Monday, March 13, 2017

1819 Carrier's Address with Santa and Sugar Plums

This New Year's ditty appeared on January 9, 1819 in the Weekly Visitor And Ladies' Museum, a short lived "parlor" newspaper published 1817-1823 in New York City by Alexander Ming. I doubt Henry Livingston had anything to do with the ponderous 1819 Carrier's Address in the Poughkeepsie Journal. But even if he wrote all of that one, this one from the same year has more of the domestic details and Knickerbocker spirit that would enliven Clement C. Moore's "A Visit from St Nicholas," first published in Troy four years later. Unlike Moore, Carrier Boy and his patrons still connect Old Santaclaus with New Year's festivities, rather than the celebration of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Found in the online Archives of Historical Newspapers at Genealogy Bank:

Weekly Visitor (New York, New York)
January 9, 1819


ADDRESS OF THE CARRIER
of the
WEEKLY VISITOR,
AND LADIES' MUSEUM,
 
To his Patrons January 1st, 1819.
This DAY, which ever brings good cheer,
To usher in the Happy Year, 
I come to wish you Health and Joy—
A VISITOR—Your CARRIER Boy.
     In days of old, you know the fact is—
This was Old Knickerbocker's practice:
To treat with New-Year's Cake and dram
The Boys of then New Amsterdam.
Ah, then his humane heart would melt,
And out would come his hoarded geldt
Tho' dead (God bless him!) now and rotten
Be ne'er his generous ways forgotten.
While young and old so gay and pleasant
Exchange their New Year's wish and present;
While children round their parents press
With clamor,—anxious to possess
The Stocking, hoped with riches fraught;
Which good Old Santaclaus has brought;
Who yearly down the chimney comes
With Rods and Toys and Sugar-Plums,
And leaves for naughty girls and boys
The whips—but for the good, the toys—

Midst all these scenes of festive glee
I hope you will remember me;
Think how I trudge thro' Snow and Rain,
Thro' Cold and Heat and ne'er complain:
Sand weekly bring to please you, many
A Tract of useful MISCELLANY;
For I can truly boast my trade is
From morn 'till night to Please the Ladies.
I tell of "Hair breadth" 'scapes, and danger—
"Apothecary"—"Child of a Stranger"—
Recount what fates the loves befel
Of Nemorin and Fair Estelle—
With names of couples newly wed,
And many number'd with the dead,
Your SMILES alone my only pay,—
And TRIFLING GIFT on New-Year's Day.
Bestow but these, and I'll depart
And bless you with a grateful heart:—
So may you live exempt from woes,
And never be in want of Beaux,—
And Husbands kind to crown your joy,
Sincerely prays your
CARRIER BOY.

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