Jan Claudius Risingh, who succeeded to the command of New Sweden, loom_argely in ancient records as a gigantic Swede, who, had he not been rathe_nock-kneed and splay-footed, might have served for the model of a Samson or _ercules. He was no less rapacious than mighty, and withal, as crafty as h_as rapacious, so that there is very little doubt that, had he lived some fou_r five centuries since, he would have figured as one of those wicked giants,
who took a cruel pleasure in pocketing beautiful princesses and distresse_amsels, when gadding about the world, and locking them up in enchante_astles, without a toilet, a change of linen, or any other convenience. I_onsequence of which enormities they fell under the high displeasure o_hivalry, and all true, loyal, and gallant knights were instructed to attac_nd slay outright any miscreant they might happen to find above six feet high;
which is doubtless one reason why the race of large men is nearly extinct, an_he generations of latter ages are so exceedingly small.
Governor Risingh, not withstanding his giantly condition, was, as I hav_inted, a man of craft. He was not a man to ruffle the vanity of General Va_offenburgh, or to rub his self-conceit against the grain. On the contrary, a_e sailed up the Delaware, he paused before Fort Casimir, displayed his flag,
and fired a royal salute before dropping anchor. The salute would doubtles_ave been returned, had not the guns been dismounted; as it was, a vetera_entinel who had been napping at his post, and had suffered his match to g_ut, returned the compliment by discharging his musket with the spark of _ipe borrowed from a comrade. Governor Risingh accepted this as a courteou_eply, and treated the fortress to a second salute, well knowing its commande_as apt to be marvelously delighted with these little ceremonials, considerin_hem so many acts of homage paid to his greatness. He then prepared to lan_ith a military retinue of thirty men, a prodigious pageant in the wilderness.
And now took place a terrible rummage and racket in Fort Casimir, to receiv_uch a visitor in proper style, and to make an imposing appearance. The mai_uard was turned out as soon as possible, equipped to the best advantage i_he few suits of regimentals, which had to do duty, by turns, with the whol_arrison. One tall, lank fellow appeared in a little man's coat, with th_uttons between his shoulders; the skirts scarce covering his bottom; hi_ands hanging like spades out of the sleeves; and the coat linked in front b_orsted loops made out of a pair of red garters. Another had a cocked ha_tuck on the back of his head, and decorated with a bunch of cocks' tails; _hird had a pair of rusty gaiters hanging about his heels; while a fourth, _ittle duck-legged fellow, was equipped in a pair of the general's cast-of_reeches, which he held up with one hand while he grasped his firelock wit_he other. The rest were accoutred in similar style, excepting thre_agamuffins without shirts, and with but a pair and a half of breeches betwee_hem; wherefore they were sent to the black hole, to keep them out of sight,
that they might not disgrace the fortress.
His men being thus gallantly arrayed—those who lacked muskets shoulderin_pades and pickaxes, and every man being ordered to tuck in his shirttail an_ull up his brogues—General Van Poffenburgh first took a sturdy draught o_oaming ale, which, like the magnanimous More, of Mor_all,[](footnotes.xml#footnote_47) was his invariable practice on al_reat occasions; this done, he put himself at their head, and issued fort_rom his castle like a mighty giant just refreshed with wine. But when the tw_eroes met, then began a scene of warlike parade that beggars all description.
The shrewd Risingh, who had grown grey much before his time, in consequence o_is craftiness, saw at one glance the ruling passion of the great Va_offenburgh, and humored him in all his valorous fantasies.
Their detachments were accordingly drawn up in front of each other, the_arried arms and they presented arms, they gave the standing salute and th_assing salute, they rolled their drums, they flourished their fifes, and the_aved their colors; they faced to the left, and they faced to the right, an_hey faced to the right about; they wheeled forward, and they wheele_ackward, and they wheeled into echelon; they marched and they countermarched,
by grand divisions, by single divisions, and by subdivisions; by platoons, b_ections, and by files; in quick time, in slow time, and in no time at all;
for, having gone through all the evolutions of two great armies, including th_ighteen manoeuvres of Dundas; having exhausted all that they could recollec_r image of military tactics, including sundry strange and irregula_volutions, the like of which were never seen before or since, excepting amon_ertain of our newly-raised militia, the two commanders and their respectiv_roops came at length to a dead halt, completely exhausted by the toils o_ar. Never did two valiant train-band captains, or two buskined theatri_eroes, in the renowned tragedies of Pizarro, Tom Thumb, or any other heroica_nd fighting tragedy, marshal their gallows-looking, duck-legged, heavy-heele_yrmidons with more glory and self-admiration.
These military compliments being finished, General Van Poffenburgh escorte_is illustrious visitor, with great ceremony, into the fort, attended hi_hroughout the fortifications, showed him the horn-works, crown-works, half-
moons, and various other outworks, or rather the places where they ought to b_rected, and where they might be erected if he pleased; plainly demonstratin_hat it was a place of "great capability," and though at present but a littl_edoubt, yet that it was evidently a formidable fortress in embryo. Thi_urvey over, he next had the whole garrison put under arms, exercised, an_eviewed, and concluded by ordering the three Bridewell birds to be hauled ou_f the black hole, brought up to the halberds, and soundly flogged for th_musement of his visitors, and to convince him that he was a grea_isciplinarian.
The cunning Risingh, while he pretended to be struck dumb outright with th_uissance of the great Van Poffenburgh, took silent note of the incompetenc_f his garrison, of which he gave a wink to his trusty followers, who tippe_ach other the wink, and laughed most obstreperously in their sleeves.
The inspection, review, and flogging being concluded, the party adjourned t_he table; for, among his other great qualities, the general was remarkabl_ddicted to huge carousals, and in one afternoon's campaign would leave mor_ead men on the field than he ever did in the whole course of his militar_areer. Many bulletins of these bloodless victories do still remain on record,
and the whole province was once thrown in amaze by the return of one of hi_ampaigns, wherein it was stated, that though, like Captain Bobadil, he ha_nly twenty men to back him, yet in the short space of six months he ha_onquered and utterly annihilated sixty oxen, ninety hogs, one hundred sheep,
ten thousand cabbages, one thousand bushels of potatoes, one hundred and fift_ilderkins of small beer, two thousand seven hundred and thirty-five pipes,
seventy-eight pounds of sugar-plums, and forty bars of iron, besides sundr_mall meats, game, poultry, and garden stuff: an achievement unparallele_ince the days of Pantagruel and his all-devouring army, and which showed tha_t was only necessary to let Van Poffenburgh and his garrison loose in a_nemy's country, and in a little while they would breed a famine, and starv_ll the inhabitants.
No sooner, therefore, had the general received intimation of the visit o_overnor Risingh, than he ordered a great dinner to be prepared, and privatel_ent out a detachment of his most experienced veterans to rob all the hen-
roosts in the neighborhood, and lay the pigstyes under contribution: a servic_hich they discharged with such zeal and promptitude, that the garrison tabl_roaned under the weight of their spoils.
I wish, with all my heart, my readers could see the valiant Van Poffenburgh,
as he presided at the head of the banquet: it was a sight worth beholding:
there he sat in his greatest glory, surrounded by his soldiers, like tha_amous wine-bibber, Alexander, whose thirsty virtues he did most ably imitate,
telling astounding stories of his hair-breadth adventures and heroic exploits;
at which, though all his auditors knew them to be incontinent lies an_utrageous gasconades, yet did they cast up their eyes in admiration, an_tter many interjections of astonishment. Nor could the general pronounc_nything that bore the remotest resemblance to a joke, but the stout Rising_ould strike his brawny fist upon the table till every glass rattled again,
throw himself back in the chair, utter gigantic peals of laughter, and swea_ost horribly it was the best joke he ever heard in his life. Thus all wa_out and revelry and hideous carousal within Fort Casimir, and so lustily di_an Poffenburgh ply the bottle, that in less than four short hours he mad_imself and his whole garrison, who all sedulously emulated the deeds of thei_hieftain, dead drunk, with singing songs, quaffing bumpers, and drinkin_atriotic toasts, none of which but was as long as a Welsh pedigree or a ple_n Chancery.
No sooner did things come to this pass, than Risingh and his Swedes, who ha_unningly kept themselves sober, rose on their entertainers, tied them nec_nd heels, and took formal possession of the fort and all its dependencies, i_he name of Queen Christina of Sweden, administering at the same time an oat_f allegiance to all the Dutch soldiers who could be made sober enough t_wallow it. Risingh then put the fortifications in order, appointed hi_iscreet and vigilant friend Suen Schute, otherwise called Skytte, a tall,
wind-dried, water-drinking Swede, to the command, and departed, bearing wit_im this truly amiable garrison and its puissant commander, who, when brough_o himself by a sound drubbing, bore no little resemblance to a "deboshe_ish," or bloated sea-monster, caught upon dry land.
The transportation of the garrison was done to prevent the transmission o_ntelligence to New Amsterdam; for much as the cunning Risingh exulted in hi_tratagem, yet did he dread the vengeance of the sturdy Peter Stuyvesant,
whose name spread as much terror in the neighborhood as did whilom that of th_nconquerable Scanderbeg among his scurvy enemies the Turks.