INTERNATIONAL WEEKLY MISCELLANY
Of Literature, Art, and Science.
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Vol. I. NEW YORK, AUGUST 5, 1850. No. 6.
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GERMAN CRITICISM ON ENGLISH FEMALE ROMANCE WRITERS.
We translate the following for the International from a letter dated London, June 15, to the Cologne Gazette.
"Among the most remarkable writers of romances in England, three women are entitled to be reckoned in the first rank, namely, Miss Jewsbury, Miss Bronte, and Mrs. Gaskell. Miss Jewsbury issued her first work about four years since, a novel, in three volumes, under the title of 'Zoe,' and since then she has published the 'Half Sisters.' Both these works are excellent in manner as well as ideas, and show that their author is a woman of profound thought and deep feeling. Both are drawn from country life and the middle class, a sphere in which Miss Jewsbury is at home. The tendency of the first is speculative, and is based on religion; that of the second is social, relating to the position of woman.
"Miss Jewsbury is still young, for an authoress. She counts only some thirty years, and many productions may be confidently expected from her hand, though perhaps none will excel those already published, for, after gaining a certain climax, no one excels himself. Her usual residence is Manchester; it is but seldom that she visits the metropolis; she is now here. She has lively and pleasing manners, a slight person, fine features, a beautiful, dreamy, light brown eye. She is attractive without being beautiful, retiring, altogether without pretensions, and in conversation is neither brilliant nor very intellectual,—a still, thoughtful, modest character.
"Miss Bronte was long involved in a mysterious obscurity, from which she first emerged into the light as an actually existing being, at her present visit to London. Two years ago there appeared a romance, 'Jane Eyre,' by 'Currer Bell,' which threw all England into astonishment. Everybody was tormenting himself to discover the real author, for there was no such person as Currer Bell, and no one could tell whether the book was written by a man or woman, because the hues of the romance now indicated a male and now female hand, without any possibility of supposing that the whole originated with a single pencil. The public attributed it now to one, now to another, and the book passed to a second edition without the solution of the riddle. At last there came out a second romance, 'Shirley,' by the same author, which was devoured with equal avidity, although it could not be compared to the former in value; and still the incognito was preserved. Finally, late in the autumn of last year the report was spread about that the image of Jane Eyre had been discovered in London in the person of a pale young lady, with gray eyes, who had been recognized as the long-sought authoress. Still she remained invisible. And again, in June 1850, it is said that Currer Bell, Jane Eyre, Miss Bronte,—for all three names mean the same person,—is in London, though to all inquiries concerning the where and how a satisfactory answer is still wanting. She is now indeed here, but not for the curious public; she will not serve society as a lioness, will not be gazed and gaped at. She is a simple child of the country, brought up in the little parsonage of her father, in the North of England, and must first accustom her eye to the gleaming diadem with which fame seeks to deck her brow, before she can feel herself at home in her own sunshine.
"Our third lady, Mrs. Gaskell, belongs also to the country, and is the wife of a Unitarian clergyman. In this capacity she has probably had occasion to know a great deal of the poorer classes, to her honor be it said. Her book, 'Mary Barton,' conducts us into the factory workman's narrow dwelling, and depicts his joys and sorrows, his aims and efforts, his wants and his misery, with a power of truth that irresistibly lays hold upon the heart. The scene of the story alternates from there to the city mansion of the factory owner, where, along with luxury and splendor we find little love and little happiness, and where sympathy with the condition of the workman is wanting only because it is not known, and because no one understands why or how the workman suffers. The book, is at once very beautiful, very instructive, and written, in a spirit of conciliation."
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MARGARET FULLER, MARCHESA D'OSSOLI.
Sarah Margaret Fuller, by marriage Marchioness of Ossoli, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about the year 1807. Her father, Mr. Timothy Fuller, was a lawyer, and from 1817 to 1825 he represented the Middlesex district in Congress. At the close of his last term as a legislator he purchased a farm near Cambridge, and determined to abandon his profession for the more congenial one of agriculture; but he died soon after, leaving a widow and six children, of whom Margaret was the eldest.
At a very early age she exhibited unusual abilities, and was particularly distinguished for an extraordinary facility in acquiring languages. Her father, proud of the displays of her intelligence, prematurely stimulated it to a degree that was ultimately injurious to her physical constitution. At eight years of age he was accustomed to require of her the composition of a number of Latin verses every day, while her studies in philosophy, history, general science and current literature were pressed to the limit of her capacities. When he first went to Washington he was accustomed to speak of her as one "better skilled in Greek and Latin than half of the professors;" and alluding in one of her essays, to her attachment to foreign literature, she herself observes that in childhood she had well-nigh forgotten her English while constantly reading in other tongues.
Soon after the death of her father, she applied herself to teaching as a vocation, first in Boston, then in Providence, and afterward in Boston again, while her "Conversations" were for several seasons attended by classes of women, some of them married, and many of them of the most eminent positions in society. These conversations are described by Dr. Orestes A. Brownson, as "in the highest degree brilliant, instructive, and inspiring," and our own recollections of them confirm to us the justice of the applause with which they are now referred to. She made her first appearance as an author, in a translation of Eckermann's Conversations with Goethe, published in Boston in 1839. When Mr. Emerson, in the following year, established The Dial, she became one of the principal contributors to that remarkable periodical, in which she wrote many of the most striking papers on literature, art, and society. In the summer of 1843 she made a journey to the Sault St. Marie, and in the next spring published in Boston reminiscences of her tour, under the title of Summer on the Lakes. The Dial having been discontinued, she came to reside in New York, where she had charge of the literary department of the New York Tribune, which acquired a great accession of reputation from her critical essays. Here in 1845 she published Woman in the Nineteenth Century; and in 1846, Papers on Literature and Art, in two volumes, consisting of essays and reviews, reprinted, with one exception, from periodicals.
In the summer of 1845, she accompanied the family of a friend to Europe, visiting England, Scotland, and France, and passing through Italy to Rome, where they spent the ensuing winter. The next spring she proceeded with her friends to the north of Italy, and there stopped, spending most of the summer at Florence, and returning at the approach of winter to Rome, where she was soon after married to Giovanni, Marquis d'Ossoli, who made her acquaintance during her first winter in that city. They resided in the Roman States until the last summer, after the surrender of Rome to the French army, when they deemed it expedient to go to Florence, both having taken an active part in the Republican movement. They left Florence in June, and at Leghorn embarked in the ship Elizabeth for New York. The passage commenced auspiciously, but at Gibraltar the master of the ship died of smallpox, and they were detained at the quarantine there some time in consequence of this misfortune, but finally set sail again on the 8th of June, and arrived on our coast during the terrible storm of the 18th and 19th ult., when, in the midst of darkness, rain, and a terrific gale, the ship was hurled on the breakers of Fire Island, near Long Island, and in a few hours was broken in pieces. Margaret Fuller d'Ossoli, the Marquis d'Ossoli, and their son, two years of age, with an Italian girl, and Mr. Horace Sumner of Boston, besides several of the crew, lost their lives. We reprint a sketch of the works and genius of Margaret Fuller, written several years ago by the late Edgar A. Poe.
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"Miss Fuller was at one time editor, or one of the editors of the 'The Dial,' to which she contributed many of the most forcible and certainly some of the most peculiar papers. She is known, too, by 'Summer on the Lakes,' a remarkable assemblage of sketches, issued in 1844, by Little & Brown, of Boston. More lately she published 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century,' a work which has occasioned much discussion, having had the good fortune to be warmly abused and chivalrously defended. For 'The New York Tribune,' she has furnished a great variety of matter, chiefly notices of new books, etc., etc., her articles being designated by an asterisk. Two of the best of them were a review of Professor Longfellow's late magnificent edition of his own works, (with a portrait,) and an appeal to the public in behalf of her friend Harro Harring. The review did her infinite credit; it was frank, candid, independent—in even ludicrous contrast to the usual mere glorifications of the day, giving honor only where honor was due, yet evincing the most thorough capacity to appreciate and the most sincere intention to place in the fairest light the real and idiosyncratic merits of the poet. In my opinion it is one of the very few reviews of Longfellow's poems, ever published in America, of which the critics have not had abundant reason to be ashamed. Mr. Longfellow is entitled to a certain and very distinguished rank among the poets of his country, but that country is disgraced by the evident toadyism which would award to his social position and influence, to his fine paper and large type, to his morocco binding and gilt edges, to his flattering portrait of himself, and to the illustrations of his poems by Huntingdon, that amount of indiscriminate approbation which neither could nor would have been given to the poems themselves. The defense of Harro Harring, or rather the philippic against those who were doing him wrong, was one of the most eloquent and well-put articles I have ever yet seen in a newspaper.
"'Woman in the Nineteenth Century' is a book which few women in the country could have written, and no woman in the country would have published, with the exception of Miss Fuller. In the way of independence, of unmitigated radicalism, it is one of the 'Curiosities of American Literature,' and Doctor Griswold should include it in his book. I need scarcely say that the essay is nervous, forcible, suggestive, brilliant, and to a certain extent scholar-like—for all that Miss Fuller produces is entitled to these epithets—but I must say that the conclusions reached are only in part my own. Not that they are bold, by any means—too novel, too startling or too dangerous in their consequences, but that in their attainment too many premises have been distorted, and too many analogical inferences left altogether out of sight. I mean to say that the intention of the Deity as regards sexual differences—an intention which can be distinctly comprehended only by throwing the exterior (more sensitive) portions of the mental retina casually over the wide field of universal analogy—I mean to say that this intention has not been sufficiently considered. Miss Fuller has erred, too, through her own excessive objectiveness. She judges woman by the heart and intellect of Miss Fuller, but there are not more than one or two dozen Miss Fullers on the whole face of the earth. Holding these opinions in regard to 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century,' I still feel myself called upon to disavow the silly, condemnatory criticism of the work which appeared in one of the earlier numbers of "The Broadway Journal." That article was not written by myself, and was written by my associate, Mr. Briggs.
"The most favorable estimate of Miss Fuller's genius (for high genius she unquestionably possesses) is to be obtained, perhaps, from her contributions to 'The Dial,' and from her 'Summer on the Lakes.' Many of the descriptions in this volume are unrivaled for graphicality, (why is there not such a word?) for the force with which they convey the true by the novel or unexpected, by the introduction of touches which other artists would be sure to omit as irrelevant to the subject. This faculty, too, springs from her subjectiveness, which leads her to paint a scene less by its features than by its effects.
"Here, for example, is a portion of her account of Niagara:—
"'Daily these proportions widened and towered more and more upon my sight, and I got at last a proper foreground for these sublime distances. Before coming away, I think I really saw the full wonder of the scene. After a while it so drew me into itself as to inspire an undefined dread, such as I never knew before, such as may be felt when death is about to usher us into a new existence. The perpetual trampling of the waters seized my senses. I felt that no other sound, however near, could be heard, and would start and look behind me for a foe. I realised the identity of that mood of nature in which these waters were poured down with such absorbing force, with that in which the Indian was shaped on the same soil. For continually upon my mind came, unsought and unwelcome, images such as had never haunted it before, of naked savages stealing behind me with uplifted tomahawks. Again and again this illusion recurred, and even after I had thought it over, and tried to shake it off, I could not help starting and looking behind me. What I liked best was to sit on Table Rock close to the great fall; there all power of observing details, all separate consciousness was quite lost.'
"The truthfulness of the passages italicized will be felt by all; the feelings described are, perhaps, experienced by every (imaginative) person who visits the fall; but most persons, through predominant subjectiveness, would scarcely be conscious of the feelings, or, at best, would never think of employing them in an attempt to convey to others an impression of the scene. Hence so many desperate failures to convey it on the part of ordinary tourists. Mr. William W. Lord, to be sure, in his poem 'Niagara,' is sufficiently objective; he describes not the fall, but very properly, the effect of the fall upon him. He says that it made him think of his own greatness, of his own superiority, and so forth, and so forth; and it is only when we come to think that the thought of Mr. Lord's greatness is quite idiosyncratic confined exclusively to Mr. Lord, that we are in condition to understand how, in spite of his objectiveness he has failed to convey an idea of anything beyond one Mr. William W. Lord.
"From the essay entitled 'Philip Van Artevelde, I copy a paragraph which will serve at once to exemplify Miss Fuller's more earnest (declamatory) style, and to show the tenor of her prospective speculations:—
"'At Chicago I read again 'Philip Van Artevelde,' and certain passages in it will always be in my mind associated with the deep sound of the lake, as heard in the night. I used to read a short time at night, and then open the blind to look out. The moon would be full upon the lake, and the calm breath, pure light, and the deep voice, harmonized well with the thought of the Flemish hero. When will this country have such a man? It is what she needs—no thin Idealist, no coarse Realist, but a man whose eye reads the heavens while his feet step firmly on the ground, and his hands are strong and dexterous in the use of human instruments. A man, religious, virtuous, and—sagacious; a man of universal sympathies, but self-possessed; a man who knows the region of emotion, though he is not its slave; a man to whom this world is no mere spectacle or fleeting shadow, but a great, solemn game, to be played with good heed, for its stakes are of eternal value, yet who, if his own play be true, heeds not what he loses by the falsehood of others. A man who lives from the past, yet knows that its honey can but moderately avail him; whose comprehensive eye scans the present, neither infatuated by its golden lures nor chilled by its many ventures; who possesses prescience, as the wise man must, but not so far as to be driven mad to-day by the gift which discerns to-morrow. When there is such a man for America, the thought which urges her on will be expressed."
"From what I have quoted, a general conception of the prose style of the authoress may be gathered. Her manner, however, is infinitely varied. It is always forcible—but I am not sure that it is always anything else, unless I say picturesque. It rather indicates than evinces scholarship. Perhaps only the scholastic, or, more properly, those accustomed to look narrowly at the structure of phrases, would be willing to acquit her of ignorance of grammar—would be willing to attribute her slovenliness to disregard of the shell in anxiety for the kernel; or to waywardness, or to affectation, or to blind reverence to Carlyle—would be able to detect, in her strange and continual inaccuracies, a capacity for the accurate.
"'I cannot sympathize with such an apprehension; the spectacle is capable to swallow up all such objects."
"It is fearful, too, to know, as you look, that whatever has been swallowed by the cataract, is like to rise suddenly to light."
"I took our mutual friends to see her."
"It was always obvious that they had nothing in common between them."
"The Indian cannot be looked at truly except by a poetic eye."
"McKenny's Tour to the Lakes gives some facts not to be met with elsewhere."
"There is that mixture of culture and rudeness in the aspect of things as gives a feeling of freedom," etc., etc.
"These are merely a few, a very few instances, taken at random from among a multitude of willful murders committed by Miss Fuller on the American of President Polk. She uses, too, the word 'ignore,' a vulgarity adopted only of late days (and to no good purpose, since there is no necessity for it) from the barbarisms of the law, and makes no scruple of giving the Yankee interpretation to the verbs 'witness' and 'realize,' to say nothing of 'use,' as in the sentence, 'I used to read a short time at night.' It will not do to say in defense of such words, that in such senses they may be found in certain dictionaries—in that of Bolles', for instance;—some kind of 'authority' may be found for any kind of vulgarity under the sun.
"In spite of these things, however and of her frequent unjustifiable Carlyleisms, (such as that of writing sentences which are no sentences, since, to be parsed, reference must be had to sentences preceding,) the style of Miss Fuller is one of the very best with which I am acquainted. In general effect, I know no style which surpasses it. It is singularly piquant, vivid, terse, bold, luminous—leaving details out of sight, it is everything that a style need be.
"I believe that Miss Fuller has written much poetry, although she has published little. That little is tainted with the affectation of the transcendentalists, (I used this term, of course, in the sense which the public of late days seem resolved to give it,) but is brimful of the poetic sentiment. Here, for example, is something in Coleridge's manner, of which the author of 'Genevieve' might have had no reason to be ashamed:—
A maiden sat beneath a tree; Tear-bedewed her pale cheeks be, And she sighed heavily.
From forth the wood into the light A hunter strides with carol light And a glance so bold and bright.
He careless stopped and eyed the maid; 'Why weepest thou?' he gently said; 'I love thee well, be not afraid.'
He takes her hand and leads her on— She should have waited there alone, For he was not her chosen one.
He leans her head upon his breast— She knew 'twas not her home of rest, But, ah! she had been sore distrest.
The sacred stars looked sadly down; The parting moon appeared to frown, To see thus dimmed the diamond crown.
Then from the thicket starts a deer— The huntsman seizing on his spear Cries, 'Maiden, wait thou for me here.'
She sees him vanish into night— She starts from sleep in deep affright, For it was not her own true knight.
Though but in dream Gunhilda failed— Though but a fancied ill assailed— Though she but fancied fault bewailed—
Yet thought of day makes dream of night; She is not worthy of the knight; The inmost altar burns not bright.
If loneliness thou canst not bear— Cannot the dragon's venom dare— Of the pure meed thou shouldst despair.
Now sadder that lone maiden sighs; Far bitterer tears profane her eyes; Crushed in the dust her heart's flower lies.'
"To show the evident carelessness with which this poem was constructed, I have italicized an identical rhyme (of about the same force in versification as an identical proposition in logic) and two grammatical improprieties. To lean is a neuter verb, and 'seizing on' is not properly to be called a pleonasm, merely because it is—nothing at all. The concluding line is difficult of pronunciation through excess of consonants. I should have preferred, indeed, the ante-penultimate tristich as the finale of the poem.
"The supposition that the book of an author is a thing apart from the author's self, is, I think, ill-founded. The soul is a cipher, in the sense of a cryptograph; and the shorter a cryptograph is, the more difficulty there is in its comprehension—at a certain point of brevity it would bid defiance to an army of Champollions. And thus he who has written very little, may in that little either conceal his spirit or convey quite an erroneous idea of it—of his acquirements, talents, temper, manner, tenor and depth (or shallowness) of thought—in a word of his character, of himself. But this is impossible with him who has written much. Of such a person we get, from his books, not merely a just, but the most just representation. Bulwer, the individual, personal man, in a green velvet waistcoat and amber gloves, is not by any means the veritable Sir Edward Lytton, who is discoverable only in 'Ernest Maltravers,' where his soul is deliberately and nakedly set forth. And who would ever know Dickens by looking at him or talking with him, or doing anything with him except reading his 'Curiosity Shop?' What poet, in especial, but must feel at least the better portion of himself more fairly represented in even his commonest sonnet, (earnestly written,) than in his most elaborate or most intimate personalities?
"I put all this as a general proposition, to which Miss Fuller affords a marked exception—to this extent, that her personal character and her printed book are merely one and the same thing. We get access to her soul as directly from the one as from the other—no more readily from this than from that—easily from either. Her acts are bookish, and her books are less thoughts than acts. Her literary and her conversational manner are identical. Here is a passage from her 'Summer on the Lakes:'—
"'The rapids enchanted me far beyond what I expected; they are so swift that they cease to seem so—you can think only of their beauty. The fountain beyond the Moss Islands I discovered for myself, and thought it for some time an accidental beauty which it would not do to leave, lest I might never see it again. After I found it permanent, I returned many times to watch the play of its crest. In the little waterfall, beyond, Nature seems, as she often does, to have made a study for some larger design. She delights in this—a sketch within a sketch—a dream within a dream. Wherever we see it, the lines of the great buttress in the fragment of stone, the hues of the waterfall, copied in the flowers that star its bordering mosses, we are delighted; for all the lineaments become fluent, and we mould the scene in congenial thought with its genius.'
"Now all this is precisely as Miss Fuller would speak it. She is perpetually saying just such things in just such words. To get the conversational woman in the mind's eye, all that is needed is to imagine her reciting the paragraph just quoted: but first let us have the personal woman. She is of the medium height; nothing remarkable about the figure; a profusion of lustrous light hair; eyes a bluish gray, full of fire; capacious forehead; the mouth when in repose indicates profound sensibility, capacity for affection, for love—when moved by a slight smile, it becomes even beautiful in the intensity of this expression; but the upper lip, as if impelled by the action of involuntary muscles, habitually uplifts itself, conveying the impression of a sneer. Imagine, now, a person of this description looking at you one moment earnestly in the face, at the next seeming to look only within her own spirit or at the wall; moving nervously every now and then in her chair; speaking in a high key, but musically, deliberately, (not hurriedly or loudly,) with a delicious distinctness of enunciation—speaking, I say, the paragraph in question, and emphasizing the words which I have italicized, not by impulsion of the breath, (as is usual) but by drawing them out as long as possible, nearly closing her eyes, the while—imagine all this, and we have both the woman and the authoress before us."
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[FROM THE NEW YORK TRIBUNE.]
ON THE DEATH OF S. MARGARET FULLER.
BY G.F.R. JAMES
High hopes and bright thine early path bedecked, And aspirations beautiful, though wild, A heart too strong, a powerful will unchecked, A dream that earth-things could be undefiled.
But soon, around thee, grew a golden chain, That bound the woman to more human things, And taught with joy—and, it may be, with pain— That there are limits e'en to Spirits' wings.
Husband and child—the loving and beloved— Won, from the vast of thought, a mortal part, The empassioned wife and mother, yielding, proved Mind has, itself, a master—in the heart.
In distant lands enhaloed by old fame Thou found'st the only chain the spirit knew, But, captive, led'st thy captors from the shame Of ancient freedom, to the pride of new.
And loved hearts clung around thee on the deck, Welling with sunny hopes 'neath sunny skies; The wide horizon round thee had no speck; E'en Doubt herself could see no cloud arise.
The loved ones clung around thee, when the sail, O'er wide Atlantic billows, onward bore Thy freight of joys, and the expanding gale Pressed the glad bark toward thy native shore.
The loved ones clung around thee still, when all Was darkness, tempest, terror, and dismay— More closely clung around thee, when the pall Of fate was falling o'er the mortal clay.
With them to live—with them, with them to die— Sublime of human love intense and fine! Was thy last prayer unto the Deity, And it was granted thee by love divine.
In the same billow—in the same dark grave— Mother, and child, and husband find their rest. The dream is ended; and the solemn wave Gives back the gifted to her country's breast.
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An Illustration of the high prices paid to fortunate artists in these times may be found in the fact that Alboni, the famous contralto singer, has been engaged to sing at Madrid, at the enormous rate of $400 dollars per day, while Roger, the tenor, who used to sing at the Comic Opera at Paris, and who was transplanted to the Grand Opera to assist in the production of Meyerbeer's "Prophet," has been engaged to sing with her at the more moderate salary of $8000 a month. This is almost equal to the extravagant sum guaranteed to Jenny Lind for performing in this country. It would be a curious inquiry why singers and dancers are always paid so much more exorbitantly than painters, sculptors or musical composers, especially as the pleasure they confer is of a merely evanescent character, while the works of the latter remain a perpetual source of delight and refinement to all generations.
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FRASER'S MAGAZINE UPON THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA.
The last number of Fraser's Magazine has a long article upon THE POETS AND POETRY OF AMERICA, in which the subject is treated with more than the customary civility of English criticism upon this subject. We are half inclined, indeed, to believe the article was written "above Bleecker," or by an inhabitant of that quarter now in London. Omitting the illustrative extracts, we copy the greater portion of the review, in which most of those who are admitted to be poets are characterized.
"When Halleck said of New York—
Our fourteen wards Contain some seven-and-thirty-bards,
he rather understated than exaggerated the fact. Mr. Griswold, besides the ninety regular poets in his collection, gives an appendix of about seventy fugitive pieces by as many authors; and bitter complaints have been made against him in various quarters for not including some seventy, or a hundred and seventy more, 'who,' it is said, and probably with truth, 'have as good a right to be there as many of those admitted.' Still it is possible to pick out a few of general reputation, whom literati from all parts of the Union would agree in sustaining as specimens of distinguished American poets, though they would differ in assigning their relative position. Thus, if the Republic had to choose a laureate, Boston would probably deposit a nearly unanimous vote for Longfellow; the suffrages of New York might he divided between Bryant and Halleck; and the southern cities would doubtless give a large majority for Poe. But these gentlemen, and some three or four more, would be acknowledged by all as occupying the first rank. Perhaps, on the whole, the preponderance of native authority justifies us in heading the list with Bryant, who, at any rate, has the additional title of seniority in authorship, if not in actual years.
"William Cullen Bryant is, as we learn from Mr. Griswold, about fifty-five years old, and was born in Massachusetts, though his literary career is chiefly associated with New York, of which he is a resident. With a precocity extraordinary, even in a country where precocity is the rule instead of the exception, he began to write and publish at the age of thirteen, and has, therefore, been full forty years before the American public, and that not in the capacity of poet alone—having for more than half that period edited the Evening Post, one of the ablest and most respectable papers in the United States, and the oldest organ, we believe, of the Democratic party in New York. He has been called, and with justice, a poet of nature. The prairie solitude, the summer evening landscape, the night wind of autumn, the water-bird flitting homeward through the twilight—such are the favorite subjects of inspiration. Thanatopsis, one of his most admired pieces, was written at the age of eighteen, and exhibits a finish of style, no less than a maturity of thought, very remarkable for so youthful a production. Mr. Bryant's poems have been for some years pretty well known on this side the water,—better known, at any rate, than any other transatlantic verses; on which account, being somewhat limited for space, we forbear to make any extracts from them.
"FITZ-GREENE HALLECK is also a New-Englander by birth and a New Yorker by adoption. He is Bryant's contemporary and friend, but the spirit and style of his versification are very different; and so, it is said, are his political affinities. While Bryant is a bulwark of the Democracy, Halleck is reported to be not only an admirer of the obsolete Federalists, but an avowed Monarchist. To be sure, this is only his private reputation: no trace of such a feeling is observable in his writings, which show throughout a sturdy vein of republicanism, social and political. In truth, the party classification of American literary men is apt to puzzle the uninitiated. Thus Washington Irving is said to belong to the Democrats; but it would be hard to find in his writings anything countenancing their claim upon him. His sketches of English society are a panegyric of old institutions; and the fourth book of his Knickerbocker is throughout a palpable satire on the administration of Thomas Jefferson, the great apostle of Democracy. Perhaps, however, he may since have changed his views. Willis, too, the 'Free Penciler,' who has been half his life prating about lords and ladies, and great people, and has become a sort of Jenkins to the fashionable life of New York; he also is one of the Democratic party. Peradventure he may vote the 'Locofoco ticket' in the hope of propitiating the boys (as the canaille of American cities are properly called), and saving his printing-office from the fate of the Italian Opera House in Astor Place. But what shall we say of Cooper, who, by his anti-democratic opinions, has made himself one of the most unpopular men in his country, and whose recent political novels rival the writings of Judge Haliburton in the virulence as well as the cleverness of their satire upon Republican institutions? He, too, is a Democrat. To us, who are not behind the curtain, these things are a mystery incapable of explanation. To return to our present subject. Halleck made his debut in the poetical world by some satirical pieces called The Croakers, which created as much sensation at their appearance as the anonymous Salmagundi which commenced Irving's literary career. These were succeeded by Fanny, a poem in the Don Juan metre. Fanny has no particular plot or story, but is a satirical review of all the celebrities, literary, fashionable, and political, of New York at that day (1821). And the satire was probably very good at the time and in the place; but, unfortunately for the extent and permanence of its reputation, most of these celebrities are utterly unknown, not merely beyond the limits of the Union, but beyond those of New York. Among all the personages enumerated we can find but two names that an European reader would be likely to know anything about,—Clinton and Van Buren. Nay, more, in the rapid growth and change of things American, the present generation of New Yorkers are likely to lose sight of the lions of their immediate progenitors; and unless some Manhattanese scholiast should write a commentary on the poem in time, its allusions, and with them most of its wit, will be in danger of perishing entirely. What we can judge of in Fanny are one or two graceful lyrics interspersed in it, though even these are marred by untimely comicality and local allusions. The nominal hero, while wandering about at night after the wreck of his fortunes, hears a band playing outside a public place of entertainment. It must have been a better band than that which now, from the Museum opposite the Astor House, drives to frenzy the hapless stranger.... In Halleck's subsequent productions the influence of Campbell is more perceptible than that of Byron, and with manifest advantage. It may be said of his compositions, as it can be affirmed of few American verses, that they have a real innate harmony, something not dependent on the number of syllables in each line, or capable of being dissected out into feet, but growing in them, as it were, and created by the fine ear of the writer. Their sentiments, too, are exalted and ennobling; eminently genial and honest, they stamp the author for a good man and true,—Nature's aristocracy.... For some unexplained reason Halleck has not written, or at least not published, anything new for several years, though continually solicited to do so; for he is a great favorite with his countrymen, especially with the New Yorkers. His time, however, has been by no means passed in idleness. Fashionable as writing is in America, it is not considered desirable or, indeed, altogether reputable, that the poet should be only a poet. Halleck has been in business most of his life; and was lately head-clerk of the wealthy merchant, John Jacob Astor, who left him a handsome annuity. This was increased by Mr. Astor's son and heir, a man of well-known liberality; so that between the two there is a chance of the poet's being enabled to 'meditate the tuneful Muse' for the remainder of his days free from all distractions of business.
"LONGFELLOW, the pet poet of Boston, is a much younger man than either Bryant or Halleck, and has made his reputation only within the last twelve years, during which time he has been one of the most noted lions of American Athens. The city of Boston, as every one knows who has been there, or who has met with any book or man emanating from it, claims to be the literary metropolis of the United States, and assumes the slightly-pretending soubriquet just quoted. The American Athenians have their thinking and writing done for them by a coterie whose distinctive characteristics are Socinianism in theology, a praeter-Puritan prudery in ethics, a German tendency in metaphysics, and throughout all a firm persuasion that Boston is the fountain-head of art, scholarship, and literature for the western world, and particularly that New York is a Nazareth in such things, out of which can come nothing good. For the Bostonians, who certainly cultivate literature with more general devotion, if not always with more individual success than the New Yorkers, can never forgive their commercial neighbors for possessing by birth the two most eminent prose-writers of the country—Irving and Cooper; and by adoption, two of the leading poets—Bryant and Halleck. Nor are the good people of the 'Empire State' slow to resent these exhibitions of small jealousy; but, on the contrary, as the way of the world is, they are apt to retort by greater absurdities. So shy are they of appearing to be guided by the dicta of their eastern friends, that to this day there is scarcely man or woman on Manhattan Island who will confess a liking for Tennyson, Mrs. Barrett Browning, or Robert Browning, simply because these poets were taken up and patronized (metaphorically speaking, of course,) by the 'Mutual Admiration Society' of Boston.
"The immediate influences of this camaraderie are highly flattering and apparently beneficial to the subject of them, but its ultimate effects are most injurious to the proper development of his powers. When the merest trifles that a man throws off are inordinately praised, he soon becomes content with producing the merest trifles. Longfellow has grown unaccustomed to do himself justice. Half his volumes are filled up with translations; graceful and accurate, indeed; but translations, and often from originals of very moderate merit. His last original poem, Evangeline, is a sort of pastoral in hexameters. The resuscitation of this classical metre had a queer effect upon the American quidnuncs. Some of the critics evidently believed it to be a bran-new metre invented for the nonce by the author, a delusion which they of the 'Mutual Admiration' rather winked at; and the parodists who endeavored to ridicule the new measure were evidently not quite sure whether seven feet or nine made a hexameter. It is really to be regretted that Longfellow has been cajoled into playing these tricks with himself, for his earlier pieces were works of much promise, and, had they been worthily followed out, might have entitled him to a high place among the poets of the language.... Longfellow's poetry, whenever he really lays himself out to write poetry, has a definite idea and purpose in it—no small merit now-a-days. His versification is generally harmonious, and he displays a fair command of metre. Sometimes he takes a fancy to an obsolete or out-of-the-way stanza; one of his longest and best poems, The Skeleton in Armor, is exactly in the measure of Drayton's fine ballad on Agincourt. His chief fault is an over-fondness for simile and metaphor. He seems to think indispensable the introduction into everything he writes of a certain (or sometimes a very uncertain) number of these figures. Accordingly his poems are crowded with comparisons, sometimes very pretty and pleasing, at others so far-fetched that the string of tortured images which lead off Alfred de Musset's bizarre Ode to the Moon can hardly equal them. This making figures (whether from any connection with the calculating habits of the people or not) is a terrible propensity of American writers, whether of prose or verse. Their orators are especial sinners in this respect. We have seen speeches stuck as full of metaphors (more or less mixed) as Burton's Anatomy is of quotations.
"Such persons as know from experience that literary people are not always in private life what their writings would betoken, that Miss Bunions do not precisely resemble March violets, and mourners upon paper may be laughers over mahogany—such persons will not be surprised to hear that the Longfellow is a very jolly fellow, a lover of fun and good dinners, and of an amiability and personal popularity that have aided not a little the popularity of his writings in verse and prose—for he writes prose too, prettier, quainter, more figurative, and more poetic if anything, than his poetry. He is also a professor at Harvard College, near Boston.
"EDGAR A. POE, like Longfellow and most of the other American poets, wrote prose as well as poetry, having produced a number of wild, grotesque, and powerfully-imagined tales; unlike most of them he was a literary man pur sang. He depended for support entirely on his writings, and his career was more like the precarious existence of an author in the time of Johnson and Savage than the decent life of an author in our own day. He was a Southerner by birth, acquired a liberal education, and what the French call 'expansive' tastes, was adopted by a rich relative, quarreled with him, married 'for love,' and lived by editing magazines in Richmond, Philadelphia, and New York; by delivering lectures (the never-failing last resort of the American literary adventurer); by the occasional subscriptions of compassionate acquaintances or admiring friends—any way he could—for eighteen or nineteen years: lost his wife, involved himself in endless difficulties, and finally died in what should have been the prime of his life, about six months ago. His enemies attributed his untimely death to intemperance; his writings would rather lead to the belief that he was an habitual taker of opium. If it make a man a poet to be
Dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, The love of love,
Poe was certainly a poet. Virulently and ceaselessly abused by his enemies (who included a large portion of the press), he was worshiped to infatuation by his friends. The severity of his editorial criticisms, and the erratic course of his life, fully account for the former circumstance; the latter is probably to be attributed, in part at least, to pity for his mishaps.
"If Longfellow's poetry is best designated as quaint, Poe's may most properly be characterized as fantastic. The best of it reminds one of Tennyson, not by any direct imitation of particular passages, but by its general air and tone. But he was very far from possessing Tennyson's fine ear for melody. His skill in versification, sometimes striking enough, was evidently artificial; he overstudied metrical expression and overrated its value so as sometimes to write, what were little better than nonsense-verses, for the rhythm. He had an incurable propensity for refrains, and when he had once caught a harmonious cadence, appeared to think it could not be too often repeated. Poe's name is usually mentioned in connection with The Raven, a poem which he published about five years ago. It had an immense run, and gave rise to innumerable parodies—those tests of notoriety if not of merit. And certainly it is not without a peculiar and fantastic excellence in the execution, while the conception is highly striking and poetic. This much notice seems due to a poem which created such a sensation in the author's country. To us it seems by no means the best of Poe's productions; we much prefer, for instance, this touching allegory, which was originally embodied in one of his wildest tales, The Haunted Palace. In the very same volume with this are some verses that Poe wrote when a boy, and some that a boy might be ashamed of writing. Indeed the secret of rejection seems to be little known to Transatlantic bards. The rigidness of self-criticism which led Tennyson to ignore and annihilate, so far as in him lay, full one half of his earlier productions, would hardly be understood by them. This is particularly unlucky in the case of Poe, whose rhymes sometimes run fairly away with him, till no purpose or meaning is traceable amid a jingle of uncommon and fine-sounding words....
"Though Poe was a Southerner, his poetry has nothing in it suggestive of his peculiar locality. It is somewhat remarkable that the slave-holding, which has tried almost all other means of excusing or justifying itself before the world, did not think of 'keeping a poet,' and engaging the destitute author from its own territory to sing the praises of 'the patriarchal institution.' And it would have been a fair provocation that the Abolitionists had their poet already. Indeed several of the northern poets have touched upon this subject; Longfellow, in particular, has published a series of spirited and touching anti-slavery poems; but the man who has made it his specialite is JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER, a Quaker, literary editor of the National Era, an Abolition and ultra-Radical paper, which, in manful despite of Judge Lynch, is published at Washington, between the slave-pens and the capitol. His verses are certainly obnoxious to the jurisdiction of that notorious popular potentate, being unquestionably 'inflammatory, incendiary, and insurrectionary,' as the Southern formula goes, in a very high degree. He makes passionate appeals to the Puritan spirit of New England, and calls on her sons to utter their voice,
... From all her wild green mountains, From valleys where her slumbering fathers lie, From her blue rivers and her welling fountains, And clear cold sky— From her rough coast, and isles, which hungry Ocean Gnaws with his surges—from the fisher's skiff, With white sails swaying to the billow's motion Round rock and cliff— From the free fireside of her unbought farmer, From her free laborer at his loom and wheel. From the brown smithy where, beneath the hammer, Rings the red steel— From each and all, if God hath not forsaken Our land and left us to an evil choice;—
"and protest against the shocking anomaly of slavery in a free country. At times, when deploring the death of some fellow laborer in the cause, he falls into a somewhat subdued strain, though even then there is more of spirit and fire in his verses than one naturally expects from a follower of George Fox; but on such occasions he displays a more careful and harmonious versification than is his wont. There is no scarcity of these elegies in his little volume, the Abolitionists, even when they escape the attentions of the high legal functionary already alluded to, not being apparently a long-lived class.
"Toujours perdrix palls in poetry as in cookery; we grow tired after awhile of invectives against governors of slave-states and mercenary persons, and dirges for untimely perished Abolitionists. The wish suggests itself that Whittier would not always
'Give up to a party what is meant for mankind,'
but sometimes turn his powers in another direction. Accordingly, it is a great relief to find him occasionally trying his hand on the early legends of New England and Canada, which do not suffer such ballads as St. John....
"Whittier is less known than several other Western bards to the English reader, and we think him entitled to stand higher on the American Parnassus than most of his countrymen would place him. His faults—harshness and want of polish—are evident; but there is more life, and spirit, and soul in his verses, than in those of eight-ninths of Mr. Griswold's immortal ninety.
"From political verse (for the anti-slavery agitation must be considered quite as much a political as a moral warfare) the transition is natural to satire and humorous poetry. Here we find no lack of matter, but a grievous short-coming in quality. The Americans are no contemptible humorists in prose, but their fun cannot be set to verse. They are very fond of writing parodies, yet we have scarcely ever seen a good parody of American origin. And their satire is generally more distinguished for personality and buffoonery than wit. Halleck's Fanny looks as if it might be good, did we only know something of the people satirized in it. The reputed comic poet of the country at present is OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, a physician. Whether it was owing to the disappointment caused by hearing too much in his praise beforehand we will not pretend to say, but it certainly did seem to us that Dr. Holmes' efforts in this line must originally have been intended to act upon his patients emetically. After a conscientious perusal of the doctor, the most readable, and about the only presentable thing we can find in him, is the bit of seriocomic entitled The Last Leaf.
"But within the last three years there has arisen in the United States a satirist of genuine excellence, who, however, besides being but moderately appreciated by his countrymen, seems himself in a great measure to have mistaken his real forte. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL, one of the Boston coterie, has for some time been publishing verses, which are by the coterie duly glorified, but which are in no respect distinguishable from the ordinary level of American poetry, except that they combine an extraordinary pretension to originality, with a more than usually palpable imitation of English models. Indeed, the failure was so manifest, that the American literati seem, in this one case, to have rebelled against Boston dictation, and there is sufficient internal evidence that such of them as do duty for critics handled Mr. Lowell pretty severely. Violently piqued at this, and simultaneously conceiving a disgust for the Mexican war, he was impelled by both feelings to take the field as a satirist: to the former we owe the Fable for Critics; to the latter, the Biglow Papers. It was a happy move, for he has the rare faculty of writing clever doggerel. Take out the best of Ingoldsby, Campbell's rare piece of fun The Friars of Dijon, and perhaps a little of Walsh's Aristophanes, and there is no contemporary verse of the class with which Lowell's may not fearlessly stand a comparison; for, observe, we are not speaking of mock heroics like Bon Gaultier's, which are only a species of parody, but of real doggerel, the Rabelaisque of poetry. The Fable is somewhat on the Ingoldsby model,—that is to say, a good part of its fun consists in queer rhymes, double, treble, or poly-syllabic; and it has even Barham's fault—an occasional over-consciousness of effort, and calling on the reader to admire, as if the tour de force could not speak for itself. But Ingoldsby's rhymes will not give us a just idea of the Fable until we superadd Hook's puns; for the fabulist has a pleasant knack of making puns—outrageous and unhesitating ones—exactly of the kind to set off the general style of his verse. The sternest critic could hardly help relaxing over such a bundle of them as are contained in Apollo's lament over the 'treeification' of his Daphne.... The Fable is a sort of review in verse of American poets. Much of the Boston leaven runs through it; the wise men of the East are all glorified intensely, while Bryant and Halleck are studiously depreciated. But though thus freely exercising his own critical powers in verse, the author is most bitter against all critics in prose, and gives us a ludicrous picture of one—
A terrible fellow to meet in society, Not the toast that he buttered was ever so dry at tea.
And this gentleman is finely shown up for his condemnatory predilections and inability to discern or appreciate beauties. The cream of the joke against him is, that being sent by Apollo to choose a lily in a flower-garden, he brings back a thistle as all he could find. The picture is a humorous one, but we are at a loss to conjecture who can have sat for it in America, where the tendency is all the other way, reviewers being apt to apply the butter of adulation with the knife of profusion to every man, woman, or child who rushes into print. Some of his complaints, too, against the critic sound very odd; as, for instance, that
His lore was engraft, something foreign that grew in him.
Surely the very meaning of learning is that it is something which a man learns—acquires from other sources—does not originate in himself. But it is a favorite practice with Mr. Lowell's set to rail against dry learning and pedants, while at the same time there are no men more fond of showing off cheap learning than themselves: Lowell himself never loses an opportunity of bringing in a bit of Greek or Latin. Our readers must have known such persons—for, unfortunately, the United States has no monopoly of them—men who delight in quoting Latin before ladies, talking Penny-Magazine science in the hearing of clodhoppers, and preaching of high art to youths who have never had the chance of seeing any art at all. Then you will hear them say nothing about pedantry. But let a man be present who knows more Greek than they do, or who has a higher standard of poetry or painting or music, and wo be to him! Him they will persecute to the uttermost. What is to be done with such men but to treat them a la Shandon, 'Give them Burton's Anatomy, and leave them to their own abominable devices?'
"The Biglow Papers are imaginary epistles from a New England farmer, and contain some of the best specimens extant of the 'Yankee,' or New England dialect,—better than Haliburton's, for Sam Slick sometimes mixes Southern, Western, and even English vulgarities with his Yankee. Mr. Biglow's remarks treat chiefly of the Mexican war, and subjects immediately connected with it, such as slavery, truckling of Northerners to the south, &c. The theme is treated in various ways with uniform bitterness. Now he sketches a 'Pious Editors Creed,' almost too daring in its Scriptural allusions, but terribly severe upon the venal fraternity. At another time he sets one of Calhoun's pro-slavery speeches to music. The remarks of the great Nullifier form the air of the song, and the incidental remarks of honorable senators on the same side make up a rich chorus, their names supplying happy tags to the rhymes. But best of all are the letters of his friend the returned volunteer, Mr. Birdofredom Sawin, who draws a sad picture of the private soldier's life in Mexico. He had gone out with hopes of making his fortune. But he was sadly disappointed and equally so in his expectations of glory, which 'never got so low down as the privates.'
"But it is time to bring this notice to a close not, however, that we have by any means exhausted the subject. For have we not already stated that there are, at the lowest calculation, ninety American poets, spreading all over the alphabet, from Allston, who is unfortunately dead, to Willis, who is fortunately living, and writing Court Journals for the 'Upper Ten Thousand,' as he has named the quasi-aristocracy of New York? And the lady-poets—the poetesses, what shall we say of them? Truly it would be ungallant to say anything ill of them, and invidious to single out a few among so many; therefore, it will be best for us to say—nothing at all about any of them."
* * * * *
On this rustic footbridge sitting, I have passed delightful eyes, Moonbeams round about me flitting Through the overhanging leaves.
With me often came another, When the west wore hues of gold, And 'twas neither sister—brother— One the heart may dearer hold.
She was fair and lightly moulded, Azure eyed and full of grace; Gentler form was never folded In a lover's warm embrace.
Oh those hours of sacred converse, Their communion now is o'er And our straying feet shall traverse Those remembered paths no more.
Hours they were of love and gladness, Fraught with holy vows of truth: Not a single thought of sadness Shadowing o'er the hopes of youth.
I am sitting sad and lonely Where she often sat with me, And the voice I hear is only Of the silvery streamlet's glee.
Where is she, whose gentle fingers, Oft were wreathed amidst my hair? Still methinks their pressure lingers, But, ah no! they are not there.
They are whiter now than ever, In a light I know not of, Sweeping o'er the chords of silver To a song of joy and love.
Though so lonely I am sitting, This sweet thought of joy may bring, That she still is round me flitting, On an angel's tireless wing.
* * * * *
THE AUTHOR OF "ION."
"Mr. Talfourd is now a Justice, and we find in the London journals an account of a visit to his residence by a deputation from his native town, to present to him a silver candelabrum, subscribed for by a large number of the inhabitants of the borough, of all parties. The base of the candelabrum is a tripod, on which stands a group of three female figures; representing Law, Justice, and Poetry, the two former modeled from Flaxman's sculpture on Lord Mansfield's monument in Westminster Abbey, the latter from a drawing of the Greek Antique, bearing a scroll inscribed with the word "Ion" in Greek characters. The arms of Mr. Talfourd and of the borough of Reading are engraved on the base. The testimonial was presented to the Justice in the presence of his family, including the venerable Mrs. Talfourd, his mother, and a large circle of private friends. In answer to the gentleman who presented the testimonial, Mr. Talfourd replied:
"If I felt that the circumstances of this hour, and the eloquent kindness which has enriched it, appealed for a response only to personal qualities, I should be too conscious of the poverty of such materials for an answer to attempt one; but the associations they suggest expand into wider circles than self impels, and while they teach me that this occasion is not for the indulgence of vanity, but for the cultivation of humble thankfulness, they impart a nobler significance to your splendid gift and to your delightful praise. They remind me that my intellectual being has, from its first development, been nurtured by the partiality of those whom, living and dead, you virtually represent to-day; they concentrate the wide-spread instances of that peculiar felicity in my lot whereby I have been privileged to find aid, comfort, inspiration, and allowance in that local community amidst which my life began; and they invite me, from that position which once bounded my furthest horizon of personal hope, to live along the line of past existence; to recognize the same influence everywhere pervading it: and to perceive how its struggles have been assisted; its errors softened down or vailed, and its successes enhanced, by the constant presence of home-born regards. Embracing in a rapid glance the events of many years, I call to mind how at an early age—earlier than is generally safe or happy for youths—the incidents of life, supplying an unusual stimulus to ordinary powers, gave vividness to those dreams of human excellence and progress which, at some time, visit all; how by the weakness which precluded them from assuming those independent shapes which require the plastic force of higher powers, they became associated with the scenes among which they were cherished, and clove to them with earnest grasp; and how the fervid expressions which that combination prompted, were accepted by generous friends as indicating faculties 'beyond the reaches of my soul,' and induced them to encourage me by genial prophecies which, with unwearied purpose, they endeavored to fulfill. I renew that golden season when such vague aspirations were at once cherished and directed by the Christian wisdom of the venerated master of Reading School—who, during his fifty years of authority, made the name of our town a household word to successive generations of scholars, who honored him in all parts of the world, and all departments of society—whose long life was one embodied charity—and who gave steadiness and object to those impulses in me which else might have ended, as they began, in dreams. I remember, when pausing on the slippery threshold of active life, and looking abroad on the desolate future, how the earnestness of my friends gave me courage, and emboldened me, with no patrons but themselves, to enter the profession of my choice by its most dim and laborious avenue, and to brace myself for four years of arduous pupilage; how they crowded with pleasures the intervals of holiday I annually enjoyed among them during that period, and another of equal length passed in a special pleader's anxieties and toils; how they greeted with praise, sweeter than the applause of multitudes to him who wins it, the slender literary effusions by which I supplied the deficiency of professional income; and how, when I dared the hazard of the bar, they provided for me opportunities such as riper scholars and other advocates wait long for, by confiding important matters to my untried hands; how they encircled my first tremulous efforts by an atmosphere of affectionate interest, roused my faint heart to exertion, absorbed the fever that hung upon its beatings, and strengthened my first perceptions of capacity to make my thoughts and impressions intelligible, on the instant, to the minds of courts and juries. The impulse thus given to my professional success at Reading, and in the sessions of Berkshire during twelve years, gradually extended its influence through my circuit, until it raised me to a position among its members beyond my deserts and equal to my wishes. Another opening of fortune soon dawned on me; in the maturity of life I aspired to a seat in parliament—rather let me say, to that seat which only I coveted—and then, almost without solicitation, from many surviving patrons of my childhood, and from the sons of others who inherited the kindness of their fathers, I received an honor more precious to me as the token of concentrated regards than as the means of advancement; yet greatly heightened in practical importance by the testimony it implied from the best of all witnesses. That honor, three times renewed, was attended by passages of excitement which look dizzy even in the distance—with much on my part requiring allowance, and much allowance rendered by those to whom my utmost services were due; with the painful consciousness of wide difference of opinion between some of my oldest friends and myself, and with painful contests which those differences rendered inevitable, yet cheered by attachments which the vivid lights struck out in the conflict of contending passions exhibited in scatheless strength, until I received that appointment which dissolved the parliamentary connection, and with it annihilated all the opposition of feeling which had sometimes saddened it, and invested the close of my life with the old regard, as unclouded by controversy as when it illumined its opening. And now the expressions of your sympathy await me, when, by the gracious providence of God, I have been permitted to enter on a course of less fervid action, of serener thought, of plainer duty. For me political animosities are forever hushed and absorbed in one desire, which I share with you all, for the happiness and honor of our country, and the peaceful advancement of our species; and all the feverish excitements and perils of advocacy, its ardent partisanship with various interests, anxieties, and passions, are displaced by the office of seeking to discover truth and to maintain justice. I am no longer incited to aspire to public favor, even under your auspices: my course is marked right onward—to be steadily trodden, whether its duties may accord with the prevalent feeling of the hour, or may oppose the temporary injustice of its generous errors: but it is not forbidden me to prize the esteem of those who have known me longest and best, and to indulge the hope that I may retain it to the last. To encourage me in the aim still to deserve that esteem, I shall look on this gift of those numbers of my townsmen whose regards have just found such cordial expression. I shall cherish it as a memorial of earliest hopes that gleam out from the depth of years; as a memorial of a thousand incentives to virtuous endeavor, of sacred trusts, of delighted solaces; as a memorial of affections which have invested a being, frail, sensitive, and weak, with strength not its own, and under God, have insured for it an honorable destiny; as a memorial of this hour, when, in the presence of those who are nearest and dearest to me on earth, my course has been pictured in the light of those friendships which have gladdened it—an hour of which the memory and the influence will not pass away, but, I fondly trust, will incite those who will bear my name after me, and to whose charge this gift will be confided when I shall cease to behold it, better to deserve, though they cannot more dearly appreciate, such a succession of kindnesses as that to which the crowning grace is now added, and for which, with my whole heart, I thank you."
* * * * *
Cultivate and exercise a serene faith, and you shall acquire wonderful power and insight; its results are sure and illimitable, moulding and moving to its purposes equally spirit, mind, and matter. It is the power-endowing essential of all action.
* * * * *
Under this head we have rarely to present so many articles as are demanded by the foreign journals received during the week, and by the melancholy disaster which caused the death of the MARCHESA D'OSSOLI, with her husband, and Mr. SUMNER. Of MARGARET FULLER D'OSSOLI a sketch is given in the preceding pages, and we reserve for our next number an article upon the history of Sir ROBERT PEEL. The death of this illustrious person has caused a profound sensation not only in Great Britain, but throughout Europe. In the House of Lords, most eloquent and impressive speeches upon the exalted character of the deceased, and the irreparable loss of the country, were delivered by the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Stanley, Lord Brougham, the Duke of Wellington, and the Duke of Cleveland, and in the House of Commons, by Lord John Russell, and Messrs. Hume, Gladstone, Goulburn, Herries, Napier, Inglis and Somervile. The House, in testimony of its grief, adjourned without business, an act without precedent, except in case of death in the royal family. A noble tribute of respect was also paid by the French Assembly to the memory of Sir Robert Peel. The President, M. Dupin, pronounced an affecting eulogy upon the deceased, which was received with the liveliest sympathy by the Chamber, and was ordered to be recorded in its journal. A compliment like this is totally unprecedented in France, and the death of no other foreigner in the world could have elicited it.
* * * * *
BOYER, EX-PRESIDENT OF HAYTI.
Jean Pierre Boyer, a mulatto, distinguished in affairs, and for his abilities and justice, was born at Port-au-Prince, on the 6th of February, 1776. His father, by some said to have been of mixed blood, was a tailor and shopkeeper, of fair reputation and some property, and his mother a negress from Congo in Africa, who had been a slave in the neighborhood. He joined the French Commissioners, Santhonax and Polverel, in whose company, after the arrival of the English, he withdrew to Jacqemel. Here he attached himself to Rigaud, set out with him to France, and was captured on his passage by the Americans, during the war between France and the United States. Being released at the end of the war, he proceeded to Paris, where he remained until the organization of Le Clerc's expedition against St. Domingo. This expedition he with many other persons of color joined; but on the death of Le Clerc he attached himself to the party of Petion, with whom he acted during the remainder of that chieftain's life, which terminated on the 29th of March, 1818. Under Petion he rose from the post of aid-de-camp and private secretary to be general of the arrondissement of Port-au-Prince; and Petion named him for the succession in the Presidency, to which he was inducted without opposition. When the revolution broke out in the northern part of the island, in 1820, Boyer was invited by the insurgents to place himself at their head; and on the death of Christophe, the northern and southern parts of the island were united under his administration into one government, under the style of the Republic of Hayti. In the following year the Spanish inhabitants of the eastern part of the island voluntarily placed themselves under the government of Boyer, who thus became, chiefly by the force of character, without much positive effort, the undisputed master of all St. Domingo.
It is not questionable that the productions and general prosperity of the island decreased under Boyer's administration. The blacks needed the stringent policy of some such tyrant as Christophe. And the popularity of Boyer was greatly lessened by his approval or direct negotiation of a treaty with France, by which he agreed to pay to that country an indemnity of 150,000,000 of francs, in five annual instalments. The French Government recognized the independence of Hayti, but it was impossible for Boyer to meet his engagements. He however conducted the administration with industry, discretion, and repose, for fifteen years, when a long-slumbering opposition, for his presumed preference of the mulatto to the black population in the dispensations of government favor, began to exhibit itself openly. When this feeling was manifested in the second chamber of the Legislature, in 1843, the promptness and decision with which he attempted to suppress it, induced an insurrection among the troops, and he was compelled to fly, with about thirty followers, to Jamaica. He afterward proceeded to London, and finally to Paris, where he lived quietly in the Rue de Madeline, enjoying the respect of many eminent men, and surrounded by attached followers who shared his exile, until the 10th of July. On the 12th he was buried with appropriate funeral honors.
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THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE.
The death of the Duke of Cambridge, brother of the late William IV., occurred the 8th of July, and was quite sudden. He was the seventh son of George III., was born in 1774, received his earliest education at Kew, and finished his studies at Gottingen. He entered the army, and experiencing much active service, was promoted, until in 1813 he attained the distinction of Field Marshal. He soon afterward became Governor-General of Hanover, and continued to fill that post until the accession of the Duke of Cumberland, in 1839. His subsequent life presented few features of much interest. His name was to be found as a patron and a contributor to many most valuable institutions, and he took delight in presiding at benevolent festivals and anniversary dinners, when, though without the slightest pretension to eloquence, the frankness and bonhommie of his manners, and his simple straight-forward earnestness of speech, used to make him an universal favorite. He took but little part in the active strife of parties. He died in his seventy-seventh year, leaving one son, Prince George of Cambridge, and two daughters.
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GEORGE W. ERVING.
This distinguished public man died in New York, on the 22d ult. A correspondent of the Evening Post gives the following account of his history:
"The journals furnish us with a brief notice of the death of the venerable George W. Erving, who was for so many years, dating from the foundation of our government, connected with the diplomatic history of the country, as an able, successful and distinguished negotiator. The career of this gentleman has been so marked, and is so instructive, that it becomes not less a labor of love than an act of public duty, with the press, to make it the occasion of comment. At the breaking out of our revolution, the father of the subject of this imperfect sketch was an eminent loyalist of Massachusetts, residing in Boston, connected by affinity with the Shirleys, the Winslows, the Bowdons, and Winthrops of that State. Like many other men of wealth, at that day, he joined the royal cause, forsook his country and went to England. There his son, George William, who had always been a sickly delicate child, reared with difficulty, was educated, and finally graduated at Oxford, where he was a classmate of Copley, now Lord Lyndhurst. Following this, on the attainment of his majority, and during the lifetime of his father, notwithstanding the most powerful and seductive efforts to attach him to the side of Great Britain, the more persevering from the great wealth, and the intellectual attainments of the young American—notwithstanding the importunities of misjudging friends and relatives, the incitements found in ties of consanguinity with some, and his intimate personal associations with many of the young nobility at that aristocratic seat of learning, and notwithstanding the blandishments of fashionable society—the love of country and the holy inspirations of patriotism, triumphed over all the arts that power could control, and those allurements usually so potent where youth is endowed with great wealth. The young patriot promptly, cheerfully, sacrificed all, for his country—turned his back upon the unnatural stepmother, and came back, to share the good or evil fortunes of his native land.
"Such facts as these should not be lost sight of at the present day—such an example it is well to refer to now, in the day of our prosperity. And we would ask—in no ill-natured or censorious spirit, but rather that the lessons of history should not be forgotten—how many young men of these days under like circumstances, would make a similar sacrifice upon the altar of their country? The solemn and impressive event which has produced this notice seems to render this question not entirely inappropriate; for years should not dim in the minds of the rising generation the memory of those pure and strong men, who, in the early trials of their country, rose equal to the occasion. When, at a later period, political parties began to develop themselves, Mr. Erving, then a resident of Boston, identified himself with the great republican party, and became actively instrumental in securing the election of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency. From that time forward until the day of his death, he never faltered in his political faith.
"Few men have been, for so long a period, so intimately connected with the diplomatic history of our country. He received his first public appointment, as Consul and Commissioner of Claims at London, nearly half a century since. This appointment was conferred upon him without his solicitation, and was at first declined. Subsequent reflection, however, induced him to waive all private and personal considerations, and he accepted the post assigned to him. The manner in which he discharged the duties of that trust, impressed the government with the expediency of securing his services in more important negotiations, and he was sent as Commissioner and Charge d'Affaires to Denmark. His mission to the court of that country was, at that period, a highly important one. The negotiations he had to conduct there, required great tact and ability.
"While at Copenhagen, he secured, in an eminent degree, the esteem and confidence of the Danish authorities, and brought to a successful solution the questions then arising out of the interests committed to him. In consequence, the government was enabled to avail itself of his experience at the Court of Berlin, where events seemed to require the exercise of great diplomatic ability. He was afterward appointed to Madrid, where, by his highly honorable personal character, and captivating manners, he obtained great influence, even at that most proud and distrustful court, and conducted, with consummate skill and marked success, the important and delicate negotiations then pending between the United States and Spain. He remained at Madrid for many years, where he attained the reputation of being one of the most able and accomplished diplomatists that the United States had ever sent abroad. Upon his final retirement from this post, and, in fact, from all public employment, the administration of General Jackson sought to secure his services in the mission to Constantinople, but the proffered appointment was declined.
"There are many interesting incidents in his public and diplomatic career, which a more extended notice would enable us to detail. Indeed, we hope that so instructive a life as that of Mr. Erving may hereafter find a fit historian. That historian may not have to chronicle victories won upon the battle field, but the civic achievement he will have to record, if not so dazzling as the former, will, at least, be as replete with evidences of public usefulness.
"The latter years of his life were passed in Europe, chiefly in Paris. The public agitations consequent upon the last French revolution, need of quiet at his advanced age, and the presentiment of approaching dissolution, induced him to return home. Indeed it was meet that he should close his mortal career in that country which he had so long and faithfully served, and whose welfare and happiness had been the constant object of his every earthly aspiration."
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DR. JOHN BURNS.
Among those who perished in the wreck of the Orion, was Dr. John Burns, Professor of Surgery in the University of Glasgow, aged about eighty years. Dr. Burns held a distinguished place in the medical world, for at least half a century, as an author and a teacher. He was a son of the Rev. Dr. John Burns, for more than sixty years minister of the Barony parish of Glasgow, who died about fourteen years ago, at the age of ninety. He was originally intended to be a manufacturer, and in his time the necessary training for this business included a practical application to the loom. A disease of the knee-joint unfitted him for becoming a weaver, and he turned his attention to the medical profession, winch the neighboring university afforded him easy and ample means of studying. He early entered into business as a general practitioner, but his ambition led him very soon to be an instructor. In 1800, he published Dissertations on Inflammation, which raised his name to a high position in the literature of his profession. In 1807, he published a kindred volume on Hemorrhage. In the mean time he had turned his attention to lecturing, and he continued to give, for many years, lectures on midwifery. His observations and experience on this subject he offered to the world in The Principles of Midwifery, a work which has run through twelve editions, and been translated into several of the continental languages. It is very elaborate and valuable, and as each succeeding edition presented the result of the author's increasing experience, it became a standard in every medical library. Its chief defect is a want of clearness in the arrangement, and sometimes in the language. In 1815, the crown instituted a Professorship of Surgery in the Glasgow University, and the Duke of Montrose, its chancellor, appointed to it Mr. Burns, a choice which the voice of the profession generally approved. The value of the professorship might average 500l. yearly.
As a professor, Dr. Burns was highly popular. He had a cheerful and attractive manner, and was fond of bringing in anecdotes more or less applicable, but always enlivening. His language was plain and clear, but not always correct or elegant. In personal appearance, he was of the middle size, of an anxious and careworn, but gentlemanly and intelligent, expression of countenance. In 1830, he published Principles of Surgery, first volume, which was followed by another. This work is confused, both in style and arrangement, and has been very little read, but it did credit to his zeal and industry, for he had now acquired fame and fortune, and had long had at his command the most extensive practice in the west of Scotland. John Burns, the younger, had written and published a work on the evidences and principles of Christianity, which was extensively read, and went through many editions. His name was not at first on the title-page, but that it was the production of a medical man was obvious. He gave a copy to his father, who shortly after said, "Ah, John, I wish you could have written such a book!" Dr. Burns has many friends in the United States, who were once his pupils. One of the most eminent of them is Professor Pattison of the Medical Department of the New York University, in this city.
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This gentleman, one of the victims of the lamentable wreck of the Elizabeth, was the youngest son of the late Charles P. Sumner, of Boston, for many years Sheriff of Suffolk county, and the brother of George Sumner, Esq., of Boston, who is well known for his legal and literary eminence throughout the country. He was about twenty-four years of ago, and has been abroad for nearly a year, traveling in the south of Europe for the benefit of his health. The past winter was spent by him chiefly in Florence, where he was on terms of familiar intimacy with the Marquis and Marchioness d'Ossoli, and was induced to take passage in the same vessel with them for his return to his native land. He was a young man of singular modesty of deportment, of an original turn of mind, and greatly endeared to his friends by the sweetness of his disposition and the purity of his character.—Tribune.
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THE FINE ARTS.
POWERS'S STATUE OF CALHOUN.—An unfortunate fatality appears to wait upon the works of Hiram Powers. It is but a few weeks since his "Eve" was lost on the coast of Spain, and it is still uncertain here whether that exquisite statue is preserved without such injury as materially to affect its value. And his masterpiece in history—perhaps his masterpiece in all departments—the statue of Calhoun, which has been so anxiously looked-for ever since the death of the great senator, was buried under the waves in which Madame d'Ossoli and Horace Sumner were lost, on the morning of the 19th, near Fire Island. At the time this sheet is sent to press we are uncertain as to the recovery of the statue, but we hope for the sake of art and for the satisfaction of all the parties interested, that it will still reach its destination. It is insured in Charleston, and Mr. Kellogg, the friend and agent of Mr. Powers, has been at the scene of the misfortune, with all necessary means for its preservation, if that be possible.
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HORACE VERNET, the great painter, has returned to Paris from St. Petersburgh. Offensive reports were current respecting his journey: he had been paid, it was alleged, in most princely style by the Emperor, for his masterly efforts in translating to canvas the principal incidents of the Hungarian and Polish wars. He came back, it was declared, loaded and content, with a hundred thousand dollars and a kiss—an actual kiss—from his Imperial Majesty. M. Vernet has deemed it necessary to publish a letter, correcting what was erroneous in these reports. He says:—"In repairing to Russia I was actuated by only one desire, and had but a single object, and that was, to thank His Majesty, the Emperor, for the honors with which he had already loaded me, and for the proofs of his munificence which I had previously received. I intended to bring back, and in fact have brought back from the journey, nothing but the satisfaction of having performed an entirely disinterested duty of respectful gratitude." It is true, however, that he lent his powers to illustrate the triumph of despotism, and if he brought back no gold the matter is not all helped by that fact.
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AUTHORS AND BOOKS.
THE REV. JAMES H. PERKINS, of Cincinnati, whose suicide during a fit of madness, several months ago, will be generally recollected for the many expressions of profound regret which it occasioned, we are pleased to learn, is to be the subject of a biography by the Rev. W.H. Channing. Mr. Perkins was a man of the finest capacities, and of large and genial scholarship. He wrote much, in several departments, and almost always well. His historical works, relating chiefly to the western States, have been little read in this part of the Union; but his contributions to the North American Review and the Christian Examiner, and his tales, sketches, essays, and poems, printed under various signatures, have entitled him to a desirable reputation as a man of letters. These are all to be collected and edited by Mr. Channing.
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Mrs. ESLING, better known as Miss Catherine H. Waterman, under which name she wrote the popular and beautiful lyric, "Brother, Come Home!" has in press a collection of her writings, under the title of The Broken Bracelet and other Poems, to be published by Lindsay & Blackiston of Philadelphia.
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M. ROSSEEUW ST. HILAIRE, of Paris, is proceeding with his great work on the History of Spain with all the rapidity consistent with the nature of the subject and the elaborate studies it requires. The work was commenced ten years ago, and has since been the main occupation of its author. The fifth volume has just been published, and receives the applause of the most competent critics. It includes the time from 1336 to 1492, which comes down to the very eve of the great discovery of Columbus, and includes that most brilliant period, in respect of which the history of Prescott has hitherto stood alone, namely, the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella. M. St. Hilaire has had access to many sources of information not accessible to any former writer, and is said to have availed himself of them with all the success that could be anticipated from his rare faculty of historical analysis and the beautiful transparency of his style.
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THE REV. ROBERT ARMITAGE, a rector in Shropshire, is the author of "Dr. Hookwell," and "Dr. Johnson, his Religious Life and his Death." In this last work, the Quarterly Review observes, "Johnson's name is made the peg on which to hang up—or rather the line on which to hang out—much hackneyed sentimentality, and some borrowed learning, with an awful and overpowering quantity of twaddle and rigmarole." The writer concludes his reviewal: "We are sorry to have had to make such an exposure of a man, who, apart from the morbid excess of vanity which has evidently led him into this scrape, may be, for aught we know, worthy and amiable. His exposure, however, is on his own head: he has ostentatiously and pertinaciously forced his ignorance, conceit, and effrontery on public notice." We quite agree with the Quarterly.
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JOHN MILLS—"John St. Hugh Mills," it was written then—was familiarly known in the printing offices of Ann street in this city a dozen years ago; he assisted General Morris in editing the Mirror, and wrote paragraphs of foreign gossip for other journals. A good-natured aunt died in England, leaving him a few thousand a year, and he returned to spend his income upon a stud and pack and printing office, sending from the latter two or three volumes of pleasant-enough mediocrity every season. His last work, with the imprint of Colburn, is called "Our Country."
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Mr. PRESCOTT, the historian, who is now in England, has received the degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford. Two or three years ago he was elected into the Institute of France.
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DR. MAGINN's "Homeric Ballads," which gave so much attraction during several years to Fraser's Magazine, have been collected and republished in a small octavo.
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Mr. KENDALL, of the Picayune, has sailed once more for Paris, to superintend there the completion of his great work on the late war in Mexico upon which he has been engaged for the last two years. The highest talent has been employed in the embellishment of this book, and the care and expense incurred may be estimated from the fact that sixty men, coloring and preparing the plates, can finish only one hundred and twenty copies in a month. The original sketches were taken by a German, Carl Nebel, who accompanied Mr. Kendall in Mexico, and drew his battle scenes at the very time of their occurrence. He has engaged in the prosecution of the whole enterprise with as much zeal and interest as Mr. Kendall himself, and has spared no pains to procure the assistance of the most skillful operatives. The book is folio in size, and will be published early in the fall. The letter press has long been finished, and only waiting for the completion of the plates. These are twelve, and their subjects are Palo Alto, the Capture of Monterey, Buena Vista: the Landing at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Cherubusco, Molino del Rey, two views of the Storming of Chapultepec, and Gen. Scott's entrance into the city of Mexico. The lithographs are said to be unsurpassed in felicity of design, perfection of coloring, and in the animation and expression of all the figures and groups. No such finished specimens of colored lithography were ever exhibited in this country. The plates will have unusual value, not only on account of their intrinsic superiority, but because of their rare historical merit, since they are exact delineations of the topography of the scenes they represent and faithful representations in every particular of the military positions and movements at the moment chosen for illustration.
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MRS. TROLLOPPE is as busy as she has ever been since the failure of her shop at Cincinnati—trading in fiction, with the capital won by her first adventure in this way, "The Domestic Manners of the Americans." Her last novel, which is just out, has in its title the odor of her customary vulgarity; it is called "Petticoat Government." Her son, Mr. A. Trolloppe, his just given the world a new book also, "La Vendee" a historical romance which is well spoken of.