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 More’s,’ 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 unknown’s horse — the clatter increased. Ah, my friend, thought I, it won’t 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 don’t 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 don’t know how to ride him; and that, too, by a Yankee — Aye, there’s the rub — a Yankee what? Perhaps a half-bred puppy, half yankee, half blue-nose. As ther is no escape, I’ll 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 don’t 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! I’ll 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 Campbell’s circuit. Campbell’s 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 they’d 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 Woman’s 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 she’s in one of her tantrums, she’ll 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; she’s 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 Hopewell’s 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 minister’s apples, and when other folks lost their’n from the boys, his’n 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 that’s 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 on’em in all Connecticut. Well, says he, I’ll tell you the secret, but you needn’t 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 minister’s 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 Minister’s 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, I’ll 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 she’s 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 you’ll see what ‘soft sawder’ will do.

     When we entered the house, the traveller’s 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 Clockmaker’s comments.

     Good evening, Marm, said Mr. Slick, how do you do, and how’s Mr. Pugwash? He, said she, why he’s been abed this hour, you don’t 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 can’t 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 didn’t see such a beautiful face once in a month of Sundays. Black eyes — let me see — ah mamma’s eyes too, and black hair also; as I am alive, why you are a mamma’s 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, it’s a pity she don’t 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 don’t check ’em too short. If you do, they’ll stop again, run back and kick like mad, and then Old Nick himself wouldn’t start ’em. Pugwash, I guess, don’t understand the natur of the critter: she’ll 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 woman’s 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. I’ve bought and sold ’em all, I’ve 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, he’ll break his wife’s heart; jist as if a woman’s 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 t’other 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 couldn’t 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 wasn’t a gall in the Lowell factories, that warn’t 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; it’s 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 see’d 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, warn’t 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 hadn’t 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, isn’t 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, you’d know what a plagy tiresome thing it is for a man that’s 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 there’s 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, I’ll give him leave to tell me of it, that’s a fact.

     That’s partly the case here. They are becalmed, and they see us going a head on them, till we are e’en almost out of sight; yet they han’t got a steam-boat, and they han’t 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 havn’t the least morsel of curiosity in the world; from which one of our unitarian preachers (they are dreadful hands at doubtin them. I don’t 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 Eve’s 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 an’t sense, don’t 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, he’s speculative, he’s a schemer, in short, he’s 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 don’t want a young lady to do chamber business and breed worms do you? For I’ve 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 I’ve often observed ole men always talk kinder pleasant to women,) my pretty maiden, where was you brought up? Why, says she, I guess I warn’t 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 warn’t 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, that’s 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, that’s all; church platform, indeed, says she, I guess you were raised under a glass frame in March and transplanted on Independence day, warn’t 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 don’t 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 they’ll ruinate the crops yet, and make the grounds so everlastin foul, we’ll 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, that’s 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 hadn’t 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 one’s 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 don’t 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 his’n, 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, that’s 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 can’t 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 she’d 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 I’ll 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 —

Don’t kill a nigger, pray,
Let him lib anonder day.
    Oh Lord Missus — Oh Lord Missus.

My back be very sore,
No stand it any more.
    Oh Lord Missus — Oh Lord Missus.

     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 didn’t let go, it’s a pity. They made the river ring agin — they were heerd clean out to sea. All the folks ran out of the Lady’s House, to see what on airth was the matter on Uncle Enoch’s 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 horse’s tail; it makes him carry up real handsum, I tell you. When I was a boy, I was always late to school; well, father’s preachin I did’nt 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 won’t 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, don’t say that are any more for gracious sake, for it makes me feel ugly, and I’ll get up as airly as any on you; and so I did, and I soon found what’s worth knowin in this life, An airly start makes easy stages.


The Clockmaker’s 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 an’t 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 you’ve done, they’ve 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 Peep’s tavern, says I. Only fit for niggers, says he; why don’t you come to the Tree-mont house, that’s the most splendid thing its generally allowed in all the world. Why, says I, that’s a notch above my mark, I guess it’s too plagy dear for me, I can’t afford it no how. Well, says he, its dear in one sense, but its dog cheap in another — its a grand place for speculation — there’s 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. There’s 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 he’s 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 wouldn’t give me that are knick name, I don’t like it, (though he looked as tickled all the time as possible,) I never knew, says he, a lord that worn’t a fool, that’s a fact, and that’s the reason I don’t go ahead and claim the title. Well, says I, my Lord, I don’t know, but somehow I can’t help a thinkin, if you have a good claim, you’d be more like a fool not to go ahead with it. Well, says he, Lord or no Lord, let’s look at your horse. So away I went to Joe Brown’s livery-stable, at t’other 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, Don’t let him trot as fast as he can, resarve that for a heat: if folks find out how everlastin fast he is, they’d 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 can’t 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, that’s more than ever I could say of him then any how.

     Well, I was goin to tell you about the soup — says the Major, it’s 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 warn’t 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 lady’s dress — well, as I’m 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 didn’t scream, it’s 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, didn’t she — I guess you don’t 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 sheep’s dung. No soul could tell how good it was — it was near about as handsum as father’s old genuine particular cider, and that you could feel tingle clean away down to the tip eends of your toes. Now, says the Major, I’ll give you, Slick, a new wrinkle on your horn. Folks ain’t thought nothin of, unless they live at Treemont: its all the go. Do you dine at Peep’s 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, don’t 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 don’t turn all the silver in the Gineral’s 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 won’t 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 don’t 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; isn’t this as pretty a day as you’ll 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 I’d stole ’em. At last he looks up, and says he, Slick, I suppose you wouldn’t 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 don’t 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, I’m in a tarnation hurry; I’m goin a pleasurin to day with Josiah Bradford’s galls down to Nahant. But I’ll 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, won’t they. Well, I vow, that’s 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 see’d, 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 without’em. 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 don’t do it, and do it soon, I guess they’ll 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; You’ll 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 you’d see in a day’s 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 didn’t 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, Father’s too old, he don’t know. That’s 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 lady’s 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, it’s enough to make one vexed though, I declare — isn’t 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. Howe’s papers on the rail-road I read till I came to his calculations, but I never could read figures, ‘I can’t 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. Slick’s 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, haven’t 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 I’ll fetch your horses a lick in the mouth as sure as you’re born; jist as a bear puts up his paw to fend off the blow of a stick from his nose. Well, that’s 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,wouldn’t they? They’d set ’em scratchin thereabouts, as an Irishman does his head, when he’s 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, that’s 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 warn’t 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, they’d 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 — he’s 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 t’other among my galls. I won’t 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 don’t 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 t’other 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 e’en 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.

     There’s 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 ain’t to be compared to the French in manners), a smirkin at you, as much as to say, ‘look here, Jonathan, here’s an Englishman; here’s a boy that’s 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 t’other: bean’t 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. You’ll search one, while I tell you, afore you’ll find a man that, take him by and large, is equal to one of our free and enlightened citizens. He’s the chap that has both speed, wind, and bottom; he’s clear grit — ginger to the back bone, you may depend. Its generally allowed there ain’t 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 shouldn’t 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 don’t drive in a spile and stop the everlastin flow of the sap, it will perish altogether. All the money that’s made here, all the interest that’s 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 there’s 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 won’t 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.

     There’s 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 ain’t an unfortunate divil, it’s 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 warn’t for that, I guess I’d make some o’ them chaps that have hoofs to their feet and horns to their heads, look about ’em pretty sharp, I know. It’s dismal, now ain’t it? If I had the framin of the Governor’s message, if I wouldn’t show ’em how to put timber together, you may depend; I’d 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 wind’s 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 didn’t 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 t’other, and chucked him right atop of the wheel house — you never see’d 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, where’s my boat? and he looked round as if he thought it had jumped on board too. Your boat, said the Captain, why I expect it’s gone to the bottom, and your men have gone down to look arter it, for we never see’d or heerd tell of one or t’other of them arter the boat was struck. Yes, I’d make ’em stare like that are Spanish officer, as if they had see’d out of their eyes for the first time. Governor Campbell did’nt expect to see such a country as this when he came here, I reckon, I know he didn’t.

     When I was a little boy, about knee high or so, and lived down Connecticut river, mother used to say, Sam, if you don’t give over acting so like old Scratch, I’ll 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 cat’s back when she’s 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 Dearborn’s 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, that’s 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, that’s a fact; but if the Province is not so bad as they make it out, the folks are a thousand times worse.

     You’ve 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 don’t 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 couldn’t 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 here’s bad husbandry and bad management; and if I see a Province like this, of great capacity and great natural resources, poverty-stricken, I say there’s 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 Clockmaker’s 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 — s’pose 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, he’d say, Squire, aint that dreadful pretty? There’s 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. It’s a beautiful peace of penmanship that, he gave the British the butt eend of his mind there. I calculate you couldn’t falt it in no particular, it’s 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 hadn’t 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 don’t 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, don’t 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 Majesty’s 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 see’d these human cattle sales with my own eyes — I was availed of the truth of it up here to old Furlong’s, last November. I’ll tell you the story, said he; and as this story of the Clockmaker’s 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 Furlong’s house, I seed an amazin crowd of folks about the door; I said to myself, says I, who’s dead, and what’s 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, I’ll 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 you’d see in a hundred, a standin on a stool, with an auctioneer’s 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, he’s a considerable of a smart man yet, and can do many little chores besides feedin the children and pigs, I guess he’s 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 wouldn’t dare to pass that joke on me, big as you be. Will any gentleman bid for him, says the deacon, he’s cheap at 7s. 6d. Why deacon, said Jerry, why surely your honour isn’t 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. Can’t afford it, Jerry — can’t 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 that’s as good as cash, and you’ll hang on, as most of you do, yet these many years. There’s 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 don’t 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 couldn’t 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 see’d or heer’d 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 that’s 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 couldn’t 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 hadn’t 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. It’s no wonder your country don’t prosper, for who ever heer’d 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 see’d it in that are light afore, for it’s 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, I’d as lives they’d sell me separate from Jane as not, for it appears to me it’s 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 needn’t 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, it’s the most splendid location atween the poles. History can’t show nothin’ like it: you might bile all creation down to an essence, and not get such a concrete as New England. It’s 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 warn’t fit to hold a candle to our federal government — that’s 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 warn’t that they are so plaguy jealous of our factories, and so invyus of our freedom, I guess we should be considerable sociable, but they can’t stomach our glorious institutions nohow. They don’t 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, ‘s’pose we go down and see minister; I guess he’s a little miffey with me, for I brought him up all standin’ t’other night by sayin’ the English were a damned overbearin’ tyrannical race, and he hadn’t another word to say. “When you make use of such language as that ‘are, Colonel Slick,” said he, “there’s 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 don’t 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 warn’t pretty to swear afore him; for, Sam, if there is a good man agoin’, it is minister — that’s 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 didn’t 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 didn’t much more than half like it. “Gineral,” says I, “there’s a plaguy stone wall there, and the British have lined it, I guess; and I’m a-thinkin’ it ain’t altogether jist safe to go too near it.” “D-m-n, Captain Slick,” says he, “ain’t there two sides to a stone wall? Don’t let me hear the like agin from you,” said he, “Captain, or I hope I may be tetotally and effectually d — d if I don’t break you! — I will, by gosh!” He warn’t 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, “for’ard, 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 p’raps 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 clear’d 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 don’t bang the bush. I’ll be darn’d if it ain’t a flock of sheep belongin’ to Elder Solomon Longstaff, arter all — and if we ain’t killed the matter of a score of ’em too, as dead as mutton; that’s 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, didn’t you?” Well, if the officers didn’t larf, it’s 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 I’ll — ” “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 don’t, for gracious’ sake, say no more about it.” Yes, we military men all swears a few — it’s the practice of the camp, and seems kinder nateral. But I’ll go and make friends with minister.

     “Well, we walked down to Mr. Hopewell’s, 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 see’d 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 t’other 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 know’d 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 wouldn’t 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 can’t doubt, when he was in England, that King George the Third has been dead these two years: but his ministers darsn’t 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 ain’t 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 our’n, but the lords and great folks won’t 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. It’s awful to think on, ain’t it? I allow the British are about the most enslaved, oppressed, ignorant, and miserable folks on the face of creation.”

     “‘You mustn’t believe all you hear,’ said minister; ‘depend upon it, there ain’t 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 our’n would, and I must say, there be some things in it I like better than our’n too. Now,’ says he, ‘Colonel, I’ll p’int out to you where they have a’most 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 t’other, because they don’t vote for him; but loved and supported by all because he is their King; and regarded by all with a feelin’ we don’t know nothin’ of in our country, a feelin’ of loyalty.’ ‘Yes,’ says father, ‘and they don’t care whether it’s a man, woman, or child; the ignorant, benighted critters.’ ‘They are considerable sure,’ says minister, ‘he ain’t a rogue, at any rate.’

     “‘Well, the next link in the chain — ’ (‘Chains enough, poor wretches !’ says father; ‘but it’s 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; haven’t 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 King’s parson. They put me in mind of my son Eldad, when he went to larn the doctor’s 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, I’ve 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 that’s 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 everlastin’ly. It’s a dirty business, that’s 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 won’t 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; ain’t 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 Bunker’s Hill, I guess, didn’t they? We spoilt the pretty faces of some of their landlords, that hitch, anyhow, ay, and their tenants too; hang me if we didn’t. 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 ain’t nobles — ’(‘I guess not,’ says father, ‘why should they be! ain’t all men free and equal? Read Jefferson’s 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, it’s 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 people’s nobility, and not the king’s nobility, sympathisin’ with both, but independent of either. That’s jist the difference ‘atween them and foreigners on the Continent; that’s 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 don’t stand alone, a high, cold, snowy peak, a- overlookin’ of the world beneath, and a-throwin’ a dark deep shader o’er the rich and fertile regions below it. They ain’t 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 can’t take away the pillars, or the State comes down — you can’t cut out the flootin’, or groovin’, or carvin’, for it’s in so deep you’d have to cut the pillars away to nothin’ a’most 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 harlot’s eldest darter, till she looks as flarnty as the old one of Babylon herself; let’s have a touch o’ your brush at home now, will you?’ ‘You don’t understand me yet, Colonel Slick,’ said he; ‘I want to show you somethin’ in the workin’ o’ the machinery you ain’t thought of, I know. Now you see, Colonel, all these parts I described are checks we ain’t 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 ain’t provided any in their place, and I don’t see what on airth we shall do for these drag-chains on popular opinion. There’s 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 don’t 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, they’ve 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 feelin’s: call it what you will, it’s 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 I’m the man to lead ’em, sir; I’m the boy that jist will do it. Rear rank, take open order — right shoulders for’ard — 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 won’t have to go quite so far to find the devils to fight with us as the eend of creation neither; you’ll find them nearer to home than you’re 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. It’s 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 a’most 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. That’s our case.

     “‘There’s 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 can’t; 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 can’t, for they are parts of the same turbid water themselves. The President can’t, 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 ain’t 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 can’t deceive them, they are too well informed; it can’t agitate them, for they don’t act from impulse, but from reason; it can’t 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. It’s a well-constructed piece o’ machinery that, Colonel, and I hope they won’t go a-dabblin’ too much with it; there’s nothin’ like leavin’ all’s well alone.

     “‘I’ll 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 he’d kick ’em out — they’ll rebel as soon as they can walk alone, for the British have made ’em a French colony instead of an English one, and then they’ll throw away their crutches. If they do rebel, see if our people don’t go to war, tho’ the Government is for peace. They’ll do jist as they please, and nothing can stop ’em. What do they care for a President’s proclamation or a marshal’s advertisements? They’d 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 haven’t got, and I fear never will get. What little check we had in Washin’tons 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 o’er, 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. It’s 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 ain’t 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 won’t come out of royalty, aristocracy, or prelacy, but out o’ democracy, and a plaguy squally sea democracy is, I tell you: wind get’s up in a minit; you can’t show a rag of sail to it, and if you don’t keep a bright look-out, and shorten sail in time, you’re wrecked or swamped afore you know where you be. I’d 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 ev’nin’, than I ever thought I could have taken from any livin’ soul breathin’; it’s 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. It’s 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 amazin’ly 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.


Charles W. Jefferys, Illustration for a Subscription Edition of the
Collected Works of Thomas Chandler Haliburton
(Unpublished) (circa 1915).