Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 422 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.
upon this hint.  In a little while a new machine of his own invention was erected hard by Dog’s Misery.  This was nothing more nor less than a gibbet, of a very strange, uncouth, and unmatchable construction, far more efficacious, as he boasted, than the stocks, for the punishment of poverty.  It was for altitude not a whit inferior to that of Haman, so renowned in Bible history; but the marvel of the contrivance was, that the culprit, instead of being suspended by the neck according to venerable custom, was hoisted by the waistband, and kept dangling and sprawling between heaven and earth for an hour or two at a time, to the infinite entertainment and edification of the respectable citizens who usually attend exhibitions of the kind.

Such was the punishment of all petty delinquents, vagrants, and beggars and others detected in being guilty of poverty in a small way.  As to those who had offended on a great scale, who had been guilty of flagrant misfortunes and enormous backslidings of the purse, and who stood convicted of large debts which they were unable to pay, William Kieft had them straightway enclosed within the stone walls of a prison, there to remain until they should reform and grow rich.  This notable expedient, however, does not appear to have been more efficacious under William the Testy than in more modern days, it being found that the longer a poor devil was kept in prison the poorer he grew.






The playful devices by which attention was directed to the coming publication of the History of Diedrich Knickerbocker are represented in the author’s opening to the first volume.  Irving joined afterward in business as a sleeping partner, visited England in 1815, and, while cordially welcomed here by Thomas Campbell, Walter Scott, and others, the failure of his brother’s business obliged him to make writing his profession.  The publishers at first refused to take one of the most charming of his works, the “Sketch Book”; but John Murray yielded at last to the influence of Walter Scott, and paid L200 for the copyright of it, a sum afterward increased to L400.  “Bracebridge Hall” and the “Tales of a Traveler” followed.  Irving went to Spain with the American Ambassador to translate documents and acquire experience which he used afterward in successive books.  “The Life and Voyages of Columbus” appeared in 1828, and was followed by “Voyages of the Companions of Columbus.”

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Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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