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So 's 't I wuz most six weeks in jail afore I
gut me picked,] “Ner never paid no demmiges; but thet
wun't do no harm, Pervidin' thet you 'll ondertake to oversee
the farm: (My eldes' boy he's so took up, wut with
the Ringtail Rangers An'settin' in the Jestice-Court for welcomin'
o' strangers ;") [He sot on me;] “an’so, ef you 'll jest on
dertake the care Upon a mod'rit sellery, we 'll up an' call it
square; But ef you can't conclude,"suz she, an' give
à kin' o' grin, “Wy, the Gran' Jurymen, I ’xpect, 'll hev
I to set agin.” That 's the way metters stood at fust; now
wut wuz I to du, But jes' to make the best on 't an' off coat
an' buckle tu ? Ther' ain't a livin' man thet finds an income
necessarier Than me, — bimeby I 'll tell ye how I
fin’lly come to merry her.
We hain't no settled preachin' here, ner
ministeril taxes ; The min'ster's only settlement 's the carpet
bag he packs his Razor an' soap-brush intu, with his hym
book an' his Bible, But they du preach, I swan to man, it's
puf'kly indescribʼle ! They go it like an Ericsson's ten-boss
power coleric ingine, An' make Ole Split-Foot winch an' squirm,
for all he's used to singein'; Hawkins's whetstone ain't a pinch o'primin'
to the innards To hearin' on 'em put free grace t’ a lot o'
tough old sinhards ! But I must eend this letter now : 'fore long
I'll send a fresh un ; I've lots o' things to write about, pertick
lerly Seceshun : I'm called off now to mission-work, to let
a leetle law in To Cynthy's hide : an’so, till death,
MASON AND SLIDELL:
A YANKEE IDYLL
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC
She hed another motive, tu: I mention of it
here T'encourage lads thet 's growin' up to
study 'n' persevere, An' show 'em how much better 't pays to
mind their winter-schoolin' Than to go off on benders ’n’sech, an' waste
their time in foolin'; Ef 't warn't for studyin' evenins, why, I
never 'd ha' ben here A orn'ment o'saciety, in my approprut
spear: She wanted somebody, ye see, o' taste an'
cultivation, To talk along o' preachers when they stopt
to the plantation ; For folks in Dixie th't read an' rite, onless
it is by jarks, Is skurce ez wut they wuz among th' ori
genle patriarchs ; To fit a feller f' wut they call the soshle
higherarchy, All thet you've gut to know is jes' beyund
an evrage darky; Schoolin''s wut they can't seem to stan',
they ’re tu consarned high-pressure, An' knowin' t' much might spile a boy for
bein' a Secesher.
JAALAM, 6th Jan., 1862. GENTLEMEN, - I was highly gratified by the insertion of a portion of my letter in the last number of your valuable and entertaining Miscellany, though in a type which rendered its substance inaccessible even to the beautiful new spectacles presented to me by a Committee of the Parish on New Year's Day. I trust that I was able to bear your very considerable abridgment of my lucubrations with a spirit becoming a Christian. My third granddaughter, Rebekah, aged fourteen years, and whom I have trained to read slowly and with proper emphasis (a practice too much neglected in our modern systems of education), read aloud to me the excellent essay upon “Old Age," the author of which I cannot help suspecting to be a young man who has
never yet known what it was to have snow sentiments and expressions), while it is also (canities morosa) upon his own roof. Dis- | descriptive of real scenery and manners. solve frigus, large super foco ligna reponens, Yet it must be admitted that the produce is a rule for the young, whose wood-pile is tion now in question (which here and there yet abundant for such cheerful lenitives. bears perhaps too plainly the marks of my A good life behind him is the best thing to correcting hand) does partake of the nature keep an old man's shoulders from shiver- of a Pastoral, inasmuch as the interlocutors ing at every breath of sorrow or ill-fortune. therein are purely imaginary beings, and But methinks it were easier for an old man the whole is little better than καπνού σκιάς to feel the disadvantages of youth than the ovap. The plot was, as I believe, suggested advantages of age. Of these latter I reckon by the “Twa Briggs” of Robert Burns, a one of the chiefest to be this : that we at- Scottish poet of the last century, as that tach a less inordinate value to our own pro- found its prototype in the “Mutual Comductions, and, distrusting daily more and plaint of Plainstanes and Causey" by Fermore our own wisdom (with the conceit gusson, though the metre of this latter be whereof at twenty we wrap ourselves away different by a foot in each verse. Perhaps from knowledge as with a garment), do the Two Dogs of Cervantes gave the first reconcile ourselves with the wisdom of hint. I reminded my talented young paGod. I could have wished, indeed, that rishioner and friend that Concord Bridge room might have been made for the residue had long since yielded to the edacious tooth of the anecdote relating to Deacon Tink- of Time. But he answered me to this effect : ham, which would not only have gratified a that there was no greater mistake of an natural curiosity on the part of the publick authour than to suppose the reader had no (as I have reason to know from several | fancy of his own ; that, if once that faculty letters of inquiry already received), but was to be called into activity, it were better would also, as I think, have largely in- to be in for the whole sheep than the shoulcreased the circulation of your Magazine in der ; and that he knew Concord like a book, this town. Nihil humani alienum, there is a - an expression questionable in propriety, curiosity about the affairs of our neighbors since there are few things with which he is which is not only pardonable, but even not more familiar than with the printed commendable. But I shall abide a more page. In proof of what he affirmed, he fitting season.
showed me some verses which with others As touching the following literary effort he had stricken out as too much delaying of Esquire Biglow, much might be profit- the action, but which I communicate in this ably said on the topick of Idyllick and Pas- | place because they rightly define “punkintoral Poetry, and concerning the proper dis- seed” (which Mr. Bartlett would have a tinctions to be made between them, from
kind of perch,
-a creature to which I have Theocritus, the inventor of the former, to found a rod or pole not to be so easily Collins, the latest authour I know of who equivalent in our inland waters as in the has emulated the classicks in the latter
books of arithmetic), and because it constyle. But in the time of a Civil War veys an eulogium on the worthy son of an worthy a Milton to defend and a Lucan to excellent father, with whose acquaintance sing, it may be reasonably doubted whether (eheu, fugaces anni!) I was formerly honthe publick, never too studious of serious oured. instruction, might not consider other objects more deserving of present attention. Con- “But nowadays the Bridge ain't wut they show, cerning the title of Idyll, which Mr. Biglow So much ez Em'son, Hawthorne, an' Thoreau. has adopted at my suggestion, it may not
I know the village, though; was sent there once be improper to animadvert, that the name
A-schoolin', 'cause to home I played the dunce;
An' I've ben sence a visitin' the Jedge, properly signifies a poem somewhat rustick
Whose garding whispers with the river's edge, in phrase (for, though the learned are not Where I've sot mornin's lazy as the bream, agreed as to the particular dialect employed
Whose on'y business is to head up-stream, by Theocritus, they are universanimous both (We call 'em punkin-seed,) or else in chat
Along 'th the Jedge, who covers with his hat as to its rusticity and its capacity of rising
More wit an' gumption an' shrewd Yankee sense now and then to the level of more elevated Than there is mosses on an ole stone fence."
Concerning the subject matter of the Confederate stock, whether political or verses, I have not the leisure at present financial. The always supercilious, often to write so fully as I could wish, my time insulting, and sometimes even brutal tone being occupied with the preparation of a of British journals and publick men has discourse for the forthcoming bicentenary certainly not tended to soothe whatever celebration of the first settlement of Jaa- resentment might exist in America. lam East Parish. It may gratify the pub
"Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love, lick interest to mention the circumstance,
But why did you kick me down stairs ?" that my investigations to this end have enabled me to verify the fact (of much his- We have no reason to complain that torick importance, and hitherto hotly de- England, as a necessary consequence of her bated) that Shearjashub Tarbox was the clubs, has become a great society for the first child of white parentage born in this minding of other people's business, and we town, being named in his father's will
can smile good-naturedly when she lectures under date August 7th, or 9th, 1662. It other nations on the sins of arrogance and is well known that those who advocate the
conceit; but we may justly consider it a claims of Mehetable Goings are unable to breach of the political convenances which find any trace of her existence prior to Oc- are expected to regulate the intercourse of tober of that year. As respects the settle- one well-bred government with another, ment of the Mason and Slidell question, when men holding places in the ministry Mr. Biglow has not incorrectly stated the allow themselves to dictate our domestic popular sentiment, so far as I can judge by policy, to instruct us in our duty, and to its expression in this locality. For myself, stigmatize as unholy a war for the rescue I feel more sorrow than resentment: for I
of whatever a high-minded people should am old enough to have heard those talk of hold most vital and most sacred. Was England who still, even after the unhappy it in good taste, that I may use the mildestrangement, could not unschool their lips est term, for Earl Russell to expound our from calling her the Mother-Country. But own Constitution to President Lincoln, or England has insisted on ripping up old to make a new and fallacious application of wounds, and has undone the healing work an old phrase for our benefit, and tell us of fifty years; for nations do not reason, that the Rebels were fighting for indepenthey only feel, and the spreto injuria forme dence and we for empire ? As if all wars rankles in their minds as bitterly as in that for independence were by nature just and of a woman. And because this is so, I feel deserving of sympathy, and all wars for the more satisfaction that our Government empire ignoble and worthy only of reprohas acted (as all Governments should, bation, or as if these easy phrases in any standing as they do between the people and way characterized this terrible struggle, their passions) as if it had arrived at years terrible not so truly in any superficial of discretion. There are three short and sense, as from the essential and deadly simple words, the hardest of all to pro- enmity of the principles that underlie it. nounce in any language (and I suspect they His Lordship's bit of borrowed rhetoric vere no easier before the confusion of would justify Smith O'Brien, Nana Sahib, tongues), but which no man or nation that and the Maori chieftains, while it would cannot utter can claim to have arrived at condemn nearly every war in which Engmanhood. Those words are, I was wrong; land has ever been engaged. Was it so and I am proud that, while England played very presumptuous in us to think that it the boy, our rulers had strength enough would be decorous in English statesmen if from the People below and wisdom enough they spared time enough to acquire some from God above to quit themselves like kind of knowledge, though of the most ele
mentary kind, in regard to this country The sore points on both sides have been and the questions at issue here, before they skilfully exasperated by interested and un- pronounced so off-hand a judgment ? Or scrupulous persons, who saw in a war be- is political information expected to come tween the two countries the only hope of Dogberry-fashion in England, like reading profitable return for their investment in and writing, by nature ?
And now all respectable England is won- calculated to rouse a just indignation, and dering at our irritability, and sees a quite to cause a permanent estrangement on the satisfactory explanation of it in our na- part of any nation capable of self-respect, tional vanity. Suave mari magno, it is pleas- and sensitively jealous, as ours then was, of aut, sitting in the easy-chairs of Downing foreign interference. Was there nothing in Street, to sprinkle pepper on the raw the indecent haste with which belligerent wounds of a kindred eople struggling for rights were conceded to the Rebels, nothing life, and philosophical to find in self-conceit in the abrupt tone assumed in the Trent the cause of our instinctive resentment.
case, nothing in the fitting out of ConfederSurely we were of all nations the least liable ate privateers, that might stir the blood of to any temptation of vanity at a time when a people already overcharged with doubt, the gravest anxiety and the keenest sor- suspicion, and terrible responsibility ? The row were never absent from our hearts. laity in any country do not stop to consider Nor is conceit the exclusive attribute of any points of law, but they have an instinctive one nation. The earliest of English travel- perception of the animus that actuates the lers, Sir John Mandeville, took a less pro- policy of a foreign nation; and in our own vincial view of the matter when he said, case they remembered that the British “For fro what partie of the erthe that men authorities in Canada did not wait till diduellen, other aboven or beneathen, it sem- plomacy could send home to England for ethe alweys to hem that duellen that thei her slow official tinder-box to fire the “Cargon more righte than any other folke.” oline." Add to this, wbat every sensible The English have always had their fair American knew, that the moral support of share of this amiable quality. We may England was equal to an army of two hunsay of them still, as the authour of the dred thousand men to the Rebels, while it “ Lettres Cabalistiques " said of them more insured us another year or two of exhaustthan a century ago, “ Ces derniers disent ing war. It was not so much the spite of naturellement qu'il n'y a qu'eux qui soient esti- her words (though the time might have mables.” And, as he also says, “ J'aimerois been more tastefully chosen) as the actual presque autant tomber entre les mains d'un
power for evil in them that we felt as a Inquisiteur que d'un Anglois qui me fait sentir deadly wrong: Perhaps the most immesans cesse combien il s'estime plus que moi, diate and efficient cause of mere irritation et qui ne daigne me parler que pour injurier was the sudden and unaccountable change ma Nation et pour m'ennuyer du récit des of manner on the other side of the water. grandes qualités de la sienne." Of this Bull Only six months before, the Prince of Wales we may safely say with Horace, habet fænum had come over to call us cousins; and everyin cornu. What we felt to be especially in- where it was nothing but “our American sulting was the quiet assumption that the brethren,” that great offshoot of British descendants of men who left the Old World institutions in the New World, so almost for the sake of principle, and who had made identical with them in laws, language, and the wilderness into a New World patterned | literature, — this last of the alliterative after an Idea, could not possibly be suscep- compliments being so bitterly true, that tible of a generous or lofty sentiment, could perhaps it will not be retracted even now. have no feeling of nationality deeper than To this outburst of long-repressed affection that of a tradesman for his shop. One we responded with genuine warmth, if with would bave thought, in listening to Eng- something of the awkwardness of a poor land, that we were presumptuous in fancy- relation bewildered with the sudden tightening that we were a nation at all, or had any ing of the ties of consanguinity when it is other principle of union than that of booths rumored that he has come into a large at a fair, where there is no higher notion estate. Then came the Rebellion, and, of government than the constable, or better presto! a flaw in our titles was discovered, image of God than that stamped upon the the plate we were promised at the family current coin.
table is flung at our head, and we were again It is time for Englishmen to consider the scum of creation, intolerably vulgar, at whether there was nothing in the spirit of once cowardly and overbearing, — no rela their press and of their leading public men tions of theirs, after all, but a dreggy hybrid of the basest bloods of Europe. Panurge izing influences of the place, with its inwas not quicker to call Friar John bis effable riches of association, its heirlooms former friend. I cannot help thinking of of immemorial culture, its historic monuWalter Mapes's jingling paraphrase of Pe- ments, ours no less than theirs, its noblo tronius, –
gallery of ancestral portraits? We have “ Dummodo sim splendidis vestibus ornatus,
only to succeed, and England will not only Et multa familia sim circumvallatus,
respect, but, for the first time, begin to Prudens sum et sapiens et morigeratus,
understand us. And let us not, in our jusEt tuus nepos sum et tu meus cognatus," tifiable indignation at wanton insult, forget which I may freely render thus:
that England is not the England only of
snobs who dread the democracy they do not So long as I was prosperous, I'd dinners by the dozen,
comprehend, but the England of history, of Was well-bred, witty, virtuous, and everybody's
heroes, statesmen, and poets, whose names cousin;
are dear, and their influence as salutary to If luck should turn, as well she may, her fancy
us as to her. is so flexile,
Let us strengthen the hands of those Will virtue, cousinship, and all return with her from exile ?
in authority over us, and curb our own
tongues, remembering that General Wait There was nothing in all this to exasper- commonly proves in the end more than a ate a philosopher, much to make him smile match for General Headlong, and that the rather; but the earth's surface is not chiefly Good Book ascribes safety to a multitude, inhabited by philosophers, and I revive the indeed, but not to a mob, of counsellours. recollection of it now in perfect good-hu- Let us remember and perpend the words mour, merely by way of suggesting to our of Paulus Emilius to the people of Rome ; ci-devant British cousins, that it would have that, “if they judged they could manage been easier for them to hold their tongues the war to more advantage by any other, than for us to keep our tempers under the he would willingly yield up his charge ; circumstances.
but if they confided in him, ihey were not to The English Cabinet made a blunder, make themselves his colleagues in his office, or unquestionably, in taking it so hastily for raise reports, or criticise his actions, but, withgranted that the United States had fallen for- out talking, supply him with means and assistever from their position as a first-rate power, ance necessary to the carrying on of the war ; and it was natural that they should vent a for, if they proposed to command their own little of their vexation on the people whose commander, they would render this expedition inexplicable obstinacy in maintaining free- more ridiculous than the former.” (Vide dom and order, and in resisting degradation, Plutarchum in Vitâ P. E.) Let us also not was likely to convict them of their mistake. forget what the same excellent authour But if bearing a grudge be the sure mark says concerning Perseus's fear of spending of a small mind in the individual, can it be money, and not permit the covetousness of a proof of high spirit in a nation ? If the Brother Jonathan to be the good fortune result of the present estrangement between of Jefferson Davis. For my own part, till the two countries shall be to make us more I am ready to admit the Commander-inindependent of British twaddle (Indomito Chief to my pulpit, I shall abstain from nec dira ferens stipendia Tauro), so much planning his battles. If courage be the the better; but if it is to make us insensible sword, yet is patience the armour of a to the value of British opinion in matters nation"; and in our desire for peace, let us where it gives us the judgment of an im- never be willing to surrender the Constitupartial and cultivated outsider, if we are to tion bequeathed us by fathers at least as shut ourselves out from the advantages of wise as ourselves (even with Jefferson Davis English culture, the loss will be ours, and to help us), and, with those degenerate not theirs. Because the door of the old Romans, tuta et præsentia quam vetera et homestead has been once slammed in our periculosa malle. faces, shall we in a huff reject all future And not only should we bridle our own advances of conciliation, and cut ourselves tongues, but the pens of others, which are foolishly off from any share in the human- swift to convey useful intelligence to the