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not have been at the same time, and by the same means, with the other parts of the globe ?" This ingenious mode of deducing certain conclusions from possible premises, is an improvement on syllogistic skill
, and proves the good father superior even to Archimedes, for he can turn the world without any thing to rest his lever upon. It is only surpassed by the dexterity with which the sturdy old Jesuit, in another place, cuts the gordian knot-"Nothing," says he, “is more easy. The inhabitants of both hemispheres are certainly the descendants of the same father. The common father of mankind received an express order from Heaven to people the world, and accordingly it has been peopled. To bring this about, it was necessary to overcome all difficulties in the way, and they have also been overcome !". Pious Logician! How does he put all the herd of laborious theorists to the blush, by explaining in five words, what it has cost them volumes to prove they know nothing about !
They have long been picking at the lock, and fretting at the latch, but the honest father at once unlocks the door by bursting it open, and when he has it once ajar, he is at full liberty to pour in as many nations as he pleases. This proves to a demonstration that a little piety is better than a cart-load of philosophy, and is a practical illustration of that scriptural promise—" By faith ye shall move mountains.
From all the authorities here quoted, and a variety of others which I have consulted, but which are omitted through fear of fatiguing the unlearned reader-I can only draw the following conclusions, which, luckily however, are sufficient for my purpose-First, That this part of the world has actually been peopled (Q. E. D.:) to support which we have living proofs in the numerous tribes of Indians that inhabit it. Secondly, That it has been peopled in five hundred different ways, as proved by a cloud of authors, who from the positiveness of their assertions, seem to have been eye-witness to the factThirdly, That the people of this country had a variety of fathers, which as it may not be thought much to their credit by the common run of readers, the less we say on the subject the better. The question, therefore, I trust is for ever at rest.
WOUTER VAN TWILLER.
'The renowned Wouter (or Walter) Van Twiller was descended from a long line of Dutch burgomasters, who had successively dozed away their lives, and grown fat upon the bench of magistracy in Rotterdam; and who
comported themselves with such singular wisdom and propriety that they were never either heard or talked of vhich, next to being universally applauded, should be the object of ambition to all sage magistrates and rulers.
His surname of Twiller is said to be a corruption of the original Twijfler, which in English means doubter; a name admirably descriptive of his deliberative habits, For though he was a man shut up within himself like an oyster, and of such a profoundly reflective turn that he scarcely ever spoke except in monosyllables; yet did he never make up his mind on any doubtful point. This was clearly accounted for by his adherents, who affirmed that he always conceived every subject on so comprehensive a scale that he had not room in his head to turn it over and examine both sides of it; so that he always remained in doubt, merely in consequence of the astonishing magnitude of his ideas!
There are two opposite ways by which some men get into notice—one by talking a vast deal and thinking a little, and the other by holding their tongues and not thinking at all
. By the first many a vapouring superficial pretender acquires the reputation of a man of quick parts, by the other, many a vacant dunderpate like the owl, the stupidest of birds, comes to be complimented by a discerning world, with all the attributes of wisdom. This, way,
a mere casual remark, which I would not for the universe have it thought I apply to Governor Van Twiller. On the contrary, he was a very wise Dutchman, for he never said a foolish thing; and of such invincible gravity that he was never known to laugh, or even te smile, through the course of a long and prosperous life, Certain, however, it is, there never was a matter proposed, however simple, and on which your common narrow minded mortals would rashly determine at the first glance, but what the renowned Wouter put on a mighty myste, rious, vacant kind of look, shook his capacious head, and having smoked for five minutes with redoubled Earnest:
ness, sagely observed, that “he had his doubts about the matter;"—which, in process of time gained him the character of a man slow of belief, and not easily imposed
The person of this illustrious old gentleman was as regularly formed, and nobly proportioned, as though it had been moulded by the hands of some cunning Dutch statuary, as a model of majesty and lordly grandeur. He was exactly five feet six inches in height, and six feet five inches in circumference. His head was a perfect sphere, far excelling in magnitude that of the great Pericles (who was thence waggishly called Schenocephalus, or onion head)-indeed, of such stupendous dimensions was it, that damé Nature herself
, with all her sex's ingenuity, would have been puzzled to construct a neck capable of supporting it; wherefore she wisely declined the attempt, and settled it firmly on the top of his back-bone, just between the shoulders; where it remained, as snugly bedded as a ship of war in the mud of Potowmac. His body was of an oblong form, particularly capacious at bottom; which was wisely ordered by providence, seeing that he was a man of sedentary habits, and very averse to the idle labour of walking. His legs, though exceeding, short, were sturdy in proportion to the weight they had to sustain; so that when erect he had not a little the appearance of a robustious beer barrel, standing on skids.
His face, that infallible index of the mind, presented a vast expanse perfectly unfurrowed or deformed by any of those lines and angles which disfigure the human countenance with what is termed expression. Two small gray eyes twinkled feebly in the midst, like two stars of lesser magnitude, in a hazy firmament; and his full-fed checks, which seemed to have taken toll of every thing that went into his mouth, were curiously mottled and streaked with dusky red, like a Spitzemburg apple.
His habits were as regular as his person. He daily took his four stated meals, appropriating exactly an hour to each; he smoked and doubted eight hours, and he slept the remaining twelve of the four-and-twenty. Such was the renowned Wouter Van Twiller-a true philosopher, for his mind was either elevated above, or tranquilly settled below, the cares and perplexities of this world. He had lived in it for years, without feeling the least curiosity to know whether the sun revolved around it, or it round the sun; and he had even watched for at least half a cen.
tury, the smoke curling from his pipe to the ceiling, without once troubling his head with any of those numerous theories, by which a philosopher would have perplexed his brain, in accounting for its arising above the surrounding atmosphere.
In his council he presided with great state and solemnity. He sat in a huge chair of solid oak hewn in the celebrated forest of the Hague, fabricated by an experienced Timmerman of Amsterdam, and curiously carved about the arms and feet, into exact imitations of gigantic eagle's claws. Instead of a sceptre, he swayed a long Turkish pipe, wrought with jasmin and amber, which had been presented to a stadtholder of Holland at the conclusion of a treaty with one of the petty Barbary powers. In this stately chair would he sit, and this magnificent pipe would he smoke, shaking his right knee with a constant motion, and fixing his eyes for hours together upon a little print of Amsterdam, which hung in a black frame against the opposite wall of the council chamber. Nay, it has even been said, that when any deliberation of extraordinary length and intricacy was on the carpet, the renowned Wouter would absolutely shut his eyes for full two hours at a time, that he might not be disturbed by external objects; and at such times the internal commotion of his mind was evinced by certain regular guttural sounds, which his admirers declared were merely the noise of conflict made by his contending doubts and opinions.
It is with infinite difficulty I have been enabled to collect these biographical anecdotes of the great man under consideration. The facts respecting him were so scattered and vague, and divers of them so questionable in point of authenticity, that I have had to give up the search after many, and decline the admission of still more, which would have tended to heighten the colouring of his portrait.
I have been the more anxious to delineate fully the person and habits of the renowned Van Twiller, from the consideration that he was not only the first, but also the best governor that ever presided over this ancient and respectable province; and so tranquil and benevolent was his reign that I do not find, throughout the whole of it, a single instance of any offender being brought to punishment ;-a most indubitable sign of a merciful governor and a case unparalleled, excepting in the reign of the illustriots King Log, from whom, it is hinted, the renowned Van Twiller was a lineal descendant.
The very outset of the career of this excellent magis trate, like that of Solomon, or to speak more appropriately, like that of the illustrious governor of Barataria, was distinguished by an example of legal acumen, that gave flattering presage of a wise and equitable administration. The very morning after he had been solemnly in stalled in office, and at the moment that he was making his breakfast from a prodigious earthen dish, filled with milk and Indian pudding, he was suddenly interrupted by the appearance of one Wandle Schoonhoven, a very important old burgher of New-Amsterdam, who complained bitterly of one Barent Bleecker, inasmuch as he fraudulently refused to come to a settlement of accounts, seeing that there was a heavy balance in favour of the said Wandle. Governor Van Í willer, as I have already observed, was a man of few words; he was likewise a mortal enemy to multiplying writings, or being disturbed at his breakfast. Having listened attentively to the statement of Wandle Schoonhoven, giving an occasionable grunt, as
he shovelled a mighty spoonful of Indian pudding into - his mouth—either as a sign that he relished the dish, or comprehended the story: he called unto him his constable, and pulling out of his breeches pocket a huge jackknife, despatched it after the defendant as a summons, accompanied by his tobacco box as a warrant.
This summary process was as effectual in those simple days as was the seal ring of the great Haroun Alraschid among the true believers. The two parties, being confronted before him, each produced a book of accounts, written in a language and character that would have puzzled any but a high Dutch commentator, or a learned decipherer of Egyptian obelisks, to understand. The sage Wouter took them one after the other, and having poised them in his hands, and attentively counted over the nume ber of leaves, fell straightway into a very great doubt, and smoked for half an hour without saying a word; at length, laying his finger beside his nose, and shutting his eyes
for a moment, with the air of a man who has just caught a subtle idea by the tail, he slowly took his pipe from his mouth, puffed forth a column of tobacco smoke, and with marvellous gravity and solemnity pronounced that having carefully counted over the leaves, and weighed the books, it was found that one was just as thick and as