By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth
Author: Templeton, Timothy
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

University and formatted by Mark Meiss.








New York and Auburn:

New York: 25 Park Row--Auburn: 107 Genesee St.
London: W.T. Tweedle, Strand, and David Bryce, 48 Paternoster Row.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for
the Southern District of New York.

Edward R. Jenkins, Printer,
Nos. 26 Frankfort Street.


Some Particulars respecting Cousin Smooth
CHAPTER I.    --Mr. Smooth in Washington
CHAPTER II.   --Mr. Smooth Sups, and goes to Bed
CHAPTER III.  --In which Mr. Smooth has an Interview with General Cass
CHAPTER IV.   --Mr. Smooth's Dream
CHAPTER V.    --A Morning Adventure
CHAPTER VI.   --Mr. Smooth finds his Path to the White House a
                  difficult one
CHAPTER VII.  --Mr. Smooth Penetrates the Dark Confines of Mr.
                  Pierce's Kitchen, where he finds things sadly
CHAPTER VIII. --Mr. Solomon Smooth takes a Fish Breakfast
CHAPTER IX.   --Mr. Smooth Circumnavigates the Globe
CHAPTER X.    --Smooth preserves Young America's Rights
CHAPTER XI.   --Mr. Smooth is Right Side up
CHAPTER XII.  --Mr. Smooth makes a few Reflections
CHAPTER XIII. --Mr. Smooth sees a Country great in Resources blighted
                  by a Narrow Policy
CHAPTER XIV.  --Done Brown in Downing Street
CHAPTER XV.   --His little Lordship's Show, and a Peep into Downing
CHAPTER XVI.  --Smooth Dines with Citizen Peabody
CHAPTER XVII. --Smooth looks in upon the Mixed Commission
CHAPTER XVIII.--Smooth receives the Documents, and calls a Congress
                  at Ostend
CHAPTER XIX.  --Smooth Discovers Himself
CHAPTER XX.   --Arrival and Grand Reception at Ostend
CHAPTER XXI.  --Fashionable Debts and Fashionable Diplomatists
CHAPTER XXII. --How Smooth got his Manners
CHAPTER XXIII.--Mr. Smooth proposes taking Mr. Pierce's Fighting by
                  the Job
CHAPTER XXIV. --Mr. Pierce sends Smooth Down East among Britishers
CHAPTER XXV.  --The Pious Squire
CHAPTER XXVI. --Smooth encounters a Colonial Justice of strange
CHAPTER XXVII.--Smooth settles all International Difficulties, and
                  proposes maintaining the very best Understanding
                  with John Bull



No uncommon type of our "Young America" is Mister Solomon Smooth, the
individual whose part in these sketches was performed for General
Pierce in particular, and "Uncle Sam" in general. Mr. Smooth was born
and "growed" on the extreme south point of Cape Cod--a seemingly
desolate spot, yet somewhat renowned as the birthplace of Long Tom
Coffin. If I would select one of our nation's 'cutest sons; if I were
called upon to name the kind of man with that in his natural
composition to make the safest, shrewdest, and most calculating
merchant; if I were called to pass judgment on the man most qualified
to sustain the spirit and characteristics of the American nation
abroad--one who would never betray our national energy, nor degrade
his profession, nor fail to seek that which might promote the
interests of those who reposed trust in him, at the same time never
forgetting his own--if I were about forming an expedition, and would
provide myself with that character of man upon whom the issue of its
success most depends; if, I say, I would seek the man possessing those
rigid qualities of a moral nature which are a sure protection against
doing aught that may degrade the councils of a nation, I would make
this sandy cape my starting point, and draw from the upward growth of
that stern energy to be found among those flourishing, energetic, and
intelligent communities embraced within that circle which terminates
at Cape Ann, and between the circling arms of which two capes heaves
Boston Bay. But Smooth, though somewhat primitive in his personal
appearance, is none of your common Cape Cod coasters, such as your
Captain Doanes, and Cooks, and Ryders, and Clapps. Not he! So slender
of person is he, that there can be no particular impropriety in our
drawing a comparison between him and that peculiar type of per son
commonly called a Virginian bean-pole. Nor, when he gets himself (as
is not uncommon with him) "all over" native brown homespun, does his
configuration materially change, there yet remaining, and boldly
refusing to be disguised, that face so full of penetration, and those
features so sharp. The waggishly inclined have identified them with
the wizardry of dividing storm currents. Nevertheless, of this lean
conformation, which is better within than the world without is in
general willing to admit, is Smooth particularly proud. In manner,
Smooth is piquant; and being an acknowledged member of the fast
school--that is, a disciple of manifest destiny in particular and
Model Republics in general--he accepts the mission so kindly proffered
him by his unfortunate friend, Mr. General Pierce, and has no
objection to giving the world and kingcraft (the latter rudderless,
and drifting on those quicksands of common sense which it were well
for nations had they proved destructive centuries ago) a few lessons
in the go-ahead principle. What Smooth means to convey by the go-ahead
principle, is simply that when common sense triumphs universal in a
nation, sycophantism dies, and with it that pest of peoples,
kingcraft! So, with the most amiable intentions, does Solomon set out
for Washington, to have a first talk with General Pierce: this talk he
hopes will be a prelude to putting straight the nationalities now
drifting on the rock of intrigue, without that safety-valve which a
people fully conscious of enjoying their rights can give. And while
thus employed, Smooth does not forget that it is a well laid down rule
that many small Presidents may talk very large and yet cut very
ridiculous figures: hence his first talk with Mr. Pierce, who is well
known for general and very respectable characteristics, may be
productive of great good to mankind in a mass. In New England
educated, (that land where niggers may be white men, and white men too
often turn niggers), loving universal rights, peace to consolidate a
nation's good, and keep down that martial spirit which is its
cankering curse--being tenacious of freedom in its broadest
acceptation, and commercial prosperity with a general diffusion of its
results, it is Mr. Smooth's candid opinion that ere another century
rolls into the page of time America will whip, feed, civilize, and
republicanize the great American continent. Could this be done at an
earlier period, so much the better for mankind in general. Smooth was
borne out in this opinion from the fact that Europe had got into a
great fuzzle, the result of which was an equally great fight. Kingdoms
and empires had become disordered, their craft was stranded;
potentates were turning their people into minions of slaughter.
Nicholas (modest god of all the Russias) thought his murdering a few
thousands an act most pious: it was all for the sake of Christianity
and a very small holy _rite!_ On the other hand, there was Mister John
Bull, so dogged at times, and yet so hard to hold once his propensity
for fighting somebody was excited, hurling very unchristian lead and
steel into. Nicholas's subtle-headed serfs. But the thing most
wondrous was, that Uncle John, now foaming with the fever of war, had
got Johnny Crappo at his back instead of his belly--a fact that would
be recorded on the strangest page of history. Strange fighting
companions were they; but as pig and dog do now and then become
bed-fellows, who can give too much expression to his surprise at this
strange Anglo-French combination? Let the world say what it will with
reference to our worthy friend Uncle John fighting the battle of
Mohamedanism--let it lay at his door the grave charge of degrading
himself by seeking to make firm the rotten props of one of the most
debased governments that has stained the history of the world with its
crimes, John will humanely acknowledge the charge while forwarding to
Turkey a copious edition of his "Society for Promoting Christian

We hope with Mr. Smooth, that Master Bull and Cousin Jonathan may war
only in words. Both are sensible gentlemen; both are keenly alive to
that inspiration called fighting for one's rights; both are for ever
finding a small bone to snarl over; but peace is found the greater
bone, which, by preserving, affords the best picking. Indeed, we must
all admit, that if polite diplomatists and small politicians had their
way, their naughty recriminations would give us plenty of war, with
only bows and smiles to pay for the blood and treasure wasted. But
Mr. Bull is considerate with his power; while Jonathan shrewdly
calculates how much being embroiled in war will disturb his tin
business. May our discretion continue to form the best defence against
war between the most enlightened governments of christendom.

At home our negro question bids very fair to get political parties
into an interminable snarl; which said snarl is made worse by the
singular hopes of those having friends who would like to be next
President of the United States. The "white house," (that shrine of
patriotic worship!) having its avenues strongly bolted and barred with
formidable niggers from Virginia and Carolina, has become a mammon of
faith before which politicians are making sad niggers of themselves.
Mr. Solomon Smooth lamented this; and, in order to ascertain what
could be done in the way of finding a remedy, he determined to plainly
introduce the matter during his first talk with General Pierce;--in a
word, to see what could be done in the way of straightening things ere
he tried the quality of his cigars and Bourbouin whiskey, a large
stock of which the General was known to keep on hand. The party to
which Mr. Smooth belonged, "Young America," enrolled among its numbers
many young gentlemen whose spirits were fast, and young ladies whose
talents were fast increasing; hence it was that he was a firm believer
in the elastic principles of a go-ahead government: such an one,
albeit, as would republicanize Russia, knock Austria into a smash, or
make her declare herself something--revolutionize Europe in general,
and in particular teach kings of the christian faith how very
unchristian it is to wage savage wars. In addition to this, he would
have the world in general more enlightened, and kings made to know
that their highest duty was to mould their conduct after the example
of good citizens. Were this not enough, he would go for annexing to
these "United States" all the rest of creation; Mexico and Central
America in particular, to aid which object he would have the moon
perform a specific part on behalf of manifest destiny.

The reader must remember that our hero Smooth is a man most
unpolished, though never so bad as he seems. But we will let him speak
for himself, and as his letters are addressed to Uncle Sam, of course
those may read who will.

_Enough from the Editor_.

        JUNE, 1855.



"Dear Uncle--Once upon a time you were called Sam; but now that the
reign of Pierce is upon us it is difficult to tell what you may not be
called. Not long since you were the son of greatness, you are now the
shadow of Pierce--the man whose little light posterity will snuff
out. I have thought of you frequently, Uncle: I have seen you in
sorrow looking back upon the past, and my heart has beat with sympathy
as I saw you contrast it with the present. Once patriotism stood on
manly feet, now Bunkam reigns. Politics are turned into drum-sticks,
parties are lost for want of a policy, principles are buried in the
market-place. Mr. Smooth has been long accustomed to hard knocks and
crooked places; but anything so crooked as Mr. Pierce staggers his
digestion. If the concentrated wisdom of the nation riots here
(thought I as I entered the city) who can gainsay my coming? I knew
the atmosphere I entered had foul malaria in it; the city I found as
straight as the face of parties on the other hand was deformed. But
being in the federal city, I became forcibly impressed with the fact,
that your smallest man has the largest expectations, though he will
not object to become the nation's drone. Having made this wonderful
discovery, I took up my line of march for the National Hotel, a
gorgeous palace where an uncouth million meet to revel in cheap
luxury. So large was the house that a pilot to guide me through its
thousand galleries to bed was an indispensable necessity. I was
fatigued, and cared not where I hung up. Large as was the
establishment, everything looked so costly that I became cautious lest
what I sat down upon might become soiled, in which event I might be
compelled to pay the shot with a short locker; or, should the case go
before Pierce, he might in the profundity of his wisdom exile me to
some remote spot on the Mosquito coast. I walked into the
establishment like one who feels himself an independent citizen, and
then commenced looking at the place and the people, as the people
commenced looking at me. Returning looks, and question-asking, seemed
the fashion. 'Stranger!' said a well dressed but rather inquisitive
individual, 'you must, to be anybody in this place, smother yourself
in dignity, and eat dough-nuts of Southern make. Large quantities of
this diet are made now at the White House; in fact Pierce has turned
the establishment into a factory, where that article is manufactured
_ad libitum_, and all are expected to eat.' I thought the person who
thus accosted me had large experience of matters in general, for he
gave me a slanting wink and a cunning nudge, which I rendered into an
insinuation to stand treat. I affected not to understand him, and
edging aside a pace, made a bold effort to gain the long and very
expensive mahogany counter that stretched half across the office, and
behind which glowed out the figure of a fat citizen, whom I stared
right in the face. You cannot get cleverly through this world without
brass; if in your face you have enough to establish a foundery, so
much the better. It is indispensable in political matters; and,
whether right or wrong, the reader can best judge. I have thought the
smaller the politician, the larger were his dealings in the article.
No one could be more cautious how they scandalized their neighbours
than I am; this, Uncle Sam, you well know; but I question the policy
of being delicate during the reign of Pierce, whose cabinet recalls to
my mind the story of the clacking hen, that forever kept up a noise
without laying one egg. To make your way in Washington, you must storm
and put to route a whole platform of valiant gentlemen, who have
become political images in brass. As they love you, Uncle Sam, so also
would they live upon you, die upon you, be buried at your expense, and
their friends be very angry were you not a mourner at the
funeral. This I, Smooth, declare an honest fact, notwithstanding the
high respect I entertain for all those patriotic gentlemen who would
take such care of my Uncle's affairs.

"Now, this very phlegmatic and good natured citizen, who stood: behind
the mahogany, had a face as broad and placid as a town-clock seen by
moonlight. His figure, too, was tightly driven into a suit of
extravagant cloth, and altogether presented the appearance of having
quite recently escaped from the hands of James, his tailor. It was not
in the power of man to analyze his character from what he said, for
what he said meant nothing, when judged by the world's wisdom; but you
saw that James had succeeded in making him in love with himself.
Should he chance to read this imperfect sketch, he will excuse me when
I say he seemed a person brought up to himself, and entertaining the
hope that at no distant day he would become a very important
character--perhaps outshine General Pierce himself. He looked at me,
and I looked at him; then he grinned at me, and I grinned at him. At
last I said, I reckoned we might draw the game. I then added, that
from the look of the establishment I could not be wrong in assuming
that they did a large business in the way of feeding hungry
politicians and honester people. 'You may stake some on that, old
feller,' says he, with a suspicious leer. His nasal was somewhat
strong, so I put him down as from Vermont State, perhaps from the more
mountainous part of it. As if shy of my patronage he upon the counter,
pompous, spread his hands, as if the mahogany was all his. This
seeming indifference rather touched my dignity, which was of tender
quality, so I cast upon him a look he could not misinterpret,
inquiring if he could tie a body up for the night in a spare corner.
'You may bet on that! got a spare pin we can hook ye on somehow, I
reckon;' he ejaculates, sprawling his elbows, and making a support of
his fleshy hands, from between which his face peered like a soft
pumpkin sorely squeezed. In this position he stared, and stared, until
his countenance assumed an anxiety, equalled only by that of a stump
lecturer about inaugration time--say one, who had hoped for the
mission to the court of St. James, but as a matter of patriotism would
not decline the Dublin Consulship. At length he condescended to say,
with an air of languishing endurance, that 'he could do me up brown,
in the way of comfortable quarters.' I thanked him for his great
kindness, said I wanted to exercise a judicious economy, and could not
do the extensive, like those persons sprawling in easy arm chairs at
the left hand corner, to whom I pointed, and who, like Mr. President
Pierce's representatives abroad, were making a great noise to no
purpose. After looking quizically at the tie-up under my arm, then at
my tall white hat, and again at the coarse weave of my homespun, he
inquired if that (pointing to the bundle) constituted my
baggage. Instantly I told him it was none of his business; that there
was no occasion for his feeling so large, though Mr. Pierce was
President. He made an upright of himself, and very civilly rejoined
that there was no place this side of Cape Horn--and he doubted if
there was on the other side--where it was so necessary to see the
colateral as this Washington. He was proceeding to say much more, and
something about the doubtful character of General Pierce and his
friends, when I interrupted by saying, I thought he must have
forgotten my name. 'Smooth is my name,' I reiterated, 'of the Young
American party, the party that intends doing up the manifest destiny
for mankind.'

"'Manifest destiny never pays debts: must see the collateral 'afore we
tie ye up! Fact is, stranger, we must have the hold-fast for fear of
the shot falling short. The General has got so many tin-less friends,
who visit Washington on a small affair of business (here he gave his
shoulders a significant shrug), that a body has to keep a sharp eye in
the wind.' Suddenly he began to drum on the mahogany, screw his face
into a disc of puckers, and look so wise. So glad did he seem, that he
whistled Yankee Doodle with the variations, looked every which way,
and then laughed right out at what he called Smooth's outfit.

"'Needn't laugh at the fixens--old feller!' says I, 'Uncle Sam and me
are going into the tin business, and Sam, being a generous old butt,
will stand all the treats and hotel bills. Besides that, I was born in
the very sand heap where Tom Coffin was raised.'

"'Who cares for Tom' says he, turning aside, and making a polite bow
to a thirsty senator from the far west: the senatorial gent bent his
neck over, and approaching with his lips the ear of the important
individual, whispered something from out the smallest corner. This
something, when translated into decent English, might be rendered
thus:--If justice and gin slings are administered at your bar, pray
direct me the way to it! The fat man pointed up a narrow, dark, and
very long passage; and then suddenly turning to me, he said: 'If Tom
Coffin lived now-a-days, when politics went on the fast, he wouldn't
be worth shooks, he not having a vote, nor wanting an office under the
new administration.' 'Now, stranger,' says I, directing a look as if I
was going to strike something at him, 'don't make such a fuss about
the needful--look'a here!' I just plumps out Uncle Zack Brewster's
letter, and having fascinated his eye, tells him how Cochran and Riggs
'll do the dust. Like an hydraulic current let loose did the fellow
prick up his ears: then he said, '_do_ tell,' with a musical emphasis
that seemed so full of credit. Again he drew a long breath, and a
seriousness came over his face that could only be likened to that of a
South Carolina locomotive when drawing a whole convention of
secessionists, who, having failed in devising means to dissolve the
'federal union,' were returning homeward very melancholy.

"'Never doubted Mr. Smooth's word,' says he, with simple
dryness,--'but, notwithstanding, painful is the experience that
office-holders and seekers, though always kind to Uncle Sam, and
tenacious of his dignity and cashbag, seldom maintain the same
earnestness for their own when legitimates are left in the key-hole.'

"'You mean that the General's friends don't shine over on the square?'

"'Precisely so!--Mr. General Pierce himself is a sort of mixed stripe;
but his friends (and he has regiments of them!), all fighters in the
Mexican war when he was brigadier, expect so much something material
for themselves that all _outsiders_ are forgotten. Now and then the
General is sorry to inform his many friends that he is a little ill;
to which a voice here and there is heard to say that he is not
inclined to do the clean thing.'

"Well, I saw what the feller wanted; so I pulled out a fist full of
shiners, just to show him what Young America could do. The seeing the
dimes smoothed him down into the most agreeable amiability. His face
loomed out with good natur, his feelings seemed coming right from his
inards; and he struck up Yankee Doodle by way of an offset.

"'Pooty full, Mr. Smooth,' he generously remarked, 'but we must try
accommodate you somehow! We'll tuck you away in a spare corner, high

"'That's a good soul,' said I,--'know'd ye warn't a bad sort of
fellow,--when a body understood how to get the good out!'

"'Apartments for Solomon Smooth, Esq., from Cape Cod,' he said,
mutteringly, looking over his book, and drumming with his fingers on
the page. Mr. Smooth, in proof of his fast principles, will have no
objection to tying up in the seventh story?'

"'Rather stiff that, Major! Young America can do most anything,--hang
up on a pin if it be necessary to accommodate, but don't just like the
moon for a bedfellow.'

"'Won't trouble you with a bedfellow, Mr. Smooth,' he, grinned out,
shaking all over his broad sides.

"It being well understood in Washington that great men were most
condescending, while little men, with large expectations, were most
aspiring, there was nothing left but to cut a course between the two.
As for the latter quality of gentlemen, they never stood at trifles,
and when they failed to get the big business, had not the slightest
objection to the small,--which was the doing all Mr. President
Pierce's thinking. Therefore, be it known that, with a full knowledge
of this sad state of affairs, did I write down:--'Mr. Solomon Smooth,
from Cape Cod:' which, when down, looked like the footprints of a hen
that, having dipped her claws in an inkstand, had waddled across the
page. Thus ended my induction at the National.



"At length, Uncle Sam, I found myself somebody; and while looking
about me on the many well-dressed and very good-natured gentlemen who
subsisted on the hope of your generosity, could not avoid the
contemplation of what a glorious world this of ours must be,
possessing as it does so many good hearted souls like yourself, so
rich--but as indifferent to their own best interests. 'You will take
supper, Mr. Smooth?' inquired the man behind the mahogany. Before I
had time to speak, he pulled a bell that jingled like Jehu. And then
there came scampering in a school of negroes, so tidy, trim, and
intelligent. One bowed--another smiled--a third waited with a
salutation my commands. 'Take care of Mister Smooth!' again spoke the
man behind the mahogany, as with an effort to be commanding in accent.
That they might know more emphatically (as Uncle Tom Benton says) that
Mr. Smooth was none of your common citizen, I turned my eyes on the
darkies, and stared at them until they turned pale. Then one possessed
himself of my bundle: moving off with a scientific motion, and a bow
_a la cabinet_, he bid me follow. Obeying his summons, onward we went,
through a long, dark passage, and into a spacious hall up stairs,
where he said they eat their people. No sooner was I bowed to a seat
than a dozen gentlemen darkies set upon me in good earnest; so fast
did they beset me with eatables that I begun to think they had
mistaken me for a thanksgiving turkey about to be fatted for the table
of the secretary of the treasury. The fixins, as Mr. Samuel Slick
would say, made one feel quite at home; not so with the darkies: they
recognizing my home spun, soon became sassy; whereupon I turned round
and set upon _them_ with the broadest grin I could summon. Nor could I
withhold a laugh at seeing them laugh. 'Reckon how mas'r's on big
business to Washington wid Mr. General Pierce,' says one, whose face
was black, and bright, and full of the quizzical; while another, with
a flat crooked nose gave a cunning wink out of his left eye. This
being detected by a superior, in the brisk person of a son of the
Emerald Isle, who stood well six feet in his boots, a 'soucer' with
the broad front of his knuckle bones, between the colored gentleman's
two eyes, was the rejoinder--a most striking remonstrance, that laid
him measuring the floor. Troth! an' it's myself 'd stop yer
botheration. Sure, ye dark spalpeens, is it by the same token ye'd
trate the gintleman? (Here the honest son of sweet Erin showed signs
of his Doneybrook getting the better of him.) 'Myself 'll take care of
Mr. Smooth--doesn't he belong to the self same party, the
know-nothings? The divil a such a country, as Hamirike: an' it's the
boys from Donegal that 'ud be taking her dignity in care.' Saying
this, Mr. Patrick (for such was his name) stretched the whole length
of his important self over the table, and says:--I'm yers to the
buckle of my shoe, Mr. Smooth! It's a divil a one but yerself I'll
vote for at the next helection. Sure, an' didn't mysel jine the native
Hamerikan party, with Tom Connolly, afore we'd been two months on the
beloved soil an', sure, it's Tom and myself that's goin to put through
the _nonothin_ for ye.' Here Mr. Patrick anxiously paused for a
reply. To never say a bad thing when I could not think of a good, ever
has been my motto; so I returned his good nature with saying:--'Give
us yer hand, Mr. Patrick--we will forget the two, and yet be one! and
that our faith may be made strong, we will together do brown the
patriotism of these United States.

"'Ye better believe that!' returns Mr. Patrick, with an exultation of
happiness; and concluding with: 'I'd kill every nager in the land, be
the pipers I would! an' it's the boys from old Ireland what does be
keeping the bright face on pure Hamirikan principles. Sure an' warn't
it the brave boys that halicted Gineral Pierce and his cumrades?' Here
Mr. Patrick again paused, and with a wise look, shook his head. 'We
put the broad staunch face on the democracy,' again he interjaculated
with a mutter. Indeed, Mr. Patrick the reader will easily detect, had
the crude idea of right in his head; but, unfortunately, he could only
get it out in these simple and sideling insinuations. The negro, whom
we have before described as being knocked down, picked himself up and
had nothing to say.

"'There may be much in what you say, friend Patrick,' said I: 'The
boys from Donegal do with the elective franchise much that
_native-Homers_ in their carelessness leave undone. Mr. Patrick
acknowledged this, shook his head, and said the fact, though
deplorable, was preeminently established.

"'Like every one who visits Washington these times, yer a friend of
the Gineral's, and have fit with him in the Mexican war?' again he
inquired, seeming to anticipate my answer. Of the Mexicans I know
little--of the war less: it were well our country made peace its
friend, war its enemy. As to the General and his fighting in Mexico,
that was a matter that best affected himself; through it he became a
great potentate, but not so great a man; but, I accept the general
idea that he is now become troubled of a short memory. During this
time I had not forgotten number one--my supper! Having stowed it well
away under my lining, I felt very much like a man who had just turned
away his back on Secretary Marcy, having through personal friendship
received the country's best collectorship. Seeing the point of
good-nature to which my feelings had arrived through the strong
argument of meats, Mr. Patrick proffered his services to navigate me
out of the place where he ate his people--through entries, corridors,
passages, halls, and down stairways, along which we were ever
encountering persons who, like Mr. Pierce, were groping their way in
the dark. In the course of time, and after much feeling and fumbling,
I again encountered the light of the mahogany counter, behind which
stood the same individual I have before described--his person so
formidable, his face so full and fat, his hair so sleek and smooth.

"'Had a good supper, Squire Smooth?' says he, a broad smile spreading
over his broader face. On answering in the affirmative, he introduced
me to numerous unsatisfied politicians. One of this very numerous
gentry, and of whom I had, unfortunately, occasion to know more at a
subsequent period, (he was a man of grief from South Carolina), swore,
by his knowledge of southern rights and secession, that his State, so
neglected, would certainly go out of the Union. She had not a minister
abroad--only Consul General at Alexandria, which was said by the
knowing ones to be somewhere in Egypt; and where, to prove his strong
faith in southern principles, and his independent indifference to the
feelings of thin-skin northerners, he had purchased two very handsome
Nubian slaves of the feminine gender. This was merely to illustrate
the truly American spirit of our institutions: perchance it might
arouse from his stupor the Viceroy, who not fully cognizant of the
height of civilization to which America had arrived, was making
singular, and to me very praiseworthy efforts, to free his people from
the curse of enslaving men. To our patriotic Consul General we say--go
it!--a few more such examples will give the Egyptian an impression of
our liberty and christian love most strange: the brilliant light of
our western star will, I fear, have much in it to remind him of those
darker days when his forefathers built pyramids.

"'Come to see the Gineral, I s'pose, stranger?' our Carolinian
inquired, with a suspicious look, touching a companion beside him on
the arm. To his inquiry I returned--nothing shorter! 'Cape Cod,' he
followed with a respectful bow, 'did noble work for the true
democracy; she is great in sands, shoals, and cod-fish; she will send
General Pierce a chowder, as emblematic of his foreign policy--' Here
I interrupted by assuring him that Cape Cod could stand anything to
the stomach digestible; But whether she could digest the General was a
doubtful question. Cape Cod, be it known over the broad acres of this
land, I added, has a spirit above living on government: she turned
disdainfully from the means that were fast turning the functions of
government into a machine for grinding out patronage--she never
sacrificed Uncle Sam for the sake of what is in his tin-trunk. At
this, which he was pleased to call an expletive, he begun to summon
his dignity: at once he stiffened in a manner that proved how much
superior to me he considered himself, and how much more of Uncle Sam's
shiners were necessary to his conceived maintenance. 'Cape Cod is the
place,' says he folding his arms, moving to a more piquant position,
giving his person a little more importance, and making a target of the
brightly polished stove, against which he permitted a well-directed
stream of dark fluid to explode ere he wiped his lips.--'Cape Cod is
the place from whence all persons come who profess to be born free and
equal; but they are a scrubby set--' Considering it a duty I owed to
the nation, I again interrupted him. 'Cape Cod,' replied I, 'has got
gumption, principle, and the spirit of a go-ahead in her: she
germinated the Young American party. Understand, citizen, (here I
found spunk was necessary), a cape-coaster can at any time boast a
full fair of fish; if he draw them from Mr. John Bull's waters, so
much the better. He is no stranger to Mr. John Bull, whom he esteems
rather a dogged fellow, pugnaciously inclined at times, but never so
bad as he seems; and though stubbornly behind the age of progress, nor
willing to believe in the principles of manifest destiny, often
improves upon acquaintance.'

"'Good night, Mr. Smooth,' said he hurriedly; 'when you tie up for the
night--remember me--! Hope to see you bright in the morning.' Off,
like the handle of a jug, he went. And now it being time to stow
myself away, I hailed for a pilot to navigate me safe into the seventh
story. My fat friend at the counter, whose eyes were becoming leaden,
rung again the bell, and out scampered some dozen darkies from nobody
could discern where. I looked at the negroes with an expression of
excitement, and then, somewhat alarmed:--'Stranger,' says I, 'these
'ere niggers a'int all going to put me through, be they?' He said he
reckoned one would do; and to a question as to what time I would
complete the journey to bed, he replied that seeing I was of the Young
American stripe, and that the distinguished of that party could do
almost anything, provided I started soon I would reach the destination
about midnight. 'Now, providing it's any accommodation, Mr. Smooth, we
can send you to bed by steam. Say the word and up you'll go!' he
rapidly concluded, rapping with his fingers on the big book he had so
leisurely laid aside for the night, there being no chance of another
customer being caught this side of twelve o'clock. I shook my head and
moved off, telling him I did not appreciate being busted up. 'Ain't a
mite of danger!' says he: 'why, stranger, we havn't killed more nor
two dozen this year or more.' That Young America was a go-ahead I was
fully conscious; still, being somewhat anxious to extend a little
friendly advice to Gineral Pierce, I begged to be excused from all
dangers, Young America must live to proclaim the manifest destiny of a
universal republic. You may lay aside your steam fixings until a more
expedient time to use them--'Here he interrupted by saying my walking
up would only save six cents;--' can put Mr. Smooth into the machine
and send him up in a jiffy. Further, we have got some dozen old gents
here who go to bed by steam every night!' I shook hands with the
fellow, exchanged glances, bid them good night all round, and trotted
off, following the darky, who wound his way round corridors, up
stairs, and through passages for more than an hour, (at least, I
thought it was!), until I fancied we had got lost in an interminable
labyrinth of narrow passages. It was just after inauguration, which
fact was duly made known through the medium of sundry corks of
champagne bottles, which were sounding pop! pop!! pop!!! Again merry
voices were heard announcing the misfortunes of those about to pass
out: while another whose voice seemed somewhat mellow, said he had in
his eye the office he wanted--exactly. A third voice, as if echoed
through a subterranean vault, said they must all be forbearing--the
General was so undecided in his opinions. Pretty soon, the negro,
having wound his way high up in the world, turned a corner, gave a
tremendous guffaw, and opened the door of a place that looked very
much like a closet in which to stow away lean lawyers. 'Now, Cuff! ye
ain't goin to stow this citizen away in that ar place, be ye?' says I.

"'Mas'r,' returns he, ''tis just the snuggest place ye ever did see;
why! tain't da length on ye, seem how mas'r can double himself up
anyhow,--just as Gineral Pierce do.' The darkey laughed and drew back
with a bow, as I began to philosophise that, being now so well up in
the world, it was the best policy to coil up and invoke
Morpheus,--which I did, bidding good-night to all below, and promising
myself a pleasant interview with General Pierce on the following



"Smooth had just stowed himself away in the shape of a figure 4, when
there came a voice as husky as Uncle Zack Peabody's conk, (which said
conk had been used to blow his way through the fogs of Newfoundland
for nearly half a century), saying:--'It's mighty tight squeezing
there, ain't it, stranger?' Where the voice came from seemed a puzzle
for all creation. No room was there in the place for another soul--all
became as still and watchlike as the tomb. In fear and anxiety I gazed
upon the dark wall, and along it to the little window facing the
avenue; and there, behold! but tell it not in the Capitol, was the
broad, burly face of General Cass, like a wet moon in discontent.
Unhappy with himself, he was peering in at the window. Again he
muttered:--'I can't get in!--such has always been my fate.' The
much-disappointed old gentleman bore such an expression of
discomfiture on his countenance, that Smooth was forced to the
conclusion that to be sociable would only be doing a good turn--more
especially as the General and Uncle Sam never got along well together.
'Then it's you, General?' says I: 'well, don't be in a hurry!' After a
short silence, he inquired if I could accommodate a traveller who had
been long on the road, and short of shot. I said I was not well to do
for room; but as to be obliging was the order of the day, and seeing
that he was soon to try another turn by joining the 'Young American'
party, I would see what could be done. He had got upon the roof of the
institution,--just where he could slip backward with great ease,
though it took some effort to go forward. Being somewhat infirm of
age, I took him gently by the hand and assisted him in, where I
thought he might, if he pleased, stand upon a square platform. The
General was very polite, bore strongly in his demeanor the marks of
time and honor; I could not suppress the capricious thought--that it
was time a sly corner in the patent office were provided for political
relics of a past age, and he safely stowed away in it. All things of a
by-gone age should have their place; notwithstanding, knowing that
Uncle Sam and him had tried to be intimate friends, and that he had
many warm and substantial voters in the far West, I felt to be less
than condescending would be bad political policy. He took a seat, and
began to get up his good-nature, as I inquired what earthly mission he
could be prosecuting on so dark and cold a night.

"'Well, now, friend Smooth,' he says: 'I like you, but the question
you put so honestly has a point which you cannot see, though I can
painfully feel. However, as I have no secrets, I don't mind telling
you: it must be private, nevertheless--I am sensitive not to have
these matters spread all over the Union. To-night, you see, a conclave
of political wranglers met below, in this house. Conscious that they
would have a large '_grin_' at me, discussing the means by which I
have always been the rejected of this great and growing people, I came
that my ears might lesson of fools. To this end, I mounted the
chimney, and was reconoitering down the black abyss, when my eye
turned and caught your light, like a star in tribulation, twinkling
from the window. Strange kind of a tribune for a senator, I admit, but
I heard many judgments, and from them may draw many more. One
reckoned I had stamped with the cold hand of death my political life;
always wanting to fight somebody--the English in particular! Another
said Virginia and Pennsylvania couldn't approve of my policy--that it
was too slow; while New York dare not vote for me, and I was New
England's dread. A third said he didn't believe the middle West would
back me up, because a doubt existed as to whether other States
would. These sentiments I heard from down chimney. My solemn belief
is, that I have been sacrificed to a firm and honest belief in the
Monroe doctrine; which, singularly enough, had its origin in English
minds. My efforts to carry it into effect seemed not to form a
tangible objection; though a voice now and then said it might lead to
evil consequences, England and France having formed a very unnatural
alliance to put down the aggressive spirit of nations, without respect
to the side of the Atlantic on which they were domiciled. Then, by way
of a suspending clause, they said it was not so much my pugnacious
propensities they feared, as that, being an old _fogy_, full of
personal grievances against somebody, I would make the gratifying a
venerable spleen paramount to the interests of States (all this I
heard from down chimney). That I was not a bad man, nor an inflexible
man, they all agreed; but that my time was passed was their verdict,
and being passed, I would myself soon pass into political
oblivion--nothing being left but executive expectations and
ballet-boxes, with which I might build on high a monument! The trouble
is, friend Smooth, I am not possessed of the tact of making the nation
understand me; had I this all-necessary to political fame, the Chief
Magistracy had long since been mine. To me the free press of our
country is a sort of infernal machine,--its effect in my case
strengthens the idea. Having held me up as dangerous, when in truth I
am a peaceably disposed man, they have wronged me while misinforming
the public.' Here he paused, as his face assumed its wonted
seriousness, and that wart, now historical, looked brighter than
ever. I had long been desirous of scraping acquaintance with the old
man, whom I esteemed much better inside than out, so I offered him
half of my shingle, at the same time intimating that we would have
some whiskey. At this he lowered his voice, and continued with a slow
shake of the head:--'I'm not so bad as I seem. Peradventure I wanted a
small chance at the Britishers. I hate them, but that only signifies a
trifle. Mr. Pierce, like a horn lantern for which Uncle Caleb and Jeff
furnish the light, is fast getting affairs into a fuzzle; this must be
so while the light is thus furnished, and the regulation of its
burning be left to Grandpapa Marcy. Fact is, you see, Mr. Smooth, the
administration is become like a steam-engine, Mr. Pierce being used as
a piston by Caleb, Jeff, and Co., who, in addition, furnish
Southern-rights for fuel, use patronage as a condenser, and make a
safety valve of Papa Marcy. But Papa has yet to take many lessons in
National Engineering before his control over the machine is complete.'
I watched the old man's anxious eye as he spoke; and again suggested
the taking a little whiskey: I pitied him. 'It will set ye all right!'
says I, 'it'll take the fogyism all out, warm up yer inards, and make
yer ideas come out with the philosophy of a _Mara beau_. Mr. Pierce
loves to traffic in the language of war, but like all little
creatures, makes his noise and stops.'

"'Well, in obedience to my friendship for you, Smooth--and with the
knowledge that you are going into business with Uncle
Sam--appreciating the 'Young American' party as I do, I don't care if
I take. It may revive the hope of 1856. After all, there is something
in you New Englanders I like--give us yer hand,' he replied suddenly,
as a soft smile spread over his hard face. He commenced wiping his
lips, and was so polite. I rang the bell, and up came the negro, his
face as full of alarm as a frightened moon in a hail-storm. Alarmed at
his appearance, the General sprang to his feet, and was for bolting
through the window. 'Don't be scared, General!' says I, trying to
suppress a laugh; 'put on the pluck of Young America--niggers then
will seem as nothing.' Mr. Pierce pursues this course. General knows
it takes somebody to cut a figure in the world; and seeing that these
United States constitute a free country, what violation of principle
is there in doing with negroes what you please? The steaming punch now
awaited us; I filled the General's glass, and he said 'this was a
great country, which would soon send Young America out on the world to
proclaim manifest destiny.' I said amen, and the punch disappeared
into his depot, as he concluded. It was clear his inards warmed, he
beginning to brighten up soon after. With a laconic air, he touched me
on the elbow, and said, 'Somehow, it seems to touch the right place--I
declare it does! I am half inclined to the belief that General Pierce
sups formidably of this just before he talks about winding things up
in a straight sort of way, all of which he ultimately forgets: the
influence of this sort of steam was undoubtedly that which selected
Minister Solan Borland the man for Central America. It was not that
friend Solan went to settle perplexing questions with that dwarf
combination of helpless governments; it was enough that he amused
sundry citizens and much annoyed others with the little fracases
which, through the power of political steam, he was wont to indulge

"'Now, Uncle Cass!' said I, interrupting him, at the same time adding
a good-natured wink, 'you must excuse Smooth's seeming intrusiveness;
but, what do you think of annexation in general, and filibustering and
taking Cuba in particular?' At this, the General gave a knowing pause,
scratched his head as if it was troubled with something, and then
replied with much dryness: 'Ah! the one is a subject popular to-day,
the other is fast becoming so: when both are equally popular, we may
advocate them with safety. Mr. Pierce understands this policy. That
which is popular and holds out advantages must go down in our go-ahead
country. According to the axiom of our Southern doctrines we must have
Cuba: she must be wedded in political bonds to Cape Florida; not for
the purpose of consolidating niggerdom, but merely to complete in that
direction the point of manifest destiny.'

"'Lord love yer political faith, General!' said I, rising up and
taking him firmly by the hand.

"'Ye'll do for the Young America, that ye will! There'll be no more
old-fogyism--no more of the slow-coach school! Take another bumper,
and you'll be ripe for the new party.' The General, with less dignity
than you might have supposed him capable of condescending to, filled
his glass, drew his chair back, threw his square figure well over the
arms, and roared right out until it became dangerous. At length he
began to drink his whiskey, and that stopped his joy for a time. But
he soon broke out afresh. 'What on earth is the matter with you,
stranger? you ain't going to make a shaking machine of your broad
sides, be ye?' says I, giving him a look that would have pierced a
stone wall.

"'You must excuse me, Mr. Smooth, but the principles of your party
would make anybody laugh; why!--its sprouting members are all growing
out of their breeches. Where, in that stretchy imagination the party
possesses, can you find a place for the moon, which of necessity must
follow in the train of annexation?' he inquires seriously.

"'Put it? Why, Gineral, you have been stowed away so long, keeping
dog-watch over fogyism, that you don't comprehend how Uncle Sam has
been transformed into a go-ahead chap to suit the times. Consul
Saunders 'll bridge the Gulf Stream, and thus unite Cuba and Cape
Florida; and, his pockets well lined with letter-writing materials, be
first to march over it and proclaim manifest destiny to the
natives. As for the moon, George will find a place in the compact for

"'But, Mr. Smooth,' says he, 'what in the name of changes be you going
to do with so many little kingdoms? A thousand years will scarcely
people our present domain! Now, Smooth, I'll cut out a small job for
the Young American party:--let them, just to give a specimen of their
principles, step across to Europe and help Louis and Uncle John (I
hate John, though) whip Nicholas, and turn vacillating, faithless
Austria into a republic, with principle and spirit equal to her
position as a nation.' The General looked serious as he concluded--so
far as whipping Austria was concerned we would be only too glad did
she for once throw off her cowardice and afford us an opportunity. She
had long played at thimblerig with doty old Mr. John Bull, before
whose eyes she had placed the spectacles of fantasy, the changes of
which the poor old gentleman's very refined sense and undeniable
diplomacy had not permitted him to comprehend. Austria was like the
thief who set himself up as umpire to settle between two knaves of his
own cloth, and, while he gave advice to both, was securing to himself
the very plunder which gave rise to the dispute. Nicholas, John Bull
said, was a ruffian of the go-ahead school; but, of the three
ruffians, which shall we choose? history may be the teacher! Ruffians,
however, may do good at times, in which sense Nicholas was entitled to
more consideration than Mister Bull, in his frenzy, was willing to
accord. Thus saying, the General and me took another glass, shook
hands, and bowed most politely. Again I stretched myself down for the
night, as he (promising to call again and have another talk)
disappeared out of the window.



"Leaving Cass holding on at the slippery roof. I dreamed that the
ghost of Benton, in contemplation bestrode the summit of the Rocky
Mountains; that 'Young America,' like a Colossus with monster limbs
stretched across a world, was endeavouring to wake from their stupor
the nations. With a voice like unto lazy thunder murmuring in the
distance was he proclaiming his hatred of kings, into whose dominions
he threatened to march great armies, and whom he described as curses
sent upon the earth by the evil one: for the _Evil One_ sought to
promote self, a means to which he found in those intrigues by which he
made strong his court--the same was the trade of kings. Again the
voice thundered forth--'Here are the instruments that have destroyed a
world of human beings, and for a selfish purpose gloated over the
blood they had made run in torrents.' I looked, and behold! appeared
there before me a terrible devil, of hideous form having two great
horns, on one of the long sharp points of which was poised a king, on
the other a fat bishop in his lawn. The two perpetual mischief-makers,
and desolators thus poised, he came with a hideous roar, threatening
to drown them in the river of unrefined common sense. And then there
was written in broad letters of fire across the shoulders of this
sturdy devil--'Kingcraft and Churchcraft have cursed the nations of
the earth, and turned to blight the blessings of the True God!' Again
this significant edict vanished, and in its place there came, as in
letters of gold, 'Cheap Government and no Established Church--let the
nations be ruled in wisdom and right!' This had reference to good old
England, not America, for here bishops are known to be meek and good.
All this was a dream: but then there came, soaring giant-like, 'Young
America,' and manifest destiny which he spread over the land for the
benefit of mankind. Then there came a great darkness, followed by a
little light that crept feebly onward as if fearing to spread itself
on the broad disc of the horoscope--it was the light of Mr. Pierce,
beneath which hovered doubtful devils. How rapacious they seemed! They
saw the doubts and fears of his little light, and would fain carry him
off into purgatory ere it died out. But his saviours came: they were
the ghosts of those great lights that founded the pillars of our
Republicanism. Down they sat, in ghostly conclave, and with
instruments in hand set about driving away the carrier devils and
working the problem of Mr. Pierce's political policy. It was
impossible!--not all the trigonometry of which they were masters
sufficed to aid them in the task. It seemed like attempting to solve
the principle of that which never had one. He stood on a platform of
sections, each of which turned at a touch, and seemed giving way for
want of strength. Indeed, as beheld in the dream, he could play the
game of uncertainty through a dozen focuses. The jury of ghosts
became sorely perplexed; then they began to put to him some very
honest questions, as to what his intentions really were. And while
doing this the spirit of Washington, arrayed in glory, looked down
upon its feeble successor, and with an ironical smile shook its head.

"Then there came an unaccented voice from the little light--the light
said to be the impersonation of Pierce; indeed, it was of kindred with
the shadow in that singular romance by Hawthorn, called the life of
Pierce! And the voice said:--'I shall be known by my practice.' Just
then the little light became dimmer, and turned away toward a long
dark avenue, where the vista seemed studded with the faces of
disconsolate 'niggers.' At this the ghost of Webster yawned, and that
of Calhoun scowled fiercely and contemptuously; while Clay's rubbed
its eyes and wept tears of pity. Again all was darkness. Then there
came again the little light of which I have spoken;--it was the light
of Mr. Pierce. It flickered and fluttered, and thus we identified
it. 'We have to deal with Europe--with that happy alliance my very
amiable Lord Clarendon says is for purposes not alone in Europe. My
lord's language, however, is so cleverly diplomatic--that is, it can
be made to mean anything or nothing,--as to need a translation. My
lord means, that when it has served to curb the national ambition of
certain nations of Europe it may be turned to the same purpose in
another but more congenial hemisphere. Kossuth wants material
aid--such as saddles, tin, &c. &c. I would give it him, if he would
teach Austria a lesson of honesty! Nevertheless, as to Louis himself I
would be extremely cautious, for being more a blower than a moulder,
and having a peculiar talent for getting affairs very crooked, the
instrument in the man is of questionable ability;--indeed, in a crisis
between nations, such an instrument should he examined with great
skill and delicacy before being set in motion.' He spoke after this
manner, and quick as thought the spectacle vanished--it was but a
dream? Not a ghost was seen; no lurid face cast its pale shadow over
the dark canvas; the pure spirit of Washington had departed in
hopeless despair. I was about to read a prayer, when the dark canvas
moved aside, and there, real as life, sat on a slave's grave the
immaculate Brigadier;--he, reader, was sipping whiskey toddy, as if it
were his wont. Old Bunkum was the slave whose grave he sat upon. It
was a strange penance over the mound of one so old; and yet who in the
political world that had not paid it? 'Why!--Bunkum, you are
barefoot;' a voice spoke.

"'Remember, old man, you must keep on the stiff,--it's as necessary to
success as it was to believe the old Constitution frigate could whip
anything afloat.' It was the General who spoke to the ghost of Bunkum,
who, having risen from the grave, stood before him, moody and
despairing. In ecstasy he grasped the hand of the cold figure cried
out that his soul's love was with him. But in his exuberance he let
the whiskey run over the green grave, into which the ghost soon
disappeared and left him alone to his contemplations. Bunkum, like
Billy Bowlegs, who has too much sense for the great father, says he
has wandered through all weathers, and endured all kinds of political
farcery: now that he had become old, and served as long as the god of
sacrifice, would they not let him rest in peace? Here the General
seemed alone and forlorn: then he wept bitterly, until the ghost of
Bunkum in pity again appeared and with him sat upon the grave. The
General kindly took him by the hand, and in his ear whispered
something, the only part of which became audible was--'When as
President of this great country I became, I was bound--' Here the man
paused. A kindlier feeling now came over Bunkum, in evidence of which
he motioned as if he would take another drop of whiskey with the
President, or ask a favor he was delicate about broaching. For a man
who had so long looked upon things beneath him his reserve was to be
appreciated, especially when viewed in comparison with the
expectations of those many numerous friends, all of whom expected
foreign missions. Having chatted and sipped together a sufficient
length of time, and as Bunkum was about to say _good by_, he turned
with a half significant smile, and touching the General on the elbow,
said:--'Ye ain't got a spare hat and pea-jacket to lend a body?'

"'Bless you, Bunkum, you are of the South!--anything you want is at
your bidding. New England (she's a trump!) can take care of herself;
let the storm threaten as it may, she never trips. We must do for
Kentuck and Carolina:--the black pig must have his swill if the rest
find an empty trough.' 'Thank you! thank you! General; our States
will stand firm to you--Bunkum himself never will forsake you;' spoke
thus thankfully the ghost of the old man as it took leave of the old
General and disappeared. Here I awoke from my dream to painful



"As Uncle Sam is equally careless of his language and cash, he will
excuse a crooked beginning and accept a straight ending. Contemplating
my crooked dream I confess I waked up without a straight idea in my
head. The fact was, I was waked up with such an incomprehensible
jingling, ringing, rumbling, and gonging, that I mistook its purport,
and thought the Russians were bombarding the house. I was about
looking out of the window to see if the White House was all safe, when
a negro with a countenance blacker than vengeance protruded his fizzy
head into the door, and without a morsel of knocking commenced
grinning. 'Anything wanted for Major Smooth?' inquires he; and
without waiting for an answer, catches up the bed, Smooth and all the
fixins, and set them somewhat aside. 'Not so fast, Cuff!' said I;
'Smooth is no Major--plain Mister Smooth from the Cape.'

"'Lor, Mas'r' replied the negro, interrupting me; 'when in Washington
t'wont do to be a mite less than a Major-General. Every man what come
to dis city widout his title better come widout himself. Our clerk
what stand at the hogany counter be a General,--Jones, the ostler, be
a Colonel; and Wilkes what keep the oyster shop ober yonder be a
Major! As for Captains, they are as thick and of as little use as
blackbirds. Will you take somethin?' The sagacious negro bowed, and
waited for a reply. I told him that being invited to a fish breakfast
with the General at the 'White House,' I would forbear to liquor until
I had made my bow.

"'S'pose you'll take the customary gin cock-tail, Mr. Smooth?' the
negro rejoined, with an anxious air. Evincing my surprise at such a
proposition, I assured him I did not know its meaning. 'Don't know
what it is!' he exclaimed, with a deep sigh. 'A very fashionable
drink,' he continued; 'gemmen what see de General, and study national
affairs, all take some on em in da mornin.'

"'Now, Cuff,' I rejoined, 'just tell the truth; you mean that in order
to keep the dignity up, it is necessary to take something stiff in the

"'Dat him, mas'r,' says he in reply, accompanying it with a broad
guffaw. 'When mas'r bin to de White House, and seem serious, as if he
ain't got what he want, he put a cock-tail down to make de glorious
come up; it be a great anecdote for what mas'r call de blues.' The
interpretation of what the negro said was that it made a man feel as
if he had the best office in Mr. Pierce's gift safe in his
pocket. Having a reasonable appreciation of a negro's statement, I
consented on the ground of its good qualities--thus represented--to
take a little. The negro left, but soon returned with it in his
hand--all bittered and iced. Down it went, plump!--it cut away the
cobwebs, made my inards fizzle, and the whole frame feel as lively as
a bee-hive. The negro said it was good--and I said I reckoned. And
then I 'turned out,' as they call it, broadside on. 'Great kingdom,'
exclaimed the negro, giving me a slanting look from head to foot;
'why, mas'r, dey must a growed ye in a guano country.'

"'Cuff! don't be sassy,' I replied. And then he very good-naturedly
commenced arranging my homespun. He fussed over me as if I were a mere
substance to be transformed into anything Mr. Pierce might
require. Then, to my utter astonishment, he apprised me of the fact of
General Cass having carried off my boots and breeches--adding that it
was a sort of mania with him, and for which he was not morally
accountable. Then the negro began quizzing my person. One of my legs,
he said, was hard shell, the other a soft shell; however, to reconcile
the matter, he further added that the embodiment was exactly suited to
Mr. Pierce's principles, inasmuch as he could go between--which he
always aimed to do. He then said I must have pantaloons of the right
stripe; because in Washington a man must look genteel, and have his
understandings straight. It was no excuse that the General himself was
an undecided Democrat; if he was round in some things, he was square
in others,--that is he was round in policy, and square in periods. The
Negro said he did not look so much at the cut of the pantaloons as the
quality of the cloth, and its tenacity for stretching--according to
the expectations of the 'Young American' party.

"Upon this assurance, I ordered him to repair to the tailor's, which
he did, and was not long in returning and bringing with him a pair of
fashionables suited to the times. 'Great country,' said he, holding
them before me and shaking his black sides with laughter. Into them I
slid myself; the bottoms only reached a little below my knees. The
negro, with eyes like astonished stars, set upon the straps, and such
a tugging and pulling as there allowed! I began to think I was being
pulled in two, (after the fashion of Mister Pierce's promises and
performances), when Cato, (such was the negro's name), his face almost
white with exertion, begged I would not be alarmed--that he would very
soon get them all right! In another minute something went--pop!
Simultaneously with the report was my head driven clean through the
pine-board ceiling into a chamber unfortunately occupied by a lean old
maid of some forty-seven summers. 'Good mornin, missus,' I said,
trying to make a bow; 'hope I ain't intruding.' The old lady looked
mighty streaked, and wouldn't be pacified, until I told her I was
merely giving a few feats, just to illustrate the principles of the
'Young American' party. It's only Young America, ma'am, he's cutting
the three figures of his sentiments, as made known by his particular
stars,--Soule, Saunders, and Sickles. Didn't intend to disturb you, my
good woman,' says I. I wanted to seem polite--to put the very best
foot forward; but it was to no earthly use. The old critter screamed,
jumped out of the bed, and like a ghost shaking his cotton to the
storm, ran away in dismay.

"'Good Christopher Columbus!' exclaimed the negro, almost bursting
with fright. With this he commenced pulling and jerking at my legs,
until, finding his efforts useless, he hastened down stairs and spread
the alarm. Major Smooth was in an alarming situation!--'most
dying!--would breathe his last!--warn't no help fo'h him!--must die,
sartin!! Such a ringing and dinging of bells, such a tampering up
stairs, such a puffing and blowing of excited citizens as followed,
never was heard or seen before. Although in a tight place, I was
neither alarmed nor crest fallen. Indeed, I thought I'd enjoin the old
lady on the other side to enter upon the discussion of a political
question, just by way of keeping up the characteristic sociability of
the nation. Presently about a dozen dangerously excited faces
presented themselves in the room. 'He's gone, certain,' says one;
'Major Smooth's a cold chicken,' mutters another; 'Young America's
cutting a figure,' rejoins a third; 'he's only at rest while
performing some overt act,' interposes a fourth. 'Much you know about
it!' says I, cool as Labrador: 'I merely put my head through this ere
place for the purpose of being friendly with this lone female
lodger--pull me out!' In right good earnest they seized me by the
boots, saying:--'Let us bring Young America into a respectable
position;' and with the most unmerciful jerks they laid me measuring
the floor. In no wise disconcerted, I picked myself up, and inquired
if they had another strap to loan me. With the exception of Cato, the
negro, they all enjoyed a good laugh; he had no sooner relieved me,
than he commenced raising a fuss about my damaging the ceiling--never
for once taking Mr. Smooth's head into consideration. Young America,
he said, was always too fast--always getting into trouble and calling
upon others to help him out.



"'Good morning, Mr. Smooth!' saluted the fat man behind the mahogany,
as I entered the office, having escaped from my perilous position in
the seventh story. In addition, he took a lunar observation all along
down my hull, which he said was a mighty tough sort of craft, and had
received no damage for which the house could be held responsible.

"As if to make the picture more complete, a number of anxious-looking
individuals (all firm friends of Uncle Sam) crowded about me, each
putting some curious question in reference to my expectations and the
Executive and his gifts. Many of these important gentry had
proboscises largely developed and very red; indeed, the reddest nose
was strongest evidence of the best office-seeker; albeit, some
waggishly inclined gentleman had said that the most generously
red-nosed man always esteemed his deserts to be no less than that of
United States Minister at some very fashionable foreign Court, where
the good red of a well-developed nose was significant of pure
blood. 'Well now, gents,' I returned, 'you needn't be trying to poke
your political fun at this citizen! Young America is all right
yet. Put me on the track of Mr. Pierce's whereabouts.' Seeing they
were facetiously inclined, I summoned that independence so necessary
to a citizen of standing. At this moment, one more politely inclined
than the rest, stepped forward, and commenced giving me the ins and
outs of the way to see the Brigadier, who, lie said, was surrounded by
many fairweather courtiers. Stepping politely to the door, he, with
grace not unbecoming, raised a well-gloved hand, and half
whispered:--Mr. Smooth will walk into the avenue--keep on the West
side--join the throng (they are all officials in embryo)--be sure and
look as serious as they do; and with them you will arrive at the
'White House' to take your place and chance.' Oh! chance! 'There is no
missing the way, Mr. Smooth; get behind some well-dressed citizen--one
who looks as if he were in pursuit of something the means of securing
which he had made sure. Follow that man!' I thanked him for his
civility,--he seemed one of Uncle Sam's bone-breakers, and sallied out
under the happy contemplation that a gentleman from Cape Cod was on a
par with the same species of mankind from South Carolina. It was true
that with what little aristocracy we boasted--and in that little there
was truly a great blessing, inasmuch as it illustrated the fact of
there being one spot on this earth where common sense had got the
better of refined sense--was founded in the possession of 'niggers,'
the number giving rank in the scale. In the small but very
aristocratic atmosphere of democratic South Carolina it had been
proposed to establish an order of the American garter, the means
entitling to membership being the possession of a very large number of
fat negroes and negresses: and to ingratiate the august order it was
proposed to make Colonel Wade Hampton first knight, and Lady Tyler
first knightess. The reader, Mr. Smooth feels assured, will pardon
this little digression, which he will set down to my love for that
darling little State.

"I soon muddled my way along with the crowd, among which there were
very long faces, very short faces, and faces from which nothing could
be extracted--the comic faces always kept behind! As a matter of
policy I got behind the man who had the longest and most quizzical
face; for he gave out signs of seeing daylight through political
darkness. I made his acquaintance, and found him of the free-and-easy
school. 'On your way to see the General, stranger?' I inquired, edging
up to him in a polite sort of way--at the same time keeping up the
free-and-easy. 'No,' he answered with a laconic air, and a half
significant shrug of the shoulder, 'I'm merely strolling this way,
leisurely contemplating. I take it you have not been long in the
Capital?' he added. 'You are right on that point, citizen,' said I in

"'Expecting a good appointment?' he continued to inquire,
philosophically. 'Well, it may be: s'pose you're in for a
Ministership, if you come out a martyr,' I replied, adding a Western
wink which is given with both eyes. He very good-naturedly
acknowledged that I had hit the mark, gave me his arm, said we must
look in somewhere by the way-side and taste a small drop of Young
American whiskey, which would have the effect of making stronger our
friendship. This we did, drinking a good time to Mr. Pierce. No sooner
was the whiskey down than all his ideas came straight up. He said he
was none of yer small fry;--like thunder he had stumped it for General
Pierce; like electricity he had down in Georgia and Western Alabama
carried everything for true democracy. 'Reckon Mr. Smooth never was
down South?' he concluded, in parenthesis. I assured him I never was;
but that I had heard it was great of office-holders, and persons who
would, with every consideration for the Union in general, hold the
federal government very fast. To this he merely bowed in confirmation.
To another question, which was rather of a delicate nature, he said
the South did not so much value the emoluments of office; but her sons
reverenced the noble qualities of their forefathers, with whom dignity
was inherent,--and it was they that were best qualified to maintain
and spread its influence for the benefit of the nation. It was the
dignity of the nation, made manifest in its government, the South
sought to maintain. So said my friend, whose name was Pringle
Pierpont--well acquainted with Uncle Sam. All of a sudden he laughed
outright, saying I was ignorant of the _why and how to do, diplomacy_
of Washington. What it is impossible to get you must always say you
never wanted; and what is within your reach, always say was far beyond
our expectations. Meantime, be a philosopher, and act with apparent
indifference to what is going on around you: never tell a friend you
are worth less than one hundred thousand dollars. Upon such an
hypothesis you may face the General, talk profound (here and there in
parenthesis letting out your knowledge of foreign affairs), but never
give him to understand that you can extract crooked and put straight
ideas into his head--above all, be sure and feel as independent as a
wood-sawyer at two dollars a day. Play well your face, and a spoil of
the game just won will be yours. Marcy is father of this principle!
Heed not the sympathy between your heart and head,--while the one
feels high never let the other play low. Accept anything the General
may be pleased to offer, adding that it is in respect to his great
talent and your anxiety to keep respectable his foreign affairs; and
think how you belie your conscience the while. Now, Smooth, you will
see how open-armed the General will be to see me!'

"I told Mr. Pierpont how glad I was to hear it, seeing that it might
be the means of putting me through on the same hook. Without
hesitation, he said he would do what he could. Had I fought in the
Mexican war the case would have been different--had I been true to the
South, the case had been very different: the distinctions here
enumerated brought down the scale. 'However, the General and me are
one, having fought by his side in Mexico, and you shall be put
through.' So saying, we proceeded on our way, reaching in a few
minutes the White House, the gardens of which we found transplanted
with citizens--set here and there as thick as the gardener's tulips.
Before the circular carriage-way that sweeps to the great entrance,
filed a rampart of moody faces. Mr. Mulligan said they were there for
the study of Botany, he believed. Near the great portico stood the
tall figure of a man plainly dressed in blackest broadcloth; he
sauntered about as if contemplating some hopeless game of party.
Another looked as if he had just sprung from a dressing-case to
present himself before Grandpapa Marcy, in the hope of his personal
appearance making stronger his claims to a very acceptable
appointment. A third had a woe-begone smile on his face, and seemed
studying the nature of a plant that would soon need a careful hand.
When accosted concerning his musings, he said he had done battle right
manfully for the democracy; and now Mr. Pierce's only reply was, that
his demands were of so hard a nature as to render it impossible for
him to knock under. I told him that I would take the small points of
Mr. Pierce's ideas, and the strong points of Mr. Marcy's, and from
them try to work out the P's and Q's of his case.

"'You don't know if the General is at home, do you?' I inquired of
him, with as much good intention as it were possible to put in a
question. 'Know nothing about him since he's possessed himself of the
White House!--My name is Major Sykes, of the Hard Shells, New York! I
know as little of him as the country did before he was elected:--now
and then I see him smoking a long nine while laying off at his ease,
his dirty boots sticking out of the east window.' Here I interrupted by
asking if it were possible such charges could be true. 'True!'
(exclaimed he, more gritty than ever), 'true as daylight; the nation
may bless itself if he stops there. Be careful, my down-east friend,
be careful. He will sell you for a mess of corn for his black
pig. Down-east will stand no chance until Down-south gets
satisfactorily served: a wondrous change has come over the General
since he left the granite hills of his native State, where he did the
law trade in a small way. Now--Smooth, I think they call you, says
he--if I be not much mistaken the General will create a Babylon of
parties, the result of which will render it difficult to define his
own position. If the General would but get up a _cross_ between
southern secessionists and northern free-soilers, how happily it would
illustrate his policy.' Clasping his hand, 'Major Sykes,' said I, 'I
pity you.'

"'And so do I you,' he replied quickly. 'And when you come face to
face with the General, think of Uncle Sam, but don't forget
yourself,--_that is the motto!_' Saying thus, he started off, much
after the fashion of a man who feels somewhat fudgy. Duly esteeming
the position of a man who has that in his composition which gives
power to manliness, and has higher motives than political for its
aims, I made my way to the entrance of the White House, whistling
Yankee Doodle as I went. The closer I got to the great doors the more
violent became the crowd, until at last it ended in a jam of
bodies. 'Not so fast!' exclaimed an anxious individual, whose eyes
darted terror from their very sockets. 'Gentlemen!--it's my turn,'
re-echoes another half-stifled voice. 'Was not I in the city seven
weeks before the inauguration? and didn't I carry everything for the
General down in Pennsylvania?' roars a tall individual, whose hat had
received what may be called a shocking smash. Then they swayed forward
in a serf of bodies. Now it poised, as if for breath; then again it
swayed onward, threatening limb and wind. An exceedingly lean
gentleman, with a hard brown face, and a patch over his left eye,
cried out to the figure that stood bowing at the door, and demanded
that his card be first taken to the General, whom he was kind enough
to declare a right good fellow and a most intimate friend of
his. 'Perhaps you have a claim that way!' retorts a sharp voice, which
belonged to a sturdy figure well out at the elbows. He declared he had
driven the whigs out of Old North Carolina--had carried strong the,
State for Pierce and posterity. Another individual near by, and who
seemed inclined to doubt the assertion, suggested whether it were not
more probable he carried all the _watering_ establishments of that
renowned state, seeing that his nose and eyes had stood the storm of
spirits. No one ever heard of his carrying anything else! 'True,'
rejoined another: 'he can drink his way through a democratic canvass,
tell the most amiable lies, absorb any amount of chaffing, and stands
less at swearing than any other man in the country: more than all, he
can demolish the King's English at a stroke.' Such pulling, hauling,
squeezing and yawning, 'cussin' and swearing--such cross-firing,
crooked joking, and slang jibes, never before was seen in such perfect
medley. In calmer moments, even the hard-fisted, iron-hearted,
unterrified and never-washed democracy would have shed a few blushes
over it. Old democracy was nowhere--Young America was triumphant; his
sprouts were up and coming.

"'Clear the way there!' I exclaimed, raising my voice to a point.
'Mr. Smooth will walk in, and himself present his card to the
General.' The crowd looked amazed,--begun to give way. 'Mr. Smooth,
citizens,' continued I, motioning as if it were my intention to
speechify, 'is something of a body--don't stand none of your small
fritters. Mr. Smooth--like the principles of his party--was intended
for cutting a figure in the world; he will unmask aristocracy, whip
creation, and demonstrate the truth of manifest destiny.' Then they
all shouted a fashionable hee-haw, by which they hoped to drive me off
the track; but it was no go. 'Clar the way,' says I, 'or I'll split
the crowd like a thousand of bricks!' I accompanied the word with a
terrible look, at which they filed right and left as I chased square
up to the inner door, where stood a stiff sort of person, whose
clothes had grown on him--so tight were they. Surprised at my sudden
approach, he first gave many nervous winks and blinks, and then added
the silly airs of my Lord Spoonbill's menial, who, with hair buttered
and powdered, knew but the servilities of flunkeyism. 'Is the General
at home?' I demanded, adding before he had time to answer, that if he
had a spare lucifer I'd have no objection to taking a smoke with
him. With the consequence of a sleepy congressman, he inquired if my
business with the General was special. He seemed to have the keeping
of the General, much after the fashion of a keeper who guards the wild
animal of a menagerie.

"'You must send up your card: it's a question whether he is out of his
morning gown and slippers, however!' Here the man looked doubtingly at
the card, then gave his head a significant shake.

"'General ain't got so mighty big since he moved from New Hampshire?'
I inquired, as the fellow hesitated and again viewed me from the
extreme points. 'Now, Uncle Sam, to you I would say a word, hoping, in
the spirit of a very good christian, that it may be received as
wholesome advice. You, Sam, are forgetting that fame which should
reflect us in future ages; you, Sam, are assisting those who would lay
sullied hands on our pure republicanism--who would sink it in the
political slough, and build over it the reeking bastard of a pitiable
tyranny. Stretch out thy hand, Sam, that we may cease to cut before
the world and the rest of mankind so sorry a figure. Sam! you have
sent your little villains out upon the world; recall them ere they
prove themselves great fools at our expense.'

"Well, to go back:--I began to push my way past the flunkey, when he
summoned his brass and said I couldn't come in--that I must slide
myself into costume of the eight stripe! This to me was neither
diplomatic nor polite. And being deemed impolite, according to the
rules of our Young America, I placed the broad front of my
knuckle-bones between his observators, (just to bring out his spunk),
and demanded to know what they charged in Washington for a few
knockings-down. To which he elongated himself, and with cool assurance
said it had never before been his fortune to be put through the
process--hence he was not prepared to figure up the amount. A place
called limbo, he said, was just over at the corner; that I better keep
an eye to it. This last saying gave the crowd outside furniture for a
good laugh; they, the citizens, set to quizzing me about the hang of
my breeches, which they were pleased to call diplomatic. This, I
inferred, was in consequence of Grandpapa Marcy having gone to there
was no knowing how deep into the breeches business, hoping thereby to
prevent plain American citizens making very unplain apes of themselves
when abroad. Indeed, neighbor Marcy would demonstrate to the world
that cloth and diplomacy were two very different things. And this
doctrine my Uncle Buck--all praise to his name--fully endorsed,--that
is, he proved himself the only American minister not given to
purloined crests and crimson cloth.

"'Smooth is a nine-cornered citizen in the rough: he needs polishing
down with a federal holly-stone before he can be admitted into good
society:' a voice like the creaking of a door resounded through the
passage. Being a rough sort of citizen didn't affect me as long as I
had the straight up-and-down principles within. Well, I got up the
go-a-head, and walked in steady. 'T'wont do! citizen Smooth!'
interposes the flunkey, putting out his right hand as his face
reddened into a blaze. 'Young America must keep within bounds; he must
conform to the established etiquette before he can see the General.'
Not liking to be out of sorts, I turned to him, and with the best kind
of good nature told him not to come within grasping distance.

"Lord bless yer soul, Uncle Sam! I told him it was always good policy
to keep civil to distinguished individuals, and treating his insolence
as Captain Ingraham would an Austrian proclamation, I kept onward
(that's the motto!) until the passage-way opened into a gorgeously
decorated hall, the motto on the door of which I surveyed until my
head begun to ache. The General seems to have got him a snug and
well-ordained establishment, thought I. But the fixings were rather
more profuse than democracy in its simplicity had led me to suppose
its taste appreciated. But there was no concealing the fact, that the
democracy--its love of simplicity not excepted--did pay large sums now
and then for showy fixtures and grand failures. The short-comings of
the New Hampshire law-shop were extinct--elegance everywhere met the
eye. While enjoying my meditations one flunkey approached another,
telling him to keep a keen eye on that fellow--meaning me. Then a slim
figure done up in dignity and tight clothes approached me with a
polite bow: 'Please remember this is the President's mansion,' said
he, viewing my perpendicular as if he questioned whether my length was
all real growth. Seeing that the establishment belonged to Uncle Sam,
I assured him he was a little too impertinent.

"'Now, neighbor!' says I to the citizen, don't deceive yourself by
supposing the General has got his aristocracy up like this before he
has lodged three months in the White House. I'm an independent
citizen; come to put some straight policy into the General, who, with
the assistance of his grind-stone man, Fourney, unfortunately has got
everything into a twist. My name (sometimes they call me Squire) is
Solomon Smooth. It don't matter what they call me now, for be it
known, ye men of titles, all the fishermen in our district have become
judges and generals. This is the result of that necessity that makes
negro-drivers of the south captains and majors. 'But the President,'
said he, 'has got such a fearful load of business on his hands this
morning, it will be impossible he can see Mr. Smooth, nor are the
apartments in a state to be seen by visitor--' 'Always in the suds!' I
interrupted. 'No! that ain't it,' he continued, half trembling of
fear; 'but the President is new, nor yet has got into the straight way
of doing crooked business.'

"'Never mind that,' replied I, 'Smooth's an independent citizen, who
must not be interfered with while taking a turn round the
establishment: he neither stands on ceremony nor political
point-making.' The fact was, Mr. Smooth had a very wholesome hatred of
the nonsense of ceremony, and always pitied that complacency of Uncle
John Bull who, like a well-worn and faithful pack-horse, never
flinched under the heavy burden of that precious legacy called royal
blood, which, said blood, was fast absorbing the vital blood of the
nation. May our Union always be spared the degradation of such blood!

"The fellow, seeing I was not to be outdone, gave it up for a bad job,
and contented himself with following me here and there, keeping a
fixed eye on my motions, as if he feared I was going to become
enamoured of some of Mr. Pierce's chambermaids, which said commodity
was acknowledged to be very pretty, and much admired by Jones, who did
the fashionable at Willard's. It having been said that the General,
like Jackson, would keep himself, I endeavored to persuade the fellow
to show me his nook. He only shook his head and said it wouldn't do:
so I took a careless stroll through the loose apartments, and ceased
only when my sight was gratified. 'Well!' says the flunkey, adding a
deep sigh and a despairing shake of the head, 'it's no use trying to
control this citizen; he's of the fast school, without bowels.'

"'You may believe it!' returned I, advancing toward a broad circular
stairway that wound downward far into the regions below, where I
expected to find Fourney and Company holding the General down upon the
grindstone, while Uncles Caleb and Jeff turned, and Marcy stood by to
say when enough of the rough was got off. 'There! in my soul he's
going down into the kitchen!' The fellow bawled out as I passed down,
and soon disappeared, saying it was just the winding way I sought;
and, though the things to be seen in the vortex to which it led might
be dangerously dear to the nation, the proof would at least be
convincing. On I went, the way darkening as I advanced.



"Down, down, down, went, groping my way (significant of the General's
policy) through a long dark passage, whence came a rancorous stench,
strong enough to kill cats and doubtful democrats. 'Keep the right
hand way for the kitchen: General is in there, assisting in the making
of a monster stew. Work your course through the smoke--you may be sure
Mr. Pierce is in the thickest cloud, though over the smallest
stew-pan,' a voice echoed, as if broken on the winds. 'All right!' I
muttered, confronting on my way the still stronger odour of the
sickening steam. My intention was to have a political discussion with
the cook (Fourney by name) and say a thing or two to the General; for
I had got a sort of cross-grained notion into my head that he was
compounding a grand stew for the black pig with the horns. Meanwhile
my stomach said it would have no objection to join the General over a
good breakfast. Presently I scented the frying of fish, which betold
that I was on the right track. But lo! as I was about to open a great
door that led into where the fussing and frying was going on, a voice
screamed out--'Visitors are forbidden these premises!' Here was a
pretty kettle of political fish. 'Much you know about it!' I replied
testily, and turning saw nothing but fog and confusion. Faith and
energy being the two great pillars of human progress, I summoned them
to my aid, and pressed onward, determined to see for myself who
regulated the culinary. This resolution was adopted solely on the
ground that the General had repudiated his responsibility to the
people, and joined hands with those who eat up all the loaves and
little fishes.

"Mr. Smooth, on behalf of Young America, esteemed the having positive
proof of how Mr. General Pierce kept his kitchen things a duty he
could not forego, and upon the strength of which he presented himself
to the august culinary cabinet, which he found enveloped in a dense
cloud. As I passed the great door, a fat man from Florida, who filled
that office of steady habits, the doorkeeper, said Mr. Smooth, which
he read on my card, was decidedly impertinent; the more so because
neither of the old grey-back parties had ever troubled themselves
about the kitchen fixings; that the present was an innovation he was
sure Mr. Pierce would resent by the withholding of appointments. I
left him to his opinion, and delved my way through the smoke, until I
began to think I had lost myself, and instead of Mr. Pierce on the
grindstone found a lower region of unlimited extent--so murky and
dismal was the place. They said it didn't use to be so! Such fritter
frying; such johnny-cake baking; such chowder making, and flounder
frying! Nearly a dozen fine buxom-looking, corn-fed females
(_helps_),--such as Vermont only can grow, were stuffing and stewing,
and beating and battering, and themselves seeming on the eve of
dissolution. They evinced alarm at my presence, but I told them not to
be scared, inasmuch as I was an intimate acquaintance of the General,
for whom I carried Cape Cod. On the left side of the kitchen there
stood at a great deal table an aged maid whose mien was somewhat
fidgety. This visible nervousness was increased with the labour
necessary to prepare the ponderous pile of soft dough-nuts she worked
upon; which, she said, when ready (though of little substance) were
intended to satisfy the Down-easters, who never expected much, and
seldom got anything. I pitied the poor old lady, for she seemed well
worn. She declared it was pinching times in the kitchen--that is, her
part of it. She prepared a deal of little niceties for the
peace-loving North: but, the General was so pinching with matters on
that side of the house, and had become so enamoured of the black pig!
This voracious brute demanded everything, and got what he
demanded--even got us into a deal of trouble. Indeed, it had been said
that all the swill in the country wouldn't satisfy him--he would seek
abroad for more. 'Needn't be afraid, old lady,' said I, edging up to
her in a polite sort of way: 'Smooth won't harm nobody. The New
Englanders think well of the women--they do!' Here I gave the old lady
my hand, and shook her's right heartily. 'Why,' I continued, 'there's
three Women's Rights Societies down Massachusetts way, any one of
which can start a breeze at pleasure--blow the men all into thunder! I
say, old lady, better join one of them--pay fifty cents, and blow the
men all into political rags. Musn't take what I say amiss; but you
looks as if you could do some blowing: the General standing much in
need of that article, why not volunteer? The General is going it
pretty fast now, but just get the Women's Rights Societies to blow him
a little, and he'll go fast enough for any Young American party out.'
After leaving the old woman, who said she was nearly related to
General Cass, I went politely to the other girls, bidding them, one
after another, a square down good-morning, ending with a social chat
and a smile for them all. On the opposite side of the smoky kitchen
stood the grim figure of a nigger wench, as big as the north side of a
Dutch lighthouse, and as saucy as Benton's goat. The way she was
making the wool fly over a sas-pan as big as old Zack Coffin's ile
kettle was a caution to nervous folks. 'What on earth have ye got in
that, eh?' I inquires, peeping over the side into the half-scalding

"'What business is that to you?' sounds, like thunder rolling away in
the distance, from t'other side the cauldron. Looking up almost
dumb-founded I espied the hard phiz of the General, in dim outline
through the fog and steam, stirring away at a massive ladle.

"'Pierce! Lord love yer soul--is it you?' says I, my feelings rising
into a rhapsody of affection for him: 'Give us yer hand.'

"'Yes, it's me; just come round here if you can see your way through,'
says he; and I fumbled my way round, and got him by the hand, and had
a hearty good shake, just for old acquaintance sake.

"'But what in the name of Columbus are you doing here?' I inquired,
touching him on the elbow, significantly.

"'Well!' he answers, rather undecidedly, 'just helping prepare this
pot of mixture for the black pig.' He kept on moving his big ladle
with one hand and throwing in additional feed with the other, from a
bucket that stood close by.

"I inquired of the General where he kept so dangerous an animal, and
was told in the most complacent manner that he ran all about, was as
ravenous of power as the gentleman of those lower regions we hear so
much about is of sinners; that he demanded all the country's swill.
Here the General threw into the cauldron another sprinkling of grits,
which he said was to complete the pot of homony. It was merely the
daily feed of the black pig, which the colored female assisted the
General in preparing. The General seemed very good-natured, and
commenced a mathematical description of the ingredients of the
mixture, when suddenly there came a fierce blow from behind, which
well nigh tilted him deep into the foaming liquid. I grabbed the broad
expanse of his nether garments, while the wench screamed, and was only
quieted when she found him safe under her broad lee. A deep sonorous
voice responded:--'Stir quicker in the feed!' I turned to see from
whence it came, and who had dealt thus unmercifully with the General,
when behold! there stood this hideous animal. With fourteen horns he
incessantly used, and two just growing, he hoped in time to use; with
a back of thorns he ever and anon threatened all who came near him;
with a tail of poison he defiantly lashed, and a wicked eye that
sought objects afar off--he was the most pertinacious brute unchained.
Moreover he had a snout like a ploughshare, with which he had
frequently driven Mr. Pierce to the wall.

"'Add more grits!' again the brute growled out, as if alike unhappy
with himself and those around him. The voice had scarcely delivered
its command, when Mr. General Pierce, as undecided as wanting in vigor
of intellect, turned gently round, patted the hideous monster on the
head--said he would do all he could to pacify him, though to appease
his discontent seemed impossible. Indeed, it was a fact that
notwithstanding much of the swill intended for the whiter portion of
the litter was sacrificed to this demanding brute, he illustrated his
gratitude by threatening to swallow Mr. Pierce into the bargain. This
was most unfortunate, seeing how much had been done to transplant the
breed to foreign lands.

"Mr. Smooth felt that for a President to be thus driven to extremes
was indeed an unenviable position. I told him I thought Young America
would do something, and, with a little advice concerning his
principles, passed on through the smoke and foam until I confronted
Uncle Jeff and Cousin Guth, both hard at work over a blazing fire,
frying a monster fish. Uncle Jeff's apron looked as if he did most of
the greasy work, while Guth looked on and directed the turns--now and
then whispering a word to the French cook, who with sparkling eye, and
oval olive face, and hair so glossy, black, and curly, was dexterously
compounding a luscious sauce. 'Going it on the strong!' said I, giving
Uncle Jeff a significant wedge under the shorts as he was about to let
the grease in the stew-pan fuzzle. Guth, who at the moment commenced
dredging in a little more pepper, and a little more butter, and a
small sprinkling of salt, said they had been trying to cook this old
fish for there was no knowing how many years, all to no purpose; but
now that the arts of the very best French cook in the country had been
secured he was sure to be done brown. Here he smiled and turned to the
cook in question, who bowed with such grace! Such a bow in the
presence of ladies would have secured his reputation. Indeed, the said
cook was extremely neat of person, though rather below the middle
stature, and was well thought of among lawyers and ladies, who
declared they liked his graces better than his gravies. 'He's of the
right stripe--a fillibuster cook!' said Jeff, exultingly, as Guth gave
the coals another stir. 'This is a Cuba flounder,' interposed
Guth. 'You see, Mr. Smooth, the General is exceedingly partial to this
sort of flounder, but he doesn't understand the quality of dressing
requisite to the cooking it--he must be done with native sauce. It is
necessary he should be fried in a southern griddle, with plenty of
native sauce--an article for which this cook of ours is not

"'Well, gents!' rejoined I, 'if you do brown that old fellow this
season I'll knock under. However, don't be bashful about extending
Smooth an invitation to breakfast: understand, he is rather fond of a
good fish hash, which he thinks it is the profession of your French
cook to do up.'

"'Lord bless you!' quickly interrupted Uncle Jeff, 'being a good
Down-east democrat, your wish shall be gratified.' Then in great good
nature he told me just to step along, and a little further into the
dark smoke I'd find Grandpapa Marcy and Uncle Dib, exerting their
wondrous energies over a stew they were puzzled to get to the right
substance. Knowing that their good advice was much better as example
than the result of their actions, I wended my way along, leaving Guth
and Jeff to their frying, and soon came upon the two old worthies,
busily employed over stews of the most incomprehensible ingredients.
'That,' spoke Grandpapa Marcy, as I approached within hearing
distance, 'is the real democratic stew, it will cement hard shells and
soft shells into one strong conglomerate mass.' He pointed to a
punch-bowl held between their legs--(for they were seated on the
floor)--and containing a mixture they stirred with spoons containing
the Tammany-hall mark. For some time I stood contemplating the
venerable appearance of these two, nor could I resist a smile at the
singular occupation they had so readily adopted. Uncle Dib seemed
happy, and evidently had a keen sense of what the consistency of the
stew must be to make the flounder palatable. Grandpapa's countenance,
nevertheless, wore an air of deep anxiety. He had undertaken the
management of the most unruly set of cooks that ever infested the
kitchen of a respectable gentleman; and they had made a shocking mess.
And, too, Grandpapa, was unhappy; his clothes bore seedy marks, and
his breeches were in such a plight--it really excited our pity. I
called his attention to an unmentionable rent in a conspicuous place,
but he seemed careless about it--said it was of no consequence--and
that Uncle Sam was a good old soul, and always paid the tailor--he
knew from experience. Suddenly I heard the formidable negro-wench
raising her voice in admonition. She was scolding the General, who
still kept stirring in the homony grits for the black pig. Then a
noise came through the foam and smoke as of one in trouble. 'Faster,
faster!' it spoke, 'stir in more grits!' Then followed a loud splash
and a deathlike shriek; alarm and consternation spread throughout the
building. From the cauldron came the cry. Grandpapa moved for a
moment, as was his custom, declared the voice to be no other than that
of the General himself. Dib agreed ('There's trouble!' he exclaimed)
and both sprang to their feet, and with anxious countenances hastened
to the rescue, Marcy crying out, as he passed Jeff and Guth, 'Stick by
the flounder, boys! Stand firm; don't give in until he's well cooked;
we'll save the General--you dig in the basting.' The boys, as
Grandpapa called them, were crowding the charcoal finely. Always
having a taste for seeing what was going on, I kept close at Dib's
heels, and soon saw through the grim smoke where the trouble was. The
black pig had got the General poised by the nether part of his
breeches, on his Virginia horn, and was having a nice little game of
shuttle-cock with him, just for his own amusement, while his executive
victim shrieked most piteously, expecting every succeeding surge would
land him beneath the surface of the boiling mass. The old nigger wench
had fainted at the sight, and lay sprawled on the floor, as Marcy,
making a grab at Mr. Pierce's breeches at a moment when the savage
brute was giving a last vault ere he landed his victim into the
scalding homony, tripped his toe and brought his length upon the floor
beneath the pig's hind legs. 'It's all gone!' exclaimed the General;
and in another minute nothing was seen save the soles of his boots
protruding above the boil-surface. The surly brute, having generously
moistened Grandpapa Marcy's head, stood, his fore-feet on the rim of
the cauldron, gazed after his struggling victim, and held his head
high aloft in triumph. This brought Uncle Dib to the rescue. After
raising Grandpapa, with limbs extended, they drew forth the
half-cooked body, reeking with the black pig's swill, and laid it on
the kitchen floor, the ungrateful quadruped walking victoriously
away. Satisfied that I had seen enough for one day, I sought my way
back to the National, where I contemplated the next move necessary to
my mission.



"Well, Uncle Sam, I reckoned I'd seen enough of the kitchen
arrangements; so I left them scraping the General--that is, getting
off the injured outside, in order to see what really he was made of,
and what he had beneath the undefinable cover. When in Washington,
there's nothing like going ahead; and if you can look a man into
respect for you, so much the better. Dignitary or no dignitary won't
do; you must always profess to be a distinguished individual. Well, on
the strength of the invitation extended by Jeff--to take a fish
breakfast on the following morning, when it was expected the flounder
would be done brown, I again repaired to the White House, and after
pushing my way through all kinds of passages and doorways, found
myself in a gorgeous sort of establishment.

"'Your lookin for somethin, I take it?' said a trim figure, whose face
rather bordered on the brassy.

"'Well! I reckon I am. Can you tell a stray citizen where the General
hangs out in the morning?' I replied, as he confronted me and paused.

"'Sartin!' he rejoined, interrupting me, and at the same time looking
very sociable, as if he wanted to have a talk on politics.
Nevertheless, it was getting close upon the hour of breakfast; so he
takes me by the arm, and stepping through a frickazeed passage up to a
large door which opened into a ponderously furnished room, 'I'll take
your card, sir!' continued he, with a low bow and a motion of the hand
to sit down.

"Didn't have a card at hand, but chalked down Mr. Solomon Smooth, from
Cape Cod, on a piece of thick paper per, that suited all the purposes.

"'Mr. Smooth belongs to the Young American party, if I mistake not?'
he returned, with a polite bow.

"'You better believe that, citizen!' says I, and off he goes, soon
disappearing through a door at the other end of the room. While he was
gone, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a survey of the
premises. So, lighting my cigar, I began at the top end first. Such
looking-glasses, sofas, carpets--so much fashion and flummery, that
nobody could tell what utility it contained, I never had seen
before. Tell you what it is, Uncle Sam, we have an expensively queer
way of representing our republican simplicity! As I was squinting
about, in comes the General, looking as bright as a newly-coined
cent. Running up to me, with hand extended, and exulting with joy, he
spake: 'Great kingdom, Smooth!--is it you?' And then he shaked my hand
as if he never would let it go.

"''Tis me too!' says I, giving him a significant touch on the
elbow. 'Didn't expect to see you looking so bright, General--rather a
bad kettle of fish that you unfortunately got into yesterday, eh?'--

"'Oh no--things like those are mere trifles; hardly worth mentioning
amidst the current turmoil of the day. That black pig is an ungrateful
brute, though, I must confess in confidence,' the General replied,
touching me on the arm.

"'He sunk you in the very swill you were cooking for him,
eh?--petulant brute!' I rejoined.

"'Well, Smooth,' said he, 'don't let us say any more about that; I was
deceived--most egregiously! How are all the Young Americans down your
way--the real go-ahead stripe?' he inquired anxiously: and we both
laughed heartily to see one another. 'They're all bright ends up,
General,' said I. 'General!' (I touched him on the shoulder) ''taint
more nor three years since we used to go fishing in old Sam Peabody's
pond; hain't forgot it, I reckon?'

"'Not I, Smooth. Give us yer hand for old acquaintance sake! No change
of power or circumstances could make me forget old associations.
Fortune may change, my feelings never; they have been and shall always
be with the people.' The General couldn't keep the dignity on, to save
his life; he was not born to do so!

"'Give us yer hand, General,' I demanded in reply; 'right glad to see
you, and to know that old New Hampshire's granite hills have not faded
from your memory, nor been absorbed in the quantity of swill it seems
necessary to provide for the black-pig. But, I say, Frank, what
harlequin-like changes politics take in a republic--now and then! Two
years ago, and who'd a' thought a' seeing you here? 'Stonished you
yourself, didn't it? Scarcely expected to brush old General Scott's
fuss and feathers into a cock'd up hat, eh? There's nothing like a
man keeping his mouth shut when he's got others to do the fighting for
him; you know that, don't you, General?'

"'Mr. Smooth is always asking some strange questions, or making some
queer observation!'

"'Now, General, I reckon how you didn't get the hang of this 'ere
establishment all on a sudden? Seems to me how I'd like to be
President of these United States about two months, merely to have the
satisfaction of straightening the cross-grain of political parties;
they have got so so crooked now-a-days.' The President just then said
he would take my hat, and hoped I make myself quite at home. As
everything seemed so comfortable, I had not the slightest objection.
'Now, Smooth,' he reiterated, spreading his length on a magnificent
sofa, 'I am anxious to hear how the Young American party progresses
down your way; and you must tell me all about it. I intend to give you
a roving commission as my minister in general.'

"'I'll do that,' I replied, and just when I was getting the story
fixed square, he interrupted me by saying--'One moment, Mr. Smooth; we
are going to have a flounder breakfast--it's the same old fellow you
saw Uncle Jeff and Guth cooking yesterday morning,--they've got him
pretty well browned--You must join us.'

"'Well,--have no objection; but tell us, General, how is the missus?'

"'Right well, Smooth; she'll be delighted to see you.'

"'And so will I to see the missus; I know'd her when she warn't
bigger nor Cousin Obadiah's Jane, and didn't think no more about being
Mrs. President of these United States nor my missus.' In answer to
which, the General said a respectable man might as well be President
as anything else--we all know how to be. Here we joined arms, and like
jolly fellows of a stripe, took a few turns up and down the
apartment. 'Well! here's pure democracy,' thought I to myself. Taking
Mr. President Pierce's arm doubled my independence--made me feel that
I was the left wing of his brightest hope. Having talked over a few
small matters of foreign policy, we sauntered together into one of the
largest, and longest, and handsomest breakfast rooms this side of
Texas. A table of great length stretched across its centre, upon which
was arranged in profusion, Georgia potatoes, New Hampshire bacon,
Virginia oysters and fried eels, South Carolina rice cakes, and Cape
Cod fish balls--all strong incentives to the stomach of a hungry
politician. Trim waiters stood round, like statues tailored and
anxiously waiting a guest's nod. As I cast a bird's eye glance down
the scene, in popped the General's missus, all calm, and with an air
of motherly gentleness that inspired me with lofty reflections on
woman's mission. As she approached with her hand extended, and such a
sweet smile on her face, I could not resist a salutation thus earnest,
and grasping it, gave it a good, warm-hearted shake. She said great
was her joy at seeing Mr. Smooth--plain Solomon Smooth. She could not
feel more joy were I an Emperor--no not even were I a governor of
Hungary, who, having lost the chance of winning a diadem, would Uncle
Sam lent him aid to regain it. In another minute the gong sounded, the
great doors at the opposite end of the hall opened, a train of
serious-faced gentry entered, and as unceremoniously took seats. Mr.
Smooth being put down number one, took a seat beside the missus. After
a blessing had been dispensed, the conversation turned on politics and
potatoes. A potent-looking individual, who sat not far down the table,
said the Union was known by its magistracy, which being an established
fact, should make it incumbent that no chief of this great and growing
nation leave the federal chair unmarked by some bold stroke. 'Good!'
says I, 'Smooth always went in for bold strokes--they are just the
things to make outsiders knock under--' Here I was just getting up to
make a speech on behalf of manifest destiny, when a gent who ought to
have been voted into the army as a regular cried out:--'Keep cool!
keep cool! Mr. Smooth.'

"Scarcely had he ceased speaking, when Uncle Caleb Grandpapa Marcy,
Cousin Guth, and good-natured Uncle Dib, and the grindstone-man,
Fourney,--all dressed in bright aprons, and white ghost-like
night-caps--made their appearance, tugging and puffing at a hand-bier,
on which lay the much-talked-of flounder. Jeff, who walked in front
with a drawn sword, wheezed, and Grandpapa grunted, and Dib said,
'Carry a steady hand, boys!' and Guth said he would bear up his part,
which was the tail part. Staggering along under the load, they brought
forth in solemn procession the flounder, and after a good deal of bad
diplomacy, laid him, like a stuffed whale, on the table. The General
was not quite certain about the catch of this flounder; but as there
was nothing like having a dash at things now-a-days,--'here's go into
it!' he exclaimed. 'I don't believe that fish is cooked enough,'
retorted John Littlejohn, a statesman of very elastic capacity, who
spoke for Uncle Bull, on t'other side of the big pond.

"Looking as if he were about making a longe into him, hit or miss, the
General seizes up the big carving-knife (generally used by Grandpapa
Marcy) and asks who will have the first bit? The pall-bearers, still
retaining their bright aprons and white caps, had taken seats at the
table, among the guests. 'It's all for me!' mumbles a sullen voice; no
one knew from whence it came. 'It's all for me!--who are you?'
reiterated Mr. Pierce, kicking under the table: 'I believe in my soul
it's the black pig, who always pursues unto the death what he
considers his!' True enough, there the savage brute was, lashing
everybody's legs, and threatening destruction with his wicked
mouth. No one knew how he got into the dining-room; but where the good
Uncle Sam had anything to eat or give, there he was sure to be,
demanding more than his share. After a hard tussle, Grandpapa and
Uncle Caleb succeeded in driving him out of the room; albeit, it was
only for a time. The unsatisfied animal was always keeping Uncle Sam
in a fuss, and the folks about the White House in an uproar. 'That
critter is always crying 'Me first!' rejoined Uncle Caleb, who, having
lost his white cap in the tussle with the black pig, looked funny

"'A Cuba flounder!' exclaims the General, who continued to work
diligently, his face flushed as crimson, but I as yet he had failed to
secure the first slice. It was evident he had made a stroke too bold,
and would now be compelled to draw back a little--perhaps to take a
few more lessons in the diplomacy of carving. And while the General
was trying to get the knife into the neck part, the critter opened its
mouth, and gasping looked as if it thought some of swallowing a whole
cabinet of philibusteroes.

"'The brute ain't cooked yet--if it don't open its mouth!' proclaimed
the General, the hair almost standing on his head, as he reclined back
in fright.

"'The critter's going to be generous, I do believe!' chimed in
Grandpapa, whose white cap, during the moment of excitement, had
fallen over into Mrs. Dobbin's plate; from whence that good-natured
lady, in the moment of anxiety, removed it to her lap, and ere she had
been served found it near her pretty lips, under the mistaken
impression of its being a napkin. Grandpapa, discovering his loss,
politely developed the dear lady's mistake.

"'Tell you what it is General; you'll have to be mighty careful, or
that Cuba flounder will swallow all the shiners in Uncle Sam's brass
box without yielding anything in exchange,' I insinuated.

"'Not a bit on't!' says Uncle Jeff, going off into a state of
excitement: 'Just lend me the carver; I'll put him through;' and
seizing the knife from Mr. Pierce's hand, and the steel from
Grandpapa's, he was just on the point of making a thrust into the
fish, when his mouth again expanded, his fins fluttered, and out came
a long roll of paper. 'What on earth is that?' inquired the astonished
General, as Jeff unconsciously let the knife fall in fright, and
Grandpapa gave an anxious look toward the door, as if to measure the
distance between it and his chair,--while John Littlejohn applying his
glass to his eyes, squinted seriously at it. 'He's not just done
enough for you yet, gentlemen; I think you had better let him stand
awhile,' remarks our Cousin John, rather coolly. 'You cannot
republicanize him, unless you change his head and heart; I can tell
you that, my good fellows.'

"Uncle Jeff, at Grandpapa's bidding, took up the roll of paper, the
text of which Mr. Pierce requested him to read. 'A protest, your
Excellency!' said Jeff, the paper vibrating in his nervous hand. 'It
says, this is to notify Brother Jonathan, that the extreme largeness
of his appetite, insatiate in its demands for my body, shall never be
gratified therewith. You are far-seeing, have grown powerful, and are
rather a good sort of fellow, Jonathan; but I'm not quite ready to say
I should prefer either to belong to your household or provide your
table with dainty dishes. The fact is, Jonathan, and you know it, when
disposed to think on the square, we are not prepared to denounce our
league loyalty and come over to you; common sense might have convinced
you of this fact. The world protests against your forcing propensities
in this little affair between us. For more than two centuries have I
remained at peace; let me so continue. I admit that kings, queens, and
courtiers, have feasted on my fatlings, and even discomfited me, and
caused much discontent among my people; but even they would rather
bear the ills that be than fall victims to your black pig's will.'

"'Well!' interrupted Uncle Jeff, looking suspiciously about the table,
'if he ain't the toughest old flounder I ever did see!'

"'Shouldn't be surprised if you found it so!' replied the fish, his
spacious jaws opening, and the end of another parchment slowly
protruding from his mouth. 'Read that! I must get somebody to help me
to eject this instrument.' The General wrested it from its mouth,
turned it over and over, and tried and retried to read it. 'It's a
protest from John, my Uncle, John Bull and Johnny Crappo, which
says:--'We, the said John and Louis, having entered into a sublime
alliance with our sublime brother of the East, by which one great and
mighty power has been concentrated, do humbly beg Mr. President Pierce
(for whom we now have and ever hope to entertain the very highest
esteem) that he take heed how he dips his fingers into other people's
political pies. And, further, while exhibiting so earnest a desire to
appropriate the choicest delicacies of his neighbors to the cravings
of his black pig, to be a little more modest. Now, we, the undersigned
Louis and John, whose names--in alliance have become mightiest among
the mighty, are duly convinced of the many inconsistencies,
irregularities, and breaches of _good_ faith, together with the many
petty acts of tyranny, the mother of this Antilla flounder has been
guilty of, to her own disgrace. But greatness should be known by its
forbearance with the weak; hence we should bear and forgive. Yea, we
admit that her footprints are marked with blood--that her history has
numberless pages written in blood--that her arrogance and avarice have
blotted out her national virtue, and now work like a battering-ram her
downfall. Yet, as arrogance is but another name for weakness, is it
not better to brush off than kill the wasp? The principle herein
contained we have, in the sublimity of our power, adopted as an
example to the nations of the earth. Jonathan! we like your
amiability; we esteem you as a keen fellow, who, large of trade, and
wise in the ways of a cheap government, may well boast a happy people:
bridle, then, the audacity of that southern ambition, lest it betray
you into unforseen difficulties. Let peace be the guardian of that
commerce now teeming its grandeur and wealth on your shores; and in
all kindness, Mr. Pierce, do we speak, when we say,--look to those
_things_ you send into foreign lands to represent the quiet grandeur
of our institutions: send the gentleman whose conduct may be a means
to great ends, for ruffians leave their little stains behind.''

"'Well!' exclaimed the General, his large square face reddening with
anxiety, as he turned to Uncle Dib and Grandpapa, 'I should call this
the insolence of sublime power. Let them try their sublime power on
this side of the Atlantic!' Here the General gave his head a
significant toss, and wiped his lips as he added,--'_Young America_
can whip the three.' This pithy speech being received with great
applause, he reached over his hand, and was about taking mine, when I
warmly embraced his, saying--'Give me you yet, General! Messrs. John,
Louis & Co., having consolidated their sublime power, must not
entertain the idea of making a menace over here. We have no means of
questioning the legitimate qualities of this sublime joint-stock
company; but we would advise its keeping decidedly cool about matters
this side of the big water, lest its stock get to a very low-water
mark. This old flounder, nevertheless, is a hard case for cooks, nor
in my opinion will he be made softer by that celebrated French cook of
yours, whose process is that of too suddenly piling on the charcoal.
In fact, I believe it not untrue that in political cooking a Frenchman
is more a man of muss than method. This you, General, might have known
before you engaged him to cater for Spanish appetites. In truth, (it
must be told now and then, General), that black pig you so fondly
nurse, and which you can neither tame nor make grateful, is
sacrificing us to his poisonous litter. And, too, he is dividing his
own pen; and when pigs become divided among themselves, refuse to eat
out of one trough, and threaten to devour each other, they are sure to
become an easy prey to the bore of fractional sovereignity.' With the
exception of the General, all listened attentively while I spoke: he,
exhibiting little concern, arose with the calmness of moonlight, and
was about to make some remarks, as the flounder again opened wide his
mouth, which produced a pause. 'You are right,' joined in the
flounder; 'that black pig's love of territorial feasts knows no
bounds, nor will he stop at that point where justice sets the limit;
he will continue his insatiate trade until common sense and generous
sentiment interpose and exterminate him. Here is another paper for
you--read it! It is the protest of the people of free, enlightened,
and happy New England: they protest against being swallowed up in your
black pig's bowels!' Again the flounder mechanically closed its mouth.

"'And my old governor across the water will not view with indifference
this black brute's ever-threatening disturbances. He watches long,
waits patiently, moves cautiously, but enters upon the execution of
his plans with monstrous method,' interrupted Littlejohn, who spoke on
behalf of his nation, and for the _status quo_ of nationalities in

"'I say, neighbor,' rejoins Mr. Sam Blowaway, a leader of the national
Young American party, 'pears how, if your old chap over there attempts
that game, he'll get himself boots deep into a scrape he'll not find
it so easy to claw out on.' And Sam got right up, and looked brimstone
at him, straight across the table.

"'I'm methodical, but not easily repulsed: impulsive acts do not
constitute valor,' returned John, rising coolly and dispassionately.

"'Grandpapa Marcy now got up to say a word or two, but Mr. Pierce had
the floor, and demanded--Order! Order, gentlemen!--Order in the White
House! My boys want to get me into trouble, but I feel that I can yet
regulate my own household!' he rejoined, with a peremptory tone that
excited surprise.

"'Yes,' replied the flounder; 'I say so too. If you do not keep quiet,
and live in harmony among yourselves, I will be the means of
swallowing you.' Just at this moment the black pig, with savage grunt,
bounded fearlessly into the room and upon the table, where he
confronted the flounder with open mouth, overturned the table, smashed
all the crockery and pewter, made the uproar and confusion complete.
The pig and flounder fell upon each other, wrestled among the wreck,
nor ceased until, like Kilkenny cats, they had nearly devoured their
substance. Such a chaos of excitement as followed! Grandpapa and Uncle
Jeff ogled one another in fear and trembling, women fainted in the
arms of gallant men; the General, covered with fish gravy, cut the
more sorry figure, as with thunderstruck countenance he raised his
hands to protest to the nation. Meanwhile the guests suddenly
disappeared, and Grandpapa seriously damaged the broad disc of his
unmentionables; while Uncle Caleb, shaking his sides with laughter,
stood his comely figure in the doorway, the thumb of his right hand to
his nasal organ, and his fingers making five angles, quizzing the
General in his dilemma. Esteeming it rather an ugly situation for
Mister President Pierce, for whose dignity I had a special regard, I
picked myself up, made an apology, bowed myself to the great door, and
left the General to his pig. 'What a mess you have made of it!'
thought I, and straightaway ascended the cupola to watch the nation's



"When the nations of Europe give themselves up to the sword, let us
aggrandize ours with the arts of peace. This is my talisman. In that
commerce which is our nation's pride there is more of greatness than
war can give, more of power than armaments can command. It would be
well, Uncle Sam, if you pondered over this; because, having your
pockets well lined, war could supply numberless valiant sons ready to
do the emptying of them. This was a private opinion, which forced
itself upon my mind as I (having received a commission as minister in
general to Mr. Pierce) engaged passage in a spacious balloon, with
which to navigate this little globe of ours, and report here and there
on the condition of our international difficulties. Indeed, some of
those difficulties required looking after. And as no man should permit
his dignity to take the upward turn when a penny may be turned, I
reckoned on turning what I learned to the very best account. That you
spend your money very foolishly, Sam, is as true as sunrise; but more
than that, you intrust your honor (which is more precious than your
gold) to those who are seen abroad only to misnomer us. To counteract
this state of things is the primary object of my mission round the

"This I was anxious to impress on General Pierce; but he seemed to
have a wavering bump on his head, and not seeing his way clear, came
to the peculiar conclusion that Mr. Smooth had a very novel head, full
of novel notions. But he told me, by way of becoming enlightened on
the affairs of other nations, to keep a bright look-out, note down the
items, and see where we could turn the go-ahead of our people to
account. As most of our small disputes were with Mr. John Bull, who
was prone to keep open any quantity of very vexatious questions,
Mr. Pierce thought it good policy to make John Littlejohn a fellow
voyager with me. It was not a bad idea, seeing that Mr. Pierce had an
inward hatred of the Britishers, nor thought a war with them would be
the most unpopular thing in the world, inasmuch as it would attach to
him the Young American party, which said party might in gratitude
render good service to his re-election. Upon this principle
Littlejohn's company was acceptable; and when he joined me at the
National we had a social bit of a chat together about the matter. John
was not a bad fellow when once you knew how to take him, but he had
qualities of character which at times seemed at variance with what he
would have us believe were his straightforward principles. It was this
trait of character, at times defying analysis, we had to treat with
most care, lest unconsciously it embroil us. My friend Palmerston
might without prejudice be taken as an excellent representative of
this unfortunate trait. 'Now,' says John, in a methodical sort of way,
'there are, to be honest, (and acts will prove the truth of a
principle), two great pirates in the world. You know that, Smooth,
just as well as I do.'

"'No I don't,' says I.

"'But you do!' he returns. 'There's your Uncle Sam: he will steal all
territory adjoining his dominions,--in a good-natured sort of way,
merely to work out the problem of manifest destiny. As for my old
gentleman, Uncle John, why he has a dignified way of doing things,
always plays the part of a bold gentleman, and when he joins a kingdom
it is with a modesty so quiet and genteel. You needn't shake your
head, Smooth,--such are facts; nevertheless, they are both tenacious
of their rights--a national trait of great value,--and will shed a
river of human blood to gain a very small point on paper. Like two
great gamblers, they are opposed to the principle of give and take,
standing steadfastly by the _take_. Once they were father and
son--thus, the inheritance may be pardoned; and when they quarrelled
it was not to be expected the son would relinquish the traits so
paternally bestowed. Now the parent is obstinate and the son 'cute;
but the son has an eccentricity that prompts him to outwit. Not
unfrequently the father lets the son--just for peace sake--have his
own way; but this letting him have his own way has inclined his heart
rather to the ungrateful than otherwise. His demands are at times
somewhat funny, and when made known surprise a world. And now that
they are so firmly and extensively identified with each other in
pursuits of the noblest character, would it not be a sin to quarrel?'
Thus spoke John, very complacently.

"As he got through, the negro produced some liquor, piping hot. To
be good-natured, and keep cool, is one-half the battle; and to move
those very desirable traits of our nature, we put a hot punch a-piece
into the mentality of the inner man, smoked a couple of long nines,
bowed compliments, and packed up our duds for the voyage. There was a
great gathering where the balloon was blowing up; but Mr. John
Littlejohn and me walked cordially down and took our seat, bundled in
our traps, and sung out, 'Cut away the strings, and let her go!' I
said I would steer for Uncle Sam, and John said he would steer for Mr.
Bull; so, not feeling inclined to quarrel about the point, and knowing
full well that the mother of constitutional governments (some
facetiously called her the mother of constitutional incongruities)
always liked to have the first trick at the wheel, we tossed
coppers--after the fashion of good-natured diplomatists, when a large
stake is at issue. 'John!' I enjoined, 'let us keep calm, and put the
point to a test that never fails!' Here I gave him one of those pats
on the shoulder so impressive, and pulled out a double-headed cent,
like unto those so much in use in General Jackson's time, when shaving
decapitated the deposits he found himself mounted on the back of a
brass jackass. 'Here!' I continued--'Heads, I win; tails, you lose.'
To come the sharp over him in a more square sort of way, I gave him an
unmoved look straight in the eye, as I twirled up the copper.

"'I'll take the chance,' ejaculated John, and down came the other
head. His countenance, you may be assured, wore a singular
seriousness. The truth was, that John always had one strong idea in
his head, and made a strong effort to keep that one straight, to the
sacrifice of all the rest. Acting upon that axiom that so stimulated
the wood-sawyer who expected to be President of the United States in a
very few years, we cut away the fastenings, and having ascended high
among the clouds, sailed from the mist heavenward to the blue arch
above. Our position was not the most firm; but as Young America had
the helm, and rather courted than feared danger, the result could not
be doubted. Now and then Mr. John looked somewhat stern of
countenance, and turned pale when I crowded the charcoal. 'Be careful,
Smooth,' he lisped now and then, grasping my arm as he took a look
below--'Be careful; you know what a go-ahead sort of lot you are.
Your party would think nothing of going to the d----l, if it were only
with steam power.' It was indeed a dangerous position for large men
with small ideas; but as Young America was a small man with large
ideas, the case became reversed. Well, we headed square for
California, and proceeded at lightning speed, fast overtaking that old
slow coach of refulgent light that has made sentimental the wild
wisdom of the poet-world. Soon old Jacob's face loomed out upon its
broad disc, looking as good-natured as a Dutchman over a pot of lager
beer. My friend John seemed rather moody and dogged; however, we soon
got within hailing-distance; and having provided myself with a
speaking-trumpet--John having forgot his--I esteemed it good policy
to, in a social way, have a small quantity of talk with Jacob, who,
although a common sort of person, I felt assured must be well posted
on matters and things concerning manifest destiny. We were running bow
on, and at the moment I seized the trumpet for a blow, Jacob sung
out--'Good morning!' just like a free and easy citizen, who had sense
enough to be approached at any time without walling himself up in the
dignity of that thing called a duke. His voice was like thunder, with
reechoes for accents. 'Mind your helm!--you steer rather wild, there!'
he spoke.

"'Old feller! don't get into a pucker; there's not a mite of danger,'
I returned. 'Just hold up a little, and let us have a bit of a talk!'

"'Well, don't mind if I do,' good-naturedly returned the old man. So
we hooked on to his establishment,--laid her aback in the wind, and,
as the sailor would say, 'came to.'

"'Who are you, anyhow?' continued Jacob, getting up and shaking

"'Well, I'm Young America (Jacob shook his head, doubtfully, at the
name) and my friend here, is Cousin John, from across the water. We
are going to take a view of state affairs around this little globe of
ours, that we may report to General Pierce in particular.'

"'Then you're from the States down yonder?' rejoined the old man.

"'Just so!'

"'Ah,--go-ahead fellers down there, they are! But they've got to mind
their moves just about this time.'

"'Seeing it's you, Jacob,--and knowing that you must be worn down with
toil, s'pose we strike a trade in a small sort of way?' Jacob shook
his head, and replied:

"'Like your folks for their masterly energies, but rather not trade.'

"'That won't do, old fellow: you must come out on the new principles
of civilizations. Who knows that we may make an arrangement to annex
your little establishment to these United States! Young America has,
you see, yet to fulfil the functions of manifest destiny.'

"'Don't, pray don't, bring your Young America about my dominions!' he
exclaimed, interrupting just as John Littlejohn was about to speak.

"John spoke, inquiring if his preferences were not for him? He knew
old Jacob would like to annex his dominions to Great Britain, seeing
that he carried out his annexation in a quiet sort of way. Jacob
laughed right out--laughed irresistibly; laughed as if he meant it for
something. 'To be honest with you, gentlemen, and I know you'll excuse
me for being out-spoken,--I want nothing to do with either of
you. You'll both steal territory; and as for you, Young America, take
a word of honest advice--be contented with what has honestly fallen to
you, covet not that which is thy neighbor's, but improve what thou
hast of thine own. At the same time, take particular care how thou
sail in this very lofty atmosphere. Your manifest destiny may fall
into martyrdom.'

"'That's right good advice, Uncle,' said I, (interrupting him), but it
would be better it did not smack so strong of that fogyism whose
obstinate policy won't let the progress of those United States come
out. Anyhow, Jacob, seeing that you have got such a nice stock of
territory, dotted with fascinating hills and plains, upon which good
speculations can be made in starting a speculation in churches, as has
become the fashion, doing a little in the tin business, laying a few
railroads, and building up factory villages, we must have a treaty of
commerce--at all events!'

"'No! no! no! You've large inards, Jonathan; and your youngest
son,--Young America,--has got such a pair of eyes! I'm afraid of him.
No objection to joining in three cheers for Hail Columbia, almost any
time; but save me from your claws. You're both great pirates: pray be
merciful to your neighbors, and spare me my Independence. Your little
place down there is become troubled with wars and rumours of
wars;--the shedding of innocent blood in streams at the caprice of
imbecile princes, who make the bones and blood of their subjects the
waste material with which to serve their incarnate ambition, tells me
to beware. Beware of ambitious princes; the world would be well rid of

"'Like to hear you talk so, Uncle Jacob. Reckon how you've studied in
a New England school! There the greatest power springs from the humble
people. Anyhow, Jacob, since we can't strike a trade, nor do a thing
or two in the way of speculation, s'pose we take a drop of whiskey

"'Can't object to that,' he returned.

"So, Littlejohn and me set about it, and in a very few minutes had a
first-class punch brewed, of which old Jacob supped most lavishly. In
fact, he liked it so well that I reckoned he had forgotten to stop
drinking; and Littlejohn felt somewhat nervous lest the old fellow get
fuddled and turn everything over. John reckoned I'd better give him a
cold julep to wipe down with; but Jacob said he much preferred hot
things, that his profession was quite cold enough. So, after we put
the punches down, and smoked some cigars, and received some good
advice about being careful how I proceeded, we loosened the strings
and bid him good morning: it was coming faint daylight, and Jacob had
to be jogging. Just as I was leaving, my heart felt kind a
down-pressed to think what gorgeous territory he had spread out to a
feller's eyes, without the slightest chance of making an operation for
a small portion of it--say just enough to get a foothold.

"Westward we went with breathless speed, soon losing sight of Jacob
and his luminary. 'You better reef down, Mr. Smooth. Should anything
give way, and you tumble out and break your neck, the democracy would
go into mourning,' said Littlejohn, who had kept very quiet up to this

"'Not a bit of it!' I answered, 'our democracy is like Parr's Life
Pills, enervating and elasticating. You may break its head, but you
cannot kill;--it belongs to the heart, and springs from the laws of
right.' At this Littlejohn began to get dogged,--to shows signs of
very bad nature. Knowing this was most unprofitable to him I yielded
indulgence. To be good-natured in cases of Emergency is a most
valuable trait; and to whip a man for being ill-tempered, when nothing
can be made at it, is most absurd.

"The world outside of the United States is inclined to believe
American democracy something next to infernal--that it must have
everything it sees, and turns everything it comes in contact with into
dollars, cents, and republicanism. To such it is a mysterious power,
moved by chemical agency. As for Littlejohn, he thought that in
addition to our speculative spirit we should be governed by modesty,
an example of which his forefathers had set us. This he recommended on
the principle of a gentleman who keeps up his dignity, gaining one
half his object through the influence of his mien. Many said this was
the precise material General Pierce was most deficient in; and that if
the General would preserve more dignity and less bluster his
administration had been marked with results more in keeping with the
true character of the nation. Old Uncle John could brag stoutly; but
Jonathan was a magnificent player at the same game. I realised this as
Littlejohn took a long look over our wonderful West, and asked by what
singular process of diplomacy we got to many fine states, so richly
burdened with natural resources? He reckoned we must have come the
_smart_ of our go-ahead principles over the French, Spanish and
Mexicans, and then insinuated ourselves into their dominions. But,
this being the smallest end of an Englishman's ideas whittled down to
the very point of self-conceit, Smooth thought it best to be
good-natured and make the best of his calmness. The fact is, John
Bull and Cousin Jonathan must be good friends; strife is the dire
enemy of good order, while war becomes the assassin seeking to
overthrow those principles of constitutional liberty, both nations so
wisely combined in their constitutions. Why tear down the noble
edifice you cannot rebuild? why blight the cheering prospects of
thousands to gratify the vain ambition of pedantic politicians?

"'Hallo! Smooth, my dear fellow, what place is this below?' cries out
Littlejohn, looking over, as the balloon made a B line westward.

"'That,' I interrupted, 'used to be called the 'far West.' Now it is
getting to be the centre of civilization. It goes ahead of the march
of progress, while outstripping comprehension. Upon this great expanse
will spring up the materials for feeding every hungry and oppressed
citizen this side of sun-down. We can already raise anything,--from
mountain of corn to a river of pork,--on it; and as for the nigger
crop, there's no end of that!'

"'And that yours, too, Mr. Smooth? Your fertile acres stretch from sea
to sea.' Little John interrupting, pointed all over the broad expanse
below. He had no generalized ideas of America, no distinct estimate of
her productive and maintaining powers, and less knowledge of that
machinery so simply beautiful called her government. He never for once
thought how this wide western expanse was destined for the back-bone
of the mightiest republic the world ever knew. People without homes in
the old world found happy homes there; civilization drove the buffalo
from his wonted haunt to give place to man; man himself yielded to the
power of progress marching westward. 'Now, Littlejohn.' said I,
'seeing that your people have but an imperfect geographical knowledge
of our country, let me tell you that yon black ridge you see afar down
is the range of rocky mountains. Colonel Fremont, a small man, slim
enough to split the wind, but as tough as Uncle Seth's whip-stock,
climbed the loftiest peak, hung his hat on it, made the stars and
stripes on a rag--(in accordance with necessity and the go-ahead
spirit of our country)--hung them flying in a snowstorm, whistled
Yankee Doodle three times and proclaimed them ours in the name of the
United States. All this was smooth and fair,--done in the spirit of
our go-ahead, all-accomplished diplomacy.'

"'Ah!' interrupted Littlejohn, 'your appetite for bits of territory
runs monstrously that way.'

"'Yes!' I replied; 'but, John, give us your hand-on that point we may
honestly embrace, and declare ourselves now even two. You are as
modest as an archbishop on salary day, and seldom openly embrace
territory; we prefer the frank style in all our adoptions. Let us not
quarrel over that--you love freedom, we love free government. Our
political thoughts are moulded in one die, though self-interest may
vary them. To be mutually just toward each other, to live on terms of
friendship, and preserve that amity which is our bulwark, serves well
that unity of great principles which conserves and preserves our
happiness. Yea! cursed be the hand, and stagnate the breath raised
against that peace and good-will which saves us from the monster of
war.' Here I grasped firmly and earnestly John's hand, and would fain
he forgot the past and thought only of the future. Looking down, 'that
is New Mexico,' said I, 'a small corner we just hooked on to our large
establishment; we let all these little ones come into the same
nursery, where a generous mother watches their wants and provides for
them as circumstances demand. You, John, treat your colonial babies
with singularly cold diet; in fact, you often permit them to become
stunted and ill-tempered for want of proper care in the home nursery.
You see, Texas was well nursed, and now her territory is fast filling
up with the hardy sons and daughters of your land; but, would they
become new beings, and enjoy equal rights and equal privileges, they
must divest themselves of those servilities which in your country one
class unfortunately endeavors to enforce upon the other.' John bowed,
but gave no further heed. Presently we came to the Mormon settlement,
and here he set to chaffing me about equal privileges. 'We always had
inconsistencies in our social system,' he said; 'just see how many
wives these Mormons have got, and what a nice thing they are making of
equal rights. You beat us there, Smooth; we Englishmen would never
think of such sort of thing.' John looked very innocent and honest,
which, added to his dignity so naturally put on, was enough to make
one's face square up into a broad smile.

"'Permit me, John,' returned I: 'we tend well the great things; this
Mormon evil will work its own remedy! Westward the wave of empire
rolls on; that's the word we speak as the world looks on, grudgingly
acknowledging its truth. We nurture small things that they may become
great; we make men feel themselves living equals, not inferiors; we
put the lowly emigrant in moral progress, and from his mental
improvement reap the good harvest for all. By sinking from men's minds
that which tells them they are inferior, we gain greatness to our
nation. Simon Bendigo is made to feel that he is just as good as
Blackwood Broadway; and Blackwood is made sensible of the fact that he
is no better in the body politic than any other man.'

"'Now, Smooth, just let me interrupt you in your train of Yankee
logic,' said Littlejohn; 'the safer a man feels his position the
better is it for the nation; but the policy of equality in men, though
it might do for your young place, never would do for ours. Age and its
attendant glories demand different rules of guidance for society. All
your fancy articles of freedom, equality, and dignity among common
people become doubtful, when subjected to long practice. Our people,
sir--take my word, not unworthily--are above considering such
degrading innovations; their grades of society are a sacred

"'Ah! those are English opinions, iron-bound. Your social institution
is a perfect curiosity shop, where everything old may be stored away
unmolested, but upon which the man of plain sense looks distrustfully,
while sycophants waste contemplation in devising means for its
preservation. How few estimate the cost to a nation of maintaining
those ancient inconsistencies so preserved by governments of the old

"'Never mind that, Mr. Smooth; these things are our own, and on us
will the evil recoil. Be not so earnest in condemning us, for the same
sins you lay at our door are fast developing themselves in your
would-be fashionable society! Your society is fashionable without
being refined. Your aristocracy is a base imitation of our snobby,
revelling in the heartless hording of gold, and vaunting of bad
English.' John looked down ere he finished, and seemed taking a
bird's-eye view of the great Utah territory. The Great Salt Lake I
assured him was where the venerable navigator Noah discharged his
ballast of salt bags. As for the settlers on its borders, they were
the followers of Joe Smith, a veritable descendant of Ham, who never
was known for the good he did. That clever mouthpiece of English
opinion, the _Times_, says they will one day confuse and cause much
trouble to the people of the United States; but this is only the
offspring of that one strong idea so characteristic of Mr. John Bull.
Now these descendants of the veritable Smith have a fantastic
appreciation of many wives--a strange delusion in which there cannot
be much happiness; but beyond this they are a very harmless people,
who, beyond the sin of having many wives (and if this be a sin, it may
be found at many a cleaner door!), may be excused from much they do.

"'One word, if you please, Mr. Smooth!' suddenly interrupted John
Littlejohn,--'it is in that the dangerous element of your Yankee
nature exists. Once beyond the neutralizing sphere of public opinion,
you go in for all sorts of vagaries, the more inconsistent with strict
order the better.' This crimination was certainly as fast as out of
place; John was, indeed, too ready to censure us without a
forethought. We had given these deluded creatures a home in our land;
we had received them as citizens, though most of them were subjects of
that land of freedom where the chains fall to give place to
flunkeyism; we had protected them in their wilderness home--should we
not be generous, and forgive their errors rather than punish or
provoke the delusion? Preferring more than one wife is not originally
American: on that score Uncle John cannot shake clean the skirts of
his garment, nor proclaim his virtue as white as snow. Ere this
conversation ended we had arrived over California. Standing up I gave
three long and strong cheers that astonished and awoke John from the
moody reflections into which he had fallen. There the great El Dorado
spread out in golden plains, teeming their rich treasures into Uncle
Sam's apron. Then, all bright and full of busy life, rose San
Francisco, the stars and stripes waving gracefully from a thousand
temples. A thousand ships, like monsters sleeping, rode on the calm
bosom of her waters;--a busy throng of merchants filled her broad
avenues; while houseless, anxious, and never-despairing mortals, like
swine at large, rooted her broad plains for gold. A country, by the
aid of that Anglo-Saxon energy which carries liberty and civilization
into the remotest corners of the world had risen, like a young giant,
from a wilderness to a flourishing State. Already was it a world of
industry, every man working for the main chance. John could not
suppress an expression of gratification,--the sight was bright of
promise; but, he added, he much feared his countrymen would view it
with a jealous eye, inasmuch as it might become a means of deranging
their beautiful organization of very fashionable society. We were made
up of an indescribable compound of common people and shopkeepers, he
added, shrugging his shoulders and changing slightly his position. He
forgot that the absence of two of the greatest evils a nation groans
under had brought its blessings on our land,--Mr. Smooth refers to
pauper lords, and lords who make paupers. Great men there sprung from
the commonest ranks to take the best care of the nation. They
discarded the expensive nonsense of maintaining dignity which polluted
independence: they respect the poor man's rights and brighten his
prospects; they seek to promote the good of all and fear not the few!

"Smooth, in humble solicitude for the reader's feelings, begs he will
join him again while proceeding on his course. Proceeding at a rapid
rate we had well nigh lost sight of the El Dorado, when John made a
significant motion, which, being translated, meant that he would like
to take another glass of hot punch. To this proposition I readily
consented; after which we lighted two real Havanas, and rolled on as
resolute as a flying Dutchman. It was with some effort that John
curbed his natural feelings. The punch, being placed in the right
place, seemed to create new thoughts. 'Queer fellows you are!' says
he, to talk of freedom and equal rights. 'Why, you have got a human
property market open, and more than three millions of souls up for a
bid. Mark my word, Mr. Smooth, the voice of sorrow for your human
commerce will yet shake the stability of your country. When slavery
drives this country to sectional issues; when it corrupts the federal
power; when it serves the ambition of those who would drag us into
foreign broils; when patriotic men, North and South, ceased to come
forward for the safety of a confederation, then will sectionalism wage
its angry wars against a noble edifice, whose foundation history tells
us must totter under the siege of strife.'



"Day dawned through the gray mist of the East, as crowding the old
institution, we sailed swiftly through the air, over the calm
Pacific. Soon San Francisco seemed but a speck in the dim distance.
On, on, on, we sped, until the land passed far out of sight behind.
Our next business was to hang in suspense our hopes, and await the
welcome sight of land ahead. John strained his eyes, and I did the
same. Two hours passed, and the welcome moment arrived. 'I see it!'
exclaimed John--'Land oh! Land oh!' In a frenzy of joy he had
well-nigh upset the barge and spilled us out. Then he pointed his
finger to an object in the distance that seemed like a lonely steeple
holding watch over midnight.

"'I see it!' I rejoined--'it's land--a new discovery: I'll call it
Uncle Sam's Land.'

"'A little more moderate, if you please, Mr. Smooth,' retorted John,
very politely. 'Seeing it first, I claim the right of calling it
Prince Albert's Island.' John was inclined to exchange any amount of
diplomatic notes, but I inquired, in a plain sort of way, what would
be the good it could confer on his country? to which he folded his
arms, and replied curtly, that having it was the thing sought for by
his government. He might institute the Established Church on it, and
create any amount of Bishops, with good fat salaries--a thing
all-desirable in the eyes of the Saviour. We use these out-of-the-way
places,' he continued, 'as a means of relief to our over-crowded
population and pensioners. We are heavy of pensioners, while our
governors are prone to create dependencies, which they do in
consideration of the very large stock of gentlemen always on hand, and
most clamorous to be provided for at John's expense.'

"Having arrived over the spot, we found it an out-of-the-way island;
upon which I suggested that it would be better to drop the stars and
stripes, with a note to the chief (if one there existed) desiring he
would put it up in the name of our great Republic. John, taking the
initiative, began to draw from his pocket a bit of bunting; but so
methodical was he, that before he had completed the process I took
from my pocket a piece of red chalk, and on my white, Sunday nightcap
figured the Stars and Stripes. This done, I rolled it round my
jacknife, and let it slide downward ere John had his Union Jack
ready. Down it went, like a thunderbolt chased by a streak of chain
lightning. 'Put that up, in the name of these United States' thought
I,--'we'll take care of that little bit of territory.'

"'Well,' interrupted John, looking as serious as a May moon, 'it's
Yankee outright: I confess the Union Jack can't keep up with the Stars
and Stripes, nohow!'

"'Give us your hand, John,' said I, 'we'll be good-natured anyhow,
seeing the positive proof that we both belong to the same school. We
are types of two very progressive and honorable gentlemen, who, in a
very modest sort of way, do pirate territory now and then, merely for
the sake of that inevitable result the extending good constitutional
principles has. If our small faults creep above the surface now and
then, the influence they have is more than counterbalanced by the good
which may come. But, while we both affect a deal of modesty, and are
ever criminating and recriminating each other's acts, would it not be
well to acknowledge the motive by which both are moved to the same
greedy propensities? Think it over, John; and at the same time let us
join--just to keep up the good-nature--in another glass of whiskey.'
He said he had no objection, so filling up, we drank to the very best
sort of friendship, John winking and blinking, as a squall just
springing up began to increase.

"'That place--we were both a little too fast, John--is inhabited, as
I'm a Christian. I'll bet a cotton-mill it is!' I returned; and before
the words were cold I saw a French sentinel pacing as straight as a
handspike in uniform, and as mutely savage as a scare-crow in a
corn-field. There he was, moustaches heavier nor a goat's smellers,
_a la_ old guard. Not a great way behind his Saxon neighbors, he was
watching No. I; just keeping an unoffending eye on Queen Tamerhamer's
little place. That tawny sovereign had insulted the French, but it was
difficult for them to define the nature of the offence. However, they
claimed the right to mount guard, if only to the end of getting a
better foot-hold. Poor, hapless sovereign! she thought more of her
tinsel than the French did of her rights: thus the small difficulty.
Frenchmen are clever fellows in a small way, have very pliable ideas,
which they can change with wondrous celerity; they aim to do good, if,
through their eccentricities, they too often fail. They are pleased to
consider themselves more refined than Americans, and yet they are more
deficient in moral courage--that moral courage which is made to
conserve the good of the State. An Englishman's reserve, a Frenchman's
politeness, and a Yankee's go-aheadativeness,--all contending for the
palm of honesty, form the curious illustration of an eventful age.

"'Let us push on, John, across the calm ocean we shall soon arrive at
Shanghai,' said I, confidentially.

"'Yes!' returns John, interrupting me, 'and I wish we could get a
glimpse at Japan. Other nations have supposed it impregnable; but
Jonathan has found his way to the very gates of the Emperor's palace,
which he now knocks at with might and main. How fantastically he is
dressed! Coal-basket in one hand, and Bible in the other, he is
cutting what may be properly termed figure number one.'

"'Certainly!' I rejoined, 'that is the figure to make safe our
country's interests. Trade and civilization is Jonathan's _motto_,
While 'go-ahead' is the pass-word that has placed him where he is--in
power. Jonathan demolishes the aristocratic fantasy of dignity, and
builds up the greatness of a people with the simplicity of trade. We
never had the most distant annexation design on this little empire,
but we want coals that our commerce may be fostered and protected in
its march over the world; and, if we chance to do a little trade while
teaching an isolated people their proper position, so much the better
for the world and manifest destiny. The absurdity of celestial
pre-eminence must be removed from the minds of those who yet maintain
it at the expense of Christendom. If we can sell the Emperor's people
Lowell cotton, at the same time you are selling them Manchester
stripes, where can be the objection? There can be no harm in promoting
that which has for its end the interchange of good feeling between the
most distant nations of earth: interchange of commerce infuses its
spirit of energy, and its results are for the good of the many. But
those interchanges between progressive and non-progressive governments
should be conducted with caution and kindness, in order to preserve
mutual respect. The double-sided Dutchman prostrates himself before
the barbarian whose commerce he seeks; but in doing so he enlists
contempt for his nation, without aiding to tear down that
superciliousness of the barbarian which is the greatest enemy of the
world at large. Better were it he approached that monarch on equal
terms--to, it might be, compel him to reconcile his feelings to the
force of manifest destiny. Smooth will stand the odds that Commodore
Perry gets the better of the Dutchman, comes the independent over the
Emperor, and makes a contract for the establishment of cotton
factories and churches all along his coast. 'Land! oh,' suddenly cried
out John, at the top of his voice--'another patch ahead.' In another
moment he shrieked out:--'There you go--good by!' As I overreached to
sight the object far beneath, one of the stays broke, the balloon
careened wildly, and making a dashing circle high in the air, out we
tumbled into the wild waste of space. Finding myself going, I reckoned
it was as well to keep up the philosophy, and remain cool. 'You're on
the passage, too--are you, John?' inquired I, finding him turning the
most artistic somersaults in his descent. 'Yes,' he replied, in a tone
indicative of sorrow; 'blast you, and your Young American policy. This
is the natural result of soaring above a reasonable level.. Your
manifest destiny is finding its proper depths now!' John was terribly
chagrined; he reckoned Young America was a shade too fast. Flying, he
said, was at best a mighty poor business; once again on firm footing
he would for ever look upon manifest destiny as the most aerial thing
of the fast nineteenth century.



"'This side up--with care!' said I, finding we must come down, and
keeping an eye on John, who looked as burly as a drifting ale pipe in
a head sea, and whispered something about Young America being an
unpleasant companion to sail the air with. Feeling how much better it
was to be good-natured, I took the matter mathematically, trusting to
the best. To be always right end up is a principle never to be lost
sight of. There was land below us, firm and frowning; which, before we
knew where we were, we had slipped into, like preserved meat, up to
our arm-pits. Poor John made an awful blubbering; seeing which, I told
him to be good-natured, and at the same time inquired if he had worked
up his whereabouts on the way down.

"'A pretty affair this!' said he, angrily. 'Here, on a desolate
island, surrounded by a broad ocean, what chance is there for us to
save ourselves, or ever again make the confines of civilization?
Despondency knows no joking; and, in such a perplexity, questions
about reckoning are out of place. You may make light of it, Mr.
Smooth; but, if you please, let us think of some way to deliver
ourselves,' grumbled John, sweating, puffing, and blowing. Finally, he
said he wished the old gentleman with the horns had made a previous
demand on him, inasmuch as it would have saved him the trouble of
dying on so desolate a spot, which to him seemed the sorest grievance
of all.

"'You groan over it some, don't you, old fellow? Reckon how you hain't
seen a Yankee try his ingenuity. Just puff a spell, until Mr. Smooth
calmly studies a little philosophy, which is a mighty good thing in
cases of emergency like this,' I remarked in reply, getting my ideas
into a fix, in order to bring out the best point of operation. Working
myself out in a cool sort of way, I seized hold of him by the
shoulders, and yanked him straight out, like a log from a marsh
slough. 'Now, take it all for the best, John,' I rejoined
encouragingly, going to work and putting up a liberty pole, to which I
tacked the stars and stripes, while John was grumbling, growling, and
methodizing about saving himself. This done on behalf of my country,
and Young America more particularly, I set about erecting a hut,
wherein we could both turn in for the night. With me it was sink the
desponding and keep up a stiff spring of hope; but when bed-time came,
John made a great fuss about his night-cap and dressing-gown, and
slippers,--as if the comforts of home were inseparable. Then he made a
crooked face about his bed, while I laughed at him for his whims, his
fancies, and his dogged pedantries. However, morning found him
better-natured, and taking advantage of the opportunity, we held a
consultation upon what was best to be done. That we were on an
uninhabited island not a doubt existed: nor had any son of civilized
man ever visited it before: not so much of civilization as a gallows
was there to be seen anywhere, although there were visible in the
distance many mountains, and plains, and valleys, and lakes swarming
with fish. With these a people might have flourished, while the soil
was pregnant of richness, ready to bring forth corn, rice, tobacco,
and cotton. I was grieved that such a spot should lie wasting; all it
wanted was a few sons of New England to make its resources of great
commercial value. A ponderous mountain rose nearly to the sky, distant
some two days' journey, in the west. After breakfasting on wild fruit
(of which there was a great abundance) and limpid water, we set out
for it, making a straight line through the forest; but before reaching
the summit, and after three days' scrubbing, we discovered smoke
curling gently upward here and there in the clear blue atmosphere.
'Lord bless ye, John!' I exclaimed, halting suddenly, 'there is living
critters here, as I'm a Down-easter.'

"'I see 'um moving!' he rejoined, nervously surveying the spot. And
in another hour we were in the midst of a tribe of savages, swarthy
and of vicious appearance. Such yelling, hallooing, jumping, and
cutting wild antics, you never saw before, nor could pen
describe. Nobody could have understood their chattering, which was a
species of growl and shortly accented muttering. Forsooth! it was as
unintelligible as that language so generally diffused through
diplomatic notes and protocols. Now hideous squaws ran one way, young
children another. Dogs and cats brought up the rear, their music
combining in most ungrateful medley. John's fears became excited as he
saw the chiefs rushing furiously onward in the van. 'What shall we
do?' said he; 'they will exterminate us.' I said we had better summon
all our amiability and endeavor to engraft ourselves in their good
graces. Young America would talk Yankee to them. To this John gave
ready consent. I was glad to see that for once he had laid aside his
dignity and superciliousness: it was freely acknowledging that Uncle
Sam was somebody--that he could, in his plain straightforward way do
clever things. Therefore, to initiate my diplomacy I drew forth the
Stars and Stripes, and held them before a monster chief of some seven
feet in stature, who had almost reached us, making savage
grimaces. Soon he stood before us, John commenced to bow with all his
politeness, and meekly doffing off his hat, began a speech
with:--'Your sublime majesty--' 'Stop that, John!' I exclaimed firmly,
interrupting him. Here I stepped in, and extended my hand to the
savage. 'My name, stranger,' I continued 'is Commissioner Solomon
Smooth--at home they call me General Smooth. Now, seeing that I am
sent by our patriotic President (a very small man by the way, but
immeasurably large when dealing in the mere language of war) whose
determination that talent of a truly American character shall shine
abroad has been fully appreciated by the nations honored with his
promising plenipotentiaries, Mr. Pierce has deputed me to square the
world in general, and manifest destiny in particular.' The savage at
first exhibited signs of concern, but finally summoned to his aid a
salutation of welcome, and at the same time grasped my hand warmly and
earnestly. Communicating with him by signs was not the most agreeable
office: but when there is a point to be gained energy is always well
spent. I would enlighten him upon matters connected with our
government, while ascertaining his ideas of annexation: this the
language of signs prevented my doing. I regretted this exceedingly,
inasmuch as it compelled me to forego the comparison I contemplated
making between his and those known ideas entertained by General Pierce
himself. Enough, however, was drawn from the signs to prove a
striking coincidence. 'Never bin to Washington--I reckon?' I inquired
assuming the independent, as I gave my hat an easy set on the windward
side of my head. He shook his head, and croaked out something no one
could understand. 'Great place!' rejoined I--'ought to come over and
see it, old fellow.' I affectionately placed my arm about his neck, as
he shook his head a second time; the small kindness had made us good
friends. Motioning John to him, he grasped our hands, led us to his
camp, called a council of his people, who said much it was impossible
for us to understand. Indeed, they set up a conflict of sound more
dinning than the roar of waters. Instinctively hospitable, when
dinner-time came they motioned us to sit and partake of a piping dish
of snakes' heads and fried beetles, of which choice delicacies the old
chief was sorely grieved that we ate but little. Now and then he would
spread his hands, as if to say--why not eat of what I give you? I was
not long in becoming acquainted with our new acquaintance; nor did I
fail to shock the modesty of our worthy friend John, who said he could
not view with indifference the celerity with which I walked into
things which should be touched only with the dignity of national

"'Now stranger,' continued I, addressing myself good-naturedly to the
chief; 'seeing you are sovereign of this remote but lovely
country--and that yours is manifestly an empire--suppose we try a
little trade. Smooth is a free-and-easy citizen of the United
States--can meet you at and be friendly over anything. My friend
here,' (I pointed to John who seemed in an offish mood) 'is a
Britisher, an honest member of that very ancient and gallant family
which now views us, too often for that spirit which should make us
friends, as a beardless upstart; John, though extremely vain, is not a
bad fellow, and at times improves on acquaintance. If his proclivities
for getting into an hole (like a toad in a shower) are at times too
strongly manifested, who so ungenerous as not to forgive the
hereditary character of the disease?'

"'Umph! umph! whew!' exclaimed the chief, as he spread his hands and
contorted his face. We could not understand him; pained were we that
we could not. He felt keenly the misfortune, shook his head in sorrow;
and murmured, as if a world separated his thoughts and ours.
Modestly, John touched me on the shoulder, and whispered:--'S'pose we
call this distant Britain? you can have the next discovery. I'll
proclaim it in the name of my sovereign--it will be quite right;' John
was inclined to do the very honorable on the sly; but, being of
opinion that he had appropriated to himself enough in that sort of
way, I interposed a decided objection. 'Governor!' I retorted, taking
the chief by the hand--'if a good speculation you would make, annex
this little empire of yours to our great Republic. Manifest destiny
will make you one of us; but don't wait for that. Hook on while the
link is hot--you'll find it a good speculation. Young America will put
your nation through a process of regenerating: he will make steam
civilize when everything else fails; he will send his Transit Company
to take possession of the government. We seek not, like John to
conquer--we colonize. You may be one of us; by accepting Young
America's offering you may be as independent as a colored preacher on
Sunday.' The chief gazed in bewilderment--his people muttered still

"John now became furious of anger. 'We, too,' he interposed,
'colonize. Say you will come under the protection and acknowledged
allegiance to our Queen, and yours shall be a scarlet coat, a cocked
hat, and a great broadsword wherewith to fight your way in the world.'
The chief moved his head doubtingly, as his body vibrated from head to
foot. What strange opinions invaded his thoughts! He placed his broad
hard hands gently on our heads, drew us lovingly to him, and smiled.
In that smile was that which said we were both good and honest, but
needed much watching. We were, indeed, good specimens of our separate
nations, but the free-and-easy seemed most acceptable to the savage.
'Governor!' I continued to address the chief as I turned to John,
'beware of his fascinating coat of scarlet. Such things may charm the
little; sensible men know their worthlessness. Hang out the
star-spangled banner, espouse popular rights; let the rest of mankind
know you belong to a nation whose destiny is the overthrow of kings
and kingcraft on one continent at least.' Still, mutely the savage
listened. There was no getting English into his head; hence I saw the
necessity of gaining my ends by signs and motions, after the fashion
of our modern diplomacy. Say what you will, mute diplomacy is not
without its effect. At it I went, in a style that put French dancing
entirely into the shade.

"'Your Yankee figuring won't play on his head, Smooth,' spoke
Littlejohn, in a tantalizing sort of vein. 'He is less a fool than you
take him for.'

"I calmly intimated that he might be right, but inquired if he ever
knew a Yankee out-yankeed? John folded his arms, and got his face well
adjusted within the circle of his ample shirt-collar, which he had
preserved unruffled during his fall. Suddenly I remembered that in my
pocket was a handbill of Uncle Obadiah's clock factory, upon which was
broadly emblazoned a time-piece of modern fashion. Its effect was
electric. No sooner was it displayed than the barbarian's eye glowed
with anxiety; the gaudy picture carried his heart and soul captive to
Uncle Sam. In his ecstacy he threw his arms about me, hugged me and
fawned me, and in his joy was well nigh devouring me. Poor John stood
outdone--dumfounded. The sight was characteristic.

"'Principles, in these days of development,' mumbled John, as with the
fingers of his right hand he stroked his chin, 'I admit give way to
circumstances. To say a difficulty exists you Yankees cannot
surmount--to say an invention is known you cannot improve and apply;
to say a remote colony exists you cannot people and govern, is a
calumny gross indeed. If they fail to gain the end they aim at by one
movement they will resort to another more bold--success must follow.'
John grudgingly made the admission. Had he possessed the forethought
to discover how the point was likely to turn he would have provided
himself with the picture of a business-like ambassador proceeding to a
great convention with only thirty-two females in his train, as might
have been seen at Vienna very recently; or, better yet, the picture of
a duke's flunkey, which, being the more ridiculous of the two, would
to the savage have proved the greater attraction. But John turned
coldly and methodically from the subject. His ancestors had made so
many sovereigns! he said. Nothing to be gained, his thoughts were
turned now to the means of getting away from the savages. Not another
day would he stay; I was at liberty to start any amount of young
Republics. Apprehending difficulty from his state of excitement I
counselled his better nature, and brought to the rescue the quiet and
cheerful of his curious composition. It was the only way to surmount a
great difficulty. Preserving, then, the calm of a philosopher, I set
about inventing something to take us from thence, to a more congenial
land. Smooth, with progress in his head and grasp in his fingers, can,
upon the same principle that he can start something to please our
nation, create some thought for the relief of two distressed
individuals. One half the failures in the world are the result of the
mind magnifying the undertaking into an impossibility, instead of
setting about it fresh and vigorous--making a determination to achieve
the object. The American nature has become bold of adventure, and one
of its greatest characteristics is, never to stand in doubt when an
experiment is to be tried.

"'Yes, but, Smooth!' he interrupted, 'you don't consider that we
British officials abroad are placed in a very unpleasant position. Our
acts being at all times liable to disapproval at the Foreign Office,
we too frequently remain passive for want of faith at home and
confidence in ourselves. The spirit of the Foreign Office is like a
weathercock on wings; we are a mere servilage to the uncertain changes
and caprices of those who may chance to be its Chief.'

"'By that, I understand you know not how to act; and to avoid being
wrong you remain inactive, that course being likely to receive the
most praise. My good fellow, lesson from Young America,--act boldly,
take the responsibility on your own shoulders, and abide the
consequences. Be an independent citizen,--let your acts be your
country's and your own;--and whatever the result may be, meet it
manfully, that moral courage may strengthen your cause. Now, then, let
us set about building a canoe; let us imagine we can do a prodigy and
it shall be done!' At this John's spirit became restored.

"We went to work in right good earnest, and, with necessity for an
incentive, found ourselves at the expiration of three days master of a
fine canoe, with which we drew down the astonishment of the natives.
Two days more and we bid them a touching farewell, promised to call
and see them again, bring cotton, cloth and sundry Yankee notions,
with which to start a trade between them and the people of Salem,
Massachusetts. Supplied with fish and porkmonhunter, a savory dish
prepared by the natives, we set sail for Shanghai, I being skipper of
the craft, and John mate. Nothing should seem to one's mind too simple
to learn, and I learned to navigate by what the sailors in times past
called the rule of thumb: the rule now came nicely into play. Energy
is the master of difficulties; the application of it is all-necessary
when they present themselves. Adhering to this maxim I took the helm,
laid down the course, and steered for Shanghai, while John kept a
close watch on the stars. At times he would work lunars in his head,
as did the Macedonians. Laughable as it may seem, John was just
credulous enough to think that savages in these out-of-the-way parts
of the world were honored with a north star, and amused himself with
speculations on its identity. As luck will now and then favor the
unfortunate, so we, after a voyage in which were any amount of storms
and hair-breadth escapes, which it will be needless to describe here,
arrived at the expiration of the tenth day safely at Shanghai. To know
precisely where one is, and feel safe on terra-firma after a
tempestuous voyage, makes the heart leap with joy--and with joy leaped



"Shanghai seemed a place of adventures and uncertain speculations; its
people were a medley of all sorts of human kind badly propounded.
Perhaps I should except that numerous gentry called fleas, so averse
to travellers that they at once set about biting them out of the
town. Two days in Shanghai proved quite enough. So, viewing it
advisable, we packed up our alls, and on foot shaped our course for
Scinde, a territory rather out of the way and very remotely situated.
Littlejohn, still my companion, said his honorable Governor got
possession of it in a very dignified sort of way; nevertheless, he
thought it advisable that as little as possible be said about the
process. The truth was, it was not distinctly known what the rest of
mankind said about it.

"After much journeying and hardship, we found ourselves in the heart
of Scinde, which looked desolate enough to have been under any other
than British rule:--we speak merely for the honor of British rule!
'This, Uncle John's, too?' I inquired, touching John on the shoulder.

"'Beg your pardon!' he returned, with affected indifference.

"'Does Britannia rule this territory?' I reiterated.

"'Well,' he rejoins, hesitatingly, 'as to that--Smooth, give us yer
hand--there is something to be considered; we believe in dispensing
blessings to mankind; and that all men, great and small, may have
their share, we aim to infuse our principles, and make them understood
throughout the world. It's all for humanity and the good of
Christianity; but, you see, we have for a long time tried to make
these foolish Princes comprehend the benefits resulting therefrom
without success, and were really forced to harsh measures. We were
sorry it was so, but, being the case, we, as a national sequence, had
to resort to conquering. Now, though it may not be always necessary to
apply the principle of conquering to do good, it follows as a rule
that good must result where the conqueror is a Christian power, whose
only motive is progress and civilization for the good of all. The
Anglo-Saxon teaches the barbarian to know himself; and when he has
done this he endeavors to infuse principles of trade and
constitutional government into his mind; but not daring to leave him
to himself, he reluctantly, nevertheless, is compelled to subject him
to his rule. I frankly admit we refrain from doing these manifest
destiny things, as you call them, with the same boldness characterized
in your proceedings with Mexico. Our East India Company may not be the
very best institution in the world for governing purposes, for it is
dangerous to invest a trading compact with governing powers, inasmuch
as selfish interests will conserve to keep the power of the governing
superior to the best interests of the governed, even though they be in
the majority; but the Company is a great machine for civilizing and
keeping civilized, that trade may not lose its influence. It teaches
these poor devils of natives to talk English, and, sir, can you
calculate what a blessing that will be when it comes into general use?
By and by we will be enabled to turn this vast empire into one field
teeming with the richest produce.'

"'All right,' said I, interrupting his sentence: 'we will yet agree on
something. In the meantime, let me inquire, John, why you did not
add--what a blessing it would be did they but understand the English!
Your modesty and their insane bigotry furnish a strange group of
nondescript governments, which Uncle John covetously fathers, though
they be the illegal issues of that very honorable dredging machine,
whose grapnels, always extended, are for ever bringing up something
new. In truth, this company so strong of power, which it sways on the
penny-wise principle, and so pampered by royalty, is ever troubling
honest Uncle John with its unfortunate affairs.'

"'It never will do to talk in that kind of way, Smooth; 'twill never
do! When you Yankees make grave charges, you forget to clothe them
with style and dignity: they are things of much importance in
government matters, and then it never comes to much for small men to
prate against powerful bodies pursuing formidable enterprises.'

"'Listen, John!' I retorted, laying my right hand good-naturedly on
his left shoulder, 'that which takes from a country without previously
spreading nourishment to sustain it is a dredging machine, and will
sooner or later dry up its resources. It takes out, but forgets to put
in, thinking only of the present, while the future invites an
enlightened policy to nurture and bring out its richer resources.' But
with these small misdemeanors we would not directly charge Uncle John,
who is at times as honorable as he is dogged; but he, fathered as he
is with the responsibility, is seriously to blame for this neglect.
Viewing these things in their proper light, John and Jonathan,
stimulated by the same virtuous inclinations, and weighing well their
distinctive prowess, should be careful not to offend by petty means:
how much better to encourage friendly relations, than wound a
sensitive but worthy national pride! Promising to criminate after this
fashion so much in vogue no more, we left the desolate Scinde,
continued our way across an immense waste, where might have risen up
one of the mightiest and most fertile empires. An enlightened policy
only was wanted. The people were ignorant of their power and
resources: John had conquered, and viewed it well to keep them so. His
East India dredge did not dissent to this verdict. My friend John
thought the acquisition well approved. But the people, he said, were
worthless; they added superstition to ignorance and fierceness, and
obstinately opposed the bettering their condition. 'Without attempting
to burden your credulity, Jonathan,' interpolated John, 'the truth is,
we well understood the nature of this people, and having failed to
conciliate them in one way betook ourselves to another, and in our
characteristic style chastised them into submission.' John spoke with
great seriousness, never for a moment lessening his air of dignity.
Indeed, it embodied and acknowledged serious mode of docilizing a
people: how much real attachment between the conqueror and conquered
must follow this system we leave the reader to contemplate. The
honorable Mr. John, notwithstanding, had a very circuitous way of
confessing the fact of having taken into his family, by this arbitrary
system of wedlock, no end of people; still he accused Jonathan of
using his soft-sawder for the same purpose.

"Journeying a few days through a country rich of soil and rivers
turned to no account, we reached a dominion called the Punjaub, which
John said had limits he knew not where, and was his, too. He acquired
it by the same bold and very honorable stroke of policy. The chiefs,
he said, kept up a continued jarring among themselves; such being
fatal to their best interests, he, as a friend, merely stepped in to
put an end to their unprofitable disputes.

"As I have before told the reader, this honorable individual, who
sensitively declared nothing could make him less than a gentleman,
never failed to consider himself a model of forbearance, but in the
fulness of his generous soul, having conquered, he rather preferred to
remain conqueror. In the Punjaub John had left his mark, but nothing
to praise.

"Despairing of finding something to praise in the Punjaub we passed
over into Pegua--John's also. Got by the same bold stroke of policy--a
few variations excepted! It was rather a fascinating piece of
territory, to the Rajah of which he had several times offered
protection, after the manner of that protectorate of two centuries, so
vauntingly claimed over the Mosquitoes. The barbarian as often
rejected it. This, John could not submit to: humanity demanded he
should accept the kind proffer. And to serve the ends of humanity did
John hasten to the Rajah's palace one Commodore Lambert--a pugnacious
seafaring diplomatist, known for his love of the yard-arm law. The
Commodore would hold a parley with the Rajah; the Rajah, whose dignity
was first to be consulted, was too slow in preparing his palace. The
Commodore, erratic of temper, was at times accustomed to growl for his
own amusement; he now growled for the amusement of his countrymen. The
result was natural. In the littleness of his vanity did the Rajah
imagine himself a very great man. He was important of those small
follies which prove the great misfortunes of old nations. The
Commodore must wait in the sun, with becoming respect for his
dignity. But the seafaring diplomatist esteemed the importance of his
cloth above all barbarian considerations, hence decided himself
insulted. As patience is essential to the success of diplomacy, so the
Rajah deemed it expedient to test how far that quality was possessed
by the Commodore, whom he permitted to wait two hours in a vertical
sun. This was too much for the patience of any respectable gentleman,
and only resulted in exciting the petulance of the before-named
sea-going Ambassador, who just demolished a few out-of-the-way towns,
and pocketed the kingdom for his Queen. From this it will be seen (we
make no allowance for John's acceptance of the issue) that the vanity
of a Rajah and the petulance of a Commodore cost a kingdom. Littlejohn
said this was the way Pegua slipt, almost unconsciously, into the
possession of his family. The process was of itself so innocent!
Language to praise it sufficiently John could not find. Diplomacy
having large claims on the observance of etiquette, cannot permit
insults to go unpunished, said he. The Commodore, too, was in
diplomacy a fast sort of man, and could not be excited to anger
without a consideration--which said consideration was no other than
that the aforesaid Rajah just hand over the kingdom. Spunky boys are
Uncle John and Cousin Jonathan! To that end the Commodore pitched into
the Rajah, thrashed him, bagged his dominions, and would as little as
possible were said about it. Here, then, it was clearly shown that
what John charged Jonathan with was but a facsimile of the crimes so
profusely spread at his own door. Great governments are at best
thieves; and to claim a superiority of modesty in acquiring dominion
is poor moonshine badly spent. With these contemplations we agreed not
to quarrel, but continue our journey over Turkey homeward.



"Difficult is it for a man travelling in a country where everything
seems crooked, to keep up straight ideas. I have said crooked, for
where nature has been most profuse in her blessings, and no signs of
the iron sinews of progress are seen; where no Mississippi steamboats
move on in busy occupation, opening up the resources of a country;
where no bright villages hold to light the charms of hardy industry;
where the favored few gather the fruits of the husbandman's
energy--something must indeed be crooked. Through countries enamelled
of nature's best offerings, as fine as ever spread out before the eye
of man, we travelled; but all seemed wasting away in the inertness of
bad government. A narrow policy had spread weeds where fruitful vines
would have hung blessings for mankind. Things called men revelled in
what to them seemed luxury, but in poverty and wretchedness a people
struggled; men walked to and fro in tattered garments, colored like
unto their moral and physical degradation. But they heeded it not, and
were careless because no one cared for them. There is no slavery so
abhorrent as that of the menial who has no thought beyond the narrow
sphere of his servitude, and the little pleasure which his light heart
may transitorily enjoy. Here men saw no vitality in the hand that
ruled: hence they maudled through that deadening scum of servile life
that tramples better things beneath its feet.

"From the fertile bottoms of the Himalayas to the Indian ocean on one
side, and from the Burmese boundary to wherever British rule extended
on the other, there spread out the same sickly prospect. There,
resigned, stood outlined the same apathy of spirit, the same result of
misgovernment--the same soul-degrading influences; the same rebuking
spectacle; the result of the same wealth-dredging principles practiced
by a few. Cotton, corn, and sugar, would have repaid the hand of the
husbandman tenfold, nature having given it germ for that purpose; but
jungle grew in their stead, while bad government rioted in its
follies. Nationality had no soul, energy no lifesprings, progress no
railroads to move onward. The honorable John, having conquered, and
very modestly enthroned himself, was strong to maintain his
centralizing power, from which point he would make effectual his
blighting policy. Notwithstanding this, John would have us believe him
world-wide in his kindness, desire his power made known to mankind in
general, and stood ever ready to have his philanthropy and his tears
spent upon the sorrows of the American slave. Were they not more
needed in his own Indian dominions? A peasant clothed in rags picks
his little spot of sickly cotton as it falls from the bowl; but how
valueless is it to the poor wretch ignorant of the first principles of
trade! Yet, instead of providing for his improvement, this honorable
dredging machine which so disgracefully governs a people flatters him
into contentment with promises it never intended to fill. With his bag
of cotton gathered, the humble subject is pointed to a path through a
country infested by dangerous bands, over which he may seek a market
some hundred miles distant. In its crude state he roughs it, and
sweats it, puts it through--without a gin to give it market
value!--all the various processes of damaging during the transit, and
is surprised that India, with the best soil and climate in the world
for such an object, cannot raise a good and sufficient supply of the
raw material. What a look of pity the wretch might bestow upon the
board of directors, sitting in pompous conclave in Leadenhall street!
Happy is he, Jonathan, who, contented, knows not the things at his
hand by which his own condition may be bettered. And how blind is that
rule, which, having the power to do good, contents itself with
dragging eagerly away the first compensation. The penalty of the crime
of not developing what is given us by nature for a nation's good is
the sacrifice of a people's happiness. My friend John reluctantly
acknowledged the delinquency. Mark the contrast! Had this
all-bountiful India been ours, a more liberal policy would have
produced results widely different. No oligarch could have sacrificed
it to its own avarice; associations would have sprung up for
developing industry; a policy to make the resources of the state serve
general interests would have been established, and the good of the
many had been kept in view. Cotton-growing, and tobacco-planting, and
rice-cultivating, had been encouraged and fostered. Those rich
alluvial bottoms, so fertile and yet so uncultivated, had given out
their rich harvests to some purpose--untaxed prosperity would have
rewarded the hand of the hardy husbandman. India would then, besides
proving herself the greatest exporting empire in the world, have
clothed, fed and made happy her benighted millions.

"Had India been ours, Yankee enterprise had traversed it with plank
roads; Yankee enterprise had laid down strap railroads until better
ones had resulted from profits; Yankee energy had invented a species
of Mississippi steamboat, wherewith to navigate its narrow
water-courses to their source, and there develope the capabilities of
the country. Yes, Yankee ingenuity had had a steamboat where there
was scarce water for a duck to swim. But why pain the feelings with
recapitulations like these? Its resources are of little value when
government interposes a dogged obstinacy to improvements; nor is it
much better where a people seem at a loss to know whose business it is
to give out the incentive. So long as this state of things lasts will
Cotton remain king, and Uncle John be its most servile and dependent
subject. It matters little that his empire is so beautifully adapted
to its cultivation. He must shake off his love of those very ancient
and effeminating systems of his, and adopt the modern policy of
improving and nourishing industry.

"John admitted things were not conducted on the most approved
principle; but as the business belonged to the old gentleman, who was
very testy in the exercise of his power, he was at a loss to conceive
what we had to do with it. That became very easy to explain; for
whereas Young America claims a right to dictate principles that will
aid in working out manifest destiny, so also does he take upon himself
the right of pointing out the evil of all political misgovernment that
falls under his notice. It was not the honorable manner in which a
government acquired new territory or incorporated weak provinces, that
Mr. Smooth had to deal with, but the dishonorable government that
followed. Wherever waste and misery meet the eye of an energetic man,
who discovers the palpable cause at the door of wrong-headed
government, his natural feelings revolt against the powers that be;
and to an American, trained in the New England school of universal
industry, the desolation seems calling upon him to take the initiative
of working out its improvement.

"With me, a feeling, inspired by the best of motives, prompted the
advancing some rules of improvement; but, conscious of Uncle John's
obstinacy to being instructed by youth, and with a just sense of the
obstacles my tattered garments would present, the inclination
failed. Indeed, John, as dogged as he is old in experience, views his
son Jonathan as a bold, reckless, and discontented fellow, whose
notions of progress he would receive with the same cautious hand he
would his, to him, preposterous principles of republicanism. He, while
entertaining some good feeling for us, hath an inert prejudice which
views us as levellers, always reforming or abusing reforms. Swelled,
he says, by large notions of ourselves, generous in our expectations,
and never ceasing in our love of excitements until we are safely
landed in the grave, we are become dangerous to the great family
compact. In the devil's department, says John, your Young America
would prove his energetic nature by devising some new arrangement,
addition, or modification of that gentleman's sin-roasting machinery.
Failing in that, he would plan some enterprise, propose some
joint-account operation with Mr. Jones, and content himself with
'truck-and-dicker,' or charcoal, for his half of the spoils. In
heaven, your Young American would be discontented, unless he were
devising some improvement, getting up spiritual intrigues, or laying
the foundation of some new species of glory--perhaps claiming a right
to entire possession.

"'You must understand, Mr. Smooth,' said John, 'we have long been
meditating a new policy for this great and fertile empire, now so
desolate; but we pursue ends most patiently, letting our thoughts have
the benefit of time, before reducing them to practice. Manchester
wants cotton--wants it free-grown--that she may relieve herself from
the yoke of King Slavery; but she cannot yet solve the problem by
which the throbbings of her manufacturing philanthropy may be set at
rest. She thinks long and strong of it, but there it rests--and
there's the rub. John is blind, and Cotton is king.'

"'With us it would present no rub; give us the means, as spread out to
your hands, and the problem we would solve while you were pondering
over its intricacy. We would pay good premiums to practical overseers
of cotton plantations in Georgia and Alabama, who, with the inducement
offered, would come as instructors--cotton-growing requires the
application of the nicest agricultural science--in the art of
cultivating the sensitive plant. And to encourage private enterprise
we would offer bounties for the largest amount of best quality
produced on the smallest space. By government encouraging the best
staple, a rivalry would spring up which could not fail to produce much
good; it would open up a spirited system of planting, as well as that
enlarged intercommunication of commerce which must follow.' Let me
take leave of this subject!

"From India we sojourned across the great desert, meeting in
succession the white-robed Arab, the savage Kurd, the docile Yeeside,
and the melancholy Turk. John said we must have a staff, and a score
of guides, and no end of menials, and must put on the dignity, or it
would not be safe, especially now that Turks and Russians were at war.
Mr. Smooth took exceptions to this ruling, preferring to assume the
go-ahead, and test the virtue of a hard front, the effects of which he
was quite sure would not be entirely lost even among the Arabs. And
then, if the Turks and Russians were again at war about holy
places--places for which a deal of human blood had been spilt for the
mere gratification of a very unholy ambition--Mr. Smooth, on behalf of
Young America, might make a dollar or two by the way of proposing a
very christian plan for settling the stubborn intricacy. With this
best of all motives in view, I left John in the desert, where he said
he expected to do some good business, and, what was better, get some
good dinners. So, bidding him godspeed, I made straight headway for
the point where the pious difficulty had resulted in so much
iniquitous blood-shedding.

"The fact is, Old Uncle John was at first inclined to make rather
spare use of bear's grease to dress his Turkey, an unhealthy bird,
scarcely possessing fat enough to cook himself; but, being rather
doubtful of his own culinary efficiency, had consented to receive a
French cook into the family: and, fearing there might yet be a
deficiency, the ever-credulous old dotard was making good-natured
overtures to one Joseph of Hapsburg,--never trustworthy, and always
known to act as circumstances changed interests,--who said there was
no knowing what time he would be ready to turn his attention to such
purposes. Joseph, however, was never in his life so willing to play
open and shut with John, at the same time giving Nicholas that cunning
wink so well understood in all respectable family circles. This game
Joseph played, and played, and played, until the credulity of old John
seemed like a cooked fish in a pot of porridge. The fact must be
confessed that Joseph was so politically dishonest that to be for once
honest was tantamount to a great victory over his traditional
immorality. Knowing right well the traits of character this Joseph
possessed, Jonathan would at short notice lend a willing hand to
thrash other morals into his system. However, with a view of leaving
this point to be settled by more interested parties, Smooth proceeded
to the holy places, where, he regrets to say, he shuddered at the
thought of how much human slaughtering it had been the scene--all done
for holy causes. Let an impious world forgive those _Little Ones_ who
in all ages have lent their aid to stimulate the worst passions!

"As for Turkey, I, Smooth, would make no insinuations against that
lovely but ill-governed country. Muslamism was dying by its own hand;
it had shocked a world with its persecutions; it had scoffed at
virtue, and was sinking down into its own deluge of vice. The
independence of Turkey! Now, Mr. Smooth made no boast of his
common-sense, but to such as he had it was a question whether the
Turk, instead of exhibiting so fanatical a love for fighting, had not
better betake himself to reconstructing and reforming his internal
government, and by that means save himself from a continual jarring
with nations sensitive of the rights of their subjects. Should this be
thought an employment too inferior, he might employ himself with a
plan for enforcing a more strict respect for the rights and feelings
of the christian population under his political rule. It would not be
incompatible with his own best interests, for it is unnatural that an
inferior govern a superior race. Flatterers, and even savans, may find
apologies in the changes fortune has been pleased to make in the
affairs of a state; but here so strong are the evidences of bad
government that only lame excuses can be offered for the finest
country the sun shines on groaning in poverty and distress. The
independence of Turkey!

"There could be no doubt that the Bear had long cherished a serious
inclination to do for the Turkey, the character of whose independence
he well understood. He would make fertile use of its apathy. The Bear
would cook the Turkey with his own grease--albeit, he found him a sick
man, but had no objection to the meal. If, however, he had lain his
paws too rudely upon the patient, diplomatic donkeyism made the case
still more dangerous. Mr. Smooth begs the reader's pardon for using
the term 'diplomatic donkeyism;' but indeed the only difference he has
yet been capable of detecting between the conclave which drew upon the
nations of Europe so much carnal warfare and the assinine species is,
that the former have soft heads in place of ears. These diplomatic
donkeys, ever ready to keep the world apprised of their own greatness,
and without the slightest objection to getting up an unnecessary
number of excitements for its benefit, betook themselves to playing
drafts, in which game they made such an innumerable quantity of wrong
moves, that they lost themselves on the board. The world strove to
respect the body, but having never before been perplexed with such
polite players, the effort was indeed a task. With regard to their
game of drafts, such was the fear of the Bear exhibited by the movers
that no one dare remove him boldly from the King row, lest it leave an
opening he was but too ready to take advantage of; nor did they want
to wound the Turkey by any incautious move whereby the Bear might
unhesitatingly swallow him: so they pushed and shoved until they found
themselves in a sort of baby-jumper, in which they could be nursed to
sleep while the war they had so innocently kindled waged fierce and
bloody. In fact, they themselves got the Bear so far into the crockery
shop that no one could get him out without smashing to pieces the
whole establishment.

"Everywhere in Turkey they were preparing for war; and so Mr. Smooth,
as soon as he reached Constantinople, where everybody seemed surprised
to see such a description of citizen, called a meeting of those whose
feelings were so finely up in fighting trim, to whom he stated in most
emphatic language that, inasmuch as Turkey had ennobled herself by her
noble defence of Kossuth, whose asylum in her domain was held sacred
at the price of the kingdom, he had great respect for her, but could
not think of fighting. But they didn't seem to understand square
Yankee talk; the consequence of which, in Mr. Smooth's opinion, would
be the Bear getting his cubs in motion, to do some first-rate
fighting. In this fighting Mr. Smooth would not have the least
objection to taking a hand, provided always that there was some coin
to be made at it. However, before entering upon the fighting business,
Mr. Smooth would especially stipulate that all Austrian notes and
Prussian protocols be used up in a bonfire, Austria be turned adrift
as an inconsistent huckster without principles, the diplomatic donkeys
be driven into the Danube, and all constitutional governments bound by
arbitrary yokes set free. In that case freedom and constitutionalism
would fight its own battles and constitutionalism would bid defiance
to Czarism. When the battle of liberty against barbarism became the
issue, then Young America would join with a bounding heart, a glowing
soul, and a firm hand. We can whip all creation, build more churches,
blow up more steamboats, lay down more railroads, and absorb more
Mexican territory, than any other nation breathing; but, in this case,
where liberty was at stake, hold me back if we wouldn't fight! At the
same time we would pay a premium for the privilege of whipping Austria
single-handed. Young America owes her a debt he stands ready to pay at
the shortest notice and cheapest price. 'Mr. Smooth,' said I, 'is here
before you, a free and independent citizen of the United States, ready
to chalk down the items of fighting to be done, say about how much we
can do it for, and get General Pierce, whose fighting diplomatists
will be thrown in, to stand security.' Not comprehending this generous
proposition I left them to their own stupid way; and as every American
conceived he had a right to his own opinions I hoped they would become
a reflex of the example.

"Seeing nothing, in Constantinople I could turn to account--the allies
were undermining the foundation of Muslamism as fast as possible--I
took a stroll to the seat of war, contenting myself with the hope that
something would ultimately turn up. The fact was, I meant to follow
the policy of the Aberdeen government when starving to death one of
the bravest armies that ever faced a foe. Instead of expanding plains
and undulating hills, such as Smooth had pictures to his mind in his
boyhood, I found the seat of war an ungainly mud-puddle, with ramparts
of savage-looking citizens menacing each other from its opposite
banks. Between these banks the amusement of war was every now and then
kept up with doubtful results. That something more than ordinary was
to pay I felt assumed by the grimaces of the contending parties, and
feeling a deep interest in the cause, I vaulted into the mist of a
group on the left bank, so singularly mixed that their identity as
allies could not be mistaken. To the question as to what brought them
there, they answered with unintelligible assertions about the
issue--the balance, of power--the _status quo_ of Europe, and nobody
knows how many more things that were to remain unmoved. The best that
could be made of it was, that the atmosphere of kings and emperors was
filled with very explosive matter which they thought it best to let
off in this sort, of way. If, according to Mr. Smooth's philosophy,
Europe were to remain in _status quo_, that spirit of progress so much
beloved by Mr. Pierce, and his family must die, a natural death. Was
it not singular that the least discussed issue, the most prominent one
of the war, according to Smooth's opinion, was in regard to who should
be the greatest toad in the European puddle? Your European puddle is
no ordinary affair; kings and emperors only dabble in it at the
expense of their people. I viewed with some interest this European
cesspool. In the centre there was seated on a pole, with his arms
folded, and having an air of assumed independence, a corpulent old
gentleman, whose face fused broad and red, like a full moon in
harvest-time. This very honorable gentleman had long esteemed himself
the largest toad in the European puddle, and was worthily sensitive of
his position, though he at times exercised it to a bad purpose. He was
notoriously square-shouldered, had beer'd a great deal during his
life, and could be as obstinate as a well-fed donkey. Indeed, he had
more than once been known to put his finger in his mouth and look
serious when great events demanded prompt action, but he never failed
to do his part when driven into the fight. To speak honestly, and
with all deference to the feelings of this very respectable gentleman,
John had no legitimate right to be thus mixed up in this squabble of
European despots; nor should he have permitted himself to be led into
it on the one side by that imperial transgressor, and driven on the
other by his own beer-shop politicians. That imperial first
transgressor had the fickle imaginations of his people to dazzle by
paying off certain old scores; even now how beautifully he plays the
disinterested to curtain the designs of his ambition! John,
nevertheless, did wake from his years of stupor to find himself in an
uncertain position;--this was manifest by the manner in which he
assumed a contemplative mood. A few shakes at the hands of his rougher
politicians aroused his apprehension of being swamped in the political
perplexity. Mr. Smooth paused, and took a careful view of the
venerable old man, that he might learn something more of
him. 'Stranger.' said I, 'what on earth has brought you here?'

"He canted his head, as if it were thickish, gave a dignified look,
and again turned to his meditations;--'Beg pardon, but I don't know
you,' he grumbled.

"'Social's the word, John; be social, and give us an inkling of your
motive for that peculiar position you unwittingly find yourself in.'
The salutation seemed to excite his astonishment. He was a stranger to
such familiarity--rudeness, if so you may please to call it; and
turned from me, his movements assimilating to those of a turtle with a
coal of fire on his back.

"'You are who?' he returned, in a gruff voice, a scowl of contempt
invading his broad face.

"'Smooth, from Down East!' I replied,--'who do you think it is?' To
make the point more convincing, I started up Yankee Doodle, which I
whistled with the variations.

"'You are not only an intruder, but an impertinent fellow!'

"'Needn't feel disagreeable about it. Smooth--a man of standing in his
diggins, and Young America's independent delegate, has only come to
take a bird's-eye view of the way things look about this seat of war.'

"'Who the devil is Mr. Smooth? I know he has no business here!' again
grumbled the old man.

"'Don't know Solomon Smooth, eh?'

"'No, don't nor do I want to. You are always making difficulty
wherever you go, probing your nose into everybody's business. You may
be a keen fellow in commerce, but in diplomacy you are impertinent and
quite beside yourself. You better be off from here, inasmuch as I am
the biggest toad in this puddle, and mean to remain so. We are not
inclined to know anything about Mr. Smooth; so the quicker he packs
himself and his baggage up and is off from this, the better.' The
earnestness with which he said this left me no reason to doubt his
intention to remain the biggest toad of the pool.

"'Mr. Smooth, something of a man in Washington, holds a contrary
opinion, and claims a right to know the ins and outs of what is going
on outside of your dominions, as well as inside his own, and to
insinuate himself into just what it may please him,' I replied in the
measured manner of an experienced diplomatist.

"'Perhaps you have,' he interrupted, 'but if you were possessed of
ordinary modesty, you would refrain from intermeddling when you saw
what a blasted time I had to keep that great Bear, across there, from
breaking his chain and devouring everything on this side.'

"'Feeling a fellow sympathy, I thought perhaps I might lend you a hand
to do some of the whipping,--knowing how the brute professes to be a
christian of the latest pattern.' Nicholas had a strong appetite for
the Turkey, which, though sick, he would have no objection to
breakfast upon, as I have before stated; and, that his christian cubs
might share the feast, he had begun to teach them the straightforward
principles of holy orthodoxy; which said holy orthodoxy incited a
craving for blood we have not yet learned to appreciate.

"The said sick Turkey had not given the best satisfaction to the world
in his mode of reducing to poverty his flock; and, too, he was always
ready to bandy words and ostentation,--having a large supply of the
latter always on hand. He had, moreover, evinced a certain degree of
heroism; nor was he ever backward in professing his readiness to fight
somebody--if it were the unruly Bear, so much the better. The heroism
thus manifested on the part of the decaying Turk would have deserved
more praise had it not had its origin in the assurance that Uncle John
would lend a hand to do the fighting. Mark ye! John had copiously
poured forth his treasure and blood in order that this vagabond Turkey
might still live, and be saved from the Bear's all-digesting stomach,
and for which he would deny John the freedom of his city; he would
condescend only to honor him with the title of dog.

"In one sense a more generous fellow than John was not to be found on
the outside of our small world. He had been the pack-horse of Europe,
and all sorts of kings had used him for all sorts of purposes. Never
was friend used better. He was proud, and yet how submissive. Ready to
shed his blood and squander his treasure for he knew not what, he was
equally willing to submit his well-burdened back to the kicks and
cuffs of those he had saved from ignominy. Now, the very type of
endurance was he who sat poised in the puddle. 'As for the Bear,' says
John, 'he won't guarantee to be satisfied with his ordinary rations;
and if he were to plant himself in the centre of this puddle I would
very obediently have to plant myself out.' Here John folded his arms,
and, with a dignified air, ordered his beer.

"That John should keep his eye sharp to windward was natural enough;
but had this very same eye been kept to windward many years ago, much
blood and treasure had been saved in the present. It is playing false
to his national character thus long for which John now pays so
dearly. But that phantom of terror excited by the Bear's growth,
Mr. Smooth seriously thinks unworthy of being entertained by the
honorable John.

"'You need not be alarmed, Mr. Smooth,' continued John, modifying
somewhat his natural crisp: 'I am painfully sensible of our
diplomatists having played the donkey; but why should you, being far
removed from the scene of strife, nor having immediate interest in the
game, desire to burn a finger in it? Be a man of sense--watch kings
and kingcraft--go your way home in peace, and let peace be your
glorious triumph over war!' From John such advice was valuable.
Acknowledging the joys and comforts of peace, we shook hands,--I
wished John well with his fighting, and we parted. I could not
however, resist the conviction that John knew not for what he fought
so bravely, and might have maintained his position as the greatest
cock of the dunghill without sorrow to the homes of his people, and
desolation into the land of his long tried and most dependable friend.
Who can foretell the ways of a Napoleon. Oh! ambition, ambition!



"Few would have supposed that when Minister Smooth left General Pierce
and his waggish cabinet he would so soon have taken a turn round the
world, and fetched up in that world of misery and wealth called
London. But the world has got very fast, and only a fast man can keep
up with it. Indeed, it were well we set about doing things fast,
instead of so thinking them over in the mind that they seem immovable
as mountains. Well, there was in London just about this time much
waste of that sort of small talk newspapers now and then deal largely
in, (editors are always kind enough to consider themselves great
warriors), concerning our very spunky Captain Ingraham, who, they
said, had Kosta safe under his guns, and would blow Austria to nobody
knew where. The whole, however, only amounted to the simplest evidence
of what there was in sympathy and the Saxon heart. To our Christian
friends would we say--none of these things moved Smooth from his
equilibrium. After all, come to the true philosophy of the thing, and
it only amounted to a broil among small bullies. And, too, did the
little skipper not take care of himself he was no Yankee, and the
whole United States would know it to his discredit.

"General Pierce, too, being a fighting President, (not a doubt could
exist since the bombardment of Greytown), would take good care of the
whole thing (perhaps send to Congress a message blazing with the
language of war). Could it turn a point to his own advantage, he
would--right or wrong--send a fleet to whip Austria, to make her

"But let us turn to a subject more fruitful. London seemed like a
great waste of dingy dwellings and badly constructed palaces, the
whole sleeping under a canopy of sickly smoke. Everything wore a
sombre, heavy air--even the men seemed born to methodize on some one
object. Show-shops, beer-shops, and gin-palaces, made the very air
reek with their stifling fumes. Above all, there were great palaces
for very faint-hearted people, who thought well of themselves, and in
their prayers thanked Uncle John, at whose great cost they lived in
sumptuous idleness. As this last specimen of human nature, when
dressed in full shine, would completely outshine the most vain Pawnee
chief that ever ran wild in Arkansas, Mr. Smooth was anxious for a
peep at the curiosity. In truth, to Mr. Smooth's unpolished eye
London looked as if it might have emanated from a place called hook or
crook, and stretched along the banks of a nauseous stream spreading
its death stenches in the air, where, diffusing itself in the most
perfect of fogs, it lent cheerful aid to the trade of physicians.
Everybody affected great knowledge of system; and yet things were so
complex of past errors and ages that no system existed equal to the
requirements of the present day. The municipality was great only on
dinners and donkeyism. It had indeed a dining senate, but that august
body never was known to discuss the practical reform of anything but
turtle-soup, and that with an horrid carving of the English language.

"The beggar, (we name the worst nuisances first), the begrimed sweep,
the butcher, the hawker, the ignorant costermonger, the 'cute cabby,
the wily tradesman, who seeks favors and pockets frowns from his
distinguished clowns--the Lord, whose rank is known by his tinsel, and
the Duke, so deeply identified with flunkeyism,--all move along,
helter-skelter, helter-skelter. And then there came the small men of
smaller titles, and the commoner whose grumbling was only equalled by
his apeings. To dine with my Lord Flippington was to him something
great; nor could his airs and ostentation be well improved. The little
man of little titles, too, stood profound in his dignity: no man was
larger, nor thought he that his own little self wasn't great. To the
tailor who made him he paid money down. Of all men was he the largest
dabbler in that divine essence of things called men--the philosophy of
blood. But to keep up the dignity it not only required a great deal of
experience, but a large amount of tin in the pocket, which for the
minus thereof was it necessary to have a deal of brass in the
face. This principle, then, which is strictly in accordance with
natural philosophy, being very well developed in this worthily aged
country, makes the truly great very great of modesty; while the man of
pewter greatness--that is, great because Our Sovereign Lady said he
might take upon himself the name of Sir Simpleton Somebody! always
boiling over with the froth of his own follies. With tin in his
pocket, brass in his face, and never a forlorn _h_ in his vocabulary,
is he the fellow to do brown the 'rag and tinsel.'

"Well, Mr. Smooth felt conscious of his own importance, and that same
was something among the good British. With philosophy profound in his
long face, Mr. Smooth made his compliments to the new and very sedate
minister, who some facetious wags called the very unobsequious Jimmy
Buckanan, of Pensylvane. This worthy and very firm-fisted statesman,
who was too much of the old school ever to be President of our United
States, advised the doing of a great many things, the diplomacy of
which Mr. Smooth seriously doubted. Especially did Smooth question
his reasoning on the breeches question, the quaint originality of
which was Marcy's own. This the venerable statesman informed me in a
sly sort of way, as he invited me to go into the back place and take a
little gin and bitters in a quiet way, for he was inveterately averse
to every body watching his movements. To live in a country so ancient
of incongruities, and where not alone the weak-minded bedeck
themselves in fancy coats and flashy tassels, and indescribable
coverings of high colors, requires some resolution in the man who
mixes with it, and is pleased to make known his taste for plain
black. And here Mr. Smooth and the worthy and very promising statesman
held a very learned controversy over the fact of Marcy having gone
into the tailoring business so largely as to define the shape of coat
it was consistent to wear at court tea-parties. Smooth wanted to put
on a little bright, just to look a man of consequence, and in order
not to be behind several of his brother democrats, whose names he
views it imprudent here to insert, and seeing how he was invited to
join a dough-nut party in Downing street, while he was certain of a
card to one of Citizen Peabody's most select dinners, for Peabody was
an intimate friend and old acquaintance; but our honest and very
American plenipotentiary said it would not do, for the obvious reason
that a man's importance should depend on what was in his brains. His
very democratic secretary having come to his sense of the force of
this argument, had made a solemn promise to put on red cloth and
feathers but four times a year, one of which he stipulated should be
at the opening of the Crystal Palace, that being an occasion when all
the fine ladies were expected to be present for the purpose of
witnessing the superiority of genius over court fooleries, as well as
being singularly fascinated with the young secretary's handsome
person. The argument here was so strong that Smooth at once knocked
under; and, too, simplicity in great men being greatness itself, he
sincerely enjoined all his countrymen to let sense and not semblance
honor their country, guide their actions when abroad.

"Acting upon the principle so many of our countrymen unhappily
develop, (thinking nobody could hear of it on the other side of the
water,) Mr. Smooth chartered a donkey-cart, put his donkeys in shining
liveries, and was determined to outdo the Choctaws in making London
astonished. The most expensive tailor in Regent street did up the
external, as he had before so many of my very simple-minded
countrymen. Such a suit of toggery as it was! Alongside of me General
Scott would have looked shy, I reckon. And then, when the big cocked
hat was spread! I tell you, Uncle Sam, there as no touching Smooth--he
was half-duke, half-beadle, and the rest Pierce diplomatist. 'If a
dash ain't cut among the nobs!' thought I. The donkey turn out was a
curiosity, Smooth himself was a curiosity; and with two curiosities an
excitement was certain. My first dash was into Hyde Park, near the
entrance of which stood the brazen statue of a gladiator, raised by
fair hands, in commemoration of the Iron Duke, whose indelible deeds
they would emblazon on hardest brass. In this park, at fashionable
hours, sauntered the nice young men of the West End; that is, the
biggest snobs of the fashionable world; but Smooth took the shine out
of the whole lot, as did nearly all the rest of Mr. Pierce's little
folks. Had he, however, turned out in the flummery of some of his
contemporary snobs, and driven thus equipped into Cape Cod, a
town-meeting, to take into consideration the sending him to a place
where straight-jackets are worn, had been the result. But in London a
man may make almost any kind of a fool of himself, without applying
for a license. Indeed, the man most earnest in making an ass of
himself may do it, with the satisfaction of knowing that he has a very
large number of very respectable families for patrons. In Hyde Park
the greatest asses (a name and the needful may be necessary) have the
most followers. Longest ears are not the surest indices. After all,
my reader must excuse me for not visiting the purlieus of Downing
street just yet, having a few of Mr. Pierce's little folks to pack up
and send home to Fourney, with instructions that he give them a few
more turns on his grindstone.



"Uncle Sam!--if, beside yourself, there exists outside of Cape Cod
another individual who would like to see Mr. Thomas Foolery move in
state most perfect, just send him over here: he must be present on
that day when the little Lord Mayor makes a great man of himself. A
great man is the Lord Mayor on that day on which he sacrifices all his
good sense to an ancient and much-beloved show, in which he permits
himself to be made the fool of the farce. No Choctaw war-train was
ever half so extravagant of colored cloth and feathers. A great day
for London loafers is it, when my Lord Mayor puts on the big chain,
and issues his mandate to the sprats, who then come up the river, to
the great joy of the poor, who have it thus in tradition. Well, Smooth
thought he would keep Lord Mayor's day, and to that end harnessed up
his team of donkeys, merely by way of contrasting it with some duke's
turn-out. Imagine, Sam, my chagrin, when one of the donkeys took it
into his head to keep Lord Mayor's day in his own obstinate way. Not a
step would he go. However, I got another donkey, and proceeded to
where the Lord Mayor was, just in time to hear him make a funny
speech, throughout which he made a sad slaughter of all the h's and
a's of the King's good English. Then he seated himself in the barge,
and had a sail on the Thames, followed by innumerable beggars,
sycophants, and costermongers. Succeeding this he marshalled his
show-folks into a string (such a string!), and with them caused his
august self to be moved to the Mansion House. Swarms of frightened
turtles were seen hurrying away in front of the cavalcade.

"Such a set of white-washed heads--heads with all outside--heads with
little inside--and heads nobody knew what they had been made for,
never before were seen displayed in one string. Strangely attractive
was the glare of tinsel--it fascinated the little souls of corpulent
men, and made small men more becomingly great. Fact was, Uncle Sam,
His Worship the Lord Mayor, whose year of greatness was death to
turtle and terrapin, so outshone Her Most Gracious Majesty (a good
little body) in confusion of brilliant brass, that the little woman
thought it incumbent to call a Cabinet Council, before which she laid
the grievance of his stealing her thunder. At this privy council
Prince Albert was permitted to be present without anything being said
by the Daily News and Morning Advertiser. His Worship had indeed
usurped all the modern appliances of flunkeydom. But the cabinet, it
was acknowledged, was very thick-headed, and her Majesty, good body,
must bear the consequences.

"Well, after the most curious caravan eyes ever rested upon, there
followed his jolly worship the Lord Mayor; he largely sat in a coach
of gingerbread, the tea-things spread outside, and the glows of
Souchong impregnating the air. They said his jolly Lordship sold real
and mixed Twankey. In this sense, however, was his Lordship more
fortunate than his predecessor, who, having ascended from the soap
business, and himself used a large amount of that article for the
purpose of washing down the wares of Threadneedle street, found his
greatest difficulty that of getting rid of the foetid scent. And then,
my Lord's h's were the things most violently handled; for otherwise he
wasn't a bad fellow, and when he rode in his coach of the olden time,
which might, by the green in mythology, have been taken for the lost
chariot of Elijah, it was a serious question whether himself or the
things that held on behind were greatest. Then these latter gents of
flunkeydom in frills had big sticks in their hands, with which they
kept the flies from my Lord's good-natured countenance. Happy fellows
were they, and, like well-stuffed mules, only wanted the long soft
ears to make them marketable. Everybody said it was a big day in
London. To have suggested that his Worship might be making an ass of
himself in this common-sense nineteenth century would have been to
render yourself a victim of hasty contempt. Smooth was just taking a
contemplative view of these things,--asking himself how many poor
wretches would lose a day's work over the nonsense; how many would get
drunk on the hallucination of the show; how many poor mechanics would
make a blue week to his Lordship's honor; and how many would find
themselves in the House of Correction to his disgrace--how many
employers would be annoyed,--how many customers would be
disappointed--and how many wives would get broken heads; when suddenly
a crowd of filthy, dejected, and ruthless beings swept along in mass,
heedless of whatever came in their way, and threatening life and limb
in the onset. Then there came such a smashing of maids' bonnets,
squeezing of milliners, and frightening of old maids, as never was
seen before; indeed, this, added to the many well-jammed ribs and
jostled beavers, seemed the most expensive part of my Lord's show.
Summing the whole thing up in a logical sort of way, Smooth made it
amount to this:--that the Lord Mayor, just mounting into greatness,
could by no means make that greatness impressive by any knowledge of
philosophy he possessed; so, to be sure that his importance had its
force upon all vulgar minds, he suffered himself made to play the part
of a monkey in a cake-shop. To this his Worship added the greater
gratification of having given amusement to nine-tenths of the city
costermongers, made idle seven-tenths of the working people, kept busy
two thousand gin-shops, filled eleven hundred chop-houses, given hard
work to five hundred policemen, who never like to be worked hard, and
made lackeydom tumultuous. And then Beadledom seemed crazed, and,
joined with the many ale-bibbers, were turned out to do good service
in the show. But, to make my Lord's train complete, there was no
knowing how many men he had to ride on horseback, how many more so
inebriated they couldn't ride, how many of a character nobody would
desire to know out of his show, and how many _ballet_ girls who ride
in circuses and so forth,--all of which latter material had faces made
deep of moonshine modesty, to suit the solemn occasion. Then my Lord
topped off the little end of his show with the soup and great
Ministers of State. And, that nothing should be left undone, the
_Times_ must have a _go in_ at it, which it did with one of Doctor
Moseley's most spicy articles, putting the whole thing into a very
comical nutshell. Quoth Sam, without the thunderer's dissecting knife
a London Lord Mayor would be the most beautiful of nobodys--that is,
so far as sense goes. Smooth, on the nicest observation, was decidedly
of the opinion that only one thing more was wanted to make the Lord
Mayor's Show complete--a pair of long soft ears emblazoned on the
Corporation coach. The reader will excuse Smooth for dwelling thus
long on little things.

"Having peeped long enough at the Lord Mayor's Show, I felt like
looking at something more solid; so to that end I turned about the
donkey-cart, whistled to the flunkeys (kept things of this kind merely
to be like other Americans when abroad), and drove into Regent street,
where I would inform General Pierce and all my firm friends a
desperate excitement was made. Then, in glowing independence, I rolled
away down Pall Mall, where the club-people--especially those of that
institution of arrogance called the Reform--seemed much astonished.
From thence I proceeded past Trafalgar square, where stood in singular
contrast the monument of the noble Nelson, and an equestrian statue of
that ignoble creature, Charles the First, the loss of whose head saved
England from disgrace. How strange, that even in this day of
intelligence and liberty-loving, it should stand a shrine before which
very respectable old gentlemen poured out their stale patriotism! At
last I found myself in Downing street--at the door of a massive and
sombre-looking mansion (No. 12) in front of which stood
methodical-looking men with grave countenances. And, too, there
sauntered moodily venerable-looking gentlemen, now and then casting
wistful glances at the time-begrimmed walls, as if they would see some
one sealed-up in the antiquated recesses of the place. Mr. Smooth's
turn-out only made a stir among them; they reckoned somebody had come!
In a free-and-easy sort of way I walked straight to the door,
maintaining my independence the while, and feeling as important as a
door-keeper in Congress. After passing the massive entrance I
encountered innumerable obstacles in the form of flunkeys, and then
passed into a dingy room of immense size, which for all the world had
the appearance of having some two or three hundred years ago served
for a barracks. 'By appointment?' inquired a human thing dressed, as
he emerged from behind a green screen situated at one corner. He
bowed, and I bowed, until he was satisfied I was somebody, 'Who would
you see?' he reiterates, adding another bow.

"'Well!' returned I, 'reckon how I'll think about that.' Then the
fellow crossed three or four times my track, as much as to
say--Stranger! you don't go in there. Presently a batch of well-to-do
individuals came snickering out of a closet, and eyed me very
suspiciously; at which I summoned all my brass, and stood fronting
them like a staring machine. 'You must say who you want to see!'
interposes the man I first confronted.

"I here took leisurely out my card, and said 'I would like to see the
Duke of Newcastle, who temporarily tied up in this establishment.' He
viewed my card with a serious hesitation; at which I turned round, and
told him I would not trouble him, but take it myself, had he had any
special objection to going a-head. They, the people, said the Duke,
did all he could with what he had to do with. If it were not possible
to see the Duke, I would like a peep at my venerable aunt Aberdeen,
who was about as well qualified to sway the destinies of discontented
England as a virgin pumpkin; and together with my ever amiable Lord
Clarendon, would set a world at war good-naturedly. These very high
functionaries, Mr. Smooth was informed, could not at present be seen
by common people, inasmuch as they were contemplating the problem:--'I
don't know what to do!' Nicholas's appetite for Turkey breakfasts had
made work too profound for the brains of Downing Street. 'Don't seem a
subject of this atmosphere,' said the stupid, significantly canting
his head, and giving a queer look out of the corner of his right
eye. 'You fellows don't seem to know me,' I interpolated, 'Citizen
Smooth--they call me Solomon Smooth, Esq., that is my name.' A door
now opened near where I was standing, and in I walked--right among the
Dukes and dough-heads. It only wanted a bold push, in the right
go-ahead sort of way, to make myself respected. Dukes were not only
flesh and blood, but owed much of their importance to the ignorance of
the people they aspired to frown upon. Dukes, Earls, and Lords, were,
at this moment, playing at very un-English games for England. They
affected to believe it right that the loyal people (I mean the simple
and vulgar, who have hitherto proved mean the simple and vulgar) who
have hitherto proved true to their noble traditions, should remain
ignorant of the game played at their expense. This, Mr. Smooth thought
too bad; however, his friend Urquhart was devising a scheme for
remedying the evil, which, did he not himself fall into evil, might do
great good to the nation in general. But Urquhart was so modest that
he never accused Lord Palmerston of anything worse than bringing about
the potato rot in Ireland. 'Hallo hallo!' a dozen voices echoed from
the table around which the all-accomplished sat:--'A rustic intruder
is upon us!' half muttered the man who followed me in. 'It's only
Solomon Smooth, Esq., from the Cape,' returned I, with a good,
wholesome laugh. Believe me, Uncle Sam, there sat round a table ten of
the most solemn-looking fellows, with faces as dreary as a wet moon in
November. Some of this unique body looked as if they had seen hard
usage and lean pay. Others were grey with thinking, instead of
moving. Be not surprised either when I say that the gravity of their
countenance left no visible room for anything else. Hard at it were
they, straining their antiquated imaginations over a secret game of
thimble-rig, which seemed of momentous importance. Only five, however,
could play at the game; and Sawny Dablerdeen, who always played on two
small pipes, and paid sundry small pipers to do a deal of blowing,
seemed in the greatest fuddle. And then there was my Lord John
Littlejohn, as crusty a little snap as ever declaimed against tyrant
in one breath, or turned a political summersault in another;--bricks
to the back-bone was he, and all for old England, though he was not
bigger than one of Betsy Perkin's well-grown cucumbers, and could be
turned to as many uses. But what there is mentally in a man must not
be judged by the measure of his body from head to foot. And, too,
there was my very amiable Lord Clarendon, who attempted to out-clever
my Lord John, inasmuch as John stated, in the fulness of his
geographical knowledge, that the passage between Havana and the
extreme southern point of Florida was not more than four hundred
miles, while my Lord Clarendon assured the House of Lords that South
Carolina was an island. Enlightened House of Lords! But, after all,
there was a harmony of sentiment between these two noble worthies that
was truly grateful to the submissive hearts of the freedom-loving
English; both could spin flattering speeches: both could play the long
and short; both could wince when foreign bull-dogs sent out their
threatening growls; and both were mighty of mouth when dealing with
little chickens. It was not to be concealed, however that Dablerdeen,
master of the board, was gifted with the unfortunate characteristic of
talking himself into an interminable difficulty.

"'Who, or from whence on earth do you come?' inquired my Lord.

"'Smooth,' I replied, that is my name; I am a citizen of the Great
Republic--come to study the way in which you are disorganizing foreign

"'Yer a little in advance of the times--too fast, sir!' replied a
large man most serious of face. Thinking it best to answer him by
declaring my opinion to be that it was better to be with the age than
behind it,--and which I believe constituted the only difference
between a fast and slow man of the present day, I let slide at him
upon the fallacy of his political philosophy, with knock-down

"The fellows cooled down at once, and John Littlejohn said, 'Come,
Smooth! if you really are a clever citizen then you are precisely the
fellow we want!' And then he conversed feelingly with me, said how
much he liked our country and our countrymen; persuaded himself to
believe them the real go-ahead chaps--though he, at times, thought it
quite necessary to keep their go-ahead a little slow. I proposed their
taking a smoke in a rough and ready sort of way, and pulling out my
pouch, in a friendly sort of way, they all seemed struck aback with
astonishment. One said, if we did things that way in Congress it was
not the way they did them here. They all shook their heads--said they
didn't smoke.

"'We will may it please you Mr. Smooth--Citizen of the United
States--excuse these things for the present,' rejoined Dablerdeen, who
looked as if he did not know which way to turn, or how to please his
people. Seeing this I sat down and watched the very odd style in which
they played the game. Dablerdeen did all the talking, and Littlejohn,
whom the reader will see had returned home helped him make his muff;
and then there was a good deal of assisting one another to forget each
move. But Sandy always moved slow, as if he had something under his
thimble he was afraid of damaging. 'That's Turkey, that's Russia,
that's France, and that's Austria--and this is ourselves!' he would
say, making the moves up or down, but not knowing where to stop. 'It
won't do to push that one, it won't!' he continued, pointing at the
one he called Austria. 'If you did, nothing would you get from under
it. It's a costly cup with a tender handle, somewhat dangerous to
turn: only the cup of Spain is more costly; but that in this emergency
is of no account whatever.' They had no United States cup to move,
inasmuch as Jonathan had very respectfully declined to hazard a point
in European games when he withheld his ascent to a tripartite treaty
for the purpose of keeping his delicate fingers off Cuba. Now these
very antiquated gentlemen seemed to entertain some respect for the
British Lion, some apprehension of Jonathan and Nicholas, and a great
dislike for fighting, which they had been driven, or rather drifted,
into much against their imagined obligations to peace; for, indeed,
did they carry on the war tail foremost, finding everything they had
done large of stupidity. By and by a loud call rang through the
tabernacle, and in another minute the platter of dough-nuts was borne
in by two cooks. One, they said was Mrs. Victoria, and the other was
Mr. Napoleon, curious acquaintances, who lugged and tugged, and puffed
and blowed; and the piping hot doughnuts nuts gave out their
glows. Then the players all seemed to quicken up, as if they had
sooner be eating than thinking.

"'Strange things will come to pass at times, and nothing stranger has
come to pass than that John Bull and Johnny Crappo have gone into the
brotherly-love business, by which they hope to bring about one grand
object,' I said. 'Neither had I any objection to Spain joining,
provided she kept Cuba all right. But, Cuba being so near Uncle Sam's
fingers, nothing more than the common course of events was needed to
let it slide so naturally into his modest hands.' Smooth told the old
gentlemen that the very best way to hasten Uncle Sam's getting Cuba
was to point out a process by which he could keep his hand out of his
pockets. 'We, Mr. Smooth, do not question your correctness on the
point, so far at it refers to this Cuba business, and the tripartite
treaty which we would you had signed merely that your fingers were
kept off the property; but you have misconstrued our amiable
motives--we only wanted to form a trio, honorable in combination--that
is, we would it were mutually understood that you do not annex Cuba,
and we will not!' said my Lord Littlejohn, who spoke quite as spunky,
though with less assurance on geography, than he did to the very
amiable Mr. Everett. Smooth understood the P's and Q's of the thing,
without examining further into the portfolio. It was Johnny Bull
saying to Johnny Crappo--'them Yankees 'll get Cuba!--in spite of all
we can do.' Of course something must be said in return; so Crappo puts
in his say:--'Can't you suggest some way to stop it, Uncle John?' he
inquires, with a quizzical shrug, adding--_mon dieu!_ 'But, by gar, we
may do him somefin yet, by gar!'

"To make rogue one honest man is one clever thing; Mr. Jonathan
mistake himself in tinking himself great, when he not so great. Now,
dem Yankee one grand 'cute fellow; you no catch him wid de, bird
chaff,' he is supposed to conclude. Smooth very amiably suggested that
it were better to let Cuba be Cuba, until the time came when, if she
felt like snugly brooding under Uncle Sam's wings, without any
assistance would he attend to the little matter of offering her a
roost. Uncle Sam was growing, but had grave ideas, with which he
generally maintained his own dignity. They here reckoned Mr. Smooth
had delivered his speech with becoming dignity. Of this fact I was
fully sure, for my Lord Littlejohn put his finger into his mouth and
began to suck it, as is common with him in these his days of
tribulation. 'Let us quit the Ottomans and go into the eatables: the
one is so dry nothing is to be made at it, while at the other
everything is to be made, for there is something to eat,' rejoined
John. They carried the suggestion by acclamation. Just then,
whang!--bang!--whiz! somebody thundered at the door, when, alarmed,
they all cried out--'whose there?' In answer to this the man with the
long rod cried out at the very top of his voice--'Stop the game!' The
old fellows began to stow away their gambling tools, look innocently
and vacantly at one another, as if a crisis was upon them they could
not understand. 'It's only us outsiders,' a voice replied, in most
harmless accents.

"'There! I told you we'd make a mess of it,--that the outsiders would
break in upon us' said Littlejohn, with a savage grimace, directing
himself to Dablerdeen, who it was now thought better to call
Grandmamma Fudge. The gentlemen outsiders were the honor-saving
committee from Finsbury, the members of which declared themselves
large stakeholders in the game at the Treasury. Grandmamma Fudge
thought it best to tell them, merely in a bluff sort of way, that
England's honor was safe in his keeping--that they must not be scared
about it; not however, until they found him pedling pills and other
quack medicines with the object of inducing Austria to be more
explicit. 'But, my old closeters, in we must come! Fearing you have got
the gout in the head, we are here to make an examination; things done
in secret have a dark look about them; and we, being the honor-saving
committee, have come to make a single suggestion, which is that my
lord of foreign affair memory is found wanting in firmness, and gets
very crooked when he is not kept straight, which is most unfortunate
in a diplomatist who smokes bad cigars all the day long. This said, it
must be remembered that old Finsbury feels sensitive of her rights and
liberties; closely allied to which is the honor of Old England. And
Christmas being near at hand, if the old Bear eat up all the Turkey,
Finsbury cannot keep it; and we have been honied down in a
good-natured sort of way long enough.' Poor old Grandmamma Fudge
looked dumbfounded, like at times we see a disconsolate individual,
who nipped in a hail-storm, mourns the loss of his umbrella. Like
death, it was necessary to keep close, tell the honor-saving committee
to maintain their usual spirits, and call again, when in respect to
their ancient character, they would get a listening for their
grievances. With this valuable solace, condescendingly bestowed by the
ancient gentlemen aforesaid did the committee go away happy, promise
to be very good, and keep Finsbury before the world.

"The gentlemen having been respectfully bowed out of Downing street, a
loud call was made to commence again at the dough-nuts. 'I say, bring
'em on,' rejoined I; Smooth 'll help (I'd been seated a little back,
watching the while) play at that or any other game, provided there be
a rule of honor and economy to work out.'

"'Be a little more modest, Smooth--if you please!' spoke up my most
intimate friend, Palm, who until then had seemed viewing the whole
conclave with measured contempt. Indeed my friend Palm was a regular
brick in his way, which fact was most happily illustrated in the
manner he now and then threw the hard tokens at the head of his
parliamentary brother Bright. It was as unfortunate as notorious,
however, that in his dealings with the United States, his conduct was
as dishonorable as uncertain. 'Smooth, you are a large youth,' said
he; 'but your reforming principles have too great a resemblance to
innovations to go down without scratching, in this aged atmosphere of
ours! Nor must you be so lavish of your manifest destiny policy; that,
to me, is the medium by which you intend to come on this side of the
big pond and stick your fingers into everybody's mess.'

"I interrupted him just then; and in reply to a question I put, he
acknowledged his conviction to be that we did things well and simply;
but he made one little reservation, and that was that we did not do so
well when we permitted the little State of South Carolina to imprison
Uncle John's nigger sailors. Then he said South Carolina was the
_Empire State of Nigger Slavery;_ and was not aware of his mistake,
until such I happily removed by convincing him that she was the only
Don Quixote of the Union; and as it was necessary for every nation to
have such an inhabitant in its compact, merely for the purpose of
keeping alive the humorous, so Carolina filled the void in America,
where happily her little exploits were viewed as very harmless.

"Well, peace again being preserved, we drew up to have a feast of the
hot dough-nuts, when a terrible thundering came at the great
door. Then the figure standing guard, who resembled a flour-barrel in
frills, announced the reporter of the _Times_; who said he must come
in, for his folks, too, held a large stake in the game. And the
individual did come in; and a right jolly-looking fellow he was, too;
and in contrast with the fudgy old conclave, seemed bright, fresh, and
ready to go ahead; and then he said the _Times_ and the country were
two great institutions. 'You!' he spoke, advancing independently to
the table, and grinning the old fogies almost out of countenance,
'have got to render an account of this game to the country! your just
unequiliberizing everything; and my humble opinion is that you have
got the fear fever in your heads.' The old gentleman took it all in
good part; in fact (the truth must be told at times) they seemed
rather to fear and like the man of the _Times_, who seldom failed in
getting by some mysterious process the secrets of Downing street.
However, as disturbances seldom come separate, no sooner had the man
of the _Times_ been smoothed nicely down with Downing street
soft-soap, of which a never-failing supply was always at hand, than a
most furious hue and cry again echoed through the old walls from
another part of the house. Alarm and anxiety darted into the face of
everyone present; all eyes stared in death-like gaze in the direction
from whence it came. Smooth being in for a share of the alarm as well
as the fun, looked along with the rest, when, lo! high on a seat in
the corner, sat _Mr. Punch_, his comical face glowing through a sort
of knot-hole and Toby perched on his right shoulder, growling and
looking as if he wanted to bite every old fudge in the conclave.
_Punch_, to outsecret the players, was, in a very clever sort of way,
taking private notes, the subject matter of which he intended giving
to his readers in a very condensed and elegant volume. This started
the players to their feet, when each seized a book, and, letting fly
at _Punch's_ head, drove him scampering out of Downing street.

"Having got rid of _Mr. Punch_, and bowed the man of the _Times_
politely out, Grandmama Fudge, in a strong Scotch brogue, said, 'Nu,
luds, let us gang awa to the crumpets--bring 'um hither, mya bullies!'
He drew a sort of simple contortion over his broad, hard face, and
mouthed his lips, as if he would the amplest dough-nut be put on his
plate. Palm, just as they were resuming their seats, insinuated that
as the venerable old man was well gone in his dotage, he had better
measure his diet somewhat after the judicious character of his
diplomacy, which was celebrated for its small doses crookedly doled
out. The dish was again removed, mouths began to water, eager eyes
glanced upon the steaming viands, giving out their strong glows and
unsavory smells. This incited dither strong, on calling the two cooks
its, after many and tedious interrogatories, confessed, in fear and
trembling, that Grandmama Fudge had strictly ordered them fried in
grease of the Russian Bear, an animal for which he entertained a
curious sympathy. And here it was observed, with no very commendable
emphasis, that the precious old dote had a particular partiality for
Bruin's dominions, nor could be driven from the strange hallucination.
Another minute and the poor old man was in the most alarming state of
mind that could be imagined; the largest dough-nut on the platter had
stuck half-way down his throat. To relieve himself of his
unsuccessful attempt at swallowing things beyond his capacity, he
called lustily for Palm, who, unfortunately, had left in disgust, the
stench of Bear's grease being too strong for his capricious
organs. 'He! he! he! ah mun, I doe believe to heaven it's all up--I
doe!' gurgled the old man, struggling in spasmodic efforts to get the
thing up or down. 'If I die,' he continued, 'with this lump of
indecision in my throat, the consequences will be that no man will
mourn over me.' Littlejohn, always ready to move as occasion required,
sprung to his aid, crying 'Swallow it! swallow it! for the honor of
Young England swallow it! If it comes up you're a dead premier: dead
without a doctor.' The whole thing now became a complex confusion; no
one knew how to unconfuse it. It was a sad mistake having its origin
only in the want of the age's appliances to our day and its
circumstances; he had attempted a nut he had not capacity to
swallow. A dozen voices cried out 'Bring in the doctor.' and as many
more said the case was a desperate one. Some run one way; some run
another; 'and some never moved. Downing street was in tribulation.
Then everybody ran in everybody's way; nobody knew what to do; nor
could anybody find Mr. Chesterfield, the loud shouts for whom seemed
to make him a character of some importance. Mr. Smooth kept very cool
the while, thinking it best to maintain his philosophy up to a
scientific point; and in that way he reckoned it was as well to send
for Doctor _Punch_, who, in such cases was an adept of a practitioner,
and had an extensive infirmary in Fleet street, where patients
innumerable were healed for three-pence. Well, just as they were on
the point of making a rush, a voice cried out--'Here I am! here I am!'
and in another minute there jumped from under the table a
suspicious-looking turkey, who stood upon the platter, clapped his
wings, and sent the dough-nuts into a flutter about the room. 'I'm all
right' he proclaimed, stretching to his extreme height 'let every man
take care of himself.' My reader will scarce question my veracity when
I say the turkey looked with grave disdain upon the unnecessary
confusion, made at this moment by British cabinet cooks, whom it was
gravely intimated, had lessoned of Mr. Pierce's French cook, Monsieur
Souley. Mr. Smooth, about this time, resolved to leave the donkey
diplomatists, and drive his own ugly brutes home.



"Smooth being a great man, as well as Mr. Pierce's minister in
general--and citizen Peabody being no less great in diplomacy, which
he illustrated in the most substantial manner--it became necessary to
make a demonstration: to this end did friend George delegate his
hospitality in an invitation to dine with him at Blackwall. George was
large and loose of figure, possessed a broad, honest face, bright with
kindness, candor, and firmness: added to which a well-developed nose;
a soft, yet watchful eye a mouth indicating gentleness; and a broad,
benevolent chin, finished the make-up of the external man--if we
except a neat pair of brown whiskers, and a head of dark youthful
hair. Citizen George loved dearly his country, and was altogether a
man who meant well, nor ever forgot those of his countrymen who
reflected honor on their country when abroad. He had no genius for
politics, had never aspired to the class _par excellence_; no, he
espoused none of their dogmas; he let littler minds revel in such
luxuries. The means by which little demagogues find themselves great
politicians could reflect no fame to George: he served his country
with less noise and more effect. If he was quiet and unassuming; if he
loved his country to a fault, that fault was his own, not his
country's. How much more to be praised is he who seeks when in foreign
lands to sustain the simple but grand spirit of our institutions! For
sustaining the simplicity of our institutions is friend George most to
be praised. The object of his labor was the establishment of a simple
but real and effective diplomacy, from which international benefits of
great worth might result. A few here and there had doubted the quality
of his diplomacy; but no one bold enough to question his abilities as
a diplomatist had yet been found. It is not what we are supposed to
do, but what we really do, that ought to entitle us to respect. And
had not citizen George done more to promote a kindly feeling between
the too boastful peoples of England and America than all our well-paid
ministers, their court luxuries, and costly retinues thrown in? That
citizen George would interpose for peace and international harmony, in
the event of an unfortunate misunderstanding between the two
countries, was equally certain; indeed he had more than once had
occasion to view with feelings of commiseration those small jealousies
against which great minds have to contend while seeking to carry out
an enlarged policy. Painful as may be the assertion, it is
nevertheless true, that whenever questions of an intricate nature
arose those whose legitimate business it was to act in the matter were
either moved by the narrowest aspirations of party, or, yielding to
their own more contracted views, were disposed to keep alive
dissensions blighting to their country's best interests.

"Deeper than etiquette and quibble (those much-beloved virtues of the
time-serving and polite corps) had friend George delved into the
recesses of human nature, that he might find a law upon which to build
a comity of enlarged sentiment, having for its end the bringing
together of Americans and Englishmen, cementing the bonds of
commercial intercourse, and pledging the continuance of peace. Those
whom he thus worthily drew together did he enjoin to cease their small
jars and partake of his large jar, which was always plentifully
stored. Be not surprised, then, when Smooth tells all his readers in
general, and General Pierce in particular, that Citizen Peabody has
founded a dinner diplomacy, contrasted with which all other species of
the order are but secondary. This was indeed the means by which he
hoped to, and no doubt would, develop a more fruitful international
policy; for, meats and good drinks being never-failing arguments with
fat Aldermen and Statesmen, who could doubt it? Smooth would here say
to Uncle Sam, that there is no mistake about the effect of this sort
of diplomacy, and begs that he will insinuate to Mr. Pierce the
propriety of his suggesting to Congress through the medium of his next
Annual Message (he will make a hit) the propriety of sending abroad
good cooks instead of bad ministers. They must be well provided with
gold eagles, and give the very best sort of dinners to every hungry
citizen, at Sam's account; the boy will then shine in all his glory!
Never dealing in sarcasms, nor casting reflections of an insinuating
character, yet, Mr. Smooth cannot forbear to say that while the very
polite worship at the shrine of the polished _corps_, stronger-minded
men are always found doing homage to the meats and drinks--more
particularly when they are good! Upon this most modern but very
material principle of natural philosophy (with a great heart, and
intentions to correspond) did our worthy and truly characteristic
countryman pursue to usefulness his diplomacy. That it had excited the
fear of small politicians and antiquated and very polite diplomats,
whose trade it seriously damaged, was well known to Mr. Pierce and the
world in general. Even this species of gentry was at times disposed to
pay it compliment; but it was only on the ground of its relieving them
of that _onerous tax_ of now and then receiving their fellow-citizens
respectably. Smooth is exceedingly delicate about mentioning here the
onerousness of this tax, inasmuch as our parsimonious government has
proved itself obstinately opposed to grant a sum requisite to the
necessary respectability to be maintained at foreign courts.

"Well, the day arrived on which Smooth was to dine with Citizen
George, and not the smallest idea had he of meeting another stray
citizen. Happy in the enjoyment of our own greatness, Smooth expected
to learn something of Uncle George's opinions upon international
questions in general, and to give him in return some account of
General Pierce's crooked notions of a national policy--so crooked,
indeed, that they left him alike the laughing-stock of friends and
foes. This was very easily done, for, being Mr. Pierce's special
minister to everywhere in general, and more particularly to Europe,
where he invested him (Smooth) with power to draw up preliminaries for
the 'Ostend Convention,' as well as to cut a figure on behalf of Young
America, the power thus given made the divulging Mr. Pierce's policy
no breach of confidence. As for Young America, that very unassuming
young gentleman was being gloriously represented by the very famous
house of the three S.'s and Co. (Sickles, Saunders, Souley, Buckhanan
& Co.), the latter very respectable gentleman having been received
into the firm with the specific understanding that he sell out his
large stock of old fogyism, and invest the proceeds in manifest

"Nothing is so easily attained as the flattery of small men; and yet
no essence is more delicious to the soul of a sycophant, for it is he
that loves to refresh his recreant spirit with human frailty. Mr.
Pierce's comprehensive and very elastic mind had not yet made a point
of analysing this as properly as it was capable of being.

"Doing himself (Smooth) up in his very best fixings, he chartered a
steamboat--that is, he got aboard a steamboat--and in the company of
our very gallant Secretary of Legation (who has since joined the very
excellent and honorable order of doubtful politicians), paid his
pennies and steamed away for Blackwall. Here he and his friend sought
the Brunswick, a very grand hotel, where now and then the vulgar do
dine, and console their love of fashion with much show of dishes and
very aristocratic prices. And now, to Smooth's utter astonishment, on
being bowed into a gorgeous hall by lackies in ordinary, who stood
like tailored mummies along the halls and passages, he found it taken
possession of by some hundred and fifty of both sexes, gaily attired,
and altogether presenting the brightness of a bridal party. There were
knights and baronets, great and small; some wore an insignia, but
nothing else to distinguish them from the very vulgar. And, too, there
was Sir William Busey, a good diner-out, and always ready to do such
noble deeds. All stiff and staid, sallied up and down Sir James Muke,
affecting to feel much annoyed because vulgar citizens would not
regard him in the same distinguished light in which he contemplated
himself. Indeed, were Sir James's manners taken in evidence of his
distinguished position, the verdict could not fail to be in favor of
his only being set down a very distinguished bore. However, on the
principle of forgiveness being sweet, did Smooth forgive Sir James,
and charge his manners to defect of early bringing up.

"And, too, there was, all reserve, smiling and dignified, Sir
Memberman Plenat, who wore no toy of rank, that article being largely
developed in his manly bearing. There were also, be it known, other
barons and baronets, some of whom were equally imbued with their own
importance, others quite modest and gentlemanly in their demeanor.
But, to make the greatness of the occasion complete, there was the
little Lord Mayor, who, like a mirror reflecting a sun-shower, loomed
forth in all the greatness of his own light. Of ladies there was no
lack. Some were of well established celebrity; others were decked in
costly fabrics to create a celebrity; a third were fair to look
upon. The English ladies seemed round of person, buoyant and joyous of
soul: the American queens of beauty (their faces sparkling of love and
gentleness) moved to and fro, like sylphs of some fairy land, making
splendid the scene. The dashing New Yorker, her smiles, unerring
arrows, piercing whither she shot them; the vivacious and intelligent
daughter of Massachusetts, all sensitive, modest, and graceful; the
placid _belle_ of Pennsylvania, whose fair complexion drew upon her
all admiration; the bright-eyed Buckeye, with face so oval, than whom
none was more coy, nor ever shot a glance or stole a heart so well;
the rustic daughter of Down East, who affected great contempt for all
superior people, and declared the queen not a whit better than anybody
else; the buxom Green-mountain girl, whose motion was as crude as her
cheeks were rosy; the New Hampshire prude, lisping, regardless of
Murray; the statue-like Baltimorean, with queenly figure and all
lovely face, dazzling in her beauty, like a diamond among stones less
brilliant; the flirting blonde of Washington; the gracious Virginian,
with features so classic and serene; the daisy-like daughter of
Connecticut, ever ready to give out her wild unmeasured laugh--all
were there. And then there came the imperious Carolinian, whose
stately step, Grecian face, dark, languishing eyes, and thoughtful
countenance, drew upon her the admiration of many an envious eye. And,
to make complete the group, there moved haughtily along the proud
Madame of Alabama, affecting the possession of each good and gentle
attribute of womankind. She would have us know how much attention she
drew upon her while being presented to 'England's queen,' forgetting
that it was merely the effect of her badly arranged lace. Indeed, the
conclave mingled most socially. My Lady Flippington seemed not above a
modest and very sensible condescension to the very level of the vulgar
who surrounded her, and whose friendship she seemed to court.

"Citizen Peabody, as much good nature in his broad face as benevolence
in his great heart, moved king among his guests, bestowing a smile
here, and a cheering word there; but more particularly consoling the
old maids, with whom he is a great favorite. No sooner had the genteel
waiter announced the readiness of the festive board, than each gallant
sought him a fair partner, and filed off in procession, those not
fortunate enough to possess such an accompaniment being compelled to
bear up with one of their own harder sex. Smooth was among the most
fortunate, having succeeded in fettering himself to a Kentucky
_belle_. Down a long, circular stairway, the procession proceeded,
inspirited by sweet music, and soon reached a spacious hall, set out
with tables stretching along its whole length, and bedecked with the
choicest viands, delicately overlaid with fresh-plucked flowers,
impregnating the very air with their delicious odors. Indeed they
looked more like beds of bright flowers trellised with silver and
gold. A din of confused voices resounded throughout the hall as all
took seats who could, while not a few added to the confusion by
appropriating to themselves the seats of others. Mr. Smooth, being a
man of the world, and Mr. Pierce's minister extraordinary, took the
best seat he could find, and made himself quite at home. Opposite him
loomed out the hard, knotty face of Sir James Muke, who, suffering
under the most painful grievance of having been deprived of his seat,
so generously provided in a space to the right of the chairman, let
loose some very unfashionable and badly moulded oaths. As if this were
not enough, Sir James, whose temper had fairly boiled over, and to the
great annoyance of less dignified ears than his own, did hurl most
indiscriminately at the heads of astonished waiters several oaths less
vile, but more pointed. 'Soup! soup!' he demanded impatiently, at the
very top of his voice--a voice that sounded like the creaking of a
door troubled with a chronic disease. Albeit there was no measuring
the latitude Sir James would have allowed his feelings to take in
demanding _soup_, and be-d----mn the astonished servants, had not Lady
Constance Caution, who sat all calm at his left, reminded him in
softest accents that 'Citizen Peabody always invoked a blessing before
he gave soup.' Sir James in response kindly thanked my lady for her
timely admonition, listened to the blessing as it fell solemnly upon
his ear, bowed and extended his plate as the spontaneous Amen
concluded the seemingly anxious moment. Calm but well directed was my
lady's rebuke; deeply did it tell upon Sir James, who, more in
imitation of Smooth's coarse manners, behaved henceforth with more
regard to the feelings of those near him.

"It was now time to discuss the well-ordained set-out of viands.
Round after round, the most delicious, came on with that disorder so
characteristic of English servants. It will, Uncle Sam, be scarcely
necessary for Smooth to add that great skill was displayed in safely
depositing the meats and drinks in nature's most appropriate depot.
Most cheerfully was it performed to the accompaniment of music, merry
laughs, and flashes of well-worn wit: the only discord discoverable,
or which could offend delicate ears, being that one or two English
Gentlemen, of very polished manners, obstinately refused to be
contented with the long list of wines provided by the generous host,
and must needs display their cultivated taste by ordering bottles of a
name scarce known, assuring the polite landlord that they themselves
would pay the shot _did Citizen Peabody fail to stand it_. Mr. Smooth
had not the least objection to this delicate proceeding inasmuch as it
illustrated a principle, and contrasted strangely with those much
cultivated manners facetious gentlemen who so often waste ink in
discoursing upon the vulgarities of Americans would have us fashion
from. Wishing, however, these gentlemen may display better manners
next time, we must beg the reader's pardon for thus digressing and

"The meats having laid a very decided foundation upon which to build a
tabernacle of joviality, and the nectar adding its exhilarating power
in erecting a substratum for the fine work of the festival, it became
necessary to top off with spicy speeches, which might indeed be
compared to a compound of salt and cream very liberally mixed. From
among his guests and great folks Citizen Peabody now rose, somewhat
nervous, and with becoming dignity delivered himself of a very piquant
speech, the bone and marrow of which was that Americans from home
being moved by those sentiments the appearance of things new and
strange naturally produce, the sequence was that they looked with an
interest divided between reverence and curiosity to see their
Minister; such a gratification he was only too happy in being the
medium of affording. Nor, when he relieved that worthy representative
of a tax his purse could ill bear, did he consider it less than a very
agreeable duty. In reply to Citizen Peabody's toast, 'Peace and
continued friendship between the peoples of England and the United
States,' the guests filled a bumper, and with three hearty cheers let
the liquid run down so smoothly. Sir Arthur Coddlecomb's name being
coupled with the toast, and that compound of self-importance and bad
grammar esteeming himself a great speaker, rose, and relieved himself
of what is commonly called a very neat and appropriate speech. To
Smooth his mind seemed on a wandering expedition; notwithstanding, he
took occasion to refer to that approaching curse--an Eastern war, and
also to divest himself of some very fine words, highly complimentary
of America. Marked applause followed the speech, and Sir Arthur sat
down bowing.

"'The present Lord Mayor!' being drawn into the order of toasts, the
individual filling that office, a firmly compacted figure, with
well-rounded limbs, and a broad, pleasing face, set off by the
addition of a well-lined nose, full intelligent eyes, a brow nicely
arched, and organically well-developed, and surmounted with a
superstructure of dark, glossy hair, tinged with grey, rose to reply.
My lord, in addition to being rather shortish, possessed a countenance
indicative of amiability rather than strength of mind or force of
character. 'Silence!' echoed and reechoed through the hall, and for a
few seconds all was still. Then the badge-bedecked figure, with
dignity all sublime, rose to the order. His dark eyes wandered to to
the right and left, then over the banqueting scene, and again toward
the ladies. Smooth would here say, by way of interrupting his
lordship, and for the better information of his readers, that Sir
James, becoming somewhat civilized--perhaps he should say tamed,--and
made conscious that he confronted Mr. Pierce's special minister,
pledged him in numerous glasses, and being now somewhat mellow, cooled
away into an all-refreshing nap, during the enjoyment of which he,
with unpolished bows, made known his approbation of each happy
sentiment contained in the speeches.

"His lordship (the reader must now return) here commenced drawing from
the cavities of his deep mind all the nice sayings of which his speech
was so beautifully made up. Again he paused, made several gestures
with his right hand, declared war upon all obstructing coughs,
elongated his importance as never did peacock on a shingle, and
proceeded: 'My lords and gentlemen!' Loud and good-natured laughing
brought his lordship suddenly to a stop. 'My lord is not in the--',
whispered Sir Matthew Moore, who sat all facetious at his lordship's
right. Sir Matthew, significantly touching his lordship's elbow, while
casting a sly wink across the table, enjoined;--'Fellow citizens and
ladies, your lordship!' His lordship's face dispensed a few gorgeous
blushes as he hesitated, and with an angular motion of the head, he
convicted another cough, and made the very best kind of a bow
acknowledging the default. 'Ladies, gentlemen, fellow-citizens!'
continued his lordship, not having altogether gained the firm footing
of his equilibrium--which, however, was much relieved by sundry
well-modulated _bravos_ from the assembly--'I 'ave the 'onor' (his
lordship must be pardoned for his onslaught upon the h's) 'in
happearing before this respectable body of Hamerican gentlemen hand
ladies!--ladies hand gentlemen! (his lordship suddenly corrected
himself), let it not be thought that I ham bestowing flattery when I
say I esteem it an 'onor which I cannot too highly characterize, and
for which I am so deeply indebted to my friend who 'as so long and
nobly contributed to the durability of friendly intercourse between
the two greatest and most enlightened peoples on earth--the man whom I
am compelled to view as the greatest living diplomatist of _the
hage!_' Here the company, with one accord, made a bow, while Sir
Matthew interrupted his lordship by whispering, 'Nicholas of All the
Russias excepted!' His lordship, with a peremptory glance at Sir
Matthew, the meaning of which it was not easy to mistake, continued,
somewhat testily:--'I will make no single exception for any such
renegade!' Turning to the chairman, he reminded minded him of Sir
Matthew's rejoinder, which he assured him he could not consider,
unless indeed he sacrificed the high functions of that great office to
which the voice of a people true to their traditions, and Providence,
had so significantly called him at this all momentous moment--the
breaking out of an Eastern war! 'No less surprized than hoverjoyed am
I to meet so _respectable looking_ an assemblage of citizens of that
great country in the West, which we naturally view as the exponent of
true independence, as well as our great hoffspring. Would _hi_, as
the great representative of this city, be saying too much while
asserting that in my 'umble opinion no one part of this expansive
hearth (great applause) could send forth so respectable and orderly an
assemblage of persons.' The ladies here shouted, and waved their
handkerchiefs. Having received this distinguished compliment with due
dignity, he commenced drawing aside the curtain that we might know
more of his early history, which he felt assured in his own mind could
not fail to hinterest the citizens of the United States in general,
seeing that he belonged not to the 'haristocracy.' (This was received
with a perfect explosion of applause.) In the days of his youth, when
geographies were made without reference to correctness, and the study
of globes was considered equal to the minds of those only who were
learned enough to raise the devil, had he been taught from one of
those imperfect pasteboards that Hamerica was an immense expanse of
forests, inhabited by wild Hindians and curiously formed
barbarians. And the impression thus made, he assured Mr. Smooth in
particular, had so enrooted itself in his mind that he ever and anon
found himself most mysteriously contemplating the want of a state of
civilization in that great and glorious country. (Deafening
applause). Here his lordship's animation was at the highest pressure;
indeed so high was it, that a very respectable gentleman, sitting not
far from Smooth, bowed, and suggested that the little Lord Mayor must
have mistaken the present company for his dining senate. 'Now,'
continued his worship, emphatically, 'nothing could more happily 'ave
affected a change in my mind, than the beholding with my own eyes the
lovely fair ones and respectable persons here present. To that great
country, Hamerica, shall I hereafter look for the noblest results to
civilization and mankind. (Cheers). It is now nearly two 'undred years
since the foundation stone of that great republic was laid by the
immortal Washington.' His lordship's speech was again interrupted by a
demonstration of surprise on the part of the audience. He paused a
moment, as if questioning the cause. Sir Mathew's aid was again called
into service; reminding his lordship that his history was at fault, he
added, in a tone most prudent, 'Not yet one hundred, my lord; 1776
marks the date of the declaration of independence.' Thanking Sir
Mathew for the kindly hint, he apologized to his hearers, and
proceeded. 'One hundred years, then have hardly rolled around, and we
find that wonderful country presided over by a commoner--the choice of
a free people, who raise him to that proud eminence once every eight
years--vieing (here Sir Mathew again interrupted by saying, 'Every
four years, my lord!') with the oldest and most powerful nations of
Europe. Thanks, Sir Mathew,' interpolated his lordship, rather tartly,
turning round. His Honor now proceeded for some time on a rather
smooth course, except that he left out a great many h's and put in a
great many a's. The great minds of America, he said, had done a world
for her greatness. Here he condescended to pay what he was pleased to
consider a very deserved compliment to General Flum of New York, whose
broad and deeply wrinkled face he espied at the extreme end of one of
the long tables, where it loomed up like a careworn lantern amidst a
cluster of delicately tinted foliage. America, said his lordship,
sought her great men, not from among the effete walks of the
haristocracy, from the more legitimate hemisphere--the common walks of
life. With a strange elongation of the body did our speaker emphasize
the remark. Great men were the gift of an age, and a nation's fortune;
and with which he was more than happy to say Hamerica had been
blessed--would that his conscience and love of truth would permit him
to say as much of his own country! He saw the personification and
embodiment of America's great minds in the countenance of his much
esteemed friend General Flum, whom his very soul joyed at recognizing
present. (We will here add, by way of parenthesis, that the knowing
ones of New York had a less exalted opinion of Flum's talent, which
had remained hid under a pewter pot, but for General Pierce, who
dragged it to the light of day for the purpose of eventually
harmonizing his cabinet). Fortunate was it for the welfare of a great
country that such men existed; they seemed born to a special purpose,
which to him was a medium of conserving and protecting the great
international well-being of the two peoples. That purpose was the
greatest the world could contemplate in this great age of pounds,
shillings, and pence; and with such a mind as he knew General Flum
possessed, and the stronger arguments with which the generous host had
conciliated all differences international, the two countries were sure
to continue in a bond of friendship. To this distinguished compliment
our general was pleased to make an approving bow. Again, his honor, in
compliment of himself, informed those present that nothing could be
more significant of divine will than that at this momentous crisis,
when a bloody war was on the eve of hurling its vengeance over Europe,
and devastating the nations, he should be called to hadminister those
high functions of a nation the duties of his office involved; and,
too, when an opportunity would be afforded him of exercising those
mental gifts with which God had happily and liberally endowed
him. With the full force of this valuable interposition he had not a
doubt but that the peace and harmony of the world would again be
restored. Nor should her Majesty's ministers ever ask in vain his
advice;[*] and, as to the right of impeaching them, he would
tenaciously reserve that to himself on all occasions. Whenever they
evinced want of hexperience, his knowledge of hintricate questions and
mystifying diplomacy should always be at their disposal. A single
flourish more, his face glowing earnest, and the little great man
proposed (having reiterated that great men were the gift of an age!)
'The great minds of America!' This inspiring sentiment he coupled with
the name of General Plum, and sat down amidst a shower of very
good-natured applause.

[Footnote: His Honor recently brought forward in the Board of Aldermen
a resolution having for its object the impeachment of Lord
Aberdeen and his cabinet.]

"This compliment, as the vulgar say, took Plum all aback. He rose in
all the dignity of a Pierce diplomatist; his face brightened,
conscious of merit; his tall loose figure elongated; he mastered
several very ill-positioned coughs, and with glances very
congressional, as if seeking a reportorial eye, spoke as modern
politicians mostly do when President-making. But before Smooth
proceeds to transcribe the elements of his speech, some description of
his person may be necessary; in truth, he hears the reader demanding
it. Flum is a long-jointed man, tall and coarse of figure, has a broad
inexpressive face, with a spacious mouth and thin lips, disclosing
irregular and discolored teeth; to which is added a sharp, projecting
chin, prominent cheek bones, lazy grey eyes, deeply sunken under
narrow arches slightly fringed with short, sprouting, reddish hairs,
and a thin high bridged nose, forming a curvature on the ridge, and
twisted to the left at an angle of some twenty-two degrees. This
singular deformity of the nasal organ arose from the fact of its
having been in contact with the hard hand of a pugilistic congressman;
at least so went report. To those exhibiting nice taste for the
appearance of our political gentry, we would say that the general, not
at all like Smooth, added to the beauty of his _personel_ a low,
reclining forehead, superstructed with bright crispy hair, that stood
confused all over his head, and gave him the appearance of having been
chased by some infuriated bull. Of the general's general estimation of
his own capacity, Smooth is sure the reader will not impose a penalty
so far beyond his humble capacity as that of finding within this
narrow world of ordinary presumption anything with which to compare it
successfully. Having had many misfortunes in his upward career of
political life, which was singularly marked with disappointments,
notwithstanding he had lent forcible aid in making many a President,
he never has permitted the strongest opinion of his own talent to die
out from his mind; and now that that well-cultivated opinion is made
stronger by the all-important verdict of his eloquent worship, how can
he resist the real proof of his being a much-neglected great man? 'Mr.
Chairman, and fellow citizens!' ejaculated Flum, nervously. 'My
friend, the Lord Mayor, has paid a well and much deserved compliment
to our country, our country's institutions, and our country's great
minds. So, far, ladies and gentlemen, as that compliment applies to
myself, I may or may not have deserved it; delicacy and reserve are
always the noblest attributes of great men. But--and with all due
deference to those accomplished gentlemen of England do I say it--it
is to the democratic character of our institutions that we owe the
usefulness of those great minds, as reflected in our country's
greatness. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the democracy!--'

"Here Flum was interrupted by Sam Spooner from Boston, who sat at his
left, and with a gentle touch on the arm, reminded him in a careless
whisper, that Citizen Peabody, although a very unostentatious man, was
no democrat; nor was it certain the ladies would all be inclined to
father his adoption.

"Flum, somewhat nonplused, allowed a smile of endurance to invade his
broad inexpressive face, and rejoined with what he was pleased to
consider very nice wit. 'If Citizen Peabody,' said he, 'be not an
independent democrat I am exceedingly sorry for it--nothing more being
required to make him a perfect man!' At this the company set up one of
the very best-natured laughs ever rung out of human organs. Flum, not
comprehending its meaning, continued, ere it had subsided--'I hold
nothing more imperative than that our generous host, Citizen Peabody,
should at once declare his intention of not only becoming a round,
sound democrat, but joining the Young American party; which will in
truth be a more forcible proof of the purely democratic spirit of that
diplomacy he has so worthily founded, and which can now claim so many
happy results as its offspring. No system of diplomacy heretofore
established has been so redolent of influences tending to strengthen
the bonds of international amity; for, indeed, meats and drinks are
all-powerful.' Here some indifference was manifested on the part of
the English aristocracy present, which, causing a momentary suspension
of the speech, produced a very unexpected calm, much to the
astonishment of Flum's own dear self. 'Well, I apprehends the gist
on't--democracy don't go down, no way, this side the big pond. But, if
John is old, and has got his noddle so full of antiquated nonsense
that he can't get an idea into his head suited to the exigencies of
the times, democracy, with its all-elevating power, will stand by him,
give him new sinners to sustain himself, and carry him through those
struggles aristocracy has not nerve to surmount.' (Cheers). Having
literally illustrated every beauty to which democracy was heir, wasted
several well-constructed and not badly directed compliments on General
Pierce's patriotism, called upon those present to come boldly out and
imitate Young America in all his go-ahead proficiencies, Flum turned
to his worship, on which wonderful embodiment of statesmanship and
experience he intended to return the compliments that functionary had
so flatteringly bestowed. As disappointments will occur, even with the
greatest of men, so did Flum find himself totally inadequate to the
discharge of this duty. There was, however, a responsibility resting
upon him, which he must, considering that it touched that which was an
honor to England and the English nation, discharge. It was, that he
had to congratulate old England on the possession of such men as his
Worship--men born to the exigencies of an age, and in whose charge the
distracted affairs of Europe, now threatening the peace of nations,
would be sure to find a satisfactory solution. Here his honor made a
most appropriate bow in acknowledgment, while a few gentlemen, rather
loquaciously disposed, smiled and Miss Mapplebank, from Arkansas,
covered her face with her white handkerchief. It was evident to all
present that the two greatest men of the two greatest countries had
met on a great international platform (the banqueting table), and as
the exchange of verdicts upon the capacity of each other only served
to make stronger the opinion they had always entertained of
themselves, everyone present was ready to throw up his or her hat in
compliment of a discovery which must reflect to the great good of
nations in general. Flum ended his speech, the mediums had met;
international unity was perfect. Mr. Peabody bowed, the great men
signified their acknowledgment, the company rose as the general made
his last flourish and wiped the sweat from his brow, and all adjourned
in the very happiest phase of good humor. Smooth being somewhat
modest, and always bashful when in the presence of ladies, did not
make his speech until they had left. It may be well to say that
Mr. Smooth's speech was gracefully responded to by Citizen Peabody,
who expressed himself delighted, and had no doubt but that in the care
of Mr. Smooth, General Pierce would make an unexceptional President.
After this, gentlemen feeling very jolly, we all adjourned to the
gorgeously furnished hall up stairs, where we joined the ladies,
partook of most delicious coffee, enjoyed many happy salutations and
cordial greetings. The Lord Mayor and Flum having embraced in style
truly Roman, and pledged themselves over a cup of coffee, never to
lose sight of their own greatness, nor to forget the beneficence of
that all-wise Providence that had called them into being to struggle
with the great events of the age, the company dispersed homeward,
delighted to the very heart. If there was one who did not feel a glow
of satisfaction, admonishing him, as he wended his way homeward, to
lend his influence for the maintenance of that mutual good feeling
which should exist between Englishmen and Americans--between nations
so kindred in spirit, and whose interests radiated from a common
centre, he must have belonged to a class Smooth would not deign to
designate. Citizen George would that England and America shook hands,
remained friends, and left the gunpowder and big-word business
entirely to newspapers and small politicians of the Pierce stamp.



"Mr. President Pierce, who was by his friends supposed to be a comical
and very small miniature of General Jackson's political school, and
whose cabinet was of the Bunkum stripe, intimated to Minister Smooth,
in one of the interviews he had with him, which were numerous and very
confidential, that in his tour over Europe it might prove profitable
to the country in general were he to keep a sharp eye on the movements
of a very respectable firm which did business under the name and in
the style of Soule, Saunders, and Co.--funny functionaries, who were
now cutting figure No. 1, and expecting him (the man Pierce) to cut
the smaller figure No. 2. No one personally acquainted with the merits
of the aforesaid gentlemen would be surprised to hear that they had
threatened kingdoms, emperors, and kings, astonished peoples, and
given deluded individuals wonderful opinions of that country which
could send such embodiments of its wisdom and spirits to their
aid. Indeed, Smooth found himself, while in Europe, made an exception
to the generality of Mr. Pierce's diplomatists, whom, it was generally
admitted, had either shown spunk or turned gentlemen fighters to no
account. It mattered not how much these strange sprigs of capricious
Young America misrepresented American manners, education, and
sentiments; no, to revolutionary spirits of the _real-red order_ were
they the all-great of America's bone and soul. But let us not arouse
the gods by recounting their many follies; the generous soul of
America has indeed been compelled by them to father many an
extravagance; and, too, though more modest, had not Mr. Pierce
delegated extensive powers to the Tomkin's family for the very
harmless purpose of transacting over the world such business as old
Sam had several times declared unnecessary, and which was in
opposition to the interests of the nation, the said Sam being expected
to pay all the shot. Pierce said Smooth must keep an eye practically
to windward in reference to the business this species of gentry were
sent to perform. Hence, acting from principle, which was Smooth's
motto, and with a full knowledge that Sam was curiously good-natured,
had broad and ever open pockets to accommodate that worthy
characteristic, which no one thought it any harm to relieve, he gave
his (Smooth's) assurance that the charge of neglect never should be
laid at his door--that he would watch the Tomkinses! To deny the
existence of a singular prompting to kill time over aught that Sam
stood sponsor for, was a very good-natured absurdity; few indeed could
be found who did not consider him an old foodle, who had fathered more
expensive abortions than any other individual, and was willing to
father more. How, then, could Mr. Pierce help viewing with suspicion
the performances of those tool-grinders he had sent abroad! The amount
of kitchen labor he had himself performed and the number of times he
had laid on the grindstone to the turning of his man Fourney, formed
no excuse; forsooth, it enabled him the more clearly to comprehend the
ins and outs of this wholesale style of coming possum over poor old
Sam, whose credulity was only surpassed by that fatherly old
gentleman, Mr. John Bull, whom millions love to live upon, and spend
their lives in getting out his affections and his purse.

"Now John and Jonathan had for many years amused one another with the
long-drawn music of diplomacy, played on very expensive keys, made
with the express view of settling all ungrateful international
growlings. Diplomacy, nevertheless, found these growlings beyond its
power to reconcile; and now, having worn out its pipe over them, they
were shuffled off upon the genius of a mixed commission, which high
convention was expected to exert common sense and forego etiquette,
and result in a mutual settlement of all outstanding questions since
1812. But, by a mysterious process, which never fails of effect in
such cases, a deal of time had been unprofitably consumed by this
supposed immaculate commission. And now the high contracting parties
sought an extension, that much more might be consumed in the very same
way. Uncle Sam being very good-natured, the request could not be

"Through the Strand to Wellington street, Mister Smooth wended his
way, and soon found himself between rows of high and stately
buildings, in one of which, all calm and easy, sat the convention.
Entering a narrow arch to the right, he passed down a passage so
intricate and dark that it had the appearance of leading to a cave,
and in a few minutes was confronted by a polite attendant, who ushered
him into the presence of the international dignitaries, then sitting
round a large square table, in the centre of the room, in moody
contemplation. The room was high of ceiling, about twenty-five by
eighteen feet in dimensions, and in appearance very well adapted to
the pursuit of knowledge, for the display of legal ability. Upon the
table, which seemed somewhat infirm, lay in excellent disorder, a few
massive books, two green bags, a jacknife, Murray's Grammar, Walker's
largest Dictionary, four large pipes, an ample supply of fine-cut
tobacco, and sundry very bad writing materials. In one corner of the
room spread out a green screen, behind which was various simple but
very useful ware; this, together with two extra chairs for strangers,
standing at the other corner, constituted the furniture. There was a
strong legal air about the table, notwithstanding its promiscuous
burden. At the head of it sat like Cicero--but he had none of Cicero's
genius in his soul!--a man moody of countenance and portly of person:
he was called the Umpire, and they said he was chosen because of his
birthplace being America. Some had gone so far as to characterize the
choice an evidence that Mr. Bull was inclined to act upon the square,
and permit Cousin Jonathan to have it all his own way,--never for once
keeping in mind that it mattered but little where a man's birthplace
was, if he had long since forgotten the spirit of its institutions.
Indeed, as far as sympathy and manners are concerned, an American may
be more than an Englishman, and _vice versa_. Smooth does not mean to
insinuate that the case is illustrated in the present functionary,
whose face was of that stern cast which at times would lead to believe
it unhappy under the fatigue of a too solid body. To this singularly
stern face was added a nose, facetious gentlemen might be inclined to
call the ripening fruits of good wine, while pervading all was an air
of sordidness curiously at variance with the good parts repute
asserted he possessed. Smooth would have taken him for a man whose
mind was of a mechanical turn; for at times he would become dreamy,
his eyes would close within leaden lids, and his body seem prone to
cool away into sleep's gentlest embrace. Again he would, as if with
much effort, raise those leaden eyelids, draw forth a languid breath,
stretch his arms athwart, and, as if 'twere pain, listen to the legal
logic boring its dryness into his very soul. The tax did indeed seem
beyond his power of endurance.

"Being introduced all round, Smooth commenced the conversation by
saying, in a warm and good-natured sort of way:--'Well, Citizens!--how
do ye make out to get time over the bank? S'pose it's because Uncle
Sam stands at the gangway serving the shot?' They did not seem to
brighten up at this remark. It was evidently viewed as rather out of
place; for the Umpire quickened his nodding, and the other five
functionaries constituting the convention permitted their faces to
yield looks by no means significant of good-nature. Quoth, by the way
of conventionality, were they right glad to see Minister Smooth;
further, they shook him warmly by the hand, and made many inquiries
about Pierce and his policy--a thing he never had, hence the
impossibility of enlightening them. Mr. Pierce had an eye to Cuba, but
no policy whatever with regard to the getting of it: in addition to
this, Pierce himself so far defied analyzation that many grave and
experienced diplomatists had declared the problem beyond their power
to solve.

"Again, our grave conventionists said they had heard it whispered that
Minister Smooth (generally called Solomon Smooth, Esq.), being special
Minister of Mr. General Pierce to nowhere in particular, had secret
instructions to arrange matters for the holding of an extraordinary
convention at Ostend; which said convention, being principally
composed of very respectable foreign gentlemen, would especially take
into consideration the Cuba question, as also the deciding the point
as to whether the Spanish spirit of the people of that island would
detract from the national purity of Americanism. In the event of Cuba
forming an integral part of the federal compact, a grave question
would here be involved. Assuring them they were not wrong in their
conjectures, Smooth was invited to sit down, in a very honorary
position, where, having examined certain papers pertaining to previous
proceedings, and passed an undivided approval upon them, he remained
in all his dignity, listening with great legal seriousness to the very
important case then being argued by General F----, whose eloquence was
of the 'rip-roarer' style, and whose tragical flourishes were as
terrific as dangerous to the limbs all persons in proximity. Smooth's
seat was at the left of the Umpire, that functionary's right being
flanked by a gentleman lean of figure and studious of countenance,
said to be the American Commissioner, a worthy person of great legal
abilities. A little below Smooth sat the compact figure of a man in a
genteel garb; an air of amiability sat on his countenance, which ever
and anon seemed playful; indeed, the very soul of geniality darted
from a pair of large blue eyes that gave great softness to an oval
face, nicely outlined in its parts. In a word, he was what might be
called a very promising limb of the modernly honorable law profession;
nor would our opinion of him have been less exalted had he refrained
from the very innocent sport of amusing himself with blowing peas
through a quill, which he did in all the playfulness of youth, his
head being level with the surface of the table the while. We had never
supposed him the British Commissioner but for the assurance of those
in possession of stronger proof than we had been permitted to see. A
little below him, and with seeming indifference to the arguments of
which General F---- was relieving his mind, sat a sharp-featured man,
whose lithe figure, clear complexion, quick gray eyes, finely arched
eyebrows, well-developed brow, and head, superstructured with a
profusion of light Saxon hair, that hung soft and smooth down his
neck, an even cut mouth, with thin lips, slightly turned, and
disclosing teeth of great regularity and pearly whiteness,--a nose
high, sharp, and strictly Grecian, gave him a personel of more than
ordinary attractions. Smooth apprehends the reader will not charge him
with a diversion when he says that any lady of taste might have become
enamored of this gentleman without for a moment subjecting herself to
the charge of stupidity. Queen Victoria might, indeed, claim for
herself the merit of having done a pretty thing for Cousin Jonathan;
for the two pretty gentlemen she had chosen to represent her in the
mixed commission bespoke how much she had regarded the value of
personal beauty in the settlement of those claims, so long
outstanding, and so beset with grave difficulties. Notwithstanding all
this, the last gentleman was said to be young, but a clever lawyer.
Now a play of the humorous invaded his face; and while from his eye
there came out a strong love of the ludicrous, a curl of sarcasm now
and then ruffled his lip. They called him the British agent--in other
words, the Counsel for Her Most Gracious Majesty. Smooth had no
stronger evidence of this fact than that the gentleman seemed very
contented with the way time went, amusing himself with making paper
spy-glasses,[*] with which he quizzed objects on the floor, then took
lunar observations through it, the broad disc of the Umpire's red face
affording the medium of a planet. To General F----, who was then in the
full pressure of his speech, making his, to him, crushing arguments a
legal treadmill for his handsome brother, he seemed a perfect pest,
inasmuch as whenever the General had got a real stunner of an argument
on the crook of his mind, and just where he would be sure to lose it
if the course were not left clear, he was sure to interrupt him with
some annoying question, which in most cases amounted to nothing less
than disputing the premises assumed. The General had not received
these interruptions with so much perturbation but that they were
always coupled with a sarcastic leer, the significance of which had
not been well directed, nor should ever be indulged in by legal
brethren engaged in the settlement of grave international
questions. The reader may say:--'who so cruel as to begrudge the legal
gentry their little innocent sport!' As the British Cabinet is at
times a sort of toy, with which the facetious House of Commons loves
to play the game of knockdown (just for the fun of seeing how much
trouble it costs the nation to build it up) so the good-natured
gentlemen of this mixed commission seemed to view the gravest
international questions.

[Footnote: The writer here describes what he saw, without any attempt at

"'I reiterate!' continued General Flum, for it was no less a personage
than he who poured out his eloquence to the Convention: 'If the
gentleman for t'other side of this question was only to read Kent's
Commentaries, or take a peep into one Story's pleadings, 'twould do
him more good nor all (we quote verbatim) the stale law he's larned in
the Inner Temple--'twould!' Here Flum paused, and majestically turned
round, as if to see how his antagonist felt. His legal brother was
very quietly pursuing his lunars with the paper tube, expecting soon
to work up all the curious angles of the Umpire's face. To properly
intersperse this amusement he would now and then bestow a good-natured
and very sly wink upon a wag who sat at the opposite side of the
table, ever and anon tickling with the feather of his quill the nasal
organ of the Secretary, who had just melowed away into a delicious
nap. Flum proceeded: 'I mean no disrespect to the proficiency, or to
the very high position which my learned brother holds in this
Convention; but what will be said by the two governments when it is
found that among the great array of cases brought before this high
tribunal so few have been settled without a reference to the Umpire? I
sincerely believe that did Her Majesty's Councillor exhibit more
readiness to meet our demands with a liberal and becoming spirit, many
of the cases which have passed before this high tribunal might have
been settled with little consumption of time, and at small cost to the
nation. I know General Pierce won't like the way things are done here,
and how can I doubt, seeing the distinguished person present who
represents him in the capacity of special Minister (here Smooth
acknowledged the compliment by making one of his very best bows), that
he will be made acquainted with the facts.' The Umpire, his
countenance quickening, would inform gentlemen that the many
personalities and invidious references he had so often heard reminded
him rather of the pettifoggers of a police-court than the high
representatives of two great governments, met for the purpose of
dispassionately discussing the merits of grave international
questions. He had become wearied over such a useless waste of time,
had purchased a whole library of law books (which he hoped never
hereafter to have occasion to use), and must content himself with
honor for his recompense. Now he was willing to submit to the world
whether there could be any honor conferred upon him by sitting from
day to day, listening, at the same time using every effort to keep
awake, to the legal _cross-shots_ of gentlemen not inclined to agree
to anything. The Umpire ended in a voice deep and musical, drew
himself again into his attitude of contemplation, and like an Egyptian
Sphinx seemed gravely studious with himself.

"The American Commissioner approved of all that had fallen from the
lips of the honorable gentleman. So did the English Commissioner, who
suspended his little amusement of the quill and the peas, and
commenced examining the pages of his Vattel. Having laid aside the
paper spyglass, our English agent rose quickly to his feet, and with
eyes darting legal tenacity, said he had a few remarks to make in
reply to what he considered had very improperly fallen from the lips
of his legal brother. He did not intend disrespect to the very
honorable Umpire, nor the gentlemen Commissioners, when he said that
the rules on which the business of the Commission had been conducted
seemed to him to be a complete mumble, growing deeper and deeper with
difficulties. Language had been used in that forum which would be more
genially localized in Whitechapel, Drury Lane, St. Giles's, or the
Surrey Side: he was sorry to see his transatlantic brother so familiar
with the piquant jargon of those atmospheres it were well not to be
too familiar with.

"'May it please the Umpire, I ask the protection of this tribunal from
any such imputation as the gentleman's insinuation would leave me
under,' said the General, almost bursting of anger.

"There seemed to be a nice little difficulty brewing, which threatened
a readier dispatch of business than that which had marked their
efforts in the settlement of claims outstanding. Here again the
Umpire, with the aid of his two Commissioners, interposed for the
peace and respectability of Mr. Pierce's family. And here Mr. Smooth
is happy beyond his power of expression to state, that after a very
few unmeaning explanations, the gentlemen Councillors bowed politely
to each other, laughed with buffoonish good-nature, nor seemed a whit
less than the very best of friends. 'If General--will proceed with his
argument!' said the Umpire, gravely, by way of what writers call
parenthesis. 'Then, to the point of this case: now, ye see, the law on
our side of the water aint a bit like it is here, on this; 'specially
with cases of this kind. This is the case of a vessel with niggers on
board, bound from one part of the United States to t'other, but driven
by what sailors call stress of weather into a British port called
Bermuda, where the natives (report says they are not very
enlightened), not having the fear of God before their eyes, nor
understanding the constitution of the United States, nor comprehending
the principle by which certain democratic States in the free American
Union make good property of such things as men, did regardless of the
laws of those States, insult the sovereign flag, which was alike the
protection of property and citizen, no matter in what part of the
world it floated, and set all the niggers free! After consuming an
hour in arguments of this stamp, the General claimed to have made out
his case, inasmuch as the niggers being property to the laws of the
States to which they belonged, and the flag of the United States being
absolute in its character of a protection,--no matter under what local
jurisdiction,--the claim against England for compensation was as just
an one as ever man could present for man; did she withhold payment, it
must be at her peril.'

"His legal brother now rose, a good-natured smile playing over his
sharp face. Before commencing, he would say he wished his learned
brother had taken a more dispassionate view of the case, and laid down
a basis of broader principles. Much of the difficulty in settling the
many claims that had been presented for adjudication arose from the
fact of his learned brother laying down rules to suit his own case,
which he would not admit when applied against him. Further, he had not
the most faint idea of the nigger question being dragged before this
tribunal for adjudication. He had hoped that that question might be
left for settlement on the soil of America, where those best
acquainted with the evil could most readily find a remedy. But if it
were true that the flag was inviolable, and that such was held as law,
and regarded in good faith by the federal government of the United
States, how came it that certain States in the federal compact so far
disregarded the rule as to scoff at the idea of the flag being
superior to the municipal regulations of the port; invade the decks of
British vessels, regardless of the flag; and drag from beneath its
folds British citizens, whom they incarcerated and made criminals
merely to suit the caprices of a municipal statute? Strange indeed was
it for a nation great as was the American to lay down a principle of
foreign policy the action of which could only be allowed when it
suited the immediate interests of that nation, and was rejected when
it came in collision with them. He would tell the learned
representative of that nation, that the spirit manifested in such a
course to him 'seemed more to comport with that specious style of
conducting business better understood among hucksters!' Here the man
of the American side of the house evinced some excitement, and quickly
rising to his feet, said he would not stand silently by and hear such
imputations cast upon his house, country, and people. The judiciary of
the United States could not be impugned--none was purer; while the
foreign policy of the United States stood out a model for the nations
of Europe to pattern from. A counter interruption again took
place. The Umpire drew a long breath; the good-looking English
Commissioner heaved a sigh, and again commenced amusing himself with
the quill; the sedate American Commissioner yawned, and turned
contemplatively the leaves of a commentary; to end, they all seemed
seized with the yawning fever, which was kept up until they laughed
right earnestly at one another, the handsome gentleman stretching his
arms athwart, and making a hideous grimace. At length this state of
things was put an end to by the Umpire, who did hope gentlemen would
see, in his dinner hour having arrived, the necessity of either
resting the arguments here, or postponing them for another day.

"In rejoining, her Majesty's sharp featured Councillor having
pronounced a high eulogium on his Honor's power of endurance, and the
onerous duties imposed upon him by the Governments which he so nobly
sought to serve, and from whom the mere honor afforded but a meagre
compensation, (inasmuch as he felt convinced the proverbial
ingratitude of Governments would be carried out in their not even
compensating him for the large outlay he had been constrained to make
in law books) hoped he might be permitted to make a few more remarks.
His honor bowing assent, the well-looking legal gentleman, in blandest
accents, proceeded to say Jonathan must not lay a foundation for
others he was first to knock down; for if a rule applied to great
principles it must not be made subservient to small exigencies of an
opposite character: Jonathan must bow to his own stumbling-blocks. It
did, however, seem that this Commission had been viewed by certain
parties as a sort of _ola podra_; before which deluded persons thought
nothing more certain than that their manifold grievances would be
patiently heard, their claims find a ready settlement, and their
family affairs all be handsomely arranged. There had been men from the
coast of Africa seeking a protection under cousin Jonathan's wing, by
which their demands on Old John were to them certain of being paid.
There were good men from Manchester, who, forgetting their
anti-slavery sentiment's, sought a relationship with our noble cousin
which dated from previous to 1812, and under the shadow of his wings
now sought to make the rascally Britishers pay for certain slaves
frittered away from them while residing in Georgia, during the last
war. There too, were noble Dukes and Earls presenting claims against
our cousin for certain lands in Florida, presented long since to them
by some imbecile king, who would upon the same style of conditions,
have given away the whole Continent. The said gentlemen had long since
forgotten the titles, and were only reminded of them by the existence
of this Commission. English gentlemen from Mexico sought, through the
virtues of this Commission, pay for property appropriated by General
Scott during the Mexican war. Pensionless widows thought it the grand
centre of generosity, and sought through it compensation for dead
husbands. Holders of Mississippi bonds regarded it a perfect El
Dorado, at the shrine of which those long repudiated mementoes would
be duly paid, hopes and angry passions requited, and old Mississippi
herself again, as bright as a new-coined Jackson cent: and last, but
not least, gentlemen with very credulous and speculative faculties,
and who held the most doubtful species of Florida bonds, had made
their hearts glad on the certain payment of them by the Commission.
'In a word,' said the learned Councillor, 'nothing can be more certain
to my mind (and I am borne out in the belief by the variety and
character of the claims presented to this Commission) than that the
whole world is beginning to look on our worthy transatlantic cousin as
the most generous, if not the most credulous, fellow extant! Whether
his model friend George Saunders, can take to himself any merit for
having created this now very general opinion in Europe (by virtue of
his most extraordinary circulars), Smooth is unable to decide; but
certain is it that every disaffected subject on the continent who can
get up spleen enough to fancy himself a much injured republican--'
Here General F---- interrupted, by submitting to the honorable Umpire
whether these remarks were not gratuitous, irrelevant, and
improper. The Umpire, having given his opinion that they were unduly
long (extending a whole hour beyond his dinner-time), begged the
gentleman would turn the key to his concluding remarks. 'I have only
another remark to make,' rejoined the gentleman with the sharp face:
'If Sydney Smith had lived, there would have been more wit and sarcasm
levelled at this mixed Commission than would have filled an octavo
volume. I cannot forbear to say, however, that strange as is the
character of many of these demands, claims, and grievances, some of
them might have been settled without such a deplorable waste of time,
had it not been for the interference of that phantom devil,
Mr. General Pierce's black pig, who is always construing principles to
suit his purposes. So avaricious is that animal, that no amount of
swill seems to pacify his desire to overthrow principles and defeat
great objects. No place would seem too obscure for the brute to get
his nose into; no demands too egregious for his appetite; no rights
too daintily established for his disregard. He is here, there, and
everywhere--demanding with the same ferocious spirit. We had hoped
Mr. General Pierce would keep him at home during the deliberations of
this Convention: let us console our disappointment by trusting to what
the future may bring forth.' Here the Umpire's patience was at an
end--patience no longer remained with him a virtue. He rose moodily
from his seat, said the sitting would adjourn until to-morrow,
and betook himself to his dinner, which he added he feared would get
as cold as the gentlemen's pleas. This was rather abruptly bringing
matters to a close. The legal gentlemen, as if disturbed elsewhere
than in their thoughts, looked terror-stricken, packed up their law
tools, shouldered their green bags, and, in the company of Mr. Smooth,
sought a place whereat to bestow good care on the inner temple.
Smooth, with all deference to the opinions of the very respectable
gentlemen of the mixed Commission, begs to inform his readers, and Mr.
Pierce in particular, that they never will catch him looking in upon
them again.



"Several months having passed, during which no further instructions
from the General came to hand, I began to think he had forgotten my
mission, and taken himself to dieting on gunpowder and War-Messages
for the next Congress. Then I received a private note from his boy
Caleb, in which he stated very confidentially that everything was
waiting the next turn in the Brigadier's mind. Caleb's letter
discovered much impatience with his position, and a good many sly
remarks which were intended as a hit at Marcy and his budget. I should
tell the reader that an additional cause of my anxiety was the not
receiving a reply to a private and confidential note to Pierce, in
which I remonstrated with him against the propriety of holding a thing
so open to base ridicule as a Congress of American Ministers at
Ostend. That fraternity of infallibility, kings and princes, might
become somewhat uneasy at its presence, many honest-hearted
republicans would be deceived, and its result be only the illustration
of an unprecedented amount of folly on the part of the American
Executive. But the thing was a great pet with Caleb, Jeff, and Pierce,
who knew that Marcy would have to father the abortions, which were
generally laid at his door. With all these very natural difficulties
before me, I decided to charter the next Collins steamer, and proceed
to the White House, there to learn in person what the boys were doing.
I was anxious to know what had become of Pierce and Papa--whether Papa
was yet administering the pap-spoon to the General, by way merely of
counteracting the effect of the charcoal being _piled on_ by the
boys--Jeff and Caleb. Now, lest there should be any one in Washington
unwilling to separate Smooth's better inclinations from the general
character of the Convention to be holden, he would here say that the
very best of his abilities were exerted with the General against the
policy of making his Ministers cut so ridiculous a figure in
Europe. He knew also that Monsieur Souley would take upon himself all
the cooking business, and have it all his own way, as they say in

"One morning, while consoling myself with the prospect of soon leaving
Europe, its aristocracy, its blighting kingcraft, and its squabbles,
who should confront me but grandfather Steady, a monster despatch
under his arm, on which loomed out in all its scarlet the great seal
of the State Department. Steady had recognized '_Confidential_' on the
envelope, and bore it to me safely ensconced beneath the ample skirts
of his coat. 'Something of great importance for Minister Smooth!' said
he, making a very diplomatic bow as he extended the packet, made his
compliments, and retired. Steady having disappeared, I opened the
packet, and, equally surprised with the reader, what should I find but
a State document of great dimensions, commissioning Smooth without
further delay to call together at Ostend, or such other place on the
continent of Europe as was celebrated for its pure air and good
liquors, a Congress of American Ministers! Three several times did the
commission reiterate--'Pure air and good liquors!' as if the tastes of
the very respectable gentlemen forming the Congress made such adjuncts
inseparable from the prime object of their deliberations. For some
time did I exert my most mature deliberations to get the diplomacy of
the thing square into my head, which I thought was more than had been
done by the State Department. Well, you better believe it was a
puzzle! It was so Dutch, as we say. I was directed particularly to
consult my old and much-tried friend, James Buckhanan, whose sanction
and presence at the gathering was necessary, as well for the purpose
of imparting an air of dignity to the Convention as counteracting the
fast spirit of those gentlemen, who had gained a doubtful notoriety
through their extensive dealings in cheap popularity. Marcy added, in
a private and confidential note, that he felt inclined to question the
policy of inviting certain gentlemen, but as a matter of etiquette it
could not be foregone; and then he was anxious to keep peace in the
house, I was ordered to bag Buckhanan, and, if against his will, carry
him captive; to summon Monsieur Souley, who was an excellent cook, not
a bad fighting man, but a diplomatist fit only for the small work of
the _carbonari;_ to dispatch Mason, who they said was cultivating his
French, with the hope of being up in the language of diplomacy in the
course of six years more; to enjoin Mr. Fay, well known in
Switzerland for his love of quiet life; to inveigle Mr. Belmont, who
at the Hague had taken upon himself the reforming his brother
Israelites, and turning to account sundry Dutch bonds; to do as I
pleased with Mr. Daniels, who had sustained the character of America
by affecting contempt for all the aristocratic snobs about Turin, who
would to his annoyance crowd themselves into his opera-box, and make
too free with his fair favorite; to be sure and capture Mr. Jackson,
through whose courteous and dignified demeanor America was making
herself respected at Vienna; to send an escort for Mr. Spence, who had
endeared himself to his fellow-countrymen in Constantinople; and to
send a jackass for Mister O'Sullivan, who had at Lisbon become
celebrated for his misfortunes at bagatelle and chess--to drum them
all together for the one grand object. As for Seymour, Pierce thought
it not good policy to disturb him, seeing that nothing had been heard
from him since he found his way to St. Petersburg. With such spirits
as these, Europe could not fail to be astonished; and then, when it
was borne in mind that the consideration of its distracted affairs was
the object No. I of such a Convention!

"While calmly cogitating the first and last move in the getting up of
the thing, my lodgings, '42, Bennet street, St. James's,' were invaded
by the man Dudley, who declared himself a special minister of
Mr. Pierce, who sent him as envoy in general to Mr. Smooth, under
whose directions he would proceed to get together the Congress at
Ostend. I examined his credentials carefully, and finding them of Mr.
Pierce's legitimate stripe, commenced comparing notes and arranging
the preliminaries. He said, Pierce told him I would have a hard tug
with old Buck, who was like an aged turtle, and never moved until a
great deal of fire was applied to his back: but then his friends said
he was fast, once he got going! Notwithstanding Buck had very
confidently told a friend or two there was no understanding Pierce,
Pierce said he understood him, and, with Saunders to lend a hand, the
getting steam on him would not be so much of a job, after all. I must
here say to the reader that we had not long proceeded with our
conversation before the fact that our man Dudley was commissioned to
play the part of Corporal Noggs to the fire-eating portion of the
Cabinet, at the small end of which Mister Pierce was appended,
discovered itself. This fact fully established, I sat down and
commissioned him, first--to keep his mouth shut; secondly, to proceed
immediately to the Continent and get together the boys; thirdly, to
enjoin upon every one the necessity of declaring the object of the
Convention to be the relief of mankind in general; and fourthly, to be
careful while in France that none of Consul Saunders' _epistles to all
oppressed citizens_ were found in his pocket,--that functionary being
held as the great revolutionary star, sent from the West to move the
dead waters of an Eastern world.

"Having dispatched the man Dudley on his mission, with many bows and
much esteem for his high consideration of my position, and acting on
the intimation from Pierce, I packed up my portfolio, and in a Hansom
cab made the best of my way to 56, Harley street,--a large mansion, in
one of the back rooms of which they said my esteemed friend James
Buckhanan had for some time past been burrowed. That is, Mrs. Sprat,
who knew all the gossip of the legation, declared such to be the
fact. She saw very little indeed of the 'Governor,' whom she believed
smothered in his diplomacy, for he appeared never to want anything but
the spittoon, and now and then, at long intervals, a clean pair of
stockings. Arriving at the door, I rang lustily the bell, and soon
there appeared a very stiff flunky, in democratic livery of bright
colors, who bowed me into a great hall, and after grinning at me for
about a minute, said he reckoned I was a citizen o' the United
States. 'From Vermont, I take it?' he continued, in quick succession.
I told him it was no matter about that; if he had no objection I would
take a look at his governor. While I was deliberating, the
best-looking 'yellow fellow' outside of Carolina made his appearance,
and immediately commenced taking charge of me. He said he understood
diplomacy all up, (having studied dancing and attended Mrs. Sprat's
tea-parties for more than two years!) and would put me through if I
said the word. Then he added, with a _sang froid_ that seemed quite
grateful, that though he wasn't exactly governor of the establishment,
he would show me up to the man who was, and under whose dictation
Mr. Buckhanan had for peace sake accepted a fifth-rate position. On my
motioning him to proceed (he seemed much inclined to affect a good
deal of etiquette) the fellow led off, through a long dark passage,
crowded with empty Genessee flour barrels, champagne baskets, boxes of
cast off pipes (breathing redolent of tobacco), decrepit arm-chairs,
old foils and boxing-gloves, numerous empty beer-bottles, a lot of
worn-out dancing slippers, and a quantity of second-hand nightgowns
and side-saddles. What use diplomacy had for these abused relics we
leave the reader to conjecture. Opening a door on the left, my guide
with a bow accompanying a graceful bend of the body, ushered me into a
spacious room, with the announcement:--'A gemman fum de States,
Mr. Prompt!' No Mr. Prompt could I see, such was the state of the
atmosphere. In fact, I was set upon by a perfect fog of tobacco smoke.

"'Well, stranger--glad to see ye this side the big pond!' croaked out
a little sharp voice, peculiarly nasal. I replied I thought it was
rather foggy about these diggins. 'No matter about that,' he rejoined,
'we do clean business in this establishment, notwithstanding the
puffing, we deem it necessary to keep up in diplomatic matters.' The
atmosphere clearing a little, and objects becoming bolder outlined, I
discovered a figure so singularly lean and sharp of visage that you
would have sworn him peculiarly adapted by Providence for cutting his
way into a better world. Upon the walls of the rooms, which were very
dingy, hung suspended, tomahawks, bowie-knives, scalping-knives, bows
and steel-pointed arrows, an innumerable variety of dressed scalps,
much worn Indian uniforms, and various other things--all adapted to
Western warfare. Here and there stood sundry reed chairs and cronic
tables, of Florida pine, while the floor was very liberally set off
with what are vulgarly called spit-boxes, which, unlike the pages of
an antiquated Bible that lay neglected in one corner, had been very
generally used. Smooth would here say that such adjuncts as the
latter, seemed to be, judging from their presence in all our Legations
on the Continent, inseparable from Pierce diplomacy. In the present
case there were, in addition to the above-named fixtures, seventeen
patent rat-traps, with which members of the Legation amused themselves
when not invited to dancing parties. Smooth could not help thinking
there was no need of the latter pieces of furniture, while Mr. Prompt,
the sharp gentleman, was in the establishment. Indeed, Mrs. Grundy
would have said he was sharp enough to be used as an instrument for
splitting the nicest diplomatic points; while the promiscuous relics
of antiquity arranged along the passage she would have sworn
illustrated nothing so nicely as Pierce's confused policy, the saddles
being indicative of how easily he rode over the credulity of the

"In the centre of the room stood a five-legged round table, somewhat
nervous and infirm of age. Upon it stood, badly arranged, two tumblers
of Cuba sixes, an ample stock of fine cut tobacco, about a dozen long
and much discolored pipes, a spacious ash-box, and the dirty boots of
Prompt, his lean figure sprawled back in a dilapidated arm-chair, a
long nine in his mouth, from which he incessantly puffed an immense
volume of smoke. Prompt's face was a perfect picture of edge-tools;
and with his easy air generally, his hands stowed away in the ample
pockets of his nether garments; his passion for the Byronic--made
known by the extravagant roll of a turn-down shirt collar--and his
bushy hair thrown back on a veiny and narrow forehead that seemed to
have been cut away to fit his hat, had an appearance easily imagined
by those who have witnessed in New Hampshire the general make-up of an
itinerant stump orator. I bowed as he cast his eyes along down my
figure, and gave a friendly wink. 'From York State, I take it?' he
continued. I replied I had been in York State, but was born on Cape
Cod. 'Well,' he rejoined, 'don't matter where a feller's born nor
grow'd, only he's got the right sort o' bone and siners in him.' The
general appearance of things had mightily changed since I last visited
the place--in truth, I could scarcely believe my own eyes. Mr. Prompt
now drew forth a handful of long nines, said he never liked to smoke
alone, and invited me to join him. I excused myself as well as I
could, adding that I had no small vices. The truth was, the
spit-boxes, and rat-traps, and a large supply of tobacco, looked so
suspicious, that I was at a loss how to comport myself: I feared I had
got into the wrong box. 'Anyhow,' said Mr. Prompt, 'bring yourself to
a mooring--remember we treat all citizens alike here--and be quite at
home in the establishment. Smooth, I believe, is the name?' He looked
at my card as I bowed, expecting every moment to see him rise from his
easy posture. With a sort of languid endurance he said the
establishment was at my service--that anything I desired would be put
through like Jehu. A set of snobby fellows, he said, had for a number
of years made a den of aristocracy of the place, but the aspect of
things had been changed now to suit the good fellow-spirit of our
institutions. Here he drew a deformed hat over his forehead, and let
fly a moist projectile; which, instead of taking effect in a box of
saw-dust, expanded ineffectually upon the face of a female dog-iron. I
suggested that it warn't so bad a shot. He replied, he reckoned--Just
at this moment the full yellow face of the negro protruded itself into
the doorway. 'Mas'r,' he ejaculated, 'dat's da geman (pointing to
Prompt, whose face was seen to contract) what do up all da plomacy ob
dis establishment.' The yellow face withdrew behind the green
baize. All this time I had been careful not to disclose to Mr. Prompt
that I was minister in general to Mr. Pierce.

"'Citizen,' said he, continuing his cigar, 'that ar nigger's sassy
enough for three legations. Pierce sent him here;--for what, no one
about the establishment can tell. Anyhow, seeing it's you, I was about
giving out an idea of what an interminable muddle Pierce would get
everything into if he had but his own way; but, as there isn't time
now, and as you won't join me in a cigar, suppose we send out and have
a first-rate brandy-smash?'

"This I respectfully declined; I thought it would give him so much
trouble. Indeed, he said there was so much to do about the
establishment, and nobody to do it except himself. In reply to a
question, he said, the governor--meaning Mr. Buckanan--had worked
himself out, and was laid away to dry. At present he alone constituted
the establishment. There used to be a secretary (the salary, he had
reason to believe Uncle Sam yet paid) but nothing had been seen of him
for several months: when last heard from, he was entering into a
partnership with Monsieur Souley for the purchase of Cuba, at any
price. As for the attaches, one got no pay, and was expected by the
government to do a deal of work, while the amount paid to the other
was so small that he very wisely spent it in cab-hire to see the
sights, which it just covered. One might be almost sure of seeing the
former gentleman on the approach of a court concert, while the
presence of the other at the legation prognosticated the advent of a
drawing-room. In fact, Mr. Prompt said, with considerable logic, that
when people were only half paid they were sure to do nothing. As for
himself (here he smiled, and commenced a new cigar), why he did up the
diplomacy of the establishment by the job--that is, he absorbed in his
lean person the functions of minister plenipotentiary, secretary of
legation, and gentlemanly attaches. And for the performance of their
duties (the pickings were not worth mentioning) he would, at the end
of a few years, make out his account against Uncle Sam, whom he was
sure was too straightforward and generous not to allow it. 'Fact is,
stranger,' he reiterated with great assurance, 'I am almost worked to
death here.' A monster gray cat having entered the room, and inspected
curiously the several rat-traps, Mr. Prompt, as if much annoyed, drew
himself with great effort from the crippled chair, and drove her
unceremoniously out of the room, accompanying her retreat with Peters
on diplomacy. 'Then, Mr. Prompt,' said I, 'may I consider myself
entirely in your hands?' Again spreading his boots on the table, and
languidly elongating his lean body, he replied, 'nothin shorter!' In
answer to a question, he said he could fix me out with anything--from
a passport to a grindstone. In fact, he was a man of universal
qualities, and could accommodate the needy with almost anything. He
could issue a passport for the infernal regions; he could give a card
to dine with old Jones when one got there; and by way of facilitating
matters, lend him a saddle to ride there. I admitted he was
exceedingly generous, and well calculated to bring out all the various
functions known to diplomacy; but, having no taste for the sport he
proposed, intimated my preference for a box at the Opera, or an
invitation to dine with her Majesty. 'Well, I do declare,' says
Prompt, who was seized with a very troublesome cough, 'if you ain' got
a-head on me there!' Seeing his confusion, I begged he would pardon
the intimation. In reply, he good-naturedly drawled out, 'them things,
somehow, don't come within the privileges of this establishment. Can
accommodate ye with a box at the Theatre Royal, Westminster--play the
very best sort of patent farces in that national place of amusement.
Then they've an audience so forbearing, that it makes no matter what
they play, and the fun of that establishment beats bull-fighting all
holler. Should the low-comedy man some call Pam, and his walking
gentleman, John, chance to have steam up, you will be sure to get your
money's worth. Take my word, said he: Covent Garden and Drury Lane are
but dull show shops compared with it.' Again I thanked Mr. Prompt for
his kindness, and told him I would wait till the next bull-baiting
came off--understanding from good authority that such amusing
spectacles in that house had frequent possession of the boards. Did I
want to revel in the sights and dark places of London, Mr. Prompt said
I had better wait the return of the absent secretary, which could not
be more than six months hence.



"'Now, citizen!' said I, thinking it was about time I disclosed to
Mr. Prompt who I was, and also the character of my mission, 'as you
seem to be the establishment in general, and can grant such very
accommodating passports, let me inform you that I, Solomon Smooth, am
Mister Pierce's Minister Extraordinary, to Europe in particular.' Mr.
Prompt's sharp visage now became sharper. 'Pierce,' I said, 'had
commissioned me to call together all the boys, in congress at Ostend.'
In testimony of what I had set forth I produced the document, at the
sight of which he relieved himself of a very handsome bow, brought his
lean body to a perpendicular, and, with an effort at modesty, laid
aside his hat and cigar; this I regarded as creditable to the
establishment. 'The governor's cum, Mas'r Prompt!' exclaimed the
negro, again thrusting his full yellow face into the door. Prompt was
evidently abashed at this sudden announcement.

"'I'll see the governor, if you have no objection,' said I, attempting
to relieve his quandary. He replied he had none whatever; that I would
find him a trump, though rather low. 'He seldom comes out of this
place!' ejaculated Prompt, leading the way through an extremely narrow
and crooked passage into a dark cloister-like room, lighted by a small
lamp that shed a sickly light over the few antiquated pieces of
furniture it contained. 'Minister Smooth will please to introduce
himself!' said Mr. Prompt, ushering me into the room, and closing the
door as he retired. Descrying through the pale glow of the lamp my
venerable friend Buck, who was seated at a table in the centre of the
room, amusing himself with the cat Prompt had so unceremoniously
kicked out of his presence, he immediately recognized me; the
reception I met would have done honor to companions in the Continental
War, meeting after a long absence. He said Saunders and his boy Dan
(that is, he was boy to Dan) had reduced his light wonderfully. Here
he began pricking up the wick of the old lamp, while I drew up a seat
and commenced without further ceremony disclosing the object of my
visit, and making known to him some of Pierce's opinions (private) on
matters in general. 'Read this carefully,' said I, handing him my
instructions from the State Department. He took the document like one
compelled to do a thing against his will, while I attentively watched
the changes that came over his countenance as he read it. 'Indurable
Pierce!' he muttered, adding a languid sigh. Then his portly figure
seemed to expand, his hair to grow whiter, and his general appearance
to assume a more venerable air, as he read the portion that
particularly directed me to bag him, pro or con. Indeed, his crooked
eye became straight with indignation, while his neck no longer
retained its wonted curve. 'I have studied the man, but find I yet
know little of him!' said he, recovering his usual calmness, and
shaking his head significantly. I inquired if he meant Pierce. He
replied, testily, in the affirmative. 'Several times has he made me
cut a ridiculous figure in the eyes of the nation. I cannot disclose
my true position,--he knows that, but will have me a partner to this
most stupid of projects;--well, well!' Here he seemed in the act of
yielding to his despondency, when to revive him I presented several
private notes which I had received from Pierce, explanatory of his
views with reference to the immense benefit that would accrue to the
nation, and manifest destiny, from this great congress. 'Now Smooth,'
continued the old man, relieving his mouth of an encumbrance, which,
missing its aim, took effect in the face of the cat, which set up a
fearful yell and scampered out of the room, 'although I can't
understand Pierce, I have great confidence in you, and there is
something so ridiculous about this affair that I feel like relieving
my mind to you, which I do without prejudice. I care not to examine
your confidential notes; they are doubtless of a like character with
those I have myself received from him on this very subject. The man
seems crazed. He has inundated me with confidential trifles about
Cuba, the affairs of Europe, the Central American question, and the
holding a Congress at Ostend. I am bored to death with his opinions,
which, on the policy of the latter, are cheap indeed.' The old man now
became exceedingly nervous; indeed, he seemed like one laboring under
the first symptoms of an over-dose of Parr's Life Pills. 'Smooth! I am
sacrificed; yes, sir, literally sacrificed to all his folly! The
despatch bag has groaned under the very pressure of his nonsense,
which I am compelled to read and commit to the flames, lest our nation
should suffer by its disclosures. I have appealed to him on behalf of
my conscience; I have reasoned from the depths of my experience; I
have besought him to spare my reputation--and here you bring me fresh
proof that it has all gone to no purpose.' I could not help pitying
the venerable old man as he shrugged his shoulders, and gave such a
desponding look. 'Pierce,' he continued, 'will smash the democracy
before he has done, by simply making it ridiculous. Thrice have I
remonstrated with him in all my power of persuasion; but it has fallen
harmless at his feet, for here he is, up again and harping. He
singularly argues in his private despatches that Europe being in a
fuzzle generally; that England having enough to do at keeping her
grumbling people quiet, and fighting her old friend Russia; that
Monsieur Napoleon, the very Republican Emperor, having three large
kettles of fish to fry--one in helping England to whip Russia, by
which means he hoped to wipe off an old score; the second, to affect a
great determination to fight for the independence of the Turks, who
say they will lend a hand when they get in cash; and the third, to
crush all revolutionary movements at home; and that all having enough
to do in their work of protecting despotism and neglecting liberty,
the time is singularly opportune for America's making one grand
demonstration. Thus, he said, Pierce argued. It was all very well
showing a saucy front to mankind in general, but if we undertook to
bag Cuba, there must be something more than threats and war messages
to back it up.' I could not throw up my commission; therefore begged
my friend Buck would consider my position, and excuse in me what
seemed fast. And then I had despatched my Corporal Noggs to arrange
matters with Monsieur Souley, who was to play the part of
engine-driver, crowding charcoal for the whole team. After the
manifestation of much indecision, my friend Buck consented to go, at
the same time stipulating that he should not be led by certain fast
spirits. 'If I go, Smooth,' said he, 'it will be with virtuous
reluctance; the whole thing is sure to come out. Further, my boy Dan
(a sharp fellow he is!) has gone on a little affair respecting Cuba,
by which he expects to make hit No. 1.'

"At this moment we were interrupted by the brusque figure of George
Saunders appearing in the room. George instantly recognized me, and
said he anticipated my mission, having received sundry private and
very confidential letters from Pierce on the same subject. It seemed
that Pierce and his boy Fourney had written any amount of private and
confidential letters on this to be kept very secret affair. George
made himself quite at home. Indeed, the uninitiated might have
mistaken him and the cat for fixtures of the establishment. Calling me
on one side, he begged I would consider Mr. Buckanan entirely in his
hands. In order to bring his speed to the right gauge, Dan and himself
had, he said, spent several months hard labor; but now he was happy to
say they had found the key to his movements, and nothing more was
wanting. As for Buck's presence at the Ostend convention, just leave
the arranging that to him. Further, in order to make a demonstration
while it was sitting, he would write an epistle to the Emperor of
Austria, forewarning him of the sympathy in America for the spirits he
held down in oppression. This would be a decided hit, he added, with a
knowing wink. So confident was George of his mastery over the
venerable old man, that I felt it would not be prejudicing Mr.
Pierce's interests to leave the matter entirely in his hands: so
bidding them a very good morning, I signified my intention of calling
again in ten days, when I expected he would be ready to move on; if
not, I should be under the painful necessity of bagging him, as
directed by the State Department.

"I had left the legation, and was passing into Portland place, when,
to my surprise, I was overtaken by the indomitable George, who
insisted that I join him in some gin-and-bitters at the first
drinking-place. To have declined George's amiability would have been
immaculate folly: he always bagged his friends, precisely as Pierce
directed me to bag the ambassador. Having stopped at the first
crossing, as they say in Georgia, we drunk ourselves, wished Pierce
much joy with his project, and parted, George saying he would turn
steam on the old man, and have him all right when I called.

"Prompt to the hour, no sooner had the allotted time expired than I
presented myself at the Legation with an express wagon, for the
accommodation of the old man indispensable. Corporal Noggs had got the
boys all right on the continent, and such a jolly time as was
expected! George had evidently been screwing up the old man, for I
found him in the very best humor. There he sat, portly and venerable,
surrounded by boxes, carpet-bags, and trunks; all, he assured me,
containing various diplomatic implements of great value. At his feet
purred the cat diplomatic, as if anxious to accompany him. 'These
boxes are a great trouble to me,' said the old man, getting up with
some effort, and pointing to three, about two feet square each, and
labelled as follows:--No. 1, '_Cuba by purchase_,' below--'_Copies of
Correspondence with our Minister to Spain, some years ago_,' at the
left corner the words--'_Promiscus_.' No. 2. '_Cuba at any
price_'--underneath--'_This side up, with care?_' No. 3. '_Cuba of
necessity, and as a link in the manifest fulfilment of
destiny?_'--underneath--'_Handled only by the experienced porter_.'

"The hall now rang loud of confusion,--the fiery-eyed cat ran
screaming to the door, maids' eyes were seen wanting to weep, Prompt
affected great grief,--he would be worked to death,--porters were seen
carrying out the luggage, and then waited to convey the old man. Then
Prompt said--the negro, as if to make the picture complete, was making
all sorts of grimaces in a corner,--if Dan should by some accident
return, what a deal of extra work he would make! But Smooth made up
his mind that such complaints were the natural consequences of an
irregular system. At last, having got boxes one, two, and three nicely
cared for, we bundled in the rest of the traps, following then with
the old man indispensable. Saunders being present by appointment,
insisted upon his right to drive the team, and suddenly springing upon
the box, seized unceremoniously the reins, and put the horses into
full gallop. Increasing his speed, until it became frightful to
delicate nerves, the poor old man's fears for his safety became so
excited that it required all my strength to keep him from jumping out
and breaking his neck, notwithstanding I had tucked him away so nicely
among the boxes before starting. Down Portland place, through Oxford
street, up Holborn, and down Cheapside, to the Bank (astonishing the
natives as we went) we drove, and from thence to St. Katherine's Dock,
where was moored the trim little steamboat chartered to convey Mr.
Pierce's plenipotentiaries safe to Ostend. Buck was in a sad state of
excitement when we stopped; he resembled an individual just escaped
from a perilous adventure. He discharged himself clumsily from the
wagon, his face undergoing singular changes of color the while, and
cast a few savage glances at Saunders, who very composedly sat on the
box endeavoring with might and main to suppress a vagabond laugh.
'Now, Saunders,' indistinctly sputtered the old man, as that
bluff-sided individual turned upon his seat, rather knavely casting a
comical glance over his shoulder, 'I'm not afraid--my courage never
fails me; but that steamer don't take me to Ostend if you're a
passenger! Mind that now!' Saunders lowered himself gravely from the
box, and with serious countenance assured the old man that no danger
could result while he drove the team. In reply to this, the old man
declared that with Saunders on board a blowing-up was certain. The
much-dreaded gentleman, however, soon quieted the envoy's fears by
assuring him that accompanying us to Ostend was farthest from his
thoughts, he having made all the necessary arrangements for throwing a
bomb-shell into the camp from this side of the water, as directed by
the Uncle Caleb and the boy Fourney. Boxes one, two, and three being
safely on board, we supported the old governor after them--Saunders on
one side, and Smooth on the other. Then the bell rang, and the steam
thundered and roared, and the little craft glided on her way, Saunders
waving his adieus from the wharf, and crying out at the very top of
his voice--'Don't forget Cuba!' and 'go it, Buck! Go it, Smooth!!'



"Our passage was attended with extremely pleasant weather; and nothing
remarkable occurred, except that the Dutch crew thought Mr. Buckhanan
a very great man, and the object of his mission the overthrow of
European dynasties in general. Twice they undertook to regale him with
sour-krout, which he pronounced inferior to that made in York county,
Pennsylvane. As to me, they declined to be convinced that I was not
Governor of Kentucky, having a singular belief in the peculiarities of
that State for growing long citizens--the tallest man always being
elected governor. Perhaps I should have added that the Schiedam was
only tolerable, the brandy bad; and that Buck, having forgotten his
tobacco, was compelled to resort to very bad Dutch loggerhead, with
which he kept the swabs busily employed.

"As we entered the port of Ostend, once so celebrated for the defence
of its garrison, a salute of thirteen guns was fired from the old
fort, which we attempted to answer with a rusty swivel, Buck waving
his hat, and singing 'Yankee Doodle' to the burghers who filed along
the dilapidated dyke. As the steamer neared a landing-place, we
descried the coarse figure of Corporal Noggs, surrounded by numerous
of his fellow citizens, prominent among whom was Monsieur Souley and
the Chevalier Belmont. In addition to these welcoming spirits, there
came also a Dutch band, which, ere we had made fast alongside, struck
up something they intended for _Hail, Columbia!_ The reader will
please appeal to his imagination as to what our reception must have
been, when I tell him that shouts and huzzas, interspersed with this
discordant 'Hail Columbia!' rent the very air, and made faint the
roaring of the steam from the funnel of our little craft. Boxes one,
two, and three, were now sent forward under an escort to the hotel,
while a triumphal chair secured to two long poles was placed in proper
order for the reception of my friend Buck. Rather against his
inclination, and not without expressing some doubt as to the propriety
of displaying so much pageantry in a foreign country, was he packed
into it by Monsieurs Souley and Belmont. Corporal Noggs now formed in
order the procession, which moved in state through the city, headed by
the band playing the 'Rogue's March,' which it mistook for 'Yankee
Doodle.' Such a funny procession! The reader may imagine the figure
cut by my venerable friend, when I tell him that the triumphal chair
was borne on the shoulders of Monsieurs Souley, Belmont, Daniels, and
O'Sullivan--the two former being in the lead. Close in the rear of
the chair, your humble servant, Smooth, took up his position, riding a
female jackass, an animal domesticated by Monsieur Souley, under whose
saddle she had borne up until the flesh was nearly off her bones. This
was tapered off with an everlasting string of seedy citizens, for whom
an innumerable quantity of goats seemed to have a fellow sympathy, so
close did they follow. At the hotel, from the balcony of which
streamed the stars and stripes, the uproar and confusion was beyond
description. Could some of the old burghers have risen from the tomb,
they might have imagined a modern siege of that city they so nobly
defended in times gone by. Staggering and sweating, the four envoys
bore their precious burden to the great porch, whence he was escorted
to the balcony, upon which he stood, like a Roman of old, and, by the
advice of Monsieur Souley, delivered a stunning speech, that versatile
functionary translating it into Dutch. It will scarcely be necessary
to add that the speech proved a decided hit, and was received with
shouts and acclamations. Not a little done over, the old statesman was
now regaled on delicious krout and gin-slings, and put carefully to
bed by a Dutch chambermaid. This was at three o'clock in the
afternoon. At seven I marshalled all hands for a grand banquet, which
had been prepared without any regard to expense, it being intimated
that Uncle Sam would settle for the whole thing.

"Fresh and refreshed we all appeared ready for action, and as bright
as could possibly be expected after such a fatigue. The table was set
out in grand style; indeed, it literally groaned under every delicacy
of the season--not excepting krout, the glows of which impregnated the
atmosphere. Buck said he would sit opposite the krout; but that was
objected to, on the ground of his eating so much as to change the tone
of his speech, which was expected to be more than usually
spirited. After so little opposition from Monsieur Souley, who wanted
the place himself, it was voted that I should take the chair. Of
course I could not refuse the honor; but in order to illustrate the
three principles of our political policy, I was cautious to stipulate
that Buck sit on my right and Monsieur Souley on my left. Here we
were--steady, very steady, and very fast. Belmont insinuated, rather
ironically, that Buck could no longer be considered of the steady
school; in fact, Saunders had so cultivated his component parts that
he might now, without any fear of contradiction be put down as
remarkably fast. I need scarcely add that the viands were discussed
with great gusto, Monsieur Souley absorbing so much of the _fricasee
frog_ that his glossy black hair, which had before beautifully
undulated over his shoulders, now curled tighter, his eyes sparkled
brighter, his face became more olive, and his periods more intensely
French. O'Sullivan, too, had procured some capital Irish whiskey,
which he said he already felt in his boots. At ten o'clock there was a
general secession of knife and fork, and a resort to the less tasteful
amusement of speech-making. Souley, however, had all the while said
all manner of things about, and brought all sorts of charges against
Louis Napoleon, whose government he denounced in very general terms,
not dreaming that that shrewd sovereign had introduced two spies in
the capacity of waiters. The cloth being removed, Monsieur rose,
considering he was in duty bound, and commenced throwing off the
rounded sentences of the first part of a very long speech,--at one
moment denouncing princes and kings in general, and in the next
threatening to smother Spain with an interesting exposition of her
perfidy. Her puppet government was a base mockery; he said Espartero
had grossly deceived him!--Here he was brought to a stand by
Mr. O'Sullivan, 'It's meself thinks the gintleman 's about debatin
matter what 'll cum afore the Convention to-morrow,' interposed that
gentleman. Monsieur Souley replied somewhat tartly: he hoped the
gentleman from Ireland would not interrupt him. Order! was now called
for on every side, and an appeal made to the chair, without whose
interposition a savage encounter must have resulted. The whole company
were now on foot, interposing for peace; nor had I time to assert my
authority, when, decanters of port and claret standing close at hand,
Souley seized one, and O'Sullivan the other, as if for weapons of
mortal combat, and commenced a series of threatening menaces. The
waiters were not accustomed to such feints, and one, before we were
conscious, of it had run down stairs and alarmed the house. Landlord,
servants, and a whole troup of police, came rushing into the hall, as
the two gentlemen of Verona, revealing the joke, made the politest
bows over their glasses, which they gracefully emptied. I was about
deciding that Monsieur Souley's language was decidedly personal, when
he proclaimed his determination to postpone his speech until
to-morrow. He would however, conclude by proposing a toast, which he
need scarcely add would be heartily responded to by every one
present. He would propose the health of the venerable statesman on the
chairman's right--a man who had long and worthily maintained the
highest rank among his country's statesmen, and whose opinions
(although he differed with them at times) were world-wide! (Great
sensation). Mr. Buckhanan now rose, evidently affected by the
immensity of the cheers. His mien was at once dignified, and when
contrasted with the promiscuous countenances that surrounded him, wore
an air singularly American. He began by saying he was happy to say he
did not feel himself a stranger in a strange land. (This being
translated into Dutch by Monsieur Souley, the invited guests present
received it with loud acclamations). We read the same books; we were
animated by a kindred love of liberty; we spoke the same language; we
enjoyed the same immunities of a constitutional government; and that
spirit which animated us to fight for liberty had its origin in the
same stock! Here Mr. Belmont interposed by reminding the venerable
statesman that the Dutch of Pennsylvania and New York could not be
said properly to represent the whole American Union. Order being
demanded and restored, Mr. Buckhanan apologised for the grave error,
which he charged to the delicious quality of the krout. He seemed
unconscious of what he had been saying, and suddenly became aware that
he had mistaken his theme, and was letting off the big end of his
model speech, with which he had so often entertained his friends at
feeds given by sundry Lord Mayors of London. The joke was too good;
the old man could not suppress a laugh at his own mistake, and sat
down, intimating that as he would have something to say to-morrow he
would now bring his speech to a close. (Uproarious applause). Again
Monsieur Souley rose, and amid shouts of--'question!' said the
question was of no kind of consequence, that he always went on the
principle of making himself heard. Further attempts to rein up
Monsieur Souley would have been sheer madness; so he continued his
speech, which included fifty irrelevant topics without discussing
one. He even charged Louis Napoleon with poisoning the champagne.
Whatever of truth there might be in the charge, we only know that the
speaker ere he had concluded his speech found himself standing alone,
the whole Congress having dropped off into a profound sleep. Becoming
indignant at this display of indifference, he stopped suddenly,
commanded the waiters to wake up the sleepers, and himself commenced
an uproar by smashing the tumblers and decanters, after the fashion of
a French fiddler in for a frolic. The company with one accord offered
an apology, joined in drinking the health of the speaker, charged the
delinquency to the strength of the poisoned champagne rather than that
of the speech--(which was narcotic, rather), and adjourned to meet in
Duitenethipicgnisher's Hall, at twelve o'clock on the following
morning. I must not omit to inform the reader that those who were
unable to see their way up stairs were carried there by the
waiters. Smooth, as a matter of course, had no bricks in his hat.

"Bright and early on the following morning I tumbled out, made a hasty
toilet, and set about waking up the Congress of sleepers. Souley I
found in a sad plight; Buck was snoring like great guns; O'Sullivan I
thought had either been dreaming of the Pampero expedition, or taken
too much whiskey during the delivery of Monsieur Souley's speech;
Belmont had made a pillow of his Dutch bonds--indeed the only specimen
of humanity up and moving was Corporal Noggs, who expressed his
anxiety to know what Marcy would say were he an eye-witness to the
preliminaries. As for Pierce! it mattered little what he thought, he
being a mere cypher among the boys. Having succeeded in moving the
Congress we sallied out to view those suburbs so full of historical
lore. To our surprise we were surrounded wherever we went by a
clamorous and grotesque crowd of discontented individuals, each
bearing a document in his or her hand, on which was prominently
described the great seal of the United States of America. For a time
the mystery involved seemed as undefinable as the jargon of the motley
group. Indeed, the whole city seemed not only agog, but panic
stricken. Nor was its influence confined to any class. It had delved
alike into the palace of the king and cabin of the burgher. Wherever a
delegate made his appearance he was sure to be followed or surrounded
by a clamorous group, pouring forth its jargon in a rhapsody of praise
to America, which singularly enough they supposed had sent the first
instalment of her intention to overthrow the dynasties of Europe, and
relieve mankind in general. Monsieur Souley, whom they happily mistook
for a Greek, was the only member of the Congress exempt from the

"A little more light was soon reflected on the mystery! Saunders had
inundated the city--not with his promised bombshells: his missile was
more alarming, but less dangerous. Having ingeniously changed the
object of a very long epistle, he dedicated it to the French people
instead of the Austrian Emperor. The mould of its dictum was decidedly
strong; but in order to add more point he gave his periods a peculiar
slant, at the head of Napoleon the Third. That a fellow-feeling as
lasting as the mountain chain existed between the French and American
peoples, there was, according to the circular, not a doubt. In
reference to other heads, there were strong doubts! The Congress now
assembling was an earnest of what he said: that _august_ body George
strongly recommended to the esteem of all aggrieved citizens. Did any
one doubt the genuineness or the national character of these epistles
he had but to refer to the great seal on their front, which was none
other than that of the Legation at London.

"The reader may now easily imagine our increasing difficulties. On
proceeding to the Hall at the appointed time, I found our Ministers in
a general state of alarm. Souley had received a private and very
confidential letter from his agent in Paris, forewarning him of Louis
Napoleon's intention to descend upon the Congress, perform a
_coup-d'etat_, and having nicely bagged the game, appropriate it to
his own table. In view of this, Monsieur Souley recommended an
adjournment to a more congenial atmosphere. Messrs. Buckhanan and
Belmont rising together, objected to any such movement, inasmuch as it
would discover a spirit of weakness, to guard against which Uncle
Caleb and Master Fourney had given express instructions. Here a long
cross-fire of discussion ensued. I thought it had neither head nor
tail, and was something after the order of what Mr. Pierce conceived
to be the object of this Congress, for it resulted in nothing, the
speakers all agreeing to withdraw what they had said. As a first move
to the organization of the body, it was agreed that Hanz Voghnine, who
was privileged to open a bar for the sale of good liquors in one
corner of the hall, would be the only outsider admitted. Hanz was
accordingly examined in reference to his being a spy; the result being
satisfactory, he was enjoined to keep nothing but a first-rate
article. On the second balloting I found myself elected President,
which high distinction, having been conducted to the chair amidst
soul-stirring acclamations, I acknowledged in what is generally termed
a neat and appropriate speech. Noggs was at the first ballot elected
Sergeant-at-Arms and door-keeper in general, the duty of which offices
he promised to fill to the very best of his abilities. A
vagrant-opinion was rife that Monsieur Souley would have filled the
office of door-keeper much better, himself being so easily opened and
shut. However, as Noggs had been voted the office, we all reconciled
ourselves to the selection, each member providing himself with a
gin-sling, and taking his seat. A silence, as of the tomb, prevailed,
while I rose to open the proceedings of the first day. I first made my
own bow, then drew forth the State paper commissioning me to call
together 'this august body.' Mr. O'Sullivan suggesting it was agreed
that there being out so many documents of a similar character the
reading was rendered unnecessary. I bowed to the decision. A similar
fate awaited an attempt to read several of Mr. Pierce's private
opinions. Mr. Buckhanan said we better hear what Pierce had to say,
and then make up our minds as to whether it was entitled to the
consideration of 'this important body.' Monsieur Souley replied, with
great fervency, that it were better Pierce be left entirely out of the
question, and the Congress proceed to deliberate on its own hook. A
good many dissenting voices here interposed; but the speaker, very
pertinaciously, said he had the floor, and was prepared to discuss the
question with any gentleman (here he turned a meaning glance at Buck)
disposed to accept the challenge. The dread of a lengthy speech
brought gentlemen to their senses: rather than endure it they agreed
that Pierce should be left entirely out. It was, now generally
expected that Monsieur Souley would sit down. No such intention had
he. Turning to me, he bowed, and said: 'Your Excellency will observe,
that as the order in which the many questions to come before this
Congress has not been produced, and the question of the acquisition of
Cuba to the United States being the most important one in the
schedule, I move that the order be suspended, and that the discussion
of that all-important subject be commenced.' Souley was inclined, I
saw, to absorb time very unprofitably. I was about to pronounce him
out of order, when there came a loud knocking at the door, followed by
a band attempting to play a Dutch medley. The door was immediately
thrown open. Ten citizens, savage and hairy of visage entered, to the
consternation of the Congress assembled. One of their number advanced,
having exchanged the countersign with Noggs; but he failed to make
himself understood until Monsieur Souley politely tendered his aid,
introducing him in succession to every one present. They were,
according to the rendering of Monsieur, a deputation from the '_Very
ancient and honorable order of Red Republicans_,' who, having become
aware of the many grand objects for which our Congress was convened
(as set forth in the circular of the great Saunders), had appeared
before it to pray that their grievances might be duly redressed and
themselves reinstated in the government of France. Monsieur Souley
made a speech of more than ordinary length on the subject, which he
brought to a close by calling upon the President (me) not to permit
this patriotic body of suffering men to depart without an assurance
that their case would receive immediate attention. This I did in the
very best manner possible, adding that Hanz might treat them to
gin-slings all round. This done, Monsieur politely bowed them into
the street, the last bow being his very best. The reader will by this
time have discovered that Monsieur Souley constituted the Congress and
Mr. Pierce thrown in.

"Scarcely had the deputation of very ancient and honorable red
republicans taken itself into the street, when entrance was demanded
by a deputation from 'The Hopeful Order of Polish Exiles.' The
individuals constituting it were lighter of person and complexion than
the reds; and, too, there was about them an air of melancholy which at
once touched the tender of my feelings. They bore with them a long
petition, and humbly but devoutly prayed America to make their cause
her own (here they produced several of Saunders' circulars): they
asked only to enlist in her bond of brotherhood. Long had they waited
the coming of this day--the day when she would invade Europe, and
fight the battle of Liberty against despotism. Sweet was the
recollection of a fatherland; to them it became sweeter as they
contemplated that great star of liberty all powerful in the West. They
spoke Scandinavian in silvery accents. Monsieur Souley's genius was
for once at fault: he spoke only French, Dutch, and bad Spanish,
rendering it necessary to call in the aid of Hanz, who, having
rendered it into Dutch, Monsieur did the rest. Dismissing this very
distinguished deputation with a positive assurance that their case
should be at once referred to the great George Saunders, nothing more
was required. 'I would suggest,' spoke Mr. Belmont, rising with great
gravity, as the satisfied gentlemen made their last bow at the door,
'whether it be not necessary to close the door against further
deputations, it being expedient to proceed with the transaction of
more important business?' To this Messrs. Sullivan, Buckhanan, and
Souley rose, greatly agitated. Souley said he had the floor, and would
not yield an inch. Mr. Buckhanan had only a word to say. Mr. Sullivan
gave way. Monsieur Souley said he had great sympathy for all oppressed
citizens. He could not but characterize such language as had been used
by the learned statesman, Mr. Belmont in reference to these very
respectable bodies, as contrary to the spirit of our institutions. Mr.
Belmont bowed, and left the speaker to indulge his love of speech,
which was again interrupted by a terrific thundering at the door,
which opened,--not to a deputation, but to a whole platform of
rejected humanity, presenting the most grotesque appearance.
Falstaff's invincibles would convey no comparison. Some were hatless
and shoeless; some had sleeveless coats and tattered trousers: others
had collars but no shirts; all had faces immersed in massive beards.
Two-and-two abreast, they walked, in with an independent air, each
provided with a Saunder's circular, and took up a position in a
half-circle just behind the seats of the several members of the
Congress. The person who represented them, and who could boast of but
one shoe, and one sleeve to his coat, and had a countenance smothered
in hair, now approached Monsieur Souley as Monsieur Souley approached
him, and both bowed. I ought to have mentioned that this last
procession was preceded by one of their number, wheeling a barrow, on
which was a monster petition, specifying the fifty thousand grievances
they hoped would be redressed by the Congress. Buck, who it was more
than suspected looked with suspicion upon the mixture of reds in
general, was seen squinting steadily in the faces of the
savage-looking intruders, while others could not suppress a laugh at
the singular quaintness of the picture they presented. The leader
having extended his hand to Monsieur, a consultation ensued, and was
continued with innumerable gestures, grimaces, and contortions of the
face. The Chair begged to remind gentlemen of the importance of time.
The Chair hoped Monsieur Souley would find it convenient to report.
That versatile statesman replied,--He had the honor to inform this
august body, that these gentlemen--externally so
deficient!--constituted the 'Forlorn Order of _Very_ Red Republicans.'
Here Monsieur turned to the forlorn order, as it, with one accord
bowed, in confirmation of what he said. 'Gentlemen!' continued the
speaker with a rhetorical flourish, 'you must not judge these men by
their exteriors. We have here the rough bark covering the fine
tree. Gentlemen! have not these men hearts of oak, nerves of steel,
and bone that, like their souls, never breaks in time of need?'

"The Chair thought it time to interrupt the speaker by inquiring what
the forlorn order prayed for? Monsieur Souley resumed. 'Learning from
the authority they held in their hands (epistle de la Saunders), what
were the true objects of this Congress, they had nobly come forward to
tender their services, and to express in person their readiness to
take up arms in America's cause. He proposed a vote of thanks for this
patriotic manifestation.' This was voted without a dissentient voice,
seeing that it cost nothing. The spokesman of the order again held a
consultation with Monsieur Souley, the result of which was, that
gentleman's making a charitable appeal to the Congress, and concluding
by proposing that a contribution be taken in aid of the forlorns. This
brought Mr. Belmont suddenly to his feet. He would oppose any such
thing. Their difficulties had already increased beyond calculation;
and, were this proposition acceded to, it would not only confirm a
singular belief outside--that the object of this Congress was the
general relief of mankind, but so increase their responsibilities as
to render it impossible to proceed with legitimate business. No sane
man--much less one accustomed to dealing in coin--could have
entertained such an idea. I need scarcely add that the proposition was
negatived without a dissenting voice, Monsieur Souley not voting. It
was now pretty evident to all present that the Congress would have its
time and attention pretty well absorbed in receiving deputations of
citizens deluded by Saunders' letters, and listening to the very
pathetic speeches of Monsieur. The day was now far gone; the Congress
began to feel its appetite; the forlorns withdrew in discontent; the
presence of many other deputations surrounding the doors was
announced; and the Congress drank all round, and adjourned to meet on
the following morning for the dispatch of business.

"The 'following morning' came, and with it troubles insurmountable.
Scarcely had the Congress resumed its sitting, when an avalanche of
deputations was announced, waiting an audience. Monsieur Souley
proposed that they be received in their order. Of course I was bound
to submit his proposal, but could not suppress a smile. I thought the
order would be the most difficult thing to ascertain. However, as we
are naturally good-natured, and love to turn the gravest subjects into
the lightest jokes, that they be received in their order was agreed to
without a dissenting vote. By four o'clock in the afternoon we had
received and heard the prayers of all sorts of deputations. There
was--'The Ancient Order of Roman Republicans;' the 'Lone Band of
Oppressed Brothers;' the 'Universal Brotherhood of Exiled Patriots;'
the 'Hopeful Band of Hungarian Refugees;' the 'Polish
Perpetuators;'--in fact, there came all kinds of orders, and bonds,
and leagues, and societies, all with innumerable grievances about they
knew not what. There were the oppressed, and very oppressed; the
hopeful, and very hopeful; the patriotic, and very patriotic; all
praying that their grievances might be redressed. Indeed, they
illustrated the fact that Europe was in no want of spirits. Some of
these forlorn brothers marched with bands of music, not only keeping
the city in a state of general alarm, but seriously disturbing the
nervous systems of many very respectable persons, high in office.

"It was now six o'clock, and as the Congress was hungry, and fatigued
with its labors, and Hanz was literally worn out with mixing slings
and smashes, I rose to propose we adjourn until to-morrow, seeing
there was no time to receive any more deputations; but was interrupted
by Noggs, who significantly announced a platoon of soldiery in front
of the hall. Monsieur Souley now turned a pale brown color; Belmont
was seen looking for a back-door; and Buck's hair changed two shades
whiter:--indeed, the alarm that had prevailed in sundry palaces
outside seemed to have seized upon _our_ Congress.

"'A demand from the King!' announced Noggs, with ominous accent.
Suddenly a suspicious-looking gent, smothered in dark uniform bespread
with a profusion of lace, was ushered in, and with an elastic step,
and quick, wandering eye, approached gracefully the President (me) and
announced himself as King's Messenger. For a moment he stood
uncovered, as if taking a bird's-eye-view of the mental qualities of
America; then, raising his right hand, which held a scroll, he
extended it to the Chair as Mr. O'Sullivan demanded--'Hats off!' The
silence of a minute was then broken by Monsieur Souley, who, having
regained his courage, interposed sarcastically,--'a messenger from the
King of the Dutch?' The official gave a glance in return, and bowed. A
seat was now provided for the stranger, who, as he was about to sit
down, intimated that in the event of the terms of his Majesty's
proclamation not being complied with, painful as it would be to his
feelings, he would, in deference to his orders, be compelled to resort
to arms. It was a moment full of painful anxiety: the Chair cast an
eye over the document, as every one waited with eager suspense its
being read aloud. At length, summoning to my aid all the dignity my
composition entertained, I rose as each restless eye denoted hope and
anxiety, and said I would read the King's commands, which were to the
following effect:--'That whereas sundry evil-disposed persons, not
having the fear of God before their eyes, and representing themselves
as citizens of the American Republic, have come into this country with
ill intent, and have, in defiance of law and order, held sundry
meetings for the purpose of conspiring against the peace of the State
and safety of the throne; and whereas the said persons herein set
forth have, since their landing on our beloved soil, conducted
themselves in a manner so riotous as to cause suspicion of their
deliberations, be it known to all concerned in this mysterious
gathering, that by this my proclamation I forbid the holding of any
such assemblies; and further, that unless that now in deliberation be
at once dispersed, the persons found engaged in it will be dealt with
according to the law made and provided for the punishment of vagrants
in general. Signed and sealed with our hands, &c., &c.' Need I say
that the reading this proclamation created a wonderful sensation,
which was here and there interspersed with marks of contempt for its
authority. The Chair, I insinuated, would await any remarks. Mr.
Buckhanan immediately rose, and proposed that we bow to the authority,
and move to a more congenial atmosphere. Messrs. Souley, Belmont
(having come back), and Jackson, rose to oppose. The King's Messenger
also rose: seeing the first symptoms of a powerful opposition
manifesting itself, he would warn gentlemen of the Congress that it
was of no use--they must move on! By way of adding tone to his demand,
he intimated that it might be necessary to motion his guard. As things
began to look rather squally, I said the Chair would like to say a few
words, provided Monsieur Souley did not interrupt, and was perfectly
willing to yield the floor. That gentleman firmly declined; adding
that he stood upon the order of his reputation, nor would ever yield
to Pierce, Marcy, and the King of the Dutch thrown in. He firmly
believed it a trick of Marcy's own; he was known to be in league with
the Queen of Spain, Louis Napoleon, and the Dutch King, with whom he
had compromised the Gibson case. Mr. O'Sullivan, with good logic
clothed in very bad English, now rose to the rescue, and was fortunate
enough to hit upon the identical expedient by which we all got
honorably out of a very bad affair. He proposed (Mr. Souley continued
talking) that it being evident to this Congress that insurmountable
difficulties of a local character having arisen, thereby impeding the
progress of legitimate business; that whereas the oysters are found to
be diseased; the gin-and-bitters intolerable; the champagne poisoned
by Louis Napoleon; and the sour krout absolutely indigestible, an
adjournment is thereby imperatively necessary. In consideration of all
the foregoing facts, the speaker moved that this Congress do adjourn
to the more congenial atmosphere of Aix-la-Chapelle. The motion was
carried with shouts of laughter, and the Congress broke up in the very
best humor, leaving Monsieur Souley in possession of the floor. In
addition to this, the King's Messenger was carried captive to the
first hotel and treated, while Noggs received orders to draw on Sam
for all outstanding bills.

"On the following morning the Congress took up its march for
Aix-la-Chapelle, resembling somewhat the children of Israel on their
historical pilgrimage. In straggling order did the grotesque train
wend its way,--Monsieur Souley mounted on the before-named jackass,
which, having so long been accustomed to Monsieur's riding,
obstinately refused to be mounted by my friend Buck, who was in
consequence seated on boxes '_one, two and three_,' which were placed
on a Dutch van, and drawn by two more docile donkeys, bringing up the
rear. The world knows the rest--that is, with one exception! Buck told
me, very confidentially, that the Congress had been fast enough for
anything; that Pierce was soft enough to think good would come of it;
and that he only put his signature to that remarkable document
proclaiming our natural right to Cuba with virtuous
reluctance,--merely to keep peace in the house!



"In days not altogether halcyon, I had a venerable great-uncle, a
quaint specimen of human infirmity, the singularity of the parish.
Though eccentric at times, he was not destitute of good qualities.
These, had they been properly applied, might have served to
distinguish him among men in what is pedantically called the higher
walks of life. But he had a fault, and one that is very unpopular even
at this day: he would get vexed at the short-comings of his neighbors,
at whom he would level truths exceedingly unpalatable. Indeed, he
never failed to put very keen edges on his sayings. Even now, I have
the old man in my mind's eye, as in the hey-day of youth my boyish
fancy sported with his infirmities. Never shall I forget his slender,
stooping figure; his bright bald crown, curtained with locks that
pended snowy over his coat collar; his weeping, watchful eye; his
tottering mien; his high and furrowed brow, lengthening a sharp,
corrugated face; his blunt, warty nose, made more striking by a sunken
mouth and the working motion of his lower jaw; and his crutch, for he
was a cripple. They left a deep impression on my mind. I speak of him
as he was in the dawn of his eightieth summer--when pale blue spots
bespread his hands, and his bony fingers he would when excited frisk
across the polished crown of his head. His great hobby was his
knowledge of diplomacy. And, too, he was forever talking about the
affairs of the nation, and would not unfrequently get put out with the
whole parish, because it withheld from him, he said, that deference
his experience was entitled to. He had, many years ago, been in some
way attached to the diplomatic corps, which he ever after regarded
with a sort of religious awe; and whenever a strange fit came over him
he would do something he said was to prop up its dignity, of which
none could be more jealous. I have, known him declare, that to
maintain untarnished the character of the polite corps, he would swear
by its virtue and his crutch. He would not have it held in suspicion
by the vulgar world, and would go straight into a fit of sickness at
the news of one its members doing aught to sully the fair name he
described it as possessing. Sometimes I thought my great-uncle had
been attached to some foreign mission in the mean capacity of butler,
or footman, for he was scrupulous of his bow, had an excellent taste
for wine, and would spend much valuable time in bringing to light and
brushing, and then putting carefully away again, certain velvet
inexpressibles of great brightness, and richly embroidered waistcoats,
of wonderful length. 'These,' he would say with an air of exultation,
'have a mysterious but mighty influence in changing and directing the
affairs of powerful nations.' He had also a boyish fondness for
displaying a lithograph of the Countess Hopenpap's family arms,
presented, he said, by that august lady to the legation, of which he
had the honor of being a member, and from thence stolen by Thomas,
footman in ordinary to the establishment. For this heinous offence,
Thomas, though his knowledge of etiquette was invaluable to the
mission (the gentlemen up stairs always fashioned their bows after
his!), was discharged, having been detected in the act of offering it
for sale at the counter of a dealer in old clothes.

"On the other hand, there was that about my great-uncle which
completely overthrew the suspicion of his having been a kitchen
diplomatist: he was an excellent judge of dancing, and what stronger
evidence of his forming one of the polite body up-stairs, does the
reader want? In addition to this,--he not only discoursed glibly about
diplomacy, but sagaciously gave out that he would turn his back to no
one in his knowledge of treaties; which said knowledge, and his
crutch, he was always ready to swear by. Those great brass buttons
with the eagles, and his blue small clothes, too, he wore to the day
of his death. The parish had a feeling that no fourth of July could be
celebrated without him; and I well remember how on that day I used to
think him rather too fond of laying his crutch over the heads of all
who differed with him on a question of state policy. My readers will
please understand that I have no particular interest in raising the
question as to whether my great uncle got his knowledge of diplomacy
up-stairs or in the kitchen. The fruits of my research would neither
be interesting here, nor serve the object I have in view. Enough is it
to know that he would now and then get into a funny vein, and in the
outpouring of his child-like enthusiasm, let out some exceedingly rich
jokes, touching the manner in which certain gentlemen paid their, to
him, most fashionable debts. And, although the old man did at first
seem himself to enjoy the recital, he was as sure to end in a great
passion. And with every deference to the feelings of certain of
Mr. Pierce's gentry, who have so recently figured upon the stage of
London and Paris fashionable life, I may add that he would testily
declare nothing would so please him as to cudgel every diplomatic
dandy that brought disgrace upon his country abroad and left his
countrymen to bear the smart. Indeed, he once honestly admitted that
foreigners were just foolish enough to look for exponents of our
national character among our representatives. If they were not
inclined to form the most exalted opinion of it through that test, it
was because they never once took into consideration the nature of the
accomplishments necessary to our office-holders, at the door of which
the blame lay. My great-uncle said that it was not that two or three
conducted themselves in a manner unbecoming their positions, but,
that, representing us in a national capacity, they saddled the
responsibility on their honester fellow-countrymen. This, to me, had
something about it I could not clearly understand; but I have since
thought that if my eccentric uncle had lived to this day, and been in
possession of his crutch, a reckoning with General Pierce had been the
result. Either he had made the splinters fly, or that worthy
gentleman's ear tingle with certain facts relative to the manner in
which his gentry have strutted upon the stage we have before
mentioned. I say this of the old man because his regard for the
feelings of the nation was almost equal to his reverence for the
diplomatic body. And I am sure he, in the earnestness of his soul, had
prayed Mr. Pierce to take into his pious consideration the means of
remedying an evil so gross as that of his diplomatists making it the
fashion of paying their debts with that sacred character the comity of
nations has granted all missions. He would have told General Pierce
that he was but a man, whose little day would soon pass on the wheel
of time, but that the country had a name to maintain among the
nations, an exacting posterity to account to! Will his men in the
bye-ways have done anything to which it may recur with pride? The
stages we have twice named can answer.

"The story of Mr. Secretary Bolt, as facetiously related by my
great-uncle, when in one of his funny moods, may not be inappropriate
here, inasmuch as it bears a strong resemblance to certain realities
perpetrated at this day, but which my habitual modesty forbids me
transcribing here.

'Of Bolt, morally,' my great-uncle would say, 'nothing have I to say.'
This said, he would rub his hands awhile, and then continue: 'He was
correct of person--extremely so--had fine limbs, was tall of stature,
courtly in his movements, spoke with great preciseness, and a clear,
musical accent; had model features, was not a little vain of them, and
always employed a tailor prince, who dressed him with exact taste, but
at an enormous cost. His motion, too, was as graceful as needs be;
indeed nature had done well her part, lavishing on his person a goodly
number of those endowments so necessary to a modern diplomatist, whose
chief function is to ornament the drawing-room, and create a flutter
among certain of the fair sex. You must understand that in Europe, as
well as America, the corps diplomatic rules the roost of fashion, and,
in addition to its enrolling within its precious precincts numbers of
the legitimate aristocracy, creates a great fluttering among that of a
more doubtful hue, who seek it and worship it as the idol of their
ambition. It always reminded me of birds with weak minds permitting
themselves to be charmed by snakes. However, be this as it may, the
knowing ones of York State (Bolt was a three-quarter blood Dutchman,
and from that State!) declared it no scandal, when they said his great
popularity with the ladies more than made up for his lack of law
knowledge. Honester people said, if his mind was not exactly
Websterian, there could not be a doubt that nature had intended him
for the profession of diplomacy rather than one requiring more
profound thought. His make-up was unexceptionable, his smile
exquisite. Then he had dark moustaches, which he would gracefully
finger into such an exact curve; and he had his small whiskers so
neatly combed, and every hair on his head lay in unexceptional
smoothness. The legation was not a little proud of Bolt, and on
drawing-room days, when he blazed out in his gold lace and sword,
would delight in watching the many dark, languishing eyes that would
ogle him over the down of gorgeous fans. Bolt was not dead to this
admiration, for we learned, from the constant wandering of his eye,
that he rather appreciated his own popularity. For a lady to say she
did not admire Mr. Secretary Bolt, was strong evidence of her want of
taste. I do not choose to enlighten the world as to how Bolt came to
be Secretary of Legation!' Here the old man would make a desperate
flourish with his crutch, by which I was led to believe that the means
were none of the cleanest; in fact that they were of a character very
similar to those used at this day, and to which may be traced the
cause of certain of Mr. Pierce's diplomatists having so distinguished
themselves in Europe. 'Zounds!' the old man would continue, testily
making a cross on the floor with his crutch, 'a desperate set was soon
made on our Bolt by that little world of fashion and intrigue which,
lizard-like, crawls about our Legations, and did more particularly so
about the one he honored with his handsome person. The Countess of
Longblower, very distinguished (according to the gossip of the
kitchen), and wife of the celebrated Earl of that name, took him at
once into the velvet of her good graces. Here, after a little ripening
at the hands of Samuel, the polite footman in ordinary, he shone out
the star of her small but wonderfully select firmament. There were
suspicious whisperings and some scandal concerning what afterwards
took place between my lady and Bolt; but as scandal and diplomacy
seemed inseparable to an European atmosphere, we as noiselessly as
possible laid the charge at the door of a certain sin.' Here he would
fling down his crutch. 'The Countess's carriage was forever at the
door, waiting the pleasure of Mr. Secretary Bolt; he had a plate
reserved at her table; he was the Adonis of her drawing-room; there
was a seat for him in her opera-box. In the front of the latter,
facing the stately front of her ladyship, one of her sweetest smiles
forced over her hard face, sat the handsome Bolt, now playing with the
tassel of her fan, then passing upon the Cavatina a sort of rosewater
approval. He had a fund of small talk always at hand, and as her
mightiness was extremely fond of such wares, so also did Bolt become a
very agreeable person. The Countess, too, would smile so
condescendingly, and keep up such a conversation with her eyes, now
and then glancing at the Earl, who dozed at a respectful distance in
the rear. If unexpectedly he exhibited signs of consciousness, Bolt
would immediately divert the subject by passing some facetious
criticisms on the rotundity of the primadonna. And then my lady would
chime in, having enjoyed her laugh: 'Your lordship never did enjoy
anything.' The Earl's nap over, and the last act near its close (her
highness never condescended to remain for the vulgar ballet, and
generally retired at the close of the fourth act), our hero would
tenderly arrange her satin, make himself so polite! and then she took
his arm so condescendingly, and exchanged the sweetest glances! How
often I pitied the poor Earl, as in the mightiness of his gravity he
would bring up the rear, bearing her ladyship's perfumed cambric.
Several times a tingle of wrath came over me, and I could not resist
the thought, that had I been in the place of the poor Earl when my
lady hung so rolickingly on the arm of Secretary Bolt, and sailed with
such an affected youthfulness through the grand hall, to the no small
danger of all muslin dresses in the way, my crutch had served as a
means to separate them. The old man, with weeping eyes, would now
finger his bandanna and resume his crutch. And then Samuel, in the
full blaze of his livery, would stand conspicuously at the grand
entrance, and ere her highness's head loomed out at the top of the
great stairs, announced her coming in a voice that seemed to strike
dismay into all unliveried bystanders.'

"One thing Secretary Bolt would, do that always displeased me, as did
everything that tended to lower the dignity of the corps. It was
this:--My lady loved dearly her drives in the park, and took them
nearly every day, at the most fashionable hour of five. Bolt, in cloth
exquisite, had always his seat at her side, where his special office
seemed that of nursing her favorite poodle and smoothing the Earl, who
on the front seat sat with icy straightness, all over with cheap
compliments. This was all very fine as far as it went! Being proud of
Bolt, as I have before related, we generously overlooked in him those
errors which are rather the result of vanity than the natural
offspring of an imperfect education. But we, as a nation have a worthy
aversion to paying a dear price for the maintenance of dignity; hence
Bolt, whose salary was but a paltry pittance in an atmosphere of
singular extravagance, soon found himself becoming involved for the
adjuncts necessary to such a connection. A happy thought, however,
soon flashed across his mind: was he not protected by the sacred
character of the mission? Of course he was!--away all misgivings!
What was the contemplation of such dreary matter to the pleasing
recollection of those fair ones whose hearts he had made flutter! And
then, not a day passed but he received no end of pretty missives,
perfumed and enveloped with curiously wrought lace, and virtuous
satin,--all bearing the tenderest burdens of love and despair. Bolt
was indeed fairly set upon by rival candidates for his heart, which
was supposed to possess a large portion of susceptibility. Nor were
his admirers merely confined to the satin and velvet of the
aristocracy, for 'pretty Betty,' maid of all work to the Legation, and
on that account so vain of the honor that she would not condescend to
associate with servants not attached to the corps, was by Thomas, a
wonderfully sagacious footman, discovered to be the writer of an
highly scented missive, directed as an arrow at the heart of
Bolt. That this little shaft of the tender passion contained some
truly original lines the enlightened cannot doubt; and I think I may
assert without fear of contradiction that Betty did in these lines,
notwithstanding they evinced a sovereign contempt for orthography and
versification, discover a deep knowledge of diplomacy. I say this for
the reason that her diction could be construed to mean anything but
what she intended; albeit there was such an openness about it
generally that any clever gentleman might walk in at the back door. I
thought it highly creditable in Betty to attempt a thing so mighty as
the conquest of Bolt's heart--indeed there was an admirable heroism
about it; but it caused a great flutter in the kitchen, where the
sensitive Thomas brought forward a motion for her extradition. Thomas
would not for the world have the character of gentlemen up stairs
sullied by vulgar hands.

"'Bolt had scarcely reached the full blaze of his glory when a series
of material obligations truly alarming commenced; and as I then
regretted the manner in which he discharged them, so am I now less
ashamed to relate them than sorry for their existence on the page of
the past. As nearly all Bolt's acquaintances had carriages, it seemed
imperative on him to follow their example, which he was not long in
doing. And this item of expense necessarily entailed that of two very
worthy gentlemen--viz.: Mr. Fripp the coachman, and Mr. Still the
footman--without whom no turn-out can be considered complete. Well,
these worthy personages were put in possession of the carriage, but
scarcely a week had passed before a great deficiency was discovered.
Messrs. Fripp and Still had acted in similar capacities to my Lady
Brackenbridge, and now declared it beneath their dignity to remain in
a service not honored with livery. They laid their grievance before
Bolt, who, appreciating the deficiency, forthwith ordered the
requisite plush and cockades, to the no small joy of those worthies.
If you ask me the cost of these adjuncts so necessary to a very fine
gentleman, my answer is that I cannot enlighten you; and this for the
very reason, that the cost of an article depends very much on the
manner in which you pay for it.'

"As my great-uncle said this he would grasp tighter his crutch and
look wrathfully about the room for a seat. 'Bolt!' he would continue,
having adjusted his shabby drab hat, 'soon learned that in Europe
tradesmen are exceedingly impressible, and notwithstanding they are
held in utter contempt by the fine gentlemen of the diplomatic world,
will be their humble servant to any amount, asking no other security
than the, to them, immaculate character of the mission. I do not mean
to say that Bolt made such facilities a study; nor would I be
understood as casting a sneer at the diplomatic body in general, but
when modern instances prove notorious facts, how can I turn a deaf ear
to the belief that our diplomacy has embodied another function?--that
of practising the most fashionable way of paying the most fashionable
debts. Pardon this little digression. There was a never ending demand
for Bolt's custom. Mr. Peppers, the distinguished jeweller of Regent
street, would fill his order to any amount; Broadwood & Willow,
tailors in ordinary to Her Majesty, always had a newly arrived
fashion, the senior partner knew his honor would be pleased with;
Dole, the wine merchant, who counted his customers among the first
nobility of the land, sent a list of his very best importation, humbly
soliciting an order. And as Mr. Secretary Bolt had not the least
objection to being driven into dignity, he would order all sorts of
things, from a diamond bracelet down to a tin tea-pot for Mrs.
Loveleather the laundress. It was wonderful to see how credulous these
tradesmen gentry were, and how they would chuckle over an order from
one of the legation. But I must here say that Bolt found a clever
diplomatist in Thomas, who was one of the best brought up servants in
Picadilly. Thomas had no end of accomplishments, and as a certain vice
in a servant is necessary to certain poor aristocracy and deeply
involved diplomatists, so also could he lie with a facility truly
incredible. If the history of Bolt's wealth, as related to certain
tradesmen by Thomas, could be handed down to posterity, I fear my
friend Cresus would find himself eclipsed. This it must be borne in
mind was before Thomas found himself dismissed for purloining the
family arms of the Countess Hopenpop. And while on the subject of
purloining propensities let me here say that I fear the vice of
stealing family arms did not end with Thomas, but was transmitted by
some of his more fortunate brethren up stairs to certain diplomatic
gentry of Mr. Pierce's choice, else how comes it that they,
notoriously plebian, made cockades and carriage doors bear strange

"My uncle continued: 'While as many as fifty good gossipers predicted
daily the marriage of Bolt to some aristocratic belle, there came
along a lady of the name of Mrs. Bolt. This person, whose name
Mr. Bolt had been extremely careful not to lisp, caused a desperate
sensation among his admirers. My Lady Longblower was seen to cool away
like liquid tallow, while not a few who had been equally fervent just
before, said it was a very impertinent thing in Mr. Bolt. But as that
gentleman took a more philosophical view of the matter he returned the
compliment by introducing his lady to several of those damsels who had
but a few days before themselves hoped to win his heart. Indeed the
arrival of Mrs. Bolt, though it brought things to a more legitimate
platform, did not in the least lessen his material responsibilities.
Mrs. Bolt must have more fashionable apartments; there was that
splendid diamond bracelet at Peppers'? she must have that rich honitan
cape and accompaniments at Stebbin's? drawing-room day was
approaching, and nothing less than one hundred and fifty guineas would
suffice to purchase the dress she would be presented in; Madame
Lacelooper, milliner and dressmaker to the Court, urged the necessity
of her orders being in at an early day; and she must have that set of
furs at Orchard's, and Mr. Bolt must give a brilliant introduction
party. Many as were the poor fellow's previous wants Mrs. Bolt's
arrival seemed to increase them four-fold. Nor would it have done for
him to have intimated a necessity for retrenchment, inasmuch as she
was equally determined to keep up the dignity of the establishment,
and would not hear a word about limitation in anything. The poor
fellow now began to think a time was coming when his diplomacy would
be put to the test. He, too, had an eye to a little popularity at
home, liked to be thought well of by his fellow-citizens, who, when
abroad invariably want to see all the sights and dine with their
Minister, and to that end gave them dinners and sundry other little
things. Everything except his salary Bolt found enlarged, and as his
time had been principally taken up with the issuing of orders, so was
it thereafter to be arranging certain payments. Isaacs, the Hebrew
gentleman who took corners of advance checks for the convenience of
his very aristocratic friends was seen frequently about the premises,
looking very serious. Six months passed and circumstances were changed
with Bolt. The Countess Longblower no longer permitted him to sit at
her side and play with the poodle; his fair admirers had lost all
their compliments; and it became absolutely necessary that Mrs. Bolt
return to the more humble precincts of her home on the other side of
the water. When Peppers called for that trifle of ninety-seven
guineas--pay for that necklace that shone so about Mrs. Bolt's neck
when at Court--it was curious to see how the genius of Mr. Bolt would
come out; and how in conjunction with Thomas' sagacity quite a comedy
of sharps would be played. Thomas tended door, was rather sleepy of
countenance, but could assume an air of great consequence, and would
receive his importuning visitor with unexceptional bows. 'Peppers I
think you said?' Thomas would politely inquire, smoothing his chin
reflectively, giving his ear a knowing cant, and concluding by
whisking his fingers through his powdered hair. 'Mr. Peppers presents
a little affair this morning;' he would announce blandly, having left
the gentleman standing in the hall. Mr. Bolt, who occupied a sumptuous
arm-chair in the parlor, and generally sat reading leisurely the
Morning Post, would receive this announcement with some change of
countenance. 'Peppers! Peppers!' he would reiterate, Thomas watching
his every movement. 'Blast the fellow--he's a perfect torment'--Thomas
would interrupt by inquiring if he should bow the individual out.
'Say, Thomas,' he would rejoin, 'that we are engaged to-day studying
treaties and cannot be disturbed--that he must call at a future day.'
Mr. Bolt would with great complacency, turn to a more comfortable
position in his great chair. Thomas always executed his mission with
great skill, informing the unfortunate individual that a little
misunderstanding having broken out between the two nations, the
Legation was extremely busy in the study of treaties, and could not be
disturbed. Having digested this piece of information rather doggedly,
Mr. Thomas would politely bow the gentleman into the street, watching
his departure through the side lights. Another time, when Broadwood
called for that trifle, having a deal of ready money to make up, it
was despatch day; and upon the same principle despatch day came so
often that people began to think the Great Republic engaged in one
eternal controversy with the nations of Europe. Bolt never could be
seen on despatch days. The man with the bill for the tin-teapot was
alike unsuccessful; the gentlemen up-stairs walled themselves up in
despatch days, while Thomas politely bowed out all-importuners. They
were a scurvy lot, and might have known better! Mr. Bolt thought, as
he contemplated the sacred character of the mission. I well remember
how I laughed once, when Madame Lacelooper's man of business drove
Mr. Secretary Bolt, as I thought, into close quarters. Thomas, in
order to somewhat diversify his apologies, had three different times
satisfied this person by informing him that the gentlemen of the
Legation were in consultation with the Prime Minister; but this time
he was determined to see for himself, and regardless of Thomas'
assurance pushed his way into the presence of Mr. Bolt, who I need
scarcely add was extremely put out. 'I ask your honor's pardon' spoke
the man; 'you always come,' petulantly interrupted our hero, 'when we
are in a uproar.' The man replied with a bow, that it was the first
time he had gained an audience. He came from Madame Lacelooper's, and
would be extremely glad if Mr. Bolt could make it convenient to
discharge that little account, which had stood over for some time. It
was only two hundred and fourteen pounds, he said, in reply to a
question from Mr. Bolt, who encouragingly took the missive from his
hand. 'Thank you--thank you!' the man continued, evidently encouraged
as our hero cast his eye over the long list of items, so neatly
carried out with heavy numbers of pounds, shillings, and
pence. 'Rather heavy;' sighed the astonished Secretary. 'I suppose you
have orders for all these little affairs?'  The man replied that he
would have them forthcoming if necessary--that Madame Lacelooper's was
one of the most respectable establishments.  With a gracious bow,
reaching his hand for a book which the expectant gentleman mistook for
a bank-book, Mr. Bolt replied that it was on that account he gave it
his patronage. The gentleman thanked him for the honor, and hoped he
would continue his favors. And while this little episode was
performing in the great parlour, Mr. Thomas was exercising his skill
in diplomacy at the door--informing gentlemen that Mr. Bolt was
engaged over important State affairs, and politely bowing them out.'

"'Then Mr. Bolt having worked the gentleman's anxiety up to the
highest pitch, would take up his great gold pen, and on a piece of
whitest paper, figure, and figure, and figure, multiply and subtract,
contort his face and nervously frisk his fingers through his curly
black hair. It was all to no purpose, however he could not twist the
plaguy figures into a favorable balance. In fact the balance, despite
all his diplomacy, would get on the wrong page. At length, having
exhausted patience and found language to adapt himself to
circumstances, with great blandness of manner he would beg the
gentleman, convey his compliments to Madame Lacelooper, and say that
her little matter will be discharged at a future day. His balance, he
was surprised to find, did not enable him to meet it today; and he
further regretted that a very disagreeable affair having sprung up
between the Emperor of the French and his government, requiring for a
few days all the attention of the establishment, deprived him of the
opportunity of repairing to his banker's for the purpose of enlarging
his deposit. Ordering an attendant to bring in the treaties of 1812,
he added how sorry he was to give Madame Lacelooper, for whom he
entertained the highest regard, so much trouble. Legations were
peculiarly situated at times, he said. In reply to an intimation from
the gentleman in waiting, he said, gentlemen of the diplomatic corps
never paid in piecemeal. Here Thomas would put an end to the comedy by
announcing the arrival of the '_Minister for Foreign Affairs_,' and
politely bowing out the retiring gentleman, who, you may well imagine,
maintained a reluctant gravity. There was no end of these little
diplomatic comediettas, while Bolt honored the mission with his
presence, ending in what was long afterwards esteemed a capital joke,
which, though somewhat against my feelings, I will confidentially
relate. Bolt had named a certain day when all his little affairs would
positively be arranged, and this dawned of a calm and sunny autumn
morning, when everything about the Legation seemed to repose in peace
and quietness--when wars and obdurate creditors were forgotten, and we
plumed ourselves on the happy issue of several important international
questions. One very important member of the corps, however, seemed to
have something of great importance evolving in his mind; this was the
sagacious Thomas, who paced the hall with more than ordinary
superciliousness, now and then arranging his livery in the
mirror. About eleven o'clock there came a great gathering of
serious-looking individuals at the hall door; among them the quick eye
of Thomas discovered the following very respectable gentlemen,
viz.:--Broadwood, of the firm of Broadwood & Willow; Dole, the
distinguished wine merchant; Staple, the bootmaker; Madame
Lacelooper's man of business; and Peppers, the jeweller. The opening
of the door was succeeded by a great rush. Having expressed some
surprise at their mistake in calling so early, Thomas received his
visitors with his customary equanimity, and begged to remind them that
three o'clock was the hour appointed for the interview between
themselves and Mr. Bolt. Here he threw a sly wink at Peppers, which
that gentleman rendered into an intimation to remain, while he
politely bowed the remainder out. 'Wonderful assurance, these fellows
have,' said Thomas, turning to Peppers, who began to think he was all
right, 'they won't learn etiquette.' As he concluded he turned to have
a view through the side-light at his friends outside, who hung
contemplatively about the door, then addressing the inside
gentleman--'Peppers, I think you said?' he continued, working his lips
and smoothing his chin with the fingers of his right hand. That
gentleman bowed affirmatively as Thomas advanced a few steps toward
the parlor door, and then hesitated, as if in a deep study. 'Peppers,
Peppers, Peppers!' he accented somewhat curiously, until the creditor
had well nigh lost his patience in suspense. 'I beg your pardon, sir!'
(Thomas faced about with an entirely altered face), but, may I,
ah!--hem,--you see; there is a small affair in the way, Mr. Peppers.
The truth is, Mr. Bolt has ceased his connection with this

"'I must see him, nevertheless,' replied the obdurate creditor,
permitting his suspicions to get the better of his judgment. 'If you
do,' rejoined Thomas, bowing, 'you may have a longer drive than is
agreeable at this season of the year.'

"'You don't mean to tell me that he has left?' demanded Peppers,
stamping his foot, and allowing himself to become generally excited.
'Now, my friend,' Thomas replied in the coolness of his nature, making
a motion to open the street door, 'just take the matter like a
philosopher; don't let such little affairs trouble a man of your
standing. The fact is, between the sundown of one day, and rosy dawn
of another, our gallant Secretary just stepped out--that is, Mr. Bolt
has bolted!' Thomas bowed him politely out, and I leave you to judge
how many indignant threats were thrown out by Peppers, and what
occurred when he related the climax to his fellow-creditors, who
having a suspicion that all was not right, waited his appearance among
them at the corner of an adjacent street, against the lamp-post of
which they entered a protest deep and solemn. My great-uncle having
concluded his story, adjusted his crutch, wiped his weeping eyes,
relieved his hoarseness with a small quantity of temperance bitters,
and limped away.

[Note I.--The chapter is respectfully dedicated to General Pierce.]

[Note II.--The fastidious--I mean those rather inclined to facts, may,
to please their peculiar taste, transfer the scene of Mr. Secretary
Bolt's exploits to Paris; they may also add a date more modern.]



"Readers, and fellow citizens of these United States in general! know
ye, that I, Solomon Smooth, in the first person singular, as Uncle Sam
Houston used to say, being worn out with the fatigues of the
Ostend-Aix-la-Chapelle Congress, crossed the Atlantic in two
steamships--wanted to do both a good turn--got busted up by
neither--and at last found myself calmly luxuriating in the velvet and
damask of the 'White House.' By way of keeping up the spirit of Young
America, I knocked down all the attendants, stalked in like an
independent citizen who felt he was part owner of the establishment,
spread myself upon the softest sofa, and demanded the flunkey, who
stood trembling in the doorway, to bring me a Turkey ottoman, on which
to advantageously take the measure of my extremes. Believe me, Sam, I
went it in the way of comforts. The flunkey shook his head, and kept
up a significant silence. This was rather too much for the patience of
any respectable gentleman; and being aware that the Gineral had not
larned him proper manners, I got up and brought it myself. Nor yet did
it seem just the thing--something was wanting to complete the
free-and-easy, to which end I pulled out a real Havana regalia, and
puffed away so comfortably. Then I ordered the flunkey, whose hair was
seen stiffening on his head with fright, to bring me a spittoon--felt
sorry I neglected to import one from some of our European
Legations!--or I'd hurl the liquid every which way--perhaps storm his
high-colored Persian rugs! I was about to lay off in the very bliss of
comfort, when Pierce, followed by his black pig, came laraping into
the room, looking as amiable and undecided as ever. 'Smooth,' he
exclaimed, greeting me with a heartiness of hand little expected, 'I
am so glad to see you home once more!' Here he suddenly paused, gave
out ominous looks, lowered his voice to a whisper, and continued: 'In
the name of forgiveness, where did you contract such manners?' A
little cold sweat bespread his brow just then. 'Upon the faith of my
high position,' he continued, 'I thought my sending you to Europe
would have proved a polishing machine, and prepared you for shining in

"'Mr. Smooth,' I modestly returned, 'would prefer the General sat down
and calmly listen to how he came by his pretty manners. Somebody has
said, a man was known by the society he keeps. Be this as it may,
General, I don't come here to cast a single reflection on you; nor
would I proclaim to the fellow citizens of these United States that
you are in any wise accountable for what I am going to say and
disclose.' The General, somewhat struck by my demeanor, took a seat,
nervously, and applied his ear, while I extinguished the cigar, and
commenced summoning my thoughts. 'Having no manners when I left home,
General, I naturally depended for them upon those whom my mission
brought me in contact with. Now, General!--and this I would were held
strictly confidential between ourselves--when I got on the other side
of the water, (here I gave him a touch he understood), being your
Minister in General I naturally fell in and associated with your
Ministers in particular; and such a lot they were! I couldn't trust my
virtue in the company of one of them: albeit, in their company, you
were sure not to get into decent society. Foreign victims of
misgovernment had long viewed America as a land from whence came the
plain unostentatious gentleman of sense. How sad to think that they
had of late been so grievously disappointed! They are only men of
coarse manners, and low of bringing up, assuming the democrat, while
aping the snobism of the aristocrat. General, they are of your own
selecting; and, mark me, I only name it here out of sincere regard for
you, not expecting it to get abroad. In fact, General, the people of
Europe find they have been deluded. They see us affecting contempt for
the very fooleries we seek to imitate; they see these, your chosen,
playing the coarse ruffian to the end. To the foreign mind Americans
are America--to its chosen they look for the embodiment of its
institutions It cannot comprehend that the mongrel-mixture you have
sent abroad constitute the very essence of that ill opinion gained of
us by misrepresentation. This, General, is strictly private--only
intended for your own good. It were folly to look for pretty manners
in me after my connection with your chosen on the continent of Europe!
In London I found things all in a fuddle,--the head of the house
having dwindled into obscurity, while the juniors had been in all
sorts of business but that for which they had been paid and sent to
discharge; indeed, the revolutionary business, into which members of
the house had largely entered, had brought it into all sorts of
difficulties and disgraces. Again it was currently reported that, for
being too deeply engaged in the affairs of others, two of the smaller
functionaries had found themselves locked up in a police-station, and
only unlocked themselves with that protection which the sacred
character of the mission is supposed to grant:--in fact, General, and
I advance the intimation for your own good, the only thing in real
good order was the smoking and spitting department. In Paris the house
was a dead lock, inasmuch as the head couldn't understand a word the
French said, either about himself or his government; while the retinue
were all familiarly known at the cafes. In Madrid, the head of the
house, not having the value of discretion before his eyes, had fuzzled
away all his influence, having fought sundry duels, written himself
down an ass in controversy with editors, and failed in his proposal to
build up a young republic on the ruins of an old and dissolute
monarchy. Forcibly as the truth may depict our singular
misrepresentation abroad, we cannot forbear to say, that, so far did
this very French-American representative carry his fighting
proclivities, that a single instance of their being excelled--our
fighting London Secretary, who had challenged a score of very aged
gentlemen (and had been equally courageous were they double the age!)
without finding a single one to accept--could not be found. At the
Hague, the very respectable Hebrew gentleman, who conducted the
affairs of the house, had opened a barber-shop, where needy gentlemen
could be shaved _ad libitum_--provided always they brought a certain
description of notes, nor were dainty about how much were taken off
the corner. The house at Lisbon, report said, had got into very
orderly disorder, which was not in accordance with the character of
the very respectable Irish gentleman who kept it, and who could absorb
whiskey and tobacco with any other respectable gentleman from
Kilkenny. To the denizens, among whom he had made an extensive
acquaintance, his being an American and speaking such very good Irish
and bad English was a perfect mystery. You may be sure he likes well
his situation, and finds the duties of a Minister Extraordinary much
preferable to leading the retreat of a _pampero_ expedition.' Here the
General significantly opened one eye and shut the other: 'Only telling
you this for your own good' I watched him anxiously as he grasped me
by the hand, and replied: 'Smooth! the boldest stroke in my
administration does not please me so much as sending you Minister in
General to Europe. But can half you say be true?'

"'True?' I rejoined--'too true for delicate ears! General, you may
accept my word when I say it is not so much the public duties as the
private affairs of men you have got to keep a close eye upon; when the
private affairs of public men get astray the public suffers: this is
borne out in the result of your having appointed foreign gentlemen to
misrepresent us abroad. Your house at Turin is fashionable, but sorely
scandalized; the people there love the _fair_, but expect fairer
things of Americans. Your son of Moses, who plays so well his part at
Alexandria, is a bird vain of his feather, and may to-day be seen
carried through the streets in something resembling a clothes-basket,
and to-morrow in the market purchasing Nubian slaves fair to look
upon. These things may be necessary to a very fine gentleman in
Alexandria; but the being who performs them at the expense of his
country well earns the pity of its people. And while I am on this
theme, General, I cannot in justice pass over one whom I say in all
seriousness has, when contrasted with others, won for himself immortal
honors; I mean our worthy representative at St. Petersburg, who
understanding no language but his own, and that very imperfectly, has
the great good sense to say nothing, seclude himself from the society
of the Czar, and seek only the enjoyment of his own melancholy
contemplations. Now General; however much you may esteem the doings of
your chosen, there is in Europe but one opinion of their manners; and
that opinion being, I regret to say, not the very highest, will for
some time to come measure our influence at sundry Courts. I got my
manners, General, by mixing with your chosen!' The General here drew a
long breath, said dinner was almost ready; would I not change the
subject, and talk about the war business, and such things.



"Mr. Smooth, a young man of the fast school, has been calculating,
during his tour in Europe, the saving it would be to nations if they
would but let their wars out by the job to some enterprising
fellow-citizen. He reckons, in a funny sort of way, he would then pay
just in accordance to the amount and quality of thrashing it were
necessary to inflict upon the enemy. That it would divest war of its
glories, and ambitious men of their zeal, he never had a doubt. War
taken by the job, at a given sum for thrashing the enemy right
soundly, would resolve itself into a mere trading commodity, fit only
to be dabbled in by shopkeepers and stockbrokers. By this turn in
national affairs, Kings and Czars might curtail their ambition, and
their devoted subjects, being paid to fight by the lump, would hurry
through their contract. General Pierce, too, would find it decidedly
more convenient, inasmuch as it would save his benevolent people the
trouble of inflicting that most unwarrantable rebuke--sending bread to
the hungry people at Greytown he has made homeless with his
bombshells. Smooth leans no disrespect to Mr. President Pierce, who,
since his wondrous victory over the Mosquitoes, has disappointed the
world by demonstrating the singular fact that he has a gunpowder
policy, which he developes when he can find objects sufficiently small
for his purposes. Heretofore, Smooth had got an idea in his head
(crosswise he admits), that if Mr. President Pierce had anything
assimilating to a policy, it must be like his grandmother's hard
cider--the longer it remained exposed the flatter it became. That this
was an egregious mistake, is fully proven to a mistaken world by the
dauntless and immortal Admiral Hollins (he should be promoted to the
rank), who, to give positive evidence of the size of his master's
spirit, just battered down a defenseless town or two. It may turn out
that the bombshelling was only to practice a little in that sort of
gunnery, and that using up the property of American citizens to
illustrate the war principles of Uncle Sam was merely an evidence of
spunk in Mr. Pierce, who expected his people to knock under.

"Smooth has been at the White House, seeing Mr. Pierce, and cautioning
him about the look of things abroad, lest they get kind of snarled up.

"Being a genuine New Englander, with real Puritanic blood in his
composition, Smooth considered himself a good sort of man,--rather a
desirable neighbor, conscientious, extremely disinterested, and always
ready to do a bit of a good turn, never forgetting number one. Smooth
was just going to ask the Gineral if this was not so, when he smiled
so free and easy that it settled the point shorter.

"'Now, Smooth, you've seen a good deal, I reckon, and must be a man of
profound opinions: tell us, are we going to get fuzzled up in the
breakers on the other side of the big pond?' inquired the Gineral,
looking so serious that Smooth made it a point to get his ideas
squared up.

"'Somethin for us citizens to have a go-in-at, you means, I s'pose?'

"'Yes!' replied the Gineral.

"Smooth reckoned 'twas best to have an understanding about how much he
was going to get from Uncle Sam's chink-locker for doing the thrashing
for these United States afore he said much about what was going on in
the world. Uncle Sam was a good old soul, and, seeing that he did not
keep the best cash account in the world, Smooth had no objection to
entering into the tin business with him, now that he had a large stock
on hand. Smooth, however, must make one single proviso, and that is,
that he be always permitted to work out the p's and q's of his own

"'Ah!' replied the Gineral, good-naturedly; 'Smooth, you're a sharp
fellow, with gumption enough to see through a thing or two; but
remember, if we contract for the licking, with some enterprising
individual, we must pay by measurement. There's the democracy to
please, the country to satisfy, Young America to provide with clean
shirts! I thought my gallant fellow Hollins would have done that when
I sent him to _let strip_ at the Greytowners; but, as the result was
different, a body can't always tell how such things 'll turn, I now
think of letting him out to the Emperor of Russia, who having granted
him means of developing his fighting capacity, by investing him with
full power to thrash the allied fleets of England and France, would
not hesitate to pay a large amount of revenue into the treasury of
these United States for his daring services. But you see, Smooth, my
government is merely an experiment, which may or may not please, and
in this sense your experience will be extremely valuable.'

"Smooth saw Mr. President Pierce wanted experience; but, at the same
time, he was fearful the General would get the points, and out-general
him. However, as it was always better to have confidence in each other
when pursuing a political question, and knowing the General to be a
sort of clever fellow, ready to do almost anything, he entered upon
the decyphering. There was the S.S.S. (Sickles, Souley, and Saunders)
Company, doing a slap-up business in Europe! He must have them thrown
in. While the head of the firm was generously lending a hand to turn
mother monarchy out of doors, and the in-door partner was making sad
use of the stock in trade (which consisted of a very large supply of
letter-writing material, only to be used for disseminating republican
principles), the junior of the house, taking advantage of the
opportune moment, thought it quite in keeping with the spirit of the
times to make a spec on his own account; and to that end the said
junior partner (not the least sagacious of the three), with a bill of
sale of Cuba in his pocket, had just stepped over to Washington to
consummate the purchase, and revel awhile in the damask of the White
House. Borland, finding no more congressional faces to smash in
Washington--from which city it was considered General Pierce had
removed an intolerable perplexity by sending him to foreign parts--had
been recompensed by the smashing of his own, in Central America, where
he had raised a tolerable sort of a breeze. He, too, must be thrown
in. Seymour, the blue-stocking governor, of whom so much was expected,
and whose mission to the god of all the Rushas, American statesmen
looked upon with great anxiety, it was currently reported had burrowed
in a snow-bank somewhere in the interior of the amiable Czar's vast
dominions, not one word having been heard of him for the last nine
months. That he had not lent material aid to the fighting Cossack, was
a source of grievous dissatisfaction to Young America.

"Smooth spread all these things out before the Gineral, just as clear
as water. To get Cuba--which was not just ready to hook on--and
St. Domingo, that it would take some nice diplomacy to make consider
the annexation question, and a few slices more of Mexico, ready to
make fast any moment; the Sandwich Islands, yearning to get in;
Central America, hardly worth taking in, but nevertheless acceptable,
on the ground of carrying out the universal plan, and Canada only
requiring a little more coaxing, Smooth thought the cost could be
reckoned down to a close figure. But there was Uncle Johnny, and his
newly-coined friend Louis Napoleon, to be kept shy while all this was
going on; and just there the plague and expense of the thing hung.
However, Smooth scratched his head, and made up his mind to enter into
a bargain to do the licking at a fair showing, cash down. As to the
brush between Nicholas and his neighbor--unhappy wretches; one always
wanting to steal the bits of stray territory--Smooth found it painful
to keep his fingers out; but there was this to be taken into
consideration: the getting his fingers in might be the getting out of
his commerce, which said commerce was the model machine of the Model
Republic's power.

"Mr. President Pierce fully believed that Nicholas of all the Rushas
had got his eye set to the East, notwithstanding he had quite enough
to do in the West; and, though he declared himself moved only by
christian visions, it seemed curious enough that he had not the
slightest objection to raising most un-christian wars. Nicholas was
shrewder than a Connecticut tin pedlar, and more ambitious than a
South Carolina politician, who, ever and anon, is ready to war with
the Britishers, because the _fools_ obstinately refused to admire
slavery. Nicholas had got himself into an interminable fix. Mr.
Pierce, merely to please the youthful democracy, would like to lend
Nick a hand to unfix himself, but the hitherto dormant power of the
nation quickens to action, and says, 'It won't do, Mr. General
Pierce!' Forced to submit, the General consoles himself with the fact
that his friend Nicholas will draw himself into his invulnerable
shell, sing the Te Deums, and trust the fate of war, for a dozen years
or so, to the All-wise Father.

"'Now, Gineral,' said Smooth, addressing himself to Mr. President
Pierce, 'the items are all down!--there will be warm work, depend upon
it!--and seeing how Uncle Sam'll have to scratch in somewhere (just to
make a point or two), Cousin Caleb and me will take the job of doing
all the necessary fighting on both sides the big pond, and getting all
the stray territory required to complete these United States, for
eighty-six million dollars--two and a half per cent. off for ready
money. Might as well let Smooth have the shiners, seeing how me and
Caleb would give security to do the fighting up brown; and. then
somebody was getting the tin out of Uncle Sam's big bag in a fast kind
of way that nobody could explain. Smooth begged Mr. President Pierce
to give the thing a few turns over in his head, and when the problem
came as clear as daylight, send him his figure by the first post.'
With this, Mr. Smooth retired to the National.



"Mr. Smooth (I write after the style most in fashion), having been
associated with Mr. Pierce, whose Minister in general he was, as has
been set forth in this history, is come to be regarded as a very
dangerous individual. It is astonishing with what facility we gain bad
repute from association with a certain class of men and things. Our
country is a stalwart oasis, rising in reproachful greatness over the
old and dwindling dependencies around it; but our Pierce government is
a waste in its centre, contaminating and casting the blight of
intrigue upon those connected with it. It builds bulwarks for itself,
and breaks them down with the mere fog of its own breakers. It, like a
dauntless boy, seizes the helm of State, and steering by scheme
instead of compass, runs the ship ashore in unknown seas. As Smooth is
a national Christian, he believes the timbers of the old ship tough
and strong, or they had been bilged ere this. But, while speaking of
contamination in connection with Mr. Pierce, he (Smooth) is forcibly
reminded of the similarity between it and an episode in the life of
his great-grandfather. This venerable ancestor, when fine society was
less tenacious of its associations, entered upon the cultivation of
pumpkins as a business, but in after life, as the novelist has it,
became a railroad president, and as an inseparable result, a great
financier. When in the latter position, being a very sensitive person,
he tried to get rid of the odor of the pumpkin business; but all to no
purpose. Do what he would, go where he would, contribute to what he
would, mix with what society he would, be as generous as he would,
people were heard to whisper 'pumpkins;' and to construe his motives
as prompted by the same spirit which induced him to make a business of
cultivating that vegetable. A similar odor, arising from his
connection with Pierce, Smooth found clinging to his garments. The
world in general viewed him as a dangerous man, for the simple reason
that his master was regarded with the same eye of suspicion. Pierce
was not ignorant of this, and to obviate Smooth's difficulties, said
he would send him Down East, as before related. Being of an undecided
turn, he could not make up his mind about the war business in Europe,
nor could he exactly define where he stood with regard to Central
America. He would like to give me (Smooth) the job to do the fighting
for these United States, for he felt sure I could not fail to make a
grand affair of it. As for Caleb being taken into the contract (he,
the General, shook his head doubtingly), he had some doubt of the
policy; he was fast enough, but there was no knowing which way he
would turn at any moment, nor was he at all times to be trusted. For
the present, Smooth must be contented with a first-class mission to
Down East, where he would settle the fish and other questions
international; at the same time, he might be evolving in his mind the
affair of the war. Did Minister Smooth deem it expedient, he might
without prejudice, taking the Ostend for example, call together on the
Island of St. Paul--or, if preferable, the Isle of Sables--a Congress
of American Ministers, provided, nevertheless, he invite Major Hammet,
of the Pictou Mission, and Governor Darby, of the Isle of Dogs. Pierce
strictly enjoined that no letters be received from Monsieur Souley,
nor his dogmatic Secretary, and that the subjects to be discussed were
the internal affairs of Baffin's Bay, Greenland, the North Pole, the
Labrador Coast, and the straits of Bell Isle--from which the
importation of cod oil had sadly fallen off during our fish
difficulties. Not to weary the reader, Smooth is here happy to relieve
his mind by stating that simple prudence restrained him from calling
together this august Congress; he left it where he found it--in
Mr. Pierce's fruitful head.

"Conscious of the necessity, Smooth bound Mr. Pierce down to detail,
particularly stipulating that he should bear the ultimate
responsibility in the event of failure. Now to the result!

"His opinion of the Novascotians had always been favorable, and when
he left Mr. Pierce it was with a promise that he would do all he could
to enlighten them. But as impressions will change at a nearer view, so
when he got wrong did he regard both the quality and quantity of their
radicalism as injurious to the best interests of the State. There was
in the little green-hilled province an endless amount of political
talking done, with so small an amount of patriotism evinced, that we
were not at a loss for the cause that had kept the State in
obscurity. Then there seemed so much government, that everything was
ungoverned. And he (Smooth) thought there was a want of activity,
physical as well as mental, and a recklessness of getting into debt to
Mr. John Bull, who never could infuse a sufficient sense of honor into
his Colonial subjects to make them pay over, or regard their
obligations. Want of energy and a criminal dependence upon the 'home
Government' for assistance, with which to develop the resources of the
country, resulted in a want of confidence in the State's own means to
better its condition. The Home Government, and an imported Governor,
were blighting to their vital energies. This subject, however, is not
fruitful, hence his reader will please accompany him to a different.
Having left Pierce for a time, Smooth, with that resolution so
characteristic of his countrymen, wherever found, entered into the
codfish business. Transforming himself (after the manner of his uncle
Jeff Davis), into a captain of the fishing schooner Starlight, which
said schooner he ran over the treaty line straight into Fox Island, on
the coast of Cape Breton, where he proposed making the acquaintance of
the inhabitants, and, if possible, a treaty of friendship and
commerce. The waters in and about the port were alive with
mackerel--the finest, plumpest, fattest, and most willing fish ever
seen in any waters. They sported round us, looking clever enough to
make all on board the schooner believe they wanted to come on board.
The crew felt like scraping acquaintance with them, favoring them with
a hook, and the like; but then there interposed that great
bugbear--the treaty line. Hard was it to tell where this line was; it
might, for aught to the contrary, be on the top of a wave, upon which
we might be tossed, much against Smooth's inclination, far into the
unlawful side. Being, however, inside of the line and surrounded by
mackerel, one would have supposed the Nova Scotians had been on the
alert catching them. The case was just the reverse, for not a Nova
Scotiaman was to be seen. To Smooth's mind this was making a law to
protect the lazy, something he never approved of, more especially in
these days of energy and railroads. A determination was come to, after
mature deliberation, that fish there were and fish our boys must have,
so you must lend an ear while Smooth relates the manner in which he
got them. Deacon Hawkins kept an inn for the entertainment of man and
beast. It was not the very best kind of an inn, for it was managed by
the deacon's wife, whose parsimony and love of Friday evening meetings
had lost her nearly all her guests and driven her children barefoot
into the street. On the day following the Starlight's arrival, as luck
would have it, a 'political meeting' was to be holden at the Deacon's,
when a considerable amount of first-rate drinking was sure to come
off. Smooth, being Mr. Pierce's minister in general, was honored with
an invitation which he declined in consideration of his anxiety to be
among the mackerel. Something must indeed be done for the mackerel;
the case was a serious one. Had the Britishers shown a resolution to
be among the fish, Smooth had lent them a hand to secure the whole
shoal, and then brought them back, merely to avoid the penalty of the
British law, and secure the bounty given by ours. Well, the Britishers
were all gone to a political meeting, where a noisy politician of the
name of Joe Howe, and another of the name of Doyle, having come all
the way from Halifax, and brought with them other great men of the
political world of Nova Scotia, would relieve themselves of ponderous
speeches, to hear which all the old men of the parish would take their
promising sons. Smooth never regarded political meetings over highly,
and had more than once thought those so earnest in attending them had
done much better attending their potato fields. With this opinion made
stronger in the present instance, he counselled Mister Splitwater, the
mate, whose logic never was known to be at fault. Splitwater, agreed
that it was expedient to be in pursuit of the fish while the
Britishers were attending their political gatherings and
prayer-meetings. Mackerel were right knowing fish, he said, and could
with good feed be coaxed across the line, and into the waters not held
sacred against American hooks by British law. And to this end a goodly
amount of bait was ground up; and the wind coming in the quarter most
favorable to our movements, canvas was got on the Starlight, and in
charge of Splitwater, who was directed to keep a bright eye on the
warships, she put to sea like a thing of life dancing with snowy wings
over the blue, blue waters. While he was taking care of the fish,
Smooth remained on shore, keeping those who attended the political
meeting all right, and making a speech or two when called upon.

"To hear the eloquent Joe Howe tell the Nova Scotians what they would
be were it not for James Johnson and Toryism was really very
amusing. He forgot to tell them that he had no serious objection to
being made Colonial Secretary seeing that a nice little salary was
attached. When Smooth made his appearance at the political gathering
of course no one thought there was any fish-taking going on. Then he
endeavored to make the credulous citizens feel free and easy,
entertaining them with jokes of a strong kind, and explaining the
crude process of electioneering down in Texas and Arkansas. No sooner
had the politicians got through their speeches than they retired to
what was called an 'open house,' where all good radicals could drink
_ad libitum_ and make merry. Smooth was honored with an invitation to
join in a few joyous glasses, but he rather doubted the policy of
drinking so much election liquor. It might under certain circumstances
serve the ends of politicians, but never the greater interests of a
nation. A drinking man is sure to fool himself in the end, nor can a
man serve the interests of the State who neglects his own. But, be it
here understood Uncle Sam, there is a philosophical way of applying
the practical to make things profitable, which may be carried out with
more facility by making oneself cheerful and courteous with those
among whom we may be cast. This Smooth always aimed to do.

After a while Smooth calculated how he'd got politics enough; an'
knowin' how Splitwater was 'commodatin' the mackerel outside the line,
he steps down to Deacon Sam Moody's prayer meetin', what they holds at
night after the 'lection meetin. Here it was all right; Smooth was
just as much of a Christian as anybody could honestly be, and a longer
face nobody could desire. Smooth, at the Deacon's, was-well known for
his pious principles; but the good folk about there had never seen
Smooth in an anxious way. Well, the deacon congratulated Smooth on his
appearance, his spiritual welfare, his happy prospects of something
beyond this. It would have done you good to see the brothers and
sisters crowd round him, lookin' so excited 'bout the care of
somethin' anybody can take care of without neglectin' business. (We
here give Smooth's language in its crude state). It was amazin' to see
what an amount of pious a fellow could get into his face, and then get
his face into a right focus; but when brother Smalwood invited him to
pray! that was shavin' the thing a little too close--more nor a man
what was thinking about Splitwater and the mackerel could shoulder.
Had not a mite of an objection to 'commodatin' the good folks with
'most anything, or puttin' on the longest and seriousest face out
doors--a face that would beat the Deacon's; but couldn't go t'other
thing. Smooth could rather beat the Deacon on a serious face; but the
old hoss was a regular steamboat when it come to exhortations and such
things. Wouldn't 'a done to have a brush with the Deacon, without
being sure of beating him, for he was mighty egotistical about his
prayers. Well, there was no help for it, we must feel kind and happy
to see so many happy ones around one, who could not? It was strictly
in accordance with Smooth's philosophy to make people as happy as
possible, and so he kept asking anxious questions, gettin'
satisfactory answers,--answers that would be sure to make me all
straight in the pious, with a day or two's consideration.

"In this way the spirits kept up until the pleasant hour of midnight
came; then the Deacon invited me to go home and hang up at his
house. It was just the thing for Smooth, but he had to decline twice
before he got over the polite so to accept: and then he knew Split was
taking the mackerel aboard like sixty. So he went home with the
deacon, turned in for the night, and knew nothing more till daylight.

"Now he must disclose how the Starlight and Split got along, coaxing
the mackerel with fresh bait, just as General Pierce does the Soft
Shells. Split meets the schooner Spunk, Skipper Pluck, afore he begun
to get to the line, outside of which he could fish according to
law. Split and he were old cronies, and they just _heaves to_, and has
a talk about what's best to be done. 'Twarn't long afore they had
negotiated the plan, which, when carried out, they were to divide the
spoils equal. Seeing how the Britishers, every year, pay over a
million pounds sterling for keeping open the fishing question, driving
the fish out of the water with big man-o'-war ships and steamships,
and making a deal of pleasant fun for a great many fine gentlemen who
threaten to swallow a fisherman for taking a fish; and that the United
States pay about one-fifth as much for the privilege of sending some
of their big ships to help the Britishers play the genteel, while
hoping that stupid diplomacy will long continue to give them the same
Opportunity, Split and Pluck reckoned how they'd come a point over the

"The great point was to steer clear of the big British steamer,
Devastation. Pluck said he seed her steamin' away down to the
northward t'other a'ternoon, and so it was agreed that Pluck, with the
Pinkey Spunk, should run down in her track. If he sighted her in the
morning he was just to _play her about_ some, until Split got the
mackerel on board. And so, instead of the Devastation going in search
of him, the Spunk went after her, and, as luck would have it, met her
just inside of the treaty line. The Spunk pretended to be shying--put
on the rags as if he was going to try legs with the Devastation.
Crowdin' steam like all Jehu, down the Devastation came, as if she
were going to smash the Spunk, and blow her to Daniel's dungeon. Bang!
whang! boomed a gun or two, but seem' how ther' warn't no iron fallin'
about, Pluck reckoned he'd keep her to it a time longer, knowin' in
his soul that every mile further he got the Devastation away from the
Starlight, so much the better for Splitwater and the mackerel. It
warn't long, afore whir! ziz! ziz! came somethin' what made a mighty
splashin', and looked savagarous, square across her stern sheets.
Pluck reckoned how the Britisher had got his dander up, and about
cleverest thing would be to round to, seem' how the feller was wastin'
his shot, and sendin' things what might save a body the trouble of
puttin' on a night-cap about bedtime. 'Now,' said Pluck, 'the
Devastation feels kind a out o' sorts, and 'll just knock the Spunk
into an apple dumplin';' but she didn't! Well, the skipper and his
dandy officers came on board, looking all so shined up, and vented
their indignant feelins' by takin' it all out in a shower of cussin'
that would 'a made yer hair stand on end straight. In a few minutes
more, a feller in a monkey jacket, a brass button on his hat, and
otherwise officially costumed, put on the dignity of the quarter-deck,
and out-talked the skipper. 'Now, why the devil didn't you come to
when you saw our signal?' says he, with a face of daggers, and looking
at Pluck as if he was goin' to spring the main-mast with his teeth.
'Hand up yer papers here--quick, bear a hand! Take off yer hatches,
too; you've been fishing inside of the _line_,' he grumbled out, as
quickly as you'd overhaul a chain cable. Pluck bore it like a
philosopher, cool and quietly. 'No we hain't nether, stranger; hain't
hooked a fish for two days. Can't 'commodate us with a sup of fresh
water, can ye? Wanted to get a chance at the shore, but ain't had one
for more nor three weeks; true! by Christopher Columbus,' rejoined
Uncle Pluck, puttin' on the most innocent face ye ever did see.

"'We'll talk about that by-and-by,' says the Britisher. 'If you'd a
cum to, like a man, as you should, and not given us this long chase
after you, you might have had some claim to our generosity. We are
only carrying out Her Majesty's orders for the benefit of the Colonial

"'Lord love yer soul, stranger! had I but known that, ye wouldn't a
seen this salt-water citizen about these diggings. Pluck had been hum,
helping Cousin Gethro to keep school--would!'

"'Never mind that. We don't want yer Yankee soft sauder! Bear a hand,
get your hatches off, and your papers up!'

"'Ye hain't seen Uncle Caleb's craft--her name's the Winking
Weazel--as ye come from down north, have ye?' inquires Pluck, giving
the mate a side wink.

"'What the devil do I care about yer Winking Weazels? I'm quite
certain you have been fishing inside of the line, or you had obeyed
our summons properly,' he growled out again, like a bear in
trouble. 'Blow my buttons, if I warn't most scared to death when I
seed ye comin'! Couldn't tell what on 'arth ye wanted; and I know'd
that if there war' a chance at all, it was to run. If I'd know'd ye
war' such a clever lookin' fellow, and that ye warn't a going to hurt
a body, I'd come to quicker nor lightenin.' Pluck got all the
philosophy in his natur' up. 'Suppose ye step down into the cabin and
have a leetle of somethin' to take, seem' what a tarnal ugly fog's
comin' up. Tom Blowers 'll get all the things clear, so ye can take a
look round, and be satisfied how we ain't been takin' advantage of the
law, while you and me wets t'other eye with a little what won't taste
bad,' continues Pluck, doing the polite all up. The good natur' of the
chap was a good way down' in him, but talkin' of a little drop just
dropped into the right place, brought it up all over him. 'Well,
seeing it's you, providing it's right good, I don't mind,' he replied,
reflectively. It warmed up the tender spot in his stomach, and, going
down below, he wet t'other eye twice. 'Stonishin' to see how good the
critter got all at once. He was just the best natured Britisher that
ever came along. 'Twas just the medicine to cure his disease.

"'Now! here's the dockerments' (Pluck hands him the papers), 'and ye
can take a squint into the hold. Hain't touched a fish for three
days. Just so, stranger,' rejoined Pluck, tellin' the cook to get the
skipper of the Devastation to be kind enough to lend him a keg of

"'Schooner Spunk, of Barnstable, 84 tons burden, Jacob Pluck, master,
&c., &c. Mighty formidable combination,' ejaculated the Britisher,
lookin' his eyes almost out, and runnin' the forefinger of his right
hand over the Spunk's Certificate. Then turning to Pluck, a sort of
half-way grin of good nature on his countenance, he continued: 'You
Yankees are curious specimens, after all. Pretty generous,
good-natured when it's profitable, hard to understand, and as cute

"'Don't say the last!' interrupts Pluck. 'Seeing it's you, citizen, we
wont argue that point just now. Satisfied on the dockerments, ain't

"'Confound the dockerments! I don't want to bother myself with
them. Mind your eye next time; cover when you see the signal,' says
the Britisher, whom Pluck had got nicely smoothed down.

"'Reckon how there won't be any mistake about it next time. Give us
yer hand, captain.' (Pluck shakes hands with the Britisher). 'They say
the Pinkey, Starlight--you know she's a ripper to fish inside of the
line!--got into a monstrous shoal of fresh mackerel day afore
yesterday, and is now takin' on 'em like sixty, inside of the line,
down _north-east_ of us.'

"'Do you tell me that? That fellow Smooth at it, again, fishing inside
of the line? And inside the point as well, I suppose?' The Britisher
looked surprised, and listened attentively to Pluck as he assumed an
air of innocence.

"'Just so! Smooth is the keenest feller. Don't care a whit about the
line; and the Starlight's so mighty used to fishin' inside, that even
the fish seem to have a likin' for the skipper.'

"'I'll see after that treaty-breaker, I will,' growls the chap,
changing his good natur' into bad again.

"'Down _north-east of us_ ye'll find him, inside the point,' continues
Pluck, looking all over serious.

"'I'll catch the fellow, and right soon, too;' and, being right good
friends, they shook hands, and the Britisher left, quite satisfied.
Just as he, in his boat, was leavin' the Spunk for the Devastation,
Pluck bellowed out, fearin' he'd forget it, 'Keep a straight course,
_north-east_ about two points east! about two points east! and yer
sure to come upon him.' The last thing Pluck saw of the Devastation,
she was heading for _the supposed spot_, steering away, drivin' all
the fish into the middle of the Atlantic, and expecting to find the
Starlight where Pluck said she was.

"No sooner was the Devastation put all right than Pluck hauled his
wind, and next mornin' came up with the Starlight, which had taken
about eighty barrels of fine fat mackerel. The game being nicely
played, the Starlight and the Spunk both run in for a shelter, where
the spoils could be shared according to practical diplomacy--not the
diplomacy that has been twenty years gettin' the question into an
interminable difficulty. This done, Smooth, having helped the folks on
shore with their political meetings, and prayer meetings, and
consultation meetings, stepped on board again, and took command of the
Starlight without any extra trouble. But that was not the end of
it. The looks of such fine fat fish raised a mighty fuss in the town,
everybody forgot the politics and the prayer meetings, and begun to
talk fish. They declared the Yankees had encroached on the Britisher's
rights. Despatches were next day to go to head-quarters, a whole
British fleet was wanted, and must come down and seize Smooth's
Pinkey, the Starlight--fish and all. The whole talk and noise didn't
make much matter to Smooth; he didn't believe in talking--acting was
his motto--go-ahead. 'Blow away, citizens--blow away! A little more
energy is worth the whole. There is fish enough for us all; but
politics and prayer meetings will not catch them.'



"The good people of Nova Scotia were, in days gone by, exceedingly
given to Toryism, and, as was then held to be the natural result, very
loyal. To such an extent was this loyalty and love of Toryism--as it
was then called--carried, that a person who consumed 'Yankee goods'
was seriously suspected of some improper design against the State. The
consumption of British manufactures and British-grown produce was, on
the other hand taken as strong testimony of loyalty and confidence in
the wise powers protecting the interests of the State. The very
presence of 'Yankee goods' was ominous of evil; and as it was
desirable the good people should be kept well up to their Toryism,
many were the means resorted to for forcing the exclusive consumption
of British produce. Tea from the United States was prohibited for the
benefit of the East India Company--powder must be British! Tobacco
paid imperial and colonial duties approximating to a prohibition; and
the consumer of the weed was considered quite an extravagant
aristocrat, who either had dealings with smugglers, or was wasting his
fortune in the ways of the devil. In a word, imperial and colonial
duties dried up the energies of the people, and gave new life to a
contraband trade that was fast destroying the best interests of the
State. The result was, that the best smuggler was the most desperate
fellow; but it generally happened that the man who said most against
'Yankee goods' was sure to be deepest implicated in contraband trade.

"To be a scientific smuggler in those days it was necessary to be a
justice of the peace: and if the office were coupled with that of
church warden so much the better. About this time there was, in the
Bay of Fundy, an old coaster of the name of Hornblower, who knew every
creek, cove, inlet and headland, together with all the best points for
smuggling, from the St. Croix River to Windsor Bay on the one side,
and from Windsor Bay to Barrington on the other. Skipper Hornblower,
as he was then called, had the go-ahead in him, and commanded the
schooner Dash, owned by one Squire Burgle, who carried on a strictly
_legitimate_ trade with the Yankees over the _line_, though he always
gave out that he hated them as a people, nor would ever sell a
pennyworth of their notions which he denounced as worthless.
Hornblower was a _brusque_ old salt, but had a right good heart in
him, and, not liking the way trade was restricted by imperial and
colonial exactions, thought it no harm to work to windward of the
collectors now and then, and accommodate his friends in a free-trade
sort of way. Tea, 'in them times,' cost six colonial shillings and a
day's journey per pound, and a gallon of molasses about the same. The
good old women in more remote parts of the province, must have their
tea, and molasses was an indispensable luxury, for they were indeed
poor. But they were compelled to buy of the established merchant, who
was a sort of prince in his way, and dictated his terms to the people,
whom he always kept in poverty while he got rich. Molasses, tea,
tobacco, and rum (New England white-eye, labelled Jamaica!)
constituted his stock in trade. To length of credit he added
corresponding prices, never forgetting to take good security. His
medium price for tick was only forty per cent. addition, which he
considered extremely liberal.

"And thus, through a pettifogging colonial policy, commerce was turned
into the merest peculation by a class of persons who made it their
object to restrict the agriculturist, and hold his interests at their
mercy. The more the farmer raised, the more he found himself subject
to the shopkeeper's narrow restrictions; and thus the interests of a
naturally energetic people were held in check. The Home Government
(God bless it! as the very loyal Provincials used to say when the
Imperial Parliament took their cause under consideration) thought
little about the outside Nova Scotians, except to say, once in a
while, that the territory they inhabited belonged to her Majesty,
which fact the people of the province were forcibly reminded of by the
presence of imported gentlemen, whom it had pleased her Majesty to
place in all responsible offices. In fact, the Home Government,
through its pewter-headed policy, was for ever making laws to suit the
immediate demands of a favored few, who said good things of loyalty
and toryism, and left the rest to chance.

"During this state of affairs, Skipper Hornblower's fame sounded far
and wide, and many were the stories told of his smuggling exploits,
and how Squire Burgle always kept a large stock of British goods on
hand, which he never sold cheaper than any body else, though he got
richer. Hornblower's account of how he and the Squire carried on
business together in the good old times may not be uninteresting,
'Squire Burgle,' said Hornblower, 'was a great man in them days, said
a sight of good things in his prayers every night and morning,
denounced smuggling, and hoped all those fearless men that followed it
would see the error of their way, turn to her Majesty, and make their
loyalty honor the State. Squire used to send me to Boston--(the Dash
was the only craft in the trade then)--with little things to sell, and
a return cargo of flour, gin, tobacco, and such like Yankee notions,
which the Nova Scotians must have, and upon which her Majesty lavished
most ungracious duties, to fetch home. Well, the Squire lived at the
town of Annapolis, twenty miles up a river, where Digby, at its
entrance, was the only port of entry within a hundred miles. Seeing
that I liked to make quick trips, it was not always convenient to stop
at this obdurate port of entry, and so I used to lay the Dash's head
for a piece of dark wood on a point of land outside the entrance
(always being careful to have a clearance in _merchandise_) and run
her close aboard of it. Squire had a cousin living near that bit of
wood, who used to understand the thing, and could sight the Dash's
signal ten miles at sea. Lying off and on until sundown, the Squire's
cousin would hang out a light on a tree; if at the top it was the
signal--'All right;' if half-mast, 'Keep out!' 'There's the light--all
right to-night! the boys used to say, when it gleamed at the tree
top.' Then into the basin and up the river we used to dodge, passing
on the opposite side of the river, and as far from the port of entry
as it was possible to get, and reaching a point on the banks where the
cargo was to be discharged, while the folks on shore were all nicely
sleeping. The Squire, of course, had said his prayers, or, as it
sometimes would happen--though it was always accidental--had gone to
Digby, for the purpose of giving her Majesty's Collector a ride into
the country. The Collector was always an imported gentleman, who
maintained a good deal of imported dignity, which the Nova Scotians
had to 'tip' out of him, ere he became a clever fellow, according to
their notion of such a being. In addition to taking the Collector a
short pleasure trip into the country, the Squire had a nigger fellow,
of the name of Tom, who, as cunning as a fox, could tell the Dash was
coming, by something he always said he saw was in the clouds. Tom
lived on Pin Point, where the Squire had his half-way warehouse,
always full of foreign goods, on which no one could tell how much duty
had been paid. This half-way warehouse, which Tom called his, used to
atone for a monstrous quantity of sins. The Squire, however, declared
he had established it there, in the fulness of his generosity, merely
to accommodate his kind customers, whose means of travelling did not
enable them to reach his trading marts at either extreme. But, when
customers called at Pin-Point to do a little trading with the Squire,
they generally found it closed, and Old Tom offering his very best
apology, by saying it was where master only did his wholesale
business. This was accepted on the ground that the Squire and Tom were
very funny individuals. Well, we would run to the Point at night, and
Tom having everything ready to move at the word, would shoot the
Yankee goods into the warehouse, where, in six hours, they would be
all transferred into real British growth and manufacture. During this
time the Squire was nowhere; but Tom did things as if he knew
how. Indeed no sooner were the goods out than we made the best of our
way down the river again.

"Next morning, the sun about two hours up, you would see the Dash away
down the bay, as calm as moonlight, just sighting Digby.
Squire--totally ignorant of Hornblower's arrival--would be putting on
the longest face in the town of Annapolis, going up and down the
street quite disconsolate, and climbing into the church steeple to see
if he could sight the Dash below. 'Hornblower's gone this time!' he
would say, shaking his head, 'must be lost! must be lost! must be
lost!' And the Squire would tell about his horrid dream, seeing
Hornblower's ghost smuggling a chest of tea (real congou), and the
Collector catching him on the spot. 'Hornblower's tricky--he larnt it
of the Yankees--and I'm always afraid he'll get cotched smuggling
little things for himself. What a blessing it is to have a clear
conscience!' he would say: the last sentence referring to himself.

"But soon the knowing ones got an inkling of the Squire's secrets, and
when he mentioned the Dash in his prayers at morning, and walked the
wharf after breakfast, muttering his misgivings, she was sure to
arrive in the afternoon. There was virtue in the Squire, but the
citizens got the hang of it so well, that whenever I arrived at town
they would say: 'It's only Hornblower's ghost.'

"While the Squire would be doing what he called the straight-forward
up in town, I'd be dropping kedge at Digby, where (the Colonial
Parliament having withdrawn the appropriation for a boarding-boat,
that smugglers might get through their little operations without
trouble) we would send our own boat for the collector. Used to have
everything as bright as a new sixpence, and colors flying, and my own
face squared up to do the honest, when that imported dignitary came on
board, affecting all the importance of a Port-Admiral.

"'Had a good passage, eh, Hornblower?' the prim collector used to ask,
as he mounted the rail.

"'Blowed like cannons, outside, last night! Seeing how we had just
ballast in her, like to tipped her over,' I'd say, bowing, keeping my
hat in my hand, and doing the polite all up.

"'Didn't have a chance to smuggle, according to that, eh?'

"'Yer honor knows Hornblower never does that sort of thing. The
Squire, my owner, is pious, you know,' I'd say, keeping the long face
hard down.

"'Yes, Hornblower, I know your owner to be conscientious and pious;
that is why I always let you off so easy.' And the collector would
look so credulously good-natured that I couldn't help drawing out a
roll of cigars, telling him they were pure Havanas, when presenting
them. It used to do me good to see how it--small as it was--softened
things about his heart. I would immediately follow the cigars with the
papers, taking good care to have merchandise enough in the hold to
correspond with what was set forth on the clearance and manifest. 'Ye
see, sir,' I'd remark, 'I never smuggles, except it is a few cigars
now and then, for my own smoking! Old Jacob Grimes says, when a
government makes laws what people can't live to, you must live round
them; but them ain't my principles.'

"'Thank you, Mr. Hornblower, I am sure you have more regard for your
honor than to smuggle,' he would resume, keeping his eyes fixed upon

"'I am obliged to you for the confidence--the confidence of superiors
in spirit or body; and I hope I may never do anything but what will
merit yours. It has been my motto through life to keep before me the
words of my good old mother. Ah! she was a mother. Fond soul, she used
to say, 'Solomon, my boy, let your dealing with the world be marked by
honesty, and remember that one small error in your life may stain
forever your character. The eyes of an unforgiving world once excited
to suspicion will ever wear the same glasses.'' Having said this,
nothing more was wanted to make complete the Squire's confidence.
Without further detention, he would have the papers made out, and
having received them, we would trim our sheets and sail away up the
river, Old Tom boarding us off Pin Point, and laughing himself almost
out of his black skin--welcoming us after the fashion of friends met
after a long absence. All this time the Squire would be impatiently
waiting on the wharf at the little town of Annapolis--so glad to see
Hornblower! 'No contraband goods on board, eh, Hornblower?' he would
inquire, affecting such an amount of piety that it made me laugh in my

"'Not so much as a plug of tobacco!' I would reply, contemplatively,
as the crew commenced putting out the few things we had entered at Her
Majesty's Custom House. We had great regard for Her Majesty; nor have
I the least doubt of the Squire's honesty, which would have been all
right had it not been for the law and parliament. We have only to add
that, having played his part after the manner of a good Christian, he
would seek his way home, there to arrange an evening prayer-meeting.

"But the beauty of the Squire's nature, as illustrated in his pious
hatred of smuggling, or otherwise defrauding Her Majesty, would shine
out bright on the day the Dash left on her return voyage. I was sure
of an invitation to breakfast with him on that morning, and he was
equally sure to paint the purity of his conscience in such glowing
colors that it was difficult for me to maintain a serious face. When
we had eaten bread, and he had offered up his prayer (in which he
always remembered Her Majesty), he would accompany me to the Dash,
when, having got on board, and cast off, he would mount the most
prominent place on the cap-sill, where the citizens assembled could
hear him, and cry out at the top of his voice:--'Hornblower!
good-bye. One word more, Hornblower! Let me entreat you not to smuggle
a pennyworth for anybody.' My reply always was that I would follow his
advice with christian strictness. Then he would modestly finger that
cravat so white, and fix in his face such becoming dignity, that I
thought his green glasses, which I never liked, covered his eyes to
great advantage. 'Remember what I have always endeavored to impress on
your mind,' he would continue; 'honesty is the best policy--it is!'
Just then everybody would look at the Squire, while it was with great
effort I kept from my face a smile. I knew honesty was the best
policy; I knew it was the true policy to all praiseworthy ends; but
how could I help contemplating the necessity of those preaching who
never practised it, seeing that the Squire was not what he seemed, for
he smuggled an hundred barrels of flour for every one he paid duty
upon. I had also seen him pass sentence of imprisonment and fine on
the wretch who smuggled a demijohn of bad spirits, when for him I had
smuggled a thousand.

"Thanks to a more liberal commercial policy, that has precluded the
necessity for such scenes as the Dash stealing her way into a river at
night to land her cargo of contraband goods. Those violations of law,
so prevalent a few years ago, have ceased; and in the improved
condition of the people we see the result of a new and more liberal
policy. But a few years ago, that small craft, the Dash, alone sought
to establish what was considered a doubtful trade with the port of
Boston; now, some forty pursue a profitable traffic with the State of
Massachusetts, which has annually brought to her in British bottoms no
less than 170,000 cords of Nova Scotia grown fire-wood.



"Nova Scotia being what a South Carolinian would call a hard country
to live in (though the people were proverbially kind, and hospitable,
and loyal, and simple-minded), Smooth, like many other special
ministers, resolved to give up his mission in disgust, and, without
further delay, seek the arms of General Pierce. However, before
quitting the province, he visited the shores of Cape Breton (an island
belonging to Her Most Gracious Majesty), and there met with a
singularly eccentric character of the name of Belhash. This Belhash
added to a figure of great rotundity a square, red face, small hazel
eyes, a heavy, flat nose, a low, reclining forehead, and a head
covered with red, crispy hair, which he took great pains to part in
the centre. The only expression the Squire's face could lay claim to
was that of a pumpkin burned ripe in the sun. When in his favorite
dress of blue-grey homespun, which he judiciously arranged (for
Belhash was a Squire), no greater functionary lived on the island;
that is, in his well-developed opinion of himself! His principal law
business consisted in settling all disputes arising between the people
on shore and the Yankee fishermen who, against the law, infested the
coast, and for whom the Squire had a hatred he always made known in
his decisions. To Belhash the Americans were all of a flock, they
would steal, smuggle, take a Nova Scotiaman's eyeteeth out, and, what
he most hated, concoct some republican plot to overthrow his darling
government. 'Now,' said the Squire to me, one day, 'I have no bad
opinion of you individually, Smooth; for, by the righteous, you're a
sort of clever feller--an exception to Yankees in general--nor do I
think you'll steal!'

"I said, 'No, I didn't think I would!' And he continued: 'You must
see I am something of a man here on these shores; in fact, sir, some
call me very distinguished; but I hardly think I have arrived at that
yet, though the honorable attorney-general of the province, when this
way lectioneerin about a year ago, in referring to my position in
administering the law, said: 'That distinguished gentleman, Squire
Belhash, than whom none is loyaler, or more capable of administering
the law;' he did, sir, I assure you!'

"Of course I bowed to this, and declared the compliment as merited as
handsomely bestowed. And then he continued: 'You see now, sir--and
it's no small compliment to a man in this out of the way part of the
world!--I holds her Majesty's commission to alienate (some call it
demonstrate) the laws of the land.' Here the Squire's face broadened
and got redder, and the flashy handkerchief seemed too small for the
organic conformation of his big blue-veined neck.

"'Now and then, though, I gets a law case so confoundedly
cross-grained, that I'se forced to call in Lawyer Songster (he's a
cute un, ye know), afore I can get the point o'nt halucinated. Then,
Smooth, you see, I isn't one a them kind a folk what run after
bigified gentry; and that's how I'se got where I has! A squire in this
part of the world is somebody, I assure ye, sir. Then, what's more,
I've always bin as loyal as a body could be; but, remember ye, I
warn't on the Tory side, and for the very reason that they never
appreciated native talent and native larnin. Them were the days,' said
the Squire, accompanying the words with a sort of political flourish,
what tried the souls of us county-folk. Tory Johnson, and Radical Joe
Howe, used to come this way lectioneerin, and set the whole country by
the ears; what folk neither of 'em winned over to his party they were
sure to get drunk; and poor folks were so fascinated with politics
there was no getting a stroke of work done for a month after. Joe
Howe, see ye I was a perfect Jones on politics--was what them that
know most about politics called a champion of free suffrage; and, what
was more nor all, worked himself up from the use of a printer's stick
to holding a stick of stronger cast over the whole province, not even
excepting our own country. In fact, he kicked Sir Rupert George out of
the Colonial Office only for himself to be kicked in. Well, Joe said
if I'd put in the strong talk, and lectioneer for him and the
radicals, he'd make me Squire when he got in the _place_--and he kept
his word, you see. Joe once see'd me try a case, and he was so taken
with it, there was no describin' his feelins. I take it you'd think
natur had done her part for me in knowin' so much 'bout law, if ye'd
see me put a case through.'

"The Squire had it all his own way, Smooth not having a chance to put
in a word edgewise. 'But, seem' how you cussed Yankees has upset
everything in trade along the coast, I isn't so rich as I used to be.
There wor a time when my little store was as good a gold mine as you
could turn up in Californey; I could get any kind of a price for
goods; and New England rum, what I liquidated with a sprinklin of
Jamaica, sold as quick as gold-dust at fifteen shillins a gallon.'

"Here, by the way of diversifying the conversation, I inquired if he
remembered the Queen, in the way of _duties paid!_

"The Squire opened his spacious mouth, showed his great shark-like
teeth, threw away his worn quid, gave his eyes a significant roll
sideways, laughed out heartily, and with his left fist added a warning
pinch under my left ribs. 'Don't ask that unanswerable question! The
custom-house was so far off that nobody thought it any harm to
smuggle, just a little! Bless ye! Mr. Smooth, why (here Belhash wiped
his face with a flashy Spitalfields) the Rector used to get all his
tea smuggled; nor a bit of harm did he think it. But, times ain't as
they wos then, nor did folks deal so much in politics and Yankee
notions.' Here the Squire gave his head a significant twist, as his
face glowed as expressive as a fatherly pumpkin of venerable
age. After another dissertation on the mode of administering the laws
of the land, he invited me into his law establishment, which was the
kitchen of a somewhat dilapidated farm-house, of very small
dimensions, clapboarded and shingled after the old style. I (Smooth)
said there could be no objections to this proceeding, and so,
following him very cheerfully into the kitchen, he fussed about for
some time among what seemed the cookery arrangements, and at length
drew from a chest that stood firmly fixed under an old deal table near
a spacious fire-place, in which was a monster back-log, from behind
which the ferret eyes of three mischievous urchins peered curious and
comical, his judicial suit. Again from the chest the Squire drew forth
a large steel chain, and a very mysterious-looking book, and began
decorating himself in the most shocking manner. This done, he repaired
to the door, in all his profuseness, and seated himself on a block of
wood just outside, where as if suddenly becoming conscious of the
absence of something very necessary to his personal appearance, he
doffed his coat, rolled up his shirt-sleeves, and what, readers, do
you suppose he commenced doing?--Getting up the dignity! With nothing
less than a pound of chalk before him, he commenced polishing up a
steel chain that might on an emergency have served to chain up a very
large bull-dog; but the Squire adapted it to the more fashionable use
of adorning himself, and making safe his ponderous pinchbeck
watch. Belhash now puffed, and blowed, and swore, and sweated, and
piled on the chalk, and rubbed and tugged criss-crass his knee, until,
with the motion and fritting, he had well nigh covered his cloth with
the white substance, from the knee downward. Getting it to the dignity
point of brightness he invited me back into his forum, which served
the double purpose of kitchen and law-shop. Here he again smothered
himself in an extra coat of judicial homespun, and solicited my
assistance in securing the bandanna tight about his neck. 'I looks
somethin' of a judge, I take it, now?' he said, waiting my approval of
his personal appearance, as he fingered the broad turn of his
shirt-collar, which seriously threatened his ears and chin. I said I
never saw a judicial gentleman look more upish. In fact, nobody could
deny that in clothes the Squire was all consequence; and when he
loomed into 'Court,' all over the steel chain, believe it, there were
bows and servilities without stint. Taking his seat on a high birch
block, the plank table being set before him, on which to spread his
inseparable law-book, the plaintiffs and defendants assembled, and
took seats on a wooded bench in front. 'All persons whatsoever havin'
any business whatever with this 'ere court--Squire Belhash
sitting--must come for'ard now or never,' cries out at the top of a
deep sonorous voice a little scraggy-looking Scotchman, who, without
coat or vest (his shirt-sleeves rolled up, and the right leg of his
nether garment tucked away beneath a coarse deck-boot), acted the
double part of usher and constable. Again directing a few legal
phrases to the Squire, who bowed acknowledgingly, he turned to those
present--hoped gentlemen would take their hats off, and spit in the
fire-place, seeing how the Court had been newly sanded.

"Having examined a paper, somewhat judicially, the Squire, with an air
of dignified endurance, turning to his usher, said:--'Well, I reckon,
it's best to try the case of Hornblower versus the herrins!' Down he
laid Justice's Guide. It seemed that on the previous night sundry
fishing nets had by some mysterious process been relieved of their
burden. This, one of the Squire's sons charged to the ingenuity, and,
as he set forth without fear or trembling, stealing propensities of
one skipper Hornblower, who at this time sailed a saucy-looking craft
called the 'Virtue of Cape Cod.' This Hornblower was one of the
independent school, cared not seven coppers for anybody, nor had the
most virtuous respect for the nets of his neighbours; he looked the
pink-perfection of a Cape Cod fisherman. The skipper rose before his
accusers; his hard, weather-bleached face looking as if his intention
to throw a harpoon into somebody was the very best in the world. Then
his dark eyes flashed lightning at the Squire, who commanded the
little Scotchman to read the indictment. This suspicious looking
document set forth that one skipper Hornblower, of the schooner
Virtue, had feloniously, and with malice aforethought, extracted from
the nets of one James Belhash, son by lawful wedlock of the presiding
justice, sundry herring, mackerel, and other fish--such as usually
come into such nets, and are found on these Her Majesty's shores. Here
the Squire interrupted by commencing an essay on the enormity of the
crime; and concluded with the following pungent remark:--'Now,
Hornblower, I knows, without ginning a look in the law-book, you're
guilty; there's always stealin done when you're about the shore.
Anyhow! what say ye for yourself? Remember, you're in a Magistrate's
Court--in the presence of a justice of the peace!'

"'So far as that is concerned, I'll knock under, Squire; but I just
wants to see yer prove a thing or two afore ye come possum over this
salt-water citizen!' returns Hornblower, spunkily, pulling from the
pocket of his pea-coat a fascinating wedge of tobacco, which so
tempted the Squire that he could not resist reaching out his hand and
supplying his spacious mouth. As nature, ever erring, should be
generous to nature, so also did I interrupt here by offering to plead
Hornblower's case; to which meritorious object I commenced taking off
my coat.

"'Don't want nobody to soft-soap the case--especially a Yankee--for
there's the law in that ar' book (here the high functionary turned
down the corner of the very page on which it stood forcible to his
mind), and I knows all about it--d----d if I don't!'

"'Swearin' ain't judiciary, Squire!' says I.

"'Tain't none a' your business,' he rejoined, letting his anger get
above his caution. 'Call Jacob--he'll swar t' what he see'd the
skipper do!' Here Jacob, a younger son of the Squire, was called.
Jacob had seen some seventeen summers; and in addition to what larnin'
the Squire had 'gin him,' was well up in the swearing business, for
the furtherance of which his abilities were frequently invoked.

"'There is not a man long shore what don't know and respect Jacob,'
continued the Squire, shutting up his law book, angrily. 'Jacob's a
son a' mine--Jacob 's got larnin, too--Jacob 's bin more nor two years
to Master Jacques's school at the corner; and he has taken Master
Jacques's place many a time when that larned gentleman had taken a
drop too much. Now, Jacob, tell all you know; and let it be just as

"'Well, Dad,' ejaculated Jacob, who, one might seriously have
inferred, had been raised on a guano bag, and slipped very
unexpectedly into a suit of linsey-woolsey grey mixed; 'I see'd the
Virtue at anchor right broad off the nets, which the skipper kept a
facksinatin eye on, as he paced up and down the quarter-deck.'

"'The devil you did!' Hornblower cried out, at the top of his deep,
coarse voice, letting fly a stream of juice that e'en most skinned the
Squire's nasal organ.

"'Dan'l!--d----mn it! bring a bucket here for the skipper!'
interrupted the Squire. He hoped Jacob would continue with the
remainder of his evidence. 'And the skipper looked so all-fired strong
at the nets that I couldn't help tellin Uncle Enoch how they'd be
stripped afore morning. Sure enough, just as I said, there warn't a
herrin left in the mornin. Seeing how the game war' going, I went
aboard to take breakfast with the skipper; and there, if his table
warn't spread with the fattest fried fresh herrin--'

"'That's all ye knows, ain't it, Jacob? That's more en enough; my own
mind was made up afore I read the law, and heard the testimony,'
rejoined the Squire, looking suddenly wise. 'Yes, dad!' emphatically
returned Jacob, 'but I know'd they were the very same herrin, by the
taste on 'em: they tasted as if they wor stolen!' And Jacob having
delivered himself of this tart and somewhat strange rejoinder, gave
his shoulder a significant shrug, as he watched dad's eyes, without

"'That's plump testimony--there's no coming yer Yankee twist over
that! Ye see, Hornblower, I knows the hang of the law, slap up. The
public should know these outrages; the Parliament should be apprised
of such breaches of law and moral honesty; the Home Government should
know what cussed pests the Yankees are! We don't want you here at all,
Hornblower; you've turned pedler, and upset all our trade--there now!'
Here the Squire worked himself up into a perfect fever of excitement,
pressing his law-book firmly on the table while addressing his legal
observations to his auditory. 'I shall pronounce you guilty,
Hornblower, and judge you to pay a fine of twenty pounds currency,
according to the sovereign law of this Her Most Gracious Britannic
Majesty's province.'

"I interrupted by telling him to go-ahead. 'Squire, if you warn't so
fast, I'd try to get a word in edgewise for Hornblower,' said I. But,
before the Squire had time to retort, Hornblower himself took up the
weapon. 'Great Jehu----e! Squire,' he ejaculated, 'you know no more
about the law than Dobbin Dobson's donkey--ye hain't worth two cents!'
Hornblower's face blazed with red rage, and the Squire got himself all
on his pins.

"'Keep your clapper shut, Hornblower,' returned the Squire, telling
Hornblower, how, if he doubted his capacity for the law business, he
would read him Haliburton's opinions, and convince him that they
precisely conformed with his. 'Remember you're in the presence of a
Justice of the Peace!' he added, as Hornblower replied by informing
him that so long as he was before him nothing more was necessary to
remind him of the fact. Then he begged the Squire to keep cool, and
not get into a fuzzle: and after he had bestowed some sharp retorts,
in not very fashionable language, which he hoped the Squire would not
take as personal, he made an explanation of the whole thing. 'Go on,'
rejoined the Squire, getting warmer and warmer.

"'Well,' returned Hornblower; 'first I motion to adjourn the Court and
go drink all round, at your store; after which I further motion that
Jacob and me go down into the cellar of your house--'

"'Into my cellar!' interrupted the Squire, suddenly: 'not a
step!--I'se settled the case, and there's no moving judgment.'

"Here Hornblower charged the Squire with having a suspicious quantity
of fresh herring in his own cellar. 'I don't say how they got there
this morning afore daylight, Squire,' said he, 'but there's a citizen
not far off what will.'

"'It's the ram--d----d'st false ever told against a gentleman of my
high standing!'

"'What is Squire?' interpolated Hornblower, keeping as cool as the
face of a March morning. Why!' returns the Squire, 'to say I stole 'em

"'There can be no mistaking it Squire,' chimes in Hornblower; 'and the
stronger evidence is the fact of your being the only son of a man who
has yet preferred the charge of stealing them. Now, Squire, I'll
stake the schooner Virtue, that on proceeding into your cellar the
herring will be recovered and injured justice satisfied: just grant us
a warrant to search your cellar, Squire.' Here Hornblower looked
thunder and lightning at the Squire whose wrath and misgiving seemed
carrying out a sad conflict in his heart. The result was a strange
clatter of tongues. Notwithstanding the Squire's estimate of his own
popularity, the good people on the coast well understood his singular
process of doing up the law business. 'You'll get your straight ups to
jail, or pay the coin right down, Hornblower!' demanded the Squire,
making a flourish with his law-book, and preparing to adjourn for the
purpose of doing a small quantity of drinking.

"'The Squire's a humbug!--he is!--I'll blow the Court to thunder.
Just clar the kitchen,' cried out the skipper, stripping off his coat,
as if to have a tug and hug with the Squire, who at that moment wanted
to get a word in edgewise. The next Smooth saw, the Squire was letting
fly at Hornblower's head the law-book; which rather summary
demonstration was replied to by a stream of tobacco juice, with which
Hornblower blinded the Squire, setting him nearly frantic. By the way,
the law-book missed its intended object, and stormed the end of Uncle
Seth Sprague's nose, nearly knocking off an inch or two.

"'Now, if that is Colonial law, Squire, I think how a little home-made
Yankee justice won't be a bad application,' said Hornblower, making
ready to administer the medicine; then he squared off, and sent his
mauler right into the Squire's dumplin depot, so sharp and strong, as
to produce a decided conviction. At length the Squire was floored, and
found working the rule of three on the boards. Here the diplomacy
became so warm, that Smooth having the very highest regard for Mr.
Pierce and his fighting diplomatists who deemed getting up duels, and
writing down editors very necessary preliminaries to their mission,
thought he would withdraw, leaving the intricacy to Hornblower's
settlement, seeing that he was producing the strongest kind of notes
and protocols.



"Smooth, on returning to the arms of Mr. Pierce, concluded it would
not be bad policy to touch at Halifax, meet Uncle John Bull's
Commissioner, and with him make a final settlement of all
international questions. And now, being alongside of George's Island,
which rises abruptly in the centre of Halifax harbor, and nearly
opposite the old tower on Point Pleasant--and from which a splendid
view of the surrounding country may be obtained, I feel a desire to
relate some scenes of singular import which have been enacted in this
place. My respect for the feelings of great men and governors,
however, causes me to withhold some few of them. Indeed, my character
for modesty being pretty well established, I am more than cautions how
I bring it in contact with the nervous system of such gentry.
Nevertheless, seeing that not uncommonly the greatest and most
powerful nations turn the smallest beings into very great men, and
spend no end of money to do nobody any good, a short, and I may say, a
very modest account from the catalogue of my experience, may not be
out of place. Well, I, Smooth, _Minister-in-General to General
Pierce_, received, in addition to my own previous conclusion, an
incentive to the object in view, conveyed in a dispatch from my
Grandpapa Marcy, in which he advised the repairing immediately to
Halifax, there to witness the grand battle that was to for ever settle
the fish question, and give peace to fishermen and fish in general. It
was sincerely hoped that in the settlement of this long unsettled
question, Mr. Pierce would keep his black-pig at home. The result
proved the mistake: war was declared. And the day on which the great
struggle would be decided ushered in upon a scene at once gloomy and
ominous. Mysterious and fleecing clouds now obscured the heavens, and
again shadowed with their silvery mists the surface of the sullen
stream. A contest of mighty import was to be decided. The hazard was
great, but the point to be gained small indeed; and men moved along
the busy streets whispering their strong misgivings. Monster
war-ships, with ponderous engines supplied, rode like sleeping demons
upon the water's leaden surface. An hour of anxiety passed, a signal
of war echoed forth, and murmured over the landscape like distant
thunder coursing along the heavens. Then the murmuring sound
re-echoed, as if the battlements above had opened upon the earth and
sea. Soon Britannia's wooden walls were seen veering into line and
preparing for action; America's ranged in the same order, waiting the
dread moment. Anxious eyes and thoughts strained in expectation of the
bloody struggle; then the boatswain's shrill whistle sounded forth,
the leaden clouds overhead chased away, and bolder outlined became the
figures of venerable Admirals, who, immersed in glittering uniforms,
paced their quarter-decks. Again the ominous mouths of fierce cannon
suddenly protruded more savagely from the sides of the huge hulks, and
the shrill whistle sounded; all was bustle and confusion--eager
thousands of both sexes crowded wharves lining the shore, and many
struggled for space to stand upon while witnessing the terrible
conflict. Again all was hushed into stillness; in breathless suspense
did excitement sit on every countenance, as if waiting for the signal
flash soon to break forth and turn everything into a chaos. A
quarter-master was seen passing a speaking trumpet to the burly old
British admiral, who, judging from his deportment, might have supplied
the place of a rare curiosity in any cabinet of ancient relics. With
it in his hand the ancient veteran mounted a gun on the starboard
quarter, and shouted forth the ominous sound: 'I accept your
challenge--all ready?' A terrible movement was now perceptible among
the spectators on shore.

"'You ill-treated myself and officers while on shore a few days ago;
and you shall pay the penalty of your insult. I'll lick you; I'll be
damned if I don't,' answered the American, saucily.

"'You're spunk; but we'll take a little of it out, by the way of
reducing your pretensions--that's all. Now, my good cousin, just look
out for the shivering of your timbers. I'm going to load with grape, a
jolly mixture I shall slap right into you.'

"'That's e'en jist the medicine!' rejoined the Yankee: that's jist
what I'm going to load with; and if it won't kill, we'll take cogniac
canister! But old fellow, we'll larn ye how the Britishers can't take
the spunk out of us Yankees: s'pose ye come on board my craft, lay off
yer old notions, and play the good fellow in the jolly free-and-easy
way. We'll then consider the horrors of war; and see if the matter
can't be discussed in a different way atween decks.'

"'Well, seeing it's you--not a bad sort of a chap, by the way, I don't
much care if I do; but don't let go any grape until I gets under yer
lee--perhaps we'd better fight it out on your gun-deck. Captain, my
dear fellow (here the captain looked as good-natured as a turtle
studying law) any way to suit your own canister!' returned the
rear-admiral of Uncle John's best blue.

"'I say, while you are about it, Admiral,' rejoined the Yankee, with a
sort of half flirtish, half earnest air--while you are about to come
broad on, just bring all the good folks with you--and don't forget the
ladies; bring them, too. There's nothing like plenty of fair faces
when a strong battle is to be fought!' This was a right good say on
the part of Commodore Shubrick (such was the Yankee skipper's name),
who smiled all over his wrinkled face. It was quite enough. The
gallant Britisher's face, too, brightened up with good-nature, the
boatswain sounded his whistle, the savage guns disappeared in their
ports; the yards were manned with jolly tars, and away streaked the
admiral in his barge, skimming the sullen water, towards the Yankee,
under a heavy cannonade of grape. The ladies, loving and affectionate
souls! couldn't stand it another minute, and, with a Joan of Arc
heroism, volunteered to follow the gallant admiral, for the purpose of
seeing that their sweethearts and husbands were not seriously wounded
by the Commander's grape and other missiles most dangerous. Again loud
reports were heard--pop! pop! pop!--ziz! ziz! ziz! went the shots of
ordinary mixture: then whole broadsides began to be poured into the
belligerents in grand style. After a few hours' cannonading, all was
again bustle and confusion; wounded men were seen tumbling over the
sides of the ship, fair ladies became unfairly terrified, and then,
disgusted with the cowardice of their husbands and sweethearts, might
be seen nearly fainting in the arms of gallant officers. After the
whole affair was over, a great many wounded husbands, whose cases were
extremely doubtful, were conveyed to their homes; others dreaded the
application of Caudle lecture medicine from wives who had long
preceded them to their domestic hearths. A facetious contemporary has
described this great affair in the following graphic manner:

"On attempting to mount the stairs hung at the side, Commodore
Shubrick, standing on the quarter-deck, let drive a fish-ball, which
he held in his hand, and struck the Admiral a little below the left
eye. The Admiral, nothing daunted, ran up the steps, his officers
following close behind, and seized the Commodore by the hand, and gave
him such a shaking as made him tremble again. General Gore, on
reaching the 'poop,' was grossly insulted by the first lieutenant of
the Princeton, who, in the most cool and deliberate manner, told him,
if he would come below, he would give him 'something to eat.'

"The General, in reply, said he would like to catch him at it. And to
show his courage he went below, when one of the middies at the foot of
the companion-way took aim at the General with a champagne bottle, and
let drive the contents into the General's glass. The Mayor of Halifax,
and members of the Corporation, got into a skirmish with the
marines. It seems that Alderman Nugent asked the boatswain, in a
sneering sort of way, if they had any turtle on board. The answer was,
'No--but we've got turtle soup, if that will do for you.' The Mayor
stepped up, and said he would rather have turtle soup than _fish_ any
day. The boatswain answered that he was tired of hearing so much said
about fish. For his own part, he didn't see anything in fish to fight
about. If it was mutton, he was on hand for anybody. One word led on
to another--by this time the steamer was crowded from stem to
stern--until at length there was a general row; every man became a
body corporate, and pitched into himself with right good will.

"The ladies got snappish on account of their husbands, and in turn
pitched into the officers of the Princeton with their--eyes. The
sailors were piped to quarters. Pistols were freely used. The 'big
guns' were charged and fired, doing much damage to the feelings of the
company, in the way of compliments. In short, it was the greatest
battle ever fought in Halifax harbor, real or _sham_. After
quarrelling in this way, until eight o'clock in the evening, and
destroying all the eatables that could be found on board the
Princeton, the invaders retired, and left the Commodore and officers
to their reflections. The retreat was effected in _gallant_ style--so
say the ladies. It is said that the Commodore has sent a despatch to
Washington, informing the authorities of the insult received. We
earnestly entreat that our American contemporaries will fully discuss
this serious matter, on account of the honor of the 'stars and
stripes,' to say nothing of the 'fish story.'

"'Now, Mr. Pierce, in this manner was a very grave question--the fish
question, in which many millions had been spent for the purpose of
pleasing diplomacy--put through a course of settlement. When will the
wisdom of the two most free and enlightened nations of the earth
devise some plan of mutual compromise, by which the interests of their
subjects may be settled without giving to pedantic diplomatists the
means to for ever keep alive an international agitation, which can
only give out food for the very smallest of demagogues? We cannot and
must not quarrel with Uncle John; no, our birthright, our
freedom-loving spirit, our indomitable energy, our kindred
institutions, and the interests of our commerce, should make stronger
the bonds of peace. We must, in defiance of that pitiable ambition of
political tools, who so interrupt the harmony that should exist
between nations kindred in spirit and interests, continue our friendly
relations. Let England lay aside her restrictions on commerce; let her
apply to a better purpose those millions spent in useless attempts to
enforce the observance of laws which only serve to cripple her
energies; and let a policy mutually liberal serve to elevate that
international forbearance which is the father of the greatest good,'
thought I. At this juncture, Mr. Pierce's black pig, always found
where he was not wanted, was discovered in the after cabin, which he
disputed with every one who attempted to enter, until at length it was
voted that I should capture him, and convey him safely home to
Mr. Pierce at Washington:--which, be it understood, was done, though
not without a struggle."


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.