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lation; and her own light falling on this picture, gives to it an appearance, at which the painter throws down his brush, and the poet abandons his vocabulary in despair. I think it would be, on the whole, advisable for me to let it alone
myself. But if the tide of time should bear my name, by any chance, to posterity, I wish that it may be associated with scenes like these ; where the generations who are to come will for ever repair, to admire the prodigality of nature, in combining all that is majestic and soft, abrupt and graceful, in the boundless variety of her works.
About a mile and a half from the Hoboken Ferry, and near the celebrated Weehawken bluff-on whose summit a true poet has drunk in inspiration, and within whose shadow the blood of brave men has been shed in inglorious combat,—there is a remarkable precipice called the Devil's Pulpit. I have thought it thus essential to fix its locality, as it is the scene of a wellknown, but unrecorded tale of the olden time, which it is now my province to relate. Here, the mountainous ridge I have spoken of, as extending from Bergen heights, embraces the Swartwout meadows, and descends, with its lofty semicircle of rocks and trees to their level; the picturesque road winding at the base, and be
ginning to climb the Weehawken hill. At this point, on the eastern extremity of the ridge, just where it begins to sink towards the river, stands the precipice I have named, being a perpendicular rock of twenty or thirty feet in height, in the midst of a thin clump of trees. Its top is crowned with a thick square projecting block of stone, resembling strongly a well-stuffed pulpit cushion ; while a regular flight of natural stairs leads up to it from the left. From it you have glimpses through the boughs, of the island of New York, sprinkled with its villages and villas, and terminating in the city, with all its spires and towers--of the intervening river and the spacious harbour, the green windings of the Jersey shores, and the distant hills of Staten Island. You see the white sails gleaming and gliding to and fro on the broad waters beneath you; you hear the quick heavy beat of paddles from the steam-boats; and when the air is more than commonly quiet, the everlasting murmur and coil of the great city hums drowsily on your ear.
This precipice became famous for some remarkable adventures, which happened there some sixty or seventy years ago, when the city of New-York was about an eighth of its present size. From the pictures, books, and documents in my possession, I could describe it almost
accurately enough for a surveyor to lay it out again, according to its plan at that day, and with more than sufficient precision to enable a painter to depict it. But I am cabbined, cribbed, and confined by the limits necessity compels me to observe, and I must get along with my story; for, unlike the knife-grinder, “ I have one to tell sir."
There was, then, at this time, a tailor from London, who kept a shop at the corner of Wallstreet and Broadway, within the shadow of that venerable old Trinity Church, whose antique magnificence, gilt cherubim, loud organ, and brass chandeliers, called forth the eulogium of the historian of New-York; and whose place is imperfectly supplied by the semi-gothic structure which now occupies its site. This artist was born in the year 1736, and baptised by the name of William Vince, according to the parish register of St. Giles's, Cripplegate ; but he called himself Villiam Wince, and assumed no small airs among the provincials, on the strength of his having seen the Lord Mayor of Lunnun, and“ woted" at a Common Hall. But he did not find his patronage coextensive with his pretensions. All his gold lace and embroidery, stocks with gilt buckles, solitaires, flimsy silk stockings with gold clocks, faded damask and brocade, black, blue,
green, crimson, scarlet and yellow silk breechespieces, black, green and crimson Genoa velvet, cut and uncut velvet shapes, gold and silver knee garters, &c. remained on his shelves, and scarcely paid for their advertisement in the Post Boy. He had bought the sweepings of the shop of a bankrupt brother of his craft, but brought them to the wrong market. The stubborn burghers continued to employ Von Snick and Hoffmeyer, in Crown-street, or La Culotte, in Hanoversquare. The good and sober folks of that day preferred such coats as would keep them warm, and endure so much wearing as to be often bequeathed as a rich legacy unto their issue. The dignitaries of Church and State, that is to say, the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Chief Justice De Lancey, Judge Ludlow, Counsellor Murray, the Rector of Trinity Church, and the collectors of his Majesty's Customs, regularly 'imported their apparel by the British packets.
This Cockney Prometheus of the external man, had, therefore, little employment. Some young lawyer occasionally favoured him with a call, who was ambitious of “ going smarter" than his neighbours, and who relied for funds to discharge his bill, not on obtaining his costs in a successful suit, but on getting a suit to make costs in. And sometimes a midshipman or an
ensign would want to be fitted up, in a great hurry, which proved to be no exaggeration, as his haste allowed him no time to settle his accounts.
A crisis was approaching in the poor tailor's life; and a strange planet it was that presided over that tide in his affairs, which led him to dispose of much of his trumpery.
The eldest son of the clerk of Trinity Church was named Matthew Oakes, by right; but the Dutch people called him Tevas, and the English Mat and Matty. This young gentleman's father had brought him up with a noble ambition of making him his successor in his semi-sacerdotal office. But it was soon very obvious that these fond parental hopes would never be fulfilled; for master Mat was an irreverent cub, who ate nuts in church, and would not learn his catechism, and often forgot to take off his hat to the rector. His reading was generally such a various reading of the text as confounded all criticism : and his singing certainly resembled more the song of the sweeps than that of the seraphim. When he indulged his lungs in that exercise, the voices of the quire and the thunders of the organ were quickly silenced, to the unutterable scandal of the grave and devout audience.
He was, therefore, placed by his disconsolate