Communicated for the Spirit of the Times.

Fellow Citizens,--When a man gits in a " tight place" they say he must " squeeze out" the best way he can ; and when the " old koon's" backed up agin a tree with the dogs all 'round him, he must fight or die, by Guinea. " Forty dogs on the Towser" would hardly give you an adequate idee of my present dilemmy. Last year I had to tote the whole Standing Army on my back, besides " the Sub-treasury" and the " Nigger testimony ;" and, by Guinea, had to drink aginst a man, ( Capt. Charles,) the pouring of liquor into whose paunch was like the River Nile loosing itself in the thirsty sands of the Great Desert of Afriky. You have all heard of them big deserts out thar ? Well, this year, now I have got to run aginst the " Distribution Bill ;" the receiving of the Land money, as it's commonly called ; the State's quota, that is, of the sales of the public domain (great applause), and, by Guinea, to cap the climax, I have got to drink and talk aginst a man who has a mighty small " swallow" for liquor, but a most monstrous outlet for words. For its like " rattling of peas on a raw-hide," the way that words roll out of Capt. Bassett's mouth. Bringing a stray swarm of bees to settle by the beating of a tinpan, is mere " child's play" to it. A Yankee solicitor travelling through the land seeking patronage for some new publication, and piling up praises of the works like pyramids, all in one breath ; or the grinding of an old hand-orgin by an Italian itinerant for monkeys to dance by (I don't mean you, my valued fellow citizens.) I say, a methodist preacher in a full strain of glorification at a camp-meeting, in the month of August, or the clatter of a whole drove of " Guinea-fowls" in the fall of the year when a storm is a brewing up, is nothing to the eternal whirl wind of language that whizzes from Capt. B's [1] throat, like a gust of pent-up steam from the mouth of one of these " steam-funnels." Now, by Guinea, if this ain't giving a man, as sister Sally said, a " leetle light tetch" of blue h-ll under his belt, then, by Guinea, I don't know what it is. But, fellow-citizens, Col. Billy L. rises " transparent and majestic" above all these party trammels : kicks off traces of Distribution and " old Tom," for he don't belong to nobody, and stands erect on his pasterns, and walks to chalk disenthralled (immense clapping and shouting), amidst the licentiousness of universal democracy. For " taken on the different athletics"--the principles of '96, or a game of " seven-up," a little " old sledge," " two-trick torrent" for $5 " the sweep," a dollar-anti bluff, or the old Ironside, the glorious Constitution of our country, this same Billy L. high-hip'd, 49 years old, the father of five likely children at home, and not a hollow tooth in his head, is d--d hard to beat. Col. Johnson says, " do you know Lurkin ? you may beat him, but you can't out-bet him."

Fellow citizens, don't I come from among you ? I am no swell'd-head Tory--no blue-belly'd Federalist, rolling in luxury, and grinding the poor man's pittance out of him. Hav'nt I pulled at the whip-saw, and cradled the golden harvest, and sweated great drops of sweat in the summer solstice, working like yourselves for an honest living ? Do I come here the owner of a College diploma, and 4 or 5000 acres in a body of rich Pamunky low-grounds, with lots of niggers, and oceans of corn more than I could consume ? for, by Guinea, it's hard scuffling on my poor " terry-firmy" to raise enough to eat. Hav'nt we fought side by side for the Jackson faith, and did'nt we achieve a glorious victory over blue-belly'd Federalism, and was'nt I with you when you led on the immortal Van to the Presidency ? Are these things to be forgotten--these " enduring memorials" of our early friendship to be thrown aside for Whig promises ? Why, did'nt the Whigs tell us last year that they were going to set every thing straight--right the Government--purify corruption, and give us a sound currency and equal exchanges ? Why, fellow citizens, they preached and promised at their " hard cider" conventions so much about the great " Whig Millennium," that some of " my slash-cats" dropped their hoes, left their ploughs and corn-fields, and went home to sit down and wait for this great era of happiness and prosperity,--a National Bank, a Whig President, commerce restored, a flowing Treasury, high prices for your produce, and every man setting under his own vine and fig-tree inhaling bank notes ! Lord J----! [Here the Colonel raised his hand to his temple, half-shaded his eye, bowed his head a little, blushed up behind the ears, and gave one of his significant, hyena squeals of laughter, that carried triumphant ridicule and the crowd together.] Well, fellow citizens, where's all this promised plenty and prosperity ? Where's all the money ? have you got any ? any of your neighbors got any ? any of these Whigs got any ? Not the first red cent to their names--the poorest people in the land, these Whigs ! ! When we Democrats had the control--we, our party, didn't manage affairs so badly that WE had no money. No, by Guinea, we were too smart not to take care of ourselves, whatever might become of the others. But these Whigs that talk so much about it, aint got a dollar for friend or foes ! ! [Here the Colonel fairly squatted, as he screamed out his hyena yells of laughter. The scene was irresistible, and Capt. B. slunk into the crowd, stole off unperceived, and mounting his horse, rode away, too happy to be freed from the scorpion lash of Lurkin's severe PARAGRAPH.]

Fellow citizens, if Uncle Sam wants " the money" for fortifications and defences in anticipation of a war with the British, and he can't " raise the wind" in any constitutional way for the purpose, then I say let him have it : but if he has got means of his own, provided by the Constitution, in God's name, let us have our quota of the Land Sales--for the State, as you all know, is very much in need of it at this time, and a great deal of good could be done the old Commonwealth by receiving her part of the Trust Fund, and laying it out in Free Schools and improvements for ourselves and our children. Fellow citizens, I shall now conclude by requesting to take a drink with one and all of you, at Capt. Bowles' elegant bar-room. [Deafening shouts of applause.]

More anon, from yours, ever, SHOES.


Source: New York Spirit of the Times 12:6 (9 April 1842): 63. University of Virginia Alderman Library.

Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

[1] A period follows the "s" in original document.

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