Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 356 pages of information about Knickerbocker's History of New York, Complete.
his own character, in his zeal to pull to pieces the characters of others; but in a word, every respectable citizen ate when he was not hungry, drank when he was not thirsty, and went regularly to bed when the sun set and the fowls went to roost, whether he were sleepy or not; all which tended so remarkably to the population of the settlement, that I am told every dutiful wife throughout New Amsterdam made a point of enriching her husband with at least one child a year, and very often a brace—­this superabundance of good things clearly constituting the true luxury of life, according to the favorite Dutch maxim, that “more than enough constitutes a feast.”  Everything, therefore, went on exactly as it should do, and in the usual words employed by historians to express the welfare of a country, “the profoundest tranquillity and repose reigned throughout the province.”

CHAPTER III.

Manifold are the tastes and dispositions of the enlightened literati who turn over the pages of history.  Some there be whose hearts are brimful of the yeast of courage, and whose bosoms do work, and swell, and foam with untried valor, like a barrel of new cider, or a train-band captain fresh from under the hands of his tailor.  This doughty class of readers can be satisfied with nothing but bloody battles, and horrible encounters; they must be continually storming forts, sacking cities, springing mines, marching up to the muzzles of cannon, charging bayonet through every page, and revelling in gunpowder and carnage.  Others, who are of a less martial, but equally ardent imagination, and who, withal, are little given to the marvelous, will dwell with wondrous satisfaction on descriptions of prodigies, unheard of events, hair-breadth escapes, hardy adventures, and all those astonishing narrations which just amble along the boundary line of possibility.  A third class, who, not to speak slightly of them, are of a lighter turn, and skim over the records of past times, as they do over the edifying pages of a novel, merely for relaxation and innocent amusement, do singularly delight in treasons, executions, Sabine rapes, Tarquin outrages, conflagrations, murders, and all the other catalogues of hideous crimes, which, like cayenne in cookery, do give a pungency and flavor to the dull detail of history; while a fourth class, of more philosophic habits, do diligently pore over the musty chronicles of time, to investigate the operations of the human kind, and watch the gradual changes in men and manners, effected by the progress of knowledge, the vicissitudes of events, or the influence of situation.

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