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council of New-England-never was there known a more desperate undertaking! Ever since I have entered upon the chronicles of this peerless, but hitherto uncelebrated chieftain, has he kept me in a state of incessant action and anxiety with the toils and dangers he is constantly encountering. Oh! for a chapter of the tranquil reign of Wouter Van Twiller, that I might repose on it as on a feather bed!
Is it not enough, Peter Stuyvesant, that I have once already rescued thee from the machinations of these terrible Amphyctions, by bringing the whole powers of witchcraft to thine aid?-is it not enough, that I have followed thee undaunted, like a guardian spirit, into the misdst of the horrid battle of Fort Christina ? That I have been put incessantly to my trumps to keep thee safe and soundnow warding off with my single pen the shower of dastard blows that fell upon thy rear-now narrowly shielding thee from a deadly thrust, by a mere tobacco-box-now casing thy dauntless skull with adamant, when even thy . stubborn ram-beaver failed to resist the sword of the stout Risingh-and now, not merely bringing thee off alive, but triumphant, from the clutches of the gigantic Swede, by the desperate means of a paltry stone pottle ?-Is not all this enough, but must thou still be plunging into new difficulties, and jeopardizing in headlong enterprises thyself, thy trumpeter, and thy historian?
And now the ruddy faced Aurora, like a buxom chambermaid, draws 'aside the sable curtains of the night, and out bounces from his bed the jolly red haired Phoebus, startled at being caught so late in the embraces of Dame Thetis. With many a stable oath, he harnesses his bra. zen-footed steeds, and whips and lashes, and splashes up the firmament, like a loitering post-boy, half an hour behind his time. And now behold that imp of fame and prowess, the headstrong Peter, bestriding a raw-boned, switch-tailed charger, gallantly arrayed in full regimentals, and bracing on his thigh that trusty brass-hilted sword, which had wrought such fearful deeds on the banks of the Delaware.
Behold, hard after him, his doughty trumpeter, Van Corlear, mounted on a broken-winded, wall-eyed, calico mare; his stone pottle which had laid low the mighty Risingh, slung under his arm, and his trumpet displayed vauntingly in his right hand, decorated with a gorgeous banner, on which is emblazoned the great beaver of the
Manhattoes. See him proudly issuing out of the city gate, like an iron-clad hero of yore, with his faithful squire at his heels, the populace following them with their eyes, and shouting many a parting wish, and hearty cheering. -Farewell
, Hard-koppig Piet! Farewell, honest Anthony !—Pleasant be your wayfaring-prosperous your return! The stoutest hero that ever drew a sword, and the worthiest trumpeter that ever trod shoe leather.
Legends are lamentably silent about the events that befell our adventurers, in this their adventurous travel, excepting the Stuyvesant manuscript, which gives the substance of a pleasant little heroic poem, written on the occasion by Domini Ægidus Luyck,* who appears to have been the poet-laureate of New-Amsterdam. This inestimable manuscript assures us, that it was a rare spectacle to behold the great Peter, and his loyal follower, hailing the morning sun, and rejoicing in the clear countenance of nature, as they pranced it through the pastoral scenes of Bloomen Dael;t which, in those days, was a wild flower, refreshed by many a pure streamlet, and enlivened here and there by a delectable little Dutch cottage, sheltering under some sloping hill, and almost buried in embowering trees.
Now did they enter upon the confines of Connecticut, where they encountered many grievous difficulties and perils. At one place they were assailed by a troop of country squires and militia colonels, who, mounted on goodly steeds, hung upon their rear for several miles, harassing them exceedingly with guesses and questions, more especially the worthy Peter, whose silver chased leg excited not a little marvel. At another place, hard by the renowned town of Stamford, they were set upon by a great and mighty legion of church deacons, who imperiously demanded of them five shillings for travelling on Sunday, and threatened to carry them captive to a neighbouring church, whose steeple peered above the trees : but these the valiant Peter put to rout with little difficulty, insomuch that they bestrode their canes and gallopped off in horrible confusion, leaving their cocked hats behind in the
* This Luyck was, moreover, rector of the Latin school in Nieuw. Nederlands, 1663. There are two pieces of Ægidius Luyck in D. Belyn's MSS. of poesies, upon bis marriage with Judith Isendoorn. Old MS.
Now called Blooming Dale, about four miles from New-York.
hurry of their flight. But not so easily did he escape from the hands of a crafty man of Pyquag; who, with undaunt. ed perseverance, and repeated onsets, fairly bargained him out of his goodly switched-tailed charger, leaving hing in place thereof a villanous, spavined, foundered Narraganset pacer.
But, maugre all these hardships, they pursued their journey cheerily along the courses of the soft flowing Connecticut, whose gentle waves, says the song, roll through many a fertile vale and sunny plain; now reflecting the lofty spires of the bustling city, and now the rural beauties of the humble hamlet; now echoing with the busy hum of commerce, and now with the cheerful song of the peasant.
At every town would Peter Stuyvesant, who was noted for warlike punctilio, order the sturdy Anthony to sound a courteous salutation; though the manuscript observes, that the inhabitants were thrown in great dismay when they heard of his approach. For the fame of his incomparable achievements on the Delaware, had spread throughout the east country, and they dreaded lest he had come to take vengeance on their manifold transgressions.
But the good Peter rode through these towns with a smiling aspect; waving his hand with inexpressible majesty and condescension; for he verily believed that the old clothes which these ingenious people had thrust into their broken-windows, and the festoons of dried apples and peaches which ornamented the front of their houses, were so many decorations in honour of his approach; as it was the custom in the days of chivalry to compliment renowned heroes, by sumptuous displays of tapestry and gorgeous furniture. The women crowded to the doors to gaze upon him as he passed, so much does prowess in arms delight the gentle sex. The little children too ran after him in troops, staring with wonder at his regimentals, his brimstone breeches, and silver garniture of his wooden leg. Nor must I omit to mention the joy which many strapping wenches betrayed, at beholding the jovial Van Corlear, who had whilome delighted them so much with his trumpet,' when he bore the great Peter's challenge to the Amphyctions. The kind-hearted Anthony alighted from his calico mare, and kissed them all with infinite loving kindness and was right pleased to see a crew of little trumpeters crowding around him for his blessing; each of whom he patted on the head, bade him be a good boy, and gave him a penny to buy molasses candy.
The Stuyvesant manuscript makes but little further mention of the governor's adventures upon this expedition, excepting that he was received with extravagant courtesy and respect by the great council of the Amphyctions, who almost talked him to death with complimentary and congratulatory harangues. I will not detain my readers by dwelling on his negotiations with the grand council
. Suffice it to mention, it was like all other negotiationsgreat deal was said, and very little done : one conversation led to another-one conference begat misunderstandings which it took a dozen conferences to explain; at the end of which the parties found themselves just where they were at first ; excepting that they had entangled themselves in a host of questions of etiquette, and conceived a cordial distrust of each other, that rendered their future negotiations ten times more difficult than ever.*
In the midst of all these perplexities, which bewildered the brain and incensed the ire of the sturdy Peter, who was, perhaps, of all men in the world, least fitted for diplomatic wiles, he privately received the first intimation of the dark conspiracy which had been matured in the Cabinet of England. To this was added the astounding intelligence that a hostile squadron had already sailed from England, destined to reduce the province of NewNetherlands, and that the grand council of Amphyctions had engaged to co-operate, by sending a great army to invade New-Amsterdam by land!
Unfortunate Peter! did I not enter with sad forebodings upon this ill-starred expedition? Did I not tremble when 1 saw thee with no other counsellor but thine own head—with no other armour but an honest tongue, a spotless conscience, and a rusty sword—with no other protector but St. Nicholas—and no other attendant but a trumpeter? Did I not tremble when I beheld thee thus sally forth to contend with all the knowing powers of New-England?
Oh how did the sturdy old warrior rage and roar, when he found himself thus intrapped, like a lion in the hun
* For certain of the particulars of this ancient negotiation, see Haz. Col. State Pap. li is singular that Smith is entirely silent with respect to this memorable expedition of Peter Stuyvesant.
ter's toil! Now did he determine to draw his trusty sword, and manfully to fight his way through all the countries of the east. Now did he resolve to break in upon the council of the Amphyctions, and put every mother's son of them to death. At length, as his direful wrath subsided, he resorted to safer though less glorious expedients.
Concealing from the council his knowledge of their machinations, he privately despatched a trusty messenger with missives to his counsellors at New-Amsterdam, apprising them of the impending danger, commanding them immediately to put the city in a posture of defence, while in the mean time he would endeavour to elude his enemies and come to their assistance. This done, he felt himself mar vellously relieved, rose slowly, shook himself like a rhinoceros, and issued forth from his den, in much the same manner as Giant Despair is described to have issued from Doubting Castle, in the chivalric history of the Pilgrim's Progress.
And how much does it grieve me that I must leave the gallant Peter in this imminent jeopardy: but it behoves us to hurry back and see what is going on at New-Amsterdam, for greatly do I fear that city is already in a turmoil. Such was ever the fate of Peter Stuyvesant; while doing one thing with heart and soul, he was too apt to leave every thing else at sixes and sevens. While, like potentate of yore, he was absent attending to those things in person, which in modern days are trusted to generals and ambassadors, his little territory at home was sure to get in an uproar—all which was owing to that uncommon strength of intellect, which induced him to trust to nobody but himself
, and which had acquired him the renowned appellation of Peter the Headstrong.
How the People of New-Amsterdam were thrown into a
great Panic by the News of a threatened Invasion : and the Manner in which they fortified themselves. THERE is no sight more truly interesting to a philosopher than to contemplate a community where every individual has a voice in public affairs, where every individual thinks himself the Atlas of the nation, and where every individual thinks it is duty to bestir himself for the good