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.
another step I must pause to take breath, and recover from the excessive fatigue I have undergone, in preparing to begin this most accurate of histories.  And in this I do but imitate the example of a renowned Dutch tumbler of antiquity, who took a start of three miles for the purpose of jumping over a hill, but having run himself out of breath by the time he reached the foot, sat himself quietly down for a few moments to blow, and then walked over it at his leisure.


   [19] Grotius:  Puffendorf, b. v. c. 4, Vattel, b. i. c. 18, etc.

   [20] Vattel, b. i. ch. 17.

   [21] Bl.  Com. b. ii. c. 1.




My great-grandfather by the mother’s side, Hermanus Van Clattercop, when employed to build the large stone church at Rotterdam, which stands about three hundred yards to your left after you turn off from the Boomkeys, and which is so conveniently constructed that all the zealous Christians of Rotterdam prefer sleeping through a sermon there to any other church in the city—­my great-grandfather, I say, when employed to build that famous church, did in the first place send to Delft for a box of long pipes; then having purchased a new spitting-box and a hundredweight of the best Virginia, he sat himself down, and did nothing for the space of three months but smoke most laboriously.  Then did he spend full three months more in trudging on foot, and voyaging in the trekschuit, from Rotterdam to Amsterdam—­to Delft—­to Haerlem—­to Leyden—­to the Hague, knocking his head and breaking his pipe against every church in his road.  Then did he advance gradually nearer and nearer to Rotterdam, until he came in full sight of the identical spot whereon the church was to be built.  Then did he spend three months longer in walking round it and round it; contemplating it, first from one point of view and then from another—­now he would be paddled by it on the canal—­now would he peep at it through a telescope, from the other side of the Meuse—­and now would he take a bird’s-eye glance at it, from the top of one of those gigantic windmills which protect the gates of the city.  The good folks of the place were on the tiptoe of expectation and impatience—­notwithstanding all the turmoil of my great-grandfather, not a symptom of the church was yet to be seen; they even began to fear it would never be brought into the world, but that its great projector would lie down and die in labor of the mighty plan he had conceived.  At length, having occupied twelve good months in puffing and paddling, and talking and walking—­having traveled over all Holland, and even taken a peep into France and Germany—­having smoked five hundred and ninety-nine pipes and three hundredweight of the best Virginia tobacco—­my great-grandfather gathered together all that knowing and industrious class of citizens who prefer attending to anybody’s business sooner than their own, and having pulled off his coat and five pair of breeches, he advanced sturdily up, and laid the corner-stone of the church, in the presence of the whole multitude—­just at the commencement of the thirteenth month.

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