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Great Britain, a multitude of the wiser inhabitants assertio bled, and having purchased all the British manufactures they could find, they made thereof a huge bonfire; and, in the patriotic glow of the moment, every man presents who had a hat or breeches of English workmanship, pulled it off, and threw it most updauptedły into the flames --to the irreparable detriment, loss, and ruin of the English manufacturers. In commemoration of this great exploit, they erected a pole on the spot, with a device: on the top intended to represent the province of Nieuw Nederlandts, destroying Great Britain, under the similitude of an Eagle picking the little Island of Old England out of the globe; but either through the unskilfulness of the sculptor, or bis ill timed waggery, it bore a striking resemblance to a goose vainly striving to get hold of a dumpling.
In which the Troubles of New-Amsterdam appear to
thicken-Showing the Bravery, in Time of Peril, of a People who defend themselves by Resolutions.
Like as an assemblage of politic cats, engaged in clamorous gibberings and catterwaulings, eyeing one another with hideous grimaces, spitting in each other's faces, and on the point of breaking forth into a general clapperclawing, are suddenly put to scampering, rout, and confusion, by the startling appearance of a house-dog--s0 was the no less vociferous council of New-Amsterdam amazed, astounded, and totally dispersed, by the sudden arrival of the enemy. Every member made the best of his way home, waddling along as fast as his short legs could fag under their heavý burthen, and wheezing as he went with corpulency and terror. When he arrived at his castle, he barricadoed the street door, and buried himself in the cider cellar, without daring to peep out, lest he should have his head carried off by a cannon ball.
The sovereign people all crowded into the marketplace, herding together with the instinct of sheep, who
seek for safety in each other's company, when the shepherd and his dog are absent, and the wolf is prowling round the fold. Far from finding relief, however, they only increased each other's terrors. Each man looked ruefully in his neighbour's face, in search of encouragement, but only found, in its woe-begone lineaments, a confirmation of his own dismay. Not a word now was to be heard of conquering Great Britain, not a whisper about the sovereign virtues of economy-while the old women heightened the general gloom, by clamorously bewailing their fate, and incessantly calling for protection ou St. Nicholas and Peter Stuyvesant.
Oh, how did they bewail the absence of the lion-hearted Peter !-and how did they long for the comforting presence of Anthony Van Corlear! Indeed, a gloomy uncertainty hung over the fate of these adventurous heroes. Day after day had elapsed since the alarming message from the governor, without bringing any further tidings of his safety. Many a fearful conjecture was hazarded as to what had befallen him and his loyal squire. Had they not been devoured alive by the cannibals of Marblehead and Cape Cod? Were they not put to the question by the great council of Amphyctions? Were they not smothered in onions by the terrible men of Pyquag? In the midst of this consternation and perplexity, when horror, like a mighty night-mare, sat brooding upon the little, fat, plethoric city of New-Amsterdam, the ears of the multitude were suddenly startled by a strange and distant sound—it approached_it grew louder and louder and now it resounded at the city gate. The public could not be mistaken in the well known sound. A shout of joy burst from their lips, as the gallant Peter, covered with dust, and followed by his faithful trumpeter, came galloping into the market-place.
The first transports of the populace having subsided, they gathered round the honest Anthony, as he dismounted from his horse, overwhelming him with greetings and congratulations. In breathless accents he related to them the marvellous adventures through which the old governor and himself had gone, in making their
escape from the clutches of the terrible Amphyctions. But though the Stuyvesant manuscript, with its customary minuteness where any thing touching the great Peter is concerned, is very particular as to the incidents of this masterly retreat, yet the particular state of the public affairs will not allow me to indulge in a full recital thereof. Let it suffice to say, that, while Peter Stuyvesant was anxiously revolving in his mind how he could make good his escape with honour and dignity, certain of the ships sent out for the conquest of the Manhattoes touched at the eastern ports, to obtain needful supplies, and to call on the grand council of the league for its promised co-operation. Upon hearing of this, the vigilant Peter perceiving that a moment's delay were fatal, made a secret and precipitate decampment; though much did it grieve his lofty soul, to be obliged to turn his back even upon a nation of foes. Many hairbreadth 'scapes and divers perilous mishaps did they sustain, as they scoured, without sound of trumpet, through the fair regions of the east.. Already was the country in
with hostile preparation, and they were obliged to take a large circuit in their flight, lurking along, through the woody mountains of the Devil's Backbone; from whence the valiant Peter sallied forth one day, like a lion, and put to rout a whole legion of squatters, consisting of three generations of a prolific family, who were already on their way to take possession of some corner of the New Netherlands. Nay, the faithful Anthony had great difficulty at sundry times to prevent him, in the excess of his wrath, from descending down from the mountains, and falling sword in hand upon certain of the border-towns, who were marshalling forth their draggle-tailed militia.
The first movements of the governor, on reaching his dwelling, was to mount the roof, from whence he contemplated with rueful aspect the hostile squadron. This had already come to an anchor in the bay, and consisted of two stout frigates, having on board, as John Josselyn Gent. informs us, “three hundred valiant red coats. Having taken this survey, he sat himself down, and
wrote an epistle to the commander, demanding his reason of anchoring in the harbour without obtaining previous permission so to do. This letter was couched in the most dignified and courteous terms, though I have it from undoubted authority, that his teeth were clenched, and he had a bitter sardonic grin upon his visage, all the while he wrote. Having despatched his letter, the grim Peter stumped to and fro about the town, with a most war-betokening countenance, his hands thrust into his breeches pockets, and whistling a low Dutch Psalm tune, which bore no small resemblance to the music of a northeast wind, when a storm is brewing. The very dogs, as they eyed him, skulked away in dismay--while all the old and ugly women of New-Amsterdam ran how!ing at his heels, imploring him to save them from mur der, robbery, and pitiless ravishment!
The reply of Col. Nicholas, who commanded the inva. ders, was couched in terms of equal courtesy with the letter of the governor-declaring the right and title of his British majesty to the province; where he affirmed the Dutch to be mere interlopers; and demanding that the town, forts, &c. should be forthwith rendered into his majesty's obedience and protection-promising at the same time, life, liberty, estate, and free trade, to every Dutch denizen, who should readily submit to his majesty's government.
Peter Stuyvesant read over this friendly epistle with some such harmony of aspect as we may suppose a crusty farmer, who has long been fattening upon his neighbour's soil, reads the loving letter of John Stiles, that warns him of an action of ejectment. The old governor, however, was not to be taken by surprise, but thrusting the sum mons into his breeches pocket, he stalked three times across the room, took a pinch of snuff with great vehemence, and then loftily waving his hand, promised to send an answer the next morning. In the mean time he called a general council of war of his privy counsellors and burgomasters, not for the purpose of asking their ada Vice, for that, as has been already shown, he valued not a
Fush; but to make known to them his sovereign determination, and require their prompt adherence.
Before, however, he convened his council, he resolved upon three important points; first, never to give up the city, without a little hard fighting, for he deemed it highly derogatory to the dignity of so renowned a city, to suffer itself to be captured and stripped, without receiving a few kicks into the bargain. Secondly, that the majority of his grand council was composed of arrant poltroons, utterly destitute of true bottom; and, thirdly, that he would not therefore suffer them to see the summons of Col. Nicholas, lest the easy terms it held out might induce them to clamour for a surrender.
His orders being duly promulgated, it was a piteous sight to behold the late valiant burgomasters, who had demolished the whole British empire in their harangues; peeping ruefully out of their hiding places, and then crawl. ing cautiously forth, dodging through narrow lanes and alleys; starting at every little dog that barked, as though it had been a discharge of artillery--mistaking lamp-posts for British grenadiers, and in the excess of their panic, metamorphosing pumps into formidable soldiers, levelling blunderbusses at their bosoms! Having, however, in despite of numerous perils and difficulties of the kind, arrived safe without the loss of a single man, at the hall of assembly, they took their seats and awaited in fearful si. lence the arrival of the governor.
In a few moments the wooden leg of the intrepid Peter was heard in regular and stout-hearted thumps upon the staircase.--He entered the chamber, arrayed in full suit of regimentals, and carrying his trusty toledo, not girded on his thigh, but tucked under his arm. As the governor never equipped himself in this portentous manner, unless something of martial nature were working within his fearless perecranium, his council regarded him ruefully, as a very Janus, bearing fire and sword in his iron countenance, and forgot to light their pipes in breathless suspense.
The great Peter was as eloquent as he was valorous; indeed, these two rare qualities seemed to go hand in hand in his composition; and, unlike most great states