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the passions was judiciously confined to a modest and brief earnest expression of his wish that his hearers were all supported and comforted by the same religious faith which animated and exhilarated him.
He however as a scholar evinced his skill in composition by preserving in his speech the form at least and the order prescribed for a regular oration.
(To be concluded in our next.)
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
A DESCRIPTION OF NANTUCKET.
The description and view of Nantucket, which illustrate this month's Port Folio, will be surveyed with additional delight, when the public are apprized that, both for the sketch and the essay we are indebted to the genius of a gentleman who is a friend to the muses, to the fine arts, and to his country.
THE island of Nantucket has been called, "a sand bank," till its sterility has become proverbial, and no other idea of its naked plains is entertained upon the neighboring continent, than that they form a place for fishermen to dry their nets on. Yet the shoals of Nantucket, so carefully avoided by European navi
* Joseph Sansom, Esqr. of this city, who has honourably distinguished himself in the republic of letters, by his interesting travels in Switzerland and the Papal territories; a work, which has been so cordially greeted in Great Britain, that we understand it forms a prominent and conspicuous article, in Philips's collection of contemporary voyages and travels. From some fantastic and inexplicable circumstance, a gentleman who deserves so well of his country, has been rather cooly, if not cavalierly treated at home, and receives the most distinguished literary honours abroad. That this is not exactly a novel case our friend may learn from a very illustrious example, recorded in the most venerable of volumes. We learn, with a sort of pleasure, that none but literary men can feel and estimate, that the Port Folio is to be honoured with the publication of a second series ofletters, comprehending our author's adventures in France and England. To this correspondence we shall render due honours. The theme is certainly brilliant and copious; and we have every disposition to be partial to the mode in which it is treated.
tical effusion, upon some local subject, with the public spirit so characteristic of his grandson,
"From Sherburne, where I dwell,
"Your friend, who means you well."
The whale fishery, upon which Nantucket depends, and which gives a peculiar character to its inhabitants, who are reckoned the most expert whalers in the world, is said to have been first attempted, about the year 1690, in boats, from the shore. In 1715 they had six sloops in the trade; and from 1772 to 75 the fishery employed 150 sail, from 90 to 180 tons, upon the coast of Giunea, the West Indies, and Brazil. The Revolution put a stop to this prosperous commerce, and it did not immediately revive upon the peace of 83; in consequence of which many families removed to Kennebeck, Newbedford, Hudson's River, North Carolina, and other places on the continent; but their place has heen since amply supplied by new comers, who flocked thither from different parts, on the revival of trade, under the new constitution.
A number of families, under the direction of the respectable William Rotch, had gone over to France at the invitation of the then prime minister, the count de Vergennes, to prosecute their useful occupation with peculiar privileges and immunities, at Dunkirk; but the revolution which hurled Lewis XVI from the throne taking place soon after, prevented their intended establishment; and the greater part of the adventurers happily returned to their own country, where some of them in their native place, and some at its thriving colony of Newbedford (distant 60 miles) have ever since pursued their favourite occupation; and, having chased their gigantic game out of the Atlantic, now pursue the flying whale into the great South Sea, frequently doubling Cape Horn, and sometimes ascending the north west coast of America, till they nearly encompass the globe, in voyages of two or three years duration.
On these whaling trips round the world, instead of wages, every seaman takes a share in the ultimate proceeds of the voyage, a mode of engagement palpably conducive to bits of
industry and fidelity. They are often mere boys, who grow up during the voyage; but mostly married men, who have left wives and children behind them, to whom they return with all the earnestness of conjugal or parental affection, to share with them the well earned savings of their long protracted voyage.
There are at present about 1200 sailors, and 15000 tons of shipping employed at this place; and 15 or 20 spermaceti works are erected on the island, which manufacture great quantities of candles, and supply the numerous light-houses of our coast, as well as the streets of our cities with oil; besides occasionally contributing to the unbounded consumption of the London market, and the frequent wants of Cadiz, Marseilles, and the Levant.
Industry and frugality are virtues at Nantucket, and idleness is a vice. Every man upon the island is well acquainted with the cheapest method of procuring lumber from Kennebeck or Passamaquoddy, beef and pork from Connecticut, flower and biscuit from Philadelphia, or pitch and tar from North Carolina; and knows how to exchange codfish, and West India produce for such articles as are wanted in New Spain, or on the northwest coast.
Such is the simplicity of this primitive place, and so small is the resort of strangers, that the streets which have branched out from each other by imperceptible degrees, every man being at liberty to place his house according to his own fancy, and being naturally more disposed to regulate his front by a point of compass, than by the direction of the street, had never any names given to them, until the assessment for the direct tax under president Adams; and the sounding appelations of Federal street, Washington street, &c. &c. then given, have fallen into disuse, with the unpopular measure which occasioned them; and inquirers are now again directed, as before, to the well known neighbourhood of such and such an cld stander, in the respective quarters of West Cove, Up-in-town, or the North Shore. The most common family names are Coffin, and Bunker, and Starbuck, and Hussey, which are frequently combined according to the genius of the place, with the scriptural sirnames of Peleg, and Shubal, and Obed, and Jethro. Thus if you do not know where such a one
lives, you may be gravely informed, in Elisha Bunker's street, or David Mitchel's street, or Tristram Hussey's, or captain Haydn's. The streets, or rather roads, for none of them have ever been paved, run along the hollows, or wind up the hills, but the houses stand generally single, presenting to the passenger sometimes a line, and sometimes an angle; and so rare is any thing like a row, that two or three standing together will be currently described as, "The long houses." Yet two banks and two insurance offices, accommodate the trade of the place; and the town is supposed to have nearly doubled its population, in the last twenty years. Several new streets have been laid out in straight lines, and a number of houses have been built, within a year or two, with cielings of ten feet high. This however is considered as a piece of useless extravagance, the old fashioned stories of eight or nine feet being generally reckoned high enough, and to sparc.
Every other house in this sea-faring place has a look out upon the roof, or a vane at the gable end; to see what ships have arrived from sea or whether the wind is fair for the packets. Sea phrases accordingly prevail in familiar conversation. Every child can tell which way the wind blows, and any old woman in the street, will talk of cruising about, hailing an old messmate, or making one bring to, as familiarly as the captain of a whale ship, just arrived from the north-west coast, will describe dimension to a landlubber by the span of his gibboom, have a spare dinner
or the length of his mainstay. If you it is short allowance; if you are going to ride, the horse must be tackled up; or if the chaise is rigged out, and you are got under way, should you stop short of your destination, you are said to tack about, or to make a harbour. This technical phraseology, however, is attended with the concomitant frankness and honesty of sea-faring life. You meet a hearty welcome wherever you go; shop windows are without windowshutters for security; and winter's wood is piled up in the street.
Before the revolution county courts were regularly opened once a year, at the time prescribed in the almanack; but the officers of justice only assembled to smoke a pipe or two, and ad
journ the court. During the war even this formality was dispensed with, and disputes were universally settled by arbitration: but since peace and prosperity have occasioned an influx of strangers, lawsuits are no longer unknown in Nantucket; and now they say supercargoes are pestered with attachments, and sailors with writs of suit, before they can get cleared out for their triennial circumnavigations.
Criminal proscutions however are still unheard of, in this abode of primæval simplicity. The only person that was ever executed on the island was an indian, who had committed murder upon the high seas; and corporal punishment (once so freely dispensed in Newengland, and not unknown even in the best days of Pennsylvania) has here long been obsolete.
The prison is admirably adapted to this state of things, for it would not readily contain more than two or three inmates at a time. Of its present incumbents, one is a little deranged, and refuses to quit the place; and the other, it is said, might go too if he would. The dimensions of the poor house are proportionably contracted, for there are no idlers at Nantucket, and the decrepid are supported in their own neigbourhoods by voluntary alms. The courthouse itself is but a one story frame of 20 feet square.
Not so the grammar school, which is a capacious edifice with a belfry, or the Free Masons' Lodge, whose ample halls are occupied as free schools, and serve occasionally for public or municipal purposes, whilst five large meeting houses, two for presbyterians, two for friends (or quakers) and one for methodists, assemble the greater part of the inhabitants of this peaceful island two or three times a week.
Every thing here reminds one of a religious community, like that of the Moravian brethren, for instance, abstracted, but not wholly withdrawn from the world. The tranquillity of a convent pervades the streets, except when the bell rings for dinner, and droves of cows go out and come in under a herdsman grotesquely accoutred. The great bell agreeable to a good old Newengland custom, is tolled every evening at 9 o'clock, to warn the citizens to their homes; and one of the steeples, in the true spirit of commercial usefulness, has been constructed with.