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They might have answered once, but Fate of idiosyncrasies, and we have the present Quashes them at the point we've got to; Yankee, full of expedients, half-master of all Obsta principiis, that's my motto."
trades, inventive in all but the beautiful, full So saying, South began to whistle And looked as obstinate as gristle,
of shifts, not yet capable of comfort, armed at While North went homeward, each brown paw
all points against the old enemy Hunger, longClenched like a knot of natural law,
animous, good at patching, not so careful for And all the while, in either ear,
what is best as for what will do, with a clasp Heard something clicking wondrous clear. to his purse and a button to his pocket, not
skilled to build against Time, as in old countries, To turn now to other matters, there are two but against sore-pressing Need, accustomed to things upon which it should seem fitting to move the world with no roll otw but his own dilate somewhat more largely in this place, - two feet, and no lever but his own long forecast. the Yankee character and the Yankee dialect.
A strange hybrid, indeed, did circumstance And, first, of the Yankee character, which has beget, here in the New World, upon the old wanted neither open maligners, nor even more Puritan stock, and the earth never before saw dangerous enemies in the persons of those un- such mystic-practicalism, such niggard-genskilful painters who have given to it that hard- iality, such calculating-fanaticism, such castness, angularity, and want of proper perspec- iron-enthusiasm, such sour-faced-humor, such tive, which, in truth, belonged, not to their close - fisted - generosity. This new Græculus subject, but to their own niggard and unskilful esuriens will make a living out of anything. pencil.
He will invent new trades as well as tools. New England was not so much the colony of His brain is his capital, and he will get educaa mother country, as a Hagar driven forth into tion at all risks. Put him on Juan Fernandez, the wilderness. The little self - exiled band and he would make a spelling-book first, and a which came hither in 1620 came, not to seek salt-pan afterward. In calum, jusseris, ibit, gold, but to found a democracy. They came or the other way either, – it is all one, so anythat they might have the privilege to work and thing is to be got by it. Yet, after all, thin, pray, to sit upon hard benches and listen to
speculative Jonathan is more like the Englishpainful preachers as long as they would, yea, man of two centuries ago than John Bull himeven unto thirty-seventhly, if the spirit so willed self is. He has lost somewhat in solidity, has it. And surely, if the Greek might boast his become fluent and adaptable, but more of the Thermopylæ, where three hundred men fell in original groundwork of character remains. He resisting the Persian, we may well be proud of feels more at home with Fulke Greville, Herour Plymonth Rock, where a handful of men, bert of Cherbury, Quarles, George Herbert, women, and children not merely faced, but and Browne, than with his modern English vanquished, winter, famine, the wilderness, and cousins. He is nearer than John, by at least the yet more invincible storge that drew them a hundred years, to Naseby, Marston Moor, back to the green island far away. These found Worcester, and the time when, if ever, there no lotus growing upon the surly shore, the were true Englishmen. John Bull has suffered taste of which could make them forget their the idea of the Invisible to be very much fatlittle native Ithaca ; nor were they so wanting to tened out of him. Jonathan is conscious still themselves in faith as to burn their ship, but that he lives in the world of the Unseen as well could see the fair west-wind belly the homeward as of the Seen. To move John you must make sail, and then turn unrepining to grapple with your fulcrum of solid beef and pudding; an the terrible Unknown.
abstract idea will do for Jonathan. As Want was the prime foe these hardy exodists had to fortress themselves against, so it is little wonder if that traditional feud be long in wearing out of the stock. The wounds of the old warfare were long a-healing, and an east
TO THE INDULGENT READER wind of hard times puts a new ache into every one of them. Thrift was the first lesson in their My friend, the Rev. Mr. Wilbur, having been horn-book, pointed out, letter after letter, by seized with a dangerous fit of illness, before this the lean finger of the hard schoolmistress, Ne
Introduction had passed through the press, and cessity. Neither were those plump, rosy-gilled being incapacitated for all literary exertion, sent Englishmen that came hither, but a hard-faced,
to me his notes, memoranda, &c., and requested
me to fashion them into some shape more fitting atrabilious, earnest-eyed race, stiff from long
for the general eye. This, owing to the fragwrestling with the Lord in prayer, and who
mentary and disjointed state of his manuscripts, had tanght Satan to dread the new Puritan hug. I have felt wholly unable to do; yet being unAdd two hundred years' influence of soil, cli- willing that the reader should be deprived of such mate, and exposure, with its necessary result parts of his lucubrations as seemed more finished,
and not well discerning how to segregate these from the rest, I have concluded to send them all to the press precisely as they are.
COLUMBUS NYE, Pastor of a Church in Bungtown Corner.
“Quem recitas, meus est, O Fidentine, libellus;
Sed male cum recitas, incipit esse tuus." A few further explanatory remarks will not be impertinent.
I shall barely lay down a few general rules for the reader's guidance.
1. The genuine Yankee never gives the rough sound to the r when he can help it, and often displays considerable ingenuity in avoiding it even before a vowel.
2. He seldom sounds the final g, a piece of self-denial, if we consider his partiality for nasals. The same of the final d, as han' and stan' for hand and stand.
3. The h in such words as while, when, where, he omits altogether.
4. In regard to a, he shows some inconsistency, sometimes giving a close and obscure sound, as hev for have, hendy for handy, ez for as, thet for that, and again giving it the broad sound it has in father, as hậnsome for hand
5. To the sound ou he prefixes an e (hard to exemplify otherwise than orally).
The following passage in Shakespeare he would recite thus :
It remains to speak of the Yankee dialect. And, first, it may be premised, in a general
that any one much read in the writings of the early colonists need not be told that the far greater share of the words and phrases now esteemed peculiar to New England, and local there, were brought from the mother country. A person familiar with the dialect of certain portions of Massachusetts will not fail to recognize, in ordinary discourse, many words now noted in English vocabularies as archaic, the greater part of which were in common use about the time of the King James translation of the Bible. Shakespeare stands less in need of a glossary to most New-Englanders than to many a native of the Old Country. The peculiarities of our speech, however, are rapidly wearing out. As there is no country where reading is so universal and newspapers are so multitudinous, so no phrase remains long local, but is transplanted in the mail-bags to every remotest corner of the land. Consequently our dialect approaches nearer to uniformity than that of any other nation.
The English have complained of us for coining new words. Many of those so stigmatized were old ones by them forgotten, and all make dow an unquestioned part of the currency, wherever English is spoken. Undoubtedly, we have a right to make new words, as they are needed by the fresh aspects under which life presents itself here in the New World ; and, indeed, wherever a language is alive, it grows. It might be questioned whether we could not establish a stronger title to the ownership of the English tongue than the mother-islanders themselves. Here, past all question, is to be its great home and centre. And not only is it already spoken here by greater numbers, but with a far higher popular average of correctness than in Britain. The great writers of it, too, we might claim as ours, were ownership to be settled by the number of readers and lovers.
As regards the provincialisms to be met with in this volume, I may say that the reader will not find one which is not (as I believe) either native or imported with the early settlers, nor one which I have not, with my own ears, heard in familiar use. In the metrical portion of the book, I have endeavored to adapt the spelling as nearly as possible to the ordinary mode of pronunciation. Let the reader who deems me over-particular remember this caution of Martial :
Neow is the winta uv eour discontent
heouse In the deep buzzum o' the oshin buried; Neow air eour breows beound 'ith victorious
a. Unable to procure a likeness of Mr. Biglow, I thought the curious reader might be gratified with a sight of the editorial effigies. And here a choice between two was offered, the one a profile (entirely black) cut by Doyle, the other a portrait painted by a native artist of much promise. The first of these seemed wanting in expression, and in the second a slight obliquity of the visual organs has been heightened (perhaps from an over-desire of force on the part of the artist) into too close
an approach to actual strabismus. This slight .“ Hear lyes yo bodye of Mrs Expect Wilber, divergence in my optical apparatus from the Yo crewell salvages they kil'd her ordinary model - however I may have been
Together woh other Christian soles eleaven, taught to regard it in the light of a mercy
October yo ix daye, 1707.
Yo stream of Jordan sh' as crost ore rather than a cross, since it enabled me to give as much of directness and personal application
And now expeacts me on y other shore :
I live in hope her soon to join ; to my discourses as met the wants of my con
Her earthlye yeeres were forty and nine." gregation, without risk of offending any by
From Gravestone in Pekussett, North Parish. being supposed to have him or her in my eye (as the saying is) — seemed yet to Mrs. Wilbur a sufficient objection to the engraving of
This is unquestionably the same John who the aforesaid painting. We read of many who
afterward (1711) married Tabitha Hagg or
Ragg. either absolutely refused to allow the copying of their features, as especially did Plotinus and
But if this were the case, she seems to have
died early ; for only three years after, namely, Agesilaus among the ancients, not to mention
1714, we have evidence that he married Winithe more modern instances of Scioppius, Palæottus, Pinellus, Velserus, Gataker, and others,
fred, daughter of Lieutenant Tipping.
He seems to have been a man of substance, or were indifferent thereto, as Cromwell.
for we find him in 1696 conveying B. Yet was Cæsar desirous of concealing his
divided eightieth part of a salt-meadow” in baldness. Per contra, my Lord Protector's
Yabbok, and he commanded a sloop in 1702.
Those who doubt the importance of genea. carefulness in the matter of his wart might be cited. Men generally more desirous of being
logical studies fuste potius quam argumento cru.
diendi. improved in their portraits than characters.
I trace him as far as 1723, and there lose Shall probably find very unflattered likenesses of ourselves in Recording Angel's gallery.
him. In that year he was chosen selectman.
No gravestone. Perhaps overthrown when g. Whether any of our national peculiarities
new hearse-house was built, 1802. may be traced to our use of stoves, as a certain
He was probably the son of John, who came closeness of the lips in pronunciation, and a
from Bilham Comit. Salop. circa 1642.
This first John was a man of considerable smothered smoulderingness of disposition seldom roused to open flame ?
importance, being twice mentioned with the intercourse with fire probably conducive to
honorable prefix of Mr. in the town records.
Name spelt with two l-s. generosity and hospitality of soul. Ancient Mexicans nsed stoves, as the friar Augustin
“ Hear lyeth y bod (stone unhappily broken.), Ruiz reports, Hakluyt, III. 468, – but Popish
Mr. Ihon Willber, Esq.) (I inclose this in priests not always reliable anthority.
brackets as doubtful. To me it seems To-day picked my Isabella grapes. Crop clear.] injured by attacks of rose-bng in the spring. Ob't die (illegible ; looks like xviii.] .... iii Whether Noah was justifiable in preserving (prob. 1693.) this class of insects ?
deseased seinte: 8. Concerning Mr. Biglow's pedigree. Tol- A friend and [fath Jer untoe all yo opreast, erably certain that there was never a poet Hee gave yo wicked familists noe reast, among his ancestors. An ordination hymn When Satsan bl]ewe his Antinomian blaste, attributed to a maternal nncle, but perhaps a Wee clong to (Willber as a steadf]ast maste. sort of production not demanding the creative [A] gainst yo horrid Qua[kers] .... facnlty.
His grandfather a painter of the grandiose It is greatly to be lamented that this curious or Michael Angelo school. Seldom painted ob- epitaph is mutilated. It is said that the sacri. jects smaller than houses or barns, and these legious British soldiers made a target of the with uncommon expression.
stone during the war of Independence. How
odious an animosity which pauses not at the €. Of the Wilburs no complete pedigree. grave! How brutal that which spares not The crest said to be a wild boar, whence, per- the monuments of authentic history! This is haps, the name. (?) A connection with the not improbably from the pen of Rev. Moody Earls of Wilbraham (quasi wild boar ham) Pyram, who is mentioned by Hubbard as havmight be made out. This suggestion worth ing been noted for a silver vein of poetry. If following up. In 1677, John W. m. Expect his papers be still extant, a copy might possi.
-, had issue, 1. John, 2. Haggai, 3. Expect, bly be recovered. 4. Ruhamah, 5. Desire.
THE BIGLOW PAPERS
TO THE HON. JOSEPH T. BUCKINGHAM,
JAYLEM, june 1846. MISTER EDDYTER:- Our Hosea wuz down to Boston last week, and he see a cruetin Sarjunt a struttin round as popler as a hen with 1 chicking, with 2 fellers a drummin and fifin arter him like all nater. the sarjunt he thout Hosea hed n't gut his i teeth cut cos he looked a kindo 's though he'd jest com down, so he cal'lated to hook him in, but Hosy wood n't take none o' his sarse for all he hed much as 20 Rooster's tales stuck onto his hat and eenamost enuf brass a bobbin up and down on his shoulders and figureed onto his coat and trousis, let alone wut nater hed sot in his featers, to make a 6 pounder out on.
wal, Hosea he com home considerabal riled, and arter I'd gone to bed I heern Him a thrashin round like a short-tailed Bull in fli-time. The old Woman ses she to me ses she, Zekle, ses she, our Hosee 's gut the chollery or suthin anuther ses she, don't you Bee skeered, ses I, he's oney amakin pottery 1 ses i, he's ollers on hand at that ere busynes like Da & martin, and shure enuf, cum mornin, Hosy he cum down stares full chizzle, hare on eend and cote tales flyin, and sot rite of to go reed his varses to Parson Wilbur bein he haint aney grate shows o' book larnin himself, bimeby he cum back and sed the parson wuz dreffle tickled with 'em as i hoop you will Be, and said they wuz True grit.
Hosea ses taint hardly fair to call 'em hisn now, cos the parson "kind o’slicked off sum o' the last varses, but he told Hosee he did n't want to put his ore in to tetch to the Rest on 'em, bein they wuz verry well As thay wuz, and then Hosy ses he sed suthin a nuther about Simplex Mundishes or sum sech feller, but I guess Hosea kind o' did n't hear him, for I never hearn o' vobody o' that name in this villadge, and
1 Aut insanit, aut versos facit. - H. W.
'T would n't suit them Southun fellers,
They ’re a dreffle graspin' set,
Wen they want their irons het;
narves it kind o' grates, Wen I see the overreachin'
O'them nigger-drivin' States.
Them thet rule us, them slave-traders
Haint they cut a thunderin' swarth (Helped by Yankee renegaders),
Thru the vartu o' the North ! We begin to think it 's nater
To take sarse an' not be riled; Who 'd expect to see a tater
All on eend at bein? biled ?
Ez fer war, I call it murder,
There you hev it plain an' flat; I don't want to go no furder
Than my Testyment fer that; God hez sed so plump an' fairly,
It 's ez long ez it is broad, An' you ’ve gut to git up airly
Ef you want to take in God.
Want to tackle me in, du ye?
I expect you 'll bev to wait ; Wen cold lead puts daylight thru ye
You 'll begin to kal'late; S'pose the crows wun't fall to pickin'
All the carkiss from your bones, Coz you helped to give a lickin'
To them poor half-Spanish drones ? Jest go home an' ask our Nancy
Wether I'd be sech a goose Ez to jine ye,
guess you 'd fancy The etarnal bung wuz loose ! She wants me fer bome consumption,
Let alone the hay 's to mow, Ef you
're arter folks o' gumption, You ’ve a darned long row to hoe.
Wut's the use o' meetin'-goin'
Every Sabbath, wet or dry, Ef it 's right to go
amowin' Feller-men like oats an' rye ? I dunno but wut it 's pooty
Trainin' round in bobtail coats, But it 's curus Christian dooty
This 'ere cuttin' folks's throats.
They may talk o' Freedom's airy
Tell they 're pupple in the face, – It 's a grand gret cemetary
Fer the barthrights of our race; They jest want this Californy
So 's to lug new slave-states in To abuse ye, an' to scorn ye,
An' to plunder ye like sin. Aint it cute to see a Yankee
Take sech everlastin' pains, All to get the Devil's thankee
Helpin' on 'em weld their chains ? Wy, it's jest ez clear ez figgers,
Clear ez one an' one make two, Chaps thet make black slaves o' niggers
Want to make wite slaves o' you. Tell ye jest the eend I 've come to
Arter cipherin' plagny smart, An' it makes a handy sum, tu,
Any gimp could larn by heart; Laborin man an' laborin' woman
Hev one glory an' one shame. Ev'y thin' thet 's done inbuman
Injers all on 'em the same. 'Taint by turnin' out to hack folks
You 're agoin' to git your right, Nor by lookin' down on black folks
Coz you 're put upon by wite; Slavery aint o' nary color,
'Taint the hide thet makes it wus, All it keers fer in a feller
'S jest to make him fill its pus.
Wal, go 'long to help 'em stealin'
Bigger pens to cram with slaves, Help the men thet 's ollers dealin'
Insults on your fathers' graves; Help the strong to grind the feeble,
Help the many agin the few, Help the men thet call your people
Witewashed slaves an' peddlin' crew ! Massachusetts, God forgive her,
She's akneelin' with the rest,
In her grand old eagle-nest;
W’ile the wracks are round her hurled Holdin' up a beacon peerless
To the oppressed of all the world ! Ha’n't they sold your colored seamen ?
Ha’n't they made your env’ys w'iz ?
Wut 'll git your dander riz ?
Is our dooty in this fix,
In the days o' seventy-six.