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dinner, and bracing to his side his junk-bottle, well charged with heart-inspiring Hollands, he issued jollily from the city gate that looked out upon what is at present called Broad-way; sounding as usual a farewell strain, that rung in sprightly echoes through the winding streets of New-Amsterdam-Alas! never more were they to be gladdened by the melody of their favourite trumpeter!
It was a dark and stormy night when the good Anthony arrived at the famous creek (sagely denominated Harlem river) which separates the island of Manna-hata from the main land. The wind was high, the elements were in an uproar, and no Charon could be found to ferry the adventurous sounder of brass across the water. For a short time he vapoured like an impatient ghost upon the brink, and then, bethinking himself of the urgency of his errand, took a hearty embrace of his stone bottle, swore most valorously, that he would swim across, en spijt den duyvel (in spite of the devil!) and daringly plunged into the stream.—Luckless Anthony! scarce had he buffeted half-way over, when he was observed to struggle violently, as if battling with the spirit of the waters—instinctively he put his trumpet to his mouth, and giving a vehement blast, sunk for ever to the bottom !
The potent clangour of his trumpet, like the ivory horn of the renowned Paladin Orlando, when expiring in the glorious field of Roncesvalles, rung far and wide through the country, alarming the neighbours round, who hurried in amazement to the spot.-Here an old Dutch burgher, famed for his veracity, and who had been a witness of the fact, related to them the melancholy affair; with the fearful addition (to which I am slow of giving belief,) that he saw the duyvel
, in the shape of a huge moss-bonker, seize the sturdy Anthony by the leg, and drag him beneath the waves. Certain it is, the place, with the adjoining promontory, which projects into the Hudson, has been called Spijt den duyvel or Spiking duyvel ever since, -the restless ghost of the unfortunate Anthony still haunts the surrounding solitudes, and his trumpet has often been heard by the neighbours, of a stormy night, mingling with the howling of the blast. Nobody ever attempts to swim over the creek after dark; on the contrary, a bridge has been built to guard against such melancholy accidents in future and as to moss-bonkers, they are held in such abhorrence that no true Dutchman will admit them to his table, who loves good fish, and hates the devil.
Such was the end of Anthony Van Corlear--a man deserving of a better fate. He lived roundly and soundly, like a true and jolly bachelor, until the day of his death ; but though he was never married, yet did he leave behind, some two or three dozen children, in different parts of the country—fine chubby, brawling flatulent little urchins, from whom, if legends speak true (and they are not apt to lie,) did descend the innumerable race of editors, who people and defend this country, and who are bountifully paid by the people for keeping up a constant alarm—and making them miserable. * Would that they inherited the worth, as they do the wind, of their renowned progenitor!
The Grief of Peter Stuyvesant. The tidings of this lamentable catastrophe imparted a severer pang to the bosom of Peter Stuyvesant than did even the invasion of his beloved Amsterdam. It came ruthlessly home to those sweet affections that grow close around the heart, and are nourished by its warmest current. As some lone pilgrim wandering in trackless wastes while the tempest whistles through his locks, and dreary night is gathering around, sees stretched, cold and lifeless, his faithful dog—the sole companion of his journeying—who had shared his solitary meal, and so often licked his hand in humble gratitude ;-so did the generous-hearted hero of the Manhattoes contemplate the untimely end of his faithful Anthony. He had been the humble attendant of his footsteps—he had cheered him in many a heavy hour, by his honest gaiety ; and had followed him in loyalty and affection, through many a scene of direful peril and mishap. He was gone for ever -and that too at a moment when every mongrel cur seemed skulking from his side.
The dignified Retirement and mortal Surrender of Peter
the Headstrong. Thus then have I concluded this great historical enterprise; but, before I lay aside my weary pen, there yet
remains to be performed one pious duty. If among the variety of readers that may peruse this book, there should haply be found any of those souls of true nobility, which glow with celestial fire, at the history of the the brave, they will doubtless be anxious to know the fate of the gallant Peter Stuyvesant. To gratify one such sterling heart of gold I would go more lengths than to instruct the cold blooded curiosity of a whole fraternity of philosophers.
No sooner had that high-mettled cavalier signed the articles of capitulation, than, determined not to witness the humiliation of his favourite city, he turned his back on its walls, and made a growling retreat to his Bouwery, or country-seat, which was situated about two miles off; where he passed the remainder of his days in patriarchal retirement. There he enjoyed that tranquillity of mind which he had never known amid the distracting cares of government; and tasted the sweets of absolute and uncontrolled authority, which his factious subjects had so often dashed with the bitterness of opposition.
No persuasions could ever induce him to revisit the city -on the contrary, he would always have his great armchair placed with its back to the windows which looked in that direction; until a thick grove of trees planted by his own hand grew up and formed a screen that effectually excluded it from the prospect. He railed continually at the degenerate innovations and improvements introduced by the conquerors—forbade a word of their detested language to be spoken in his family, a prohibition readily obeyed, since none of the household could speak any thing but Dutch and even ordered a fine avenue to be cut down in front of his house, because it consisted of English cherry trees.
The same incessant vigilance, that blazed forth when he had a vast province under his care, now showed itself with equal vigour, though in narrower limits. He patrolled with unceasing watchfulness around the boundaries of his little territory; repelled every encroachment with intrepid promptness; punished every vagrant depredation upon his orchard or his farm yard with inflexible severity; and conducted every stray hog or cow in triumph to the pound. But to the indigent neighbour, the friendless stranger, or the weary wanderer, his spacious door was ever open, and his capacious fire-place, that emblem of his own warm and generous heart, had always a corner to receive and cherish them. There was an exception to this, I must confess, in case the ill-starred applicant was an Englishman or a Yankee; to whom, though he might extend the hand of assistance, he could never be brought to yield the rites of hospitality. Nay, if peradventure some straggling merchant of the east, should stop at his door, with his cart load of tin ware or wooden bowls, the fiery Peter would issue forth like a giant from his castle, and make such a furious clattering among his pots and kettles, that the vender of " notions" was fain to betake himself to instant flight.
His ancient suit of regimentals, worn threadbare by the brush, were carefully hung up in the state bedchamber, and regularly aired the first fair day of every month; and his cocked hat and trusty sword were suspended in grim repose over the parlour mantlepiece, forming supporters to a full length portrait of the renowned Admiral Von Tromp. In his domestic empire he maintained strict discipline, and a well organized despotic government; but though his own will was the supreme law, yet the good of his subjects was his constant object. He watched over, not merely their immediate comforts, but their morals, and their ultimate welfare; for he gave them abundance of excellent admonition, nor could any of them complain, that, when occasion required, he was by any means niggardly in bestowing wholesome correction.
The good old Dutch festivals, those periodical demonstrations of an overflowing heart and a thankful spirit, which are falling into sad disuse among my fellow-citizens, were faithfully observed in the mansion of Governor Stuyvesant. New-year was truly a day of open-handed liberality, of jocund revelry, and warm-hearted congratulation -when the bosom seemed to swell with genial goodfellowship; and the plenteous table was attended with an unceremonious freedom, and honest broad-mouthed merriment, unknown in these days of degeneracy and refine
Paas and Pinxter were scrupulously observed throughout his dominions; nor was the day of St. Nicholas suffered to pass by without making presents, hanging the stocking in the chimney, and complying with all its other ceremonies. Once a year, on the first day of April
, he used to array himself in full regimentals, being the anniversary of his triumphal entry into New-Amsterdam, after the conquest of New-Sweden. This was always a kind of Saturnalia among the domestics, when they considered themselves at
liberty in some measure to say and do what they pleased; for on this day their master was always observed to unbend, and become exceedingly pleasant and jocose, sending the old gray-headed negroes on April fools' errands for pigeon's milk; not one of whom but allowed himself to be taken in, and humoured his old master's jokes as became a faithful and well disciplined dependant. Thus did he reign, happily and peacefully on his own land—injuring no man-envying no man-molested by no outward strifes
--perplexed by no internal commotions; and the mighty monarchs of the earth, who were vainly seeking to maintain peace, and promote the welfare of mankind, by war and desolation, would have done well to have made a voyage to the little island of Manna-hatta, and learned a lesson in government from the domestic economy of Peter Stuyvesant.
In process of time, however, the old governor, like all other children of mortality, began to exhibit evident tokens of decay. Like an aged oak, which, though it long has braved the fury of the elements, and still retains its gigantic proportions, yet begins to shake and groan with every blast-so the gallant Peter, though he still bore the port and semblance of what he was in the days of his hardihood and chivalry, yet did age and infirmity begin to sap the vigour of his frame; but his heart, that most unconquerable citadel, still triumphed unsubdued. With matchless avidity would he listen to every article of intelligence concerning the battles between the English and Dutch.Still would his pulse beat high whenever he heard of the victories of De Ruyter; and his countenance lower, and his eyebrows knit, when fortune turned in favour of the English. At length, as on a certain day, he had just smoked his fifth pipe, and was napping after dinner, in his arm-chair, conquering the whole British nation in his dreams, he was suddenly aroused by a fearful ringing of bells, rattling of drums, and roaring of cannon, that put all his blood in a ferment. But when he learned that these rejoicings were in honour of a great victory obtained by the combined English and French_fleets over the brave De Ruyter and the younger Von Tromp, it went so much to his heart, that he took to his bed, and in less than three days was brought to death's door by a violent cholera mor. bus! But even in this extremity he still displayed the unconquerable spirit of Peter the Headstrong; holding out, to the last gasp, with the most inflexible obstinacy, against