We are always ready to give the natives of the Universal Yankee Nation full credit for shrewdness, sagacity and wisdom. If there be, as a general rule, a soft spot in their character, it is, like the philosopher’s stone, not easily discovered. But some naturalists assert that such things have been seen as “ white blackbirds ;” those who place any credence in the assertion cannot surely doubt us when we tell them that we have positively seen--saw no later than yesterday--a green Yankee ; one who, in the confidence of his unsuspecting nature, actually suffered himself to be fleeced--diddled by a “ simple” Southerner.

We saw the Yankee at the police office, as we said before, yesterday, where he went to seek Dame Justice--a lady, like the North-West Passage, oftener sought than found. Barring the transparency, he was a cold, hard, ice-faced fellow, altogether whiskerless ; but if he lacked beard he had a surplusage of yellowish hair, which clustered over his coat collar like long sticks of candy, as seen in a glass jar in a confectioner’s window, and he was so tall and thin that it would not be surprising if he feels apprehensive of being broken across the middle, and his upper part being blown off some story day. His dress was loose and hung listlessly about him like the sails of a vessel in a calm.

After finding out the Recorder--after having caught his eye, as they say in Congress--Jonathan commenced to tell his story thus :

“ Squire, I’m a sweltered individual--used up--done brown ; there aint nothin’ of me left ; but if I wonst get hum--out of this cussed Louisianer--this steam-kettle of all creation--Fashion, and I guess she’s about the quickest critter ever ran--Fashion herself could never catch me down South agin.”

Recorder--“ What is the matter ? If you have any complaint to make let me hear it.”

Yankee--“ If I have a complaint to make ! Well, now, Squire, I swon to man, as Eleazar Ellis, the schoolmaster used to say--I swon, you’re subjunctive ; now I rayther guess I have a complaint to make, and a tolerable chunk of one at that. Oh, Squire, won’t Patience be as riley as all wrath when she hears it ; she’ll be out of all patience with me for making such a tarnation fool of myself, condemn the luck.”

Recorder--“ It would seem you mean to make a fool of me. If you have any complaint to make, state it ; if not, withdraw from the court.”

Yankee--“ Just hold on a minit, Squire, and I’ll set a goin.”

Recorder--“ Well, then, proceed.”

Yankee--“ Fact is, Squire, I cum down here South on a little speckilation, ‘tendin’ to clear out ‘fore yaller fever time ; and if ‘twartn’t for what happened to me to-day, I’d make pooty considerable of a profit on the consarn.”

Recorder--“ Then let me hear at once what did happen to you.”

Yankee--“ Why, I lost my money ; ain’t that enough to happen any feller any day ?”

Recorder--“ How much did you lose, and how ?”

Yankee--“ Twenty dollars, darn my skin if I didn’t, and by one of the meanest tricks that ever was played off on a free American citizen. Why, I wouldn’t sarve a nigger so.”

Recorder--“ Then I again ask how were you served ?”

Yankee--“ Most rascally : as I was agoin’ along on the Levee, a makin’ calkilations and talkin’ to myself, I sees a feller that looked jest as honest as Parson Potter, and as respectable as a selectman, stoop down right afore me, and pick up a fifty dollar bill--here’s the darn consarn, blast the picter,” said the Yankee, indignantly, at the same time taking from his pocket a clean, but badly forged bill of the Union Bank. “ ‘Hush !’ said the feller to me, almighty slyly ; ‘ Hush !’ said I to him ; ‘ what am I afeerd of ?’ ‘ I’ll give you half,’ says he. ‘ I haint no objection,’ says I, ‘seein’ as how you cum by it honestly : I jest wanted as much as would buy me a present to take hum to Patience : but I haint no change.’ ‘ Haint you ?’ said he. ‘ Nothin’ comeatable but a twenty dollar bill,’ says I. ‘ Give it me,’ says he ; ‘ here’s the fifty, and I’ll call on you this evening for the five.’ ‘ It’s a trade,’ says I, givin’ him my good twenty dollar bill ; but a cussed bad trade it turned out to me, for his fifty dollar bill isn’t worth the first continental red cent, and I want to have the infernal rascal taken right up.”

This, the Recorder told him, was no easy task. His portrait was, however, taken by the police, as the Yankee described him, after which he withdrew, it being the general impression among those in court that he was badly burned.


Notes: Source: New York Spirit of the Times 15.23 (2 August 1845): 265. University of Virginia Alderman Library.

Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

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