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what can possibly be done with these ?"

"That depends a little on their classification,'
returned the Brigadier. " If they relate to Leap*

360 THE

low events, while they have a certain value, they
cannot be termed of current value ; but if they refer
tothe events of all the rest of the earth, take them,
for heaven's sake ! for we trust altogether to this
market for our supplies."

On this hint I ordered the whole lot, trusting to
dispose of the least fashionable by aid of those that
were more in vogue.

" ' Opinions on Domestic Literature.' "
" You may buy all he has; we use no other."
" ' Opinions on Continental Literature. 1 "
"Wny, we know little about the goods them
selves but I think a selection might answer."

I ordered the bale cut in two, and took one half,
at a venture.

"'Opinions on Leaplow Literature, from No. 1, up
to No. 100.'"

" Ah ! it is proper I should explain," put in the
broker, "that we has two varieties of them 'ere
harticles. One is the true harticle, as is got up by
our great wits and philosophers, they says, on the
most approved models; but the other is nothing but
a sham harticle that is really manufactured in
Leaplow, and is sent out here to get our stamp.
That's all I never deceives a customer both sell
well, I hear, on the other side, however."

I looked again at the Brigadier, who quietly
nodding assent, I took the whole hundred bales.
" ' Opinions of the Institutions of Leaphigh," 1 "
" Why, them 'ere is assorted, being of all sizes,
forms and colors. They came coastwise, and are
chiefly for domestic consumption; though I have
known 'em sent to Leaplow, with success."

" The consumers of this article among us,** ob
served the Brigadier, " are very select, and rarely
take any but of the very best quality. But then
fiey are usually so well stocked, that I question if a


new importation would pay freight Indeed, oui
consumers cling very generally to the old fashions
in this article, not even admitting the changes pro
duced by time. There was an old manufacturer
called Whiterock, who has a sort of Barlow-knife
reputation among us, and it is not easy to get an
other article to compete with his. Unless they are
very antiquated, I would have nothing to do with

" Yes, this is all true, sir. We still sends to Leap-
low quantities of that 'ere manufacture; and the
more hantiquated the harticle, the better it sells;
but then the new fashions has a most wonderful run
at 'ome."

"I'll stick to the real Barlow, through thick or
thin. Hunt me up a bale of his notions ; let them
be as old as the flood. What have we here ?
' Opinions on the Institutions of Leaplow' "

" Take them," said the Brigadier, promptly.

" This 'ere gentleman has an hidear of the state
of his own market," added the broker, giggling.
" Wast lots of these things go across yearly and I
don't find that any on 'em ever comes back."

" ' Opinions on the State of Manners and Society in
Leaplow.'' "

" I believe I '11 take an interest in that article my
self, Sir John, if you can give me a ton or two
between decks. Have you many of this manufac
ture ?"

" Lots on 'em, sir and they do sell so ! That
'ere are a good harticle both at 'ome and abroad.
My eye ! how they does go off in Leaplow !"

" This appears to be also your expectation, Briga
dier, by your readiness to take an interest 1"

" To speak the truth, nothing sells better in our
\ cloved country."

" Permit me to remark that I find your readinesg


to purchase this and the last article, a little singular
If I have rightly comprehended our previous con
versations, you Leaplowers profess to have im
proved not only on the ancient principles of polity,
out on the social condition, generally."

' We will talk of this during the passage home
ward, Sir John Goldencalf ; but, by your leave, I
will take a share in the investment in ' Opinions on
the State of Society and Manners in Leaplow,' es
pecially if they treat at large on the deformities of
the government, while they allow us to be genteel.
This is the true notch some of these goods have
been condemned because the manufacturers hadn't
sufficient skill in dyeing."

"You shall have a share, Brigadier. Harkee,
Mr. Broker ; I take it these said opinions come from
some very well known and approved manufactory?"

" All sorts, sir. Some good, and some good for
nothing everything sells, however. I never was
in Leaplow, but we says over here, that the Leap-
lowers eat, and drink, and sleep on our opinions.
Lord, sir, it would really do your heart good to see
the stuff, in these harticles, that they does take from
us without higgling !"

" I presume, Brigadier, that you use them as an
amusement as a means to pass a pleasant hour,
of an evening a sort of moral segar?"

"No, sir," put in the broker, "they doesn't smoke
'em, my word on't, or they wouldn't buy 'em in
such lots!"

I now thought enough had been laid in on my
own account, and I turned to see what the Captain
was about. He was higgling for a bale marked
" Opinions on the lost condition of the monikin soul."
A little curious to know why he had made this se-
ection, I led him aside, and frankly put the question.

"Why, to own the truth, Sir John," he said,


" religion is an article that sells in every market, in
some shape or other. Now, we are all in the dark
about the Leaplow tastes and usages, for I always
suspect a native of the country to which I am bound,
on such a p'int; and if the things shouldn't sell
there, they'll at least do at Stunin'tun. Miss Poke
alone would use up what there is in that there bale,
in a twelvemonth. To give the woman her due,
she's a desperate consumer of snuff and religion."

We had now pretty effectually cleared the shelves,
and the cook, who had come ashore to dispose of
his slush, had not yet been able to get anything.

" Here is a small bale as come from Leaplow,
and a pinched little thing it is," said the broker,
laughing; "it don't take at all, here, and it might
do to go 'ome again at any rate you will get the
drawback. It is filled with ' Distinctive Opinions
of the Republic of Leaplow.' " The cook looked at
the Brigadier, who appeared to think the specula
tion doubtful. Still it was Hobson's choice ; and.
after a good deal of grumbling, the doctor, as Noah
always called his cook, consented to take the "har-
ticle," at half the prime cost.

Judge People's Friend now came trotting down
to the port, thoroughly en republicain, when we
immediately embarked, and in half an hour, Bob
was kicked to Noah's heart's content, and the
Walrus was fairly under way for Leaplow.



Political boundaries Political rights Political selection^
and political disquisitions ; with political results.

THE aquatic mile-stones of the monikin seas have
been already mentioned ; but I believe I omitted
to say, that there was a line of demarcation drawn
in the water, by means of a similar invention, to
point out the limits of the jurisdiction of each state.
Thus, all within these water-marks, was under the
laws of Leaphigh ; all between them and those of
some other country, was the high seas ; and all
within those of the other country, Leaplow for
instance, was under the exclusive jurisdiction of
that other country.

With a favorable wind, the Walrus could run
to the water-marks in about half a day; from
thence to the water-marks of Leaplow was two
days' sail, and another half day was necessary to
reach our haven. As we drew near the legal
frontiers of Leaphigh, several small fast-sailing
schooners were seen hovering just without the
jurisdiction of the King, quite evidently waiting our
approach. One boarded us, just as the outer end
of the spanker-boom got clear of the Leaphigh
sovereignty. Judge People's Friend rushed to the
side of the ship, and before the crew of the boat
could get on deck, he had ascertained that the
usual number of prizes had been put into the little

A monikin in a bob of a most pronounced cha
racter, or which appeared to have been subjected
to the second amputation, being what is called tn
Leaplow a bob-upon-bob, now approached, and


inquired if there were any emigrants on board.
He was made acquainted with our characters and
objects. When he understood that our stay would
most likely be short, he was evidently a little dis

" Perhaps, gentlemen," he added, " you may
still remain long enough to make naturalization

" It is always agreeable to be at home in foreign
countries but are there no legal objections 1"

" I see none, sir you have no tails, I believe ?"

" None but what are in our trunks. I did not
know, however, but the circumstance of our being
of a different species might throw some obstacles
in the way."

" None in the world, sir. We act on principles
much too liberal for so narrow an objection. You
are but little acquainted with the institutions and
policy of our beloved and most happy country, I
see, sir. This is not Leaphigh, nor Leapup, nor
Leapdown, nor Leapover, nor Leapthrough, nor
Leapunder ; but good old, hearty, liberal, free and
independent, most beloved, happy, and prosperous
beyond example, Leaplow. Species is of no account
under our system. We would as soon naturalize
one animal as another, provided it be a republican
animal. I see no deficiency about any of you. All
we ask is certain general principles. You go on
two legs "

" So do turkeys, sir."

" Very true but you have no feathers."

" Neither has a donkey."

" All very right, gentlemen you do not bray

" I will not answer for that," put in the captain
sending his leg forward in a straight line, in a way


to raise an outcry in Bob, that almost upset the
Lcaplower's proposition.

"At all events, gentlemen," he observed, "there
is a test that will put the matter at rest, at once."

He then desired us, in turn, to pronounce the
word " our" " Our liberties" " our country"
"our firesides" "our altars." Whoever expressed
a wish to be naturalized, and could use this word
in the proper manner, and in the proper place, was
entitled to be a citizen. We all did very well but
the second mate, who, being a Herefordshire man,
could not, for the life of him, get any nearer to the
Doric, in the latter shibboleth, than "our halters."
Now, it would seem, that, in carrying out a great
philanthropic principle in Leaplow, halters held
been proscribed ; for, whenever a rogue did any
thing amiss, it had been discovered that, instead
of punishing him for the offence, the true way to
remedy the evil was to punish the society against
which he had offended. By this ingenious turn,
society was naturally made to look out sharp how
it permitted any one to offend it. This excellent
idea is like that of certain Dutchmen, who, when
they cut themselves with an axe, always apply salve
and lint to the cruel steel, and leave the wound to
heal as fast as possible.

To return to our examination: we all passed but
the second mate, who hung in his halter, and was
pronounced to be incorrigible. Certificates of
naturalization were delivered on the spot, the fees
were paid, and the schooner left us.

That night it blew a gale, and we had no more
visitors until the following morning. As the sun
rose, however, we fell in with three schooners,
under the Leaplow flag, all of which seemed bound
on errands of life or death. The first that reached
us sent a boat on board, and a conr mittee of six


** bob-upon-bobs" hurried up our side, and lost no
time in introducing themselves. I shall give their
own account of their business and characters.

It would seem that they were what is called a
"nominating committee" of the Horizontals, for
the city of Bivouac, the port to which we were
bound, where an election was about to take place
for members of the great National Council. Bi
vouac was entitled to send seven members ; and
having nominated themselves, the committee were
now in quest of a seventh candidate to fill the va
cancy. In order to secure the naturalized interests,
it had been determined to select as new a comer
as possible. This would also be maintaining the
principle of liberality, in the abstract. For this
reason they had been cruising for a week, as near
as the law would allow to the Leaphigh bounda
ries, and they were now ready to take any one
who would serve.

To this proposition I again objected the differ
ence of species. Here they aU fairly laughed in
my face, Brigadier Downright included, giving me
very distinctly to understand that they thought I had
very contracted notions on matters and things, to
suppose so trifling an obstacle could disturb the
harmony and unity of a Horizontal vote. They
went for a principle, and the devil himself could
not make them swerve from the pursuit of so
sacred an object.

I then candidly admitted that nature had not
fitted me, as admirably as it had fitted my friend
the Judge, for the throwing of summersets ; and I
feared that when the order was given "to go to the
right about," I might be found no better than a
bungler. This staggered them a little ; and I per
ceived that they looked at each other, in doubt.


" But you can, at least, turn round suddenly, at
need?" one of them asked, after a pause.

" Certainly, sir," I answered, giving ocular evi
dence that I was no idle boaster, making a com
plete gyration on my heels, in very good time.

" Very well ! admirably well !" they all cried
in a breath. " The great political essential is to be
able to perform the evolutions in their essence,
the facility with which they are performed being
no more than a personal merit."

" But, gentlemen, I know little more of your
constitution and laws, than I have learned in a
few broken discussions with my fellow-travellers."

" This is a matter of no moment, sir. Our con
stitution, unlike that of Leaphigh, is written down,
and he who runs can read; and then we have a
political fugleman in the house, who saves an im
mense deal of unnecessary study and reflection to
the members. All you will have to do, will be to
watch his movements ; and, my life on it, you will
go as well through the manual exercise as the
oldest member there."

" How, sir, do a)l the members take the manoeu
vres from this fugleman ?"

"All the Horizontals, sir the Perpendiculars
having a fugleman of their own."

"Well, gentlemen, I conceive this to be an affair
in which I am no judge, and I put myself entirely
in the hands of my friends."

This answer met with much commendation, ana
manifested, as they all protested, great political
capabilities; the statesman who submitted all to
his friends never failing to rise to eminence in
Leaplow. The committee took my name in writ
ing, and hastened back to their schooner, in order
to get into port to promulgate the nomination.
These persons were hardly off the deck, before


anotner party came up the opposite side of the
ship. They announced themselves to be a nomi
nating committee of the Perpendiculars, on exactly
the same errand as their opponents. They, too,
wished to propitiate the foreign interests, and were
in search of a proper candidate. Captain Poke
had been an attentive listener to all that occurred
during the circumstances that preceded my nomi
nation; and he now stepped promptly forward,
and declared his readiness to serve. As there was
quite as little squeamishness on one side as on the
other, and the Perpendicular committee, as it
owned itself, was greatly pressed for time, the
Horizontals having the start of them, the affair
was arranged in five minutes, and the strangers
departed with the name of NOAH POKE, THE
somely placarded on a large board all but the
name having been carefully prepared in advance.
When the committee was fairly out of the ship,
Noah took me aside, and made his apologies for
opposing me in this important election. His rea
sons were numerous and ingenious, and, as usual,
a little discursive. They might be summed up as
follows: He never had sat in a parliament, and he
was curious to know how it would feel ; it would
increase the respect of the ship's company, to find
their commander of so much account in a strange
port ; he had had some experience at Stunin'tun
by reading the newspapers, and he didn't doubt
of his abilities at all, a circumstance that rarely
failed of making a good legislator ; the Congress
man in his part of the country was some such man
as himself, and what was good for the goose was
good for the gander ; he knew Miss Poke would
be pleased to hear he had been chosen ; he won-


dered if he should be called the Honorable Noah
Poke, and whether he should receive eight dollars
a day, and mileage from the spot where the ship
then was; the Perpendiculars might count on him,
for his word was as good as his bond ; as for the
constitution, he had got on under the constitution
at home, and he believed a man who could do
that might get on under any constitution; he didn't
intend to say a great deal in parliament, but what
he did say he hoped might be recorded for the use
of his children ; together with a great deal more
of the same sort of argumentation and apology.

The third schooner now brought us to. This
vessel sent another committee, who announced
themselves to be the representatives of a party
that was termed the Tangents. They were not
numerous, but sufficiently so to hold the balance
whenever the Horizontals and the Perpendiculars
crossed each other directly at right angles, as was
the case at present; and they had now determined
to run a single candidate of their own. They, too,
wished to fortify themselves by the foreign inte
rest, as was natural, and had come out in quest
of a proper person. I suggested the first mate ; but
against this Noah protested, declaring that come
what would, the ship must on no account be de
serted. Time pressed; and, while the Captain and
the subordinate were hotly disputing the propriety
of permitting the latter to serve, Bob, who had
already tasted the sweets of political importance,
in his assumed character of Prince-Royal, stepped
slyly up to the committee, and gave in his name.
Noah was too much occupied to discover this
well-managed movement ; and by the time he had
sworn to throw the mate overboard if he did not
instantly relinquish all ambitious projects of this
nature, he found that the Tangents were off. Sup-


posing they had gone to some other vessel, the
Captain allowed himself to be soothed, and all
went on smoothly again.

From this time until we anchored in the bay
of Bivouac, the tranquillity and discipline of the
Walrus were undisturbed. I improved the occa-
ion to study the constitution of Leaplow, of which
the Judge had a copy, and to glean such informa
tion from my companions, as I believed might be
useful in my future career. I thought how plea
sant it would be for a foreigner to teach the Leap-
lowers their own laws, and to explain to them the
application of their own principles ! Little, how
ever, was to be got from the Judge, who was just
then too much occupied with some calculations
concerning the chances of the little wheel, with
which he had been furnished by a leading man of
one of the nominating committees.

I now questioned the Brigadier touching that
peculiar usage of his country which rendered
Leaphigh opinions concerning the Leaplow insti
tutions, society and manners, of so much value in
the market of the latter. To this I got but an in
different answer, except it was to say, that his
countrymen having cleared the interests connected
with the subjects from the rubbish of time, and set
everything at work, on the philosophical basis of
reason and common sense, were exceedingly desi
rous of knowing what other people thought of tho
success of the experiment.

" I expect to see a nation of sages, I can assure
you, Brigadier; one in which even the very children
are profoundly instructed in the great truths of
your system ; and, as to the monikinas, I am not
without dread of bringing my theoretical ignorance
in collision with their great practical knowledge
of the principles of your government."


"They are early fed on political pap."

"No doubt, sir, no doubt. How different must
they be from the females of other countries !
Deeply imbued with the great distinctive princi
ples of your system, devoted to the education of
their children in the same subHme truths, and inde
fatigable in their discrimination, among the meanest
of their households !"

Hum !"

" Now, sir, even in England, a country which
I trust is not the most debased on earth, you will
find women, beautiful, intellectual, accomplished
and patriotic, who limit their knowledge of these
fundamental points to a zeal for a clique, and the
whole of whose eloquence on great national ques
tions is bounded by a few heartfelt wishes for the
downfall of their opponents."

"It is very much soatStunin'tun,too,if truth must
be spoken," remarked Noah, who had been a listener

" Who, instead of instructing the young suckers
that cling to their sides in just notions of general,
social distinctions, nurture their young antipathies
with pettish philippics against some luckless chief
of the adverse party."

"'Tis pretty much the same at Stunin'tun, as I
live !"

" Who rarely study the great lessons of history
in order to point out to the future statesmen and
heroes of the empire the beacons of crime, the
incentives for public virtue, or the charters of their
liberties; but who are indefatigable in echoing
the cry of the hour, however false or vulgar, and
who humanize their attentive offspring by softly
expressed wishes that Mr. Canning, or some other
frustrator of the designs of their friends, were
fairly hanged !' "

" Stunin'tun, all over !"


" Beings that are angels in form soft, gentle,
refined, and tearful as the evening with its dews,
when there is a question of humanity or suffering j
but who seem strangely transformed into she-
tigers, whenever any but those of whom they can
approve attain to power ; and who, instead of en
twining their soft arms around their husbands and
brothers, to restrain them from the hot strife of
opinions, cheer them on by their encouragement,
and throw dirt with the volubility and wit of fish-

" Miss Poke, to the back-bone !"

" In short, sir, I expect to see an entirely dif
ferent state of things at Leaplow. There, when
a political adversary 'is bespattered with mud,
your gentle monikinas, doubtless, appease anger
by the mild soothings of philosophy, tempering
zeal by wisdom, and regulating error by apt and
unanswerable quotations from that great charter
which is based on the eternal and immutable prin
ciples of right."

" Well, Sir John, if you speak in this elocution
ary manner in the house," cried the delighted
Noah, "I shall be shy of answering ! I doubt, now,
if the Brigadier himself could repeat all you have
just said."

" I have forgotten to inquire, Mr. Downright, a
little about your Leaplow constituency. The suf
frage is, beyond question, confined to those mem-
oers of society who possess a ' social stake.' "

"Certainly, Sir John. They who live and

"Surely none vote but those who possess the
money, and houses, and lands of the country ?"

" Sir, you are altogether in error ; all vote who
possess ears, and eyes, and noses, and bobs, and
lives, and hopes, and wishes, and feelings, and


wants. Wants we conceive to be a much truer
test of political fidelity, than possessions."

" This is novel doctrine, indeed ! but it is in
direct hostility to the social-stake system."

" You were never more right, Sir John, as
respects your own theory, or never more wrong
as respects the truth. In Leaplow we contend
and contend justly that there is no broader or
bolder fallacy than to say that a representation of
mere effects, whether in houses, lands, merchan
dise, or money, is a security for a good govern
ment. Property is affected by measures ; and the
more a monikin has, the greater is the bribe to
induce him to consult his own interests, although
it should be at the expense of those of everybody

" But, sir, the interest of the community is com
posed of the aggregate of these interests."

" Your pardon, Sir John ; nothing is composed

Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperWorks (Volume 17) → online text (page 26 of 35)