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way in the world, to discover islands ; and every
body knows that we sealers are always on the
look-out for su'thin' of that sort."

" Will you suffer me to inquire, Captain Poke,
how many times you have doubled Cape Horn ?"

My navigator threw a quick, jealous glance at
me, as if he distrusted the nature of the question.

" Why, that is neither here nor there ; perhaps I
don't double either of the capes, perhaps I do. I get
into the South Sea with my craft, and it's of no great
moment how it's done. A skin is worth just as much
in the market, though the furrier may not happeq
to have a glossary of the road it has travelled."

"A glossary?"

" What matters a signification, commodore, when
people understand each other? This over-land jour
ney has put me to my wits, for you will understand.

THE MONIKlffS. 109

that I've had to travel among natives that cannot
speak a syllable of the homespun ; so I brought the
schooner's dictionary with me as a sort of terres
trial almanac, and I fancied that, as they spoke gib
berish to me, the best way was to give it to them
back again, as near as might be in their own coin,
hoping I might hit on su'thin' to their liking. By
this means, I've come to be rather more voluble
than formerly."

" The idea was happy."

" No doubt it was, as is just evinced. But, hav
ing given you a pretty clear insight into my natur*
and occupation, it is time that I ask a few questions
of you. This is a business, you must know, at
which we do a good deal at Stunin'tun, and at
which we are commonly thought to be handy."

" Put your questions, Capt. Poke ; I hope the an
swers will be satisfactory."

" Your name ?"

" John Goldencalf by the favor of His Majesty,
Sir John Goldencalf, Baronet."

" ' Sir John Goldencalf by the favor of His Ma
jesty, a Baronet !' Is Baronet a calling 1 or what
sort of crittur or thing is it ?"

" It is my rank, in the kingdom to which I be-

" I begin to understand what you mean. Among
your nation, mankind is what we call stationed,
like a ship's people that are called to go about ;
you have a certain birth in that kingdom of yours,
much as I should have in a sealing schooner."

" Exactly so ; and I presume you will allow that
oraer, and propriety, and safety, result from this
nethod, among mariners 1"

" No doubt no doubt ; we station anew, how
ever, each v'yage, according to experience: I'm


not so sure that it would do to take even the cook
from father to son, or we might have a pretty mess
of it."

Here the sealer commenced a series of questions,
which he put with a vigor and perseverance that, I
fear, left me without a single fact of my life unre-
vealed, except those connected with the sacred sen
timent that bound me to Anna, and which were far
too hallowed to escape me, even under the ordeal
of a Stunin'tun inquisitor. In short, finding that I
was nearly helpless in such hands, I made a merit
of necessity, and yielded up my secrets, as wood
in a vice discharges its moisture. It was scarcely
possible that a mind like mine, subjected to the action
of such a pair of moral screws, should not yield
some hints touching its besetting propensities. The
Captain seized this clue, and he went at the theory
like a bull-dog at the muzzle of an ox.

To oblige him, therefore, I entered, at some
length, into an explanation of my system. After
the general remarks that were necessary to give a
stranger an insight into its leading principles, I
gave him to understand that I had long been look
ing for one like him, for a purpose that shall now
be explained to the reader. I had entertained some
negotiations with Tamaahmaah, and had certain in
vestments in the -pearl and whale-fisheries, it is true ;
but, on the whole, my relations with all that por
tion of mankind who inhabit the islands of the
Pacific, the north-west coast of America, and the
north-east coast of the old continent, were rather
loose, and generally in an unsettled and vague con
dition ; and it appeared to me that I had been singu
larly favored, in having a man so well adapted to
their regeneration, thrown, as it were, by Provi
dence, and in a manner so unusual, directly in my


way. I now frankly proposed, therefore, to fit out
an expedition, that should be partly of trade and
partly of discovery, in order to expand my interests
in this new direction, and to place my new acquaint
ance at its head. Ten minutes of earnest expla
nation on my part, sufficed to put my companion
in possession of the leading features of the plan.
When I had ended this direct appeal to his love of
enterprise, I was answered by the favorite exclama
tion of

" King !"

" I do not wonder, Captain Poke, that your admi
ration breaks out in this manner; for, I believe,
few men fairly enter into the beautv of this benevo
lent system, who are not struck equally with its
grandeur and its simplicity. May I count on your
assistance ?"

" This is a new idee, Sir Goldencalf "

" Sir John Goldencalf, if you please, sir."

" A new idee, Sir John Goldencalf, and it needs
circumspection. Circumspection in a bargain, is
the certain way to steer clear of misunderstandings.
You wish a navigator to take your craft, let her be
what she will, into unknown seas, and I wish, na
turally, to make a straight course for Stunin'tun.
You see the bargain is in apogee, from the start."

" Money is no consideration with me, Captain

" Well, this is an idee that has brought many a
more difficult contract at once into perigee, Sir
John Goldencalf. Money is always a considerabl
consideration with me, and I may say, also, just
now it is rather more so than usual. But when a
gentleman clears the way as handsomely as you
have now done, any bargain may be counted as a
good deal more than half made."


A few explicit explanations disposed of this part
of the subject, and Captain Poke accepted of my
terms in the spirit of frankness with which they
were made. Perhaps his decision was quickened
by an offer of twenty Napoleons, which I did not
neglect making on the spot. Amicable, and in
some respects confidential, relations were now
established between my new acquaintance and
myself; and we pursued our walk, discussing the
details necessary to the execution of our project.
After an hour or two passed in this manner, I
.nvited my companion to go to my hotel, meaning
\bat he should partake of my board until we could
both depart for England, where it was my inten
tion to purchase, without delay, a vessel for the
contemplated voyage, in which I also had decided
to embark in person.

We were obliged to make our way through the
throng that usually frequents the lower part of the
Champs Elyse"es, during the season of good wea
ther and towards the close of day. This task was
nearly over, when my attention was particularly
drawn to a group that was just entering the place
of general resort, apparently with the design of
adding to the scene of thoughtlessness and amuse
ment. But, as I am now approaching the most
material part of this extraordinary work, it wil
be proper to reserve the opening for a new chapter



An introduction to four new characters, some touches of phi
losophy, and a few capital thoughts on political economy.

THE group which drew my attention was com
posed of six individuals, two of which were ani
mals of the genus homo, or what is vulgarly termed
man ; and the remainder were of the order primates,
and of the class mammalia; or what, in common
parlance, are called monkeys.

The first were Savoyards, and may be gene
rally described as being unwashed, ragged and
carnivorous ; in colour, swarthy ; in lineaments and
expression, avaricious and shrewd, and in appetites
voracious. The latter were of the common species,
of the usual size, and of approved gravity. There
were two of each sex ; being very equally paired
as to years and external advantages.

The monkeys were ail habited with more or less
of the ordinary attire of our modern European
civilization ; but peculiar care had been taken with
the toilet of the senior of the two males. This
individual had on the coat of a hussar, a cut that
would have given a particular part of his body a
more military contour than comported with his
real character, were it not for a red petticoat, that
was made shorter than common ; less, however,
with a view to show a pretty foot and ankle, than
to leave the nether limbs at liberty L> go through
with certain extravagant efforts, which the Savoy
ards were unmercifully exacting from his natural
agility. He wore a Spanish hat, decorated with
a few bedraggled feathers, a white cockade, and


a wooden sword. In addition to the latter, he
carried in his hand a small broom.

Observing that my attention was strongly at
tracted to this party, the ill-favored Savoyards
immediately commenced a series "of experiments
in saltation, with the sole view, beyond a question,
to profit by my curiosity. The inoffensive victims
of this act of brutal tyranny, submitted with a
patience worthy of the profoundest philosophy,
meeting the wishes of their masters with a readi
ness and dexterity that was beyond all praise.
One swept the earth, another leaped on the back
of a dog, a third threw himself head-over-heels,
again and again, without a murmur; and the fourth
moved gracefully to and fro, like a young girl in
a quadrille. All this might have passed without
calling for particular remark, (since, alas ! the spec
tacle is only too common,) were it not for certain
eloquent appeals that were made to me, through
the eyes, by the individual in the hussar jacket.
His look was rarely averted from my face for a
moment, and, in this way, a silent communion
was soon established between us. I observed that
his gravity was indomitable. Nothing could elicit
a smile, or a change of countenance. Obedient
to the whip of his brutal master, he never refused
the required leap; for minutes at a time, his legs
and petticoat described confused circles in the
air, appearing to have taken a final leave of the
earth; but, the effort ended, he invariably descend
ed to the ground with a quiet dignity and compo
sure, that showed how little the inward monkey
partook of the antics of the outward animal. Draw
ing my companion a little aside, I ventured to
suggest a few thoughts to him on the subject.

" Really, Captain Poke, it appears to me there it
great injustice in the treatment of these poor crea-


Tures !" I said, " What right have these two foul-
looking blackguards to seize upon beings much
more interesting to the eye, and, I dare say, far
more intellectual, than themselves, and cause them
to throw their legs about in this extravagant man
ner, under the penalty of stripes, and without
regard to their feelings, or to their convenience?
I say, sir, the measure appears to me to be intole
rably oppressive, and it calls for prompt redress."

" King !"

" King or subject, it does not alter the moral
deformity of the act. What have these innocent
beings done, that they should be subjected to this
disgrace ? Are they not flesh and blood, like our
selves do they not approach nearer to our form,
and, for aught we know to the contrary, to our
reason, than any other animal 1 and is it tolerable
that our nearest imitations, our very cousins,
should be thus dealt by? Are they dogs, that they
are treated like dogs ?"

" Why, to my notion, Sir John, there isn't a dog
on 'arth that can take such a summerset. Their
flapjacks are quite extraor'nary 1"

"Yes, sir, and more than extraordinary; they
are oppressive. Place yourself, Mr. Poke, for a
single instant, in the situation of one of these
persons; fancy that you had a hussar jacket
squeezed upon your brawny shoulders, a petticoat
placed over your lower extremities, a Spanish hat
with bedraggled feathers set upon your head, a
wooden sword stuck at your side, and a broom
put into your hand ; and that these two Savoyards
were to menace you with stripes unless you con
sented to throw summersets for the amusement of
strangers I only ask you to make the case your
own, sir, and then say what course you would
take, and what you would do t"


" I would lick both of these young blackguards,
Sir John, without remorse, break the sword and
the broom over their heads, kick their sensibilities
till they couldn't see, and take my course for
Stunin'tun, where I belong."

"Yes, sir, this might do with the Savoyards
who are young and feeble"

" 'T wouldn't alter the case much, if two of
these Frenchmen were in their places" put in
the Captain, glaring wolfishly about him. " To be
plain with you, Sir John Goldencalf, being human,
I'd submit to no such monkey tricks."

" Do not use the term reproachfully, Mr. Poke,
I entreat of you. We call these animals monkeys,
it is true ; but we do not know what they call
themselves. Man is merely an animal, and you
must very well know"

" Harkee, Sir John" interrupted the Captain,
" I'm no botanist, and do not pretend to more
schooling than a sealer has need of, for finding his
way about the 'arth ; but, as for a man's being an
animal, I just wish to ask you, now, if, in your
judgment, a hog is also an animal ?"

" Beyond a doubt and fleas, and toads, and
sea-serpents, and lizards, and water-devils we are
all, neither more nor less than animals."

" Well, if a hog is an animal, I am willing to
allow the relationship; for, in the course of my
experunce, which is not small, I have met with
men that you might have mistaken for hogs, in
every thing but the bristles, the snout, and the tail.
I'll never deny what I've seen with my own eyes,
though I suffer for it ; and therefore I admit that
hogs being animals, it is more than likely that
some men must be animals too."

"We call these interesting beings monkeys; but
how do we know that they do not return the com*


pliment and call us, in their own particular dia
lect, something quite as offensive. It would become
our species to manifest a more equitable and phi
losophical spirit, and to consider these interesting
strangers as an unfortunate family which has fallen
into the hands of brutes, and which is, in every
way, entitled to our commiseration and our active
interference. Hitherto, I have never sufficiently
stimulated my sympathies for the animal world,
by any investment in quadrupeds; but it is my
intention to write to-morrow to my English agent
to purchase a pack of hounds and a suitable stud
of horses ; and by way of quickening so laudable
a resolution, I shall forthwith make propositions to
the Savoyards for the speedy emancipation of this
family of amiable foreigners. The slave trade is
an innocent pastime, compared to the cruel oppres
sion that the gentleman in the Spanish hat, in par
ticular, is compelled to endure."

" King !"

" He may be a king, sure enough, in his own
country, Captain Poke ; a fact that would add ten
fold agony to his unmerited sufferings."

Hereupon, I proceeded, without more ado, to
open a negotiation with the Savoyards. The judi
cious application of a few Napoleons soon brought
about a happy understanding between the contract
ing parties, when the Savoyards transferred to my
hands the strings which confined their vassals, as
the formal and usual acknowledgment of the right
of ownership. Committing the three others to the
keeping of Mr. Poke, I led the individual in the
hussar-jacket a little on one side, and, raising my
hat, to show that I was superior to the vulgar feel
ing of feudal superiority, I addressed him, briefly,
in the following words :

"Although I have ostensibly bought the right


which these Savoyards professed to have in your
persons and services, I seize an early occasion to
inform you that, virtually, you are now free. As
we are among a people accustomed to see your
race in subjection, however, it may not be prudent
to proclaim the nature of the present transaction,
lest there might be some further conspiracies
against your natural rights. We will retire to my
hotel, forthwith, therefore, where your future hap
piness shall be the subject of our more mature and
of our united deliberations."

The respectable stranger in the hussar-jacket
heard me with inimitable gravity and self-command,
until, in the warmth of feeling, I raised an arm in
earnest gesticulation, when, most probably over
come by the emotions of delight that were natu
rally awakened in his bosom by this sudden change
of fortune, he threw three summersets, or flapjacks,
as Captain Poke had quaintly designated his evolu
tions, in so rapid succession, as to render it, for a mo
ment, a matter of doubt whether nature had placed
his head or his heels uppermost.

Making a sign for Captain Poke to follow, I now
took my way directly to the rue de Rivoli. We
were attended by a constantly increasing crowd,
until the gate of the hotel was fairly entered ; and
glad was I to see my charge safely housed, for
there were abundant indications of another design
upon their rights, in the taunts and ridicule of the
living mass that rolled up, as it were, upon our
heels. On reaching my own apartment, a courier,
who had been waiting my return, and who had
just arrived express from England, put a packet
Into my hands, stating that it came from my prin
cipal English agent Hasty orders were given to
attend to the comfort and wants of Captain Poke
and the strangers, (orders that were in no danger


of being neglected, since Sir John Goldencalf, with
the reputed annual revenue of three millions of
francs, had unlimited credit with all the inhabitants
of the hotel,) and I hurried into my cabinet, and sat
down to the eager perusal of the different commu- i

Alas ! there was not a line from Anna ! The ob
durate girl still trifled with my misery ; and, in re
venge, I entertained a momentary resolution oi.
adopting the notions of Mahmoud, in order to
qualify myself to set up a harem.

The letters were from a variety of correspond
ents, embracing many of those who were entrust
ed with the care of my interests in very opposite
quarters of the world. Half an hour before, I had
been dying to open more intimate relations with
the interesting strangers ; but my thoughts instant
ly took a new direction, and I soon found that the
painful sentiments I had entertained touching their
welfare and happiness, were quite lost in the newly
awakened interests that lay before me. It is in
this simple manner, no doubt, that the system to
which I am a convert effects no small part of its
own great purposes. No sooner does any one in
terest grow painful by excess, than a new claim
arises to divert the thoughts, a new demand is
made on the sensibilities ; and, by lowering our af
fections from the intensity of selfishness, to the
more bland and equable feeling of impartiality,
forms that just and generous condition of the mind
at which the political economists aim, when they
dilate on the glories and advantages of their favor
ite theory of the social stake.

In this happy frame of mind, I fell to reading
the letters with avidity, and with the god-like de
termination to reverence Providence and to dc
justice. Fiat justitia ruat cselum!


The first epistle was from the agent of the prin
cipal West-India estate. He acquainted me with
the fact that all hopes from the expected crop were
destroyed by a hurricane, and he begged that I
would furnish the means necessary to carry on the
affairs of the plantation, until another season might
repair the loss. Priding myself on punctuality as
a man of business, before I broke another seal, a
letter was written to a banker in London, request
ing him to supply the necessary credits, and to no
tify the agent in the West-Indies of the circum
stance. As he was a member of parliament, I
seized the occasion, also, to press upon him the
necessity of government's introducing some early
measure for the protection of the sugar-growers, a
most meritorious class of his fellow-subjects, and
one whose exposures and actual losses called loud
ly for relief of this nature. As I closed the letter.
I could not help dwelling, with complacency, on
the zeal and promptitude with which I had acted
the certain proof of the usefulness of the theory of

The second communication was from the man
ager of an East-India property, that very happily
came with its offering to fill the vacuum left by the
failure of the crops just mentioned. Sugar was
likely to be a drug in the peninsula, and my cor
respondent stated that the cost of transportation
being so much greater than from the other colonies,
this advantage would be entirely lost, unless go
vernment did something to restore the East-Indian
to his natural equality. I enclosed this letter in one
to my Lord Say and Do, who was in the ministry,
asking of him, in the most laconic and pointed terms,
whether it were possible for the empire to prosper,
when one portion of it was left in possession of
exclusive advantages, to the prejudice of all the


others 1 As this question was put with a truly Brit
ish spirit, I hope it had some tendency to open the
eyes of his Majesty's ministers; for much was
shortly after said, both in the journals and in Par
liament, on the necessity of protecting our East-
Indian fellow-subjects, and of doing natural justice
by establishing the national prosperity on the only
firm basis, that of Free Trade.

The next letter was from the acting partner of
a large manufacturing house, to which I had ad
vanced quite half the capital, in order to enter into
a sympathetic communion with the cotton-spinners.
The writer complained heavily of the import duty
on the raw article ; made some poignant allusions
to the increasing competition on the continent and
in America ; and pretty clearly intimated that the
Lord of the manor of Householder ought to make
himself felt by the administration, in a question of
so much magnitude to the nation. On this hint I
spake. I sat down, on the spot, and wrote a long
letter to my friend, Lord Pledge, in which I pointed
out to him the danger that threatened our political
economy ; that we were imitating the false theories
of the Americans, (the countrymen of Captain
Poke) ; that trade was clearly never so prosperous
as when it was the most successful ; that success
depended on effort, and effort was the most efficient
when the least encumbered ; and, in short, that, as
it was self-evident a man would jump farther with
out being in foot-irons, or strike harder without be
ing handcuffed, so it was equally apparent, that a
merchant would make a better bargain for himself,
when he could have things all his own way, than
when his enterprise and industry were shackled
by the impertinent and selfish interposition of the
interests of others. In conclusion, there was an
eloouent Description of the demoralizing conse-


quences of smuggling, and a pungent attack on the
icndencies of taxation in general. I have written
and said some good things in my time, as several
of my dependants have sworn to me, in a way that
even my natural modesty cannot repudiate ; but I
shall be excused for the weakness, if I now add,
that I believe this letter to Lord Pledge contained
some as clever points, as any thing I remember,
in their way; the last paragraph, in particular,
being positively the neatest and the best turned
moral I ever produced.

Letter fourth was from the steward of the House
holder estate. He spoke of the difficulty of getting
the rents ; a difficulty that he imputed altogether to
the low price of corn. He said that it would soon
be necessary to re-let certain farms ; and he feared
that the unthinking cry against the corn-laws would
affect the conditions. It was incumbent on the land
ed interest to keep an eye on the popular tendencies,
as respected this subject ; for any material variation
from the present system would lower the rental of
all the grain-growing counties in England, thirty
per cent., at least, at a blow. He concluded with
a very hard rap at the Agrarians, a party that was
just coming a little into notice in Great Britain,
and, by a very ingenious turn, in which he com
pletely demonstrated that the protection of the
landlord and the support of the Protestant religion
were indissolubly connected. There was also a
vigorous appeal to the common sense of the subject,

Online LibraryJames Fenimore CooperWorks (Volume 17) → online text (page 8 of 35)