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that he could scarcely move from his chair. In this situation he continued many days, until it began to he rumored abroad that the member for Queens was not going at all. His friends protested that he was providentially hindered, but his opponents raised a great-hue-andcry, and declared that his sickness was only a sham. Had they seen him in his easy chair, his whole countenance distorted with fierce pangs, they might have stretched their charity a little.
There was a little spit-fire newspaper, printed in the neighboring village, which espoused a different side in politics. In it he found an enemy more bitter than gall, and articles were frequently seen in it to this effect :
"The MEMBER FOR QUEENS. – We wish to be informed what has become of this gentleman, who, up to this time, as we are credibly told, has not taken bis seat in the Assembly. It cannot be suspected that we derive any peculiar pleasure from seeing this section of country misrepresented; but inasmuch as his party left no means untried, eiiber of bribery or corruption, to elect Mr. Fink, we cannot but condole with them that they should have spent their strength for nought. We have heard it rumored that some aches or ailments are the cause of this tardiness. How this may be, we cannot say; but we do say, and we have it on good authority, that Mr. Fink was seen, a day or two ago, riding about his farm, on a load of mossbonkers, apparently in robust health. Who can inform us whether inis county is to be unrepresented or misrepresented the present session? We pause for a reply.'
Now all this was very provoking; and every week this little insolent print made the delay of Mr. Fink the theme of its leading editorials, which were sent post-haste to him, at Rockaway, although he did not take the papers. When he had spelled them out, they wounded him very deeply. But what prevailed on him most, was a visit from the man in the sulky, with grass-hopper springs. He remonstrated sternly with him ; represented the injurious conversation to which his tardiness gave rise, and the necessity of his presence in the Assembly; and obtained from him a promise, that he would start as soon as his health became a little better. Mr. Fink thought it most prudent to fulfil this promise; and finding it impossible to keep clear of breakers at Rockaway, resolved to take refuge in more quiet waters.
He accordingly began to make the requisite preparations. He procured a bran-new suit of pepper-and-salt clothes, laid aside his seven-leagued boots, with which he went into the bay, for a pair of neat cow-hides, with substantial soles, and bought a new pinch-beck watch, that he might give the time of day to members of the assembly. Having got into such respectable trim, and being now utterly
without excuse,' he appointed a time for his departure, and would certainly have got off, if a violent tempest had not arisen, on the eve of that very day, which threw upon the sea shore an unheard of quantity of - clams! The gale had been universal. Every where the waters rose to an unprecedented height, tearing away the ancient land-marks, and sweeping up marine productions on the land. But it was not that the waters of the North River were so swollen, that it was dangerous to attempt them, on the next day, that Mr. Fink staid behind. For the noble ships which make the Hudson their home, regard not the boisterous winds or waves, which deterred the old mariners of that sturied river. And whether its surface is agitated by storms, or reflects, as in a mirror, a thousand romantic scenes,
magnificently graceful, they float onward to their haven, as a wellpoised bird cuts through its native air.
The next morning, Mr. Fink walked along the sea-shore. He beheld the ocean still raging with great violence, some ships in the offing, and many pieces of wreck-wood cast upon the strand. But what engaged his attention most, and made his heart beat highest, was, as far as the eye could reach, the whole sea shore covered with clams, and cockles, opening and shutting, and gasping in the agonies of death. Then he reflected, that soon the noon-tide would beat upon them, and they would be dead; and what a glorious thing it would be, if he could gather them all up; for neither mossbonkers nor horsefeet would enrich his soil so much. As long as he had lived at Rockaway, such a phenomenon he had never bebeld before. Here were more clams voluntarily given up, and thrown high and dry by the mere force of wind and tide, than he could scoop out of the sands with his toes in a century ! What advantage would it be, if they were left to decay on the sterile beach, or if their dead carcasses were sucked back into the sea ? Why, the very lime of their shells would be an invaluable treasure. After much reflection, he made up
his mind that, come what might, he would remain at Rockaway that day, and gather in this harvest of clams. And he did so. He procured a pair of stout oxen and a wagon, and ploughing down to the water's edge, toiled diligently until evening, and collected an enormous heap. The next day he was similarly employed. On the third, he bestirred himself in earnest, for the session was now half over at Albany, and his constituents were very clamorous. His affairs being all wound up, and his will signed, he kissed his wife, shook hands with his friends, enveloped himself in his great coat, of seven capes,
getting on the box of the Rockaway coach, went off with a hurrah.
He travelled very comfortably over the salt meadows, until he came to Goose Creek. There he found, that the bridge which spanned that renowned stream with a single arch, under which sedgeboats could pass with their sails set, and which is thence called the • Big Bridge,' had been swept away by the freshet. Not a beam or splinter of it remained. This not only excited his deep astonishment, but threw him into a train of reflections, as to what would become of the dividends of the bridge company for the ensuing year; and finally, by compelling him to go a roundabout
journey, awakened his fears lest he should reach the city too late for the evening boat. On intimating this, the driver whipped up his horses to get the member of assembly down in time. But steam waits for nobody, and steamboats are very apt to give one the slip. Now when the traveller has entirely missed his reckoning, and arrives only to see a long line of smoke vanishing in the distance, he is apt to turn on his heel with a stoic's indifference, remarking that it cannot be helped, and what cannot be helped, becomes more tolerable by endurance. But it is a very aggravating circumstance, to find the boat only a half a dozen revolutions of the wheel from the wharf, and the whole deck crowded with human faces, grinning at you. The disappointed man is smitten with remorse, and begins to reason, that if he had left his home a half a minute sooner, or if he had not stopped to drink a glass of water,
way on his
or a glass of something stronger, or if he had not shaken hands with a friend, all this vexation might have been avoided.
Mr. l'ink, being a corpulent man, arrived almost breathless, drag. ging a white trunk after him; and swaying his hat to and fro, roared out, in the extremity of his distress : Stop, capting! I am the legislative of Long-Island!' Whether through the influence of friendly feelings, or the apparition of a man with a white trunk, the captain, who was a Long-Island man, observed the signal. The bell tingled, the wheels stopped, then retrograded; the boat approached the wharf, Mr. Fink sprang on board, and grasping the captain's hand, with breathless gratitude, ' Capring,' said he .I-I- I will go into the cabing. This main difficulty being surmounted, when he had recovered breath, he congratulated himself that he was now in the fair way of his duty. He ate his supper with a good appetite, indulged in sundry conversations with some friends whom he found aft, and went to bed and to sleep, at an early hour. A little incident, however, occurred on the journey, which I will mention. Waking up in the middle of the night, he put his hand under his pillow, theu passing it over his brow, as if to ascertain whether his present sensations were falsely suggested by dreams, suddenly flung himself out of his birth on the floor of the cabin, and set up a prodigious cry, · Capting, capting! I'm robbed ! I'm robbed!' This soon woke up the passengers, who one after another drew aside their curtains, surprised at seeing a man undressed and frantic, hopping about the floor. The good captain, hearing a tumult; and suspecting something wrong in his boat, was soon at hand; but he found it impossible to soothe Mr. Fink, who continued to cry out: 'Capting, capting! I'm robbed ! I'm robbed!' Lights were soon brought, and search commenced, when the money was found wrapped up in a paper, untouched, upon the cabin floor. On this Mr. Fink, feeling greatly relieved, went to bed again, and slept until morning; and when he awoke, the boal was lying at the Albany wharf. That very day, he took his seat in the assembly, making no attempt at a speech, either at that time or any other. Our legislative bodies might be esteemed fortunate, if all their members were as cautious as he, not to waste the public time in verbiage. He simply said ay, or nay, when the votes were taken; and sometimes saying ay, when he should have said nay, and the contrary. He soon became acquainted with some of the members, with whom he could associate on the most familiar terms. He found some boatmen from the lakes and western waters. On the whole, he conducted himself very properly, and gained the affections of the sove. reign people; so that when the last November elections came round, he boasted that he had gone ten years successively to the assembly, and could go ten more, if he liked, but he was getting to be a man in years, and wished to withdraw from public life. He therefore resigned his pretensions to another. That person was Mr. Silas Roe.
This gentleman, as I have already intimated, came into the field at a very critical moment. Time was, when the Fink party would have espoused his cause, heart and hand ; and if a recent division had not occurred among them, his success could not have been doubtful. But civil strife is the bane of parties, as it is of governments. The staunch yeoman of Long-Island are seldom known to waver in their
allegiance. Through evil report, and good report, they adhere to the faith of their fathers, and with a well-meant, though often a mistaken policy, rejoice in the distinctive appellation of their political sects. But names are not the criteria of principles, being too often inscribed on false flags, and piratical, to deceive the ignorant and unwary. They are the means made use of by designing demagogues, who have shifted themselves to a very different platform from that occupied by the illustrious men whose names they have the hardihood to assume. Some of the Fink party now gave it as their opinion, that the present lamentable defection of the public credit was not ultimately owing to “spekellation,' as they had been led to believe, but to the carryings-on' of this government. And whereas, when formerly so charged, they had been accustomed to say, 'Oh no, gin the devil his due; we guess 'spekellation' had something to do with it,' they now adopted a different tone. Bob Kushow led off with these opinions. He had reached the solemn conviction, arrived at by some ingenious mental process, and instigated by the rumors of the day, of which he had got hold of the wrong end, that the government had given secret orders to its emissaries to buy up the Crow-hill estate, at * an immense sacrifice,' that they might sell it off again in more prosperous times. He said that Uncle Sam had been 'carrying on a large stroke of late, but he was a leetle too much for him for that once ; and he guessed it was high time for the people to say who should rule over them!'
It was to counterbalance the dangerous tendency of such men, and of such principles, that the Fink party came early into the field, at the present contest. They were fully organized, and had
eternal vigilance' as their motto. Already they assumed a bold, confident air, to inspire their friends with courage, and to strike consternation into their enemies. While they resolved themselves into one vigilance committee, they appointed select vigilance committees in each township, to pry into all places where voters might effect a lodgment, to find out who were ‘right,' and to convert those who were wrong. To this end, they were to distribute Mr. Humbug's speeches, delivered in the senate chamber, on the financial affairs of the country, which had been very serviceable in opening the eyes of the people. But if there were any perverse men and wrong-headed, on whom neither persuasion, nor argument, nor the 'committee on drams,' could produce any effect, they were then to be delivered over to the tormentors, to be dealt with as it seemed good. At the same time, while pursuing this virtuous line of conduct, they were zealous in circulating such reports as would place the claims of the opposing candidate in their proper light.
• He is opposed to the interests of the poor man,' said they; he is for selling the town lands, where the poor man feeds his cow!'
• He promised Bill Mills a five dollar bill, if he would vote for him, and wants to buy our votes for money!'
• He was in favor of a chaplain in the last legislature, and would spend the people's money for priestcraft!
He lives in a fine house!' • He rides in his carriage !' • He has got two coats !'
He drinks champagne wines, when the 'bone and sinners' can't get nothing better than small beer!'
• He wears a wig !' Then, again, the feelings of particular classes were appealed to :
• Butchers ! will you vote for a man who has charged you with nefariously raising the price of beef ?'
• Cobblers ! will you vote for one who invariably speaks of shoeleather with disgust, and who discharged Mr. Waxend from his em
Tinkers ! will you give your support to one who has spoken despitefully of your whole fraternity, and who was heard to say, in the presence of witnesses, that he wOULD NOT BE A Tinker !!!'
* Irishmen! can you repose any confidence in a man who was on a jury which brought in a verdict of guilty' against Paddy O'Cork, for committing a diabolical murder, in consequence of which he was hanged by the neck until he was dead ?'
Such disinterested appeals could not be without their effect. But a meeting was held, on the eve of the election, at the head-quarters of the Fink party, which augured well for their cause. All were in high spirits, and the utmost unanimity prevailed. First of all, a shrill fife anda drum perforined an inspiriting march, called 'Hail Columbia,' after which Mr. Bang was enthusiastically called for, and rose in obedience to the meeting. "Gentle - men,' began the orator, dallying, in mild courtesy, with the first syllable. Now the question suddenly arises, how he had the hardihood to make use of the word gentlemen, in such an assembly as that before him; here a 'shocking bad hat,' there half a shirt, and tattered breeches; when he must have known that titles were offensive.
• Oh — ah! that is all very true; but then there is something in the very sound of gentle-men,' which is musical, conciliating, delightful; and although, when applied to a vagabond, in his individual capacity, it possesses a sharp irony, yet when many of them are snugly packed together in a room, and become merged in the sovereign people, each one silently appropriates the term, and becomes filled with exuberant gratification.
But there was a better reason than all this. I speak it sub rosa, but when the orator was called on, he had actually nothing to say; and when that is the case, and one can linger a little on the word 'gentle-men,' it gives him an opportunity to look ahead, to see if any thing can be collected from a country where all is barrenness. •Gentlemen,' said he, pausing, and compressing his lips; the assembly held in their most sweet breaths,' and a great stillness ensued, insomuch that you might have heard a pin drop; it is the remark of an abler individual than I am ; of one who is now in his grave; of a Franklin'
* A Franklin!' screamed an old codger, in a nervous extacy of delight, as he dashed his cane upon the floor. A stamping of heels followed, in which the quotation was completely lost.
• I might also cite the opinion of a Jefferson
Here the cheering lasted for several minutes, which was so loud that the reporter could not take down the remarks of Mr. Bang. But for what purpose, my fellow citizens, have these great men lived in