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a labor exacting enough in itself, and egregiousiy so to him, who, bemg no ready pennan, cannot sign so much as his name without strange contortions of the face (his nose, even, being essential to complete success) and paintully suppressed Saint-Vitus-dance of every muscle in his body, This, with his having been put in the Commission of the Peace by our excellent Governor (0, si sic omnes !) immediately on his accession to office, keeps him continually employed.
Haud inexpertus loquor, having for many years written myselt J. P., and being not seldom applied to for specimens of my chirography, a request to which I have sometimes over weakly assented, believing as I do that nothing written of set purpose can properly be calied an autograph, but only those unpremeditated sallies and lively runnings which beiray the fireside Man instead of the hunted Notoriety, doubling on his pursuers. But it is time that I should bethink me of St. Austin's prayer, libera me a meipso, if I would arrive at the matter in hand.
Moreover, I had yet another reason for taking up the pen myself. I am informed that the Atlantic Monthly is mainly indebted for its success to the co!ibutions and editorial supervision of Dr. Holmes, whose excellent “ Annals of America
occupy an honored place upon my shelves. The journal itself I have never seen ; but if this be So, might seem that the recommendation of a brother-clergyman (though par magis quam similis) should carry a greater weight. I suppose that you have a department for historical lucubrations, and should be glad, if deemed desirable, to forward for publication my“ Collections for the Antiquities of
Jaalam," and my (now happily complete) pedigree of the Wilbur family from its fons et origo, the Wild Boar of Ardennes. Withdrawn from the active áuties of my profession by the settlement of a colleague-pastor, the Reverend Jeduthun Hitchcock, formerly of Brutus Four-Corners, I might find time for further contributions to gen
eral literature on similar topicks. I have made large advances towards a comp.eter genealogy of Mrs. Wilbur's family, the Pilcoxes, not, if I know myselt, from any idie vanity, but with the scle desire of rendering myself useful in my day and generation. Nulla dies sine lineâ. I inclose a meteorological register, a list of the births, deaths, and marriages, and a few me: morabiiia of longevity in Jaalam Last Parish for the last
hall-century Though spared to the unusual period of more than eighty years, I find no diminution of my faculties or abatement of my natural vigor, except a scarcely sensible decay of memory and a necessity of recurring to yourger eyesight or spectacles for the finer print in Cruden.
It would gratify me to make some further provision for declining years from the emoluments of my literary labors.
I had intended to effect an insurance on my life, but was deteried therefrom by a circular from one of the offices, in which the sudden death of so large a proportion of the insured was set forth as an inducement, that it seemed to me little less than a tempting of Providence. Neque in summâ inopiâ loyis esse senectus potest, ne sapienti quidem.
Thus far concerning Mr. Biglow; and so much seemed needful (brevis esse laboro) by way of preliminary, after a silence of fourteen years. He greatly fears lest he may in this essay have fallen below himself, well knowing that, if exercise be dangerous on a full stom ach, no less so is writing on a full repu. tation. Beset as he has been on all sides, he could not refrain, and would only imprecate patience till he shall again have “got the hang” (as he callı it) of an accomplishment long disused The letter of Mr. Sawin was received some time in last June, and others have followed which will in due season be submitted to the publick. How largely his statements are to be depended on, I more than merely dubitate. He was always distinguished for a tendency to exaggeration, -- it might almost be qualified by a stronger term. Fortiter
mentire, aliquid hæret, seemed to be his favourite rule of rhetorick. That he is actually where he says he is the postmark would seem to confirm ; that he was received with the pubiick demonstrations he describes would appear consonant with what we know of the habits of those regions ; but further than this I venture not to decide. I have sometimes suspected a vein of humour in him which leads him to speak by contraries; but since, in the unrestrained intercourse of private life, I have never observed in him any striking powers of invention, I am the more willing to put a certain qualified faith in the incidents and the details of life and manners which give to his narratives some portion of the interest and entertainment which characterizes a Century Sermon.
It may be expected of me that I should say something to justify myself with the world for a seeming inconsistency with my well-known principles in alloving my youngest son to raise a company for the war, a fact known to all through the medium of the publick prints. I did reason with the young man, but expellas naturam furca, tamenusque recurrit. Having myself been a chaplain in 1812, I could the less wonder that a man of war had sprung from my loins. It was, indeed, grievcus to send my Benjamin, the child of my old age; but after the discomfiture of Manassas, I with my own hands did buckle on his armour, trusting in the great Comforter and Commander for strength according to my need. For truly the memory of a brave son dead in his shroud were a greater staff of my declining years than a living coward (if those may be said to have lived who carry all of themselves into the grave with them), though his days might be long in the land, and he should get much goods. It is not till our earthen vessels are broken that we find and truly possess the treasure that was laid up in them. Migravi in animam meam, I have sought refuge in my own soul; nor would I be shamed by the heathen comedian with his Ne
quam illud verbum, bene , nisi bene facit. During our dark days, I read constantly in the inspired book of Job, which I believe to contain more food to maintain the fibre of the soul for right living and high thinking than all pagan literature together, though I would by no means vilipend the study of the classicks. There I read that Job said in his despair, even as the fool saith in his heart there is no God,
“The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are se
(Job xii. 6.). But I sought farther till I found this Scripture also, which I would have those perpend who have striven to turn our Israel aside to the worship of strange gods :-“If I did despise the cause of my man-servant or of my maid-servant when they contended with me, what then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?" (Job xxxi. 13, 14.) On this text I preached a discourse on the last day of Fasting and Humiliation with general acceptance, though there were not wanting one or two Laodiceans who said that I should have waited till the President announced his policy. But let us hope and pray, remembering this of Saint Gregory, Vult Deus rogari, vult cogi, vult quâdam importunitate vinci.
We had our first fall of snow on Friday last. Frosts have been unusually backward this fall. A singular circumstance occurred in this town on the 20th October, in the family of Deacon Pelatiah Tinkham. On the previous evening, a few moments before family-prayers,
[The editors of the Atlantic find it necessary here to cut short the letter of their valued correspondent, which seemed calculated rather on the rates of longevity in Jaalam than for less favored localities. They have every enrouragement to hope that he will write again.] with esteem and respect.
Your obedien, servant,
HO'FF WILPUR Á M.
It's some consid'ble of a spell sence
I hain't writ no letters, An' ther''s gret changes hez took
place in all polit’cle metters: Some canderdates air dead an' gone,
an' some hez ben defeated, Which 'mounts to pooty much the
same ; fer it's ben proved repeated A betch o' bread thet hain't riz once
ain't goin' to rise agin, An' it's jest money throwed away to
put the emptins in : But thet 's wut folks wun't never larn;
they dunno how to go, Arter you want their room, no more 'n
a bullet-headed beau ; Ther' 's ollers chaps a-hangin' roun'
thet can't see peatime 's past, Mis’ble as roosters in a rain, heads
down an' tails half-mast : It ain't disgraceful bein' beat, when a
holl nation doos it, But Chance is like an amberill, - it
don't take twice to lose it.
I spose you 're kin' o' cur'ous, now, to
kn why I hain't writ. Wal, I've ben where a litt'ry taste
don't somehow seem to git Th' encouragement a seller'd think,
thet's used to public schools, An' where sech things ez paper 'n' ink
air clean agin the rules : A kind o' vicyvarsy house, built drefile
strong an' stout, So 's't honest people can't get in, ner
t'other sort git out, An' with the winders so contrived,
you'd prob’ly like the view Better alookin' in than out, though it
seems sing'lar, tu ; But then the landlord sets by ye, can't
bear ye out o' sight, And locks ye up ez reg'lar ez an out
side door at night.
So small no self-respectin' hen thct
vallied tiine 'ould scratch, So small the rot can't find 'em out, an'
then agin, nex' door, Ez big ez wut hogs dream on when
they 're 'most too fat to snore. But groutin' ain't no kin' o' use ; an' ef
the fust throw fails, Why, up an' try agin, thet 's all, – the
coppers ain't all tails ; Though I hev seen 'em when I thought
they hed n't no more head Than 'd sarve a nussin' Brigadier thet
gits some ink to shed. When I writ last, I'd ben turned
loose by thet blamed nigger, Pomp; Ferlorner than a musquash, ef you
'd took an' dreened his swamp: But I ain't o' the meechin' kind, thet
sets an' thinks fer weeks The bottom 's out o'th' univarse coz
their own gillpot leaks. I hed to cross bayous an' criks, (wal, it
did beat all natur',) Upon a kin' o' corderoy, fust log, then
alligator : Luck'ly, the critters warn't sharp-sot;
I guess 't wuz overruled They'd done their mornin's marketin' an'
gut their hunger cooled ; Fer missionaries to the Creeks an' run
aways are viewed By them an' folks ez sent express to be
their reg'lar food : Wutever 't wuz, they laid an' snoored
ez peacefully ez sinners, Meek ez disgestin' deacons be at ordi
nation dinners; Ef any on 'em turned an' snapped, I
let 'em kin' o' taste My live-oak leg, an' so, ye see, ther'
'warn't no gret o' waste ; Fer they found out in quicker time than
ef they'd ben to college 'T warn't heartier food than though 't
wuz made out o' the tree o' knowl
edge. But I tell you my other leg hed larned
wut pizon-nettle meant, An' var'ous other usefle things, afore I
reached a settlement, An' all o' me thet wuz n't sore an'
sendin' prickles thru me
This world is awfile contrary : the rope
may stretch your neck Thet mebby kep' another chap frum
washin' off a wreck ; An'
you may see the taters grow in one poor feller's patch,
Wuz jest the leg I parted with in lickin'
Montezumy: A usette limb it's ben to me, an' more
of a support Than wut the other hez ben, - coz I
dror my pension for 't.
Wal, I gut in at last where folks wuz
civerlized an' white, Ez I diskivered to my cost afore
't warn't hardly night; Fer 'z I wuz settin' in the bar a-takin'
sunthin' hot, An' feelin' like a man agin, all over in
one spot, A feller thet sot opposite, arter a squint
at me, Lep up an' drawed his peacemaker, an',
“ Dash it, Sir," suz he, “I'm doubledashed ef you ain't him
thet stole my yaller chettle, (You 're all the strănger thet 's around,)
so now you 've gut to settle ; It ain't no use to argerfy ner try to cut
up frisky, I know ye ez I know the smell of ole
chain lightnin' whiskey; We're lor-abidin' folks down here,
we 'll fix ye so 's 't a bar Would n' tech ye with a ten-foot pole ;
(Jedge, you jest warm the tar;) You'll think you'd better ha'gut among
a tribe o' Mongrel Tartars, 'Fore we've done showin' how we raise
our Southun prize tar-martyrs ; A moultin' fallen cherubim, ef he
should see ye, 'd snicker, Thinkin' he warn’t a suckemstance.
Come, genlemun, le''s liquor; An', Gin'ral, when you 've mixed the
drinks an' chalked 'em up, tote
roun' An' see ef ther' 's a feather-bed (thet's
borryable) in town. We'll try ye fair, old Grafted-Leg, an'
ef the tar wun't stick, Th' ain't not a juror here but wut 'll
'quit ye double-quick.” To cut it short, I wun't say sweet, they
gi' me a good dip, (They ain't perfessin' Bahptists here,)
then give the bed a rip, The jury 'd sot, an' quicker 'n a flash they hetched me out, a livin'
Extemp’ry mammoth turkey-chick fer
a Fejee Thanksgivin'. Thet I felt some stuck up is wut it's
nat'ral to suppose, When poppylar enthusiasm, hed fun
nished me sech clo'es ; (Ner 't ain't without edvantiges, this
kin' o' suit, ye see, It's water-proof, an’ water's wut I like
kep' out o' me ;) But nut content with thet, they took a
kerridge from the fence An' rid me roun' to see the place, en
tirely free 'f expense, With forty-'leven new kines o' sarse
without no charge acquainted me, Gi' me three cheers, an’ vowed thet I
wuz all their fahncy painted me; They treated me to all their eggs ;
(they keep 'em I should think, Fer sech ovations, pooty long, for they
wuz mos' distinc' ;) They starred me thick 'z the Milky
Way with indiscrim’nit cherity, Fer wut we call reception eggs air sun
thin' of a rerity; Green ones is plentifle anough, skurce
wuth a nigger's getherin', But your dead-ripe ones ranges high fer
treatin' Nothun bretherin ; A spotteder, ringstreakeder child the’
warn't in Uncle Sam's Holl farm, -- a cross of stripëd pig an'
one o' Jacob's lambs ; 'T wuz Dannil in the lions' den, new
an’ enlarged edition, An' everythin' fust-rate o' 'ts kind, the'
warn't no impersition. People 's impulsiver down here than
wut our folks to home be, An' kin' o’go it 'ith a resh'in raisin'
Hail Columby : Thet 's sui an' they swarmed out like
bees, for your real Southun men's Time is n't o' much more account tha
an ole settin' hen's; (They jest work semioccashnally, or
else don't work at all, An' so their time an' 'tention both air
at saci'ty's call.). Talk about hospatality! wut Nothun
town d'ye know Would take a totle stranger upan' treat
him gratis so?
You'd better b’lieve ther''s nothin' like
this spendin' days an' nights Along 'ith a dependent race fer civer
But this wuz all prelim’nary; it's so
Gran' Jurors here Fin' a true bill, a hendier way than
ourn, an' nut so dear; So arter this they sentenced me, to
make all tight ’n’ snug, Afore a reg'lar court o' law, to ten
years in the Jug. I did n’ make no gret defence : you
don't feel much like speakin', When, ef you let your clamshells gape,
a quart o'tar will leak in : I hev hearn tell o'wingëd words, but
pint o' fact it tethers The spoutin' gift to hev your words tu
thick sot on with feathers, An' Choate ner Webster would n't ha'
made an A i kin' o' speech Astride a Southun chestnut horse shar
per 'n a baby's screech. Two year ago they ketched the thief,
'n' seein' I wuz innercent, They jest uncorked an' le' me run, an'
in my stid the sinner sent To see how he liked pork 'n' pone
flavored with wa’nut saplin', An' nary social priv'ledge but a one
hoss, starn-wheel chaplin. When I come out, the folks behaved
mos' gen'manly an' harnsome ; They ’lowed it would n't be more 'n
right, ef I should cuss 'n' darn
some : The Cunnle he apolergized ; suz he,
“I'll du wut's right, I'll give ye settisfection now by shootin'
ye at sight, An' give the nigger (when he 's
caught), to pay him fer his trickin' In gittin' the wrong man took up,
most H fired lickin', It's jest the way with all on 'em, the
inconsistent critters, They ’re 'most enough to make a man
blaspheme his mornin' bitters; I'll be your frien' thru thick an' thin
an' in all kines o' weathers, An' all you 'll hev to pay fer 's jest the
waste o' tar an' feathers :
A lady owned the bed, ye see, a wid
der, tu, Miss Shennon; It wuz her mite; we would ha' took
another, ef ther 'd ben one : We don't make no charge for the ride
and all the other fixins. Le' 's liquor ; Gin'ral, you can chalk
our friend for all the mixins." A meetin' then wuz called, where they
“RESOLVED, Thet we respec B. S. Esquire for quallerties ohean
an' intellec Peculiar to Columby's sile, an' not to
no one else's, Thet makes Európean tyrans scringe
in all their gilded pel'ces, An' doos gret honor to our race an'
Southun institootions": (I give ye jest the substance o' the
leadin' resolootions :) “RESOLVED, Thet we revere in Sim a
soger 'thout a flor, A martyr to the princerples of libbaty
an' lor: RESOLVED, Thet other nations all, ef
sot 'longside ous, For vartoo, larnin', chivverlry, ain't
noways wuth a cuss.” They gut up a subscription, tu, but no
gret come o' thet; I ’xpect in cairin' of it roun' they took
a leaky hat; Though Southun genelmun ain't slow
at puttin' down their name, (When they can write,) fer in the eend
it comes to jes' the same, Because, ye see, 't 's the fashion here
to sign an' not to think A critter'd be so sordid ez to ax'em for
the chink : I did n't call but jest on one, an' he
drawed toothpick on me, An' reckoned he warn't goin' to stan
no sech doggauned econ’my; So nothin' niore wuz realized, 'ceptin'
the good-will shown, Than ef't had ben from fust to last á
reg'lar Cotton Loan. It's a good way, though, come to
think, coz ye enjy the sense O'lendin' lib'rally to the Lord, an'
nary red o' 'xpense : Sence then I've gut my name up for a