James Fenimore Cooper.

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" But those who draw their tickets ?"

" All rotatory they are drawn exactly on the
same principle."

"But there must be a beginning. Those, again,
who draw their tickets they may betray their
trusts ?"

"Impossible they are always the most Patriotic
Patriots of the land ! No, no, sir we are not such


dunces as to leave anything to corruption. Chance
does it all. Chance makes me a commodore to
day a judge to-morrow. Chance makes the lottery
boys, and chance makes the patriots. It is neces
sary to see in order to understand how much purer
and useful is your chance patriot, for instance, than
one that is bred to the calling."

" Why, this savors, after all, of the doctrine of
descents, which is little more than a matter of

" It would be so, sir, I confess, were it not
that our chances centre in a system of patriots.
Our approved patriots are our guarantees against
abuses "

" Hem!" interrupted the companion of Commo
dore People's Friend, with an awkward distinct
ness, as if to recall himself to our recollection.

" Sir John, I crave pardon for great remissness
allow me to present my fellow-citizen, Brigadier
Downright, a gentleman who is on his travels, like
yourself; and as excellent a fellow as is to be found
in the whole monikin region."

"Brigadier Downright, I crave the honor of your
acquaintance. But, gentlemen, I too have been
sadly negligent of politeness. A banquet that has
cost a hundred promises is waiting my appearance;
and, as some of the expected guests are unavoid
ably absent, if you would favor me with your ex
cellent society, we might spend an agreeable hour
in the further discussion of these important inte

As neither of the strangers made the smallest
objection to the proposal, we were all soon com
fortably seated at the dinner-table. The Commo
dore, who, it would seem, was habitually well fed
merely paid a little complimentary attention to the
banquet; but Mr. Downright attacked it tooth and


nail, and I had no great reason to regret the
absence of Mr. Poke. In the mean time, the con
versation did not flag.

"I think I understand the outline of your system
Judge People's Friend," I resumed, " with the ex
ception of the part that relates to the Patriots.
Would it be asking too much to request a little
explanation on that particular point ?"

"Not in the least, sir. Our social arrangement
is founded on a hint from nature ; a base, as you
will concede, that is broad enough to sustain the
universe. As a people, we are a hive that formerly
swarmed from Leaphigh; and finding ourselves
free and independent, we set about forthwith build
ing the social system on not only a sure foundation,
but on sure principles. Observing that nature dealt
in duplicates, we pursued the hint, as the leading
idea "

" In duplicates, Commodore !"

" Certainly, Sir John a monikin has two eyes,
two ears, two nostrils, two lungs, two arms, two
hands, two legs, two feet, and so on to the end of
the chapter. On this hint, we ordered that there
should be drawn, morally, in every district of Leap-
low, two distinct and separate lines, that should
run at right angles to each other. These were
termed the " political land-marks" of the country ;
and it was expected that every citizen should range
himself along one or the other. All this you will
understand, however, was a moral contrivance, not
a physical one."

" Is the obligation of this moral contrivance im
perative ?"

"Not legally, it is true; but then, he who does not
respect it is like one who is out of fashion, and he is so
generally esteemed a poor devil, that the usage has
a good deal more than the force of a law. At first,


it was intended to make it a part of the con
stitution; but one of our most experienced states
men so clearly demonstrated that, by so doing, we
should not only weaken the nature of the obliga
tion, but most probably raise a party against it, the
idea was abandoned. Indeed, if any thing, both the
letter and the spirit of the fundamental law have
been made to lean a little against the practice ; but
having been cleverly introduced, in the way of con
struction, it is now bone of our bone, and flesh of
our flesh. Well, sir, these two great political land
marks being fairly drawn, the first effort of one
who aspires to be thought a Patriot, is to acquire
the practice of 'toeing the mark' promptly and
with facility. But should I illustrate my positions
by a few experiments, you might comprehend the
subject all the better. For though, in fact, the true
evolutions are purely moral, as I have just had the
honor to explain, yet we have instituted a physical
parallel that is very congenial to our habits, with
which the neophyte always commences."

Here the Commodore took a bit of chalk and
drew two very distinct lines, crossing each other
at right angles, through the centre of the room.
When this was done, he placed his feet together,
and then he invited me to examine if it were possi
ble to see any part of the planks between the extre
mities of his toes and the lines. After a rigid look,
I was. compelled to confess it was not.

" This is what we call ' toeing the mark ;' it is
' Social Position, No. 1.' Almost every citizen gets
to be expert in practising it, on one or the other of
the two great political lines. After this, he who
would push his fortunes further, commences his
career on the great rotatory principle."

" Your pardon, Commodore ; we call the word
rotary, in English."


" Sir, it is not expressive enough for our mean-
,ng; and therefore \ve term it 'rotatory.' I shall
now give you an example of Position No. 2."

Here the Commodore made a spring, throwing
nis body, as a soldier would express it, to the "right
about," bringing, at the same time, his feet entirely
on the other side of the line ; always rigidly toe
ing the mark.

" Sir," said I, " this was extremely well done ;
but is this evolution as useful as certainly it is
dexterous ?"

" It has the advantage of changing front, Sir
John ; a manoeuvre quite as useful in politics as in
war. Most all in the line get to practise this, too,
as my friend Downright, there, could show you,
were he so disposed."

"I don't like to expose my flanks, or my rear,
more than another," growled the Brigadier.

" If agreeable, I will now show you Gyration
2d, or Position No. 3."

On my expressing a strong desire to see it, the
Commodore put himself again in Position No. 1 ;
and then he threw what Captain Poke was in the
habit of calling a 'flap-jack,' or a summerset;
coming down in a way tenaciously to toe the

I was much gratified with the dexterity of the
Commodore, and frankly expressed as much ; in
quiring, at the same time, if many attained to the
same skill. Both the Commodore and the Briga
dier laughed at the simplicity of the question ; the
former answering that the people of Leaplow
were exceedingly active and adventurous, and both
lines had got to be so expert, that, at the word of
command, they would throw their summersets in
as exact time, and quite as promptly, as a regi


ment of guards would go through the evolution
of slapping their cartridge-boxes.

" What, sir," I exclaimed, in admiration, " the
entire population !"

"Virtually, sir. There is, now and then, a
stumbler ; but he is instantly kicked out of sight,
and uniformly counts for nothing."

" But as -yet, Commodore, your evolutions are
altogether too general to admit of the chance
selection of patriots, since patriotism is usually a

" Very true, Sir John ; I shall therefore come to
the main point without delay. Thus far, it is
pretty much an affair of the whole population, as
you say; few refusing to toe the mark, or to
throw the necessary flap-jacks, as you have inge
niously termed them. The lines, as you may per
ceive, cross each other at right angles ; and there
is consequently some crowding, and, occasionally,
a good deal of jostling, at and near the point of
junction. We begin to term a monikin a Patriot,
when he can perform this evolution."

Here the Commodore threw his heels into the
air with such rapidity that I could not very well
tell what he was about, though it was sufficiently
apparent that he was acting entirely on the rota
tory principle. I observed that he alighted, with
singular accuracy, on the very spot where he had
stood before, toeing the mark with beautiful pre

" That is what we call Gyration 3d, or Position
No. 4. He who can execute it is considered an
adept in our politics ; and he invariably takes his
position near the enemy, or at the junction of the
hostile lines."

" How, sir, are these lines, then, manned as they



are with citizens of the same country, deemed
hostile !"

"Are cats and dogs hostile, sir? Certainly,
although standing, as it might be, face to face,
acting on precisely the same principle, or the rota
tory impulse, and professing to have exactly the
same object in view, viz. the common good, they
are social, political, and I might almost say, the
moral antipodes of each other. They rarely inter
marry, never extol, and frequently refuse to speak
to one another. In short, as the Brigadier could tell
you, if he were so disposed, they are antagonist,
body and soul. To be plain, sir, they are enemies."

"This is very extraordinary for fellow-citizens!"

" 'Tis the monikin nature," observed Mr. Down
right ; " no doubt, sir, men are much wiser ?"

As I did not wish to divert the discourse from
the present topic, I merely bowed to this remark,
and begeed the Judge to proceed.

" Well, sir," continued the latter, " you can
easily imagine that they who are placed near the
point where the two lines meet, have no sinecures.
To speak the truth, they blackguard each other
with all their abilities, he who manifests the most
inventive genius in this high accomplishment, being
commonly thought the cleverest fellow. Now, sir,
none but a patriot could, in the nature of things,
endure this without some other motive than his
country's good, and so we esteem them."

But the most Patriotic Patriots, Commodore ?"

The minister of Leaphigh now toed the mark
again, placing himself within a few feet of the
point of junction between the two lines; and then
he begged me to pay particular attention to his
evolution. When all was ready, the Commodore
threw himself, as it were, invisibly into the air
again head over heels, so far as I r.ould discover


and alighted on the antagonist line, toeing the
mark with a most astonishing particularity. It was
a clever gyration, beyond a doubt ; and the per
former looked towards me, as if inviting com

" Admirably executed, Judge, and in a way to
induce one to believe that you must have paid great
attention to the practice."

" I have performed this manoeuvre, Sir John, five
times in real life ; and my claim to be a Patriotic
Patriot is founded on its invariable success. A
single false step might have ruined me; but as
you say, practice makes perfect, and perfection is
the parent of success."

" And yet I do not rightly understand how so
sudden a desertion of one's own side, to go over, in
this active manner, head over heels, I may say, to
another side, constitutes a fair claim to be deemsd
so pure a character as that of a patriot."

" What, sir, is not he who throws himself de-
fencelessly into the very middle of the ranks of the
enemy, the-hero of the combat? Now, as this is a
political struggle, and not a warlike struggle, but
one in which the good of the country is alone upper
most, the monikin who thus manifests the greatest
devotion to the cause, must be the purest patriot. I
give you my honor, sir, all my own claims are
founded entirely on this particular merit"

" He is right, Sir John ; you may believe every
word he says," observed the Brigadier, nodding.

" I begin to understand your system, which is
certainly well adapted to the monikin habits, and
must give rise to a noble emulation in the practice
of the rotatory principle. But I understood you to
say, Colonel, that the people of Leaplow are from
the hive of Leaphigh ?"

"Just so, sir."


" How happens it then, tlfcit you dock yourselves
of the nobler member, while the inhabitants of t.iis
country cherish it as the apple of the eye nay, as
.he seat of reason itself?"

"You allude to our tails? Why, sir, Nature has
dealt out these ornaments with a very unequal
hand, as you may perceive on looking ou f of the
window. We agree that the tail is the seav of rea
son, and that the extremities are the most intellec
tual parts; but, as governments are framed to
equalize these natural inequalities, we denounce
them as anti-republican. The law requires, there
fore, that every citizen, on attaining his majority,
shall be docked agreeably to a standard measure,
that is kept in each district. Without some such
expedient, there might be an aristocracy of intellect
among us, and there would be an end of our liber
ties. This is the qualification of a voter, too, and
of course we all seek to obtain it."

Here the Brigadier leaned across the table and
whispered that a great patriot, on a most trying
occasion, had succeeded in throwing a- summerset
out of his own into the antagonist line, and that, as
he carried with him all the sacred principles for
which his party had been furiously contending for
many years, he had been unceremoniously dragged
back by his tail, which unfortunately came within
reach of those quondam friends on whom he had
turned his back ; and that the law had, in truth, been
passed in the interests of the patriots. He added,
that the lawful measure allowed a longer stump
than was commonly used ; but that it was considered
under-bred for any one to wear a dock that reached
more than two inches and three quarters of an inch
into society, and that most of their political aspi
rants, in particular, chose to limit themselves to one


inch and one quarter of an inch, as a proof of ex
cessive humility.

Thanking Mr. Downright for his clear and sensi
ble explanation, the conversation was resumed.

" I had thought, as your institutions are founded
on reason and nature, Judge," I continued, " that
you would be more disposed to cultivate this
member than to mutilate it; and this the mere
especially, as I understand all monikins believe it
to be the very quintessence of reason."

" No doubt, sir ; we do cultivate our tails, but it
is on the vegetable principle, or as the skilful gar
dener lops the branch that it may throw out more
vigorous shoots. It is true, we do not expect to see
the tail itself sprouting out anew ; but then we look
to the increase of its reason, and to its more gene
ral diffusion in society. The extremities of our
caudce, as fast as they are lopped, are sent to a great
intellectual mill, where the mind is extracted from
the matter, and the former is sold, on public ac
count, to the editors of the daily journals. This is
the reason our Leaplow journalists are so distin
guished for their ingenuity and capacity, and the
reason, too, why they so faithfully represent the
average of the Leaplow knowledge."

" And honesty, you ought to add," growled the

" I see the beauty of the system, Judge, and very
beautiful it is ! This essence of lopped tails repre
sents the average of Leaplow brains, being a com
pound of all the tails of the country; and as a daily
journal is addressed to the average intellect of the
community, there is a singular fitness between the
readers and the readees. To complete my stock
of information on this head, however, will you jus
allow me to inquire what is the effect of this system
on the totality of Leaplow intelligence?"


"Wonderful ! As we are a commonwealth, it is
necessary to have a unity of sentiment on all lead
ing matters, and by thus compounding all the ex
tremes of our reasons, we get what is called ' pub
lic opinion;' which public opinion is uttered through
the public journals "

" And a most Patriotic Patriot is always chosen
to be the inspector of the mill," interrupted the Bri

" Better and better ! you send all the finer parts
of your several intellects to be ground up and
kneaded together; the compound is sold to the
journalists, who utter it anew, as the results of the
united wisdom of the country !"

" Or, as public opinion. We make great ac
count of reason in all our affairs, invariably calling
ourselves the most enlightened nation on earth;
but then we are especially averse to anything like
an insulated effort of the mind, which is offensive,
anti-republican, aristocratic and dangerous. We
put all our trust in this representation of brains,
which is singularly in accordance with the funda
mental base of our society, as you must perceive."

" We are a commercial people, too," put in
the Brigadier; "and being much accustomed to
the laws of insurance, we like to deal in ave

"Very true, brother Downright; very true. We
are particularly averse to anything like inequality.
Ods zooks ! it is almost as great an offence for a
monikin to know more than his neighbors, as it
is for him to act on his own impulses. No no
we are truly a free and an independent common
wealth, and we hold every citizen as amenable to
public opinion, in all he does, says, thinks or

" Pray, sir, do both of the two great political


lines send their tails to the same mills, and respect
the same general sentiments ?"

" No, sir; we have two public opinions, in Leap-

" Two public opinions !"

" Certainly, sir ; the horizontal and the perpen

" This infers a most extraordinary fertility of
thought, and one that I hold to be almost impos
sible !"

Here the Commodore and the Brigadier incon
tinently both laughed as hard as they could ; and
that, too, directly in my face.

" Dear me, Sir John why, my dear Sir John !
you are really the drollest creature !" gasped the
Judge, holding his sides, " the very funniest ques
tion I have ev ev ever encountered!" He
now stopped to wipe his eyes; after which he
was better able to express himself. " The same
public opinion, forsooth! Dear me dear me,
that I should not have made myself understood !
I commenced, my good Sir John, by telling you
that we deal in duplicates, on a hint from Nature ;
and that we act on the rotatory principle. In
obedience to the first, we have always two pub
lic opinions; and, although the great political
land-marks are drawn in what may be called a
stationary sense, they, too, are in truth rotatory.
One, which is thought to lie parallel to the fun
damental law, or the constitutional meridian of
the country, is termed the horizontal, and the other
the perpendicular line. Now, as nothing is really
stationary in Leaplow, these two great land-marks
are always acting, likewise, on the rotatory princi
ple, changing places periodically ; the perpendicular
becoming the horizontal, and vice versa; they who
toe their respective marks, necessarily taking new


riews of things, as they vary the line of sight
These great revolutions are, however, very slow,
and are quite as imperceptible to those who accom
pany them, as are the revolutions of our planet to
its inhabitants."

" And the gyrations of the patriots, of which the
Judge has just now spoken," added the Brigadier,
" are much the same as the eccentric movements
of the comets that embellish the solar system,
without deranging it by their uncertain courses."

" No, sir, we should be poorly off, indeed, if we
had but one public opinion," resumed the Judge.
" Ecod, I do not know what would become of the
most Patriotic Patriots, in such a dilemma !"

" Pray, sir, let me ask, as you draw for places,
if you have as many places as there are citizens ?"

" Certainly, sir. Our places are divided, firstly,
into the two great subdivisions of the "inner" and
the "outer." Those who toe the mark on the most
popular line occupy the former, and those who toe
the mark on the least popular line take all the rest,
as a matter of course. The first, however, it is
necessary to explain, are the only places worth
having. As great care is had to keep the commu
nity pretty nearly equally divided "

" Excuse the interruption but in what manner
is this effected ?"

"Why, as only a certain number can toe the
mark, we count all those who are not successful
in getting up to the line, as outcasts; and, aftei
fruitlessly hanging about our skirts for a time,
they invariably go over to the other line ; since it
is better to be first in a village, than second in
Rome. We thus keep up something like an equi
librium in the state, which, as you must know, is
necessary to liberty. The minority take the outer
places, and all the inner are left to the majority


Then comes another subdivision of the places;
that is to say, one division is formed of the honor
ary, and another of the profitable places. The
honorary, or about nine-tenths of all the inner
places, are divided, with great impartiality ,among
the mass of those who have toed the mark on the
strongest side, and who usuaHy are satisfied with
the glory of the victory. The names of the remain
der are put into the wheels to be drawn for
against the prizes, on the rotatory principle."

"And the patriots, sir; are they included in this
chance-medley ?'*

" Far from it. As a reward for their dangers,
they have a little wheel to themselves, although
they, also, are compelled to submit to the rotatory
principle. Their cases differ from those of the
others, merely in the fact that they always get

I would gladly have pursued the conversation,
which was opening a flood of light upon my poli
tical understanding ; but, just then, a fellow with
the air of a footman entered, carrying a packet
tied to the end of his cauda. Turning round, he
presented his burthen, with profound respect, and
withdrew. I found that the packet contained three
notes, with the following addresses :

" To his Royal Highness Bob, Prince of Wales, &c. &c. &c."
" To my Lord High Admiral Poke, &c. &c. &c."
"To Master Goldencal Clerk, &c. &c. &c."

Apologizing to my guests, the seal of my own
note was eagerly opened. It read as follows :

" The Right Honorable the Earl of Chatterino, Lord of the
Bed-Chamber in waiting on his Majesty, informs Master
John GoldencalfJ Clerk, that he is commanded to attend the


drawing-room, this evening, when the nuptial ceremony will
take place between the Earl of Chatterino and the Lady
Chatterissa, the first Maid of Honor to her Majesty the

"N. B. The gentlemen will appear in full dress"

On explaining the contents of my note to the
Judge, he informed me that he was aware of the
approaching ceremony, as he had also an invita
tion to be present, in his official character. 1
begged, as a particular favor, England having no
representative at Leaphigh, that he would do me
the honor to present me, in his capacity of a
foreign minister. The Envoy made no sort of
objection, and I inquired as to the costume neces
sary to be observed ; as, so far as I had seen, it
was good breeding at Leaphigh to go naked. The
Envoy had the goodness to explain, that, although,
in point of mere attire, clothing was extremely
offensive to the people of both Leaphigh and Leap-
low, yet, in the former country, no one could pre
sent himself at court, foreign ministers excepted,
without a cauda. As soon as we understood each
other on these points, we separated, with an un
derstanding that I was to be in readiness (together
with my companions, of whose interest I had not
been forgetful) to attend the Envoy and the Briga
dier, when they should call for me, at an hour
Jiat was named.



A court, a court-dress, and a courtier Justice in various
aspects, as well as honor.

MY guests were no sooner gone, than I sent for
the landlady, to inquire if any court-dresses were
to be had in the neighborhood. She told me,
plenty might certainly be had, that were suited to
the monikin dimensions, but she much doubted
whether there was a tail in all Leaphigh, natural
or artificial, that was at all fit for a person of my
stature. This was vexatious ; and I was in a
brown-study, calling up all my resources for the
occasion, when Mr. Poke entered the inn, carry

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