The brilliantly illustrated log recounting the epic exploits of the 19th century adventurer Kermit van Rensselaer was discovered purely by happenstance in 1997. Dr. Johannes Shenk, DDO was attending a private auction of the rare paintings of a lost tribe of South America known as the Utori Banan. After winning a lot of more than 800 Utori paintings depicting men defecating into the mouths of fish and reptiles, Dr. Shenk dropped one of the paintings – believed to be executed on cured animal skin – and discovered that they were actually painted on the backs of overlapping sheets of paper. More amazing still, the sheets appeared to be individual pages from a journal or diary. Dr. Shenk immediately donated all of the paintings to the American Society of Antiquarian Texts who, in turn, began the laborious and delicate process of taking apart the hundreds of pages and then ordering them. Curiously, the pigments used in the paintings were dated at over six centuries old, but the paper and ink used was only a bit more than a century old.

Once the magnitude of the find had become clear, ancient texts expert Christopher Ferrara and art restoration expert Calvin Wong began painstakingly transcribing the text and restoring the accompanying illustrations. We are now pleased to present the journals of Kermit van Rensselaer, made available incrementally as the restoration work is completed.


Our exciting and adventuresome crew, having just made complete our return to the blessed verdant shores of fair Columbia from the lands of Hind and Sind and the Baluch in the temporary service of the British East Indies Company, was met most expeditiously while disembarking from the Man-o-War Infinite Bravado, by a most dapper and plucky young page. Explaining in a single breath that he had been dispatched by the hand of the First Consul of our August Republic himself, The President Chester A. Arthur, to whose presence I had been summoned to discuss a matter of greatest importance to the general welfare of the State and the fair inhabitants thereof.

I dashed with great haste and enthusiasm up the gangplank and into the bowels of Infinite Bravado to prepare for the meeting. With a lusty kick to its outer frame, I burst into the chambers of my manservant, the Nubian dwarf Confucius, rescued by my own hand, most nobly, from a life of lustful drudgery and erotic servitude as the keeper of the Persian Shah's Har-iim.

In the silken decadence of the Seraglio, Confucius (I know not what heathen name his forebears granted to him, but finding him in all of the degeneracy of the Orient I took to calling him thusly) was deprived of all of the opportunities for activity and dignity by which a man may separate himself from the beasts and lesser men of this world, and was little more than a pampered and erotic apparatus upon which the Shah's attention-starved madams would satiate their lust.

Ensnaring him in a large burlap sack, I tore off my veil (by means of which I had contrived a most ingenious deception) and with the French ambassador DeBussey thus emancipated and in tow, I drew forth my saber and cut a wide swath through the doe-eyed harlots and to that state of blessed freedom ordained for all men by the Lord of Hosts.

The tale of how I came to the court of the Persian Padishah and my salvation of the French Ambassador, though of great historical significance and most arousing to experience whether by print or by parlance, is neither of paramount nor principle primacy to the strict record of facts that makes up this portion of my journal. Suffice to say that upon retrieving the diminutive debaucherate from his sinful state, I took it upon myself to teach to him the spirit and dignity of men of which it seemed that the Good Lord, in his infinite wisdom, had in every way deprived him.

Upon bursting into the chamber with a great shout to raise him from his habitual state of slumber, the slothful little indulgent raised a fearsome wail that echoed through the ship like the shrieking of the Celtic ban-shee, wrenching and tossing about on his slate in the manner of a loon and babbling in his heathen tongue.

"What is this dreadful convocation?!" I exclaimed heartily, "I know it comes not from this middling little pipsqueak, this fey little corpulent! What is it? An orang-utann hijacked from the jungles of Sarawak, shaven and dolled up in Venetian silks? A chimmering simian beggar of the Hindoo temples that affects itself as the least of men? Because I do proclaim that I almost hear the voice of a man, though in no civil tongue does it deign to speak!"

Thus fittingly reproached, my diminutive majordomo ceased his paroxysms and assumed a look of petulance, his eyes peered wide as he opened up his mouth and held out his hands, mumming in his way for food, the fat little milquetoast began to rub his fine stomach.

"We've no time for such as that, you bungling little cameloid, you gross, great gelding." I said in a voice affecting my sincere displeasure as I loosened the shackles by which he was kept restrained through the night. "We have been summoned to the presence of the inestimable gallant, Chester A. Arthur, the first gentleman of the Republic which rules this fat land from sea to sea."

I surely would have waxed more on the great honor of our invitation, for rarely did President Arthur suffer the presence of a Nubian, believing them ill omen since the days of our Civil War, but the minor mendicant still knew only the English words for Master, by which he had been taught to refer to me, and Confucius, his own name.

Words such as dignity, strength, nobility, manfulness and Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior he has yet to wrap his ignorant little mind around despite my near constant attempts to impress such values upon him, though he quickly has mastered any number of succulent delights and trifles to pleasure his palate and I had come to so dread the pitiful scratching and mewling at my cabin door in the hours before even Apollo had snuck upon the horizon, followed by the inevitable sycophantic parroting, "Master... Confucius… Sweet-meats... Chop of Lambs... Rind of Brie..." that resulted in my shackling him to the walls of his cabin at night in the first place.

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