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over them. But its happiest effect was, tłat not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration; and the oflice of constable fell into such decay, that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years. I am the more particular in dwelling on this transaction, not only because I deem it one of the most sage and righteous judgments on record, and well worthy the attention of modern magistrates, but because it was a miraculous event in the history of the renowned Wouter -being the only time he was ever known to come to a decision in the whole course of his life.
THE GRAND COUNCIL OF NEW AMSTERDAM - WITH
REASONS WHY AN ALDERMAN SHOULD BE FAT.
To assist the doubtful Wouter in the arduous business of legislation, a board of magistrates was appointed, which presided immediately over the police. This potent body consisted of a scout or bailiff with powers between those of the present mayor and sheriff; five burgermeesters, who were equivalent to aldermen; and five schepens, who officiated as scrubs, sub-devils, or bottleholders, to the burgermeesters, in the same manner as do assistant aldermen to their principals at the present day-it being their duty to fill the pipes of the lordly burgermeesters, hunt the markets for delicacies for corporation dinners, and to discharge such other little offices of kindness as were occasionally required. It was, morcover, tacitly understood, though not specifically enjoined, that they should consider themselves as butts for the blunt wits of the burgermeesters, and should laugh most heartily at all their jokes ; but this last was a duty as rarely called into action in those days as it is at present, and was shortly remitted, in consequence of the tragical death of a fat little schepen, who actually died of suffocation in an unsuccessful effort to force a laugh at one of the burgermeester's Van Zandt's best jokes.
In return for these humble services, they were permitted to say yes and no at the council board, and to have that enviable privilege, the run of the public kitchen; being graciously permitted to eat, and drink, and smoke, at all those snug junketings, and public gormandizings, for which the ancient magistrates were equally famous with their more modern successors. The post of schepen, therefore, like that of assistant alderman, was eagerly coveted by all your burghers of a certain description, who have a huge relish for good feeding, and an humble ambition to be great men in a small way-who thirst after a little brief authority, that shall render them the terror of the alms-house and the bridewell-that shall enable them to lord it over obsequious poverty, vagrant vice, outcast prostitution, and hungerdriven dishonesty--that shall place in their hands the lesser, but galling scourge of the law, and give to their beck a houndlike pack of catchpoles and bum-bailiffs-tenfold greater rogues than the
culprits they hunt down!—My readers will excuse this sudden warmth, which I confess is unbecoming of a grave historian; but I have a mortal antipathy to catchpoles, bum-bailiffs, and little great men.
The ancient magistrates of this city corresponded with those of the present time no less in form, magnitude, and intellect, than in prerogative and privilege. The burgomasters, like our aldermen, were generally chosen by weight; and not only the weight of the body, but likewise the weight of the head. It is a maxim practically observed in all honest, plain thinking, regular cities, that an alderman should be fat—and the wisdom of this can be proved to a certainty. That the body is in some measure an image of the mind, or rather that the mind is moulded to the body, like melted lead to the clay in which it is cast, has been insisted on by many men of science, who have made human nature their peculiar study. For as a learned gentleman of our own city observes, “there is a constant relation between the moral character of all intelligent creatures and their physical constitution-between their habits and the structure of their bodies.” Thus we see, that a lean, spare, diminutive body is generally accompanied by a petulant, restless, meddling mind. Either the mind wears down the body by its continual motion ; or else the body, not affording the mind sufficient house-room, keeps it continually in a state of fretfulness, tossing and worrying about, from the uneasiness of its situation. Whcrcas your round,