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love; this central figure of the piece, to which all the rest is but drapery; this metropolis of Schuylkill county - but it deserves a separate chapter to itself - is
I must breathe a little after this long sentence. Is it not delightful to have society in one's enjoyments? Pleasure, overturning all the rules of sound arithmetic, is doubled by dividing it. And then such society! allowing me to talk right on, without a word of interruption or contradiction! I will send all my family to New York to be brought up. And do n't you feel how much enjoyment is enhanced by the exhilaration of spirits incident to these high places? The air is purer; there is a pleasurable sense of elevation above one's species; aud the thoughts, in approaching the celestial intelligences, seem to lose their earthly affinities, and become instinct with a divi. ner spirit. Men love their country better, who are born and bred upon mountains.
All original sects have worshipped upon lofty places. The Greek placed his altar of Jove upon Olympus, and Moses held converse with the Deity upon a mountain. I have had myself divine thoughts here, but lack the pretty accomplishment of phrases to recommend them to the world. Why, Nature! bestowing sweet and ravishing speech upon so many, hast thou made me mute and ineloquent, and unable to transfuse into others' bosoms what so charms my own! I often sit in the midst of these abstracted sublimities, in mere sensual enjoyment; listening to the boatman's horn winding in the distance, or wandering by the brow of the cliff, (one likes to venture to the extreme edge of hazard,) to look over the giddy precipice, where the tall tree, dishevelled in the breeze, throws its chequered shadow on the stream; or among the shelvy rocks, where once the Indian roamed, savage, free, and native lord of these mountains; gathering the flinty arrows, sole vestige of these obliterated worshippers of the Holy Spirit. Even now that you are here to dispute heaven with me, I cannot think of whispering to you a word of earthly interests. No, I will just sit innocently by you ; see the vine shoot out its little arms to grapple with the trellis of oaken branches, and listen while the wood-pigeon from the neighboring rock pours out, now and then, its melancholy moan. I will not even supplicate a kiss of that rubied lip; content, alas ! with Plato's immaterial loves.
Pottsville is named from its founder, of the very ancient family of the Potts; whether of Delft, or Sevres,'or Staffordshire, I stop not to inquire; nor is it granted mortals to know all things. I only know that all of the name, any where scattered upon the earth, from the charm, no doubt, of analogical sounds, have gathered themselves into this village. You would swear there were no Potts any where else. In the newspapers it is the eminent prefix of half the advertising columns. In Centre-street, there it is again, in five calligraphic letters, a foot long, in convenient Christian abbreviations, upon half the signs of the village : A. Port, U. Port, T. Port, and P. Port. It became, a few years ago, a common designation of nearly all the village beaux. One was Miss Hamilton's Pott, another Miss Slaymaker's, anotherM iss Schiff's, another Miss Pott's Pott; and so they ran on; as embarrassing it became, at last, as Smith or Thompson, in some
other towns. Some tried to disguise it, by orthographical changes and quaint pronunciations; one calling herself Miss Putt, another adding an s; another, again, for no earthly purpose but to get rid of the cacophony of this inharmonious monosyllable, got married. And the unhappy mistakes, too! Why, I know a girl who went the other day into a store, and asking timidly for Mrs. Pott, the clerk hastened up stairs, and came down directly with a tea-pot in each hand!
I feel some degree of confidence in becoming historiographer to this village, having grown up with it from its remotest antiquity, and having had a share in its most important events, if one can be said to have a share, who only looks on; events, I am aware, sufficiently known to the present race of men; but is there not something due to those dear little creatures yet unborn, and who always love so tenderly their ancestors our posterity? There is an inquisitive desire in the human mind of knowing the beginnings of things; and it is no hyperbolical fancy to suppose that at least a million of beings, yet sleeping, I do n't know where, in antiquity, and not yet furnished with human shapes, will be one day turning over the pages of the KNICKERBOCKER, for the details I have now the honor most affectionately
• Do n't!'
handkerchief !' Pottsville is a growth of little more than twelve years. The population at first so increased beyond the supply of lodgings, that the beds of the one hotel soon running over, the surplus was stowed away, its head upon its own luggage, compactly around the margins of the bar-room; each day bringing fresh supplies, and more violent struggles for the places. Many a one have I seen, of a nice daintiness of limbs, and complexion, and person, who had walked out daily, white-gloved, making ladies' hearts quail, upon Chestnut-street, laid out here with this indiscriminate humanity, pillowed upon his portmanteau, and under the influence of that god who levels all inequalities, and reconciles to all sorts of bed-fellows, sleeping more soundly and happily than in his downy city accommodations. Persons, to secure places, as at the theatre, would often retire at three of the afternoon, or friends would sleep in succession, as they ride and tie on a journey; and in the upper rooms, of a rainy night, it was usual to go to bed with an umbrella, the town not yet having arrived at the luxury of water-tight roofs. It is, however, a town-building population, that of America, and it does not put its two feet in one sock, or sit sucking its thumbs, and waiting for Providence to do the work. Boarding-houses soon sprang up. I recollect one, occupied by two families, eight by ten feet; bed and table taking turns outside ; and at such a price, that I have heard the landlord, a conscientious man, say : By Cot! I used to shut my eyes in asking the rent!'
The inconveniences of the times, and tricks of speculation, brought their usual accompaniments, wrangling and law-suits. For the edification of the long robe, I will notice briefly a few cases not reported in Sergeant and Rawle. The one, the defendant having proved VOL. XV.
refractory and insolent, the judge leaped from the bench, and kicked him out of doors ; and then gave judgment by default.' The next was a case of suffrage, and decided that the place in which this great prerogative of freemen was to be exercised, was the township
where one had his washing done. The next, the case of a pig; two citizens having bought it in partnership. One insisted on killing said pig, and the other refusing; the former put his design in execution, and was sued. Judgment for the defendant, he having sent a breakfast of the sausages to the Squire on the morning of the trial. The last I will mention, was a Dutch case of crim. con., brought in from the country. Facts stared them in the face. Damages eight dollars, and all parties pleased. Alas! there were none of these cases among us, for there were no women. I remember the very first woman that ever came into the borough; a tailor's wife, from London. A thrill ran through the hearts of the community. It was a first ray of light upon chaos. I shall not soon lose the recollection of this event. I had walked three miles to get a sight of her, through the window, not being able to approach nearer, for the crowd. It was of a summer's evening, at Shoemaker's. She was playing at chess with one of my more pushing acquaintances. But alas ! the caprice of human affections ! Other women have since broken in, and this original mother, this Eve of Pottsville, is heard of no more, and missed no more, than is a ray from the bright sun, or a summer's leaf from the Alleghany.
This epoch of our village history is distinguished as the time of the 'Coal Fever.' Such fevers are exceedingly prevalent in this new country. Now it is a township in Maine ; now city and town lots; now state rights and nullification ; now negroes and abolition ; now coal, now multicaulis : and the soberest heads of the commonwealth have been demented under these influences. The demure Quaker, with whose very nature precision and dignity are incorporate, you might have seen scrambling on hands and knees among the legs of the crowd, or climbing upon their shoulders, and finally extricating himself, rumpled and flushed, for all the world like one of those rag-babies just from the hands of a raw student and his manequin, at the Ecole Medicine; and this to buy the stock of a new company, to be sold in the lapse of the year at five dollars for one hundred paid down. You may see him, now, with infinite trouble and expense, grub up from his field the worthless mulberry, laid in a year ago at six dollars the dozen. Nor does this fever, like the measles or small-pox, dismiss the patient with a single attack. He may take the infection several times during life. Should you ever fall into it, dear lady, the acknowledged specific (allow me to prescribe for you,) is a sweat — easy enough to be procured. You have but to lend me the money to speculate on, just when the fever is in its crisis. You will sweat before you will get it again.
The basis of the Pottsville speculation fever was coal lands, combining lots in the borough, and lots in twenty projected towns; for town-making became a regular business operation; of all which, beautiful maps lapestried the walls of the hotel; though Nebuchadnezzar's hanging gardens were much less aerial than many of these lots. Some were found to lie upon the inaccessible ends of the mountains,
with a vertical exposure ; others were horizontal, indeed, and well watered and timbered, and but for the single circumstance of not having any terrestrial existence, independent of the map, were exceedingly convenient and ornamental. Bargains and speculations, baited with glozing words, now grabbled the unwary gudgeons, of whom two lines of stages poured out daily a new set, uncombed, unshaven, and unwashed, upon the pavement. It was pleasant enough to mark the first lessons of a novice. In he stalks, tosses down his portmanteau, enters his name, and stands prim and confident in the face of a map. He has been cautioned by his prudent papa, and is a little too wise to be caught.
• If you wish to purchase a tract,' says Mr. Blarney, now at his side, and his fore-finger on a distant corner of the chart, here is one I think I can venture to recommend.'
• A first rate property, I suppose.'
• Why, no, I can't say exactly first rate. There is one here, of Squire Ketchum's, acknowledged the best in the place ; but except that, I take mine to be a little bit above any thing in this region. However, you had better judge for yourself; better people than you or I have been gulled.' And he retires.
You want to make a purchase, I presume,' said another, taking Mr. Blarney's place at the other ear, and putting his finger upon the opposite corner of the map. • Now here is a tract of mine, and unless perhaps Squire Ketchum's, down here at Port Carbon, I guess you will not find its match in Schuylkill county.'
Squire Ketchum !' says the wary speculator to himself, noting the name in his memorandum ; 'I must find him out. He did so; purchased, and was bit, as the compéres had desired. I cannot afford to give you more than this one example ; quite enough for News York ladies, who swop their bonnets.
[A part of the manuscript, very much to be lamented, is here missing.]
About this time, Mrs. Waddy kept a respectable boarding-house, with half a dozen of those who had come out at the fag end
of the speculations, as lodgers ; both parties at low ebb of cash. For, to confess the truth, the disease had now assumed rather a typhoid character, and the patient fell at last into total collapse. Several towns were entirely deserted by their inhabitants; some of which have been since re-peopled, and others have sunk into ruins, very interesting to antiquarians. Houses, even in Pottsville, became excessively abundant. I remember a friend of mine, whose tenant threatened to move out of the one he occupied rent-free, unless he would build him an oven.
Mrs. Waddy's custom was, opening softly the door, then thrusting in diffidently her horrible face, to beckon out one of the lodgers, calling out his name, into the entry, at the close of each breakfast, to hold an inquest upon his purse a kind of post-mortem examination; and upon her success depended entirely the hopes of the ensuing dinner. I leave you to fancy the interesting group, on the approach of these trying emergentcies ; seated in silence around the table, now and then stealing a look at each other; and finally the general content and satisfaction, the doom being fixed, of those who escaped.
'Assensere omnes ; et quæ sibi quisque timebat,
The power which men possess of inflaning one another's passions, when acting in concert, in other words, of making fools of one another, forms a branch apart of mental philosophy. With great respect for Solomon, I beg leave to dissent in toto from his doctrine about the wisdom of multitudes. All modern experience, at least, goes to prove that the quantity of wisdom is inversely to the quantity of brains; and that multitudes are either discordant, or unanimous only in folly. I would suggest, with reverence, to Solomon, that the number of counsellors should not exceed two. I used to ride out daily with a gentleman of Philadelphia, and for six months in perfect harmony. We yielded to conviction, and the desire of truth only animated our debates, until at length we took up a Catholic priest. Then came pride of opinion, vanity of display, and I do n't know how many other bad passions ; and our delightful airings ended soon in a total separation. I wish I could persuade the republic to have itself represented by only two members, in very short sessions, and no admission to the gallery. You would not see North Carolina taking Louisiana by the nose in full senate, were it not for that infirmity of noble minds, the ambition of distinction. I wish I could persuade my readers to go always in pairs. If there is any such thing as a matrimonial quarrel, you will be sure to find a third person, expressed or understood, at the bottom of it. I refer you to the earliest history of our race, where there was the d— 1 to pay by the intervention of a third person.
Dear Lacedemonians! What a knack you had of laconism! I wish I could have lived under Lycurgus, and not General Jackson and Van Buren. I will try to be more brief.
Pottsville, by a native vigor of constitution, has surmounted its youthful excesses, and attained a full and robust health ; and I will not interrupt good humor, by farther recalling its follies and miseries. It is indeed the queen of villages, and has a right to set its head much higher than any of your vulgar, untravelled country towns. Its population (between four and five thousand) is perhaps the most various of the earth. 'Coiere nec unquam tam varie cultu gentes ;' thrifty Scotch, lying Welsh, Irish with more brogues on their tongues than their feet, and clever men and women, of all these castes, with our heavy and ignorant native Germans. If Jupiter would speak Dutch, he would be likely to express himself the very reverse of this part of our community. The Scotch and Welsh mine; the Irish labor
upon rail-roads and canals; and the Dutch garden and farm. The Dutch girls usually turn themselves into village servants ; healthy, awkward maids, and not very squeamish in their loves ; loves which the tell-tale months often bring to the light; and peeping Curiosity has once or twice discovered a murdered infant in the mine. The Yankee pursues nearly all these businesses, variously, and is usually more efficient in what he pursues, and without deserving much praise, is less intemperate, less addicted to riot, turning out, and rebellion against authority, than the foreigner. There is a