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Title: Quodlibet
Author: Kennedy, John Pendleton, 1795-1870
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Quodlibet" ***

    Transcriber's Note:

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    possible, including inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation.

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  Maxima de nihilo nascitur historia.--PROPERTIUS.



  Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by

  In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
  Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


These annals were first published in 1840. They reappear after an
interval of twenty years. In that interval the old questions which
inflamed the zeal and sharpened the wit of parties have totally
disappeared from the political field: the parties themselves have
fermented into new compounds, and lost all cognizable identity. Old
warriors, who dealt mortal blows on each other's sconce, have sunk to
sleep in the same truckle bed, and have waked up in mutual surprise to
find themselves in each other's arms, with a new flag above them, and
new and unaccustomed voices giving the word of command.

The youth who have grown up to manhood in the mean time, and have come
to be conspicuous in the conduct of public affairs, compose a distinct
generation, as unconscious of the events, the interests, and sentiments
of twenty years ago as of those of remote antiquity. These not only
reject the traditions and teachings of the past, but repudiate and
ignore the whole scheme of social and political opinion of the men who
have gone before them, disdaining to adopt their maxims of government,
their policy, their forbearance, their toleration, or their affections.
They inaugurate a new era of new principles, new purposes, new powers,
new morals, and, alas! of new hatreds.

May it not serve a good turn toward arresting this torrent of
innovation, to present to the leisure meditation of those who are
embarking upon its stream, a few memorials of a bygone day, quite as
distinguished as the present for the intensity of its political ardors
and the absurdity of its excesses, but, fortunately, more harmless and
amiable in its temper? Is it not worth while to attempt, by these
playful sketches of the past, to lure the angry combatants into a smile,
and, by showing them the grotesque retribution which history inflicts
upon distempered parties after a few decades of oblivion, to beguile
them into some consideration of the predicament in which they may leave
their own renown? May not all sober-minded lovers of their country
contemplate with some profit the _morale_ of a picture--even as light
and extravagant as this--which represents the engrossments of parties
who fancied that the destinies of a great nation hung upon the plots and
counterplots of their busy ferment,--which engrossments, with all their
concomitant gravities and glorifications, twenty years have shriveled
into the dimensions of a pleasant farce--a little stage imbroglio of
comic conceits and fussy nothings?

That intrepidity of absurdity which no responsible individual would dare
to countenance in his own conduct, and which is only possible to
organized bodies propelled by the ardor of party enthusiasm, is a fact
in human action worth the study of the philosopher. By some unexplored
tidal law, parties would seem to move through successive ebb and flow
toward a final culmination of mischievous extreme, each refluent wave
returning with heavier mass, until the accumulated weight of madness and
folly overtopples, breaks, and dissolves in noisy foam. As we have a
computed cycle of a money-crisis, the known result of an increasing and
rapid prosperity ill used, so also we have the regularly recurring
political crisis, the result of increasing party-power abused by rash
and insolent presumption upon its strength.

This century has run out its three periods of twenty years. The first
ended in the total absorption of all differences of opinion, bringing a
stagnant calm upon the waters of ancient strife. The second culminated
in a revolution that shook a great party out of its seat;--a revolution
which these annals were designed to illustrate. The third period has
wheeled through its course, to work another downfall and another
revolution more notable and significant than either that have gone
before. The fourth, let us hope, may find a nation restored to
reason;--a great united Republic, tried and purified by the experience
of dangers incurred and surmounted, and by an awakened patriotism
successfully asserting the predominance of the good sense and virtue of
the people over the factious spirit that ministers to personal ambition,
and the vanity that seeks renown in innovations upon either the
principles in which the Union was formed, or the sentiment by which it
is to be preserved.

But these reflections are tending toward a graver subject than it would
be becoming to discuss here. So, I leave them for some more appropriate
occasion. If I have any reason to fear the annals of Quodlibet may find
no favor with the emerging generation, I can make sure of another class
of readers to whom I look with a staunch and unfaltering trust;--that
goodly host of ripe and considerate citizens, the survivors of
1840--that salt of the earth, who live on the past, and reckon old
memories to be better than a fresh and damp morning journal. To you, old
friends, bald on the crown, gray and feathery about the temples, with
jovial glance of the eye, showing a heart made kind by trials, and who
love your country with an affection that grows out of the straits in
which you have seen her, and the faith you have that Providence has
helped her through them, and will help her through many more: to you,
seasoned and made jocund by time, and who, both as supporters and
antagonists, have run through the career of passion and delusion, and
outlived the wrath, the cunning, and the falsehood, the grandiloquent
fervor and exaggerated importance of the old political quarrels; to you
I dedicate this new edition of this book and consign it to your
protection, with the affectionate trust of a fellow-soldier, (whether as
comrade or opponent,--as kindly in one character as the other,) in the
whilom war of bloodless campaigns, in which for years we were mutually

The astute reader of these annals, if he but truly analyze their
philosophy, may obtain a revelation more or less intelligible of what is
acting on the stage to-day, and even arrive at some data by which he may
cast a horoscope of the time to come. History is constantly reproducing
itself. Events have different dates, and run in different names; but
motives, human action and passion, are the same, and bring to light the
same categories of thought and opinion. That which has been, is, and
will be again, through an infinite series of repetitions. Thus we read
the present and the future in the past. And in this light I affirm the
annals to be a fair and veritable history of this time. Change a few
secondary particulars, and the reader will find 1840 a type of 1860.

Would that in these grotesque absurdities of the busy world of twenty
years ago the men who shape and control the political issues of this day
may see some reflected images of themselves, and thus find a motive to
make interest with posterity for a better report twenty years hence!



Of a truth, we are a great people!--and most happy am I, Solomon
Secondthoughts, Schoolmaster of the Borough of Quodlibet, that it hath
fallen to my lot, even in my small way, to make known to you how in our
Borough that greatness hath grown toward its perfect maturity--feeling
persuaded that Quodlibet therein is but an abstract or miniature
portrait of this nation. Happy am I, although sorely oppressed with an
inward perception of my defective craft in this most worthy task, that I
have been thought by our Central Committee a fit expounder of that
history wherein is _enchrysalized_ (if I may be allowed to draw a word,
_parce detortum_, from the Greek mint) the most veritable essence of
that recently discovered Democratic theory, for distinction called the
Quodlibetarian, which is destined to supplant all other principles in
our government, and to render us the most formidable and the most
imposing people upon the terraqueous globe.

How it came to pass that this duty has been committed to my hands, you
shall learn.

In the days of the late Judge Flam, now thirty years gone by, and long
before Quodlibet was, that very considerate and astute gentleman honored
me, a poor and youthful scholar, with a promotion to the office of
private tutor in his family, then residing at their ancient seat in this
neighborhood. It was my especial duty, in this station, to prepare
Master Middleton, the eldest born, for college; which in three years of
assiduous labor was achieved, much to my content, and, I need not
scruple to affirm, no less to my honor, seeing how notably my pupil has
since figured in high places among the salt of the nation. Far be it
from me to take an undue share of desert for this consummation; it would
be disingenuous not to say that my pupil's liberal endowments at the
hand of Nature herself rendered my task easy of success.

By the aid of my early patron the Judge, whose memory will long be
embalmed in the unction of my gratitude, I became, after Master
Middleton was passed from under my care, the head of our district
school, which at first was established in that lowly log building under
the big chestnut upon the Rumblebottom, about fifty rods south of
Christy M'Curdy's mill--which tenement is yet to be seen, although in a
melancholy state of desolation, the roof thereof having been blown away
in the famous hurricane of August, 1836, just two years and ten months
after the Removal of the Deposits. This unfortunate event--I mean the
blowing off of the roof--it was the mercy of Providence to delay for the
term of one year and a fraction of a month after I had removed into the
new academy which my former pupil, and now, in lineal succession to his
lamented parent the Judge, my second patron, the Hon. Middleton Flam,
had procured to be erected for my better accommodation in the Borough of
Quodlibet. Had my removal been delayed, or the hurricane have risen
thirteen months sooner than it did, who shall tell what mourning it
might not have spread through our country side--who shall venture to say
that Quodlibet might not have been to-day without a chronicler?

This long inhabiting of mine in these parts has afforded me all
desirable opportunities to note the growth of the region, and especially
to mark out the beginnings, the progression, and the sudden magnifying
of our Borough; and being a man--I speak it not vaingloriously--of an
inquiring turn, and strongly gifted, as our people of Quodlibet are
pleased to allow, with the perfection of setting down my thoughts in
writing; and having that essential requisite of the historian, an ardent
and unquenchable love of my subject, it has ever been my custom to put
into my tablets whatsoever I have deemed noteworthy in the events and
opinions of my day, accompanied by such reflections thereon as my
subject might be found to invite. Some of these memorabilia,
with discourses pertinent to the same, have I from time to time,
distrustfully and with the proper timidity of authorship, ventured to
contribute to our newspaper, and thereby has my secret vanity been
regaled by seeing myself in print. By what token I have not yet
ascertained, but these lucubrations of mine were not long ago discovered
to our "Grand Central Committee of Unflinching New-Light Quodlibetarian
Democrats," who have been charged with the arduous duty of maintaining
the integrity of the party in the present alarming crisis, and
of promoting, by all means in their power, the indefeasible,
unquestionable, and perpetual right of succession to the Presidential
Chair, claimed by and asserted for the candidate of the great,
unterrified New Democratic school of patriotic defenders of the spoils.
This Central Committee now hold their sessions weekly in Quodlibet--and
having discovered my hand in the lucubrations to which I have alluded
above, they have been pleased to express a favorable opinion thereon;
and, as a sequence thereto, it has occurred to them to fancy that my
poor labors being duly given to the compiling of such a history as my
tablets might afford of the rise and progress of the New Democratic
principle in Quodlibet, the same would greatly redound to the advantage
of the cause in the present great struggle. Acting upon this suggestion,
the Grand Central Committee have honored me with a request to throw into
such shape as I might deem best these scattered records of opinion and
chronicles of fact, whereof I was supposed to have a rich magazine.

Readily and cheerfully have I acceded to this request; and with the more
relish, as I shall thus be furnished with an authentic occasion to
present to the world the many valuable thoughts and eloquent utterings
of my late distinguished pupil, and now beneficent patron, the Hon.
Middleton Flam, long a representative of this Borough and the adjacent
district in the Congress of the United States.

I pretend to no greater merit in this execution of my task than what an
impartial spirit of investigation, a long acquaintance with persons of
every degree connected with this history, an apt judgment in
discriminating between opinions, a most faithful and abundant memory, a
careful store of documentary evidence, an unalterable devotion to the
great principles of Quodlibetarian Democracy, and, for the expounding of
all, a lucid and felicitous style, may allow me to claim as the
chronicler of this Borough.

The better to assure you, my friendly reader, that, in temper and
condition, I may demand somewhat of the confidence due to the character
of a dispassionate commentator on the times, I would have you understand
that I am now on the shady side of sixty, unmarried, and in possession
of an easy revenue of four hundred dollars per annum, which is voted to
me by our commissioners, for instructing in their rudiments thirty-seven
children of both sexes; that I have a plate at the table of my patron,
the Hon. Middleton Flam, my former pupil, every Sunday at dinner; and
that he, being aware for some time past of my purpose to treasure up his
remarkable sayings, has, with a generous freedom, often repeated to me
many opinions which otherwise would have been irretrievably lost.
Moreover, since I am now brought before the public under circumstances
in which reserve on my part would be no better than affectation, I would
also advertise my indulgent reader of the fact that I belong to the
Quodlibetarian New-Light Club, whereof I some time officiated as
Secretary, and which club generally meets on Saturday night at Ferret's;
that the members of the same, noting my staidness of deportment and the
careful deliberation with which I guard myself in the utterance of any
discourse, do frequent honor to the temperance of my judgment by making
me the arbiter of such casual controversies as arise therein, touching
the true import and application of the principles of our New-Light
Democracy; and--if I run no risk of being charged with offering a
trivial evidence of the reputation I have earned in the club--I would
also mention, that some of our light wags have gone so far--facetiously
and with a commendable good nature, knowing that I would not take it
ill, as more peevish men might, in their jocular pleasantry--as to call
me, in allusion to my natural sedateness, SOBER SECONDTHOUGHTS:--the

And now, amiable and considerate reader, you have "ab imo pectore" my
honest avouch for what I propose to lay before you, and a plain
confession of my weaknesses. I come with a clean breast to the
confessional. We shall have a frugal banquet of it, but the fruits, I
make bold to promise, shall be wholesome and of the best. Now turn we to
it in good earnest. If this little chronicle--for my book shall not be
overgrown and apoplectic, but rather, as you shall find it, "garrulous
and thin"--do not bring you to a profound sense of the value of this
Amaranth of Republicanism, the New-Light Quodlibetarian Democracy, then
say it to my teeth, there is no virtue in SOBER SECONDTHOUGHTS. Go thy
ways--"The wise man's eyes are in his head, but the fool walketh in

                                                  S. S., SCHOOLMASTER.



  A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR                                             5

  INTRODUCTION                                                       9

  INTERLOCUTORS, ACTORS, etc.                                       21


  Antiquities of Quodlibet. Michael Grant's tanyard destroyed by
     the canal. Consequences of this event. Two distinguished
     individuals take up their residence in the Borough.
     Establishment of the Patriotic Copperplate Bank.
     Circumstances which led to, and followed that measure.
     Michael Grant's objections to it.                              25


  Great usefulness of the bank. Surprising growth of Quodlibet.
     Some account of the Hon. Middleton Flam. Origin of his
     Democracy. His logical argument in favor of the pocketing of
     the Bill to repeal the Specie Circular. The Democratic
     principle as developed in the Representative System.           41


  Further discourse relating to the Hon. Middleton Flam.
     Correction in the orthography of his family seat. His
     respect for the people. Very original views entertained by
     him on this subject. His liberality in money matters.
     Aversion to the law regarding interest. Democratic view of
     that  question. His encouragement of industry and the
     working people. Ingenious and profound illustration of the
     Great Democratic Principle                                     57


  The Second Era. Population of Quodlibet. Increase unparalleled
     in Ancient Cities; equaled only by Milwaukee, etc. Success
     of the bank. Attack upon it in Congress. The Hon. Middleton
     Flam's triumphant vindication. Sketch of his celebrated
     speech before the New Lights. Inimitable irony on the
     Divorce of Government and Bank. Merited compliment to the
     head of the Secretary of the Treasury. That distinguished
     gentleman's opinions.                                          68


  Excitement produced by The Thorough Blue Whole Team. Meeting of
     the New Lights. Jesse Ferret's ambidexterity. Introduction
     of Eliphalet Fox to the club. His exposition of principles.
     Establishment of the Quodlibet Whole Hog.                      79


  Being a short history of Eliphalet Fox.                           87


  Astounding Event; Suspension of Specie Payments. Proceedings of
     the Bank of Quodlibet thereupon. Resolve of the Directors
     against Suspension. Conspiracy and threatened Revolution
     headed by Flan Sucker. Directors change their mind. Their
     consternation and escape. Remarkable bravery and presence of
     mind of the Hon. Middleton Flam. His splendid appeal to the
     insurgents. General Jackson's oracular views in regard to
     the Suspension.                                                93


  Signs of discord in Quodlibet. The Iron-Railing Controversy.
     Agamemnon Flag's nomination. Revolt of Theodore Fog. The
     celebrated Split. Consequences of Jesse Ferret's pernicious
     dogma in reference to publicans. First fruits of the Split
     manifested at Mrs. Ferret's tea drinking. Grave reflections
     by the author. Moral.                                         106


  Great meeting at the Sycamore Spring. Some description of the
     arrangements. Nicodemus Handy chosen to preside on this
     occasion. Motion to that effect by Mr. Snuffers. This worthy
     gentleman's misfortune. His escape. Successful organization
     of the meeting.                                               118


  Scenes at the Sycamore Spring. Nicodemus Handy's speech as
     President. Sketch of Andrew Grant's speech. Agamemnon
     Flag's. Attempts at interruption. Theodore Fog's celebrated
     speech on this occasion. Eloquent exposition of principles.
     His triumph. His misfortune. Quipes's disappointment of his
     friends.                                                      128


  The division of the party becomes more distinct. Admirable
     address of Eliphalet Fox at this juncture. Result of the
     election. Rejoicing of the True Grits. Jesse Ferret's
     difficulties. Is taken to task by his dame. Candid avowal
     of his embarrassments. Theodore Fog's exposition of True
     Grit principles. His good-natured encouragement of Jesse
     Ferret. Dabbs's treat.                                        147


  Third Era. Divisions in Quodlibet continue. Fomented by the
     women. Fog rather disappoints his friends by his course in
     the Legislature. Prostration of business in the Borough.
     Traced to the merchants. Mr. Flam's opinion of them, and the
     consequence thereof. Indignation of the New Lights against
     them. Fog's eulogium upon them. Movements of the True Grits.
     Fox's skillful management. The Tigertail affair. Mysterious
     termination of it. Nim Porter's indiscretion.                 169


  A political discussion at Abel Brawn's shop. Abel's views of the
     Sub-Treasury. Important communication made by Theodore Fog.
     The New Lights take ground against the banks. The Hon.
     Middleton Flam resigns the Presidency of the Copperplate
     Bank. Snuffers aspires to the succession.                     181


  Letter from a Cabinet officer to Mr. Flam. Directions to the
     Democracy. The Cabinet officer's mode of producing an
     impression. The President's determination in regard to the
     Independent Treasury. Warning to deserters. Candidates for
     Mr. Flam's place in the bank. Hardbottle elected. Theodore
     Fog's outbreak. He cools down and stands upon principle.
     Hardbottle unpopular.                                         194


  Unhappy event in the life of Nicodemus Handy. Consternation at
     Quodlibet. Disasters among the Directors. Explosion of the
     bank. Conversation between Theodore Fog and Mr. Grant. Fog's
     views of the question of distress. Compliment to Jesse
     Ferret.                                                       201


  A rapid review of one year. What the author is compelled to
     pretermit. The President's "Sober Secondthought" message
     received at Quodlibet with great rejoicing. The author
     communes with his reader touching New-Light principles.
     Illustrations of them. Remarkable dexterity of the
     Secretary. Interesting letter from the Hon. Middleton Flam.
     Dawning of the Presidential Canvass. The Northern man with
     Southern principles, and his mannikin.                        214


  Fourth Era. The Hon. Middleton Flam re-elected. The New Lights
     determine to stigmatize the Whigs as Federalists. Mr. Flam's
     instructions in regard to the Presidential Canvass.
     Nomination of Harrison and Tyler. Course of the New Lights.
     Formation of the Grand Central Committee of Unflinching
     New-Light Quodlibetarian Democrats. Its President,
     Secretary, and place of meeting.                              225


  Proceedings of the Grand Central Committee. Vindication of the
     severity practiced against General Harrison. Tactics of the
     New Lights. Abolitionism. Selling white men for debt.
     Harrison a coward. Considerations which led to the naming of
     the opposition British Whigs. Stratagem against Harrison,
     and the clamor against him for not answering. Hope of the
     New Lights confirmed by the Connecticut, Rhode Island, and
     Virginia elections. Baltimore Convention a failure.
     Important letter from Mr. Flam. Amos Kendall's purpose to
     resign. Excitement of composition prescribed by his
     physician. Central Committee sanction the compilation of
     these annals.                                                 232


  Deserved compliment on Mr. Van Buren's exploit of the Florida
     War. The affair of the True Grits and Sergeant Trap. True
     Grits suffer a defeat. Flan Sucker's opinion upon the
     subject. His account of an action at law between Joe Snare
     and Ike Swingletree.                                          242


  These Chronicles draw to a close. The New Lights not displeased
     with Eliphalet Fox's discomfiture. Passage of the
     Independent Treasury Bill, and rejoicing thereon in
     Quodlibet. Changes. Interesting letter from the Dibble
     family. Mr. Flam returns to Quodlibet. His views of the
     Canvass. The President's reliance on the intelligence of the
     people. Ignominy and Insult of Federalism. Elections in
     Kentucky, Indiana, and North Carolina, Alabama, Missouri,
     and Illinois. Presidential election. Consternation of the
     Quods. Meeting of the Club. Quarrel of Theodore Fog and Hon.
     Middleton Flam. Defection of Fog and sundry True Grits.
     Second Split. Great uproar and confusion.                     254



 THE HON. MIDDLETON FLAM.--Head of the New Lights, Representative of the
     district in Congress, President of the Copperplate Bank, intimate
     with the Secretary of the Treasury, an orator, a philosopher, and a
     man of large estate.

 NICODEMUS HANDY.--Projector of the Copperplate Bank, Cashier of the
     same, and some time second in command of the New Lights.

 SIMON SNUFFERS.--Superintendent of the Hay Scales, and President of the
     New-Light Club.

 NATHANIEL DOUBLEDAY.--Clerk of the Court and Vice of the Club.

 S. S.--Author and Editor of this History, Principal of the District
     School, honorary member of several literary societies, and
     Secretary no less to the New-Light Club than to the Grand
     Central Committee of Unflinching New-Light Quodlibetarian
     Democrats--_quorum magna pars fui_.

 AGAMEMNON FLAG.--Attorney-at-Law, formerly of Bickerbray. At one time
     the Regular Nomination Candidate. Disposed to be in love with Miss

 JACOB BARNDOLLAR.--Son-in-law of Jesse Ferret--of the firm of
     Barndollar & Hardbottle, Forwarding and Commission Merchants.

 ANTHONY HARDBOTTLE.--Counterpart in said Firm. Elected President of the
     bank upon the resignation of Mr. Flam.

 ZACHARY YOUNGHUSBAND.--Postmaster of _Quodlibet_, Tin-plate worker,
     and member of the Grand Central Committee.

 THEODORE FOG.--Attorney-at-Law. At one time Director of the bank, but
     compelled to resign on account of his habits. Independent candidate
     against Agamemnon Flag--member of the Legislature--a distinguished
     popular orator, and original founder of that branch of the New
     Lights known by the name of the True Grits.

 DR. THOMAS G. WINKELMAN.--Druggist, and soda-water pavilion keeper,
     physician in ordinary to the True Grits, and a man of great
     influence in that sect. Coroner of the county, contractor for the
     supply of medicines to the Almshouse, and ready to take any other
     office which might be vacant.

 NIMROD PORTER.--Bar-keeper at The Hero, fond of betting, famous for
     trotting horses. A True Grit, but well inclined to the Mandarins.

 ELIPHALET FOX.--Formerly editor of "The Gabwrangle Grimalkin," but,
     through the influence of Mr. Flam, transferred to "The Quodlibet
     Whole Hog,"--an expectant of the Marshal's place, but disappointed.
     The Orderly of the True Grits.

   _True Grits Rank and File._

   DABBS.--His Compositor.

   NEAL HOPPER.--The Miller in Christy M'Curdy's mill.

   SAMUEL PIVOT.--The County Assessor.

   THOMAS CROP.--Constable of the Borough and an aspirant to the

   WILLIAM GOODLACK.--Merchant Tailor and seller of ready-made clothes.

   MAGNUS MOREHEAD.--Shoemaker, and looking to be made clerk to the
       Marshal in place of Washington Cutbush.

   SIMPSON TRAVERS.--Keeper of the Refectory at the lower end of the
       Canal Basin, and expecting to have the exclusive supply of
       Liquors to the Recruiting Station.

   SANDY BUTTERCROP.--Express rider, message carrier, baggage porter,
       and of sundry other accidental occupations--promised the place of
       Corney Dust, Marshal's porter.

   FLAN SUCKER.--A distinguished loafer, a great admirer of Theodore
       Fog, and a regular attendant on public meetings.

   BEN INKY, JEFF DRINKER, MORE M'NULTY.--Friends and followers of Flan

 FEROX TIGERTAIL.--Marshal of the district, resident in Bickerbray, an
     old Federalist, but reformed into a New-Light Democrat: choleric,
     and difficult to keep in harness.

 WASHINGTON CUTBUSH.--His clerk, suspected of having an opinion of his
     own in politics.

 CORNEY DUST.--His porter, charged with being lukewarm, and attending to
     nothing but his office.

 VIRGIL PHILPOT.--Editor of The Bickerbray Scrutinizer, and an
     out-and-out friend of the Hon. Middleton Flam.

 ABRAM SCHOOLCRAFT.--Nurseryman in Bickerbray, member of the

 CURTIUS SHORT.--Cheap store-keeper in Tumbledown, member of the

 CALE GOODFELLOW.--Sportsman, Farobanker, etc., of Tumbledown, and
     entirely devoted to Theodore Fog.


 MICHAEL GRANT.--Formerly a tanner, occupying the land on which
     Quodlibet was built. Having amassed an independence, he has retired
     to his farm at the foot of the Hogback, where he lives, surrounded
     by his four sons.

 ANDREW GRANT.--His youngest son, educated to the engineer service, but
     preferring to be at home, married the daughter of Stephen P.
     Crabstock, and lives near the Hogback.

 ABEL BRAWN.--A substantial blacksmith, but unfortunately infected with
     Whig principles--a matter of great regret to his friends among the
     New Lights.

 DAVY POST.--Wheelwright.


 PETER OUNCE.--Keeper of the Boatmen's Hotel, on the Canal.

 STEPHEN P. CRABSTOCK.--Iron-master, and proprietor of the Hogback
     Furnace--a man who in spite of his adherence to the dangerous
     doctrines of the Whigs, has arisen from poverty to wealth by his
     own exertions.

     Team--a paper characterized by its mendacity, its ferocity, and
     utter disregard of the feelings of the purest New Lights in the
     nation. A bitter enemy of the Hon. Middleton Flam, and having the
     audacity to speak lightly of the President of the United States.

 JOHN SMITH.--A gentleman generally known throughout the Union, and
     several times run for Congress.


 JESSE FERRET.--Inn-keeper and proprietor of The Hero--a cautious man,
     and somewhat afraid of his wife.

 SAM HARDESTY.--Carpenter, so much under the weather as to have had no
     time to make up his mind, notwithstanding Mr. Flam's generosity
     toward him.

 QUIPES.--House and sign, plain and ornamental painter, glazier, and
     artist in the portrait and landscape line.

 NICHOLAS HARDUP.--Cattle dealer, a borrower of money from Mr. Flam,
     and, strange to tell, not yet satisfactorily settled in his

 ISAIAH CRAPE.--Undertaker and conductor of funerals--Cabinet and
     furnishing store-keeper.

 SERGEANT TRAP.--On the recruiting service at Quodlibet.

 HIS DRUMMER.--A short and ferocious martialist.

 CHARLEY MOGGS.--Boss loafer of Bickerbray, and promoted in the army as
     Sergeant Trap's fifer.


 MRS. MIDDLETON FLAM.--Lady of our member, and mother of a large family.

 MISS JANET FLAM.--Sister of Mr. Middleton.

 MADEMOISELLE JONQUILLE.--French Governess to the Misses Flam.

 POLLY FERRET.--Commander-in-chief of all the forces of The Hero.

 SUSAN BARNDOLLAR.--Her daughter, wife of Barndollar & Hardbottle, and
     remarkable for having her own opinion.

 MRS. YOUNGHUSBAND.--The Postmaster's lady.

 MRS. SNUFFERS.--Lady of the Superintendent of the Hay Scales, a woman
     of great consideration in the Borough.

 HESTER HARDBOTTLE.--Maiden sister to Anthony Hardbottle.

 MRS. HANDY.--Lady of the Cashier, and leader of the fashion in

 HENRIETTA HANDY.--Her daughter--supposed to have been favorably
     impressed by Mr. Agamemnon Flag.

 MRS. TROTTER.--Mrs. Handy's housekeeper.

       *       *       *       *       *

 SERVANTS, ETC.--Sam, the waiter; William, the footman; Nace, the
     coachman; and Sarah, the maid, in Mr. Handy's service. Black Isaac,
     Kent bugle player; Yellow Josh, clarionet--Cicero, Neal Hopper's
     factotum. Billy Spike, Abel Brawn's fly-flapper, etc. etc.




It was at the close of the year 1833, or rather, I should say, at the
opening of the following spring, that our Borough of Quodlibet took that
sudden leap to greatness which has, of late, caused it to be so much
talked about. Our folks are accustomed to set this down to the Removal
of the Deposits. Indeed, until that famous event, Quodlibet was, as one
might say in common parlance, a place not worth talking about--it might
hardly be remarked upon the maps. But since that date, verily, like
Jeshurun, it has waxed fat. It has thus come to pass that "The Removal"
is a great epoch in our annals--our Hegira--the A. U. C. of all

Michael Grant, a long time ago--that is to say, full twenty years--had
a tanyard on Rumblebottom Creek, occupying the very ground which is now
covered by the canal basin. Even as far back as that day he had laid up,
out of the earnings of his trade, a snug sum of money, which sufficed to
purchase the farm where he now lives at the foot of the Hogback.
Quodlibet, or that which now is Quodlibet, was then as nothing.
Michael's dwelling house and tanyard, Abel Brawn's blacksmith-shop,
Christy M'Curdy's mill, and my school-house, made up the sum-total of
the settlement. It is now ten years, or hard on to it, since the
commissioners came this way and put the cap-sheaf on Michael's worldly
fortune by ruining his tanyard and breaking up his business, whereof the
damage was so taken to heart by the jury that, in their rage against
internal improvements, they brought in a verdict which doubled Mr.
Grant's estate in ready money, besides leaving him two acres of town
lots bordering on the basin, and which, they say, are worth more to-day
than the whole tanyard with its appurtenances ever was worth in its best
time. This verdict wrought a strange appetite in our county, among the
landholders, to be ruined in the same way; and I truly believe it was a
chief cause of the unpopularity of internal improvements in this
neighborhood, that the commissioners were only able to destroy the farms
on the lowlands--which fact, it was said, brought down the price of the
uplands on the whole line of the canal, besides creating a great deal of
ill humor among all who were out of the way of being damaged.

With the money which this verdict brought him, Mr. Grant improved a
part of his two acres--which he was persuaded to cut up into town
lots--by building the brick tavern, and the store that stands next door
to it. These were the first buildings of any note in Quodlibet, and are
generally supposed to have given rise to the incorporation of the
Borough by the Legislature. Jesse Ferret took a lease of the tavern as
soon as it was finished, and set up the sign of "The Hero"--meaning
thereby General Jackson--which, by-the-by, was the first piece of
historical painting that the celebrated Quipes ever attempted. The store
was rented by Frederick Barndollar for his son Jacob, who was just then
going to marry Ferret's daughter Susan, and open in the Iron and Flour
Forwarding and Commission line, in company with Anthony Hardbottle, his
own brother-in-law.

This was the state of things in Quodlibet five years before "The
Removal," from which period, up to the date of the Removal, although
Barndollar & Hardbottle did a tolerable business, and Ferret had a fair
run of custom, there were not above a dozen new tenements built in the
Borough. But a bright destiny was yet in reserve for Quodlibet; and as I
propose to unfold some incidents of its history belonging to these later
times, I cannot pretermit the opportunity now afforded me to glance,
though in a perfunctory and hasty fashion, at some striking events which
seemed to presignify and illustrate its marvelously sudden growth.

I think it was in the very month of the Removal of the Deposits, that
Theodore Fog broke up at Tumbledown, on the other side of the Hogback,
and came over to Quodlibet to practice law. And it was looked upon as a
very notable thing, that, in the course of the following winter,
Nicodemus Handy should have also quitted Tumbledown and brought his
sign, as a lottery agent, to Quodlibet, and set up that business in our
Borough. There was a wonderful intimacy struck up between him and Fog,
and a good many visits were made by Nicodemus during the fall, before he
came over to settle. Our people marveled at this matter, and were not a
little puzzled to make out the meaning of it, knowing that Nicodemus
Handy was a shrewd man, and not likely, without some good reason for it,
to strike up a friendship with a person so little given to business as
Theodore Fog, against whom I desire to say nothing, holding his
abilities in great respect, but meaning only to infer that as Theodore
is considered high-flown in his speech, and rather too fond of living
about Ferret's bar-room, it was thought strange that Nicodemus, who is
plain spoken, and of the Temperance principle, should have taken up with
him. It was not long after Mr. Handy had seated himself in Quodlibet,
and placed his sign at the door of a small weather-boarded office, ten
feet by twelve, and within a stone-throw of Fog's, before the public
were favored with an insight into the cause of this intimacy between
these two friends. This was disclosed in a plan for establishing The
Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet, the particulars whereof were
made known at a meeting held in the dining-room of "The Hero" one
evening in March, when Theodore Fog made a flowery speech on the subject
to ten persons, counting Ferret and Nim Porter the bar-keeper. The
capital of the bank was proposed to be half a million, and the stock one
hundred dollars a share, of which one dollar was to be paid in, and the
remainder to be secured by promissory notes, payable on demand, if

This excellent scheme found many supporters; and, accordingly, when the
time came for action, the whole amount was subscribed by Handy and Fog
and ten of their particular friends, who had an eye to being directors
and officers of the bank--to whom might also be added about thirty
boatmen, who, together with the boys of my academy, lent their names to
Mr. Handy.

Through the liberality of Fog, the necessary cash was supplied out of
three hundred dollars, the remains of a trust fund in his hands
belonging to a family of orphans in the neighborhood of Tumbledown, who
had not yet had occasion to know from their attorney, the said Theodore
Fog himself, of their success in a cause relating to this fund which had
been gained some months before. As Nicodemus managed the subscriptions,
which indeed he did with wonderful skill, these three hundred dollars
went a great way in making up the payments on considerably more than the
majority of the stock: and this being adjusted, he undertook a visit to
the Legislature, where, through the disinterested exertions of some
staunch Democratic friends, he procured a most unexceptionable charter
for the bank, full of all sorts of provisions, conditions, and clauses
necessary to enable it to accommodate the public with as much paper
money as the said public could possibly desire.

In consideration of these great services, Nicodemus Handy elected
himself Cashier; and, at the same time, had well-nigh fallen into a
quarrel with Fog, who had set his heart upon being President--which, in
view of the fact that that gentleman's habits were somewhat irregular
after twelve o'clock in the day, Nicodemus would by no means consent to.
This dissension, however, was seemingly healed, by bringing in as
President my worshipful pupil, the Hon. Middleton Flam, now our member
of Congress, and by making Theodore one of the directors, besides giving
him the law business of the bank. It was always thought, notwithstanding
Fog pretended to be satisfied at the time with this arrangement, that it
rankled in his bosom, and bred a jealousy between him and his associates
in the bank, and helped to drive him to drinking faster than he would
naturally have done, if his feelings had not been aggravated by this act
of supposed ingratitude.

I should not omit to mention that Nicodemus Handy was a man of exact
and scrupulous circumspection, and noted for the deliberation with which
he weighed the consequences of his actions, or, as the common saying is,
"looked before he leapt"--a remarkable proof of which kind of wisdom he
afforded at this time. Having been compelled by circumstances to live
beyond the avails of his lottery business, and thereby to bring himself
under some impracticable liabilities, he made it a point of conscience,
before he could permit himself to be clothed with the dignity of a
cashier, or even to place a share of stock in his own name on the books,
to swear out in open court, and to surrender, for the benefit of
his numerous and patient creditors, his whole stock of worldly
goods--consisting, according to the inventory thereof on record, which I
have seen, of a cylindrical sheet-iron stove, two chairs, a desk and a
sign-board, this latter being, as I remember, of the shape of a screen,
on each leaf of which "NICODEMUS HANDY" was printed, together with the
scheme of a lottery, set forth in large red and blue letters. He barely
retained what the law allowed him, being his mere wearing apparel; to
wit, a bran new suit of black superfine Saxony, one dozen of the best
cambric linen shirts, as many lawn pocket handkerchiefs, white kid
gloves, and such other trivial but gentlemanlike appurtenances as
denoted that extreme neatness of dress in which Mr. Handy has ever taken
a just pride, and which has been so often remarked by his friends as one
of the strong points in his character. These articles, it was said, he
had procured not more with a provident eye to that state of destitution
into which the generous surrender of his property was about to plunge
him, than with a decent regard to the respectability of appearance which
the public, he conceived, had a right to exact from the Cashier of the
Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet. All right-minded persons will
naturally commend this prudence, and applaud Mr. Handy's sense of the
dignity proper to so important and elevated a station--a station which
Theodore Fog, in his speech at "The Hero," so appropriately eulogized as
one "of financial, fiscal, and monetary responsibility."

There was one circumstance connected with the history of the
establishment of the bank that excited great observation among our
folks: that was the dislike Michael Grant took up against it from its
very beginning. It was an indiscriminate, unmitigable, dogged dislike to
the whole concern, which, by degrees, brought him into a bad opinion of
our Borough, and I verily believe was the cause why, from that time
forward, he kept himself so much at his farm near the Hogback, and grew
to be, as if it were out of mere opposition, so unhappily, and indeed I
may say, so perversely stubborn in those iniquitous Whig sentiments
which he was in the habit of uttering. I have heard him say that he
thought as badly as a man could think, of the grounds for starting the
bank, and still worse of the men who started it,--which, certainly, was
a very rash expression, considering that our congressman, the Hon.
Middleton Flam, was President and one of the first patrons of the
institution, and that such a man as Nicodemus Handy was Cashier; to say
nothing of Theodore Fog, whose habits, we are willing to confess, might,
in the estimation of some men, give some little color to my worthy
friend's vituperation.

Now, there was no man in Quodlibet whom Handy and Fog so much desired,
or strove so hard, to bring into the bank scheme as Mr. Grant. They made
every sort of effort and used all kinds of arguments to entice him.
Nicodemus Handy on one occasion, I think it was in April, put the matter
to him in such strong points of view, that I have often marveled since
how the good gentleman stood it. He argued, with amazing cogency, that
General Jackson had removed the deposits for the express purpose of
destroying the Bank of the United States, and giving the State banks a
fair field: that the Old Hero was an enthusiastic friend to State
rights, and especially to State banks, which it was the desire of his
heart to see increased and multiplied all over the country; that he was
actually, as it were, making pets out of these banks, and was determined
to feed them up with the public moneys and give them such a credit in
the land as would forever shut out all hope to the friends of a National
Bank to succeed with their purpose: and, finally, that although Clay and
the Whigs were endeavoring to resist the General in his determination to
establish new banks in the States, that resistance was already
considered hopeless. It was with a visible air of triumph that Mr.
Handy, in confirmation of this opinion, read from the Globe of the 21st
of December previous these words:--

     "The intelligent people of the West know how to maintain their
     rights and independence, and to repel oppression. Although foiled
     in the beginning, every Western State is about to establish a State
     bank institution. They are resolved to avail themselves of their
     own State credit, as well as of the National credit, to maintain a
     currency independent of foreign control. Mr. Clay's presses in
     Kentucky begin now to feel how vain are all their efforts to resist
     the determination of the people of the West. Ohio, Indiana,
     Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky are resolved to take care of
     themselves, and no longer depend on the kind guardianship of
     Biddle, Clay & Co."

Having laid this fact before Mr. Grant, by way of clinching the
argument Mr. Handy pulled out of his pocket a letter which he had
just received from the Secretary of the Treasury. It contained a
communication of the deepest import to the future fortunes of our
Borough; which communication, as I have been favored by Mr. Handy with a
copy, I feel happy to transcribe here for the edification of my reader.
It is a circular, and came to our cashier printed on gilt-edged
letter-paper, having the title of the bank, the date, and some other
items filled up in writing.

               "TREASURY DEPARTMENT, _April_ 1, 1834.

     "SIR:--The Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet has been
     selected by this Department as the depository of the public money
     collected in Quodlibet and its vicinity; and the Marshal will hand
     you the form of a contract proposed to be executed, with a copy of
     his instructions from this Department. In selecting your
     institution as one of the fiscal agents of the government, I not
     only rely on its solidity and established character, as affording a
     sufficient guarantee for the safety of the public money intrusted
     to its keeping, but I confide also in its disposition to adopt the
     most liberal course which circumstances will admit toward other
     moneyed institutions generally, and particularly those in your
     vicinity. The deposits of the public money will enable you to
     afford increased facilities to commerce, and to extend your
     accommodations to individuals; and as the duties which are payable
     to the government arise from the business and enterprise of the
     merchants engaged in foreign trade, it is but reasonable that they
     should be preferred in the additional accommodations which the
     public deposits will enable your institution to give, whenever it
     can be done without injustice to the claims of other classes of the

     "I am, etc.,                             R. B. TANEY,
                                    "_Secretary of the Treasury_.

     "_To the President of the Patriotic Copperplate Bank of

"There, sir," said Mr. Handy, after he had read this paper to Mr.
Grant--"read that over again and tell me if there is any Quodlibetarian
that ought not to rejoice in this great event, and lend his endeavors,
with both heart and soul, to promote and sustain an institution so
favored by the government. The Secretary, you perceive, has confidence
in the 'solidity and established character' of our bank--how can you
refuse _your_ confidence after that? Sir, the Secretary is an honor to
the Democracy of Quodlibet:--what does he say? Does he tell us to keep
the public moneys locked up only for the selfish purposes of the
government? Oh no: far from it; 'the deposits' says he, 'will enable you
to afford increased facilities to commerce, and to extend your
accommodations to individuals.' Mark that! there's a President and
Secretary for you! True friends, Mr. Grant--true friends to the people.
How careful are they of our great mercantile and trading classes! Sir,
the government cannot do too much for such people as we are--that's the
true Democratic motto--we _expect_ a great deal--but they outrun our
expectations. No more low prices for grain, Mr. Grant--no more scarcity
of money:--accommodation is the word--better currency is the word--high
prices, good wages and plenty of work is the word now-a-days. We shall
have a city here before you can cleverly turn yourself round. Depend
upon it, sir, we are destined to become a great, glorious, and immortal

"Sir," said Theodore Fog, interposing at this moment, with a look that
wore a compound expression of thoughtful sternness and poetical
frenzy--"when the historic muse shall hereafter contemplate the humble
origin of Quodlibet----"

"Fog," interrupted Nicodemus, somewhat petulantly--and I feel sorry to
be obliged to record this inconsiderate language--"Blame the historic
muse!--we are now on business."

"As a director, sir," replied Fog, with a subdued air, but with a
dignified gravity, "I have a _right_ to speak. I meant to say, sir, in
plain phrase, that Quodlibet must inevitably, from this day forth, under
the proud auspices of democratic principles--obedient to that native
impulse which the profound statesmanship of this people-sustaining and
people-sustained administration has imparted to it, soar aloft to place
herself upon the proud pinnacle of commercial prosperity, wealth, and
power. I have no doubt, Mr. Grant, your tavern lot will increase to
three times its present value. You _ought_ to take stock;--let me tell
you, sir, as a citizen of Quodlibet, you ought. As to the cash, that's a
bagatelle. Handy and I can let you have any number of shares on your own
terms. Flam will do anything we say to let you in. By-the-by, he got us
the deposits. Flam's a man of influence--but whether on the whole he
will make us the best President we could have procured, is perhaps
somewhat apocryphal."

"You cannot fail to see," said Mr. Handy, "that we must all make our
fortunes, if the government is only true to its word; and who can doubt
it will be true? We start comparatively with nothing, I may say,
speaking of myself--absolutely with nothing. We shall make a large issue
of paper, predicated upon the deposits; we shall accommodate everybody,
as the Secretary desires--of course, not forgetting our friends, and
more particularly ourselves:--we shall pay, in this way, our stock
purchases. You may run up a square of warehouses on the Basin; I will
join you as a partner in the transaction, give you the plan of
operations, furnish architectural models, supply the funds, et cetera,
et cetera. We will sell out the buildings at a hundred per cent. advance
before they are finished; Fog here will be the purchaser. We have then
only to advertise in the papers this extraordinary rise of property
in Quodlibet--procure a map to be made of our new city; get it
lithographed, and immediately sell the lots on the Exchange of New York
at a most unprecedented valuation. My dear sir, I have just bought a
hundred acres of land adjoining the Borough, with an eye to this very
speculation. You shall have an interest of one-half in this operation at
a reasonable valuation--I shall want but a small profit, say two hundred
per cent.--a mere trifle--in consideration of my labors in laying it off
into streets, lanes, and alleys;--and if there is any convenience in it
to you--although I know you are a moneyed man--you have only to make a
proposal for a slice of accommodation--just drop a note now and then
into the discount box. You understand. The Secretary will be delighted,
my dear sir, to hear of our giving an accommodation to you. But there's
one thing, Mr. Grant, I must not forget to remark--the Secretary, in
fact, makes it a sort of _sine qua non_--you must come out a
genuine--declare yourself a Whole Hog--and go for Flam in the
fall elections. The Secretary expects, you know," and as he said
this he laid his finger significantly upon his nose, "that the
accommodation principle--is to be measurably--extended--in proportion to
the--Democracy--of the applicants. You understand?--a word to the
wise--that's all. It couldn't be expected, you perceive, that we,
holding the deposits, should be quite as favorable to the Whigs, who
rather charge us with experimenting on the currency--you know--and who,
in fact, don't scruple to say that our banking system will be a
failure--it couldn't be expected we should be as bountiful to them as to
those who go with us in building up this concatenation--tweedle dum and
tweedle dee, you know, betwixt you and me;--but it's made a point
of--and has its effect on ulterior expectations--you understand. The
long and the short is, without being mealy-mouthed, we must prefer the
old Hero's friends;--but, after all, that's a small matter:--be a
Democrat, and go for Flam!"

"Flam and the immutable principles of civil liberty!" said Fog, with
great animation. "Middleton Flam, the embodiment and personification of
those deep and profound truths, based upon the eternal distinctions of
the greatest good to the greatest number! Diffusive wealth, combined
capital, increased facilities to commerce, and accommodation to
individuals--there is the _multum in parvo_ of General Jackson's
Democratic creed!--there is the glorious consummation of the war with
the great money power, which, like Juggernaut, was crushing down the
liberties of our Republic!"

Michael Grant was a patient listener, and a man of few words. He stood
all the time that Fog and Handy were plying him with this discourse,
with his thumbs in his waistcoat pockets, looking down, with a grum
cogitation, at his own image in the water of the basin, on the margin of
which the parties had met, and every now and then rocking on his heels
and flapping the soles of his feet sharply on the ground, denoting, by
this movement, to those who knew his habit, that he was growing more and
more positive in his opinion. Once or twice he was observed to raise his
head, and with one eye half shut, seemed as if studying the heavens. At
length he broke out with an answer which, from the vehemence of his
tone, caused Handy and Fog to prick up their ears, and gaze upon each
other with a look of incredulous surprise.

"Your bank, gentlemen," said he, "is a humbug. Your speculation in lots,
your accommodations and the fortunes you are going to make, are humbugs.
Flam and the immutable principles of civil liberty are humbugs, and the
greatest humbug of all is your Democracy."

With these very rash and inconsiderate words, Mr. Grant turned on his
heel and walked away, leaving Handy and Fog looking significantly at
each other. From that time Mr. Grant was generally considered an enemy
to our bank, and, as far as I can learn, never had any dealings with it.

Mr. Handy set up a dry laugh as soon as Mr. Grant was out of sight, and
laughed on for some moments. At last he said, somewhat mysteriously, and
with a great deal of deliberation--

"Fog, it's my opinion that the old tanner has cut his eye teeth--what do
you think of him?"

"He labors," replied Fog, "under a sinistrous and defective obliquity
of comprehension; and from all I can make out of this colloquy, I rather
incline to the opinion that he is not _very_ willing to embark largely
in our stock." And saying this, Fog folded his arms and looked
steadfastly in Mr. Handy's face.

"Nor, as I should judge," said Handy in a kind of whisper, "is he likely
to join me in my speculation in town lots. Fog, don't forget, you will
indorse my note for the purchase-money of that hundred acres--I shall
discount it to-morrow--I like to pay cash--that was always my

"Undoubtedly--consider me a sure card in that line," replied Fog:--"it
is understood, of course, that you reciprocate the favor on my purchase
of the meadow?"

"Without question--assuredly, Fog--one good turn deserves another."

"Then, let's go up and take a drink," said Fog, imitating the tone of a
tragedy-player--"we'll call it twelve, although my dial points but half
way from eleven."

"You know I never drink," quoth Handy.

"Then come and look on me while I that act perform," said Theodore.

"Agreed," said Nicodemus. And thereupon these trusty friends went
straight to Nim Porter's bar.



In the course of the first year after The Removal, or as I should say,
in the year One--speaking after our manner in Quodlibet--the bank made
itself very agreeable to everybody. Mr. Flam came home from Congress
after the end of the long session, and found everything prospering
beyond his most sanguine expectations. Nicodemus Handy had put a new
weather-boarded room to the back of his office for the use of the
Directors, and the banking business was transacted in the front
apartment where Nicodemus used to sell lottery tickets. There was one
thing that strangers visiting Quodlibet were accustomed to remark upon
in a jocular vein, regarding the bank--and that was the sign which was
placed, as it were parapet-wise, along the eaves of the roof, and being
of greater longitude than the front of the building, projected
considerably at either end. Quipes has been held responsible for this,
but I know that he could not help it, on account of the length of the
name, which, nevertheless, it is due to him to say he endeavored, very
much to my discontent, to shorten, both by orthographical device and by
abbreviation, having painted it thus--


notwithstanding which, it overran the dimensions of the tenement to
which it was attached. I say strangers sometimes facetiously alluded to
this discrepancy, by observing that the bank was like the old Hero
himself, too great for the frame that contained it. And, truly, the bank
did a great business! Mr. Handy, who is acknowledged to be a man of
taste, procured one of the handsomest plates, it is supposed, that
Murray, Draper & Fairman ever executed, and with about six bales of
pinkish silk paper, and a very superior cylinder press, created an
amount of capital which soon put to rest old Mr. Grant's grumbling about
the want of solidity in the bank, and fully justified the Secretary's
declaration of his confidence in its "established character as affording
a sufficient guarantee for the safety of the public money intrusted to
its keeping."

As a proof how admirably matters were conducted by Mr. Handy, the
Directors soon found no other reason to attend at the Board than now and
then to hold a chat upon politics and smoke a cigar; and the President,
the Hon. Middleton Flam, having his October election on hand, was so
thoroughly convinced of Nicodemus's ability, that I do not believe he
went into the bank more than half a dozen times during the whole season.

It was in the course of this year, and pretty soon after the bank got
the deposits, that Mr. Handy began his row of four story brick
warehouses on the Basin, which now goes by the name of Nicodemus Row. He
also laid the foundation of his mansion on the hill, fronting upon Handy
Place; and which edifice he subsequently finished, so much to the
adornment of our Borough, with a Grecian portico in front, and an
Italian veranda looking toward the garden. As his improvements advanced
in this and the next year, he successively reared a Temple of Minerva on
the top of the ice-house, a statue of Apollo in the center of the
carriage-circle, a sun-dial on a marble pillar where the garden walks
intersect, and a gilded dragon weather-cock on the cupola of the
stables. The new banking house was commenced early in the summer, and
has been finished of very beautiful granite, being in its front, if I am
rightly informed by Mr. Handy, an exact miniature copy of the Tomb of
Osymandias: it is situated on Flam Street, the first after you leave the
Basin, going northward. All the Directors, except Fog, followed the
footsteps of their illustrious predecessor, Mr. Handy, and went to work
to build themselves villas on the elevated ground back of the Borough,
now known by the name of Copperplate Ridge,--which villas were duly
completed in all manner of Greek, Roman, and Tuscan fashions. These
being likewise imitated, in turn, by many friends of the bank who
migrated hither from all parts and cast their lines in our Borough,
Quodlibet hath thereby, very suddenly, grown to be, in a figurative
sense, a pattern card of the daintiest structures of the four quarters
of the world. Perhaps I may be too fast in making so broad an
assertion--cupio non putari mendacem--I am not quite sure that, as yet,
we have any well ascertained specimen of the Asiatic: but if Nicodemus
Handy's pagoda, which he talked of building on the knoll in the center
of his training course, had not been interrupted by an untoward event,
of which it may become my duty to speak hereafter, I should, in that
case, have made no difficulty in reiterating, with a clear conscience
and without reservation, the remark which distrustfully and with claim
of allowance I have ventured above.

My valuable patron not being resident actually within the Borough, and
being, as I have said, very busy in the matter of his election during
the greater part of the first year of the bank, had not much opportunity
to devote himself to its concerns. But the Directors, partly aware of
their own knowledge, how valuable was his influence with the Secretary,
and partly persuaded thereof by the Cashier, established, with a
liberality which Mr. Handy remarked at the time was exceedingly
gentlemanlike, his salary as President at three thousand dollars a
year--which sum, Mr. Flam himself has, more than once in my hearing,
averred upon his honor, he did not consider one cent too much. And
indeed, I feel myself bound to express my concurrence in this opinion,
when I reflect upon the weight of his character, the antiquity of his
family, the preponderance of his strong Democratic sentiments, and the
expenses to which, as President, he was exposed in looking after the
interests of the bank--more especially in the journeys to Washington,
whereof I have heard him speak, for the purpose of explaining matters to
the Secretary.

Connected with this matter of salary, and as having a natural
propinquity to the subject, I may here cursorily, for I design to be
more particular on this point hereafter, claim the privilege to enter a
little into the family matters of my patron. And on this head, I would
observe that the household of Mr. Flam is large. Of a truth, as some
philosopher has remarked, mouths are not fed, nor bodies clad, without
considerable of the wherewithal! There is Mrs. Flam, the venerated
consort of our representative--a lady most honorably conducive to the
multiplication of the strength and glory of this land; there is,
likewise, Mr. Flam's sister Janet--truly an honor to her sex for
instructive discourse and exemplary life; and there is Master Middleton,
Junior, with his four sisters and three brothers, who may be all
ranged into the semblance of a step-ladder. Great is Mr. Flam's
parental tenderness toward this happy progeny--the reduplication and
retriplication, if I may so express it, of himself and their respectable
mamma. Yielding to the solicitude inspired by this tenderness, almost
the first thing which our representative did, after the establishment of
the bank--the means having thereby come the better to his hand--was to
send Master Middleton, Junior, who was very urgent in his entreaties to
that point, to Europe, that the young gentleman, by two or three years
travel, might witness the distresses and oppressions of monarchical
government, and become confirmed in his democratic sentiments. A
refinement of sensibility in Mr. Flam, which I might almost denominate
fastidious, has also operated with him to require the education of his
daughters to be conducted under his own roof. He would never hear, for
one moment, any persuasion to trust them, even at their earliest age, in
the public school--considerately fearful lest they might form intimacies
unbecoming the station to which he destined them in after-life. They
have consequently been placed under the special tuition of a most
estimable lady, Mademoiselle Jonquille, a resident governess, who is
enjoined to speak to them nothing but French. This lady, among other
things, teaches them music, and is aided in the arduous duties allotted
to her by a drawing-master of acknowledged ability in water-colors, and
a very superior professor of dancing, who instructs them in the elegant
accomplishment of waltzing and galloping, which, Mr. Flam says, is
now-a-days held to be indispensable in the first Democratic circles at
Washington, where it has always been his design to introduce the young
ladies into high life.

It will not be out of place here to mention that the worthy subject of
this desultory memoir, my patron and former pupil, inherited a large
fortune from his father, the late Judge Flam, who was especially honored
by old John Adams, or, as the better phrase is, the elder Adams, with an
appointment to the bench on the night of the third of March, Anno Domini
1801; and I have often heard Mr. Middleton say that his father had, up
to the day of his lamented departure from this world, which melancholy
event happened in the year of our Lord 1825, the greatest respect for
General Jackson; which liking for the Old Hero descended to his son,
along with the family estate, and serves satisfactorily to account for
my former pupil's ardent attachment to Democratic principles, as in the
sequel I shall make appear.

I do not desire to conceal the fact that Judge Flam, and even Mr.
Middleton himself, for some years after he came to man's estate, were
both reputed to belong to what was generally, at that time, denominated
and known by the appellation of the Old Federal party, and what, in
common parlance, has been sometimes scoffingly termed The Black Cockade;
and that the Judge, who was always noted for being very stiff in his
opinions, maintained his connection nominally with that party until the
day of his death. I mention this not in derogation of Mr. Middleton our
representative, but rather in the way of commendation, because I am by
this fact the more strongly confirmed in my admiration of the greatness
of his character--seeing that his conversion to Democracy is the pure
result of reflection and conviction, which is more laudable, in my
humble thinking, than to be "a born veteran Democrat," as I once heard a
great man boast himself.

Now this conversion being a notable matter, I can by no means pretermit
a veritable account of it, which happens to be fully within my power to
disclose, I being, as I may say, a witness to the whole course of it.

Everybody remembers that most signal of all the literary productions of
General Jackson's various and illustrious pen, his letter to Mr. Monroe,
dated the 12th of November, Anno Domini 1816. It came--in the language
of my venerated friend, Judge Flam--like the sound of a trumpet upon the
ears of all of the Old Federalists. "Now is the time," says General
Jackson, in that immortal letter, which I transcribed, as soon as I saw
it in print, into my book of memorable things, and which I now quote
_verbatim et literatim_:--

     "Now is the time to exterminate that monster called Party Spirit.
     By selecting characters most conspicuous for their probity, virtue,
     capacity, and firmness, without any regard to party, you will go
     far to, if not entirely, eradicate those feelings which, on former
     occasions, threw so many obstacles in the way, and perhaps have the
     pleasure and honor of uniting a people heretofore politically
     divided. The Chief Magistrate of a great and powerful nation should
     never indulge in party feelings. His conduct should be liberal and
     disinterested, always bearing in mind that he acts for the whole,
     and not a part of the community."

This letter of the last of the Romans was published in the National
Intelligencer, and I happened to be with Judge Flam when it first met
his eye. He was sipping his tea. The venerable Judge read it twice; took
up the cup, and, in a musing, thoughtful mood, burnt his mouth with the
hot liquid so badly that he was obliged to call for cold water.--Just at
that moment, Middleton, his son, came into the parlor: he had been out
shooting partridges.

"My dear Middleton, read that," said the Judge.

Middleton sat down and read it; and then looked intently at his father,
waiting to hear what he would say.

"Middleton, my son," said he in a very deliberate and emphatic manner,
"There's our man. General Jackson has been called a Hero--he's a Sage, a
wise man, a very wise man. _We_ have been kept in the mire too long:
these Jeffersons and Madisons, and Nicholases and Randolphs, and all
that Virginia Junto (I think that was the very word he used) have
trodden us in the dust. They, with all the Democracy at their back, have
lorded it over us for sixteen years. We owe them an old grudge. _But our
time is coming_, (this expression he repeated twice.) Remember, my son,
if ever you get into a majority, stick to it. Bring up your children to
it. You have a long account to settle:--_I shall bequeath to you the
Vengeance of the Federal party_. We must rally at once upon Andrew
Jackson. He will bring _us_ what it is fashionable to call 'the
people.'--We shall bring _him_ the talent, the intelligence, and the
patriotism of the land. In such an alliance how can it be otherwise but
that we shall have all the power?--and then, if we fail to play our
cards with skill, we shall deserve to lose the game. Let Jackson be our
candidate for the next Presidency, and let our gathering word be, in the
sentiment of this memorable letter, 'The Union of the People and the
extermination of the Monster of Party.' Do not slumber, my son, but give
your energies to this great enterprise."

Mr. Middleton took this advice of his venerable father greatly to heart.
"Up with Jackson, and down with Party!" said he, after a long
rumination; "good, excellent--nothing can be better!" And several times
that night, before he went to bed, he audibly uttered the same words, as
he walked backward and forward across the room.

From this time Judge Flam wrote many letters to his friends, disclosing
the views he had expressed to Middleton; and by degrees the matter
ripened and ripened, until things were so contrived as to bring
about what Judge Flam used to smile and say, was "a spontaneous,
unpremeditated burst of popular feeling," in the nomination of the
General. And the Judge used to laugh outright, when the papers took
strong ground in the General's favor, as the candidate who was brought
out "without intrigue or party management." The Old Hero and Sage, we
all know, was cheated out of his first election; which circumstance
greatly embittered his early friends, who, from that time--Mr. Middleton
among the rest--took a very decided stand for Reform, Retrenchment,
Economy, and the Rights of the People.

The Judge did not live to witness this second effort which resulted so
gloriously for the Democratic cause; but his son stuck close to the Old
Hero, and was among his most ardent supporters to the last. When the
General succeeded, his first care was to show his gratitude to that
disinterested band of patriots who so freely surrendered their old
principles and abandoned their old comrades in his behalf. _He_ brought
_them_ into office, just to show that he was determined to carry out the
doctrine of his letter; and _they_ were loudest in their praise of _him_
for the sake of the _old grudge_, of which Judge Flam spoke to his son,
and to indemnify their long suffering in the cause of the country, in
the course of which they had, for so many years, been strangers to
power. So between these two persuasions, it is not to be wondered at
that they should have become the principal friends and most confidential
advisers of the General.

Having thus got upon an elevation, from whence they could look
backward upon their past errors, and forward to their future hopes, a
new light dawned upon every man of them; and thereupon they straightway
became sick and sorry for having so long sinned against Democracy, and
grew ashamed of that black cockade which George Washington wore in the
Revolution; made open renunciation of their former pretended attachment
to his principles; canonized Mr. Jefferson as a saint, whom they had
formerly reviled as the chief of sinners; purged out their old Federal
blood; took deep alterative draughts of detergent medicine; and,
finally, like true patriots, came forth regenerated, thorough-bred
whole-hog Democrats, sworn to follow the new Democratic principle
through all its meanderings, traverses, dodgings, and duckings to the
end. Indeed, Mr. Middleton Flam, our honorable representative, has more
than once, in some of his later speeches before the people, contended,
that although his father was attached to George Washington's school of
politics, which, as he remarked, naturally arose out of the prejudices
created by the revolutionary war--in which the old Judge had served as a
soldier--yet, that he, Middleton, never was truly an admirer of that
gentleman's theory of government or system of measures--but, on the
contrary, held them in marked disesteem, and from his earliest youth had
a strong inclination toward that freedom from restraint, which, in man
and boy, is the best test of the new Democratic principle. In proof of
this tendency of his youthful opinions, he mentioned, with most
admirable effect, an exploit, in which, when not more than twelve
years of age, he gallantly stood up at the head of a party of his
school-fellows to bar out the tutor and take a holiday, on the ground of
the indefeasible rights of man, with a view to attend a great political
meeting of the friends of Jefferson, just previous to the second
election of that Apostle of Democracy.

Be that as it may, our distinguished member of Congress is now, by force
of reflection and conviction, as pure, unadulterated, and, as our people
jocularly denote it, as patent a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat as Theodore
Fog himself, whose attachment to popular principles, habits, and
manners, and whose unalterable adhesion to the new Democratic theory,
are written in every line of his face and in every movement of his
body:--and so, Mr. Flam avers, is every one of his black-cockade friends
who have got an office. "Thus it is,"--if I may be allowed to quote a
beautiful sentiment from one of Fog's speeches--"thus it is, that by
degrees, the errors of old opinions are washed out by the all-pervading
ablution of the Democratic principle following in the footsteps of the
march of intellect; and so true is it, that the body politic, like
quicksilver, regurgitates and repudiates the feculence of Federalism."

Nicodemus Handy has an attachment for Mr. Flam, which is truly
fraternal. It goes so far as to prevent him from ever contradicting Mr.
Middleton in any fact, or gainsaying him in any opinion--although I did
think at one time, when Nicodemus was thought to be rich, that he was a
little bold in his sentiments on two or three matters wherein our member
differed from him. One I remember in particular; it was when the Old
Hero pocketed the Specie Circular Bill. Mr. Handy thought, for a little
while, that the circular was too hard upon the banks and the trading
people, and he seemed to insinuate that the General was rather cornered
by Congress, when they ordered its repeal by two-thirds of both Houses;
and that, consequently, as a good Democrat, he ought to have submitted
to the will of the people in that matter, and allowed them to have the
law after it was passed. Mr. Flam was diametrically opposed to him, and
proved, I thought conclusively, that, according to the sound
Quodlibetarian Democratic principle, the General was altogether right in
putting the act of Congress aside and not allowing them to overset his
plans by another vote of two-thirds. "For," he inquired with great force
of argument, adopting the Socratic form, "what is Congress? The
representatives of the people, by districts and by States. For whom can
any one man in that body speak? For his own district, or for his own
State--no more. Now, what is the President? Sir," said he, in that
solemn and impressive tone in which he addresses the House at
Washington, "the President himself has answered that question in his
immortal Protest against the Senate--he is '_the direct representative
of the American people_,' and, as he took occasion once to say in his
Message, '_It will be for those in whose behalf we all act, to decide
whether the Executive Department of the Government, in the steps which
it has taken on this subject, has been found in the line of its duty_.'
The President, sir, is the representative of the _whole_ people--not of
a district, not of a State, but of the _whole_ nation. Why should
these representatives of _the parts_ undertake to dictate to the
representative of _the whole_? It is for the people to decide whether,
in putting that bill in his pocket, he was in the line of his duty. Sir,
there is the broad buttress upon which the Democratic principle reposes,
and will repose forever. Jackson has determined, as representative of
the people, that the Specie Circular shall not be repealed, and every
true Democrat will of course say that he is right. I am surprised that
you, Handy, should give any countenance to the factious doctrine set up
by the Whigs, that Congress has a right to array itself against the
clearly expressed will of the people, when uttered through the paramount
representative of the whole nation."

Mr. Handy was evidently confounded by this unanswerable argument, and,
of course, did not attempt to answer. I confess, for my own part, I
listened with admiration and amazement at the dialectic skill with which
so abstruse a subject was so briefly yet so clearly elucidated, and I
inwardly ejaculated, in the language of the afflicted man of Uz, "How
forcible are right words!"

My late pupil's reflections were drawn to this question of the Specie
Circular with more intensity of regard, from a very natural train of
circumstances, which had great influence in inducing an elaborate study
of the subject. Mr. Handy has often said that Mr. Flam was the very best
customer our bank had from the beginning. Acting, as he always did, upon
the principle that our first care is due to those who are nearest to us,
or, according to the adage, that charity begins at home, the President
of the bank refused to borrow from any other institution, but determined
exclusively to patronize his own. This principle he carried to the
romantic extent of borrowing four times as much as anybody else; and as
he always contended for it as the most approved theorem in banking, that
the wider and the more remote the circulation of the paper of a bank,
the better for its profit, he employed these funds in the purchase of a
large quantity of the Chickasaw Reserve lands. By these means Mr. Flam
became the proprietor of a vast number of acres in that Southwest
country; and as the Specie Circular was a most laudable contrivance to
stop overtrading and speculating in the public lands, it occurred to our
worthy representative that the less the public lands were sold, the more
his would come into the market at good prices; and so, with a view to
the benefit of Quodlibet, where he expected to invest the profits, he
became a strong advocate of the Circular. This set him to studying the
question of the pocketing of the bill for its repeal, whereof I have
spoken above, and enabled him to convince himself how deeply that matter
was connected with the development of the Democratic principle in the
manner put forth in his argument to Mr. Handy.

Thus does it come to pass that, step by step, as our government rolls
on, its fundamental features are successively disclosed in the practical
operations of that sublime system which so securely intrenches the good
of the people in the doctrines of genuine Quodlibetarian Democracy, as
now of late, for the first time, fully understood and practiced.

Ever after that notable discourse, Mr. Handy showed himself, both in
private and at our public meetings, the stern, uncompromising champion
of the Specie Circular and of the broad representative character of the
President. The other questions upon which I have found him to differ
occasionally with Mr. Flam, shared pretty nearly the same fate as this.
The Cashier ultimately fell into entire harmony of sentiment in all
matters with the President; though, as I have insinuated before, in the
flood-tide of Mr. Handy's fortune, when he began to be accounted a man
of wealth, he was, in accordance with a principle of human nature
founded upon the corrupting and debasing influence of riches, much more
difficult to bring into perfect conformity of opinion with Mr. Flam,
than in the ebb. Yet, I would here remark that, almost in the same
degree that Mr. Handy yielded his assent to the doctrines of the Hon.
Middleton Flam, did the rank and file of our sturdy and independent
Democracy yield to Mr. Handy; the whole party being kept in a harmonious
agreement and accord by what Fog terms "the electric diffusion of the
Democratic principle through the whole circle of hand-in-hand,
unflinching, unwavering, uncorruptible, and power-frowning-down yeomanry
of the most virtuous and enlightened nation upon the terrestrial globe."



Holding, as I do, our Democratic leader, the Hon. Middleton Flam, in
the most deservedly profound respect, and knowing him to be, if I may be
allowed the expression, a bright exemplar of Democracy, and containing
in himself, metaphorically speaking, the epitome of all sound opinions,
I am fully authorized by the common usage regarding public characters to
bring him and his affairs conspicuously into the view of the world, not
for censure, neither for praise, although no man is better entitled to
the latter, but for instruction. Such is the destiny of distinguished
men, that their lives are common property for the teaching of their
generation. Duly acknowledging the weight of this maxim, I shall venture
in the present chapter to give my reader a still closer insight into the
private concerns of our representative; for which task I feel myself
somewhat specially qualified, through the bountiful hospitality of that
excellent gentleman, who has not only welcomed me to his board often on
week days, and always on Sundays, but who has even flattered me, more
than once, by the remark that he would not take umbrage at such
impartial development of his life and opinions as he knew I, better than
any other of his friends, (truly herein his kindness has overrated my
worthiness,) had it in my power to make.

The old family seat of the Flams is about two miles from Quodlibet. It
is upon the Bickerbray road; and, taking in all the grounds belonging to
the domicile, the tract is somewhere about eight hundred acres; by far
the greater portion of which is a flat range of woodland and field,
watered by Grasshopper Run, which falls into the Rumblebottom. The tract
used to be called, in Judge Flam's time, "The Poplar Flats," and the
house, at that day, went by the name of "Quality Hall:" but ever since
Mr. Middleton has had it, which, as may be gathered from what I have
imparted in the last chapter, has been from the time that the old Black
Cockades began to think of turning Democrats; ever since that day the
spelling has been gradually changing, and the house now goes by the
settled name of "Equality Hall," and the tract is always written by our
people "The Popular Flats." Mr. Middleton greatly approves of this
change, for two reasons which he has had occasion to take into his
serious reflections--First; "Because," he says, "in the Quodlibetarian
Democratic system, as now understood, words are things." "Not only
things, sir," said he, in a discourse one day, at his own table, "but
important and valuable things. I have observed," he continued, "in our
country, especially among the unflinching, uncompromising Democrats,
that a name is always half the battle. For instance, sir, we wish to
destroy the bank; we have only to call it a Monster: we desire to put
down an opposition ticket, and keep the offices among ourselves; all
that we have to do is to set up a cry of Aristocracy. If we want to stop
a canal, we clamor against Consolidation: if we wish it to go on, it is
only to change the word--Develop the Resources. When it was thought
worth our while to frighten Calhoun with the notion that we were going
to hang him, we hurraed for the Proclamation; and after that, when we
wanted to gain over his best friends to our side--State-Rights was the
word. Depend upon it, gentlemen, with the true Quodlibetarian Democracy,
names are things: that is the grand secret of the 'New-Light system.'"

Mr. Flam's second reason for approving the change in the spelling of
Poplar Flats and Quality Hall, did not depend upon such a philosophical
subtlety as the first; it was simply because he had very nigh lost his
first election to Congress from inattention to this material point of
orthography. Quality Hall, some of the Democrats of our region were
unreasonable and headstrong enough to say, was not so Democratic a name
as their candidate ought to have for his place of residence; and if it
had not been that our representative discovered this in time to convince
them that it was an old-fashioned way of spelling Equality Hall, I
believe, in my conscience, he would have made out very badly: but
luckily for this district, and I may say, for the nation, this error in
spelling was corrected in time to set all straight; and Mr. Flam, from
that day, not only put the E before the Q, but, in token of that
incident, and by way of a remembrancer, always spoke of Equality Hall as
built upon Popular Flats, which sounded very well in the ears of the New
Lights, and no doubt went a great way to keep him in Congress ever
after. Therefore I repeat, after my patron and friend, words _are_
things;--and, democratically speaking, in the sense of a New Light, I
might even say _better_ than things.

Equality Hall is a building which looks larger than it is, from the
circumstance that it was originally a one-storied, irregular cottage of
brick, but in the Judge's time a second story was put to it; and, almost
immediately after Mr. Middleton came to be the owner, he enlarged the
eastern gable by widening it to nearly forty feet, and building it up
considerably above the roof, and then adding to it a grand Grecian
Temple porch with niches for statues, and with fluted Doric columns of
wood, which thus constituted what Mr. Middleton calls his façade and
principal front to the building. The effect of this piece of
magnificence was to screen the old-cottage from view, and to impress the
beholder with the idea of a grand building peeping out upon the
Bickerbray road between the foliage of two weeping willows, which the
old Judge put there before Mr. Jefferson's election.

I have heard some fastidious, not to say malevolent critics, find
fault with this new addition to the building, upon the score that it had
too much pretense about it; and that one was always disappointed upon
finding all this grandeur of outside to be but a mere piece of
theatrical show, without having anything to correspond to it within. Mr.
Flam has heard the same objection, but he has always treated it with the
contempt it deserved. "It _was_ intended for show," he observed one day
addressing the people from the hustings, when he had occasion to notice
a remark of one of these caviling gentlemen, who had said something
about having walked behind the portico to find the house--and I
shall never forget how his eye kindled and his form dilated as he
spoke--"Show, sir! Of course, it was put there for show. What else could
it be put for? What is any portico put up for? It faces toward the road,
sir--it was designed to face toward the road. When I built that portico,
I wished the people, sir, to see it; the best I have shall always be
shown to the people. I trust, sir, that my respect for the people shall
never so far abate, as to induce me to neglect _them_. My house, sir,
intrinsically is that of an humble citizen; there are a dozen equal to
it in this county; but that part of it which is intended to gratify the
people is unsurpassed here or anywhere else. I have laid out, sir, a
small fortune on that portico to gratify the people: all that I have
comes from them--all that I ever expect to be, I hope to derive from
them: who has so good a right as they to require me to put my best foot
foremost, when they are the spectators? On the same principle, sir, when
I appear in public, I dress in the most expensive attire, I drive the
best horses, and procure the finest coach. My turnout is altogether
elaborate, studiously particular--simply because I hold the people in
too much esteem, to shab them off with anything of a secondary quality,
while Providence has blessed me with the means of providing them the
best. That, sir, is what I call a keystone principle in the arch of
Democratic government: that is the sentiment, and that alone, which is
to give perpetuity to this----"

"Fair fabric of freedom," said Theodore Fog, who was among the auditory,
and perceived that Mr. Flam hesitated for a word to convey his idea.

"Thank you, my friend," courteously replied Mr. Flam, "I am indebted to
you for the word--fair fabric of freedom."

Coming back from this digression, which I have the rather indulged
because of the eloquence, as well as the just Democratic sentiment it
breathes, I proceed with my sketch of the homestead of our distinguished
leader of the politics of Quodlibet.

If I were asked what constituted the most striking feature in the
arrangements of this very admirable establishment, I should say it was
the judicious admixture of a laudable economy, with the greatest
possible effect in the way of outward exhibition. For instance, the
grounds were embellished with sundry structures, apparently at great
cost, and producing a most satisfactory impression on the eye, but
which, when examined, would be found to be, for the most part, painted
imitations of a very cheap kind. Thus there was to be seen from the
portico, peering above a thicket on the Grasshopper Run, an old castle
with ivy-crowned battlements, greatly enriching the view; at the end of
the long walk in the garden, a magnificent obelisk rose forty feet above
a bed of asparagus; the entrance to the stable-yard was through the
Gothic archway of an old chapel, exceeding pleasant to behold; and the
ice pond was guarded by a palisade composed of muskets, lances, swords,
shields, and cannon, flanked at each end by a pile of drums and colors.
All these several embellishments a nice observation would determine to
be executed in oil painting, upon wooden screens sawed into the
requisite figures. But even this expense would, perhaps, have been
avoided, had it not been that Quipes, our artist, owed Mr. Flam
twenty-five dollars on account of a debt which Mr. Flam had to pay for
him, to get him out of jail, for the sake of his vote, when we first
elected our public-spirited representative to Congress. Owing to this
circumstance, connected with the fact that Sam Hardesty, the joiner,
became insolvent on his contract for building the big portico, whereby
Mr. Flam was obliged to advance money to him in order to get it
finished, our member conceived that it would be a good plan to work
these debts out of his two friends, by setting them about the
decorations I have described. Besides, he reasoned with himself that it
was always well to give employment to the working people about him, with
a view to encourage industry and afford a practical illustration of the
benignant influence of the great Democratic principle upon society--a
consideration which Mr. Flam on no occasion ever permitted himself to
lose sight of. By this judicious management he accomplished a fourfold
purpose: namely, the beautifying of Popular Flats; the execution of
these rich specimens of art, at less than half their value; the
employment of two very meritorious fragments of the people; and, above
all, a most satisfactory development of the excellence and usefulness of
the great New-Light Democratic principle.

Mr. Flam never was what you might call a moneyed man. For although his
farms were very productive, and he had a considerable income from stock
in the United States Bank; and although the expenses of his family were
very far short of what the world might, from the show he made, suppose
them to be; yet he was in the habit of parting with his money as fast as
it came to hand. There were a great number of deserving but needy
persons who were often at the Popular Flats, and who did not hesitate to
borrow all the funds Mr. Flam could spare, (if he had a fault it was the
generosity of his lendings,) and in this way to keep him, as he has
often told me himself, very bare. To make sure against loss he had the
prudence never to lend without bond and mortgage, with a power of
attorney to confess judgment; and as he ever avowed what he called his
most irrevocable opinion, that the interest law was exceedingly
oppressive upon the industry of the country, he invariably made his own
bargain on that point--sagaciously remarking, as I once heard him to
Nicholas Hardup, the cattle dealer, who was under execution upon a
judgment, and came to borrow the amount from Mr. Flam, "Money, sir, is a
commodity like wheat or cattle; its value is regulated by the relations
of supply and demand. Society will never prosper till that principle is
universally recognized. _We_ go for it, Mr. Hardup, as cardinal in the
Democratic creed. Labor, to be free, requires that the money contract
also should be free. Why should the poor man pay six per cent. when
money is worth but five? Why should he be prevented paying seven, eight,
or nine, even, if he finds it his interest to give it--or cannot do
without it? No, sir, Equal Rights, Liberty of Conscience, and
Unrestricted Freedom of Contract--there is the buttress of Democratic

It often happened, as such things will happen, that Mr. Flam became the
loser by his generosity; and as it was a maxim with him to inculcate the
most rigid punctuality in all engagements, he has never felt himself at
liberty to relax what he regarded this salutary rule; so that, on many
occasions, he has been compelled to submit to the unpleasant and
expensive operation of closing his accounts on the bond and mortgage, by
taking possession of the mortgaged property; and in this way, as he
sometimes feelingly complains to his friends, he has become encumbered
with more land than he knows what to do with. He has, however, gradually
got through a great deal of this trouble by renting out his farms; a
course which he intends to persevere in until his children are able to
take the management of them.

Mr. Handy has several times endeavored to persuade him to make
his improvements rather more permanent, and to take down these
embellishments I have been describing; rather rashly as I thought,
calling them, to Mr. Flam's face, pasteboard scenery, gingerbread
nonsense, and twopenny gimcracks: and he insinuated that if our worthy
representative would lay out some of his "accommodation" in a more solid
manner upon Popular Flats, it would tell hereafter to his advantage. But
Mr. Flam turns a deaf ear to all Nicodemus's preaching. He says that the
accommodation is better laid out in the Chickasaw Reserve, where he
means to realize a large fortune; and as to what Mr. Handy is pleased to
call _gimcracks_ and _gingerbread_, that, in fact, is the only kind of
decoration in which a man, who respects the simplicity and purity of
Democratic government, ought to indulge his taste. "If," said he, "my
old castle, my obelisk, or my Gothic gateway were built of stone instead
of white pine, a fair inference might be made against me of a lurking
wish to restore the exploded aristocratic system of primogeniture and
entails. It would be said I was building for my son and his eldest born.
Thank God, no such treasonable design can be inferred from this
_gimcrack_ and _gingerbread_, as you wittily term it. When I go, sir, my
estate is to be cut up as our Democratic republican laws ordain; and my
gimcrack and gingerbread can be plowed in as easily as the dockweed.
Strange as it may sound to the ears of some, gimcrack and gingerbread
are the elements of our new Democratic theory. Sir, our government
should glory in it:--it does glory in it. There is no reproach in the
fact that we neither build, legislate, think, nor determine for the next
generation. We attend to _ourselves_--that is genuine New-Light
Democracy. We oppose Vested Rights, we oppose Chartered Privileges, we
oppose Pledges to bind future Legislatures, we oppose Tariffs, Internal
Improvements, Colleges, and Universities, on the broad Democratic ground
that we have nothing to do with Posterity. Posterity will be as free as
we are. Let it take care of itself. I glory, sir, in saying New-Light
Democracy riots in gimcrack and gingerbread."

This eloquent outburst of sentiment effectually silenced Mr. Handy,
and brought him thoroughly into Mr. Flam's opinion. I rejoice that my
intimacy with this able statesman should have afforded me this
opportunity to show the brilliancy with which his mind sparkles in the
demonstration of political truth, and the wonderful power with which it
converts apparently trivial thoughts into golden illustrations of the
Democratic theory as lately discovered and practiced.



It is no part of my design in the compilation of this little history to
preserve the form of a regular, chronological narrative of the course of
events in Quodlibet; for although the material for such a continuous
recital abounds in the memoranda which I have preserved, yet it seems
better to suit the purpose of the respectable committee who have invoked
me to this labor, that I should rather make excerpts from the mass of my
papers, in such wise as to bring before my reader the condition of the
Borough at several epochs, with an occasional reference to such
incidents as may serve to explain the opinions of our people and
illustrate the course of that beautiful system of politics which the
world--I mean that world of which our Borough is the center--has
consented to honor with the epithet of Quodlibetarian; and in which
designation, in my poor judgment, is comprehended the essence of the
true theory by which this nation has advanced to its present
unparalleled state of prosperity and grandeur.

Following this suggestion, I propose now to lead my reader to that epoch
in the annals of the Borough which dates in the fourth year after the
Removal, or, in the vernacular computation, the year of 1836-7. The
population of Quodlibet had now reached to the astonishing amount of
fifteen hundred and eighty odd souls--the increase being altogether
without an example in the history of civilization, excepting, perhaps,
in that of Milwaukee, Navarino, and some other of those seemingly
incredible and fabulous creations of art which are said to have sprung
up under the beneficent auspices of the Quodlibetarian theory, as the
same has been practiced in this government for some few years past.
Quodlibet, I repeat, had reached in population upwards of fifteen
hundred and eighty inhabitants, as was ascertained by a diligent
enumeration made under the direction of our New-Light Club, with a view
to the election of a constable held this year in the Borough;--and when
we reflect that at the date of the Removal, the whole settlement fell
short of two hundred persons all told, it will be perceived that in
three years our increase has exceeded seven hundred per cent.! Verily,
neither London, Athens, nor Palmyra, Karnac, Luxor, nor even Milwaukee
itself, I doubt, has ever manifested so prolific an augmentation.

Nicodemus Handy's row of stores on the Basin was the first improvement,
as I have already informed my reader; then Copperplate Ridge was studded
with buildings; at the same time Flam Street was enriched with the bank
and seven brick buildings; then came the Female Lyceum, with the Town
Hall in the second story of the same building, Peter Ounce's Boatmen's
Hotel on the other side of the Basin, the Hay Scales, Zachary
Younghusband's (the tinplate worker) shop, and Dr. Thomas G. Winkleman's
Druggist Store and Soda Water Pavilion. These, as well as I can
recollect, were the principal establishments erected in Quodlibet in the
three years I have referred to. There were a number of private houses
built in this period, and a whole settlement of free negroes made below
the Basin, on the line of the canal. I ought to mention, too, that
Nicodemus Handy this year dug out the foundations, and, I believe, built
the cellar walls, of a second row of stores and of a new hotel designed
on a very large scale, with extensive baths to be attached to it. These
buildings, it pains me to say, in advance, never got higher than the
first story, as I shall be obliged to relate hereafter.

The bank did a sweeping business all this time; and nothing can be
conceived more beautiful than the theory upon which it was conducted. It
has run out of my memory how many new bales of pink silk paper were
turned off by it, but the amount would scarcely be believed if I were to
set it down; and the accommodation principle was carried out to an
extent that must have been truly gratifying to the Secretary. Still,
even this most exemplary institution did not escape the malevolence of
the Whigs. That ever-complaining party, as the Hon. Middleton Flam
assured us by letter, were making a great ado in Congress about all the
banks, but particularly about ours--alleging, in their usual factious
manner, that the government would lose money by us, as well as by the

Deeming this charge as one of peculiar atrocity, we at once determined
to take it up in our New-Light Club, and stamp upon it the most
conclusive refutation. We accordingly fixed an evening for the
discussion, during Christmas week, when we knew that our member would be
at home to visit his family; and he was of course invited to attend and
give his views upon this very interesting question. The meeting was in
the Town Hall up stairs above the Female Lyceum. All Quodlibet was
present. I shall be long thankful to Providence for the dignified
station which it fell to my lot to fill on that memorable occasion. By a
most unexpected but most felicitous chance, I was honored that night
with a call to the chair; the worthy Mr. Snuffers, our President, not
being able to attend, in consequence of the interesting condition of
Mrs. Snuffers. As the subject of discussion was one of thrilling
interest, the most intense anxiety prevailed to hear the speech of our
eloquent representative. He came fully prepared, bringing with him a
load of documents. Our Vice, Mr. Doubleday, who is a solid thinking,
shrewd person, of that maturity of judgment which it is impossible to
impose upon, and himself, by-the-by, a first-rate debater, told me,
after we broke up, that Mr. Flam's discourse that evening on the banking
system at large and on the _safety_ of the banks in particular, was one
of the closest pieces of reasoning he had ever listened to in his life.
I regret that I have preserved so imperfect an outline of this speech,
but such as it is I offer it to my reader.

The orator commenced very appropriately by remarking how impossible it
was, in the nature of things, to satisfy the Whigs on any point. He said
there were three parties in Congress: First, the Whigs--who still
croaked about a National Bank--and his description of their croaking was
to the last degree humorous; it produced peals of laughter. Second, the
thorough-going Quodlibetarian Whole Hogs, who were steadfast and
immovable for the State Banks; and a third party, small in numbers,
"attenuated"--as he remarked with irresistibly comic effect--"and gaunt;
feeble, shrill, and like crickets who might scarcely be seen in
daytime;" and who, when the bill to Regulate the Deposits was up,
presented what, in his opinion, was the most alarming, if it had not
been the most ridiculous scheme, in relation to the public money, that
had ever been hatched in the hotbed of faction. These men, he said
called themselves Conservatives: "And what think you, Mr. President," he
asked, "was _their_ project? It was, sir, to separate the Government
from the Banks." Here Mr. Flam was interrupted by a loud laugh. "A Mr.
Gordon," he said, "was at the head of this little troop. He proposed a
bill, two sessions ago, to place the revenue and public moneys in the
hands of Receivers--the moneys were to be paid to these Receivers in
GOLD and SILVER! and no bank was to be intrusted with a dollar!! And
this," exclaimed Mr. Flam, with a tone of inimitable irony, "was to be
done for the SAFETY of the public Treasure! Your money not safe in the
hands of the banks, but _perfectly secure_ in the keeping of these
honest Receivers, who were to be furnished with vaults and iron chests
to lock it up in!!! O rare Conservatives!--O wise Conservatives!--O
honest Conservatives!"

We all thought the ceiling of the Town Hall would have toppled down on
our heads from the laughter occasioned by this sally. In this admirable
strain he continued for some minutes. At length, taking himself up, and
falling into a tone of grave expostulation, he pulled out a copy of The
Globe from his pocket, and proceeded--

"Admirably, sir, has this paper which I hold in my hand descanted on
this most wicked project. These well-timed remarks, I beg leave to read.
Hear the incomparable Blair. '_Had such a suggestion_,' says he, '_come
from General Jackson, it would have been rung through the Old Dominion
as conclusive proof of all the aspirations which may have been charged
to the Hero of New Orleans. See here, they would say, he wishes to put
the public money directly into the palms of his friends and partisans,
instead of keeping it on deposit in banks, whence it cannot be drawn,
for other than public purposes, without certain detection. In such a
case, we should feel that the people had just cause for alarm, and ought
to give their most watchful attention to such an effort to enlarge
Executive power, and put in its hands the means of corruption_.' Most
admirably again," continued Mr. Flam, "has this same incomparable Blair
said, '_The scheme is disorganizing and revolutionary, subversive of the
fundamental principles of our government, and of its practice from 1780
down to this day_.' Will you, freemen of Quodlibet, gentlemen of The New
Light," exclaimed Mr. Flam, "if faction should go so far as to put this
odious, disorganizing, and revolutionary yoke upon the country, will
you, freemen of Quodlibet, submit to it?"

"No!" shouted the ready response of sixty-four voices.

"Gentlemen, listen to the words of the Old Hero," continued Mr. Flam,
with a gratulatory smile playing on his face, presenting at the same
time a printed document which he carefully unfolded--"listen to that
'old man eloquent' whose mouth is never opened but to breathe the
precepts of wisdom and patriotism:--I read you from his last message. In
remarking upon this absurd project, the President, in this able paper,
holds the following language: '_To retain the Public Revenue in the
Treasury unemployed in any way, is impracticable. It is considered
against the genius of our free institutions to lock up in vaults the
treasure of the nation. Such a treasure would doubtless be employed at
some time, as it has in other countries, when opportunity tempted
ambition._' Now are you willing, men of Quodlibet," again ejaculated our
eloquent representative, as he slapped the document upon the table, "are
you willing, or can you consent to tolerate a proposition which is
against the genius----"

"No!" thundered forth sixty-four New Lights again, before our orator had
finished the sentence.

"Order, order, freemen of Quodlibet," I called out, as it was my duty to
do, at this interruption. "Hear our distinguished representative to an
end, before you respond."

There was a decorous silence.

"A proposition," continued Mr. Flam, "which is against the genius of our
free institutions, and which would be a lure to tempt ambition to its
most unholy purposes?"

The club looked at me for a sign, and I, quickly giving a nod of my
head, a loud "No" ran over the whole room, like a _feu de joie_ fired
off at a militia training.

"Now, gentlemen," said Mr. Flam, "one word as to the _safety_ of these
deposits. Whigs--oh that some of you were present, to mark how a plain
tale shall put you down! I have here the Secretary's own report," he
added, as he selected one from the bundle of documents which lay before
him. "There is no need for many words here--here is Mr. Secretary
himself, than whom a more pellucid, diaphanous, transparent Secretary of
the Treasury--a mind of rock-crystal, a head of sunbeams, a soul, sir,
of pure fountain water, that gurgles and gurgles, perpetually welling
forth its unadulterated intelligence in a purling stream, of which it
may be said, in the beautiful language of the poet of antiquity

  'Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis, at ille
  Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis ævum'"----

Here I gave a nod, by way of signal to the club, to applaud this
splendid outbreak of Ciceronian eloquence; whereat the New Lights
vociferated "Bravo--three times three!" and made the house ring with
their approbation--"I say, sir, I have the Secretary himself here

Several of the members, not being accustomed to this parliamentary
language, took the orator literally, and rose to welcome the
distinguished person referred to; but a word from me explained matters,
and brought the club again to order.

"The Secretary, gentlemen New Lights," said Mr. Flam, adroitly availing
himself of the occasion to throw off a coruscation of wit--"the
Secretary lives _in his reports_--profound, statesmanlike, recondite and
deep, his report is in my hand--_it is himself!_ I will read you what he
says upon this matter of the safety of the banks."

Here Mr. Flam read as follows, from a report dated December 12, 1834:--

     "It is gratifying to reflect, however, that the credit given by the
     government, whether to bank paper or bank agents, has been
     accompanied by SMALLER LOSSES in the experience under the system of
     State banks in this country, at their worst periods, and under
     their severest calamities, than any other kind of credit
     the government has ever given in relation to its pecuniary
     transactions." "Again," he continued, turning to another page, "it
     is a singular fact, in praise of this description of public
     debtors--the selected banks--that there is not now due, on deposit,
     in the whole of them, which have ever stopped payment, from the
     establishment of the constitution to the present moment, a sum much
     beyond what is now due to the United States from one mercantile
     firm, that stopped payment in 1825 or 1826, and of whom ample
     security was required, and supposed to be taken under the
     responsibility of an oath. If we include the whole present dues to
     the government from discredited banks at all times, and of all
     kinds, whether as depositories or not, and embrace even counterfeit
     bills, and every other species of unavailable funds in the
     treasury, they will not exceed what is due from two such firms. Of
     almost one hundred banks, not depositories, which, during all our
     wars and commercial embarrassments, have heretofore failed, in any
     part of the Union, in debt to the government, on their bills or
     otherwise, it will be seen by the above table (to which Mr. Flam
     referred as annexed to the report) that the whole of them, except
     seventeen, have adjusted everything which they owed, and that the
     balance due from them, without interest, is less than $32,000."

"There, gentlemen New Lights of Quodlibet," said Mr. Flam, when he had
finished reading these extracts, "what can be added beyond this
certificate from the Secretary, of the value of our State banks? Even
the lips of Whiggism are sealed before it; and nothing is left but the
confession that, in all their senseless clamor against our favorite and
long-tried State bank system, the course of its enemies has been but the
ebullition of disappointed ambition and peevish discontent. Are you
willing, I ask, to see this glorious system prostrated to the earth?"

"No!" was again the general cry.

"Are you content to see your cherished banks stripped of the confidence
of the government?"

"No--never, never!" shouted the New Lights to a man.

"Then, gentlemen Quodlibetarians, radii of the New Lights, you have
justified all my hopes. Your applause rewards all my toils--your support
and confidence enlist all my gratitude. With emotions of heart-felt
satisfaction, I bid you each good night!"

With these words, this remarkable man gathered up his documents, and,
with a countenance full of smiles, retired from the midst of this circle
of his devoted--yes, I may say, his idolizing friends.



Soon after the time referred to in the last chapter--that is, when we
were favored by Mr. Flam with his views on the banking system--there was
a question of the most profound interest in agitation, both in the
New-Light Club and out of it; that question was the establishment of a
newspaper. The Quodlibetarian Democracy were, I am sorry to inform my
reader, most sorely and wantonly assailed, indeed I may say insulted, by
an hebdomadal sheet which, through the aid, or, more properly speaking,
_the abuse_ of the post-office (for surely it was not the original
design of that institution to afford the means of corrupting the people
by the dissemination of such moral poisons) was distributed among sundry
of our citizens, and even put upon the files of one of our public
houses. I do not scruple to name the house--that of Jesse Ferret--Jesse
being at this time a little amphibious in his politics, or, in Mr. Fog's
expressive language, _rather fishy_. The paper to which I allude was
published at Thorough Blue Court-House, a perfect hotbed of contumacious
opposition, situate about fifty miles due west from Quodlibet. It was
called "THE THOROUGH BLUE WHOLE TEAM," and was edited by Augustus
Postlethwaite Tompkinson, an inchoate lawyer, who had set up for a poet,
and whose sentiments were of the most dangerous Whig complexion. This
paper was constantly filled with extracts of the ravings of Whig members
of Congress against our admirable system of banking, and had gone to
such an extreme of rashness, as to denominate that splendid measure of
the purest and wisest statesman of the age--my reader perceives I mean
Mr. Benton--for the introduction of the gold currency, a humbug! But
this was not all; the unprincipled editor of that reckless journal had
actually so far forgotten all the decencies of civilized society, had
become so callous to the cause of virtue and truth, as to launch his
puny thunderbolts at the fair fame of the Hon. Middleton Flam. He was
ridiculed as a pretender! he was nicknamed a charlatan!! and the
unbridled license of this unsparing defamer did not stop short of
denouncing him as a Federalist!!! All Quodlibet--that is, all who
possessed the soul of Quodlibetarians--raised up their hands at the
political impiety of this libel. A spontaneous burst of feeling
indicated the deep sentiment which called for immediate action on the
subject. For a full week, the New Light was in a state of paroxysm. The
club met every night. Nicodemus Handy was there; Fog was there; Nim
Porter was there; Snuffers and Doubleday, Doctor Winkleman and Zachary
Younghusband, recently appointed postmaster of the Borough, were there.
Every thorough-bred Quod, even down to Flan. Sucker, was there. Jesse
Ferret, I have already said, was fishy. I regret to say it, but it is
true. Jesse, bending to the suppleness of the times, and forgetting a
patriot's duty, which is first and foremost above all things to stick to
his party, pleaded his public calling to excuse his vacillation, and
even went so far as to say that "a publican should have no politics." Oh
shame, where is thy blush! Not so with Nim Porter;--his soul towered
above the bar-room; he would bet all he was worth on the side of his
party. Everybody in Quodlibet knows how free Nim always was with his

The decisive meeting of the club took place in the dining-room of
Ferret's tavern. Nicodemus Handy did not often attend the meetings of
the club: we looked to him rather for head work, for he was not the best
of public speakers; but on the night of this assemblage he made it a
point to be present. Mr. Handy is rather a short, fat man; his head is
partially bald, his face is smooth and fair, his dress was always
remarked for being of the best material, put on in the neatest
manner--in short, Mr. Handy is a first-rate gentleman. I am particular
in noting these matters, because THE WHOLE TEAM was in the habit of
bragging that "all the decency" was on his side. Now I would challenge
Thorough Blue Court-House, and the settlement ten miles around it--the
whole region is Whig--to produce one man among them to compare either
with the Hon. Middleton Flam or Nicodemus Handy. And I would take this
occasion further to remark, in refutation of THE WHOLE TEAM'S calumny
touching "all the decency," that the true Quodlibetarian Democrats have
as great a respect for appearance, and as profound a spirit of
assentation and regard toward a man of wealth, as the people of any
country upon earth: if anything, our tip-top Quods carry rather a higher
head than the richest Whigs in these parts, and any dispassionate man
who will examine into the matter will say so.

Snuffers was in the chair. The members of the club did not sit down:
they were too much agitated to sit down. As soon as I, in my character
of Secretary, read the minutes of the preceding meeting, Mr. Handy rose,
and after some very appropriate remarks delivered in a modest fashion,
(in which he assured the club that he was unaccustomed to public
speaking and moreover oppressed by the intensity of his feelings in
regard to the recent attack on his friend, the Hon. Middleton Flam, and
in a slight degree agitated in the presence of this most respectable
assemblage of Quods,) came at once to the point. "Who," he asked, "was
Augustus Postlethwaite Tompkinson? His name told you who he was--an
aristocrat, a poet, a sentimentalizer, _a dealer in fiction_! What was
his calling? A pander, a pimp, a professional reviler of great and
good men. What was his paper? That sink of infamy--THE WHOLE
TEAM--twenty-four by eighteen, with a poet's corner, and an outside
stuffed with a few beggarly advertisements. Would gentlemen submit to be
led by the nose by a thing like that, twenty-four by eighteen?"

"Never," cried out Flanigan Sucker, who stood in the doorway, just
behind Nim Porter--"will we, Nim?"

"Silence," said Mr. Snuffers.

"If gentlemen have my feelings of indignation on this subject,"
continued Mr. Handy, "they will concur with me in establishing a paper
of our own."

"Go it, Nicodemus!" shouted Flan. Sucker, very indecorously putting in
his word a second time.

Thereupon arose some confusion in the club, and Flan., being found upon
examination to be muddled with liquor, was requested to retire; and not
being very prompt to obey this invitation, he was turned out.

Mr. Handy then proceeded. "Gentlemen," said he, "a paper we must have,
and I feel happy in the opportunity to introduce to your acquaintance a
good friend of our cause, who is here present to-night, and who, under
the auspices of this club, is willing to undertake the responsible duty
of supplying this so much desiderated object. I beg leave to present to
you Mr. Eliphalet Fox, a gentleman long connected with the press in a
neighboring State, and who is prepared to submit to you his scheme."

Upon this a stranger, who had been seated in a back part of the room,
wrapped up in a green camlet cloak with plaid lining, which I may add
had apparently seen much service, stepped forward, and, disrobing
himself of this outer garment, stood full before the President. He was a
thin, faded little fellow, whose clothes seemed to be somewhat too large
for him. His eye was gray and rather dull, his physiognomy melancholy,
his cheek sunken, his complexion freckled, his coat blue, the buttons
dingy, his hair sandy, and like untwisted rope. The first glance at the
person of this new-comer gave every man of the club the assurance that
here was an editor indeed. A whisper of approbation ran through the
crowd, and from that moment, as Mr. Doubleday afterward said to me, we
felt assured that we had the man we wanted.

"Mr. President," said he, in a feeble and sickly voice, "my name _is_
Fox. I am in want of employment. Sir," he added, gritting his teeth and
taking an attitude, "if the rancor of my soul, accumulated by
maltreatment, set on edge by disappointment, indurated by time, entitle
me to claim your confidence, then, sir, my claim stands number one. If a
thorough knowledge, sir, of the characteristic traits of Federalism,
long acquaintance with its designs, persecution, sir, from its votaries,
a deep experience of its black ingratitude; if days of toil spent in its
service, nights of feverish anxiety protracted in ruminating over its
purposes; if promises violated, hopes blasted, labors unrewarded, may be
deemed a stimulus to hatred--then, sir, am I richly endowed with the
qualifications to expose the enemies of Quodlibetarian Democracy. I am a
child, sir, of sorrow: the milk of my nature has been curdled by
neglect. Mine is a history of talents underrated, sensibilities derided,
patriotism spurned, affluence, nay competence, withheld. The world has
turned me aside. I have no resting place on the bosom of my mother.
Society, like a demon, pursues me. Writs in the hands of the sheriff,
judgments on the docket, _fi. fas._ and _ca. sas._ track my footsteps.
No limitation runs in my favor: the _scire facias_, ever ready, revives
the inhuman judgment, and my second shirt--my first is in rags--is
stripped from my body to glut the avarice of my relentless pursuers.
Thank God, I have at last found a friend in that distinguished man who
has been so ruthlessly, so recently assailed, by that fledgling of the
aristocracy, Augustus Postlethwaite Tompkinson. Yes, sir, in the Hon.
Middleton Flam I have found a friend. He has given me letters to this
benevolent gentleman, Mr. Handy; he has recommended my establishment
here; he promises to co-operate with this respectable club in giving me
a foothold among you. With her Flams and her Handys, Quodlibet is
destined to an enviable influence in this great Republic." (Here he was
interrupted by loud cheers.) "My scheme is, Mr. President, with the aid
of this club, and that of the benefactors I have named, forthwith
to start THE QUODLIBET WHOLE HOG. It shall take a decided and
uncompromising stand against THE THOROUGH BLUE WHOLE TEAM, (here he was
again arrested by cheers;) pledged to contradict every word uttered by
that vile print, (cheers;) to traduce and bring down its editor by the
most systematic disparagement, (cheers;) to disprove all Whig
assertions; unfailingly to take the opposite side on all questions;
industriously to lower the standing of the members of the Whig party,
(immense cheers;) through thick and thin, good report and evil report,
for better and for worse, to defend and sustain the administration of
the new President, who is about to take his seat, that incomparable
Democrat of the genuine Quodlibetarian stamp, Martin Van Buren, (at this
point the cheering continued for some moments, with such violence that
the speaker had to suspend his remarks;) and finally, sir, to commend,
exalt, and illustrate the character and pretensions of our unrivaled
friend Mr. Flam, (immense cheering,) giving utterance to his sentiments,
preponderance to his opinions, authority to his advice on all proper and
suitable occasions, (loud cheering for a long time.) In short, sir, The
Whole Hog shall be what its name imports, a faithful mirror of the
Democracy of Quodlibet. Its publication shall be weekly; its size,
twenty-six by twenty, having the advantage over the Whole Team by full
two inches each way. There, sir, is an outline of my sentiments and
proposed paper." Mr. Fox concluded this address in the midst of a
congratulatory uproar, altogether unprecedented in the club.

Seizing upon the enthusiasm of the moment, and being rather fearful
that Fog would attempt to make a speech, which that gentleman's
condition would have rendered extremely improper at this hour, Mr. Handy
immediately offered a resolution for the establishment of the Whole Hog,
and its adoption as the organ of the party, on the principles proposed
by Mr. Fox. This was carried by acclamation; and the members without
further discussion adjourned to the bar-room, where Nim Porter offered a
bet--and not finding any one to take him up, continued to offer it
during the evening--of fifty dollars to twenty-five, or one hundred to
fifty, that Eliphalet Fox would run Augustus Postlethwaite Tompkinson's
Whole Team out of Quodlibet in six months from that day:--that there
would not be but two copies of the Whole Team taken in the Borough, and
that one of them would be Michael Grant's out at the Hogback:--"for,"
said Nim, with an oath, which I will not repeat--"I can see it in that
Liphlet Fox's eye; if he isn't a gouger when his bile's fresh, there
aint nothing in Lavender on Physiology, or Fowler on the Shape of



Eliphalet Fox's paper, "The Whole Hog," made its first appearance on the
day of the inauguration of President Van Buren. Bright were the omens
that heralded its birth. The lustrous orb of Jackson had just set in an
ocean of splendor. Happy old man! Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere
causas! In the glowing language of his own immortal valedictory, he left
"this great people prosperous and happy." That star of the second
magnitude, Martin Van Buren, first among the sidera minora, had just
risen. In the nearly equally immortal salutatory of this Sidus Minor, he
spake the words, "we present an aggregate of human prosperity surely not
elsewhere to be found." Fortunate omens, incomparable auspices! Under
these cheering signs "The Whole Hog" appeared upon the stage.

Never was paper more faithful to the Quodlibetarian theory. Never was
editor more richly endowed to sustain that theory than Eliphalet Fox. My
reader will doubtless expect that I should impart such gleanings of the
editor's life as my diligent researches have enabled me to collect. This
reasonable expectation shall be indulged.

Eliphalet Fox was one of those men whose career furnishes so remarkable
a commentary upon the beneficent character of our great Democratic
Quodlibetarian principle. His ancestors, two generations back, were
Federal and rich: in the last generation they were Federal and poor--a
transition strikingly natural and eminently illustrative of our free
institutions. Eliphalet was born in the town of Gabwrangle, in the
adjoining State. His education was circumscribed to the circle of
reading, writing, and arithmetic, which Eliphalet himself sometimes
jocosely describes as algebraically denoted by the signs of the three
Rs; to wit, Reading, Righting, and Rithmetic--a joke (mehercule) both
ingenious and new!

His parents being, as I may say, inops pecuniæ, bound Eliphalet to a
trade; but handicraft was abhorrent to his genius. His temper was sour
and peevish; and though seemingly meek, even to a degree of asininity,
in his demeanor, yet it was early discovered that, upon occasion, he
could very deftly and nimbly, as the poet says, "unpack his heart with
words and fall to swearing like a very drab." This art was too valuable
in Eliphalet's time to go long without a patron; and, accordingly, after
he had worked four most reluctant years in a printing-office, to which
his respectable parents, thwarting the current of his genius, had
devoted him, he was discovered and taken by the hand by Mr. Theophilus
Flam, brother of the late Judge, and leader of the Federal party of
Gabwrangle. It was just before the war; and the party being hard set
upon by its enemies, had, like a cat surrounded by curs, thrown itself
upon its back, and essayed to defend itself, most cattishly, with claw
and tooth. And sharply, as we well know, did they fight. Eliphalet, in
this strife, played the part of a claw, showing most admirable spring
nails, though ordinarily hid, and therefore but little suspected in his
velvet paw. His position in this battle was that of conductor of "The
Gabwrangle Grimalkin," a cross-grained, querulous, tart and vinegarish
little folio, which hoisted the banner of Theophilus Flam, and swore in
his words. Eliphalet Fox, in consequence of the trusty position which
was thus confided to him, and still more by reason of a certain rabid
but laudable hatred of all who bore the name of Democrat, in those days,
(and here I would have my reader mark that a Democrat of 1812 was a very
different thing from a Democrat of this our day, especially from a true
Quodlibetarian Democrat,) rose to be a person of great consideration in
Gabwrangle. The party of Theophilus Flam, like our illustrious chief of
the new Democracy, Mr. Van Buren, made sturdy opposition to Madison and
his unrighteous war, and finally enjoyed the satisfaction of a complete
triumph over all their political adversaries in Gabwrangle, by an utter
route of the spurious Democrats who opposed them: a point of good
fortune which did not fall to the lot of our illustrious chief at
Kinderhook; since history records the disastrous fact that he, so far
from conquering, was obliged to give in, and was even unhappily
compelled, by the force of adverse winds, to go over to the majority,
(an event very distressing to his feelings,) when he found that that
majority was so obstinate as to refuse to come on his side: he was, if I
may so say, as it were, a prisoner-of-war, and acted under a vis major.
But at Gabwrangle--thanks to the persevering tongue and pen of Eliphalet
Fox!--it was all the other way; and "The Grimalkin," to the last,
enjoyed a most enviable renown as the bitterest reviler of Mr. Madison
and his doings.

Habit grows into an instinct, and as times change our habits are the
last to follow the fashion. It is only by referring to this deep-seated
principle of human nature, that I am able to account for the
extraordinary vituperation which Eliphalet Fox, at a later day, poured
upon the head of the Old Hero when he was brought out for President. The
Grimalkin, like all poison-concocting animals, grew more venomous as it
grew older; and were it not that Eliphalet has repented of this folly,
and amply atoned for its commission, I should blush to record the almost
savage ferocity, the altogether unpardonable acerbity, and, above all,
the thoroughly unquodlibetarian freedom with which he assailed the
purest man that in the tide of time--as another pure man has
remarked--ever appeared upon this terraqueous globe. But the truth is,
Eliphalet had fallen into _a habit_ of detraction, and did it without
thinking:--that is the best excuse that can be made for him. The old
Federalists of Gabwrangle, and, foremost among them, his master,
Theophilus Flam, soon corrected this unhappy proclivity, and gave him to
understand that he was on a wrong scent. They peremptorily, to their
great honor, insisted that from that day forth the Grimalkin must be
decent. The consequence of this was fatal to Eliphalet Fox--fatal at
least to his prosperity in Gabwrangle. Thenceforth the Grimalkin sunk
into insignificance. As the poet says, Othello's occupation was gone.
The subscribers grew testy and dropped off, under the influence of this
uncongenial decency exacted from the editor. Eliphalet borrowed money,
his habiliments grew shabby, he took up mean callings for the sake of
pelf, he became a spunge; he grew bilious, atrabilious, patriotic and
indignant. He went for REFORM--reform of the General Government, reform
of the State Constitution, reform of private manners, reform of public
observances. He took up an aversion to all kinds of respectability,
became a deadly enemy to every man who laid up any money--made this
sentiment a political question, talked of a division of property, called
Nature a stepmother, said sundry hard things about the persecution of
genius, and finally, one Sunday night, eloped from Gabwrangle, leaving
his fiscal responsibilities in a state of as much perplexity as that
into which these vile Whigs have brought those of the government. Alas,
for Eliphalet! little did he dream that out of this desolation and
dismay he was to pluck so bright a flower of prosperity as he now wears
in his bosom. All the hounds of the law--as he so eloquently painted it
to the New Light at our celebrated meeting--were set upon his track; but
grace to his better destiny! he eluded them. To twenty writs placed on
Monday morning in the sheriff's hands, that functionary made his
return on Tuesday evening, "Eloped under whip and spur out of the
bailiwick."--Oh, lucky Eliphalet!

In these straits the badgered patriot went to Washington; was
recognized by our distinguished representative, who, knowing that we
were in want of an editor fit to cope with The Whole Team, gave him a
warm letter of recommendation to Nicodemus Handy, and forthwith was
projected that famous movement, whereof I have already given the
history, and which has so auspiciously resulted in the establishment of
The Quodlibet Whole Hog.



Proh hominum fidem!

It falls to my lot, at this stage of my history, to be constrained to
record an event the most astounding, the most awful, the most
unexpected, the most treacherous, the most ungrateful, the most
flagitious--yea, the most supereminently flagitious,--that the history
of mankind affords. Notwithstanding that laudatory and political
ejaculation which the Hero and Sage breathed out in the evening of his
brilliant career, like the last notes of the swan, "I leave this great
people prosperous and happy"--notwithstanding that flattering canzonet,
with which he who pledges himself to walk in the Hero and Sage's
footsteps, began his illustrious course, singing as it were the morning
carol of the lark--"we present an aggregate of human prosperity surely
not elsewhere to be found"--the echo of these sweet sounds had not died
away upon the tympana of our ravished ears, before these banks--these
gentle pet banks--these fostered, favored, sugar-plum and candy-fed pet
banks, with all their troop of plethoric and pampered paragon sister
banks, one and all, without one pang of remorse, without one word of
warning, without even, as far as we could see, one tingle of a
suppressed and struggling blush, incontinently suspended specie
payments!! O curas hominum! Quantum est in rebus inane!

Shall I tell it? Even the Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet was
compelled to follow in this faithless path. Not at once, I confess--not
off-hand, and with such malice prepense as the others--for Nicodemus
Handy had a soul above such black ingratitude--but after a pause, and,
let the truth be told in extenuation, because he could not help it.

The Hon. Middleton Flam was sent for upon the first tidings of
this extraordinary kicking in the traces by these high-mettled
institutions--tidings which reached Quodlibet, via the canal, about
eleven o'clock one morning in May. The Directors were summoned into
council. What was to be done? was the general question. Anthony
Hardbottle, of the firm of Barndollar & Hardbottle--a grave man and a
thoughtful; a man without flash, who seldom smiles--a lean man, hard
favored and simple in his outgoings and incomings; a man, who has never
sported, as long as I have known him, any other coat than that
snuff-brown with covered buttons, and who does not wear out above one
pair of shoes in a year; a man who could never be persuaded to give so
far into the times as to put on a black cravat, but has always stuck to
the white:--such a man, it may be easily imagined, was not to be carried
away by new-fangled notions:--he was there at the Board, in place of
Theodore Fog, who was compelled two years before to withdraw his name as
a candidate for re-election. This same Anthony Hardbottle, speaking
under the dictates of that cautious wisdom natural to him as a merchant,
answered this question of What was to be done?--by another equally
laconic and pregnant with meaning----

"How much cash have we on hand?"

"One hundred and seven dollars and thirty-seven and a half cents in
silver," replied Nicodemus, "and five half eagles in gold, which were
brought here by our honorable President and placed on deposit, after he
had used them in the last election for the purpose of showing the people
what an admirable currency we were to have, as soon as Mr. Benton should
succeed in making it float up the stream of the Mississippi."

Again asked Anthony Hardbottle, "What circulation have you abroad?"

"Six hundred thousand dollars," replied Nicodemus, "and a trifle over."

"Then," said Anthony, "I think we had better suspend with the rest."

"Never," said the Hon. Middleton Flam, rising from his seat and thumping
the table violently with his hand. "Never, sir, while I am President of
this bank, and there is a shot in the locker."

"Bravo--well said, admirably said, spoke as a Quodlibetarian ought to
speak!" shouted Dr. Thomas G. Winkleman, the keeper of the soda-water
Pavilion; "I have fifteen dollars in five-penny bits; they are at the
service of the Board, and while I hold a piece of coin, the Patriotic
Copperplate Bank shall never be subjected to the reproach of being
unable to meet its obligations. Anthony Hardbottle, as a Democrat I am
surprised at you."

"I can't help it," replied Anthony; "in my opinion, our issues are
larger than our means."

"How larger, sir?" demanded Mr. Snuffers, the President of the New
Light, with some asperity of tone.--"Haven't we a batch of bran-new
notes, just signed and ready for delivery? Redeem the old ones with new.
Why should we suspend?"

"Gentlemen, I will put the question to the Board," interposed Mr. Flam,
fearful lest a quarrel might arise, if the debate continued. "Shall this
bank suspend specie payments? Those in favor of this iniquitous
proposition will say AY."

No one answered. Anthony Hardbottle was intimidated by the President's
stern manner.

"Those opposed to it will say NO."

"No!" was the universal acclamation of the Board, with the exception of
Anthony Hardbottle who did not open his lips.

"Thank you, gentlemen," said Mr. Flam, "for this generous support. I
should have been compelled by the adoption of this proposition, much as
I esteem this Board, much as I value your good opinion, to have returned
the commission with which you have honored me as your President. Our
country first, and then ourselves! The Democracy of Quodlibet never will

At this moment confused noises were heard in the banking-room, which
adjoined that in which the Directors were convened. Mr. Handy
immediately sprang from his chair and went into this apartment.

There stood about thirty persons, principally boatmen from the canal. At
their head, some paces advanced into the bank, was Flanigan Sucker. One
sleeve of Flan's coat was torn open from the shoulder to the wrist; his
shirt, of a very indefinite complexion, was open at the breast,
disclosing the shaggy mat of hair that adorned this part of his person;
his corduroy trowsers had but one suspender to keep them up, thus giving
them rather a lop-sided set. His face was fiery-red; and his hat, which
was considerably frayed at the brim, was drawn over one ear, and left
uncovered a large portion of his forehead and crown which were
embellished by wild elf locks of carroty hue.

"Nicodemus," said Flan. as soon as the Cashier made his appearance, "we
have come to make a run upon the bank:--they say you've bursted your
biler." Then turning to the crowd behind him, he shouted, "Growl,
Tigers!--Yip! yip! Hurra!"

As Flan. yelled out these words, a strange muttering sound broke forth
from the multitude.

"What put into your drunken noddle that we have broke?" inquired Mr.
Handy, with great composure, as soon as silence was restored.

"Nim Porter ses, Nicodemus, that you're a gone horse, and that if you
ain't busted up, you will be before night. So we have determined on a

Nim Porter, who was standing in the rear of the crowd, where he had
come to see how matters were going on, now stepped forward. Nim is the
fattest man in Quodlibet, and besides, is the most dressy and
good-natured man we have. On this occasion there he stood with a stiff
starched linen roundabout jacket on, as white as the driven snow, with
white drilling pantaloons just from the washerwoman, and the most
strutting ruffle to his shirt that could have been manufactured out of
cambric. In all points he was unlike the crowd of persons who occupied
the room. "I said nothing of the sort--" was Nim's reply--"and I am
willing now to bet ten to one that he can't produce a man here to say I
said so."

"What's the odds!" cried Flan; "Nicodemus, we are resolved upon a
run--so shell out!"

"Begin when it suits you," said Mr. Handy. "Let me have your note, and I
will give you either silver or gold as you choose."

"You don't catch me that way," shouted Flan., with a drunken grimace.
"Notes is not in my line--shell out anyhow. We have determined on a
run--a genuine, dimmycratic sortie."

"Have you none of our paper?" again inquired Mr. Handy.

"Not a shaving, Nicodemus," replied Flan. "What's the odds?"

"But I have," said a big, squinting boatman, as he walked up to our
Cashier, and untied his leather wallet. "There's sixty dollars, and I'll
thank you for the cash.

"And I have twenty-five more," cried out another.

"And I twice twenty-five," said a gruff voice from the midst of the

All this time the number of persons outside was increasing, and very
profane swearing was heard about the door. Mr. Handy stepped to the
window to get a view of the assemblage, and seeing that nearly all the
movable part of Quodlibet was gathering in front of the building, he
retired with some trepidation into the Directors' room, and informed Mr.
Flam and the Board of what was going on. They had a pretty good
suspicion of this before Mr. Handy returned, for they had distinctly
heard the uproar. Mr. Handy no sooner communicated the fact to them,
than Mr. Flam, with considerable perturbation in his looks, rose and
declared that Quodlibet was in a state of insurrection; and, as every
one must be aware, that in the midst of a revolution no bank could be
expected to pay specie, he moved, in consideration of this menacing
state of affairs, that the Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet
suspend specie payments forthwith, and continue the same until such time
as the re-establishment of the public peace should authorize a
resumption. This motion was gratefully received by the Board, and
carried without a division. During this interval, the conspirators
having learned, through their leader, Flan. Sucker, that the Hon.
Middleton Flam was in the house, forthwith set up a violent shouting for
that distinguished gentleman to appear at the door. It was some moments
before our representative was willing to obey this summons: the Board of
Directors were thrown into a panic, and with great expedition got out of
the back window into the yard, and made their escape--thus leaving the
indomitable and unflinching President of the bank, a man of lion heart,
alone in the apartment; while the yells and shouts of the multitude were
ringing in his ears with awful reduplication. He was not at a loss to
perform his duty, but, with a dignified and stately movement, stalked
into the banking-room, approached the window that looked upon the
street, threw it open, and gave himself in full view to the multitude.

There was a dreadful pause; a scowl sat upon every brow; a muttering
silence prevailed. As Tacitus says: "Non tumultus, non quies, sed quale
magni metus, et magnæ iræ silentium est." Mr. Flam raised his arm, and
spoke in this strain:--

"Men of Quodlibet, what madness has seized upon you? Do you assemble in
front of this edifice to make the day hideous with howling? Is it to
insult Nicodemus Handy, a worthy New Light, or is it to affright the
universe by pulling down these walls? Shame on you, men of Quodlibet! If
you have a vengeance to wreak, do not inflict it upon us. Go to the
Whigs, the authors of our misfortune. They have brought these things
upon us. Year after year have we been struggling to give you a
constitutional currency--the real Jackson gold----"

"Three cheers for Middleton Flam!" cried out twenty voices, and
straightway the cheers ascended on the air; and in the midst was heard a
well-known voice, "Yip! yip!--Go it, Middleton!"

"Yes, my friends," proceeded the orator, "while we have been laboring
to give you the solid metals; while we have been fighting against this
PAPER-MONEY PARTY, and have devoted all our energies to the endeavor to
prostrate the influence of these RAG BARONS, these MONOPOLISTS, THESE
been foiled at every turn by the power of their unholy combinations of
associated wealth. They have filled your land with banks, and have
brought upon us all the curses of _over-trading_ and _over-speculating_,
until the people are literally on their faces at the footstool of the
Money Power. (Tremendous cheering.) Our course has been resolute and
unwaveringly patriotic. We have stood in the breach and met the storm;
but all without avail. Between the rich and the poor lies a mighty gulf.
The rich man _has_, the poor man _wants_. Of that which the rich hath,
does he give to the poor? Answer me, men of Quodlibet."

"No!" arose, deep-toned, from every throat.

"Then our course is plain. Poor men, one and all, rally round our
Democratic banner. Let the aristocrats know and feel that you will not
bear this tyranny."

"We will," shouted Flan. Sucker. "Go it, Middleton!"

"Gentlemen," continued Mr. Flam, "this bank of ours is purely
DEMOCRATIC. It is an exception to all other banks; it is emphatically
the poor man's friend: nothing can exceed the skill and caution with
which it has been conducted. Would that all other banks were like it! We
have, comparatively, but a small issue of paper afloat; we have a large
supply of specie. You perceive, therefore, that we fear no run. You all
saw with what alacrity our Cashier proffered to redeem whatever amount
our respectable fellow-citizen, that excellent Democrat, Mr. Flanigan
Sucker, might demand. (Cheers, and a cry of 'Yip!') Mr. Sucker was
satisfied, and did not desire to burden himself with specie. Gentlemen,
depend upon _me_. When there is danger, if such a thing could be to this
New-Light Democratic bank, I will be the first to give you warning.
(Cheers, and 'Hurrah for Flam.') Born with an instinctive love of the
people, I should be the vilest of men, if I could ever forget my duty to
them. (Immense cheering, and cries of 'Flam forever!') Take my advice,
retire to your homes, keep an eye on the Whigs and their wicked schemes
to bolster up the State banks, make no run upon this institution--it is
an ill bird that defiles its own nest--and, before you depart,
gentlemen, let me inform you that, having the greatest regard to your
interest, we have determined upon a temporary suspension, as a mere
matter of caution against the intrigues of the Whigs, who, we have every
reason to believe, actuated by their implacable hatred of the New-Light
Democracy, will assail this, your favorite bank, with a malevolence
unexampled in all their past career. (Loud cheers, and cries of 'Stand
by the bank.') But, Quodlibetarians, rally, and present a phalanx more
terrible than the Macedonian to the invader. You can--I am sure you
will--and, therefore, I tell you your bank is safe."

"We can, we will!" rose from the whole multitude, accompanied with
cheers that might vie with the bursting of the ocean surge.

"Gentlemen," added Mr. Flam, "I thank you for the manifestation of this
patriotic sentiment. It is no more than I expected of Quodlibet. In
conclusion, I am requested, my good friends, by Mr. Handy, to say that
having just prepared some notes on a _superior_ paper, he will redeem at
the counter any old ones you may chance to hold, in that new emission;
and I can with pride assure you, that this late supply is equal,
perhaps, to anything that has ever been issued in the United States.
With my best wishes, gentlemen, for your permanent prosperity, under the
new and glorious dynasty of that distinguished New-Light Democrat, whom
the unbought suffrages of millions of freemen have called to the supreme
executive chair, (cheers,) and under whose lead we fondly indulge the
hope of speedily sweeping from existence this pestilential brood of Whig
banks, I respectfully take my leave."

Having concluded this masterly appeal to the reason and good sense of
the people, Mr. Flam withdrew under nine distinct rounds of applause.

The effect of this powerful speech, which has often since been compared
to that of Cicero against Catiline, was completely to still the public
mind of Quodlibet, and also to remove all apprehensions of the solidity
of our bank. But its happiest feature was the vindication of the bank
against that charge of treachery and ingratitude which so justly lies at
the door of all the other banks of the country. The Patriotic
Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet was, as Mr. Flam observed, _purely
Democratic_--Democratic in its origin, in its principles, in its
organization, in its management, in its officers, its stockholders, and
its customers. Such a bank, of course, could not be unfaithful to the
Democratic administration that fostered it--_infidelity or ingratitude
to party is no inhabitant of a Democratic bosom_. If there be men upon
earth who go all lengths, through thick and thin, for party, it is (I
say it with pride) the genuine New-Light Quodlibetarian Democracy. Our
bank, therefore, stands uncontaminated by that revolting perfidy which,
at the instigation of Biddle and the Barings, brought all the other
banks, in which there are Whig directors or officers, into the most
wicked conspiracy recorded in history.

It was not long after this astounding event before the opinions uttered
above were fully and most remarkably confirmed by a letter from the
Hermitage; a letter which for its shrewdness of view, its perspicacity,
its lucid style and Hero-and-Sage-like felicity of construction, is
unequaled in the productions of the venerable Chief. I am happy to
insert it here, as a most eloquent exposition of the causes of the
suspension--feeling assured that its distinguished author had no
reference to the Democratic banks, and especially none to ours of
Quodlibet, but intended it entirely for the vile Whigs.

"_The history of the world_," says this immortal man, writing July
ninth, to the virgin-minded, tremulously-sensitive, and unrewarded
editor of the Globe, "_never has recorded such base treachery and
perfidy as has been committed by the deposit banks against the
government, and purely with a view of gratifying Biddle and the Barings,
and by the suspension of specie payments, degrade, embarrass, and ruin,
if they could, their own country, for the selfish views of making large
profits by throwing out millions of depreciated paper upon the
people--selling their specie at large premiums, and buying up their own
paper at discounts of from 25 to 50 per cent., and now looking forward
to be indulged in these speculations for years to come before they
resume specie payments._"

Oracular old man! Sage and Seer! Priest and Prophet to lead thine
Israelites beyond Jordan! Happy do I, S. S., Schoolmaster of Quodlibet,
account myself that I have lived in this thy day!



The exciting summer of 1837, with the special election of a member of
Congress for the extra session--to which we returned our long-tried
and faithful representative, Mr. Middleton Flam, almost without
opposition--went by. All eyes were turned upon the proceedings of
Congress at that extra sitting; and a great many speculations were
afloat in Quodlibet, where, I am pained to disclose the fact, very
serious contrariety of opinion began to spring up in reference to the
Sub-Treasury. Our State election, for members of the Legislature, was to
come on in October, and a convention, called for the purpose,
had nominated Agamemnon Flag, at the head of the ticket, with
Abram Schoolcraft, the nursery man in Bickerbray, and Curtius
Short, Cheap store-keeper in Tumbledown, as the Regular New-Light
Democratic Quodlibetarian candidates. Unhappily this nomination gave
dissatisfaction to numbers of our friends. Agamemnon Flag, who was the
only stump man on the ticket, (Schoolcraft and Short having expressly
stipulated that they were not to be called on to speak in the canvass,)
was a young member of the bar, comparatively a stranger to many in the
Borough, (having within the last year removed from Bickerbray,) and,
laboring under the infirmity of short-sightedness, wore a delicate pair
of gold spectacles. I have observed that short-sighted persons in
general are not apt to be popular in a Democratic government.

But there was another matter that operated against Agamemnon. Quodlibet
had been made the county-seat of justice by an act of the last
Legislature, and we were just finishing a court-house which, in
anticipation of this event, we had commenced a year before. A question
arose among the townspeople, whether the court-house square should be
surrounded by a wooden or by an iron railing. This question created
great agitation. Several Whigs of the Borough made themselves active in
the debate, and went for the iron. The New-Light Quods were strong for
wood. Agamemnon Flag, seeing that a great deal of ill blood was getting
up between the parties, made a speech to a town meeting on this subject,
and went in for a compromise--he was for wood on the _two sides_ and
_back_ of the square, and iron _in front_. This proposition he advocated
with great earnestness and ability, and finally carried his point by a
close vote. The wooden party said that the vote was not a fair one, and
that they could not regard it as a legitimate expression of the popular
voice, because it was taken just as a shower of rain was coming up, when
many persons present who had come without umbrellas had given no heed to
the question, and voted as it were in the dark. However, the vote was
not recalled, and the iron railing is now in a course of fabrication
over at the Hogback Forge, which happens unluckily to be owned by
Stephen P. Crabstock, one of the most bull-headed Whigs in this county,
the job being given by the commissioners to him in consequence of there
being no genuine New-Light Democratic iron works in this part of the

When Agamemnon Flag was brought out at the head of the ticket for the
Legislature, nothing was said about the iron railing, and we had good
reason to suppose that every true Quod would support the nomination;
which in fact was made by the direction of our honorable representative
in Congress, who had a great liking for Flag in consequence of a very
beautifully written memoir of Mr. Flam, which appeared two years ago in
the Bickerbray Scrutinizer, when Flag lived in that town. In point of
principle, Agamemnon was altogether unexceptionable. He was an
out-and-out Flamite of the first water, and an unadulterated
Quodlibetarian in every sentiment.

Theodore Fog--I regret to be obliged to mention his name in any terms
of disparagement, because he is unquestionably a man of talents and a
true-bred New Light, and certainly we owe Theodore a good deal--had been
very sour for some time past. He had never forgotten the making of
Middleton Flam President of the bank. I have in a former chapter hinted
somewhat of Theodore's unfortunate habits. Dolet mihi,--I grieve to
repeat these things. But the truth must be told. His diurnal aberrations
became at length so conspicuous that, after being twice elected a
Director of the bank, his name was struck off the ticket and Anthony
Hardbottle's substituted in his place. Theodore never had much practice
at the bar, although he considers himself the founder of that fraternity
at Quodlibet, being for a season the only lawyer in the Borough. That
little practice had now pretty nearly left him; in consequence of which
he thought himself badly used, and therefore entitled to a support from
the public. These feelings operating upon his mind, induced him, soon
after the nomination of Agamemnon Flag, to come out in opposition and
declare himself an Independent Candidate.

The Whigs, taking advantage of this split in the party, brought out Andy
Grant, son of old Michael of the Hogback; a young man of fair character,
but wholly and fatally imbued with those dangerous opinions which have
already brought so many misfortunes upon our country.

This was the state of things at the commencement of the month of
September; and it will be seen in the sequel that very serious
difficulties grew out of this division.

A meeting of the voters of the county, which included the three towns of
Quodlibet, Tumbledown, and Bickerbray, was called at the Sycamore
Spring, upon the Rumblebottom, about five miles below Quodlibet. This
meeting was to be held on the eighth. A reference to these events is
necessary to explain the scene which I am about to present to my reader.

Jesse Ferret, as my reader knows, had brought himself into some scandal
by his indefinite political sentiments, and that most unquodlibetarian
dogma that "a Publican should have no side." Now, Mrs. Ferret and her
daughter, Susan Barndollar, were just antipodes to Jesse. Two truer
women, more firm-set in the New-Light Democracy, more constant in
opinion, whether in the utterance thereof or in its quality, and better
able to hold their own, have I never chanced to meet, than this
respectable mother and daughter. It is common to say women are not
allowed a voice in our government. My faith! these two ladies had a
voice in Quodlibet, allowed or not allowed--let the theory go as it
may:--and Jesse Ferret knows that full well.

Mrs. Ferret is what we call a fleshy or lusty woman: she weighed two
hundred and twelve, in Neal Hopper's new one-sided patent scale at the
mill. She is amazingly well padded with fat across the shoulders, and
has a craw-shaped bosom that in some degree encroaches upon her neck;
and she is famous for wearing a large frilled and quilled cap with many
blue ribbons, being a little given to finery. Although Susan Barndollar
was grown up and married, Mrs. Ferret had a child in the arms at that
time; and Jesse has even boasted, within the last five years, of running
two cradles at one time.

It was on the evening of the seventh of September, the night before the
meeting at the Sycamore Spring, when Mrs. Ferret had a tea drinking in
the back parlor, at which I, the only one of the masculine, was present
as a guest. Mrs. Younghusband was of the party, and Mrs. Snuffers, with
her interesting fat female infant nine months old; the same dear child
whose arrangements to appear in this world of cares procured me the
honor of presiding over the New Light, on the memorable occasion of Mr.
Flam's great speech at Christmas, whereof I have spoken in a former
chapter: thanks to Mrs. Snuffers for that considerate favor! This good
lady was there; and these two, with the addition of Miss Hardbottle,
elder sister of Barndollar & Hardbottle, and Mrs. Susan Barndollar, who
lived at home with her mother, made up the company.

"There is one thing," said Mrs. Ferret, as she rocked herself in a huge
hickory arm-chair, which had been built on purpose for her, "that I _do_
hold in despise; and that is, one of these here men who haint got no
opinions. Ef you believe me, Mrs. Snuffers, that man Jesse Ferret--this
woman's father, (pointing to Mrs. Barndollar,) God forgive me that I
should say anythink aginst my datur's own lawful flesh and blood!--but
he's actelly afeard to go down to-morrow to the Sycamore Spring to hear
the tongue-lashing which Theodore Fog, which is a man I always
respected--they say he drinks, but there's many a man which don't drink,
hasn't half his brains--Jesse's actelly afeard to go and hear how
Theodore will use up Ag Flag and Andy Grant both at the same time, least
they might be for making him take sides, which he hasn't the
spunk to do. My patience! but it would be nuts to me to hear the
speechification!--and, to think of it--that man hasn't the heart of a
goose to go to the meeting!"

"Ah, Mrs. Ferret," said Mrs. Snuffers, talking as if she had a cold in
the head, her voice being husky, in fact, from having taken a
large pinch of snuff, "them politicks--them politicks! Poor Mr.
Snuffers!--dear man: I 'spose you know he is President of the New Light;
he's losing his naiteral rest upon account of that split. He put in his
wote in the conwention for Ag, as innocent as a lamb, and here comes up
that obstropolus iron railing, and smashes all the New Lights into outer
darkness, with diwisions and contentions and all sorts of infractions.
Mr. Snuffers says he shouldn't wonder if that unfortnate step should
take the Hay Scales from him and leave me and this here innocent darlin'
babe in a state of destitution. Oh them politicks!"

"Well, let people stand by their colors, says I," interposed Mrs.
Barndollar, tartly, with a sharp shake of her head; "I go with my ma,
although pa is pa. I think people ought to speak what they please, and
mean what they please; and it's a mean thing not to do so, and that's
gospel truth, or else this is not a free country. Ma is right; and if
Mr. Snuffers is what Mr. Barndollar calls a Whole Hog, he'll not mind
the people a jot, but go with his party; that's the law. And I don't
agree by no means with ma, in going for Theodore against the

"Susan Barndollar, are you in earnest?" inquired her affectionate ma.
"Who put it into your head to underrate and strangle down Theodore Fog,
the oldest friend we have had sence we came to Quodlibet? and who brings
more custom to our bar than the whole New-Light Club put together.
Susan, Susan, I hope Jacob hain't been putting none of these ungrateful
ideers into your breast. Ef this house of ours, commonly called and
known by the name of The Hero, ought to go for any human, mortal,
individual man, that man is Theodore Fog. Ef he is a little exintric in
regard of his drinking, it won't be no new think in the Legislater, ef
the tenth part of what I heerd is true. Ladies--tea," said the dame, as
at this time a negro woman entered with a tray filled with great store
of provender--"help yourself, Mrs. Younghusband--take a plate on your
knee, and fork up one of them warfields--and take care of your gown,
they're a dripping with butter. Mr. Secondthoughts, what under heaven
has become of your perliteness that you can see Mrs. Younghusband a
fishing up that briled dried beef without her fork no more sticking in
it than if it was a live eel in the gravy!"

"Never mind me, Mrs. Ferret," replied Mrs. Younghusband, "and don't be a
troublin' the schoolmaster on my account. They do say that there's some
persons as hard to catch and pin down as hung beef crisped and floating
in butter, and as you justly remarked, a while ago, one of these persons
is not a hundred miles off from this house:" and here this good woman
laughed heartily at her own joke.

"Oh Jesse Ferret, in course!" exclaimed the landlady.

"My pa!" said Mrs. Barndollar, joining in the laugh.

"As Mr. Ferret hasn't got many friends here," said Miss Hardbottle,
"I'll be one. I think he is quite right, if he has no opinions, not to
express them. Don't you think so, Mr. Secondthoughts?"

"Madam," said I in a very grave manner, "if I might be allowed to
express myself freely, I would venture to remark, that it is very
important to the ascendency of the New-Light Quodlibetarian Democratic
party, that there should be no strife nor division in our ranks; and
that, feeling the importance of this sentiment, it is one of our
fundamental principles to go with the majority--whenever it can be
ascertained. Now between Agamemnon Flag and Theodore Fog----"

"Theodore Fog is sich a _good_ creature!" interrupted Mrs. Ferret.

"Ag is a _dear_ young man," said Mrs. Barndollar.

"As for that, ladies," said Miss Hardbottle, "if you speak of goodness
or beauty, Andy Grant can beat either, though he is a Whig."

"Hester Hardbottle!" shouted Mrs. Ferret.

"Hester Hardbottle!" shouted Mrs. Snuffers.

"Hester Hardbottle!" shouted Mrs. Younghusband.

"Hester Hardbottle!" shouted Mrs. Barndollar--all four at once.

"I do think so," said Miss Hardbottle, sharply, "and what I do think, I

"You have no right to say it, madam," said Mrs. Barndollar.

"Free country," said Miss Hardbottle.

"No such a thing for Whigs," quickly returned Mrs. Barndollar.

"Ladies! ladies! ladies!" said I, "peace, if you please:" but there was
no peace, for these excellent females soon got into such a state of
confusion in the attack and defense of Andy Grant, that I believe the
tea-party would have broken up in a state of rebellion, if it had not
been for the entrance of Mr. Ferret in the very height of the tumult.
His appearance gave another turn to the conversation, for it all turned
upon him.

"And so you are not going to the Sycamore Spring to-morrow," cried one.

"And I 'spose you won't vote for Theodore Fog," said Number Two.

"Nor for Ag Flag," said Number Three.

"But you will drop in a sly ticket for Andy Grant, may be, at last, ef
no one should find you out," said Mrs. Ferret, who in this series
counted Number Four. "Oh Jesse Ferret, ef you had a drop of blood in you
that wasn't milk-and-water, you would be ashamed of sich shilly-shally
conduct, that even the women makes you a laughing-stock!"

"Wife," said Jesse, taking a fierce stand in self-defense, "drop it! If
my blood was milk-and-water, it would be curds-and-whey before this
time. I tell you again, old lady, a Publican's got no right to have
sentiments. The party's double splitted, and no man knows which way to
turn himself. There's that cursed Iron Railing; and there's that
infernal Suspension; and there's the Divorce of the Government from bed
and board with the banks, that everybody's talking about; and there's
Purse and Sword, and Specie Circlar, and Mint Drops, and the Lord knows
what; that a poor, sinful, infallible tavern keeper doesn't know who's
who, and what's what. I'm sure I can't tell whether I'm on my head or my
heels; and if I was to go down yonder to the Sycamore Spring and hear
all the palavering there, I should get so flustrated I wouldn't know
which eend of me went foremost. So, I tell you I'll stay at home and
stick to my motto:--that's as good as if I swore to it. Solomon
Secondthoughts, ain't I right?"

"Jesse," said I, mildly, "have you any respect for the opinion of our
distinguished representative, my former pupil, Middleton Flam?"

"Well, I voted for him," replied Jesse.

"Then," said I, "I admit there is a great perplexity about all these
public measures and men, just at this time; and I am willing to allow
that the New-Light Democracy do not as yet exactly understand their own
minds; and therefore it is quite lawful to pause and look about you
before you take your stand. This thing is certain, that the New-Light
Democracy will undoubtedly go with the government, whatever line it
chalks out for following the footsteps of its illustrious predecessor.
Whether that line shall lead us North or South, East or West, my poor
skill is not able to instruct you. Whether we are _for_ the banks or
_against_ them, is yet undecided, since we are pledged at least in favor
of our own. In a Quodlibetarian sense, I do not scruple to affirm that
we are _against_ the banks and _for_ the divorce; but in a private sense
that opinion will require some reflection. Mr. Flam will be home from
Congress before long, and until then we shall suspend our opinion. We
are, at all hazards, real Flam men. Flam--I drop the mister when I speak
of him as a principle--is our polar star--our cynosure in politics--our
Pisgah, which gives us a view of the Promised Land. As a principle, our
New-Light Democracy is all out-and-out Flam. Flam is our father, our
guide, our Pillar of Cloud. Wait till Middleton Flam comes home."

Having thrown out these well-weighed and sententious remarks, both for
the women and for Jesse, I was inwardly delighted to see how soothing
was the effect upon my auditory; and as it is a precept inculcated by
some sage observer of mankind, I forget his name, to leave your company
when you have made an agreeable impression upon them, I did not tarry
for further converse, but took up my hat and stick, and bade my worthy
friends "good night."

Upon my return to my lodgings, I sat down and made the foregoing
narration of what had passed in my presence, and I have incorporated the
same into this history, with no little mortification; feeling myself
compelled thereto by the consideration that the scene I have described,
being, as it were, the first fruits of that unhappy dissension which
grew up among the New Lights, and a significant commentary thereon, it
may serve in the way of warning to all good Quodlibetarian Democrats who
may chance to peruse these pages, against the folly of ever allowing
themselves to have any individual opinions, when the leaders and
marshals of the party shall have taken the trouble off their hands of
thinking and determining for them. And, indeed, the moral may be carried
further. For it is obvious, if Jesse Ferret had acted in the spirit and
the intelligence of a true Quod, he would have ascertained the majority
and gone with it; instead of which, he intrenched himself behind this
fortress of neutrality, comprehended in the absurd dogma that a Publican
ought to have no sides. Undoubtedly, the true precept should be in all
cases of public servants, "Take the upper side." Thereon chiefly hangs
the Quodlibetarian theory.



The morning of the 8th of September, Anno Domini 1837, was cloudless and
cool. The dust had been laid by a shower of rain a little before
daylight, and the day therefore was auspicious to the wishes of all who
proposed to assemble at the Sycamore Spring. By eight o'clock Ante
Meridiem, Nicodemus Handy's barouche, with two beautiful bays, stood
upon the gravel before Handy House on Copperplate Ridge. Agamemnon Flag,
attired in a new blue coat with figured gilt buttons, white waistcoat,
india-rubber watch-guard, snowy pantaloons of very fine drilling, and
boots of drab prunelle, tipped at the toes with polished French leather,
a watered-silk cravat, and gold spectacles, sat at the breakfast-table
with Mrs. Handy and Henrietta, her daughter--the smallest, the neatest,
and the best-shaped female, it is said by those who pretend to be
judges, in Quodlibet.

Nicodemus was in a flurry. He had swallowed his breakfast with great
dispatch, and four servants were busily in attendance upon him. Sam, the
waiter, was beating time in the hall with a corn whisk alternately upon
the person of his master and his left hand, after a very favorite and
ingenious fashion of dusting a gentleman's coat, only known to and
practiced by that musical race of colored dandies, of which Sam was a
first-rate specimen. Sarah, a lady of Sam's complexion, Mrs. Handy's
maid, was running up stairs to sprinkle some verbena perfume on Mr.
Handy's cambric handkerchief; William was smoothing the nap of his
glossy-black Brewster with a brush as soft as silk; and Mrs. Trotter,
the housekeeper, was arranging a basket of sandwiches and a bottle of
Rudesheimer to be stowed away in the box of the back seat of the
barouche. The coachman, in a sky-blue frock, and hat with gold band
secured by a huge buckle, was in his seat holding the reins, every
moment speaking to the horses to make them restive, and then whipping
them for not standing still. The whole scene was one eminently
calculated to disprove that stale Whig slander which purports to affirm
that "all the decency" was in their ranks:--nothing could be more
striking than this refutation of it. And as I was myself present--having
called in at that moment to deliver a message from the New-Light Club to
Mr. Handy, apprising him of their intention to move that he should act
as chairman of the meeting to be held at the Sycamore Spring--I
witnessed with lively satisfaction the very decided impression of
pleasure made upon an assemblage of New Lights, who stood looking on
outside of the front gate, by this triumphant vindication of our party
from the malevolent insinuations of the Whig press.

Agamemnon Flag seemed to be very much at his ease, and to be thinking
but little about the meeting, while he sat uttering some pleasant things
to Miss Handy;--at least I suppose they must have been pleasant to her,
as she and her mother both laughed a good deal at what he said.
By-the-by, there is a report in the Borough, that Ag is making up to
this young lady, which will be a grand thing for him if she favors him,
since she is an only child, and Nicodemus is amazingly rich.

"God bless me, my dear!" said Mr. Handy, breaking away from Sam's whisk,
and speaking after the manner of a table of contents, (a habit which he
has acquired since he has grown rich,) "past eight o'clock--I'm to be
the chairman of that meeting--ought to be early on the ground--five
miles off--no time for nonsense now--you and Henrietta and Ag--have to
drive like lightning--barbacue, my dear--want to see the arrangements
before the voters arrive--the schoolmaster will take a seat along side
of Nace."

"Thank you kindly," said I; "I accept your offer with great pleasure."

"Shan't want William," he added, referring to the servant who generally
rode with the coachman--"upon second thoughts, will put _our_
Secondthoughts inside--ha! ha!--_must_ have William--_shall_ want him;
you can sit (speaking to me) on the front seat--Ag and I behind--offer
the other seat to Barndollar--want to be civil to _him_, my dear--come,
hurry, hurry, hurry!--William, get on your livery and be prepared to
mount beside Nace."

As it was very manifest that Mr. Handy was really in a hurry--as very
opulent men are exceedingly apt to be--there was of course a great
bustle to accommodate him, by getting off. Agamemnon immediately rose
from the breakfast-table, and, taking up his superfine Leghorn hat,
which was very chastely adorned with a light yellow ribbon band, the
ends whereof hung a little over the rim, he put it gently on his head,
and then standing before the ladies, asked them with very apparent
complacency, whether they thought he was in good trim to appear before
the Democracy--and having received answer that "he was exactly the
thing," he signified his readiness to depart; whereupon we all bustled
out to the barouche and took our seats. William clambered into his
place, and away we went at full trot, down to The Hero to take up Jacob

When we arrived at the tavern door, we found there Nim Porter's
trotting buggy with his stub-tailed gray. Nim himself appeared on the
steps in a big broad-brimmed low-crowned Russia blue hat, set very
knowingly over his right eye, with a long taper whip in his hand; and
before we could take up Mr. Barndollar, this most good natured of
bar-keepers, with an agility not to be expected in so fat a person,
sprang up into his tub-shaped seat, which held him about as compactly as
the shell of an acorn holds the nut, and spreading the skirts of his
green coatee with steel buttons over the periphery of the same, darted
off at a speed of about fifteen miles to the hour, down the Rumblebottom
road. During this time Mrs. Ferret filled the front door, and Mrs.
Barndollar was looking over her shoulder, while they both opened their
batteries upon poor Jesse Ferret, in a contemporaneous objurgation of
his mean-spiritedness, addressed to Mr. Handy in the barouche, but
intended for the master of the hotel, who looked rather sheepishly
through the window of the bar-room. Before he could say anything in his
own defense, and even before the amiable ladies of his family were done
talking, Jacob Barndollar came out, and got into the barouche; and as
Mr. Handy was growing more and more impatient, he ordered Nace to lose
no time, and so off we started. As well as I could judge, from looking
back, until we turned down by Christy M'Curdy's mill, Mrs. Ferret was
still arguing her case in the front door of The Hero.

All the roads leading to the Sycamore Spring were filled with persons
on horseback, on foot, in gigs, buggies, barouches, and rattle-traps of
every sort. It was obvious we were going to have a great meeting. Before
nine o'clock, Mr. Handy was on the ground. About a hundred persons were
already there. Booths were scattered along under the huge elms and
sycamores which shaded a low flat upon the margin of the Rumblebottom.
The fine, copious, old spring--where there has been many a barbacue in
my time--was pouring out its crystal treasures, as some poet says, with
prodigal bounty, and transferring them, as the Secretary does the
deposits, by large draughts, from the living rock to the running
Rumblebottom--in fact, taking them out of one bank, and distributing
them between others. Not far from this spring, adumbrated by
over-arching boughs--the reader will excuse this poetical orgasm--for
fifteen years and upwards have I been visiting this fountain, sacred to
Pan, (we used to have fish frys here,) and have ever grown poetical at
the sight thereof--it is my infirmity: not far from the spring stood the
tables--boards on trestles, and on the boards trenchers filled with
cubic sections of beef, lamb, mutton, and ham, interspersed with
pyramids of bread--a goodly sight! Upon skids, remote from the tables,
stood a barrel of old Monongahela, and hard by in a cart, tumblers,
pitchers, noggins, and bottles. Far off, at the opposite confine of this
field of action, was a stage erected, with a chair for the President of
the day, and benches of unplaned board for persons of inferior dignity.
Everything was in order; and now that Mr. Handy had arrived he had
nothing to do but wait for the gathering in of the people.

Presently Mr. Grant, mounted on a large bow-necked bay, arrived, with
his four sons, all men grown, of a rustic, farmer-like complexion; they
were attended by Augustus Postlethwaite Tompkinson, of The Whole Team,
and some dozen Whigs from Thorough Blue, who had traveled as far as Mr.
Grant's the night before, and now made a very solid and formidable
troop. Andrew Grant, the candidate, a youth of good presence, and
reputable, (bating his politics,) was of this party. Andy had been to
college, and his father first intended to make a doctor of him, but the
lad somehow took a dislike to physic, and turned in to this new business
of engineering on canals and railroads, and was considered, I believe, a
tolerably smart hand in that calling. But as he happened to catch a
bilious fever in the Dismal Swamp, the old lady his mother, who always
had made a pet of him, would not hear of his going back to that line of
livelihood; and so he stayed at home helping to manage at the Hogback
farm, and doing pretty much as _he_ pleased; until, about a year before
he was brought out, he married Stephen P. Crabstock's daughter; and ever
since that event does as his _wife_ pleases--spending his time one part
of the year at the Iron Works, and the other at the old man's.

By eleven o'clock the company had pretty nearly got to its maximum. A
large party came down in a wagon from Quodlibet with Abel Brawn--among
them Neal Hopper, Sandy Buttercrop, Davy Post the wheelwright, and I
can't tell how many more. Quipes, the painter, borrowed a horse out of
Geoffry Wheeler's team, and was there studying human nature and the
picturesque. Flan Sucker, one-eyed Ben Inky, and Jeff Drinker, with a
squad of regular loafers, came on foot. The Tumbledownians were there in
great force under Cale Goodfellow, to help Theodore Fog; and the
Bickerbrayians with Virgil Philpot, the editor of The Scrutinizer,
mustered a heavy phalanx in favor of Ag Flag. To swell the assemblage to
its largest compass, there were about fifty laborers from the
newly-begun Bickerbray and Meltpenny Railroad, a worthy accession to the
New-Light Democracy, who had about a month before this meeting come into
the State.

This is a hasty glance over the field of action, and will serve to show
that the country was all alive to the importance of the occasion and
duly estimated the nature of the crisis. Looking over this congregation
I, as one having knowledge therein, may safely affirm, that the genuine
Quods present fully outnumbered the Whigs three to one. Eliphalet Fox,
who has been more accustomed to measure crowds, however, after a minute
inspection of the various groups, judging by that tact which he says
never failed him in discriminating between what he calls a Loco Foco and
a Whig, (he does not pretend to say that he is so expert in pointing out
a New Light, but as to a Loco he asserts he is perfect,) set down the
number at nearer ten to one; and accordingly so reported it in the
account of the meeting which afterwards appeared in The Whole Hog.
Without, however, dwelling upon this topic, let us proceed to the
business of the day.

At twelve o'clock dinner was announced; and this army of hungry
politicians, with a unanimity of sentiment, an accord of principle, and
a concert of action, which we might in vain seek for in other
occupations of a political nature, combined, like a band of brothers, to
devour the largest possible amount of the stores which lay before them.
With somewhat less agreement they made their advances to the
Monongahela; the more shy of the assemblage being rather kept at bay by
the remarkable perseverance and adhesiveness of Flan Sucker, one-eyed
Ben Inky, and a chosen body of troops under their command, who had
constituted themselves the forlorn hope in this assault. Still, as the
newspapers say when they are disposed to puff a popular play, the barrel
went off very much to the satisfaction, and, indeed, the delight of the

These matters being dispatched, Nicodemus Handy, who during the repast
had acted inimitably the part of a perfectly ravenous man, but who
having an eye to the sandwiches and Rudesheimer, made his appetite
rather a matter of "seems," rapped upon the table, and called upon every
man to fill up his glass; which order was faithfully obeyed by Flan
Sucker & Company, a firm that was in possession of all the tumblers--the
remainder of the guests allowing the filling to be, as we say in
grammar, "understood,"--and then offered the following toast, which, as
he said, would speak for itself:--"The several candidates who are about
to address the people--success to him who shall best deserve it!" Sucker
& Company drained to the bottom, and then set up a shrill yell, very
much in the style of the Winnebagoes, except that there was a running
note of "Yip!" that was distinctively Suckerian.

"Now, gentlemen, to the stand!" cried out Mr. Handy.

But before the crowd obeyed this order, Mr. Snuffers had a motion to
make. It was a matter of some importance, as the subject was considered
in the New-Light Club, that our party should have the President of the
day--and it was therefore determined that the moment dinner was over,
and before the Whigs might be aware of it, Mr. Snuffers, the head of our
club, should rise in some conspicuous place, and move that Nicodemus
Handy be requested to preside over the meeting. Mr. Snuffers is a slow
and nervous man, and was admonished to be on his guard, so as to make
sure of getting ahead of the Whigs who we knew wanted Mr. Grant in the
chair. He was in consequence very fidgety all the time of dinner; and
now, when the moment for action arrived, the good old gentleman elbowed
his way toward the center of the table, and without difficulty succeeded
in clambering upon an inverted and empty flour-barrel, which had once
been filled with bread. "I move, gentlemen," said he, with a tremulous
and agitated voice--"I move, gentlemen, that Mr. Nicodemus Handy----"

Before the next word escaped from his lips, this worthy and respectable
old gentleman broke in, and in an instant (I am shocked to tell it) was
jammed up tight in the barrel--disappearing as a dip of twenty to the
pound is apt to do when stuck into a black bottle--"be President of this
meeting," said Mr. Doubleday, with a hurried utterance, taking up the
word which was lost with Mr. Snuffers, and which, but for the admirable
presence of mind of our Vice, might have been lost forever.

"Break the barrel to pieces!" cried out forty voices.

"Mr. Snuffers is blue in the face--he will die of apoplexy," cried out

"An ax!--knock the barrel to pieces!" shouted more, in great alarm at
his precarious situation.

In a few moments our distressed and worthy President of the New Light
was extricated from his unpleasant durance, and finding no harm done, we
proceeded to take the question on the motion. Mr. Handy was thus called
to the chair. Nine Vice-Presidents were appointed, and six Secretaries
to record the proceedings. These matters being arranged, the whole
assemblage moved toward the rostrum at the opposite end of the wood.

What followed we shall read in the next chapter.



When the crowd had gathered around the stand appropriated to the
President, the nine Vice-Presidents, and the six Secretaries, besides
the speakers who were to address the meeting, and when every officer was
in his place, Nicodemus Handy came forward with his pocket-handkerchief
in his hand, wiping from his brow the perspiration, which naturally
breaks out on a man of sensibility and wealth when called to discharge
the honorable and responsible function of presiding over a vast
concourse of freemen. By way of digression, I would take this occasion
to remark upon the extreme appropriateness of the phrase which is now
universally used in describing meetings of the people, and which always
refers to them as _freemen_. Ever since the people have been drilled to
walk in the way appointed for them by the leaders of their respective
parties, and are so liberally told how they must think, speak, and vote;
and when no man is allowed to walk out of that path without being
threatened with condign punishment, it is extremely proper, in order to
avoid odious imputations which malevolent observers might cast upon
them, on all occasions to employ the phrase I have alluded to; since, if
this were neglected, these malevolent observers might take it into their
heads to call the people of our free Republic Tools, Instruments,
Rank-and-File, and other names significant of a state of subserviency,
which in the eyes of strangers might cast discredit on our free
institutions: even the _officers_ of our government might be branded
with the name of _hirelings_ and _servants_, and an opinion might thus
be fostered that, instead of being the freest nation upon earth, we
were a set of slaves governed by a set of hired servants--a most
unwarrantable, unjust, and derogatory conclusion. For this reason, I am
particular in the language above employed, and I think that every
genuine Quod will see the value and the force of my vindication and use
of this phrase.

Mr. Handy rose to his feet, wiped his brow, and made a graceful
obedience to the assembled body of freemen.

"Gentlemen," said he, with a most laudable diffidence, in a voice which
not more than fifteen persons, exclusive of the nine Vices and six
Secretaries, could hear; "sensible of the great honor--endeavor to
discharge with fidelity--obvious incapacity--but exceedingly flattered
by the testimony of your confidence;" then wiping his brow, still more
vehemently, with his cambric handkerchief rolled up like a snow-ball, he
continued: "It falls to my lot to introduce to you our distinguished
friends, Agamemnon Flag, Andrew Grant, and Theodore Fog, Esquires, men
of whom any land may be proud--they will speak for themselves. With such
men to choose from, our country cannot fail to rise up to the
very midnight of prosperity, honor, and renown. Thanks for your
attention--rely upon your indulgence--Mr. Grant will lead off."

"Three cheers for Nicodemus Handy!" cried out several Quods, as soon as
our distinguished townsman took his seat; and, thereupon, about twenty
heads were uncovered, and the twenty throats appurtenant to the same
gave the three rounds called for.

Andrew Grant now came forward, and made a discourse of about an hour's
length. It was in the usual style of the Whigs, and began with an
attempt to raise an impression that the country, notwithstanding General
Jackson's express declaration to the contrary, given to the nation under
the solemn sanction of a presidential message, and notwithstanding his
successor's certificate to the same effect, was in a state of difficulty
and distress. This young man, not more than twenty-five years of age,
living in comparative obscurity, had the hardihood, in the face of a
large and respectable body of freemen, to contradict the word of two
Presidents of the United States! Then, after coloring this picture of
adversity with all imaginable hues of shade, he did not scruple to
affirm that the whole of these fancied embarrassments were brought on by
the _folly_, as he termed it, of our rulers--charged the great
Democratic majority of the nation with having carried bad measures
through Congress--said the Whigs had warned us of the results of these
measures--and even went to the point of asserting that the suspension of
the banks was the consequence of the acts of the party in power. To make
out this absurd proposition, he read extracts from the speeches of Whig
members, against the removal of the deposits, to show what he called
their prophecies of disaster to the people; then actually affirmed that
the experiment of General Jackson upon the Currency had failed, and that
all the Whig predictions had come true; and after sundry excursions into
the Hard Money and State-Bank systems of the administration, finally
wound up his remarks by a very fatiguing enumeration of the General's
pledges to the people before his election, and his changes of opinion
upon these subjects afterward;--in regard to which he produced and read
certain long-winded documents from the President and Secretaries, to the
great annoyance of our Quods, who, in fact, became so tired of this
impertinent matter, that not more than half a dozen of them remained
within hearing of the speaker, the great bulk of them having gone over
to the spring to refresh themselves in a more agreeable manner.
Eliphalet Fox very aptly remarked, immediately after this long prosing
was brought to an end, that the speech was a _perfect failure_: he had
heard Andy Grant spoken of as a young man of talents, but he turns out
to be a miserable take-in. "Nothing in him, sir!" said Eliphalet, in his
terse way; "nothing in him, sir!"

The Whigs, as is usual with them, affected to be hugely delighted.
Augustus Postlethwaite Tompkinson took pencil-notes and announced his
purpose to publish the speech entire. "A great speech that," said he to
Mr. Snuffers--"extraordinary young man!--great speech."

Mr. Handy now lost no time in presenting Agamemnon Flag, who came
forward with a confident, self-possessed air, smiling through his gold
spectacles, and apparently very much delighted at the opportunity of
presenting himself before his fellow-citizens.

"I see before me," said he, in a clear, fine-toned voice, and with an
affable manner, "a vast concourse of----"

"Put on your hat," cried out three or four from the crowd, upon
observing that a sunbeam had straggled through the foliage and lit up
Agamemnon's yellow, curly locks, likening them to golden wire.

"Thank you, my friends," said the orator, stepping one pace to the right
and thus bringing himself into the shade, "in the presence of the
sovereign people, I always stand uncovered, regardless of the exposure
of my person."

This happy sally brought forth a long and loud clapping of hands from
the great multitude of Quods, who, the moment Andy Grant had finished
speaking, had crowded back to the stand.

"Take off your goold specs, Ag; let's see your Dimmycratic phiz out and
out!" said Flan Sucker at the top of his voice, from the outskirts of
the assemblage.

A loud laugh that shook full one hundred diaphragms, followed this
demand, and Agamemnon good-naturedly took off his glasses.

"Anything to oblige you, gentlemen," said he; "but as I am very
short-sighted, I deprive myself of the pleasure of a better view of my
worthy fellow-citizens."

"Put on your specs, Ag," said Nim Porter--"never mind Flan Sucker!"

"Put on your specs!" cried out the whole of the convention who had
nominated the ticket, backed by a number of their friends."

"Blast his eyes!" said Cale Goodfellow, turning to his Tumbledownians,
who were all friends of Fog, and of course opposed to the nomination.
"Let's have a representative who can _see_ what he is about--none of
your goold daylights!"

"Specs or no specs, go it!--Yip!" shouted Flan. Sucker, with a voice
that rang like a trumpet.

"Or-der!--Or-der!" said Mr. Handy, rising from his seat and coming
forward beside the speaker, and waving his hand to the crowd, greatly
concerned to see these manifestations of dissension in the ranks of the
party. "Gentlemen, it is but fair that every man should be heard, and
the chair takes occasion to say, that it is mortified at these
interruptions. If the gentlemen opposed to the nomination--the chair
alludes to those who have unfortunately allowed themselves to be
influenced by the iron railing, a subject which has nothing upon earth
to do with the pending election--if these gentlemen are not disposed to
give Mr. Agamemnon Flag an opportunity of delivering himself, the chair
would invite such persons to reflect upon the obvious impropriety of
such a course. The chair is persuaded that this disturbance results from
mere want of reflection, and hopes it shall not be required again to
remind gentlemen of the courtesy due to Mr. Flag."

As Virgil describes in that notable passage, the subduing of the rage
of popular commotion by Æneas, and likens it to the mandate of Neptune
quelling the waves of old ocean, so fell Mr. Handy's timely reproof upon
the Anti-iron Railings, and, in a moment, all was still. Agamemnon then
began again in his original track.

"I see before me a vast concourse of free citizens--the solid,
substantial, durable, permanent, everlasting pillars of free government.
The honest, upright, pure, hard-handed, horny-fisted, Democratic
yeomanry of the country are here--not the flesh and blood of the
country, for that is the pampered aristocracy--but the bone and sinew
surround me. It rejoices my eyes to behold these honest, sturdy,
independent, intelligent, invincible tillers of the soil--these brawny,
unconquerable, liberty-loving working-men--I say, sir, I delight to look
upon them; my feeble vision, sir----"

"Put on your specs, Ag!" shouted Ben Inky and Flan Sucker again, at the
same instant;--and the cry was echoed from various quarters.

Some moments of disorder again prevailed, which required the second
interposition of Mr. Handy, who, in the most spirited manner, proclaimed
his positive determination to resign, unless the order of the meeting
could be preserved. "I will never consent," said he, with a most
laudable energy, "to hold any post, executive or representative, for one
moment after I shall have discovered that I do not possess the
confidence of the people; the chair must feel itself compelled, by every
sentiment which, as a friend of the New-Light Democracy, it holds dear,
to resign the moment it finds that it has fallen into a minority." Then
followed these remarkable words:--"Sustain me, Quodlibetarians, or let
me go!"

For full five minutes after this, the uproar was tremendous. The Iron
Railings and Anti-iron Railings almost came to blows. The Tumbledownians
and Bickerbrayians took their appropriate sides in the contest, and, for
a space, nothing was heard but shouts of Fog!--Flag!--Fog!--Flag! over
the whole field. When both parties had bawled themselves perfectly
hoarse, and for mere want of wind ceased the clamor, Theodore Fog
mounted the hustings, and made a special request of his friends to keep
the peace and hear Mr. Flag to an end. He put this request upon the
ground of a personal favor to himself, and promised them that, at the
proper time, they should hear his sentiments very fully upon all the
agitating questions of the day.

This appeal was conclusive, and Mr. Flag once more presented himself.
But the interruptions he had suffered seemed most unhappily to have
thrown him entirely out of gear; and becoming very much embarrassed, he
struggled for some moments to regain his self-possession, as I thought,
without success--although Fox thought otherwise,--and, after less than
half an hour's speaking, sat down, rather crest-fallen and mortified.

I may unwittingly do Mr. Flag injustice in this remark; for, in truth,
my mind was greatly occupied with the tumult, and I confess I was,
therefore, not a very attentive listener. Fox, on the contrary, was
minutely observant of the speech, and did not scruple to pronounce it a
masterly effort of eloquence, calculated to place Mr. Flag beside the
first statesmen of our country. This was his opinion at the time, and it
was even more warmly and eulogistically expressed subsequently, in The
Whole Hog, where the speech appeared in nine closely-printed columns on
the following Saturday.

Theodore Fog was always a great favorite at our public meetings, and the
moment now approached when the field was to be surrendered to him. The
New Lights, including the members of the nominating convention and the
friends of the Iron Railing Compromise, backed by Virgil Philpot of The
Scrutinizer, and a large force of Bickerbrayians, were determined that
Agamemnon Flag should not want a very decisive token of applause; and
they accordingly called out for "nine cheers for the regular candidate!"
Responsive to this call, their whole party lustily set about the work;
and, for some minutes after the conclusion of Agamemnon's speech, the
air resounded with huzzas for "Flag and the Constitution!" "New Light
and Regular Nomination!" This was answered by a round for "Fog and
Reform!" "Retrenchment and no Iron Railing!" and Fog, in the midst of
this acclamation, appearing on the speaker's stand, all cries were lost
in the most violent clapping of hands.

Theodore Fog's figure is about six feet, lean and bony, and with a
stoop which inclines a little to the right, so as to bring his left
shoulder somewhat higher than its opposite. His arms are unusually long,
his head small, his face strongly furrowed with deep lines, his eyes of
a greenish luster, his nose decidedly of the pug species, his mouth
large, his complexion of that sallow, drum-head, parchment hue that
equally defies the war of the elements, and the ravages of alcohol.
Although short of fifty years of age, his hair is iron gray, and spreads
in a thick mat over his whole cranium. At no time of life has he been
careful of dress, but now has declined into an extreme of negligence in
this particular. On the present occasion, he wore a striped gingham
coat, rather short in the sleeves, and cross-barred pantaloons; his
shirt collar was turned down over a narrow, horsehair stock; and a broad
black ribbon guard crossed his breast and terminated in the right pocket
of a black bombazet waistcoat, where it was plainly to be seen from the
external impression, lodged a large watch. He presented himself to the
multitude, holding in his hand a rather shabby straw hat, which he,
nevertheless, flourished with the air and grace of one who had known
better days than his habiliments seemed to denote.

He stood for some time bowing and waving his hat in return for the
clamorous approbation with which he was greeted; and when, at length,
silence was restored, he began his speech.

"Countrymen and friends: you of Quodlibet, Bickerbray, Tumbledown and
the adjacent parts, hear me! I am an old, tried and trusty, unflinching
and unterrified Quodlibetarian New-Light Democrat--Flan Sucker, bring us
a tumbler of water--tangle it, Flan: no hypocrisy in me, gentlemen,--I
go for the ardent. You all know I am, and was from the first, opposed to
the iron railing--(here arose a cheer from the Anties)--but I don't
come to talk to you about that. You know, moreover, that I am an
anti-nomination man--I'm out on independent grounds--every man for
himself, as the jackass said to the chickens--(a loud laugh.) I want to
say a word about Agamemnon Flag--commonly called Ag Flag. Who's he? Look
at them gold spectacles, and you will see what he is at once. When the
plastic hand of Dame Nature set about the fabrication of that
masterpiece of human mechanism, a genuine, out-and-out thorough-stiched
New-Light Democrat, she never thought of sticking upon him a
nose to be ridden by two gold rings hung over it like a pair of
saddlebags--(loud laughter.) We have other uses for our gold; we want
it for mint-drops--old Tom Benton's mint-drops--to be run up into
them, to give the honest, poor man something better, when his week's
work is done, than Copperplate Bank rags, signed Nicodemus Handy--(loud
shouts and cheers from Flan Sucker's squad and the Tumbledowns; and
groans and hisses from the Convention men and Bickerbrays.) Friends, I
tell you, our party is split; emphatically split. I have seen this
coming for some time. We have three sets of New Lights among us, and it
is time we should know it. There are THE MANDARINS, our big bugs, and I
could name them to you. You will find them on Copperplate Ridge--('Bah!
bah!' from the New-Light Club--'Go it The! go it, old fellow!' from
the Anties.) You will find them at Popular Flats--('That won't do!'
cried fifty voices; 'three cheers for the Hon. Middleton Flam!'--loud
cheering for Flam: 'Walk into them, Fog!' from the Anties--great
laughter and rubbing of hands among the Whigs.) You will find them in
the Forwarding and Commission Line--(great uproar on all sides.)
After the Mandarins, come THE MIDDLINGS; and after the Middlings,
THE TRUE GRITS--the hearty, whole-souled, no-mistake Quods. I'm a
TRUE GRIT!--(great applause.) We are nature's noblemen--give
me that water, Flan. I call myself one of the Royal Family of
the Sovereign People--(renewed laughter and applause.) I am no
kid-glove-MANDARIN-Democrat: I am no milk-and-water, flesh-and-fowl,
half-hawk-half-buzzard-MIDDLING-Democrat: I am, to all intents and
purposes, toties quoties, in puris naturalibus, a TRUE GRIT, a whole
TRUE GRIT, and nothing but a TRUE GRIT.--(Here Theodore was obliged to
pause a full minute on account of the cheering.)

"Now this brings me," he continued after drinking off the potation which
Flan Sucker had assiduously placed upon the stand for his use, "to Andy
Grant. Andy Grant has told you a great deal about General Jackson's
pledges, and his changes and whatnot. Well, sirs, he _did_ change--what
of it? Is Democracy like the laws of the Medes and Persians? Is that
great sublime truth which vivifies the patriot's heart, resuscitates his
ambition and sparkles in the human breast, like a stone in the bottom of
a well, for toads to sit on? or is it the divine rainbow spanning the
earth with its arch, and changing with the sun, now in the east, now in
the west? Is it a post set up in a stream for the liquid element of
human policy forever to roll by and leave behind? or is it the mighty
mass of steam power that not only floats upon that element, but flies
onward across the great ocean of mortal things forever changing in its
career? Is not Democracy itself the march of intellect? and does not
marching consist in change of place? I hear you all answer, with one
accord, Ay, ay, ay!--(Taking the word from the orator, there was a loud
affirmative response to these questions.)

"Well, then, Jackson did change. He was _for_ the single term--he was
_against_ it: I confess the fact. He was _for_ the Protective System--he
was _against_ it: I agree to it. He was _for_ a National Bank--he was
_against_ it: what of that? He was _for_ the distribution of the
surplus, and again he was _against_ it; I know it. He was _for_ Internal
Improvements;--he changed his mind--he was _against_ them. Then
again, sirs, he was _against_ the interference of officers in the
elections;--he was sorry for it, and took the other tack. He was
_against_ the appointment of members of Congress--in theory;--in
practice he was _for_ it. He was _against_ this Sub-Treasury--and
perhaps he is now _for_ it. It is all true, as Andy Grant has told
you:--it is in the documents, I don't deny it. Sirs, it is the glory of
his character that he has been _for_ and _against_ everything;--and as
Mr. Van Buren promises to follow in his footsteps, he, of course, will
be for and against everything--I know him. He would not be a genuine New
Light, if he were not. We are all (and here Fog raised his voice to the
highest key, and struck the board sharply with his hand) FOR and AGAINST
everything! How else can we be with the majority? What is the New-Light
Quodlibetarian Democracy, but a strict conformity to the will of the
majority? Against that and that only we never go!--(tremendous
applause.) As Levi Beardsly said, Perish Commerce, Perish Credit!--and I
say, Perish Currency, Banks, Sub-Treasury, Constitution, Law, Benton,
Amos, Van--I had almost said perish Old Hickory--but _always_ go with

After this burst, which may be said to be truly eloquent, Theodore made
a very happy hit in touching upon the natural hostility between the
_rich_ and the _poor_, showing, with great point of remark, how
impossible it was for these two classes to have any Christian feelings
toward each other; and arguing from that the great New-Light Democratic
principle, that in every department of the government any man who holds
property ought to be deprived of all influence, and that it was the poor
man's right to legislate away the rich man's possessions. "Do we not
know," said he, "that in every community the majority are poor? that
there are two men without property for every one man with it? Of course
then, it follows logically, that, as two heads are better than one, the
sole right, as well as the sole power of legislation is in the poor, and
that they may make laws for the government of the rich; but the rich
cannot make laws for the government of the poor. Besides, who would be
the most impartial in such a matter, the man legislating for his _own_
property, or the man legislating for his _neighbor's_? This requires no

Upon the subject of the Sub-Treasury, Fog avowed boldly his
non-commitalism. "I am not sure, at this moment," said he, "how the land
lies. I wait to ascertain the sentiment of the majority, which, without
taking sides, I rather incline to think is against the measure. I judge
from the vote of the New Lights two years ago--although, I confess, that
two years are a long period for a New Light to look back, and that it is
rather over the usual time in which custom requires we should change. _I
shall wait for events._"

There were other subjects embraced in this speech, upon which my
memoranda are imperfect; but there was one part of it, toward the
conclusion, which was very pathetic.

The orator turned to those strangers among us who had come over from the
Bickerbray and Meltpenny Railroad. "Gentlemen," said he, "you stand in a
peculiarly interesting relation to the New Lights. You are strangers,
and, as the poet says,

  'Stranger is a sacred name.'

Therefore, it is our wish to take you in. You have not been over sixty
days in our State: you are separated, many of you, from your
sweethearts--some of you from your wives--all of you from your
homes:--wife--sweetheart--home! Affecting words!

  'Where is the man with soul so dead
  Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land?' and so forth."

Here Theodore took up his red pocket-handkerchief, which was already
well saturated with the sweat of his brow, and feelingly wiped his eyes
for some moments, manifestly overcome by his emotions. At length he

"Do not despond, gentlemen--do not despair. The New Lights are your
friends, and not only shall you find wife, sweetheart, home--ay, and
children, in Quodlibet, but if you are here next month, we will see if
some of you are not entitled to a vote--that's all.--I have no doubt a
large portion of your respectable body are better voters than you think
you are. And at all events, if you are not, it becomes us as a Christian
people to extend to you that privilege. I go for the repeal of all laws
which tyrannically require a year's residence in the State, before a
stranger is allowed to vote."

"Hurra for Fog--hurra for Fog!" burst forth in loud chorus from the

"But," said Theodore in continuation, "as I scorn concealment, I must be
frank with you. The stranger should be grateful to his friends; and I,
therefore, for one, never can consent to extend the invaluable
privilege of suffrage to an unworthy man. He must be a New Light,
an ardent, unblenching Quodlibetarian Democrat, ready to go in
whatever way we who take the trouble to do his thinking for him,
require;--it is but reasonable. We think, study, burn the midnight
lamp, and toil, when he sleeps, and all for the good of the man who
has no time to do these things for himself--what is his duty in
return? Why, to stand by _us_ who make these sacrifices for his

"Hurra for Fog!" again rose in hoarse reduplications on the air.

"And now, fellow-countrymen, one and all--men of Quodlibet, men of
Bickerbray--and especially men of Old Tumbledown, long my home, and
never absent from my heart--I have exposed to you frankly, freely,
unhesitatingly my principles and professions.--You see me as I
am--naked, guileless, and robed in the simplicity of my nature.--Flan,
another glass of that stuff, my boy. I do not imitate my friend Andy
Grant--for he _is_ my friend--we can differ in politics and break no
scores!--I do not, like him and the Whigs, entertain you with frothy
declamation, appealing to your passions or your prejudices--I scorn such
stratagems.--No, I address myself solely and severely, sternly, without
a flower, prosaically, without a figure, soberly, without a flight, to
your cool, temperate, and unseduced capacity of logical deduction. Yes,
gentlemen, I, a poor man, do battle against the hosts of the rich. I,
the friend of honest labor, struggle against the huge monopoly of
hoarded wealth, hoarded by grinding the faces of our sterling but
destitute laboring men--alone, I strive against these banded
powers--will you desert me in the strife?"

"Never!" cried Flan Sucker, Ben Inky, and six more of Fog's principal
men--"Never, never!"

"Then I am content. Come weal, come woe, here is a heart that will
never--or rather, gentlemen, let me say in the words of the poet--(it
now became quite obvious that Theodore was beginning to be very
seriously affected by the frequent refreshment which Flan Sucker had
administered during his speech,)

  'Come one, come all, this rock shall fly
  From his firm base as soon as I.'

"In conclusion, all I have to say is this--We are about to part.--When
you go to your homes, and with hearts enraptured by all a father's and a
husband's failings--feelings--you take your seats beside the old family
firesides, and with the partners of your bosoms getting supper, and your
interesting progeny clustering on your knees,--in the midst of all these
blessings pause to ask yourselves, what are they? Your hearts will
answer, they are _our Country_! How then, you will inquire, is that
country to be preserved, as a rich inheritance to these cherubs?--who
by this time have climbed as high as your waistcoat pockets, into which
they have, with the natural instinct of young New Lights, thrust their
little fingers--the response will be ready--Go to the polls in
October--go, determined to sustain the everlasting principles of the
New-Light Quodlibetarian Democracy--go, with a firm resolve to support
no Mandarin, no Middling, but to sustain an unadulterated True
Grit:--go, to vote for Theodore Fog, and your country shall be forever
great, prosperous and happy."

A wave of the hand and a bow showed that Theodore had uttered his last
words--upon which several rounds of applause, resembling the
simultaneous clapping of wings and crowing of an acre of cocks, more
than anything else I can imagine, shook the firmament, and, as the old
song has it, "made the welkin roar." A party of Tumbledownians,
instigated by Cale Goodfellow--(a wag who follows sporting, and keeps a
bank--I mean a faro bank--at Tumbledown, a most special friend of
Theodore's)--rushed up to the platform, and, seizing the orator in their
arms, bore him off in triumph to the spring, where they fell to
celebrating their victory, in advance of the election, over a fresh
supply of spirits produced by Cale Goodfellow for the occasion. The
result was that Theodore was obliged to be taken home to Quodlibet in a
condition which Mr. Handy, who is President of the Temperance Society,
pronounced to be perfectly shocking.

Some speaking took place after this by several volunteers: but from the
agitated condition of the assemblage, and the prevalence of uproar,
nothing worthy of notice transpired, and by sundown nearly all who could
get away had retired.

Quipes had been an attentive observer of the earlier scenes of the day,
and as he had his drawing-book with him, we had reason to expect some
spirited sketches of the crowd; but the poor fellow, being fatigued and
thirsty, and of a singularly weak head, was overtaken by his drought,
and was laid away in the afternoon in Abel Brawn's wagon, in which he
was brought to Quodlibet, Neal Hopper undertaking to ride his horse back
to the Borough.

The result of this day's proceedings was unfavorable to the regular
nomination, and highly auspicious to Theodore Fog. It was very evident
that The Split was going to do us a great deal of harm, and this gave
much uneasiness to the club. The Whigs seemed to consider it a good
omen, and old Mr. Grant and his party left the field in high spirits.



The proceedings at the Sycamore Spring furnished melancholy evidence of
the serious character of the split which had taken place in our ranks.
This was a source of anxious and painful reflection to the New Lights.
But the assiduity with which we endeavored to heal this dissension only
made matters worse. The Whole Team, which, although not within the
county, claimed to take a deep interest in this election, on the score
of being within our congressional district, noticed our divisions with
much self-gratulation, and made the best of them, by attacking Agamemnon
Flag as "the creature" (to use its own unscrupulous language) of the
Hon. Middleton Flam; while, at the same time, it opened the flood-gates
of its abuse upon Theodore Fog, as a man of "bad habits, loose manners,
and objectionable morals." The Bickerbray Scrutinizer was devoted to
Flag and the regular ticket, and therefore defended Agamemnon against
The Whole Team, and let fly several arrows against Theodore Fog; thus
unhappily fomenting the differences among our friends.

The course pursued by Eliphalet Fox, at this difficult juncture, was one
calculated to raise him in the esteem of every true Quod, and to place
him on a pinnacle among editors. He took none of those middle grounds
which scarcely ever fail to bring a politician into contempt with both
parties--but, with a boldness entirely peculiar to himself, and in the
highest degree illustrative of the New-Light theory, stoutly advocated
each of our candidates, as the course of the canvass seemed to encourage
their respective chances of success. Thus, when Theodore Fog first
announced himself as the independent candidate, and when every one
appeared to regard this step as an act of presumption which could not
but result in defeat, Eliphalet put forth the following paragraph:--

     "_Mister_ Theodore Fog, of this Borough, an old practitioner at
     _more than one bar_, having waked up one morning with the idea that
     he was born to fill the measure of his country's glory, as well as
     he fills that of his own every night, has conceived the sublime
     project of running on an independent ticket, in the approaching
     election. We would whisper in our friend The.'s ear, that he has
     barked up the wrong tree. Independence is not a word to be found in
     the New-Light dictionary. The voters of this county can never be
     seduced from the support of the regular nomination; especially when
     it is headed by such a man as Agamemnon Flag, whose eloquence,
     accomplishments, and remarkable Democratic simplicity of manners,
     as well as his perfect surrender of himself to the cause of his
     Party, give him the highest claim to the consideration of every
     right-minded and unadulterated Quod. Verb. sap. sat."

Now, after the meeting of the Sycamore Spring, a new view of matters
broke upon Eliphalet's vision. He was certainly taken by surprise at the
demonstration which that meeting afforded of Theodore's strength with
the voters; and in the account of that event, which appeared in The
Whole Hog on the succeeding Saturday, one scarcely knows whether most to
commend the sincerity of the writer, or the justness of the tribute paid
to the masterly effort of Mr. Fog. Speaking of that effort, the editor
employs this language:--

     "In regard to our esteemed fellow-townsman, Theodore Fog,
     the public expectation was more than realized. This unstudied
     orator, with all the freshness impressed upon his mind by
     the mint of nature herself, contemning the aid of tinsel
     show, and presenting himself in the homely habiliments of
     an unvarnished, and, as our adversaries scoffingly add,
     of an unwashed New Light, poured forth a resistless flood
     of native oratory, remarkable for that massive vigor of
     thought, and that felicity of expression, which are the
     rare endowments only of genius, trained _among_ the people,
     and whose soul is _with_ the people. He descanted upon the
     brilliant career of our never-sufficiently-to-be-flattered
     administration, with an effect that thrilled in the pulse,
     glowed in the countenance, and broke forth in the
     reiterated shouts of every warm-hearted, straight-out,
     lead-following, unagainst-the-wishes-or-commands-of-the
     luminaries-of-the-party-rebelling New-Light Democrat on the
     ground. We are happy to add our decided conviction that the
     election of this staunch champion of the _real_ New Lights is
     placed beyond a doubt."

The intrepidity of this paragraph will strike every one who reflects
that the canvass, at the time this appeared, was far from being brought
to a close; and that the result, whatever Eliphalet might have thought
of it, was deemed exceedingly doubtful. Indeed, we had subsequently a
proof given to us, in The Whole Hog itself, that very serious opinions
began to prevail against the possibility of Mr. Fog's carrying the day,
in opposition to Flag.

The New-Light Club, with some few and unimportant exceptions, had
determined, as they thought themselves in duty bound, to sustain the
regular ticket, and for this purpose, when matters were running
very strong for Fog, and when, indeed, they began to entertain a
well-grounded fear that Andy Grant might slip in by the aid of these
divisions, resolved upon having a night procession in the Borough. This
expedient we have always resorted to with the happiest effects whenever
we have found the hopes of the New Lights beginning to ebb; it serves to
animate our friends, by throwing, as it were, a glare over their minds,
and to render them more docile to the word of command from those who
take upon themselves the labor of judging for the multitude. We now had
recourse to this device with a very flattering, though as it turned out
in the end, a deceptive manifestation of its influence upon the
election. The procession was made; paper lanterns in abundance, bearing
a variety of inscriptions of the most encouraging exhortation to the
friends of Flag and the Ticket, were procured for the occasion. Every
lantern and every banner had written upon it FLAM, in the hope thus to
identify the ticket with our distinguished representative in Congress,
and bring in the aid of his great name to our cause. Mottoes, having
reference to "the Old Hero of the Hermitage," were also profusely used,
and even the Hickory Tree was reared aloft in the procession, covered
with small cup lamps in imitation of its fruit. Every one in Quodlibet
supposed that this stroke of the procession settled the matter. It
undoubtedly converted the Borough and brought it into the utmost harmony
on our side. But the Tumbledownians, among whom Fog's great strength was
found, were not there; and from Bickerbray the delegation was not as
large as it ought to have been. Still, the evidence of popular support
to the ticket was deemed conclusive; so much so, that Eliphalet Fox's
next editorial referred to it as "indicative of the stern resolve of the
New Lights, once and forever, to crush the insubordinate and rebellious
temper with which certain factious and discontented pretenders to the
name of Democrats had endeavored to sow discord in the ranks of the
faithful, by setting up the absurd doctrine of independent opinion--a
doctrine so fatal to the New-Light Democracy wherever it has been
allowed. Agamemnon Flag," the editor proceeded to remark, "was not a man
to be put down by the frothy, ginger-pop eloquence engendered in the hot
atmosphere of cock-tail and julep manufactories. Mr. Fog may now
perceive that his secret perambulations to spread dissension in the
New-Light ranks, and his hypocritical boast of Independence will be
scowled upon by every honest eye and spurned by every honest tongue
which are to be found among the high-minded New-Light yeomanry of
Quodlibet, Bickerbray, Tumbledown, and the adjacent parts."

The election soon after this took place, when, greatly to the
astonishment of our club, and in fact of the whole party, the result was
announced to be as set forth in this table:--

    _Quods._                        _Whig._
  Theodore Fog,      1191.      Andrew Grant, 1039.
  Abram Schoolcraft, 1084.
  Curtius Short,     1063.
  Agamemnon Flag,     758.

Thus it appeared that Theodore Fog far outran the rest of the ticket,
and that Agamemnon Flag fell considerably below the Whig vote.

Eliphalet Fox, greatly delighted at the triumph of this election, lost
no time in publishing a handbill announcing the issue. It was headed


and proceeded to descant on the event in this wise:--

     "We have never for a moment permitted ourselves to doubt that our
     estimable fellow-townsman Theodore Fog, one of the purest, most
     disinterested and ablest Democrats of the glorious New-Light
     Quodlibetarian School, would lead the polls; and, indeed, we took
     occasion to insinuate as much after his celebrated speech at the
     Sycamore Spring, which it was our good fortune to hear, and which,
     as an exposition of sound New-Light principles, gave us such
     unmixed delight. We cannot but feel regret that Mr. Flag's friends
     should have so inconsiderately consented to place his name on the
     ticket, before they had ascertained Mr. Fog's views in regard to
     the election. An understanding upon this subject would have saved
     them the mortification of presenting a name which, from the first,
     we felt a presentiment was destined to incur defeat; and it would
     have spared Mr. Flag the pain he must suffer in the present event.
     The youth of this gentleman, his want of acquaintance with the
     people, arising, doubtless, from the imperfection of his vision,
     and his unfortunate espousal of the Iron Railing Compromise, very
     obviously stood in the way of his success. A day will, however,
     come around when, in our judgment, the people will do justice to
     his pretension, which we undertake to say is considerable."

From these extracts, the reader is already prepared to exclaim with me,
Oh, excellent Eliphalet Fox--mirror of editors--pillar of the New-Light
faith! What exquisite address, what consummate skill hast thou not
evinced in these editorial effusions! Methinks I see Eliphalet, a
tide-waiter on events, watching the ebb and flow of popular opinion;
ever ready, at a moment's warning, to launch his little boat of
editorship on the biggest wave, and upon that wave to ride secure beyond
the breakers, out upon the glassy ocean of politics and then, after
taking an observation of the wind, to trim his sail with such nautical
forecast as shall make him sure to be borne along with the breeze toward
whatever haven it shall please the higher powers to direct him;
sagaciously counting in such haven to find the richest return on his
little stock of ventures. I see his meager, attenuated, diminutive
person, elevated on a footstool six inches above the floor, behind a
high but somewhat rickety desk, in the northwest corner of his
lumber-filled office, where scissor-clipped gazettes are strewed, elbow
deep, over an old walnut table, and where three dingy caricatures of
Harry Clay, Nic Biddle, and John C. Calhoun, are tacked against his
smoky walls; there I see him quiet, but at work, with pen in hand, ever
and anon darting his cat-like eye at the door, upon each new-comer who
comes to tell the news of the canvass. I hear his husky, dry, and
querulous voice, tisicky and quick, asking, how goes it in Bickerbray?
What from Tumbledown? and as he receives his answer _pro_ or _con._, Fog
or Flag, he turns to his half-scribbled sheet to remould his paragraph,
with the dexterity of an old and practiced Quod, in such phrase as shall
assuredly earn him the good-will of the winner. Rare Eliphalet!
Admirable Fox! Incomparable servant of an incomparable master!

It is with a sad and melancholy sincerity I record the fact, that this
election left behind it much heart-burning in Quodlibet. The New-Light
Democracy were now broken into three parts, the Mandarins, the
Middlings, and the True Grits; and Theodore Fog, in command of the True
Grits, had evidently got the upper hand. The defeat of Agamemnon Flag
was a severe blow to our distinguished representative, the Hon.
Middleton Flam, and no less galling to Nicodemus Handy; for these three
worthy gentlemen were undoubtedly at the head of the Mandarins, and
their overthrow on the present occasion led to unpleasant consequences
which I shall be called upon to notice hereafter.

The first unhappy fruit of this election was of a domestic nature, and
wrought very seriously against the peace of our friend Jesse Ferret.

For three days and nights after the publication of the polls, all
Quodlibet was alive with the rejoicings of the True Grits at the success
of Theodore Fog. The bar-room of The Hero was full all day with these
energetic friends of the prosperous candidate; and it is worthy of
remark that their number was vastly greater than was shown by the ballot
box, many more individuals claiming the honor of having voted for him
than the return of the polls would authorize us to believe; all night
long bonfires blazed, drums and fifes disturbed the repose of the
Borough, and processions, not remarkable for their decorum, marched from
house to house with Theodore mounted in a chair, borne on the shoulders
of sturdy True Grits. A hundred torches in the hands of thirty men and
seventy boys, flared on the signs and flickered on the walls of
Quodlibet, and fifty negroes, great and small, ragged and patched,
hatless and hatted, slip-shod and barefoot, leaped, danced, limped, and
hobbled in wide-spread concourse around black Isaac the Kent bugle
player, and yellow Josh the clarionet man, who struck in with the drum
and fife to the tune of Jim Crow, about the center of the column. Flan
Sucker was installed grand marshal of this procession, and was called
KING OF THE TRUE GRITS; while Ben Inky, Sim Travers, Jeff Drinker, and
More M'Nulty, served along the flanks as his lieutenants; the whole
array huzzaing at every corner, and stopping to refresh every time they
came into the neighborhood of Peter Ounce's, Jesse Ferret's, or the
smaller ordinaries which the rapid growth of Quodlibet had supplied in
various quarters to relieve the drought of its inhabitants.

This state of things, as I have said, continued for three days after
the election. At the end of that period, Jesse Ferret, somewhere about
noon, was in his bar casting up his accounts. He wore a serious,
disturbed countenance--not because his accounts showed a bad face; for
so far from that, the late jubilee had very considerably increased his
capital in trade, but because his rest had been broken--and Jesse never
could bear to lose his sleep. While he was engaged in summing up these
recent gains, his worthy spouse entered the bar and quietly seated
herself in a chair behind him. The expression of her face showed that
her thoughts were occupied with matter of interesting import: a slight
frown sat upon her brow, her lips were partially compressed, and her fat
arms made an attempt to cross each other on her bosom. The chair was too
small for her; and, from her peculiar configuration, one looking at her
in a full front view would not be likely to conjecture she was seated,
but rather that she was a short and dumpy woman, and leaned against some
prop for rest--the line from her chin to her toe being that of the face
of a pyramid. Her posture denoted an assumed patience. So quietly had
she entered the inclosure of the bar, that Jesse was altogether ignorant
of her presence, and therefore continued at his occupation. It was not
long, however, before his attention was awakened to the interesting fact
that his wife was behind him, by the salutation, conveyed in a rather
deep-toned voice, "Jesse Ferret, how long are you agoing to be poking
over them accounts?"

Jesse turned short round, in some surprise at the sound of these
well-known accents so near him, and, surveying the dame for an instant,

"Bless me, Polly! how came you here? You go about like one of them
church-yard vaporations that melts in thin air and frightens children in
the dead of night. What did you want with me, my love?"

"I want to know," said Mrs. Ferret, "who's master of this house--you or
me? Ef I'm the master, say so--but ef you're the master, then act as
sich. It ain't no longer to be endured, this shilly-shally, visy-versy
politicks of yourn. Here you are casting up of the accounts this blessed
day, and please Heaven, if there's one cent got into the till in the
three days that have gone by, the last person in the world to thank for
it is yourself, Jesse Ferret. Theodore Fog's _in_--got in by a vote that
one might say's almost magnanimous, and he's got all the thirstiest men
in this Borough under his thumb--and he's been pouring 'em in here in
shoals, which he wouldn't have done, one man of 'em, ef it hadn't a been
for my principles, which goes the whole hog--and you so contrairy,
constantly a giving out your no sides--it's raly abominable! and time
you should change, Jesse Ferret, it is."

"Why, my dear, don't you see the good of it?" said Mr. Ferret, in a
mild, good-natured tone of expostulation. "The very best thing we can do
is for you to go on as you are doing, and me to go on as I am. Here's
come up a great split in the party; and presently, as sure as you are
born, they'll be having their separate houses and making party questions
out of it: then, my dear, you know Theodore Fog and his people counts
you as a sort of sun-dial to their side, and goes almost by your
pinting. And then the others, you know, can't have nothing to find fault
against me upon account of my sentiments: so, in this way we shall get
the custom of the thorough-stitchers, the half-and-halfs, the
promiscuous, and of every kind of stripe that's going. Can't you see
into it, Mrs. Ferret?"

"No, I cannot see into it," replied the landlady. "In the first place,
them Mandarins, as The. Fog says, is not worth the looking after in our
line--they drink nothing but Champagne and Madeery, and ef they do
sometimes send down to our bar for ourn, they are sure to turn up their
noses at it, and say it's sour. Didn't Nicodemus Handy tell me to my
face that my Anchor Brand, which you've got on the top shelf, and
which cost you six dollars a basket at auction, was nothing but
turnip-juice?--and did you ever know Middleton Flam to call for as much
as a thimbleful of your liquors, with all his preachings and parleyings
in this house? No, you did not: and it's your duty to cast off your
bucket o' both sides, and go in for The. with the True Grits, as he
calls them; and true enough they are in the drinking line!--that, nobody
who knows them, will deny. I'm tired, Jesse Ferret, and fretted down to
the very bone, at being put upon in this here way, having to keep up the
politicks of this house, which I don't think you haint no right to do, I
don't. I'm been a talking to you about this tell I'm tired, and I wonder
you can be so obstinate, considering I take it so much to heart."

"Now, Polly," interposed our landlord with an affectionate
remonstrance, intended to soothe Mrs. Ferret's feelings, "many's the
struggle I've had on this here very topic with my own conscience; I may
say I have wrestled for it at the very bottom of my nature. But the case
is this, and I'll explain it to you once for all. I've got a sentiment
at the core of my heart, which is a secret in regard of these here
politicks. I wish to go right--you know I do--but if I only knowed what
sentiments _to_ take up:--there's the mystery. If I knowed _that_, I
should feel easy; but I never could keep any principles, upon account of
the changes. Before a plain, simple man can cleverly tell where he is,
everything has whisked away in the contrairy direction. One year we are
'all tariff,' and the next, 'down with it as an abomination.' Here we go
'for canals and railroads!'--a crack of the whip, and there we are all
t'other side. 'No electioneering of officers!' cries out the captain of
the squad. 'Turn that fellow out, he don't work for the party!' cries
the very same captain in the very next breath. 'Retrenchment and
reform!' says every big fellow there at Washington; and the same words
are bawled all the way down among us, even to Theodore Fog;--'Damn the
expense!' (the Lord forgive me for using such words,) says the very same
fellows in the same breath, 'stick on a million here and a million
there--the more the merrier!' And so we go. Here, t'other day, this here
Sub-Treasury was monarchy and revolution to boot, and treason outright;
and now, what it _is_, every man's afeard to say--some's for, some's
against--some's both, and all's in a state of amalgamation, perplexity,
and caterwauling unaccountable. What between specy circlars,
anti-masons, pocketing of bills, (Lord knows what that means!) vetoes,
distribution, fortifications, abolition, running down Indians, and
running up accounts, politics has got into a jumble that a Philadelphy
lawyer couldn't steer through them. A poor publican has a straining time
of it, Polly. He can't get right if he tries--and if he does blunder
upon it, he can't _stay_ right six months, let him do his best--morally
impossible! That's where it's a matter o' conscience with me; and my
conclusion is, in such a mucilaginous state of affairs, a man who wants
to accommodate the public must be either all sides or no sides; and,
therefore I say, my motto is, a publican should--leastways I speak in
regard to these times--have no sides. And there's the whole matter laid
out to you, Polly, my wife."

"All sides, any day, before No sides!" replied Mrs. Ferret. "As Susan
Barndollar says, stick to your colors and they'll carry you to sides a
plenty, I'll warrant you. Don't Theodore Fog tell us the Democracy's a
trying of experiments--and, Lord bless us! ef they haint carried you on
sides enough, then you _are_ an unreasonable man. Principle isn't
principle--it's following of your party:--you change when _it_ changes,
whereby you are always right. Now, these here True Grits is two to one
to the Mandarins and Middlings both, and they devour, yes, ten times as
much liquor. Ef you had an eye in your head, you'd come out a True
Grit--it's a naiteral tavern-keeper's politics."

"'Spose, my dear," said Jesse, waxing warm, "things takes a turn off
hand. 'Spose these True Grits are upset--as I shouldn't wonder they
would be, as soon as Middleton Flam comes home from Congress, and winds
up the people right again--as he has often done before--am I going to
run my head against a post by offending the whole New-Light Club, which
meets at our house, and make enemies by having sentiments of my own? You
don't know me, Polly Ferret."

"Well, and ef things does take a turn?" replied the wife, "is there
anythink new in that, in this Borough? Haint we had turns before?
Theodore Fog will turn with 'em--that's his principle--that's my
principle, and it ought, by rights, to be yourn. Doesn't the
schoolmaster tell you to stick to the upper side? Doesn't our member,
Middleton Flam, tell you the same thing, and Nicodemus Handy, and
Liphlet Fox? There's your own barkeeper, Nim Porter, that's asleep in
yander winder, who's got more sense than you have; he knows what side
his bread's buttered--and even your own child, Susan Barndollar, though
she stuck out for the nomination, isn't such a ninny as to have no
principles. We're Dimmycrats, and always counts with the majority; and
that's safe whichever way it goes; and, as I said before, no mortal man
can find out a better side than that for a tavern-keeper. But it's the
Whigs your're a courting, Jesse Ferret--the Whigs, neither more nor
less--and it's pitiful in you to be so sneaking."

"Polly, if you aint got no better language than that to use to me,"
exclaimed Ferret, under considerable excitement, "I'd advise you to hold
your tongue."

"My tongue's my own, Mr. Ferret," replied the landlady, "and I don't
want none of your advice what I'm to do with it. I have used it long
enough to know how to keep it a running, and how to stop it, without
being taught by you."

"I've got no right to listen to you, if I don't choose," retorted the
landlord. "Women has their milking and churning to look after, and, to
my thinking, they'd best attend to that, instead of skreiking out
politics in public bar-rooms--that's my opinion, Mrs. Ferret."

"Women, indeed!--for _you_ to talk about women!--You're the
laughing-stock of all the petticoats of our Borough," said the wife, in
a high key of exacerbation. "Mrs. Younghusband, and Mrs. Snuffers, and
Mrs. Doubleday makes you a continual banter, and it hurts my feelings as
the mother of your children, it does."

"Seize Mrs. Younghusband, and Mrs. Snuffers, and Mrs. Doubleday, all
three!" exclaimed Ferret in a sort of demi-oath.

"What's that you said, Mr. Ferret?"

"I said seize 'em! and I don't care the rinsings of that glass if you
tell 'em so,--a set of mandrakes."

"Oh, Jesse Ferret, Jesse Ferret,--as a man who sets up to be an
example, what are you coming to!" exclaimed the landlady, with uplifted
hands. "Ef your children could hear such profanity. I declare to
patience, you'd try the quarters of the meekest mother in the universe."

How far this conjugal outflash might have gone in its natural course, it
is impossible for me to say; although Nim Porter, who pretended to be
asleep all the time, and who heard every word of it, and related it with
much pleasantry to me, says he has often witnessed these breezes between
this worthy couple, and always found that they made up as soon as Mrs.
Ferret got out of breath--which, by-the-by, she being short-winded,
generally occurred in about half an hour from the first rising of her
anger; but, on the present occasion, it was happily interrupted by the
entrance of Theodore Fog, Dabbs, the foreman in Eliphalet Fox's
printing-office, Flan Sucker, More M'Nulty, and Sim Travers, who all
marched directly up to the bar. I had entered upon the heels of this
party, and having taken up "The Whole Hog" for my perusal, in one corner
of the room, was myself a witness to the scene that followed.

Nim Porter, who was seated in an elbow-chair, resting the back of his
head against a window-sill at the opposite end of the bar-room and
counterfeiting sleep, was now roused up to attend to the customers.

"My dear Mrs. Ferret--paragon of landladies," said Fog, "Pillar--yes,
bolster of our cause--some drink! Dabbs owes a treat, and we have
resolved that the libation shall be made under the eye of our own queen.
Dabbs, say what the mixture shall be; I'm not particular--my throat is a
turnpike traveled by all imaginable potations. A mint julep, Dabbs?
gentlemen! Flan, a julep? Yes? A julep, a julep all round. Agreed to,
nem. con. Mrs. Ferret, five juleps; charge Dabbs--Dabbs's treat."

Mrs. Ferret's anger against her spouse gradually faded under this
accost; a slight glimpse of sunshine began to break over her visage as
she addressed herself to the task of preparing the required compounds,
and Nim Porter busied himself in picking sprigs of mint from a large
bouquet of that invaluable plant, which flourished in native verdure
over the rim of a two quart tumbler, in which it seemed to grow as in a

Ferret had retreated from the bar toward the door which looked upon the
street; and Theodore Fog, who, as the truth must be spoken, was at this
hour very considerably advanced toward his customary zenith of
excitement, thrust his hands under the skirts of his striped gingham
coatee, and strutted with the air of a prime minister in a farce, around
the room.

"Nim," said he,

  "'Bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready,
  She strike upon the bell.'

Ferret--glorious turn out, Ferret. True Grits all alive. Pound that ice
fine, Nim--no water, recollect. First-rate fellows, Ferret--go the
whole--real Quods--diamonds."

"Hope you'll mend matters now, Mr. Fog, since you've got in," said
Ferret. "I'm for giving every one a chance; wish you success."

"Of course you do, Ferret," replied Fog; "and so you would have wished
Ag Flag success if he'd got in."

"Or Andy Grant, either," said Mrs. Ferret; "my husband's not partikler."

"You're right, Ferret--you're right!" interrupted Fog, "always go with
the current--that's sound philosophy--that's my rule. Dabbs, isn't that
metaphysics? Flan, don't you call that the true theory of the balance of
power? Gentlemen, I submit it to you all."

"Real True-Grit doctrine," said Flan; "find out how the cat jumps--then
go ahead."

"Fundamental, that," said Dabbs; "principles change, measures vary,
names rise and fall, but majority is always majority."

"Bravo, Dabbs!" ejaculated Theodore Fog; "_Tempora mutantur et nos
mutamur cum illis_--that's our True-Grit motto. The nominative case
always agrees with the verb; the people are the verb, we're the
nominative case. That's logic, Mrs. Ferret. Nim, how have you made out
in these illustrious 'three days?'"

"Cursed sleepy," answered Nim Porter, who was now brewing the drink by
pouring it from one tumbler to another; "haven't had three hours rest in
the whole three nights. No right to complain though--won four bets--had
two to one against Andy Grant with Tompkinson--and even against Ag with
three of the New-Light Club. I knew d--d well how it was going, ever
since the meeting at the Sycamore Spring. Fog, you touched them fellows
that work on the Bickerbray and Meltpenny Road 'twixt wind and water."

"Didn't I?" exclaimed Fog; "I opine I did; unequivocally, I fancy I did.
I venture to add, with all possible energy of asseveration, that I did
that thing, Nim. That's what I call walking into the understanding of
the independent, electoral constituent body; and the best of it is, we
got them their votes, you dog!"

"You didn't lose no votes that I could bring you," said Mrs. Ferret,
"although you didn't get Jesse's. But that wa'n't much loss--for Jesse's
of little account anyhow, and hasn't the influence of a chicken in this
Borough--as no man hasn't, whose afeard of his shadow."

"Well, we don't want to hear no more about that," interrupted the
landlord. "Mr. Fog knows it wasn't ill will to him--but only my
principle, that publicans had best not take sides."

"And who has a right to object to that?" exclaimed Fog. "Give us your
hand, Jesse--I'd do the same thing myself, if I were in your place."

"Well, ef you aint the forgivingest creature, Mr. Fog!" said the

"Mrs. Ferret, your health!--gentlemen, take your respective
glasses--Dabbs, your health--Jesse--Flan--all of you--Success to the
True Grits! Top off, boys."

They all drank.

Fog applied the tumbler to his lips; looked straight forward, with what
might be called a fixed stare upon vacancy, his eyes expressing the deep
emotion of sensual pleasure which the icy compound inspired as it slowly
flowed over his palate, and for a full minute employed himself without
pause in draining the contents of his glass--gradually and slowly
arching back his head until the last drop trickled from the bottom.

"Amazing seductive beverage, Mrs. Ferret!" he said as he smacked his
lips, and set the tumbler down upon the board. "Fascinating potation! If
I were not an example of consummate prudence, and the most circumspect
being not yet gathered within the pale of the Temperance Society, my
virtue would have fallen a victim before this to that enticing cordial,
Mrs. Ferret. But I'm proof--I have been sorely tried, and have come out
of the furnace, as you see me, superior to the temptations of this
wicked world. Dabbs, poney up--we must go to the raffle, which begins in
five minutes at Rhody M'Caw's stable--that pacing roan, Nim--you'll be
there, of course:--in your line. Come, gentlemen--don't wipe your mouths
with your sleeves--let the odor exhale. As some poet somewhere says,
speaking of a mint julep,

  'Sweet vale of Ovoca, how calm could I rest,--
    If there's a drink upon earth
      It is this--it is this.'

Not the words exactly--but something in that run. Jesse, the Flower of
Quodlibet--Mrs. Ferret, Queen of the Spear Mint--good-by. Nim, you
rascal--after the raffle is over, expect to see me as dry as an oven."

When Fog had delivered himself of this rhapsody--which, no doubt, has
impressed the reader with the conviction that this noontide glass had
done its work upon the brain of our new representative in the
Legislature--the whole party made their exit; and Jesse Ferret, anxious
to avoid another conference with his dame, professing a wish to witness
the raffle, followed in their footsteps.



The design of this little book forbids that I should do more than
cursorily touch upon many incidents in the history of Quodlibet, which,
although abundant of interest to the curious reader, are not so
immediately connected with the main purpose of this work--that purpose
being to unfold the operation of the great principle of the New-Light
Quodlibetarian theory.

Whenever the time shall arrive, as I would fain persuade myself it
must, in which the public shall feel such concern in the affairs of
Quodlibet as to demand of me a full disclosure of the treasures of my
MSS., I shall greatly delight in spreading before it many particulars
which I have collected, having reference to the private concernments and
domestic transactions of our people and their sundry ways in regard to
many matters which do not fall within the scope of my present
undertaking. For, truly, the history of Quodlibet will be found, when
impartially narrated, to yield a plentiful fruitage of ethical, moral
and social instruction, as well as political--to which latter aspect are
my labors at this time confined.

In conformity with my plan, and being desirous to hasten forward to a
more modern epoch in these annals, I pass over the intervening space,
and bring my reader almost a year in advance of the events narrated in
the last chapter.

It was now approaching the fifth year of the Removal:--the long session
of Congress had closed in July, 1838. The Hon. Middleton Flam had once
more returned to his constituents, and temporarily mingled in the walks
of private life. Greatly was his return desiderated at this epoch. We
had got all wrong--we lacked information--we wanted this great man's

The split at this time--if I may use a metaphor--was green and wide;
or, in plainer language, our dissensions ran high. If the men might be
said to be at sixes and sevens, the women were twice as bad--they were
at twelves and fourteens. Mrs. Ferret had become inveterate, and headed
a party of Feminine True Grits; Susan Barndollar, who had a temper of
her own, of course became inveterate too, and, as Barndollar &
Hardbottle were accounted a rich firm, she headed, or strove to do so, a
party of Feminine Mandarins. Hester Hardbottle, under a similar impulse,
took command of the Female Middlings. Thus marshaled, the New-Light
women manifested a very high degree of political corruscation, and kept
the Borough in perpetual hot water. Every tea-party was a scalding
concern, and it was lamentable to see what a foothold the serpent of
discord had gained in our little Eden of Quodlibet.

The men were not so ferocious; in part because they had their business
to look after; but chiefly, because the stronger, when they failed in
argument, could drub the weaker--and that drubbing system is a great
moderator of political opinions. The women, having neither of these
motives to keep quiet, took the bits in their mouths and ran off as fast
as, and whenever, they chose.

Theodore Fog's conduct in the Legislature, during the past winter, had
in some degree rather weakened the cause of his friends. He had
disappointed them--although they were unwilling publicly to allow as
much--on two points: First, because he had not got them all provided
with offices, as he had, it appeared, secretly promised; but, on the
contrary, came home without having accomplished that desirable object
for a single individual of the party; and, secondly, because he had been
exceedingly irregular in his habits during the whole session, and had
consequently made but four speeches, of three hours each, during the
winter, when it was confidently expected that he would have made at
least thirty-four, and have completely silenced the opposition. The
irregularity of his habits they could forgive; but the matter of the
offices sunk deep in their hearts--they began to suspect his Democracy.

A change had also taken place in the business affairs of Quodlibet. All
improvements had ceased:--many persons were out of employment; industry
was declining; trade was at a low ebb; the mechanics were grumbling, and
four mercantile houses had failed. Immediately after the suspension
Nicodemus Handy had issued a great amount of small notes. Dr. Thomas G.
Winkelman, actuated by patriotic emotions, also issued a batch
payable in soda-water, soap, or physic. Zachary Younghusband, the
tinplate-worker and postmaster, reflecting on the crisis, and being
determined to contribute his mite toward the regulation of the currency,
followed the example of Dr. Winkelman, and put out a ream, redeemable in
Copperplate Bank notes when presented to the amount of five dollars at
his tinplate shop. Sim Travers, who had a drinking shed at the lower end
of the canal basin, with equal public spirit, uttered his paper in fips,
"Good for a Drink." Many others imitated these precedents, whereby it
fell out that no part of the Union was better supplied with a currency
than Quodlibet.

Still the Borough languished and pined under a gradual decay of its
prosperity; and it was long before our wise men could ascertain the real
source of this decline. The cause was at last discovered. We are
indebted for its development to the astuteness of our distinguished
representative. There were eight of the principal mercantile houses of
the Borough which had been established by Whigs: in fact, throwing out
Barndollar & Hardbottle, all the merchants of Quodlibet might be said to
be opposed to the administration. It was very apparent, after the Hon.
Middleton Flam drew the attention of the club to this fact, that these
houses had combined to produce an utter prostration of business, solely
for political effect, and that the malevolence of four of the most
thriving among them had gone so far as even to render themselves
bankrupt, and to break up, for no earthly purpose but that of making the
administration unpopular. "This is a specimen of the gratitude," said
Mr. Flam, speaking with great emotion upon the subject, "this is the
gratitude of these commercial vultures--(he always called them
commercial vultures after the Suspension, and when speaking to the
people)--for all the manifold favors and bounties which, for five years
past, the government has been so assiduously heaping upon their heads.
This is their acknowledgment of the extraordinary kindness shown them by
the Secretary of the Treasury when he directed our bank to lend these
vipers the public money! Biddle and the Barings are at the bottom of
this conspiracy; and the merchants of the United States, yes, and the
manufacturers and all the moneyed men, would gladly beggar themselves
and their families rather than allow us to regulate their currency and
make them the happiest people on earth. What unparalleled perfidy!"

After this, the New Lights of course became indignant against the
merchants, and held them up, as they deserved, to public execration, as
the authors of all our misfortunes. From Quodlibet, this sentiment
became general among the New-Light Democrats everywhere. Mr. Van Buren
caught the idea; the Globe expatiated upon it; the Stump rang with it;
and it soon took its place as one of the cardinal maxims in the
New-Light creed. Such is the supremacy of one commanding intellect!

Never was there a topic equal to this in the elections. "The
merchants," Theodore Fog very pertinently remarked, "are a first-rate
subject for a stump speech: they are a monstrous _little_ knot of
fellows, anyhow--and, comparatively speaking, of no sort of account, in
the way of voting. Having the handling of a good deal of cash, and
plenty to do in the way of giving and taking of promissory notes, you
can slap upon them the argument of The Money Power with tremendous
effect: you can tickle them with the whip of Aristocracy in perfection;
and you can run 'em down with the text of the money-changers in the
Temple, and all that sort of thing, to a nicety. Besides, there are so
few of them that either _can_ make a speech before the people, or, if
they can, will take the trouble to follow a man about for that purpose,
that you are not likely to be pestered with their replies. Capital
animals for _an opposition_, they take a lathering so quiet! Then, sir,
for every _one_ merchant you lay upon his back, you gain _five_ True
Grits to your side. I've studied that out. Our people, I mean the New
Lights, can be made to hate a merchant like snakes--because if he does
get on well with his business, and makes a little fortune, we can call
him a Rag Baron, a Ruffle Shirt, a Scrub Aristocrat,--and that's equal
to sending him to the deserts of Arabia: and if he fails, as the greater
part of the poor devils do, we can get up a still worse cry against him
for turning the humble and honest laborer out of employment, grinding
the faces of the poor, depriving the widow and the orphan of their
bread, and coining the sweat of the Bone and Sinew's brow to feed
Usurers, Brokers, and Shavers. And, by-the-by, these arguments are quite
good against manufacturers and Whig master-mechanics. But a merchant,
sir, can't hold up his head one moment before them. Every which way,
sir, he's a prime scape-goat. Then, sir, when we want to make an
EXPERIMENT,--why, of course, we go to the merchants. Here's all this
_currency_ business, especially the tail of it, the Sub-Treasury--fine
thing to stir up the people with--sounds well in theory, though a little
mischievous in practice. Well, sir, we test it on the merchants: _we_
get the popularity, _they_ get the damage. The approved philosophical
mode to try a dangerous experiment, is to attempt it on a cat:--sir,
_The Merchants are our cats_."

Mr. Flam, seeing the state of our divisions, took a great deal of
trouble to restore harmony into our ranks, and certainly did much to
overawe the True Grits, who, now fancying themselves in the ascendent,
became very dictatorial. Eliphalet Fox, although he took every occasion
to speak in his paper greatly in commendation of Mr. Flam, was,
nevertheless, an active upholder of the True-Grit division. "Our worthy
representative," he said, "was happily stationed above the influence of
these little _family quarrels_; and it was undoubtedly a subject of
congratulation with that distinguished gentleman, that every section of
the great Democratic household of Quodlibet could cordially unite the
testimonials of their confidence in his talents, his patriotism, and his
fidelity to the interests of his constituents."

This paragraph was considered a master-stroke of New-Light Democracy in
Eliphalet, because its tendency was to keep him and his paper on good
terms with all parties supporting the administration, while it left him
free to pursue the paramount objects which the True Grits steadily kept
in view.

These objects were the attainment of all the lucrative offices in our
district,--a striking exemplification of which now occurred in the
celebrated Tigertail affair. That affair my duty as a chronicler
requires me to notice.

A secret meeting of the True Grits had been lately held in the Borough.
The subject in discussion was a weighty one. It was reported to this
conclave that Ferox Tigertail, the marshal of this district, who resided
and kept his office in Bickerbray, had in his employment two individuals
of suspicious principles. The first was Washington Cutbush, a clerk, who
had been overheard to say, at the Sycamore Spring, in a confidential
conversation with his brother-in-law, Lemuel Garret, that he began to
think Tom Benton's gold currency a HUMBUG! The second was Corney Dust,
the porter and firemaker of the office, who, there was reason to
believe, had voted at the last election for Agamemnon Flag. Upon these
facts being vouched to the meeting by Magnus Morehead, the True Grit
shoemaker in the Borough, and Sandy Buttercrop, the express-rider,
message-carrier, baggage-porter, and follower of sundry other visible
means of livelihood, it was resolved that a committee of three, to
consist of Eliphalet Fox, Dr. Winkelman, and Nim Porter, should wait
upon Mr. Tigertail, communicate to him the full extent of the charge,
and require him, in the name of The Exclusive, New-Light, True-Grit
Democrats of Quodlibet, forthwith to dismiss Washington Cutbush from his
office, and substitute Magnus Morehead in his place; and also to
supersede Corney Dust by the appointment of Sandy Buttercrop.

The committee, in pursuance of these instructions, visited the marshal,
and explained the object of their mission in respectful but firm
language. Tigertail, being a choleric man, and an old Federalist to
boot,--who had been converted to the New-Light faith about eight years
ago, at the date of the renewal of his commission,--heard the committee
with exemplary composure; and then setting his eyes, with a fixed glare,
upon Eliphalet Fox, he waited about ten seconds--at the end of which
brief period of deliberation, he kicked the said Eliphalet clean out of
his office:--and this being done to his entire satisfaction, he rather
testily invited Dr. Winkelman and Nim Porter to follow their chairman.
It is due to these two gentlemen to say, that like good committee men,
they did so,--even anticipating the marshal's invitation to the adoption
of that course of conduct.

This incident being faithfully reported by the committee to the meeting
of True Grits, convened for the express purpose of learning the result,
it was unanimously resolved,--First, that Tigertail's demeanor was
mysterious, equivocal, and unexpected; secondly, that it was unpolite to
Eliphalet Fox; and, thirdly, that it was against the principles and
usages known to the New-Light Democracy. Another resolution was adopted
to lay the whole matter before the President of the United States, and
to instruct him, as the Representative of the People, to dismiss Marshal
Tigertail, without delay, from his post; and confer it upon the injured
Eliphalet Fox, whose kicking entitled him to the deepest sympathy of the
party, and gave him, according to a well-established maxim of the New
Lights, a right to immediate preferment.

These resolutions imparted great satisfaction to the meeting, and no
doubt was entertained that the President would act upon the subject with
that promptitude which distinguishes his character. Marshal Tigertail
was looked upon as a doomed man, and no better than a Whig; and indeed
he was already considered as having joined that party. Dr. Thomas G.
Winkelman, Nim Porter, and Dabbs, the compositor, were intrusted with
this embassy of instruction to the President;--Eliphalet Fox being left
out of the deputation from obvious considerations of delicacy--a
sentiment which it must be allowed has ever characterized the
proceedings of the True Grits on all occasions, and which many of the
most observant and sagacious of that sect have asserted has been the
principal cause of the failure of their schemes.

The new deputation lost no time in setting forth upon the execution of
their duty. They were attended to the stage coach by a large number of
True Grits, who, to use the language of Theodore Fog, "signalized their
departure with indignant pomp." Great expectations were indulged on this
appeal, or rather this mandate to the President. Day after day passed by
without bringing news from the mission:--the Globe was taken from each
mail with increased avidity, in the hope of seeing some official
announcement of the removal of Tigertail. A provoking silence on that
point reigned throughout its columns. Ten days rolled on without a
letter from the committee:--a fortnight wore away, and yet none had
returned. A traveler at last reported that he had seen Nim Porter at the
White Sulphur Springs. It was ascertained that Dr. Winkelman was
in the City of New York purchasing drugs for his shop; and upon
investigation it was discovered that Dabbs had been at his work in the
printing-office, unknown to the Borough, for more than a week. By a
singular coincidence of feeling among the True Grits, all curiosity as
to the fate of the mission suddenly subsided. The subject was treated
with indifference; and in the course of a few days, after both Dr.
Winkelman and Nim Porter had returned home, when the Thorough Blue Whole
Team put forth a paragraph inquiring after the Tigertail Embassy, the
Whole Hog came out with a petulant and snappish reply, affirming that
the report of such a mission was a mere Whig lie, coined with a view to
political effect, and uttered in the Whole Team simply because "that
mendacious and filthy sheet delighted to revel in falsehood, and had
never been known to stumble upon the truth, even by accident." Dr.
Winkelman studiously avoided all reference to his absence from the
Borough, and Nim Porter was equally cautious for about a month; at the
expiration of which period Neal Hopper happened to say, in his presence,
he had good reason to know that Marshal Tigertail was no favorite with
the President, and would be removed from office before the end of the
next Congress;--whereupon Nim, very unguardedly and under a sudden,
uncontrollable impulse, planted himself before the miller and said,--

"I'll bet you one hundred dollars to ten upon that."

"Well, I 'spose you know?" said Neal, struck by Nim's peremptory manner.

"Conclusively and distinctly," replied Nim with some heat. "If you
think Liphalet Fox is going to be the marshal you're mistaken: I know
Martin Van Buren," he added with some display of self-importance,
"considerably--and I can tell you that he goes the whole figure against
rotation in this individual and identical case. He's a Mandarin from
snout to tail--trained up from the gum, and wouldn't touch a True Grit
with a forty-foot pole. Martin has defined his position emphatically.
There can't be a possibility of mistake upon the subject."

"Do you mean to say that you heard him say so?" inquired William
Goodlack, the tailor, a strenuous member of the True Grits, looking
angrily at Nim.

"That's neither here nor there," replied Nim. "But I'll stand to the bet
of one hundred dollars to ten, that Tigertail's not turned out of office
this year: you are welcome to take it yourself, Billy Goodlack, if
you're a mind for a bet."

"Whoever said Tigertail ought to be turned out?" asked Goodlack,
peevishly, "'cepting Neal Hopper, who picked up such a story out of the
nine thousand lies of the Whole Team?"

From this little brush with Nim Porter, and from the looks that passed
between the parties engaged in it, there was room for the inference that
the President didn't give much encouragement to the committee who went
to him with instructions to turn out the marshal: and this is nearly
everything that has ever transpired in Quodlibet upon that subject. It
is very certain that, for some time after this date, the True Grits were
not so bold as a party as they had been before. Eliphalet Fox was
undoubtedly much chop-fallen during all the following winter.



Toward the latter end of August, in the year referred to in the last
chapter, about five o'clock in the afternoon, a much larger collection
than usual of work horses were seen around Abel Brawn's shop, waiting to
be shod. The shop stands a few rods below Christy M'Curdy's mill, and
immediately upon the bank of the Rumblebottom. The mill is just outside
of the compactly-built portion of the Borough; and from the door, Neal
Hopper, the miller, could see along the road, on his left hand, into the
principal cross street of Quodlibet, and on his right, directly into
Abel Brawn's smith-shop. This advantage of position was much prized by
Neal, because it enabled him to observe everybody going either from the
town-side or the country-side to the blacksmith's. And as the shop was a
famous ground for political discussion and newsmongering; and as Neal
had an insaturable stomach (insaturabile abdomen) for that sort of
gossip, a glance from the mill door gave him the means of knowing who
was either at or on the way to the shop. Then, if the company suited
him, he was in the habit of confiding the temporary government of the
mill to a mealy-headed negro called Cicero, who could turn out a grist
as well as himself, and so allow himself the chance of a brush at
argument with Abel Brawn's customers.

On this evening in August, as I said, there were more horses than usual
at the smithy. Six or seven men were lounging about the door or in the
shop, talking very loud, with every now and then a word from Abel, who
was busily employed alternately hammering out shoes on the anvil, and
fitting them to the horses' feet; while squinting Billy Spike, a rather
ungainly lad, an apprentice to the smith, was keeping off the flies with
a horsetail fastened to the end of a stick. I had been taking a walk
that evening with some of my boys to look at the ruins of the old
school-house, and, seeing this little gathering about Abel Brawn's, I
stopped to hear what was going on. Being somewhat fatigued by my
exercitation, I sat down on the bench under the shed, having sent my
boys home by themselves, and remained here a quiet though not an
inattentive spectator of the scene before me. It is by cultivating such
opportunities that I have been enabled to impart that interest to these
pages which, without vanity, I may say my reader cannot fail to discover
in them. Such have ever been my choicest and most profitable moments of
observation--subseciva quædam tempora, quæ ego perire non patiar.

Neal Hopper was engaged in repairing a bolting-cloth up stairs in the
mill, and, for some time after this assemblage had gathered about the
smith's shop, did not hear or seem to know what was going forward, until
there came a loud, sharp laugh and a whoop which aroused his attention.
As soon as he heard this, he pricked up his ears, listened a moment, and
upon a repetition of the laugh, stepped to the window, looked down
toward the shop and saw who were there, then called Cicero to finish the
repair of the bolting-cloth--and went straight to the blacksmith's.

"Well, what's the fraction," said Neal, "that you're all a busting out
in such a spell of a laugh about?"

Hearing Neal's voice, Abel Brawn put down the horse's foot which he was
then shoeing, from his lap, and standing upright, replied,--

"There seems to be a sort of a snarl here among these brother Democrats
of yours, concerning of this here Sub-Treasury. Some of them say it's
against the banks, and some of them say it's for the banks. They have
got it that Cambreling should have give out in Congress that it was
going to help the banks and keep them up; and others, on the contrary,
say that Old Tom Benton swears that it won't leave so much as the skin
of a corporated company 'twixt Down East and the Mississippi. And they
say, moreover, that little Martin lays dark about it."

"What does the Globe give out concerning of it?" inquired Neal.

"Well, the Globe," replied Sam Pivot, the assessor of our county, who
was out for sheriff, and who was very cautious in all his opinions, "is,
as I take it, a little dubious. Sometimes he makes this Sub-Treasury a
smasher to all banks; and then again he fetches it up as a sort of staff
to prop the good ones and to knock down the cripples. Last fall, just
before the New York election, he rather buttered the banks, seeing that
the Democracy in that quarter hadn't made up their minds to run as
strong against the laboring people as they are willing to do over here
in the South. But in April, when the Virginny elections was up, he was
as savage as a meat-ax;--and I rather expect, from what I see in the
President's message, that it isn't yet fairly understood whether the
Sub-Treasury is to kill or cure the banking system."

"It's a pig in a poke, to make the best of it," said Abel Brawn; "and is
flung before the people now because Van hasn't got nothing better to
offer us, and not because he values it above an old shoe. To my
thinking, when the people have decided against a law, as they have done
now against this Sub-Treasury, as you call it, twice in Congress, a
President of the United States ought to have that respect for the will
of the people to let it drop. That's what I call Whig Democracy--though
it mayn't be yourn."

"Never!" exclaimed Tom Crop, the constable of our Borough. "If the
people go agin the Dimocracy, the Dimocracy ought to put them down. We
go for principle; and it's our business to try it over and over again,
until we carry it. Truth is mighty and _will_ prevail, as the old
Gineral says."

"I have never been able," said Neal Hopper, "rightly to make out what
this Sub-Treasury is, anyhow. If any man knows, let him tell me."

"What does that signify?" answered Crop. "Some calls it a divorce--but
betwixt who I don't know, and what's more, I don't care. It's for the
poor man we are a fighting, against the rich. The Whigs are for making
the poor poorer, and the rich richer--and I say any man who goes against
the Sub-Treasury, can't have no respect for Dimmicratic principles."

"I'll tell you what it is," said Abel Brawn; "ever since the old
Federals took hold of General Jackson's skirts, and joined him in
breaking down the banks, they have been plotting to keep their heads
above water--and so they set about making experiments right and left, to
see if they couldn't hit upon something new to please the people. But,
bless you--they don't know no more about the people than they do about
making horseshoes; and that's the reason why they have been such
bunglers in all their works: and the end has been to bring us into such
a pickle as no country ever was in before. They have teetotally ruinated
everything they have laid their hands on--and now they come out and say
'the people expect too much from the Government,' and by way of making
that saying good, they have got up this Sub-Treasury, which is nothing
more nor less than a contrivance to get all the money of the country
into their own strong box, knowing that when they have _the money_, they
have got _the power_, for as long as they please. That's an old Federal
trick, which they understand as well as any men in the world. Now the
people, who see into this scheme, don't like it, and so they vote it
down in Congress. Well, what does these Federals do then? Submit? No--to
be sure not--that's not their principle. They go at it again; set to
drilling of Congress, and by promising this man, and buying off that one
with an office, and setting their papers to telling all sorts of lies,
they get the country so confounded at last that it doesn't know whether
it is on its head or its heels. But the worst of it is, these very
Federals--some of them real old Blue Lights--go about preaching about
rich and poor, and sowing enmity between them; and they work so diligent
upon this heat, that many a simple man at last believes them. It's all a
trick--a mean, sneaking deceit, which I am ashamed to think any honest
poor man in this happy country of ours could be taken in by for one
minute. But we never had this talk until we got Federal measures and
Federal men at the head of the Government. Who are the rich that they
talk about? Why, it is every man who has sense enough to know that they
are imposing on him, whether he be worth a million or worth only five
hundred dollars--unless indeed it be one of their own rich men, and then
they can't praise him too much. Is industry a sin in this land, that
when it has earned a little something for a wet day, the man who has
thriven by it must be held up as an enemy to his country? Does it hurt a
man's patriotism, when he sends his children to school, and works until
he can buy a tract of land to start them well in life--or when he rents
a pew in church, and carries his family there to teach them to fear God
and keep his commandments? Is it to be told _against_ a man, that his
neighbors count him to be frugal and thrifty, and that he is considered
respectable in the world? Yet that is your new fashioned Democracy,
which wants to put every one in the dust who doesn't idle away his time
and squander his substance, and let his family go to rack, whilst he
strolls about the country bawling Democracy. Thank God! the Democracy
I've larnt in my time has taught me to do to others as I would have
others do to me; and which has imbibed into my mind the principle that I
am a freeman, and have a right to think for myself, to speak for myself,
and to act for myself, without having a string put through my nose to
lead me wherever it suits a set of scheming, lying, cunning politicians
to have me for their benefit. Democracy's not what it used to be, or you
would never find the people putting up with this eternal dictation from
the President and his friends to Congress and to the nation, what he
will have, and what he won't have:--that's what I call rank monarchy,
and I will fight against it to my latest breath.

"You will have a chance to judge for yourselves whether the
President dictates to the people or not, in this very matter of the
Sub-Treasury:--wait till the next session of Congress:--the bill has
just been rejected a second time. You will see that Martin isn't a going
to give it up, but will bring it forward again and again--until at last,
I make no doubt, he will get a Congress shabby enough to do his bidding,
and pass it;--and many of the very men who are against it to-day, will
abandon their own opinions and go for it, for no other reason in the
world but that they will be afraid of their nose-leaders, who will tell
them they are no Democrats unless they support the President. It is
nothing more nor less than _enlisting_ men in the service, and marching
and countermarching them whichever way the _officers_ choose; besides
bringing every man to a drum-head who dares to disobey orders."

"What's Tom Benton's notion?" inquired Neal Hopper.

"He goes for the Sub-Treasury out and out," said Pivot.

"In course, he does, all hollow," interrupted Tom Crop, with rather a
fierce frown and an angry tone, designed to express his indignant
feeling at the sentiments uttered by Abel Brawn, and which sternness of
countenance had been gradually gathering during the whole time occupied
by the Blacksmith's discourse. "There's none of this slang in him. He's
agin all Monypolies, and for the rale Constitutional Currency--and
them's the genuine Dimmicratic principles:--leastways, they've come
about so now, whatever they might 'a been in times past. Old Tom's the
first man what ever found out what the Constitutional Currency raly was,
and sot the Dimmicrats a goin' on the Hard-Money track! And, besides,
don't I know these banks?--they're nuisances in grain, and naturally as
good as strikes a poor man in his vitals. I've seed it myself. Here was
Joe Plumb, the cider-press maker, got a note from Jerry Lantern down
here at the crossroads, for settin' up his cider-press, and he heaved it
in the bank for them to collect it--and what does the bank do, but go
and _purtest_ it! That's the way they treat a poor man like Joe Plumb,
what's obliged to work for his livin':--would they 'a sarved a Big Bug
so? No--don't tell me about the banks! I'm sick a hearin' on 'em."

This discussion was now interrupted by the approach of Theodore Fog,
Flan Sucker, and Sim Travers. By this addition to the company, the New
Lights gained an overwhelming preponderance of numbers over their
adversaries. Indeed, Abel Brawn, and Davy Post, the wheelwright, were
the only Whigs in the assemblage; and the consequence was that Abel, who
fought them all pretty manfully at first, was obliged to give in so far
as to remain silent--with the exception of a random shot, which now and
then he let off by way of repartee--Abel not being bad at that. Davy
Post was naturally a silent man, and, therefore, did not pretend to be a
speaker on this occasion.

As soon as Theodore Fog was informed what was the topic in debate, and
especially of the doubts which seemed to be prevalent regarding the
Sub-Treasury, he took a station against the door-post, where the whole
company gathered around him; and, being now in an oratorical mood, he
began to address the auditory in something like a speech:--

"Gentlemen," said he, at the same time drawing, with a jerk, his
neckcloth away and flaunting it in his hand, "in a free government we
have no secrets. Freedom of Opinion and its twin-sister Freedom of
Discussion are chartered libertines that float upon the ambient air
consecrated to the Genius of Universal Emancipation----"

"Hurra for old The!" shouted Sim Travers.

"Ya--hoop--halloo--go it!" yelled Flan Sucker, with a wild and deafening
scream, which sufficiently manifested the fact that he was most noisily

Several of the company interfered by remonstrating with Flan against
this unnecessary demonstration of fervor, which Flan, on the other hand,
insisted upon as his right.

"Whenever old The. Fog comes out high flown," said he, "I yells as a
matter of principle. It's encouragin' to youth. Nebuchadnezzar, the King
of the Jews, couldn't beat him at a speech: he's the butt cut of

"Flan, hold your tongue," said Theodore. "Gentlemen, we have no secrets.
Abel Brawn and Davy Post are welcome to hear all I have to impart. I
know--everybody knows--that we have been in a state of suspense on the
great question of the Sub-Treasury. The INDEPENDENT Treasury, as we are
going to call it since Congress rejected it--we'll try what a new name
will do. I say we have been in suspense. Like honest New Lights we have
waited to see how the cat would jump. Some men imagined that Martin
would bow to the judgment of the people and give it up. They did not
know the stern, uncompromising, footstep-following principles that dwell
at the bottom of his heart. He will _never_ give it up--the people
_must_ take it: he has got nothing else for them. Hasn't he tried
everything else? And isn't this the _last_ thing he could think of? Why,
then, of course, the people _must_ gulp it down, or the party is broke.
Where is the slave that would desert his party? Who's here so base would
be a turncoat? The Whigs call the President the _servant_ of the
people--we call him the Ruler, the Great Chieftain,--and when a man
deserts him he is a TURNCOAT--that is sound New-Light doctrine.

"Sirs, it has been developed in the recent demonstrations of
contemporary history----"


"Silence, Flan Sucker, and don't make a fool of yourself. It has been
discovered that bank influence has defeated the Sub-Treasury bill. Every
member who voted against it has received a large bribe from the banks.
The Globe man has lately discovered this astounding corruption: the
President is aware of it; and for this reason, in addition to that which
I have already mentioned, he is determined to run it as the INDEPENDENT
Treasury again. Every New Light is expected to toe the mark."

"Three cheers for that!" cried Pivot.

"We have heretofore _partially_ denounced the banks," continued Fog; "we
are now to open upon them like hounds--worry them like rats. From this
day forth, the Quods will take a new turn;--they will dismiss all pity
from their bosoms, and cry aloud for strangling the banks--not even
excepting our own. Patriotism demands the sacrifice. Down with paper
money! will be the word. Turn the tables on the Whigs, and call the
whole bank system the spawn of aristocracy--remember that. At the same
time, gentlemen, be not afraid. No harm will be done to any bank you
have a liking for--the essence of the thing is in the noise. We shall
have perhaps to kill the banks in the District of Columbia--but that's
nothing;--it will be an offering to consistency. All experiments require
an exhausted receiver--and the District is ours;--a snug little piece of
machinery to play upon. So keep it in mind--Treasury Notes and no Paper
Money!--down with Credit, and up with the Independent Treasury!"

"Ain't that first-rate?" said Sim Travers. "The., who sot that agoin'?"

"Who?" replied Fog. "Why, some of the highest men in this nation--the
Lights of the age. Middleton Flam has just received letters from
Washington, laying open the whole plan of operations. He has accordingly
determined to put himself in position for ultimate action, by resigning
the presidency of the bank. Middleton Flam, gentlemen, I am free to say
it, although we have differed on some questions, is a great man and an
honor to the New Lights. He has already sent his resignation to
Nicodemus Handy. The Board meet to-morrow to act upon it. You may
imagine, gentlemen, who is looked to as his successor. But I here
announce to _you_, the conglomerate essence of my constituency at large,
that on no consideration can I be persuaded to accept the vacant place.
No, gentlemen, the whole tenor of my life renders that impossible. I
have defined my position years ago; and every man must see, that
president of that, or any other bank, I can never be. Simon Snuffers is
the man. If he can make it agreeable to the Democratic principle upon
which he holds the Hay Scales--and that it is for you to say--I have no
doubt he will accept. Simon has no ulterior objects;--and men without
ulterior objects may do as they please. But I trust that this
responsible post will never be pressed upon me. Upon that point I cannot
indulge the wishes of my friends."

The importance of this speech was duly appreciated by those to whom it
was addressed; and as every man was anxious to know what everybody else
thought about these matters, there was an immediate adjournment to the
Borough. The consequence was, that Abel Brawn's shop was left in a few
moments without a customer; and in the course of the next half hour the
news communicated by Theodore Fog was in every man's mouth. The movement
at Washington was held to be decisive. The Independent Treasury, from
that moment, became a leading test of the allegiance of the Democrats of



The fact was as Theodore Fog had stated it. Mr. Flam had received a
letter from a member of the Cabinet, apprising him that it was deemed
absolutely necessary to the preservation of the New-Light Democratic
Party to become extremely pointed in their assault against the State
Banks, and that the misdeeds of those institutions should be exaggerated
as much as possible, and then charged upon the Whigs.

"This attack," said the letter, "must be made with more than usual
clamor, and followed up with unremitting industry, that, by force of the
first word and incessant repetition, we may get the people to believe
that we have had nothing to do with the creation of these corporations;
but have, in fact, been inveterately hostile to them from the first, and
that our opponents have been their sole patrons and friends. Our recent
outcry on this subject has succeeded so well with the people, that we
are determined now to make the denunciation of the banks our chief
topic, by way of preparation for the Independent Treasury which we are
resolved the people shall swallow. We cannot too strongly impress upon
our friends the propriety of charging upon the Whigs that we have
repeatedly warned them against increasing the number of banks in the
States. By this device we shall put upon their shoulders all those
mischiefs of _over-banking_ and _over-trading_, which _they_ used to
talk about. We must impute to them all the evils of the paper
system--except the Treasury notes, which it would be well for us to
praise, as an admirable Democratic scheme to give the country a METALLIC
currency. It has also been deemed important," continued the writer,
"that we should prove that the government has lost more money by the
State banks than by any other agents it has ever employed. This idea was
hinted to the Secretary of the Treasury, who has, in consequence, very
recently been at work upon the subject, and has produced a report
altogether conclusive against the banks. He will continue these labors
with a view to the instruction of Congress and all our other inquiring
friends; being, in no respect, daunted by that unlucky report made by
him in 1834, which, singularly enough, proves the opposite side of the
case; for, as he remarks, the specific gravity of his State papers is so
great as to sink them too deep for the perception of the present
generation,--and that consequently his report of 1834 must be pretty
well forgotten by this time, which, indeed, I think quite likely;--it
was so long-winded, dozy, and prosy, (a note in the margin marked this
as 'confidential,') that I should not wonder if more than ten men in
Congress ever read it, and of those, perhaps not a single one retains
any distinct impression of its meaning." The letter exhorted Mr. Flam to
make these views known to the drill sergeants and corporals of the party
in Quodlibet, and to stimulate them to active exertions in the part
assigned to them. "Pound it into public mind," said the writer, "that
the Whigs are the authors of the present evils; continual pounding will
inevitably, at last, do the business. Many a time have I riveted, by
diligent hammering, a politic and necessary fabrication upon the
credulity of the people--so fast that no art of my adversary could tear
it away to make room for the truth: therefore, I say to you and our
Democratic friends--hammer without ceasing."

A letter also from the Secretary, at the same time, informed Mr. Flam,
that as the people had so contumaciously rejected the Independent
Treasury bill, by their representatives in Congress, the President was
now determined to carry it at all hazards; and consequently it was
expected that no New-Light Democrat would be so false to the glorious
principles of the Quodlibetarian theory as to interpose any opinion of
his own between the will of the President and the appropriate duty of
the people. "If such should be the case," said the Secretary, "Mr. Van
Buren can have no alternative--the individual so recreant to the eternal
principles of the New-Light Democracy must be denounced by the Globe as
an enemy to freedom, and, what is worse, a traitor to his party."

Mr. Flam reflected upon these communications with grave attention; and
having shown them to some of his intimate friends, among whom I count it
my highest honor to be ranked, he announced his purpose to resign his
post in the bank. For this step he had two good reasons: the first was
the necessity of disencumbering himself of a connection which might have
impeded his usefulness--to use his own words--in his public relations;
the second reason was, that he had borrowed so large an amount from the
bank, as to circumscribe its bounty greatly to the prejudice of sundry
of the directors who were, in consequence, beginning to complain of his
management of the institution, and were even threatening to run an
opposition against him in the election which was but a few months off.
It was whispered also that Nicodemus Handy had given him a mysterious
but friendly hint to resign, without explaining his reasons. Upon these
considerations his mind was made up; and accordingly the resignation was
laid before the Board at the time indicated by Theodore Fog.

This event produced great sensation in Quodlibet; not less from the
curiosity to know why our distinguished representative should relinquish
so lucrative a post, than from the interest felt in the measure of
selecting his successor. Fifteen of our most strenuous New-Light
Democrats were candidates; and notwithstanding the speech made at the
blacksmith's shop, Theodore Fog was the first who wrote a letter to the
Board to apprise them that, in consequence of the eager importunity of
his Democratic friends to confide the bank to his management, he found
himself compelled to forego his objections to having any concern with
the banking system, and therefore would not feel himself at liberty to
decline the Presidency in case it should be offered to him. He said he
wished it to be distinctly understood, that emolument was not his
object: but that he was actuated solely by his attachment to that
New-Light Democratic principle which taught him on all occasions to seek
preferment, as the means of widening the sphere of his usefulness, and
to increase his worldly fortune only for the sake of the good it enabled
him to dispense to the people. On no other terms was he willing to
accept the government of the bank.

Some two or three days were spent in canvassing this matter; when the
choice ultimately, upon the twenty-fifth balloting, fell upon Anthony
Hardbottle, who had not been previously thought of for the place, and
was only brought forward when all attempts to elect others had failed.
The fifteen original candidates became greatly incensed at this choice.
Theodore Fog was furious: he said Hardbottle could scarcely be called a
Democrat:--if anything, he was half Whig--nay, he believed, whole
Whig:--and to elect a Whig to a great responsible post like that--a post
connected with the national fisc, allied to the money power, so
intimately related to the important concerns of the currency!--it was
not to be tolerated. The Genius of New-Light Democracy should array
herself in steel, indue herself in panoply, buckle on her armor, shake
her lance against it, or, in other words, he deemed it incompatible with
free institutions to allow a Whig, or, at least, a man who never
attended political meetings, and who held the Whigs in respect--to
preside over such a Democratic institution as the Copperplate Bank of
Quodlibet. Theodore continued raving in this strain until he drank nine
juleps, interspersed with numberless other potations, and became so
incapable of motion as to render it necessary for Mrs. Ferret to have
him carried to bed. As he cooled, so cooled his competitors. Indeed, in
the course of a few days, Theodore Fog, in commenting upon the
pretensions of the several defeated candidates, found so many objections
to them individually and collectively, as to bring himself into an
excellent temper upon the subject, whereby he was able to make merry
with the whole election; and thus, by degrees, he fell back into the
state of mind which he had manifested at the smith's shop, and declared
that no consideration could possibly induce him, professing the
principles he did, to accept any post connected with a bank. He
expressed himself in sharp and censorious terms against what, he said,
he had constantly observed: namely, that he never knew a post in a bank
to be vacant, from the President down to the porter, including Directors
and all, in regard to which he didn't find half a dozen Loco Focos, to
say nothing of New-Light Democrats, applicants to fill the vacancy: he
thought it inconsistent with principle, now that orders had come for the
Democracy to abuse the banks, to seek or accept such places; and he did
not care who knew his sentiments upon the subject.

Mr. Hardbottle was a strict man of business, and did not, it is true,
greatly interest himself in politics. Yet, nevertheless, he was a
decided supporter of the New-Light cause, and was always esteemed a
useful member of the Borough. One thing that made against him in the
Board was, that he had never been a very active customer to the bank,
except so far only as keeping his commercial account there. He was often
urged to accept accommodations with a view to the improvement of the
Borough, but almost invariably refused, from an aversion to indulging in
these useful speculations. His brother Directors, in consequence, rather
regarded him as a man who was deficient in public spirit; and they
imagined that he might be inclined to depreciate the value of the
services they had rendered the bank by the liberal employment they had
given to its funds. Mr. Hardbottle, therefore, might be said to
have entered into the government of the bank under inauspicious
circumstances, and was likely not to be a very popular President. He
was, however, determined upon one thing, and that was to make a thorough
examination of the bank for the purpose of bringing about a resumption
of specie payments at the earliest possible moment; for some complaints
had gone abroad against the Bank of Quodlibet for not resuming when the
other banks of the country affected to be anxious for that measure.

In consequence of this determination of the new President, the bank was
kept in perpetual bustle for the whole fortnight succeeding the
election. What then occurred will be told in the next chapter.



I know not which way to turn. Auribus teneo lupum. I can scarcely
compose myself to write. Such an event! Many things have happened in
this world to excite wonder, many grief, many indignation, many wailing,
lamentation, and moans; but we have had an incident in the Borough which
overmasters all these emotions by the height and the depth, the length
and the breadth, the stupendous magnitude of the amazement which it has
spread through all minds.

The investigation of the affairs of the bank, under the direction of Mr.
Hardbottle, lasted more than a fortnight. They were not yet brought to a
close, when---- Let the following paragraph from an extra Whole Hog,
issued on the spur of the moment, tell the rest. I have no nerve for
such a disclosure.


     "Our Borough has just been thrown into a state of stupefaction by
     an event which completely eclipses every other act of crime and
     villainy with which the annals of Whiggery abound. Nicodemus Handy,
     the Whig Cashier of that extortionate, swindling Whig rag-factory,
     the Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet, left this Borough
     yesterday morning in the People's Line, which runs through Thorough
     Blue. As this journey was undertaken with the pretense of
     business, it attracted no attention until this morning, when the
     indefatigable Democratic President of that institution, Mr. Anthony
     Hardbottle, who was recently elected for the purpose of a thorough
     investigation into its concerns, (suspicions having been
     long indulged of its rottenness; and, in fact, our worthy
     representative, the Hon. Middleton Flam, an unterrified and
     incorruptible New Light, having retired from the head of the
     institution on account of the disgusting irregularities which fell
     within his view,) laid a statement before the Board which showed
     that the Cashier had secreted upwards of $160,000, the greater part
     of which funds there is reason to believe he has made away with in
     the course of the last three months. Measures were taken to pursue
     the offender, and as far as possible to secure the bank
     by attachments upon his property, which is supposed to be
     considerable. For the present, we forbear all comment, except so
     far as to remark, that we look upon this atrocious fraud but as the
     natural fruit of that system of Whig measures which has cumbered
     the land with mushroom banks, filthy rags, and swarms of scrub
     aristocrats in the shape of presidents, cashiers, directors, and
     clerks. We may speedily expect to hear of many more Whigs following
     the example of our absquatulating Cashier."

The sensation produced in the Borough by this intelligence is not to be
described. The flight of Mr. Handy was the only topic of conversation
for a week. An officer followed him to Thorough Blue, whence, it was
rumored, the fugitive had shaped his course for Texas: other reports
assigned Canada as his place of refuge--all was uncertainty. Legal
measures were taken to secure his property. This consisted of his
elegant mansion on Copperplate Ridge, sundry rows of warehouses, and
other buildings in Quodlibet, a large number of which had been left for
two years past in an unfinished state. Upon investigation it was
ascertained that the whole of this estate had been converted into money;
our worthy representative, the Hon. Middleton Flam, having an absolute
conveyance for Handy House, its furniture, and appurtenances, and
certain political friends, connected with the custom-house in New York,
rank Whigs, having mortgages on all the rest of the property. The
consequence was, the bank was able to secure nothing.

One of our first proceedings, after the flight of the Cashier, was to
call together the New-Light Club, where resolutions were passed
denouncing his fraud as the necessary consequence of his Whig
principles, censuring the bank, in the strongest terms, as a swindling
Whig concern, and avowing an unalterable devotion to the Independent
Treasury, as the only sound, genuine, New-Light Democratic experiment
which it was proper for the government to make, in the present condition
of affairs--unless the President should change his mind and find out
something still more Democratic; in which event the New-Light Club
pledged itself to give that other measure their cordial and patriotic

In the course of a fortnight, the inhabitants of the Borough were
surprised to read from a New York paper, in the list of passengers who
sailed for Liverpool by the packet of the first of October, among the
names of sundry fashionables, those also of Mrs. and Miss Handy; and we
were, not long afterward, relieved from all doubt as to the Cashier's
destination, by seeing it publicly announced that he had gone to Havre,
from which point, as soon as he could be joined by his interesting and
distressed family, he designed making the tour of Europe.

From the period of the elopement of Mr. Handy, we had a series of
convulsions. The first incident of importance that followed it, was the
failure of the whole Board of Directors; each of whom, according to his
own showing, had lost so much money by the absconding Cashier as to be
totally unable to pay up his liabilities to the bank. The next disaster
was the explosion of the bank itself. The abduction of so large an
amount of its funds, as well as its unfortunate list of bad debts from
the Directors, rendered this inevitable. Then came riots among the
holders of its paper, who besieged the door for several days, and even
threatened to pull down the building. Never was a community in a more
unhappy commotion than ours at this eventful epoch.

Mr. Grant visited the Borough frequently during the prevalence of these
disorders. One day he met Theodore Fog, who seemed to be rather
pleasurably excited by the events which occupied and engrossed the
public attention--for Theodore, as he was in the habit of remarking, had
nothing to lose by these domestic convulsions, and everything to gain.
The election was at hand, and he was again the True-Grit candidate; but
on this occasion there was no opposition from his own party, and the
chance of electing a Whig was deemed hopeless. That side made no
nomination; and Fog, therefore, with his two colleagues of the last
year, was in a fair way to walk over the course without a contest. The
interests of the election, consequently, were altogether absorbed in the
other incidents of the day. Still, Theodore was not inattentive to the
voters, and was, as usual, loquacious and voluble.

"A pretty considerable upheaving of the elements of social life, Mr.
Grant," said he, upon encountering the old gentleman on Ferret's steps
at the front door of The Hero.

"I think so," replied Mr. Grant; "you have brought your pigs at last to
a fine market."

"_Our_ pigs!" exclaimed Fog, with an excellent representation of
surprise:--"well, that beats M'Gonegal, and he beat the devil. The whole
litter comes from a Whig mother: it is the spawn of that aristocracy,
against which the intelligence, the honor, and the virtue of the nation
have been waging war ever since the Reign of Terror;--but, sir, it is
down; the intelligence and firmness of the people have triumphed at

"You allude, I suppose, to your Democratic bank here," said Mr. Grant.

"No doubt," replied Fog, "the Whigs will attempt to shuffle the bank
off _their_ shoulders and buckle it on the Democrats. But that won't do,
sir; that's too stale a trick to deceive the people. The Whigs, sir, are
men of property; the Democrats are poor, sir. Banks are not made by poor
men, Mr. Grant; there's the logic of the case."

"And this Patriotic Copperplate Bank of Quodlibet was not set on foot by
Nicodemus Handy and Theodore Fog?" returned Mr. Grant.

"By Nicodemus Handy," replied Fog, "not by me. Sir, Nicodemus was always
a Whig; and, what's more, attempted to beguile me into his scheme. He
took advantage of my unsuspecting temper--endeavored to lull into
security my artless, confiding nature; essayed, sir, but in vain, to
seduce me from my allegiance to the Democratic faith, by tempting offers
of the presidency of the bank--but, sir, my virtue was too stern for his
treacherous arts. I saw the gilded bait and spurned it. It was--I say it
myself--a rare example of successful resistance to the fascinations of
the tempter. Many a Democrat has fallen into the snare of the Whigs
under less allurement. I pride myself on this evidence of self-command.
I have reason to be proud of it."

"You have a short memory," said Mr. Grant.

"Why as to that, old friend," replied Fog with a good-natured laugh, at
the same time laying his hand on Mr. Grant's shoulder, "you can't call
_that_ a fault. Every politician has a short memory--he'd be no
politician without it. Mine's no shorter than the rest. Sir, let me tell
you, the great secret of the success of the immutable, New-Light,
Quodlibetarian Democracy, is in the shortness of the memory. Still, I
would like to know what you mean by the remark."

"I mean to say," replied Mr. Grant, "that when you and Nicodemus Handy
were endeavoring to persuade me to take an interest in your bank, you
didn't think it so undemocratic as you seem to do to-day."

"It is impossible for me to remember what I said on the occasion to
which you allude, sir," returned Fog; "but my principles have always
been the same. I could not have gone against them, sir; morally

"And I told you that your bank was a humbug," continued Mr. Grant.

"Ay, ay," rejoined Fog; "that's the old song. You Whigs are monstrous
good at prophesying after the result is known."

"You admit, I suppose," said Mr. Grant, "that this Bank of Quodlibet has

"Burst, sir, into a thousand tatters," replied Fog.

"You admit that there is a large amount of paper money afloat?"

"A genuine Whig crop," answered Fog: "enough to make a stack as large as
the largest in your barnyard."

"You admit the derangement of values all over the country?"

"Yes, and of the people too, if you make it a point."

"The failures of traders and of banks?"


"This is reasonable, Mr. Fog. Now, you shall judge whether the Whigs
prophesy _before_ or _after_ the result," said Mr. Grant, as he thrust
his hand into his skirt pocket and drew forth a pamphlet. "I expected to
meet you to-day, and I have brought you a document for your especial
perusal. It is the speech of a Whig member of Congress, made in 1834,
upon the Removal of the Deposits;--you will find the leaf turned down at
page 32; and, as you are a good reader, I wish you would favor this
company by reading it aloud, where you see it scored in the margin."

"Not I," replied Theodore; "that's four years ago. The statute of
limitation bars that."

"He's afeard to read it," said Abel Brawn to some five or six persons,
who had collected around the steps during this conversation. "Mr.
Grant's mighty particular with his documents, and ain't to be shook off
in an argument."

"The., you ain't afeard, old fellow?" said Flan Sucker. "Walk into him,
The. Read it."

"Give me the book," said Fog, "and let's see what it is. Speech by
Horace Binney--eh? Who's he? I think I have heard the name. Well, for
the sake of obliging a friend, I'll read.--_Conticuere omnes_--which
means listen." Fog then read as follows:--

"It is here that we find a pregnant source of the present agony--it is
in the clearly avowed design to bring a second time upon this land the
curse of an unregulated, uncontrolled State-Bank paper currency. We are
again to see the drama which already, in the course of the present
century, has passed before us, and closed in ruin. If the project shall
be successful----"

"What project?" inquired Fog.

"The destruction of the Bank of the United States, and the refusal to
create another in its place," answered Mr. Grant.

Theodore read on--

     "If the project shall be successful, we are again to see these
     paper missiles shooting in every direction through the country--a
     derangement of all values,--a depreciated circulation--a suspension
     of specie payments;--then a further extension of the same
     detestable paper--a still greater depreciation--with failures of
     traders and failures of banks in its train--to arrive at last at
     the same point from which we departed in 1817."

"A rank forgery," said Theodore Fog, "printed for the occasion."

"That won't do," replied Mr. Grant; "I have been the owner of this
pamphlet ever since 1834 myself."

"Then Binney is a Dimmycrat," said Sim Travers, "and you are trying to
pass him off on us for a Whig. Sound Dimmycratic doctrine and true

"Huzza for Binney!" shouted Flan Sucker, "a tip-top Dimmycrat, whoever
he is!--I never heard of him before."

"Yes," said Mr. Grant, "one ounce of his Democracy is worth a ton weight
of the best you will find in the Globe. But read on, a little further
below, where you see it scored."

"I have an innate and mortal aversion to reading," returned Fog.

"It must be gone through," said Flan Sucker,--"because them sentiments
is the rale Dimmocracy, and we want to hear them. So, go it,
The!--Yip--listen boys, to the doctrine."

"Well," said Fog, "if you will have it--as the pillory said to the
thief, 'lend me your ears.'"

     "I thank the Secretary," he began with a discreet voice, reading
     where Mr. Grant appointed for him, "for the disclosure of this
     plan. I trust in God it will be defeated: that the Bank of the
     United States, while it is in existence, may be sustained and
     strengthened by the public opinion, and interests of the people, to
     defeat it: that the sound and sober State banks of the Union may
     resist it--for it is their cause: that the poor men and laborers in
     the land may resist it--for it is a scheme to get from every one of
     them a dollar's worth of labor for fifty cents, and to make fraud
     the currency of the country as much as paper. Sir, the Bank of the
     United States, in any other relation than to the currency and
     property of the country, is as little to me as to any man under
     heaven; but after the prime and vigor of life are passed, and the
     power of accumulation is gone, to see the children stripped, by the
     monstrous imposture of a paper currency, of all that the father's
     industry had provided for them--this, sir, may well excuse the
     warmth that denounces this plan, as the precursor of universal
     dismay and ruin."

"I'll read no more," said Fog, giving back the book, with a theatrical
flourish of his arm, to Mr. Grant; "it is nothing more than stealing our
principles from us, and then bringing them up to break our heads."

"It is good Whig prophecy, four years before its fulfillment," said Mr.
Grant, "and which has come true to the letter. It shows you that we set
our faces against your increase of banks in the very beginning; gave you
warning of what was to come; painted the very evils of this day so
plainly before your eyes that nothing but willful blindness prevented
you from seeing them; and now, when it has all fallen out as it was
foretold, you attempt to make us responsible to the people for your

"Sir," said Fog, rather evading the argument, as it is an admirable part
of the New-Light system to do when it pinches, "the New-Light Democracy
changes its measures, but never its principles. We go, sir, for the will
of the people--that's the principle which lies at the bottom of all our
actions. If the people are for new measures, we frankly come out with
them. Now, sir, the people are _against_ the banks--they are _for_ the
Independent Treasury: of course, then, you know where to find _us_. You
can't get round us--there we are."

"I'll not dispute that point with you," replied Mr. Grant; "you have
been changing from bad to worse ever since you have had the control of
affairs. I only wanted to remind you that the present distress of the
country is the work of your own hands, and that you have brought it
about with your eyes open."

Saying these words Mr. Grant walked off toward the stable, where he
mounted his horse and rode out of the Borough.

As soon as the old gentleman was gone, Theodore Fog remarked that he
had not had as dry a talk for some years, and proposed to the company a
general visit to the bar.

"They talk of _distress_," said he. "Mr. Grant has gone off with his
head full of that notion of distress; it's a famous Whig argument, that.
But what distress is there? Drinking's as cheap; eating's as cheap as
ever; so is lying. Eating, drinking, and lying, are the three principal
occupations of man. Lying _down_, I mean, metaphorically for sleeping.
Where's the distress, then? Mere panic--false alarm--a Whig invention!
The country is better off than it ever was before. Not for men who trade
upon credit, I allow--not for merchants and shippers in general--not for
your fellows that go about for jobs--not for farmers--not for regular
laborers--not for mechanics, with families on their hands, and
perhaps not for single ones neither;--but first-rate for lawyers,
bar-keepers, and brokers, for marshals and sheriffs--capital for
constables--nonpareil for postmasters, contractors, express-riders, and
office-holders; and glorious for fellows that are fond of talking and
have nothing to do:--these are the very gristle of the New-Light
Democracy, and make a genteel majority at the elections."

"Mr. Fog," said Jesse Ferret, "I am so well pleased at your reading for
Mr. Grant this morning, that I'm determined to give you a treat;--help
yourself and your friends. Gentlemen, walk up."

"Glad you liked it, old buck," replied Fog. "Bless your heart, I'm
used to such things. A political man must always be ready for rubbers;
never would get a gloss if it wasn't for brushing. That Binney's a smart
fellow; but every word of that speech was whispered into his ear by
Benton; I know the fact personally. He and Benton sit up every night of
their lives together in Washington, playing old sledge and drinking
cocktail: that accounts for Binney's Democracy. Gentlemen, our friend
Ferret's treat--we'll drink his health--a worthy, persuadable, amenable
man--so here's to him. Wait for the word--Jesse Ferret, a gentleman and
a scholar, an antiquarian and a tavern-keeper--long life to him!"



Time held his course. Another year went by, and brought us to the sixth
since the Removal. The year which I pass over was marked by many public
and domestic incidents worthy of note in the history of Quodlibet.
Gladly would I have tarried to entertain my reader with some of these;
but I am admonished of the necessity of bringing these desultory annals
to a close. Especially might I find much to interest many of those who
will peruse these pages, in the private and personal affairs of the
Borough; some of the events of the bygone year being of a nature to
kindle up pathetic emotions in their bosoms. The blank despair of
Agamemnon Flag when he first heard of the flight of Nicodemus Handy; his
melancholy visits of consolation to the bereaved family; the
disinterested avowal of his long-smothered and smouldering love to the
heiress apparent; and his offer of his hand and fortune--consisting of a
new suit of clothes, and a horse and gig, purchased on credit--to this
dejected lady; his still blanker despair, his disappointment and vows of
revenge when, after listening to his suit, he found it announced that
she had sailed without him, to make the grand tour of Europe; and
finally, the stoical philosophy with which he renounced all claim to the
reversionary interest in the one hundred and sixty thousand dollars
taken from the bank, as well as the net proceeds of Handy Place, and the
rows of buildings, finished and unfinished, in Quodlibet--these
incidents would furnish an episode of tenderness and passion without a
parallel since the Medea of Euripides.

But these excursions are foreign from the purpose of this book, and I am
sure would be disallowed by the respectable committee at whose instance
I have entered upon this task. Indeed, they have explicitly enjoined
that I divulge nothing under their sanction, touching the concerns of
Quodlibet which in any manner borders upon the romantic. Upon these
subjects their caution is, Nulli tacuisse nocet, tutum silentii præmium.
I must, therefore, reluctantly pretermit all such matter--reserving for
some other occasion the gratification of the public curiosity therein.

In looking back upon the public events of this interval, I deem it
necessary, in passing, merely to notice the fact that the New Lights
were greatly rejoiced to find in Mr. Van Buren's message to Congress a
complete justification of the Secretary's promise to Mr. Flam, the
import of which was to assure our representative that the President had
made up his mind, after the rejection of that measure, to carry the
Independent Treasury in spite of the people. Our uncompromising,
fearless, and _unshakable_ Quods, true to the dictates of their creed,
were, I repeat, greatly rejoiced at the manly perseverance and
unquenchable self-will with which the President delivered over that
question to the "Sober Secondthoughts" (a pest upon the unlucky
coincidence of that phrase with my patronymic!--it hath given license to
the tongues of the wags, to my annoyance) of the people. Every good
New-Light Democrat in the land understood the hint--and a presidential
hint is no small matter to a Democrat now-a-days. Truly delightful was
it to see how it acted upon the New Lights. Not a man among them who had
hitherto halted on a scruple of conscience, but became thereupon, in the
twinkling of an eye, a devoted champion of the Independent Treasury; and
that, too, without knowing, or caring to know, what it was. It was
hoisted in capitals, at the head of Eliphalet Fox's Weekly, and became
forthwith, as it were, a word written on our banner. We were, one and
all, converted into milites subsignani, and became the Maccabees of this
new kind of Independent Treasury.

It has doubtless often occurred to the reader of this irregular
history to inquire how it comes to pass that the historian has ventured
to relate with such composure, nay, with such complacency, what
superficial thinkers, at least, might deem to be the _changes_ in the
political principles of the New Lights. Superficial is a good word, and
truly explains the case. Our _principles_, as every one who is gifted
with sufficient astuteness could not fail to have observed throughout
this narrative--and as, in fact, we have more than once insinuated--are
much deeper than the _measures_ we, from time to time, find it
convenient to adopt. We hold a change of measures, a change of opinions,
a change of doctrine, and even a change of established facts, as
nothing. But a change of men we totally abhor; a change of office,
unless in the way of promotion, we utterly discountenance; and a change
from a majority to a minority we execrate as wholly abominable,
detestable, and in nowise to be endured. Now, in our creed, men,
officers, and majorities make up the complex idea of what we denominate
_principle_. The whole scope of the New-Light philosophy is, by the
vigor of this thing _principle_, as I have defined it, to keep the Whigs
down and our modern school of New-Light Democrats up. We proudly appeal
to our past history to sustain our consistency in this pursuit. Let any
dispassionate observer trace our meanderings through the last ten years:
he will see the efficacy of our system manifested in the wonderful, the
almost miraculous conversion of Old Blue-Light Federalists, and
Federalists of every hue, into the Born Veterans of Democracy, and in
investing these worthy relics of ancient patriotism with the most
profitable offices in the gift of the government. He will see it in the
merciless war--bellum ad internecionem--waged by our forces in the name
of the people, against credit, commerce, and industry: he will remark
how abundantly, and, as it were, by magic, it has fed the nation upon
the economical, and therefore republican food of promises, relating to a
sound currency--especially those referring to the gold and silver, while
it was stealing along into the cheap and convenient system of a
government paper in the shape of Treasury notes; and he will observe,
with unfeigned surprise and redoubled admiration, how effectually it has
secured to us the services and the money of the most opulent individuals
in the land, and of the largest corporations created by the States--in a
most signal degree those concerned in public works--while it preaches
against wealth, chartered privileges and monopolies, and, by its zeal
against them, has enlisted almost every penniless man, every wasted
bankrupt, and every cracked reputation in the Union upon our side. But
we have a still more illustrious exemplification of the practical value
of our philosophy in the address with which affairs are managed by the
head of the Treasury.

The letter of directions to the Hon. Middleton Flam, with which my
readers have been favored in a previous chapter, it will be remembered,
required the New Lights to support the Independent Treasury, and as
necessary thereto, to take ground against the State banks, as altogether
unsafe depositories of the public money. It further intimated, supposing
we might be diffident about this, that the Secretary of the Treasury had
already furnished evidence of this fact, and would, at the proper time,
make it manifest that the Government had lost more money by the banks
than by any other agents it had ever trusted. Our club had never before
been aware that the Secretary had reversed his old opinions on this
grave question, and we, therefore, lost no time in making a call upon
our member for information. Great anxiety was felt to possess the
Secretary's views. A substantial vindication of the Independent Treasury
in this aspect, by the overthrow of the banks on the authority of the
man who had built them up, was a desideratum which we all acknowledged;
and its success we were prepared to regard as the greatest triumph of
the New-Light principle, to be accomplished through the influence of
that matchless Secretary, "whose mind," as Theodore Fog once remarked,
"was endued with a radiating faculty sufficiently intense to light up
the bottom of a bog, impart a vitreous translucency to the home of the
frog, and illuminate the abode of the bat with a luster more brilliant
than that which glittered through the boudoirs of the palace of
Aladdin." We were aware that in 1834 his duty required him to prove that
the State banks, while unmolested by the vexatious presence of a bank of
the United States, were the safest of all possible custodiaries
of the people's money; and that it was the Monster Bank alone
which incapacitated them to fulfill their engagements to the
Government--thence deducing the fact, that when the monster was dead,
the public funds could be no otherwise than safe in their keeping. We
were aware that at that time it was more particularly his duty to praise
the State banks, because the unprincipled Whigs denied the fact of their
safety, and opposed the scheme of giving them the public treasure, on
the very ground that the Government had been a heavy loser by them from
the period of the war up to the date of the charter of the bank. We had
read carefully his report of the 12th of December in that year, and
remembered these words:--

     "It is a remarkable fact connected with this inquiry, though often
     represented otherwise, that not a single selected State bank failed
     between the expiration of the old charter and the grant of the new
     one; and that none of our losses included in our unavailable funds
     happened until some time in 1817, after the United States Bank was
     in operation."

This, and some other facts culled from the same report, constituted the
armory of weapons by which our club so manfully fought and prostrated
the croaking and factious Whigs of Quodlibet, when, in their ravings,
they predicted loss from our employment of the pet banks. But the New
Lights being now ordered to take another tack, and being promised a good
fabrication of facts to fortify our position, we rested on our arms like
soldiers confident in the talents of their general to intrench them in
their new camp, secure against every charge of the enemy. Mr. Flam lost
no time in providing us with the Secretary's report of February
27th, 1838. That officer did not deceive our hopes. This luminous
paper carried demonstration on its wings and refutation in its
footsteps. Prodigious man! Enormous functionary! Brightest of
ministers! Samson of the New Lights! Aaron and Moses both in one, of
our Democratic, Quodlibetarian, Golden-calf-worshiping Israelites, (I
speak symbolically, and not in derogation of the anxiously-looked-for
and long-desired Bentonian coin.) He but touched the rock of New-Light
faith, and forth gushed the facts like water--yea, and arguments like
milk and water. With what gratulation did we read,--

     "The loss to the Treasury by taking depreciated notes, in 1814,
     '15, '16, and '17, is estimated at quite five millions five hundred
     thousand dollars; and there is now on hand of such notes then
     received and never paid away, or collected, about eighty thousand
     dollars more."

There was a conclusive argument to all that the Whigs might have urged
in favor of the safety of State banks, if they had thought proper to
defend them; and, in truth, it was some little mortification to us that
our adversaries did not come out in favor of the banks, when we were so
well provided with facts to put them down. But they, with that
remarkable obstinacy which has ever characterized them, and which is
altogether behind the age, stuck to their old opinions, and left us
without anything to controvert, except, indeed, our own facts of 1834.

This instance, however, serves to show with what majestic bounds the
New Lights have passed over the broad field of measures, and with what
facile and graceful dexterity they have refuted that antiquated and
vulgar adage which stigmatizes facts as stubborn things. Thus the beauty
of this unrivaled philosophy consists in the harmony with which it
reconciles past times with the present, with which it dovetails
discordant principles, with which it brings into brotherhood elements
the most repulsive, facts the most antagonistical, men the most variant,
and contingencies the most impossible; which converts every man
into a Janus, every highway into a labyrinth, every beacon into a
lighthouse--giving to falsehood the value of truth, to shadow the
usefulness of substance, and to concealment the estimation of candor.
Truly is it the great discovery of modern times! My reader, I trust,
will not, now that I have opened his understanding to the perception of
this sublime spell-working philosophy, allow himself henceforth to
question the laudable sentiment of approbation with which I have
developed the practical operation of this theory in the history of

There was another matter worthy of remark in the events of the year,
which I must cursorily notice before I proceed to the era with which I
propose presently to occupy my readers. The Presidential election was
now in view, and received that grave consideration from the members of
Congress which they are in the habit of giving to everything in
Washington except the trifling business of making laws. Our diligent and
watchful representative, some time before the close of the short
session, wrote to our club a letter full of important advice for our
guidance in the affairs of the approaching canvass for the Presidency.

Among other valuable disclosures, "the Whigs," said he, "are to hold a
Convention at Harrisburg. Harry Clay, or, as they term him, Harry of the
West, is to be their man;--at least, so we suspect. Whoever he be, we
have made up our minds as to our course--_he is to be run down in the
South as an Abolitionist_. Abolition is the best hobby we have had since
the death of the Monster. We have already broken ground; and if Kendall
and Blair can't prove Clay or anybody else to be an abolitionist, the
deuce is in it: their right hand will have forgotten its cunning. The
Globe is full of the matter already. Tell Eliphalet Fox to begin at once
and bark in the same key:--all the little dogs are expected to yelp
after the old hound--or, as Pickens calls him, the Galvanized Corpse:
many of them are at it lustily now. In 1836, Van's principles were
luckily Northern;--so we have resolved to let them have full swing
beyond the Potomac, and to put him in masquerade for the South. We rely
implicitly on the stolidity of Pennsylvania; and shall secure New York
by a concession to her banks, which for the time we mean to treat
amiably. Our chief aim is the South. Van, being thoroughly imbued with
the New-Light Quodlibetarian Democracy, has consented, for the benefit
of our cause south of Potomac, to be dubbed 'The Northern man with
Southern principles'--remember that, and tell Fox to ring the changes on
it in every paper. We have hired a New Hampshire man to play clown
to Van; and he somersets when his master does. This has a most
striking effect. We call him the mannikin of the North with Southern
principles--Van's mignonette. Our contract required him to bring in the
anti-abolition resolutions touching the petitions; and although he could
not venture against _the reception_, he has bolted down all the rest,
_totidem verbis et syllabis_, as we wrote them for him;--_the reception_
we struck out to accommodate the Democratic abolitionism of his
district. The effect of this coup d'état was magical; and having gagged
Wise and the rest of the Whigs with the Previous Question, we have left
them in a state of unnatural retention which threatens to prove fatal.
It is universally considered here a most lucky hit--Van and the
Mannikin; and we shall, with these performers, play 'The Northern man
with Southern Principles,' to crowded houses. Keep it going!--and don't
forget, Clay is an Abolitionist. If the Harrisburg convention nominates
anybody else--the same paragraphs will suit _him_;--Mutato nomine de te
fabula narretur. Get the Secretary to translate that. Be discreet, and
show this letter only to the faithful."

It may readily be imagined that our club was thrown into ecstacy by this
confidential missive. Being the custodiary of the letter, I have
ventured, without the permission of the club, to incorporate it in these
annals; taking upon myself the risk of their displeasure rather
than withhold so fine a specimen of the New-Light Quodlibetarian
Democracy;--and indeed I can see no reason why the world shouldn't have
it. We have no secrets among the New Lights.

I proceed now to the Fourth Era in these annals.



In the autumn of 1839, the Hon. Middleton Flam was again our candidate
for Congress. He was opposed by the celebrated John Smith, of Thorough
Blue. This contest was marked by one conspicuous feature: we had
completely succeeded in appropriating to our party the name of
Democrats--at least we had labored very hard to do so;--our next move
was to get up the old hue and cry of Federalism against the Whigs. This
required great boldness; but Middleton Flam entered upon the endeavor
with the intrepidity of a hero. Eliphalet Fox walked in his footsteps,
and from all quarters, simultaneously, and by a well-managed concert,
the cry of Federalist was poured forth upon our opponents; and
Henry Clay especially--as we counted on him for the Presidential
candidate--was proved to be tainted with Federalism beyond all hope of
bleaching it out.

We had now two great points settled with reference to the canvass for
the Presidency: the Whig candidate was to be brought into disgrace,
first, as an Abolitionist, and, secondly, as a Federalist. Mr. Flam gave
our club every assurance that these two charges combined would destroy
the purest man that ever lived; and that it was only necessary to drive
these spikes with a sledgehammer every day, and the Democracy in the end
could not fail to believe in the existence and in the enormity of these
offenses, no matter who should be brought out by the Whigs--whether
Scott, Clay, Harrison, or Webster.

But we had pretty conclusively made up our minds that Clay was to be the
man; and our club in consequence immediately set about procuring the
materials for a biography of that statesman, designed to demonstrate
that he had all his life been a Hartford Conventionist in sentiment, and
an unsparing enemy of Southern institutions. This task was consigned to
Eliphalet Fox, who very soon amassed a wonderful amount of matter
exactly to our purpose. In this, Eliphalet gave evidence of his usual
skill; and his facts were so contrived that they might be used with
equal success against either of the four above named, or indeed any one
else who might be brought forward: but as Eliphalet had a particular
hatred for Mr. Clay, and was more accustomed to defame him than any
other great man in the nation, the compilation was imbued with a spirit
that would have been much more effective in breaking down Mr. Clay's
reputation than that of either of the others.

Great was the sensation produced in Quodlibet, great was our
mortification, and great our surprise upon receiving the news in
December from Harrisburg. The convention actually passed by Mr. Clay,
passed by the great claims of Scott and Webster, and brought out
General William Henry Harrison, together with John Tyler for the
Vice-Presidency;--thus, by a perversity which, on all important
occasions, distinguishes the Whigs, putting the two old horses of 1836
upon the course.

Mr. Flam was now at Washington. Our club met and immediately opened
a correspondence with him for advice. "Keep your eye on the Globe,"
was his first admonition. His second was, "Open upon Harrison
your Abolition batteries;--swear that the nomination was procured
by Garrison;--charge Tyler with being a slaveholder, and send that
off to New Hampshire;--prove that Harrison was a stark Federalist
by accepting an ensigncy from the hands of Washington;--but, above
all, turn him into derision for his poverty and plain habits."

It was wonderful to see the zeal with which Quodlibet set about the
task assigned to it by its distinguished counselor. Eliphalet Fox, with
a degree of magnanimity uncommon in an editor, took the field in behalf
of Mr. Clay. "That persecuted patriot," said he, "who deserved more of
his party than any man in the nation, has been treated with absolute
contempt. It was due to his great claims to offer him the Presidency;
but the spirit of abolition swayed this factious convention, and Mr.
Clay was rejected solely on account of his well-known and deep-rooted
attachment to the slave-holding interests of the South. As to General
Harrison," the same article continued, "his humble station as the clerk
of a county court, his insignificance and poverty, will leave the
Democrats but little to overcome. Well has an enlightened and patriotic
contemporary press, a distinguished pillar of the New Lights, remarked,
in reference to the habits of General Harrison's life and the lowness of
his associations, that two thousand dollars a year, a LOG CABIN, and a
barrel of HARD CIDER would induce him to resign all claims to the honors
his inconsiderate friends have proffered him."

The same paper propounded a series of interrogatories skillfully
addressed to John Tyler, inquiring of him--what number of slaves he
employed on his plantation, what was the ratio of their increase in each
year, and how many he had disposed of at various intervals to Southern
traders:--which interrogatories were admirably drawn up in language so
equivocal in its import as to infer, what it did not directly assert, an
extensive traffic in a commodity which could not but excite great
indignation against him among the large mass of voters of all sides in
the North.

How beautiful are these evidences of the operation of our New-Light
philosophy! What a master in this science is the unrivaled Eliphalet

It was soon discovered that our club had fallen into a slight mistake
touching the Log Cabin and Hard Cider, and the charge of poverty brought
against General Harrison. The audacious Whigs had even the effrontery to
adopt the LOG CABIN and HARD CIDER as the emblem of their party, and to
ask the aid of those whom we had inconsiderately derided for living in
those humble cabins and using this cheap luxury of cider, to make war
against our New-Light Democracy. The Log Cabin instantly became the
representative of a sentiment and a word of power; and, in a perfect
tornado of enthusiasm, was raised in every village, hamlet, and meeting
ground in the land.

Truly did this sudden upraising of the emblem strike dismay into our
ranks! Quid consilii capiemus? was our universal question in Quodlibet.
What should we do? Recourse was had to Mr. Flam. "Drop," said that
ready-witted man in reply, "the charge of poverty against Harrison: say
he is rolling in wealth. Bring out your Federalism against him with new
vigor. Call the Log Cabin banner senseless mummery--and declare your
disgust against it, as lowering the tone of public sentiment and morals.
If that doesn't do, get some New-Light Democratic preacher to say that
Hard Cider produces more intoxication than all the liquors the Democrats
ever drank: let him rail against Whig meetings as Hard Cider
orgies--remember the word;--and if we can only identify the New-Light
Democracy with Temperance, its twin sister, we shall produce an
unheard-of effect. Meantime, ply the Abolition battery with all possible
diligence--and vamp up anew that old charge of hiring out criminals to
service; but be careful to make no mistake--describe it as 'selling poor
white men into slavery for debt.' To prove that Harrison is _against_
slavery and at the same time _in favor_ of it, will be a most happy
stroke of our New-Light Quodlibetarian philosophy. Don't fail to do this
with all possible industry. Tell Eliphalet Fox that the endeavor is
worthy of his genius, and if he ever expects to become a great man, now
is the opportunity presented to him."

These counsels gave us great encouragement, and we set ourselves to work
in earnest. The New-Light Club was confined in its operations to the
Borough of Quodlibet. Our whole Congressional district, including
Thorough Blue, Tumbledown, and Bickerbray, required the supervision of a
body which might be organized to regulate the affairs of the canvass
within that limit. This gave rise to the Central Committee. A convention
was called to meet in Quodlibet, where every portion of the district
should be represented. That convention resulted in the appointment of a
Committee of Twelve of the staunchest and most active of the New Lights.
It was called "The Grand Central Committee of Unflinching New-Light
Quodlibetarian Democrats." The name was sonorous, euphonious, and, in a
certain sense, magnificent--but being too long for ordinary use, we
reduced it for working purposes to "The Great New-Light Democratic
Central Committee of Quodlibet." Eliphalet Fox was made President; and
the humble author of these chronicles, in consideration of his fidelity
in the discharge of his duty to the New-Light Club, was chosen to be
Secretary also of the committee--an honor which, with due reverence and
thankfulness, he hath assumed.

From the date of its organization, the committee, a majority whereof
are inhabitants of Quodlibet, meet once a week with most commendable
punctuality, and, as we have reason to believe, with signal usefulness
to the glorious cause in which we have embarked. Zachary Younghusband,
who is a member, gratuitously and generously, out of his mere zeal in
the cause, proffered the use of his room up stairs above the tin-plate
workshop, for our sessions--an offer which we were reluctantly obliged
to decline, after one trial, on account of the noise created by the
workmen below. I mention this praiseworthy offer as due to Zachary, in
favor of whom the committee passed a vote of thanks. We found a more
quiet place of meeting in the back room of the cabinet store of Isaiah
Crape, the Undertaker, for which we agreed to pay fifty cents a week and
find our own lights. In this secluded spot much is done to shape and
direct the destinies of this Great Republic.



The Grand Central Committee having been thus happily organized, devoted
itself with exemplary diligence to the important concerns of the
Presidential election, which, from this time forth, became the
engrossing subject of all men's thoughts. A volume would not suffice to
develop the multifarious labors of the committee. I could not in less
space recount the resolutions, with long argumentative preambles,
linking by means of Whereases, like rings, whole newspaper loads of
facts, invented for the purpose;--the addresses, the speeches copied
from the Globe, and extracts from private letters--to say nothing of the
paragraphs, the sole offspring of editorial brains, and all the other
machinery employed by the committee to defame, traduce, and vilify
General Harrison, for the unpardonable sin of being thought by the Whigs
a fit man to preside over this vast Republic. It was our duty to render,
if possible, his very name offensive in the nostrils of the people. In
this endeavor it may easily be imagined that we found abundance to do in
rummaging up old scraps of history, the falsification of public records,
the oblique interpretation of equivocal laws, and in practicing all the
other customary arts of warfare known to the New-Light tactics.

Admirable is that wisdom of the New Democracy which has provided such an
ordeal of punishment for the man who, in opposition to their wishes,
dares to make claim to the favor of the people. What better chastisement
can be inflicted upon such rash aspirant, than this preliminary gauntlet
which it is ordained for him to run before he can be made sensible of
the insolence of his pretensions? Thrice tormented is it his lot to be,
in the fiery furnace of hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness, before
he shall see the end of his vain probation. As certain tribes of Indians
have a custom of torturing, to the verge of stoutest human endurance,
the candidate for the honor of being accounted a Brave; so in imitation
of this commendable usage did we determine, in no less degree, to
torture the man whom the hardihood of the Whigs had placed before the
nation for the like empty and unavailing honor.

It did truly seem to the New Lights no small insolence of those men who
call themselves Whigs, to propose any individual for the Presidency,
while the people were already favored with a chief whose whole life was
lustrous with the radiance of the Quodlibetarian Democracy. The very
idea of a New Light presupposes an innate, inherent, and intuitive
fitness to fill any station of any kind or degree whatever; and here was
one distinguished as the very fountain of New-Light principles already
at the head of the nation, dispensing the favors and wielding the power
of his great office to the supreme content of all Quodlibetarians--the
only persons in this Republic whose interests deserve to be held of any
account in the concerns of government. Nothing but the rankest faction
could originate an opposition to his beneficent administration. Acting
upon this conviction, the Central Committee certainly did not spare
General Harrison.

It was, however, soon perceived that the General was a little stronger
with the people than we supposed him to be; and sundry were the changes
to which we were consequently obliged to resort in our mode of attack.
The _abolitionism_ we never lost sight of: the _selling of white men
into slavery for debt_ was also a steady topic; and some of the more
ingenious of the committee fell upon the device of proving the old
General _a coward_: but our great effort was to convert him and all his
friends into old Blue-Light _Federalists_. This was always considered
our master-stroke; and I may appeal to all the New-Light papers of this
day for evidence, that in that department of our labors we plied our
task with an industry that has never been surpassed. The Jersey
election, also, we turned to great account in Congress, and certainly
blew our trumpet on that question both loud and long. It was a noble
illustration of our zeal for State Rights, which all the world knows is
one of the favorite articles in our present faith. With an eye to this
same question of State Rights, we succeeded in getting up a tolerable
good commotion in Congress on the subject of State debts; holding it our
duty, as friends of the sovereignty of the States, to do all in our
power to break down their credit, and to warn the world against placing
any confidence in their pledges--although, upon this subject, I am bound
to confess that our success has not answered our expectations.

There was one movement upon which our committee placed great reliance.
Mr. Van Buren, and indeed the whole New-Light Democracy, had so often
changed their course upon public measures, as I have already shown, that
the nation had been by degrees brought into a belief that every public
man was, of necessity, and from the very nature of his organization,
bound to certify, at least once a year, the state of his principles and
the character of his opinions on all questions of policy whatever. Now
Mr. Van Buren, in 1836, came to the Presidency upon a very summary, and
to himself, very comfortable profession of faith. All that he professed
at that time was to follow in the footsteps--which said footsteps had
scope and variation enough to allow him to take any path he thought
proper. General Harrison, in that contest of 1836, did not enjoy this
advantage, but was compelled to be somewhat specific in the indication
of the grounds upon which his election claimed to be based. He had,
consequently, not only been very full in this exposition, but had
likewise referred his interrogators to a vast amount of written and
printed opinions, which on divers occasions, in the course of his public
career, he had found reason to express.

In the present canvass it was determined by our committee, and in fact
by our New-Light friends in general, that he should reiterate afresh
everything he had ever said or written on public matters, and that we
should, by no means, be content with mere references to past
declarations. Indeed, it seemed to our New-Light Democracy that,
inasmuch as _our_ President kept no opinions more than three years old,
at the outside, it was impossible that General Harrison could be so
antiquated as to stick to his for a longer term. Confiding in this
impression, plans were laid by the New Lights to write letters to the
General in the guise of friends, and in case he should refer the
querists to his former expositions, without full and ample repetition of
all he had said before, to bring a whirlwind of indignant reproof about
his ears as a man who was afraid to trust the public with his
sentiments. This stratagem succeeded beyond the most sanguine
expectation of the New Lights. The General was caught in the trap; and
such a clamor as was raised has never before been known in any part of
the world.

"He won't answer questions!" exclaimed the Globe. "Gracious Heaven! what
an insult to the intelligence of a nation of vigilant, truth-seeking,
anxiously-inquiring freemen! A silent candidate! What contumely to the
people! What contempt of the fundamental principles of free government!"

"Gracious Heaven! what contempt of the people!" re-echoed the Quodlibet
Whole Team.

"Gracious Heaven! what contumely!" shouted the Bickerbray Scrutinizer.

"Gracious Heaven!" etc. etc., ejaculated two thousand patriotic,
disciplined, footstep-following papers of all dimensions, from six by
twelve to three feet square, from one end of the Union to the other.
Never was there such a Gracious Heavening carried on in this country!

In the midst of all this successively came on the Connecticut, Rhode
Island, and Virginia elections. The results everybody knows. Although
ostensibly and to outward appearance against us, we saw in them what our
infatuated opponents could not see, the certain token of our success. It
was evident to us, from the returns of these elections, that a great
reaction must occur; and Mr. Doubleday now very sagely remarked, "that
there was no longer room to doubt that we should beat the Whigs in the
fall." But the Whigs, instead of desponding at these events, began to
take heart, and straightway set about getting up a Convention in
Baltimore. Well, that convention was held on the Fourth of May. I was
present, and I pronounce it to have been a _thorough failure_. The Whigs
have represented that at least twenty thousand persons were assembled on
that occasion. According to the accurate system of computation adopted
by the New Lights, and which is infallible in regard to the numbers
attending Whig meetings, the whole assemblage, including boys and
blacks, did not quite reach two thousand, and of those a large number
were New Lights.

Still it is due to truth that I should say there were some timid men in
our committee who were not altogether satisfied with the appearances of
the day. We found it difficult to make them comprehend how the late
elections had operated in our favor. Yet it is a fact that we never were
thoroughly convinced of the _certainty_ of our success until we saw the
returns in these elections. Connecticut and Rhode Island we had before
considered doubtful: we now had no doubt. And as to Virginia, we
became at once fully persuaded that our success there was actually
"brilliant:"--such is the beautiful operation of the New-Light
philosophy in bringing consolation to its votaries under apparent
disaster, and suggesting encouragement where others would despond.

Yet it must not be concealed that these incidents produced some slight
sensation in our committee. Mr. Flam wrote from Washington a letter of
grave reflection. "Although," said he, "our success in Virginia has
transcended our expectations, yet we are not quite certain that our
_abolition_ battery has been altogether _very effective_. Indeed, it is
questioned here whether it would not be as well to abandon it, and even
point the guns in the opposite direction. _Martin has room enough yet to
turn_--and, as it is rather manifest that Virginia considers our charge
of abolitionism against Harrison a _humbug_, and as the whole South will
probably fall into the same opinion, (in which, in my judgment, they
would not be very far wrong,) the propriety of taking the opposite
ground is well worthy of consideration. _Van's affinities are with the
North_; so that if it can be made clearly to appear to be his interest
to take this backward leap, his _Southern principles_ are not yet more
than cobwebs in his way. _We must think of this._ In the mean time, it
is the desire of the President and his managing friends here that you
not only continue to brand the opposition as _Federalists_, but call
them BRITISH WHIGS. This is rendered necessary by the fact that the
opposition have just discovered that Van Buren voted against Madison and
the War, and supported Clinton and the Peace party. By anticipating the
ground and charging the Whigs as under British influence, we shall take
off the edge of this assault, and avoid the effect of another
reminiscence against the President--I mean his instructions to M'Lane,
on the West India Question, which the Whigs impute to him as a truckling
to Great Britain. Besides this, you know, Martin has been very assiduous
of late in courting the good opinion of Victoria--so, by all means,
drive at THE BRITISH WHIGS! Keep your eye upon Amos Kendall, who has
consented to act as fugleman. His health is so much shattered by the
diseases of the Post-office, that he is compelled to retire; and as his
physician prescribes 'the excitement of composition' as his only cure,
he is about to devote himself to the Extra Globe, in which sheet he will
be able to indulge his imagination in the creation of those chaste and
prurient fancies for which he has been remarkable from a child. The pure
and simple inventions of that paper are ass's milk to his wasted

Thus admonished, our Central Committee proceeded in their labors with
the most spirited activity; and it was not long before the whole Union
was ringing with our charge against the British Whigs.

It was at this juncture that I suggested to the committee the
propriety of making this compilation of the Annals of Quodlibet. I
explained to them how important it was that the world should be made
acquainted with the history and character of that New-Light philosophy
which had worked such wonders in our Borough. It was very obvious that
even our friends were not fully aware of the height and the depth of
this sublime theory, nor of its extreme efficacy in the administration
of the government. It had taken the world by surprise, and had grown up,
in a few years, into a system which no naturalist had yet defined; and
had assumed an importance in the affairs of this country which few
persons were able fully to appreciate. Impressed with this conviction, I
disclosed to the committee the purpose which, for some time past, I had
secretly cherished, of collating from my manuscripts all such
particulars in the history of Quodlibet as might serve to elucidate this
subject. The committee knew that my materials were ample; and they had
more than once been pleased to express their admiration of those poor
talents which I had oftentimes exhibited in the effusions of my humble
pen. The subject was now brought up to the notice of the committee on
the motion of my friend, Mr. Younghusband, in a resolution too laudatory
for my modesty to insert in this book. Readily and cheerfully did the
committee condescend to assign this task to my endeavors;--confiding the
matter and the manner thereof to my sole discretion, with the single
injunction that I should abstain from all such incidents of mere
personal or private concernment, as might by captious or invidious
critics be designated as savoring of romance. Faithfully, as in my
judgment, I could, have I obeyed this injunction; and with the frankness
and veracity of one who chronicles for posterity rather than the present
times, have I set forth all such matters of fact and comments of opinion
as shall guide my readers to a true knowledge of the doctrine of the
New-Light Quodlibetarian philosophy.



Just at this period the True Grits once more began to give themselves
airs of importance in Quodlibet. The Tigertail affair had stunned them,
as a blow sometimes torpifies a snake; and like that same snake, which
after a long period of consequent inactivity wakes up in the possession
of new powers of mischief, so woke up the True Grits.

The Florida war, which has been raging on the part of the Indians, and
simmering on our part, for nearly five years past, is undoubtedly the
greatest of all Mr. Van Buren's exploits, and that which will be longest
remembered in the history of this energetic President by posterity. It
has developed the genius of our New-Light Democratic administration in
stronger colors, and speaks more conclusively in favor of the
perseverance and resource of our Great Chief, than any other of the
numerous brilliant acts whereby he has illustrated the principles of
that unterrified and unflinching Democracy, to whom fortune and General
Jackson in partnership, have intrusted the destinies of this Republic.
That war was not only the most righteous and unavoidable in its origin,
but it has also been the most chivalrous in its character, the most
economical in its management, and is likely to be the most productive in
its results--if it should ever please Bill Jumper, or Sam Jones, or
Micanopy, or their heirs and representatives, to allow it to come to a
conclusion--that has ever been waged between two great nations; and will
unquestionably cover our Commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the
United States with as thick a coat of glory as it has already covered
the bravest and keenest-nosed of our bloodhounds with a coat of
mud:--and that is, perhaps, about as thick a covering as a hero of the
President's mould might be supposed able to stagger under, in that long
journey of fame by which he is to march down to after-times.

Among other vigorous measures taken in the prosecution of this
stupendous war, was one that produced no small sensation in Quodlibet. A
tall, raw-boned, slender, and very straight figure of a man, of a
singularly red head and remarkably freckled face--the said figure being
decked in a suit of army regimentals highly bedizened with worsted lace
and cord, begirt with a huge saber, and wearing a plume three feet
long--made its appearance recently in the Borough. This personage
rejoiced in the name and title of Sergeant Trap. He was accompanied by a
drummer four feet six inches high, of a remarkably fierce military
aspect; and by a fifer six feet four, quite as remarkable for the
length of his arms and legs, and the shortness of his sleeves and
pantaloons--both inferring, from their general effect upon his exterior,
a rustical and imbellicose mode of life which reluctantly accommodated
itself to the military requisitions of his station.

The Sergeant and drummer were strangers to our folks; but the fifer was
no other than Charley Moggs, long known as the boss loafer of
Bickerbray, and who was famed for a _single_ accomplishment--the
perfection with which he executed, upon an octave flute, that difficult
but favorite piece of music which goes by the name of "Sugar in a
Gourd;" which accomplishment was the foundation of his present
astonishing promotion under Sergeant Trap, who had come to Quodlibet, in
pursuance of orders from Mr. Poinsett, to pick up as many spare heroes
for the Florida war, as might be found in our environs, willing to dog
the Indians in company with our gallant blood-hound allies lately
arrived from Cuba.

The Sergeant took a small frame house next door to Sim Travers's
Refectory--or rather, as Sim called it, his Drinkery. Here he hung out
the stars and stripes, by a pole which was secured in the second story
window, and from which the flag vibrated in graceful undulations, almost
sweeping the street when the wind lulled, and filling the hearts of Sim
Travers's customers with emotions of martial glory.

Now, Sergeant Trap had not the good fortune to be a New Light; but,
on the contrary, had the misfortune to be perfectly neutral in
politics--and, coupled with that, the additional misfortune to be
sometimes in want of money. In the course of some two or three weeks
residence in the Borough, he had contracted a sort of intimacy with
Peter Ounce, the landlord of The Boatman's Hotel at the upper end, and
on the opposite side of the Basin. This intimacy mainly grew out of the
circumstance that Ounce's hotel furnished very pleasant quarters to the
Sergeant, and had also contributed some five or six recruits to his
standard. Peter Ounce, although a Whig, is a kind-hearted, sociable man,
and disposed to make friendships with those about him; and the Sergeant
having run up a score at the bar, fell into the relation of a debtor to
Peter, which it was not always convenient for him, at a moment,
to obliterate. Besides this, Sergeant Trap had, once or twice,
borrowed small sums from the landlord, and received from him sundry
manifestations of good-will, which laid him, in a certain sense, under
obligations to Peter. The result of it all was, that the Sergeant took a
great liking to his landlord--and, following the suggestions of that
feeling, rather encouraged his men, when they had a little money to
spend in slaking their thirst, to throw it in the way of Ounce.

This state of things existed for some time before it was brought into
public observation. Ounce's liquors were good and cheap, the company
about his hotel was jovial, and Peter himself obliging--in consequence
of all which Sergeant Trap's men went as often to the Boatman's Hotel as
they did to Sim Travers's Drinkery, which was next door to the
rendezvous. Sim Travers, who always kept a sharp eye to his business,
was the first to notice the visits of Trap's men to his rival's bar, and
for some time he bore it with a sulky and uneasy silence. After awhile,
sundry inarticulate murmurs escaped him denoting vexation; and at length
he openly began to shake his head and talk about _the duty_ of soldiers
and officers _in the employ_ of the Government. "_We_ work for the
Government," said he, "and the Government ought to work for _us_. If
public money _is_ to be laid out, them that goes through fire and water
has the best claim. These Whigs are ready enough to touch the cash when
there's profit to be got; while them that sticks by Government in all
their eternal choppings and changings is to be lookers-on. To the
Wieters belongs the Spiles; if that ain't a motter, what's the use of
having it? Go it full, or give it up--that's what I say."

Sim continued to repeat these sentiments for some time, without seeing
things alter for the better. Peter Ounce still continued to divide the
profits of the rendezvous with him. At last Sim became violent. "I'll
make it a committee matter," said be. Thereupon he went immediately to
Eliphalet Fox, and opened to him his whole burden of grievances. "I'll
fix it," replied Fox, very much in the tone of a man of business; and
Sim went home in excellent spirits.

The next Whole Hog had a paragraph touching this subject. "If," said
that paper, "there be one principle which has been more sacredly
established than any other by that great revolution through which we
have just conducted the nation, in redeeming it from the oppressions of
Monopolists and Privileged orders, it is the deep and fundamental truth
that, To those who have won the victory belong its fruits. The Democracy
have an unalienable and indefeasible right to all emoluments, issues,
and profits accruing from the expenditures of the public money. And,
moreover, if there be any class of persons who emphatically _belong_ to
the Government, it is the men who are enlisted for the Florida war. Few
of them are destined ever to return again to the character of citizens:
their _lives_ are undoubtedly the property of the administration, as
every man must see who reflects upon the history of that war. And if
their _lives_ are thus devoted to the cause of the administration, much
more, may it be said, are their _little gains_ to be employed in the
same cause. Notwithstanding this self-evident truth, we know of men now
in this Borough, wearing the livery of the Government, who do not
scruple to enrich the coffers of the British Whigs with the money
lavished upon them by the bounty of the Government, and which has been
wrung from the sweat of the poor man's brow. We trust we shall be
understood, without being more explicit. If this abuse continue after
this hint, we shall act in a more efficient form:--a word to the wise."

Notwithstanding this very significant paragraph, and the fact that the
paper containing it was sent to the rendezvous, and even addressed to
Sergeant Trap by name, the practice complained of was in no degree
corrected. On the contrary, as if from sheer perverseness and contumacy,
the evil, if anything, was rather increased. Eliphalet Fox waited a few
days to see how his paragraph worked. Sim Travers came to him with a
face now much more in anger than in grief. "It doesn't work at all,"
said Eliphalet, adverting to his paragraph, and anticipating Sim's
complaint. "Never mind, my friend," continued he, "this is _my_ quarrel.
Go home: leave all to me!"

Sim went home, confident that he should have ample redress. "If I don't
get it," said he, as he walked toward the Drinkery, ruminating over his
wrongs, "blow me if I don't quit the party. I'm not one of them fools to
go thorough-stitch, and get nothing for it--blow me!"

"I'll see justice done to Sim Travers," said Eliphalet Fox, with an
atrabilious look, when he was left alone, "or die in the attempt--blast

After this blowing and blasting, Sim went about the Borough telling
every man of the persecution he was suffering from the Whigs; and
Eliphalet Fox went about to get up the old Tigertail Convention and
bring the matter before them.

The next evening the convention met, and a Secret Committee was raised
with instructions to write a _lettre de cachet_ to the President,
explaining the flagitious conduct of Sergeant Trap, and demanding his
immediate dismissal from the army. This letter was written by Eliphalet
Fox, and was signed by him and William Goodlack, besides Sim Travers and
Thomas Crop the constable, which two latter made their mark--these four
being the Secret Committee. The letter was duly dispatched to Washington
to be presented by the Hon. Middleton Flam, who was _required_ by the
committee to render this service, from a suspicion that at bottom he was
not very favorable to the True Grits. "Catch a weasel asleep!" said our
worthy representative when this letter reached him. "Gentlemen, I'll do
your bidding, by all means." And so, being wide awake, and fully
determined to give the True Grits no cause of complaint against him, he
went straight with the _lettre de cachet_ to the President. In a few
days the committee received a letter from Mr. Flam, informing them he
had done everything they had demanded: that the President had read their
confidential communication, and without hesitation replied, that if
Sergeant Trap had been a _civil_ officer, he would have dismissed him
without further inquiry, in deference to the respectability of the
committee;--but that, as Sergeant Trap belonged to the _army_, he found
himself reluctantly compelled to proceed in a more formal manner, and
that consequently he should direct a Military Court of Inquiry to take
cognizance of the case: that this Court would sit in Quodlibet where the
prosecutors were requested to be ready to prove the enormities alleged
against Sergeant Trap.

"A Court of Inquiry!" exclaimed Fox, with great emotion. "Is the thing
to be made public? We are deceived, betrayed:--I know by whom," he
added, significantly nodding his head.

"A Court of Inquiry!--proofs, and all riglar--upon oath?" exclaimed Sim

"I'm blest if I go before any court!" said Tom Crop.

"By blazes, I won't!" said Billy Goodlack. "There's _something_ in this
here thing--else why don't the President go smack forward on the

"I'm no prosecutor," said Eliphalet Fox.

"I'm not a persecutor, nother," said Tom Crop. "By blood! I scorn it."

"I'm not going to put my hand on the book, upon it," said Sim Travers.
"If a man can't lodge a complaint without being hauled into court, the
party's broke: a fig for the money! who cares about it?"

"That's my identical sentiment!" said Billy Goodlack. "By blazes, I'm
no prosecutioner!"

The committee was certainly thrown into great consternation. The cause
of this is said to have been that in representing the case of Sergeant
Trap to the President by letter, upon which they expected an immediate
order dismissing the offender from service, they had charged him with a
long list of misdemeanors against the welfare of the Great New-Light
Democratic Party; which they knew, in the first place, had no sort of
foundation in fact, and therefore might be found extremely difficult of
proof; and the attempt to investigate which, in the second place, they
were aware might bring the True Grits into collision with each other in
a manner not very conducive to the harmony of the party. They were,
therefore, not a little thrown aback when they were apprised of the
President's determination to make the charges a subject of inquiry.

We cannot sufficiently commend Mr. Van Buren's caution in this matter,
and the sound New-Light Democratic view he took of the subject. Here was
a grave charge preferred against one of his own servants, imputing to
him a disposition to deal with Whigs--nay, an _actual_ dealing with
them, when there was a New Light to be found in the same town capable of
furnishing the same commodity. Doubtless, upon this nefarious
transaction being fully proved, Mr. Van Buren, like a genuine,
unadulterated Quod, as he is, would dismiss the offender from service,
or even inflict on him other punishment, if it fell in his way. But in
so serious a case he was determined not to be premature in his action:
he would not proceed--unless, indeed, the offender had been a civil
officer--upon such testimony as the confidential letter of a committee.
He takes the only just course--(in this I have reason to believe he was
fully seconded, perhaps even prompted, by our sagacious representative,
the Hon. Middleton Flam)--and that is a formal, solemn, judicial inquiry
into the conduct of Sergeant Trap, to ascertain whether he _really had_
purchased liquors to the prejudice of the Great New-Light Quodlibetarian
Democratic Party. Truly have we reason, day by day, to rejoice in a
President of such magnanimity, such justice, such innate republicanism,
and withal such dignity!

The Court of Inquiry met. It was composed of officers of high rank.
After a long and patient investigation, and the most accurate
ascertainment of the number of gills of rum, whisky, and brandy sold to
Trap's recruits by Sim Travers, and by Peter Ounce, and a careful
arithmetical computation of the value thereof in money; and, after a
laborious examination into Sim Travers's politics, as also into those of
Peter Ounce, the trial resulted in the conclusion that Sim Travers was
not so good a New Light as he professed to be, (this was founded on
evidence that Sim had said "he would leave the party if he couldn't get
his share of spiles,") and that Peter Ounce's politics were, in fact,
not known to Sergeant Trap at the time he dealt with him: whereupon Trap
was acquitted of each and every charge brought against him; although
Theodore Fog, the Counsel for the Secret Committee, took upon himself to
inform the Sergeant, somewhat authoritatively, that as he was now aware
of the dangerous tendency of Ounce's principles, the President would
expect him to close all accounts at the said Peter's bar, and to be more
circumspect the next time.

It was generally admitted, and indeed was the common talk of the
Borough, that in this notable trial Eliphalet Fox dodged, that Billy
Goodlack dodged, that Sim Travers dodged, and that Tom Crop actually
skulked. And the general effect of the whole was to cut the combs of the
True Grits so thoroughly, that it is believed they will never rise
again. Flan Sucker made a jest of this, very much to the annoyance of
his friends--for Flan had taken a violent fancy to Sergeant Trap, and
even at one time, it was supposed, had an idea of enlisting. He used to
sit up with the Sergeant of nights and drink a good deal with him
through the day, and by this means very naturally became quite a crony.
He therefore exulted much more than a True Grit, it was conceived,
ought, at the Sergeant's triumphant acquittal. "Sargeant Trap," said he,
"Locumsgillied Liphlet Fox;" and as this expression requires an
explanation, he gave it, to this effect.

"Joe Snare, the bailiff over here in Tumbledown, fotch a suit before
Squire Honeywell, agin Ike Swingletree for twenty-five dollars, on a
cart which Joe sold him. Joe drawed up a note of hand for Ike to sign,
which Ike did; and Ike never thought no more about it. Joe kept askin'
for his money, year after year, year after year, tell at last he got
tired, and so fotch the suit. Ike found out at the trial that the Squire
was goin' to give judgment agin him; so what does he do but sashrary the
case!--whereby the case was tuck up to the Court. Well, when they came
on to trial there, Ike had a lawyer who found out that the note of hand
was more than three years old, and there hadn't been no promise to pay
in the mean time. Thereupon the Court told Joe Snare, if he hadn't
nothing to say agin' it, they must give judgment for Ike on the Statute
of Lamentations. Is it that, your honor? said Snare--for Joe being
bailiff was pretty well up to law, and pled his own cause;--well, may it
please your honor, maybe the statue is agin me, but, your honor, I
drawed up the note of hand myself, and if you'll just be so kind to look
in the corner under the dog's-ear, you'll see two letters at the eend of
Ike Swingletree's name tantamount to L. S., which, as I understand, your
honor, goes for _Locumsgilly_--whereby it takes twelve years, if I'm not
mistaken, to kill the note of hand, bekase that's a bond. The judge
looked and looked, and then sot up a laugh; and Ike Swingletree began to
turn a little pale. Joe, says the judge, you're right, says he: that
alters the case, and you must have the judgment. Joe, says he, you have
beaten the lawyer and his client both--you're a clever fellow, and will
get your money. So Joe accordingly got the judgment, and came off
mightily pleased. And when he was tellin' me about the matter next day,
he burst out in a great haw-haw, and couldn't hardly talk for laughing:
Ike Swingletree, said he, sashraried _me_, but I reckon I Locumsgillied

"Well, that's just what Sergeant Trap has done to Liphlet
Fox--LOCUMSGILLIED him beautiful."



My patient and indulgent reader will doubtless agree with me that it is
time these gossiping chronicles were brought to a close. Indeed, I am so
near upon the heels of the day in which I write, and the printer so near
upon mine, that little remains to be said. I shall therefore dispatch
what remains of my memoranda with such speed as shall suit my reader's
longing for the end.

Although the New Lights in general bore no ill-will against that
division or faction which has been distinguished in these pages by the
name of True Grits, yet I must say we were not wholly displeased at the
result of Serjeant Trap's trial. On the contrary, many of us chuckled in
secret thereat. Eliphalet Fox we have ever acknowledged to be a useful
man and a zealous--and we have not been backward to award him such meed
as he deserved. But it must be told that in Eliphalet there lurks a
scantling of ambition to climb higher on the ladder than our party is
yet willing to afford to one of his degree. And Eliphalet moreover is
suspected--Heaven forfend that I should do him wrong!--in regard to the
Hon. Middleton Flam our representative, and those who are not altogether
well disposed toward him, I mean Theodore Fog's adherents, (for it is
manifest Theodore is looking to a seat in Congress,) utrosque parietes
linere, as the Latin proverb has it, which in the vernacular signifies
to wear two faces--by no means an uncommon, though a very objectionable
sin in political affairs. This may be a groundless suspicion, as I would
fain hope it is; but it is believed by many, and therefore the more
reason was there for some secret rejoicing in Quodlibet at Eliphalet's
failure in the matter of Sim Travers. It unquestionably hath made our
editor of the Whole Hog more modest and seemly in his behavior of late.

The course of the canvass has been growing every day more and more
intensely interesting to our New Lights; and, bating some few
aberrations into which we have fallen, daily gives us greater promise of
the consummation of all our wishes. The passage of the Independent
Treasury bill has brought us fresh occasion of rejoicing and confidence.
After a long, and, as Tom Crop says, a bloody struggle, lo! it is at
last the law of the land, and all our wishes are crowned. "It is," as
Mr. Flam has declared, "the unmingled, unaided, spontaneous result of
popular sagacity--springing not from executive dictation, nor the
influence of party discipline, but from the intuitive and instinctive
wisdom of millions of freemen ground to the dust by the tyrannical
pressure of associated wealth. It is the law of the land in spite of the
groans of merchants, the wailings of agriculturists, and the murmurs of
mechanics. It seals the fortune of our great chief, and proclaims the
immortal triumph of the New-Light Democracy."

When the tidings of this joyful event reached us in Quodlibet, our first
care was to fire one hundred guns; the next was to illuminate the
Borough, and to bring out all our flags and lanterns; after this the New
Lights were called together in the Court-House, where addresses were
delivered by Agamemnon Flag and Theodore Fog--the latter of whom
actually outdid himself in an effort that would have exalted the fame of
Patrick Henry; and to close this jubilee, the Central Committee passed a
resolution declaring the bill the Second Declaration of Independence.
For this brilliant series of events we have to thank that sturdy
devotion to State Rights which shone with such conspicuous luster in the
annihilation of New Jersey by the New Lights, in the House of
Representatives. But for that glorious stroke of policy the bill would
again have been crushed by the serpent of opposition. Now that we have
gained it, British Federal Whiggery is forever prostrate.

A fortnight after this event brought us the cheering tidings from
Louisiana, to which many an anxious eye had been turned. The elections
there have resulted in a splendid victory--a victory, indeed, not
indicated by the polls, where the majority was _seemingly_ increased
against us--but manifested in the spirit with which our people
everywhere received the tidings. Until this spirit became manifest, it
might be said our hopes were even wavering; but forthwith an unwonted
confidence in our success has spread abroad. The sagacious Mr.
Doubleday, whose face may be called the barometer of our party, and to
whom we all look for predictions of the future, now wears a countenance
wreathed in smiles, and tells us that, from what he knows of the
changeableness of that State, "we may make ourselves altogether certain
of the victory in the fall."

In running over the events of the day, nothing is more deserving of our
animadversion than the ostentatious display, by the British Federal Tory
Whigs, of the _changes_ among the people against the New-Light
Democracy;--as if here and there the change of some recreant Democrat,
who is afraid to follow his leader and chooses to have opinions of his
own, could stay the mighty torrent of attachment to the fortunes of our
chief. We do not deny these changes; but rather rejoice that men, so
little worthy of being called true Quods, should leave our standard to
the tried soldiers who have marched behind it in all its vicissitudes,
and fought its battles through the whole field of political experiment.
By such only can our glorious cause be upheld. But we can recount
changes as well as they.

I might select thousands from our newspapers; and I forbear to do so
only because I think it unworthy of the good sense of a Quod to parade
the names of converts to our party; thus assimilating, as it were, the
people to a flock of sheep, and expecting that more will follow because
many have gone before.

There is, however, one case which I am sure I shall be excused for
bringing before my reader. It is that of the Dibble family of Wisconsin.
It was brought to the notice of our Central Committee by Zachary
Younghusband, who came into possession of the original manuscript
through a brother Postmaster, Mr. Straddle, who resides in the
neighborhood of the converted family, and who, in fact, was the
amanuensis used upon the occasion. Our committee thought this document
of sufficient importance to be copied into the Whole Hog; from whence it
is likely to be transferred into every New-Light Democratic paper of the
country. It certainly exhibits very conclusive as well as very abundant
reasons for change; and may be said to contain the best epitome of the
popular objections of the New Lights to the election of General Harrison
which has yet appeared in print. An aged and widowed father with five
sons--all heretofore steeped to the lips in the slough of British
Whiggery--have had the independence to rise, in the majesty of
freemen, and boldly assert the highest prerogative of an American
citizen--the right of thinking, speaking, and voting in such
manner as a patriotic, disinterested New-Light Postmaster, whose
opinions are above all suspicion, might direct them. The letter of
this never-sufficiently-to-be-admired family will speak for itself. I
have only to remark that, in transcribing it, I have taken the liberty
to correct, what indeed I must call, some glaring faults in the
orthography--which are to be attributed solely to Mr. Straddle, the
Postmaster, who reduced the instrument to writing, and who, by-the-by,
let me say, should be advised to give more of his attention to the
useful art of spelling--but in no other point altering word, syllable,
or letter.

It it is somewhat fancifully headed


     "This is to give notice, that we who have put our sign-manuals to
     the foot thereof, being till now snorting Whigs, having heard our
     Postmaster, Clem Straddle, Esq., say that he knows General Harrison
     sold five white men as slaves off his plantation, and _is_ for
     abolition, and whipped four naked women on their bare backs, and
     _is_ for imprisonment for debt, and moreover _is_ for making a
     King, and goes for raising the expenses of the Government up to
     fifteen millions, and _is_ a coward and wears petticoats, and _is_
     kept in a cage, and wants to reduce wages, and for that purpose is
     a going to have a standing army of two hundred thousand men, which
     our free and independent spirits won't bear, and wants to give the
     public money, which comes from the sweat of our brows, and public
     lands, to Sam Swartout and Price, and a gang of British Whigs,
     which we consider against the Constitution, and moreover we don't
     believe he won't answer, and has got no principles excepting them
     what he used to have, and is against the Independent Treasury which
     was signed Fourth of July, whereby it is the Declaration of
     Independence; and the aforesaid Clem Straddle, Esq., which writeth
     this for us and in our names, being against all office-holders
     which the British Whigs is a striving after, and tells us to vote
     for Van Buren, we being an affectionate father and five orphan
     children without any mother, and never had any since infancy, make
     known that in the next Presidential election in this Territory, if
     we had a vote, and if not we shall vote in Missouri, we goes
     against Tip. and Ty. and all that disgusting mummery of Log Cabins,
     Hard Cider, Coonskins, Possums, and Gourds, in regard of their
     lowering morals, and goes for Jackson, Hickory Poles, Whole Hogs,
     and Van Buren, as witness our hands and seals.

     MALACHI + DIBBLE, Parent.





     "_Note._--Washington and Jefferson is voters, Madison and Fayette
     is at school, and signs for themselves, and Squintus Curtius is
     rising nine."

This letter, it will be admitted by all unprejudiced persons, bears the
most expressive testimony to the natural and unsophisticated character
of its authors; and furnishes us gratifying evidence that the great
Reform, which it has been the labor of our committee to promote, has
begun at the right end, and that the result must be the infallible and
universal triumph of New-Light Democracy over the whole Union.

Upon the adjournment of Congress, late in July, the Hon. Middleton Flam
returned to Quodlibet, to infuse new energy into our indefatigable
committee. Through him we were apprised of many matters of deep interest
touching the progress of the Campaign, which was now growing amazingly
active. Being in the confidence of the President and Amos Kendall, he
could tell us divers things which were not intrusted to the party at
large; and let us into the secrets of the little and big wheels which
were at work in Washington and other places.

These communications were generally of a character to increase the
already sufficient confidence of the party in the re-election of the
President, and still more, if possible, endear him to the multitudinous
friends who expected, in that event, to receive the long-sought and
well-earned rewards due to their personal devotion to his cause. Mr.
Flam had surveyed the whole field of contest, and had arrived at an
accuracy of information in regard to the vote of each State--and,
indeed, of almost every county in the Union--that, to the unstudied in
such matters, would appear to be miraculous--very little short of the
gift of prophecy. It is astonishing to see what proficiency an old and
practiced politician arrives at in predicting, months beforehand, the
precise majorities of the Democratic party over all other parties, in
every election, and especially in settling the result of a Presidential
election. Our sagacious member on this occasion assured us, greatly to
our exhilaration, that we should see, in the Western and Southern State
elections which were about to take place, a most triumphant vindication
of the administration, as well as a most conclusive evidence of the hold
which the President has gained upon the affections of the people.
"Indiana," he said, "is undoubtedly with us by an overwhelming majority;
Kentucky is redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, beyond a shadow of
doubt--(a favorite oratorical expression of his;) and North Carolina is
prepared to hurl the thunderbolts of her contemptuous scorn against
British Whiggery, with the red right hand of an offended Jove. Depend
upon what I tell you, gentlemen. I have carefully surveyed the field. I
am not accustomed to speak without knowledge. I am never mistaken."

Assured and invigorated by these encouraging words, we accordingly wait
with cheerful trust in the coming event.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some nervous New Lights affect to see signs of alarm in the unwonted
disquietude of the President. Rumors reach us that he does not sleep
well; that he writes many letters, slightly variant in sentiment, to
opposite sections of the Union; that he manifests symptoms of an
over-excited zeal to demonstrate the exceedingly prosperous condition of
the party. Besides this, the Vice-President, it is said, thinks it his
duty "to take the stump," which is considered rather an ominous
departure from "the usages of the Democratic party," and, in fact, is
looked upon as a proof that our leaders are growing a little
faint-hearted. But what can be more consistent with the principles and
professions of the New-Light creed? Have we not exploded Mr. Jefferson's
old and unprofitable notion, that the office-holders ought not to
interfere with the freedom of the elective franchise? Is it not a
fundamental point in our philosophy that the offices are "the spoils,"
and that the men who hold them owe it to themselves and their posterity
to fight for them in every way known to Democratic warfare?--How
appropriate then is it that our highest and greatest officers, having
the largest stake, should be in the very front of the battle! Is it not
especially incumbent on the President, being the illustrious head of the
unterrified new Democracy, to show a laudable anxiety for the issues of
the campaign, to write letters suited to every emergency, to rectify
constitutional mistakes, and to mystify every unpleasant fact that might
have a tendency to divide the party or discourage its hopes? If he did
not diligently devote himself to such work he would not be worthy of
that high place we have assigned him in the Quodlibetarian school.

Mr. Flam, moreover, assures us that the President has a profound faith
in "the intelligence and firmness of the people," and is unwearied in
his endeavors to make that clear to the most careless or indifferent
observer. Mr. Flam himself urges it upon the Club as highly important;
that we should give great prominence to this idea of an absolute belief
in the intelligence of the people. He reminds us, that it is a cardinal
maxim in the tactics of the New Lights, when a politician or a party is
suspected of any unwholsome opinion, to repel the effect of this
suspicion by frequent affirmation and repetition of words and sentiments
which in the popular judgment shall be held to contradict it.

Another card in the game our member recommends on the same august
authority: that is, to dwell persistently upon the _Federalism_ of our
opponents, and to speak of it, on all occasions, as a term of "ignominy
and insult," by which, he says, many virtuous and innocent-minded
Democrats may be beguiled into the belief that none of our chief and
most authoritative leaders ever belonged to that venerable party which
once gloried in the name of Federalists.

These and many other valuable suggestions were communicated by our
Honorable Representative to the Club, as matters of moment in the
conduct of our affairs.

It is wonderful to contemplate the influence of these master-minds upon
our Quodlibetarian friends. The President scarcely drops a sentiment
from his pen before it becomes as it were expanded into the common air
of Democracy. The Globe usually leads off: the Whole Hog follows; and
upon their heels the Scrutinizer, with all the rank and file of
typographs, brings up a glorious chorus of repetition which leaves no
hill or valley, mountain or plain in the whole land uninstructed in the
Presidential utterances. Thus is it, even now, with this tribute to the
_intelligence_ and _firmness_ of the people, and this stigma of
_ignominy_ and _insult_ upon the old Federalists.

The Hon. Middleton Flam, Theodore Fog, Agamemnon Flag, and Zachary
Younghusband, (for Zachary has turned orator of late,) and, without
vaunting, I myself may say that the importance of the crisis has even,
on same recent occasions, placed me in the same category--we all give
breath to the same sentiment in speeches by day and by night, and "the
same keynote," to quote a studied and prepared figure of speech from an
admirable oration delivered last week by Agamemnon Flag in front of the
Iron Railing--"The same key note of the _Intelligence of the People_
rings in the discourses of five thousand Orators, and jangles in twenty
thousand resolutions of New-Light Democratic Clubs from the St. Croix to
the Sabine; and through all the windings of its devious way the
_Ignominy and the Insult of Federalism_ murmur on the ear in inseparable
treble accompaniment."


We have just received in Quodlibet the news from Kentucky, Indiana, and
North Carolina. We are lost in amazement! Our cause is no longer in
doubt. Whatever misgivings we may have heretofore entertained, all have
vanished. The majorities Mr. Doubleday accounts for in the most
satisfactory manner,--and though ostensibly on the side of the British
Whigs, they have yet been obtained in such a manner as to render us
perfectly certain of success "in the Fall."

Nim Porter offers an even bet of one thousand dollars on the result, and
is willing to increase it to ten.


Alabama, Illinois, and Missouri, are _in_, at the office of the Whole
Hog. Eliphalet Fox is stark mad with delirious joy. To outward
appearance something is gained by the enemy; but Mr. Doubleday says it
is altogether illusory, and that, in fact, he has never been truly
confident until now. He repeats his assurance, that we must, from the
signs, inevitably carry all before us "in the Fall."

Nim Porter is willing to double his bets.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Longo Intervallo._

The great election is over. Harrison is elected!!!

       *       *       *       *       *

I can write no more at present. I crave time to compose myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

TEN AT NIGHT.--The Club is in session. How blank, dreary, and long

We all feel the calamity, but say little.

Mr. Snuffers is terribly exercised. He thinks the catastrophe
is to be attributed to that unhappy split of the party on the Iron
Railing:--blames Theodore Fog for pressing that point too hard on Ag
Flag and his friends.

Theodore Fog is greatly exasperated at this remark, and threatens to
make a speech next week to explain his views: says he has known all
along that Harrison would be elected,--adding, to the consternation of
every one,--"AS HE DESERVED TO BE!" He affirms angrily, "no party could
get on with that ABSURD(!) Two-Third's Rule, which," he says, "is a
flagrant abnegation, repudiation, and fundamental and atrocious
violation of the old, ancient, and veteran usages of the Democratic
party." He adds, with extraordinary bitterness of expression and
violence of gesticulation, pointing his finger at the Hon. Middleton
Flam, who had just entered the club-room, "I can name the wr-r-retched
intriguer who got it up. As Nathan said unto David--Thou art the man!"

Great confusion in the Club. Mr. Flam grows red in the face. Several
members start from their seats. Mr. Flam shakes his fist at Theodore
Fog, and calls him AN ABOLITIONIST! He would have uttered other
epithets, but Mr. Doubleday catches him in his arms and holds his hand
close over Mr. F.'s mouth. Fog fiercely retorts on Mr. Flam, and
vociferates in the rudest tone--"FEDERALIST!"--He jerks off his cravat
in a highly exasperated manner, evidently threatening a personal
assault. Nim Porter seizes him by the shoulders, and whirls him into a
corner, ejaculating, "The., don't make a fool of yourself!"

The uproar is at its height, when Thomas G. Winkelman, with great
presence of mind, blows out the lights. The consequence is, an abrupt
adjournment and a hurried and excited departure of the members from the

NEXT MORNING.--All Quodlibet is in a state of unparalleled disorder. It
is reported that Theodore Fog has gone over to Harrison. Many True Grits
have taken the same path.

This is the second great Split of the Democratic party. The Hon.
Middleton Flam says it cannot possibly stand a third.

Quis, talia fando, temperet a lachrymis!

       *       *       *       *       *

GENTLE reader, I have performed my covenant. Quod meum fuit præstiti.
What content these chronicles, and the poor skill with which they are
set forth, may have brought to our respectable committee, I am in no
position to decide; since I know that an author is seldom honestly
commended to his face. That there is division of opinion on this matter
I am aware; for upon the reading at the last meeting on Wednesday night,
I could not fail to observe certain signs of dissent, if not of
displeasure, passing between Eliphalet Fox and Zachary Younghusband; and
_that_ more than once. But Mr. Flam, who has always shown himself a true
friend and patron to me, took up my cause with such spirit and effect,
being well supported by Mr. Doubleday and Mr. Snuffers, that a unanimous
vote of approbation was finally passed by the committee. Thus sheltered
under the shield of triple brass and tough bull hide of our Grand
Central Committee, I cheerfully submit my labors to the judgment of the
good folks of Quodlibet; promising, if they approve and should again
call me to the desk, to contribute what my opportunity may allow to the
better elucidation of their character, both social and public, wherein
it is manifest an eager desire to be instructed hath lately grown up in
this nation. Non sum qui oblivionis artem, quam memoriæ mallem.

                                      SOLOMON SECONDTHOUGHTS,


    Transcriber's Note:

    "Flan", an abbreviation of "Flanigan", and "The", an abbreviation
    of "Theodore", are sometimes followed by a period, sometimes not.

    The following is a list of changes made to the original.
    The first line is the original line, the second the corrected one.

    INTERLOCUTORS ACTORS, etc.      21
    INTERLOCUTORS, ACTORS, etc.      21


    CHARLEY MOGGS--Boss loafer of Bickerbray, and promoted in
    CHARLEY MOGGS.--Boss loafer of Bickerbray, and promoted in

    "My dear Middleton," read that," said the Judge.
    "My dear Middleton, read that," said the Judge.

    whom a more pellucid, diaphonous, transparent Secretary
    whom a more pellucid, diaphanous, transparent Secretary

    Flan. being found upon examination to be muddled
    Flan., being found upon examination to be muddled

    that Eliphalet Fox would run Augustus Posthlethwaite
    that Eliphalet Fox would run Augustus Postlethwaite

    ourselves!" The Democracy of Quodlibet never will
    ourselves! The Democracy of Quodlibet never will

    A waive of the hand and a bow showed that Theodore
    A wave of the hand and a bow showed that Theodore

    Lights. But the assuidity with which we endeavored
    Lights. But the assiduity with which we endeavored

    the Massissippi. And they say, moreover, that little
    the Mississippi. And they say, moreover, that little

    cut of Democracy.
    cut of Democracy."

    "I'm not a persecutor, nother," said Tom Crop. By
    "I'm not a persecutor, nother," said Tom Crop. "By

    _firmness_ of the peeple, and this stigma of _ignominy_
    _firmness_ of the people, and this stigma of _ignominy_

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Quodlibet" ***

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