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more extended views. It deserves to be appreciated by the effects which it must produce, as a portion of our national literature, upon the young and ardent lover of his country, in those days when distance of time shall have somewhat blended and softened the ruder features of reality, which now we can hardly help,associating with events so near us both in time and place. How much more delightful to an author, must be the consciousness that he is destined, perhaps, to contribute to the formation of the future character of a part of his countrymen, by mingling his own productions with their earliest and most sacred national associations, than the barren and temporary triumph of having succeeded at last in wringing from the foreign arbiters of literary fate, by a studied and constant.conformity to their prejudices, the wretched privilege of literary naturalization.. *To this consciousness we think Mr. Cooper has an undeniable right; and however our duty may have compelled us to notice the minor blemishes of his book, he has no readers who regard with more complacency than ourselves, what he has already done, or who await with more earnest expectation, what we hope he feels himself bound to continue to do.
Art. VI.-The Journal of Madam Knight, and Rev. Mr. Buck
ingham, from the Original Manuscripts, written in 1704 and 1710. New-York. Wilder and Campbell. 1825.
T'he publication of an old American manuscript is too great a rarity not to be especially entitled to our notice. And here is one so old, so very old, that the great grandchildren of the authoress (if she ever had any) must have died before its publication. We candidly acknowledge, that we felt, at first, unwilling to give credit to so improbable a story, but à sight of the original, with which we have been favored, vanquished all our doubts. It is a genuine antique, a manuscript of unquestionable yellowness, of most manifest fragility, and withal, of a very ancient and fish-like smell.” The antiquarians of Europe may turn up their noses, as they please, at archives but a hundred and twenty years old; we can tell them, that we felt as much delight at the sight of this relic of our fabulous ages, as Champollion must have felt when his eyes first glanced upon the hieroglyphic records of the Pharaohs of Egypt.
The manuscript was written, it appears, in the latter part of the year 1704, seventy-two before the revolutionary war, and is a faithful copy from the diary of a journey from Boston to New-York, undertaken, and (after many wonderful escapes) successfully accomplished, by a very worthy, well-informed, and enterprising woman, of the name of Madam Knight. She was so called, we are informed, out of respect to her character, according to a custom, which, it seems, was once common in New-England. The Bostonians have no reason to be ashamed of Madam Knight. She must have been no common woman, who could intrepidly encounter the hardships and the hazards of a long and tedious journey, two hundred and fifty miles of which were over a tract as little travelled as the country of the Pottowattomies. Who can help admiring the fearlessness, with which, even in that dark age, she speaks against the bigoted inhabitants of Connecticut, who were so “very Riggid in their Administrations towards such as their Lawes made Offenders, even to a harmless Kiss, or Innocent Merriment among Young people.” With how much political sagacity does she declare, that the annual election of governor is “a blessing the good people of Connecticut can never be thankful enough for.". How much to her credit is the gratitude with which she speaks of “the wonderful Civility of the Honble Govern" Winthrop, Esq. A Gentleman of an Ancient and Honourable Family," who commanded her to stay and “take a supper with him." And who has described, with more spirit and fidelity, the manners and the language of the primitive yankees, than the writer of this journal has done, in her lively sketches of the unmannerly Debb Billinges, the petulant Jemima, and the gawky country Bumpkin, with his Joane Tawdry sweetheart?
Madam Knight set out upon her formidable tour on the second day of October, 1704. She appears to have experienced much difficulty in finding a man who would undertake to conduct her through these unfrequented regions. At last she finds the wife of a tavern-keeper, who offers, for a large sum, to let her son John go as guide upon this perilous expedition. Madam Knight demurs to the consideration-money.
“ Then John shan't go, sais shee. No, indeed, shan't hee; And held forth at that rate a long time, that I began to fear I was got ainong the Quaking tribe, beleeving not a Limbertong'd sister among them could out do Madm. Hostes.
“Upon this, to my no small surprise, son John arrose, and gravely demanded what I would give him to go with me? Give you, sais I, are you John? Yes, sais he, for want of a Better ; And behold! this John look't as old as my Host, and perhaps had bin a man in the last Century. Well, Mr. John, sais I, make your demands. Why, half a pss. of eight and a dram, sais John. I agreed, and gave him a Dram (now) in hand to bind the bargain.”-pp. 10, 11.
After a long and tiresome night-ride, through swamps almost impassable, they finally arrived at Billinges, twelve miles from Dedham. On entering the tavern, Madam Knight is welcomed with the following salutation from the eldest daughter of the family. It is a fine specimen of choice yankee, and proves the great antiquity of that interesting dialect.
“Law for me--what in the world brings You here at this time a night? -I never see a woman on the Rode so Dreadfull late, in all the days of my varsall life. Who are you? Where are You going? I'me scar'd out of my wilts with much of the same Kind. I stood agast, Prepareing to reply, when in comes my Guide--to him Madam turn'd Rorering out : Lawful heart, John, is it You ?-how de do! Where in the world are you going with this woman? Who is she? John made no Ansr. but sat down in the corner, fumbled out his black Junk, and saluted that instead of Debb."-pp. 12, 13.
Madam Knight is at last admitted, and is shown to a " little back lento,” filled with the bedstead, where she goes to sleep with “ her head upon a sad-coloured pillow." The next day, about two in the afternoon, she arrives at another inn.
“Here, having called for something to eat, ye woman bro't in a Twisted thing like a cable, but something whiter; and laying it on the bord, tugg'd for life to bring it into a capacity to spread; wch having wih great pains accomplished, she served in a dish of Pork and Cabage."-pr. 14, 15.
The 6 sauce” (meaning the cabbage) serves Madam Knight 6 the whole day after for a Cudd.” The next day, our indefatigable traveller arrives at a river, which she crosses in a Cannoo so very small and shallow," that, for fear of upsetting, she did not venture " so much as to lodg her tongue a hair's breadth more on one side of her mouth than tother." We defy the ingenuity of modern wits to give a better illustration of delicate equilibrium. After passing through sundry dismal forests, and descending divers break-neck precipices, she arrives at last at a “very firce and hazzardos river." Across this she valiantly swims her horse, and soon gets safe to the other side, which is the beginning of the Narragansett country. Here she traverses many “dolesome woods, until she gets up to the top of a hill, from which she sees the rising moon, or, as she more poetically expresseth it, “ the Kind Conductress of the night just Advancing above the Horisontall Line." At the sight of this « fair Planett,” she falls into a rapture, and is inspired with “ many very diverting tho’ts," which she has carefully preserved in metre, for the benefit of posterity. She gets no sleep that night, “ because of the clamour of some of the Town tope-ers in the next room, who were in strong debate concerning the Signifycation of
the word Narragansett.”. One of the topers uttered his etymological decrees with “such a Roreing voice, and such Thundering blows with the fist of wickedness on the Table,” that it pierced her very head. Our afflicted traveller philosophically consoles herself with the fortunate recollection of a friend of hers, who was once kept awake a whole night by the disputations of a country lieutenant, a sergeant, an ensign, and a deacon, “contriving how to bring a triangle into a square.” The day following, she arrives at Mr. Devill's house of entertainment, where “no, or none,” is all the answer she can get from the old Sophister.? Having vented her disappointment in some vituperative stanzas, she comes to Paukataug river, and stops until the tide falls, at a “ Misirable hutt.” At Stonington, which she reaches the next day, she is joined by an old man and his daughter, “on a sorry lean jade, wth only a Bagg under her for a pillion." The following is too graphic, and too characteristic, to omit:
“Wee made Good speed along, wch made poor Jemima make many a sow'r face, the mare being a very hard trotter; and after many a hearty and bitter Oh, she at length Low'd out: Lawful Heart, father! this bare mare hurts mee Dingeely, I'me direfull sore I vow; with many words to that purpose : poor Child, sais Gaffer-she us’t to serve your mother so. I don't care how mother us't to do, quoth Jemima, in a pasionate tone. At which the old man Laugh't, and kik't his Jade o' the side, which made her Jolt ten times harder:
" About seven that Evening, we come to New-London Ferry: here, by reason of a very high wind, we mett with greąt difficulty in getting overthe Boat tos't exceedingly, and our Horses cappered at a very surprising Rate, and set us all in a fright; especially poor Jemima, who desired her father to say so jack to the Jade, to make her stand. But the careless parent, taking no notice of her repeated desires, She Roared out in a Passionate manner: Pray suth father, Are you deaf? Say so Jack to the Jade, I tell you. The Dutiful Parent obeys; saying so Jack, so Jack, as gravely as if hee'd bin to saying Catechise after Young Miss, who with her fright look’t of all coullers in ye Rain Bow."--pp. 31, 32..
The next day Madam Knight leaves New-London under the protection of " a young gentleman," whom she pays well for his trouble, and prosecutes her toilsome journey towards NewHaven. During the process of her approximation to this place, she encounters divers moving accidents. She rides through “ Rodes Incumbred wih Rocks and mountainos passages;" — she is thrown from her horse in going over a bridge;—she pays sixpence for a dinner, “wch was only Smell;"—and in answer to an inquiry about the road, she is told to “ride on a little further, and turn down by the corner of Uncle Sam's lott.” From all these jeopardies, she providentially escapes, and arrives at New-Haven about two in the afternoon. Here she informs herself of the manners and customs of the people, (some curious instances of which she gives,) and is moreover told “ a pleasant story about an Indian, a black man, and a pair of justices," which the reader will find preserved for him in the book. The Narragansett Indians were “ the most salvage of all salvages that she had ever seen;" they mourned for the dead, and were very fond of rum.
We pass by the curious specimen of New-Haven patois, which seems to have altered very little for the last hundred and fifty years. The behaviour of the simpering Bumpkin, and the curtsying Joane, at the merchant's store, is described with great spirit, and shows how steady have been the habits of the simple rustics of Connecticut. On the morning of the sixth of December, (having stayed at New-Haven six weeks “ to rest and recruit herself," before she proceeded on her journey,) Madam Knight sets out for New York, reaches “Northwalk," about noon, and arrives at Rye about nine o'clock at night. After a vigorous but unsuccessful attempt on the part of a degenerate Mounseer to fabricate a fricasee for her, Madam Knight goes indignantly to bed, but finds it impossible to sleep for the hardness of the husks, and the shortness of the covering. “On the strength of a good breakfast,” however, which she gets at NewRochelle, she reaches New-York the next day about an hour before sunset.
The description of New-York and its inhabitants is, as far as it goes, extremely diverting; we only regret that there is not more of it. The following is a specimen :.
“They have Vendues very frequently, and make their Earnings very. well by them, for they treat with good Liquor Liberally, and the Customers Drink as Liberally and Generally pay for't as well, by paying for that which they Bidd up Briskly for, after the sack has gone plentifully about; tho’ sometimes good penny worths are got there. Their Diversions in the Winter is Riding Sleys about three or four Miles out of Town, where they have Houses of entertainment at a place called the Bowery, and some go to friends Houses who handsomely treat them. Mr. Burroughs cary'd his spous and Daughter and myself out to one Madame Dowes, a Gentlewoman that lived at a farm House, who gave us a handsome Entertainment of five or six Dishes and choice Beer and metheglin, Cyder, &c. all which she said was the produce of her farm. I believe we mett 50 or 60 sleys that day—they fly with great swiftness, and some are so furious that they'le turn out of the path for none except a Loaden Cart. Nor do they spare for any diversion the place affords, and are sociable to a degree, they'r Tables being as free to their Naybours as to themselves.”-pp. 55, 56.
We have not room for any part of the catalogue of miseries