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:ious 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 contemporaries, had they not been fortunately overwhelmed by a volcano. The renowned city of Troy has acquired celebrity only from its ten years distress and final conflagration ; Paris rises in importance by the plots and massacres which have ended in the exaltation of the illustrious Napoleon ; and even the mighty London itself has skulked through the records of time, celebrated for nothing of moment, excepting the plague, the great fire, and Guy Faux's gunpowder plot! Thus cities and empires seem to creep along, enlarging in silent obscurity under the pen of the historian, until at length they burst forth in some tremendous calamity, and snatch, as it were, immortality from the explosion! .
The above principle being admitted, my reader will plainly perceive that the city of New-Amsterdam and its dependent province are on the high road to greatness. Dangers and hostilities threaten from every side, and it is really a matter of astonishment to me, how so small a state has been able, in so short a time, to entangle itself in so many difficulties. Ever since the province was first taken by the nose, at the Fort of Good Hope, in the tranquil days of Wouter Van Twiller, has it been gradually increasing in historic importance; and never could it have had a more appropriate chieftain to conduct it to the pinnacle of grandeur than Peter Stuyvesant.
In the fiery heart of this iron-headed old warrior sat enthroned all those five kinds of courage described by Aristotle; and had the philosopher mentioned five hundred more to the back of them, I verily believe, he would have been found master of them all. The only misfortune was, that he was deficient in the better part of valour called discretion, a cold blooded virtue which could not exist in the tropical climate of his mighty soul. Hence it was, he was continually hurrying into those unheard-of enterprises that gave an air of chivalric romance to all his history; and and hence it was, that he now conceived a project worthy of the hero of La Mancha himself.
This was no other than to repair in person to the great council of the Amphyctions, bearing the sword in one hand, and the olive branch in the other; to require immediate reparation for the innumerable violations of that treaty, which, in an evil hour, he had formed; to put a stop to those repeated maraudings on the eastern borders; or else to throw the gauntlet, and appeal to arms for satisfaction.
On declaring this resolution in his privy council, the venerable members were seized with vast astonishment: for once in their lives they ventured to remonstrate, setting forth the rashness of exposing his sacred person in the midst of a strange and barbarous people, with sundry other weighty remonstrances—all which had about as much influence upon the determination of the headstrong Peter, as though you were to endeavour to turn a rusty weathercock with a broken-winded bellows.
Summoning therefore, to his presence his trusty follower, Anthony Van Corlear, he commanded him to hold himself in readiness to accompany him the following morning on this his hazardous enterprise. Now Anthony, the trumpeter, was a little stricken in years, yet by dint of keeping up a good heart, and having never known care or sorrow (having never been married), he was still a hearty, jocund, rubicund, gamesome wag, and of great capacity in the doublet. This last was ascribed to his living a jolly life on those domains at the Hook, which Peter Stuyvesant had granted to him for his gallantry at Fort Casimir
Be this as it may, there was nothing that more delighted Anthony than this command of the great Peter; for he could have followed the stout-hearted old governor to the world's end, with love and loyalty: and he moreover still remembered the frolicking, and dancing, and bundling, and other disports of the east country; and entertained dainty recollection of numerous kind and buxom lasses, whom he longed exceedingly again to encounter.
Thus, then, did this mirror of hardihood set forth, with, no other attendant but his trumpeter, upon one of the most perilous enterprises ever recorded in the annals of knighterrantry. For a single warrior to venture openly among a whole nation of foes; but, above all, for a plain, downright Dutchman to think of negotiating with the whole
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 brazen-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 wishi, 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, hail. ing 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 best rode 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 NieuwNederlands, 1663. There are two pieces of Ægidius Luyck in D. Selyn's MSS. of poesies, upon his marriage with Judith Isendoorn, Old MS.
t 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 undaunted perseverance, and repeated onsets, fairly bargained him out of his goodly switched-tailed charger, leaving him 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 sorg, 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;