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  • 1835
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political moderation that is unlikely to derange the balance of the state. But it is quite a different thing to govern. His majesty is required to govern nothing, the slight interests just mentioned excepted; no, not even himself. The case is far otherwise with his first-cousin. This high functionary is charged with the important trust of governing. It had been found, in the early ages of the monarchy, that one conscience, or indeed one set of faculties generally, scarcely sufficed for him whose duty it was both to reign and to govern. We all know, my lords, how insufficient for our personal objects are our own private faculties; how difficult we find it to restrain even ourselves, assisted merely by our own judgments, consciences, and memories; and in this fact do we perceive the great importance of investing him who governs others, with an additional set of these grave faculties. Under a due impression of the exigency of such a state of things, the common law–not statute law, my lords, which is apt to be tainted with the imperfections of monikin reason in its isolated or individual state, usually bearing the impress of the single cauda from which it emanated–but the common law, the known receptacle of all the common sense of the nation–in such a state of things, then, has the common law long since decreed that his majesty’s first-cousin should be the keeper of his majesty’s conscience; and, by necessary legal implication, endowed with his majesty’s judgment, his majesty’s reason, and finally, his majesty’s memory.

“My lords, this is the legal presumption. It would, in addition, be easy for me to show, in a thousand facts, that not only the sovereign of Leaphigh, but most other sovereigns, are and ever have been, destitute of the faculty of a memory. It might be said to be incompatible with the royal condition to be possessed of this obtrusive faculty. Were a prince endowed with a memory, he might lose sight of his high estate, in the recollection that he was born, and that he is destined, like another, to die; he might be troubled with visions of the past; nay, the consciousness of his very dignity might be unsettled and weakened by a vivid view of the origin of his royal race. Promises, obligations, attachments, duties, principles, and even debts, might interfere with the due discharge of his sacred trusts, were the sovereign invested with a memory; and it has, therefore, been decided, from time immemorial, that his majesty is utterly without the properties of reason, judgment, and memory, as a legitimate inference from his being destitute of a conscience.”

Mr. Attorney-General now directed the attention of the court and jury to a statute of the 3d of Firstborn 6th, by which it was enacted that any person attributing to his majesty the possession of any faculty, with felonious intent, that might endanger the tranquillity of the state, should suffer decaudization, without benefit of clergy. Here he rested the case on behalf of the crown.

There was a solemn pause, after the speaker had resumed his seat. His argument, logic, and above all, his good sense and undeniable law, made a very sensible impression; and I had occasion to observe that Noah began to chew tobacco ravenously. After a decent interval, however, Brigadier Downright–who, it would seem, in spite of his military appellation, was neither more nor less than a practising attorney and counsellor in the city of Bivouac, the commercial capital of the Republic of Leaplow–arose, and claimed a right to be heard in reply. The court now took it into its head to start the objection, for the first time, that the advocate had not been duly qualified to plead, or to argue, at their bar. My brother Downright instantly referred their lordships to the law of adoption, and to that provision of the criminal code which permitted the accused to be heard by his next of kin.

“Prisoner at the bar,” said the chief-justice, “you hear the statement of counsel. Is it your desire to commit the management of your defence to your next of kin?”

“To anybody, your honors, if the court please,” returned Noah, furiously masticating his beloved weed; “to anybody who will do it well, my honorables, and do it cheap.”

“And do you adopt, under the provisions of the statute in such cases made and provided, Aaron Downright as one of your next of kin, and if so, in what capacity?”

“I do–I do–my lords and your honors–I do, body and soul–if you please, I adopt the brigadier as my father; and my fellow human being and tried friend, Sir John Goldencalf, here, I adopt him as my mother.”

The court now formally assenting, the facts were entered of record, and my brother Downright was requested to proceed with the defence.

The counsel for the prisoner, like Dandin, in Racine’s comedy of Les Plaideurs, was disposed to pass over the deluge, and to plunge instantly into the core of his subject. He commenced with a review of the royal prerogatives, and with a definition of the words “to reign.” Referring to the dictionary of the academy, he showed triumphantly, that to reign, was no other than to “govern as a sovereign”; while to govern, in the familiar signification, was no more than to govern in the name of a prince, or as a deputy. Having successfully established this point, he laid down the position, that the greater might contain the less, but that the less could not possibly contain the greater. That the right to reign, or to govern, in the generic signification of the term, must include all the lawful attributes of him who only governed, in the secondary signification; and that, consequently, the king not only reigned, but governed. He then proceeded to show that memory was indispensable to him who governed, since, without one he could neither recollect the laws, make a suitable disposition of rewards and punishments, nor, in fact, do any other intelligent or necessary act. Again, it was contended that by the law of the land the king’s conscience was in the keeping of his first-cousin. Now, in order that the king’s conscience should be in such keeping, it was clear that he must HAVE a conscience, since a nonentity could not be in keeping, or even put in commission; and, having a conscience, it followed, ex necessitate rei, that he must have the attributes of a conscience, of which memory formed one of the most essential features. Conscience was defined to be “the faculty by which we judge of the goodness or wickedness of our own actions. (See Johnson’s Dictionary, page 162, letter C. London edition. Rivington, publisher.) Now, in what manner can one judge of the goodness or wickedness of his acts, or of those of any other person, if he knows nothing about them? and how can he know anything of the past, unless endowed with the faculty of a memory?”

Again; it was a political corollary from the institutions of Leaphigh, that the king could do no wrong–

“I beg your pardon, my brother Downright,” interrupted the chief- justice, “it is not a corollary, but a proposition–and one, too, that is held to be demonstrated. It is the paramount law of the land.”

“I thank you, my lord,” continued the brigadier, “as your lordship’s high authority makes my case so much the stronger. It is, then, settled law, gentle monikins of the jury, that the sovereign of this realm can do no wrong. It is also settled law–their lordships will correct me, if I misstate–it is also settled law that the sovereign is the fountain of honor, that he can make war and peace, that he administers justice, sees the laws executed–“

“I beg your pardon, again, brother Downright,” interrupted the chief-justice. “This is not the law, but the prerogative. It is the king’s prerogative to be and do all this, but it is very far from being law.”

“Am I to understand, my lord, that the court makes a distinction between that which is prerogative, and that which is law?”

“Beyond a doubt, brother Downright! If all that is prerogative was also law, we could not get on an hour.”

“Prerogative, if your lordship pleases, or prerogativa, is defined to be ‘an exclusive or peculiar privilege.’ (Johnson. Letter P, page 139, fifth clause from bottom; edition as aforesaid. Speaking slow, in order to enable Baron Longbeard to make his notes.) Now, an exclusive privilege, I humbly urge, must supersede all enactments, and–“

“Not at all, sir–not at all, sir–not at all, sir,” put in my lord chief-justice, dogmatically-looking out of the window at the clouds, in a way to show that his mind was quite made up. “Not at all, good sir. The king has his prerogatives, beyond a question; and they are sacred–a part of the constitution. They are, moreover, exclusive and peculiar, as stated by Johnson; but their exclusiveness and peculiarity are not to be constructed in the vulgar acceptations. In treating of the vast interests of a state, the mind must take a wide range; and I hold, brother Longbeard, there is no principle more settled than the fact, that prerogativa is one thing, and lex, or the law, another.” The baron bowed assent. “By exclusion, in this case, is meant that the prerogative touches only his majesty. The prerogative is exclusively his property, and he may do what he pleases with it; but the law is made for the nation, and is altogether a different matter. Again: by peculiar, is clearly meant peculiarity, or that this case is analogous to no other, and must be reasoned on by the aid of a peculiar logic. No, sir–the king can make peace and war, it is true, under his prerogative; but then his conscience is hard and fast in the keeping of another, who alone can perform all legal acts.”

“But, my lord, justice, though administered by others, is still administered in the king’s name.”

“No doubt, in his name: this is a part of the peculiar privilege. War is made in his majesty’s name, too–so is peace. What is war? It is the personal conflicts between bodies of men of different nations. Does his majesty engage in these conflicts? Certainly not. The war is maintained by taxes. Does his majesty pay them? No. Thus we see that while the war is constitutionally the king’s, it is practically the people’s. It follows, as a corollary–since you quote corollaries, brother Downright–that there are two wars–or the war of the prerogative, and the war of the fact. Now, the prerogative is a constitutional principle–a very sacred one, certainly–but a fact is a thing that comes home to every monikin’s fireside; and therefore the courts have decided, ever since the reign of Timid II., or ever since they dared, that the prerogative was one thing, and the law another.”

My brother Downright seemed a good deal perplexed by the distinctions of the court, and he concluded much sooner than he otherwise would have done; summing up the whole of his arguments, by showing, or attempting to show, that if the king had even these peculiar privileges, and nothing else, he must be supposed to have a memory.

The court now called upon the attorney-general to reply; but that person appeared to think his case strong enough as it was, and the matter, by agreement, was submitted to the jury, after a short charge from the bench.

“You are not to suffer your intellects to be confused, gentlemonikins, by the argument of the prisoner’s counsel,” concluded the chief-justice. “He has done his duty, and it remains for you to be equally conscientious. You are, in this case, the judges of the law and the fact; but it is a part of my functions to inform you what they both are. By the law, the king is supposed to have no faculties. The inference drawn by counsel, that, not being capable of erring, the king must have the highest possible moral attributes, and consequently a memory, is unsound. The constitution says his majesty CAN do no wrong. This inability may proceed from a variety of causes. If he can do NOTHING, for instance, he can do no wrong. The constitution does not say that the sovereign WILL do no wrong–but, that he CAN do no wrong. Now, gentlemonikins, when a thing cannot be done, it becomes impossible; and it is, of course, beyond the reach of argument. It is of no moment whether a person has a memory, if he cannot use it, and, in such a case, the legal presumption is, that he is without a memory; for, otherwise, nature, who is ever wise and beneficent, would be throwing away her gifts.

“Gentlemonikins, I have already said you are the judges, in this case, of both the law and the fact. The fate of the prisoner is in your hands. God forbid that it should be, in any manner, influenced by me; but this is an offence against the king’s dignity, and the security of the realm; the law is against the prisoner, the facts are all against the prisoner, and I do not doubt that your verdict will be the spontaneous decision of your own excellent judgments, and of such a nature as will prevent the necessity of our ordering a new trial.”

The jurors put their tails together, and in less than a minute, their foremonikin rendered a verdict of guilty. Noah sighed, and took a fresh supply of tobacco.

The case of the queen was immediately opened by her majesty’s attorney-general; the prisoner having been previously arraigned, and a plea entered of “not guilty.”

The queen’s advocate made a bitter attack on the animus of the unfortunate prisoner. He described her majesty as a paragon of excellences; as the depositary of all the monikin virtues, and the model of her sex. “If she, who was so justly celebrated for the gifts of charity, meekness, religion, justice, and submission to feminine duties, had no memory,” he asked leave to demand, in the name of God, who had? “Without a memory, in what manner was this illustrious personage to recall her duties to her royal consort, her duties to her royal offspring, her duties to her royal self? Memory was peculiarly a royal attribute; and without its possession no one could properly be deemed of high and ancient lineage. Memory referred to the past, and the consideration due to royalty was scarcely ever a present consideration, but a consideration connected with the past. We venerated the past. Time was divided into the past, present, and future. The past was invariably a monarchical interest–the present was claimed by republicans–the future belonged to fate. If it were decided that the queen had no memory, we should strike a blow at royalty. It was by memory, as connected with the public archives, that the king derived his title to his throne; it was by memory, which recalled the deeds of his ancestors, that he became entitled to our most profound respect.”

In this manner did the queen’s attorney-general speak for about an hour, when he gave way to the counsel for the prisoner. But, to my great surprise, for I knew that this accusation was much the gravest of the two, since the head of Noah would be the price of conviction, my brother Downright, instead of making a very ingenious reply, as I had fully anticipated, merely said a few words, in which he expressed so firm a confidence in the acquittal of his client, as to appear to think a further defence altogether unnecessary. He had no sooner seated himself, than I expressed a strong dissatisfaction with this course, and avowed an intention to make an effort in behalf of my poor friend, myself.

“Keep silence, Sir John,” whispered my brother Downright; “the advocate who makes many unsuccessful applications gets to be disrespected. I charge myself with the care of the lord high admiral’s interests; at the proper time they shall be duly attended to.”

Having the profoundest respect for the brigadier’s legal attainments, and no great confidence in my own, I was fain to submit. In the meantime, the business of the court proceeded; and the jury, having received a short charge from the bench, which was quite as impartial as a positive injunction to convict could very well be, again rendered the verdict of “guilty.”

In Leaphigh, although it is deemed indecent to wear clothes, it is also esteemed exceedingly decorous for certain high functionaries to adorn their persons with suitable badges of their official rank. We have already had an account of the hierarchy of tails, and a general description of the mantle composed of tenth-hairs; but I had forgotten to say that both my lord chief-justice and Baron Longbeard had tail-cases made of the skins of deceased monikins, which gave the appearance of greater development to their intellectual organs, and most probably had some influence in the way of coddling their brains, which required great care and attention on account of incessant use. They now drew over these tail-cases a sort of box- coat of a very bloodthirsty color, which, we were given to understand, was a sign that they were in earnest, and about to pronounce sentence; justice in Leaphigh being of singularly bloodthirsty habits.

“Prisoner at the bar,” the chief-justice began, in a voice of reproof, “you have heard the decision of your peers. You have been arraigned and tried on the heinous charge of having accused the sovereign of this realm of being in possession of the faculty called ‘a memory,’ thereby endangering the peace of society, unsettling the social relations, and setting a dangerous example of insubordination and of contempt of the laws. Of this crime, after a singularly patient and impartial hearing, you have been found guilty. The law allows the court no discretion in the case. It is my duty to pass sentence forthwith; and I now solemnly ask you, if you have anything to say why sentence of decaudization should not be pronounced against you. “Here the chief-justice took just time enough to gape, and then proceeded–“You are right in throwing yourself altogether on the mercy of the court, which better knows what is fittest for you, than you can possibly know for yourself. You will be taken, Noah Poke, or No. 1, sea-water-color, forthwith, to the centre of the public square, between the hours of sunrise and sunset of this day, where your cauda will be cut off; and after it has been divided into four parts, a part will be exposed towards each of the cardinal points of the compass; and the brush thereof being consumed by fire, the ashes will be thrown into your face, and this without benefit of clergy. And may the Lord have mercy on your soul!”

“Noah Poke, or No. 1, sea-water-color,” put in Baron Longbeard, without giving the culprit breathing-time, “you have been indicted, tried, and found guilty of the enormous crime of charging the queen- consort of this realm of being wanting in the ordinary, important, and every-day faculty of a memory. Have you anything to say why sentence should not be forthwith passed against you? No; I am sure you are very right in throwing yourself altogether on the mercy of the court, which is quite disposed to show you all that is in its power, which happens, in this case, to be none at all. I need not dwell on the gravity of your offence. If the law should allow that the queen has no memory, other females might put in claims to the same privilege, and society would become a chaos. Marriage vows, duties, affections, and all our nearest and dearest interests would be unhinged, and this pleasant state of being would degenerate into a moral, or rather an immoral pandemonium. Keeping in view these all-important considerations, and more especially the imperativeness of the law, which does not admit of discretion, the court sentences you to be carried hence, without delay, to the centre of the great square, where your head will be severed from your body by the public executioner, without benefit of clergy; after which your remains are to be consigned to the public hospitals for the purposes of dissection.”

The words were scarcely out of Baron Longbeard’s mouth, before both the attorneys-general started up, to move the court in behalf of the separate dignities of their respective principals. Mr. Attorney- General of the crown prayed the court so far to amend its sentence, as to give precedency to the punishment on account of the offence against the king; and Mr. Attorney-General for the queen, to pray the court it would not be so far forgetful of her majesty’s rights and dignity, as to establish a precedent so destructive of both. I caught a glimpse of hope glancing about the eyes of my brother Downright, who, waiting just long enough to let the two advocates warm themselves over these points of law, arose and moved the court for a stay of execution, on the plea that neither sentence was legal–that delivered by my lord chief-justice containing a contradiction, inasmuch as it ordered the decaudization to take place between THE HOURS OF SUNRISE AND SUNSET, and also FORTHWITH; and that delivered by Baron Longbeard, on account of its ordering the body to be given up to dissection, contrary to the law, which merely made that provision in the case of condemned MONIKINS, the prisoner at the bar being entirely of another species.

The court deemed all these objections serious, but decided on its own incompetency to take cognizance of them. It was a question for the twelve judges, who were now on the point of assembling, and to whom they referred the whole affair on appeal. In the meantime, justice could not be stayed. The prisoner must be carried out into the square, and matters must proceed; but, should either of the points be finally determined in his favor, he could have the benefit of it, so far as circumstances would then allow. Hereupon the court rose, and the judges, counsel, and clerks repaired in a body to the hall of the twelve judges.



Noah was incontinently transferred to the place of execution, where I promised to meet him in time to receive his parting sigh, curiosity inducing me first to learn the issue on the appeal. The brigadier told me in confidence, as we went to the other hall, that the affair was now getting to be one of great interest; that hitherto it had been mere boy’s play, but it would in future require counsel of great reading and research to handle the arguments, and that he flattered himself there was a good occasion likely to present itself, for him to show what monikin reason really was.

The whole of the twelve wore tail-cases, and altogether they presented a formidable array of intellectual development. As the cause of Noah was admitted to be one of more than common urgency, after hearing only three or four other short applications on behalf of the crown, whose rights always have precedence on such occasions, the attorney-general of the king was desired to open his case.

The learned counsel spoke, in anticipation, to the objections of both his adversaries, beginning with those of my brother Downright. Forthwith, he contended, might be at any period of the twenty-four hours, according to the actual time of using the term. Thus, forthwith of a morning, would mean in the morning; forthwith at noon, would mean at noon; and so on to the close of the legal day. Moreover, in a legal signification, forthwith must mean between sunrise and sunset, the statute commanding that all executions shall take place by the light of the sun, and consequently the two terms ratified and confirmed each other, instead of conveying a contradiction, or of neutralizing each other, as would most probably be contended by the opposite counsel.

To all this my brother Downright, as is usual on such occasions, objected pretty much the converse. He maintained that ALL light proceeded from the sun; and that the statute, therefore, could only mean that there should be no executions during eclipses, a period when the whole monikin race ought to be occupied in adoration. Forthwith, moreover, did not necessarily mean forthwith, for forthwith meant immediately; and “between sunrise and sunset” meant between sunrise and sunset; which might be immediately, or might not.

On this point the twelve judges decided, firstly, that forthwith did not mean forthwith; secondly, that forthwith did mean forthwith; thirdly, that forthwith had two legal meanings; fourthly, that it was illegal to apply one of these legal meanings to a wrong legal purpose; and fifthly, that the objection was of no avail, as respected the case of No. 1, sea-water-color. Ordered, therefore, that the criminal lose his tail forthwith.

The objection to the other sentence met with no better fate. Men and monikins did not differ more than some men differed from other men, or some monikins differed from other monikins. Ordered, that the sentence be confirmed, with costs. I thought this decision the soundest of the two; for I had often had occasion to observe, that there were very startling points of resemblance between monkeys and our own species.

The contest now commenced between the two attorneys-general in earnest; and, as the point at issue was a question of mere rank, it excited a lively–I may say an engrossing–interest in all the hearers. It was settled, however, after a vigorous discussion, in favor of the king, whose royal dignity the twelve judges were unanimously of opinion was entitled to precedency over that of the queen. To my great surprise, my brother Downright volunteered an argument on this intricate point, making an exceedingly clever speech in favor of the king’s dignity, as was admitted by every one who heard it. It rested chiefly on the point that the ashes of the tail were, by the sentence, to be thrown into the culprit’s face. It is true this might be done physically after decapitation, but it could not be done morally. This part of the punishment was designed for a moral effect; and to produce that effect, consciousness and shame were both necessary. Therefore the moral act of throwing the ashes into the face of the criminal could only be done while he was living, and capable of being ashamed.

Meditation, chief-justice, delivered the opinion of the bench. It contained the usual amount of legal ingenuity and logic, was esteemed as very eloquent in that part which touched on the sacred and inviolable character of the royal prerogatives (prerogativae as he termed them), and was so lucid in pointing out the general inferiority of the queen-consort, that I felt happy her majesty was not present to hear herself and sex undervalued. As might have been expected, it allowed great weight to the distinction taken by the brigadier. The decision was in the following words, viz.: “Rex et Regina versus No. 1, sea-water-color: ordered, that the officers of justice shall proceed forthwith to decaudizate the defendant before they decapitate him; provided he has not been forthwith decapitated before he can be decaudizated.”

The moment this mandamus was put into the hands of the proper officer, Brigadier Downright caught me by the knee, and led me out of the hall of justice, as if both out lives depended on our expedition. I was about to reproach him for having volunteered to aid the king’s attorney-general, when, seizing me by the root of the tail, for the want of a button-hole, he said, with evident satisfaction:

“Affairs go on swimmingly, my dear Sir John! I do not remember to have been employed, for some years, in a more interesting litigation. Now this cause, which, no doubt, you think is drawing to a close, has just reached its pivot, or turning-point; and I see every prospect of extricating our client with great credit to myself.”

“How! my brother Downright!” I interrupted; “the accused is finally sentenced, if not actually executed!”

“Not so fast, my good Sir John–not so fast, by any means. Nothing is final in law, while there is a farthing to meet the costs, or the criminal can yet gasp. I hold our case to be in an excellent way; much better than I have deemed it at any time since the accused was arraigned.”

Surprise left me no other power than that which was necessary to demand an explanation.

“All depends on the single fact, dear sir,” continued my brother Downright, “whether the head is still on the body of the accused or not. Do you proceed, as fast as possible, to the place of execution; and, should our client still have a head, keep up his spirits by a proper religious discourse, always preparing him for the worst, for this is no more than wisdom; but, the instant his tail is separated from his body, run hither as fast as you can, to apprise me of the fact. I ask but two things of you–speed in coming with the news, and perfect certainty that the tail is not yet attached to the rest of the frame, by even a hair. A hair often turns the scales of justice!”

“The case seems desperate–would it not be as well for me to run down to the palace, at once; demand an audience of their majesties, throw myself on my knees before the royal pair, and implore a pardon?”

“Your project is impracticable, for three sufficient reasons: firstly, there is not time; secondly, you would not be admitted without a special appointment; thirdly, there is neither a king nor a queen!”

“No king in Leaphigh!”

“I have said it.”

“Explain yourself, brother Downright, or I shall be obliged to refute what you say, by the evidence of my own senses.”

“Your senses will prove to be false witnesses then. Formerly there was a king in Leaphigh, and one who governed, as well as reigned. But the nobles and grandees of the country, deeming it indecent to trouble his majesty with affairs of state any longer, took upon themselves all the trouble of governing, leaving to the sovereign the sole duty of reigning. This was done in a way to save his feelings, under the pretence of setting up a barrier to the physical force and abuses of the mass. After a time, it was found inconvenient and expensive to feed and otherwise support the royal family, and all its members were privately shipped to a distant region, which had not yet got to be so far advanced in civilization, as to know how to keep up a monarchy without a monarch.”

“And does Leaphigh succeed in effecting this prodigy?”

“Wonderfully well. By means of decapitations and decaudizations enough, even greater exploits may be performed.”

“But am I to understand literally, brother Downright, there is no such thing as a monarch in this country?”


“And the presentations?”

“Are like these trials, to maintain the monarchy.”

“And the crimson curtains?–“

“Conceal empty seats.”

“Why not, then, dispense with so much costly representation?”

“In what way could the grandees cry out that the throne is in danger, if there were no throne? It is one thing to have no monarch, and another to have no throne. But all this time our client is in great jeopardy. Hasten, therefore, and be particular to act as I have just instructed you.”

I stopped to hear no more, but in a minute was flying towards the centre of the square. It was easy enough to perceive the tail of my friend waving over the crowd; but grief and apprehension had already rendered his countenance so rueful, that, at the first glance, I did not recognize his head. He was, however, still in the body; for, luckily for himself, and more especially for the success of his principal counsel, the gravity of his crimes had rendered unusual preparations necessary for the execution. As the mandate of the court had not yet arrived–justice being as prompt in Leaphigh as her ministers are dilatory–two blocks were prepared, and the culprit was about to get down on his hands and knees between them, just as I forced my way through the crowd to his side.

“Ah! Sir John, this is an awful predicament!” exclaimed the rebuked Noah; “a ra’ally awful situation for a human Christian to have his enemies lying athwart both bows and starn!”

“While there is life there is hope; but it is always best to be prepared for the worst–he who is thus prepared never can meet with a disagreeable surprise. Messrs. Executioners”–for there were two, that of the king, and that of the queen, or one at each end of the unhappy criminal–“Messrs. Executioners, I pray you to give the culprit a moment to arrange his thoughts, and to communicate his last requests in behalf of his distant family and friends!”

To this reasonable petition neither of the higher functionaries of the law made any objection, although both insisted if they did not forthwith bring the culprit to the last stages of preparation, they might lose their places. They did not see, however, but a man might pause for a moment on the brink of the grave. It would seem that there had been a little misunderstanding between the executioners themselves on the point of precedency, which had been one cause of the delay, and which had been disposed of by an arrangement that both should operate at the same instant. Noah was now brought down to his hands and knees, “moored head and starn,” as that unfeeling blackguard Bob, who was in the crowd, expressed it, between the two blocks, his neck lying on one and his tail on the other. While in this edifying attitude, I was permitted to address him.

“It may be well to bethink you of your soul, my dear captain,” I said; “for, to speak truth, these axes have a very prompt and sanguinary appearance.”

“I know it, Sir John, I know it; and, not to mislead you, I will own that I have been repenting with all my might, ever since that first vardict. That affair of the lord high admiral, in particular, has given me a good deal of consarn; and I now humbly ask your pardon for being led away by such a miserable deception, which is all owing to that riptyle Dr. Reasono, who, I hope, will yet meet with his desarts. I forgive everybody, and hope everybody will forgive me. As for Miss Poke, it will be a hard case; for she is altogether past expecting another consort, and she must be satisfied to be a relic the rest of her days.”

“Repentance, repentance, my dear Noah–repentance is the one thing needful for a man in your extremity.”

“I do–I do, Sir John, body and soul–I repent, from the bottom of my heart, ever having come on this v’y’ge–nay, I don’t know but I repent ever having come outside of Montauk Point. I might, at this moment, have been a school-master or a tavern-keeper in Stunnin’tun; and they are both good wholesome berths, particularly the last. Lord love you! Sir John, if repentance would do any good, I should be pardoned on the spot.”

Here Noah caught a glimpse of Bob grinning in the crowd, and he asked of the executioners, as a last favor, that they would have the boy brought near, that he might take an affectionate leave of him. This reasonable request was complied with, despite of poor Bob’s struggles; and the youngster had quite as good reasons for hearty repentance as the culprit himself. Just at this trying moment the mandate for the order of the punishments arrived, and the officials seriously declared that the condemned must be prepared to meet his fate.

The unflinching manner in which Captain Poke submitted to the mortal process of decaudization extracted plaudits from, and awakened sympathy in every monikin present. Having satisfied myself that the tail was actually separated from the body, I ran, as fast as legs could carry me, towards the hall of the twelve judges. My brother Downright, who was impatiently expecting my appearance, instantly arose and moved the bench to issue a mandamus for a stay of execution in the case of “Regina versus Noah Poke, or No. 1, sea- water-color. By the statute of the 2d of Longevity and Flirtilla, it was enacted, my lords,” put in the brigadier, “that in no case shall a convicted felon suffer loss of life, or limb, while it can be established that he is non compos mentis. This is also a rule, my lords, of common law–but being common sense and common monikinity, it has been thought prudent to enforce it by an especial enactment. I presume Mr. Attorney-General for the queen will scarcely dispute the law of the case–“

“Not at all, my lords–though I have some doubts as to the fact. The fact remains to be established,” answered the other, taking snuff.

“The fact is certain, and will not admit of cavil. In the case of Rex versus Noah Poke, the court ordered the punishment of decaudization to take precedence of that of decapitation, in the case of Regina versus the same. Process had been issued from the bench to that effect; the culprit has, in consequence, lost his cauda, and with it his reason; a creature without reason has always been held to be non compos mentis, and by the law of the land is not liable to the punishments of life or limb.”

“Your law is plausible, my brother Downright,” observed my lord chief-justice, “but it remains for the bench to be put in possession of the facts. At the next term, you will perhaps be better prepared–“

“I pray you, my lord, to remember that this is a case which will not admit of three months’ delay.”

“We can decide the principle a year hence, as well as to-day; and we have now sat longer in banco,” looking at his watch, “than is either usual, agreeable, or expedient.”

“But, my lords, the proof is at hand. Here is a witness to establish that the cauda of Noah Poke, the defendant of record, has actually been separated from his body–“

“Nay–nay–my brother Downright, a barrister of your experience must know that the twelve can only take evidence on affidavit. If you had an affidavit prepared, we might possibly find time to hear it, before we adjourn; as it is, the affair must lie over to another sitting.”

I was now in a cold sweat, for I could distinctly scent the peculiar odor of the burning tail; the ashes of which being fairly thrown into Noah’s face, there remained no further obstacle to the process of decapitation–the sentence, it will be remembered, having kept his countenance on his shoulders expressly for that object. My brother Downright, however, was not a lawyer to be defeated by so simple a stumbling-block. Seizing a paper that was already written over in a good legal hand, which happened to be lying before him, he read it, without pause or hesitation, in the following manner:

“Regina versus Noah Poke.”

“Kingdom of Leaphigh, Season of Nuts, } Personally this fourth day of the Moon. } appeared before me, Meditation, Lord Chief-Justice of the Court of King’s Bench, John Goldencalf, baronet, of the Kingdom of Great Britain, who, being duly sworn, doth depose and say, viz., that he, the said deponent, was present at, and did witness, the decaudization of the defendant in this suit, and that the tail of the said Noah Poke, or No. 1, sea-water-color, hath been truly and physically separated from his body.–And further this deponent sayeth not. Signature, etc.”

Having read, in the most fluent manner, the foregoing affidavit, which existed only in his own brain, my brother Downright desired the court to take my deposition to its truth.

“John Goldencalf, baronet,” said the chief-justice, “you have heard what has just been read; do you swear to its truth?”

“I do.”

Here the affidavit was signed by both my lord chief-justice and myself, and it was duly put on file. I afterwards learned that the paper used by my brother Downright on this memorable occasion was no other than the notes which the chief-justice himself had taken on one of the arguments in the case in question, and that, seeing the names and title of the cause, besides finding it no easy matter to read his own writing, that high officer of the crown had, very naturally, supposed that all was right. As to the rest of the bench, they were in too great a hurry to go to dinner, to stop and read affidavits, and the case was instantly disposed of, by the following decision:

“Regina versus Noah Poke, etc. Ordered, that the culprit be considered non compos mentis, and that he be discharged, on finding security to keep the peace for the remainder of his natural life.”

An officer was instantly dispatched to the great square with this reprieve, and the court rose. I delayed a little in order to enter into the necessary recognizances in behalf of Noah, taking up at the same time the bonds given the previous night, for his appearance to answer to the indictments. These forms being duly complied with, my brother Downright and myself repaired to the place of execution, in order to congratulate our client–the former justly elated with his success, which he assured me was not a little to the credit of his own education.

We found Noah surprisingly relieved by his liberation from the hands of the Philistines; nor was he at all backwards in expressing his satisfaction at the unexpected turn things had taken. According to his account of the matter, he did not set a higher value on his head than another; still, it was convenient to have one; had it been necessary to part with it, he made no doubt he should have submitted to do so like a man, referring to the fortitude with which he had borne the amputation of his cauda, as a proof of his resolution; for his part, he should take very good care how he accused any one with having a memory, or anything else, again, and he now saw the excellence of those wise provisions of the laws, which cut up a criminal in order to prevent the repetition of his offences; he did not intend to stay much longer on shore, believing he should be less in the way of temptation on board the Walrus than among the monikins; and, as for his own people, he was sure of soon catching them on board again, for they had now been off their pork twenty- four hours, and nuts were but poor grub for foremast hands, after all; philosophers might say what they pleased about governments, but, in his opinion, the only ra’al tyrant on ‘arth was the belly; he did not remember ever to have had a struggle with his belly–and he had a thousand–that the belly didn’t get the better; that it would be awkward to lay down the title of lord high admiral, but it was easier to lay down that than to lay down his head; that as for cauda, though it was certainly agreeable to be in the fashion, he could do very well without one, and when he got back to Stunnin’tun, should the worst come to the worst, there was a certain saddler in the place who could give him as good a fit as the one he had lost; that Miss Poke would have been greatly scandalized, however, had he come home after decapitation; that it might be well to sail for Leaplow as soon as convenient, for in that country he understood bobs were in fashion, and he admitted that he should not like to cruise about Leaphigh, for any great length of time, unless he could look as other people look; for his part, he bore no one a grudge, and he freely forgave everybody but Bob, out of whom, the Lord willing, he proposed to have full satisfaction, before the ship should be twenty-four hours at sea, etc., etc., etc.

Such was the general tendency of the remarks of Captain Poke, as we proceeded towards the port, where he embarked and went on board the Walrus, with some eagerness, having learned that our rear-admirals and post-captains had, indeed, yielded to the calls of nature, and had all gone to their duty, swearing they would rather be foremast Jacks in a well-victualled ship, than the king of Leaphigh upon nuts.

The captain had no sooner entered the boat, taking his head with him, than I began to make my acknowledgments to my brother Downright for the able manner in which he had defended my fellow human being; paying, at the same time, some well-merited compliments to the ingenious and truly philosophical distinctions of the Leaphigh system of jurisprudence.

“Spare your thanks and your commendations, I beg of you, good Sir John,” returned the brigadier, as we walked back towards my lodgings. “We did as well as circumstances would allow; though our whole defence would have been upset, had not the chief-justice very luckily been unable to read his own handwriting. As for the principles and forms of the monikin law–for in these particulars Leaplow is very much like Leaphigh–as you have seen them displayed in these two suits, why, they are such as we have. I do not pretend that they are faultless; on the contrary, I could point out improvements myself–but we get on with them as well as we can: no doubt, among men, you have codes that will better bear examination.”



I now began seriously to think of sailing for Leaplow; for, I confess, I was heartily tired of being thought the governor of His Royal Highness Prince Bob, and pined to be restored once more to my proper place in society. I was the more incited to make the change by the representations of the brigadier, who assured me that it was sufficient to come from foreign parts to be esteemed a nobleman in Leaplow, and that I need not apprehend in his country any of the ill-treatment I had received in the one in which I now was. After talking over the matter, therefore, in a familiar way, we determined to repair at once to the Leaplow legation, in order to ask for our passports, and to offer, at the same time, to carry any dispatches that Judge People’s Friend might have prepared for his government– it being the custom of the Leaplowers to trust to these godsends in carrying on their diplomatic correspondence.

We found the judge in undress, and a very different figure he cut, certainly, from that which he made when I saw him the previous night at court. Then he was all queue; now he was all bob. He seemed glad to see us, however, and quite delighted when I told him of the intention to sail for Leaplow, as soon as the wind served. He instantly asked a passage for himself, with republican simplicity.

There was to be another turn of the great and little wheels, he said, and it was quite important to himself to be on the spot; for, although everything was, beyond all question, managed with perfect republican propriety, yet, somehow (and yet he did not know exactly how, but SOMEHOW), those who are on the spot always get the best prizes. If I could give him a passage, therefore, he would esteem it a great personal favor; and I might depend on it, the circumstance would be well received by the party. Although I did not very well understand what he meant by this party, which was to view the act so kindly, I very cheerfully told the judge that the apartments lately occupied by my lord Chatterino and his friends were perfectly at his disposal. I was then asked when I intended to sail; and the answer was, the instant the wind hauled, so we could lay out of the harbor. It might be within half an hour. Hereupon Judge People’s Friend begged I would have the goodness to wait until he could hunt up a charge d’affaires. His instructions were most peremptory never to leave the legation without a charge d’affaires; but he would just brush his bob, and run into the street, and look up one in five minutes, if I would promise to wait so long. It would have been unkind to refuse so trifling a favor, and the promise was given. The judge must have run as fast as his legs would carry him; for, in about ten minutes, he was back again, with a diplomatic recruit. He told me his heart had misgiven him sadly. The three first to whom he offered the place had plumply refused it, and, indeed, he did not know but he should have a quarrel or two on his hands; but, at last, he had luckily found one who could get nothing else to do, and he pinned him on the spot.

So far everything had gone on swimmingly; but the new charge had, most unfortunately, a very long cauda, a fashion that was inexorably proscribed by the Leaplow usages, except in cases when the representative went to court; for it seems the Leaplow political ethics, like your country buck, has two dresses–one for every-day wear, and one for Sundays. The judge intimated to his intended substitute, that it was absolutely indispensable he should submit to an amputation, or he could not possibly confer the appointment, queues being proscribed at home by both public opinions, the horizontal and the perpendicular. To this the candidate objected, that he very well knew the Leaplow usages on this head, but that he had seen his excellency himself going to court with a singularly apparent brush; and he had supposed from that, and from sundry other little occurrences he did not care to particularize, that the Leaplowers were not so bigoted in their notions but they could act on the principle of doing at Rome as is done by the Romans. To this the judge replied, that this principle was certainly recognized in all things that were agreeable, and that he knew, from experience, how hard it was to go in a bob, when all around him went in cauda; but that tails were essentially anti-republican, and, as such, had been formally voted down in Leaplow, where even the Great Sachem did not dare to wear one, let him long for it as much as he would; and if it were known that a public charge offended in this particular, although he might be momentarily protected by one of the public opinions, the matter would certainly be taken up by the opposition public opinion, and then the people might order a new turn of the little wheel, which heaven it knew! occurred now a great deal oftener than was either profitable or convenient.

Hereupon the candidate deliberately undid the fastenings and removed the queue, showing, to our admiration, that it was false, and that he was, after all neither more nor less than a Leaplower in masquerade; which, by the way, I afterwards learned, was very apt to be the case with a great many of that eminently original people, when they got without the limits of their own beloved land. Judge People’s Friend was now perfectly delighted. He told us this was exactly what he could most have wished for. “Here is a bob,” said he, “for the horizontals and perpendiculars, and there is a capital ready-made cauda for his majesty and his majesty’s first-cousin! A Leaphighized Leaplower, more especially if there be a dash of caricature about him, is the very thing in our diplomacy.” Finding matters so much to his mind, the judge made out the letter of appointment on the spot, and then proceeded to give his substitute the usual instructions.

“You are on all occasions,” he said, “to take the utmost care not to offend the court of Leaphigh, or the meanest of the courtiers, by advancing any of our peculiar opinions, all of which, beyond dispute, you have at your finger-ends; on this score, you are to be so particular that you may even, in your own person, pro tempore, abandon republicanism–yea, sacred republicanism itself!–knowing that it can easily be resumed on your return home again. You are to remember there is nothing so undiplomatic, or even vulgar, as to have an opinion on any subject, unless it should be the opinion of the persons you may happen to be in company with; and, as we have the reputation of possessing that quality in an eminent degree, everywhere but at home, take especial heed to eschew vulgarity–if you can. You will have the greatest care, also, to wear the shortest bob in all your private, and the longest tail in all your public relations, this being one of the most important of the celebrated checks and balances of our government. Our institutions being expressly formed by the mass, for the particular benefit of all, you will be excessively careful not to let the claims of any one citizen, or even any set of citizens, interfere with that harmony which it is so necessary, for the purposes of trade, to maintain with all foreign courts; which courts being accustomed themselves to consider their subjects as cattle, to be worked in the traces of the state, are singularly restive whenever they hear of any individual being made of so much importance. Should any Leaplower become troublesome on this score, give him a bad name at once; and in order to effect that object with your own single-minded and right-loving countrymen, swear that he is a disorganizer, and, my life on it, both public opinions at home will sustain you; for there is nothing on which our public opinions agree so well as the absolute deference which they pay to foreign public opinions–and this the more especially, in all matters that are likely to affect profits, by deranging commerce. You will, above all things, make it a point to be in constant relations with some of the readiest paragraph-writers of the newspapers, in order to see that facts are properly stated at home. I would advise you to look out some foreigner, who has never seen Leaplow, for this employment; one that is also paid to write for the journals of Leapup, or Leapdown, or some other foreign country; by which means you will be sure to get an impartial agent, or one who can state things in your own way, who is already half paid for his services, and who will not be likely to make blunders by meddling with distinctive thought. When a person of this character is found, let him drop a line now and then in favor of your own sagacity and patriotism; and if he should say a pleasant thing occasionally about me, it will do no harm, but may help the little wheel to turn more readily. In order to conceal his origin, let your paragraph-agent use the word OUR freely; the use of this word, as you know, being the only qualification of citizenship in Leaplow. Let him begin to spell the word O-U-R, and then proceed to pronounce it, and be careful that he does not spell it H-O-U-R, which might betray his origin. Above all things, you will be patriotic and republican, avoiding the least vindication of your country and its institutions, and satisfying yourself with saying that the latter are, at least, well suited to the former, if you should say this in a way to leave the impression on your hearers, that you think the former fitted for nothing else, it will be particularly agreeable and thoroughly republican, and most eminently modest and praiseworthy. You will find the diplomatic agents of all other states sensitive on the point of their peculiar political usages, and prompt to defend them; but this is a weakness you will rigidly abstain from imitating, for our polity being exclusively based on reason, you are to show a dignified confidence in the potency of that fundamental principle, nor in any way lessen the high character that reason already enjoys, by giving any one cause to suspect you think reason is not fully able to take care of itself. With these leading hints, and your own natural tendencies, which I am glad to see are eminently fitted for the great objects of diplomacy–being ductile, imitative, yielding, calculating, and, above all, of a foreign disposition–I think you will be able to get on very cleverly. Cultivate, above all things, your foreign dispositions, for you are now on foreign duty, and your country reposes on your shoulders and eminent talents the whole burden of its foreign interests in this part of the world.”

Here the judge closed his address, which was oral, apparently well satisfied with himself and with his raw-hand in diplomacy. He then said–

“That he would now go to court to present his substitute, and to take leave himself; after which he would return as fast as possible, and detain us no longer than was necessary to put his cauda in pepper, to protect it against the moths; for heaven knew what prize he might draw in the next turn of the little wheel!”

We promised to meet him at the port, where a messenger just then informed us Captain Poke had landed, and was anxiously waiting our appearance. With this understanding we separated; the judge undertaking to redeem all our promises paid in at the tavern, by giving his own in their stead.

The brigadier and myself found Noah and the cook bargaining for some private adventures with a Leaphigh broker or two, who, finding that the ship was about to sail in ballast, were recommending their wares to the notice of these two worthies.

“It would be a ra’al sin, Sir John,” commenced the captain, “to neglect an occasion like this to turn a penny. The ship could carry ten thousand immigrants, and they say there are millions of them going over to Leaplow; or it might stow half the goods in Aggregation. I’m resolved, at any rate, to use my cabin privilege; and I would advise you, as owner, to look out for suthin’ to pay port-charges with, to say the least.”

“The idea is not a bad one, friend Poke; but, as we are ignorant of the state of the market on the other side, it might be well to consult some inhabitant of the country about the choice of articles. Here is the Brigadier Downright, whom I have found to be a monikin of experience and judgment, and if you please, we will first hear what he has to say about it.”

“I dabble very little in merchandise,” returned the brigadier; “but, as a general principle, I should say that no article of Leaphigh manufacture would command so certain a market in Leaplow as opinions.”

“Have you any of these opinions for sale?” I inquired of the broker.

“Plenty of them, sir, and of all qualities–from the very lowest to the very ‘ighest prices–those that may be had for next to nothing, to those that we think a great deal of ourselves. We always keeps them ready packed for exportation, and send wast invoices of them, hannually, to Leaplow in particular. Opinions are harticles that help to sell each other; and a ship of the tonnage of yours might stow enough, provided they were properly assorted, to carry all before them for the season.”

Expressing a wish to see the packages, we were immediately led into an adjoining warehouse, where, sure enough, there were goodly lots of the manufactures in question. I passed along the shelves, reading the inscriptions of the different packages. Pointing to several bundles that had “Opinions on Free Trade” written on their labels, I asked the brigadier what he thought of that article.

“Why, they would have done better, a year or two since, when we were settling a new tariff; but I should think there would be less demand for them now.”

“You are quite right, sir,” added the broker; “we did send large invoices of them to Leaplow formerly, and they were all eagerly bought up, the moment they arrived. A great many were dyed over again, and sold as of ‘ome manufacture. Most of these harticles are now shipped for Leapup, with whom we have negotiations that give them a certain value.”

“‘Opinions on Democracy, and on the Policy of Governments in General’: I should think these would be of no use in Leaplow?”

“Why, sir, they goes pretty much hover the whole world. We sell powers on ’em on hour own continent, near by, and a great many do go even to Leaplow; though what they does with ’em there, I never could say, seeing they are all government monikins in that queer country.”

An inquiring look extorted a clearer answer from the brigadier:–

“To admit the fact, we have a class among us who buy up these articles with some eagerness. I can only account for it, by supposing they think differing in their tastes from the mass, makes them more enlightened and peculiar.”

“I’ll take them all. An article that catches these propensities is sure of sale. ‘Opinions on Events’: what can possibly be done with these?”

“That depends a little on their classification,” returned the brigadier. “If they relate to Leaplow events, while they have a certain value, they cannot be termed of current value; but if they refer to the 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.'”

“Why, we know little about the goods themselves–but I think a selection might answer.”

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

“‘Opinions of 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 hour stamp. That’s all–I never deceives a customer–both sell well, I hear, on the other side, ‘owever.”

I looked again at the brigadier, who quietly nodding assent, I took the whole hundred bales.

“‘Opinions of the Institutions of Leaphigh.'”

“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,” observed the brigadier, “are very select, and rarely take any but of the very best quality. But then they are usually so well stocked, that I question if a new importation would pay freight. Indeed, our consumers cling very generally to the old fashions in this article, not even admitting the changes produced 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 another article to compete with his. Unless they are very antiquated, I would have nothing to do with them.”

“Yes. this is all true. sir. We still sends to Leaplow 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’ll take an interest in that article myself, Sir John, if you can give me a ton or two between decks. Have you many of this manufacture?”

“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, brigadier, by your readiness to take an interest!”

“To speak the truth, nothing sells better in our beloved country.”

“Permit me to remark that I find your readiness to purchase this and the last article, a little singular. If I have rightly comprehended our previous conversations, you Leaplowers profess to have improved not only on the ancient principles of polity, but on the social condition generally.”

“We will talk of this during the passage homewards, 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,’ especially 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, ‘owever. I never was in Leaplow, but we says over ‘ere, that the Leaplowers 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 selection, 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 Stunnin’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 speculation 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 “harticle,” at half the prime cost.

Judge People’s Friend now came trotting down to the port, thoroughly en republican, 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.



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 watermarks 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 edge 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 wheel.

A monikin in a bob of a most pronounced character, or which appeared to have been subjected to the second amputation, being what is called in 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 disappointed.

“Perhaps, gentlemen,” he added, “you may still remain long enough to make naturalization desirable?”

“It is always agreeable to be at home in foreign countries–but are there no legal objections?”

“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, however.”

“I will not answer for that,” put in the captain, sending his leg forwards in a straight line, in a way to raise an outcry in Bob, that almost upset the Leaplower’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 had been proscribed; for, whenever a rogue did anything 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 ax, 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 committee of six bob-upon-bobs hurried up our sides, 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. Bivouac was entitled to send seven members; and having nominated themselves, the committee were now in quest of a seventh candidate to fill the vacancy. 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 boundaries, and they were now ready to take any one who would serve.

To this proposition I again objected the difference of species. Here they all 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 perceived 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 evidence that I was no idle boaster, making a complete 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 constitution, 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 immense 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 all the members take the manoeuvres 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, and 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 writing and hastened back to their schooner, in order to get into port to promulgate the nomination. These persons were hardly off the deck, before another party came up the opposite side of the ship. They announced themselves to be a nominating 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 nomination; 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 TRIED PATRIOT, THE PROFOUND JURIST, AND THE HONEST MONIKIN, handsomely placarded on a large board–all but the name having been carefully prepared in advance.

When the committee were fairly out of the ship, Noah look me aside, and made his apologies for opposing me in this important election. His reasons 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 Stunnin’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 congressman 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 wondered 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 interest, 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 deserted. 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. Supposing 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 occasion to study the constitution of Leaplow, of which the judge had a copy, and to glean such information from my companions as I believed might be useful in my future career. I thought how pleasant it would be for a foreigner to teach the Leaplowers their own laws, and to explain to them the application of their own principles! Little, however, 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 institutions, society, and manners of so much value in the market of the latter. To this I got but an indifferent 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 desirous of knowing what other people thought of the 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 principles of your system, devoted to the education of their children in the same sublime truths, and indefatigable in their discrimination, among the meanest of their households!”


“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 questions is bounded by a few heartfelt wishes for the downfall of their opponents;–“

“It is very much so at Stunnin’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 Stunnin’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!”

“Stunnin’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; but who seem strangely transformed into she-tigers, whenever any but those of whom they can approve attain to power; and who, instead of entwining 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-women.”

“Miss Poke, to the backbone!”

“In short, sir, I expect to see an entirely different state of things at Leaplow. There, when a political adversary is bespattered with mud, your gentle monikinas, doubtless, appease anger by 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 principles of right.”

“Well, Sir John, if you speak in this elocutionary 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 suffrage is, beyond question, confined to those members of society who possess a ‘social stake.'”

“Certainly, Sir John, They who live and breathe.”

“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, merchandise, or money, is a security for a good government. 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 else.”

“But, sir, the interest of the community is composed of the aggregate of these interests.”

“Your pardon, Sir John; nothing is composed of it, but the aggregate of the interests of a class. If your government is instituted for their benefit only, your social-stake system is all well enough; but if the object be the general good, you have no choice but to trust its custody to the general keeping. Let us suppose two men–since you happen to be a man, and not a monikin–let us suppose two men perfectly equal in morals, intelligence, public virtue and patriotism, one of whom shall be rich and the other shall have nothing. A crisis arrives in the affairs of their common country, and both are called upon to exercise their franchise, on a question- -as almost all great questions must–that unavoidably will have some influence on property generally. Which would give the most impartial vote–he who, of necessity, must be swayed by his personal interest, or he who has no inducement of the sort to go astray?”

“Certainly he who has nothing to influence him to go wrong. But the question is not fairly put–“

“Your pardon, Sir John–it is put fairly as an abstract question, and one that is to prove a principle. I am glad to hear you say that a man would be apt to decide in this manner; for it shows his identity with a monikin. We hold that all of us are apt to think most of ourselves on such occasions.”

“My dear brigadier, do not mistake sophistry for reason. Surely, if power belonged only to the poor–and the poor, or the comparatively poor, always compose the mass–they would exercise it in a way to strip the rich of their possessions.”

“We think not, in Leaplow. Cases might exist, in which such a state of things would occur under a reaction; but reactions imply abuses, and are not to be quoted to maintain a principle. He who was drunk yesterday, may need an unnatural stimulus to-day; while he who is uniformly temperate preserves his proper tone of body without recourse to a remedy so dangerous. Such an experiment, under a strong provocation, might possibly be made; but it could scarcely be made twice among any people, and not even once among a people that submits in season to a just division of its authority, since it is obviously destructive of a leading principle of civilization. According to our monikin histories, all the attacks upon property have been produced by property’s grasping at more than fairly belongs to its immunities. If you make political power a concomitant of property, both may go together, certainly; but if kept separate, the danger to the latter will never exceed the danger in which it is put daily by the arts of the money-getters, who are, in truth, the greatest foes of property, as it belongs to others.”

I remembered Sir Joseph Job, and could not but admit that the brigadier had, at least, some truth on his side.

“But do you deny that the sentiment of property elevates the mind, ennobles, and purifies?”

“Sir, I do not pretend to determine what may be the fact among men, but we hold among monikins, that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.'”

“How, sir, do you account the education which is a consequence of property as nothing?”

“If you mean, my dear Sir John, that which property is most apt to teach, we hold it to be selfishness; but if you mean that he who has money, as a rule, will also have in formation to guide him aright, I must answer, that experience, which is worth a thousand theories, tells us differently. We find that on questions which are purely between those who have, and those who have not, the HAVES are commonly united, and we think this would be the fact if they were as unschooled as bears; but on all other questions, they certainly do great discredit to education, unless you admit that there are in every case TWO rights; for, with us, the most highly educated generally take the two extremes of every argument. I state this to be the fact with monikins, you will remember–doubtless, educated men agree much better.”

“But, my good brigadier, if your position about the greater impartiality and independence of the elector who is not influenced by his private interests be true, a country would do well to submit its elections to a body of foreign umpires.”

“It would indeed, Sir John, if it were certain these foreign umpires would not abuse the power to their own particular advantage, if they could have the feelings and sentiments which ennoble and purify a nation far more than money, and if it were possible they could thoroughly understand the character, habits, wants, and resources of another people. As things are, therefore, we believe it is wisest to trust our own elections to ourselves–not to a portion of ourselves, but to all of ourselves.”

“Immigrants included,” put in the captain.

“Why, we do carry the principle well out in the case of gentlemen like yourselves,” returned the brigadier, politely, “but liberality is a virtue. As a principle, Sir John, your idea of referring the choice of our representatives to strangers has more merit than you probably imagine, though, certainly, impracticable, for the reasons already given. When we seek justice, we commonly look out for some impartial judge. Such a judge is unattainable, however, in the matter of the interests of a state, for the simple reason that power of this sort, permanently wielded, would be perverted on a principle which, after a most scrupulous analysis, we have been compelled to admit is incorporated with the very monikin nature–viz., selfishness. I make no manner of doubt that you men, however, are altogether superior to an influence so unworthy?”

Here I could only borrow the use of the brigadier’s “Hum!”

“Having ascertained that it would not do to submit the control of our affairs to utter strangers, or to those whose interests are not identified with our own, we set about seeing what could be done with a selection from among ourselves. Here we were again met by that same obstinate principle of selfishness; and we were finally driven to take shelter in the experiment of intrusting the interests of all to the management of all.”

“And, sir, are these the opinions of Leaphigh?”

“Very far from it. The difference between Leaphigh and Leaplow is just this: the Leaphighers, being an ancient people, with a thousand vested interests, are induced, as time improves the mind, to seek reasons for their facts; while we Leaplowers, being unshackled by any such restraints, have been able to make an effort to form our facts on our reasons.”

“Why do you, then, so much prize Leaphigh opinions on Leaplow facts?”

“Why does every little monikin believe his own father and mother to be just the two wisest, best, most virtuous, and discreetest old monikins in the whole world, until time, opportunity, and experience show him his error?”

“Do you make no exceptions, then, in your franchise, but admit every citizen who, as you say, has a nose, ears, bob, and wants, to the exercise of the suffrage?”

“Perhaps we are less scrupulous on this head than we ought to be, since we do not make ignorance and want of character bars to the privilege. Qualifications beyond mere birth and existence may be useful, but they are badly chosen when they are brought to the test of purely material possessions. This practice has arisen in the world from the fact that they who had property had power, and not because they ought to have it.”

“My dear brigadier, this is flying in the face of all experience.”

“For the reason just given, and because all experience has hitherto commenced at the wrong end. Society should be constructed as you erect a house; not from the roof down, but from the foundation upwards.”

“Admitting, however, that your house has been badly constructed at first, in repairing it, would you tear away the walls at random, at the risk of bringing all down about your ears?”

“I would first see that sufficient props were reared, and then proceed with vigor, though always with caution. Courage in such an experiment is less to be dreaded than timidity. Half the evils of life, social, personal and political, are as much the effects of moral cowardice as of fraud.”

I then told the brigadier, that as his countrymen rejected the inducements of property in the selection of the political base of their social compact, I expected to find a capital substitute in virtue.

“I have always heard that virtue is the great essential of a free people, and doubtless you Leaplowers are perfect models in this important particular?”

The brigadier smiled before he answered me, first looking about to the right and left, as if to regale himself with the odor of perfection.

“Many theories have been broached on these subjects,” he replied, “in which there has been some confusion between cause and effect. Virtue is no more a cause of freedom, except as it is connected with intelligence, than vice is a cause of slavery. Both may be consequences, but it is not easy to say how either is necessarily a cause. There is a homely saying among us monikins, which is quite to the point in this matter: ‘Set a rogue to catch a rogue.’ Now, the essence of a free government is to be found in the responsibility of its agents. He who governs without responsibility is a master, while he who discharges the duties of a functionary under a practical responsibility is a servant. This is the only true test of governments, let them be mystified as they may in other respects. Responsibility to the mass of the nation is the criterion of freedom. Now responsibility is the SUBSTITUTE for virtue in a politician, as discipline is the substitute for courage in a soldier. An army of brave monikins without discipline, would be very apt to be worsted by an army of monikins of less natural spirit, with discipline. So a corps of originally virtuous politicians, without responsibility, would be very apt to do more selfish, lawless, and profligate acts, than a corps of less virtue, who were kept rigidly under the rod of responsibility. Unrestrained power is a great corrupter of virtue, of itself; while the liabilities of a restrained authority are very apt to keep it in check. At least, such is the fact with us monikins–men very possibly get along better.”

“Let me tell you, Mr. Downright, you are now uttering opinions that are diametrically opposed to those of the world, which considers virtue an indispensable ingredient in a republic.”

“The world–meaning always the monikin world–knows very little about real political liberty, except as a theory. We of Leaplow are, in effect, the only people who have had much to do with it, and I am now telling you what is the result of my own observation, in my own country. If monikins were purely virtuous, there would be no necessity for government at all; but, being what they are, we think it wisest to set them to watch each other.”

“But yours is self-government, which implies self-restraint; and self-restraint is but another word for virtue.”

“If the merit of our system depended on self-government, in your signification, or on self-restraint, in any signification, it would not be worth the trouble of this argument, Sir John Goldencalf. This is one of those balmy fallacies with which ill-judging moralists endeavor to stimulate monikins to good deeds. Our government is based on a directly opposite principle; that of watching and restraining each other, instead of trusting to our ability to restrain ourselves. It is the want of responsibility, and not of constant and active presence, which infers virtue and self-control. No one would willingly lay legal restraints on himself in anything, while all are very happy to restrain their neighbors. This refers to the positive and necessary rules of intercourse, and the establishment of rights; as to mere morality, laws do very little towards enforcing its ordinances. Morals usually come of instruction; and when all have political power, instruction is a security that all desire.”

“But when all vote, all may wish to abuse their trust to their own especial advantage, and a political chaos will be the consequence.”

“Such a result is impossible, except as especial advantage is identified with general advantage. A community can no more buy itself in this manner, than a monikin can eat himself, let him be as ravenous as he will. Admitting that all are rogues, necessity would compel a compromise.”

“You make out a plausible theory, and I have little doubt that I shall find you the wisest, the most logical, the discreetest, and the most consistent community I have yet visited. But another word: how is it that our friend the judge gave such equivocal instructions to his charge; and why, in particular, did he lay so much stress on the employment of means, which gave the lie flatly to all you have told me?”

Brigadier Downright hereupon stroked his chin, and observed that he thought there might possibly be a shift of wind; and he also wondered (quite audibly), when we should make the land. I afterwards persuaded him to allow that a monikin was but a monikin, after all, whether he had the advantages of universal suffrage, or lived under a despot.



In due time the coast of Leaplow made its appearance, close under our larboard bow. So sudden was our arrival in this novel and extraordinary country, that we were very near running on it, before we got a glimpse of its shores. The seamanship of Captain Poke, however, stood us in hand; and, by the aid of a very clever pilot, we were soon safely moored in the harbor of Bivouac. In this happy land, there was no registration, no passports, “no nothin'”–as Mr. Poke pointedly expressed it. The formalities were soon observed, although I had occasion to remark, how much easier, after all, it is to get along in this world with vice than with virtue. A bribe offered to a custom-house officer was refused; and the only trouble I had, on the occasion, arose from this awkward obtrusion of a conscience. However, the difficulty was overcome, though not quite as easily as if douceurs had happened to be in fashion; and we were permitted to land with all our necessary effects.

The city of Bivouac presented a singular aspect as I first put foot within its hallowed streets. The houses were all covered with large placards, which, at first, I took to be lists of the wares to be vended, for the place is notoriously commercial; but which, on examination, I soon discovered were merely electioneering handbills. The reader will figure to himself my pleasure and surprise, on reading the first that offered. It ran as follows:


“Horizontal-Systematic-Indoctrinated-Republicans: Attention!

“Your sacred rights are in danger; your dearest liberties are menaced; your wives and children are on the point of dissolution; the infamous and unconstitutional position that the sun gives light by day, and the moon by night, is openly and impudently propagated, and now is the only occasion that will probably ever offer to arrest an error so pregnant with deception and domestic evils. We present to your notice a suitable defender of all those near and dear interests, in the person of”


“the known patriot, the approved legislator, the profound philosopher, the incorruptible statesman. To our adopted fellow- citizens we need not recommend Mr. Goldencalf, for he is truly one of themselves; to the native citizens we will only say, ‘Try him, and you will be more than satisfied.'”

I found this placard of great use, for it gave me the first information I had yet had of the duty I was expected to perform in the coming session of the great council; which was merely to demonstrate that the moon gave light by day, and that the sun gave light by night. Of course, I immediately set about, in my own mind, hunting up the proper arguments by which this grave political hypothesis was to be properly maintained. The next placard was in favor


“the experienced navigator, who will conduct the ship of state into the haven of prosperity–the practical astronomer who knows by frequent observations, that lunars are not to be got in the dark.”

“Perpendiculars, be plumb, and lay your enemies on their backs!”

After this I fell in with–


“is confidently recommended to all their fellow-citizens by the nominating committee of the Anti-Approved-Sublimated-Politico- Tangents, as the real gentleman, a ripe scholar, [Footnote: I afterwards found this was a common phrase in Leaplow, being uniformly applied to every monikin who wore spectacles.] an enlightened politician, and a sound Democrat.”

“But I should fill the manuscript with nothing else, were I to record a tithe of the commendations and abuse that were heaped on us all, by a community to whom, as yet, we were absolutely strangers. A single sample of the latter will suffice.”


“Personally appeared before me, John Equity, justice of the peace, Peter Veracious, etc., etc., who, being duly sworn upon the Holy Evangelists, doth depose and say, viz.: That he was intimately acquainted with one John Goldencalf in his native country, and that he is personally knowing to the fact that he, the said John Goldencalf, has three wives, seven illegitimate children, is moreover a bankrupt without character, and that he was obliged to emigrate in consequence of having stolen a sheep.”

“Sworn, etc.”


I naturally felt a little indignant at this impudent statement, and was about to call upon the first passer-by for the address of Mr. Veracious, when the skirts of my skin were seized by one of the Horizontal nominating committee, and I was covered with congratulations on my being happily elected. Success is an admirable plaster for all wounds, and I really forgot to have the affair of the sheep and of the illegitimate children inquired into; although I still protest, that had fortune been less propitious, the rascal who promulgated this calumny would have been made to smart for his temerity. In less than five minutes it was the turn of Captain Poke. He, too, was congratulated in due form; for, as it appeared, the “immigrant interest,” as Noah termed it, had actually carried a candidate on each of the two great opposing tickets. Thus far, all was well; for, after sharing his mess so long, I had not the smallest objection to sit in the Leaplow parliament with the worthy sealer; but our mutual surprise, and I believe I might add, indignation, were a good deal excited, by shortly encountering a walking notice, which contained a programme of the proceedings to be observed at the “Reception of the Honorable Robert Smut.”

It would seem that the Horizontals and the Perpendiculars had made so many spurious and mystified ballots, in order to propitiate the Tangents, and to cheat each other, that this young blackguard actually stood at the head of the poll!–a political phenomenon, as I subsequently discovered, however, by no means of rare occurrence in the Leaplow history of the periodical selection of the wisest and best.

There was certainly an accumulation of interest on arriving in a strange land, to find one’s self both extolled and vituperated on most of the corners in its capital, and to be elected to its parliament, all in the same day. Still, I did not permit myself to be either so much elated or so much depressed, as not to have all my eyes about me, in order to get as correctly as possible, and as quickly as possible, some insight into the characters, tastes, habits, wishes, and wants of my constituents.

I have already declared that it is my intention to dwell chiefly on the moral excellences and peculiarities of the people of the monikin world. Still I could not walk through the streets of Bivouac without observing a few physical usages, that I shall mention, because they have an evident connection with the state of society, and the historical recollections of this interesting portion of the polar region.

In the first place, I remarked that all sorts of quadrupeds are just as much at home in the promenades of the town, as the inhabitants themselves, a fact that I make no doubt has some very proper connection with that principle of equal rights on which the institutions of the country are established. In the second place, I could not but see that their dwellings are constructed on the very minimum of base, propping each other, as emblematic of the mutual support obtained by the republican system, and seeking their development in height for the want of breadth; a singularity of customs that I did not hesitate at once to refer to a usage of living in trees, at an epoch not very remote. In the third place, I noted, instead of entering their dwellings near the ground like men, and indeed like most other unfledged animals, that they ascend by means of external steps to an aperture about half-way between the roof and the earth, where, having obtained admission, they go up or down within the building, as occasion requires. This usage, I made no question, was preserved from the period (and that, too, no distant one), when the savage condition of the country induced them to seek protection against the ravages of wild beasts, by having recourse to ladders, which were drawn up after the family into the top of the tree, as the sun sank beneath the horizon. These steps or ladders are generally of some white material, in order that they may, even now, be found in the dark, should the danger be urgent;