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informed by an authentic historian of the times, the continual clatter bore no small resemblance to the music of a cooper hooping a flour barrel.
A summons so peremptory, and from a man of the governor's mettle, was not to be trifled with; the sages forthwith repaired to the council chamber, where the gal.. lant Stuyvesant entered in martial style, and took his chair, like another Charlemagne, among his Paladins. The counsellors seated themselves with the utmost tranquillity, and lighting their long pipes, gazed with unruffled composure on his excellency and his regimentals; being, as all counsellors should be, not easily flattered, or taken by surprise. The governor, looking around for a moment with a lofty and soldierlike air, and resting one hand on the pummel of his sword, and flinging the other forth, in a free and spirited manner, addressed them in a short but soul-stirring harangue.
I am extremely sorry that I have not the advantages of Livy, Thucydides, Plutarch, and others of my predecessors, who were furnished, as I am told, with the speeches of all their great emperors, generals, and orators, taken down in short hand by the most accurate stenographers of the time; whereby they were enabled wonderfully to enrich their histories, and delight their readers with sublime strains of eloquence. Not having such important auxiliaries, I cannot possibly pronounce what was the tenor of Governor Stuyvesant's speech. Whether he with maiden coyness hinted to his hearers, that “there was a speck of war in the horizon;" that it would be necessary to resort to the “unprofitable trial of which could do each other the most harm,”-or any other delicate construction of language, whereby the odious subject of war is handled 80 fastidiously by modern statesmen; as a gentleman volunteer handles his filthy saltpetre weapons with gloves, lest he should soil bis dainty fingers.
I am bold, however, to say, from the tenor of Peter Stuyvesant's character, that he did not wrap his rugged subject in silks and ermines, and other sickly trickeries of phrase; but spoke forth, like a man of nerve and vigour, who scorned to shrink in words from those dangers which
he stood ready to encounter in very deed. This much is certain, that he concluded by announcing bis determination of leading on his troops in person, and routing these costardmonger Swedes from their usurped quarter at Fort Casimir. To this hardy resolution, such of his council as were awake gave their usual signal of concurrence, and as to the rest, who had fallen asleep about the middle of the harangue (their “usual custom in the afternoon”)—they made not the least objection.
And now was seen in the fair city of New-Amsterdam a prodigious bustle and preparation for iron war. Re. cruiting parties marched hither and thither, calling lustily upon all the scrubs, the runagates, and tatterdemalions of the Manhattoes and its vicinity, who had any ambition of sixpence a day, and immortal fame into the bargain, to enlist in the cause of glory. For I would have you note, that your warlike heroes who trudge in the rear of conquerors, are generally of that illustrious class of gentlemen who are equal candidates for the army or the bridewell the halberts or the whipping-post: for whom dame fortune has cast an even die, whether they shall make their exit by the sword or the balter; and whose deaths shall, at all events be a lofty example to their country
But notwithstanding all this martial rout and invitation, the ranks of honour were but scantily supplied; so averse were the peaceful burghers of New-Amsterdam from enlisting in foreign broils, or stirring beyond that home which rounded all their earthly ideas. Upon beholding this, the great Peter, whose noble heart was all on fire with war and sweet revenge, determined to wait no longer for the tardy assistance of these oily citizens, but to muster up his merry men of the Hudson; who, brought up among woods and wilds and savage beasts, like our yeomen of Kentucky, delighted in nothing so much as desperate adventures and perilous expeditions through the wilderness. Thus resolving, he ordered his trusty squire, Anthony Van Corlear, to have his state galley prepared and duly victualled; which being performed, he attended public service at the great church of
St. Nicholas, like a true and pious governor, and then leaving peremptory orders with his council to have the chivalry of the Manhattoes marshalled out and appointed against his return, departed upon his recruiting voyage up the waters of the Hudson.
MUTABILITY OF LITERATURE.
There are certain half-dreaming moods of mind, in which we naturally steal away from noise and glare, and seek some quiet haunt, where we may indulge our l'everies and build our air castles undisturbed. In such a mnood I was loitering about the old gray cloisters of Westminster Abbey, enjoying that luxury of wandering thoughts which one is apt to dignify with the name of reflection; when suddenly an irruption of madcap boys from Westminster School, playing at foot-ball, broke in upon the monastic stillness of the place, making the vaulted passages and mouldering tombs echo with their merriment. I sought to take refuge from their noise by penetrating still deeper into the solitudes of the pile, and applied to one of the vergers for admission to the library. He conducted me through a portal rich with the crumbling sculpture of former ages, which opened upon a gloomy passage leading to the Chapter-house and the chamber in wbieh the Doomsday Book is deposited. Just within the passage is a small door on the left. To this the verger applied a key; it was double locked, and opened with some difficulty, as if seldom used. We now ascended a dark narrow staircase, and passing through a second door entered the library.
I found myself in a lofty antique hall, the roof supported by massive joists of old English oak. It was soberly lighted by a row of Gothic windows at a considerable height from the floor, and which apparently opened upon the roofs of the cloisters. An ancient picture of some
reverend dignitary of the church in his robes, hung over the fire-place. Around the hall and in a small gallery, were the books, arranged in carved oaken cases.
They consisted principally of old polemical writers, and were much more worn by time than use. In the centre of the library was a solitary table with two or three books on it, an inkstand without ink, and a few pens parched by long disuse. The place seemed fitted for quiet study and profound meditation. It was buried deep among the massive walls of the abbey, and shut up from the tumult of the world. I could only hear now and then the shouts of the schoolboys faintly swelling from the cloisters, and the sound of a bell tolling for prayers, that echoed soberly along the roofs of the abbey, By degrees the shouts of merriment grew fainter and fainter, and at length died away.
The bell ceased to toll, and a profound silence reigned through the dusky hall.
I had taken down a little thick quarto, curiously bound in parchment, with brass clasps, and seated myself at the table in a venerable elbow-chair. Instead of reading, however, I was beguiled by the solemn monastic air, and lifeless quiet of the place, into a train of musing. As I looked around upon the old volumes in their mouldering covers, thus ranged on the shelves, and apparently never disturbed in their repose, I could not but consider the library a kind of literary catacomb, where authors, like mummies, are piously entombed, and left to blacken and moulder in dusty oblivion.
How much, thought I, has each of these volumes, now thrust aside with such indifference, cost some aching head! how many weary days! how many sleepless nights! How have their authors buried themselves in the solitude of cells and cloisters; shut themselves up from the face of man, and the still more blessed face of pature; and devoted themselves to painful research and intense reflection! And all for what? to occupy an inch of dusty shelf—to have the title of their works read now and then in a future age, by some drowsy churchman or casual straggler like myself; and in another age to be lost, even to remembrance. Such is the amount of this