bears the best fruit, I say.

A church must be paid, and the mode don’t much signify; at any rate, it ain’t for them to abuse it, tho’ other folks may choose to copy it, or let it alone, as it convenes them. Your people, said she, are in advance of the clergy; your ministers are half men, half women, with a touch of the noodle. You’d be better without ’em; their parochial visits do more harm than good. In that last remark, said I, I concur; for if there’s a gall in their vicinity, with a good fortin’, they’ll snap her up at once; a feller has no chance with ’em. One on ’em did brother Eldad out of one hundred thousand dollars that way. I don’t speak of that, said she, rather short like; but they haven’t moral courage. They are not bold shepherds, but timid sheep; they don’t preach abolition, they don’t meddle with public rights. As to that, said I, they don’t think it right to hasten on the crisis, to preach up a servile war, to encourage the blacks to cut their masters’ throats; they think it a dangerous subject any way; and besides, said I, they have scruples o’ conscience if they ought to stir in it at all. These matters are state rights, or state wrongs, if you please, and our Northern States have no more right to interfere in ’em than they have to interfere in the affairs of any other independent sovereign state in Europe. So I don’t blame ministers much for that, arter all,—so come now. In England, says I, you maintain that they ought not to meddle with public rights, and call ’em political priests, and all that sort o’ thing, and here you abuse ’em for not meddlin’ with ’em; call ’em cowards, dumb dogs, slaves to public opinion, and what not. There’s no pleasin’ some folks.

As to religion, says I, bein’ the “root of democracy,” it’s the root of monarchy too, and all governments, or ought to be; and there ain’t that wide difference arter all atween the two countries some folks think on. Government here, both in theory and practice, resides with the people; and religion is under the care of the real government. With you, government is in the executive, and religion is in the hands of the government there. Church and state are to a sartain extent connected therefore in both. The difference with us is, we don’t prefer one and establish it, and don’t render its support compulsory. Better, perhaps, if we did, for it burns pretty near out sometimes here, and has to be brought to by revivals and camp-meetins’, and all sorts of excitements; and when it does come to, it don’t give a steady clear light for some time, but spits and sputters and cracks like a candle that’s got a drop o’ water on the wick. It don’t seem kinder rational, neither, that screamin’ and screechin’, and hoopin’ and hollerin’, like possest, and tumblin’ into faintin’s, and fits, and swoons, and what not.

I don’t like preachin’ to the narves instead of the judgment.—I recollect a lady once, tho’, convarted by preachin’ to her narves, that was an altered woman all the rest o’ her days. How was that? said she; these stories illustrate the “science of religion.” I like to hear them. There was a lady, said I, (and I thought I’d give her a story for her book,) that tried to rule her husband a little tighter than was agreeable,—meddlin’ with things she didn’t onderstand, and dictatin’ in matters of politics and religion, and every thing a’most. So one day her husband had got up considerable airly in the mornin’, and went out and got a tailor, and brought him into his wife’s bed-room afore she was out o’ bed:—“Measure that woman,” said he, “for a pair of breeches; she’s detarmined to wear ’em, and I’m resolved folks shall know it,” and he shook the cowskin over the tailor’s head to show him he intended to be obeyed. It cured her,—she begged, and prayed, and cried, and promised obedience to her husband. He spared her, but it effectuated a cure. Now that’s what I call preachin’ to the narves: Lord, how she would have kicked and squeeled if the tailor had a——. A very good story, said she, abowin’ and amovin’ a little, so as not to hear about the measurin’,—a very good story indeed.

If you was to revarse that maxim o’ yourn, said I, and say democracy is too often found at the root of religion, you’d be nearer the mark, I reckon. I knew a case once exactly in point. Do tell it to me, said she; it will illustrate “the spirit of religion.” Yes, said I, and illustrate your book too, if you are a writin’ one, as most English travellers do. Our congregation, said I, at Slickville, contained most of the wealthy and respectable folk there, and a most powerful and united body it was. Well, there came a split once on the election of an elder, and a body of the upper-crust folks separated and went off in a huff. Like most folks that separate in temper, they laid it all to conscience; found out all at once they had been adrift afore all their lives, and join’d another church as different from our’n in creed as chalk is from cheese; and to show their humility, hooked on to the poorest congregation in the place. Well, the minister was quite lifted up in the stirrups when he saw these folks gine him; and to show his zeal for them the next Sunday, he looked up at the gallery to the niggers, and, said he, my brether’n, said he, I beg you won’t spit down any more on the aisle seats, for there be gentlemen there now. Gist turn your heads, my sable friends, and let go over your shoulders. Manners, my brothers, manners before backey. Well, the niggers seceded; they said, it was an infringement on their rights, on their privilege of spittin’, as freemen, where they liked, how they liked, and when they liked, and they quit in a body. “Democracy,” said they, “is the root of religion.”

Is that a fact? said she. No mistake, said I; I seed it myself; I know ’em all. Well, it’s a curious fact, said she, and very illustrative. It illustrates the universality of spittin’, and the universality of democracy. It’s characteristic. I have no fear of a people where the right of spittin’ is held sacred from the interminable assaults of priestcraft. She laid down her trumpet, and took out her pocket-book and began to write it down. She swallar’d it all. I have seen her book since, it’s gist what I expected from her. The chapter on religion strikes at the root of all religion; and the effects of such doctrines are exhibited in the gross slander she has written ag’in her own sex in the States, from whom she received nothin’ but kindness and hospitality. I don’t call that pretty at all; it’s enough to drive hospitality out of the land.

I know what you allude to, said I, and fully concur with you in opinion, that it is a gross abominable slander, adopted on insufficient authority, and the more abominable from coming from a woman. Our church may be aristocratic; but if it is, it teaches good manners, and a regard for the decencies of life. Had she listened more to the regular clergy, and less to the modern illuminati, she might have learned a little of that charity which induces us to think well of others, and to speak ill of none. It certainly was a great outrage, and I am sorry that outrage was perpetrated by an Englishwoman. I am proper glad you agree with me, squire, said he; but come and see for yourself, and I will explain matters to you; for without some one to let you into things you won’t understand us. I’ll take great pleasure in bein’ your guide, for I must say I like your conversation.—How singular this is! to the natural reserve of my country, I add an uncommon taciturnity; but this peculiar adaptation to listening has every where established for me that rare, but most desirable reputation, of being a good companion. It is evident, therefore, that listeners are everywhere more scarce than talkers, and are valued accordingly. Indeed, without them, what would become of the talkers?

Yes, I like your conversation, said the clockmaker (who the reader must have observed has had all the talk to himself). We are like the Chinese; they have two languages, the written language and the spoken language. Strangers only get as far as the spoken one; but all secret affairs of religion and government are sealed up in the written one; they can’t make nothin’ of it. That’s gist the case with us; we have two languages, one for strangers, and one for ourselves. A stranger must know this, or he’s all adrift. We’ve got our own difficulties, our own doubts, our own troubles, as well as other folks,—it would be strange if we hadn’t; but we don’t choose to blart ’em all out to the world.

Look at our President’s Message last year; he said, we was the most prosperous nation on the face of the airth, peace and plenty spreadin’ over the land, and more wealth than we know’d how to spend. At that very time we was on the point of national bankruptcy. He said, the great fire at New York didn’t cause one failure; good reason why, the goods were all owned at London and Lyons, and the failures took place there, and not here. Our President said on that occasion, our maxim is, “do no wrong, and suffer no insult.” Well, at that very time our gineral was marchin’ into the Mexican territory, and our people off South, boarded Texas and took it,—and our folks down North-east were ready to do the same neighbourly act to Canada, only waitin’ for Papeneau to say, “All ready.” He boasted we had no national debt, but a large surplus revenue in the public chist, and yet, add up the public debt of each separate state, and see what a whappin’ large one that makes. We don’t intertain strangers, as the English do, with the troubles of our household and the bother our servants give us; we think it ain’t hospitable, nor polished, nor even good manners; we keep that for the written language among ourselves. If you don’t believe my word, go and ask the Britisher that was at Mr. Madison’s court when the last war broke out—he was the only man to Washington that know’d nothing about it—he didn’t understand the language. I guess you may go and pack up your duds and go home, said Mr. Madison to him one day, when he called there to the levee. Go home! said he, and he wrinkled up his forehead, and drew up his eyelids, as much as to say, I estimate you are mad, ain’t you? Go home! said he. What for? Why, said he, I reckon we are at war. At war! said the Englishman; why, you don’t say so? there can’t be a word of truth in the report: my dispatches say nothin’ of it. Perhaps not, said the President, quite cool, (only a slight twitch of his mouth showed how he would like to haw, haw, right out, only it warn’t decent,) perhaps not, but I presume I declared war yesterday, when you was engaged a playin’ of a game at chess with Mrs. Madison. Folks say they raelly pitied him, he looked so taken aback, so streaked, so completely dumbfounded. No, when I say you can’t make us out, you always laugh; but it’s true you can’t without an interpreter. We speak the English language and the American language; you must larn the American language, if you want to understand the American people.


What would be the effect, Mr. Slick, said I, of elective councils in this country, if government would consent to make the experiment? Why, that’s a thing, said he, you can’t do in your form o’ government, tryin’ an experiment, tho’ we can; you can’t give the word of command, if it turns out a bunglin’ piece of business, that they use in militia trainin’,—“as you were.” It’s different with us—we can,—our government is a democracy,—all power is in the people at large; we can go on and change from one thing to another, and try any experiment we choose, as often as we like, for all changes have the like result, of leaving the power in the same place and the same hands. But you must know beforehand how it will work in your mixed government, and shouldn’t make no change you ain’t sure about. What good would an elective council be? It is thought it would give the upper branches, said I, more community of feeling, more sympathy, and more weight with the country at large; that being selected by the people, the people would have more confidence in them, and that more efficient and more suitable men would be chosen by the freeholders than by the crown. You would gist get the identical same sort o’ critters, said he, in the eend, as the members of Assembly, if they were elected, and no better; they would be selected by the same judges of horse-flesh as t’other, and chose out o’ the same flock. It would be the same breed o’ cattle at last. But, said I, you forget that it is proposed to raise the qualification of the voters from forty shillings to forty pounds per year; whereby you would have a better class of electors, and insure a better selection. Gist you try it, said he, and there would be an eend to the popular motions in the House of Assembly to extend the suffrages—for every thing that gives power to numbers, will carry numbers, and be popular, and every feller who lived on excitement, would be for everlastin’ly a agitatin’ of it, Candidate, Slangwhanger, and Member. You’d have no peace, you’d be for ever on the move as our citizens are to New York, and they move into a new house every first o’ May-day. If there be any good in that are Council at all, it is in their bein’ placed above popular excitement, and subject to no influence but that of reason, and the fitness of things: chaps that have a considerable stake in the country, and don’t buy their seats by pledges and promises, pledges that half the time ruin the country if they are kept, and always ruin the man that breaks ’em. It’s better as it is in the hands of the government. It’s a safety-valve now, to let off the fume, and steam, and vapour, generated by the heat of the lower House. If you make that branch elective you put the government right into the gap, and all difference of opinion, instead of bein’ between the two branches as it is now, (that is, in fact, between the people themselves,) would then occur in all cases between the people and the governor. Afore long that would either seal up the voice of the executive, so that they darn’t call their souls their own, or make ’em onpopular, and whenever the executive once fairly gets into that are pickle, there’s an end of the colony, and a declaration of independence would soon foller. Papinor knows that, and that’s the reason he’s so hot for it,—he knows what it would lead to in the eend. That critter may want ginger, for ought I know; but he don’t want for gumption you may depend. Elective councils are inconsistent with colonial dependence. It’s takin’ away the crane that holds up the pot from the fire, to keep it from boilin’ over, and clappin’ it right on the hot coals: what a gallopin’ boil it would soon come into, wouldn’t it? In all mixed governments, like your’n, the true rule is never to interfere with pop’lar rights established. Amend what is wrong, concede what is right, and do what is just always; but presarve the balance of the constitution for your life. One pound weight only taken off the executive, and put on t’other eend, is like a shift of the weight on a well balanced plank till it won’t play true no more, but keeps a slidin’ and a slidin’ down by leetle and leetle to the heaviest eend, till it all stays down to one side, and won’t work no longer. It’s a system of checks now, but when all the checks run together, and make only one weight, they’ll do as our senate did once (for that ain’t no check no more)—it actilly passed that cussed embargo law of Jefferson’s that ruined our trade, rotted our shippin’, and bankrupted the whole nation, arter it come up from the House of Representatives through all its three readin’s in four hours; I hope I may be skinned if it didn’t. It did, I snore. That’s the beauty of havin’ two bodies to look at things thro’ only one spyglass, and blow bubbles thro’ one pipe. There’s no appeal, no redress, in that case, and what’s more, when one party gives riders to both horses, they ride over you like wink, and tread you right under foot, as arbitrary as the old Scratch himself. There’s no tyranny on airth equal to the tyranny of a majority; you can’t form no notion of it unless you seed it. Just see how they sarved them chaps to Baltimore last war, General Lingan and thirty other fellers that had the impudence to say they didn’t approve of the doin’s of the administration; they gist lynched ’em and stoned ’em to death like dogs.

We find among us the greatest democrats are the greatest tyrants. No, squire; repair, amend, enlarge, ventilate, modernize a little too, if you like, your structure; put new roof, new porch, winders and doors, fresh paint and shingle it, make it more attractive and pleasanter to inhabit, and of course it will be more valuable;—but do you leave the foundation alone—don’t you meddle with the frame, the braces, and girts for your life, or it will spread, bulge out, leak like the devil, and come to pieces some o’ these stormy nights about your ears as sure as you are born. Make no organic changes. There are quacks in politics, squire, as well as in med’cine,—critters who have unevarsal pills to cure all sorts o’ diseases; and many’s the constitution, human and politic, they’ve fixt atween them. There’s no knowin’ the gripes and pains and colics they’ve caused; and the worst of it is, the poor devils that get in their hands, when they are on the broad of their backs can’t help themselves, but turn up the whites of their eyes, and say, Oh dear! I’m very bad: how will it go? Go, says they; why, like a house afire,—full split,—goin’ on grandly,—couldn’t do no better,—gist what was expected. You’ll have a new constitution, strong as a lion: oh! goin’ on grandly. Well, I dont know, says the misfortunate critter; but I feels a plaguy sight more like goin’ off than goin’ on, I tell you. Then comes apickin o’ the bed-clothes, a clammy sweat, cold feet, the hiccup, rattles, and death. Sarve him right, says quack; the cussed fool has had doctors too long about him in former days, and they sapped his constitution, and fixt his flint for him: why didn’t he call me in sooner? The consaited ass thought he knowed every thing, and didn’t foller out all my prescriptions; one comfort, though—his estate shall pay for it, I vow. Yes, squire, and that is the pity, win or lose, live or die, the estate does pay for it—that’s a fact; and what’s worser, too, many on ’em care more about dividin’ the spoil than effectin’ the cure, by a long chalk.

There’s always some jugglery or quackery agoin’ on every where a’most. It puts me in mind of the Wilmot springs.—One of the greatest flams I ever heerd tell of in this province, was brought out hereabouts in Wilmot, and succeeded for a space beyond all calculation. Our sea sarpant was no touch to it,—and that was a grand steamboat speckilation too, for a nation sight of folks went from Boston down to Providence and back ag’in, on purpose to see the sarpant in the boat that first spoke it out to sea. But then they were all pleasurin’ parties, young folks takin’ a trip by water, instead of a quiltin’ frolic to shore. It gave the galls somethin’ to talk about and to do, to strain their little eyes through the captain’s great big spy-glass, to see their nateral enemy, the sarpant; and you may depend they had all the curiosity of old Marm Eve too. It was all young hearts and young eyes, and pretty ones they were, I tell you. But this here Wilmot wonder was sort of a funeral affair, an old and ugly assortment, a kind of Irish wake, part dead and part alive, where one half groaned with sorrow and pain, and t’other half groaned to keep ’em company,—a rael, right down genuine hysteric frolic, near about as much cryin’ as laughin’,—it beat all natur’. I believe they actilly did good in sartain cases, in proper doses with proper diet; and in some future day, in more knowin’ hands they will come into vogue ag’in, and make a good speckilation; but I have always obsarved when an article is once run down, and folks find out that it has got more puffin’ than it desarves, they don’t give it no credit at all, and it is a long time afore it comes round agin. The Wilmot springs are situated on the right there, away up, onder that mountain a-head on us. They sartainly did make a wonderful great noise three years ago. If the pool of Saloom had been there, it couldn’t ahad a greater crowd o’ clowns about it. The lame and maimed, the consumptive and dropsical, the cancerous and leprous, the old drunkard and the young rake, the barren wife and sick maid, the larfin’ catholic and sour sectary, high and low, rich and poor, black and white, fools of all ages, sizes, and degrees, were assembled there adrinkin’, bathin’, and awashin’ in the waters, and carryin’ off the mud for poultices and plaisters. It killed some, and cured some, and fool’d a nation sight of folks. Down at the mouth of the spring, where it discharges into a stream, there is a soft bottom, and there you’d see a feller standing with one leg stuck in the mud; another lying on a plank, with an arm shoved into the ooze up to the shoulder; a third asittin’ down, with a mask o’ mould like a gypsum cast on his head; others with naked feet spotted all over with the clay, to cure corns; and these grouped ag’in here with an unfortunate feller with a stiff arm, who could only thrust in his elbow; and there with another sittin’ on a chair adanglin’ his feet in the mire to cure the rheumatis; while a third, sunk up to his ribs, had a man apourin’ water on his head for an eruption, as a gard’ner waters a transplanted cabbage-plant, all declarin’ they felt better, and wonderin’ it hadn’t been found out afore. It was horrid, I tell you, to see folks makin’ such fools of themselves.

If that are spring had belonged to an American citizen, that had made such an everlastin’ touss about it, folks would have said they calkelated it was a Yankee trick; as it was, they set each other on, and every critter that came home from it sent half a dozen neighbours off,—so none on ’em could larf at each other. The road was actilly covered with people. I saw one old goney, seventy years of age, stuck in a gig atween two matresses, like a carcase of mutton atween two bales of wool in a countryman’s cart. The old fool was agoin’ to be made young, and to be married when he returned to home. Folks believed every thing they heerd of it. They actilly swallered a story that a British officer that had a cork leg bathed there, and the flesh growed on it, so that no soul could tell the difference atween it and the nateral one. They believed the age of miracles had come; so a feller took a dead pig and throw’d it in, sayin’ who know’d as it cured the half dead, that it wouldn’t go the whole hog. That joke fixt the Wilmot springs: it turned the larf against ’em; and it was lucky it did, for they were findin’ springs gist like ’em every where. Every pool the pigs had ryled was tasted, and if it was too bad for the stomach, it was pronounced medicinal. The nearest doctor wrote an account of it for the newspapers, and said it had sulphur saltpetre in it, and that the mud when dried would make good powder, quite good enough to blow gypsum and shoot us Yankees. At last they exploded spontaneous, the sulphur, saltpetre, and burnt brans went off themselves, and nothin’ has ever been since heerd of the Wilmot springs.

It’s pretty much the case in politics; folks have always some bubble or another,—some elective council,—private ballot,—short parliaments,—or some pill or another to cure all political evils in natur’; with quacks enough to cry ’em up, and interested quacks also, who make their ned out of ’em, afore people get tired of them and their pills too. There was a time when there was too many public officers in your council here, but they’ve died off, or moved off, and too many of ’em lived to Halifax, and too few of ’em in the country, and folks thought a new deal would give ’em more fair play. Well, they’ve got a new deal now, and new cards. So far so good. A change of men is no great matter—natur’ is a changin’ of ’em all the time if government don’t. But the constitution is another thing. You can’t take out the vitals and put in new ones, as you can in a watch-case, with any great chance of success, as ever I heerd tell of. I’ve seen some most beautiful operations performed, too, by brother Eldad, where the patients lived thro’ ’em,—and he got a plaguy sight of credit for ’em,—but they all died a few days arterwards. Why, ‘Dad, says I, what in natur’ is the good o’ them are operations, and puttin’ the poor critters to all that pain and misery, and their estate to so much expense, if it don’t do ’em no good?—for it seems to me that they all do go for it; that’s sartain.

Well, it was a dreadful pretty operation tho’, Sam, warn’t it? he’d say; but the critter was desperate sick and peeowerfully weak; I raely was e’en a’most afeer’d I shouldn’t carry him thro’ it. But what’s the use on it at last, when it kills ’em? said I; for you see they do slip thro’ your fingers in the eend. A feller, says he, Sam, that’s considerable slippery all his life, may be a little slippery towards the eend on’t, and there’s no help for it, as I see;—but Sam, said he, with a jupe o’ the head, and a wink quite knowin’, you ain’t up to snuff yet, I see. It don’t kill ’em if they don’t die under the knife; if you can carry ’em thro’ the operation, and they die next day, they always die of sun’thin’ else, and the doctor is a made man for ever and a day arterwards, too. Do you apprehend now, my boy? Yes, says I, I apprehend there are tricks in other trades, as well as the clock trade; only some on ’em ain’t quite so innocent, and there’s some I wouldn’t like to play I know. No, said he, I suppose not; and then haw-hawin’ right out—how soft we are, Sam, ain’t we? said he.

Yes, presarve the principle of the mechanism of your constitution, for it ain’t a bad one, and presarve the balances, and the rest you can improve on without endangerin’ the whole engin’. One thing too is sartain,—a power imprudently given to the executive, or to the people, is seldom or never got back. I ain’t been to England since your Reform Bill passed, but some folks do say it works complete, that it goes as easy as a loaded wagon down hill, full chisel. Now suppose that bill was found to be alterin’ of the balances, so that the constitution couldn’t work many years longer, without acomin’ to a dead stand, could you repeal it? and say “as you were?” Let a bird out o’ your hand and try to catch it ag’in, will you? No, squire, said the Clockmaker, you have laws a regilatin’ of quack doctors, but none a regilatin’ of quack politicians: now a quack doctor is bad enough, and dangerous enough, gracious knows, but a quack politician is a devil outlawed,—that’s a fact.


The road from Kentville to Wilmot passes over an extensive and dreary sand plain, equally fatiguing to man and horse, and after three hours’ hard dragging on this heavy road, we looked out anxiously for an inn to rest and refresh our gallant “Clay.”

There it is, said Mr. Slick; you’ll know it by that high post, on which they have jibitted one of their governors ahorseback as a sign. The first night I stopt there, I vow I couldn’t sleep a wink for the creakin’ of it, as it swung backwards and forwards in the wind. It sounded so nateral like, that I couldn’t help thinkin’ it was a rael man hung in chains there. It put me in mind of the slave to Charleston, that was strung up for pysonin’ his master and mistress. When we drove up to the door, a black man came out of the stable, and took the horse by the head in a listless and reluctant manner, but his attention was shortly awakened by the animal, whom he soon began to examine attentively. Him don’t look like blue nose, said blacky,—sartin him stranger. Fine critter, dat, by gosh, no mistake.

From the horse his eye wandered to us; when, slowly quitting his hold of the bridle, and stretching out his head, and stepping anxiously and cautiously round to where the Clockmaker was standing, he suddenly pulled off his hat, and throwing it up in the air, uttered one of the most piercing yells I think I ever heard, and throwing himself upon the ground, seized Mr. Slick round the legs with his arms. Oh, Massa Sammy! Massa Sammy! Oh, my Gor!—only tink old Scippy see you once more! How you do, Massa Sammy? Gor Ormighty bless you! How you do? Why, who on airth are you? said the Clockmaker; what onder the sun do you mean by actin’ so like a ravin’ distracted fool? Get up this minnit, and let me see who you be, or I’ll give you a sockdologer in the ear with my foot, as sure as you are born. Who be you, you nigger you? Oh, Massa Sam, you no recollect Old Scip,—Massa ‘Siah’s nigger boy? How’s Massa Sy, and Missey Sy, and all our children, and all our folks to our house to home? De dear little lily, de sweet little booty, de little missy baby. Oh, how I do lub ’em all!

In this manner the creature ran on, incoherently asking questions, sobbing, and blaming himself for having left so good a master, and so comfortable a home. How is dat black villain, dat Cato? he continued;—Massa no hang him yet? He is sold, said Mr. Slick, and has gone to New Orleens, I guess. Oh, I grad, upon my soul, I wery grad; then he catch it, de dam black nigger—it sarve him right. I hope dey cowskin him well—I grad of dat,—oh Gor! dat is good. I tink I see him, de ugly brute. I hope they lay it into him well, dam him! I guess you’d better onharness Old Clay, and not leave him standin’ all day in the sun, said Mr. Slick. O goody gracy, yes, said the overjoyed negro, dat I will, and rub him down too till him all dry as bone,—debil a wet hair left. Oh, only tink, Massa Sammy Slick,—Massa Sammy Slick,—Scip see you again!

The Clockmaker accompanied him to the stable, and there gratified the curiosity of that affectionate creature by answering all his inquiries after his master’s family, and the state of the plantation and the slaves. It appears that he had been inveigled away by the mate of a Boston vessel that was loading at his master’s estate; and, notwithstanding all the sweets attending a state of liberty, was unhappy under the influence of a cold climate, hard labour, and the absence of all that real sympathy, which, notwithstanding the rod of the master, exists nowhere but where there is a community of interests. He entreated Mr. Slick to take him into his employment, and vowed eternal fidelity to him and his family if he would receive him as a servant, and procure his manumission from his master.

This arrangement having been effected to the satisfaction of both parties, we proceeded on our journey, leaving the poor negro happy in the assurance that he would be sent to Slickville in the autumn. I feel provoked with that black rascal, said Mr. Slick, for bein’ such a born fool as to run away from so good a master as Josiah, for he is as kind-hearted a critter as ever lived,—that’s a fact,—and a plaguy easy man to his niggers. I used to tell him, I guessed he was the only slave on his plantation, for he had to see arter every thin’; he had a dreadful sight more to do than they had. It was all work and no play with him. You forget, said I, that his labour was voluntary, and for his own benefit, while that of the negro is compulsory, and productive of no advantage to himself. What do you think of the abolition of slavery in the United States? said I: the interest of the subject appears to have increased very much of late. Well, I don’t know, said he,—what is your opinion? I ask, I replied, for information. It’s a considerable of a snarl, that question, said he; I don’t know as I ever onravelled it altogether, and I ain’t gist quite sartain I can—it’s not so easy as it looks. I recollect the English gall I met atravellin’ in the steamboat, axed me that same question. What do you think of slavery, said she, sir? Slavery, marm, said I, is only fit for white lovers (and I made the old lady a scrape of the leg),—only fit, said I, for white lovers and black niggers. What an idea, said she, for a free man in a land of freedom to utter! How that dreadful political evil demoralizes a people! how it deadens our feelin’s, how it hardens the heart! Have you no pity for the blacks? said she; for you treat the subject with as much levity as if, to use one of the elegant and fashionable phrases of this country, you thought it all “in my eye.” No marm, said I, with a very grave face, I haven’t no pity at all for ’em, not the least mite nor morsel in the world. How dreadful, said she, and she looked ready to expire with sentiment. No feelin’ at all, said I, marm, for the blacks, but a great deal of feelin’ for the whites, for instead of bein’ all in my eye, it’s all in my nose, to have them nasty, horrid, fragrant critters, agoin’ thro’ the house like scent-bottles with the stoppers out, aparfumin’ of it up, like skunks—it’s dreadful! Oh! said I, it’s enough to kill the poor critters. Phew! it makes me sick, it does. No; I keeps my pity for the poor whites, for they have the worst of it by a long chalk.

The constant contemplation of this painful subject, said she, destroys the vision, and its deformities are divested of their horrors by their occurring so often as to become familiar. That, I said, Miss, is a just observation, and a profound and a cute one too—it is actilly founded in natur’. I know a case in pint, I said. What is it? said she, for she seemed mighty fond of anecdotes (she wanted ’em for her book, I guess, for travels without anecdotes is like a puddin’ without plums—all dough). Why, said I, marm, father had an English cow, a pet cow too, and a beautiful critter she was, a brindled shorthorn; he gave the matter of eighty dollars for her;—she was begot by——. Never mind her pedigree, said she. Well, says I, when the great eclipse was (you’ve heerd tell how it frightens cattle, haven’t you?) Brindle stared and stared at it so,—she lost her eye-sight, and she was as blind as a bat ever afterwards. I hope I may be shot if she warn’t. Now, I guess, we that see more of slavery than you, are like Brindle; we have stared at it so long we can’t see it as other folks do. You are a droll man, said she, very droll; but seriously, now, Mr. Slick, do you not think these unfortunate fellow-critters, our sable brothers, if emancipated, educated, and civilized, are capable of as much refinement and as high a degree of polish as the whites? Well, said I, joking apart, miss,—there’s no doubt on it. I’ve been considerable down South atradin’ among the whites,—and a kind-hearted, hospitable, liberal race o’ men they be, as ever I was among—generous, frank, manly folks. Well, I seed a good deal of the niggers, too; it couldn’t be otherwise. I must say your conclusion is a just one,—I could give you several instances; but there is one in pitickelar that settles the question; I seed it myself with my own eyes to Charleston, South Car. Now, said she, that’s what I like to hear; give me facts, said she, for I am no visionary, Mr. Slick; I don’t build up a theory, and then go alookin’ for facts to support it; but gather facts candidly and impartially, and then coolly and logically draw the inferences. Now tell me this instance which you think conclusive, for nothin’ interests us English so much as what don’t consarn us; our West Indgy emancipation has worked so well, and improved our islands so much, we are enchanted with the very word emancipation; it has a charm for English ears, beyond any thing you can conceive.—Them Islands will have spontaneous production afore long. But the refinement and polish of these interestin’ critters the blacks,—your story if you please, sir.

I have a younger brother, Miss, said I, that lives down to Charleston;—he’s a lawyer by trade—Squire Josiah Slick; he is a considerable of a literary character. He’s well known in the great world as the author of the Historical, Statistical, and Topographical account of Cuttyhunck, in five volumes; a work that has raised the reputation of American genius among foreign nations amazin’, I assure you. He’s quite a self-taught author too. I’ll give you a letter of introduction to him. Me, said she, adrawin’ up her neck like a swan. You needn’t look so scared, said I, marm, for he is a married man, and has one white wife and four white children, fourteen black concu——I wanted to hear, sir, said she, quite snappishly, of the negroes, and not of your brother and his domestic arrangements. Well, marm, said I; one day there was a dinner-party to Josiah’s, and he made the same remark you did, and instanced the rich black marchant of Philadelphia, which position was contradicted by some other gentlemen there; so ‘Siah offered to bet one thousand dollars he could produce ten black gentlemen, who should be allowed, by good judges, to be more polished than any like number of whites that could be selected in the town of Charleston. Well, the bet was taken, the money staked, and a note made of the tarms.

Next day at ten o’clock, the time fixed, Josiah had his ten niggers nicely dressed, paraded out in the streets a facin’ of the sun, and brought his friends and the umpires to decide the bet. Well, when they got near ’em, they put their hands to their eyes and looked down to the ground, and the tears ran down their cheeks like any thing. Whose cheeks? said she; blacks or whites? this is very interestin’. Oh, the whites, to be sure, said I. Then, said she, I will record that mark of feelin’ with great pleasure—I’ll let the world know it. It does honour to their heads and hearts. But not to their eyes, tho’, said I; they swore they couldn’t see a bit. What the devil have you got there, Slick? says they; it has put our eyes out: damn them, how they shine! they look like black japanned tea-trays in the sun—it’s blindin’—it’s the devil, that’s a fact. Are you satisfied? said ‘Sy. Satisfied of what! says they; satisfied with bein’ as blind as buzzards, eh? Satisfied of the high polish niggers are capable of, said Josiah: why shouldn’t nigger hide, with lots of Day and Martin’s blackin’ on it, take as good a polish as cow hide, eh? Oh lord! if you’d aheerd what a roar of larfter there was, for all Charleston was there a’most; what a hurrain’ and shoutin’: it was grand fun. I went up and shook hands with Josiah, for I always liked a joke from a boy. Well done, ‘Sy, says I; you’ve put the leake into ’em this hitch rael complete; its grand! But, says he, don’t look so pleased, Sam; they are cussed vexed, and if we crow I’ll have to fight every one on ’em, that’s sartin, for they are plaguy touchy them Southerners; fight for nothin’ a’most. But, Sam, said he, Connecticut ain’t a bad school for a boy arter all, is it? I could tell you fifty such stories, Miss, says I. She drew up rather stately Thank you, sir, said she, that will do; I am not sure whether it is a joke of your brother’s or a hoax of your’n, but whose ever it is, it has more practical wit than feelin’ in it.

The truth is, said the Clockmaker, nothin’ raises my dander more, than to hear English folks and our Eastern citizens atalkin’ about this subject that they don’t understand, and have nothin’ to do with. If such critters will go down South a meddlin’ with things that don’t consarn ’em, they desarve what they catch. I don’t mean to say I approve of lynchin’, because that’s horrid; but when a feller gets himself kicked, or his nose pulled, and larns how the cowskin feels, I don’t pity him one morsel. Our folks won’t bear tamperin’ with, as you Colonists do; we won’t stand no nonsense. The subject is gist a complete snarl; it’s all tangled, and twisted, and knotted so, old Nick himself wouldn’t onravel it. What with private rights, public rights, and State rights, feelin’, expediency, and public safety, it’s a considerable of a tough subject. The truth is, I ain’t master of it myself. I’m no book man, I never was to college, and my time has been mostly spent in the clock trade and tooth business, and all I know is just a little I’ve picked up by the way. The tooth business, said I; what is that? do you mean to say you are a dentist? No, said he, laughing; the tooth business is pickin’ up experience. Whenever a feller is considerable cute with us, we say he has cut his eye teeth, he’s tolerable sharp; and the study of this I call the tooth business. Now I ain’t able to lay it all down what I think as plain as brother Josiah can, but I have an idea there’s a good deal in name, and that slavery is a word that frightens more than it hurts. It’s some o’ the branches or grafts of slavery that want cuttin’ off. Take away corporal punishment from the masters and give it to the law, forbid separatin’ families and the right to compel marriage and other connexions, and you leave slavery nothin’ more than sarvitude in name, and somethin’ quite as good in fact.

Every critter must work in this world, and a labourer is a slave; but the labourer only gets enough to live on from day to day, while the slave is tended in infancy, sickness, and old age, and has spare time enough given him to airn a good deal too. A married woman, if you come to that, is a slave, call her what you will, wife, woman, angel, termegant, or devil, she’s a slave; and if she happens to get the upper hand, the husband is a slave, and if he don’t lead a worse life than any black nigger, when he’s under petticoat government, then my name is not Sam Slick. I’m no advocate of slavery, squire, nor are any of our folks; it’s bad for the niggers, worse for the masters, and a cuss to any country; but we have got it, and the question is, what are we to do with it? Let them answer that know,—I don’t pretend to be able to.

The subject was a disagreeable one, but it was a striking peculiarity of the Clockmaker’s, that he never dwelt long upon any thing that was not a subject of national boast; he therefore very dexterously shifted both the subject and the scene of it to England, so as to furnish him with a retort, of which he was at all times exceedingly fond. I have heerd tell, said he, that you British have ‘mancipated your niggers. Yes, said I, thank God! slavery exists not in the British empire. Well, I take some credit to myself for that, said the Clockmaker; it was me that sot that agoin’ any way. You! said I, with the most unfeigned astonishment;—you! how could you, by any possibility be instrumental in that great national act? Well, I’ll tell you, said he, tho’ it’s a considerable of a long story too. When I returned from Poland, via London, in the hair speckelation of Jabish Green, I went down to Sheffield to execute a commission; I had to bribe some master workmen to go out to America, and if I didn’t fix ’em it’s a pity. The critters wouldn’t go at no rate, without the most extravagant onreasonable wages, that no business could afford no how. Well, there was nothin’ to be done but to agree to it; but things worked right in the long run: our folks soon larnt the business, and then they had to work for half nothin’, or starve. It don’t do to drive too hard a bargain always.

When I was down there a gentleman called on me one arternoon, one John Canter by name, and says he, Mr. Slick, I’ve called to see you to make some inquiries about America; me and my friends think of emigratin’ there. Happy, says I, to give you any information in my power, sir, and a sociable dish o’ chat is what I do like most amazin’,—it’s kind o’ nateral to me talkin’ is. So we sot down and chatted away about our great nation all the arternoon and evenin’, and him and me got as thick as two thieves afore we parted.—If you will be to home to-morrow evenin’, says he, I will call again, if you will give me leave. Sartin, says I, most happy.

Well, next evenin’ he came ag’in; and in the course of talk, says he, I was born a quaker, Mr. Stick. Plenty of ’em with us, says I, and well to do in the world too,—considerable stiff folks in their way them quakers,—you can’t no more move ’em than a church steeple. I like the quakers, too, says I, for there are worse folks than them agoin’ in the world by a long chalk. Well, lately I’ve dissented from ’em, says he.—Curious that too, says I. I was a thinkin’ the beaver didn’t shade the inner man quite as much as I have seed it: but, says I, I like dissent; it shows that a man has both a mind and a conscience too; if he hadn’t a mind he couldn’t dissent, and if he hadn’t a conscience he wouldn’t; a man, therefore, who quits his church always stands a notch higher with me than a stupid obstinate creature that sticks to it ‘cause he was born and brought up in it, and his father belonged to it—there’s no sense in that. A quaker is a very set man in his way; a dissenter therefore from a quaker must be what I call a considerable of a——obstinate man, says he, larfin’. No, says I, not gist exactly that, but he must carry a pretty tolerable stiff upper lip, tho’—that’s a fact.

Well, says he, Mr. Slick, this country is an aristocratic country, a very aristocratic country indeed, and it taint easy for a man to push himself when he has no great friends or family interest; besides, if a man has some little talent—says he, (and he squeezed his chin between his fore-finger and thumb, as much as to say, tho’ I say it that shouldn’t say it, I have a very tolerable share of it at any rate,) he has no opportunity of risin’ by bringin’ himself afore the public. Every avenue is filled. A man has no chance to come forward,—money won’t do it, for that I have,—talent won’t do it, for the opportunity is wantin’. I believe I’ll go to the States, where all men are equal, and one has neither the trouble of risin’ nor the vexation of fallin’. Then you’d like to come forward in public life here, would you, said I, if you had a chance? I would, says he; that’s the truth. Give me your hand then, says I, my friend, I’ve got an idea that will make your fortin. I’ll put you in a track that will make a man of you first, and a nobleman afterwards, as sure as thou says thee. Walk into the niggers, says I, and they’ll help you to walk into the whites, and they’ll make you walk into parliament. Walk jnto the niggers! says he; and he sot and stared like a cat awatchin’ of a mouse-hole;—walk into the niggers!—what’s that? I don’t onderstand you.—Take up ‘mancipation, says I, and work it up till it works you up; call meetin’s and make speeches to ’em;—get up societies and make reports to ’em;—get up petitions to parliament, and get signers to ’em. Enlist the women on your side, of all ages, sects, and denominations. Excite ’em first tho’, for women folks are poor tools till you get ’em up: but excite them, and they’ll go the whole figur’,—wake up the whole country. It’s a grand subject for it,—broken hearted slaves killin’ themselves in despair, or dyin’ a lingerin’ death,—task-master’s whip acuttin’ into their flesh,—burnin’ suns,—days o’ toil—nights o’ grief—pestilential rice-grounds—chains—starvation—misery and death,—grand figur’s them for oratry, and make splendid speeches, if well put together.

Says you, such is the spirit of British freedom, that the moment a slave touches our sea-girt shores, his spirit bursts its bonds; he stands ‘mancipated, disenthralled, and liberated; his chains fall right off, and he walks in all the naked majesty of a great big black he nigger! It sounds Irish that, and Josiah used to say they come up to the Americans a’most in pure eloquence. It’s grand, it’s sublime that, you may depend. When you get ’em up to the right pitch, says you, we have no power in parliament; we must have abolition members. Certainly, says they, and who so fit as the good, the pious, the christian-like John Canter; up you are put then, and bundled free gratis, head over heels, into parliament. When you are in the House o’ Commons, at it ag’in, blue-jacket, for life. Some good men, some weak men, and a most a plaguy sight of hypocritical men will join you. Cant carries sway always now. A large party in the House, and a wappin’ large party out o’ the house, must be kept quiet, conciliated, or whatever the right word is, and John Canter is made Lord Lavender.

I see, I see, said he; a glorious prospect of doin’ good, of aidin’ my fellow mortals, of bein’ useful in my generation. I hope for a more imperishable reward than a coronet,—the approbation of my own conscience. Well, well, says I to myself, if you ain’t the most impudent as well as pharisaical villain that ever went onhung, then I never seed a finished rascal,—that’s all. He took my advice, and went right at it, tooth and nail; worked day and night, and made a’most a deuce of a stir. His name was in every paper;—a meetin’ held here to-day,—that great and good man John Canter in the chair;—a meetin’ held there to-morrow,—addressed most eloquently by that philanthropist, philosopher, and Christian, John Canter;—a society formed in one place, John Canter secretary;—a society formed in another place, John Canter president:—John Canter every where;—if you went to London, he handed you a subscription list,—if you went to Brighton, he met you with a petition,—if you went to Sheffield, he filled your pockets with tracts;—he was a complete jack-o’-lantern, here and there, and every where. The last I heerd tell of him was in parliament, and agoin’ out governor-general of some of the colonies. I’ve seen a good many superfine saints in my time, squire, but this critter was the most upper-crust one I ever seed,—he did beat all.

Yes, the English desarve some credit no doubt; but when you substract electioneerin’ party spirit, hippocracy, ambition, ministerial flourishes, and all the undertow causes that operated in this work, which at best was but clumsily contrived, and bunglin’ly executed, it don’t leave so much to brag on arter all, does it now?


Do you see them are country galls there, said Mr. Slick, how they are tricked out in silks, and touched off with lace and ribbon to the nine’s, a mincin’ along with parasols in their hands, as if they were afear’d the sun would melt them like wax, or take the colour out of their face, like a printed cotton blind? Well, that’s gist the ruin of this country. It ain’t poverty, the blue noses have to fear, for that they needn’t know without they choose to make acquaintance with it; but it’s gentility. They go the whole hog in this country, you may depend. They ain’t content to appear what they be, but want to be what they ain’t; they live too extravagant, and dress too extravagant, and won’t do what’s the only thing that will supply this extravagance: that is, be industrious. Gist go into one of the meetin’ houses, back here in the woods, where there ought to be nothin’ but homespun cloth, and homemade stuffs and bonnets, and see the leghorns and pelmettors, and silks and shalleys, morenos, gauzes, and blonds, assembled there, enough to buy the best farm in the settlement. There’s somethin’ not altogether gist right in this; and the worst of these habits is, they ruinate the young folks, and they grow up as big goneys as the old ones, and eend in the same way, by bein’ half-starved at last; there’s a false pride, false feelin’, and false edication here. I mind once, I was down this way to Canaan, a vendin’ o’ my clocks, and who should I overtake but Nabal Green, apokin’ along in his wagon, half-loaded with notions from the retail shops, at the cross roads. Why, Nabal, said I, are you agoin’ to set up for a merchant, for I see you’ve got a considerable of an assortment of goods there? you’ve got enough o’ them to make a pedlar’s fortin a’most. Who’s dead, and what’s to pay now?

Why, friend Slick, said he, how do you do? who’d a thought o’ seein’ you here? You see my old lady, said he, is agoin’ for to give our Arabella, that’s gist returned from bordin’ school to Halifax, a let off to night. Most all the bettermost folks in these parts are axed, and the doctor, the lawyer, and the minister is invited; it’s no skim-milk story, I do assure you, but upper crust, real jam. Ruth intends to do the thing handsome. She says she don’t do it often, but when she does, she likes to go the whole figur’, and do it genteel. If she hasn’t a show of dough-nuts and prasarves, and apple sarse and punkin pies and sarsages, it’s a pity; it’s taken all hands of us, the old lady and her galls too, besides the helps, the best part of a week past preparin’. I say nothin’, but it’s most turned the house inside out, a settin’ up things in this room, or toatin’ ’em out of that into t’other, and all in such a conflustrigation, that I’m glad when they send me of an arrand to be out of the way. It’s lucky them harrycanes don’t come every day, for they do scatter things about at a great rate, all topsy-turvey like,—that’s sartin. Won’t you call in and see us to night, Mr. Slick? folks will be amazin’ glad to see you, and I’ll show you some as pritty lookin’ galls to my mind, in our settlement here, as you’ll see in Connecticut, I know. Well, says I, I don’t care if I do; there’s nothin’ I like more nor a frolic, and the dear little critters I do like to be among ’em too,—that’s sartin.

In the evenin’ I drives over to Nabal’s, and arter puttin’ up my beast, Old Clay, I goes into the house, and sure enough, there they was as big as life. The young ladies asittin’ on one side, and the men a standin’ up by the door, and chatterin’ away in great good humour. There was a young chap a holdin’ forth to the men about politics; he was a young trader, set up by some merchant in Halifax, to ruinate the settlement with good-for-nothin’ trumpery they hadn’t no occasion for,—chock full of concait and affectation, and beginnin’ to feel his way with the yard-stick to assembly already.

Great dandy was Mr. Bobbin; he looked gist as if he had came out of the tailor’s hands, spic and span; put out his lips and drew down his brow, as if he had a trick o’ thinkin sometimes—nodded his head and winked, as if he knew more than he’d like to tell—talked of talent quite glib, but disdainful, as if he wouldn’t touch some folks with a pair of tongs; a great scholar too was Mr. Bobbin, always spoke dictionary, and used heavy artillery words. I don’t entertain no manner of doubt if government would take him at his own valuation, he’d be found to be a man o’ great worth. I never liked the critter, and always gave him a poke when I got a chance. He was a town meetin’ orator; grand school that to larn public speakin’, squire; a nice muddy pool for young ducks to larn to swim in. He was a grand hand to read lectures, in blacksmiths’ shops, at vandues, and the like, and talked politics over his counter at a great size. He looked big and talked big, and altogether was a considerable big man in his own concait. He dealt in reform. He had ballot tape, suffrage ribbon, radical lace, no tithe hats, and beautiful pipes with a democrat’s head on ’em, and the maxim, “No sinecure,” under it. Every thing had its motto. No, sir, said he, to some one he was a talkin’ to as I came in, this country is attenuated to pulverization by its aristocracy—a proud haughty aristocracy; a corrupt, a lignious, and a lapidinous aristocracy; put them into a parcel, envelope ’em with a panoply of paper, tie them up and put them into the scales, and they will be found wantin’. There is not a pound of honesty among ’em, nay not an ounce, nay not a penny weight. The article is wanting—it is not in their catalogue. The word never occurs either in their order, or in their invoice. They wont bear the inspection,—they are not marchantable,—nothin’ but refuse.

If there is no honesty in the market, says I, why don’t you import some, and retail it out? you might make some considerable profit on it, and do good to the country too; it would be quite patriotic that. I’m glad to see, says I, one honest man talkin’ politics any how, for there’s one thing I’ve obsarved in the course of my experience, whenever a man suspects all the world that’s above him, of roguery, he must be a pretty considerable superfine darned—(rogue himself, whispered some critter standin’ by, loud enough for all on ’em to hear, and to set the whole party achokin’ with larfter)—judge of the article himself, says I. Now, says I, if you do import it, gist let us know how you sell it,—by the yard, the quart, or the pound, will you? for it ain’t set down in any tradin’ tables I’ve seen, whether it is for long measure, dry measure, or weight.

Well, says he, atryin’ to larf, as if he didn’t take the hint, I’ll let you know, for it might be some use to you perhaps, in the clock trade. May be, you’ll be a customer, as well as the aristocrats. But how is clocks now? said he, and he gave his neighbour a nudge with his elbow, as much as to say, I guess it’s my turn now,—how do clocks go? Like some young country traders I’ve seen in my time, says I; don’t go long afore they are run down, and have to be wound up again. They are considerable better too, like them, for bein’ kept in their own place, and plaguy apt to go wrong when moved out of it. Thinks I to myself, take your change out o’ that, young man, will you? for I’d heerd tell the goney had said they had cheats enough in Nova Scotia, without havin’ Yankee clockmakers to put new wrinkles on their horns. Why, you are quite witty this evenin’, said he; you’ve been masticatin’ mustard, I apprehend; I was always fond of it from a boy, said I, and it’s a pity the blue noses didn’t chew a little more of it, I tell you; it would help ’em, p’raps, to disgest their jokes better, I estimate. Why, I didn’t mean no offence, said he, I do assure you. Nor I neither, said I; I hope you didn’t take it any way parsonal.

Says I, friend Bobbin, you have talked a considerable hard o’ me afore now, and made out the Yankees, most as big rogues as your great men be; but I never thought any thing hard of it: I only said, says I, he puts me in mind of Mrs. Squire Ichabod Birch. What’s that? says the folks. Why, says I, Marm Birch was acomin’ down stairs one mornin’ airly, and what should she see but the stable-help akissin’ of the cook in the corner of the entry, and she afendin’ off like a brave one. You good-for-nothin’ hussy, said Marm Birch, get out of my house this minit: I won’t have no such ondecent carryin’s on here, on no account. You horrid critter, get out o’ my sight; and as for you, said she to the Irishman, don’t you never dare to show your ugly face here agin. I wonder you ain’t ashamed of yourselves,—both on you begone; away with you, bag and baggage!

Hullo! says the squire, as he follerd down in his dressin’ gownd and slippers; hullo! says he, what’s all this touss about? Nothin’, says Pat, ascratchin’ of his head, nothin’, your honour,—only the mistress says she’ll have no kissin’ in the house, but what she does herself. The cook had my jack-knife in her pocket, your honour, and wouldn’t give it to me, but sot off and ran here with it, and I arter her, and caught her. I gist put my hand in her pocket promisc’ously to sarch for it,—and when I found it I was tryin’ to kiss her by way of forfeit like, and that’s the long and short o’ the matter. The mistress says she’ll let no one but herself in the house do that same. Tut,—tut,—tut! says the squire, and larfed right out; both on you go and attend to your work then, and let’s hear no more about it. Now, you are like Marm Birch, friend Bobbin, says I—you think nobody has a right to be onest but yourself; but there is more o’ that arter all agoin’ in the world, than you have any notion of, I tell you.

Feelin’ a hand on my arm, I turns round, and who should I see but Marm Green. Dear me, said she, is that you, Mr. Slick? I’ve been looking’ all about for you for ever so long. How do you do?—I hope I see you quite well. Hearty as brandy, marm, says I, tho’ not quite as strong, and a great deal heartier for a seein’ of you. How be you? Reasonable well, and stirrin’, says she: I try to keep amovin’; but I shall give the charge of things soon to Arabella: have you seen her yet? No, says I, I havn’t had the pleasure since her return: but I hear folks say she is a’most splendid fine gall. Well, come, then, said she, atakin’ o’ my arm, let me introduce you to her. She is a fine gall, Mr. Slick, that’s a fact; and tho’ I say it that shouldn’t say it, she’s a considerable of an accomplished gall too. There is no touch to her in these parts: minister’s daughter that was all one winter to St. John can’t hold a candle to her. Can’t she, tho’? said I. No, said she, that she can’t, the consaited minx, tho’ she does carry her head so high. One of the gentlemen that played at the show of the wild beasts said to me, says he, I’ll tell you what it is, Marm Green, said he, your daughter has a beautiful touch—that’s a fact; most galls can play a little, but yours does the thing complete. And so she ought, says she, takin’ her five quarters into view. Five quarters! said I; well, if that don’t beat all! well, I never heerd tell of a gall havin’ five quarters afore since I was raised! The skin, said I, I must say, is a most beautiful one; but as for the tallow, who ever heard of a gall’s tallow?

The fifth quarter!—Oh Lord! said I, marm, you’ll kill me,—and I haw hawed right out. Why, Mr. Slick, says she, ain’t you ashamed? do, for gracious sake, behave yourself; I meant five quarters’ schoolin’: what a droll man you be. Oh! five quarters’ schoolin’! says I; now I understand. And, said she, if she don’t paint it’s a pity? Paint! said I; why, you don’t say so! I thought that are beautiful colour was all nateral. Well, I never could kiss a gall that painted. Mother used to say it was sailin’ under false colours—I ‘most wonder you could allow her to paint, for I’m sure there ain’t the least morsel of occasion for it in the world: you may say that—it is a pity! Get out, said she, you imperance; you know’d better nor that; I meant her pictures. Oh! her pictures, said I; now I see;—does she, tho’? Well, that is an accomplishment you don’t often see, I tell you.—Let her alone for that, said her mother. Here, Arabella, dear, said she, come here dear, and bring Mr. Slick your pictur’ of the river that’s got the two vessels in it,—Captain Noah Oak’s sloop, and Peter Zinck’s schooner. Why, my sakes, mamma, said Miss Arabella, with a toss of her pretty little saucy mug, do you expect me to show that to Mr. Slick? why, he’ll only larf at it,—he larfs at every thing that ain’t Yankee. Larf, said I, now do tell: I guess I’d be very sorry to do such an ongenteel thing, to any one,—much less, Miss, to a young lady like you. No indeed, not I. Yes, said her mother; do, Bella, dear; Mr. Slick will excuse any little defects, I’m sure; she’s had only five quarters you know, and you’ll make allowances, won’t you, Mr. Slick? I dare say, I said, they don’t stand in need of no allowances at all, so don’t be so backward, my dear. Arter a good deal of mock modesty, out skips Miss Arabella, and returns with a great large water colour drawin’ as big as a winder-shutter, and carried it up afore her face as a hookin’ cow does a board over her eyes to keep her from makin’ right at you. Now, said her mother, lookin’ as pleased as a peacock when it’s in full fig with its head and tail up, now, says she, Mr. Slick, you are a considerable judge of paintin’—seem’ that you do bronzin’ and gildin’ so beautiful—now don’t you call that splendid? Splendid! says I; I guess there ain’t the beat of it to be found in this country, any how; I never seed any thing like it: you couldn’t ditto it in the province I know. I guess not, said her mother, nor in the next province neither. It sartainly beats all, said I. And so it did, Squire; you’d adied if you’d aseed it, for larfin. There was two vessels one right above t’other, a great big black cloud on the top, and a church-steeple standin’ under the bottom of the schooner. Well, says I, that is beautiful—that’s a fact; but the water, said I, miss; you havn’t done that yet; when you put that in, it will be complete. Not yet, said she; the greatest difficulty I have in paintin’ is in makin’ water. Have you tho’? said I; well that is a pity. Yes, said she, it’s the hardest thing in natur’—I cant do it straight, nor make it look of the right colour; and Mr. Acre, our master, said you must always make water in straight lines in painting, or it ain’t nateral and ain’t pleasin’: vessels too are considerable hard; if you make them straight up and down they look stiff and ongraceful like, and if you put them onder sail then you should know all about fixin’ the sails the right way for the wind—if you don’t, it’s blundersome. I’m terribly troubled with the effect of wind. Oh! says I. Yes, I am, said she, and if I could only manage wind and water in paintin’ landscapes, why it would be nothin’—I’d do ’em in a jiffey; but to produce the right effect these things take a great deal of practice. I thought I should have snorted right out to hear the little critter run on with such a regular bam. Oh dear! said I to myself, what pains some folks do take to make fools of their children: here’s as nice a little heifer as ever was, alettin’ of her clapper run away with her like an onruly horse; she don’t know where it will take her to yet, no more than the man in the moon.

As she carried it out again, her mother said, Now, I take some credit to myself, Mr. Slick, for that;—she is throwed away here; but I was detarmined to have her educated, and so I sent her to bordin’ school, and you see the effect of her five quarters. Afore she went, she was three years to the combined school in this district, that includes both Dalhousie and Sherbrooke: you have combined schools in the States, hav’n’t you, Mr. Slick? I guess we have, said I; boys and galls combined; I was to one on ’em, when I was considerable well grown up: Lord, what fun we had! It’s a grand place to larn the multiplication table at, ain’t it? I recollect once,—Oh fie! Mr. Slick, I mean a siminary for young gentlemen and ladies where they larn Latin and English combined. Oh latten! said I; they larn latten there, do they? Well, come, there is some sense in that; I didn’t know there was a factory of it in all Nova Scotia. I know how to make latten; father sent me clean away to New York to larn it. You mix up calamine and copper, and it makes a brass as near like gold as one pea is like another; and then there is another kind o’ latten workin’ tin over iron,—it makes a most complete imitation of silver. Oh! a knowledge of latten has been of great sarvice to me in the clock trade, you may depend. It has helped me to a nation sight of the genuwine metals,—that’s a fact.

Why, what on airth are you atalkin’ about? said Mrs. Green. I don’t mean that latten at all; I mean the Latin they larn at schools. Well, I don’t know, said I: I never seed any other kind o’ latten, nor ever heerd tell of any. What is it? Why, it’s a——it’s a——. Oh, you know well enough, said she; only you make as if you didn’t, to poke fun at me. I believe, on my soul, you’ve been abammin’ of me the whole blessed time. I hope I be shot if I do, said I; so do tell me what it is. Is it any thing in the silk factory line, or the straw-plat, or the cotton warp way? Your head, said she, considerable miffy, is always a runnin’ on a factory. Latin is a ——. Nabal, said she, do tell me what Latin is. Latin, says he,—why, Latin is——ahem, it’s——what they teach at the Combined School. Well, says she, we all know that as well as you do, Mr. Wisehead; but what is it? Come here, Arabella dear, and tell me what Latin is? Why, Latin, ma, said Arabella, is,—am-o, I love; am-at, he loves; am-amus, we love;—that’s Latin. Well, it does sound dreadful pretty, tho’, don’t it? says I; and yet, if Latin is love and love is Latin, you hadn’t no occasion,—and I got up, and slipt my hand into hers—you hadn’t no occasion to go to the Combined School to larn it; for natur’, says I, teaches that a——and I was whisperin’ of the rest o’ the sentence in her ear, when her mother said,—Come, come, Mr. Slick, what’s that you are asaying of? Talkin’ Latin, says I,—awinkin’ to Arabella;—ain’t we, miss? Oh yes, said she,—returnin’ the squeeze of my hand and larfin’;—oh yes, mother, arter all he understands it complete. Then take my seat here, says the old lady, and both on you sit down and talk it, for it will be a good practice for you;—and away she sailed to the eend of the room, and left us a—talking Latin.

I hadn’t been asittin’ there long afore doctor Ivory Hovey came up, asmirkin’, and asmilin’, and arubbin’ of his hands, as if he was agoin’ to say somethin’ very witty; and I observed, the moment he came, Arabella took herself off. She said, she couldn’t ‘bide him at all. Well, Mr. Slick, said he, how are you? how do you do, upon an average, eh? Pray, what’s your opinion of matters and things in general, eh? Do you think you could exhibit such a show of fine bloomin’ galls in Slickville, eh? Not a bad chance for you, I guess—(and he gave that word guess a twang that made the folks larf all round,)—said he, for you to speckilate for a wife, eh? Well, says I, there is a pretty show o’ galls,—that’s sartain,—but they wouldn’t condescend to the like o’ me. I was athinkin’ there was some on ’em that would gist suit you to a T. Me, says he, adrawin’ of himself up and looking big,—me! and he turned up his nose like a pointer dog when the birds flowed off. When I honour a lady with the offer of my hand, says he, it will be a lady. Well, thinks I, if you ain’t a consaited critter it’s a pity; most on ’em are a plaguy sight too good for you, so I will gist pay you off in your own coin. Says I, you put me in mind of Lawyer Endicot’s dog. What’s that? says the folks acrowdin’ round to hear it, for I seed plain enough that not one on ’em liked him one morsel. Says I, he had a great big black dog that he used to carry about with him every where he went, into the churches and into the court. The dog was always abotherin’ of the judges, agettin’ between their legs, and they used to order him to be turned out every day, and they always told the lawyer to keep his dog to home. At last, old Judge Porson said to the constable one day, in a voice of thunder, Turn out that dog! and the judge gave him a kick that sent him half-way across the room, yelpin’ and howlin’ like any thing. The lawyer was properly vexed at this; so says he to the dog, Pompey, says he, come here! and the dog came up to him. Didn’t I always tell you, said he, to keep out o’ bad company? Take that, said he, agivin’ of him a’most an awful kick,—take that!—and the next time only go among gentlemen; and away went the dog, lookin’ foolish enough, you may depend. What do you mean by that are story, sir? said he, abristlin’ up like a mastiff. Nothin’, says I; only that a puppy sometimes gets into company that’s too good for him, by mistake; and, if he forgets himself, is plaguy apt to get bundled out faster than he came in; and I got up and walked away to the other side.

Folks gave him the nickname of Endicot’s dog arter that, and I was glad on it; it sarved him right, the consaited ass. I heerd the critter amutterin’ sun’thin’ of the Clockmaker illustratin’ his own case, but, as I didn’t want to be parsonal, I made as if I didn’t hear him. As I went over towards the side table, who should I see aleanin’ up against it but Mr. Bobbin, pretty considerably well shaved, with a glass o’ grog in his hand, alookin’ as cross as you please, and so far gone, he was athinkin’ aloud, and atalkin’ to himself. There comes “soft sawder,” says he, and “human natur’,"—ameanin’ me,—a Yankee broom,—wooden nutmegs,—cussed sarcy,—great mind to kick him. Arabella’s got her head turned,—consaited minx;—good exterior, but nothin’ in her,—like Slick’s clocks, all gilded and varnished outside, and soft wood within. Gist do for Ivory Hovey,—same breed,—big head,—long ears,—a pair of donkeys! Shy old cock, that deacon,—joins Temperance Societies to get popular,—slips the gin in, pretends it’s water;—I see him. But here goes, I believe I’ll slip off. Thinks I, it’s gettin’ on for mornin’; I’ll slip off too; so out I goes and harnesses up Old Clay, and drives home.

Gist as I came from the barn and got opposite to the house, I heerd some one acrackin’ of his whip, and abawlin’ out at a great size, and I looked up, and who should I see but Bobbin in his wagon ag’in the pole fence. Comin’ in the air had made him blind drunk. He was alickin’ away at the top pole of the fence, and afancying his horse was there, and wouldn’t go.—Who comes there? said he. Clockmaker, said I. Gist take my horse by the head,—that’s a good feller,—will you? said he, and lead him out as far as the road. Cuss him, he won’t stir. Spiles a good horse to lead him, says I; he always looks for it again. Gist you lay it on to him well,—his hams ain’t made o’ hickory like mine. Cut away at him; he’ll go by and by;—and I drove away and left him acuttin’ and aslashin’ at the fence for dear life. Thinks I, you are not the first ass that has been brought to a poll, any how.

Next day, I met Nabal. Well, said he, Mr. Slick, you hit your young trader rather hard last night; but I warn’t sorry to hear you, tho’, for the critter is so full of consait, it will do him good. He wants to pull every one down to his own level, as he can’t rise to theirs, and is for everlastin’ly spoutin’ about House of Assembly business, officials, aristocrats, and such stuff; he’d be a plaguy sight better, in my mind, attendin’ to his own business, instead of talkin’ of other folks’; and usin’ his yardstick more, and his tongue less. And between you and me, Mr. Slick, said he,—tho’ I hope you won’t let on to any one that I said any thing to you about it—but atween ourselves, as we are alone here, I am athinkin’ my old woman is in a fair way to turn Arabella’s head too. All this paintin’, and singin’, and talkin’ Latin, is very well, I consait, for them who have time for it, and nothin’ better to do to home. It’s better p’r’aps to be adoin’ of that than adoin’ of nothin’; but for the like o’ us, who have to live by farmin’, and keep a considerable of a large dairy, and upwards of a hundred sheep, it does seem to me sometimes as if it were a little out of place. Be candid now, said he, for I should like to hear what your rael genuwine opinion is touchin’ this matter, seein’ that you know a good deal of the world.

Why, friend Nabal, says I, as you’ve asked my advice, I’ll give it to you; tho’ any thin’ partainin’ to the apron-string is what I don’t call myself a judge of, and feel delicate of meddlin’ with. Woman is woman, says I; that’s a fact; and a feller that will go for to provoke hornets, is plaguy apt to get himself stung, and I don’t know as it does not sarve him right too; but this I must say, friend, that you’re just about half right,—that’s a fact. The proper music for a farmer’s house is the spinnin’-wheel—the true paintin’ the dye stuffs,—and the tambourin’ the loom. Teach Arabella to be useful and not showy, prudent and not extravagant. She is gist about as nice a gall as you’ll see in a day’s ride; now don’t spoil her, and let her get her head turned, for it would be a rael right down pity. One thing you may depend on for sartain, as a maxim in the farmin’ line,—a good darter and a good housekeeper, is plaguy apt to make a good wife and a good mother.


Whoever has read Haliburton’s History of Nova Scotia (which, next to Mr. Josiah Slick’s History of Cuttyhunk, in five volumes, is the most important account of unimportant things I have ever seen,) will recollect that this good city of Annapolis is the most ancient one in North America; but there is one fact omitted by that author, which I trust he will not think an intrusion upon his province, if I take the liberty of recording, and that is, that in addition to its being the most ancient—it is also the most loyal city of this Western Hemisphere. This character it has always sustained, and “royal,” as a mark of peculiar favor, has ever been added to its cognomen by every government that has had dominion over it.

Under the French, with whom it was a great favorite, it was called Port Royal; and the good Queen Anne, who condescended to adopt it, permitted it to be called Annapolis Royal. A book issuing from Nova Scotia is, as Blackwood very justly observes, in his never-to-be-forgotten, nor ever-to-be-sufficiently-admired review of the first series of this work, one of those unexpected events that from their great improbability, appear almost incredible. Entertaining no doubt, therefore, that every member of the cabinet will read this lusus naturæ, I take this opportunity of informing them that our most gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria, has not in all her wide-spread dominions more devoted or loyal subjects than the good people of Annapolis Royal.

Here it was, said I, Mr. Slick, that the egg was laid of that American bird, whose progeny have since spread over this immense continent. Well, it is a most beautiful bird too, ain’t it? said he; what a plumage it has! what a size it is! It is a whopper—that’s sartain; it has the courage and the soarin’ of the eagle, and the colour of the peacock, and his majestic step and keen eye; the world never seed the beat of it; that’s a fact. How streaked the English must feel when they think they once had it in the cage and couldn’t keep it there; it is a pity they are so invyous tho’, I declare. Not at all, I assure you, I replied; there’s not a man among them who is not ready to admit all you have advanced in favour of your national emblem; the fantastic strut of the peacock, the melodious and attic tones, the gaudy apparel, the fondness for display which is perpetually exhibiting to the world the extended tail with painted stars, the amiable disposition of the bird towards the younger and feebler offspring of others, the unwieldy——I thought so, said he; I hadn’t ought to have spoke of it afore you, for it does seem to ryle you; that’s sartain; and I don’t know as it was gist altogether right to allude to a thin’ that is so humblin’ to your national pride. But, squire, ain’t this been a hot day? I think it would pass muster among the hot ones of the West Indgies a’most. I do wish I could gist slip off my flesh and sit in my bones for a space, to cool myself, for I ain’t seed such thawy weather this many a year, I know. I calculate I will brew a little lemonade, for Marm Bailey ginerally keeps the materials for that Temperance Society drink.

This climate o’ Nova Scotia does run to extremes; it has the hottest and the coldest days in it I ever seed. I shall never forget a night I spent here three winters ago. I come very near freezin’ to death. The very thought of that night will cool me the hottest day in summer. It was about the latter eend of February, as far as my memory sarves me, I came down here to cross over the bay to St. John, and it was considerable arter daylight down when I arrived. It was the most violent slippery weather, and the most cruel cold, I think, I ever mind seein’ since I was raised.

Says Marm Bailey to me, Mr. Slick, says she, I don’t know what onder the sun I’m agoin’ to do with you, or how I shall be able to accommodate you, for there’s a whole raft of folks from Halifax here, and a batch of moose-hunting officers, and I don’t know who all; and the house is chuck full, I declare. Well, says I, I’m no ways partikilar—I can put up with most anything. I’ll gist take a stretch here, afore the fire on the floor;—for I’m e’en a’most chilled to death, and awful sleepy too; first come, says I, first sarved, you know’s an old rule, and luck’s the word now-a days. Yes, I’ll gist take the hearthrug for it, and a good warm birth it is too. Well, says she, I can’t think o’ that at no rate: there’s old Mrs. Fairns in the next street but one; she’s got a spare bed she lets out sometimes: I’ll send up to her to get it ready for you, and to-morrow these folks will be off, and then you can have your old quarters again.

So arter supper, old Johnny Farquhar, the English help, showed me up to the widder’s. She was considerable in years, but a cheerfulsome old lady and very pleasant, but she had a darter, the prettiest gall I ever seed since I was created. There was somethin’ or another about her that made a body feel melancholy too; she was a lovely-looking critter, but her countenance was sad; she was tall and well-made, had beautiful lookin’ long black hair and black eyes; but oh! how pale she was!—and the only colour she had was a little fever-like lookin’ red about her lips. She was dressed in black, which made her countenance look more marble-like; and yet whatever it was,—natur’, or consumption, or desartion, or settin’ on the anxious benches, or what not, that made her look so, yet she hadn’t fallen away one morsel, but was full formed and well waisted. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her.

I felt a kind o’ interest in her; I seemed as if I’d like to hear her story, for somethin’ or another had gone wrong,—that was clear; some little story of the heart, most like, for young galls are plaguy apt to have a tender spot thereabouts. She never smiled, and when she looked on me, she looked so streaked and so sad, and cold withal, it made me kinder superstitious. Her voice, too, was so sweet, and yet so doleful, that I felt proper sorry, and amazin’ curious too; thinks I, I’ll gist ax to-morrow all about her, for folks have pretty cute ears in Annapolis; there ain’t a smack of a kiss that ain’t heerd all over town in two two’s and sometimes they think they heer ’em even afore they happen. It’s a’most a grand place for news, like all other small places I ever seed. Well, I tried jokin’ and funny stories, and every kind o’ thing to raise a larf, but all wouldn’t do; she talked and listened and chatted away as if there was nothin’ above partikiler; but still no smile; her face was cold and clear and bright as the icy surface of a lake, and so transparent too, you could see the veins in it. Arter awhile, the old lady showed me to my chamber, and there was a fire in it; but oh! my sakes, how cold! it was like goin’ down into a well in summer—it made my blood fairly thicken ag’in. Your tumbler is out, squire; try a little more of that lemonade; that iced water is grand. Well, I sot over the fire a space, and gathered up the little bits o’ brands and kindlin’ wood, (for the logs were green, and wouldn’t burn up at no rate;) and then I ondressed and made a desperate jump right into the cold bed with only half clothes enough on it for such weather, and wrapped up all the clothes around me. Well, I thought I should have died. The frost was in the sheets,—and my breath looked like the steam from a boilin’ tea-kettle, and it settled right down on the quilt, and froze into white hoar. The nails in the house cracked like a gun with a wet wad,—they went off like thunder, and, now and then, you’d hear some one run along ever so fast, as if he couldn’t show his nose to it for one minit, and the snow crackin’ and crumplin’ onder his feet, like a new shoe with a stiff sole to it. The fire wouldn’t blaze no longer, and only gave up a blue smoke, and the glass in the window looked all fuzzy with the frost. Thinks I, I’ll freeze to death to a sartainty. If I go for to drop off asleep, as sure as the world I’ll never wake up ag’in. I’ve heerin’ tell of folks afore now feelin’ dozy like, out in the cold, and layin’ down to sleep, and goin’ for it, and I don’t half like to try it, I vow. Well, I got considerable narvous like, and I kept awake near about all night, tremblin’ and shakin’ like ague. My teeth fairly chattered ag’in; first I rubbed one foot ag’in another,—then I doubled up all on a heap, and then rubbed all over with my hands. Oh! it was dismal, you may depend;—at last I began to nod and doze, and fancy I seed a flock of sheep atakin’ a split for it, over a wall, and tried to count ’em, one by one, and couldn’t; and then I’d start up, and then nod ag’in. I felt it acomin’ all over, in spite of all I could do; and, thinks I, it ain’t so everlastin’ long to day-light now; I’ll try it any how—I’ll be darn’d if I don’t—so here goes.

Just as I shot my eyes, and made up my mind for a nap, I hears a low moan and a sob; well, I sits up, and listens, but all was silent again. Nothin’ but them etarnal nails agoin’ off, one arter t’other, like anything. Thinks I to myself, the wind’s a gettin’ up, I estimate; it’s as like as not we shall have a change o’ the weather. Presently I heerd a light step on the entry, and the door opens softly, and in walks the widder’s darter on tip toe, dressed in a long white wrapper, and after peerin’ all round to see if I was asleep, she goes and sits down in the chimney corner, and picks up the coals and fixes the fire, and sits alookin’ at it for ever so long. Oh! so sad, and so melancholy; it was dreadful to see her. Says I, to myself, says I, what on airth brings the poor critter here, all alone, this time o’night; and the air so plaguy cold too. I guess, she thinks I’ll freeze to death; or, perhaps, she’s walkin’ in her sleep. But there she sot lookin’ more like a ghost than human—first she warmed one foot, and then the other; and then held her hands over the coals, and moaned bitterly. Dear! dear! thinks I, that poor critter is a freezin’ to death as well as me; I do believe the world is comin’ to an eend right off, and we shall all die of cold, and I shivered all over. Presently she got up, and I saw her face part covered, with her long black hair, and the other parts so white and so cold, it chilled me to look at it, and her foot steps I consaited sounded louder, and I cast my eyes down to her feet, and I actilly did fancy they looked froze. Well, she come near the bed, and lookin’ at me, stood for a space without stirrin’, and then she cried bitterly. He, too, is doomed, said she; he is in the sleep of death, and so far from home, and all his friends too. Not yet, said I, you dear critter you, not yet, you may depend;—but you will be, if you don’t go to bed;—so says I, do for gracious sake, return to your room, or you will perish. It’s frozen, says she; it’s deathly cold; the bed is a snow-wreath, and the pillow is ice, and the coverlid is congealed; the chill has struck into my heart, and my blood has ceased to flow. I’m doomed, I’m doomed to die and oh! how strange, how cold is death! Well, I was all struck up of a heap; I didn’t know what on airth to do; says I to myself, says I, here’s this poor gall in my room carryin’ on like ravin’ distracted mad in the middle of the night here; she’s oneasy in her mind, and is awalkin’ as sure as the world, and how it’s agoin’ to eend, I don’t know—that’s a fact. Katey, says I, dear, I’ll get up and give you my bed if you are cold, and I’ll go and make up a great rousin’ big fire, and I’ll call up the old lady, and she will see to you, and get you a hot drink; somethin’ must be done, to a sartainty, for I can’t bear to hear you talk so. No, says she, not for the world; what will my mother say, Mr. Slick? and me here in your room, and nothin’ but this wrapper on; it’s too late now; it’s all over; and with that she fainted, and fell right across the bed. Oh! how cold she was! the chill struck into me; I feel it yet; the very thoughts is enough to give one the ague. Well, I’m a modest man, squire; I was always modest from a boy; but there was no time for ceremony now, for there was a sufferin’ dyin’ critter—so I drew her in, and folded her in my arms, in hopes she would come to, but death was there.

I breathed on her icy lips, but life seemed extinct, and every time I pressed her to me, I shrunk from her till my back touched the cold gypsum wall. It felt like a tomb, so chill, so damp, so cold—(you have no notion how cold them are kind o’ walls are, they beat all natur’)—squeezed between this frozen gall on one side, and the icy plaster on the other, I felt as if my own life was aebbin’ away fast. Poor critter! says I, has her care of me brought her to this pass? I’ll press her to my heart once more; p’r’aps the little heat that’s left there may revive her, and I can but die a few minutes sooner. It was a last effort, but it succeeded; she seemed to breathe again—I spoke to her, but she couldn’t answer, tho’ I felt her tears flow fast on my bosom; but I was actilly sinkin’ fast myself now—I felt my eend approachin’. Then came reflection, bitter and sad thoughts they were too, I tell you. Dear, dear! said I; here’s a pretty kettle o’ fish, ain’t there? we shall be both found dead here in the mornin’, and what will folks say of this beautiful gall, and of one of our free and enlightened citizens, found in such a scrape? Nothin’ will be too bad for ’em that they can lay their tongues to; that’s a fact; the Yankee villain, the cheatin’ Clockmaker, the——, the thought gave my heart a jupe, so sharp, so deep, so painful, I awoke and found I was ahuggin’ a snow wreath, that had sifted thro’ a hole in the roof on the bed; part had melted and trickled down my breast, and part had froze to the clothes, and chilled me through. I woke up, proper glad it was all a dream, you may depend—but amazin’ cold and dreadful stiff, and I was laid up at this place for three weeks with the ‘cute rheumatis,—that’s a fact.

But your pale young friend, said I; did you ever see her again? pray, what became of her? Would you believe it? said he; the next mornin’, when I came down, there sot Katey by the fire, lookin’ as bloomin’ as a rose, and as chipper as a canary bird;—the fact is, I was so uncommon cold, and so sleepy too, the night afore, that I thought every body and every thing looked cold and dismal too. Mornin’, sir, said she, as I entered the keepin’ room; mornin’ to you, Mr. Slick; how did you sleep last night? I’m most afeard you found that are room dreadful cold, for little Biney opened the window at the head of the bed to make the fire draw and start the smoke up, and forgot to shut it again, and I guess it was wide open all night;—I minded it arter I got to bed, and I thought I should ha’ died a larfin’. Thank you, said I, for that; but you forget you come and shot it yourself. Me! said she; I never did no such a thing. Catch me indeed agoin into a gentleman’s chamber; no, indeed, not for the world! If I wasn’t cold, said I, it’s a pity,—that’s all; I was ‘een a’most frozen as stiff as a poker, and near about frightened to death too, for I seed you or your ghost last night, as plain as I see you now; that’s a fact. A ghost! said she; how you talk! do tell. Why, how was that? Well, I told her the whole story from beginning to eend. First she larfed ready to split at my account of the cold room, and my bein’ afeard to go to sleep; but then she stopt pretty short, I guess, and blushed like anything, when I told her about her comin’ into the chamber, and looked proper frightened, not knowin’ what was to come next; but when she heerd of her turnin’ first into an icecicle, and then into a snow-drift, she haw-hawed right out. I thought she actilly would have gone into hysterics. You might have frozen, said she, in rael right down earnest, afore I’d agone into your chamber at that time o’night to see arter you, or your fire either, said she, you may depend: I can’t think what on airth could have put that are crotchet into your head. Nor I neither, said I; and besides, said I, aketchin’ hold of her hand, and drawin’ her close to me,—and besides, says I,—I shouldn’t have felt so awful cold neither, if you——. Hold your tongue, said she, you goney you, this minnit; I won’t hear another word about it, and go right off and get your breakfast, for you was sent for half an hour ago. Arter bein’ mocked all night, says I, by them are icy lips of your ghost. Now I see them are pretty little sarcy ones of your’n, I think I must, and I’ll be darned if I won’t have a——. Well, I estimate you won’t, then, said she, you impedence,—and she did fend off like a brave one—that’s a fact; she made frill, shirt collar, and dickey, fly like snow; she was as smart as a fox trap, and as wicked as a meat axe;—there was no gettin’ near her no how. At last, says she, if there ain’t mother acomin’, I do declare, and my hair is all spiflicated, too, like a mop,—and my dress all rumfoozled, like any thing,—do, for gracious sake, set things to right a little, afore mother comes in, and then cut and run: my heart is in my mouth, I declare. Then she sot down in a chair, and put both hands behind her head a puttin’ in her combs. Oh dear, said she, pretendin’ to try to get away; is that what you call puttin’ things to rights? Don’t squeeze so hard; you’ll choke me, I vow. It tante me that’s achokin’ of you, says I, it’s the heart that’s in your mouth. Oh, if it had only been them lips instead of the ghost! Quick, says she, aopenin’ of the door,—I hear mother on the steps;—quick, be off; but mind you don’t tell any one that ghost story; people might think there was more in it than met the ear. Well, well, said I to myself, for a pale face, sad, melancholy lookin’ gall, if you hav’n’t turned out as rosy a rompin’, larkin’, light-hearted a heifer as ever I seed afore, it’s a pity.—There’s another lemon left, squire, s’pose we mix a little more sourin’ afore we turn in, and take another glass “to the widder’s darter.”


It was our intention to have left Annapolis this morning after breakfast, and proceeded to Digby, a small but beautiful village, situated at the entrance of that magnificent sheet of water, once known as Port Royal Bason, but lately by the more euphonious appellation of the “Gut.” But Mr. Slick was missing, nor could any trace of him be found; I therefore ordered the horse again to the stable, and awaited his return with all due patience. It was five o’clock in the afternoon before he made his appearance. Sorry to keep you awaitin’, said he, but I got completely let in for it this mornin’; I put my foot in it, you may depend. I’ve got a grand story to tell you, and one that will make you larf too, I know. Where do you think I’ve been of all places onder the sun? Why, I’ve been to court; that’s a fact. I seed a great crowd of folks about the door, and thinks I, who’s dead, and what’s to pay now? I think I’ll just step in for a minit and see.

What’s on the carpet to-day? says I to a blue nose; what’s goin’ on here? Why, said he, they are agoin’ for to try a Yankee. What for? said I. Steelin’, says he. A Yankee, says I to myself; well, that’s strange too; that beats me anyhow; I never heerd tell of a Yankee bein’ such a born fool as to steal. If the feller has been such a ravin’ destracted goney, I hope they will hang him, the varmint; that’s a fact. It’s mostly them thick-skulled, wrong-headed, cussed stupid fools the British that do that are; they ain’t brought up well, and hav’n’t got no edication; but our folks know better; they’ve been better larned than to do the like o’ that—they can get most any thing they want by gettin’ hold on the right eend in a bargain; they do manage beautiful in a trade, a slight o’ hand, a loan, a failin’, a speckelation, swamp, thimble-rig, or some how or another in the regular way within the law; but as for steelin’—never—I don’t believe he’s a Yankee. No, thinks I, he can’t be American, bred and born, for we are too enlightened for that, by a long chalk. We have a great respect for the laws, squire; we’ve been bred to that, and always uphold the dignity of the law. I recollect once that some of our young citizens away above Montgomery got into a flareup with a party of boatmen that lives on the Mississippi; a desperate row it was, too, and three of the Kentuckians were killed as dead as herrins’. Well, they were had up for it afore Judge Cotton. He was one of our revolutionary heroes, a starn, hard-featured old man, quite a Cato—and he did curry ’em down with a heavy hand, you may depend;—he had no marcy on ’em. There he sot with his hat on, a cigar in his mouth, his arms folded, and his feet over the rail, lookin’ as sour as an onripe lemon. Bring up them culprits, said he, and when they were brought up he told ’em it was scandalous, and only fit for English and ignorant foreigners that sit on the outer porch of darkness, and not high-minded intelligent Americans. You are a disgrace, said he, to our great nation, and I hope I shall never hear the like of it ag’in. If I do, I’ll put you on trial as sure as you are born, I hope I may be skinned alive by wild cats, if I don’t. Well, they didn’t like this kind o’ talk at all, so that night away they goes to the judge’s house to teach him a thing or two, with a cowskin, and kicked up a deuce of a row; and what do you think the neighbours did? Why, they gist walked in, seized the ringleaders and lynched them in less than ten minits, on one of the linden trees afore the judge’s door.

They said the law must be vindicated—and that courts must be upheld by all quiet, orderly people, for a terror to evil-doers. The law must take its course. No, thinks I, he can’t be a Yankee;—if he was, and had awanted the article, he would ha’ done him out of it, p’r’aps in a trade, bein’ too experienced a man of business for him; but steal it, never, never—I don’t believe it, I vow. Well, I walked into the court-house, and there was a great crowd of folks there, a jabberin’ and a talkin’ away like any thing (for blue nose needn’t turn his back on any one for talkin’—the critter is all tongue, like an old horse)—presently in come one or two young lawyers, in a dreadful hurry, with great piles of books under their arms with white leather covers, and great bundles of papers tied with red tape, and put ’em down on the table afore ’em, lookin’ very big with the quantity of larnin’ they carried; thinks I, young shavers, if you had more of that in your heads, and less under your arms, you would have the use of your hands to play with your thumbs, when you had nothin’ to do. Then came in one or two old lawyers, and sot down and nodded here and there, to some o’ the upper-crust folks o’ the county, and then shook hands amazin’ hearty with the young lawyers, and the young lawyers larfed, and the old ones larfed, and they all nodded their heads together like a flock of geese agoin’ thro’ a gate.

Presently the sheriff calls out at the tip end of his voice, “Clear the way for the judge;”—and the judge walks up to the bench, lookin’ down to his feet to see he didn’t tread on other folks’ toes, and put his arm behind his back, and twirls the tail of his gown over it so, that other folks mightn’t tread on his’n. Well, when he gets to the bench, he stands up as straight as a liberty pole, and the lawyers all stand up straight too, and clap their eyes on his till he winks, and then both on ’em slowly bend their bodies forward till they nearly touch the tables with their noses, and then they sot down, and the judge took a look all round, as if he saw every thing in gineral and nothin’ in partikilar—I never seed anything so queer afore, I vow. It puts me in mind o’ the Chinese, but they bob their foreheads clean away down to the very floor.

Well, then, said the crier, “Oh yes! Oh yes! His Majesty’s (I mean her Majesty’s) court is now opened. God save the King (I mean the Queen.)” Oh! if folks didn’t larf it’s a pity—for I’ve often obsarved it takes but a very small joke to make a crowd larf. They’ll larf at nothin’ amost. Silence, said the sheriff, and all was as still as moonlight. It looked strange to me, you may depend, for the lawyers looked like so many ministers all dressed in black gowns and white bands on, only they acted more like players than preachers, a plaguy sight. But, said I, is not this the case in your country; is there not some sort of professional garb worn by the bar of the United States, and do not the barristers and the court exchange those salutations which the common courtesies of life not only sanction but imperatively require as essential to the preservation of mutual respect and general good breeding? What on airth, said the Clockmaker, can a black gound have to do with intelligence? Them sort of liveries may do in Europe, but they don’t convene to our free and enlightened citizens. It’s too foreign for us, too unphilosophical, too feudal, and a remnant o’ the dark ages. No sir; our lawyers do as they like. Some on ’em dress in black, and some in white; some carry walking-sticks, and some umbrallas, some whittle sticks with pen-knives, and some shave the table, and some put their legs under the desks, and some put ’em a top of them, just as it suits them. They sit as they please, dress as they please, and talk as they please; we are a free people. I guess if a judge in our country was to order the lawyers to appear all dressed in black, they’d soon ax him who elected him director-general of fashions, and where he found such arbitrary power in the constitution, as that, committed to any man.

But I was agoin’ to tell you ‘bout the trial.—Presently one o’ the old lawyers got up, and said he, My lord, said he, I move, your lordship, that the prisoner may be brought up. And if it warn’t a move it was a pity. The lawyer moved the judge, and the judge moved the sheriff, and the sheriff moved the crowd, for they all moved out together, leavin’ hardly any one on them, but the judge and the lawyers; and in a few minits they all moved back ag’in with a prisoner. They seemed as if they had never seen a prisoner before. When they came to call the jury they didn’t all answer; so says the sheriff to me, walk in the box—you sir, with the blue coat. Do you indicate me, sir? said I. Yes, says he, I do; walk in the box. I give you thanks, sir, says I, but I’d rather stand where I be; I’ve no occasion to sit; and besides, I guess, I must be a movin.’ Walk in the box, sir, said he, and he roared like thunder. And, says the judge, a lookin’ up, and smilin’ and speakin’ as soft as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, you must walk in the box, sir. Well, says I, to oblige you, says I, my lord, I will; but there don’t seem much room in it to walk, I vow. You are called upon, sir, says the judge, as a talisman; take your seat in the box, and be silent. If I must, says I, I do suppose I must; but I don’t like the office, and I don’t believe I’ve got a marker about me; but if you’ve are a piece of chalk about you, or could give me or lend me an old pencil, I’ll try to cipher it as well as I can, and do my possibles to give you satisfaction, my lord. What are you atalkin’ about, sir? said he—what do you mean by such nonsense? Why, says I, my lord, I’ve been told that in this country, and indeed I know it is the practice almost all over ourn for the jury to chalk, that is, every man chalks down on the wall his vote; one man ten pounds, one twenty, another thirty, and another five pounds, and so; and then they add them all up, and divide by twelve, and that makes the vardict. Now if I’m to be talysman says I, and keep count, I’ll chalk it as straight as a boot-jack. The judge throwed himself back in his chair, and turning to the sheriff, says he, is it possible, Mr. Sheriff, that such an abominable practice as this exists in this country? or that people, under the solemn obligation of an oath, can conduct themselves with so much levity as to make their verdict depend upon chance, and not upon reason? If I was to know an instance of the kind, said he,—and he looked battle, murder, and sudden death—I’d both fine and imprison the jury—I would, by —— (and he gave the corner of his mouth a twist just in time to keep in an oath that was on the tip of his tongue,) and he hesitated a little to think how to get out of the scrape—at least I consaited so—by and with the full consent of my brethren on the bench.

I have my suspicions, said the Clockmaker, that the judge had heerd tell of that practice afore, and was only waitin’ for a complaint to take notice of it regilar-like, for them old judges are as cunnin’ as foxes; and if he had, I must say he did do the surprise very well, for he looked all struck up of a heap, like a vessel taken aback with a squall, agoin’ down starn foremost.

Who is that man? said he. I am a clockmaker, sir, said I. I didn’t ask you what you were, sir, says he, acolorin’ up, I asked you who you were. I’m Mr. Samuel Slick of Slickville, sir, says I, a clockmaker from Onion County, State of Connecticut, in the United States of America. You are exempt, said he—you may walk out of the box. Thinks I to myself, old chap, next time you want a talisman take one of your own folks, will you? Well, when I looked up to the prisoner, sure enough I seed he was one of our citizens, one “Expected Thorne,” of our town, an endless villain, that had been two or three times in the State’s prison. The case was a very plain one. Captain Billy Slocum produced a watch, which he said was his’n; he said he went our arter dinner, leavin’ his watch ahangin’ up over the mantle piece, and when he returned to tea it was gone, and that it was found in Expected Thorne’s possession. Long before the evidence was gone through, I seed he was guilty, the villain. There is a sort of freemasonry in hippocrasy, squire, you may depend. It has its signs and looks by which the brotherhood know each other; and as charity hopeth all things, and forgiveth all things, these appeals of the elect of each other from the lowest depths of woe, whether conveyed by the eye, the garb, or the tongue, are seldom made in vain.

Expected had seed too much of the world, I estimate, not to know that. If he hadn’t his go-to-meetin’ dress and looks on this day to do the jury, it’s a pity. He had his hair combed down as straight as a horse’s mane; a little thin white cravat, nicely plaited and tied plain, garnished his neck, as a white towel does a dish of calves’ head—a standin’ up collar to his coat gave it the true cut, and the gilt buttons covered with cloth eschewed the gaudy ornaments of sinful, carnal man. He looked as demure as a harlot at a christenin’—drew down the corners of his mouth, so as to contract the trumpet of his nose, and give the right base twang to the voice, and turned up the whites of his eyes, as if he had been in the habit of lookin’ in upon the inner man for self-examination and reproach. Oh, he looked like a martyr; gist like a man who would suffer death for conscience sake, and forgive his enemies with his dyin’ breath.

Gentlemen of the jury, says Expected, I am a stranger and a sojourner in this land, but I have many friends and receive much kindness, thanks be to divine Providence for all his goodness to me a sinner; and I don’t make no doubt that tho’ I be a stranger, his lordship’s honor will, under Providence, see justice done to me. The last time I was to Captain Billy’s house I seed his watch, and that it was out of order, and I offered to clean it and repair it for him for nothin’, free gratis, that I can’t prove. But I’ll tell you what I can prove, and it’s a privilege for which I desire to render thanks; that when that gentleman, the constable, came to me, and said he came about the watch, I said to him, right out at once, “She’s cleaned, says I, but wants regulatin’; if Captain Billy is in a hurry for her he can have her, but he had better leave her two or three days to get the right beat.” And never did I deny havin’ it as a guilty man would have done. And, my lord, said he, and gentlemen of the jury (and he turned up his ugly cantin’ mug full round to the box)—I trust I know too well the awful account I must one day give of the deeds done in the flesh to peril my immortal soul for vain, idle, sinful toys; and he held up his hands together, and looked upwards till his eyes turned in like them are ones in a marble statue, and his lips kept amovin’ some time as if he was lost in inward prayer.

Well, the constable proved it word for word, and the judge said it did appear that there was some mistake; at all events, it did not appear there was evidence of a felonious takin’, and he was acquitted. As soon as it was over, Expected comes to me in the corner, and, says he, quite bold like, Mornin’, Slick, how do you do? And then whisperin’ in my ear, says he, Didn’t I do ’em pretty? cuss ’em—that’s all. Let old Connecticut alone yet—she’s too much for any on ’em, I know. The truth is, the moment I seed that cussed critter, that constable acomin’, I seed his arrand with half an eye, and had that are story ready-tongued and grooved for him, as quick as wink. Says I, I wish they had ahanged you, with all my heart; it’s such critters as you that lower the national character of our free and enlightened citizens, and degrade it in the eyes of foreigners. The eyes of foreigners be d——d! said he. Who cares what they think?—and as for these blue noses, they ain’t able to think. They ain’t got two ideas to bless themselves with,—the stupid, punkin-headed, concaited blockheads!—cuss me if they have. Well, says I, they ain’t such an enlightened people as we are, that’s sartain, but that don’t justify you a bit; you hadn’t ought to have stolen that watch. That was wrong, very wrong indeed. You might have traded with him, and got it for half nothin’; or bought it and failed, as some of our importin’ marchants sew up the soft-horned British; or swapped it and forgot to give the exchange; or bought it and give your note, and cut stick afore the note came due. There’s a thousand ways of doin’ it honestly and legally, without resortin’, as foreigners do, to stealin’. We are a moral people,—a religious, a high-minded, and a high-spirited people; and can do any, and all the nations of the univarsal world, out of any thing, in the hundred of millions of clever shifts there are in trade; but as for stealin’, I despise it; it’s a low, blackguard, dirty, mean action; and I must say you’re a disgrace to our great nation. An American citizen never steals, he only gains the advantage!


The next morning we resumed our journey, and travelling through the township of Clements, and crossing Moose and Bear rivers, reached Digby early in the afternoon. It was a most delightful drive. When we left Annapolis, the fog was slowly rising from the low grounds and resting on the hills, to gather itself up for a flight into upper air, disclosing, as it departed, ridge after ridge of the Granville Mountain, which lay concealed in its folds, and gradually revealing the broad and beautiful basin that extends from the town to Digby.

I am too old now for romance, and, what is worse, I am corpulent. I find, as I grow stout, I grow less imaginative. One cannot serve two masters. I longed to climb the mountain-peak, to stand where Champlain stood, and imagine the scene as it then was, when his prophetic eye caught revelations of the future; to visit the holy well where the rite of baptism was first performed in these provinces; to trace the first encampments,—the ruins of the rude fortifications,—the first battle-ground. But, alas! the day is gone. I must leave the field to more youthful competitors. I can gratify my eye as I drive along the road, but I must not venture into the forest. The natural ice-house,—the cascade,—the mountain lake,—the beaver’s dam,—the General’s bridge,—the apocryphal Rosignol,—the iron-mines,—and last, not least, the Indian antiquities,—in short, each and all of the lions of this interesting place, that require bodily exertion to be seen,—I leave to succeeding travellers. I visit men, and not places. Alas! has it come to this at last,—to gout and port wine? Be it so:—I will assume the privilege of old age, and talk.

At a short distance from the town of Annapolis, we passed the Court House, the scene of Mr. Slick’s adventures the preceding day, and found a crowd of country people about the door. More than a hundred horses were tied to the fences on either side of the road, and groups of idlers were seen scattered about on the lawn, either discussing the last verdict, or anticipating the jury in the next.

I think, said Mr. Slick, we have a right to boast of the justiciary of our two great nations; for yourn is a great nation,—that is a fact; and if all your colonies were joined together, and added on to Old England, she would be most as great a nation as ourn. You have good reason to be proud of your judiciary, said I; if profound learning, exalted talent, and inflexible integrity can make an establishment respectable, the Supreme Court of the United States is pre-eminently so; and I have heard, from those who have the honour of their acquaintance, that the judges are no less distinguished for their private worth than their public virtues. I rejoice that it is so, for I consider the justiciary of America as its sheet-anchor. Amidst the incessant change of men and institutions so conspicuous there, this forms a solitary exception. To the permanency and extensive power of this court you are indebted for the only check you possess, either to popular tumult or arbitrary power, affording, as it does, the only effectual means of controlling the conflicts of the local and general governments, and rendering their movements regular and harmonious.

It is so, said he; but your courts and ourn are both tarred with the same stick;—they move too slow. I recollect, once I was in Old Kentuck, and a judge was sentencin’ a man to death for murder: says he, “Sooner or later, punishment is sure to overtake the guilty man. The law moves slow, but it is sure and sartain. Justice has been represented with a heel of lead, from its slow and measured pace; but its hand is a hand of iron, and its blow is death.” Folks said it was a beautiful idea that, and every chap that you met said, Ain’t that splendid?—did ever old Mansfield or Ellen Borough come up to that?

Well, says I, they might come up to that, and not go very far neither. A funny sort o’ figure of justice that; when it’s so plaguy heavy-heeled, most any one can outrun it; and when its great iron fist strikes so uncommon slow, a chap that’s any way spry is e’en a’most sure to give it the dodge. No; they ought to clap on more steam. The French courts are the courts for me. I had a case once in Marsailles, and if the judge didn’t turn it out of hand ready hooped and headed in less than no time, it’s a pity. But I believe I must first tell you how I came for to go there.

In the latter eend of the year twenty-eight, I think it was, if my memory sarves me, I was in my little back studio to Slickville, with off coat, apron on, and sleeves up, as busy as a bee, abronzin’ and gildin’ of a clock case, when old Snow, the nigger-help, popped in his head in a most a terrible of a conflustrigation, and says he, master, says he, if there ain’t Massa Governor and the Gineral at the door, as I’m alive! what on airth shall I say? Well, says I, they have caught me at a nonplush, that’s sartain; but there’s no help for it as I see,—shew ’em in. Mornin’, says I, gentlemen, how do you do? I am sorry, says I, I didn’t know of this pleasure in time to have received you respectfully. You have taken me at a short, that’s a fact; and the worst of it is,—I can’t shake hands along with you neither, for one hand, you see, is all covered with isle, and t’other with copper bronze. Don’t mention it, Mr. Slick, said his excellency, I beg of you;—the fine arts do sometimes require detergants, and there is no help for it. But that’s a most a beautiful thing, said he, you are adoin’ of; may I presume to chatichise what it is? Why, said I, governor, that landscape on the right, with the great white two-story house in it, havin’ a washin’ tub of apple sarce on one side and a cart chockfull of punkin pies on t’other, with the gold letters A. P. over it, is intended to represent this land of promise, our great country, Amerika; and the gold letters A. P. initialise it Airthly Paradise. Well, says he, who is that he one on the left?—I didn’t intend them letters H and E to indicate he at all, said I, tho’ I see now they do; I guess I must alter that. That tall graceful figur’, says I, with wings, carryin’ a long Bowie knife in his right hand, and them small winged figures in the rear, with little rifles, are angels emigratin’ from heaven to this country. H and E means heavinly emigrants.

Its alle—go—ry.—And a beautiful alle—go—ry it is, said he, and well calculated to give foreigners a correct notion of our young growin’ and great Republic. It is a fine conception that. It is worthy of West. How true to life—how much it conveys—how many chords it strikes. It addresses the heart—it’s splendid.

Hallo! says I to myself, what’s all this? It made me look up at him. Thinks I to myself, you laid that soft sawder on pretty thick anyhow. I wonder whether you are in rael right down airnest, or whether you are only arter a vote. Says he, Mr. Slick, it was on the subject of pictur’s, we called. It’s a thing I’m enthusiastic upon myself; but my official duties leave me no time to fraternise with the brush. I’ve been actilly six weeks adoin’ of a bunch of grapes on a chair, and it’s not yet done. The department of paintin’ in our Atheneum,—in this risin’ and flourishin’ town of Slickville—is placed under the direction of the general and myself, and we propose detailing you to Italy to purchase some originals for our gallery, seein’ that you are a native artist yourself, and have more practical experience than most of our citizens. There is a great aspiration among our free and enlightened youth for perfection, whether in the arts or sciences. Your expenses will be paid, and eight dollars a day while absent on this diplomacy. One thing, however, do pray remember,—dont bring any pictur’s that will evoke a blush on female cheeks, or cause vartue to stand afore ’em with averted eyes or indignant looks. The statues imported last year we had to clothe, both male and female, from head to foot, for they actilly came stark naked, and were right down ondecent. One of my factory ladies went into fits on seein’ ’em, that lasted her a good hour; she took Jupiter for a rael human, and said she thought she had got into a bathin’ room among the men by mistake. Her narves received a heavy shock, poor critter; she said she never would forget what she seed there the longest day she lived. So none o’ your Potiphar’s wives, or Susannahs, or sleepin’ Venuses; such pictur’s are repugnant to the high tone o’ moral feelin’ in this country.

Oh Lord! I thought I should have split; I darsn’t look up, for fear I should abust out a larfin’ in his face, to hear him talk so spooney about that are factory gall. Thinks I to myself, how delicate she is, ain’t she! If a common marble statue threw her into fits, what would——. And here he laughed so immoderately it was some time before he resumed intelligibly his story.

Well, says he at last, if there is one thing I hate more nor another it is that cussed mock modesty some galls have, pretendin’ they don’t know nothin’. It always shows they know too much. Now, says his excellency, a pictur’, Mr. Slick, may exhibit great skill and great beauty, and yet display very little flesh beyond the face and the hands. You apprehend me, don’t you? A nod’s as good as a wink, says I, to a blind horse; if I can’t see thro’ a ladder, I reckon I’m not fit for that mission; and, says I, though I say it myself, that shouldn’t say it, I must say, I do account myself a considerable of a judge of these matters,—I won’t turn my back on any one in my line in the Union. I think so, said he, the alle—go—ry you jist show’d me displays taste, tact, and a consummate knowledge of the art. Without genius there can be no invention,—no plot without skill, and no character without the power of discrimination. I should like to associate with you Ebenezer Peck, the Slickville Poet, in this diplomatic mission, if our funds authorized the exercise of this constitutional power of the executive committee, for the fine arts are closely allied, Mr. Slick. Poetry is the music of words, music is the poetry of sounds, and paintin’ is the poetry of colours;—what a sweet, interestin’ family they be, ain’t they? We must locate, domesticate, acclimate, and fraternate them among us. Conceivin’ an elective governor of a free and enlightened people to rank before an hereditary prince, I have given you letters of introduction to the Eyetalian princes and the Pope, and have offered to reciprocate their attention should they visit Slickville. Farewell, my friend, farewell, and fail not to sustain the dignity of this great and enlightened nation abroad—farewell!

A very good man, the governor, and a genuwine patriot too, said Mr. Slick. He knowed a good deal about paintin’, for he was a sign painter by trade; but he often used to wade out too deep, and got over his head now and then afore he knowed it. He warn’t the best o’ swimmers neither, and sometimes I used to be scared to death for fear he’d go for it afore he’d touch bottom ag’in. Well, off I sot in a vessel to Leghorn, and I laid out there three thousand dollars in pictur’s. Rum-lookin’ old cocks them saints, some on ’em too, with their long beards, bald heads, and hard featur’s, bean’t they? but I got a lot of ’em of all sizes. I bought two madonnas I think they call them—beautiful little pictur’s they were too,—but the child’s legs were so naked and ondecent, that to please the governor and his factory galls, I had an artist to paint trousers, and a pair of lace boots on him, and they look quite genteel now. It improved ’em amazin’ly; but the best o’ the joke was those Macaroni rascals, seein’ me a stranger, thought to do me nicely (most infarnal cheats them dealers too,—walk right into you afore you know where you be.) The older a pictur’ was and the more it was blacked, so you couldn’t see the figur’s, the more they axed for it; and they’d talk and jabber away about their Tittyan tints and Guido airs by the hour. How soft are we, ain’t we? said I. Catch a weasel asleep, will you? Second-hand farniture don’t suit our market. We want pictur’s, and not things that look a plaguy sight more like the shutters of an old smokehouse than paintin’s, and I hope I may be shot if I didn’t get bran new ones for half the price they asked for them rusty old veterans. Our folks were well pleased with the shipment, and I ought to be too, for I made a trifle in the discount of fifteen per cent. for comin’ down handsom’ with the cash on the spot. Our Atheneum is worth seein’ I tell you; you wont ditto it easy, I know; it’s actilly a sight to behold.

But I was agoin’ to tell you about the French court. Arter I closed the consarn about the pictur’s, and shipped ’em off in a Cape Codder that was there, I fell in with some of our folks on their way to London, where I had to go to afore I returned home; so, says I, s’pose we hire a vessel in Co. and go by water to Marsailles; we’ll get on faster and considerable cheaper too, I calculate, than agoin’ by land. Well, we hired an Eyetaliano to take us, and he was to find us in bed, board, and liquor, and we paid him one-third in advance, to enable him to do it genteel; but the everlastin’ villain, as soon as he got us out to sea, gave us no bed-clothes and nothin’ to eat, and we almost perished with hunger and damp, so when we got to Marsailles, Meo friendo, says I, for I had picked up a little Eyetalian, meo friendo, cumma longo alla courto, will you? and I took him by the scruff of the neck and toated him into court. Where is de pappia? says a little skip-jack of a French judge, that was chock full of grins and grimaces like a monkey arter a pinch of snuff,—where is de pappia? So I handed him up the pappia signed by the master, and then proved how he cheated us. No sooner said than done, Mount-Sheer Bull-frog, gave the case in our favour in two-twoes, said Eyetaliano had got too much already, cut him off the other two-thirds, and made him pay all costs. If he didn’t look bumsquabbled it’s a pity. It took the rust off of him pretty slick, you may depend.

Begar, he says to the skipper, you keep de bargain next time; you von very grand damne rogue, and he shook his head and grinned like a crocodile, from ear to ear, all mouth and teeth. You may depend, I warn’t long in Marsailles arter that. I cut stick and off, hot foot for the channel, without stopping to water the horses or liquor the drivers, for fear Eyetaliano would walk into my ribs with his stiletto, for he was as savage as a white bear afore breakfast. Yes, our courts move too slow. It was that ruinated Expected Thorne. The first time he was taken up and sent to jail, he was as innocent as a child, but they kept him there so long afore his trial, it broke his spirits, and broke his pride,—and he came out as wicked as a devil. The great secret is speedy justice. We have too much machinery in our courts, and I don’t see but what we prize juries beyond their rael valy. One half the time with us they don’t onderstand a thing, and the other half they are prejudiced. True, said I, but they are a great safeguard to liberty, and indeed the only one in all cases between the government and the people. The executive can never tyrannize where they cannot convict, and juries never lend themselves to oppression. Tho’ a corrupt minister may appoint corrupt judges, he can never corrupt a whole people. Well, said he, far be it from me to say they are no use, because I know and feel that they are in sartain cases most invaluable, but I mean to say that they are only a drag on business, and an expensive one too, one half the time. I want no better tribunal to try me or my cases than our supreme judges to Washington, and all I would ax is a resarved right to have a jury when I call for one. That right I never would yield, but that is all I would ax. You can see how the lawyers valy each by the way they talk to ’em. To the court they are as cool cucumbers,—dry argument, sound reasonin’, an application to judgment. To the jury, all fire and tow and declamations,—all to the passions, prejudices, an’ feelin’s. The one they try to convince, they try to do the other. I never heerd tell of judges chalkin’. I know brother Josiah the lawyer thinks so too. Says he to me, once, Sam, says he, they ain’t suited to the times now in all cases, and are only needed occasionally. When juries first come into vogue there were no judges, but the devil of it is when public opinion runs all one way, in this country, you might just as well try to swim up Niagara as to go for to stem it,—it will roll you over and over, and squash you to death at last. You may say what you like here, Sam, but other folks may do what they like here too. Many a man has had a goose’s jacket lined with tar here, that he never bought at the tailor’s, and a tight fit it is too, considerin’ its made without measurin’. So as I’m for Congress some day or another, why, I gist fall to and flatter the people by chimin’ in with them. I get up on a stump, or the top of a whiskey barrel, and talk as big as any on ’em about that birth-right—that sheet anchor, that mainstay, that blessed shield, that glorious institution—the rich man’s terror, the poor man’s hope, the people’s pride, the nation’s glory—Trial by Jury.


Bigby is a charming little town. It is the Brighton of Nova Scotia, the resort of the valetudinarians of New Brunswick, who take refuge here from the unrelenting fogs, hopeless sterility, and calcareous waters of St. John. About as pretty a location this for business, said the Clockmaker, as I know on in this country. Bigby is the only safe harbour from Blowmedown to Briar Island. Then there is that everlastin’ long river runnin’ away up from the wharves here almost across to Minas Basin, bordered with dikes and interval, and backed up by good upland. A nice, dry, pleasant place for a town, with good water, good air, and the best herrin’ fishery in America, but it wants one thing to make it go ahead. And pray what is that? said I, for it appears to me to have every natural advantage that can be desired. It wants to be made a free port, said he. They ought to send a delegate to England about it; but the fact is, they don’t onderstand diplomacy here, nor the English either. They hav’n’t got no talents that way.

I guess we may stump the univarse in that line. Our statesmen, I consait, do onderstand it. They go about so beautifully, tack so well, sail so close by the wind, make so little lee-way, shoot ahead so fast, draw so little water, keep the lead agoin’ constant, and a bright look-out a-head always; it’s very seldom you hear o’ them runnin’ aground, I tell you. Hardly any thing they take in hand they don’t succeed in. How glib they are in the tongue too! how they do lay in the soft sawder? They do rub John Bull down so pretty, it does one good to see ’em: they pat him on the back, and stroke him on the cheek, and coax and wheedle and flatter, till they get him as good-natured as possible. Then they gist get what they like out of him; not a word of a threat to him tho’, for they know it won’t do. Hee’d as soon fight as eat his dinner, and sooner too, but they tickle him, as the boys at Cape Ann sarve the bladder fish. There’s a fish comes ashore there at ebb tide, that the boys catch and tickle, and the more they tickle him the more he fills with wind. Well, he get’s blowed up as full as he can hold, and then they just turn him up and give him a crack across the belly with a stick, and off he goes like a pop-gun, and then all the little critters run hoopin’ and hollowin’ like ravin’ distracted mad—so pleased with foolin’ the old fish.

There are no people in the univarsal world so eloquent as the Americans; they beat the ancients all hollor; and when our diplomatists go for to talk it into the British, they do it so pretty, it’s a sight to behold. Descended, they say, from a common stock, havin’ one common language, and a community of interests, they cannot but hope for justice from a power distinguished alike for its honour and its generosity. Indebted to them for the spirit of liberty they enjoy,—for their laws, literature, and religion,—they feel more like allies than aliens, and more like relatives than either. Though unfortunate occurrences may have drawn them asunder, with that frankness and generosity peculiar to a brave and generous people, both nations have now forgotten and forgiven the past, and it is the duty and interest of each to cultivate these amicable relations, now so happily existing, and to draw closer those bonds which unite two people essentially the same in habits and feelings. Though years have rolled by since they left the paternal roof, and the ocean divides them, yet they cannot but look back at the home beyond the waters with a grateful remembrance—with veneration and respect.

Now that’s what I call dictionary, said the Clockmaker. It’s splendid penmanship, ain’t it? When John Adams was minister at the Court of St. Jimes’s, how his weak eye would have sarved him autterin’ off this galbanum, wouldn’t it? He’d turn round to hide emotion, draw forth his handkerchief and wipe off a manly tear of genuwine feelin’. It is easy enough to stand a woman’s tears, for they weep like children, everlastin’ sun showers; they cry as bad as if they used a chesnut burr for an eyestone; but to see the tear drawn from the starn natur’ of man, startin’ at the biddin’ of generous feelin’, there’s no standin’ that. Oh dear! how John Bull swallers this soft sawder, don’t he? I think I see him astandin’ with his hands in his trousers-pockets, alookin’ as big as all out-doors, and as sour as cider sot out in the sun for vinegar. At first he looks suspicious and sulky, and then one hauty frown relaxes, and then another, and so on, till all starnness is gone, and his whole face wears one great benevolent expression, like a full moon, till you can eye him without winkin’, and lookin’ about as intelligent all the time as a skim-milk cheese. Arter his stare is gone, a kind o’ look comes over his face as if he thought, Well, now, this d——d Yankey sees his error at last, and no mistake; that comes o’ that good lickin’ I give him last war: there’s nothin’ like fightin’ things out. The critter seems humble enough now tho’; give me your fist, Jonathan, my boy, says he; don’t look so cussed dismal: what is it?

Oh, nothin’, says our diplomatist; a mere trifle, and he tries to look as onconcarned as possible all the time; nothin’ but what your sense of justice, for which you are always distinguished, will grant; a little strip of land, half fog half bog, atween the State of Maine and New Brunswick; it’s nothin’ but wood, water, and snakes, and no bigger than Scotland. Take it, and say no more about it, says John; I hope it will be accepted as a proof of my regard. I don’t think nothin’ of half a colony. And then when our chap gets home to the President, doesn’t he say, as Expected Thorne did of the Bluenose jury, “Didn’t I do him pretty? cuss him, that’s all.

Then he takes Mount-Sheer on another tack. He desires to express the gratitude of a free and enlightened people to the French,—their first ally, their dearest friend,—for enablin’ them under Providence, to lay the foundation-stone of their country. They never can forget how kindly, how disinterestedly, they stept in to aid their infant struggles,—to assist them to resist the unnatural tyranny of England, who, while affectin’ to protect liberty abroad, was enslavin’ her children to home. Nothin’ but the purest feelin’, unalloyed by any jealousy of England, dictated that step; it emanated from a virtuous indignation at seein’ the strong oppress the weak,—from a love of constitutional freedom,—from pure philanthropy. How deeply is seated in American breasts a veneration of the French character! how they admire their sincerity; their good faith; their stability! Well may they be called the Grand Nation! Religious, not bigoted; brave, not rash; dignified, not volatile; great, yet not vain! Magnanimous in success,—cheerful and resolved under reverses,—they form the beau ideal to American youth, who are taught in their first lessons, to emulate, and imitate, and venerate the virtues of their character! Don’t it run off the tongue like oil? Soft and slick, ain’t it pretty talk?

Lord! how Mount-Sheer skips, and hops, and bows, and smirks, when he hears that are, don’t he? How he claps his hand upon his heart, and makes faces like a monkey that’s got a pain in his side from swallowin’ a nut without crackin’ it. With all other folks, but these great powers, it’s a very different tune they sing. They make short metre with them little powers; they never take the trouble to talk much; they gist make their demands, and ax them for their answer, right off the reel. If they say, let us hear your reasons,—Oh, by all means, says our diplomatist, just come along with me; and he takes the minister under his arm, walks lock and lock with him down to the harbour, claps him aboard a barge, and rows him off to one of our little hundred-gun sloops of war. Pretty little sloop o’ war, that of ourn, I reckon, ain’t it? says he. Oh! very pretty, very pretty indeed, says foreigner; but if that be your little sloop, what must be your great big men o’ war? That’s just what I was agoin’ for to say, says Jonathan,—a Leviathan, a Mammoth, blow all creation to atoms a’most, like a hurricane tipt with lightning, and then he looks up to the captain and nods. Says he, Captain, I guess you may run out your guns, and he runs them out as quick as wink. These are my reasons, says Jonathan, and pretty strong arguments, too, I guess; that’s what I call showin’ our teeth; and now you, mister, with a d——n hard name, your answer, if you please. You don’t understand us, I see, foreigner; we got chaps in our country that can stand on one side of the Mississippi, and kill a racoon on t’other side with a sneeze,—rigular ring-tail roarers; don’t provoke us; it wouldn’t be over safe, I assure you. We can out talk thunder, outrun a flash of lightnin’, and outreach all the world—we can whip our weight of wild-cats. The British can lick all the world, and we can lick the British. I believe, I believe, says he, and he claps his name to the treaty in no time. We made these second-class gentry shell out a considerable of cash, these few years past, on one excuse or another, and frightened some on them, as the naked statue did the factory gall, into fits a’most. But the English we have to soft sawder, for they’ve got little sloops o’ war, too, as well as we have; and not only show their teeth, but bite like bull-dogs. We shampoo them,—you know what shampooing is, squire, don’t you? It is an Eastern custom, I think, said I: I have heard of it, but I do not retain a very distinct recollection of the practice. Well, said the Clockmaker, I estimate I ought to know what it means any how; for I came plaguy nigh losin’ my life by it once. When I was gist twenty years old, I took it into my head I’d like to go to sea,—so father got me a berth of supercargo of a whaler at New Bedford, and away we went arter sperm: an amazin’ long voyage we had of it too—gone nearly three years. Well, we put into Sandwich Island for refreshments; and says the captain, ‘Spose we go and call on the queen! So all us cabin party went and dressed ourselves up full fig, and were introduced in due form to the young queen. Well, she was a rael, right down, pretty lookin’ heifer, and no mistake; well dressed and well demeaned, and a plaguy sight clearer skin’d than some white folks—for they bathe every day a’most. Where you’d see one piece of furniture better than her, you’ll see fifty worser ones, I know.

What is your father, Mr. Shleek? says she. A prince, marm, said I. And his’n, ugly man’s? says she pintin’ to the captain. A prince too, said I, and all this party are princes; fathers all sovereigns to home—no bigger men than them, neither there nor any where else in the univarsal world. Then, said she, you all dine wid me to-day; me proud to have de prinches to my table.

If she didn’t give us a rigular blow-out, it’s a pity, and the whole on us were more than half-seas over; for my part, the hot mulled wine actilly made me feel like a prince, and what put me in tip-top spirits was the idee of the hoax I played off on her about our bein’ princes; and then my rosy cheeks and youth pleased her fancy, so that she was oncommon civil to me—talked to no one else a’most. Well, when we rose from table, (for she stayed there till the wine made her eyes twinkle ag’in,) prince Shleek, said she, atakin’ o’ my hand, and puttin’ her saucy little mug close up to me, (and she raelly did look pretty, all smiles and sweetness,) Prince Shleek, will you have one shampoo? said she. A shampoo? said I; to be sure I will, and thank you too; you are gist the gall I’d like to shampoo, and I clapt my arms round her neck, and gave her a buss that made all ring ag’in. What the devil are you at? said the captain, and he seized me round the waist and lugged me off. Do you want to lose your head, you fool, you? said he; you’ve carried this joke too far already, without this rompin’—go aboard. It was lucky for me she had a wee drop in her eye, herself—for arter the first scream, she larfed ready to split: says she, No kissy, no kissy—shampoo is shampoo; but kissy is anoder ting. The noise brought the sarvants in, and says the queen, p’inting to me, “shampoo him”—and they up with me, and into another room, and before I could say Jack Robinson, off went my clothes, and I was gettin’ shampoo’d in airnest. It is done by a gentle pressure, and rubbin’ all over the body with the hand; it is delightful—that’s a fact, and I was soon asleep.

I was pretty well corned that arternoon, but still I knew what I was about; and recollected when I awoke the whisper of the captain at partin’—“Mind your eye, Slick, if ever you want to see Cape Cod ag’in.” So, airly next mornin’, while it was quite moony yet, I went aboard, and the captain soon put to sea, but not before there came a boat-load of pigs and two bullocks off to “Prince Shleek.” So our diplomatists shampoo the English, and put ’em to sleep. How beautiful they shampoo’d them in the fishery story! It was agreed we was to fish within three leagues of the coast; but then, says Jonathan, wood and water, you know, and shelter, when it blows like great guns, are rights of hospitality. You wouldn’t refuse us a port in a storm, would you? so noble, so humane, so liberal, so confidin’ as you be. Certainly not, says John Bull; it would be inhuman to refuse either shelter, wood, or water. Well then, if there was are a snug little cove not settled, disarted like, would you have any objection to our dryin’ our fish there?—they might spile, you know, so far from home—a little act of kindness like that would bind us to you for ever, and ever, and amen. Certainly, says John, it’s very reasonable that—you are perfectly welcome—happy to oblige you. It was all we wanted an excuse for enterin’, and now we are in and out when we please, and smuggle like all vengeance: got the whole trade and the whole fishery. It was splendidly done, warn’t it?

Well, then, we did manage the boundary line capitally too. We know we hav’n’t got no title to that land—it wasn’t given to us by the treaty, and it warn’t in our possession when we declared independence or made peace. But our maxim is, it is better to get things by treaty than by war; it is more Christian-like, and more intellectual. To gain that land, we asked the navigation of the St. Lawrence and the St. John, which we knew would never be granted; but then it gave us somethin’ to concede on our part, and brag on as liberal, and it is nateral and right for the English to concede on their side somethin’ too—so they will concede the disputed territory.

Ah, squire, said he, your countrymen may have a good heart, and I believe they have; indeed, it would be strange if a full puss didn’t make a full heart; but they have a most plaguy poor head, that’s a fact. This was rather too bad. To be first imposed upon and then ridiculed, was paying rather too heavy a penalty for either negligence or ignorance. There was unhappily too much truth in the remark for me to join in the laugh. If your diplomatists, said I, have in one or two instances been successful by departing from the plain intelligible path, and resorting to flattery and cunning, (arts in which I regret to say diplomatists of all nations are but too apt to indulge,) it is a course which carries its own cure; and, by raising suspicion and distrust, will hereafter impose difficulties in their way even when their objects are legitimate and just. I should have thought that the lesson read on a celebrated occasion (which you doubtless remember) by Mr. Canning, would have dictated the necessity of caution for the future. Recollect that confidence once withdrawn is seldom restored again. You have, however, omitted to state your policy with Russia. Oh! said he, Old Nick in the North is sarved in the same way.

Excuse me, said I, (for I felt piqued,) but if you will permit me I will suggest some observations to you relative to Russia that may not have occurred to you. Your diplomatists might address the Emperor thus: May it please your Majesty, there is an astonishing resemblance between our two countries; in fact there is little or no difference except in name,—the same cast of countenance, same family-likeness same Tartar propensity to change abode. All extremes meet. You take off folk’s heads without law, so do our mobs. You send fellows to Siberia, our mobs send them to the devil. No power on airth can restrain you, no power on airth can restrain our mobs. You make laws and break ’em as suits your convenience, so do our lynchers. You don’t allow any one to sport opinions you don’t hold, or you stifle them and their opinions too. It’s just so with us; our folks forbid all talking about niggers; and if a man forgets himself, he is reminded of it by his head supporting his body instead of his heels. You have got a liquorish mouth for fartile lands beyond your borders, so have we; and yet both have got more land than tenants. You foment troubles among your neighbours, and then step in to keep the peace, and hold possession when you get there, so do we. You are a great slave holder, so are we. Folks accuse you of stealin’ Poland, the same libellin’ villains accuse us of stealin’ Texas, and a desire to have Canada too; and yet the one is as much without foundation as the other. You plant colonies in Tartar lands, and then drive out the owners: we sarve the Indians the same way. You have extarminated some of your enemies, we’ve extarminated some of ourn. Some folks say your empire will split to pieces—it’s too big; the identical same prophecy they make of us, and one is just as likely as the other. Every man in Russia must bow to the pictur’ of his Emperor; every man must bow to the pictur’ of our great nation, and swear through thick and thin he admires it more nor any thing on the face of the airth. Every man in Russia may say what he likes if he dare, so he may in the U-nited States. If foreign newspapers abusin’ Polish matters get into the Russia mail, the mail is broken open and they are taken out: if abolition papers get into the Southern mail, our folks break open the bags and burn ’em, as they did at Charleston. The law institutes no inquiries in your dominions as to your acts of execution, spoliation, and exile; neither is there any inquest with us on similar acts of our mobs. There is no freedom of the press with you, neither is there with us. If a paper offends you, you stop it: if it offends our sovereigns, they break the machinery, gut the house, and throw the types into the street; and if the printer escapes, he may thank God for giving him a good pair of legs. In short, they may say to him—it’s generally allowed the freedom of one country is as like the despotism of the other as two peas—no soul could tell the difference; and therefore there ought to be an actual as there is a natural alliance between us. And then the cunnin’ critters, if they catch him alone where they won’t be overheard, they may soft sawder him, by tellin’ him they never knew before the blessin’ of havin’ only one tyrant instead of a thousand, and that it is an amendment they intend to propose to the constitution when they return home, and hope they’ll yet live to see it. From this specimen, you may easily perceive that it requires no great penetration or ability to deceive even an acute observer whenever recourse is had to imagination for the facts. How far this parallel holds good I leave you to judge; I desire to offer you no offence, but I wish you to understand that all the world are not in love with your republican institutions or your people, and that both are better understood than you seem to suppose. Well, well, says he, I didn’t mean to ryle you, I do assure you; but if you havn’t made a good story out of a Southern mob or two, neither of which are half as bad as your Bristol riot or Irish frays, it’s a pity. Arter all, said he, I don’t know whether it wouldn’t comport more with our dignity to go straight ahead. I believe it is in politics as in other matters, honesty is the best policy.


One amusing trait in the Clockmaker’s character, was his love of contradiction. If you suggested any objection to the American government, he immediately put himself on the defensive; and if hard pressed, extricated himself by changing the topic. At the same time he would seldom allow me to pass a eulogy upon it without affecting to consider the praise as misapplied, and as another instance of “our not understanding them.” In the course of our conversation, I happened to observe that the American government was certainly a very cheap one; and that the economy practised in the expenditure of the public revenue, though in some instances carried so far as to border on meanness, was certainly a very just subject of national pride. Ah, said he, I always said, “you don’t understand us.” Now it happens that that is one of the few things, if you were only availed of it, that you could fault us in. It is about the most costly government in the world, considering our means. We are actilly eat up by it—it is a most plaguy sore, and has spread so like statiee that it has got its root into the very core. Cheap government!—well, come that beats all!!

I should like to know, said I, how you can make that appear, for the salaries paid to your public officers are not only small, but absolutely mean; and, in my opinion, wholly inadequate to procure the services of the best and most efficient men. Well, said he, which costs most, to keep one good horse well, or half a dozen poor ones ill, or to keep ten rael complete good servants, or fifty lazy, idle, do-nothin’ critters? because that’s gist our case,—we have too many of ’em all together. We have twenty-four independent states, beside the general government; we have therefore twenty-five presidents, twenty-five secretaries of state, twenty-five treasurers, twenty-five senates, twenty-five houses of representatives, and fifty attorney generals, and all our legislators are paid, every soul of ’em; and so are our magistrates, for they all take fees and seek the office for pay, so that we have as many paid legislators as soldiers, and as many judges of all sorts and sizes as sailors in our navy. Put all these expenses together, of state government and general government, and see what an awful sum it comes to, and then tell me it’s a cheap government. True, said I, but you have not that enormous item of expenditure known in England under the name of half pay. We have more officers of the navy on half pay than you have in your navy altogether. So much the better for you, says he, for ourn are all on full pay, and when they ain’t employed, we set them down as absent on leave. Which costs the most do you suppose? That comes of not callin’ things by their right names, you see. Our folks know this, but our popularity-seekin’ patriots have all their own interest in multiplying these offices; yes, our folks have put their foot in it, that’s a fact. They cling to it as the baar did to Jack Fogler’s mill-saw; and I guess it will sarve them the same way. Did I never tell you that are story? for I’m most afeard sometimes I’ve got father’s fashion of tellin’ my stories over twice. No, said I, it’s new to me; I have never heard it. Well, says he, I will tell you how it was.

Jack Fogler lives to Nictau-road, and he keeps a saw-mill and tavern; he’s a sneezer that feller; he’s near hand to seven feet high, with shoulders as broad as a barn-door; he is a giant, that’s a fact, and can twitch a mill-log as easy as a yoke of oxen can—nothin’ never stops him. But that’s not all, for I’ve seen a man as big as all out-doors afore him; but he has a foot that beats all—folks call him the man with the foot. The first time I seed him I could not keep my eyes off of it. I actilly could not think of any thing else. Well, says I, Jack, your foot is a whopper, that’s a fact; I never seed the beat of it in all my born days,—it beats Gasper Zwicher’s all holler, and his is so big, folks say he has to haul his trousers on over his head. Yes, says he, lawyer Yule says it passes all understandin’. Well, he has a darter most as big as he is, but for all that she is near about as pretty a gall as I ever laid eyes on, but she has her father’s foot; and, poor thing, she can’t bear to hear tell of it. I mind once when I came there, there was no one to home, and I had to see to old Clay myself; and arter I had done, I went in and sot down by the fire, and lighted a cigar. Arter a while, in come Lucy, lookin’ pretty tired. Why, said I, Lucy, dear, where on airth have you been? you look pretty well beat out. Why, says she, the bears are plaguy thick this while past, and have killed some of our sheep, so I went to the woods to drive the flock home ag’in night-fall, and fogs! I lost my way. I’ve been gone ever so long, and I don’t know as I’d ever afound my way out ag’in, if I hadn’t a met Bill Zink alookin’ up his sheep, and he showed me the way out.

Thinks I to myself, let the galls alone for an excuse; I see how the cat jumps. Well, says I, Lucy, you are about the luckiest gall I ever seed. Possible, says she;—how’s that? Why, says I, many’s the gall I’ve known that’s lost her way with a sweetheart afore now, and got on the wrong track; but you’re the first one ever I seed that got put on the right way by one, any how. Well, she larfed, and says she, you men always suspect evil; it shows how bad you must be yourselves. Perhaps it may be so, says I, but mind your eye, and take care you don’t put your foot in it. She looked at me the matter of a minnit or so without sayin’ a word, and then burst out acryin’. She said, if she had such an awful big foot, it warn’t her fault, and it was very onkind to larf at it to her face—that way. Well, I felt proper sorry too, you may depend, for I vow she was so oncommon handsom’ I had never noticed that big foot of hern till then. I had hardly got her pacified when in come Jack, with two halves of a bear, and threw ’em down on the floor, and larfed ready to kill himself. I never seed the beat o’ that, said he, since I was raised from a seedlin’. I never see a feller so taken in all my life—that’s a fact. Why, says I, what is it? It was some time afore he could speak ag’in for larfin’—for Jack was considerable in the wind, pretty nearly half shaved. At last, says he, you know my failin’, Mr. Slick; I like a drop of grog better than it likes me. Well, when the last rain came, and the brook was pretty considerable full, I kag’d for a month, (that is, said the Clockmaker, he had taken an oath to abstain from drawing liquor from the keg—they calls it kaggin’,) and my kag was out to-day at twelve o’clock. Well, I had just got a log on the ways when the sun was on the twelve o’clock line, so I stops the mill and takes out my dinner, and sets it down on the log, and then runs up to the house to draw off a bottle of rum. When I returned, and was just about to enter the mill, what should I see but that are bear a sittin’ on the pine stick in the mill aetin’ of my dinner, so I gist backs out, takes a good swig out of the bottle, and lays it down to run off home for the gun, when, says I to myself, says I, he’ll make a plaguy sight shorter work of that are dinner than I would, and when he’s done he’ll not wait to wipe his mouth with the towel neither. May be he’ll be gone afore I gets back, so I gist crawls under the mill—pokes up a stick through the j’ice and starts the plug, and sets the mill agoin’. Well the motion was so easy, and he was so busy, he never moves, and arter a little the saw just gives him a scratch on the back; well, he growls and shoves forward abit on his rump; presently it gives him another scratch, with that he wheels short round and lays right hold of it, and gives it a most devil of a hug with his paws, and afore he knowed what he was about it pinned him down and sawed him right in two, he squelin’ and kickin’ and singin’ out like a good feller the whole blessed time. Thinks I, he put his foot in it that feller, any how.

Yes, our folks have put their foot in it; a cheap article ain’t always the best; if you want a rael right down first chop, genuwine thing, you must pay for it. Talent and integrity ain’t such common things any where, that they are to be had for half nothin’. A man that has them two things can go a-head any where, and if you want him to give up his own consarns to see arter those of the public, and don’t give him the fair market price for ’em, he is plaguy apt to put his integrity in his pocket, and put his talents to usury. What he loses one way he makes up another: if he can’t get it out of his pay, he takes it out of parquesits, jobs, patronage, or somethin’ or another. Folks won’t sarve the public for nothin’ no more than they will each other free-gratis. An honest man won’t take office, if it won’t support him properly, but a dishonest one will, ‘cause he won’t stand about trifles, but goes the whole figur’—and where you have a good many critters, as public sarvants—why, a little slip of the pen or trip of the foot, ain’t thought nothin’ of, and the tone of public feelin’ is lowered, till at last folks judge of a man’s dishonesty by the ‘cuteness of it. If the slight-o-hand ain’t well done, they say, when he is detected, he is a fool—cuss him, it sarves him right; but if it is done so slick that you can hardly see it even when it’s done afore your eyes, people say, a fine bold stroke that—splendid business talent, that man—considerable powers—a risin’ character—eend by bein’ a great man in the long run.

You recollect the story of the quaker and his insurance, don’t you? He had a vessel to sea that he hadn’t heerd of for a considerable time, and he was most plaguyly afeerd she had gone for it; so he sent an order to his broker to insure her. Well, next day he larnt for sartain that she was lost, so what does he do but writes to his broker as if he meant to save the premium by recallin’ the order: If thee hast not insured, thee need’st not do it, esteemed friend, for I have heerd of the vessel. The broker, thinkin’ it would be all clear gain, falls right into the trap; tells him his letter came too late, for he had effected the insurance half an hour afore it arrived. Verily, I am sorry for thee, friend, said the quaker, if that be the case, for a heavy loss will fall on thee; of a sartainty I have heerd of the vessel, but she is lost. Now that was what I call handsom’; it showed great talents that, and a knowledge of human natur’ and soft sawder.

I thought, said I, that your annual parliaments, universal suffrage, and system of rotation of office, had a tendency to prevent corruption, by removing the means and the opportunity to any extent. Well, it would, perhaps, to a certain point, said the Clockmaker, if you knew where that point was, and could stop there; but wherever it is, I am afeerd we have passed it. Annual parliaments bring in so many raw hands every year, that they are gist like pawns in the game of chess, only fit for tools to move about and count while the game is played by the bigger ones. They get so puzzled—the critters, with the forms o’ the house, that they put me in mind of a feller standin’ up for the first time in a quadrille. One tells him to cross over here, and afore he gets there another calls him back ag’in; one pushes him to the right and another to the left; he runs ag’in every body, and every body runs ag’in him; he treads on the heels of the galls and takes their skin and their shoes off, and they tread on his toes, and return the compliment to his corns; he is no good in natur’, except to bother folks and put them out. The old hands that have been there afore, and cut their eye-teeth, know how to bam these critters, and make ’em believe the moon is made of green cheese. That gives great power to the master movers, and they are enabled to spikelate handsum in land stock, bank stock, or any other corperate stock, for they can raise or depress the article gist as they please by legislative action.

There was a grand legislative speck made not long since, called the preemption speck. A law was passed, that all who had settled on government lands without title, should have a right of preemption at a very reduced price, below common upset sum, if application was made on a particular day. The jobbers watched the law very sharp, and the moment it passed, off they sot with their gangs of men and a magistrate, camped out all night on the wild land, made the affidavits of settlement, and run on till they went over a’most—a deuce of a tract of country, that was all picked out aforehand for them; then returned their affidavits to the office, got the land at preemption rate, and turned right round and sold it at market price—pocketed the difference—and netted a most handsum thing by the spec.

Them pet banks was another splendid affair; it deluged the land with corruption that,—it was too bad to think on. When the government is in the many, as with us, and rotation of office is the order of the day, there is a nateral tendency to multiply offices, so that every one can get his share of ’em, and it increases expenses, breeds office-seekers, and corrupts the whole mass. It is in politics as in farmin’,—one large farm is worked at much less expense and much greater profit, and is better in many ways than half a dozen small ones; and the head farmer is a more ‘sponsible man, and better to do in the world, and has more influence than the small fry. Things are better done too on his farm—the tools are better, the teams are better, and the crops are better: it’s better altogether. Our first-rate men ain’t in politics with us. It don’t pay ’em, and they won’t go thro’ the mill for it. Our principle is to consider all public men rogues, and to watch ’em well that they keep straight. Well, I ain’t gist altogether certified that this don’t help to make ’em rogues; where there is no confidence, there can be no honesty; locks and keys are good things, but if you can’t never trust a sarvant with a key, he don’t think the better of his master for all his suspicions, and is plaguy apt to get a key of his own. Then they do get such a drill thro’ the press, that no man who thinks any great shakes of himself can stand it. A feller must have a hide as thick as a bull’s to bear all the lashing our public men get the whole blessed time, and if he can bear it without winkin’, it’s more perhaps than his family can. There’s nothin’ in office that’s worth it. So our best men ain’t in office—they can’t submit to it.

I knew a judge of the state court of New York, a first chop man too, give it up, and take the office of clerk in the identical same court. He said he couldn’t afford to be a judge; it was only them who couldn’t make a livin’ by their practice that it would suit. No, squire, it would be a long story to go through the whole thing; but we ain’t the cheapest government in the world—that’s a fact. When you come to visit us and go deep into the matter, and see gineral government and state government, and local taxes and gineral taxes, although the items are small, the sum total is a’most a swingin’ large one, I tell you. You take a shop account and read it over. Well, the thing appears reasonable enough, and cheap enough; but if you have been arunnin’ in and out pretty often, and goin’ the whole figur’, add it up to the bottom, and if it don’t make you stare and look corner ways, it’s a pity.

What made me first of all think o’ these things, was seein’ how they got on in the colonies; why, the critters don’t pay no taxes at all a’most—they actilly don’t desarve the name o’ taxes. They don’t know how well they’re off, that’s sartain. I mind when I used to be agrumblin’ to home when I was a boy about knee-high to a goose or so, father used to say, Sam, if you want to know how to valy home, you should go abroad for a while among strangers. It ain’t all gold that glitters, my boy. You’d soon find out what a nice home you’ve got; for mind what I tell you, home is home, however homely—that’s a fact. These blue-noses ought to be gist sent away from home a little while; if they were, when they returned, I guess, they’d larn how to valy their location. It’s a lawful colony this,—things do go on rig’lar,—a feller can rely on law here to defend his property, he needn’t do as I seed a squatter to Ohio do once. I had stopt at his house one day to bait my horse; and in the course of conversation about matters and things in gineral, says I, What’s your title? is it from government, or purchased from settlers?—I’ll tell you, Mr. Slick, he says, what my title is,—and he went in and took his rifle down, and brought it to the door. Do you see that are hen, said he, with the top-knot on, afeedin’ by the fence there? Yes, says I, I do.—Well, says he, see that; and he put a ball right through the head of it. That, said he, I reckon, is my title; and that’s the way I’ll sarve any tarnation scoundrel that goes for to meddle with it. Says I, if that’s your title, depend on’t you won’t have many fellers troublin’ you with claims. I rather guess not, said he, larfin’; and the lawyers won’t be over forrard to buy such claims on spekilation,—and he wiped his rifle, reloaded her, and hung her up ag’in. There’s nothin’ of that kind here.

But as touchin’ the matter o’ cheap government, why it’s as well as not for our folks to hold out that ourn is so; but the truth is, atween you and me, though I wouldn’t like you to let on to any one I said so, the truth is, somehow or other, we’ve put our foot in it—that’s a fact.


When we have taken our tower, said the Clockmaker, I estimate I will return to the U-nited States for good and all. You had ought to visit our great nation, you may depend; it’s the most splendid location atween the poles. History can’t show nothin’ like it; you might bile all creation down to an essence, and not get such a concrete as New England. It’s a sight to behold twelve millions of free and enlightened citizens, and I guess we shall have all these provinces, and all South America. There is no eend to us; old Rome that folks make such a touss about, was nothin’ to us—it warn’t fit to hold a candle to our federal government,—that’s a fact. I intend, said I, to do so before I go to Europe, and may perhaps avail myself of your kind offer to accompany me. Is an Englishman well received in your country now? Well, he is now, said Mr. Slick; the last war did that; we licked the British into a respect for us; and if it warn’t that they are so plaguy jealous of our factories, and so invyous of our freedom, I guess we should be considerable sociable, but they can’t stomach our glorious institutions no how. They don’t understand us. Father and our Minister used to have great arguments about the British. Father hated them like pyson, as most of our revolutionary heroes did; but minister used to stand up for ’em considerable stiff.

I mind one evenin’ arter hay harvest, father said to me, Sam, said he, ‘spose we go down and see minister; I guess he’s a little miffey with me, for I brought him up all standin’ t’other night by sayin’ the English were a damned overbearin’ tyrannical race, and he hadn’t another word to say. When you make use of such language as that are, Colonel Slick, said he, there’s an eend of all conversation. I allow it is very disrespectful to swear afore a minister, and very onhandsum to do so at all, and I don’t approbate suck talk at no rate. So we will drop the subject if you please. Well, I got pretty grumpy too, and we parted in a huff. I think myself, says father, it warn’t pretty to swear afore him; for, Sam, if there is a good man agoin’ it is minister,—that’s a fact. But, Sam, says he, we military men,—and he straightened himself up considerable stiff, and pulled up his collar, and looked as fierce as a lion,—we military men, says he, have a habit of rappin’ out an oath now and then. Very few of our heroes didn’t swear; I recollect that tarnation fire-eeter, Gineral Gates, when he was in our sarvice, ordered me once to attack a British outpost, and I didn’t much more than half like it. Gineral, says I, there’s a plaguy stone wall there, and the British have lined it, I guess; and I’m athinkin’ it ain’t altogether gist safe to go too near it. D—m—n,—Captain Slick, says he,—(I was gist made a captain then)—d—m—n, Captain Slick, says he, ain’t there two sides to a stone wall? Don’t let me hear the like ag’in from you, said he, Captain, or I hope I may be tetotally and effectually d—d if I don’t break you—! I will, by gosh! He warn’t a man to be trifled with, you may depend; so I drew up my company, and made at the wall double quick, expectin’ every minit would be our last.

Gist as we got near the fence, I heerd a scrablin’ and a scuddin’ behind it, and I said, now, says I, for’ard my boys, for your lives! hot foot, and down onder the fence on your bellies! and then we shall be as safe as they be, and p’rhaps we can loophole ’em. Well, we gist hit it, and got there without a shot, and down on our faces as flat as flounders. Presently we heerd the British run for dear life, and take right back across the road, full split. Now, says I, my hearties, up and let drive at ’em, right over the wall! Well, we got on our knees, and cocked our guns, so as to have all ready, and then we jump’d up an eend; and seein’ nothin’ but a great cloud o’ dust, we fired right into it, and down we heerd ’em tumble; and when the dust cleared off, we saw the matter of twenty white breeches turned up to us sprawlin’ on the ground. Gist at that moment we heerd three cheers from the inemy at the fort, and a great shout of larfin’ from our army too; they haw-hawed like thunder. Well, says I, as soon as I could see, if that don’t bang the bush. I’ll be darn’d if it ain’t a flock of sheep belongin’ to Elder Solomon Longstaff, arter all,—and if we ain’t killed the matter of a score of ’em too, as dead as mutton; that’s a fact. Well, we returned considerable down in the mouth, and says the gineral, captain, says he, I guess you made the enemy look pretty sheepish, didn’t you? Well, if the officers didn’t larf, it’s a pity; and says a Varginy officer that was there, in a sort of half whisper, that wall was well lined, you may depend; sheep on one side and asses on the other! Says I, stranger you had better not say that are ag’in, or I’ll——Gintlemen, says the general, resarve your heat for the inemy; no quarrels among ourselves—and he rode off, havin’ first whispered in my ear, Do you hear, captain, d—n you! there are two sides to a wall. Yes, says I, gineral, and two sides to a story too. And don’t for gracious’ sake, say any more about it. Yes, we military men all swear a few,—it’s the practice of the camp, and seems kinder nateral. But I’ll go and make friends with minister.

Well, we walked down to Mr. Hopewell’s, and we found him in a little summer house, all covered over with honeysuckle, as busy as you please with a book he was astudyin’, and as soon as he seed us, he laid it down, and came out to meet us. Colonel Slick, says he, I owe you an apology, I believe; I consait I spoke too abrupt to you t’other evenin’. I ought to have made some allowance for the ardour of one of our military heroes. Well, it took father all aback that, for he know’d it was him that was to blame, and not minister, so he began to say that it was him that ought to ax pardon; but minister wouldn’t hear a word,—(he was all humility was minister—he had no more pride than a babe,)—and says he, Come, colonel, walk in and sit down here, and we will see if we cannot muster a bottle of cider for you, for I take this visit very kind of you. Well, he brought out the cider, and we sot down quite sociable like. Now, says he, colonel, what news have you.

Well, says father, neighbour Dearbourn tells me that he heerd from excellent authority that he can’t doubt, when he was to England, that King George the Third has been dead these two years; but his ministers darsen’t let the people know it, for fear of a revolution; so they have given out that he took the loss of these States so much to heart, and fretted and carried on so about it, that he ain’t able to do business no more, and that they are obliged to keep him included. They say the people want to have a government gist like ourn, but the lords and great folks won’t let ’em,—and that if a poor man lays by a few dollars, the nobles send and take it right away, for fear they should buy powder and shot with it. It’s awful to think on, ain’t it? I allow the British are about the most enslaved, oppressed, ignorant, and miserable folks on the face of creation.

You musn’t believe all you hear, said minister; depend upon it, there ain’t a word of truth in it. I have been a good deal in England, and I do assure you, they are as free as we be, and a most plaguy sight richer, stronger, and wiser. Their government convenes them better than ourn would, and I must say there be some things in it I like better than ourn too. Now, says he, colonel, I’ll pint out to you where they have a’most an amazin’ advantage over us here in America. First of all, there is the King on his throne, an hereditary King,—a born King,—the head of his people, and not the head of a party; not supported, right or wrong, by one side because they chose him,—nor hated and opposed, right or wrong, by t’other because they don’t vote for him; but loved and supported by all because he is their King; and regarded by all with a feelin’ we don’t know nothin’ of in our country,—a feelin’ of loyalty. Yes, says father, and they don’t care whether it’s a man, woman, or child; the ignorant, benighted critters. They are considerable sure, says minister, he ain’t a rogue, at any rate.

Well, the next link in the chain——(Chains enough, poor wretches! says father; but it’s good enough for ’em tho’, I guess)—Well, the next link in the chain is the nobility, independent of the crown on one side, and the people on the other; a body distinguished for its wealth,—its larnin’,—its munificence,—its high honour,—and all the great and good qualities that ennoble the human heart. Yes, says father, and yet they can sally out o’ their castles, seize travellers, and rob ’em of all they have; hav’n’t they got the whole country enslaved?—the debauched, profligate, effeminate, tyrannical gang as they be;—and see what mean offices they fill about the King’s parson. They put me in mind of my son Eldad when he went to larn the doctors’ trade,—they took him the first winter to the dissectin’ room. So in the spring, says I, Eldad, says I, how do you get on? Why, says he, father, I’ve only had my first lesson yet. What is that? says I. Why, says he, when the doctors are dissectin’ of a carcase of cold meat, (for that’s the name a subject goes by,) I have to stand by ’em and keep my hands clean, to wipe their noses, give ’em snuff, and light cigars for ’em;—and the snuff sets ’em a sneezin’ so, I have to be a wipin’ of their noses everlastin’ly. It’s a dirty business, that’s a fact;—but dissectin’ is a dirty affair, I guess, altogether. Well, by all accounts the nobility fill offices as mean as the doctors’ apprentices do the first winter.

I tell you, these are mere lies, says minister, got up here by a party to influence us ag’in the British. Well, well! said father, go on, and he threw one leg over the other, tilted back in his chair, folded his arms over his breast, and looked as detarmined as if he thought—now you may gist talk till you are hoarse, if you like, but you won’t convince me, I can tell you. Then there is an Established Church, containin’ a body o’ men distinguished for their piety and larnin’, uniform practice, Christian lives, and consistent conduct: gist a beach that keeps off the assaults of the waves o’ infidelity and enthusiasm from the Christian harbour within—the great bulwark and breakwater that protects and shelters Protestantism in the world. Oh dear, oh dear! said father, and he looked over to me, quite streaked, as much as to say, Now, Sam, do only hear the nonsense that are old critter is atalkin’ of: ain’t it horrid? Then there is the gentry, and a fine, honourable, manly, hospitable, independent race they be; all on ’em suns in their little spheres, illuminatin’, warmin’, and cheerin’ all within their reach. Old families, attached to all around them, and all attached to them, both them and the people recollectin’ that there have been twenty generations of ’em kind landlords, good neighbours, liberal patrons, indulgent masters; or if any of ’em went abroad, heroes by field and by flood. Yes, says father, and they carried back somethin’ to brag on from Bunker’s Hill, I guess, didn’t they? We spoilt the pretty faces of some of their landlords, that hitch, any how—ay, and their tenants too; hang me if we didn’t. When I was at Bun——’

Then there is the professional men, rich marchants, and opulent factorists, all so many out-works to the king, and all to be beat down afore you can get at the throne. Well, all these blend and mix, and are entwined and interwoven together, and make that great, harmonious, beautiful, social and political machine, the British constitution. The children of nobles ain’t nobles—(I guess not, says father—why should they be? ain’t all men free and equal? read Jefferson’s declara——)—but they have to mix with the commons, and become commoners themselves, and part of the great general mass,—(and enough to pyson the whole mass too, said father, gist yeast enough to farment it, and spile the whole batch). Quite the revarse, says minister; to use a homely simile, it’s like a piece of fat pork thrown into a boilin’ kettle of maple syrup; it checks the bubblin’ and makes the boilin’ subside, and not run over. Well, you see, by the House o’ Lords getting recruits from able commoners, and the commoners gettin’ recruits from the young nobility, by intermarriage—and by the gradual branchin’ off of the young people of both sexes, it becomes the people’s nobility, and the king’s nobility, sympathisin’ with both, but independent of either. That’s gist the difference ‘atween them and foreigners on the Continent; that’s the secret of their power, popularity and strength. The king leans on ’em, and the people leans on ’em—they are the key-stone of the arch. They don’t stand alone, a high cold snowy peak, a’ overlookin’ of the world beneath, and athrowin’ a dark deep shadow o’er the rich and fertile regions below it. They ain’t like the cornish of a room, pretty to look at, but of no airthly use whatever; a thing you could pull away, and leave the room standin’, gist as well without, but they are the pillars of the state—the flooted, and grooved, and carved, and ornamental, but solid pillars—you can’t take away the pillars, or the state comes down—you can’t cut out the flootin’, or groovin’, or carvin’, for it’s in so deep you’d have to cut the pillars away to nothin’ a’most to get it out. Well, says father, arisin’ of his voice till he screamed, have you nothin’, sir, to praise to home, sir? I think you whitewashed that British sepulchre of rottenness and corruption, that House o’ Lords, pretty well, and painted the harlot’s eldest darter, till she looks as flarnty as the old one of Babylon herself; let’s have a touch o’ your brush to home now, will you? You don’t onderstand me yet, Colonel Slick, said he; I want to show you somethin’ in the workin’ o’ the machinery you ain’t thought of, I know. Now, you see, colonel, all these parts I described are checks, we ain’t got,—(and I trust in God we never shall, says father—we want no check—nothin’ can never stop us, but the limits o’ creation,) and we ain’t provised any in their place, and I don’t see what on airth we shall do for these drag-chains on popular opinion. There’s nothin’ here to make it of—nothin’ in the natur’ of things to substitute—nothin’ invented, or capable of the wear-and-tear, if invented, that will be the least morsel of use in the world. Explain what you mean, for gracious sake, says father, for I don’t onderstand one word of what you are asayin’ of: who dares talk of chains to popular opinion of twelve million of free and enlightened citizens? Well, says minister, gist see here, colonel, instead of all these gradations and circles, and what not, they’ve got in England—each havin’ its own principle of action, harmonizin’ with one another, yet essentially independent—we got but one class, one mass, one people. Some natur’ has made a little smarter than others, and some education has distinguished; some are a little richer, some a little poorer—but still we have nothin’ but a mass, a populace, a people; all alike in great essentials, all havin’ the same power, same rights, same privileges, and of course same feelin’s:—call it what you will, it’s a populace, in fact.

Our name is Legion, says father, ajumpin’ up in a great rage. Yes, sir, legion is our name—we have twelve millions of freemen, ready to march to the utmost limits o’ creation, and fight the devil himself if he was there, with all his hosts; and I’m the man to lead ’em, sir; I’m the boy that gist will do it. Rear rank, take open order, right shoulders for’ard—march! And the old man begun to step out as if he was aleadin’ of ’em on their way ag’in old Nick—whistling Yankee-doodle all the time, and lookin’ as fierce as if he could whip his weight in wild cats. Well, says minister, I guess you won’t have to go quite so far to find the devils to fight with as the eend of creation neither; you’ll find them nearer to home than your athinkin’ on some o’ these days, you may depend. But, colonel, our people present one smooth, unbroken surface—do you see?—of the same uniform materials, which is acted on all over alike by one impulse. It’s like a lake. Well, one gust o’ wind sweeps all over it, and puts all in agitation, and makes the waters look angry and dangerous—(and smaller waters makes the ugliest seas always.) Well, as soon as the squall is over, what a’most a beautiful pitchin’ and heavin’ there is for a while, and then down it all comes as calm and as stagnant and tiresome as you please. That’s our case.

There is nothin’ to check popular commotion here, nothing to influence it for good, but much to influence it for evil. There is one tone and one key here; strike the octaves where you like, and when you like, and they all accord.

The press can lash us up to a fury here in two twos any day, because a chord struck at Maine vibrates in Florida, and when once roused, and our dander fairly up, where are the bodies above all this commotion, that can soften, moderate, control, or even influence it? The law, we see, is too feeble; people disregard it; the clergy can’t, for if they dare to disagree with their flocks, their flocks drive ’em out of the pastur’ in little less than half no time; the legislature can’t, for they are parts of the same turbid water themselves; the president can’t, for he is nothin’ but a heap of froth thrown up by conflictin’ eddies at the central point, and floats with the stream that generated him. He has no motion of himself, no locomotive power. It ain’t the drift-log that directs the river to the sea, but the river that carries the drift-log on its back. Now in England, a lyin’, agitatin’, wicked press, demagogues and political jugglers, and them sort o’ cattle, finds a check in the Executive, the great, the larned, the virtuous, the prudent, and the well established nobility, church, and gentry. It can’t deceive them, they are too well informed;—it can’t agitate them, for they don’t act from impulse, but from reason. It can’t overturn ’em, for they are too strong. Nothin’ can move so many different bodies but somethin’ genuwine and good, somethin’ that comes recommended by common sense for the public weal by its intrinsic excellence. Then the clergy bless it, the nobles sanction it, and the king executes it. It’s a well-constructed piece o’ machinery that, colonel, and I hope they won’t go adabblin’ too much with it;—there’s nothin’ like leavin’ all’s well alone.

I’ll suppose a case now:—If the French in Canada were to rebel—as they will, like that priest that walked on crutches till they elected him Pope, and when he got into the chair he up crutches and let ’em fly at the heads of the cardinals, and told ’em to clear out, or he’d kick ’em out—they’ll rebel as soon as they can walk alone, for the British have made ’em a French colony instead of an English one, and then they’ll throw away their crutches. If they do rebel, see if our people don’t go to war, tho’ the government is to peace. They’ll do gist as they please, and nothin’ can stop ’em. What do they care for a President’s proclamation, or a marshal’s advertisements? they’d lynch one, or tar and feather the other of those chaps as quick as wink, if they dared to stand in the way one minit. No; we want the influence of an independent united clergy—of a gentry, of an upper class, of a permanent one too—of a somethin’ or another, in short, we hav’n’t got, and I fear never will get. What little check we had in Washington’s time is now lost; our senate has degenerated into a mere second house of representatives; our legislators are nothin’ but speakin’ trumpets for the mobs outside to yell and howl thro’. The British Government is like its oak; it has its roots spread out far and wide, and is supported and nourished on all sides, besides its tap-roots that run right straight down into the ground—(for all hard-wood trees have tap-roots, you know.) Well, when a popular storm comes, it bends to the blast, do you see? till its fury is spent;—it gets a few leaves shook down, and perhaps a rotten branch or two twisted off; but when the storm is o’er there it is ag’in bolt upright—as straight and as stiff as a poker. But our government is like one of our forest trees—all top and no branches, or downward roots, but a long, slim stalk with a broom-head, fed by a few superficial fibres, the air and the rain; and when the popular gust comes it blows it right over—a great, onwieldy windfall, smashin’ all afore it, and breakin’ itself all up to pieces. It’s too holler and knotty to saw or to split, or to rip, and too shaky to plane, or do anythin’ with—all it’s strength lies in growin’ close alongside of others; but it grows too quick, and too thick to be strong. It has no intrinsic strength:—some folks to England ain’t up to this themselves, and raely talk like fools. They talk as if they were in a republic instead of a limited monarchy. If ever they get upsot, mark my words, colonel, the squall won’t come out of royalty, aristocracy, or prelacy, but out o’ democracy—and a plaguy squally sea democracy is, I tell you; wind gets up in a minit; you can’t show a rag of sail to it, and if you don’t keep a bright look-out, and shorten sail in time, you’re wrecked or swamped afore you know where you be. I’d rather live onder an absolute monarchy any day than in a democracy, for one tyrant is better nor a thousand; oppression is better nor anarchy, and hard law better nor no law at all. Minister, says father, (and he put his hand on his knees, and rose up slowly, till he stretched himself all out,) I have sot here and heerd more abuse of our great nation, and our free and enlightened citizens, from you this ev’nin’, than I ever thought I could have taken from any livin’ soul breathin’; it’s more than I can cleverly swaller, or digest either, I tell you.

Now, sir, says he, and he brought his two heels close together, and taking hold of his coat tail with his left hand, brought his right hand slowly round to it, and then lifted it gradually up as if he was drawin’ out a sword,—and now, sir, said he, makin’ a lunge into the air with his arm,—now, sir, if your were not a clergyman, you should answer it to me with your life—you should, I snore. It’s nothin’ but your cloth protects you, and an old friendship that has subsisted atween us for many years. You revolutionary heroes, colonel, says minister, smilin’, are covered with too much glory to require any aid from private quarrels: put up your sword, colonel, put it up, my good friend, and let us see how the cider is. I have talked so much, my mouth feels considerable rusty about the hinges, I vow. I guess we had, says father, quite mollified by that are little revolutionary hero,—and I will sheath it; and he went thro’ the form of puttin’ a sword into the scabbard, and fetched his two hands together with a click that sounded amazin’ly like the rael thing. Fill your glass, colonel, says minister, fill your glass, and I will give you a toast:—May our government never degenerate into a mob, nor our mobs grow strong enough to become our government.


Since I parted with you, squire, at Windsor, last fall, I’ve been to home. There’s been an awful smash among the banks in the States—they’ve been blowed over, and snapped off, and torn up by the roots like the pines to the southward in a tarnado:—awful work, you may depend. Everything prostrated as flat as if it had been chopped with an axe for the fire; it’s the most dismal sight I ever beheld. Shortly after I left you I got a letter from Mr. Hopewell, a tellin’ of me, there was a storm abrewin’, and advisin’ of me to come home as soon as possible, to see arter my stock in the Slickville bank, for they were carryin’ too much sail, and he was e’en a’most certain it would capsize when the squall struck it. Well, I rode night and day; I nearly killed Old Clay and myself too (I left the old horse to the St. John’s;) but I got there in time, sold out my shares, and gist secured myself, when it failed tetotally,—it won’t pay five cents to the dollar; a total wreck, stock and fluke. Poor old minister, he is nearly used up; he is small potatoes now, and few in a hill. It made me feel quite streaked to see him, for he is a rael good man, a genuwine primitive Christian, and one of the old school. Why, Sam, says he, how do you do, my boy? The sight of you is actilly good for sore eyes. Oh! I am glad to see you once more afore I go, it does me good—it happifies me, it does, I vow—for you always seem kind o’nateral to me. I didn’t think I should ever take any interest in anything ag’in;—but I must have a talk with you—it will do me good—it revives me. And now, Sam, said he, open that are cupboard there, and take the big key off the nail on the right hand side—it’s the key of the cellar; and go the north bin, and bring up a bottle of the old genuwine cider—it will refresh you arter your fatigue; and give me my pipe and tobacco, and we will have a talk as we used to do in old times.

Well, says I, when I returned and uncorked the bottle,—minister, says I, it’s no use in a talkin’,—and I took a heavy pull at the cider—it’s no use a talkin’, but there’s nothing like that among the Blue-noses any how. I believe you might stump the univarse for cider—that caps all—it’s super-excellent—that’s a fact.

I shall stump out of the univarse soon, Sam, said he; I’m e’en a’most done; my body is worn out, and my spirits are none of the best now,—I’m a lone man. The old men are droppin’ off fast into the grave, and the young men are troopin’ off fast to the far West; and Slickville don’t seem the place to me it used to do no more. I’m well stricken in years now; my life stretches over a considerable space of the colony time, and over all our republic: my race is run, my lamp is out, and I am ready to go. I often say, Lord, now lettest thou thy sarvant depart in peace. Next birth-day, if the Lord spares me to see it, I shall be ninety-five years old. Well, says I, minister, you’ve seen great changes in your time, that’s sartain; haven’t we grown cruel fast? There ain’t such a nation as ourn p’rhaps atween the poles, gist at this present time. We are a’most through to the Pacific, and spreadin’ all over this great Continent; and our flag floats over every part of the world. Our free and enlightened people do present a’most a glorious spectacle—that’s a fact. Well, he sot still and said nothin’; but takin’ the pipe out of his mouth, he let go a great long puff of smoke, and then replaced his pipe ag’in, and arter a space, says he, Well, Sam, what of all that? Why, said I, minister, you remind me of Joab Hunter; he whipped every one that darst try him, both in Slickville and its vicinity; and then he sot down and cried like a child, ‘cause folks were afeerd of him, and none on ’em would fight him.

It’s a law of natur’, Sam, said he, that things that grow too fast, and grow too big, go to decay soon. I am afeerd we shall be rotten afore we are ripe. Precosity ain’t a good sign in any thing. A boy that outgrows his strength, is seldom healthy: an old head on young shoulders is plaguy apt to find afore long the shoulders too old and weak for the head. I am too aged a man to be led away by names—too old a bird to be caught by chaff. Tinsel and glitter don’t deceive me into a belief that they are solid, genuine metals. Our eagle, that we chose for our emblem, is a fine bird; and an aspirin’ bird; but he is a bird of prey, Sam,—too fond of blood,—too prone to pounce on the weak and unwary. I don’t like to see him hoverin’ over Texas and Canada so much. Our flag that you talk of is a good flag; but them stripes, are they prophetic or accidental? Are they the stripes of the slaves risin’ up to humble our pride by exhibitin’ our shame on our banner? Or what do they mean? Freedom, what is it? We boast of freedom; tell me what freedom is? Is it havin’ no king and no nobles? Then we are sartainly free. But is that freedom? Is it havin’ no established religion? Then we are free enough, gracious knows. Is it in havin’ no hereditary government, or vigorous executive? Then we are free, beyond all doubt.

Yes, we know what we are atalkin’ about; we are wise in our generation, wiser than the children of light—we are as free as the air of heaven. What that air is, p’rhaps they know who talk of it so flippantly and so glibly; but it may not be so free to all comers as our country is. But what is freedom? My little grandson, little Sammy, (I had him named arter you, Sam,) told me yesterday I was behind the enlightenment of the age; perhaps you, who are ahead of it, will answer me. What is freedom? A colt is free,—he is unrestrained,—he acknowledges no master,—no law, but the law of natur’. A man may get his brains kicked out among wild horses, but still they are free. Is our freedom like that of the wild horse or the wild ass? If not, what is it?—Is it in the right of openly preaching infidelity? Is it in a licentious press? Is it in the outpourings of popular spirits? Is it in the absence of all subordination, or the insufficiency of all legal or moral restraint? I will define it. It is that happy condition of mankind where people are assembled in a community; where there is no government, no law, and no religion, but such as are imposed from day to day by a mob of freemen. That is freedom.

Why, minister, said I, what on airth ails you, to make you talk arter that fashion? If you had abin drinkin’ any of that are old cider, I do think I should have believed it had got into your brain, for it’s pretty considerable stiff that, and tarnation heady. How can you go for to say we have no government, no law, and no religion, when it’s ginerally allowed we are the most free and enlightened people on the face of the airth?—I didn’t say that, Sam; I was definin’ freedom in its general acceptation. We have got a government somewhere, if folks could only find it. When they sarched for it at Texas, they said it was to Canady lines; and when they go to Canady lines to seek it, they say it is gone to the Seminole war; and when they get there, they’ll tell ’em they’ve been lookin’ for it; but it hasn’t arrived yet, and they wish to gracious it would make haste and come, for if it wor there, three thousand Injians couldn’t beat us three years runnin’, and defy us yet. We’ve got law too; and when the judges go on the circuit, the mob holds its courts, and keeps the peace.—Whose commission does the mob hold?—The people’s commission. And whose commission does the supreme judge hold?—The President’s. Which is at the top of the pot then? Can the judges punish the mob?—No; but the mob can punish the judges. Which is the supreme court, then? No; we have law. Yes, said I, and the prophets too; for if you ain’t a prophet of evil, it’s a pity. I fairly felt ryled, for if there is any thing that raises my dander, and puts my Ebenezer up, it is to hear a man say any thing ag’in the glorious institutions of our great, splendid country.

There you go ag’in, said he; you don’t know what you are atalkin’ about; a prophet used to be a person who foretold future events to come. What they be now in Webster’s new dictionary, I don’t know; but I guess they now be those who foretell things arter they happen. I warn’t aprophesyin’—I was speakin’ of things afore my eyes. Your ideas of prophets are about as clear as your ideas of freedom. Yes, we’ve got law, and written law too, as well as written constitutions—(for we despise that onwritten law, the common law of the ignorant British; we despise it as a relic of barbarism, of the age of darkness and fable,)—and as soon as our cases that are tried afore the mob courts are collected and reported by some of our eminent mob orators, these state trials will have great authority. They’ll be quoted to England with great respect, I know; for they’ve got orators of the same breed there too,—the same gentle, mild, Christian-like philanthropists. Pity you hadn’t sported that kind of doctrine, says I, minister, afore our glorious revolution. The British would have made a bishop of you, or a Canter Berry, or whatever they call their Protestant pope. Yes, you might have had the cannon law and the tythe law enforced with the baggonet law. Abusin’ the British don’t help us, Sam. I am not their advocate, but the advocate for law, just and equal law, impartially administered, voluntarily obeyed, and, when infringed, duly enforced. Yes, we have religion, too, from the strict good old platform, through every variety and shade of tinker, mormonite, and mountebank, down to the infidel,—men who preach peace and good will, but who fight and hate each other like the devil. Idolatry like ourn you won’t find even among the heathen. We are image worshippers: we have two images. There’s the golden image, which all men worship here, and the American image. The American image! said I; do tell: what on airth is that? I do believe in my heart, minister, that you have taken leave of your senses. What onder the sun is the American image? An image of perfection, Sam, said he; fine phrenological head—high forehead—noble countenance—intelligent face—limbs Herculean, but well proportioned—graceful attitude—a figure of great elegance and beauty,—the personification of every thing that is great and good,—that is the American image,—that we set up and admire, and every body thinks it is an image of himself. Oh! it is humiliatin’, it is degradin’; but we are all brought up to this idolatry from our cradle: we are taught first to worship gold, and then to idolize ourselves.

Yes, we have a government, have a law, and have a religion,—and a precious government, law, and religion, it is. I was once led to believe we had made a great discovery, and were tryin’ a great experiment in the art of self-government, for the benefit of mankind, as well as ourselves. Oh, delusion of delusions!—It had been tried before and signally failed, and tried on our own ground too, and under our own eyes. We are copies and not originals—base imitators. When he got this far, I seed how it was—he was delirious, poor old gentleman; the sight of me was too much for him; his narves was excited, and he was aravin’; his face was flushed, his eye glared, and looked quite wild-like. It touched me to the heart, for I loved him like a father, and his intellects were of the first order afore old age, like a cloud, had overshadowed ’em. I thought I should have boohooed right out. So, instead of contradictin’ him, I humoured him. Where was it tried, minister? said I; who had the honour afore us? for let us give the credit where it is due. The North American Indians, said he, had tried it afore in all its parts. They had no king, no nobles, no privileged class, no established religion. Their mobs made laws, Lynch law too, for they had burned people before the citizens at Mobile were ever born, or were even thought on, and invaded also other folks’ territory by stealth, and then kept possession. They, too, elected their presidents and other officers, and did all and every thing we do. They, too, had their federal government of independent states, and their congress and solemn lookin’ boastin’ orators. They, too, had their long knives as well as Arkansas folks have, and were as fond of blood. And where are they now? Where is their great experiment?—their great spectacle of a people governin’ themselves? Gone! where ourn will go; gone with the years that are fled, never to return! Oh, Sam, Sam! my heart is sick within me. Where now is our beautiful republic bequeathed to us by Washington, and the sages and heroes of the revolution? Overwhelmed and destroyed by the mighty waters of democracy. Nothin’ is now left but a dreary waste of angry waters, moved and excited by every wind that blows, and agitated by every conflictin’ current, onsafe to navigate, fearful even to look upon.

This is too excitin’ a subject, said I, minister, and admits of great deal bein’ said on both sides. It ain’t worth our while to get warm on it. As for an established church, said I, you know what an hubbub they made in England to get clear of that are. I don’t think we need envy ’em, unless they’ll establish our platform. If they did that, said I, and I looked up and winked, I don’t know as I wouldn’t vote for it myself. Sam, said he, we are goin’ to have an established church; it may be a very good church, and is a great deal better than many we have; but still it ain’t the church of the Pilgrims. What church, said I, minister? Why, said he, the Catholic Church; before long it will be the established church of the United States. Poor old man, only think of his getting such a freak as that are in his head; it was melancholy to hear him talk such nonsense, warn’t it? What makes you think so? said I. Why, said he, Sam, the majority here do everything. The majority voted at first against an establishment; a majority may at last vote for it; the voice of the majority is law. Now the Catholics are fast gainin’ a numerical majority. Don’t you believe census or other tables? I know it, and I could easily correct the errors of the census.

They gain constantly—they gain more by emigration, more by natural increase in proportion to their numbers, more by intermarriages, adoption, and conversion, than the Protestants. With their exclusive views of salvation, and peculiar tenets—as soon as they have the majority this becomes a Catholic country, with a Catholic government, with the Catholic religion established by law. Is this a great change? A greater change has taken place among the British, the Medes, and Persians, of Europe, the nolumus leges mutari people. What then will the natural order and progress of events now in train here not produce? I only speak of this—I don’t dread it; I hope, and trust, and pray that it may be so; not because I think them right, for I don’t, but because they are a Christian church, an old church, a consistent church, and because it is a church, and any sect is better than the substitution of a cold, speculative philosophy for religion, as we see too frequently among us. We are too greedy to be moral, too self-sufficient to be pious, and too independent to be religious. United under one head, and obedient to that head, with the countenance and aid of the whole Catholic world, what can they not achieve? Yes, it is the only cure that time and a kind and merciful Providence has in store for us. We shall be a Catholic country.

Sam, my heart is broken!—my last tie is severed, and I am now descendin’ to the grave full of years and full of sorrows! I have received my dismissal; my elders have waited upon me with the appallin’ information that they have given a call to a Unitarian, and have no further need of my services. My labours, Sam, were not worth having—that’s a fact; I am now old, grey-headed, and infirm, and worn out in the service of my master. It was time for me to retire. Tempus abire tibi est. (I hope you hav’n’t forgot what little Latin you had, Sam.) I don’t blame ’em for that:—but a Unitarian in my pulpit! It has killed me—I cannot survive it; and he cried like a child. I looked on ’em, said he, as my children—I loved ’em as my own—taught ’em their infant prayers—I led ’em to the altar of the Lord, I fed ’em with the bread of life, encouraged ’em when they was right, reproved ’em when they was wrong, and watched over ’em always. Where now is my flock? and what account shall I give of the shepherd? Oh, Sam, willin’ly would I offer up my life for ’em as a sacrifice, but it may not be. My poor flock, my dear children, my lost sheep, that I should have lived to have seen this day!—and he hid his face in his hands, and moaned bitterly.

Poor old gentleman, it had been too much for him; it was evident that it had affected his head as well as his heart. And this I will say, that a better head and a better heart there ain’t this day in the United States of America than minister Joshua Hopewell’s of Slickville. I am glad to hear you speak so affectionately of him, said I. It shows there are good and warm hearts in Slickville besides his: but do you really think he was delirious? No doubt in the world on it, said he. If you had aseen him and heerd him, you would have felt that his troubles had swompified him. It was gone goose with him,—that’s a fact. That he spoke under the influence of excited feelings, I replied, and with a heart filled with grief and indignation, there can be no doubt; but I see no evidence of delirium; on the contrary, his remarks strike me as most eloquent and original. They have made a great impression upon me, and I shall long remember the confessions of a deposed minister.


The next day we reached Clare, a township wholly settled by descendants of the Acadian French. The moment you pass the bridge at Scissiboo, you become sensible that you are in a foreign country. And here I must enter my protest against that American custom of changing the old and appropriate names of places, for the new and inappropriate ones of Europe. Scissiboo is the Indian name of this long and beautiful river, and signifies the great deep, and should have been retained, not merely because it was its proper name, but on account of its antiquity, its legends, and, above all, because the river had a name, which the minor streams of the province have not. A country, in my opinion is robbed of half of its charms when its streams, like those of Nova Scotia, have no other names than those of the proprietors of the lands through which they pass, and change them as often as the soil changes owners. Scissiboo sounded too savage and uncouch in the ears of the inhabitants, and they changed it to Weymouth, but they must excuse me for adopting the old reading.

I am no democrat; I like old names and the traditions belonging to them. I am no friend to novelties. There has been a re-action in Upper Canada. The movement party in that colony, with great form and ceremony, conferred the name of Little York upon the capital of the colony; but the Conservatives have adopted the ancient order of things, and with equal taste and good feeling have restored the name of Toronto. I hope to see the same restoration at Scissiboo, at Tatam-agouche, and other places where the spoiler has been.

There is something very interesting in these Acadians. They are the lineal descendants of those who made the first effective settlement in North America, in 1606, under De Monts, and have retained to this day the dress, customs, language, and religion of their ancestors. They are a peaceable, contented, and happy people; and have escaped the temptations of English agitators, French atheists, and domestic demagogues.

I have often been amazed, said the Clockmaker, when travelling among the Canadians, to see what curious critters they be. They leave the marketin’ to the women, and their business to their notaries, the care of their souls to the priests, and of their bodies to their doctors, and resarve only frolickin’, dancin’, singin’, fidlin’, and gasconadin’ to themselves. They are as merry as crickets, and as happy as the day is long. Don’t care a straw how the world jogs, who’s up or who’s down, who reigns or who is deposed. Ask ’em who is King, and they believe Papinor is; who is Pope, and they believe their bishop is; who is the best off in the world, and they believe Mount-Sheer Chatterbox Habitan is. How is it then, said I, they are just on the eve of a rebellion? If they are so contented and happy as you represent them, what can induce them to involve the country in all the horrors of a civil war; and voluntarily incur all the penalties of treason, and the miseries of a revolution?

Because, said he, they are gist what I have described them to be—because they don’t know nothin’. They are as weak as Taunton water, and all the world knows that that won’t even run down hill. They won’t do nothin’ but gist as they are bid. Their notaries and doctors tell ’em,—them sacra diabola foutera English are agoin’ by and by to ship ’em out of the country; and in the mean time rob ’em, plunder ’em, and tax ’em;—hang their priests, seize their galls, and play hell and Tommy with them, and all because they speak French. Hay beang, says Habitan, up and at them then, and let ’em have it! But how can we manage all them redcoats? Oh! says their leaders, old France will send a fleet and sodgers, and Yankies will send an army. Yankies very fond of us,—all larnin’ French apurpose;—very fond of Catholics too, all thro’ New England;—great friend of ourn,—hate English like the diable. Allong dong, then, they say; up and cut their throats! and when winter comes, burn ’em up, hang ’em up,—use ’em up! One grand French nation we shall have here then; all French, and no sacra English.

But do they really talk such nonsense to them as that, or are they such fools to believe it? Fact, I assure you; they are so ignorant they believe it all, and will believe anything they tell ’em. It is a comfortable ignorance they are in too, for they are actilly the happiest critters on the face of the airth,—but then it is a dangerous ignorance, for it is so easily imposed upon. I had been always led to believe, I said, that it was a great constitutional question that was at stake,—the right to stop the supplies; and from hearing there were so many speculative and theoretical points of dispute between them and the English, as to the machinery of the local government, I thought they were at least an enlightened people, and one that, feeling they had rights, were determined to maintain those rights at all hazards. Oh, dear, said the Clockmaker, where have you been all your born days, not to know better nor that? They don’t know nothin’ about the matter, nor don’t want to. Even them that talk about those things in the Assembly, don’t know much more; but they gist know enough to ax for what they know they can’t get, then call it a grievance, and pick a quarrel about it. Why, they’ve got all they want, and more nor they could have under us, or any other power on the face of the airth than the English,—ay, more than they could have if they were on their own hook. They have their own laws,—and plaguy queer, old-fashioned laws they are too,—Old Scratch himself couldn’t understand ’em; their parly voo language, religion, old customs and usages, and everything else, and no taxes at all.

If such is the case, what makes their leaders discontented? There must be something wrong somewhere, when there is so much disaffection. All that is the matter may be summed up in one word, said the Clockmaker, French,—devil anything else but that—French. You can’t make an Englishman out of a Frenchman, any more than you can make a white man out of a nigger; if the skin ain’t different, the tongue is. But, said I, though you cannot make the Ethiopian change his skin, you can make the Frenchman change his language. Ay, now you have it, I guess, said he; you’ve struck the right nail on the head this time. The reform they want in Canada is to give ’em English laws and English language. Make ’em use it in courts and public matters, and make an English and not a French colony of it; and you take the sting out o’ the snake,—the critter becomes harmless. Them doctors pyson ’em. Them chaps go to France, get inoculated there with infidelity, treason, and republicanism, and come out and spread it over the country like small pox. They got a bad set o’ doctors in a gineral way, I tell you, and when rebellion breaks out there, as you’ll see it will to a sartainty by and by, you’ll find them doctors leadin’ them on everywhere,—the very worst fellors among ’em,—boys of the glorious July days to Paris. Well, it is no use atalkin’, squire, about it; it is a pity, too, to see the poor simple critters so imposed upon as they be, for they’ll catch it, if they do rebel, to a sartainty. Gist as sure as Pappinor takes that step he is done for,—he’s a refugee in six weeks in the States, with a price set on his head, for the critter won’t fight. The English all say he wants the clear grit—ain’t got the stuff—no ginger in him—it’s all talk.

The last time I was to Montreal, I seed a good deal of the leaders of the French; they were very civil to me, and bought ever so many of my clocks,—they said they diked to trade with their American friends, it was proper to keep up a good feelin’ among neighbours. There was one Doctor Jodrie there, a’most everlastin’ly at my heels aintroducin’ of me to his countrymen, and recommendin’ them to trade with me. Well, I went to his shop one night, and when he heerd my voice, he come out of a back room, and, said he, walk in here, Mount-Sheer Slick, I want you for one particular use; come along with me, my good fellor, there are some friends here takin’ of a glass o’ grog along with me, and a pipe;—won’t you join us? Well, said I, I don’t care if I do; I won’t be starched. A pipe wouldn’t be amiss gist now, says I, nor a glass of grog neither; so in I went; but my mind misgived me there was some mischief abrewin’ in there, as I seed he bolted the door arter him, and so it turned out.

The room was full of chaps, all doctors, and notaries, and members of assembly, with little short pipes in their mouths, achattin’ away like so many monkeys, and each man had his tumbler o’ hot rum and water afore him on the table. Sons o’ liberty, says he, here’s a brother, Mount-Sheer Slick, a haul o’ jaw clockmaker. Well, they all called out, Five Clockmaker! No, says I, not five clockmakers, but only one; and hardly trade enough for him neither, I guess. Well, they hawhawed like any thing, for they beat all natur’ for larfin’, them French. Five is same as hurrah, says he,—long life to you! Oh! says I, I onderstand now. No fear of that, any how, when I am in the hands of a doctor. Yankee hit him hard that time, be gar! said a little under-sized parchment-skinned lookin’ lawyer. May be so, said the doctor; but a feller would stand as good a chance for his life in my hands, I guess, as he would in yourn, if he was to be defended in court by you. The critters all yelled right out at this joke, and struck the table with their fists till the glasses all rang ag’in. Bon, bon, says they. Says the Doctor, Don’t you understand French, Mr. Slick? No, says I, not one word; I wish to goodness I did though, for I find it very awkward sometimes atradin’ without it. (I always said so when I was axed that are question, so as to hear what was agoin’ on: it helped me in my business considerable. I could always tell whether they actilly wanted a clock or not, or whether they had the money to pay for it: they let out all their secrets.) Would you like to see a bull-bait? said he; we are goin’ to bait a bull winter arter next,—grand fun, said he; we’ll put fire to his tail,—stick squibs and matches into his hide,—make him kick, and roar, and toss, like the diable: then we’ll put the dogs on, worry him so long as he can stand,—then, tam him, kill him, skin him, and throw his stinkin’ carcass to the dogs and de crows. Yes, said the other fellors, kill him, damn him,—kill him! and they got up and waved their glasses over their heads;—death to the beast “à la lanterne.”

Says one of them in French to the doctor, Prenny garde,—are you sure, are you clear he is not English! Oh, sartain, said he in the same lingo; he is a Yankee clockmakin’ cheatin’ vagabond from Boston, or thereabouts; but we must court him,—we must be civil to them if we expect their aid. If we once get clear o’ the English we will soon rid ourselves of them too. They are chips of the old block, them Yankees; a bad breed on both sides o’ the water. Then turnin’ to me, says he, I was just desirin’ these gentlemen, Mr. Slick, to drink your health, and that of the United States. Thank you, says I, I believe our people and the French onderstand each other very well; a very disinteristed friendship on both sides. Oh, sartain, says he, aputtin’ of his hand on his heart, and lookin’ spooney. One sentiment, one grand sympathy of feelin’, one real amitty yea. Your health, sir, said he; and they all stood up ag’in and made a deuce of a roar over it. Five Americanes!

I hope you have good dogs, said I, for your bull-bait? Oh, true breed and no mistake, said he. It takes a considerable of a stiff dog, says I, and one of the real grit, to face a bull. Them fellors, when they get their danders up, are plaguy onsafe critters; they’ll toss and gore the common kind like nothin’,—make all fly ag’in: it ain’t over-safe to come too near ’em when they are once fairly raised. If there is anythin’ in natur’ I’m afeerd on, it’s a bull when he is ryled. Oh yes, said he, we got the dogs, plenty of ’em too,—genuine breed from old France, kept pure ever since it came here, except a slight touch of the fox and the wolf; the one makes ’em run faster, and t’other bite sharper. It’s a grand breed. Thinks I to myself, I onderstand you, my hearties. I see your drift; go the whole figur’, and do the thing genteel. Try your hand at it, will you? and if John Bull don’t send you aflyin’ into the air sky-high, in little less than half no time, it’s a pity. A pretty set o’ yelpin’ curs you be to face such a critter as he is, ain’t you? Why, the very moment he begins to paw and to roar, you’ll run sneakin’ off with your tails atween your legs, a yelpin’ and a squeelin’ as if Old Nick himself was arter you.

Great man, your Washington, says the doctor. Very, says I; no greater ever lived—p’r’aps the world never seed his ditto. And Papinor is a great man, too, said he. Very, said I, especially in the talking line—he’d beat Washington at that game, I guess, by a long chalk. I hope, says he, some day or another, Mr. Slick, and not far off neither, we shall be a free and independent people, like you. We shall be the France of America afore long—the grand nation—the great empire. It’s our distiny—everything foretells it—I can see it as plain as can be. Thinks I to myself, this is a good time to broach our interest; and if there is to be a break-up here, to put in a spoke in the wheel for our folks—a stitch in time saves nine. So, says I, you needn’t flatter yourselves, doctor; you can’t be a distinct nation; it ain’t possible, in the natur’ o’ things. You may jine us, if you like, and there would be some sense in that move—that’s a fact; but you never can stand alone here—no more than a lame man can without crutches, or a child of six days old. No, not if all the colonies were to unite, you couldn’t do it. Why, says I, gist see here, doctor; you couldn’t show your noses on the fishin’ ground for one minit—you can hardly do it now, even tho’ the British have you under their wing. Our folks would drive you off the banks, seize your fish, tear your nets, and lick you like a sack—and then go home and swear you attacked them first, and our government would seize the fisheries as an indemnification. How could you support an army and a navy, and a diplomacy, and make fortifications. Why you couldn’t build and support one frigate, nor maintain one regiment, nor garrison Quebec itself, let alone the out-posts. Our folks would navigate the St. Lawrence in spite of your teeth, and the St. John River too, and how could you help yourselves? They’d smuggle you out of your eye-teeth, and swear you never had any. Our fur traders would attack your fur traders, and drive ’em all in. Our people would enter here, and settle—then kick up a row, call for American volunteers, declare themselves independent, and ask admission into the Union; and afore you know’d where you were, you’d find yourselves one of our states. Gist look at what is goin’ on to Texas, and what has gone on to Florida, and then see what will go on here. We shall own clean away up to the North and South Pole, afore we’re done.

Says the doctor, in French, to the other chaps, that would be worse than bein’ a colony to the English. Them Yankee villains would break up our laws, language, and customs; that cat wouldn’t jump at all, would it? Jamais, Jamais! says the company. We must have aid from old France; we must be the grand nation, and the great empire, ourselves—and he stop’t, went to the door, unbolted it, looked round the shop, and then turned the bolt ag’in. Would your folks, says he, help us, if we was to revolt, Mr. Slick. Certainly, said I; they’d help you all they could, and not go to war with the British. They’d leave all the armories on the line unguarded, so you could run over and pretend to rob ’em, and leave all the cannon in the forts without any body to see arter them, so you might have them if you wanted them. Lots o’ chaps would volunteer in your ranks, and our citizens would subscribe handsum’. They’d set up a claim pretty fierce, at the same time, about the New Brunswick boundary line, so as to make a devarsion in your favour in that quarter. We can’t go to war gist now; it would ruin us, stock and fluke. We should lose our trade and shippin’, and our niggers and Indgians are ugly customers, and would take a whole army to watch them in case of a war. We’d do all we could to help you as a people, but not as a government. We’d furnish you with arms, ammunition, provisions, money, and volunteers. We’d let you into our country, but not the British. We’d help you to arrange your plans and to derange them. But we’d have to respect our treaties, for we are a high-minded, right-minded, sound-minded, and religious people. We scrupulously fulfil our engagements. What we undertake we perform—ther’s no mistake in us—you always know where to find us. We are under great obligations to the British—they saved us from the expense and miseries of a war with France—they have built us up with their capital and their credit, and are our best customers. We could not, consistently with our treaties or our conscience, send an army or a navy to help you; but we will hire you or lend you our steam-boats, and other craft; send you men to make an army, and the stuff to feed, clothe, arm, and pay them. In short, the nations of the airth will look on with admiration at the justice and integrity of our doings. We shall respect the treaty with the British on one side, and prove ourselves a kind, a liberal, and most obliging neighbour to you on the other. Government will issue proclamations against interference. The press of the country will encourage it. The nation will be neutral, but every soul in it will aid you. Yes, we are as straight as a shingle in our dealings, and do things above board handsum’. We do love a fair deal above all things—that’s a fact. Bon, bon! says they, Les aristocrats à la lanterne—and they broke out a singin’, à la lanterne.

It was now twelve o’clock at night when we quit, and gist as we got into the street, I heerd the word Doric, Doric,—and says I, what on airth is that? what sort o’ critter is a Doric? A Doric is a loyalist, says they,—a diable bull,—sacra futre—kill him,—and they arter him, full split like the wind, caught him, knocked him down, and most finished him—they e’en a’most beat him to a jelly, and left him for dead. That’s the way, says they, we’ll sarve every Englishman in Canada—extarminate ’em, damn ’em. Time for me to be off, says I, a’most, I’m a thinkin’; it’s considerable well on towards mornin’. Good night, Mount-Sheer. Bon swore! Bon swore! says they, singin’—

“Oh! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira,

 Les aristocrats, à la lanterne.”

And the last I heerd of them, at the end of the street, was an everlastin’ almighty shout, Five Papinor—five Papinor!

Yes, I pity them poor Canadians, said the Clockmaker. They are a loyal, contented, happy people, if them sarpents of doctors and lawyers would leave ’em alone, and let ’em be, and not pyson their minds with all sorts of lies and locrums about their government. They will spunk ’em to rebellion at last, and when it does come to the scratch they will desart ’em as sure as eggs is eggs, and leave ’em to be shot down by the sodgers; they ain’t able of themselves to do nothin’, them Canadians; they ain’t got the means, nor the energy, nor the knowledge for it; they ain’t like the descendants of the Pilgrims’—that’s a fact. The worst of it is, too, the punishment won’t fall on the right heads neither, for them critters will cut and run to a sartainty;—I know it, I’m e’en a’most sure of it,—if they’d ahad the true blue in ’em, they wouldn’t have half murdered and maimed that poor defenceless Doric, as they did. None but cowards do ’em are things;—a brave man fights,—a coward sticks a bowie knife into your ribs; but p’rhaps it will all turn out for the best in the eend, said he; for if there is a blow up, Papinor will off to the States full chisel with the other leaders,—the first shot, and them that they catch and hang can never show their faces in Canada ag’in. It will clear the country of them, as they clear a house of rats,—frighten ’em out of their seven senses by firin’ off a gun.

A thunderstorm, ‘squire, said the Clockmaker, most always cools the air, clears the sky, lays the dust, and makes all look about right ag’in.

Every thing will depend on how the English work it arterwards; if they blunder ag’in, they’ll never be able to set it to rights. What course ought they to adopt? said I, for the subject is one in which I feel great interest. I’ll tell you, said he. First, they should——, and he suddenly checked himself, as if doubtful of the propriety of answering the question;—and then smiling, as if he had discovered a mode of escaping the difficulty, he continued—They should make you plinipo, and appoint me your secretary.


Wherever natur does least, man does most, said the Clockmaker. Gist see the difference atween these folks here to Liverpool and them up the bay of Fundy. There natur’ has given them the finest country in the world,—she has taken away all the soil from this place, and chucked it out there, and left nothin’ but rocks and stones here. There they gist vegetate, and here they go-ahead like anything. I was credibly informed, when Liverpool was first settled, folks had to carry little light ladders on their shoulders to climb over the rocks, and now they’ve got better streets, better houses, better gardens, and a better town than any of the baymen. They carry on a considerable of a fishery here, and do a great stroke in the timber-business.

I shall never forget a talk I had with Ichabod Gates here, and a frolic him and me had with a tide-waiter. Ichabod had a large store o’ goods, and I was in there one evenin’ adrinkin’ tea along with him, and we got atalkin’ about smugglin’. Says he, Mr. Slick, your people ruin the trade here, they do smuggle so; I don’t know as I ever shall be able to get rid of my stock of goods, and it cost me a considerable of a sum too. What a pity it is them navy people, instead of carryin’ freights of money from the West Indgies, warn’t employed more a protectin’ of our fisheries and our trade. Why don’t you smuggle then too, says I, and meet ’em in their own way?—tit for tat—diamond cut diamond—smuggle yourselves and seize them;—free trade and sailors’ rights is our maxim. Why, says he, I ain’t gist altogether certified that it’s right; it goes agin’ my conscience to do the like o’ that are, and I must say I like a fair deal. In a gineral way a’most I’ve observed what’s got over the devil’s back is commonly lost under his belly. It don’t seem to wear well. Well, that’s onconvenient, too, to be so thin skinned, said I; for conscience most commonly has a hide as thick as the soul of one’s foot, you may cover it with leather to make it look decent-like, but it will bear a considerable hard scrubbin’ without any thing over it. Now, says I, I will put you on a track that will sarve you without bringin’ corns on your conscience either. Do you gist pretend to smuggle and make believe as if you were agoin’ the whole hog in it. It’s safer, and full out as profitable as the rael thing, and besides there’s no sort o’ risk in it in the world. When folks hear a thing is smuggled they always think it’s cheap, and never look into the price; they bite directly—it’s a grand bait that. Now always onload your vessels at night, and let folks hear a cart agoin’ into your place atween two and three o’clock in the mornin’; fix one o’ the axles so it will squeak like a pig, and do you look suspicious, mysterious, and oneasy. Says you, (when a chap says, I guess you were up late last night,) ax me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. There are so many pimpin’ eyes about now, a body has to be cautious if he don’t want to get into the centre of a hobble. If I’m up late I guess it’s nobody’s business but my own I’m about any how; but I hope you won’t make no remarks about what you seed or heerd.

Well, when a feller axes arter a thing, do you gist stand and look at him for a space without sayin’ a word, enquirin’ like with a dubersum’ look, as if you didn’t know as you could trust him or no; then gist wink, put your finger on your nose, and say mum is the word. Take a candle and light it, and say, foller me now, and take him into the cellar. Now, says you, friend, don’t betray me, I beseech you, for your life; don’t let on to any one about this place;—people will never think o’ suspectin’ me if you only keep dark about it. I’ll let you see some things, says you, that will please you, I know; but don’t blow me—that’s a good soul. This article, says you, atakin’ up one that cost three pounds, I can afford to let you have as low as five pounds, and that one as cheap as six pounds, on one condition,—but mind you, it’s on them terms only,—and that is that you don’t tell any one, not even your wife, where you got it; but you must promise me on the word and honour of a man. The critter will fall right into the trap, and swear by all that’s good he’ll never breathe it to a livin’ soul, and then go right off and tell his wife, and you might as well pour a thing into a filterin’ stone as into a woman’s ear; it will run right thro’, and she’ll go a braggin’ to her neighbours of the bargain they got, and swear them to secrecy, and they’ll tell the whole country in the same way, as a secret, of the cheap things Ichabod Gates has. Well, the excise folks will soon hear o’ this, and come and sarch your house from top to bottom, and the sarch will make your fortin’, for, as they can’t find nothin’, you will get the credit of doin’ the officers in great style.

Well, well, said Ichabod, if you Yankees don’t beat all natur’. I don’t believe in my soul there’s a critter in all Nova Scotia would athought o’ such a scheme as that, but it’s a grand joke, and comports with conscience, for it parallels pretty close with the truth: I’ll try it. Try it, says I, to be sure; let’s go right off this blessed night, and hide away a parcel of your goods in the cellar,—put some in the garret and some in the gig-house. Begin and sell to-morrow, and all the time I’m to Liverpool I’ll keep arunnin’ in and out o’ your house; sometimes I’ll gist come to the corner of the fence, put my head over and draw it back ag’in as if I didn’t want folks to see me, and sometimes I’ll make as if I was agoin’ out, and if I see any one acomin’, I’ll spring back and hide behind the door; it will set the whole town on the look-out,—and they’ll say it’s me that’s asmugglin’ either on my own hook or yourn. In three days he had a great run o’ custom, particularly arter night-fall. It was fun alive to see how the critters were bammed by that hoax.

On the fifth day the tide-waiter came. Mr. Slick, says he, I’ve got information th——Glad to hear it, says I; an officer without information would be a poor tool—that’s a fact. Well, it brought him up all standin’. Says he, do you know who you are atalkin’ to? Yes, says I, guess I do; I’m talkin’ to a man of information; and that bein’ the case, I’ll be so bold as to ax you one question,—have you any thing to say to me? for I’m in a considerable of a hurry. Yes, said he, I have. I’m informed you have smuggled goods in the house. Well, then, says I, you can say what many galls can’t boast on at any rate. What’s that? says he. Why, says I, that you are miss-informed.

Mr. Gates, said he, give me a candle, I must go to the cellar. Sartainly, sir, said Ichabod, you may sarch where you please: I’ve never smuggled yet, and I am not agoin’ now to commence at my time of life. As soon as he got the candle, and was agoin’ down to the cellar with Gates, I called out to Ichabod. Here, says I, Ich, run quick, for your life—now’s your time; and off we ran up stairs as fast as we could leg it, and locked the door; the sarcher heerin’ that, up too and arter us hot foot, and bust open the door. As soon as we heerd him adoin’ of that, we out o’ the other door and locked that also, and down the back stairs to where we started from. It was some time afore he broke in the second door, and then he follered us down, lookin’ like a proper fool. I’ll pay you up for this, said he to me. I hope so, said I, and Ichabod too. A pretty time o’ day this, when folks can tare and race over a decent man’s house, and smash all afore him this way for nothin’, ain’t it? Them doors you broke all to pieces will come to somethin’, you may depend;—a joke is a joke, but thats no joke. Arter that he took his time, sarched the cellar, upper rooms, lower rooms, and garret, and found nothin’ to seize; he was all cut up, and amazin’ vexed, and put out. Says I, friend, if you want to catch a weasel you must catch him asleep; now if you want to catch me asmugglin’, rise considerable airly in the mornin’, will you? This story made Ichabod’s fortin a’most: he had smuggled goods to sell for three years, and yet no one could find him in the act, or tell, where onder the sun he hid ’em away to. At last the secret leaked out, and it fairly broke up smugglin’ on the whole shore. That story has done more nor twenty officers—that’s a fact.

There’s nothin’ a’most, said the Clockmaker, I like so much as to see folks cheat themselves. I don’t know as I ever cheated a man myself in my life: I like to do things above board handsum’, and go strait ahead; but if a chap seems bent on cheatin’ himself, I like to be neighbourly, and help him to do it. I mind once, when I was to the eastward of Halifax atradin’, I bought a young horse to use while I gave Old Clay a run to grass. I do that most every fall, and it does the poor old critter a deal of good. He kinder seems to take a new lease every time, it sets him up so. Well, he was a most especial horse, but he had an infarnal temper, and it required all my knowledge of horse flesh to manage him. He’d kick, sulk, back, bite, refuse to draw, or run away, gist as he took the notion. I mastered him, but it was gist as much as a bargain too; and I don’t believe, tho’ I say it myself, there is any other gentleman in the province could have managed him but me. Well, there was a parson livin’ down there that took a great fancy to that horse. Whenever he seed me adrivin’ by he always stopt to look at his action and gait, and admired him amazin’ly. Thinks I to myself, that man is inokilated—it’ll break out soon—he is detarmined to cheat himself, and if he is, there is no help for it, as I see, but to let him. One day I was adrivin’ out at a most a duce of a size, and he stopped me. Hallo! says he, Mr. Slick, where are you agoin’ in such a desperate hurry? I want to speak a word to you. So I pulls up short. Mornin’, says I, parson, how do you do to-day? That’s a very clever horse of yourn, says he. Middlin’, says I; he does my work, but he’s nothin’ to brag on; he ain’t gist equal to Old Clay, and I doubt if there’s are a blue-nose horse that is either. Fine action that horse, said he. Well, says I, people do say he has considerable fine action, but that’s better for himself than me, for it makes him travel easier.

How many miles will he trot in the hour? said he. Well, says I, if he has a mind to and is well managed, he can do fifteen handsum’. Will you sell him? said he. Well, said I, parson, I would sell him, but not to you; the truth is, said I, smilin’, I have a regard for ministers; the best friend I ever had was one, the reverend Joshua Hopewell, of Slickville, and I wouldn’t sell a horse to one I didn’t think would suit him. Oh! said he, the horse would suit me exactly; I like him amazin’ly: what’s your price? Fifty pounds to any body else, said I, but fifty-five to you, parson, for I don’t want you to have him at no price. If he didn’t suit you, people would say I cheated you, and cheatin’ a parson is, in my mind, pretty much of a piece with robbin’ of a church. Folks would think considerable hard of me sellin’ you a horse that warn’t quite the thing, and I shouldn’t blame them one morsel if they did. Why, what’s the matter of him? said he. Well, says I, minister, says I, alarfin’ right out, every thing is the matter of him. Oh! said he, that’s all nonsense; I’ve seen the horse in your hands often, and desire no better. Well, says I, he will run away with you if he gets a chance, to a sartainty. I will drive him with a curb, said he. He will kick, says I. I’ll put a back strap on him, said he. He will go backwards faster than forward, said I. I will give him the whip and teach him better, says he. Well, says I, larfin’ like any thing, he wont go at all sometimes. I’ll take my chance of that, said he; but you must take off that five pounds. Well, says I, parson, I don’t want to sell you the horse—that’s a fact; but if you must have him I suppose you must, and I will subtract the five pounds on one condition, and that is, if you don’t like the beast, you tell folks that you would have him, tho’ I tried to set him out as bad as I could, and said every thing of him I could lay my tongue to. Well, says he, the horse is mine, and if he don’t suit me, I acquit you of all blame.

Well, he took the horse, and cracked and boasted most prodigiously of him; he said he wouldn’t like to take a hundred pounds for him; that he liked to buy a horse of a Yankee, for they were such capital judges of horse flesh they hardly ever a’most had a bad one, and that he knew he was agoin’ to get a first chop one, the moment he found I didn’t want to sell him, and that he never saw a man so loath to part with a beast. Oh dear! how I larfed in my sleeve when I heerd tell of the goney talkin’ such nonsense: thinks I, he’ll live to larn yet some things that ain’t writ down in Latin afore he dies, or I’m mistakened—that’s all. In the course of a few days the horse began to find he’d changed hands, and he thought he’d try what sort o’ stuff his new master was made on; so he gist took the bit in his mouth one fine mornin’ and ran off with him, and kicked his gig all to flinders, and nearly broke the parson’s neck; and findin’ that answer, he took to all his old tricks ag’in, and got worse than ever. He couldn’t do nothin’ with him,—even the helps were frightened out of their lives to go into the stable to him.

So he come to me one day lookin’ quite streaked, and says he, Mr. Slick, that horse I bought of you is a perfect divil; I never saw such a critter in my life; I can neither ride him nor drive him. He gist does what he pleases with us, and we can’t help ourselves no how. He actilly beats all the onruly animals I ever seed in my life. Well, says I, I told you so, minister—I didn’t want to sell him to you at all; but you would have him. I know you did, said he; but you larfed so all the time I thought you was in jeest. I thought you didn’t care to sell him, and gist said so to put me off, jokin’ like: I had no idee you were in airnest: I wouldn’t give ten pounds for him. Nor I neither, said I; I wouldn’t take him as a gift, and be bound to keep him. How could you then, said he, have the conscience to ax me fifty pounds for him, and pocket it so coolly? To prevent you from buyin’ him, parson, said I, that was my reason. I did all I could for you; I axed you five times as much as he was worth, and said all I could think on to run him down too; but you took yourself in. There’s two ways of tellin’ a thing, said he, Mr. Slick,—in airnest and in jeest. You told it as if you were in jeest, and I took it so; you may call it what you like, but I call it a deception still. Parson, says I, how many ways you may have of tellin’ a thing I don’t know; but I have only one, and that’s the true way: I told you the truth, but you didn’t choose to believe it. Now, says I, I feel kinder sorry for you too; but I’ll tell you how to get out o’ the scrape. I can’t take him back, or folks would say it was me and not you that cheated yourself. Do you ship him. You can’t sell him here without doin’ the fair thing, as I did, tellin’ all his faults; and if you do no soul would take him as a present, for people will believe you, tho’ it seems they won’t always believe a Clockmaker. Gist send him off to the West Indgies, and sell him at auction there for what he will fetch. He’ll bring a good price, and if he gets into a rael right down genuwine horseman’s hands, there’s no better horse. He said nothin’, but shook his head, as if that cat wouldn’t jump.

Now, says I, there’s another bit of advice I’ll give you free gratis for nothin’,—never buy a horse on the dealer’s judgment, or he will cheat you if he can; never buy him on your own, or you will cheat yourself as sure as you are born. In that case, said he, larfin’, a man will be sure to be cheated either way: how is he to guard ag’in bein’ taken in, then? Well, says I, he stands a fair chance any way of havin’ the leake put into him—that’s sartain, for next to woman kind there is nothin’ so deceitful as horse-flesh that ever I seed yet. Both on ’em are apt to be spoiled in the breakin’; both on ’em puzzle the best judges sometimes to tell their age when well vamped up, and it takes some time afore you find out all their tricks. Pedigree must be attended to in both cases, particularly on the mother’s side, and both require good trainin’, a steady hand, and careful usage. Yes; both branches require great experience, and the most knowin’ ones do get bit sometimes most beautifully. Well, says he, as touchin’ horses, how is a man to avoid being deceived? Well, says I, I’ll tell you—never buy a horse of a total stranger on no account,—never buy a horse of a gentleman, for—— Why, said he, he’s the very man I should like to buy of, above all others. Well, then, says I, he’s not the man for my money anyhow; you think you are safe with him, and don’t inquire enough, and take too much for granted: you are apt to cheat yourself in that case. Never buy a crack horse; he’s done too much. Never buy a colt; he’s done too little; you can’t tell how he’ll turn out. In short, says I, it’s a considerable of a long story to go all through with it; it would take me less time to teach you how to make a clock, I calculate. If you buy from a man who ain’t a dealer, he actilly don’t know whether his horse is a good one or not; you must get advice from a friend who does know. If you buy from a dealer, he’s too much for you or your friend either. If he has no honour, don’t trade with him. If he has, put yourself wholly and entirely on it, and he’ll not deceive you, there’s no mistake—he’ll do the thing genteel. If you’d a’ axed me candidly now about that are horse, says I.—At that he looked up at me quite hard for a space, without sayin’ a word, but pressed his lips together quite miffy like, as if he was a strivin’ for to keep old Adam down, and turned short off and walked away. I felt kinder pity for him too; but if a man will cheat himself in spite of all you can do, why there is no help for it as I see, but to let him. Do you, squire?


There are few countries in the world, squire, said the Clockmaker, got such fine water powers as these provinces; but the folks don’t make no use of ’em, tho’ the materials for factories are spread about in abundance everywhere. Perhaps the whole world might be stumped to produce such a factory stand as Niagara Falls; what a nation sight of machinery that would carry, wouldn’t it?—supply all Birmingham a’most.

The first time I returned from there, minister said, Sam, said he, have you seen the falls of Niagara? Yes, sir, said I, I guess I have. Well, said he, ain’t it a’most a grand sight that? I guess it is a scite, says I, and it would be a grand spec to get up a joint stock company for factory purposes, for such another place for mills ain’t to be found atween the poles. Oh dear! said I, only think of the cardin’ mills, fullin’ mills, cotton mills, grain mills, saw mills, plaster mills, and gracious knows what sort o’ mills might be put up there, and never fail for water; any fall you like, and any power you want, and, yet them goneys the British let all run away to waste. It’s a dreadful pity, ain’t it? Oh Sam! said he,—and he jumped as if he was bit by a sarpent right up an eend,—now don’t talk so profane, my sakes!—dont talk so sacrilegious. How that dreadful thirst o’ gain has absorbed all other feelins’ in our people, when such an idea could be entertained for a moment. It’s a grand spectacle,—it’s the voice of natur’ in the wilderness, proclaimin’ to the untutored tribes thereof the power and majesty and glory of God. It is consecrated by the visible impress of the great invisible architect. It is sacred ground—a temple not made by hands. It cannot be viewed without fear and tremblin’, nor contemplated without wonder and awe. It proclaims to man, as to Moses of old, “Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place where thou standest is holy ground.” He who appeared in a flame of fire in the bush, and the bush was not consumed, appears also in the rush of water, and the water diminishes not. Talk not to me of mills, factories, and machinery, sir, nor of introducin’ the money-changers into the temple of the Lord. Talk not.—You needn’t go, said I, minister, for to work yourself up that way ag’in me, I do assure you, for I didn’t mean to say anything out o’ the way at all, so come now. And now you do mention it, says I, it does seem kinder grand-like—that are great big lake does seem like an everlastin’ large milk pan with a lip for pourin’ at the falls, and when it does fall head over heels, all white froth and spray like Phœbe’s syllabub, it does look grand, no doubt, and it’s nateral for a minister to think on it as you do; but still for all that, for them that ain’t preachers, I defy most any man to see it without thinkin’ of a cotton mill.

Well, well, said he, awavin’ of his hand; say no more about it, and he walked into his study and shut to the door. He warn’t like other men, minister. He was full of crotchets that way, and the sight of the sea, a great storm, a starry sky, or even a mere flower, would make him fly right off at the handle that way when you warn’t a thinkin’ on it at all; and yet for all that he was the most cheerful critter I ever seed, and nothin’ a’most pleased him so much as to see young folks enjoyin’ themselves as merry as crickets. He used to say that youth, innocence, and cheerfulness was what was meant by the three graces. It was a curious kink, too, he took about them falls, warn’t it? for, arter all, atween you and me, it’s nothin’ but a river taken over a cliff full split, instead of runnin’ down hill the old way:—I never hear tell of ’em I don’t think of that tantrum of him.

Our factories in New England are one of the best fruits of the last war, squire, said he; they are actilly worth seein’. I know I have reason to speak well of ’em any how, for it was them gave me my first start in life, and a pleasant start it was too, as well as a profitable one. I spent upwards of a year there among the galls, atakin’ of them off in the portrait line, and in that time I cleared three hundred pounds of your money good: it warn’t so bad that, was it?

When I was down to Rhode Island larnin’ bronzin’, gildin’, and sketchin’ for the clock business, I worked at odd times for the Honourable Eli Wad, a foundationalist—a painting for him. A foundationalist, said I; what is that?—is it a religious sect? No, said he, it’s a bottom maker. He only made bottoms, he didn’t make arms and legs, and he sold these wooden bottoms to the chair-makers. He did ’em by a sarcular saw and a turnin’ lathe, and he turned ’em off amazin’ quick; he made a fortin’ out of the invention, for he shipped ’em to every part of the Union. The select men objected to his sign of bottom maker; they said it didn’t sound pretty, and he altered it to foundationalist. That was one cause the speck turned out so well, for every one that seed it a’most stopt to inquire what it meant, and it brought his patent into great vogue; many’s the larf folks had over that sign, I tell you.

So, said he, when I had done, Slick, said he, you’ve a considerable of a knack with the brush, it would be a grand speck for you to go to Lowell and take off the factory ladies: you know what the women are,—most all on ’em will want to have their likeness taken. The whole art of portrait paintin’, says he, as far as my observation goes, lies in a free sketch of the leadin’ featur.’ Give it good measure: do you take? No, says I, I don’t onderstand one word of it. Well, says he, what I mean is this; see what the leadin’ feature is, and exaggerate that, and you have a striking likeness. If the nose is large, gist make it a little more so; if there is a slight cast o’ the eye, give it a squint; a strong line in the face, deepen it; a big mouth, enlarge it; a set smile, make it a smirk; a high cheek bone, square it out well. Reciprocate this by paintin’ the rest o’ the face a little handsomer, and you have it complete: you’ll never fail—there’s no mistake. Dead colorin’, with lots of varnish, will do for that market, and six dollars a piece for the pictur’s is about the fair deal for the price. If you don’t succeed, I will give you my head for a foot-ball. You’ll hear ’em all say, Oh! that’s her nose to a hair,—that’s her eye exactly; you could tell that mouth anywhere, that smile you could swear to as far as you can see it,—it’s a’most a beautiful likeness. She’s taken off complete—it’s as nateral as life. You could do one at a sittin’, or six a week, as easy as kiss my hand, and I’m athinkin’ you’d find it answer a good eend, and put you in funds for a start in the clock line.

But, Sam, says he, aputtin’ of his hand on my shoulder, and lookin’ me strong in the face, mind your eye, my boy; mind you don’t get tangled in the deep sea grass, so you can’t clear hand or foot. There are some plaguy pretty galls there, and some on ’em have saved a considerable round sum too; don’t let ’em walk into you now afore you know where you be. Young gentlemen are scarce in New England, sweethearts ain’t to be had for love nor money, and a good-lookin’ fellow like you, with five hundred pair of pretty little good-natured longin’ eyes on him, is in a fair way o’ gettin’ his flint fixed, I tell you. Marriage won’t do for you, my hearty, till you’ve seed the world and made somethin’ handsum’. To marry for money is mean, to marry without it is folly, and to marry both young and poor is downright madness; so hands off, says you; love to all, but none in partikilar. If you find yourself agettin’ spooney, throw brush, pallet, and paint over the falls, and off full split; change of air and scene to cure love, consumption, or the blues, must be taken airly in the disease, or it’s no good. An ounce o’ prevention is worth a pound o’ cure. Recollect, too, when you are married, you are tied by the leg, Sam; like one of our sodger disarters, you have a chain adanglin’ to your foot, with a plaguy heavy shot to the eend of it. It keeps you to one place most all the time for you can’t carry it with you, and you can’t leave it behind you, and you can’t do nothin’ with it.

If you think you can trust yourself, go; if not, stay where you be. It’s a grand school, tho’, Sam; you’ll know somethin’ of human natur’ when you leave Lowell, I estimate, for they’ll larn you how to cut your eye-teeth them galls, you’ll see how wonderful the ways of woman-kind is, for they do beat all—that’s sartain. Well, down I went to Lowell, and arter a day or two spent a visitin’ the factories, and gettin’ introduced to the ladies, I took a room and sot up my easel, and I had as much work as ever I could cleverly turn my hand to. Most every gall in the place had her likeness taken; some wanted ’em to send to home, some to give to a sweetheart to admire, and some to hang up to admire themselves. The best of the joke was, every gall had an excuse for bein’ there. They all seemed as if they thought it warn’t quite genteel, a little too much in the help style. One said she came for the benefit of the lectur’s at the Lyceum, another to carry a little sister to dancin’ school, and a third to assist the fund for foreign missions, and so on, but none on ’em to work. Some on ’em lived in large buildings belongin’ to the factory, and others in little cottages—three or four in a house.

I recollect two or three days arter I arrived, I went to call on Miss Naylor, I knew down to Squantum, and she axed me to come and drink tea with her and the two ladies that lived with her. So in the evenin’ I put on my bettermost clothes and went down to tea. This, says she, introducin’ of me to the ladies, is Mr. Slick, a native artist of great promise, and one that is self-taught too, that is come to take us off; and this is Miss Jemima Potts of Milldam, in Umbagog; and this is Miss Binah Dooly, a lady from Indgian Scalp, Varmont. Your sarvant, ladies, says I; I hope I see you well. Beautiful factory this, it whips English all holler; our free and enlightened citizens have exhibited so much skill, and our intelligent and enterprisin’ ladies, says I, (with a smile and a bow to each,) so much science and taste, that I reckon we might stump the univarsal world to ditto Lowell. It sartainly is one of the wonders of the world, says Miss Jemima Potts; it is astonishing how jealous the English are, it makes ’em so ryled they can’t bear to praise it at all. There was one on ’em agoin’ thro’ the large cotton factory to-day with Judge Beler, and, says the Judge to him, now don’t this astonish you? said he; don’t it exceed any idea you could have formed of it? you must allow there is nothin’ like it in Europe, and yet this is only in it’s infancy—it’s only gist begun. Come now, confess the fact, don’t you feel that the sun of England is set for ever?—her glory departed to set up its standard in the new world? Speak candidly now, for I should like to hear what you think. It certainly is a respectable effort for a young country with a thin population, said he, and a limited capital, and is creditable to the skill and enterprise of New England; but as for rivalry, it’s wholly out of the question, and he looked as mad as if he could aswallered a wild-cat alive. Well, well, said the Judge, larfin’, for he is a sweet-tempered, dear man, and the politest one too I ever knew, I don’t altogether know as it is gist fair to ask you to admit a fact so humblin’ to your national pride, and so mortifyin’ to your feelins’ as an Englishman; but I can easily conceive how thunderstruck you must have been on enterin’ this town at its prodigious power, its great capacity, its wonderful promise. It’s generally allowed to be the first thing of the kind in the world. But what are you alookin’ at, Mr. Slick? said she; is there anything on my cheek? I was only athinkin’, says I, how difficult it would be to paint such a’most a beautiful complexion, to infuse into it the softness and richness of natur’s colorin’; I’m most afeerd it would be beyond my art—that’s a fact.

Oh, you artists do flatter so, said she; tho’ flattery is a part of your profession I do believe; but I’m e’en a’most sure there is somethin’ or another on my face,—and she got up and looked into the glass to satisfy herself. It would a’ done you good, squire, to see how it did satisfy her too. How many of the ladies have you taken off? said Miss Dooly. I have only painted three said I, yet; but I have thirty bespoke. How would you like to be painted, said I, miss? On a white horse, said she, accompanyin’ of my father, the general, to the review. And you, said I, Miss Naylor? Astudyin’ Judge Naylor, my uncle’s specimens, said she, in the library. Says Miss Jemima, I should like to be taken off in my brother’s barge. What is he? said I, for he would have to have his uniform on. He? said she;—why, he is a—and she looked away and coloured up like anything—he’s an officer, sir, said she, in one of our national ships. Yes, miss, said I, I know that; but officers are dressed accordin’ to their grade, you know, in our sarvice. We must give him the right dress. What is his grade? The other two ladies turned round and giggled, and miss Jemima hung down her head and looked foolish. Says Miss Naylor, why don’t you tell him, dear? No, says she, I won’t; do you tell him. No, indeed, said Miss Naylor; he is not my brother: you ought to know best what he is;—do you tell him yourself. Oh, you know very well, Mr. Slick, said she, only you make as if you didn’t, to poke fun at me and make me say it. I hope I may be shot if I do, says I, miss; I never heerd tell of him afore, and if he is an officer in our navy, there is one thing I can tell you, says I, you needn’t be ashamed to call one of our naval heroes your brother, nor to tell his grade neither, for there ain’t an office in the sarvice that ain’t one of honour and glory. The British can whip all the world, and we can whip the British.

Well, says she, alookin’ down and takin’ up her handkerchief, and turnin’ it eend for eend to read the marks in the corner of it, to see if it was hern or not,—if I must, then I suppose I must; he’s a rooster swain then, but it’s a shame to make me. A rooster swain! says I; well, I vow I never heerd that grade afore in all my born days; I hope I may die if I did. What sort of a swain is a rooster swain? How you do act, Mr. Slick, said she; ain’t you ashamed of yourself? Do, for gracious sake, behave, and not carry on so like Old Scratch. You are goin’ too far now; ain’t he, Miss Naylor? Upon my word I don’t know what you mean, said Miss Naylor, affectin’ to look as innocent as a female fox; I’m not used to sea-tarms, and I don’t onderstand it no more than he does; and Miss Dooly got up a book, and began to read and rock herself backward and forward in a chair, as regilar as a Mississippi sawyer, and as demure as you please. Well, thinks I, what onder the sun can she mean? for I can’t make head or tail of it. A rooster swain!—a rooster swain! says I; do tell——Well, says she, you make me feel quite spunky, and if you don’t stop this minnit, I’ll go right out of the room; it ain’t fair to make game of me so, and I don’t thank you for it one mite or morsel. Says I, miss, I beg your pardon; I’ll take my davy I didn’t mean no offence at all; but, upon my word and honour, I never heerd the word rooster swain afore, and I don’t mean to larf at your brother or tease you neither. Well, says she, I suppose you never will ha’ done, so turn away your face and I will tell you. And she got up and turned my head round with her hands to the wall, and the other two ladies started out, and said they’d go and see arter the tea.

Well, says I, are you ready now, miss? Yes, said she;—a rooster swain, if you must know, you wicked critter you, is a cockswain; a word you know’d well enough warn’t fit for a lady to speak: so take that to remember it by,—and she fetched me a deuce of a clip on the side of the face, and ran out of the room. Well, I swear I could hardly keep from larfin’ right out, to find out arter all it was nothin’ but a coxswain she made such a touss about; but I felt kinder sorry, too, to have bothered her so, for I recollect there was the same difficulty among our ladies last war about the name of the English officer that took Washington; they called him always the “British Admiral,” and there warn’t a lady in the Union would call him by name. I’m a great friend to decency,—a very great friend indeed, squire,—for decency is a manly vartue; and to delicacy, for delicacy is a feminine vartue; but as for squeamishness, rat me if it don’t make me sick.

There was two little rooms behind the keepin’ room; one was a pantry, and t’other a kitchen. It was into the fardest one the ladies went to get tea ready, and presently they brought in the things and sot them down on the table, and we all got sociable once more. Gist as we began conversation ag’in, Miss Jemima Potts said she must go and bring in the cream jug. Well, up I jumps, and follers her out, and says I, pray let me, miss, wait upon you; it ain’t fair for the ladies to do this when the gentlemen are by,—is it? Why didn’t you call on me? I overtook her gist at the kitchen door. But this door-way, said I, is so plaguy narrer,—ain’t it? There’s hardly room for two to pass without their lips atouchin’, is there? Ain’t you ashamed? said she; I believe you have broke my comb in two,—that’s a fact;—but don’t do that ag’in, said she, awhisperin’,—that’s a dear man; Miss Dooly will hear you, and tell every lady in the factory, for she’s plaguy jealous;—so let me pass now. One more to make friends, said I, miss. Hush! said she,—there—let me go; and she put the jug in my hand, and then whipped up a plate herself, and back in the parlour in no time.

A curtain, says I, ladies, (as I sot down ag’in,) or a bookshelf, I could introduce into the pictur’, but it would make it a work o’ great time and expense, to do it the way you speak of; and besides, said I, who would look at the rest if the face was well done? for one thing, I will say, three prettier faces never was seen painted on canvass. Oh, Mr. Slick, says they, how you bam!—ain’t you ashamed? Fact, says I, ladies, upon my honour:—a fact, and no mistake. If you would allow me, ladies, said I, to suggest, I think hair done up high, long tortoise-shell comb, with flowers on the top, would become you, Miss Naylor, and set off your fine Grecian face grand. A fashionable mornin’ cap, lined with pink, and trimmed with blue bows, would set off your portrait, Miss Dooly, and become your splendid Roman profile complete. And what for me? said Jemima. If I might be so bold, said I, I would advise leavin’ out the comb in your case, miss, said I, as you are tall, and it might perhaps be in the way, and be broke in two, (and I pressed her foot onder the table with mine;) and I would throw the hair into long loose nateral curls, and let the neck and shoulders be considerable bare, to give room for a pearl necklace, or coral beads, or any little splendid ornament of that kind.—Miss Jemima looked quite delighted at this idea, and, jumpin’ up, exclaimed, Dear me, said she, I forgot the sugar-tongs! I’ll gist go and fetch ’em. Allow me, says I, miss, follerin’ her; but ain’t it funny, tho’, says I, too, that we should gist get scroudged ag’in in this very identical little narrer door-way,—ain’t it? How you act, said she; now this is too bad; that curl is all squashed, I declare; I won’t come out ag’in to-night, I vow. Nor I neither then, said I larfin; let them that wants things go for ’em. Then you couldn’t introduce the specimens, could you? said Miss Naylor. The judge, my uncle, has a beautiful collection.—When he was in business as a master-mason, he built the great independent Democratic Sovereignty Hall at Sam Patchville, (a noble buildin’ that, Mr. Slick,—it’s ginerally allowed to be the first piece of architecture in the world.) He always broke off a piece of every kind of stone used in the building, and it makes a’most a complete collection. If I could be taken off at a table astudyin’ and asortin’ ’em into primary formations, secondary formations, and trap, I should like it amazin’ly.

Well, says I, I’ll do the best I can to please you, miss, for I never hear of secondary formations without pleasure,—that’s a fact. The ladies, you know, are the secondary formation, for they were formed arter man, and as for trap, says I, if they ain’t up to that, it’s a pity. Why, as I’m alive, said I, if that ain’t the nine o’clock bell: well, how time has flowed, hasn’t it? I suppose I must be amovin’, as it is gettin’ on considerable late, but I must say I’ve had a most delightful evenin’ as ever I spent in my life. When a body, says I, finds himself in a circle of literary and scientific ladies, he takes no note of time, it passes so smooth and quick. Now, says I, ladies, excuse me for mentionin’ a little bit of business, but it is usual in my profession to be paid one-half in advance; but with the ladies I dispense with that rule, says I, on one condition,—I receive a kiss as airnest. Oh, Mr. Slick, says they, how can you? No kiss, no pictur’, says I. Is that an invariable rule? says they. I never deviated from it in my life, said I, especially where the ladies are so beautiful as my kind friends here to-night are. Thank you, my sweet Miss Naylor, said I. Oh, did you ever—? said she. And you also, dear Miss Dooly. Oh, my sakes, said she, how ondecent! I wish I could take my pay altogether in that coin, said I. Well, you’ll get no such airnest from me, I can tell you, said Miss Jemima, and off she sot and darted out o’ the room like a kitten, and I arter her. Oh, that dear little narrer door-way seems made on purpose, said I, don’t it? Well, I hope you are satisfied now, said she, you forward, impudent critter; you’ve taken away my breath a’most. Good night, ladies, said I. Good night, Mr. Slick, says they; don’t forget to call and take us off to-morrow at intermission. And, says Miss Jemima, walkin’ out as far as the gate with me, when not better engaged, we shall be happy to see you sociably to tea. Most happy, miss, said I; only I fear I shall call oftener than will be agreeable; but, dear me! says I, I’ve forgot somethin’ I declare, and I turned right about. Perhaps you forgot it in the little narrer door-way, said she, alarfin’ and asteppin’ backwards, and holdin’ up both hands to fend off. What is it? said she, and she looked up as saucy and as rompy as you please. Why, said I, that dreadful, horrid name you called your brother. What was it? for I’ve forgot it, I vow. Look about and find, out, said she; it’s what you ain’t, and never was, and never will be, and that’s a gentleman. You are a nasty, dirty, ondecent man,—that’s flat, and if you don’t like it you may lump it, so there now for you—good night. But stop—shake hands afore you go; said she; let’s part friends, and she held out her hand. Gist as I was agoin’ to take it, it slipt up like flash by my face, and tipt my hat off over my shoulder, and as I turned and stooped to pick it up, she up with her little foot and let me have it, and pitched me right over on my knees. It was done as quick as wink. Even and quit now, said she, as good friends as ever. Done, said I. But hush, said she; that critter has the ears of a mole, and the eyes of a lynx. What critter? said I. Why, that frightful, ugly varment witch, Binah Dooly, if she ain’t acomin’ out here, as I’m a livin’ sinner. Come again soon—that’s a dear!—good night!—and she sailed back as demure as if nothin’ had ahappened. Yes, squire, the Honourable Eli Wad, the foundationalist, was right when he said I’d see sunthin’ of human natur’ among the factory galls. The ways of woman kind are wonderful indeed. This was my first lesson, that squeamishness and indelicacy are often found united; in short, that in manners, as in other things, extremes meet.


The road from Chester to Halifax is one of the worst in the province; and daylight failing us before we made half our journey, we were compelled to spend the night at a small unlicensed house, the occasional resort of fishermen and coasters. There was but one room in the shanty, besides the kitchen and bed-room; and, that one, though perfectly clean, smelt intolerably of smoked salmon that garnished its rafters. A musket, a light fowling-piece, and a heavy American rifle, were slung on the beams that supported the floor of the garret; and snow-shoes, fishing-rods, and small dip-nets with long ash handles, were secured to the wall by iron hooks. Altogether it had a sporting appearance, that indicated the owner to be one of those amphibious animals to whom land or water is equally natural, and who prefer the pleasures of the chase and the fishery to the severer labour but more profitable employment of tilling the soil. A few fancy articles of costly materials and superior workmanship that ornamented the mantelpiece and open closet, (probably presents from the gentlemen of the garrison at Halifax,) showed that there were sometimes visiters of a different description from the ordinary customers. As the house was a solitary one, and situated at the head of a deep, well-sheltered inlet, it is probable that smuggling may have added to the profits, and diversified the pursuits of the owner. He did not, however, make his appearance. He had gone, his wife said, in his boat that afternoon to Margaret’s bay, a distance of eight miles, to procure some salt to cure his fish, and would probably not return before the morning.

I’ve been here before, you see, squire, said Mr. Slick, pointing to a wooden clock in the corner of the room; folks that have nothin’ to do like to see how the time goes,—and a man who takes a glass of grog at twelve o’clock is the most punctual feller in the world. The draft is always honoured when it falls due. But who have we here? As he said this, a man entered the room, carrying a small bundle in his hand, tied up in a dirty silk pocket-handkerchief. He was dressed in an old suit of rusty black, much the worse for wear. His face bore the marks of intemperance, and he appeared much fatigued with his journey, which he had performed alone and on foot. I hope I don’t intrude, gentlemen, said he; but you see Dulhanty, poor fellow, has but one room, and poverty makes us acquainted with strange bed-fellows sometimes. Brandy, my little girl, and some cold water; take it out of the north side of the well, my dear,—and,—do you hear,—be quick, for I’m choked with the dust. Gentlemen, will you take some brandy and water? said he. Dulhanty always keeps some good brandy,—none o’ your wretched Yankee peach brandy, that’s enough to pyson a horse, but real Cogniak. Well, I don’t care if I do, said Mr. Slick. Arter you, sir. By your leave, the water, sir. Gentlemen, all your healths, said the stranger. Good brandy that, sir; you had better take another glass before the water gets warm,—and he helped himself again most liberally. Then, taking a survey of the Clockmaker and myself, observed to Mr. Slick that he thought he had seen him before. Well, it’s not onlikely;—where?

Ah, that’s the question, sir; I cannot exactly say where.

Nor I neither.

Which way may you be travellin’? Down east I expect.

Which way are you from then? Some where down South.

The traveller again applied himself to brandy and water.

Ahem! then you are from Lunenburg.

Well, I won’t say I warn’t at Lunenburg.

Ahem! pretty place that Lunenburg; but they speak Dutch. D—n the Dutch; I hate Dutch; there’s no language like English.

Then I suppose you are going to Halifax?

Well, I won’t say I won’t go to Halifax afore I return, neither.

A nice town that Halifax—good fish-market there; but they are not like the English fish a’ter all. Halibut is a poor substitute for the good old English turbot. Where did you say you were from, sir?

I don’t gist altogether mind that I said I was from any place in partikilar, but from down south last.

Ahem! your health, sir; perhaps you are like myself, sir, a stranger, and have no home; and, after all, there is no home like England. Pray what part of England are you from?

I estimate I’m not from England at all.

I’m sorry for you, then; but where the devil are you from?

In a general way folks say I’m from the States.

Knock them down then, d—n them. If any man was to insult me by calling me a Yankee, I’d kick him; but the Yankees have no seat of honour to kick. If I hadn’t been thinkin’ more of my brandy and water than your answers, I might have known you were a Yankee by your miserable evasions. They never give a straight answer—there’s nothing straight about them, but their long backs,—and he was asleep in his chair, overcome by the united effects of the heat, the brandy, and fatigue.

That’s one o’ their schoolmasters, said Mr. Slick; and it’s no wonder the Blue-noses are such ‘cute chaps when they got such masters as that are to teach the young idea how to shoot. The critter has axed more questions in ten minutes than if he was a full-blooded Yankee, tho’ he does hate them so peeowerfully. He’s an Englishman, and, I guess, has seen better days; but he’s ruinated by drink now. When he is about half shaved he is an everlastin’ quarrelsom’ critter, and carries a most plaguy oncivil tongue in his head: that’s the reason I didn’t let on where I come from, for he hates us like pyson. But there ain’t many such critters here; the English don’t emigrate here much,—they go to Canada or the States: and it’s strange, too, for, squire, this is the best location in all America, is Nova Scotia, if the British did but know it.

It will have the greatest trade, the greatest population, the most manufactur’s, and the most wealth of any state this side of the water. The resources, nateral advantages, and political position of this place beat all. Take it altogether, I don’t know gist such a country in the univarsal world a’most. What! Nova Scotia? said I; this poor little colony, this Ultima Thule of America,—what is ever to make it a place of any consequence? Everything, squire, said he, everything that constitutes greatness. I wish we had it,—that’s all; and we will have it too, some o’ these days, if they don’t look sharp. In the first place it has more nor twice as many great men-o’-war harbours in it, capable of holdin’ the whole navy in it, stock, lock, and barrel, than we have from Maine to Mexico, besides innumerable small harbours, island lees, and other shelters, and it’s gist all but an island itself; and most all the best o’ their harbours don’t freeze up at no time. It ain’t shut up like Canada and our back country all winter, but you can in and out as you please; and its so intersected with rivers and lakes, most no part of it is twenty miles from navigable water to the sea,—and then it is the nearest point of our continent to Europe. All that, said I, is very true; but good harbours, though necessary for trade, are not the only things requisite in commerce. But it’s in the midst of the fisheries, squire,—all sorts of fisheries, too. River fisheries of shad, salmon, gasperaux, and herring—shore fishery of mackerel and cod—bank fishery and Labrador fishery. Oh dear! it beats all, and they don’t do nothin’ with ’em, but leave ’em to us. They don’t seem to think ’em worth havin’ or keepin’, for government don’t protect ’em. See what a school for seamen that is, to man the ships to fill the harbours.

Then look at the beeowels of the airth; only think of the coal; and it’s no use atalkin’, that’s the only coal to supply us that we can rely on. Why, there ain’t nothing like it. It extends all the way from bay of Fundy right out to Pictou, thro’ the province, and then under all the island of Cape Breton; and some o’ them seams are the biggest, and thickest, and deepest ever yet discovered since the world began. Beautiful coal it is too. Then natur’ has given ’em most grand abundant iron-ore, here and there and every where, and wood and coal to work it. Only think o’ them two things in such abundance, and a country possessed of first chop-water powers everywhere, and then tell me Providence hasn’t laid the foundation of a manufactorin’ nation here. But that ain’t all. Gist see the plaster of Paris, what almighty big heaps of it there is here. We use already more nor a hundred and fifty thousand tons of it a-year for manure, and we shall want ten times that quantity yet,—we can’t do without it: it has done more for us than steam; it has made our barren lands fertile, and whole tracts habitable, that never would have been worth a cent an acre without it. It will go to South America and the West Indgies yet—it is the magic wand—it’s the philosopher’s stone; I hope I may be shot if it ain’t: it turns all it touches into gold. See what a sight of vessels it takes to carry a great bulky article like that—what a sight of men it employs, what a host of folks it feeds, what a batch of sailors it bakes, what hardy tars for the wooden walls of Old England. But Old England is as blind as a bat, and Blue-nose is a puppy only nine days old; he can’t see yet. If the critter was well trained, had his ears cropped and tongue wormed, he might turn out a decent-lookin’ whelp yet, for the old one is a good nurse and feeds well. Well, then, look at the lead, copper, slate, (and as for slate, they may stump Wales, I know, to produce the like,) granite, grindstone, freestone, lime, manganese, salt, sulphur. Why, they’ve got everything but enterprise, and that I do believe in my soul they expect to find a mine of, and dig up out of the ground as they do coal. But the soil, squire, where will you find the like o’ that? A considerable part of it along the coast is poor, no doubt; but it’s the fishin’ side of the province, and therefore it’s all right; but the bay side is a tearin’, rippin’ fine country. Them dyke mashes have raised hay and grain year arter year now for a whole centery without manure, and I guess will continue to do so from July to etarnity. Then natur’ has given them that sea-mud, salt sand, sea weed, and river sludge for dressin’ their upland, so that it could be made to carry wheat till all’s blue again.

If it possesses all these advantages you speak of, said I, it will doubtless be some day or another both a populous and rich country; but still it does not appear to me that it can be compared to the country of the Mississippi. Why, squire, said he, if you was once to New Orleens, I think you wouldn’t say so. That is a great country, no doubt, too great to compare to a small province like this; great resources, great river, fertile land, great trade; but the climate is awful, and the emigrant people ain’t much better than the climate. The folks at New Orleens put me in mind of children playing in a churchyard, jumpin’ over the graves, hidin’ behind the tombs, a larfin’ at the emblems of mortality, and the queer old rhymes under ’em, all full of life, and glee, and fun above ground, while onderneath it is a great charnel-house, full of winding sheets, skeletons, and generations of departed citizens. That are place is built in a bar in the harbor, made of snags, drift-wood, and chokes, heaped up by the river, and then filled and covered with the sediment and alluvial of the rich bottoms above, brought down by the freshets. It’s peopled in the same way. The eddies and tides of business of all that country centre there, and the froth and scum are washed up and settle at New Orleens. It’s filled with all sorts of people, black, white, and Indgians, and their different shades, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch; English, Irish, and Scotch, and then people from every state in the Union. These last have all nicknames. There’s the hoosiers of Indiana, the suckers of Illinoy, the pukes of Missuri, the buckeyes of Ohio, the red horses of Kentucky, the mudheads of Tennessee, the Wolverines of Michigan, the eels of New England, and the corn crackers of Virginia. All these, with many others, make up the population, which is mottled with black and all its shades; ‘most all too is supplied by emigration. It is a great caravansary filled with strangers, dissolute enough to make your hair stand an eend, drinkin’ all day, gamblin’ all night, and fightin’ all the time. Death pervades all natur’ there; it breathes in the air, and it floats on the water, and rises in the vapours and exhalations, and rides on the whirlwind and tempest: it dwells on the drought, and also in the inundation. Above, below, within, around, everywhere is death; but who knows, or misses, or mourns the stranger? Dig a grave for him, and you plunge him into the water,—the worms eat the coffin, and the crocodiles have the body. We have mills to Rhode Island with sarcular saws, and apparatus for makin’ packin’ boxes. At one of these factories they used to make ’em in the shape of coffins, and then they sarved a double purpose; they carried out inions to New Orleens, and then carried out the dead to their graves.

That are city was made by the freshets. It’s a chance if it ain’t carried away by them. It may yet be its fate to be swept clean off by ’em to mingle once more with the stream that deposited it, and form new land further down the river. It may chance to be a spot to be pointed out from the steamboats as the place where a great city once stood, and a great battle was once fought, in which the genius and valour of the new world triumphed over the best troops and best ginerals of Europe. That place is jist like a hot-bed, and the folks like the plants in it. People do grow rich fast; but they look kinder spindlin’ and weak, and they are e’en a’most choked with weeds and toad-stools, that grow every bit and grain as fast,—and twice as nateral. The Blue-noses don’t know how to valy this location, squire,—that’s a fact, for its a’most a grand one.

What’s a grand location? said the school-master, waking up. Nova Scotia, said Mr. Slick. I was just atellin’ of the squire, it’s a grand location. D—n the location, said he; I hate the word; it ain’t English; there are no words like the English words.—Here, my little girl, more brandy, my dear, and some fresh water; mind it’s fresh,—take it out of the bottom of the well—do you hear?—the coldest spot in the well; and be quick, for I’m burnt up with the heat to-day. Who’s for a pull of grog? suppose we have a pull, gentlemen—a good pull, and a strong pull, and a pull altogether, eh! Here’s to you, gentlemen!—ah, that’s good! you are sure of good brandy here. I say, Mister Location, won’t you moisten the clay, eh?—come, my honest fellow! I’ll take another glass with you to our better acquaintance:—you won’t, eh? well, then, I’ll supply your deficiency myself; here’s luck! Where did you say you were from, sir? I don’t mind that I indicated where I was from gist in petikilar. No, you didn’t; but I twig you now, my boy, Sam Slick, the Clockmaker! And so you say this is a nice location, do you? Yes, it is a nice location indeed for a gentleman this,—a location for pride and poverty, for ignorance and assumption, for folly and vice. Curse the location! I say; there’s no location like old England. This is a poor man’s country, sir; but not a rich man’s or a gentleman’s. There’s nothing this side of the water, sir, approaching to the class of gentry. They have neither the feelings, the sentiments, nor the breeding. They know nothing about it. What little they have here, sir, are second hand airs copied from poor models that necessity forces out here. It is the farce of high life below stairs, sir, played in a poor theatre to a provincial audience. Poor as I am, humble as I am, and degraded as I am,—for I am now all three,—I have seen better days, and was not always the houseless wanderer you now see me. I know what I am talking about. There is nothing beyond respectable mediocrity here; there never can be, there is no material for it, there is nothing to support it. Some fresh water, my dear; that horrid water is enough to scald one’s throat. The worst of a colony is, sir, there is no field for ambition, no room for talents, no reward for distinguished exertions. It is a rich country for a poor man, and a poor country for a rich one. There is no permanent upper class of society here or any where else in America. There are rich men, learned men, agreeable men, liberal men, and good men, but very few gentlemen. The breed ain’t pure; it is not kept long enough distinct to refine, to obtain the distinctive marks, to become generic. Dry work this talkin’;—your health, gentlemen!—a good fellow that Dulhanty,—suppose we drink his health? he always keeps good brandy,—there’s not a head-ache in a gallon of it.

What was I talking about?—Oh! I have it—the location, as those drawling Yankees call it. Yes, instead of importing horses here from England to improve the breed, they should, import gentlemen; they want the true breed, they want blood. Yes, said the Clockmaker, (whom I had never known to remain silent so long before,) I guess. Yes, d——n you! said the stranger, what do you know about it?—you know as much about a gentleman as a cat does of music. If you interrupt me again, I’ll knock your two eyes into one, you clockmaking, pumpkin-headed, peddling, cheating Yankee vagabond. The sickly waxwork imitation of gentility here, the faded artificial flower of fashion, the vulgar pretension, the contemptible struggle for precedence, make one look across the Atlantic with a longing after the freshness of nature, for life and its realities. All North America is a poor country with a poor climate. I would not give Ireland for the whole of it. This Nova Scotia is the best part of it, and has the greatest resources, but still there is no field in a colony for a man of talent and education. Little ponds never hold big fish, there is nothing but pollywogs, tadpoles, and minims in them. Look at them as they swim thro’ the shallow water of the margins of their little muddy pool, following some small fellow an inch long, the leader of the shoal, that thinks himself a whale, and if you do not despise their pretensions, you will, at least, be compelled to laugh at their absurdities. Go to every legislature this side of the water from Congress to Halifax, and hear the stuff that is talked. Go to every press and see the stuff that is printed; go to the people, and see the stuff that is uttered or swallowed, and then tell me this is a location for any thing above mediocrity. What keeps you here, then? said Mr. Slick, if it is such an everlastin’ miserable country as you lay it out to be. I’ll tell you sir, said he, and he drained off the whole of the brandy, as if to prepare for the effort. I will tell you what keeps me, and he placed his hands on his knees, and looking the Clockmaker steadily in the face until every muscle worked with emotion—I’ll tell you, sir, if you must know—my misfortune. The effort and the brandy overpowered him; he fell from his chair, and we removed him to a bed, loosened his cravat, and left him to his repose.

It’s a considerable of a trial, said the Clockmaker, to sit still and listen to that cussed old critter, I tell you. If you hadn’t been here I’d agiv’n him a rael good quiltin’. I’d atanned his jacket for him; I’d alarned him to carry a civil tongue in his head, the nasty, drunken, onmannerly good-for-nothin’ beast; more nor once, I felt my fingers itch to give him a sockdolager under the ear; but he ain’t worth mindin’, I guess. Yes, squire, I won’t deny but New Orleens is a great place, a wonderful place; but there are resources here beyond all conception, and its climate is as pleasant as any we have, and a plaguy sight more healthy. I don’t know what more you’d ask, almost an island indented everywhere with harbours, surrounded with fisheries. The key of the St. Lawrence, the Bay of Fundy, and the West Indgies;—prime land above, one vast mineral bed beneath, and a climate over all temperate, pleasant and healthy. If that ain’t enough for one place, it’s a pity—that’s all.


The next morning, the rain poured down in torrents, and it was ten o’clock before we were able to resume our journey. I am glad, said Mr. Slick, that cussed critter that schoolmaster hasn’t yet woke up. I’m most afeerd if he had turned out afore we started, I should have quilted him, for that talk of his last night sticks in my crop considerable hard. It ain’t over easy to digest, I tell you; for nothin’ a’most raises my dander so much as to hear a benighted, ignorant, and enslaved foreigner, belittle our free and enlightened citizens. But, see there, squire, said he, that’s the first Indgian campment we’ve fell in with on our journey. Happy fellers, them Indgians, ben’t they?—they have no wants and no cares but food and cloathin’, and fishin’ and huntin’ supply them things easy. That tall one you see spearin’ fish down in that are creek there, is Peter Paul, a most aplaguy cute chap. I mind the last time I was to Lunenburg, I seed him to the magistrate’s, John Robar’s: he laid down the law to the justice better than are a lawyer I have met with in the province yet; he talked as clever a’most as Mr. Clay. I’ll tell you what it was:—Peter Paul had made his wigwam one winter near a brook on the farm of James M’Nutt, and employed his time in coopering, and used M’Nutt’s timber when he wanted any. Well, M’Nutt threatened to send him to jail if he didn’t move away, and Paul came to Robar, to ax him whether it could be done. Says he, squire,—M’Nutt he came to me, and says he, Peter, what adevil you do here, d—n you? I say, I make ’em bucket, make ’em tub, may be basket, or ax handle, to buy me some blanket and powder and shot with—you no want some? Well, he say, this my land, Peter, and my wood; I bought ’em and pay money for ’em; I won’t let you stay here and cut my wood; if you cut anoder stick, I send you to jail. Then I tell him I see what governor say to that: what you plant, that yours; what you sow, that yours too; but you no plant ’em woods; God—he plant ’em dat; he make ’em river, too, for all mens, white man and Indgian man—all same. God—he no give ’em river to one man,—he make him run thro’ all the woods. When you drink, he run on and I drink, and then when all drink he run on to de sea. He no stand still—you no catch him—you no have him. If I cut down your apple-tree, then send me to jail, cause you plant ’em; but if I cut down ash-tree, oak-tree, or pine-tree in woods, I say it’s mine. If I cut ’em first—for tree in big woods like river—first cut him, first have him. If God give ’em all to you, where is your writin’, or bring somebody say he hear him say so, then I stop. I never kill your hog, and say I thought him one bear, nor your hen, and say him one partridge; but you go kill my stock, my cariboo, and my moose. I never frighten away your sheep: but you go chop wood, and make one d—n noise and frighten away bear: so when I go to my trap I no find him there, and I lose him, and de skin and de meat too. No two laws for you and me, but all same. You know Jeffery—him big man to Halifax?—well, him very good man’s that; very kind to poor Indgian (when that man go to heaven, God will give him plenty backy to smoke, for that I know.)—Well, he say, Peter Paul, when you want ash-tree, you go cut ’em down on my land when you like; I give you leave. He very good man dat, but God give ’em afore Jeffery was born. And by and by, I say, M’Nutt, you have ’em all. Indgian all die soon; no more wood left—no more hunt left; he starve, and then you take all. Till then I take ’em wood that God plant for us, where I find ’em, and no thanks to you. It would puzzle a Philadelphia lawer to answer that—I guess, said Mr. Slick. That feller cyphered that out of human natur’,—the best book a man can study arter all, and the only true one;—there’s no two ways about it—there’s never no mistake there. Queer critter, that Peter; he has an answer for every one; nothin’ ever da’nts or poses him; but here we are at the eend of our journey, and I must say, I am sorry for it, too, for though it’s been a considerable of a long one, it’s been a very pleasant one.

When we returned to Halifax we drove to Mrs. Spicer’s boarding-house, where I had bespoken lodgings previously to my departure from town. While the servants were preparing my room we were shown into the parlour of Mrs. Spicer. She was young, pretty, and a widow. She had but one child, a daughter of six years of age, which, like all only children, was petted and spoiled. She was first shy, then familiar, and ended by being troublesome and rude. She amused her mother by imitating Mr. Slick’s pronunciation, and herself by using his hat for a foot-ball.

Entertainin’ that, ain’t it? said the Clockmaker, as we entered our own apartments. The worst of women is, said he, they are for everlastin’ly ateasin’ folks with their children, and take more pains to spoil ’em and make ’em disagreeable than anything else. Who the plague wants to hear ’em repeat a yard o’ poetry like that are little sarpent?—I am sure I don’t. The Hon. Eli Wad was right, when he said the ways o’ womenkind are wonderful. I’ve been afeerd to venture on matrimony myself, and I don’t altogether think I shall spekilate in that line for one while. It don’t gist suit a rovin’ man like me. It’s a considerable of a tie, and then it ain’t like a horse deal, where, if you don’t like the beast, you can put it off in a raffle, or a trade, or swop and suit yourself better; but you must make the best of a bad bargain, and put up with it. It ain’t often you meet a critter of the right mettle; spirited, yet gentle; easy on the bit, sure-footed and spry; no bitin’, or kickin’, or sulkin’, or racin’ off, or refusin’ to go or runnin’ back, and then clean-limbed and good carriage. It’s about the difficultest piece of business I know on.

Our great cities are most the only places in our Union where a man may marry with comfort, rael right down genuine comfort and no drawback. No farnishin’ a house; and if you go for to please a woman in that line, there’s no eend o’ the expense they’ll go to, and no trouble about helps; a considerable of a plague them in the States, you may depend; then you got nothin’ to provide, and nothin’ to see arter, and it ain’t so plaguy lonely as a private house neither. The ladies, too, have nothin’ to do all day but dress themselves, gossip, walk out, or go ashoppin’, or receive visits to home. They have a’most a grand time of it, you may depend. If there be any children, why, they can be sent up garret with the helps, out o’ the way and out o’ hearin’ till they are big enough to go to school. They ain’t half the plague they be in a private house. But one o’ the best things about it is, a man needn’t stay to home to entertain his wife aevenings, for she can find company enough in the public rooms, if she has a mind to, and he can go to the political clubs and coffee-houses, and see arter politics, and enquire how the nation’s agoin’ on, and watch over the doin’s of Congress. It takes a great deal of time that, and a man can’t discharge his duties right to the State or the Union either, if he is for everlastin’ly tied to his wife’s apron-strings. You may talk about the domestic hearth, and the pleasures of home, and the family circle, and all that sort o’ thing, squire: it sounds very clever, and reads dreadful pretty; but what does it eend in at last? why, a scoldin’ wife with her shoes down to heel, a-see-sawin’ in a rocking chair; her hair either not done up at all, or all stuck chock full of paper and pins, like porcupine quills; a smoky chimbly aputtin’ of your eyes out; cryin’ children ascreamin’ of your ears out; extravagant, wasteful helps, a-emptying of your pockets out, and the whole thing awearin’ of your patience out. No, there’s nothin’ like a great boardin’ house, for married folks; it don’t cost nothin’ like keepin’ house, and there’s plenty o’ company all the time, and the women folks never feel lonely like, when their husbands are not to home. The only thing is to larn the geography of the house well, and know their own number. If they don’t do that, they may get into a most adeuced of a scrape, that it ain’t so easy to back out of. I recollect a most acurious accident that happened that way once, agettin’ into the wrong room.

I had gone down to Boston to keep 4th of July, our great Annivarsary-day. A great day that, squire; a great national festival; a splendid spectacle; fifteen millions of free men and three million of slaves acelebratin’ the birth-day of liberty; rejoicin’ in their strength, their freedom and enlightenment. Perhaps the sun never shone on such a sight afore, nor the moon, nor the stars, for their planetary system ain’t more perfect than our political system. The sun typifies our splendour; the moon in its changes figures our rotation of office, and eclipses of Presidents,—and the stars are emblems of our states, as painted on our flags. If the British don’t catch it that day, it’s a pity. All over our Union, in every town and village, there are orations made, gist about as beautiful pieces of workmanship, and as nicely dove-tailed and mortised, and as prettily put together as well can be, and the English catch it everywhere. All our battles are fought over ag’in, and you can e’en a’most see the British aflyin’ afore them like the wind, full split, or layin’ down their arms as humble as you please, or marchin’ off as prisoners tied two and two, like runaway niggers, as plain as if you was in the engagements, and Washington on his great big war-horse aridin’ over them, and our free and enlightened citizens askiverin’ of them; or the proud impudent officers akneelin’ down to him, givin’ up their swords, and abeggin’ for dear life for quarter. Then you think you can e’en a’most see that infernal spy Andre nabbed and sarched, and the scorn that sot on the brows of our heroes as they threw into the dirt the money he offered to be released, and heerd him beg like an Indgian to be shot like a gentleman, and not hanged like a thief, and Washington’s noble and magnanimous answer,—“I guess they’ll think we are afeerd if we don’t,”—so simple, so sublime. The hammerin’ of the carpenters seems to strike your ears as they erect the gallus; and then his struggles, like a dog tucked up for sheep-stealin’, are as nateral as life. I must say I do like to hear them orations,—to hear of the deeds of our heroes by land and by sea. It’s a bright page of history that. It exasperates the young—it makes their blood boil at the wrongs of their forefathers; it makes them clean their rifles, and run their bullets. It prepares them for that great day, that comin’ day, that no distant day neither, that must come and will come, and can’t help a comin’, when Britain will be a colony to our great nation, and when her colonies will be states in our Union.

Many’s the disputes, and pretty hot disputes too, I’ve had with minister about these orations. He never would go near on ’em; he said they were in bad taste—(a great phrase of his’n that, poor dear good old man; I believe his heart yarns arter old times, and I must think sometimes he ought to have joined the refugees,)—bad taste, Sam. It smells o’ braggin’, it’s ongentlemany; and what’s worse—it’s onchristian.

But ministers don’t know much of this world;—they may know the road to the next; but they don’t know the cross-roads and by-paths of this one—that’s a fact. But I was agoin’ to tell you what happened that day—I was stayin’ to Gineral Peep’s boardin’ house to Boston, to enjoy, as I was asayin’, the anniversary. There was an amazin’ crowd of folks there; the house was chock full of strangers. Well, there was a gentleman and a lady, one Major Ebenezer Sproul and his wife, aboardin’ there, that had one child, the most cryenest critter I ever seed; it boohood all night a’most, and the boarders said it must be sent up to the garret to the helps, for no soul could sleep a’most for it. Well, most every night Mrs. Sproul had to go up there to quiet the little varmint,—for it wouldn’t give over yellin’ for no one but her. That night, in partikelar, the critter screeched and screamed like Old Scratch; and at last Mrs. Sproul slipped on her dressin’ gownd, and went up stairs to it,—and left her door ajar, so as not to disturb her husband acomin’ back; and when she returned, she pushed the door open softly, and shot it to, and got into bed. He’s asleep, now, says she; I hope he won’t disturb me ag’in. No, I ain’t asleep, mynheer stranger, says old Zwicker, a Dutch merchant from Albany, (for she had got into the wrong room, and got in his bed by mistake,) nor I don’t dank you, nor Gineral Beep needer, for puddin’ you into my bed mid me, widout my leave nor lichense, nor abbrobation, needer. I liksh your place more better as your company? Oh, I got no gimblet! Het is jammer, it is a pity! Oh! dear, if she didn’t let go, it’s a pity; she kicked and screamed, and carried on like a ravin’ distracted bed-bug. Tousand teyvels, said he what ails te man? I believe he is pewitched. Murder! murder! said she, and she cried out at the very tip eend of her voice, murder! murder! Well, Zwicker, he jumped out o’ bed in an all-fired hurry, most properly frightened, you may depend; and seezin’ her dressin’ gownd, instead of his trousers, he put his legs into the arms of it, and was arunnin’ out of the room aholdin’ up of the skirts with his hands, as I came in with the candle. De ferry teyvil hisself is in te man, and in de trousher too, said he; for I pelieve te coat has grow’d to it in te night, it is so tam long. Oh, tear! what a pity. Stop, says I, Mister Zwicker, and I pulled him back by the gownd (I thought I should adied larfin’ to see him in his red night-cap, his eyes startin’ out o’ his head, and those short-legged trousers on, for the sleeves of the dressin’ gownd didn’t come further than his knees, with a great long tail to ’em.) Stop, says I, and tell us what all this everlastin’ hubbub is about: who’s dead and what’s to pay now?

All this time Mrs. Sproul lay curled up like a cat, covered all over in the bed clothes, ayellin’ and ascreamin’ like mad; ‘most all the house was gathered there, some ondressed, and some half-dressed—some had sticks and pokers, and some had swords. Hullo! says I, who on airth is makin’ all this touss? Goten Hymel, said he, old Saydon himself, I do pelieve; he came tru de door and jumped right into ped, and yelled so loud in mine ear as to deefen my head a’most: pull him out by de cloven foot, and kill him, tam him! I had no gimblet no more, and he know’d it, and dat is te cause, and nothin’ else. Well, the folks got hold of the clothes, and pulled and hauled away till her head showed above the sheet. Dear, dear, said Major Ebenezer Sproul;—If it ain’t Mrs. Sproul, my wife, as I am alive! Why, Mary dear, what brought you here?—what on airth are you adoin’ of in Mr. Zwicker’s room here? I take my oat, she prought herself here, said Zwicker, and peg she take herself away ag’in so fast as she came, and more faster too. What will Vrow Zwicker say to this woman’s tale?—was te likeesh ever heerd afore? Tear, tear, but ’tis too pad! Well, well, says the folks, who’d athought it?—such a steady old gentleman as Mr. Zwicker,—and young Marm Sproul, says they,—only think of her!—ain’t it horrid? The hussy! says the women house-helps: she’s nicely caught, ain’t she? She’s no great things any how to take up with that nasty smoky old Dutchman: it sarves her right,—it does, the good-for-nothin’ jade!

Lith. of Sinclair
The wrong room.
Philadelphia. Published by Lindsay & Blakiston.

I wouldn’t ahad it happen, says the major, for fifty dollars, I vow; and he walked up and down, and wrung his hands, and looked streaked enough, you may depend:—no, nor I don’t know, said he, as I would for a hundred dollars a’most. Have what happened, says Zwicker; upon my vort and honour and sole, nothin’ happened, only I had no gimblet. Het is jammer; it is a pity. I went to see the baby, said Mrs. Sproul,—asobbin’ ready to kill herself, poor thing!—and——Well, I don’t want, nor have occasion, nor require a nurse, said Zwicker.—And I mistook the room, said she, and come here athinkin’ it was ourn. Couldn’t pe possible, said he, to take me for te papy, dat has papys hisself,—but it was to ruin my character, and name, and reputation. Oh, Goten Hymel! what will Vrou Zwicker say to dis wooman’s tale? but then she knowd I had no gimblet, she did. Folks snickered and larfed a good deal, I tell you; but they soon cleared out and went to bed ag’in. The story ran all over Boston like wild fire; nothin’ else a’most was talked of; and like most stories, it grew worse and worse every day. Zwicker returned next mornin’ to Albany, and has never been to Boston since; and the Sprouls kept close for some time, and then moved away to the western territory. I actilly believe they changed their name, for I never heerd tell of any one that ever seed them since.

Mr. Slick, says Zwicker, the mornin’ he started, I have one leetle gimblet; I always travel with my leetle gimblet; take it mid me wherever I go; and when I goes to ped, I takes my leetle gimblet out and bores wid it over de latch of de toor, and dat fastens it, and keeps out de tief and de villain and de womans. I left it to home dat time mid the old vrou, and it was all because I had no gimblet, de row and te noise and te rumpush wash made. Tam it! said he, Mr. Slick, ’tis no use talkin’, but tere is always de teyvil to pay when there is a woman and no gimblet.

Yes, said the Clockmaker, if they don’t mind the number of the room, they’d better stay away,—but a little attention that way cures all. We are all in a hurry in the States; we eat in a hurry, drink in a hurry, and sleep in a hurry. We all go ahead so fast it keeps one full spring to keep up with others; and one must go it hot foot, if he wants to pass his neighbours. Now, it is a great comfort to have your dinner to the minute, as you do at a boardin’-house, when you are in a hurry—only you must look out sharp arter the dishes, or you won’t get nothin’. Things vanish like wink. I recollect once when quails first came in that season; there was an old chap at Peep’s boardin’-house, that used to take the whole dish of ’em, empty it on his plate, and gobble ’em up like a turkeycock,—no one else ever got none. We were all a good deal ryled at it, seein’ that he didn’t pay no more for his dinner than us, so I nicknamed him “Old Quail,” and it cured him; he always left half arter that, for a scramb. No system is quite perfect, squire; accidents will happen in the best regulated places, like that of Marm Sproul’s and Old Quail’s; but still there is nothin’ arter all like a boardin’-house,—the only thing is, keep out of the wrong room.


Halifax, like London, has its tower also, but there is this remarkable difference between these two national structures, that the one is designed for the defenders of the country, and the other for its offenders; and that the former is as difficult to be broken into as the latter (notwithstanding all the ingenious devices of successive generations from the days of Julius Cæsar to the time of the schoolmaster) is to be broken out of. A critical eye might perhaps detect some other, though lesser, points of distinction. This cis-Atlantic martello tower has a more aristocratic and exclusive air than its city brother, and its portals are open to none but those who are attired in the uniform of the guard, or that of the royal staff; while the other receives the lowest, and most depraved, and vulgar of mankind. It is true it has not the lions, and other adventitious attractions of the elder one; but the original and noble park in which it stands is plentifully stocked with carriboos, while the horn-work of the latter is at least equal to that of its ancient rival; and although it cannot exhibit a display of the armour of the country, its very existence there is conclusive evidence of the amor patriæ. It stands on an eminence that protects the harbour of Halifax, and commands that of the North-West Arm, and is situated at the termination of a fashionable promenade, which is skirted on one side by a thick shrubbery, and on the other by the waters of the harbour; the former being the resort of those of both sexes who delight in the impervious shade of the spruce, and the latter of those who prefer swimming, and other aquatic exercises. With these attractions to the lovers of nature, and a pure air, it is thronged at all hours, but more especially at day-dawn, by the valetudinarian, the aged, and infirm, and at the witching hour of moonlight by those who are young enough to defy the dew and damp air of night.

To the latter class I have long since ceased to belong. Old, corpulent, and rheumatic, I am compelled to be careful of a body that is not worth the trouble that it gives me. I no longer indulge in the dreary visions of the second nap, for, alas! non sum qualis eram. I rise early, and take my constitutional walk to the tower. I had not proceeded more than half-way this morning before I met the Clockmaker returning to town.

Mornin’, squire, said he; I suppose you didn’t hear the news, did you? the British packet’s in. Which packet? said I; for there are two due, and great apprehensions are entertained that one of them is lost. More promotion, then, said he, for them navals that’s left; it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good. Why! said I, Mr. Slick, how can you talk so unfeelingly of such an awful catastrophe? Only think of the misery entailed by such an event upon Falmouth, where most of the officers and crew have left destitute and distressed families. Poor creatures, what dreadful tidings await them! Well, well, said he, I didn’t gist altogether mean to make a joke of it neither; but your folks know what they are about; them coffin ships ain’t sent out for nothin’. Ten of them gun-brigs have been lost already; and, depend on it, the English have their reasons for it—there’s no mistake about it: considerable ‘cute chaps them, they can see as far into a millstone as them that picks the hole in it; if they throw a sprat it’s to catch a mackerel, or my name is not Sam Slick. Reason, I replied,—what reason can there be for consigning so many gallant fellows to a violent death and a watery grave? What could justify such a——? I’ll tell you, said the Clockmaker: it keeps the natives to home by frightenin’ ’em out of their seven senses. Now, if they had a good set of liners, them blue-nose tories and radicals would be for everlastingly abotherin’ of government with their requests and complaints. Hungry as hawks them fellers, they’d fairly eat the minister up without salt, they would. It compels ’em to stay at home, it does. Your folks desarve credit for that trick, for it answers the purpose rael complete. Yes, you English are pretty considerable tarnation sharp. You warn’t born yesterday, I tell you. You are always afindin’ out some mare’s nest or another. Didn’t you send out water-casks and filterin’-stones last war to the fresh water lakes to Canada? Didn’t you send out a frigate there ready built, in pieces ready numbered and marked, to put together, ‘cause there’s no timber in America, nor carpenters neither? Didn’t you order the Yankee prisoners to be kept at the fortress of Louisburg, which was so levelled to the ground fifty years before that folks can hardly tell where it stood? Han’t you squandered more money to Bermuda than would make a military road from Halifax to Quebec, make the Windsor railroad, and complete the great canal? Han’t you built a dockyard there that rots all the cordage and stores as fast as you send them out there? and han’t you to send these things every year to sell to Halifax, ‘cause there ain’t folks enough to Bermuda to make an auction? Don’t you send out a squadron every year of seventy-fours, frigates, and sloops of war, and most work ’em to death, sendin’ em’ to Bermuda to winter ‘cause it’s warm, and to Halifax to summer, ‘cause its cool; and to carry freights of doubloons and dollars from the West Indgies to England, ‘cause it pays well; while the fisheries, coastin’ trade, and revenue are left to look out for themselves? Oh, if you don’t beat all, it’s a pity!

Now, what in natur’ is the use of them are great seventy-fours in peace time in that station? Half the sum of money one of them are everlastin’ almighty monsters cost would equip a dozen spankin’ cutters, commanded by leftenants in the navy, (and this I will say, though they be Britishers, a smarter set o’ men than they be never stept in shoe-leather,) and they’d soon set these matters right in two twos. Them seventy-fours put me in mind o’ Black Hawk, the great Indgian chief, that was to Washin’ton lately; he had an alligator tattooed on the back part of one thigh, and a raccoon on t’other, touched off to the very nines, and as nateral as any thing you ever seed in your life; and well he know’d it too, for he was as proud of it as any thing. Well, the president, and a whole raft of senators, and a considerable of an assortment of most beautiful ladies, went all over the capitol with him, showin’ him the great buildin’s, and public halls, and curiosities, patents, presents, and what not; but Black Hawk, he took no notice of nothin’ a’most till he came to the pictur’s of our great naval and military heroes, and splendid national victories of our free and enlightened citizens, and them he did stare at; they posed him considerable—that’s a fact.

Well, warrior, said the president, arubbin’ of his hands, and asmilin’, what do you think of them? Broder, said Black Hawk, them grand, them live, and breathe and speak—them great pictures I tell you, very great indeed, but I got better ones, said he, and he turned round, and stooped down, and drew up his mantle over his head. Look at that alligator, broder, said he, and he struck it with his hand till he made all ring again; and that racoon behind there; bean’t they splendid? Oh! if there warn’t a shout, it’s a pity! The men haw-hawed right out like thunder, and the women ran off, and screamed like mad. Did you ever! said they. How ondecent! ain’t it shocking? and then they screamed out ag’in louder than afore. Oh dear! said they, if that nasty, horrid thing ain’t in all the mirrors in the room! and they put their pretty little hands up to their dear little eyes, and raced right out into the street. The president he stamped, and bit his lip, and looked as mad as if he could have swallowed a wild cat alive. Cuss him! said he, I’ve half a mind to kick him into the Potomac, the savage brute! I shall never hear the last of this joke. I fairly thought I should have split to see the conflustrigation it put ’em all into. Now, that’s gist the way with your seventy-fours. When the Blue-noses grumble that we Yankees smuggle like all vengeance, and have all the fisheries on the coast to ourselves, you send ’em out a great seventy-four with a painted starn for ’em to look at, and it is gist about as much use as the tattooed starn of Black Hawk. I hope I may be shot if it ain’t. Well, then, gist see how you——

True, said I, glad to put a stop to the enumeration of our blunders, but government have added some new vessels to the packet line of a very superior description, and will withdraw the old ones as soon as possible. These changes are very expensive, and cannot be effected in a moment. Yes, said he, so I have heerd tell; and I have heerd, too, that the new ones won’t lay to, and the old ones won’t scud; grand chance in a gale for a feller that, ain’t it? One tumbles over in the trough of the sea, and the other has such great solid bulwarks, if she ships a sea, she never gets rid of it but by goin’ down. Oh, you British are up to every thing! it wouldn’t be easy to put a wrinkle on your horns, I know. They will, at least, said I, with more pique than prudence, last as long as the colonies. It is admitted on all hands now, by Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, that the time is not far distant when the provinces will be old enough for independence, and strong enough to demand it. I am also happy to say that there is every disposition to yield to their wishes whenever a majority shall concur in applying for a separation. It is very questionable whether the expense of their protection is not greater than any advantage we derive from them.

That, said the Clockmaker, is what I call, now, good sound sense. I like to hear you talk that way, for it shows you participate in the enlightenment of the age. After all the expense you have been to in conquerin’, clearin’, settlin’, fortifyin’, governin’, and protectin’ these colonies, from the time they were little miserable spindlin’ seedlin’s up to now, when they have grow’d to be considerable stiff and strong, and of some use, to give ’em up, and encourage ’em to ax for ‘mancipation, is, I estimate, the part of wise men. Yes, I see you are wide awake. Let ’em go. They are no use to you. But, I say, squire—and he tapped me on the shoulder, and winked,—let ’em look out the next mornin’ arter they are free for a visit from us. If we don’t put ’em thro’ their facin’s it’s a pity. Tho’ they are no good to you, they are worth a Jew’s eye to us, and have ’em we will, by gum!

You put me in mind of a British Parliament-man that was travellin’ in the States once. I seed him in a steamboat on the Ohio, (a’most a grand river that, squire; if you were to put all the English rivers into one you couldn’t make its ditto,) and we went the matter of seven hundred miles on it till it jined the Mississippi. As soon as we turned to go down that river he stood, and stared, and scratched his head, like bewildered. Says he, this is very strange—very strange indeed, says he. What’s strange? said I; but he went on without hearin’. It’s the greatest curiosity, said he, I ever seed, a nateral phenomenon, one of the wonders of the world; and he jumped right up and down like a ravin’ distracted fool. Where is it, said he. What the d—l has become of it? If more nor half an hour ago. What on airth ails you, says I, to make you act so like Old Scratch that way? Do, for goodness sake, look here, Mr. Slick! said he. That immense river, the Ohio, that we have been sailin’ upon so many days, where is it? Where is it! said I. Why it’s run into the Mississippi here to be sure; where else should it be? or did you think it was like a snake that it curled its head under its own belly, and run back again? But, said he, the Mississippi arn’t made one inch higher or one inch wider by it; it don’t swell it one mite or morsel; it’s marvellous, ain’t it! Well, gist afore that, we had been talking about the colonies; so, says I, I can tell you a more marvellous thing than that by a long chalk.

There is Upper Canada, and Lower Canada, and New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, and Prince Edward’s Island, and Newfoundland,—they all belong to the English. Well, said he, I know that as well as you do. Don’t be so plaguy touchy! said I, but hear me out. They all belong to the English, and there’s no two ways about it; it’s the best part of America, too; better land and better climate than ourn, and free from yaller fevers, and agues, and nigger slaves, and hostile Indgians, and Lynchers, and alligators, and such like varmint, and all the trade and commerce of them colonies, and the supply of ‘factured goods belong to the English too, and yet I defy any livin’ soul to say he can see that it swells their trade to be one inch wider, or one inch higher; it’s gist a drop in the bucket. Well, that is strange, said he; but it only shows the magnitude of British commerce. Yes, says I, it does; it shows another thing too. What’s that, said he. Why, says I, that their commerce is a plaguy sight deeper than the shaller-pated noodles that it belongs to. Do you, said I, jist take the lead-line, and sound the river jist below where the Ohio comes into it, and you will find that, though it tante broader or higher, it’s an everlastin’ sight deeper than it is above the jinin place. It can’t be otherwise in natur’.

Now, turn the Ohio, and let it run down to Baltimore, and you’d find the Mississippi, mammoth as it is, a different guess river from what you now see it. It wouldn’t overrun its banks no more, nor break the dykes at New Orleans, nor leave the great Cyprus swamps under water any longer. It would look pretty streaked in dry weather, I know. Gist so with the colony trade; though you can’t see it in the ocean of English trade, yet it is there. Cut it off, and see the raft of ships you’d have to spare, and the thousands of seamen you’d have to emigrate to us! and see how white about the gills Glasgow, and Greenock, and Liverpool, and Manchester, and Birmingham, would look. Cuttin’ off the colonies is like cuttin’ off the roots of a tree; it’s an even chance if it don’t blow right slap over the very first sneeze of wind that comes; and if it don’t, the leaves curl up, turn yaller, and fall off afore their time. Well, the next spring follerin’ there is about six feet of the top dead, and the tips of the branches withered, and the leaves only half size; and the year after, unless it sends out new roots, it’s a great leafless trunk, a sight to behold; and, if it is strong enough to push out new roots, it may revive, but it never looks like itself again. The luxuriance is gone, and gone for ever.

You got chaps in your parliament that never seed a colony, and yet get up and talk about ’em by the hour, and look as wise about ’em as the monkey that had seen the world.

In America all our farms a’most have what we call the rough pastur’—that is, a great rough field of a hundred acres or so, near the woods, where we turn in our young cattle, and breedin’ mares, and colts, and dry cows, and what not, where they take care of themselves, and the young stock grow up, and the old stock grow fat. It’s a grand outlet that to the farm, that would be overstocked without it. We could not do without it nohow. Now, your colonies are the great field for a redundant population, a grand outlet. Ask the Eyetalians what fixed their flint? Losin’ the overland-trade to India. Ask the folks to Cadiz what put them up a tree? Losin’ the trade to South America. If that’s too far off, ask the people of Bristol and Chester what sewed them up? and they will tell you, while they was asleep, Liverpool ran off with their trade. And if you havn’t time to go there, ax the first coachman you get alongside of, what he thinks of the railroads? and gist listen to the funeral hymn he’ll sing over the turnpikes. When I was to England last, I always did that when I was in a hurry, and it put coachee into such a passion, he’d turn to and lick his horses out o’ spite into a full gallop. D—n ’em, he’d say, them that sanctioned them railroads, to ruin the ‘pikes, (get along, you lazy willain, Charley, and he’d lay it into the wheeler,) they ought to be hanged, sir, (that’s the ticket, and he’d whop the leader,)—yes, sir, to be hanged, for what is to become of them as lent their money on the ‘pikes? (wh—ist, crack, crack goes the whip)—hanged and quartered they ought to be. These men ought to be relunerated as well as the slave-holders; I wonder, sir, what we shall all come to yet? Come to, says I; why, to be a stoker to be sure; that’s what all you coachmen will eend in at last, as sure as you are born. A stoker, sir, said he, (lookin’ as bothered as if it wor a French furriner that word,) what the d—l is that? Why, a stoker, says I, is a critter that draws, and stirs, and pokes the fire of a steam-engin’. I’d sooner die first, sir, said he; I would, d—n me, if I wouldn’t! Only think of a man of my age and size bein’ a stoker, sir; I wouldn’t be in the fellow’s skin that would propose it to me, for the best shilling as ever came out o’ the mint. Take that, and that, and that, he’d say, to the off for’ard horse, (alayin’ it into him like mad,) and do your own work, you dishonest rascal. It is fun alive you may depend.

No, sir, lose your colonies, and you’d have Eyetalian cities without their climate, Eyetalian lazaroni without their light hearts to sing over their poverty, (for the English can’t sing a bit better nor bull frogs,) and worse than Eyetalian eruptions and volcanoes in politics, without the grandeur and sublimity of those in natur’. Deceive not yourselves; if you lop off the branches, the tree perishes, for the leaves elaborate the sap that vivifies, nourishes, and supports the trunk. There’s no two ways about it, squire: “them who say colonies are no good, are either fools or knaves; if they be fools they ain’t worth answerin’, and if they are knaves, send them to the treadmill, till they larn to speak the truth.”


It is painful to think of the blunders that have been committed from time to time in the management of our colonies, and of the gross ignorance, or utter disregard of their interests, that has been displayed in the treaties with foreign powers. Fortunately for the mother country the colonists are warmly attached to her and her institutions, and deplore a separation too much to agitate questions, however important, that may have a tendency to weaken their affections by arousing their passions. The time, however, has now arrived when the treatment of adults should supersede that of children. Other and nearer, and, for the time, more important interests, have occupied her attention, and diverted her thoughts from those distant portions of the empire. Much, therefore, that has been done may be attributed to want of accurate information, while it is to be feared much also has arisen from not duly appreciating their importance. The government of the provinces has been but too often intrusted to persons who have been selected, not so much from their peculiar fitness for the situation, as with reference to their interests, or their claims for reward for past services in other departments. From persons thus chosen, no very accurate or useful information can be expected. This is the more to be regretted as the resolutions of the dominant party, either in the House of Assembly or Council, are not always to be received as conclusive evidence of public opinion. They are sometimes produced by accidental causes, often by temporary excitement, and frequently by the intrigue or talents of one man. In the colonies, the legislature is more often in advance of public opinion, than coerced by it, and the pressure from without is sometimes caused by the excitement previously existing within, while in many cases the people do not participate in the views of their representatives. Hence the resolutions of one day are sometimes rescinded the next, and a subsequent session, or a new house, is found to hold opinions opposed to those of its predecessor. To these difficulties in obtaining accurate information, may be added the uncertain character of that arising from private sources. Individuals having access to the Colonial Office, are not always the best qualified for consultation, and interest or prejudice is but too often found to operate insensibly even upon those whose sincerity and integrity are undoubted. As a remedy for these evils it has been proposed to give the colonies a representation in parliament, but the measure is attended with so many objections, and such inherent difficulties, that it may be considered almost impracticable. The only satisfactory and efficient prescription that political quackery has hitherto suggested, appears to be that of a Colonial Council-board, composed principally, if not wholly, of persons from the respective provinces; who, while the minister changes with the cabinet of the day, shall remain as permanent members, to inform, advise, and assist his successor. None but natives can fully understand the peculiar feelings of the colonists. The advantages to be derived from such a board, are too obvious to be enlarged upon, and will readily occur to any one at all conversant with these subjects; for it is a matter of notoriety, that a correspondence may be commenced by one minister, continued by a second, and terminated by a third, so rapid have sometimes been the changes in this department. It is not my business, however, to suggest, (and I heartily rejoice that it is not, for I am no projector,) but simply to record the sayings and doings of that eccentric personage, Mr. Samuel Slick, to whom it is now high time to return.

You object, said I, to the present line of government packets running between Falmouth and Halifax (and I must say, not without reason:) pray, what do you propose to substitute in their places. Well, I don’t know, said he, as I gist altogether ought to blart out all I think about it. Our folks mightn’t be over half pleased with me for the hint, for our New York liners have the whole run of the passengers now, and plaguy proud our folks be of it, too, I tell you. Why, if it was to leak out it was me that put you up to it, I should have to gallop through the country when I returned home, as Head did—you know Head the author, don’t you? There are several gentlemen of that name, I replied, who have distinguished themselves as authors; pray, which do you mean? Well, I don’t know, said he, as I can gist altogether indicate the identical man I mean, but I calculate it’s him that galloped the wild horses in the Pampas a hundred miles a day hand runnin’, day in and day out, on beef tea, made of hung beef and cold water;—it’s the gallopin’ one I mean; he is Governor to Canada now, I believe. You know in that are book he wrote on gallopin’ he says, “the greatest luxury in all natur’ is to ride without trousers on a horse without a saddle,”—what we call bare-breeched and bare-backed. (Oh! I wonder he didn’t die a-larfin’, I do, I vow. Them great thistles that he says grow in the Pampas as high as a human’s head, must have tickled a man a’most to death that rode that way.) Well, now, if I was to tell you how to work it I should have to ride armed as he was in his travels, with two pair of detonatin’ pistols and a double-barrelled gun, and when I seed a gaucho of a New Yorker a-comin’, clap the reins in my mouth, set off at full gallop, and pint a pistol at him with each hand; or else I’d have to lasso him,—that’s sartain,—for they’d make travellin’ in that state too hot for me to wear breeches I know. I’d have to off with them full chisel, and go it bare-backed,—that’s as clear as mud. I believe Sir Francis Head is no great favourite, I replied, with your countrymen, but he is very popular with the colonists, and very deservedly so. He is an able and efficient governor, and possesses the entire confidence of the provinces. He is placed in a very difficult situation, and appears to display great tact and great talent. Well, well, said he, let that pass; I won’t say he don’t, though I wish he wouldn’t talk so much ag’in us as he does, anyhow; but will you promise you won’t let on it was me now if I tell you? Certainly, said I, your name shall be concealed. Well, then, I’ll tell you, said he; turn your attention to steam navigation to Halifax. Steam will half ruin England, yet, if they don’t mind. It will drain it of its money, drain it of its population, and—what’s more than all—what it can spare least of all, and what it will feel more nor all, its artisans, its skilful workmen, and its honest, intelligent, and respectable middle classes. It will leave you nothin’ in time but your aristocracy and your poor. A trip to America is goin’ to be nothin’ more than a trip to France, and folks will go where land is cheap and labour high. It will build the new world up, but it will drain the old one out in a way no one thinks on. Turn this tide of emigration to your own provinces, or, as sure as eggs is eggs, we will get it all. You han’t no notion what steam is destined to do for America. It will make it look as bright as a pewter button yet, I know.

The distance, as I make it, from Bristol to New York Lighthouse is 3037 miles; from Bristol to Halifax Light-house is 2479; from Halifax Light to New York Light is 522 miles,—in all, 3001 miles; 558 miles shorter than New York line; and even going to New York, 36 miles shorter to stop to Halifax than to go to New York direct. I fix on Bristol ‘cause it’s a better port for the purpose than Liverpool, and the new rail-road will be gist the dandy for you. But them great, fat, porter-drinkin’ critters of Bristol have been asnorin’ fast asleep for half a century, and only gist got one eye open now. I’m most afeerd they will turn over, and take the second nap, and if they do they are done for—that’s a fact. Now you take the chart, and work it yourself, squire, for I’m no great hand at navigation. I’ve been a whaling voyage, and a few other sea trips, and I know a little about it, but not much, and yet, if I ain’t pretty considerable near the mark, I’ll give them leave to guess that knows better—that’s all. Get your legislatur’ to persuade government to contract with the Great Western folks to carry the mail, and drop it in their way to New York; for you got as much and as good coal to Nova Scotia as England has, and the steam-boats would have to carry a supply for 550 miles less, and could take in a stock at Halifax for the return voyage to Europe. If ministers won’t do that, get ’em to send steam packets of their own, and you wouldn’t be no longer an everlastin’ outlandish country no more as you be now. And, more nor that, you wouldn’t lose all the best emigrants and all their capital, who now go to the States ‘cause the voyage is safer, and remain there ‘cause they are tired of travellin’, and can’t get down here without risk of their precious necks and ugly mugs.

But John Bull is like all other sponsible folks; he thinks ‘cause he is rich he is wise too, and knows every thing, when in fact he knows plaguy little outside of his own location. Like all other consaited folks, too, he don’t allow nobody else to know nothin’ neither but himself. The Eyetalian is too lazy, the French too smirky, the Spaniard too banditti, the Dutch too smoky, the German too dreamy, the Scotch too itchy, the Irish too popey, and the Yankee too tricky; all low, all ignorant, all poor. He thinks the noblest work of God an Englishman. He is on considerable good terms with himself, too, is John Bull, when he has his go-to-meetin’ clothes on, his gold-headed cane in his hand, and his puss buttoned up tight in his trousers pocket. He wears his hat a little a one side, rakish-like, whaps his cane down ag’in the pavement hard, as if he intended to keep things in their place, swaggers a few, as if he thought he had a right to look big, and stares at you full and hard in the face, with a knowin’ toss of his head, as much as to say, “That’s me, d—n you!” and who you be I don’t know, and what’s more I don’t want to know; so clear the road double quick, will you? Yes, take John at his own valiation, and I guess you’d get a considerable hard bargain of him, for he is old, thick in the wind, tender in the foot, weak in the knees, too cussed fat to travel, and plaguy cross-grained and ill-tempered. If you go for to raise your voice to him, or even so much as lay the weight of your finger on him, his Ebenezer is up in a minit. I don’t like him one bit, and I don’t know who the plague does: but that’s neither here nor there.

Do you get your legislature to interfere in this matter; for steam navigation will be the makin’ of you if you work it right. It is easy, I replied, to suggest, but not quite so easy, Mr. Slick, as you suppose, to have these projects carried into execution. Government may not be willing to permit the mail to be carried by contract. Permit it! said he with animation; to be sure it will permit it. Don’t they grant every thing you ask? don’t they concede one thing arter another to you to keep you quiet, till they han’t got much left to concede? It puts me in mind of a missionary I once seed down to Bows and Arrows (Buenos Ayres.) He went out to convart the people from bein’ Roman Catholics, and to persuade the Spaniards to pray in English instead of Latin, and to get dipt anew by him, and he carried sway there like a house a fire, till the sharks one day made a tarnation sly dash among his convarts that was a wadin’ out in the water, and gist walked off with three on ’em by the legs, screamin’ and yelpin’ like mad. Arter that he took to a pond outside the town, and one day as he was awalkin’ out with his hands behind him, ameditatin’ on that are profane trick the sharks played him, and what a slippery world this was, and what not, who should he meet but a party of them Gauchos, that galloped up to him as quick as wink, and made him prisoner. Well, they gist fell to, and not only robbed him of all he had, but stripped him of all his clothes but his breeches, and them they left him for decency sake to get back to town in. Poor critter! he felt streaked enough, I do assure you; he was near about frightened out of his seven senses; he didn’t know whether he was standin’ on his head or his heels, and was e’en a’most sure they were agoin’ to murder him. So, said he, my beloved friends, said he, I beseech you, is there any thing more you want of me? Do we want any thing more of you? says they; why, you han’t got nothen’ left but your breeches, you nasty, dirty, blackguard heretic you, and do you want to part with them too? and they gist fell to and welted him all the way into the town with the tip eend of their lassos, larfin’, and hoopin’, and hollerin’ at the joke like so many ravin’ distracted devils.

Well, now, your government is near about as well off as the missionary was; they’ve granted every thing they had a’most, till they han’t got much more than the breeches left,—the mere sovereignty, and that’s all. No, no; gist you ax for steam-packets, and you’ll get ’em—that’s a fact. Oh, squire, if John Bull only knew the valy of these colonies, he would be a great man, I tell you; but he don’t. You can’t make an account of ’em in dollars and cents, the cost on one side, and the profit on t’other, and strike the balance of the “tottle of the hull,” as that are critter Hume calls it. You can’t put into figur’s a nursery for seamen; a resource for timber if the Baltic is shot ag’in you, or a population of brave and loyal people, a growing and sure market, an outlet for emigration, the first fishery in the world, their political and relative importance, the power they would give a rival, converting a friend into a foe, or a customer into a rival, or a shop full of goods, and no sale for ’em—Figures are the representatives of numbers, and not things. Molesworth may talk, and Hume may cypher, till one on ’em is as hoarse as a crow, and t’other as blind as a bat, and they won’t make that table out, I know.

That’s all very true, I said, but you forget that the latter gentleman says that America is now a better customer than when she was a colony, and maintains her own government at her own expense, and therefore he infers that the remaining dependencies are useless incumbrances. And he forgets too, he replied, that he made his fortin’ himself in a colony, and therefore it don’t become him to say so, and that America is larnin’ to sell as well as to buy, and to manufactur’ as well as to import, and to hate as much, and a little grain more, than she loved, and that you are weaker by all her strength. He forgets, too, that them that separate from a government, or secede from a church, always hate those they leave much worse than those who are born in different states or different sects. It’s a fact, I assure you, those critters that desarted our church to Slickville in temper that time about the choice of an elder, were the only ones that hated, and reviled, and parsecuted us in all Connecticut, for we were on friendly or neutral terms with all the rest. Keep a sharp look-out always for desarters, for when they jine the enemy they fight like the devil. No one hates like him that has once been a friend. He forgets that a——but it’s no use atalkin’; you might as well whistle jigs to a mile-stone as talk to a goney that says fifteen millions of inimies are as good as fifteen millions of friends, unless indeed it is with nations as with individuals, that it is better to have some folks ag’in you than for you, for I vow there are chaps in your parliament that ain’t no credit to no party.

But this folly of John Bull ain’t the worst of it, squire; it’s considerable more silly; he invites the colonists to fight his own troops, and then pays all the expense of the entertainment. If that don’t beat cock-fightin’, it’s a pity: it fairly bangs the bush, that. If there’s a rebellion to Canada, squire, (and there will be as sure as there are snakes in Varginy,) it will be planned, advised, and sot on foot in London, you may depend, for them simple critters the French would never think of it, if they were not put up to it. Them that advise Papinor rebel, and set his folks to murder Englishmen, and promise to back them in England, are for everlastin’ly atalkin’ of economy, and yet instigate them parley vous to put the nation to more expense than they and their party ever saved by all their barking in their life, or ever could, if they were to live as long as Merusalem. If them poor Frenchmen rebel, gist pardon them right off the reel without sayin’ a word, for they don’t know nothin’, but rig up a gallus in London as high as a church steeple, and I’ll give you the names of a few villains there, the cause of all the murders, and arsons, and robberies, and miseries, and sufferin’s that ‘ill foller. Gist take ’em and string ’em up like onsafe dogs. A critter that throws a firebrand among combustibles, must answer for the fire; and when he throws it into his neighbour’s house, and not his own, he is both a coward and a villain. Cuss ’em! hangin’ is too good for ’em, I say; don’t you, squire?

This was the last conversation I had with the Clockmaker on politics. I have endeavoured to give his remarks in his own language, and as nearly verbatim as I could; but they were so desultory and discursive, that they rather resembled thinking aloud than a connected conversation, and his illustrations often led him into such long episodes, that he sometimes wandered into new topics before he had closed his remarks upon the subject he was discoursing on. It is, I believe, not an uncommon mode with Americans, when they talk, to amuse rather than convince. Although there is evidently some exaggeration, there is also a great deal of truth in his observations. They are the result of long experience, and a thorough and intimate knowledge of the provinces, and I confess I think they are entitled to great weight.

The bane of the colonies, as of England, it appears to me, is ultra opinions. The cis-Atlantic ultra tory is a nondescript animal, as well as the ultra radical. Neither have the same objects or the same principles with those in the mother country, whose names they assume. It is difficult to say which does most injury. The violence of the radical defeats his own views; the violence of his opponent defeats those of the government, while both incite each other to greater extremes. It is not easy to define the principles of either of these ultra political parties in the colonies. An unnatural, and, it would appear, a personal, and therefore a contemptible jealousy, influences the one, and a ridiculous assumption the other, the smallest possible amount of salary being held as sufficient for a public officer by the former, and the greater part of the revenues inadequate for the purpose by the latter, while patriotism and loyalty are severally claimed as the exclusive attributes of each. As usual, extremes meet; the same emptiness distinguishes both, the same loud professions, the same violent invectives, and the same selfishness. They are carnivorous animals, having a strong appetite to devour their enemies, and occasionally showing no repugnance to sacrifice a friend. Amidst the clamours of these noisy disputants, the voice of the thinking and moderate portion of the community is drowned, and government but too often seems to forget the existence of this more numerous, more respectable, and more valuable class. He who adopts extreme radical doctrines in order to carry numbers by flattering their prejudices, or he who assumes the tone of the ultra tory of England, because he imagines it to be that of the aristocracy of that country, and more current among those of the little colonial courts, betrays at once a want of sense and a want of integrity, and should be treated accordingly by those who are sent to administer the government. There is as little safety in the councils of those who, seeing no defect in the institutions of their country, or desiring no change beyond an extension of patronage and salary, stigmatize all who differ from them as discontented and disloyal, as there is in a party that call for organic changes in the constitution, for the mere purpose of supplanting their rivals, by opening new sources of preferment for themselves. Instead of committing himself into the hands of either of these factions, as is often the case, and thereby at once inviting and defying the opposition of the other, a governor should be instructed to avoid them both, and to assemble around him for council those only who partake not of the selfishness of the one or the violence of the other, but who, uniting firmness with moderation, are not afraid to redress a grievance because it involves a change, or to uphold the established institutions of the country because it exposes them to the charge of corrupt motives. Such men exist in every colony; and though a governor may not find them the most prominent, he will at least find them the surest and safest guides in the end. Such a course of policy will soften the asperities of party, by stripping it of success, will rally round the local governments men of property, integrity, and talent; and inspire by its impartiality, moderation, and consistency, a feeling of satisfaction and confidence through the whole population.


Having now fulfilled his engagement with me, Mr. Slick informed me that business required his presence at the river Philip, and, that as he could delay his departure no longer, he had called for the purpose of taking leave. I am plaguy loath to part with you, said he, you may depend; it makes me feel quite lonesum like: but I ain’t quite certified we shan’t have a tower in Europe yet afore we’ve done. You have a pair of pistols, squire,—as neat a little pair of sneezers as I e’en a’most ever seed, and——They are yours, I said; I am glad you like them, and I assure you you could not gratify me more than by doing me the favour to accept them. That’s gist what I was agoin’ to say, said he, and I brought my rifle here to ax you to exchange for ’em; it will sometimes put you in mind of Sam Slick the Clockmaker, and them are little pistols are such grand pocket companions, there won’t be a day a’most I won’t think of the squire. He then examined the lock of the rifle, turned it over, and looked at the stock, and bringing it to his shoulder, ran his eye along the barrel, as if in the act of discharging it. True as a hair, squire, there can’t be no better; and there’s the mould for the balls that gist fit her; you may depend on her to a sartainty; she’ll never deceive you; there’s no mistake in a rael right down genuwine good Kentuck, I tell you; but as you ain’t much used to ’em, always bring her slowly up to the line of sight, and then let go as soon as you have the range. If you bring her down to the sight instead of up, she’ll be apt to settle a little below it in your hands, and carry low. That wrinkle is worth havin’, I tell you; that’s a fact. Take time, elevate her slowly, so as to catch the range to a hair, and you’ll hit a dollar at seventy yards hand runnin’. I can take the eye of a squirrel out with her as easy as kiss my hand. A fair exchange is no robbery any how, and I shall set great store by them are pistols, you may depend.

Having finished that are little trade, squire, there is another small matter I want to talk over with you afore I quit, that perhaps it would be as well you and I onderstood each other upon. What is that? said I. Why, the last time, squire, said he, I travelled with you, you published our tower in a book, and there were some notions in it gave me a plaguy sight of oneasiness; that’s a fact. Some things you coloured so, I didn’t know ’em when I seed ’em ag’in; some things you left out holus bolus, and there were some small matters I never heerd tell of afore till I seed them writ down; you must have made them out of whole cloth. When I went home to see about the stock I had in the Slickville bank, folks scolded a good deal about it. They said it warn’t the part of a good citizen for to go to publish any thing to lessen our great nation in the eyes of foreigners, or to lower the exalted station we had among the nations of the airth. They said the dignity of the American people was at stake, and they were determined some o’ these days to go to war with the English if they didn’t give up some o’ their writers to be punished by our laws; and that if any of our citizens was accessory to such practices, and they cotched him, they’d give him an American jacket, that is, a warp of tar, and a nap wove of feathers. I don’t feel, therefore, altogether easy ‘bout your new book; I should like to see it afore we part, to soften down things a little, and to have matters sot to rights, afore the slang-whangers get hold of it.

I think, too, atween you and me, you had ought to let me go sheers in the speck, for I have suffered considerable by it. The clock trade is done now in this province; there’s an eend to that; you’ve put a toggle into that chain; you couldn’t give ’em away now a’most. Our folks are not over and above well pleased with me, I do assure you; and the blue-noses say I have dealt considerable hard with them. They are plaguy ryled, you may depend, and the English have come in for their share of the curryin’ too. I han’t made many friends by it, I know; and if there is any thing to be made out of the consarn, I think it no more than fair I should have my share of it. One thing, however, I hope you will promise me, and that is to show me the manuscript afore you let it go out of your hands. Certainly, said I, Mr. Slick, I shall have great pleasure in reading it over to you before it goes to the press; and if there is any thing in it that will compromise you with your countrymen, or injure your feelings, I will strike out the objectionable passage, or soften it down to meet your wishes. Well, said he, that’s pretty; now I like that; and if you take a fancy to travel in the States, or to take a tower in Europe, I’m your man. Send me a line to Slickville, and I’ll jine you where you like and when you like. I shall be in Halifax in a month from the present time, and will call and see you; p’raps you will have the book ready then;—and presenting me with his rifle, and putting the pistols in his pocket, he took leave of me, and drove into the country.

Fortunately, when he arrived I had the manuscript completed; and when I had finished reading it to him, he deliberately lit his cigar, and folding his arms, and throwing himself back in his chair, which he balanced on two legs, he said, I presume I may ask what is your object in writing that book? You don’t like republics, that’s sartain, for you have coloured matters so it’s easy to see which way the cat jumps. Do you mean to write a satire on our great nation, and our free and enlightened citizens?—because if you do, gist rub my name out of it, if you please. I’ll have neither art nor part in it; I won’t have nothin’ to do with it on no account. It’s a dirty bird that fouls its own nest. I’m not agoin’ for to wake up a swarm o’ hornets about my ears, I tell you; I know a trick worth two o’ that, I reckon. Is it to sarve a particular purpose, or is it a mere tradin’ speck?

I will tell you candidly, sir, what my object is, I replied. In the Canadas there is a party advocating republican institutions, and hostility to every thing British. In doing so, they exaggerate all the advantages of such a form of government, and depreciate the blessings of a limited monarchy. In England this party unfortunately finds too many supporters, either from a misapprehension of the true state of the case, or from a participation in their treasonable views. The sketches contained in the present and preceding series of the Clockmaker, it is hoped, will throw some light on the topics of the day, as connected with the designs of the anti-English party. The object is purely patriotic. I beg of you to be assured that I have no intention whatever to ridicule your institutions or your countrymen; nothing can be further from my thoughts; and it would give me great pain if I could suppose for a moment that any person could put such an interpretation upon my conduct. I like your country, and am proud to number many citizens of the United States among those whom I honour and love. It is contentment with our own, and not disparagement of your institutions, that I am desirous of impressing upon the minds of my countrymen. Right, said he; I see it as plain as a boot-jack; it’s no more than your duty. But the book does beat all—that’s a fact. There’s more fiction in this than in t’other one, and there are many things in it that I don’t know exactly what to say to. I guess you had better add the words to the title-page, “a work of fiction,” and that will clear me, or you must put your name to it. You needn’t be ashamed of it, I tell you. It’s a better book than t’other one; it ain’t jist altogether so local, and it goes a little grain deeper into things. If you work it right, you will make your fortin’ out of it; it will make a man of you, you may depend. How so? said I; for the last volume, all the remuneration I had was the satisfaction of finding it had done some good among those for whose benefit it was designed, and I have no other expectation from this work. More fool you, then, said he; but I’ll tell you how to work it. Do you get a copy of it done off on most beautiful paper, with a’most an’ elegant bindin’, all covered over the back with gildin’, (I’ll gild it for you myself complete, and charge you nothin’ but the price of the gold leaf, and that’s a mere trifle; it only costs the matter of two shillings and sixpence a paper, or thereabouts,) and send it to the head minister of the Colonies, with a letter. Says you, minister, says you, here’s a work that will open your eyes a bit; it will give you considerable information on American matters, and that’s a thing, I guess, none on you know a bit too much on. You han’t heerd so much truth, nor seen so pretty a book, this one while, I know. It gives the Yankees a considerable of a hacklin’, and that ought to please you; it shampoos the English, and that ought to please the Yankees; and it does make a proper fool of blue-nose, and that ought to please you both, because it shows it’s a considerable of an impartial work. Now, says you, minister, it’s not altogether considered a very profitable trade to work for nothin’ and find thread. An author can’t live upon nothin’ but air, like a cameleon, though he change colour as often as that little critter does. This work has done a good deal of good. It has made more people hear of Nova Scotia than ever heerd tell of it afore by a long chalk; it has given it a character in the world it never had before, and raised the valy of rael property there considerable; it has shown the world that all the blue-noses there ain’t fools, at any rate; and, though I say it that shouldn’t say it, that there is one gentleman there that shall be nameless that’s cut his eye-teeth, any how. The natives are considerable proud of him; and if you want to make an impartial deal, to tie the Nova Scotians to you for ever, to make your own name descend to posterity with honour, and to prevent the inhabitants from ever thinkin’ of Yankee connexion (mind that hint, say a good deal about that; for it’s a tender point that, ajoinin’ of our union, and fear is plaguy sight stronger than love any time.) You’ll gist sarve him as you sarved Earl Mulgrave (though his writin’s ain’t to be compared to the Clockmaker, no more than chalk is to cheese;) you gave him the governorship of Jamaica, and arterwards of Ireland. John Russell’s writin’s got him the birth of the leader of the House of Commons. Well, Francis Head, for his writin’s you made him Governor of Canada, and Walter Scott you made a baronet of, and Bulwer you did for too, and a great many others you have got the other side of the water you sarved the same way. Now, minister, fair play is a jewel, says you; if you can reward your writers to home with governorships and baronetcies, and all sorts o’ snug things, let’s have a taste o’ the good things this side o’ the water too. You needn’t be afraid o’ bein’ too often troubled that way by authors from this country. (It will make him larf that, and there’s many a true word said in joke;) but we’ve got a sweet tooth here as well as you have. Poor pickin’s in this country; and colonists are as hungry as hawks.

The Yankee made Washington Irvin’ a minister plenipo’, to honour him; and Blackwood, last November, in his magazine, says that are Yankee’s books ain’t fit to be named in the same day with the Clockmaker—that they’re nothin’ but Jeremiads. Now, though Blackwood desarves to be well kicked for his politicks, (mind and say that, for he abuses the ministry sky-high that feller—I wouldn’t take that critter’s sarse, if I was them, for nothin’ a’most—he railly does blow them up in great style,) he ain’t a bad judge of books,—at least it don’t become me to say so; and if he don’t know much about ’em I do; I won’t turn my back on any one in that line. So, minister, says you, gist tip a stave to the Governor of Nova Scotia, order him to inquire out the author, and to tell that man, that distinguished man, that her Majesty delights to reward merit and honour talent, and that if he will come home, she’ll make a man of him for ever, for the sake of her royal father, who lived so long among the blue-noses, who can’t forget him very soon. Don’t threaten him; for I’ve often obsarved, if you go for to threaten John Bull, he gist squares off to fight without sayin’ of a word; but give him a hint. Says you, I had a peacock, and a dreadful pretty bird he was, and a’most a beautiful splendid long tail he had too; well, whenever I took the pan o’ crumbs out into the poultry-yard to feed the fowls, the nasty stingy critter never would let any of ’em have a crumb till he sarved himself and his sweetheart first. Our old Muscovy drake, he didn’t think this a fair deal at all, and he used to go walkin’ round and round the pan ever so often, alongin’ to get a dip into it; but peacock he always flew at him and drove him off. Well, what does drake do, (for he thought he wouldn’t threaten him, for fear of gettin’ a thrashin’,) but he goes round and seizes him by the tail, and pulls him head over heels, and drags him all over the yard, till he pulls every one of his great, long, beautiful feathers out, and made a most proper lookin’ fool of him—that’s a fact. It made peacock as civil as you please for ever after. Now, says you, Mr. Slick and I talk of goin’ to England next year, and writin’ a book about the British: If I ain’t allowed to get at the pan of crumbs, along with some o’ them big birds with the long tails, and get my share of ’em, some folks had better look out for squalls: if Clockmaker gets hold of ’em by the tail, if he don’t make the feathers fly, it’s a pity. A joke is a joke, but I guess they’ll find that no joke. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse; so come down handsum’, minister, or look to your tails, I tell you, for there’s a keel-hauling in store for some of you that shall be nameless, as sure as you are born.

Now, squire, do that, and see if they don’t send you out governor of some colony or other; and if they do, gist make me your deputy secretary,—that’s a good man,—and we’ll write books till we write ourselves up to the very tip-top of the ladder—we will, indeed! Ah, my friend, said I, writing a book is no great rarity in England as it is in America, I assure you; and colonies would soon be wanting, if every author were to be made a governor. It’s a rarity in the colonies, though, said he; and I should like to know how many governors there have been who could write the two Clockmakers. Why, they never had one that could do it to save his soul alive. Come, come, Mr. Slick, said I, no soft sawder, if you please, to me. I have no objection to record your jokes upon others, but I do not desire to be made the subject of one myself. I am not quite such a simpleton as not to know that a man may write a book, and yet not be fit for a governor. Some books, said he, such as I could name; but this I will say, and maintain to my dyin’ day, that a man that knows all that’s set down in the Clockmakers (and it ain’t probable he emptied the whole bag out—there must be considerable siftin’s left in it yet) is fit for governor of any place in the univarsal world. I doubt if even Mr. Van Buron himself (the prettiest penman atween the poles) could do it. Let ’em gist take you up by the heels and shake you, and see if as much more don’t come out.

If you really are in earnest, I said, all I can say is, that you very much over-rate it. You think favourably of the work, because you are kind enough to think favourably of the author. All this is very well as a joke; but I assure you they would not even condescend to answer such a communication at the Colonial Office; they would set such a letter down as the ravings of insanity—as one of the innumerable instances that are constantly occurring of the vanity and folly of authors. Don’t you believe it, said he; and if you don’t send it, I hope I may be shot if I don’t. I’ll send it through our minister at the Court of St. Jemes’s. He’ll do it with pleasure; he’ll feel proud of it as an American production—as a rival to Pickwick Papers, as the American Boz; he will, I vow. That’s gist exactly what you are fit for—I’ve got it—I’ve got it now; you shall be ambassador to our court to Washington. The knowledge I have given you of America, American politics, American character, and American feelin’, has gist fitted you for it. It’s a grand birth that, and private secretary will suit me to a notch. I can do your writin’, and plenty o’ time to spare to spekilate in cotton, niggers, and tobacco too. That’s it—that’s the dandy! And he jumped up, snapped his fingers, and skipped about the floor in a most extraordinary manner. Here, waiter, d—n your eyes! (for I must larn to swear—the English all swear like troopers; the French call ’em Mount-sheer —— d—ns,) here, waiter, tell his Excellency the British minister to the court of the American people, (that’s you, squire, said he, and he made a scrape of his leg,) that Mr. Secretary Slick is waitin’. Come, bear a hand, rat you, and stir your stumps, and mind the title, do you hear,—Mr. Secretary Slick? I have the honour to wish your Excellency, said he, with the only bow I ever saw him perpetrate, and a very hearty shake of the hands—I have the honour to wish your Excellency good night and good bye.



Obvious printer errors have been corrected.

Contractions have been standardized (e.g., “has’nt” is changed to “hasn’t”) but otherwise inconsistencies in punctuation and spelling have been preserved.


[The end of Judge Haliburton's Yankee Stories (Part 2 of 2) by Thomas Chandler Haliburton]