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qualities of his heart you may best learn from his epistolary correspondence with his friends, where a light, flowing style is the vehicle of the most noble feelings. He is prolific in anecdotes, and acts what he relates ; frequently converting mere bagatelles into dramas. The features and voice of others are accurately reflected in his own. Here, too, we see something of that language of action, which is so true to nature, and so effective, in his great tragic personations. I recently beheld the power of this silent language, in the daggerscene of Macbeth. A gentleman who was in my company at the theatre, wholly unacquainted with the English language, fell horrorstricken and senseless upon the floor, while Garrick was clutching the 'air drawn-dagger of the mind.'
MEMORIALs are ye, of time passed away!
The summer wind plays lightly in the bough;
Seeking for light! for light! beyond the skies,
E'en to the glorious gate of paradise !
By one who dwells in eastern lands afar,
Steers his lone bark by yonder radiant star;
Thou, where the storm-vexed waters onward sweep;
To point ye homeward o'er the pathless deep!
OR THE ELECTIVE FRANCHISE: A SKETCH OF LONG-ISLAND, DRAWN FROM LIFE.
BY TAE AUTHOR OF THE CIRCUS,' ETC.
Those persons prophesied truly, who said that the November elections would be the hottest ever contested in the town of and throughout the whole of Queens county. So equally were the parties balanced, that the majorities were calculated by units, and the slightest dereliction on the part of either, would be enough to turn the scale of victory. The most powerful efforts were therefore to be made by each, to bring their entire weight to bear, while those who took no active part, were about to look on with the eagerness of those who gaze upon the ground where Greek meets Greek, in an exactly equal contest, and where skilful tactics keep the issue in suspense.
The faction whose motions we are chiefly to consider, had upon their ticket for assemblyman, the name of Mr. Silas Roe, a gentleman who was a butcher by profession, a man of good intentions, of unflinching honesty, and of no education. This last attribute was not considered essential by the party who had placed him in nomination. They had much rather he should 'toe the mark,' and did not like your men of college learning. Such persons, they said, were above the people, not of them, aud could not know their wants. Their principles on this point had found a triumphant vindication in Mr. Roe's predecessor, the Hon. Sandy Fink, who, it was notorious, could hardly write his own name, and yet who stood forth so prominently in the field of politics, and received the favor of his constituents so often, that I shall begin by presenting a slight sketch of his political career.
MR. SANDY FInk was descended from an illustrious race of clammen, who dwelt on the south side of Long-Island. There is a place called Rockaway, open to the sea, whether so named from a race of Indians, now extinct, or from the rocking of the waves, I cannot tell. In summer, it is an acceptable retreat for citizens, who flee from the fury of the dog-star, or from the odors of the town. Here, when you have escaped the weary monotony of home, you may enjoy that public privacy, which is so congenial to the reflective mind; the screaming of many children trundling their hoops, and the delightful society of nurses. To these advantages, which are common to other watering places, Rockaway annexes others, which are peculiarly its
Here is a noble Pavilion, with a piazza overlooking the sea, and epicurean tables, which all the elements are ransacked to supply. Before
you is an illimitable stretch of white sands, and the sea, the sea, the open sea,' rolling in boundless magnificence. It is impossible to enumerate all its delights. By day, the breeze comes up cool and refreshing; every night there are dances; and Neptune is delighted with the sound of the viol, blending with the music of the waves.
Not far from this place lives the Hon. Sandy Fink. He occupies the comfortable abode of his fathers, and followed, until very lately,
the same pursuits. These were sufficiently indicated by the appearance of the premises. Seines and nets were extended over the fences; here sat a bevy of decoy-ducks, and there lay oars, harpoons, eel-spears, and all the implements of fishery. Living on a small farm, he made some attempts at husbandry; but the characteristic of the soil, on the south side,' is sand; and although the plough-share had done its duty, and mossbonkers and horse-feet had been strewn over it, to enrich it, it yielded, in the best seasons, only a miserable crop; so that Mr. Fink seldom experienced the exuberant complacency of the worldling, who invited his soul to take its ease for many years, and to be merry, for his wine-presses were running over, his barns and his store-houses filled with plenteousness. He was an amphibious being; and when provisions were scarce, and the meal waxed low in the barrel, it would have gone hard with him if he could not have taken to the water.
He straitway seized his spear, and began to stab eels in the neighboring creek. Now as many persons have never learned to discriminate rightly between an eel and a snake, I do assure them, on the faith of an islander, that when the skin is stripped off, from the head to the tail, and they are skilfully fried, they are a sufficiently dainty dish to set before the king. Mr. Fink said he should never starve, as long as there were any eels to stab. But he often went into the bay to catch clams, which he accomplished by jumping into the water, and scooping them out of the sand with his toes. When he had obtained more than he wanted for his own use, or could find a market for, in his own neighborhood, he put them into barrels, and getting out his disconsolate horse, and rope harness, set out on a slow walk for the New York market. By a long course of persevering industry,
a his circumstances were rendered a little easier, and he became the owner of the fourth part of a schooner, which went to the metropolis for ashes, and which was called the 'Sally-Ann.' Up to the time of his nomination for the assembly, ambition was a passion which had never entered his soul; unless, indeed, you dignify by that title the eagerness which he sometimes manifested, when he went into the bay, that he might
-have good luck that day,
And catch a load of clams.' The way that he came to be nominated for assembly, was this : the inhabitants of Rockaway had enough to employ them in summer; but when the season had passed away which rendered it a place of fashionable resort, and winter had frozen up the resources of industry, and turned its grandeur into dreariness, they met at evening in the taproom of a small tavern, to dissipate their time in cups, and to discuss the politics of the day. It was surprising to remark the warmth and violence of these Rockaway politicians, which sometimes waxed so great as to rise above the roar of the sea. They hauled public characters over the coals without remorse, and freely called in question their public acts; while shark stories came in, by way of episode, and the tales of a marine people.
Mr. Fink often formed one in the midst of these social circles ; and here he acquired that relish for public affairs, which will probably VOL. XIII
never forsake him. Being of a phlegmatic temper, he said little ; and as he never took an extra cup, was never betrayed into an angry tone. When he found himself getting beyond his depth in an argu. ment, he drew back his feet with care, always remembering what happened when the 'Sally-Ann,' from being too venturesome, got carried out into the Gulf Stream, having the dominie of Jemaico on board, and a large party, who were going out to the Fishing Banks. Mr. Fink’s connection with the farmers of the south side was extensive.' A number of these worthies, being together one evening, and discussing the prospects of the next election, thought it no more than fair that a candidate for assembly should be chosen from their section of the county. Some one suggested the name of Mr. Sandy Fink. This called forth a hearty response from all present. Very soon a rumor got abroad, and passed from mouth to mouth, that he was the proper man; and at last the wishes of the party seemed to have settled down definitively on him. For his own part, he at first gave no credit to these reports; but presently they reached him in an undeniable form. Then he began honestly to confess to himself that he was not qualified for so high a station ; that the people honored him far beyond his expectations or deserts ; that he did not aspire to be a law-giver. In fine, he did not cherish the slightest idea of accepting the honor. That he might leave his business in the winter, without detriment, was very true ; but there are better men,' said he ; ‘so where's the use ? But his neighbors soon talked him out of this firm resistance, and a visit from Mr. Bang resulted in his entire acquiescence. This Mr. Bang was a thin-faced man, with black whiskers, a hard worker in the field of politics, and the oracle of his party, who drove about the county continually, in a light sulky,' on grass-hopper springs, to distribute speeches, and to open the eyelids of the people. He told Mr. Fink plainly, and without mincing the matter, that he must consent to run ; that they could not get any one else; and that their entire hopes were placed on him. Mr. Fink replied that if he must, he must.'
In the middle of the Big Plains, and standing entirely alone, unshaded by any tree or green thing, there is an odd building, which serves at once the purposes of a county court-house, a tavern, and a jail. Here a convention was appointed, on a certain day. On approaching the place, Mr. Fink's heart throbbed within him at beholding the vast concourse of men. Vehicles of every description were arranged without, and a goodly number of saddled horses denoted the presence of cavaliers. The meeting was called to order, by inviting Justice Van Lew to the chair. A committee soon retired to nominate candidates; and when, on their return, they offered Mr. Fink, and the approval of the meeting was heartily testified, he rose up amid the most tremendous cheering, and with a faltering tongue, declared his readiness to serve the great and glorious cause of the people.' Another expression of enthusiastic feeling followed this avowal, so violent that the old building was shaken to its foundations, the glasses rautled in the bar, the prisoners looked out of their grated windows, and a flock of sheep scampered over the plains like mad. Alas! alas ! Mr. Fink little knew what a burden he had then consented should be imposed on his shoulders! He who leaves the quiet
walks of private life, ambitious of the pomp or spoils of office, has bid adieu to 'thrice sweet liberty, and has become the public slave. All who have united to place him where he is, elevate themselves into the rank of patrons, and with insolent supervision, pry into his acts, while his name is bandied upon profane lips, like any common word. He runs the gauntlet of the sovereign people. Every man bestows on him a kick, if he wills; and happy is he who comes out unhurt from such a dreadful ordeal. Farewell, then, to his days of pleasantness and to his nights of ease! His weary labors cannot procure forgetfulness, and the softest pillow cannot confer repose. Though the popular breath be soft and vernal, he trembles lest it veer into an adverse tempest; and though the sun shine never so brightly, he imagines the thunder growling in the distance, and his heavy heart presages the storm.
Mr. Fink found himself impaled on both horns of a dilemma. His friends, of whom he had many, extolled him in such extravagant terms, and endowed him with so many new attributes, that his cheeks tingled for very shame at their falsity, and it cost him a great many struggles, before he was actually and solemnly brought to believe all that they told him. They said that an honest man was the noblest work of God, and that Mr. Fink was just such a noble work; that he possessed every admirable quality of mind, and that he was one of nature's noblemen. Truly he had reason to pray to be deliv. ered from his friends. But on the other hand, his enemies, (and now, for the first time, he learned that he had enemies ; men who had suddenly been transformed into foes, and in whose way he was certain he had never laid the weight of a feather or a straw,) preferred against him the most vindictive charges. They had fallen upon some chemical process, by which they brought back old spots which had been clean wiped out of his reputation, by age and good conduct. Some accusations there were, which were so utterly without form and void,' that he could not but marvel at their authors. Thus, in the course of a single day's ride, he heard himself severally accused, at the Little Plains, of bribery, at the Big Plains, of “picking and stealing,' at the Bog Lots, of false measure, and somewhere else, of adultery. He had not yet learned that the public servant must be cased in triple brass against such slanders ; and he clenched his fist, in mighty despair, and swore that they were ‘heinous lies, and he could take his solid oath of it.'
As the time of Mr. Fink's departure drew near, he felt an increasing reluctance, and regretted the more deeply that he had been prevailed on to yield his name. When he did so, however, he had made an inward reservation, that he would not go, unless he could clear all his expenses, and save his dollar a day. He now exaggerated the cost and trouble of making a journey to Albany. Then he pictured to himself the angust nature of the assembly, and was seized with a mortal dread. He was told that he must make a speech when he took the oath, and revolved in his mind what he should say, and how he should say it. At last, he gave that up in despair, and said that if he took the oath, it would be about as much as he could do.' Fi. nally, on the very day when he should have started, he was seized with sundry aches and ailments, and had the rheumatism so smartly,