CHAPTER II. SHOWING HOW PETER THE HEADSTRONG BESTIRRED HIMSELF AMONG THE RATS AND COBWEBS, ON ENTERING INTO OFFICE -- AND THE PERILOUS MISTAKE HE WAS GUILTY OF, IN HIS DEALINGS WITH THE AMPHYCTIONS.

THE very first movements of the great Peter, on taking the reigns of government, displayed the magnanimity of his mind, though they occasioned not a little marvel and uneasiness among the people of the Manhattoes. Finding himself constantly interrupted by the opposition, and annoyed by the advice, of his privy council, the members of which had acquired the unreasonable habit of thinking and speaking for themselves during the preceding reign, he determined at once to put a stop to such grievous abominations. Scarcely, therefore, had he entered upon his authority, than he turned out of office all those meddlesome spirits that composed the factious cabinet of William the Testy; in place of whom he chose unto himself counsellors from those fat, somniferous, respectable families, that had flourished and slumbered under the easy reign of Walter the Doubter. All these be caused to be furnished with abundance of fair long pipes, and to be regaled with frequent corporation dinners, admonishing them to smoke, and eat, and sleep for the good of the nation, while he took all the burden of government upon his own shoulders -- an arrangement to which they gave hearty acquiescence.

Nor did he stop here, but made a hideous rout among the inventions and expedients of his learned predecessor -- demolishing his flagstaffs and windmills, which, like mighty giants, guarded the ramparts of New-Amsterdam -- pitching to the duyvel whole batteries of quaker guns -- rooting up his patent gallows, where caitiff vagabonds were suspended by the waistband -- and, in a word, turning topsy-turvy the whole philosophic, economic, and windmill system of the immortal sage of Saardem.

The honest folks of New- Amsterdam began to quake now for the fate of their matchless champion, Antony the trumpeter, who had acquired prodigious favour in the eyes of the women, by means of his whiskers and his trumpet. Him did Peter the Headstrong cause to be brought into his presence, and eyeing

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