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M. A Whic [ Irving, Washington ].
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD TO THE
Among many Surprising and Curious Matters, the Unutterable
BY DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER, Á
De waarheid die in duifkter lag,
Diz komt met klaarheid aan den dag.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PUBLISHED BY INSKEEP & BRADFORD, NEW YORK;
Copy-right secured according to Law.
NEW YORK, &c.
Containing the first part of the reign of Peter Stuy
vesant and his troubles with the Amphyctionic Council.
In which the death of a great man is shewn to be
no such inconsolable matter of sorrow—and how Peter Stuyvesant acquired a great name from the uncommon strength of his head.
To a profouk; philosopher, like myself, who am apt to see ctear through a subject, where the penetration of ordinary people extends but half way, there is no fact more simple and manifest, than that the death of a great man, is a matter of VOL. II.
very little importance. Much as we think of outselves, and much as we may excite the empty plaudits of the million, it is certain that the greatest among us do actually fill but an exceeding small space in the world; and it is equally certain, that even that small space is quickly supplied, when we leave it vacant. "Of what consequence is it," said the elegant Pliny, "that individuals appear, or make their exit? the world is a theatre whose -scenes and actors are continually changing." Never did philosopher speak more correctly, and I only wonder, that so wise a remark could have existed so many ages, and mankind not have laid it more to heart. Sage follows on in the footsteps of sage; one hero just steps out of his triumphant car, to make way for the hero who comes after him; and of the proudest monarch it is merely said, that -"he slept with his fathers, and his successor reigned in his stead."
The world, to tell the private truth, cares but little for their loss, and if left to itself would soon forget to grieve; and though a nation has often been figuratively drowned in ters on the death of a great man, yet it is ten chance to one if an individual tear has been shed on the melancholy occasion, excepting from the forlorn pen of some hungry author. It is the historian, the biographer, and the poet, who have the whole burden of grief to sustain; who-unhappy varlets!--like undertakers in
England, act the part of chief mourners—who infilate a nation with sighs it never heaved, and deluge it with tears, it never dreamed of shedding. Thus while the patriotic author is weeping and howling, in
prose, in blank verse, and in rhyme, and collecting the drops of public sorrow into his volume, as into a lachrymal vase, it is more than probable his fellow citizens are eating and drinking, fiddling and dancing; as utterly ignorant of the bitter lamentations made in their naine, as are those men of straw, John, Doe, and Richard Roe, of the plaintiffs for whom they are generously pleased on divers occasions to become sureties.
The most glorious and praise-worthy hero that ever desolated nations, might have mouldered into oblivion among
the rubbish of his own monument, did not some kind historian take him into favour, and benevolently transmit his name to posterityand much as the valiant William Kieft worried, and bustled, and turmoiled, while he had the destinies of a whole colony in his hand, I question seriously, whether he will not be obliged to this autheutic history, for all his future celebrity.
His exit occasioned no convulsion in the city of New Amsterdam, or its vicinity: the earth trembled not, neither did any stars shoot from their spheres--the heavens were not shrowded in black, as poets would fain persuade us they have been, on the unfortunate death of a hero--the rocks (hard