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the Hague, noted for producing finished scholars with a despatch unequalled, except by certain of our American colleges, which seem to manufacture bachelors of arts by some patent machine. Here he skirmished very smartly on the frontiers of several of the sciences, and made so gallant an inroad on the dead languages, as to bring off captive a host of Greek nouns and Latin verbs, together with divers pithy saws and apophthegms; all which he constantly paraded in conversation and writing, with as much vainglory as would a triumphant general of yore display the spoils of the countries he had ravished. He had moreover puzzled himself considerably with logic, in which he had advanced so far as to attain a very familiar acquaintance by name at least, with the whole family of syllogisms änd dilemmas; but what he chiefly valued himself on was his knowledge of metaphysics, in which having once upon a time ventured too deeply, he came well nigh being smothered in a slough of unintelligible learning-a fearful peril, from the effects of which he never perfectly recovered. In plain words, like many other profound intermeddlers in this abstruse, bewildering science, he so confused his brain with abstract speculations which he could not comprehend, and artificial distinctions which he could not realite, that he could never think clearly on any subject, however simple, through the whole course of his life afterwards. This, I must confess, was in some measure a misfortune, for he never engaged in argument, of which , he was exceeding fond, but what, between logical deductions and metaphysical jargon, he soon involved himself and his subject in a fog of contradictions and perplexities, and then would get into a mighty passion with his ad. versary, for not being convinced gratis.
It is in-knowledge as in swimming, he who ostentatiously sports and flounders on the surface makes more noise and splashing, and attracks more attention than the industrious pearl diver, who plunges in search of treasures to the bottom. The“ universal acquirements" of William Kieft were the subject of great marvel and admiration among his countrymen; he figured about at the Hague with as much vainglory as does a profound Bonzo
at Pekin, who has mastered half the letters of the Chinese alphabet; and, in a word, was unanimously pronounced a universal genius !--I have known many universal genia uses in my time, though to speak my mind freely, I never knew one, who, for the ordinary purposes of life, was. worth bis weight in straw; but for the purposes of government, a little sound judgment, and plain common sense, is worth all the sparkling genius that ever wrote poetry, or invented theories.
Strange as it may sound, therefore, the universal acquirements of the illustrious Wilhelmus were very much in his way; and had he been a less learned man, it is possible he would have been a much greater governor. He was exceedingly fond of trying philosophical and political experiments: and having stuffed his head full of scraps and remnants of ancient republics, and oligarchies, and aristocracies, and monarchies, and the laws of Solon, and Lycurgus, and Charondas, and the imaginary commonwealth of Plato, and the Pandects of Justinian, and a thousand other fragments of venerable antiquity he was for ever bent upon introducing some one or other of them into use; so that between one contradictory measure and another, he entangled the government of the little province of Nieuw Nederlandts in more knots, during bis administration, than half a dozen successors could have untied.
No sooner had this bustling little man been blown by a whiff of fortune into the seat of government, than he called together his council, and delivered a very animated speech on the affairs of the province. As every body knows what a glorious opportunity a governor, a president, or even an emperor has of drubbing his enemies in his speeches, messages, and bulletins, where he has the talk all on his own side, they may be sure the high-mettled William Kieft did not suffer so favourable an occasion to escape him, of evincing that gallantry of tongue common to all able legislators. Before he commenced, it is recorded that he took out his pocket handkerchief, and gave a very sonorous blast of the nose, according to the usual custom of
great orators. This, in general, I believe, is intended
as a signal trumpet, to call the attention of the auditors; but with William the Testy it boasted a more classic cause, for he had read of the singular expedient of that famous demagogue Caius Gracchus, who, when he harangued the Roman populace, modulated his tones by an oratorical flute or pitch-pipe.
This preparatory symphony being performed, he commenced by expressing an humble sense of his own want of talents, his utter unworthiness of the honour conferred upon him, and his humiliating incapacity to discharge the important duties of his new station; in short, he expressed so contemptible an opinion of himself, that many simple country members present, ignorant that these were mere words of course, always used on such occasions, were very uneasy, and even felt wroth that he should accept an office for which he was consciously so inadequate.
He then proceeded in a manner highly classic, profoundly erudite, and nothing at all to the purpose; being nothing more than a pompous account of all the governments of ancient Greece, and the wars of Rome and Carthage, together with the rise and fall of sundry outlandish empires, about which the assembly knew no more than their great grandchildren who were yet unborn. Thus having, after the manner of your learned orators, convinced the audienee that he was a man of many words and great erudition, he at length came to the less important part of his speech, the situation of the province; and here he soon worked himself into a fearful rage against the Yankees, whom he compared to the Gauls who desolated Rome, and the Goths and Vandals who overran the fairest plains of Europe-nor did he forget to mention, in terms of adequate opprobrium, the insolence with which they had encroached upon the territories of New Netherlands, and the unparalleled audacity with which they had commenced the town of New-Plymouth, and planted the onion patches of Weathersfield under the very walls of Fort Goed Hoop.
Having thus artfully wrought up his tale of terror to a climax, he assumed a self-satisfied look, and declaredy
with a nod of knowing Import, that he had taken measures to put a final stop to these encroachments that he had been obliged to have recourse to a dreadful engine of warfare, lately invented, awful in its effects, but author ized by direful necessity. In a word, he was resolved to conquer the Yankees by proclamation.
For this purpose he had prepared a tremendous instrument of the kind, ordering, commanding, and enjoining the intruders aforesaid forth with to remove, depart, and withdraw from the districts, regions, and territories aforesaid, under the pain of suffering all the penalties, forfeit. ures, and punishments in such case made and provided, &c. This proclamation, he assured them, would at once exterminate the enemy from the face of the country; and he pledged his valour as a governor, that within two months after it was published, not one stone should remain on another in any of the towns which they had built.
The council remained for some time silent after he had finished; whether struck dumb with admiration at the brilliancy of his project, or put to sleep by the length of bis harangue, the history of the times doth not mention. Suffice it to say, they at length gave a general grunt of acquiescence; the proclamation was immediately despatched with due ceremony, having the great seal of the province, which was about the size of a buckwheat pancake, attached to it by a broad red ribbond, Governor Kieft, having thus vented his indignation, felt greatly relieved madjourned the council sine die put on his cocked hat and corduroy small-clothes, and, mounting on a tall raw, boned charger, trotted out to his country seat, which was situated in a sweet, sequestered swamp, now called Dutch Street, but more commonly known by the name of Dog's Misery,
Here, like the good Numa, he reposed from the toils of legislation, taking lessons in government, not from the Nymph Ageria, but from the honoured wife of his bosom; who was one of that peculiar kind of females, sent upon earth a little before the food, as a punishment for the sins of mankind, and commonly known by the appel
lation of knowing women. In fact, my duty as an historian obliges me to make known a circumstance which was a great secret at the time, and consequently was not a subject of scandal at more than half the tea tables of NewAmsterdam, but which, like many other great secrets, has leaked out in the lapse of years; and this was, that the great Wilhelmus the Testy; though one of the most potent little men that ever breathed, yet submitted at home to a species of government, neither laid down in Aristotle nor Plato; in short, it partook of the nature of a pure, unmixed tyranny, and is familiarly denominated petticoat government. An absolute sway, which, though exceedingly common in these modern days, was very rare among the ancients, if we may judge from the rout made about the domestic economy of honest Socrates, which is the only ancient case on record.
The great Kieft, however, warded off all the sneers and sarcasms of his particular friends, who are ever ready to joke with a man on sore points of the kind by alleging that it was a government of his own election, to which he submitted through choice; adding at the same time a profound maxin which he had found in an ancient author, that."he who would aspire to govern, should first learn to obey.”
Earnestly recommended to the attention of all Maidens of a
Old time, my dear girls, is a kpave who in truth