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The Albaniad is an anonymous satirical poem published in Albany in 1793. It deals with the Constitutional ratification dispute, and presents stereotypes of the Federalists and Anti-Federalist parties. Due to its essentially non-partisan, comic nature, the Albaniad offers an unusually neutral description of these parties. The edited text of the poem is presented for the first time.
The Albaniad and its Interest Today
The Albaniad is a satirical poem published in 1793 by Thomas Greenleaf, for an anonymous author whose pseudonym was Pilgarlic ("the bald man"). It does not seem to have left any mark on U.S. culture. It appears in the Evans archive of early American imprints, but I am not aware of any references to it, either contemporary or scholarly. The Albaniad, as literature, was a failure. However, as a historical witness to the conflict Americans felt over adopting the United States Constitution, it remains quite interesting.
The scene of the poem is an actual event-a parade held in Albany to celebrate New York State's ratification of the Constitution on August 8th, 1788. The celebrants were probably composed mainly of Federalists, who saw ratification as a major victory for their party. Albany at that time seems to have been predominantly an anti-Federalist (and thus anti-Constitutionalist) city. Albany had elected Lansing-an anti-Federalist-as mayor in 1786. In 1790, the city elected Yates as mayor-another staunch anti-Federalist and possibly the "Cato" of Cato's Letters1.
According to Pilgarlic, the parade ended in a riot between the Federalists and anti-Federalists. While such brawls were not uncommon, there is no easy way to document whether or not the conflict described in the poem actually occurred2. Whether factual or idealized, this riot is the focus of Pilgarlic's satire, and thus in a larger sense, he is satirizing the two parties and the conflict between them. To a great degree, the historical interest in this poem lies in its very frank, and apparently non-partisan, depiction of these two forces.
A Disputed Dispute: The Federalists and Anti-Federalists
Much of our knowledge of our country's first partisan conflict comes from the Federalist Papers and the much less famous Anti-Federalist rejoinders to them. Both of these, while eloquent political commentary, are also highly biased partisan sources3, intended to rapidly propagandize for their respective positions. The Federalists were victorious on the Constitution, and in the early establishment of the United States as a political entity, but were permanently routed as a national party in the 1816 elections.
The Anti-Federalists are generally viewed as a diverse coalition. They underwent several rapid permutations in a few decades. Thus the changes in name: "Republican" to "Democratic-Republican" to "Democratic" by the early 1830s. Further, even more radical re-alignments of political ideology, especially in the 1870s, 1930s, and 1980s, have greatly distanced us from a sense of who these first two parties were; what values they had; and what interests they appealed to.
To De Tocqueville, in 1830, there was no great mystery in this question. His matter-of-fact summary is worth citing at some length, the more so as it was well received by a public who could still remember events half a century past4
"When the War of Independence came to an end and it was a question of establishing the bases of new government, the nation found itself divided between two opinions. These opinions were as old as the world, and one finds them over and over in different forms and reclothed with diverse names in all free societies. One opinion wanted to restrict popular power, the other to extend it indefinitely…
The party that wanted to restrict popular power sought above all to make its doctrines apply to the Constitution of the Union, by which it earned the name federal.
The other, which claimed to be the exclusive lover of freedom, took the title republican. America is the land of democracy. The Federalists were therefore always in a minority; but they counted in their ranks almost all the great men the War of Independence had given birth to, and their moral power was very extensive. Moreover, circumstances were favorable to them. The ruin of the first confederation made people fear they would fall into anarchy, and the Federalists profited from this passing disposition…"
De Tocqueville follows this depiction with his own analysis. We might expect that he does not come down squarely on one side or the other. For De Tocqueville's own outlook was also poised in the tension between the creative riot of freedom and the stability of control. He affirms the Federalist's victory in consolidating power in the early years of the nation, and at that the same time he is glad that the Federalists ultimately lost that control in the Jefferson election.
Perhaps because De Tocqueville's analysis applauded both traditions in this way, none of his contemporaries seem to have questioned his depiction of the party controversy, nor the constituencies of the two parties. De Tocqueville had written "The Federalists were therefore always in a minority, but they counted in their ranks all the great men;" fifty years later, Edward Smith would expand this, but not revise it:5
"In the states whose interests were commercial, ratification was easy, while in those in which agricultural interests were predominant, ratification was difficult. A line fifty miles west from the coast would have pretty accurately divided the friends and foes of the constitution….[The Anti-Federalists'] real objection, as Rufus King said, was not to the Constitution but to the men who made it. They instinctively distrusted a system that was the production of the cultured, the rich and the ambitious. They complained that the lawyers the judges, the clergymen, the merchants, and the men of education were all in favor of the Constitution, and were able to make the worse appear the better reason."
Again, Smith's description does not seem to have been controversial in its own time. A second Smith, (J. Allen) published The Spirit of American Government in 1907. J. Allen Smith took these conventional descriptions of the two parties and rephrased them as a critique. Rather than describe the two parties as essential and equally valuable tendencies, he denigrated the Federalists. Smith saw the Constitution as a reactionary effort by the oligarchy to suppress the relatively democratic and libertarian society created by the revolution. Constitutional history entered a new era of controversy. This was soon epitomized by Charles Beard in the 1913 book An Economic Analysis of the Constitution.
The Analysis argued that the Federalists were a fairly elite minority, tending to be men of means. Beard argued that the anti-Federalist opposition to the constitution came mostly from a large population of small farmers and debtors, most of whom were excluded from voting in the various elections pertaining to ratification. Consistent with De Tocqueville, Smith, and Smith, Beard wanted to show that the nation was deeply divided over the issue of the constitution; that the division ran largely along class lines; and that the Anti-Federalists were a substantial majority, though they lacked political clout.
These ideas , clearly, were not new ones. However, where almost all political theorists had lavished praise on the Constitution, J. Allen Smith and Beard were openly questioning it. By 1913, there were many competing narratives about the origin of the country. Schoolchildren learned very fanciful stories of the Pilgrims, Washington and the cherry tree, and so forth. The Constitution had become a sacred document, widely referred to even in textbooks in normative terms: the best means of ordering society ever devised6. Any imputation that the framers had their own economic interests at stake, or indeed that the Constitution represented something other than the wishes of the vast majority of Americans, was heresy.
Beard was widely attacked as a Marxist, a sloppy historian who wanted to invent a spurious class conflict in the sacred origins of our nation. William Howard Taft called the book a "muckraking investigation7." The arguments marshaled against Beard threw into doubt key demographic questions about America in the 1780s, especially the matter of how many people were without land. Robert Brown, after a line-by-line slash through Beard's book, concluded with great assurance8:
"If the conflict over ratification had been between substantial personalty interests on the one hand and small farmers and debtors on the other, there would not have been a constitution. The small farmers comprised such an overwhelming percentage of the voters that they could have rejected the new government without any trouble."
In Brown's view, the two parties' differences were "more of degree than of kind;" no significant group had been disenfranchised on the basis of property qualifications; and there had been very little conflict over the ratification, anyway. "People in general expected substantial benefits from the labors of the Convention,9 but over and over, Brown insists, they did not really care much either way.
At the time, neither Beard nor Brown had very definitive research on these demographic questions. Since then the balance of the evidence would seem to reinforce the Beardian (or Tocquevillean) view10. Ironically, some defenders of American capitalism accepted and applauded Beard's analysis as a vindication of the political triumph of the upper class; the "smart money." 11
The other question that has been raised by these competing histories has to do with public discourse. Those authors-like Brown, who position themselves as "defending" the constitution against neo-Anti-Federalism, have often insisted that there was no significant controversy about ratification. They see the dichotomy between Federalism and Anti-Federalism as largely a retroactive invention; an emphasis of later political analysts. But here again, recent social historians have shown that, at least in certain locales, the ratification debates were indeed tied to economic class, and were enormously controversial at a grass-roots level12.
These questions remain in dispute, and they have been addressed in a range of ways-demography, social history, and political science. The Albaniad offers us a new perspective, and even a new type of perspective, if we can call a two hundred thirteen year old document "new."
Pilgarlic's Albaniad is a satire in the tradition of Jonathan Swift, whom Pilgarlic refers to at several points. That is to say, the narrative voice establishes a detached bastion from which to mock and condemn everyone equally, without making any special effort to put forward a positive thesis. For example, Pilgarlic manages to lampoon the Dutch, Germans, and Irish, who are not at all central to his narrative. In the formula of satire, this is almost a way of establishing one's neutrality: the author is not picking sides. In this The Albaniad is quite unlike the partisan rhetoric of the era. Pilgarlic is the court jester, the sibyl, claimant to a very special form of free speech.
In fact, there are several reasons to believe that Pilgarlic's sympathies lay on the side of the "Anties." Albany in general was an Anti-Federalist town, after all. The frequent references to classical mythology are primarily an Anti-Federalist trope. The Albaniad must have been a fairly conscious response to Humphreys et al's anti-anti-Federalist Anarchiad a few years earlier. A slip of pronouns on page 20 ("to boil our guts and scrape our bones") seems to place the narrator in the house of the Anties. Finally, Pilgarlic was breaking a relative taboo in post-Constitutional America of revisiting the direly partisan rhetoric of the Convention debates. A great many men on both sides saw the only hope for national unity in burying the hatchet. That Pilgarlic, four years after the fact, devotes so much of his narrative to following the activities of the losing party might suggest his bias.
However reasonable, though, these are only hints at the author's bias. The narrative voice betrays scant sympathy for either side in the conflict. Instead, the narrator attacks both parties as drunken, belligerent, and mindlessly oppositional. This is then developed into a general attack on the "God of Party:"
In days of yore you did influence man,
But now like some despotic Lord you reign;
Father of mischief view the humble bow,
That en passant, Pilgaric makes to you:
‘Tis you that rule all matters in the state,…
Still, still your minions eagerly engage,
The worse we find their cause the more their rage;
This is somewhat different from De Tocqueville, who described the conflict as one version of an eternal antagonism more or less associated with class. Pilgarlic analyzes it as a partisan conflict, and sees partisan antagonism as a relatively recent development. As we will see, the Albaniad supports and even elaborates the Beardian thesis that party loyalties in the constitutional debate were divided along class lines. But this is not Pilgarlic's main point. Rather, he is concerned with parties becoming goals in and of themselves:
You something still that makes poor mortals fight,
No matter for the wrong cause or the right;
This places the narrator's voice in a third position. He is not, however, a centrist or a truly disinterested observer. Rather, he seems to be advocating a position more radical than either of the parties he is depicting. It is possible, in Pilgarlic's view, to have a "right cause," but neither party, nor any party he can imagine, represents it.
Again, one could view this perspective as more closely allied to the Anti-Federalist position. The Anties were by all accounts a coalition of multiple viewpoints. Pilgarlic himself recognizes this, and the character Latitat addresses them as such:
From whate'er cause the Fed'rals you abuse;
From public good or only private views
A century later, Mr. Dooley would echo this pluralistic description: "Th' dimmycratic party ain't on speakin' terms with itsilf." Such pluralism would seem to embody a disregard for a unified dogma, and thus would be in keeping with Pilgarlic's anti-partisan stance. But in fact the Anties were a party, just as the Democrats were a party In Dooley's time. The fundamental contradiction which Pilgarlic might steer us towards is that the diversity of human opinion cannot usefully be squashed into any party platform.
Depictions of the Two Parties…
While both parties are painted as essentially unattractive, they are not painted identically. This is not Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce, it is a conflict between two different species. In his presentation of the parties, it is clear that Pilgarlic is appealing to stereotypes that his readers knew quite well. Thus he does not so much offer a general description of either party as he picks out particular attributes, usually for ridicule. Still, we are able to build up a fairly good image of the two groups from these comments.
The Federalists include farmers and Negroes, and a feisty Dutchman, but are especially enumerated as merchants: "bakers, taylors, blacksmith's…carpenters, the shipwrights, wheelwrights too." Their rage is compared to tailors' shears. One of them is a lawyer (who "with dexterity could drive a quill"). These are men of means, full of pomp and circumstance, and better educated than their opposition. In the fracas, the bricks thrown by the Anties are chided for paying "no compliments to wit or learning." We can compare all this to the description of the parade in the Albany Annals, "Every trade and profession seems to have united in the jubilee"13.
When the fight gets underway, the Federalists have the upper hand by far: they have cannons, horses, and swords. They are a proper army. Yet they are not warriors, not are they veterans of the recent revolution. Pilgarlic assures us cynically that their swords "ne'er had drawn nor wish'd to draw man's blood." Their leader, who we meet on page 13, is a coward. He does nothing to help Hans, the first victim on the Federalists' side. Instead, he beats a quick retreat and gives a speech, much of it devoted to his fear of a woman. This figure presumably represents General Philip John Schuyler, who was in fact leading the parade. Schuyler was a very wealthy moderate, and a member of the "Knickerbocker Aristocracy." He became one of Washington's major generals in 1775, but was quickly embroiled in a conflict about neglect of duty and disloyalty, and he was forced to stand down. In 1778, he was court-martialed and eventually acquitted. He was a State senator several times, a Federalist and a consultant to Hamilton, who married his daughter. "Although not quite six feet tall, his presence was commanding, his temper ardent. His austere manner, impeccable dress, and deportment struck many as arrogant and overbearing.14"
In another episode of cowardice (which seems to be Pilgarlic's chief jab at the Federalists), a reference is made to Revelations 6:16. By analogy, it casts the Federalists as "The Kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man." The last two clauses expand this group to pretty much everyone, but the emphasis is certainly on a Beardian elite.
The Anties, by contrast, are armed only with rocks, bricks, and clubs. They don't appear to have any money, nor do we ever hear of any of them being tradesmen. But we are given the suggestion that they are warriors of a sort. They are considerably braver than their opposition, and they are described as a rough-and-tumble crowd: dumb but tough. They take a house (apparently a brothel) as their fall-back position, which they defend "with soldier like address." The matriarch of this house, whose function in the poem is unclear, is a very formidable woman. The Federalist Captain is terrified of her. The Anties also have a Captian, Latitat, who the narrator regards as a bona fide military leader, sadly descended into party politics.
The usual Federalist epithets are leveled at the Anties: they are anarchists, varlets, dogs. Apparently they are also an uneasy coalition. Latitat appeals to them for unity: "From whate'er cause the Fed'rals you abuse; / From public good or only private views." In the end, though they put up a great fight, they are scattered by the Federalists, and their house is utterly destroyed. The analogy to the national history is fairly clear, if not quite allegorical.
…and Other Notes
So far, with these descriptions Pilgarlic is strongly confirming the outline presented by De Tocqueville and Beard. The Federalists are by and large an educated merchant class who are not fighters; the Anti-Federalists are veterans of the revolution but not men of means or education. The two groups are very certainly in conflict, and they seem to be about evenly matched.
In passing, Pilgarlic also makes a few other remarks that are of interest, while they do not treat directly on the Beardian hypothesis. The most important of these deals with the epistemological controversy which was at fever pitch during the enlightenment: empiricism vs. rationalism. The anti-Federalists are equated with Lockean empiricism:
Perhaps their mental optics may discern,
(For they it seems from reason never learn)
This is an extraordinarily valuable piece of generalization. While the writing of Anti-Federalist intellectuals often reveals an empiricist perspective (and vice versa), to my knowledge this is the only text that specifically equates the parties themselves with the epistemologies. Moreover, the humor of the couplet assumes that the reading public is "up to date" on this epistemological controversy, a fact which certainly would not have been the case a few decades later.
Two other themes that occur in the poem seem to be drawn from the party controversy. Deism, which was signally associated with Jefferson and the anti-Federalists in general, makes a humorous appearance. God appears as an observer, half-asleep, uninterested and uninvolved in the proceedings. The poem is also filled with the device of body parts in conflict with each other: arms, legs, hearts, and so forth at odds. This references a much-repeated contemporary rhetorical device of the Federal "body politic" and its struggle for consensus.
Finally, we have the puzzling trivia that two characters have been named for writs of subpoena: Latitat and Capias. Perhaps this is a meaningless quirk, or perhaps it is Pilgarlic's quiet way of letting us know that he was a lawyer. In 1791, there could not have been a great many bald lawyers in Albany-but still too many to identify Pilgarlic with certainty. The author vanishes; we are left with the text.
My gratitude to Thomas Ponniah, Cha-Cha Connor, Rachel Friefelder, and Susannah McCandless for editing; and a shout out to the Ironweed Collective and the Albany Freeschool.
Beard, Charles A. (1935 ) An economic interpretation of the Consitution of the United States. Macmillan, New York.
Brown, Robert E. Charles Beard and the Constitution. (1956) Princeton University Press, Princeton.
De Tocqueville, Alexis. (2000)[1830 and 1840] Democracy in America. Mansfield, Henry C. and Winthrop, Delba, translators and editors. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Edward P. Smith (1889) The Movement Towards a Second Constitutional Convention in 1788. In Essays on the constitutional history of the United States in the formative period, 1775-1789, by graduates and former members of the Johns Hopkins University. Ed. J. Franklin Jameson. Houghton Mifflin, Boston
Fortune Editors (1936) The Constitution of the United States. Fortune 14, 1: July.
Gerlach, Don. (1999) Article in American National Biography, v. 19, p. 461 et seq, Oxford University Press, New York.
Gordon, John Steele. (1997) Hamilton's Blessing. Walker, New York.
Humphreys, David; Barlow, Joel; Trumbull, John; Hopkins, Lemuel. (1861) [1786-1787] The Anarchiad: a New England poem. Ed. Riggs, Luther G. New Haven: Thomas H. Pease, 186l.
Ketcham, Ralph, editor. (1986) The Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutional Covention Debates. Mentor, New York.
Labaree, Benjamin W. (1975) Patriots and Partisans: The Merchants of Newburyport 1764-1815. Norton, New York.
Lathem, Edward Connery. (1972) Chronological Table of America's Newspapers 1690-1820. American Antiquarian Society and Barre Publishers, Barre, Massachusetts.
"Pilgarlic" (1985) The Albaniad: An Epic Poem in Three Cantos. In Early American Imprints, First Series. #23699. Readex Microprint, New York.
Munsell, Joel. (1850) The Annals of Albany. Joel Munsell, Albany.
IN THREE CANTOS,
Printed for the Author, 1791
THE ALBANIAD, &c.
Introduced by a felicitating address to the Dutchmen-Pilgarlic queries his own immortality from the importance of the subject-The subject is opened with a descant upon politics-the success of the Federals-their triumphs and preparations for parade-their march-the Anti-Federal meeting-the information of a spy, in which the charms of sturgeon are hinted at, and the Federal madness-the Anties in the dumps-a Chief's speech-the speech of another Chief, who reasons well on injuries-The first Chief's speech in correction of his former speech-the great infelicity of being mobbed-his sage advice-their bold resolution.
Receive ye Dutchmen as your just reward,
The learned labours of your destin'd bard;
No longer shall your deeds neglected lie,
Like some loath'd object hidden from the eye;
But brought to light conspicuously shall shine,
The verse and subject equally divine.
Say, in relating of your mighty fame,
Shall some praise settle on the poet's name?
And whilst the reader praises how you fought,
Shall he to whisper how Pilgarlic wrote?
Then shall our fame to distant ages ring,
You born to act so well and I to sing;
Soon will my numbers swell of martial deeds,
Of shins so bloody and of broken heads;
What cause so huge could make men so engage,
Or could supaun and sturgeon yield such rage?
Ye mules let the Bard indulgence claim,
And give a little bit of facts to Fame.
Two direful parties rage within the state,
By squibs and pasquinades display their hate;
Bedaub each other with the worst abuse,
Now shew their scorn in verse, and now in prose;
The Constitution cause of all the flame,
Some zealously support and some condemn.
These it's great blessings to the land presage,
And think at length will come millennia age,
When ev'ry lad beneath some shade may sit,
And without labour guttle till he split:
But those, with length'ned phiz, far worse suppose,
And swear it is the phial filled with woes,
That when pour'd out the Devils will come forth,
And for a thousand years ransack the earth.
Thus ev'ry breast with curious whimsies fill'd
Feels its big heart with mighty ardour swell'd;
Or on the land the golden age to draw,
Or save his country from the Devil's claw.
At length, so Jove the matter had decreed,
The Fed'ral party in their cause succeed;
Whilst the poor Anties in most doleful dumps,
Could play no more their hand for want of trumps,
But sneaked off, involv'd in grief and shame,
To think for want of skill they lost their game.
But now the Fed'rals joyously had met,
And laugh'd and gig'led at their foes defeat;
In imitation of the Yankee lads,
Resolv'd to shew their joy in grand parades;
Albania too, most zealously displays,
Like her fair sister York, her lust of praise.
Above the town, upon the grand parade,
The mighty preparation work is made,
There all assemble on the Fed'ral side,
In lofty pomp, and spread their banners wide;
The roasted ox, the grog, the punch inspire,
Their charms by turns excite the noble fire,
The day is consecrate to mirth and joy,
That heave each breast, and sparkle in each eye;
From higher orders to the low degrees15,
This curious frolick seems alike to please,
Each chap a constitution pride maintains,
As tho' it were the labour of his brains;
He envy's not the state of Lords or Kings,
But seems, than they, employ'd in greater things;
But still upon the great design intent,
In idle chat no useful time is spent,
But each man labours in his sep'rate sphere,
To make the honours of his tribe appear.
At length prepar'd, in triumph to the town,
They slowly march'd, in solemn order down;
Mean time the Anties in a desperate fright,
Had met together long before ‘twas light,
At each huzza, at ev'ry cannon's roar
They felt a fever sweating from each pore:
Vain are their councils, and their wit is vain,
To keep without the town, the hateful scene;
For now intelligence is brought by one,
That all the Federals are marching down,
By one, who in their service they retain'd,
And who his spy-like errand thus explain'd,
Whilst mute as mice the forlorn junto sat,
And ev'ry word he utter'd quickly eat.
"Hear and believe! with desp'rate looks he cries,
What I have just beheld with both my eyes,
I saw it plainly, so all doubts are vain,
Unless you think some grog has turn's my brain,
Which here I swear by no means is the case,
Since I just now but tip'd the second glass,
The Fed'ral rascals now at last proceed,
And march so bold with light-horse at their head,
The drums and carts make a confounded noise,
Nor small's the clamor of the shouting boys,
The Negro trie too join their wild applause,
And make the sky re-echo with huzzas;
Oh may the sturgeon, which I dearly love,
To me not sweet, but ever bitter, prove;
Oh when the cargo's do arrive so great,
May I, to buy a good piece, come too late,
View ev'ry Dutchman look so fat and gay,
Whilst I for want of sturgeon pine away:
If such a silly sight I e'er beheld,
Or with more indignation e'er was filled;
Mad sure they are, aye mad or what you please,
Or sounds they'd never take such childish ways-
The farmers march with plows along the street,
And on the pavement wisely spatter wheat,
Which there no doubt will grow (to speak in tropes)
I wish their constitution brought such crops,
But that fat [sod?] its own complexion tells,
Will soon supply the continent with ills;
The bakers, taylors, blacksmith's, all so high,
Work in their carts beneath the open sky;
The carpenters, the shipwrights, wheelwrights too,
All laugh and single and whistle as they go.
There is a German (ah the silly goose)
Working like madman at a pair of shoes,
So eager is he in each paultry stitch,
He would not turn altho' you kick'd his breech,
How on all sides poor Liberty is bang'd,
Methinks they stalk in form to see her hang'd.
May I be curst if such poor silly stuff,
Don't prove those numskulls against reason proof;
Yes, yes, the fact is so, ‘tis very plain,
This damn'd new Constitution turned their brain."
So spoke the spy-man to the list'ning crew,
And by his dunder swore that it was true.
Confusion now step'd on each length'ned face,
That seemingly had lost all hope of grace;
So look'd Burgoin's whole army to behold,
Surrounding them the rebel's grown so bold;
So loo'd the Tories when of peace they heard,
And felt the halter tickling at their beard;
So look'd the tribes of speculators sad,
When Madison his glorious motion made,
To bring those lads to justice nearer home,
And of his earnings give the soldier some.
At length rose Latitat16 a leader great,
Whose nob had sense enough to rule the state,
Descending from abilities immense,
To such intrigues he sacrificed his sense.
And with a thoughtful brow he thus began:
"Hear me each hearty Antifed'ral man,
From whate'er cause the Fed'rals you abuse;
From public good or only private views,
How weak we grow this circumstance can tell,
That we in none and they in all prevail;
Have they not all their wish and pleasure got,
And forc'd the constitution down their throat?
Must they their joy now publicly disclose,
And pass in triumph underneath our nose?
Oh death to think the insult is too great,
And calls up all my grief and all my hate,
Sooner this tongue that smooth in many a cause,
Has wheedled juried and perplex'd the laws,
Struck with a palsy, stiff for e'er remain,
Nor tell the hopeful projects of my brain,
If e'er I suffer each triumphant ass,
In this procession calmly on to pass;
Much did I strive, with secret art and guile,
Them in the project of the day to foil;
But neither art nor guile, ‘gainst them prevail,
The dogs in ev'ry instance triumph still,
‘Tis time the foxes tail aside to lay,
And trust our fortune to the lion's paw;
Cunning is good, but ah my lads ‘tis clear,
Force, chiefly, must produce our purpose here."
He spoke thus much; but grief conceal'd the rest,
That still lay fretting in his anxious breast.
Then rose a chief, from where he lowly sat,
And rising seem'd a mighty prop of state.
"Well thou hast spoken, well hast thou exprest,
(He cries) the ideas of a manly breast,
That feels, with indignation, each attack,
Or to the nose apply'd or yet the back.
What is this life, if insult we must feel,
The same from lion's paw or ass's heel;
Secret or open still it is the same,
Direct or indirect, we feel the shame,
By Heavens a brave man feels an insult still,
Come from what cause, or from what thing it will.
Then let us shew those hearty lads he said,
We mind no more than they a broken head;
To arms! to arms! then let us have [illegible],
Turn ‘gainst themselves the triumph of the day."
He spoke, and all, with voice and [wor]ds declare,
And shew their willingness to ‘g[age in] war.
Again the first chief rose, with cheerful look,
And each, attentive, list'ned as he spoke;
Finding the fires of opposition catch,
He, with some art, corrects his former speech:
"My lads, I love your fire, approve your scheme,
But here advice may well indulgence claim;
If but to fight, was our whole intent,
To that your minds sufficiently are bent,
Some art in this same business we must use,
For here art may, what force cannot produce;
Force is indeed our object in the main,
But force must be directed by design;
To conquer or discomfit is our view,
But still methinks to safety something's due.
If they too strong should prove for us in fight,
Out safety clearly must be plac'd in flight;
Wise gen'rals therefore find it always meet,
Still to provide, at least as safe retreat;
For none of you, I readily suppose,
Would willingly be taken by our foes,
Or would be proud, upon a cart tail plac'd,
With tar and feathers to be neatly graced;
Or by a rope suspended all so clear,
Would wish to cut some capers in the air,
Or would (when all at once so lofty grown)
Laugh to be led in triumph thro' the town,
A mocking spectacle for ev'ry dunce,
A mark for every lad that would would fling stones,
Whilst eggs as thick as hail would fly about,
And pay a passing tribute to your snout.
Ah heav'ns! Integrity had fled from Job,
Had he but been attacked by a mob,
He would have own'd that patience had no cures,
For something damn'd deal worse than all his sores;
And something, faith, like this may come to pass,
If once defeat should prove our hapless case.
‘Tis my opinion then we should possess,
A place that guards against such dire disgrace,
That like a shield will serve us in attack,
And like a breast work, will defend our back:
For this I know a house, I think will do,
Will serve for fighting and retreating too,
And thither, if you please we will repair,
And settle ‘mongst ourselves the grand affair,
In this dispute we surely must prevail,
If we fight bravely and but counsel well."
He spoke and all with one accord agreed,
To execute the pious plot they'd laid.
Observations on the Sun, as a promoter of robberies and murder-the Anties gain a pass-their preparations for war-the advance of the Federal horse-the virginity of the horsemen's swords-the Anties advice and laconic speech-description of a young Dutchman-his goodly education-his bold speech and bolder attempt-his misfortune and overthrow-The Capt retreats-his speech to the Feds-description of a great woman-the consternation of the Feds-a Chief described-his bold and encouraging speech wherein farther honorable mention is made of Hans-the powder simile-a chap's short but pithy speech-they march to battle.
The Sun who wakes the knave from sleep so sweet,
And lends him light that he may see to cheat;
Who draws the murd'rer from his dull repose,
And guide his arm to deal out deaths and woes,
Had now ascended to the middle space,
Darting with keener force his brightening rays;
Now ev'ry rogue could see so well to plan,
His artifice against the harmless man,
And whilst he pilfer'd with a wary eye,
Could tell the very time and road to fly;
When in the propos'd house, the junto met,
Prepar'd to give the foes a sad defeat,
Possessing brick-bats and of stones a store,
And well-sized clubs they deem'd themselves secure,
Long'd for the time to thunder on the Feds,
Nor dream'd themselves might share some broken heads.
Each door and window was securely mann'd
And ev'ry operation wisely plann'd;
The street so narrow gave them ev'ry chance.
T'annoy their foes whene'er they dar'd advance.
Like fam'd Leonidas who held the pass,
And ‘gainst three millions, three days guarded Greece17,
They seem'd to hold the passage thro' the town,
And bid the Fed'ral lads at once begone;
Some other rout, their airing to pursue,
Nor ‘tempt too rashly thence a passage thro'.
Meantime came forward the majestic train,
The horse so bold still keeping in the van,
From each incumbrance, in the way they met,
With naked swords they clear'd the destin'd street,
Swords that they brandished in the air so gay,
Swords of parade, unstained with horrid fray;
Swords of such modest nature's mild and good,
That ne'er had drawn nor wish'd to draw man's blood;
But in their scabbards all so neatly wrapt,
From age to age their virgin nature kept.
Them with a general voice the Anties hail.
And bid them wisely turn their horses tail,
Nor tempt a fortune that might prove so hard,
To pass a street that they resolv'd to guard;
Look, cry the Anties, see out weapons here,
Weapons, that if you'r wise, we think you'll fear,
For whose skull think you, tho enormous hard
Could bear the force of such a pond'rous [shard,]
Or who, so prodigal of blood and bones,
Would wish a compliment from these large stones,
Tho cas'd in armout, cover'd oe'r with brass,
These stones could find a passage to each Ass,
Convince the world to your own cost and pain,
The Fed'rals have a wond'rous lack of brain;
Then rais'd their weapons in the yielding air,
Weapons that Hercules himself might scare;
Weapons that promis'd most confounded knocks,
Whose very weight would fairly stun an ox.
Then spoke a youthful Dutchman from his horse,
Amaz'd the Anties heard his bold discourse;
A youthful Dutchman, by his mother bred
With tender care, on good supaun he fed,
Ker-malk was added to augment the taste,
And spec at noon too crown'd the rich repast;
His op'ning mind she form'd with equal care,
And often smil'd (in Dutch) to hear him swear,
Curse ev'ry stranger in a surly tone,
And damn all other nations but his own;
He chear'd by brandy, that inspiring stuff,
That brings a coward's courage above proof:
Thus boldly pour'd his eloquence so sage,
In English-Dutch he cloath'd his manly rage;
"By Chod I dont verstand what ‘tis you say,
Dat non fon us shant pass so on dat way?
Now, by my dunder, I will go and come,
And see you damn'd first, as I shant go home."
He spoke, and then unto his horses breech,
With vig'rous arm he plied a well grown switch,
The horse insulted with indignant mind,
Made bold attempt to leave the foes behind;
But all in vain, some showers of stones assail,
And hit the horses head and hit his tail,
A share so good the rider likewise draws,
Some smite his shins, some strike his back & jaws,
Down fall they both and thunder as they fall,
And pour forth bitter groaning as they sprawl.
Now what avails his mother's tender care,
Poor Hans lies grov'ling and no friend is near,
Should fate relieve him in this sad extreme,
‘Tis hop'd in rashness he'll never prove the same.
The Captain looking at his soldiers fate,
Resolv'd in time to make a safe retreat.
So to the party back he wisely rode,
And in these terms expres'd his angry mood,
"My friends, behold the Captain of the horse,
Return'd because oppos'd by open force.
Block'd is the passage thro' yon narrow lane,
By Antifed'rals block'd, who force maintain,
So pour their stones and brickbats in the air,
That none of us dare shew our noses there.
Poor Hans just now, most horridly was foil'd,
Who made attempt, with courage rather bold,
To pass their lines, for down we saw him fall,
By mighty brickbats knock'd down horse and all,
Whilst in the house the Anties muster troops,
Laugh in their great triumph and indulge their hopes,
To make us change our rout some other way,
Or turn to grief the triumph of the day.
Aye, in that house the bouncing lady keeps,
Where every Anti eats, or drinks, or sleeps;
That house so well supported by the dame,
Whose figure admiration still will claim,
Alcide's saith, who travel'd far and wide18,
With such a wife could never be supplied,
Nor in the dame who made him spin and scrub,
Whilst she stalked with his lion skin and club
I [illegible], and may I neer be blest,
If three men scarce can fathom round her waist,
She carries dignity in every gait,
And well by Heavens would suit a royal state,
She if she pleas'd I verily suppose,
Might hide the varlets underneath her cloaths;
Guard like a hen the chickens lodg'd beneath,
And each intruder scare with fears of death.
And this I do assert with all these men,
I'd rather fight the chickens than the hen;
‘Tho in each window thick as pares of glass,
I saw each booby poke his varlet face;
To me in faith, or I'm a lying elf,
She seems like Ajax a whole host herself."
So spoke the captain and with ardent eyes,
Look'd round among the chiefs for good advice.
Each chief than stood amaz'd in wonder lost,
And that he had his senses scarce could boast,
Uncertain of himself with doubts too struck,
Star'd like a bull who'd just reciev'd the yoke;
Or like poor Brutus when by trouble crost,
His fancy painted Caesar's awful ghost.
When one at last, tho' silent rather long,
First stumbling on his senses found his tongue.
He form'd for battle and a nosy life,
At early period enter'd in the strife,
Had grown quite famous on the federal part,
From having such a noble zeal at heart.
What words ye Gods did he not thunder out,
When ‘gainst the Anties he was mov'd to spout,
How would the fed'rals roaring out applause,
Commend the hopeful issue of his jaws,
Whilst like a bull-dog he would widely gape,
And at their praises like a turtle snap,
Lur'd by the sounding of an empty name,
Like any Nimrod he would hunt for fame19,
With cat-like squinting eyes around would peep,
And like a panther on the object leap,
And now by forelock giving [time?] a gripe,
These words against the anties he let slip:
"My lads you've heard the Captains sad report,
That of a house the anties make a fort,
With stones and bricks resolve our way t'oppose,
And change our mirth and joy to grief and woes;
And from the specimen they gave to Hans,
We may expect warm bus'ness for our bones,
Poor Hans, I pity his disaster faith,
Perhaps e'en now he's battling it with death,
He had a neck so stiff and head so wrong,
The Devil himself won't keep the fellow long;
The question now admits but small dispute,
For we must or be damnd or drive them out;
Oh! Shame eternal would fall on our head,
In their attempt if now the dogs succeed;
What, shall a set of paltry chaps defeat,
The purpose of a day like this so great,
To laughter and derision turn our sport,
And say that gainst us all they held their fort;
That midst our triumph they their laurels won,
And made the glories of the day their own.
Forbid it ev'ry principle in man,
That moves the heart or actuates the brain,
That makes our own defence so precious feel,
And bids injurious treatment to repel,
Have we at last arriv'd at that sad state,
That Anties now our conduct dare dictate?
Prescribe to shew their power is quite complete,
When we would wish to walk the very street:
By Heavens their impudence would damn a thief,
So great beyond the object of belief;
A thief your cash alone contrives to steal,
And leaves your person to strut where it will;
But these sad dogs will make their boasts and brags
That they have clap'd the hopples on our legs.
Zounds he must be a dev'lish sleepy dog,
Without the animation of king log,
Who but beholds such cruel insults given,
And into madness is not almost driven.
Ye Gods, for such a cause the pigmy race,
Had leap'd like bull-frogs to avoid disgrace,
The Liliputians like so many mice,
Had caper'd in their armour in a trice.
Then let the lads our indignation feel,
They and their sort should both be kicked to hell.
We need not mind the stones and bricks they pour,
Tho large as hail in Brobdignagian show'r20;
If not before, yet when the attack's begun,
Off will manouvre ev'ry mothers son,
Swift as an arrow by an Indian shot,
He on the ground will scarcely touch his boot;
Tho now they flounce about like monstrous whales
I know the knaves will scud and sculk like eels."
He ceas'd, and look'd around in proud disdain,
Disdain that soon possesses ev'ry man,
All feel the horrors of their dire disgrace,
Whilst anger flash'd like lightning o'er each face;
As when some powder scatter'd on a floor,
With a live coal you touch a grain or more,
Quick in flame the neigh'bring kernels rise,
and in an instant all is in a blaze.
Yes, cri'd a chap who felt his courage grow,
(As when well yested puffs a lump of dough)
Who felt his bosom cracking with dread ire,
Like some old bladder heated up by fire,
" I see, I feel the insult that you speak,
And for quick vengeance feel my bosom ach;
If we to shew our joy and pleasure aim,
Why damn them, tell me, what is that to them?
By heavens we must instruct these saucy knaves,
(What'eer themselves may think) we're not their slaves,
Nay more, that for the impudence perhaps,
We may presume to […] with their cha[…]s,
Teach them, like dogs, with many hearty kicks,
With gentlemen to ex[ercise such?] tricks;
Teach them the blessed systems they adore,
Anarchy, confusion, and uproar
Perhaps their mental optics may discern,
(For they it seems from reason never learn)
Op'd by experience in affliction's school,
The benefits of government and rule."
He spoke, and all their inclination shew,
With voice and hands to march against the foe.
An address to the God of Party-the Federal advance-the Anties send them certain hard messengers-the shouting of the parties and commencement of the battle-the uproar is great-the Dutch church stands still-the cock turns about-the sturgeon leap and jump-the Sun sneaks off, and the Moon keeps at a distance-the clouds scud about through fear, and the skies are fairly bullied-the houses totter, and the earth quakes like a coward-Father Hudson rises upon a sturgeon's back-all nature is moved-simile of the mob and Doctors—great is the shower of stone-many fall-the fate of Capias—the standard bearer falls-Patrick seizes the standard-the battle rages more and more-much lambasting going forward-Jupiter wakes and weighs the fortune of the field-the discomfiture of the Anties-the house turned inside out-the Federals retire-the Poem concludes with the simile of a balloon and balloon man.
Great God of party rage for you my lays,
From Fame's great loaf shall cut a slice of praise;
To you I owe the subject of the muse;
‘Twas you that broke each Dutchman's head and nose;
In days of yore you did influence man,
But now like some despotic Lord you reign;
Father of mischief view the humble bow,
That en passant, Pilgaric makes to you:
‘Tis you that rule all matters in the state,
You set to work the politicians pate;
You sport alike among both knaves and fools,
The first your ministers, the last your tools;
Whether you flourish irreligious dreams21,
Or wish to dabble [in a sta]tesman's schemes,
Whether in some great cause you choose to act,
Or meanly caper in some paltry fact,
Still, still your minions eagerly engage,
The worse we find their cause the more their rage;
Oh! Deity so high in power and fame,
Pride, folly, ignorance, whate'er your name.
You something still that makes poor mortals fight,
No matter for the wrong cause or the right;
From whom they vainly partial good suppose,
But (dup'd) the sinners get the kicks and blows;
Like your own acts (I fear) my verse will shine,
For uproar and confusion both are thine.
But now the Fed'ral band, in warlike pride,
Eager as bull dogs to the battle stride;
Each feels the his rages as keen as tailor's sheers,
That fain would cut, like cloth, the Anties' ears;
Those ears that would like special vellum stretch,
And Isacher's or those of Midas match22.
Meantime the Anties stiff as barber's blocks,
Wrap up their face in formidable looks;
Line all their works with soldier like address,
Nor mind their foes advance nor yet menace;
But soon as they perceive them coming near,
Sent forth a show'r of brick-bats in the air;
That falling on the hapless dogs below,
Caus'd many a sigh and other sign of woe:
Then shouts on shouts from both sides ‘gan to rise,
That echoing through the city rend the skies;
Now direful groans and shriller shrieks are heard,
These seem'd the treble, those the bass appear'd;
And altogether form'd more noisy tunes,
Than had all Scotland's bag-pipes play'd at once.
Such wild confusion, noise and great uproar,
In Albany streets were never heard before;
The Dutch church seem'd to stand stock still with dread,
The cock above in pity turn'd his head;
The sturgeon swam, and leap'd and bounc'd so high,
As if they wish'd the frolic to espy,
The Sun to westward seem'd to hurry down,
To peep behind a cloud to see the fun;
With aukward pace the Moon crept in the east,
And at a distance seem'd to like it best;
The clouds above still scud'd to and fro,
And felt a lack of judgment what to do;
Some mut'ring thunder at a distance heard,
And other portents how the skies are hear'd;
The houses tot'ring from foundations shake,
The earth, the paltry coward, ‘gan to quake;
And Father Hudson, from his [oily] bed,
Some distance ‘bove the town pop'd up his head;
Upon a sturgeon's back he [boldly? nobly?] rode,
And by each gesture shew'd [th' astonish'd] God:
To Heav'n and Jove he turn'd his scaly eyes,
And mutter'd something pray'r like to the skies,
Like Pluto dreading that in strife so hot,
Himself and empire both might go to pot:
The women seiz'd with horror, fear and doubt,
Some stood stock still, whilst others ran about,
Wond'ring what spirit had possess'd the men,
Which they nor saw before nor will again;
The children too unite their piercing yells,
And join in concert with the women's squalls.
The dogs affrighted run along the street,
And bark and howl at ev'ry thing they meet;
The pigs likewise, and eke the larger swine,
Sneak in some corner, and there grunt and whine.
All nature seem'd to sympathize and moan,
To see the Dutchmen bleed to hear them groan.
Such was the uproar ‘mong the gambling crew,
When down the chimney went young Montague
In shape of Lucifer the varlets scar'd
Who on God's day their gambling feats prefer'd,
With horns on head and cover'd o'er with soot,
He shew'd a grim like face and cloven foot,
So well performing Satan, the young elf,
He really seem'd his majesty himself.
Such was the uproar in our own New-York,
When gainst young Doctor's King mob went to work23,
Pursu'd them flying in such monstrous dread,
They wish'd some falling mountain o'er their head24;
Whilst all bawl'd out they'd shew each saucy dunce,
What twas to boil our guts and scrape our bones25;
The stones and brick-bats flew so thick about,
That ev'ry inch of air around they cut,
And such a canopy their numbers made,
That in the middle some fought in the shade;
The missle weapons light upon each sconce,
That yields a safe protection to their bones;
From thence retrieving with [illegible]
Bring from their empty skull a hollow sound:
But still not all so lucky meet the blow,
Their breasts and shins and back receive it too:
Then down they fall, and falling with a sigh,
In Falstaff's grinning honor lowly lie;
And some recruiting, mourn in horrid pain,
Whilst these a breast lament, and those a shin;
Or like poor Bunyan's pilgrim feel an ach,
And all the weight of sorrow on their back26;
Then too poor Capias reciev'd a stroke27,
That from him ev'ry sense and motion took.
He prostrate fell, and him the Fed'rals moan,
Lament that fortune that might prove their own;
Perus'd large folio's of the quick and dead,
That he the laws could construe at his will,
And with dexterity could drive a quill;
The stones and bricks so wond'rous ignorant they,
No compliments to wit or learning pay;
Nay, rather seem to take a world of pains,
To shew that they are enemies to brains;
The standard bearer too reciev'd ashot,
That on the pavement soon his carcase brought.
The falling standard then bold Patrick seizd,
And thus in modest brogue his voice he rais'd
"By Jasus, lads, you seem to give us sport,
Well do you fight and well defend your fort;
But soon the time I prophesy will come,
When each of you will wish his limbs at home;
And that tho' hearts so brave might wish to stay,
That cowardly leg had borne you safe away."
Then waving high the standard in the air,
He on Federals call'd and urg'd the war.
The Fed'rals hear'd his voice and rais'd a shout,
That prov'd the spark of courage was not out;
The Anties soon return the hostile cry,
And shew that strength of lungs can't make them fly:
By now the time's arriv'd by fate decreed,
When honest Patrick's head is doom'd to bleed.
Struck by a stone that Harc'les would have popd,
He like a tall oak on the pavement drop'd;
Far better had he been from this sad work,
Lodg'd in a bed in his beloved Cork:
Both sides more eagerly began to fight,
The war now seem'd butterding to its height.
The sister furies smelling fun and woe,
Soon made their congees to the folks below.
Just in the height arriv'd th' infernal apes,
Lick (at each blow) their wither'd Indian chaps;
And Ate too, a Goddess full of spite28,
Came in a dishabille to view the fight;
And as on chimney top she perching stood,
Laugh'd like a bitch to see the spouting blood;
From fists, canes, staves, or still more massy clubs,
Each carcase now receives some handsome drubs;
Well is anointed ev'ry side and back,
There's scarce an inch of skin but what is black;
And often would have been their bones too broke,
Had not their head so kindly took the stroke,
They form'd by natured solidly enough,
Made a good barrier and were cudgel proof;
Yet cuts and bruises made poor devils grin,
And yells gave melody unto the scene;
But Jove who sat a nodding on his throne,
Wak'd by the noise with half shut eyes peep'd down,
Saw ev'ry Dutchman (like so many oafs)
Among each other dealing hearty cuffs.
What! what! he cry'd and strok'd his six-inch beard,
"Have not these bucks for flesh and blood regard?
Some direful cause sure makes the silly elves,
Thus fall to logger-heads among themselves;"
And then as in such case he never fails,
He took from off the shelf his golden scales;
Like any Jew the balances he held,
And pois'd (as gold) the fortune of the field;
This way and that the beam see sawing frets,
As this side blows then that the basting gets.
At length the Anti scale (a horrid trick)
Mounts like a kite, and gives the beam a kick:
Then great dismay the Anti breast assails,
All quit defence and wisely turn their tails;
Their arms tho' once so great now nothing grown,
Are ‘long their sides like cowards creeping down.
Now legs more useful like good natur'd hacks,
Slip off their masters and preserve their necks:
Each man with ardor now a blessing begs,
And fain would build an altar for his legs.
Most by exertion get their carcase clear,
A few alone are nab'd that form'd the rear.
These seiz'd with damns and Indian hugs so coarse,
Are kept (when leisure serv'd) for something worse;
The rest regardless of their plight had steer'd
Their rapid course as chance and fate declar'd:
Then some (but not the first time) knew despair,
When luckily they found a cellar near,
In which we'll leave them and their lucky stars,
To grumble (if they choose it) o'er their pray'rs.
The Fed'rals at their foes escape enrag'd;
Against the house itself their fury wag'd;
All things they broke that happen'd in their sight,
Tore all that could be torn by mortal might;
And first the furniture all went to pot,
Thrown in the streets and trampled under foot;
Chairs, tables, bedsteads, on all sides ‘gan crack,
And glass and china joined the gen'ral wreck;
On heaps and heaps of broken fragments lie,
Broken themselves can give no reason why.
More various slaughter gaping Jews ne'er saw
Performed by Sampson, with his ass's jaw29.
Then on the window's casements and the doors,
The hand of dire destruction madly pours,
So gen'ral in its rage ‘gainst great and small,
That nothing's standing left except the wall;
The house once furnish'd now's an empty scene,
No brandy bottle e'er was drained more clean;
The kitchen too in the destruction shares,
That mourn'd the plunder of it cooking wares;
The walls so naked seem'd a perfect den,
Rob'd of each comely gridir'n, pot and pan,
Like Babylon (the whole) with fallen crest,
Seem'd fit for owls or some wild rav'nous beast30.
The Fed'rals then content began to jog,
To tell the battle or to drink some grog;
May children's children learn the fight so dread,
And Fame record each Dutchman's broken head.
Thus have I sung the Dutchmen's battle o'er,
And if they're wise I think they'll fight no more;
High may they rise in atmosphere of fame,
Like large balloon and admiration claim,
Whilst I beneath the humble station brook,
To represent the man that gave the smoke.
1 Two of Cato’s letters can be found Ketcham’s edition
of the Anti-Federalist Papers; by far the best available for the general reader.
2 Lathem lists three Albany newspapers published in 1788. However, the New York State Archives do not contain extant copies of any of these for the date in question. This leaves us with the Albany Annals, which briefly mention the parade but not a subsequent riot.
3 The convention itself chose not to record its debates, so our only notes of the actual arguments come primarily from Madison—one of the leading Federalists and co-author of the Federalist Papers.
4 De Tocqueville (2000) p. 167-168
5 Smith, pp. 67-72 (1889)
6 Thus Gladstone on the centennial: “The most remarkable work known to me in modern times to have been produced by the human intellect.” And so forth.
7 Brown, p. 7
8 Ibid. p. 199
9 Ibid. p. 197
10 c.f. Main (1962). It is worth noting that most of Beard’s critics do not seem to have engaged his many precursors. Brown, for example, does not mention De Tocqueville(!) or either Smith.
11 Fortune Editors (1936).
12 E.g. Labaree (1975), p. 81, pp. 103-104, etc.
13 Munsell, (1850) p. 207
14 Gerlach (2000), Gordon (1997) p. 22
15 Albany “set apart a day for public rejoicings, to celebrate the ratification of the constitution of the United States by the congress of the state of New York. Every trade and procession seems to have united in the jubilee, with appropriate emblems, and formed a truly imposing processions under the conduct of Gen.
SCHUYLER.” Munsell (1850), p. 207.
16 A writ of latitat was in effect a King’s subpoena, aimed at persons in hiding. The last known use of a latitat was in 1791; Pilgarlic uses it here (in 1793) as a pseudonym; in 1795, a thoroughbred in the Sister-to-Stripling bloodline was named Latitat. Possibly the word carried some more exciting
connotation in this brief era. But who knows what songs the sirens sang…
17 King of Sparta, who died in battle at Thermopylae, and was a frequently cited icon of patriotism.
18 Alcides was Heracles’ name before the Pythian
priestess changed it
19 Nimrod was the first hunter in the bible. Genesis 10:8-9.
20 Lilliput and Brobdingnag are both lands from Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
21 Possibly “flourish in religious dreams,” which has
the opposite sense.
22 Midas is one of many folk-characters who had ass’es ears. Pilgarlic compares him to Is[s]acher, presumably, because of the prophecy of Israel: “Issacher is a strong ass…” Genesis 49:14.
23 The “Doctors Mob” of 1788 was a riot aimed at the medical students of New York. Several thousand people attacked the students, and injured many (including John Jay!) with flying stones. The militia was called out and fired on the rioters, killing five. The line is a bit opaque, as Pilgarlic has added an unnecessary apostrophe and reified the mob.
24 C.f. Revelations 6:16: “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us…”
25 The medical students targeted by the doctors’ mob were accused of robbing graves to procure specimens. Some stories add that the students taunted the crowd by waving severed body parts out of their windows. I am not, however, aware of any eyewitness accounts.
26 From Pilgrim’s Progess, which was wildly popular in Colonial America. Pilgrim’s luggage is usually interpreted as sin, not sorrow.
27 A ‘capias’ is any of several writs, such as the capias utlagatum or capias ad satisfaciendum, all of which are meant to compel a person or property to appear before the king’s bench for judgement.
28 Ate is the Greek goddess of reckless ambition and vengeance.
29 Judges 15
30 C.f. Isaiah 13:21, etc. Owls in the bible are closely associated with ruins.
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Mitchell, E. (2006). Pilgarlic’s Albaniad: Early American Political Satire. PHILICA.COM Article number 12.