From: Thomas Chandler Haliburton, The Clockmaker; or, The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville [First Series], Halifax: Joseph Howe, 1836; Second Series, London, England: Richard Bentley, 1838).
The Trotting Horse
I was always well mounted; I am fond of a horse, and always piqued myself on having the fastest trotter in the Province. I have made no great progress in the world, I feel doubly, therefore, the pleasure of not being surpassed on the road. I never feel so well or so cheerful as on horseback, for there is something exhilarating in quick motion; and, old as I am, I feel a pleasure in making any person whom I meet on the way put his horse to the full gallop, to keep pace with my trotter. Poor Ethiope! you recollect him how he was wont to lay back his ears on his arched neck, and push away from all competition. He is done, poor fellow! the spavin spoiled his speed, and he now roams at large upon my farm at Truro. Mohawk never failed me till this summer.
I pride myself, (you may laugh at such childish weakness in a man of my age,) but still, I pride myself in taking the conceit out of coxcombs I meet on the road, and on the ease with which I can leave a fool behind, whose nonsense disturbs my solitary musings.
On my last journey to Fort Lawrence, as the beautiful view of Colchester had just opened upon me, and as I was contemplating its richness and exquisite scenery, a tall thin man, with hollow cheeks and bright twinkling black eyes, on a good bay horse, somewhat out of condition, overtook me; and drawing up, said, I guess you started early this morning sir? I did, sir, I replied. You did not come from Halifax, I presume, sir, did you? In a dialect too rich to be mistaken as genuine Yankee. And which way may you be travelling? asked my inquisitive companion. To Fort Lawrence. Ah! said he so am I, it is in my circuit. The word circuit sounded so professional, I looked again at him, to ascertain whether I had met with one of those nameless, but innumerable limbs of the law, who now flourish in every district of the Province. There was a keenness about his eye, and an acuteness of expression, much in favour of the law; but the dress, and general bearing of the man, made against the supposition. His was not the coat of a man who can afford to wear an old coat, nor was it one of Tempest and Mores, that distinguish country lawyers from country boobies. His clothes were well made, and of good materials, but looked as if their owner had shrunk a little since they were made for him; they hung some-what loose on him. A large brooch, and some superfluous seals and gold keys, which ornamented his outward man, looked New England like. A visit to the States had, perhaps, I thought, turned this Colchester beau into a Yankee fop. Of what consequence was it to me who he was in either case I had nothing to do with him and I desired neither his acquaintance nor his company still I could not but ask myself who can this man be? I am not aware, said I, that there is a court sitting at this time at Cumberland? Nor am I, said my friend. What then could he have to do with the circuit? It occurred to me that he must be a Methodist preacher. I looked again, but his appearance again puzzled me. His attire might do the colour might be suitable the broad brim not out of place; but there was a want of that staidness of look, that seriousness of countenance, that expression, in short, so characteristic of the clergy.
I could not account for my idle curiousity a curiousity which, in him, I had the moment before viewed both with suspicion and disgust; but so it was I felt a desire to know who he could be who was neither lawyer nor preacher, and yet talked of his circuit with the gravity of both. How ridiculous, I thought to myself, is this; I will leave him. Turning towards him, I said, I feared I should be late for breakfast, and must therefore bid him good morning. Mohawk felt the pressure of my knees, and away we went at a slapping pace. I congratulated myself on conquering my own curiosity, and on avoiding that of my travelling companion. This, I said to myself, this is the value of a good horse; I patted his neck I felt proud of him. Presently I heard the steps of the unknowns horse the clatter increased. Ah, my friend, thought I, it wont do; you should be well mounted if you desire my company; I pushed Mohawk faster, faster, faster, to his best. He outdid himself; he had never trotted so handsomely so easily so well.
I guess that is a pretty considerable smart horse, said the stranger, as he came beside me, and apparently reined in, to prevent his horse passing me; there is not, I reckon so spry a one on my circuit.
Circuit, or no circuit, one thing was settled in my mind; he was a Yankee, and a very impertinent Yankee, too. I felt humbled, my pride was hurt, and Mohawk was beaten. To continue this trotting contest was humiliating; I yielded, therefore, before the victory was palpable, and pulled up.
Yes, continued he, a horse of pretty considerable good action, and a pretty fair trotter, too, I guess. Pride must have a fall I confess mine was prostrate in the dust. These words cut me to the heart. What! is it come to this, poor Mohawk, that you, the admiration of all but the envious, the great Mohawk, the standard by which all other horses are measured trots next to Mohawk, only yields to Mohawk, looks like Mohawk that you are, after all, only a counterfeit, and pronounced by a straggling Yankee to be merely a pretty fair trotter!
If he was trained, I guess that he might be made to do a little more. Excuse me, but if you divide your weight between the knee and the stirrup, rather most on the knee, and rise forward on the saddle, so as to leave a little daylight between you and it, I hope I may never ride this circuit again, if you dont get a mile more an hour out of him.
What! not enough, I mentally groaned, to have my horse beaten, but I must be told that I dont know how to ride him; and that, too, by a Yankee Aye, theres the rub a Yankee what? Perhaps a half-bred puppy, half yankee, half blue-nose. As ther is no escape, Ill try to make out my riding master. Your circuit, said I, my looks expressing all the surprise they were capable of your circuit, pray what may that be? Oh, said he, the eastern circuit I am on the eastern circuit, sir. I have heard, said I, feeling that I now had a lawyer to deal with, that there is a great deal of business on this circuit pray, are there many cases of importance? There is a pretty fair business to be done, at least there has been, but the cases are of no great value we do not make much out of them, we get them up very easy, but they dont bring much profit. What a beast, thought I, is this; and what a curse to a country, to have such an unfeeling pettifogging rascal practising in it a horse jockey, too, what a finished character! Ill try him on that branch of his business.
That is a superior animal you are mounted on, said I I seldom meet one that can travel with mine. Yes, said he cooly, a considerable fair traveller, and most particular good bottom. I hesitated: this man who talks with such unblushing effrontery of getting up cases, and making profit out of them, cannot be offended at the question yes, I will put it to him. Do you feel an inclination to part with him? I never part with a horse, sir, that suits me, and I allow no man to pass me but when I choose. Is it possible, I thought, that he can know me? that he has heard of my foible, and is quizzing me, or have I this feeling in common with him. But, continued I, you might supply yourself again. Not on this circuit, I guess, said he, nor yet in Campbells circuit. Campbells circuit pray, sir, what is that? That, said he, is the western and Lampton rides the shore circuit; and as for the people on the shore, they know so little of horses, that Lampton tells me, a man from Aylesford once sold a hornless ox there, whose tail he had cut and nicked, for a horse of the Goliath breed. I should think, said I, that Mr. Lampton must have no lack of cases among such enlightened clients. Clients, sir! said my friend, Mr. Lampton is not a lawyer. I beg pardon, I thought you said he rode the circuit. We call it a circuit, said the stranger, who seemed by no means flattered by the mistake we divide the Province, as in the Almanack, into circuits, in each of which we separately carry on our business of maunfacturing and selling clocks. There are few, I guess, said the Clockmaker, who go upon tick as much as we do, who have so little use for lawyers; if attornies could wind a man up again, after he has been fairly run down, I guess theyd be a pretty harmless sort of folks.
This explanation restored my good humour, and as I could not quit my companion, and he did not feel disposed to leave me, I made up my mind to travel with him to Fort Lawrence, the limit of his circuit.
The Road to a Womans Heart The Broken Heart
As we approached the Inn at Amherst, the Clockmaker grew uneasy. Its pretty well on in the evening, I guess, said he, and Marm Pugwash is as onsartin in her temper as a mornin in April; its all sunshine or all clouds with her, and if shes in one of her tantrums, shell stretch out her neck and hiss, like a goose with a flock of goslins. I wonder what on airth Pugwash was a thinkin on, when he signed articles of partnership with that are woman; shes not a bad lookin piece of furniture neither, and its a proper pity sich a clever woman should carry such a stiff upper lip she reminds me of our old minister Joshua Hopewells apple trees.
The old minister had an orchard of most particular good fruit, for he was a great hand at buddin, graftin, and what not, and the orchard (it was on the south side of the house) stretched right up to the road. Well, there were some trees hung over the fence, I never seed such bearers, the apples hung in ropes, for all the world like strings of onions, and the fruit was beautiful. Nobody touched the ministers apples, and when other folks lost theirn from the boys, hisn always hung there like bait to a hook, but there never was so much as a nibble at em. So I said to him one day, Minister, said I, how on airth do you mangae to keep yout fruit thats so exposed, when no one else cant do it nohow. Why, says he, they are dreadful pretty fruit, ant they? I guess, said I, there ant the like onem in all Connecticut. Well, says he, Ill tell you the secret, but you neednt let on to no one about it. That are row next the fence I grafted it myself, I took great pains to get the right kind, I sent clean up to Roxberry, and away down to Squaw-neck Creek, (I was afeard he was agoin to give me day and date for every graft, being a terrible long-winded man in his stories), so says I, I know that, minister, but how do you preserve them? Why I was a goin to tell you, said he, when you stopped me. That are outward row I grafted myself with the choicest I could find, and I succeeded. They are beautiful, but so eternal sour, no human soul can eat them. Well, the boys think the old ministers graftin has all succeeded about as well as that row, and they sarch no farther. They snicker at my graftin, and I laugh in my sleeve, I guess, at their penetration.
Now, Marm Pugwash is like the Ministers apples, very temptin fruit to look at, but desperate sour. If Pugwash had a watery mouth when he married, I guess its pretty puckery by this time. However, if she goes to act ugly, Ill give her a dose of soft sawder, that will take the frown out of her frontispiece, and make her dial-plate as smooth as a lick of copal varnish. Its a pity shes such a kickin devil, too, for she has good points good eye good foot neat pastern fine chest a clean set of limbs, and carries a good . But here we are, now youll see what soft sawder will do.
When we entered the house, the travellers room was all in darkness, and on opening the opposite door into the sitting room, we found the female part of the family extinguishing the fire for the night. Mrs. Pugwash had a broom in her hand, and was in the act (the last act of female housewifery) of sweeping the hearth. The strong flickering light of the fire, as it fell upon her tall fine figure and beautiful face, revealed a creature worthy of the Clockmakers comments.
Good evening, Marm, said Mr. Slick, how do you do, and hows Mr. Pugwash? He, said she, why hes been abed this hour, you dont expect to disturb him this time of night I hope. Oh no, said Mr. Slick, certainly not, and I am sorry to have disturbed you, but we got detained longer than we expected; I am sorry that . So am I, said she, but if Mr. Pugwash will keep an inn when he has no occasion to, his family cant expect no rest.
Here the Clockmaker, seeing the storm gathering, stooped down sud- denly, and staring intently, held out his hand and exclaimed, Well, if that aint a beautiful child come here, my little man, and shake hands along with me well, I declare, if that are little feller aint the finest child I ever seed what, not abed yet? ah, you rogue, where did you get them are pretty rosy cheeks; stole them from mamma, eh? Well, I wish my old mother could see that child, it is such a treat. In our country, said he, turning to me, the children are all as pale as chalk, or as yaller as an orange. Lord, that are little feller would be a show in our country come to me, my man. Here the soft sawder began to operate. Mrs. Pugwash said in a milder tone than we had yet heard, Go, my dear, to the gentleman go, dear. Mr. Slick kissed him, asked him if he would go to the States along with him, told him all the little girls there would fall in love with him, for they didnt see such a beautiful face once in a month of Sundays. Black eyes let me see ah mammas eyes too, and black hair also; as I am alive, why you are a mammas own boy, the very image of mamma. Do be seated, gentlemen, said Mrs. Pugwash Sally make a fire in the next room. She ought to be proud of you, he continued. Well, if I live to return here, I must paint your face, and have it put on my clocks, and our folks will buy the clocks for the sake of the face. Did you ever see, said he, again addressing me, such a likeness between one human and another, as between this beautiful little boy and his mother. I am sure you have had no supper, said Mrs. Pugwash, to me; you must be hungry and weary, too I will get you a cup of tea. I am sorry to give you so much trouble, said I. Not the least trouble in the world, she replied, on the contrary, a pleasure.
We were then shewn into the next room, where the fire was now blazing up, but Mr. Slick protested he could not proceed without the little boy, and lingered behind me to ascertain his age, and concluded by asking the child if he had any aunts that looked like his mamma.
As the door closed, Mr. Slick said, its a pity she dont go well in gear. The difficulty with those critters is to get them to start, arter that there is no trouble with them if you dont check em too short. If you do, theyll stop again, run back and kick like mad, and then Old Nick himself wouldnt start em. Pugwash, I guess, dont understand the natur of the critter: shell never go kind in harness for him. When I see a child, said the Clockmaker, I always feel safe with these women folk; for I have always found that the road to a womans heart lies through her child.
You seem, said I, to understand the female heart so well, I make no doubt you are a general favourite among the fair sex. Any man, he replied, that understands horses, has a pretty considerable fair knowledge of women, for they are just alike in temper, and require the very identical same treatment. Incourage the timid ones, be gentle and steady with the fractious, but lather the sulky ones like blazes.
People talk an everlastin sight of nonsense about wine, women, and horses. Ive bought and sold em all, Ive traded in all of them, and I tell you, there aint one in a thousand that knows a grain about either on em. You hear folks say, Oh, such a man is an ugly grained critter, hell break his wifes heart; jist as if a womans heart was as brittle as a pipe stalk. The female heart, as far as my experience goes, is just like a new India Rubber Shoe; you may pull and pull at it, till it stretches out a yard long, and then let go, and it will fly right back to its old shape. Their hearts are made of stout leather, I tell you; there is a plaguy sight of wear in em.
I never knowed but one case of a broken heart, and that was in tother sex, one Washington Banks. He was a sneezer. He was tall enough to spit down on the heads of your grenadiers, and near about high enough to wade across Charlestown River, and as strong as a tow-boat. I guess he was somewhat less than a foot longer than the moral law and catechism too. He was a perfect pictur of a man; you couldnt falt him in no particular; he was so just a made critter; folks used to run to the winder when he passed, and say there goes Washington Banks, beant he lovely? I do believe there wasnt a gall in the Lowell factories, that warnt in love with him. Sometimes, at intermission, on Sabbath days, when they all came out together, (an amasin hansom sight too, near about a whole congregation of young galls) Banks used to say, I vow, young ladies, I wish I had five hundred arms to reciprocate one with each of you; but I reckon I have a heart big enough for you all; its a whapper, you may depend, and every mite and morsel of it at your service. Well, how do you act, Mr. Banks, half a thousand little clipper clapper tongues would say, all at the same time, and their dear little eyes sparklin, like so many stars twinklin of a frosty night.
Well, when I last seed him, he was all skin and bone, like a horse turned out to die. He was teetotally defleshed, a mere walkin skeleton. I am dreadful sorry, says I, to see you, Banks, lookin so peecked; why you look like a sick turkey hen, all legs; what on airth ails you? I am dyin, says he, of a broken heart. What says I, have the galls been jiltin you? No, no, says he, I beant such a fool as that neither. Well, says I, have you made a bad speculation? No, says he, shakin his head, I hope I have too much clear grit in me to take on so bad for that. What under the sun is it, then? said I. Why, says he, I made a bet the fore part of summer with Leftenant Oby Knowles, that I could shoulder the best bower of the Constitution frigate. I won my bet, but the anchor was so etarnal heavy it broke my heart. Sure enough he did die that very fall, and he was the only instance I ever heerd tell of a broken heart.
The American Eagle
Jist look out of the door, said the Clockmaker, and see what a beautiful night it is, how calm, how still, how clear it is, beant it lovely? I like to look up at them are stars, when I am away from home, they put me in mind of our national flag, and it is generally allowed to be the first flag in the univarse now. The British can whip all the world, and we can whip the British. Its near about the prettiest sight I know of, is one of our first class frigates, manned with our free and enlightened citzens, all ready for sea; it is like the great American Eagle, on its perch, balancing itself for a start on the broad expanse of blue sky, afeared of nothin of its kind, and president of all it surveys. It was a good emblem that we chose, warnt it?
There was no evading so direct, and at the same time, so conceited an appeal as this. Certainly, said I, the emblem was well chosen. I was particularly struck with it on observing the device on your naval buttons during the last war an eagle with an anchor in its claws. That was a natural idea, taken from an ordinary occurrence: a bird purloining the anchor of a frigate an article so useful and necessary for the food of its young. It was well chosen, and exhibited great taste and judgement in the artist. The emblem is more appropriate than you are aware of boasting of what you cannot perform grasping at what you cannot attain an emblem of arrogance and weakness, of ill-directed ambition and vulgar pretension.
It is a common phrase, said he, (with great composure) among seamen, to say damn your buttons, and I guess its natural for you to say so of the buttons of our navals; I guess you have a right to that are oath. Its a sore subject, that, I reckon, and I believe I hadnt ought to have spoken of it to you at all. Brag is a good dog, but hold fast is a better one.
He was evidently annoyed, and with his usual dexterity gave vent to his feelings by a sally upon the blue-noses,who, he says, are a cross of English and Yankee, and therefore first cousins to us both. Perhaps, said he, that are eagle might with more propriety have been taken off as perched on an anchor, instead of holding it in his claws, and I think it would have been more nateral; but I suppose it was some stupid foreign artist that made that are blunder I never seed one yet that was equal to ourn. If that Eagle is represented as trying what he cant do, its an honourable ambition arter all, but these bluenoses wont try what they can do. They put me in mind of a great hulk of a horse in a cart, that wont put his shoulder to the collar at all for all the lambastin in the world, but turns his head round and looks at you, as much as to say, what an everlastin heavy thing an empty cart is, isnt it? An Owl should be their emblem, and the motto, He sleeps all the days of his life. The whole country is like this night; beautiful to look at, but silent as the grave still as death, asleep, becalmed.
If the sea was always calm, said he, it would pyson the univarse; no soul could breathe the air, it would be so uncommon bad. Stagnant water is always onpleasant, but salt water, when it gets tainted, beats all natur; motion keeps it sweet and wholesome, and that our minister used to say is one of the wonders of the great deep. This province is stagnant; it tante deep, like still water neither, for its shaller enough, gracious knows, but it is motionless, noiseless, lifeless. If you have ever been to sea in a calm, youd know what a plagy tiresome thing it is for a man thats in a hurry. An everlasting flappin of the sails, and a creakin of the booms, and an onsteady pitchin of the ship, and folks lyin about dozin away their time, and the sea a heavin a long heavy swell, like the breathin of the chist of some great monster asleep. A passenger wonders the sailors are so plagy easy about it, and he goes a lookin out east, and a spyin out west, to see if theres any chance of a breeze, and says to himself, Well, if this aint dull music its a pity. Then how streaked he feels when he sees a steam-boat a clipping it by him like mad, and the folks on board pokin fun at him, and askin him if he has any word to send home. Well, he says, if any soul ever catches me on board a sail vessel again, when I can go by steam, Ill give him leave to tell me of it, thats a fact.
Thats partly the case here. They are becalmed, and they see us going a head on them, till we are een almost out of sight; yet they hant got a steam-boat, and they hant got a railroad; indeed, I doubt if one half on em ever seed or heerd tell of one or tother of them. I never seed any folks like em except the Indians, and they wont even so much as look they havnt the least morsel of curiosity in the world; from which one of our unitarian preachers (they are dreadful hands at doubtin them. I dont doubt but that some day or another, they will doubt whether everything aint a doubt) in a very learned work, doubts whether they were ever descended from Eve at all. Old marm Eves children, he says, are all lost, it is said, in consequence of too much curiosity, while these copper coloured folks are lost from havin too little. How can they be the same? Thinks I, that may be logic, old Dubersome, but it ant sense, dont extremes meet? Now, these blue-noses have no motion in em, no enterprise, no spirit, and if any critter shows any symptoms of activity, they say he is a man of no judgment, hes speculative, hes a schemer, in short, hes mad. They vegitate like a lettuce plant in sarse garden, they grow tall and spindlin, run to seed right off, grow as bitter as gaul, and die.
A gall once came to our minister to hire as a house help; says she, Minister, I suppose you dont want a young lady to do chamber business and breed worms do you? For Ive half a mind to take a spell at livin out (she meant, said the Clockmaker, house work and rearing silk worms.) My pretty maiden, says he, a pattin her on the cheek, (for Ive often observed ole men always talk kinder pleasant to women,) my pretty maiden, where was you brought up? Why, says she, I guess I warnt brought at all, I growd up. Under what platform, says he, (for he was very particular that all his house helps should go to his meetin,) under what Church platform? Church platform, says she, with a toss of her head, like a young colt that got a check of the curb, I guess I warnt raised under a platform at all, but in as good a house as yourn, grand as you be. You said well, said the old minister, quite shocked, when you said you growd up, dear, for you have grown up in great ignorance. Then I guess you had better get a lady that knows more than me, says she, thats flat. I reckon I am every bit and grain as good as you be If I dont understand a bum-byx (silk worm) both feedin, breedin, and rearin, then I want to know who does, thats all; church platform, indeed, says she, I guess you were raised under a glass frame in March and transplanted on Independence day, warnt you? And off she sot, lookin as scorney as a London lady, and leavin the poor minister standin starin like a stuck pig. Well, well, says he, a liftin up both hands, and turnin up the whites of his eyes like a duck in thunder, if that dont bang the bush! It fairly beats sheep shearin, after the black-berry bushes have got the wool. It does, I vow; them are the tares them Unitarians sow in our grain fields at night; I guess theyll ruinate the crops yet, and make the grounds so everlastin foul, well have to pare the sod and burn it, to kill the roots. Our fathers sowed the right seed here in the wilderness, and watered it with their tears, and watched over it with fastin and prayer, and now its fairly run out, thats a fact, I snore. Its got choaked up with all sorts of trash in natur, I declare. Dear, dear, I vow I never seed the beat o that in all my born days.
Now the blue noses are like that are gall; they have grown up, and grown up in ignorance of many things they hadnt ought not to know; and its as hard to teach grown up folks as it is to break a six year old horse; and they do ryle ones temper so they act so ugly that it tempts one sometimes to break their confounded necks its near about as much trouble as its worth. What remedy is there for all this supineness, said I; how can these people be awakened out of their ignorant slothfulness, into active exertion? The remedy, said Mr. Slick, is at hand its already workin its own cure. They must recede before our free and enlightened citizens like the Indians; our folks will buy them out, and they must give place to a more intelligent and ac-tive people. They must go to the lands of Labrador, or be located back of Canada; they can hold on there a few years, until the wave of civilization reaches them, and then they must move again as the savages do. It is decreed; I hear the bugle of destiny a soundin of their retreat, as plain as anything. Congress will give them a concession of land, if they petition, away to Alleghany backside territory, and grant them relief for a few years; for we are out of debt, and dont know what to do with our surplus revenue. The only way to shame them, that I know, would be to sarve them as uncle Enoch sarved a neighbour of his in Varginy.
There was a lady that had a plantation near hand to hisn, and there was only a small river atwixt the two houses, so that folks could hear each other talk across it. Well, she was a dreadful cross-grained woman, a real catamount, as savage as a she bear that has cubs, an old farrow critter, as ugly as sin, and one that both hooked and kicked too a most particular onmarciful she devil, thats a fact. She used to have some of her niggers tied up every day, and flogged uncommon severe, and their screams and screeches were horrid no soul could stand it; nothin was heerd all day, but oh Lord Missus! oh Lord Missus! Enoch was fairly sick of the sound, for he was a tender-hearted man, and says he to her one day, Now do, marm, find out some other place to give your cattle the cowskin, for it worries me to hear em take on so dreadful bad I cant stand it, I vow; they are flesh and blood as well as we be, though the meat is a different colour; but it was no good she jist up and told him to mind his own business, and she guessed shed mind hern. He was determined to shame her out of it; so one morning arter breakfast he goes into the cane field, and says he to Lavender, one of the black overseers. Muster up the whole gang of slaves, every soul, and bring em down to the wippin post, the whole stock of them, bulls, cows, and calves. Well, away goes Lavender, and drives up all the niggers. Now you catch it, says he, you lazy villains; I tole you so many a time I tole you Massa he lose all patience wid you, you good for nothin rascals. I grad, upon my soul, I werry grad; you mind now what old Lavender say anoder time. (The black overseers are always the most cruel, said the Clockmaker; they have no sort of feeling for their own people.)
Well, when they were gathered there according to orders, they looked streaked enough you may depend, thinkin they were going to get it all round, and the wenches they fell to a cryin, wringin their hands, and boo-hooing like mad. Lavender was there with his cowskin, grinnin like a chessy cat, and cracking it about, ready for business. Pick me out, says Enoch, four that have the loudest voices; hard matter dat, says Lavender, hard matter dat, Massa, dey all talk loud, dey all lub talk more better nor work de idle villains; better gib em all a little tickel, jist to teach em larf on tother side of de mouth: dat side bran new, they never use it yet. Do as I order you, Sir, said Uncle, or Ill have you triced up, you cruel old rascal you. When they were picked out and sot by themselves, they hanged their heads, and looked like sheep goin to the shambles. Now says Uncle Enoch, my Pickininnies, do you sing out, as loud as Niagara, at the very tip eend of your voice
And all the rest of you join chorus, as loud as you can baul, Oh Lord Missus. The black rascals understood the joke real well. They larfed ready to split their sides: they fairly lay down on the ground, and rolled over and over with lafter. Well, when they came to the chorus, Oh Lord Missus, if they didnt let go, its a pity. They made the river ring agin they were heerd clean out to sea. All the folks ran out of the Ladys House, to see what on airth was the matter on Uncle Enochs plantations they thought there was actilly a rebellion there; but when they listened awhile, and heerd it over and over again, they took the hint and returned a larfin in their sleeves. Says they, Master Enoch Slick, he upsides with Missus this hitch any how. Uncle never heerd anything more of Oh Lord Missus, after that. Yes, they ought to be shamed out of it, those blue-noses. When reason fails to convince, there is nothin left but ridicule. If they have no ambition, apply to their feelings, clap a blister on their pride, and it will do the business. Its like a puttin ginger under a horses tail; it makes him carry up real handsum, I tell you. When I was a boy, I was always late to school; well, fathers preachin I didnt mind much, but I never could bear to hear mother say. Why, Sam, are you actilly up for all day? Well, I hope your airly risin wont hurt you, I declare. What on airth is agoin to happen now? Well, wonders will never cease. It raised my dander; at last says I, Now, mother, dont say that are any more for gracious sake, for it makes me feel ugly, and Ill get up as airly as any on you; and so I did, and I soon found whats worth knowin in this life, An airly start makes easy stages.
The Clockmakers Opinion of Halifax
The next morning was warmer than several that had preceded it. It was one of those uncommonly fine days that distinguish an American autumn. I guess, said Mr. Slick, the heat to-day is like a glass of Mint Julip, with a lump of ice in it, it tastes cool and feels warm its real good, I tell you; I love such a day as this dearly. Its generally allowed the finest weather in the world is in America there ant the beat of it to be found anywhere. He then lighted a cigar, and throwing himself back on his chair, put both feet out of the window, and sat with his arms folded, a perfect picture of happiness.
You appear, said I, to have travelled over the whole of this Province, and to have observed the country and the people with much attention; pray what is your opinion of the present state and future prospects of Halifax? If you will tell me, said he, when the folks there will wake up, then I can answer you, but they are fast asleep; as to the Province, its a splendid province, and calculated to go ahead, it will grow as fast as a Varginy gall, and they grow so amazin fast, if you put your arm round one of their necks to kiss them, by the time youve done, theyve grown up into women. Its a pretty Province I tell you, good above and better below; surface covered with pastures, meadows, woods, and a nation sight of water privileges, and under the ground full of mines it puts me in mind of the soup at the Tree-mont house.
One day I was a walkin in the Mall, and who should I meet but Major Bradford, a gentleman from Connecticut, that traded in calves and pumpkins for the Boston market. Says he, Slick, where do you get your grub to-day? At General Peeps tavern, says I. Only fit for niggers, says he; why dont you come to the Tree-mont house, thats the most splendid thing its generally allowed in all the world. Why, says I, thats a notch above my mark, I guess its too plagy dear for me, I cant afford it no how. Well, says he, its dear in one sense, but its dog cheap in another its a grand place for speculation theres so many rich southerners and strangers there that have more money than wit, that you might do a pretty good business there without goin out of the street door. I made two hundred dollars this mornin in little less than half no time. Theres a Carolina Lawyer there, as rich as a bank, and says he to me arter breakfast, Major, says he, I wish I knew where to get a real slapping trotter of a horse, one that could trot with a flash of lightning for a mile, and beat it by a whole neck or so. Says I, my Lord, (for you must know, he says hes the nearest male heir to a Scotch dormant peerage,) my Lord, says I, I have one a proper sneezer, a chap that can go ahead of a rail-road steamer, a real natural traveller, one that can trot with the ball out of the small eend of a rifle, and never break into a gallop. Says he, Major, I wish you wouldnt give me that are knick name, I dont like it, (though he looked as tickled all the time as possible,) I never knew, says he, a lord that wornt a fool, thats a fact, and thats the reason I dont go ahead and claim the title. Well, says I, my Lord, I dont know, but somehow I cant help a thinkin, if you have a good claim, youd be more like a fool not to go ahead with it. Well, says he, Lord or no Lord, lets look at your horse. So away I went to Joe Browns livery-stable, at tother eend of the city, and picked out the best trotter he had, and no great stick to brag on either; says I, Joe Brown what do you ax for that are horse? Two hundred dollars, says he. Well, says I, I will take him out and try him, and if I like him, I will keep him. So I shows our Carolina Lord the horse, and when he gets on him, says I, Dont let him trot as fast as he can, resarve that for a heat: if folks find out how everlastin fast he is, theyd be afeard to stump you for a start. When he returned, he said he liked the horse amazingly, and axed the price; four hundred dollars, says I, you cant get nothin special without a good price, pewter cases never hold good watches; I know it, says he, the horse is mine. Thinks I to myself, thats more than ever I could say of him then any how.
Well, I was goin to tell you about the soup says the Major, its near about dinner time, jist come and see how you like the location. There was a sight of folks there, gentlemen and ladies in the public room (I never seed so many afore, except at commencement day,) all ready for a start, and when the gong sounded, off we sott like a flock of sheep. Well, if there warnt a jam you may depend some one give me a pull, and I near abouts went heels up over head, so I reached out both hands, and caught hold of the first thing I could, and what should it be but a ladys dress well, as Im alive, rip went the frock, and tear goes the petticoat, and when I righted myself from my beam ends, away they all came home to me, and there she was, the pretty critter, with all her upper riggin standin as far as her waist, and nothin left below but a short linen under garment. If she didnt scream, its a pity, and the more she screamed, the more folks larfed, for no soul could help larfin, till one of the waiters folded her up in a table-cloth.
What an awkward devil you be, Slick, says the Major, now that comes of not falling in first, they should have formed four deep, rear rank in open order, and marched in to our splendid national air, and filed off to their seats, right and left shoulders forward. I feel kinder sorry, too, says he, for that are young heifer, but she shewed a proper pretty leg tho Slick, didnt she I guess you dont often get such a chance as that are. Well, I gets near the Major at table, and afore me stood a china utensil with two handles, full of soup, about the size of a foot tub, with a large silver scoop in it, near about as big as a ladle of a maple sugar kettle. I was jist about bailing out some soup into my dish, when the Major said, fish it up from the bottom, Slick, well, sure enough, I gives it a drag from the bottom, and up came the fat pieces of turtle, and the thick rich soup, and a sight of little forced meat balls, of the size of sheeps dung. No soul could tell how good it was it was near about as handsum as fathers old genuine particular cider, and that you could feel tingle clean away down to the tip eends of your toes. Now, says the Major, Ill give you, Slick, a new wrinkle on your horn. Folks aint thought nothin of, unless they live at Treemont: its all the go. Do you dine at Peeps tavern every day, and then off hot foot to Treemont, and pick your teeth on the street steps there, and folks will think you dine there. I do it often, and it saves two dollars a day. Then he puts his finger on his nose, and says he, Mum is the word.
Now, this Province is jist like that are soup, good enough at top, but dip down and you have the riches, the coal, the iron ore, the gypsum, and what not. As for Halifax, its well enough in itself, though no great shakes neither, a few sizeable houses, with a proper sight of small ones, like half a dozen old hens with their broods of young chickens; but the people, the strange critters, they are all asleep. They walk in their sleep, and talk in their sleep, and what they say one day they forget the next, they say they were dreaming. You know where Governor Campbell lives, dont you, in a large stone house, with a great wall round it, that looks like a state prison; well, near hand there is a nasty dirty horrid lookin buryin ground there its filled with large grave rats as big as kittens, and the springs of black water there, go through the chinks of the rocks and flow into all the wells, and fairly pyson the folks its a dismal place, I tell you I wonder the air from it dont turn all the silver in the Ginerals house, of a brass colour, (and folks say he has four cart loads of it) its so everlasting bad its near about as nosey as a slave ship of niggers. Well, you may go there and shake the folks to all etarnity and you wont wake em, I guess, and yet there ant much difference atween their sleep and the folks at Halifax, only they lie still there and are quiet, and dont walk and talk in their sleep like them above ground.
Halifax reminds me of a Russian officer I once seed at Warsaw; he had lost both arms in battle; but I guess I must tell you first why I went there, cause that will show you how we speculate. One Sabbath day, after bell ringin, when most of the women had gone to meetin (for they were great hands for pretty sarmons, and our Unitarian ministers all preach poetry, only they leave the ryme out it sparkles like perry,) I goes down to East India wharf to see Captain Zeek Hancock, of Nantucket, to enquire how oil was, and if it would bear doing anything in; when who should come along but Jabish Green. Slick, says he, how do you do; isnt this as pretty a day as youll see between this and Norfolk; it whips English weather by a long chalk; and then he looked down at my watch seals, and looked and looked as if he thought Id stole em. At last he looks up, and says he, Slick, I suppose you wouldnt go to Warsaw, would you, if it was made worth your while? Which Warsaw? says I, for I believe in my heart we have a hundred of them. None of ourn at all, says he; Warsaw in Poland. Well, I dont know, says I; what do you call worth while? Six dollars a day, expenses paid, and a bonus of one thousand dollars, if speculation turns out well. I am off, says I, whenever you say go. Tuesday, says he, in the Hamburgh packet. Now, says he, Im in a tarnation hurry; Im goin a pleasurin to day with Josiah Bradfords galls down to Nahant. But Ill tell you what I am at: the Emperor of Russia has ordered the Poles to cut off their queus on the 1st of January; you must buy them all up, and ship them off to London for the wig makers. Human hair is scarce and risin. Lord a massy! says I, how queer they will look, wont they. Well, I vow, thats what the sea folks call sailing under bare Poles, come true, aint it? I guess it will turn out a good spec, says he; and a good one it did turn out he cleared ten thousand dollars by it.
When I was at Warsaw, as I was a sayin, there was a Russian officer there who had lost both his arms in battle; a good natured contented critter, as I een amost ever seed, and he was fed with spoons by his neighbours, but arter a while they grew tired of it, and I guess he near about starved to death at last. Now Halifax is like that are Spooney, as I used to call him; it is fed by the ouports, and they begin to have enough to do to feed themselves it must larn to live withoutem. They have no river, and no country about them; let them make a railroad to Minas Basin, and they will have arms of their own to feed themselves with. If they dont do it, and do it soon, I guess theyll get into a decline that no human skill will cure. They are proper thin now; you can count their ribs een amost as far as you can see them. The only thing that will either make or save Halifax, is a railroad across the country to Bay of Fundy.
It will do to talk of, says one; Youll see it some day, says another; Yes, says a third, it will come, but we are too young yet.
Our old minister had a darter, a real clever looking gall as youd see in a days ride, and she had two or three offers of marriage from sponsible men most particular good specs but minister always said Phbe, you are too young the day will come but you are too young yet, dear. Well, Phbe didnt think so at all; she said, She guessed she knew better nor that; so the next offer she had, she said she had no notion to lose another chance off she sot to Rhode Island and got married; says she, Fathers too old, he dont know. Thats jist the case at Halifax. The old folks say the country is too young the time will come, and so on; and in the mean time the young folks wont wait, and run off to the States, where the maxim is, youth is the time for improvement; a new country is never too young for exertion push on keep movin go ahead. Darn it all, said the Clockmaker, rising with great animation, clinching his fist, and extending his arm darn it all, it fairly makes my dander rise, to see the nasty idle loungin good for nothing do little critters they aint fit to tend a bear trap, I vow. They ought to be quilted round and round a room, like a ladys lap dog, the matter of two hours a day, to keep them from dyin of apoplexy. Hush, hush, said I, Mr. Slick, you forget. Well, said he, resuming his usual composure well, its enough to make one vexed though, I declare isnt it?
Mr. Slick has often alluded to this subject, and always in a most decided manner; I am inclined to think he is right. Mr. Howes papers on the rail-road I read till I came to his calculations, but I never could read figures, I cant cypher, and there I paused; it was a barrier: I retreated a few paces, took a running leap, and cleared the whole of them. Mr. Slick says he has under and not over rated its advantages. He appears to be such a shrewd, observing, intelligent man, and so perfectly at home on these subjects, that I confess I have more faith in this humble but eccentric Clockmaker, than in any other man I have met with in this Province. I therefore pronounce there will be a railroad.
Mr. Slicks Opinion of the British
What success had you, said I, in the sale of your Clocks among the Scotch in the eastem part of the Province? do you find them as gullible as the blue-noses? Well, said he, you have heerd tell that a Yankee never answers one question, without axing another, havent you? Did you ever see an English Stage Driver make a bow? because if you hante obsarved it, I have, and a queer one it is, I swan. He brings his right arm up, jist across his face, and passes on, with a knowin nod of his head, as much as to say, how do you do? but keep clear o my wheels, or Ill fetch your horses a lick in the mouth as sure as youre born; jist as a bear puts up his paw to fend off the blow of a stick from his nose. Well, thats the way I pass them are bare breeched Scotchmen. Lord, if they were located down in these here Cumberland mashes, how the musquitoes would tickle them up,wouldnt they? Theyd set em scratchin thereabouts, as an Irishman does his head, when hes in search of a lie. Them are fellers cut their eye teeth afore they ever sot foot in this country, I expect. When they get a bawbee, they know what to do with it, thats a fact; they open their pouch and drop it in, and its got a spring like a fox-trap it holds fast to all it gets, like grim death to a dead nigger. They are proper skin flints, you may depend. Oatmeal is no great shakes at best; it tante even as good for a horse as real yaller Varginy corn, but I guess I warnt long in finding out that the grits hardly pay for the riddlin. No, a Yankee has as little chance among them as a Jew has in New England: the sooner he clears out the better. You can no more put a leake into them, than you can send a chisel into Teakewood it turns the edge of the tool the first drive. If the blue-noses knew the value of money as well as they do, theyd have more cash, and fewer Clocks and tin reflectors, I reckon.
Now, its different with the Irish; they never carry a puss, for they never have a cent to put in it. They are always in love or in liquor, or else in a row; they are the merriest shavers I ever seed. Judge Beeler, I dare say you have heerd tell of him hes a funny feller he put a notice over his factory gate at Lowell, no cigars or Irishmen admitted within these walls; for, said he, the one will set a flame agoin among my cottons, and tother among my galls. I wont have no such inflammable and dangerous things about me on no account. When the British wanted our folks to join in the treaty to chock the wheels of the slave trade, I recollect hearin old John Adams say, we had ought to humour them; for, says he, they supply us with labour on easier terms, by shippin out the Irish. Says he, they work better, and they work cheaper, and they dont live so long. The blacks, when they are past work, hang on for ever, and a proper bill of expence they be; but hot weather and new rum rub out the poor rates for tother ones.
The English are the boys for tradin with; they shell out their cash like a sheaf of wheat in frosty weather it flies all over the thrashin floor; but then they are a cross-grained, ungainly, kicken breed of cattle, as I een a most ever seed. Whoever gave them the name of John Bull, knew what he was about, I tell you; for they are bull-necked, bull-headed folks, I vow; sulky, ugly-tempered, vicious critters, a pawin and a roarin the whole time, and plaguy onsafe unless well watched. They are as headstrong as mules, and as conceited as peacocks.
The astonishment with which I heard this tirade against my country-men, absorbed every feeling of resentment. I listened with amazement at the perfect composure with which he uttered it. He treated it as one of those self-evident truths, that need neither proof nor apology, but as a thing well known and admitted by all mankind.
Theres no richer sight that I know of, said he, than to see one on em when he first lands in one of our great cities. He swells out as big as a balloon, his skin is ready to burst with wind a regular walking bag of gas; and he prances over the pavement like a bear over hot iron a great awkward hulk of a feller, (for they aint to be compared to the French in manners), a smirkin at you, as much as to say, look here, Jonathan, heres an Englishman; heres a boy thats got blood as pure as a Norman pirate, and lots of the blunt of both kinds, a pocket full of one, and a mouthful of tother: beant he lovely? and then he looks as fierce as a tiger, as much as to say, say boo to a goose, if you dare.
No, I believe we may stump the Univarse; we improve on every thing, and we have improved on our own species. Youll search one, while I tell you, afore youll find a man that, take him by and large, is equal to one of our free and enlightened citizens. Hes the chap that has both speed, wind, and bottom; hes clear grit ginger to the back bone, you may depend. Its generally allowed there aint the beat of them to be found any where. Spry as a fox, supple as an eel, and cute as a weasel. Though I say it, that shouldnt say it, they fairly take the shine off creation they are actilly equal to cash.
He looked like a man who felt that he had expressed himself so aptly and so well, that any thing additional would only weaken its effect; he therefore changed the conversation immediately, by pointing to a tree at some little distance from the house, and remarking that it was the rock maple or sugar tree. Its a pretty tree, said he, and a profitable one too to raise. It will bear tapping for many years, tho it get exhausted at last.
This Province is like that are tree: it is tapped till it begins to die at the top, and if they dont drive in a spile and stop the everlastin flow of the sap, it will perish altogether. All the money thats made here, all the interest thats paid in it, and a pretty considerable portion of rent too, all goes abroad for investment, and the rest is sent to us to buy bread. Its drained like a bog, it has opened and covered trenches all through it, and then theres others to the foot of the upland, to cut off the springs.
Now you may make even a bog too dry; you may take the moisture out to that degree, that the very sile becomes dust, and blows away. The English funds, and our banks, railroads, and canals, are all absorbing your capital like a spunge, and will lick it up as fast as you can make it. That very Bridge we heerd of at Windsor, is owned in New Brunswick, and will pay toll to that province. The capitalists of Nova Scotia treat it like a hired house, they wont keep it in repair; they neither paint it to presarve the boards, nor stop a leak to keep the frame from rottin; but let it go to wrack sooner than drive a nail or put in a pane of glass. It will sarve our turn out, they say.
Theres neither spirit, enterprise, nor patriotism here; but the whole country is as inactive as a bear in winter, that does nothin but scroutch up in his den, a thinkin to himself, Well, if I aint an unfortunate divil, its a pity; I have a most splendid warm coat as are a gentleman in these here woods, let him be who he will; but I got no socks to my feet, and have to sit for everlastingly a suckin of my paws to keep them warm, if it warnt for that, I guess Id make some o them chaps that have hoofs to their feet and horns to their heads, look about em pretty sharp, I know. Its dismal, now aint it? If I had the framin of the Governors message, if I wouldnt show em how to put timber together, you may depend; Id make them scratch their heads and stare, I know.
I went down to Matanzas in the Fulton Steam Boat once well, it was the first of the kind they ever seed, and proper scared they were to see a vessel, without sails or oars, goin right strait a head, nine knots an hour, in the very winds eye, and a great streak of smoke arter her as long as the tail of a comet. I believe they thought it was old Nick alive, a treatin himself to a swim. You could see the niggers a clippin it away from the shore, for dear life, and the soldiers a movin about, as if they thought that we were a goin to take the whole country. Presently a little, half-starved, orange-coloured looking Spanish officer, all dressed off in his livery, as fine as a fiddle, came off with two men in a boat to board us. Well, we yawed once or twice, and motioned to him to keep off for fear he should get hurt; but he came right on afore the wheel, and I hope I may be shot if the paddle didnt strike the bow of the boat with that force, it knocked up the starn like a plank tilt, when one of the boys playing on it is heavier than tother, and chucked him right atop of the wheel house you never seed a fellow in such a dunderment in your life. He had picked up a little English from seein our folks there so much, and when he got up, the first thing he said was, Damn all sheenery, I say, wheres my boat? and he looked round as if he thought it had jumped on board too. Your boat, said the Captain, why I expect its gone to the bottom, and your men have gone down to look arter it, for we never seed or heerd tell of one or tother of them arter the boat was struck. Yes, Id make em stare like that are Spanish officer, as if they had seed out of their eyes for the first time. Governor Campbell didnt expect to see such a country as this when he came here, I reckon, I know he didnt.
When I was a little boy, about knee high or so, and lived down Connecticut river, mother used to say, Sam, if you dont give over acting so like old Scratch, Ill send you off to Nova Scotia, as sure as you are born I will, I vow. Well, Lord, how that are used to frighten me; it made my hair stand right up on eend, like a cats back when shes wrathy; it made me drop it as quick as wink like a tin nightcap put on a dipt candle agoin to bed, it put the fun right out. Neighbour Dearborns darter married a gentleman to Yarmouth, that speculates in the smuggling line; well, when she went on board to sail down to Nova Scotia, all her folks took on as if it was a funeral; they said she was goin to be buried alive, like the nuns in Portengale that get a frolickin, break out of the pastur, and race off, and get catched and brought back agin. Says the old Colonel, her father, Deliverance, my dear, I would sooner foller you to your grave, for that would be an eend to your troubles, than to see you go off to that dismal country, thats nothing but an iceberg aground; and he howled as loud as an Irishman that tries to wake his wife when she is dead. Awful accounts we have of the country, thats a fact; but if the Province is not so bad as they make it out, the folks are a thousand times worse.
Youve seen a flock of partridges of a frosty mornin in the fall, a crowdin out of the shade to a sunny spot, and huddlin up there in the warmth well, the blue-noses have nothin else to do half the time but sun themselves. Whose fault is that? Why its the fault of the legislature; they dont encourage internal improvement, nor the investment of capital in the country and the result is apathy; inaction, and poverty. They spend three months in Halifax, and what do they do? Father gave me a dollar once, to go to the fair at Hartford, and when I came back, says he, Sam, what have you got to show for it? Now I ax what have they to show for their three months sitting? They mislead folks; they make em believe all the use of the Assembly is to bark at Councillors, Judges, Bankers, and such cattle, to keep em from eatin up the crops; and it actilly costs more to feed them when they are watching, than all the others could eat if they did break a fence and get in. Indeed, some folks say they are the most breachy of the two, and ought to go to pound themselves. If their fences are good, them hungry cattle couldnt break through; and if they aint, they ought to stake em up, and with them well; but its no use to make fences unless the land is cultivated. If I see a farm all gone to wrack, I say heres bad husbandry and bad management; and if I see a Province like this, of great capacity and great natural resources, poverty-stricken, I say theres bad legislation.
No, said he, (with an air of more seriousness than I had yet observed,) how much it is to be regretted, that, laying aside personal attacks and petty jealousies, they would no unite as one man, and with one mind and one heart apply themselves sedulously to the internal improvement and development of this beautiful Province. Its value is utterly unknown, either to the general or local Government, and the only persons who duly appreciate it are the Yankees.
The White Nigger
One of the most amiable, and at the same time most amusing, traits in the Clockmakers character, was the attachment and kindness with which he regarded his horse. He considered Old Clay as far above a Provincial horse, as he did one of his free and enlightened citizens superior to a blue-nose. He treated him as a travelling companion, and when conversation flagged between us, would often soliloquise to him, a habit contracted from pursuing his journeys alone. Well now, he would say, Old Clay, I guess you took your time agoin up that are hill spose we progress now. Go along, you old sculpin, and turn out your toes. I reckon you are as deff as a shad, do you hear there, go ahead, Old Clay. There now, hed say, Squire, aint that dreadful pretty? Theres action. That looks about right legs all under him gathers all up snug no bobbin of his head no rollin of his shoulders no wabblin of his hind parts, but steady as a pump bolt, and the motion all underneath. When he fairly lays himself to it, he trots like all vengeance. Then look at his ears, jist like rabbits, none o your flop ears, like them Amherst beasts, half horses, half pigs, but strait up and pineted, and not too near at the tips; for that are, I concait, always shews a horse aint true to draw. There are only two things, Squire, worth lookin at in a horse, action and soundness, for I never saw a critter that had good action that was a bad beast. Old Clay puts me in mind of one of our free and enlightened
Excuse me, said I, Mr. Slick, but really you appropriate that word free to your countrymen, as if you thought no other people in the world were entitled to it but yourselves. Neither be they, said he. We first sot the example. Look at our declaration of independence. It was writ by Jefferson, and he was the first man of the age; perhaps the world never seed his ditto. Its a beautiful peace of penmanship that, he gave the British the butt eend of his mind there. I calculate you couldnt falt it in no particular, its generally allowed to be his cap shief. In the first page of it, second section, and first varse, are these words, We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. I guess King George turned his quid when he read that. It was somethin to chaw on, he hadnt been used to the flavour of, I reckon.
Jefferson forgot to insert one little word, said I, he should have said, all white men; for, as it now stands, it is a practical untruth, in a country which tolerates domestic slavery in its worst and most forbidding form. It is a declaration of shame, and not of independence. It is as perfect a misnomer as ever I knew. Well, said he, I must admit there is a screw loose somewhere thereabouts, and I wish it would convene to Congress, to do somethin or another about our niggers, but I am not quite certified how that is to be sot to rights. I concait that you dont understand us. But, said he, (evading the subject with his usual dexterity,) we deal only in niggers, and those thick-skulled, crooked-shanked, flat-footed, long-heeled, woolly-headed gentlemen, dont seem fit for much else but slavery, I do suppose; they aint fit to contrive for themselves. They are jist like grasshoppers; they dance and sing all summer, and when winter comes they have nothin provided for it, and lay down and die. They require some one to see arter them. Now, we deal in black niggers only, but the blue-noses sell their own species they trade in white slaves. Thank God, said I, slavery does not exist in any part of his Majestys dominions now, we have at last wiped off that national stain. Not quite, I guess, said he, with an air of triumph, it tante done within Nova Scotia, for I have seed these human cattle sales with my own eyes I was availed of the truth of it up here to old Furlongs, last November. Ill tell you the story, said he; and as this story of the Clockmakers contained some extraordinary statements, which I had never heard of before, I noted it in my journal, for the purpose of ascertaining their truth; and, if founded on fact, of laying them before the proper authorities.
Last fall, said he, I was on my way to Partridge Isalnd, to ship off some truck and produce I had taken in, in the way of trade; and as I neared old Furlongs house, I seed an amazin crowd of folks about the door; I said to myself, says I, whos dead, and whats to pay now what on airth is the meanin of all this? Is it a vandew, or a weddin, or a rollin frolic, or a religious stir, or what is it? Thinks I, Ill see so I hitches old Clay to the fence, and walks in. It was some time afore I was able to swiggle my way thro the crowd, and get into the house. And when I did, who should I see but Deacon Westfall, a smooth-faced, slick-haired, meechin-lookin chap as youd see in a hundred, a standin on a stool, with an auctioneers hammer in his hand; and afore him was one Jerry Oaks and his wife, and two little orphan children, the prettiest little toads I ever beheld in all my born days. Gentlemen, said he, I will begin the sale by putting up Jerry Oaks, of Apple River, hes a considerable of a smart man yet, and can do many little chores besides feedin the children and pigs, I guess hes near about worth his keep. Will you warrant him sound, wind and limb? says a tall, ragged lookin countryman, for he looks to me as if he was foundered in both feet, and had a string halt into the bargain. When you are as old as I be, says Jerry, mayhap you may be foundered too, young man; I have seen the day when you wouldnt dare to pass that joke on me, big as you be. Will any gentleman bid for him, says the deacon, hes cheap at 7s. 6d. Why deacon, said Jerry, why surely your honour isnt agoin for to sell me separate from my poor old wife, are you? Fifty years have we lived together as man and wife, and a good wife has she been to me, through all my troubles and trials, and God knows I have had enough of em. No one knows my ways and my ailments but her, and who can tend me so kind, or who will bear with the complaints of a poor old man but his wife. Do, deacon, and Heaven bless you for it, and yours, do sell us together; we have but a few days to live now, death will divide us soon enough. Leave her to close my old eyes, when the struggle comes, and when it comes to you, deacon, as come it must to us all, may this good deed rise up for you, as a memorial before God. I wish it had pleased him to have taken us afore it came to this, but his will be done; and he hung his head, as if he felt he had drained the cup of degradation to its dregs. Cant afford it, Jerry cant afford it, old man, said the deacon (with such a smile as a November sun gives, a passin atween clouds.) Last year they took oats for rates, now nothin but wheat will go down, and thats as good as cash, and youll hang on, as most of you do, yet these many years. Theres old Joe Crowe, I believe in my conscience he will live for ever. The biddin then went on, and he was sold for six shillings a week. Well, the poor critter gave one long, loud, deep groan, and then folded his arms over his breast so tight that he seemed tryin to keep in his heart from bustin. I pitied the misfortunate wretch from my soul, I dont know as I ever felt so streaked afore. Not so his wife, she was all tongue. She begged and prayed, and cryed, and scolded, and talked at the very tip eend of her voice, till she became, poor critter, exhausted, and went off in a faintin fit, and they ketched her up and carried her out to the air, and she was sold in that condition.
Well, I couldnt make head or tail of all this, I could hardly believe my eyes and ears; so says I to John Porter, (him that has that catamount of a wife, that I had such a touss with,) John Porter, says I, who ever seed or heerd tell of the like of this, what under the sun does it all mean? What has that are critter done that he should be sold arter that fashion? Done, said he, why nothin, and thats the reason they sell him. This is town-meetin day, and we always sell the poor for the year to the lowest bidder. Them that will keep them for the lowest sum, gets them. Why, says I, that feller that bought him is a pauper himself, to my sartin knowledge. If you were to take him up by the heels and shake him for a week, you couldnt shake sixpence out of him. How can he keep him? it appears to me the poor buy the poor here, and that they all starve together. Says I, there was a very good man once lived to Liverpool, so good, he said he hadnt sinned for seven years; well, he put a mill-dam across the river, and stopt all the fish from going up, and the court fined him fifty pounds for it, and this good man was so wrathy, he thought he should feel better to swear a little, but conscience told him it was wicked. So he compounded with conscience, and cheated the devil, by callin it a dam fine business. Now, friend Porter, if this is your poor-law, it is a damn poor law, I tell you, and no good can come out of such hard-hearted doins. Its no wonder your country dont prosper, for who ever heerd of a blessin on such carryins on as this? Says I, Did you ever hear tell of a sartain rich man, that had a beggar called Lazarus laid at his gate, and how the dogs had more compassion than he had, and came and licked his sores; cause if you have, look at that forehanded and sponsible man there, Deacon Westfall, and you see the rich man. And then look at that are pauper, dragged away in that ox-cart from his wife for ever, like a feller to States Prison, and you see Lazarus. Recollect what follered, John Porter, and have neither art nor part in it, as you are a Christian man.
It fairly made me sick all day. John Porter follered me out of the house, and as I was a turnin Old Clay, said he, I never seed it in that are light afore, for its our custom, and custom, you know, will reconcile one to most anything. I must say, it does appear, as you lay it out, an unfeelin way of providin for the poor; but, as touchin the matter of dividin man and wife, why, (and he peered all round to see that no one was within herain,) why, I dont know, but if it was my allotment to be sold, Id as lives theyd sell me separate from Jane as not, for it appears to me its about the best part of it.
Now, what I have told you Squire, said the Clockmaker, is the truth; and if members, instead of their everlastin politics, would only look into these matters a little, I guees it would be far better for the country. So, as for our declaration of independence, I guess you neednt twitt me with our slave- sales for we deal only in blacks; but blue-nose approbates do distinction in colours, and when reduced to poverty, is reduced to slavery, and is sold a White Nigger.
English Aristocracy and Yankee Mobocracy
When we have taken our tower, said the Clockmaker, I estimate I will return to the United States for good and all. You had ought to visit our great nation: you may depend, its the most splendid location atween the poles. History cant show nothin like it: you might bile all creation down to an essence, and not get such a concrete as New England. Its a sight to behold twelve millions of free and enlightened citizens, and I guess we shall have all these provinces, and all South America. There is no eend to us; old Rome that folks made such a touss about, was nothin to us it warnt fit to hold a candle to our federal government thats a fact. I intend, said I, to do so before I go to Europe, and may perhaps avail myself of your kind offer to accompany me. Is an Englishman well received in your country now? Well, he is now, said Mr. Slick: the last war did that; we licked the British into a respect for us; and if it warnt that they are so plaguy jealous of our factories, and so invyus of our freedom, I guess we should be considerable sociable, but they cant stomach our glorious institutions nohow. They dont onderstand us. Father and our minister used to have great arguments about the British. Father hated them like pyson, as most of our revolutionary heroes did; but minister used to stand up for em considerable stiff.
I mind one evenin arter hay harvest, father said to me, Sam, said he, spose we go down and see minister; I guess hes a little miffey with me, for I brought him up all standin tother night by sayin the English were a damned overbearin tyrannical race, and he hadnt another word to say. When you make use of such language as that are, Colonel Slick, said he, theres an eend of all conversation. I allow it is very disrespectful to swear afore a minister, and very onhandsum to do so at all, and I dont approbate such talk at no rate. So we will drop the subject, if you please. Well, I got pretty grumpy too, and we parted in a huff. I think myself, says father, it warnt pretty to swear afore him; for, Sam, if there is a good man agoin, it is minister thats a fact. But, Sam, says he, we military men, says he, have a habit of rappin out an oath now and then. Very few of our heroes didnt swear; I recollect that tarnation fire-eater, Gineral Gates, when he was in our sarvice, ordered me once to attack a British outpost, and I didnt much more than half like it. Gineral, says I, theres a plaguy stone wall there, and the British have lined it, I guess; and Im a-thinkin it aint altogether jist safe to go too near it. D-m-n, Captain Slick, says he, aint there two sides to a stone wall? Dont let me hear the like agin from you, said he, Captain, or I hope I may be tetotally and effectually d d if I dont break you! I will, by gosh! He warnt a man to be trifled with, you may depend, so I drew up my company, and made at the wall double quick, expectin every minit would be our last.
Jist as we got near the fence, I heerd a scramblin and a scuddin behind it, and I said, Now, says I, forard, my boys, for your lives! hot foot, and down onder the fence on your bellies! and then we shall be as safe as they be, and praps we can loophole em. Well, we jist hit it, and got there without a shot, and down on our faces as flat as flounders. Presently we heerd the British run for dear life, and take right back across the road, full split. Now, says I, my hearties, up and let drive at em, right over the wall! Well, we got on our knees, and cocked our guns, so as to have all ready, and then we jumped up an eend; and seein nothin but a great cloud o dust, we fired right into it, and down we heard em tumble; and when the dust cleard off, we saw the matter o twenty white breeches turned up to us sprawlin on the ground. Jist at that moment we heerd three cheers from the inemy at the fort, and a great shout of larfin from our army too; they haw-hawed like thunder. Well, says I, as soon as I could see, if that dont bang the bush. Ill be darnd if it aint a flock of sheep belongin to Elder Solomon Longstaff, arter all and if we aint killed the matter of a score of em too, as dead as mutton; thats a fact. Well, we returned considerable down in the mouth, and says the Gineral, Captain, says he, I guess you made the enemy look pretty sheepish, didnt you? Well, if the officers didnt larf, its a pity; and says a Varginy officer that was there, in a sort of half whisper, That wall was well lined, you may depend sheep on one side and asses on the other! Says I, Stranger, you had better not say that are agin, or Ill Gintlemen, says the Gineral, resarve your heat for the enemy; no quarrels among ourselves, and he rode off, havin first whispered in my ear, Do you hear, Captain, d n you! there are two sides to a wall. Yes, says I, Gineral, and two sides to a story too. And dont, for gracious sake, say no more about it. Yes, we military men all swears a few its the practice of the camp, and seems kinder nateral. But Ill go and make friends with minister.
Well, we walked down to Mr. Hopewells, and we found him in a little summer-house, all covered over with honeysuckle, as busy as you please with a book he was a-studyin, and as soon a he seed us he laid it down and came out to meet us. Colonel Slick, says he, I owe you an apology, I believe; I consait I spoke too abrupt to you tother evenin. I ought to have made some allowance for the ardour of one of our military heroes. Well, it took father all aback that, for he knowd it was him that was to blame, and not minister, so he began to say that it was him that ought to ax pardon; but minister wouldnt hear a word (he was all humility was minister he had no more pride than a babe) and, says he, Come, Colonel, walk in and sit down here, and we will see if we can muster a bottle of cider for you, for I take this visit very kind of you. Well, he brought out the cider, and we sot down quite sociable like. Now, says he, Colonel, what news have you?
Well, says father, neighbour Dearbourn tells me that he heard from excellent authority that he cant doubt, when he was in England, that King George the Third has been dead these two years: but his ministers darsnt let the people know it, for fear of a revolution; so they have given out that he took the loss of these States so much to heart, and fretted and carried on so about it, that he aint able to do business no more, and that they are obliged to keep him included. They say the people want to have a government jist like ourn, but the lords and great folks wont let em, and that if a poor man lays by a few dollars, the nobles send and take it right away, for fear they should buy powder and shot with it. Its awful to think on, aint it? I allow the British are about the most enslaved, oppressed, ignorant, and miserable folks on the face of creation.
You mustnt believe all you hear, said minister; depend upon it, there aint a word of truth in it. I have been a good deal in England, and I do assure you they are as free as we be, and a most plaguy sight richer, stronger, and wiser. Their government convenes them better than ourn would, and I must say, there be some things in it I like better than ourn too. Now, says he, Colonel, Ill pint out to you where they have amost an amazin advantage over us here in America. First of all, there is the King on his throne, an hereditary King a born King the head of his people, and not the head of a party; not supported, right or wrong, by one side because they chose him, nor hated and oppressed, right or wrong, by tother, because they dont vote for him; but loved and supported by all because he is their King; and regarded by all with a feelin we dont know nothin of in our country, a feelin of loyalty. Yes, says father, and they dont care whether its a man, woman, or child; the ignorant, benighted critters. They are considerable sure, says minister, he aint a rogue, at any rate.
Well, the next link in the chain (Chains enough, poor wretches ! says father; but its good enough for em, tho, I guess) Well, the next link in the chain is the nobility, independent of the crown on one side, and the people on the other; a body distinguished for its wealth, its larnin, its munificence, its high honour, and all the great and good qualities that enno- ble the human heart. Yes, said father, and yet they can sally out of their castles, seize travellers, and rob em of all they have; havent they got the whole country enslaved? the debauched, profligate, effeminate, tyrannical gang as they be; and see what mean offices they do fill about the Kings parson. They put me in mind of my son Eldad, when he went to larn the doctors trade; they took him the first winter to the dissectin room. So in the spring, says I, Eldad, says I, how do you get on? Why, says he, father, Ive only had my first lesson yet. What is that? says I. Why, says he, when the doctors are dissectin of a carcass of cold meat (for thats the name a subject goes by), I have to stand by em and keep my hands clean, to wipe their noses, give em snuff, and light cigars for em: and the snuff sets em a-sneezin so, I have to be a-wipin of their noses everlastinly. Its a dirty business, thats a fact; but dissectin is a dirty affair, I guess, altogether. Well, by all accounts the nobility fill offices as mean as the doctors apprentices do the first winter.
I tell you, these are mere lies, says minister, got up here by a party to influence us agin the British. Well, well! said father, go on, and he threw one leg over the other, tilted back in his chair, folded his arms over his breast, and looked as detarmined as if he thought, Now you may jist talk till you are hoarse, if you like, but you wont convince me, I can tell you. Then there is an Established Church, containin a body o men distinguished for their piety and larnin, uniform practice, Christian lives, and consistent conduct; jist a beach that keeps off the assaults of the waves o infidelity and enthusiasm from the Christian harbour within, the great bulwark and breakwater that protects and shelters Protestantism in the world. Oh dear! oh dear! said father, and he looked over to me, quite streaked, as much as to say, Now, Sam, do only hear the nonsense that are old critter is a-talkin of; aint it horrid? Then there is the gentry, and a fine, honourable, manly, hospitable, independent race they be; all on em suns in their little spheres, illuminatin, warmin, and cheerin all within their reach. Old families, attached to all around them, and all attached to them, both them and the people recollectin that there have been twenty generations of em kind landlords, good neighbours, liberal patrons, indulgent masters; or if any of em went abroad, heroes by field and by flood. Yes, says father, and they carried back somethin to brag on from Bunkers Hill, I guess, didnt they? We spoilt the pretty faces of some of their landlords, that hitch, anyhow, ay, and their tenants too; hang me if we didnt. When I was at Bun
Then there is the professional men, rich marchants and opulent factorists, all so many outworks to the King, and all to be beat down afore you can get to the throne. Well, all these blend and mix, and are entwined and interwoven together, and make that great, harmonious, beautiful, social, and political machine the British Constitution. The children of nobles aint nobles (I guess not, says father, why should they be! aint all men free and equal? Read Jeffersons declara ) but they have to mix with the commons, and become commoners themselves, and part of the great general mass ) And enough to pyson the whole mass too, said father, jist yeast enough to farment it, and spile the whole batch.) Quite the revarse, says minister; to use a homely simile, its like a piece of fat pork thrown into a boilin kettle of maple syrup; it checks the bubblin and makes the boilin subside, and not run over. Well, you see, by the House of Lords gettin recruits from the young nobility, by intermarriage, and by the gradual branchin off of the young people of both sexes, it becomes the peoples nobility, and not the kings nobility, sympathisin with both, but independent of either. Thats jist the difference atween them and foreigners on the Continent; thats the secret of their power, popularity, and strength; the king leans on em, and the people leans on em; they are the key-stone of the arch. They dont stand alone, a high, cold, snowy peak, a- overlookin of the world beneath, and a-throwin a dark deep shader oer the rich and fertile regions below it. They aint like a cornish of a room, pretty to look at, but of no airthly use whatever; a thing you could pull away, and leave the room standin jist as well without, but they are the pillars of the State the flooted, and grooved, and carved, and ornamental, but solid pillars you cant take away the pillars, or the State comes down you cant cut out the flootin, or groovin, or carvin, for its in so deep youd have to cut the pillars away to nothin amost to get it out. Well, says father, a-raisin of his voice till he screamed, have you nothin, sir, to praise at home, sir? I think you whitewashed that British sepulchre of rottenness and corruption, that House of Lords, pretty well, and painted the harlots eldest darter, till she looks as flarnty as the old one of Babylon herself; lets have a touch o your brush at home now, will you? You dont understand me yet, Colonel Slick, said he; I want to show you somethin in the workin o the machinery you aint thought of, I know. Now you see, Colonel, all these parts I described are checks we aint got (And I trust in God we never shall, says father; we want no check nothin can never stop us but the limits o creation,) and we aint provided any in their place, and I dont see what on airth we shall do for these drag-chains on popular opinion. Theres nothin here to make it of nothin in the natur of things to substitute; nothin invented, or capable of the wear-and-tear, if invented, that will be the least morsel of use in the world. Explain what you mean, for gracious sake, says father, for I dont onderstand one word of what you are sayin of; who dares talk of chains to popular opinion of twelve millions of free and enlightened citizens? Well, says minister, jist see here, Colonel, instead of all these gradations and circles, and what not, theyve got in England each havin its own principle of action, harmonisin with one another, yet essentially independent we got but one class, one mass, one people. Some natur has made a little smarter than others, and some edication has distinguished; some are a little richer, some a little poorer but still we have nothin but a mass, a populace a people; all alike in great essentials, all havin the same power, same rights, same privileges, and of course same feelins: call it what you will, its a poplace, in fact.
Our name is Legion, says father, a-jumpin up in a great rage. Yes, sir, Legion is our name. We have twelve millions of freemen ready to march to the utmost limits o creation, and fight the devil himself if he was there, with all his hosts. And Im the man to lead em, sir; Im the boy that jist will do it. Rear rank, take open order right shoulders forard march ! and the old man begun to step out as if he was a-leadin of em on their way agin Old Nick, whistling Yankee Doodle all the time, and lookin as fierce as if he could whip his weight in wild cats. Well, says minister, I guess you wont have to go quite so far to find the devils to fight with us as the eend of creation neither; youll find them nearer to home than youre a-thinkin on some o these days, you may depend. But, Colonel, our people present one smooth, unbroken surface so you see? of the same uniform materials, which is acted on all over alike by one impulse. Its like a lake. Well, one gust o wind sweeps all over it, and puts all in agitation, and makes the waters look angry and dangerous (and shaller waters makes the ugliest seas always). Well, as soon as the squall is over, what amost a beautiful pitchin and heavin there is for a while, and then down it all comes as calm and as stagnant and tiresome as you please. Thats our case.
Theres nothin to check popular commotion here, nothin to influence it for good, but much to influence it for evil. There is one tone and one key here; strike the octaves where you like, and when you like, and they all accord.
The press can lash us up to a fury here in two twos any day, because a chord struck at Maine vibrates in Florida; and when once roused, and our dander fairly up, where are the bodies above all this commotions that can soften, moderate, control, or even influence it? The law, we see, is too fee-ble; people disregard it. The clergy cant; for if they dare to disagree with their flocks, their flocks drive em out of the pastur in little less than half no time. The legislator cant, for they are parts of the same turbid water themselves. The President cant, for he is nothin but a heap of froth thrown up by conflictin eddies at the central point, and floats with the stream that generated him; he has no notion of himself, no locomotive power. It aint the drift-log that directs the river to the sea, but the river that Fcarries the drift-log on its back. Now, in England, a lyin, agitatin, wicked press, demagogues and political jugglers, and them sort o cattle, finds a check in the Executive, the great, the larned, the virtuous, the prudent, and the well-established nobility, Church, and gentry. It cant deceive them, they are too well informed; it cant agitate them, for they dont act from impulse, but from reason; it cant overturn em, for they are too strong. Nothin can move so many different bodies but somethin genu-wine and good, sunthin that comes recommended by common sense for the public weal by its intrinsic excellence. Then the clergy bless it, the nobles sanction it, and the King executes it. Its a well-constructed piece o machinery that, Colonel, and I hope they wont go a-dabblin too much with it; theres nothin like leavin alls well alone.
Ill suppose a case now: If the French in Canada were to rebel as they will, like that priest that walked on crutches till they elected him Pope, and when he got into the chair he up crutches and let em fly at the heads of the cardinals, and told em to clear out or hed kick em out theyll rebel as soon as they can walk alone, for the British have made em a French colony instead of an English one, and then theyll throw away their crutches. If they do rebel, see if our people dont go to war, tho the Government is for peace. Theyll do jist as they please, and nothing can stop em. What do they care for a Presidents proclamation or a marshals advertisements? Theyd Iynch one, or tar and feather the other of those chaps as quick as wink, if they dared to stand in the way one minit. No; we want the influence of an independent united clergy, of a gentry, of an upper class, of a permanent one, too of a sunthin or another, in short, we havent got, and I fear never will get. What little check we had in Washintons time is now lost. Our Senate has degenerated into a mere second House of Representatives; our legislators are nothin but speakin trumpets for the mobs outside to yell and howl thro. The British Government is like its oak; it has its roots spread out far and wide, and is supported and nourished on all sides, besides it tap-roots, that run right straight down into the ground (for all hard-wood trees have tap-roots, you know). Well, when a popular storm comes, it bends to the blast, do you see, till its fury is spent; it gets a few leaves shook down, and perhaps a rotten branch or two twisted off; but when the storm is oer, there it is agin bolt upright, as straight and stiff as a poker. But our Government is like one of our forest trees, all top and no branches, or downward roots, but a long, slim stalk, with a broom-head, fed by a few superficial fibres, the air, and the rain; and when the popular gust comes, it blows it right over, a great onwieldy windfall, smashin all afore it, and breakin itself all up to pieces. Its too holler and knotty to saw, or to split, or to rip, and too shaky to plane, or to do anythin with; all its strength lies in growin close alongside of others; but it grows too quick, and too thick, to be strong. It has no intrinsic strength; some folks in England aint up to this themselves, and raally talk like fools. They talk as if they were in a republic instead of a limited monarchy. If ever they get upsot, mark my words, Colonel, the squall wont come out of royalty, aristocracy, or prelacy, but out o democracy, and a plaguy squally sea democracy is, I tell you: wind gets up in a minit; you cant show a rag of sail to it, and if you dont keep a bright look-out, and shorten sail in time, youre wrecked or swamped afore you know where you be. Id rather live onder an absolute monarch any day than in a democracy, for one tyrant is better nor a thousand; oppression is better nor anarchy, and hard law better nor no law at all. Minister, says father (and he put his hands on his knees, and rose up slowly, till he stretched himself all out) I have sot here and heerd more abuse of our great nation, and our free and enlightened citizens, from you this evnin, than I ever thought I could have taken from any livin soul breathin; its more than I can cleverly swaller, or disgest either, I tell you.
Now, sir, says he, and he brought his two heels close together, and taking hold of his coat-tail with his left hand, brought his right hand slowly round to it, and then lifted it gradually up as if he was drawin out a sword and now, sir, said he, makin a lounge into the air with his arm, now, sir, if you was not a clergyman, you should answer it to me with your life, you should, I snore. Its nothin but your cloth protects you, and an old friendship that has subsisted atween us for many years. You revolutionary heroes, Colonel, says minister, smilin, are covered with too much glory to require any aid from private quarrels; put up your sword, Colonel, put it up, my good friend, and let us see how the cider is. I have talked so much, my mouth feels considerable rusty about the hinges, I vow. I guess we had, says father, quite mollified by that are little revolutionary hero, and I will sheathe it; and he went thro the form of puttin a sword into the scabbard, and fetched his two hands together with a click that sounded amazinly like the raal thing. Fill your glass, Colonel, says minister, fill your glass, and I will give you a toast: May our Government never degenerate into a mob, nor our mobs grow strong enough to become our government.