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incontinent hard swearers as their names betoken-they were terrible looking fellows, clad in broad-skirted gaberdines, of that curious coloured cloth called thunder and lightning; and bore as a standard three Devil's-darningneedles, volant, in a flame coloured field.
Hard by was the tent of the men of battle from the marshy borders of the Wael-bogtig*, and the country
thereabouts these were of a sour aspect, by reason that they lived on crabs, which abound in these parts: they were the first institutors of that honourable order of knighthood, called Fly market shirks; and if tradition speak true, did likewise introduce the far famed step in dancing, called “double trouble.” They were commanded by the fearless Jacobus Varra Vanger, and had, moreover, a jolly band of Breukelent ferrymen, who performed a brave concerto on conchshells.
But I refrain from pursuing this minute description which goes on to describe the warriors of Bloemen-dael, and Wee-hawk, and Hoboken, and sundry other places, well known in history and song for now does the sound of martial music alarm the people of New-Amsterdam, sounding afar from beyond the walls of the city. But this alarm was in a little time relieved, for lo, from the midst of a vast cloud of dust, they recognised the brimstone coloured breeches, and splendid silver leg of Peter Stuyvesant glaring in the sunbeams; and beheld him approaching at the head of a formidable army, which he had mustered along the banks of the Hudson. And here the excellent but anonymous writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript breaks out into a brave but glorious descrip tion of the forces, as they defiled through the principal gate of the city that stood by the head of Wall-street.
First of all came the Van Bummels, who inhabit the pleasant borders of the Bronx. These were short fat men,
* i. e. The Winding Bay, named from the winding of its shores. This has since been corrupted by the vulgar into the Wallabout, and is the basin which shelters oyr infant navy.
Now spelt Brooklyn.
wearing exceeding large trunk breeches, and are renowned for feats of the trencher: they were the first inventors of suppawn or mush and milk.Close in their rear marched the Van Vlotans, of Kaats Kill, most horrible quaffers of new cider, and arrant braggarts in their liquor.
After them came the Van Pelts, of Groodt Esopus, dexterous horsemen, mounted upon goodly switch-tailed steads of the Esopus breed : these were mighty hunters of minks and musk rats, whence came the word Peltry. Then the Van Nests of Kinderhoek, valliant robbers of birds' nests, as their name denotes : to these, if the report may be believed, are we indebted for the invention of slapjacks, or buckwheat cakes. Then the Van Higginbottoms, of Wapping's Creek: these came armed with ferules and birchen rods, being a race of schoolmasters, who first discovered the marvellous sympathy between the seat of honour and the seat of intellect, and that the shortest way to get knowledge into the head was to hammer it into the bottom. Then the Van Grolls of Anthony's Nose, who carried their liquor in fair round little pottles, by reason they could not bouse it out of their canteens, having such rare long noses. Then the Gardeniers, of Hudson and thereabouts distinguished by many triumphant feats, such as robbing watermelon patches, smoking rabbits out of their holes, and the like, and by being great lovers of roasted pigs' tails: these were the ancestors of the renowned congressman of that name.Then the Van Hoesens of Sing-Song, great choristers and players upon the Jew's-harp: these marched two and two, singing the great song of St. Nicholas. -Then the Couenhovens, of Sleepy Hollow: these gave birth to a jolly race of publicans, who first discovered the magic art of conjuring a quart of wine into a pint bottle. Then the Van Kortlandts, who lived on the wild banks of the Croton, and were great killers of wild ducks, being much spoken of for their skill in shooting with the long bow.—Then the Van Bunschotens, of Nyock and Kakiat, who were the first that did ever kick with the left foot; they were gallant bush-whackers, and hunters of racoons, by moonlight.
Then the Van Winkles of Haerlem, potent suckers of
eggs, and noted for running of horses, and running up of scores at taverns: they were the first that ever winkedwith both eyes at once. Lastly, came the KNICKERBOCKEBS, of the great town of Schahtikoke, where the folk lay stones upon the houses in windy weather, Jest they should be blown away. These derive their name, as some say, from Kniker, to shake, and Becker, a goblet, indicating thereby that they were sturdy tosspots of yore; but, in truth, it was derived from Knicker to nod, and Boeken, books, plainly meaning that they were great nodders or dozers over books: from them did descend the writer of this history.
Such was the legion of sturdy bush-beaters, that poured, in at the grand gate of New-Amsterdam. The Stuyvesant manuscript, indeed, speaks of many more, whose names 1 omit to mention, seeing that it behoves me to hasten to matters of greater moment. Nothing could surpass the joy and martial pride of the lion-hearted Peter,' as he reviewed this mighty host of warriors; and he determined no longer to defer the gratification of his much wished-for revenge, upon the scoundrel Swedes at Fort Casimir.
But before I hasten to record those unmatchable events which will be found in the sequel of this faithful history, let me pause to notice the fate of Jacobus Von Poffenburgh, the discomfited commander-in-chief of the armies of the New-Netherlands. Such is the inherent uncharitableness of human nature, that scarcely did the news become public, of his deplorable discomfiture at Fort Casimir than a thousand scurvy rumours were set afloat in New-Amsterdam; wherein it was insinuated, that he had in reality a treacherous understanding with the Swedish commander; that he had long been in the practice of privately communicating with the Swedes; together with divers hints about "secret service money,”—to all which deadly charges I do not give a jot more credit than I think they deserve.
Certain it is, that the general vindicated his character by the most vehement oaths and protestations, and put every man out of the ranks of honour who dared to doubt
his integrity. Moreover, on returning to New-Amsterdam, he paraded up and down the streets with a crew of hard swearers at his heels, sturdy bottle companions, whom he gorged and fattened, and who were ready to bolster him through all the courts of justice,-heroes of his own kidney fierce whiskered, broad shouldered, colbrand looking swaggerers, not one of whom but looked as though he could eat up an ox, and pick his teeth with the horns. These life-guard men quarrelled all his quarrels, were ready to fight all bis battles, and scowled at every man that turned up his nose to the general, as though they would devour him alive. Their conversation was interspersed with oaths like minute guns, and every bombastic rhodomontado was rounded off by a thundering execration like a patriotic toast honoured with a discharge of artillery,
All these valorous vapourings had a considerable effect in convincing certain profound sages many of whom began to think the general a hero of unutterable loftiness and magnanimity of soul, particulary as he was continually protesting on the honour of a soldier, marvellously high sounding asseveration. Nay, one of the members of the council went so far as to propose they should immortalize him by an imperishable statue of plaster of Paris.
But the vigilant Peter the Headstrong was not thus to be deceived. Sending privately for the commander-inchief of all the armies, and having heard all his story, garnished with the customary pious oaths, protestations, and ejaculations,“ Harkee, comrade," cried he, “though by your own account you are the most brave, upright, and honourable man in the whole province, yet do you lie under the misfortune of being damnably traduced and immeasurably despised. Now though it is certainly hard to punish a man for his misfortunes, and though it is very possible you are totally innocent of the crimes laid to your charge; yet as heaven, at present, doubtless for some wise purpose, sees fit to withhold all proofs of your innocence, far be it from me to counteract its sovereign will.: Beside, I cannot consent to venture my armies with a com
mander whom they despise, or to trust the welfare of my people to a champion whom they distrust. Retire there fore my friend, from the irksome toils and cares of public life, with this comforting reflection that if you be guilty, you are but enjoying your just reward-and if innocent, that you are not the first great and good man, who has most wrongfully been slandered and maltreated in this wicked world-doubtless to be better treated in a better world, where there shall neither be error, calumny, nor persecution. In the mean time let me never see your face again, for I have a horrid antipathy to the countenances of unfortunate great men like yourself."
of Peter Stuyvesant's expedition into the East Country; showing that, though an old Bird, he did not understand Trap.
GREAT nations resemble great men in this particular, that their greatness is seldom known until they get in trouble; adversity, therefore, has been wisely denomi.. nated the ordeal of true greatness, which, like gold, can never receive its real estimation until it has passed through the furnace. In proportion, therefore, as a nation, a community, or an individual (possessing the inherent quality of greatness) is involved in perils and misfortunes, in proportion does it rise in grandeur-and even when sinking under calamity, makes, like a house on fire, a more glorious display than ever it did, in the fairest period of its prosperity.
The vast empire of China, though teeming with population, and imbibing and concentrating the wealth of nations, has vegetated through a succession of drowsy ages; and were it not for its internal revolution, and the subversion of its ancient government by the Tartars, might have presented nothing but an uninteresting detail of dull, monotonous prosperity. Pompeii and Herculaneum might have passed into oblivion, with a herd of their con