King Jonathan the first.
A Yankee is emphatically a civil man, though his civility may not produce all the bows, and grimaces, and unmeaning compliments which accompany or constitute that quality among French
; rudeness of manners could be charged against these people only by those who know nothing about them. "Countries," says Goldsmith
, "wear very different appearances to persons in different circumstances.
A traveler who is whirled through Europe
in a post-chaise, and a pilgrim who walks the grand tour on foot, will form very different conclusions." Now, sundry people have been whirled from Boston
to New York in a mail coach, and said I know not what about manners.
I have traveled over the New England
States on foot — over highways and byways; supped in the most splendid hotels and the most paltry inns; entered every farmer's door that offered as a resting place, and crossed any man's garden, or corn-field, or orchard, that lay in my way, without receiving an uncivil word on my whole route.
On one occasion, I lost myself in the woods among the Green Mountains
, where I imagined there was no living creature to be encountered for miles, except black bears, catamounts, and similar country gentlemen; but on a sudden I emerged from the wood into an open spot where stood a log but. A little flaxen-headed urchin espied me coming, and began to scramble with all speed, to hide himself, as I supposed; but no, it was to gain the summit of an immense log of wood, which lay by the little pathway, where he greeted me, as I passed, with as profound a bow as I ever received.
In traveling over the kingdom of Naples
, and contemplating the wonders of that favored land, its fertile soil, its genial climate, its admirable capacities for commerce, and the cloth and ignorance of its population, its beggars, and its brigands — I have been struck with the whimsical imagination of the scene that might ensue, were a plain Yankee taken from his plough tail and placed on the throne of the Two Sicilies.
His majesty would begin a regular overhaul of the whole body politic the morning after his coronation. "What's this I see?" says the king. "Where are your overseers of the highways — your school committees — your select-men?
What idle fellows are these in the streets?
What are these bells ringing for every day?
What means this crowd of ships lying behind the mole with nothing to do?
or this marina,
the water's edge of my great city, where I see no piles of merchandize, no trucks nor dray-carts driving about with goods, nor half the business doing in a month that is done on Boston Long wharf in two hours? Come, bustle, occupy; set the lazzaroul to, work upon the roads; send the children to school; make a railroad here and a turnpike there; bridge this river and canal that; hang the Calabrian robbers; give the monks a rouse; go into the churches and strip me those trumpery shrines; sell the gold
jewels with which they are heaped, and the interest of the money will support all the poor in the kingdom, for I'll have no beggars nor idlers while my title is Jonathan the First.
People shall mind their business, for I will abolish these fester,
which come every other day, and are good for nothing but to promote idleness.
Henceforth there shall be no fiestas but Fast, Thanksgiving and Independence.
Set me up a newspaper in every town; take me the census of the population; fine every district that don't send a representative to the General Court.
I'll have everything thrashed and sent a bucking, even to the vernacular speech, for dolce far niente
shall be routed from the Italian