Monthly Archives: November 2005

Item of the Day: Chronicles of the City of Gotham (1830)

Full Title:

Chronicles of the City of Gotham. From the Papers of A Retired Common Councilman. Containing The Azure Hose. The Politician. The Dumb Girl. Edited by the author of “The Backwoodsman,” “Konigsmarke,” “John Bull in America,” &c. &c.

Written by James Kirk Paulding. First edition of a novelette and two short stories of New York City. Printed in New York by G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1830.

From The Azure Hose, The Prologue.

There is reason in the boiling of eggs, as well as in roasting them.

IT was one of those charming spring mornings, so peculiar to our western clime, when the light, cheering sunshine invites abroad to taste the balmy air, but when, if you chance to accept the invitation, you will be saluted by a killing, piercing, sea monster of a breeze, which chills the genial current of the soul, and drives you shivering to the fire-side to warm your fingers, and complain for the hundredth time of the backwardness of the season. In short, it was a non-descript day, too hot for a great coat, and too cool to go without one; when one side of the street was broiling in the sun, the other freezing in the shade.

Mr. Lightfoot Lee was seated at the breakfast table, with his only daughter, Miss Lucia Lightfoot Lee, one of the prettiest alliterations ever seen. She was making up her opinions for the day, from the latest number of the London Literary Gazette, and marking with a gold self-sharpening pencil a list of books approved by that infallible oracle, for the circulating library. Mr. Lee was occupied with matters of more importance. He held his watch in one hand, a newspaper in the other. By the way, if I wished to identify a North American beyond all question, I would exhibit him reading a newspaper. But at present Mr. Lee seemed employed in studying his watch, rather than the paper. He had good reasons for it.

Mr. Lightfoot Lee was exceedingly particular in boiling his eggs, which he was accustomed to say required more discretion than any other branch of the great art of cookery. The preparations for this critical affair were always made with due solemnity. First, Mr. Lee sat with his watch in his hand, and the parlour door, as well as all the other doors down to the kitchen, wide open. At the parlour door stood Juba, his eldest, most confidential servant. At the end of the hall leading to the kitchen, stood Pomp, the coachman; at the foot of the kitchen stairs stood Benjamin, the footman; and Dolly, the cook, was watching the skillet. “It boils,” cried Dolly: “It boils,” said Benjamin: “It boils,” said Pompey the great: and “It boils,” echoed Juba, Prince of Numidia. “Put them in,” said Mr. Lee: “Put them in,” said Juba: “Put them in,” said Pomp; and “Put them in,” cries Dolly, as she dropt the eggs into the skillet. Exactly a minute and a half afterwards, by his stop watch, Mr. Lee called out “Done;” and done was repeated from mouth to mouth as before. The perfection of the whole process consisted in Dolly’s whipping out the eggs in half a second, from the last echo of the critical “done.”

The eggs were boiled to his satisfaction, and Mr. Lee ate and pondered over the newspaper by turns. At length, all at once he started up in a violent commotion, and stumped about the room, exclaiming in an under tone to himself, “Too bad; too bad.”

“What is the matter, father?” said Lucia; “is your egg overdone, or are you suffering the excruciating pangs of the gout, or enduring the deadly infliction of a hepatic paroxysm?”

“Hepatic fiddlestick! I wish to heaven you would talk English, Lucia.”

“My dear sir, you know English now is very different from when you learned it.”

“I know it, I know it,” said he; “it is different as a quaker bonnet and a French hat. I see I mus go to school again. You and Mr. Goshawk talk Greek to me.”

“Mr. Goshawk is a poet, sir.”

“Well, there is no particular reason why a poet should not talk like other people, at least on common subjects.”

“Ah! sir, the poet’s eye is always in a fine frenzy rolling. He sees differently from other people–to him the sky is people with airy beings.”

“Ay; gnats, flies, and devil’s darning-needles,” said Mr. Lee, pettishly. Lucia was half angry, and put up a lip as red as a cherry.

“Ah! too bad, too bad,” continued Mr. Lee, stumping about again with his hands behind him.

“What is too bad, sir?” said Lucia, anxiously.

“What is too bad?” cried he, furiously advancing towards her with his fist doubled; “that puppy, Highfield, has not got the first honour after all, I see by the paper. The blockhead! I had set my heart upon it, and see here! he is at the tail of his class.”

“Is that all? why father I am glad to hear it, Mr. Goshawk assures me that genius despises the trammels of scholastic rust, and soars on wings of polish’d”–

“Wings of a goose,” cried the old gentleman. He had a provoking way of interrupting Lucia in her flights; and, had she not been one of the best natured of the azure tribe, she would have sometimes lost her temper.

“He’ll be home to-morrow–I’ve a great mind to kick him out of doors.”

“Who, dear father?”

“Why, Highfield, to be sure.”

“For what, sir?”

“For not getting the first honour; the puppy, I wouldn’t care a stiver, if I hadn’t set my heart upon it? And away the good man stumped, again ejaculating, “Too bad, too bad, I shall certainly turn him out of doors.”

“Ah! but if you do, sir, I shall certainly let him in again. I shall be glad to see my dear, good natured cousin Charles once more, though he has not got the first honour,” said Lucia, smiling.

What more might have been said on this subject was cut short, by the entrance, without ceremony, of Mr. Diodorus Fariweather, a neighbour, and more particular friend and associate of Mr. Lee. These two gentlemen had a sincere regard for each other, kept up in all its pristine vigour, by the force of contrast. One took every thing seriously; the other considered the world, and all things in it a jest. One worshipped the ancients; the other maintained they were not worthy of tying the shoe-strings of the moderns. One insisted that the world was going backwards; the other, that it was rolling onwards in the path of improvement, beyond all former example. One was a violent federalist; the other a raging democrat. They never opened their mouths without disagreeing, and this was the cement of their friendship. The mind of Mr. Lee was not fruitful, and that of Mr. Fairweather was somewhat sluggish in suggesting topics of conversation. Had they agreed in every thing they must have required a succession of subjects; but uniformly differing, as they did on all occasions, it was only necessary to say a single word, whether it conveyed a proposition or not, and there was matter at once, for the day.

“A glorious morning,” said Mr. Fairweather, rubbing his hands.

“I differ with you,” said Mr. Lee.

“It is a beautiful sunshine.”

“But, my good sir, if you observe, there is a cold, wet, damp, hazy, opake sky, through which the sun cannot penetrate; ’tis as cold as December.”

“‘Tis as warm as June,” said Mr. Fairweather, laughing.

“Pish!” said Mr. Lee, taking up his hat mechanically, and following his friend to the door. They sallied forth without saying a word. At every corner, however, they halted, to renew the discussion; they disputed their way through a dozen different streets, and finally returned home, the best friends in the world, for they had assisted each other in getting through the morning. Mr. Lee invited Mr. Fairweather to return to dinner, and he accepted.

“Well, it does not signify,” said Mr. Lee, bobbing his chin up and down, as was his custom when uttering what he considered an infallible dictum. “It does not signify, that Fairweather is enough to provoke a saint. I never saw such an absurd, obstinate, illnatured, passionate” —

“O father” said Lucia, “every body says Mr. Fairweather was never in a passion in his life.”

“Well, but he is the cause of passion in others, and that is the worst kind of illnature.”

Leave a comment

Filed under 1830's, Fiction, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: A Fragment (1789)

Full Title:

A Fragment which Dropped from the Pocket of a Certain Lord, on Thursday, the 23d April, 1789, on His Way to St. Paul’s with the Grand Procession. With Notes by the Finder.

Anonymous. Printed in London for W. Priest, in Holborn; and sold by the Booksellers in Piccadilly, the Strand, Fleet Street, and Pater-Noster-Row, 1789.From Chap. I.

THE first character which strikes our view in this mutilated performance is that of Sir J-s-ph M-wb-y and indeed it must be confessed this great man, considered either as a fatter of bacon or a British Senator, is well entitled to that distinguished place our author has assigned him. He says,

Full oft I hear thee roar,
While Tories yawn and Whigs in concert snore;
Nor trust what wicked wags have often said,
That thou, Sir J-s-ph, are a
pig of lead.
The learned pig himself, who for a while
“Amaz’d th’ unlearn’d and make the learned smile;”
The learned pig himself (if Fame say true)
First learnt his
breeding and his tricks from you.

We could scarcely adopt the idea that the famous learned pig really received the rudiments of his education under the superintendance of this worthy Baronet, were we not convinced of it by calling to mind that the adroitness of this sagacious animal was no where more conspicuous than in his tricks on the cards. Indeed it is much to be regretted that Sir J-s-ph himself has not met with the same success that way; a circumstance our author laments in the following distich:

How like a stuck pig did he stare, to see
His tricks were
smok’d by all the company.

How well chosen are the epithets. A writer of less fire would have simply said, His tricks were seen; but our poet, always bearing in mind the hog trade, has judiciously chosen the word smok’d. And the justice of this epithet must be allowed by every one, who considers what a severe roast Sir J-s-ph underwent upon this occasion. But, as it is the greatest sign of skill, when we have given a broken head, to apply a plaister to it so here we find the most salutary advice offere, no doubt with an intention to heal the would already made in this great man’s reputation , from the circunstance before alluded to.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1780's, Culture, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Almon’s Anecdotes (1797)

Full Title:

Biographical, Literary, and Political anecdotes, of several of the Most Prominent Persons of the Present Age. Never Before Printed. With an Appendix, Consisting of Original, Explanatory, and Scarce Papers. By the Author of Anecdotes of the Late Earl of Chatham. In Three Volumes. Volume 1, 2, 3.

Written by John Almon, 1737-1805. Printed in London for T. N. Longman, and L. B. Seeley, 1797.Appendix to Vol. 2, “The Whig” column “published in one of the London morning news-papers, when Lord North was minister, in the months of November and December, 1779, an in the months of January and March, 1780.”

THE WHIG

This glorious spirit of WHIGGISM, animates millions in America, who prefer poverty with liberty to gilded chains and sorded affluence; and will die in defence of their rights as men, —as freemen,—-What shall resist this spirit?—–Ireland they have to a man.Jan. 20, 1775. LORD CHATHAM

HOWEVER congenial his mind to the spirit triumphant in a neighbouring kingdom, emulous of the glories as she was participant in the injuries of the western empire, grievous yet is the pang which every lover of his country feels in this degraded island. For the triumph of Liberty is now the disgrace of England. America is victorious and free. Ireland, without the trouble of victory, enjoys all its consequence and glory. She displays the banner of independence; her armies appear; and England surrenders at discretion.

England, the arbitress of empire, –England, the dispenser of the power and guardian of the rights of nations; –England, the wonder and terror of the world– what art thou now? Disabled, dishonoured, fallen; desperate of assistance from friends, for you have none; or of success against enemies, for you failed when you were stronger, against adversaries less numerous or powerful: –too little for consideration in a scale of the balance which you once held and adjusted; and remembered only in the ridicule of Europe: vanquished by your Colonies, to whom you sued in vain for mercy; and subdued even by the aspect of Ireland, to her absolute command.

Love of our country cannot be extinguished in the hearts of Englishmen; and care of what we love compels us to save it from utter destruction. Though the sense of glory were dead throughout the people, yet, if the common and first principles of nature, self-defence, and self-preservation, be not extinct among them, the period of revolution and revenge is at hand. The public sense was dull to the distant mischief; but present calamity strikes strongly and suddenly. —Three months nursed the American lie; but the Minister cannot falsify Ireland. Three days detect him, and demonstrate the glories of that country and the disgrace of this; —her independence and our submission. We feel her torn from our side, and we bleed at every vein.

Such feeling is too poignant for patience. It rouses to action every remaining nerve of our strength, to rescue from instant loss the little that is left; –to preserve domestic security, though we have thrown away empire; to entrust the sacred relick to hearts that know its value, and hands that can defend it; and, above all, piously to perform the rites of the constitution: appeasing, by exemplary justice, the indignant manes of our power and our glory.

But in this necessary course of national justice, much difficulty is to be encountered from the generous prejudices of Englishmen. In favour of Ministers? No man will imagine it, in a reign, which has rendered synonimous the odium of the country and the favour of the crown. The fate of such favourites as have never before stained the annals of any reign in any country, will be unparalleled in history. Unqualified by any sentiment of respect for talents, admiration of magnanimity, or pity of any one virtue, the public execration that spares them not in their power, will overwhelm them in their fall; –the contempt that pursues them now will inspire peculiar indignation then, that such usurpers of power should have been enabled and permitted so to fall; –with the blind despair, but without the strength of the strong man, so to drag into ruin the mighty fabric of the British empire.

But difficulties of an high and delicate nature will arise in effecting the revolution of our liberties. They have arisen elsewhere; but the necessity of the commonwealth has surmounted them. Founded, however, in the generosities of ancient attachment, I know they are found in the heart of every Englishman.

Eighteen years of tory-rule cannot have entirely detached THE WHIGS of England from the house of Hanover. The memory of an illustrious ancestry, and gratitude to their virtues, must qualify resentment of present wrongs, with an affectionate kind of sorrow; and sorrow, in generous minds, soon grows to pity. Crimes then are lost in misfortunes; or if remembered, we wish to reclaim rather than to punish. Or even, if obstinacy be irreclaimable, we have still some hope in the future, from our knowledge of the past. A dishonoured reign may pass away in our annals, like a cloudy day in summer; and if the day be not too long, nor the tempest too violent, the glories of the succeeding morning may answer our hopes and renew our happiness.

But to tranquilise, if possible, the present scene, by reconciling our affection to a particular family, with our duty to the country, let us endeavour to win attention before we force it. Let us convince by reason rather than by power; and try to prevent the mischief by the example of others, rather than correct it by our own.

It was proposed in my last paper to consider the fact of disunion from this country, as it has occurred in America and Ireland, in demonstration of the maxim that I there advanced against the parliamentary confidence of arbitrary men. From the fatal example of those countries, I undertook to prove, that majorities in parliament are ruinous to this Sovereign and his Ministers, in proportion to the support they are induced to give them aginast the sense of the people.

In America the people were unanimous against certain powers claimed by their late king, and attempted to be exercised by his ministers: but the monarch persisted against his people; and has lost his American throne. So far the fact stands undisputed. Now let us consider whether his ministers and their majorities in parliament have not affected the ruin of his royalty, while they flattered his ambition, and seemed to support his power.

It is beyond any common calculation of obstinacy, that the American war would have been persisted in, if the monarch had not been infatuated by those monstrous majorites which his ministers, by every monstrous means, procured in parliament. I say, by every monstrous means: for besides the court-corruption that prevails in all cases, new and unheard-of wickedness prevailed in this. Falsification of fact was not indeed new in the minister; but in the magnitude of this instance, it took peculiar criminality. Suppression of every truth, universal fraud, and basest misrepresentation, blinded the reason of men; while every seductive and inflammatory art perverted and poisoned their passions. Without such impulse, no monarch, however blind or obstinate, would have persisted in such a war; without such support, he could not have drawn the sword from year to year against his people.

But even if such had been the situation; if the royal standard had been erected against the liberties of America, he could not have lost his American Crown more absolutely than he has by act of parliament. I believe he would not have lost it so certainly. America would have conquered the King, and more speedily perhaps than she conquered the King and Parliament; but her magnanimity might have forgotten the idle ambition of a foolish Prince; though she will never forgive, in prudence or in spirit, the formal tyranny of a grave Legislature.

My reader may have been surprized and shocked, when I asserted the fact of Ireland being now disunited from this country; because he may have listened to the tales of Ministers, and the impudent inventions of their advocates. But I assert again and again, that Ireland is at this moment in an actual state of disunion from us; disunion of commerce, disunion of finance, disunion of military strength, and disunion of national affection. Such is the fact; and therefore I expect to hear the Minister assure Parliament of the contrary.

If Parliament continue any faith in the wisdom or truth of the man, whose folly and fallacies misled them to cast America from us, the present disunion of Ireland, which their marked servility to him at the close of the last Session has already produced, and their preposterous support of him at the beginning of this has already strongly confirmed, will be ratified for ever. I state the fact of their resentment, without now going into the discussion of their wrongs: but their resentment is expressly and pointedly against the British Parliament. They exhaust all their eloquence against it in their debates; and when they want terms to express its tyranny, its avarice, its insensibility to every thing honourable or just, they say that the British Parliament and the British Minister are synonimous.

December, 1779.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, Legal, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Mirabeau’s Considérations sur l’Ordre Cincinnatus (1784)

Full Title:

Considérations sur l’Ordre Cincinnatus, ou Imitation d’un pamphlet Anglo-Américain. Par le comte de Mirabeau. Suives de plusiers piéces relatives à cette institution; d’une lettre signée du général Washington, accompagnée de remarques par l’auteur françois; d’une lettre de feu monsieur Turgot, Ministre d’État en France, au docteur Price, sur les législations américains; & de la traduction d’un pamphlet du docteur Price, intitulé: Observations on the importance of the American Revolution, and the means of making it a benefit to the world; accompagnée de réflexions & notes du traducteur.

Written by Honoré-Gabriel de Riquetti, le Comte de Mirabeau. Published in London by J. Johnson, 1784.Introduction:

UNE Société composée des Généraux & des officiers supérieurs & inférieurs de l’Armée & de la Marine des Etats-unis de l’Amerique, s’est établie dans toutes les Provinces qui forment la Confédération Anglo-Américaine. Instituée sous le name de Société des Cincinnati, elle est déjà parvenue à un degré de maturité remarquable. Chaque jour apporte des forces imposantes à cette Association héréditaire, perpétuelle & richement dotée, qui compte parmi ses membre ce que l’Amérique a de plus distingué, & nommément l’illustre Washington.

Outre une Assemblée générale de la Société déjà combinée & convoquée, il existe dans chaque Etat une Assemblée particulière & subordonnée; & ces dernières encore seront sous-divisées en autant de districts que l’auront décrété les Sociétés particulières. L’Assemblée générale doit être convoquée chaque année, & durer autant que les membres de la Société le jugeront nécessaire.

Indépendement de cette Assemblée annuelle, il s’en tiendra une extraordinaire au moins tous les trois ans. Les Assemblées particulières ou d’Etat auront lieu le quatre Juillet de chaque année, & plus souvent si les circonstances le demandent.

Le Major Général Baron de Steuben est élu Grand-Maître de la Société, sous le titre plus modeste de Président; & chaque Assemblée d’Etat, ainsi que l’Assemblée générale, aura son Président & ses officiers. Les Sociétés d’Etat sont tenues de communiquer annuellemnet entr’elles par des lettres circulaires. L’Assemblée générale doit être composée de ses propres officiers, & des Représentans de chaque Société d’Etat au nombre de cinq, dont la dépense sera à la charge de chaque Assemblée particulière.

Les Cincinnati portent une marque d’honneur, par laquelle ils sont reconnus & distingués. C’est une médaille d’or en forme d’aigle, avec une inscription en exergue, & une autre au revers, faisant allusion à l’époque de l’institution de l’Ordre, & au salut de la République opéré par ses membres. Cette marque de distinction est suspendue à un ruban bleu foncé & liséré de blanc, symbole de l’union de l’Amérique avec la France. Chaque membre de la Société doit porter ce ruban & cette médaille, comme on porte en Europe les croix & autres marques de Chevalerie.

Déjà les Cincinnati ont conféré l’honneur & les prérogatives de leur ordre à l’Ambassadeur de France, à Mr. Gerard ci-devant Ministre Plénipotentiare de cette puissance; aux Généraux François qui sur terre & sur mer ont combattu pour les Américains, aux Colonels de l’Armée employée dans le Continent, & même aux Capitaines de vaisseau des flottes Françoises. Ainsi le Gouvernement de France a permis à ses sujets ce signe d’adoption d’une République formée par une insurrection de Colonies mécontentes.

Tel est en peu de mots l’objet des Considérations suivantes.

Other works by Mirabeau:Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus; to Which Are Added, As Well Several Original Papers Relative to That Institution, As Also a Letter From the Late M.Turgot, Comptroller of the Finances in France, to Dr. Price, on the Constitutions of America; and an abstract of Dr. Price’s Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution; With Notes and Reflections upon That Work. Translated from the French of the Count de Mirabeau. 1785.

Enquiries Concerning Lettres de Cachet, the Consequences of Arbitrary Imprisonment, and a History of the Inconveniences, Distresses and Sufferings of State Prisoners. Written in the Dungeon of the Castle of Vincennes. Translated into English. Vol. 1, 2. 1787.

The Secret History of the Court of Berlin; or, The Character of the Present King of Prussia, his Ministers, Mistresses, Generals, Courtiers, Favourites, and the Royal Family of Prussia. With Numerous Anecdotes of the Potentates of Europe, Especially of the Late Frederic II, and an Interesting Picture of the State of Politics, Particularly in Prussia, Russia, Germany, and Holland. In a Series of Letters, Translated from the French. A Posthumous Work. To Which is Added a Memorial, Presented to the Present King of Prussia, on the Day of his Accession to the Throne. Vol. 1, 2. 1789.

Le Courier de Provence. Vol. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. 1789.

Speeches of M. de Mirabeau the Elder, Pronounced in the National Assembly of France. To Which is Prefixed, a Sketch of his Life and Character. Translated from the French edition of M. Mejan, by James White, Esq. 1792.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1780's, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Revolution, Travel

Item of the Day: Swift’s Conduct of the Allies (1712)

Full Title:

The Conduct of the Allies, and of the Late Ministry, in Beginning and Carrying on the Present War.

Written by Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745. Printed in London for John Morphew, 1712.Preface:

I Cannot sufficiently admire the Industry of a sort of Men, wholly out of Favour with the Prince and People, and openly possessing a separate Interest from the Bulk of the Landed Men, who yet are able to raise, at this Juncture, so great a Clamour against a Peace, without offering one single Reason, but what we find in their Ballads. I lay it down for a Maxim, That no reasonable Man, whether Whig or Tory (since it is necessary to use those foolish Terms) can be of the Opinion for continuing the War, upon the Foot it now is unless he be a Gainer by it, or hopes it may occasion some new Turn of Affairs at home, to the Advantage of his Party; or lastly, unless he be very ignorant of the Kingdom’s Condition, and by what Means we have been reduced to it. Upon the two first Cases, where Interest is concerned, I have nothing to say: But as to the last, I think it highly necessary, that the Publick should be freely and impartially told what Circumstances they are in, after what Manner they have been treated by those whom they trusted so many Years with the Disposal of their Blood and Treasure, and what the Consequences of this Management are like to be upon themselves and their Posterity.

Those who either by Writing or Discourse, have undertaken to defend the Proceedings of the Late Ministry, in the Management of the War, and of the Treaty at Gertruydenburg, have spent time in celebrating the Conduct and Valour of our Leaders and their Troops, in summing up the Victories they have gained and the Towns they have taken. Then they tell us what high Articles were insisted on by our Ministers and those of the Confederates, and what Pains both were at in persuading France to accept them. But nothing of this can give the least Satisfaction to the just Complaints of the Kingdom. As to the War, our Grievances are, That a greater Load has been laid on Us than was either just or necessary, or than we have been able to bear; that the grossest Impositions have been submitted to for the Advancement of private Wealth and Power, or in order to forward the more dangerous Designs of a Faction, to both which a Peace would have put an End; And that the Part of the War which was chiefly our Province, which would have been most beneficial to us, and destructive to the Enemy, was wholly neglected. As to a Peace, We complain of being deluded by a Mock Treaty; in which those who Negotiated, took care to make such Demands as they knew were impossible to be complied with, and therefore might securely press every Article as if they were in earnest.

These are some of the Points I design to treat of in the following Discourse; with several others which I thought it necessary, at this time, for the Kingdom to be informed of. I think I am not mistaken in those Facts I mention; at least not in any Circumstance so material, as to weaken the Consequences I draw from them.

After Ten Years War with perpetual Success, to tell us it is yet impossible to have a good Peace, is very surprising, and seems so different from what hath ever hapned in the World before, that a Man of any Party may be allowed suspecting, we have either been ill used, or have not made the most of our Victories, and might therefore desire to know where the Difficulty lay: Then it is natural to enquire into our present Condition; how long we shall be able to go on at this Rate; what the Consesquences may be upon the present and future Ages; and whether a Peace, without that impracticable Point which some People do so much insist on, be really ruinous in it self, or equally so with the Continuance of the War.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1710's, Legal, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Sketch of the Western Countries of Canada (1791)

(Click on map to enlarge.)

From:

Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, Describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians; with an Account of the Posts Situated on the River Saint Laurence, Lake Ontario, &c. To which is added, a Vocabulary of the Chippeway Language. Names of Furs and Skins, in English and French. A List of Words in the Iroquois, Mohegan, Shawanee, and Esquimeaux Tongues, and a Table, shewing the Analogy between the Algonkin and Chippeway Lanugages. By J. Long.

Printed in London for the author; and sold by Robson, Bond-street; Debrett, Piccadilly; T. and J. Egerton, Charing-cross; White and Son, Fleet-street; Sewell, Cornhill; Edwards, Pall-Mall; and Messrs. Taylors, Holborn, London; Fletcher, Oxford; and Bull, Bath, 1791.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1790's, American Indians, Language, Maps, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Travel

Item of the Day: Agreement between Connecticut and Mohoags (1692)

(Click to enlarge.)

Articles of Agreement between the Govern’r and Company of her Majesties Colonie of Connecticutt and Uncass Sachim of the Mohoags.*

Whereas the Colonie of Connecticutt and Uncass Sachim of Mohoage are and have been neighbours and to another for the Space of about fortie five years, and whereas there hath been good Friendship between us Maintained, in the dayes of the first govern’er of this Colonie of Connecticutt, and agreements of mutall Respect and Friendship made by and between us, which through the Length of time are almost forgott, to the End that antient amitie and Respect between the English of said Connecticutt and the said Uncass and people of Mohogin may be Continued and maintained forever.

I the Said Uncass Sachim of Mohogin for my Selfe my heirs and Successors doo Enter into a League of Amitie with the Colonie of Connecticutt (^and their Successors) as followeth.

(Signed at Hartford on October 13th, 1692.)

* = Pitiful transcription made possible by my having done this easy, wonderful online tutorial for Scottish and secretary hand. (Via scribblingwoman.) Highly recommended, and it doesn’t even really take a whole hour.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1690's, American Indians, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Hume’s Essays (1767)

Full Title:

Essays and Treatises on Several Subjects. In Two Volumes. By David Hume, Esq; Vol. I. Containing Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary. A New Edition.

Written by David Hume, 1711-1776. Printed in London for A. Millar, in the Strand and in Edinburgh for A. Kincaid and A. Donaldson, 1767.

From Essay XV, “The Epicurean,” pp. 155-158.

‘TIS a great mortification to the vanity of man, that his utmost art and industry can never equal the meanest of nature’s productions, either for beauty or value. Art is only the underworkman, and is employed to give a few strokes of embellishment to those pieces, which come from the hand of the master. Some of the drapery may be of his drawing; but he is not allowed to touch the principal figure. Art may make a suit of clothes: But nature must produce a man.

Even in those productions, which are commonly denominated works of art, we find that the noblest of the kind are beholden for their chief beauty to the force and happy influence of nature. To the Oestrum or native enthusiasm of the poets, we owe whatever is admirable in their productions. The greatest genius, where nature at any time fails him (for she is not equal) throws aside the lyre, and hopes not, from the rules of art, to reach that divine harmony, which must proceed from her inspiration alone. How poor are those songs, where a happy flow of fancy has not furnished materials for art to embellish and refine!

But of all the fruitless attempts of art, no one is so ridiculous, as that which the severe philosophers have undertaken, the producing an artificial happiness, and making us be pleased by rules of reason, and by reflection. Why did none of them claim the reward, which XERXES promised to him, who could invent a new pleasure? Unless, perhaps, they invented so many pleasures for their own use, that they despised riches, and stood in no need of any enjoyments, which the rewards of that monarch could procure them. I am apt, indeed, to think, that they were not willing to furnish the PERSIAN court with a new pleasure, by presenting it with so new and unusual an object of ridicule. Their speculations, when confined to theory, and gravely delivered in the schools of GREECE, might excite admiration in their ignorant pupils: But the attempting to reduce such principles to practice would soon have betrayed their absurdity.

You pretend to make me happy by reson, and by rules of art. You must, then, create me anew by rules of art. For on my original frame and structure does my happiness depend. But you want power to effect this; and skill too, I am afraid: Nor can I entertain a less opinion of nature’s wisdom than of yours. And let her conduct the machine, which she has so wisely framed. I find that I should only spoil it by my tampering.

To what purpose should I pretend to regulate, refine, or invigorate any of those springs or principles, which nature has implanted in me? Is this the road by which I must reach happiness? But happiness implies ease, contentment, repose, and pleasure; not watchfulness, care, and fatigue. The health of my body consists in the facility with which all its operation are performed. The stomach digests the aliments: The heart circulates the blood: The brain separates and refines the spirits: And all this without my concerning myself in the matter. When by my will alone I can stop the blood, as it runs with impetuosity along its canals, then may I hope to change the course of my sentiments and passions. In vain should I strain my faculties, and endeavour to receive pleasure from an object, which is not fitted by nature to affect my organs with delight. I may give myself pain by my fruitless endeavours, but shall never reach any pleasure.

Away then with all those vain pretences of making ourselves happy within ourselves, of feasting on our own thoughts, of being satisfied with the consciousness of well-doing, and of despising all assistance and all supplies from external objects. This is the voice of PRIDE, not of NATURE. And it were well, if even this pride could support itself, and communicate a real inward pleasure, however melancholy or severe. But this impotent pride can do no more than regulate the outside; and with infinite pains and attention compose the language and countenance to a philosophical dignity, in order to deceive the ignorant vulgar. The heart, mean while, is empty of all enjoyment: And the mind, unsupported by its proper objects, sinks into the deepest sorrow and dejection. Miserable, but vain mortal! Thy mind be happy within itself! With what resources is it endowed to fill so immense a void, and supply the place of all thy bodily senses and faculties? Can they head subsist without thy other members? In such a situation,

What foolish figure must it make?

Do nothing else but sleep and ake.
Into such a lethargy, or such a melancholy, must thy mind by plunged, when deprived of foreign occupations and enjoyments.

Keep me, therefore, no longer in this violent constraint. Confine me not within myself; but point out to me those objects and pleasures, which afford the chief enjoyment. But why do I apply to you, proud and ignorant sages, to shew me the road to happiness? Let me consult my own passions and inclinations. In them must I read the dictates of nature; not in your frivolous discourses.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1760's, Philosophy, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Poems by Mr. Gray (1768)

Poems by Mr. Gray

Written by Thomas Gray. Folio edition, large type. Printed in Glasgow by Robert and Andrew Foulis, printers to the University, 1768.

“Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat.”

I.
‘TWAS on a lofty vase’s side,
Where China’s gayest art had dy’d
The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclin’d,
Gaz’d on the lake below.

II.
Her conscious tail her joy declar’d;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
The coat that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
She saw, and purr’d applause.

III.
Still had she gaz’d; but midst the tide
Two beauteous forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream;
Their scaly armour’s Tyrian hue,
Through richest purple, to the view,
Betray’d a golden gleam.

IV.
The hapless nymph, with wonder saw:
A whisker first, and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish,
She stretch’d, in vain, to reach the prize.
What female heart can gold despise?
What cat’s averse to fish?

V.
Presumtuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretch’d, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulph between;
(Malignant Fate sate by, and smil’d)
The slippery verge her feet beguil’d;
She tumbled headlong in.

VI.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew’d to every watery God,
Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stir’d,
No cruel Tom, nor Susan heard.
A favourite has no friend.

VII.
From hence, ye beauties, undeceiv’d,
Know, one false step is ne’er retriev’d,
And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Nor all, that glisters, gold.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1760's, Poetry, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Item of the Day: Las Casas’s Account of Voyages and Discoveries (1699)

Full Title:

An Account of the First Voyages and Discoveries Made by the Spaniards in America. Containing the most Exact Relation hitherto publish’d, of their unparallel’d Cruelties on the Indians, in the destruction of above Forty Millions of People. With the Propositions offer’d to the King of Spain, to prevent the further Ruin of the West-Indies. By Don Bartholomew de las Casas, Bishop of Chiapa, who was an Eye-witness of their Cruelties. Illustrated with Cuts. To which is added, The Art of Travelling, shewing how a Man may dispose his Travels to the best advantage.

Written by Bartolome de las Casas. Fourth English edition, but a separate new translation. Printed in London by J. Darby for D. Brown at the Black Swan and Bible without Temple-Bar, J. Harris at the Harrow in Little Britain, and Andr. Bell at the Cross-keys and Bible in Cornhil, 1699.From the Preface:

AMerica was first discover’d by Christopher Columbus a Genoese in the year 1492, in the Name of Ferdinando King of Arragon, but takes its Name from Americus Vespucius a Florentine, who discover’d the Country of Brezil five years after, by order of Emanuel King of Portugal.

The Europeans had no sooner enter’d on this vast Continent, and the Islands about it, but the Natives shew’d ’em all imaginable Kindness and Respect, and were ready to worship ’em as Gods; but these soon took care to convince ’em of their Error, and to deliver’em from the danger of falling into this sort of Idolatry, by treating ’em with all manner of Cruelties, and tormenting ’em like so many Devils: so that these barbarous People receiv’d as great a turn in their thoughts concerning the Spaniards, as the Barbarians of the Island of Melita did in respect of St. Paul; for as these believ’d him to be a God whom they had just before taken for a Murderer, so the other really found them to be Murderers, who they had a little before esteem’d as so many Gods.

The following Relation of the Destruction of many Millions of Indians by all the inhuman methods the Spaniards could invent, would appear incredible, were not the truth of it confes’d, and attested by the Spaniards themselves, and among others, especially by Don Bartholomew de las Casas Bishop of Chiapa, who made large Complaints of these Cruelties to the King of Spain, and to the Royal Council for the Indies, with a design to put a stop to ’em if possible. That he is a Person of irreproachable Credit in this case, will appear by the following account, wherein he challenges all the World to disprove the truth of the matters of Fact he asserts, while he stood the Test of a Court who could easily have detected him, if he had attempted to impose on ’em by a malicious Falshood.

From “Of the new Kingdom of Grenada,” pp. 93-95

When the Indians were first subjugated to the Tyranny of the Spaniards, the chief Captain, who was General of the rest, took possession of the King’s Person as well as of the Country, and kept him Prisoner for five or six Months, without any reason in the World, demanding Gold and Emeralds of him continually. This King, who name was Bogata, in the midst of his fears, promis’d the Spanish General to deliver up all the Gold-plate he had, hoping by this means to get out of the hands of this Tyrant: he sent a great many Indians to his House to fetch these precious Goods; and at the several turns they made he gave the Spaniard a great quantity of Gold and Emeralds; who was not content with this, but threaten’d to kill him. Accordingly he commanded this unfortunate King to be brought before him to receive his Sentence. This is the Treatment these Tyrants give the most illustrious Person of the new World: This haughty General pronounc’d a fatal Sentence against this Prince, by which he was condemn’d to most horrible Torments if he did not immediately send for all the Gold he had: Accordingly this Tyrant’s Executioners laid hold of the King, stretch’d him out at length upon the ground naked, and pour’d boiling Rosin upon his Belly; besides this, they put his feet into a Fire, having fasten’d his Neck to a Stake fix’d in the ground with two of these Hangmen held him by the Arms. The cruel General came from time to time to look upon him while this Torture continued, threatning to take away his Life if he did not speedily deliver up his Gold. God seem’d by his Providence to signify his Displeasure against these Cruelties, in suffering the City where they were committed to be consum’d with Fire in a moment. The rest of the Spaniards took pattern by their General, and fill’d up his steps: And having no other trade than that of tormenting the Indians, and cutting ’em in pieces, they practised the same Villanies in divers parts of this Kingdom: They inflicted terrible Punishments on several Caciques, and all their Subjects, who too imprudently depended on the good words and promises the Spaniards made ’em: And this after they had given ’em incredible Sums of Gold, and many Emeralds. These Presents, tho so valuable, could not soften their obdurate Hearts, and render ’em civil to their Benefactors. The Tortures to which they put the Indians were to make ’em bring yet more Gold and precious Stones; and the same motive has induc’d ’em to burn all the great Lords of the Country with a slow fire. A great multitude of Indians one day came to meet the Spaniards with a great deal of humility and simplicity (as their manner is) to offer ’em their service, supposing themselves safe; but while they were sleeping without any apprehension of danger, being faint and weary, a Spanish Captain commanded his men to massacre ’em all, which was accordingly executed. This was done to strike the whole Country with terror and consternation, and to fright the Inhabitants out of their Gold by the horror of so tragical a Spectacle. The General made his Souldiers swear how many Caciques and Indians each of ’em had kill’d, and how many they had reserv’d alive for their Slaves; these he immediately order’d ’em to bring out into the most publick place of their City, and made ’em there cut off the heads of 4 or 500 of these poor Creatures. Divers Witnesses have depos’d that this Captain order’d the hands and noses of many Indians both Men and Women to be cute off, and exercis’d other unheard of Cruelties among ’em. He sent into Bogata’s Province to enquire who had succeeded that Prince, whom he had so inhumanly put to death: The Men he sent to make this Discovery took as many Indians as they could; such of ’em as could not tell the name of their late Prince’s successor, were barbarously abus’d, some of ’em had their Arms and Legs cut off; others were expos’d to the fury of greedy Dogs, and soon torn in pieces by ’em.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1690's, American Indians, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Slavery, Travel