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FEBRUARY 24, 1833 

Entered according to Act of Congrete, {„ the year 1863| by 


In the District Court of tha United States for the Southern District «.^f New York. 





PBOrrSB AHD Stkreottpkb, 

50 Or«en« Street. 




Peter Irviog In FkriB— An autographical sketch of hinuelf— PaUicatioii otQuB 
Alhambrap— ItB reception— Ezcuraion to Washington— The old General— Henry 
Cnay- Invited to a public dinner in Philadelphia— Meeting with Cooper, the trage- 
dian-Visit to the haunts of Bip Van Winkle— Tour to the White Mountains— At 
Tanytown— The Bnunin— First notion of Snnnyside— Saratoga Springs— Italian 
troupe— Trenton FallB— Homebred delights. 18 


Change of travelling plans— Letters to Mrs. Paris— Tour through Ohi»— 
Voyage on the Ohio and Mississippi— Black Hawk— The prairies of the Missouri 
—A launch Into savage life— Letter to Peter- New Orleans— William C. Preston 
— Sojourn at Washington— Misgivings as to the long existence of the general Union 
—Letter to James E. Paulding— Letters to Gouvemeur Kemble fh>m Washington 
—Return to New York— Letter to Peter Irving— Again at Baltimore— Letter 
thence to Peter Irving— General Jackson and Lieutenant Randolph— Herman 
Knickerbocker— Visit to old Dutch villages in the neighborhood of the Catskill 
Mountains— A Knickerbocker excursion with Mr. Van Buren— Abridgment of 
Columbus recommended by the legislature of New York as a dass book for the 
common schools— Sanguine calculations about it— Theatre— Italian opera. . 88 


The author's first notion of Astoria— Letters on the subject to Pierre Munro 
Irving— A nomination to Congress offered and declined— His distaste for politics— 
The Crayon Miscellanies— Publication and reception of the tour on the prairies- 
American and English prefSEuse— Farms out his prior works to Carey, Lea A Co. 
Ibr a term of seven years— No. IL of the Crayon Miscellany- Abbotsford and 


N«witettd— Porehaie cX ten aeret— Smmygida In embryo— 17a III ct the Cnym 
SCieellaoy— The Legends of the Conqneet ot Spain— Its pablieatlaD— i^narteied at 
TffWgyt4» with Mr. Aetor, and at 'wcftk. on his great enterprise— The -worionen hosy 
upon ^Ob eottage— The ^an extending as he hnilt— The great fire In New Toi^ 60 


Peter Irving about to retom— Bztraets from the last letter (rf Washington to 
him prior to his emlMreation— John Jacob Astor— Investments in ]and--Skiwer 
aJfidra than he anticipated— Return of Peter— Completion of the cottage— Com- 
mences hoosekeeping— PaUicatlon of Astori*— Peter an inmate of the cottage- 
Letter from ** The Boost**— Engaged upon the Adventores of Captain Bonneville 
—The new ^, tt 


ITewq^per attacks on Mr. Irving— Joseph SeaweU Jones— WilBam Leggett— 
The BookseUen^ festival— HaUeck and Sogers— Letter to Ebenexor Irving— Publi- 
cation of the Adventures of Captain Bonneville— Louis Napoleon at «* The Booat** 
—Peter no longer an inmate— Letter to Edward Everett— Letters to Gouvemeur 
Kemble— Death of John— The Tammany people propose to run him for mayor- 
Declines— President Van Bnren oflSBrs him the seeretaryahip of the navy— De- 


Letter to PlOToM. Irving-Death of Peter-Letter to Mrs. Van Wart on the 
subject-Further extracU from letters to Mrs. Van Wart, giving gosdplngs about 
the cottage-HU investments in land unproductive of revenue-OeU his pen In 
motion— Engages upon the Conquest of Mexico-Surrenders the theme to Prescott 
—Correspondence on the subject— Extract from letter to Pierre M. Irving after 
XMslpt of Presoott*sHlstoi7 of the Conquest of Mexico, 128 


Engages to contribute monthly to the Ejiickerbocksr magazine— HU poslUon 
respecting an international copyright law, in a letter to the editor— Prescott's 
Tiew-dd and new Tarrytown— Picture of hU neighborhood-Biographical sketch 
of Goldsmith Ibr Harper's Family Library— Ebenezer Irving— Biography of Mar- 
garet Davison— Anecdote of Clark nndOeoflEkey Crayon, . . . . U7 


Letter to Mra. Storrow, with transcriptB of letten from Van Btbbw, G. P. B. 
^ameB, mnd Diokeiu— Albert CkOlatiii— Vtoits in tlie Hlghlandft—Letter ftom 
Honesdale— Seized with ferer on his return— Letter after reeovery, . 100 


Extracts of letters to Mrs. Storrow— Anniversary of the St. Nicholas Society— 
The life of Washington begun— Appointed Minister to Spain— Secretaries of 
Legation— Joseph G. Cogswell— Alexander Hamilton— The Dickens dinner— Let- 
ter from Boz—Bmbaroation and farewell, • . 178 


Mr. Lrving in London— Levee— Reception at Conri— Qneen Victoria— Prince 
Albert— Meeting of old acqmaintanoes— Rogers— Leslie— James Bandinel— Monas- 
tic eeclnsion in Westminster Abbey— Anniversary dinner of the Literary Fund— 
His struggle about going— Extract trom Moore's diary on the subject— The 
Queen's grand fiuicy ball— At Paris— A guest of Mrs. Storrow— Passages from 
letters to Sarah Irving and Mrs. Paris— Mr. Oass— Letter to Mrs. Henry Van Wart 
—Letter to Mrs. Paris— Presentment to Louis Philippe and other members of the 
royal fiimily at Neuilly— His reception— FMe at Cidonel Thorn's— Passages of 
letters to Pierre M. Lrving and wife, 188 


Passages of a letter to Henry Brevoort— Letter to Mrs. Paris tram Bayonne— 
Bordeaux remioiscences— Arrival at Madrid, and occupation of his new home- 
Domestic details— Duke de Gor— Audience of the Minister of Foreign Affairs- 
Interview with the Regent at his palace at Bnena Vista— Audience of the Queen 
at the royal palace— Letters to Mrs. Romeyn— Passages fh>m letters to Ebenezer 
Irving, 213 


Letter to Mrs. Paris— Sketch of Spanish politics, and Spanish characters— The 
insurrection in October, 1841— Attempt to get possession of the person of the 
Queen— The royal x>alaee— Its situation— Details of his first audience with the 
Queen— His sympathy in her position— Diplomatic themes— Curiosity about the 
delivery of hia credentials— Louis Philippe 281 


Letter to Ifiss Catherine Irving— Passages fh>m letters to Mrs. Paris— The 
Qneen giving audience— Diplomatic conversation with Realty— Insurreetion in 


BMwekMUb— JDepwtore of Uie B^geot— The soUtaryraveii— Attacks of the Sonthem 
literary Meaaeoger and Graham's Magazi no— LettM-a ou the sabject— literaiy 
oooupatioD, 256 


Letter to Miaa Sarah Irviiig— Indiapoaitioo of the aiithoi>->Ijetter to Mrs. Paris 
— Alarming aspect of political eveuta^-Oloomy soiree of the B^^t, preparaloiy 
to his departure— Letters to Mrs. Storrow— In the midst of conspiracies and io- 
snrrectionfr— A city in a state of siege— Sallies forth— Striking scenes— Note of the 
dipkMnatlooorpsinbehalf of the Queen, 2«& 


Letter to Mrs. Paria— Incorrect accounts of th« interposition of the corps 
dix^omatiqne— Hia Tersion—Sspartero driven oat— Impatience to dedare the 
Queen of age— Scenes and ceremonials in the royal palace— Visits the Dnchess of 
Viciori*(theBegeiirsii1fe)inherreTer8eof fortone, 2B1 


Leaves Madrid Ibr change of air— Exoorsion to Versailles and Paris— Grisi in 
Norma— Bordcaax— Letter to Henry Brevoort— Regrets about the interruption of 
bis literary plans— Allnsion to the diplomatic intervention for the safety of tiie 
Queen— Meeting with Rogers— Return to Madrid— Letter to Mrs. Paris— The 
young Queen's accession to the throne— Madame CaMeron— Passages trom a letter 
to Mrs. GrinneO, a03 


Extracts fh>m various letters— The past year a literary blank— The Queen*a 
entrance upon her reign — Explanation of a scene in the cabinet— Royalty on ita 
bed of death— Preparation for the arrival of the Queen Mother— Her return- 
Letter to Mary Irving— Letter to Mrs. Paris— The royal meeting— Entrance of 
QoeenChristinaintoMadrid- Deathof Arguelles, SU 


Letter to Pierre Munro Irving— Occupied in literary revision— His doubts 
about the king who first made Madrid a court residence— Letter to Mrs. Paris — 
Besamanos at the royal palace— Survey of the scene— His meditations— Approach- 
ing departure of his Seeretaiy of Legation— Letter to Mra. BtOROw— Letter to Mra. 


P. M. Irving— BeeanuDioB at the Qneen Motbeifg— A sneoeMloB of diplonMtio 
diimera— A bleesiDg invoked on snrgeoiiB and dentistfl, 888 


Departure of Hamilton— Lonelinesa— The new American lOniiter at Paria^ 
Heartsick -with the politics of Spain—The Betiro— A new Secretary of Legation— 
Letter fi-om Barcelona^The Turkish Miniater— Audience of the Qneen— Remin- 
iscence of the palace— Its peculiar interest to him— €k>nnt De Espagne— Letter to 
Pierre M. Irving— Temporary leave of absence granted him— Intends to visit 
Pftria, 812 


From Barcelona to Paris— The likeness— Marseillea— Avignon— Lyons— Ver- 
aidUes— Five days with the American Consul at Havre— Leaves Havre for London 
— Slii>8 through London quietly— At the Shrubbery- Back to France— Visit to 
King Louis Philippe— Letter to Mrs. Paris— Court gayetiee— Musings in the 
royal pile, * 857 


Extract from a^letter to Mrs. Paris— Narvaez— Passages from letters to Mrs; 
Storrow«-Letter to Mrs. Paris— Transfer of his establishment, intending to send in 
his resignation— Besolves on a brief visit to Paris— Lingers there to see Mr. 
MeLane, the American Minister at the Court of St. James— Transmits his resig- 
nation—Visits London— The Oregon dispute— Letter to Pierre M. Irving— Return 
to Madrid, 870 


Historical extract from a diplomatic despatch— Hears of the appointment of a 
enccessor— His feeling in regard to the war with Mexico— Allusion to the settle- 
ment of the Oregon question-r Arrival of General Saunders— Audience of leave— 
Return to Sunnyside— The addition— Preparing a complete edition of his works— 
I etter to Gonvemeur Kemble, 880 

Vol. m.— 1* 






nnHE excitement and exhilaration that followed 
-*- Mr. Irving's arrival in his native city did not 
soon subside. " I have been topsy-turvy ever since," 
he writes to Peter, after a hurried and laborious, 
though joyous round of visits and congratulations 
among his friends; friends, at his departure, "clus- 
tered in neighboring contiguity in a moderate commu- 
nity, now scattered widely asunder over a splendid 
metropolis." New York had been advancing rapidly 

14 I'IFB AND LETTEBS [1882. 

in wealth and popnlation since he left, and at this 
date numbered more than two hundred thousand in- 
habitants. "I have repeatedly wished, since my 
return, that you could be here with me," he writes to 
Peter, whose prolonged exile from his native land now 
threatened to be final "The mode of living, the 
sources of quiet and social enjoyment, and the sphere 
of friendly and domestic pleasures, are improved and 
multiplied to a degree that has delightfully surprised 

The brother to whom this extract was addressed, 
now sixty years of age, had made no resolution to 
spend the remainder of his days in Europe, and in a 
letter to his friend Beasley, the American consul at 
Havre, lying before me, expresses " a great desire to 
return home," but, he adds, " at my time of life, and 
in my state of health, and with my acquired habits 
and my aversion to a sea voyage, in which I am accus- 
tomed to suffer so much, I do not think a return prob- 
able." He was now living in Paris, whither he had 
withdrawn from Havre for solitude and regimen. 

It is in the crowd of a great metropolis (he writes) that I 
can most successfully seek seclusion, and live precisely in the 
way most suitable to my health. * * * I do not know any 
city so desirable as a residence as Paris. All the works of sci- 
ence and of art, of curiosity and amusement are so varied and 
abundant and accessible ; and at the same time absolute soli- 
tude is 80 completely within our reach, without becoming an 
object of remark or supervision. To prevent myself from 


becoming lonely and hypochondriacal, while the state of my 
health obliges me to withhold myself from society, I have be- 
come abonni at one of the theatres. I have selected the 
Vaudeville, which has the best company, and exhibits the 
pleasantest pieces, both serious and comic. They have gen- 
erally three in an evening, and sometimes four, but I never 
stay to more than two. 

In a letter to Washington, a month later in date 
[August 19], he gives a similar sketch of his life in the 
great metropolis : 

I live so retired in the midst of this great city, in consid- 
eration of my health, that I know little of what is passing, 
and see but few of our many countrymen who resort to it. 
Society is a vortex, and I am obHged to keep resolutely with- 
out the margin, or I should inevitably be engulphed. I there- 
fore avoid dinners and soirees^ and abstain as far as possible 
even from visits. By pursuing rigidly this course, I escape the 
indisposition to which I seem peculiarly Hable ; and Paris is so 
full of resource for a literary lounger, in its hbraries, its gal- 
leries of paintiQg and sculpture, its noble institutions in every 
department of science, its palaces and gardens, all open to the 
stranger, and its places of amusement all easy of access, that 
a man may lead here the life of a hermit, and at the same time 
a life of luxurious enjoyment. I have also punctual corre- 
spondents and supphes of newspapers in the reading room and 
in my own apartment, through the attention of our friend 
Beasley, so that I can supervise the operations of the great 
world as I would overlook a game of chess. We read of 
anchorites who retired to caves and cells, amid rocks and 


deserts, when infirmities or other causes rendered them imsiiitp 
able to mingle in society, and the world seems to hare sanc- 
tioned and approved their taste. I feel justified, therefore, in 
my more cheerful seclusion. 

The passages I have quoted from these letters of 
Peter exhibit the character of the invalid, and the 
wise and beantifol spirit of philosophy in which, in the 
midst of his ailments, he contrived to pnt into life 
whatever of comfort and enjoyment it could be made 
to yield. 

In another letter, after giving Washington a pic- 
ture of his being " most snugly and pleasantly estab- 
lished in a little apartment in the Hotel Breteuil," he 
adds: "You perceive, therefore, that I am getting 
along very cheerily, the indisposition to which I am 
rather predisposed being kept completely at arm's 
length by quiet and moderate living ; and when you 
recollect how principal a part you have performed in 
procuring me so serene and agreeable a sunset, it can- 
not but form an addition by reflection to your own 

I am delighted (writes Washington in reply) to find you 
are passing your time so comfortably and pleasantly at Paris. 
That old hotel is the very place for you — a kind of Castle of 
Indolence, where you seem to have various inmates passing in 
review from time to time before you. Though it would glad 
my heart and rejoice your friends to have you on this side of 
the Atlantic, and though there are sources of enjoyment here 

.fc.49.] OF WlSHUiaTON IRVING. 17 

of which you have no idea irom fonner experience, jet I know 
the wisdom of being content with good, instead of seeking for 
hetter, and think you are acting wisely in resting satisfied with 
plain, simple Fabis. 

In the first letter written to his brother Washing- 
ton, after hearing of the safe arrival of the vessel at 
New York, Peter mentions that a French translation 
of the Alhambra had been published in two octavo 
volumes, and the work had received favorable notices 
in several of the Parisian journals, from which he 
extracts some paragraphs. It would appear from this 
that the publication of the Alhambra in England, and 
possibly its translation in France, preceded its appear- 
ance in America, where it was issued by Messrs. Carey 
& Lea on the 9th of June, three weeks after the au- 
thor's arrival in his own country. He had expected 
that its publication would precede his arrival, and it is 
not easy to see why it did not, as the contract of his 
agent, Ebenezer Irving, granting to Carey & Lea " a 
right to print, publish, and vend five thousand five 
hundred copies," bears date as early as the 17th of 
March. The time required for disposing of these five 
thousand five hundred copies was not to exceed the 
last day of December in tbe year one thousand eight 
hundred and thirty^our, Aftei*- the printing, if the 
work should be prepared for publication from stereo- 
type plates, the author was to have the privilege of 
taking the plates at a fair value, if he should elect to 

Vol. ni.--(2) 

18 UFE AND LBTTEBS ' {18tS. 

do SO. The coiisideration was three thousand doUais, 
payable in three equal notes^ bearing date on the day 
of publication, in six, nine, and twelve months. The 
amount paid by Colbum & Bentley for the absolute 
copyright of the work, as has been before stated, was 
one thousand guineas, in six, nine, and twelve months. 
The Alhambra was published in Philadelphia in 
two duodecimo volumes. I give two extracts, which 
may serve as a specimen of the immediate tone of 
criticism. The first I take from a Baltimore paper of 
June 16, seven days after the publication : 

The Alhambra displays the characteristic excellencies of 
Mr. Irving — ^the easy, natural narrative, the smooth and ele- 
gant diction, the pithy hmnor. The grace and polish of his 
style are generally considered Mr. Irving's chief merit. A too 
high value cannot, certainly, be put upon these qualities in a 
hook : the want of them sinks many an otherwise good one. 
But still, they are secondary. It may even be said, that they 
cannot exist without the presence of more substantial qualities. 
You cannot give a high polish to a common substance : an 
intrinsic fineness of grain is indispensable to this ; and hence, 
the existence of a high degree of polish on the exterior de- 
notes internal excellence of material. Gracefulness, too, is 
inseparably connected with something internal : it is not an 
addition, but rather an emanation. 

"When, therefore, the style of Mr. Irving is made the 
object of especial commendation, it must be recollected that 
the qualities of style are dependent upon the qualities of the 
matter they set forth. The character of the style of an 


author is tiltiinately detennined by that of his thoughts and 
feelings. It is not merely to peculiar cultivation — to the study 
c^ good models, however serviceable as auxiliary exercise — 
that is owing the charm of Mr. living's style ; but it is to the 
soundness of his intellect — the correctness of his feehngs — to 
his susceptibiHty to the beautiful and the touching — ^his accu- 
racy of observation — ^to the hwmony of his mind with nature 
and with itself — ^in short, to those capabilities whose combined 
action constitutes his individuality as a man, and his superior- 
ity as a writer. 

Under the light, and sometimes fantastic sketches of the 
Alhambra, these capabihties are all manifested. Like the 
slight and airy fabric of a gothic spire, the volumes have a 
soHd basis: their most marvellous fictions rest on a shrewd 
observation of real life. Beneath the naif narration of the 
wildest dreams of oriental imagination, there flows a current 
of good sense ; behind some of the most comic and grotesque 
scenes there lurks a latent wisdom. 

The next extract I take from the New York Mirrar 
of June 23, a weekly periodical edited by George P. 
Morris, Theodore S. Fay, and Nathaniel P. Willis- 
names well known in the literary world. After speak- 
ing of the serious disadvantage a popular writer has 
to contend against in the unmeaning and vague expec- 
tations elicited by a brilliant fame, and alluding to the 
Sketch Book and Bracebridge Hall as the greatest ene- 
mies his future productions would ever meet, the critic 


Tet ihe Tales ot the Alhambra are brilliaiit and striking 
told with the most delightful grace of language, and addressed 
to the imagination of all classes. The preliminaiy sketches^ 
relating the author's ramblings over Spain, his approach to the 
palace from which the volumes derive their title, his drawings 
of character, his minute household observations, his moonlight 
thoughts on that interesting scene, his reveries from the vari* 
ous points of prospect, are, in our estimation, reallj delicious. 
Their very familiar and easy simplicity makes them so. They 
are impressed in every page, every line, every word, with the 
reality of truth and the glow of nature. They are evidently 
no inventions, but transcripts. His scenes stretch away before 
you; his people move, look, and walk with an individuality 
and a force only to be produced by the hand of a master. 
Indeed, these opening pages are full of those delightfully 
gn^hic and pleasing delineations peculiar to this author, and 
worthy of the best parts of the Sketch Book. 

This " beautifnl Spanish Sketch Book,*' as it was 
happily designated by Prescott, the historian, was also 
very favorably noticed in the Westminster Review for 
Jnly, in an article which, after singling ont portions as 
of great felicity, condudes thns : 

The whole is a luxury, but of an extremely refined order. 
As a work of art, it has few rivals among modem publica- 
tions. Were a lecture to be given on the structure of the 
true poetical prose, nowhere would it be possible to find more 
luculent examples. Many paragraphs, and even chapters, 
want but the voice to make them discourse most eloquent 

Mt.49.] OF VflSBIXQTaiH IBVINa. 21 

The JSTorth Americcm Hevtew for October, which 
contained, by the way, a review of "Wheaton's History 
of the Northmen, from the pen of Mr. Irving, in an 
article written by the distinguished Edward Everett, 
remarks of it : " The subjects are all wrought up with 
great felicity," " and are among the most finished and 
elegant specimens of style to be found in the lan- 
guage." I know not whether it was before or after 
the publication of the Alhambra that the poet Camp- 
bell remarked to an American gentleman, from whose 
brother I have the anecdote : " Washington Irving has 
added clarity to the English tongue." 

The Alhambra was dedicated to David Wilkie, the 
painter, his companion, as we have seen, in many 
Spanish scenes, though he did not accompany him to 
Granada. When it appeared, the author was at 
Washington, to which city he had repaired a few days 
after the public dinner which had welcomed his re- 
turn, to make his bow to the head of the Government, 
and settle his accounts as charge. He wished also to 
pass a little time with the McLanes, from whom he 
had received the most pressing letters of invitation, 
and who had already prepared a room for him. Mr. 
McLane was, at this period of great political discord 
and discontent. Secretary of the Treasury under An- 
drew Jackson, who was soon to launch his memorable 
veto at the bill for the renewal of the charter of the 
Bank of the United States, while glancing ominously 
at the imperial State of South Carolina, preparing to 

22 I^B Al^ LBTTSBS [IStt. 

pass her ordinance of nnllificaticm, accompanied with 
threats of secession, and armed hostility and defiance 
to the Government. 

Mj journey (he writes to Peter, from Washington, June 
16) was rapid but delightful, being for the greater part of the 
way in splendid steamboats, and at one place for some distance 
on a railroad. I slept in Philadelphia, and arrived at Wash- 
ington in the evening of the second day. Here I was re- 
ceived with acclamation by the McLanes, large and small, and 
have now spent nearly a fortnight with them in the most 
delightful manner. 

* ***** 

McLane stands the &tigue and annoyance of his station 
much better than I had anticipated, and seems generallj in 
better tone of spirits than he was at London. 

I have been most kindly received by the old general, with 
whom I am much pleased as well as amused. As his admirers 
say, he is truly an old Roman — ^to which I would add, ttn^ a 
little dash of the Greek ; for I suspect he is as knowing^ as I 
believe he is honest I took care to put myself promptly on a 
fair and independent footing with him ; for, in expressing 
warmly and sincerely how much I had been gratified by the 
unsought, but most seasonable mark of confidence he had 
shown me, when he hinted something about a disposition to 
place me elsewhere, I let him know emphatically that I wished 
for nothing more — ^that my whole desire was to live among 
my coimtrymen, and to follow my usual pursuits. In feet, I 
am persuaded that my true course is to be master of myself 
and of my time. Official station cannot add to my happiness 


or respectability, and certainlj would $tand in the way of my 
literary career. 

The opinion you express in regard to your future career 
(writes Peter in reply) accords very much with my own. It 
is difficult to accept of office without being supposed to attach 
yourself to a party, and it is then in the nature of things that 
the opposing factions should presently regard you as an enemy. 
The great object of ambition is that popularity which consti- 
tutes renown. You have fortunately obtained it without any 
charlatanism, by the quiet operation of your qualities and exer- 
tion of your talents. A perseverance in the same course 
seems to hold out prosperity, respectabihty, and happiness. 

The letter of "Washington, from which I broke off 
to give this passage of Peter's reply, continues : 

I have renewed my acquaintance with Clay, who looks 
much better than I had expected to find him, and very much 
like his former self. He tells me he has improved greatly in 
health since he was dismissed from office, and finds that it is 
good for man as well as beast to be turned out occasionally to 
grass. Certainly official life in Washington must be harass- 
ing and dismal in the extreme.* 

I have been offered pubhc dinners at Philadelphia and Bal- 
timore, but have decHned them, as I shall all further ceremo- 
nials of the kind ; but the general manifestation of cordial 
kindness and good will I have met in all places and at all 
hands, since my arrival, is deeply gratifying. 

* Henry Clay had been Secretary of State under the Presidency of 
John Quincy Adams. The latter, a veteran statesman, retired from the 


The following is the reply of Mr. Irving to the 
letter of C* C. Biddle, Esq., and nmnerous other gen- 
tlemen, inviting him to a public dinner in Philadel- 

Wa8hihoto>, June 9, ISSX 

Gentlemen : 

I cannot feel otherwise than deeply sensible of the distin- 
guished honor you propose to confer on me, in giving me a 
public dinner on mj return to Philadelphia. Associated as 
your city is with some of the most agreeable recollections of 
my early life, and endeared as it is to me by many cherished 
friendships, I know of no city but that of my birth where the 
profifered testimonial of esteem and kindness would be more 
acceptable. I have, however, so strong and unfeigned a re- 
pugnance to being the object of pubhc distinction of the kind, 
that, with the exception of the first welcome to my native 
place, I have made up my mind to decline all invitations but 
those of a private nature. 

Trusting that you will properly appreciate these reasons, 
and will feel assured of my heartfelt gratitude and perfect 
respect, I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your very obliged 
friend and servant, 

Washington Irving. 

In the following letter to his brother Peter, we 
have an acconnt of his first meeting with his old theat- 
rical friend, Thomas A. Cooper, and Mary Fairlie, his 

duur of state, was now flerving his country as a member of the House of 
BepresentatiTes. Cbiy was in the Senate. 


wife, the " Sophy Sparkle," as before noted, of Salma- 

Philadelphia, June 2lst — I have only time to write a 
few hurried lines at long intervals, my time and mind are so 
much engrossed in my present hurried existence. I lefl 
Washington a few days since, and stopped a couple of days 
at Baltimore, where I was so much pleased that I have deter- 
mined to pay it a visit of some space in the autumn. 

This morning I was seated at breakfast at the pubHc table 
of the Mansion House, when Cooper entered to take his 
repast. I recognized him instantly ; indeed, he retains much 
of his shape and look, though the former is a little squarer and 
heavier. I immediately accosted him. He took his seat 
beside me, and we had an interesting dish of chat. He was 
on the point of starting for his home at Bristol, and invited 
me to pay his wife and family a visit, and return in the after- 
noon steamboat. So said, so done. I took my seat beside 
him in a light, open carriage, with a tall stripling in the uni- 
form of a cadet of "West Point, whom he introduced as his 
eldest son, and who had much of his mother'*s countenance. I 
found Mary Fairlie in a pretty cottage in the pretty town of 
Bristol, on the banks of the Delaware. She was pale, and 
thinner than' I had expected to find her, yet stiH retaining 
much of her former self. I passed a very agreeable and 
interesting day there. 

Mary talked much about you, and, like all your old friends, 
expressed the most longing desire to see you in this country. 
Afler dining with them, I got on board a steamboat that was 

Vol. in.— 2 

26 LI^ ^^ LBTTEBS [1858. 

passing at five o'dock, and was whisked up to this city in an 
hour and a half. 

New York, June 2Sth, — Since writing the foregoing^ I 
saw Cooper act a few scenes of Iklacbeth, before a very thin 
Philadelphia audience. He acted much as formerly, excepting 
rather more slowly and heavily. His form is still fine on the 
stage, but his countenance is muzzy and indistinct. I was 
engaged for the evening, and could only stay to the end of his 
dagger and murder scene. I should think his Macbeth equal 
to any they have at present in England, though this is not 
saying much. It did not reUsh with me, however, as in the 
olden time ; but a thin and cold-hearted audience is enough to 
dampen the spirit of a performer, and to chill the feelings of a 

Charles Joseph Latrobe and the Count de Pour- 
tales, the travelling companions mentioned in the fol- 
lowing letter, made the acquaintance of Mr. Irving at 
Havre previous to his embarcation, and were his fel- 
low passengers across the Atlantic. They also accom- 
panied him, as will be seen hereafter, in his roving 
expedition to the prairies of the far "West. Latrobe 
afterward wrote a work, entitled "The Rambler in 
North America,'^ which was published in London in 
1835, and inscribed to "Washington Irving, " in token 
of aflTectionate esteem and remembrance." 

[To Peter Irving, at Parts.'] 

Nmw YOKK, Jaly 0, 1832. 

My dear Brother : 

I received, last evening, your letter from Paris, dated May 
18 th, and am sorry to find that your headaches continue so had 

-fir. 49.] OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 27 

as to oblige you to fly from Havre. I trust, however, that a 
respite from the hospitable oppression of friend Beasley has 
before this restored you to your usual health. 

I wrote to you some days since, giving an account of my 
excursion to Washington. Since then I have been for a few 
days up the Hudson. I set ofif in company with James Paul- 
ding, Mr. Latrobe, and the Count de Pourtales, whom I have 
found most agreeable travelling companions. "We left New 
York about seven o'clock, in one of those great steamboats 
that are like floating hotels, and we arrived at "West Point in 
about four hours, Gouvemeur Kemble's barge, with an awn- 
ing, was waiting for us, and conveyed us across the river into 
a deep cove to his cottage, which is buried among beautiful 
forest trees. Here we passed three or four hot days most 
luxuriously, lolling on the grass under the trees, and occasion- 
ally bathing in the river. You would be charmed with 
Grouvemeur's little retreat; it is quite a bachelor's Elysium. 
* * * From thence we took steamboat, and in a few hours 
were landed at Catskill, where a stage coach was in waiting, 
and whirled us twelve miles up among the mountains to a fine 
hotel built on the very brow of a precipice, and commanding 
one of the finest prospects in the world. "We remained here 
until the next day, visiting the waterfall, glen, &c., that are 
pointed out as the veritable haunts of Rip Van "Winkle. 

This was the author's first visit to the scene of his 
renowned story, published twelve years before. "I 
have little doubt," writes Peter in reply, " but some 
curious travellers will yet find some of the bones of 
his dog, if they can but hit upon the veritable spot of 
his long sleep." The letter proceeds : 

28 I<I^ AND LETTEBS [188S. 

The wild scenery of these mountains outdoes all my con- 
ception of it Leaving the hotel at four o'clock in the after- 
noon, we took steamboat the same evening, and landed in New 
York at six o'clock the next morning, after enjoying a com- 
fortable night's sleep. In fact, one appears to be wafted from 
place to place in this country as if by magic. 

It will be bome in mind that Peter had left the 
country in the beginning of 1809, just after the inven- 
tion of steamboats, and that it was altogether natural 
in "Washington, in writing to him, to refer constantly 
to the chauges and improyements that had taken place 
in the country during the lapse of twenty-three years 
in which he had been away. At the close of the let- 
ter which I haye quoted in part, he mentions an in- 
tended excursion to the White Mountains in New 
Hampshire, which, says Peter in reply, "are alto- 
gether strangers to me." 

Three weeks later, when he had just returned to 
Tarrytown from a visit to Boston and a tour to the 
White Mountains, he writes to Peter (August 3) : 

At Boston I passed five days, a great part of which was 
in company with Newton and his friends. * * * Here I 
met with Mr. Latrobe and Count Fourtales, and we proceeded 
on our tour to the White Mountains. The journey through the 
centre of New Hampshire was dehghtfiil — ^the roads good, the 
inns good, and the country beautiful beyond expectation. A 
fine medley of lakes and forests, and bright, pure running 
streams. At an inn at the head of a fine lake* we paused for 

* Lake Wumepiaaagee, or Winnipiaogee. 

.fir. 49.] OP WASHIKGTON IRVING. 29 

part of two days. On mj return to the inn after a ramble, I 
observed a pleasant face smiling at me from the parlor win- 
dow. I entered, and who should it be but Mrs. L , who, 

with our worthy Paris friend of apple-pie memory, and their 
children, was making the same tour with myself. I was de- 
lighted, as you may suppose, at the rencontre. We kept 
together through the mountains, when Latrobe and Pourtales 
left me, and made a tour through Vermont, and I took a seat 

in L 's carriage, and proceeded with him down the valley 

of the Connecticut. We followed the course of that lovely 
river to Springfield, through a continued succession of en- 
chanting scenes ; when I parted from them, and made the best 
of my way to New York. After passing a day in the city, 
which is desolate and deserted on account of the cholera, I 
came off with the Bramin to this place, where a great part of 
the family forces is collected. Here I am in a little cottage, 
in which is Mr. Paris's family, and a number of the Bramin's 
young fry, among which are his two oldest daughters, whom I 
have now seen for the first time. 

" The Bramin " was liis brother Ebenezer, whom, 
by some whimsical fancy, he now styles by this desig- 
nation, the first written trace of it wjiich I meet. 
"Brom" and " Captain Greatheart" were the familiar 
titles by which, in earlier days, he passed among his 

At Tarrytown — " old Tarrytown," as he calls it in 
one of his letters, from its association with his early 
days — ^he was within two miles of Sunnyside, and he 
seems even at this time to have had some notion of 

30 LIFE A5D LETTERS [1^8. 

purchasing it. Perhaps his visit to the "bachelor's 
Elysium " of his friend Kemble, further up the Hud- 
son, fi-om which he had lately returned, may have set 
him revolving the purpose of a similar " nest." At 
all events, he writes to his sister, Mrs. Paris, when on 
his rambles in November : 

I am more and more in the notion of having that little cot- 
tage below Oscar's* house, and wish you to tell him to en- 
deavor to get it for me. I am willing to pay a little imreason- 
ably for it, and should like to have it in time to make any 
alterations that may be advisable, as early as possible in the 

Before the purchase was effected, however, or even 
attempted, he was informed of a serious pecuniary 
loss, which suspended for the time his project of secur- 
ing the little retreat. 

On the 4th of August he left Tarrytown for Sara- 
toga Springs, where he was joined by Latrobe and 
Pourtales, who were to accompany him in a tour he 
was then meditating through the western part of the 
State of New York, but which was destined to extend 
to the remote West. Among the visitors to the 
Springs he found many old friends, with whom he 
resumed acquaintance. "It quite delights me," he 
writes to Peter, " to find how soon I fall into the cur- 
rent of old intimacies, and forget the lapse of years." 

* Oscar Lrriiig, the third son of his brother William, who owned and 
occupied the adjoining acres. 


From the Springs lie proceeded to Trenton Falls, 
from whence he writes to Peter, August 16 : 

This place has risen into notice since your departure from 
America. The falls are uncommonly beautiful, and are on 
"West Canada Creek, the main branch of the Mohawk, within 
sixteen miles of Utica. 

My tour thus far has been through a continued succession 
of beautiful scenes ; indeed, the natural beauties of the United 
States strike me infinitely more than they did before my resi- 
dence in Europe. The accommodations for travellers also 
have improved in a wonderful degree. In no country out of 
England have I found such excellent hotels, and such good 
fare, in places remote from cities. I am now in a clean, airy, 
well-furnished hotel, on a hill with a broad, beautiful prospect 
in front, and forests on all the other sides. My travelling 
companions and myself have the house to ourselves. Our 
table is excellent, and we are enjoying as pure and delightful 
breezes as I did in the Alhambra. The murmur of the neigh- 
boring falls lulls me to a delicious summer nap, and in the 
morning and evening I have glorious bathing in the clear 
waters of the little river. In fact, I return to all the simple 
enjoyments of old times with the renovated feelings of a 
schoolboy, and have had more hearty, homebred delights of 
the kind since my return to the United States, than I have 
ever had in the same space of time in the whole course of my 

The cholera — that Asiatic scourge which had 
crossed the Atlantic, in June, to Quebec — was at this 
time extending about the country, and spreading great 


alann, so that the whole course of bnsmess, as Well as 
pleasure, was interrupted* Many of the towns through 
which he would have to pass would be in the first 
stage of panic and outbreak. This was then the case 
with Utica, about sixteen miles from Trenton Falls, 
where his letter is dated. "I shall leave that place 
out of my route," he writes, " though hitherto I have 
never avoided the malady, nor shall I do so in the 
course of my tour ; simply observing such general diet 
and habits of living as experience has taught me are 
best calculated to keep my system in healthful tone." 

^r. 49.] OF WASamQTOS IRVING. 33 



"TTT'HEN" Mr. Irving set out on this journey, he 
^ ^ was meditating a tour in the western part of 
the State of New York, and in Ohio, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee. In the following letter we find him chang- 
ing his purpose, and embarking in an extensive ex- 
pedition into the far "West, beyond the bounds of 
civilization, in company with one of the three Com- 
missioners appointed by the. Government to treat with 
deputations of different tribes of the Indians. The 
Commissioners were to rendezvous at Fort Gibson, 
seven hundred miles up the Arkansas. It was an 
Vol. m.— 2* (8) 


opportunity to see the aborigines of America in their 
own wild territory, too tempting to be resisted. 

[To Mrs, Paris, at New York.l 

CiscnrsATi, Sept 2, 1832. 

My deab Sister : 

You have no doubt heard from our brother E. I. of the 
alteration, or rather extension of my travelling plans, in con- 
sequence of which I shall accompany the Commissioners on 
their expedition into the territories west of the Mississippi, to 
visit and hold conferences with the emigrating Indian tribes. 
The Commissioner, Mr. Ellsworth, who invited me to this joiu:- 
ney, and whom I accidentally met on board of a steamboat on 
Lake Erie, is a very gentlemanly and amiable person, and an 
excellent travelling companion. I have also my old fellow 
travellers, Mr. Latrobe and the young Count Pourtales, who 
are dehghted with the idea of travelling on horseback through 
the forests and prairies, camping in tents at nights, and himt- 
ing deer, buffaloes, and wild turkeys. We have made a very 
interesting tour through Ohio. We landed at Ashtabula, a 
small place on the shore of Lake Erie. From thence we pro- 
ceeded along the ridge road parallel to the lake to Cleveland, 
and thence through the centre of the State to this city, where 
we arrived last evening. I have been greatly delighted with 
the magnificent woodland scenery of Ohio, and with the ex- 
uberant fertility of the soil, which will eventually render this 
State a perfect garden spot. When the forests are cleared 
away, however, the country will be a vast plain, diversified 
here and there by a tract of roUing hills ; and nothing will 
compensate for the loss of those glorious trees, which now 
present the subhme of vegetation. 


Tn the course of our joumej we diverged from the direct 
route, to visit one of those stupendous and mysterious Indian 
antiquities which are among the wonders of the land. Im- 
mense ramparts and mounds of earth extending for miles, that 
must have required the united labors of a vast multitude, and 
have been intended to protect some important citj or some 
populous region. These works are now in the depths of thick 
forests, overgrown with trees that are evidently the growth 
of centuries. Nothing relative to them remains in Indian tra- 
dition, nor is the construction of such vast works in any way 
compatible with the habits and customs of any of our aborigi- 
nal tribes. You may imagine what a subject for speculation 
and reverie the sight of such monuments presents in the silent 
bosom of the wilderness. 

"We shall leave Cincinnati very probably the day after to- 
morrow. Indeed, I remain as brief a time as possible in towns 
and cities, for the attentions I meet with are often rather irksome 
and embarrassing than otherwise. I went into the theatre, last 
evening, 1o see the acting of Mrs. Drake, with which I was 
wonderfully delighted, when, to my astonishment and dismay, 
the manager came out between the acts, and announced that I 
was in the house. As you partake of the nervous sensibility 
of the family, you may conceive how I felt on finding all eyes 
thus suddenly turned upon me. I have since had a note from 
the manager, requesting me to visit the theatre on Tuesday 
evening, and to permit him to announce it. I have dechned 
it, of course, and have induced my companions to hasten our 
departure, that I may escape from all further importunities of 
the kind. 

I hope my countrymen may not think I slight their proflfers 
of kindness and distinction ; no one can value their good opin- 

30 I^I^ AND LETTEBS [188i. 

ion more highly ; but I have a shrinking aversion from being 
made an object of personal notoriety, that I cannot conquer. 

I hope you will take care of my little man John during my 
absence. See that he is well clad, well schooled, and well' 
drilled. Keep him with you, if he is useful to you, and let 
brother E. I. charge to my account all expenses for his main- 
tenance, clothing, &C. 

The " little man'' alluded to was a Gterman lad of 
about eleven years of age, who crossed the water with 
Mr. Irving. The latter conceived a liking for him on 
shipboard, and took him in his employ. He remained 
with him for three years, when he went with his father 
to try his fortunes in Illinois, where, with a loan from 
Mr. Irving of one hundred dollars, he entered eighty 
acres of land. Some years afterward he made a visit 
to Sunnyside, the father of sundry children, and with 
the hundred dollars advanced to liim by Mr. Irving 
transmuted, by Western alchemy, into seventy thous- 

[To Mrs. Paris.] 

St. Loms, ITo., Sept 18, 1882. 

My deab Sisteb : 

I wrote to you from Cincinnati, which place I left in a 
steamboat on the 3d inst., and arrived the next day at Louis 
ville, Ky. There we embarked in another steamboat, and con- 
tinued down the Ohio to its confluence with the Mississippi^ 
when we ascended the latter river to this place, where we 
arrived late last night. Our voyage was prolonged by our 


repeatedly running aground in the Ohio from the lowness of 
the water. Twice we remained aground for the greater part 
of twenty-four hours. The last evening of our voyage we 
were nearly rmi down and sent to the bottom by a huge steam- 
boat, the " Yellow Stone," which came surging down the river 
under the impetus of "high pressure" and a rapid current. 
Fortunately our pilot managed the helm so as to receive the 
blow obliquely, which tore away part of a wheel, and staved 
in all the upper works of one side of our boat. We made 
shift to limp through the remainder of our voyage, which was 
but about twelve n)iles. I have been charmed with the grand 
scenery of these two mighty rivers. We have had splendid 
weather to see them in — golden sunshiny days, and serene 
moonlight nights. The magnificence of the Western forests 
is quite beyond my anticipations; such gigantic trees, rising 
like stupendous columns — and then the abundance of flowers 
and flowering shrubs. 

I am writing late at night, and with difficulty, for I have 
unluckily strained the fingers of my right hand a few days 
since, so that I can scarcely hold a pen. Good night. 

Sept, I6th, — Since writing the foregoing, I have been to 
Fort Jefferson, about nine miles from this, to see the famous 
Black Hawk, and his fellow chiefs, taken in the recent Indian 
war. This redoubtable Black Hawk, who makes such a figure 
in our newspapers, is an old man, upward of seventy, ema- 
ciated and enfeebled by the sufferings he has experienced, and 
by a touch of cholera. He has a small, well-formed head, 
with an aquiHne nose, a good expression of eye, and a physi- 
cian present, who is given to craniology, perceived the organ 
of benevolence strongly developed, though I believe the old 

38 LI^ AND LETTERS [188S. 

chieftain stands accused of many cruelties. His brother-in-law, 
the prophet, is a strong, stout man, and much younger. He is 
considered the most culpable agent in fomenting the late dis- 
turbance ; though I find it extremely difficulty even when so 
near the seat of action, to get at the right story of these feuds 
between the white and the red men, and my sympathies go 
strongly with the latter. 

[To Mrs. Parts,] 

IsDBPKKDXHCB, Ma, Bept 26, 18S2. 

Mt dear Sister . 

"We arrived at this place the day before yesterday, after 
nine days' travelling on horseback from St. Louis. Our jour- 
ney has been a very interesting one, leading us across fine 
prairies and through noble forests, dotted here and there by 
farms and log houses, at which we found rough but wholesome 
and abundant fare, and very civil treatment. Many parts of 
these prairies of the Missouri are extremely beautiful, resem- 
bling cultivated countries, embellished with parks and groves, 
rather than the savage rudeness of the wilderness. 

Yesterday I was out on a deer hunt in the vicinity of this 
place, which led me through some scenery that only wanted a 
castle, or a gentleman's seat here and there interspersed, to 
have equalled some of the most celebrated park scenery of 

The fertility of all this Western country is truly astonish- 
ing. The soil is like that of a garden, and the luxuriance and 
beauty of the forests exceed any that I have seen. We have 
gradually been advancing, however, toward rougher and 
rougher life, and are now at a little straggling frontier village, 
that has only been five years in existence. From hence, in 


the course of a day or two, we take our departure southwardly, 
and shall soon bid adieu to civilization, and encamp at night in 
our tents. My health is good, though I have been much 
affected by the change of chmate, diet, and water since my 
arrival in the West. Horse exercise, however, always agrees 
with me. I enjoy my journey exceedingly, and look for still 
greater gratification in the part which is now before me, which 
wiU present much greater wildness and novelty. The climax 
wiU be our expedition with the Osages to their hunting 
grounds, and the sight of a buffalo hunt. 

[To Mrs, Parts,] 

FoBT Gibson, Ark., Oct 9, 1832. 

My deab Sister : 

I arrived here yesterday afternoon in excellent health, after 
ten or eleven days' travel from Independence, from whence 
I last wrote to you. Our journey has laid almost entirely 
through the vast prairies, or open grassy plains which extend 
over all these frontiers, diversified occasionally by beautiful 
groves, and deep fertile bottoms along the streams of water. 
We have encamped almost every night, excepting when we 
stopped at- the Missionary establishments scattered here and 
there in this vast wilderness. The weather has been beau- 
tiful. We have encountered but one rainy night and one 
thunder storm. I have found sleeping in a tent a very sweet 
and healthy kind of repose, and have been in fine condition 
ever since I left Independence. It is now upward of three 
weeks since I left St. Louis and took to travelling on horse- 
back, and it has agreed with me admirably. On arriving at 
this post, I found that a mounted body of rangers, nearly a 
hundred, had set off two days before to make a wide tour to 

40 I'l^ ^^^ LETTERS [1882. 

the West and Soath, through the wild hanting countrieSy by 
way of protectmg the friendly Indians who have gone to the 
bu£yo hunting, and to overawe the Pawnee Indians, who are 
the wandering Arabs of the West, and continually on the 
maraud. Colonel Ellsworth and myself have determined to 
set off to-morrow morning in the track of this party. We 
shall be escorted by a dozen or fourteen horsemen, so that we 
shall have nothing to apprehend from any straggling gang of 
Pawnees ; and we shall have three or four Indians with us as 
guides and interpreters, besides the servants that have accom- 
panied us hitherto. A couple of Creek Indians have been 
dispatched by the commander of this fort to overtake the 
party of rangers, and order them to await our coming up with 
them, which we expect to effect in the course of three days ; 
and to find them in the bufi^lo range on the Little Bed River. 
* * * I am in hopes that we may be able to fall in with 
some wandering band of Pawnees in a friendly manner, as I 
have a great desire to see some of that warlike and vagrant 
race. We shall have a Pawnee captive woman with us as 
an interpreter. 

You see, I am completely launched in savage life, and am 
likely to continue in it for some weeks to come. I am ex- 
tremely excited and interested by this wild country, and the 
wild scenes and people by which I am surrounded. 

I am uncertain whether Mr. Latrobe and Pourtales will 
accompany me on this further tour. I leh them about forty 
miles behind, at one of the agencies, and they have not yet 
arrived here, thot^h they probaWy will in the course of the 
day. I am writing in great haste, having all my preparations 
to make. 


Take care that mj little man John is warmly clad for the 
winter, and that he has a comfortable great coat 

[To Mrs. Paris:\ 
Gbeskpoikt, nbab tbb Rsd Fobk o? the Abkanbas, Oct. 18, 1832. 

My dear Sister : 

I wrote to you when about to start from Fort Gibson, 
mider an escort, to join the exploring party of rangers. We 
came up with them, in the course of three or four days, on the 
banks of the Arkansas. The whole troop crossed that river 
the day before yesterday, some on rafts, some fording. Our 
own immediate party have a couple of half-breed Indians as 
servants, who understand the Indian customs. They con- 
structed a kind of boat or raft out of a buffalo skin, on which 
Mr. Ellsworth and myself crossed at several times, on the top 
of about a hundredweight of luggage — an odd way of crossing 
a river a quarter of a mile wide. 

"We are now on the borders of the Pawnee country, a 
region untraversed by white men, except by solitary trappers. 
"We are leading a wild life, depending upon game, such as 
deer, elk, bear, for food, encamping on the borders of brooks, 
and sleeping in the open air under trees, with outposts sta- 
tioned to guard us against any surprise by the Indians. 

We shall probably be three weeks longer on this tour. 
Two or three days bring us into the buffalo range, where we 
shall have grand sport hunting. We shall also be in the range 
of wild horses. 

I send this letter by a party of the men who have to return 
to escort two or three sick men, who have the measles and 
fevers. The rest of the camp is well, and our own party in high 

42 ^^^^ ^^^ LETTEBS [188S. 

spirits. I was never in finer health, or enjoyed myself more, 
and the idea of exploring a wild comitry of this magnificent 
character is very exciting. 

I write at the moment of marching. The horses are all 
saddled, and the bugle sounds for mounting. Grod bless you. 
I shall not have another opportunity of writing until I return 
to the garrison of Fort Gibson. We are far beyond any civil- 
ized habitation, or even an Indian village. 
■" Love to alL Your brother, 

Washington Irving. 

[To Mrs. Parts.] 


Mississippi Ritkr, Nov. 16, 1832. 


My deab Sister : 

I arrived safe and sound at Fort Gibson about a week 
since, after thirty-one days* tour in the wilderness west of the 
Territory. Our tour was a very rough but a very interesting 
and gratifying one, part of the time through an unexplored 
country. We led a complete huntei-'s life, Bubsisting upon the 
produce of the chase, camping by streams or pools, and sleep- 
ing on skins and blankets in the open air ; but we were all in 
high health ; and, indeed, nothing is equal to such a campaign, 
.to put a man in full health and spirits. * * * We got 
out of flour, salt, sugar, &c., and had to eat our meat without 
bread or seasoning, and drink our coffee without sweetening. 
Our horses were tired down by the pasturage bring withered, 
and by their having been coursed after bufi^oes and wild 
horses. Some of them had to be left behind ; and those of us 
who brought back our horses to the fort, had to walk, and lead 


them for the greater part of the three or four last days.* The 
very evening of my arrival at Fort Gibson a steamboat came 
up the river, and was to return down it the next day. I took 
advantage of it, and embarked, and have just put my foot on 
shore at this place this morning. The steamboat proceeds 
down the Mississippi, in the course of an hour or two, for New 
Orleans, and I think of continuing on in her ; to be governed 
in my future movements by the reports I shall receive of the 
health of New Orleans, and the facihties of proceeding from 
that place on my route homeward, where I am now very 
anxious to arrive. * * * 

He continued down the Mississippi in the steam- 
boat in which he had descended the Arkansas to New 
Orleans, where, he writes to Peter from Washington, 

I passed a few days very pleasantly. It is one of the most 
motley and amusing places in the United States — a mixture 
of America and Europe. The French part of the city is a 
counterpart of some provincial French town ; and the levee, 
or esplanade along the river, presents the most whimsical 
groups of people of all nations, castes, and colors — French, 
Spanish, half-breeds, Creoles, mulattoes, Kentuckians, &c., &c. 
I passed a couple of days with Judge M , Mrs. McLane's 

* In a letter to Peter, h^ mentions that though they had an occasional 
alann, they passed through the country without seeing a single Pawnee. 
" I brought off, however," he adds, " the tongue of a buffalo, of my own 
shooting, as a trophy of my hunting, and am determined to rest my re- 
nown as a hunter upon that exploit, and never to descend to meaner 
game." The particulars of this feat will be found in his " Tour on the 
Prairies,** published in 1835. 


brother, on his sugar plantation, just at the time thej were 
making sugar. 

From New Orleans I set off in the mail stage, through 
Mobile, and proceeded through Alabama^ Georgia^ South and 
North CaroHna, and Virginia, to this place — ^a long and rather 
dreary journey, travelling frequently day and night, and mudi 
of the road through pine forests, in the winter season. At 
Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, I sought our friend 
Preston, who resides in that place, is a member of the Legis- 
lature, and one of the leaders of the nullifiers. ♦ ♦ ♦ I 
passed a day most cordially with him, talking and laughing 
over old times, and recalling the scenes and personages of our 

[This was William C. Preston, the brilliant orator, formerly 
travelling companion of himself and Peter in Scotland and 

Preston spoke of you with the most lively regard, and 
called to mind a host of your pleasantries. I dined with him 
at Grovemor Hamilton's, the nullifying Gk)vemor, whom I had 
known when a young man at New York, and who is a perfect 
gentleman, but a Hotspur in politics. It is really lamentable 
to see such a fine set of gallant fellows as these leading nulli« 
fiers are, so madly in the wrong. 

Governor Hamilton had just- then transmitted to 
the Legislature of South Carolina his message, enclos- 
ing the nullifying edict of the convention of its people, 
and invoking the cooperation of the two branches to 
carry into effect this measure oi peaceable redress, for 
he claimed it to be essentially of a pacific character. 


When Mr. Irving took leave, the Governor gave him 
a warm invitation to " come soon " and see him again. 
"Oh, yes!" was the playful but suggestive reply; 
" m come with the jvrst troopsP 

Mr. Irving arrived in Washington just before the 
President issned his proclamation of December 10, 
generally understood to be the production of his dis- 
tinguished Secretary of State, Edward Livingston, 
containing an able exposition of the nullifying ques- 
tion, and of the Constitution of the country, and fur- 
nishing to South Carolina a significant intimation of 
the fallacy of any hopes of annulling peaceably within 
her limits a law of the General Government. He Was 
hastening back from his prolonged tour to pass a 
Christmas among his family and friends, and had in- 
tended to stop but two or three days in Washington ; 
yet he found it such " an interesting place to see 
public characters," and the " crisis " so " interesting," 
that he was induced to linger here, with the exception 
of a brief excursion to Baltimore, during the remain- 
ing term of Congress, a period of three months. " I 
am very pleasantly situated," he writes. "I have a 
very snug, cheery, cosey room in the immediate neigh- 
borhood of McLane's, and take my meals at his house, 
and, in fact, make it my home. I have thus the ad- 
vantage of a family circle (and that a delightful one), 
and the precious comfort of a little bachelor retreat 
and sanctum sanctorum^ where I can be as lonely and 
independent as I please." 


I give some letters and passages of letters writt^t 
during this interval : 

[To Peter Irving,] 

McLane is hard worked by his office, but it is a kind of 
work that agrees with him, and be is generally in better 
health, looks, and spirits than he was at London. 

I found Gouverneur Kemble here, to my great surprise. 
He had business at the "War Department, being a great con- 
tractor for founding cannon, &c. He has been consulted, also^ 
by the Committee of "Ways and Means, of which Gulian C. 
Verplanck is chairman, in the formation of a bill for the reduc- 
tion of the Tariffl I hope such a bill may be devised and car- 
ried as will satisfy the moderate part of the nullifiers ; but I 
confess I see so many elements of sectional prejudice, hostihty, 
and selfishness stirring and increasing in activity and acrimony 
in this country, that I begin to doubt strongly of the long 
existence of the general Union. 

The following is addressed to his old fiiend and 
early literary associate, James K. Paulding, then Navy 
Agent at New York, whom some were seeking to dis- 
place, from his want of due subserviency to the be- 
hests of party. 

Wabhinotoh, Jan. 3, 1833. 

My dear Paulding : 

I have just returned from an interview with the President 
on the subject of the rumor of your removal from office. He 
assured me it was the first word he had heard on the subject ; 
and had you heard the terms in which he spoke of your official 


conduct, you would feel not merely secure of your office, but 
proud of holding it, guaranteed by such sentiments. The 
more I see of this old cock of the woods, the more I relish his 
game qualities. 

As to rumors, they are as numerous as they are absurd. 
Gouvemeur's particular friend, Bankhead, the British charge 
cPaffaireSy has just returned from New York, very gravely 
charged with one concerning myself; viz., that I was to marry 
Miss J and receive the appointment of Postmaster of 

New York 1 1 Now either the lady or the office would be a 
sufficient blessing for a marrying or an office-craving man ; but 
God help me I I should be as much bothered with the one as 
with the other. * * * 

"With affectionate regards to Gertrude and the family, I 
am, my dear James, yours ever 

Washington Irving. 

The following is in reply to a letter of Kemble, 
invoking his aid in inducing Leslie to accept the offer 
of the Professorship of Design at the Military Acad- 
emy at West Point : 

[To Gouverneur Kemhie.'] 

Washington, Jan. IS, 1833. 

My dear Kemble : 

I will write to Leslie, and state to him what advantages he 
will have in .fixing himself at "West Point ; though I shall 
cautiously refrain from giving any advice or using any persua- 
sion in the matter. It is a delicate and responsible thing to 
influence a man in a measure that is to change his whole situa- 

48 I'IPB ^^^ LSTTEBS [188S« 

tion and course of life. I think it doubtful whether he will 
accept For my own part^ few things would give me equal 
pleasure to having him on this side of the Atlantic^ and in my 


Charles Kemble and his talented daughter are here, turning 
the heads of young and old. I find they became very sociable 
with you, and speak of you with great regard. 

Grod bless you, my dear Kemble. I hope to be with you 
before long. 

Yours ever, Washington Irving. 

A week later he writes to the same correspondent, 
from Washington : 

My deab Kemble : 


An attempt is making to bring the subject of the Tariff to 
a close in the House this week, by night sessions. I feel 
extremely doubtful, however, of the bill being carried. The 
braggadocio speeches and proceedings of South Carolina have 
raised a spirit of indignation among many who would other- 
wise be inclined to redress the grievances complained oi^ and 
this feeling is taken advantage of by those interested for the 

I understand that Governor Hayne is making every prepa- 
ration for warlike measures. I hope and trust that this will all 
turn out a game of brag ; at any rate, the measures taken by 
the General Government are such as to entangle the nullifiers 

* Leslie did accept the poation, but only to retun it for the bri^ 
period of six months, when he returned to En^and. 


in all kinds of financial and fiscal difficulties, and to make anj 
act of hostility plainly proceed from themselves. 

I think I shall remain here a few days longer, to hear the 
outbreaking which will take place on Monday next, and which 
must call all the champions of the difierent creeds into the 
field, and elevate the standards of the new parties that are to 
spring out of this great conflict. 

I am, my dear Kemble, yours ever, 

Washington Irving. 

The " outbreaking" was to take place on a discussion 
of certain resolutions offered by John 0. Calhoun, of 
South Carolina, declaratory of the powers of the Govern- 
ment and the States, and involving the question whether 
a single State had power to annul the laws enacted by a 
whole nation. How deeply it interested him, we find 
from the following letter to his brother Peter, written 
after his return to his native city, from which he had 
been absent more than seven months, seeing, during 
that period, more of his own country and its promi- 
nent characters, than most persons would see in a life- 

[To Peter Irvw^,^ 

Niw Yore, April 1, 1888. 

My deab Brother : 

I am shocked, when I look back upon the long time I have 
suffered to elapse without writing to you ; but, indeed, indeed 
I could not help it. I have been so completely bewildered by 
the variety of scenes, circumstances, and persons crowding upon 
my attention, that for months past I have lost all command of 

Vol. in.-^ (4) 

50 I'l^ ^^ l£TTEB8 [1881* 

my time or mj thoughts. The period ikai has passed since 
my arrival in this countiy has been one of the greatest and 
most delightful excitement I have ever experienced, and the 
excitement still continues, and unfits me for any calm appli- 
cation. "Wherever I go, too, I am received with a cordiality, 
I may say an affection, that keeps my lieart full and ruiming 

My sojourn in "Washington prolonged itself through the 
whole session. I became so deeply interested in the debates 
of Congress, that I almost Hved in the capitoL The grand 
debate in the Senate occupied my mind as intensely for three 
weeks, as did ever a dramatic representation. I heard almost 
every speech, good and bad, and did not lose a word of any of 
the best. I think my close attendance on the legislative halls 
has given me an acquaintance with the nature and operation 
of our institutions, and the character and concerns of the vari- 
ous parts of the Union, that I could not have learned from 
books for years. 

After leaving "Washington, I got detained most delight- 
fully at Baltimore for three weeks by the extreme hospitality 
of the inhabitants. 

It was during this visit to Baltimore that he made 
the acquaintance of John P. Kennedy, who had lately 
risen into fame as the author of " Swallow Bam,'^ and 
with whom his acquaintance soon ripened into lasting 

On the 16th of April, two or three weeks after his 
return to New York, he writes to Peter : 

Since my return, I have been going the rounds of dinner^ 


&c^ until I am as jaded as I was in London. * * ♦ Time 
and mind are cut up with me like chopped hay, and I am good 
lor nothing, and shall be good for nothing for some time to 
come, so much am I harassed hy the claims of society. 

Soon after the date of this extract he set off on 
an excursion to the South, to visit the upper part of 
Yirginia, accompanied by his nephew, John T. Irving, 
Jr. At Washington they heard of the assault of Lieu- 
tenant Randolph upon the nation's chief magistrate-— 
an indignity perpetrated on board of the steamboat as 
she stopped at Alexandria on her way to Fredericks- 
burg, where the President was proceeding to lay the 
comer stone of a monument about to be erected to the 
mother of Washington. Mr. Irving arrived at Fred- 
ericksburg in the afternoon, after the ceremony of 
laying the comer stone had been concluded. 

I saw a good deal of the President that evening, and the 
next morning [he writes to Peter, from Baltimore, May 17], 
The old gentleman was still highly exasperated at the recent 
outrage ofifered him hy Lieutenant Randolph, of which, ere 
this reaches you, you will have heard and read, vsqtce ad 

It is a brutal transaction, which I cannot think of without 
indignation, mingled with a feeling of almost despair, that our 
national character should receive such crippling wounds from 
the hands of our own citizens. 

From Fredericksburg he proceeded to Charlottes- 
ville, where he visited the Jefferson University, and 

52 I^£ ANI> LETTERS [1888. 

had to f ght off from an inyitation to a public dmner 
on the part of the students. Pursuing his journey, he 
crossed the Blue Eidge, but unfortunately, at this in- 
teresting point of his tour, the weather changed, and 
he traversed the mountain in a heavy rain, that shut 
up the whole prospect, and harassed him with small 
intermission during his continuance in the valley. He 
returned to New York in time to be present on the 
arrival of President Jackson on his Northern tour. 

The reception of the President, yesterday [he writes to 
Peter from New York, June 13], was one of the finest spec- 
tacles I ever witnessed. I accompanied the Corporation, and 
a large body of the citizens, in a superb steamboat to Bruns- 
wick, to meet him. The ceremonials you will see in the 
papers; but you can hardly form an idea of the increased 
splendor given to spectacles of the kind by our steamboats, 
and the increased population and beauty of our city. 

On the 31st of July he is about leaving his " quar- 
ters at Oscar's very pretty country box, about two 
miles below Tarrytown," to go to Saratoga Springs for 
a few days to take the waters, being still a little out of 
order from a late accident, in being thrown from his gig. 
After a fortnight's visit to the Springs, where he met 
with many old friends, and formed several very agree- 
able acquaintances, he made an excursion to Schagh- 
ticoke, and visited Herman Knickerbocker, whom he 
had known at Washington about twenty years before, 
when he was Congressman, and with whom the name 


Btill formed a bond of fellowship. *' I found lum with 
a houseful of children," he writes to Peter, "living 
hospitably, and filling various stations — a judge, a 
farmer, a miller, a manufacturer, a politician, &c., &c. 
He received me with open arms, and I only escaped 
from his hospitality by promising to come another 
time, and spend a day or two with him." 

He afterward proceeded down the river to King- 
ston, where he passed a day in looking about the 
neighborhood, and visiting the old Dutch villages on 
the skirts of the Catskill Mountains — scenes in his 
story of Kip Van Winkle now explored for the first 

It is an amusing fact in this connection, that not 
long before his death, Mr. Irving received a letter of 
inquiry from a young lad at Catskill, informing him 
that he had " lately been engaged in arguing with a 
very old gentleman " whether, in his " beautiful tale of 
Kip Van Winkle," he referred " to the village of Cats- 
kill or Kingston," and appealing to him as the only 
adequate authority to settle the disputed question. 
"He little dreamt," said Mr. Irving, in exhibiting 
the letter, " when I wrote the story, I had never been 
on the Catskills." I think the reader will enjoy the 
concealed humor of his reply, though I fear it must 
have been somewhat perplexing to the ingenuous lad, 
whose "desire for knowledge" had prompted the 


BmnrTBiOB, Feb. ft, U08. 

Deab Sib : 

I can giye 70a no other information concerning the locaH- 
ties of the story of Rip Van Winkle, than is to be gathered 
from the manuscript of Mr. Knickerbocker, published in the 
Sketch Book. Perhaps he left them purposely in doubt. I 
would adrise you to defer to the opinion of the " very old 
gentleman ^ with whom you say you had an argument on the 
subject. I think it probable he is as accurately informed as 
any one on the matter. 

Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Washington Ibtino. 

Mn IrviBg had been so much in motion since his 
return to his native country, that he had little oppor- 
tunity to resume his long-interrupted literaiy occupa- 
tions. It might seem, from the tone of the following 
reply, that his brother Ebenezer was becoming a little 
anxious that he should get to work again with his pen, 
made the more necessary, no doubt, in his view, that 
he had recently suffered to a serious extent from pecu- 
niary losses. His brother felt increased anxiety, also, 
that the L^islature of New York had recently recom- 
mended his Abridgment of Columbus as a class book 
for the common schools — a measure which he thought 
likely to produce him an ample revenue out of that 
single work, if proper arrangements were made to 
have the recommendation acted upon. 

The reply is dated from Washington, whither he 
had gone to combat a disposition of his friend, McLane, 
to resign his seat in the Cabinet. 

JBif. 60.] OP WASHUrOTON IBYINa. 65 

[To Ebenezer Irvmg.'\ 

Wasbivotov, Oct 7, 183S. 

My dear Bbotheb : 

* * * I want to get to work as much as you can wish 
me to do so, but God knows my mind and time are so cut 
up and engrossed, that I am ahnost in despair of ever get- 
ting quiet again. I hope the Abridgment may turn out in any 
degree profitable ; but it has to work its way, I apprehend, 
through a world of trickery and counter management. 

I am sorry, but not surprised, to hear of brother John's ill 
health. I have said everything that I could say to him on the 
subject of his wilful slavery. He will keep on until he gets 
some stroke of ill health that will shatter his constitution com- 
pletely, and then he will gather together the fragments, and 
employ the residue of his life in nursing them. It is useless to 
talk any further with him on the topic. He might make his 
office a source of rational and interesting employment, by no 
means incompatible with either health or happiness; but he 
has a propensity to overwork himself. 

John, the brother here alluded to, held the position 
of First Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the 
City and County of New York, and was applying 
himself to its duties with a conscientious devotion, that 
was undermining his health. He had acquired an 
independent fortune by the practice of his profession, 
and "Washington would have preferred his withdraw- 
ing to a life of more leisure and ease, knowing that the 
law was never a congenial employment. 

The following is written to Peter, after his mhxd 


had been disturbed by a knowledge of Washington's 
losses, which the latter had carefully refrained from 
mentioning in his correspondence. The first part 
glances at another Knickerbocker excursion with Mr. 
Van Buren : 

[To Peter Irvtng,] 

Nsw York, Oct. 28, 1833L 

My deab Bbotheb : 

I have received several letters from you of late, wliich, in 
consequence of my interrupted and irregular life, have not 
been punctually answered. I have been moving about almost 
incessantly during the summer and autumn, visiting old scenes 
about the Hudson. I made a delightful journey with Mr. Van 
Buren in an open carriage from Kinderhook to Poughkeepsie, 
then crossing the river to the country about the foot of the 
Catskill Mountains, and so from Esopus, by Goshen, Haver- 
straw, Tappan, Hackensack, to Communipaw — an expedition 
which took two weeks to complete, in the course of which we 
visited curious old Dutch places and Dutch families. I then 
made a rapid move to "Washington to be with Mr. McLane 
during a crisis of the Cabinet, when he was much disposed to 
resign — ^a measure which would have been very injurious to 
his interests and happiness. 


The losses that have fallen upon me will be soon filled up 
by the regular produce of my copyright property ; but I shall, 
before long, be in the way of adding largely to my capital. I 
am, as you know, dammed up by the necessity (or fancied 
necessity) of producing a work upon American subjects, before 
I can give vent to the other materials that have been accumu* 


lating upon mc. I am now getting at home upon American 
themes, and the scenes and characters I have noticed since my 
retium begin to assume a proper tone and form and grouping 
in my mind, and to take a tinge from my imagination. 

Ten days later, November 8, he writes to the same 
brother : 

* * * I told you, in my last, that you must not pester 
your mind about the loss I have lately sustained. It is not 
material as to comfort or enjoyment. I have abundant means 
remaining, if I should never make another farthing ; but my 
prospects of further gain are excellent. I am busy with my 
pen, and feel that I shall work a great deal, and produce much 
new matter, besides setting loose much manuscript that has 
lain for some time by me, in a manner bound up. 

When I get all my copyrights in my hands again, which 
will be in about a year, they will be a new source of profit. 
Independent of all this, I now begin to feel confidence that my 
Abridgment is going to be, of itself, a steady and handsome 

These sanguine anticipations of profit^-^lifom the 
Abridgment of Columbiis were not destined to be 
realized. He Carvills, in consideration of four hun- 
dred dollars, had, in the previous April, released his 
agent, Ebenezer Irving, from the conditions of their 
agreement for the unexpired time, which extended to 
June 30, 1834 ; but the difficulties of getting it into 
complete circulation, from the rivalships of other 

Vol. ni.— 8* 


school books, made the recommendation of the L^is- 
latnre to some extent a nnllitj. 

November 24th, he writes to Peter : 

I am in a course of regular literary occupation, and am 
getting on very satisfactorily. I am pleasantly situated at 
Ebenezer's, where, with the addition of sister Catherine and 
her family, we have a large and delightful domestic circle, and 
I manage to keep clear of all evening engagements, and to go 
out but sparingly to dinner parties ; so that I shall be able to 
turn this winter to great advantage in a literary point of view. 

We had a benefit here, lately, for Coopej and his family, 
which netted nearly four thousand dollars. He made two 
thousand dollars by a benefit at Philadelphia, and will have 
very productive benefits at Boston and New Orleans, so that 
there is every prospect of a fund being accmnulated sufficient, 
with proper economy, to keep the wolf from the door. * * * 

The city overflows with strangers, more than any city of 
the same size in the world. The theatre is constantly crowded, 
and is a perfect gold mine. 

The Italian Opera house has opened here very brilliantly. 
It is altogether one of the prettiest and politest-looking theatres 
I have ever seen. The troupe is very fair. "We have a 
prima donna (Fanti) that would just suit you — ^young, pleas- 
ing in countenance and person, amiable in her manner, expres- 
sive, graceful, and affecting in her acting, and with a pure, 
sweet, touching voice. She will become quite a pet here. 




T PASS over the first portion of this year, which 
-*- was spent in the bosom of the domestic circle at 
No. 3 Bridge street, the residence of his brother Eben- 
ezer, with the exception of a flying visit to Philadel- 
phia in June, in the course of which he picked up his 
material for Balph Kingwood, and a few sunnner ex- 
cursions, and come at once to the following letters to 
myself, in which he broaches the subject of Astoria — 
the work which he gave to the public in 1836, and 
which was to link his name with the region beyond the 
Bocky Mountains, " where rolls the Oregon." 

These letters were addressed to me at Jacksonville, 
Dl., to which place I had gone from ray native city, 
New York, the preceding year. At the date of the 


first I had been meditating a visit to New York, 
though not with the intention of remaining, as the 
letter supposes. 

[7b Pierre Munro Irving. "l 

Kxw TosK, Bept 15, 1884. 

My deab Piebbe : 

* * * John Jacob Aster is extremely desirous of hav- 
ing a woric written on the subject of his settlement of Astoria^ 
at the mouth of Columbia Biver ; something that might take 
with the reading world, and secure to him the reputation of 
having originated the enterprise and foimded the colony that 
are Ukely to have such important results in the history of com- 
merce and colonization. 

The old gentleman has applied to me repeatedly in the 
matter, offering to furnish abundance of materials in letters, 
journals, and verbal narratives, and to pay liberally for time 
and trouble. I have felt aware that a work might be written 
on the subject, full of curious and entertaining matter, com- 
prising adventurous expeditions by sea and land, scenes beyond 
the Rocky Mountains, incidents and scenes illustrative of 
^dian character, and of that singular and but little known 
class, the traders and voyageurs of the Fur Companies. Still 
I am so much engrossed with other plans, that I have not time 
for the examination of papers, the digesting of various mate 
rials, &c., and have stood aloof from the undertaking, though 
still keeping the matter open. 

Since I have heard of your inclination to return to New- 
York, however, it has occurred to me that you might be dis- 
posed to take this subject in hand ; to collate the various docu- 
ments, collect verbal information, and reduce the whole to such 

Mr. bh] OF WASHl^'GTON IRVING. 61 

fatm thai I might be able to dress it up advantageously, and 
with little labor, for the press. 

In an interview which I had with Mr. Astor, a day or two 
since, in which he laid before me a variety of documents, I 
accordingly stated to him my inability at present to give the 
subject the labor that would be requisite, but the possibiUty 
that you might aid me in the way I have mentioned ; in which 
case I should have no objection to putting the finishing hand 
to the work. The old gentleman caught at the idea, and 
begged me to write to you immediately. He said he would be 
willing to pay you whatever might be deemed proper for your 
services, and that, if any profit resulted from the sale of the 
work, it would belong, of course, to the authors. 

I lay this matter before you, to be considered in contrast or 
connection with your other plans. If you take it in hand, it 
will furnish you with employment for at least a year, and I 
shall take care to secure your being well paid for your current 
time and labor ; the ultimate profits of the work may be a 
matter of after arrangement between us. 

Mr. Astor is a strong-minded man, and one from whose 
conversation much curious information is to be derived. He 
feels the want of occupation and amusement, and thinks he 
may find something of both in the progress of this work. 
You would find him very kindly disposed, for he was an early 
friend of your father, for whose memory he entertains great 
regard ; and he has always been on terms of intimacy with 
your imcle Peter and myself, besides knowing more or less of 
others of our family. Halleck, the poet, resides a great deal 
with him at present, liaving a handsome salary for conducting 
his afi^rs. 

When you have thought over this matter, and made up 

02 Une AKD USTTEBS [18M. 

your mind, let me hear from jou. If you detennine in fiiviw 
of it, the sooner you come on the better. I have entertained 
the matter thus far for your sake, having no care about it for 
myself; decide, therefore, as you think fit, or as your indina- 
tion prompts. * * * 

To this letter I replied, that I should think favor- 
ably of the enterprise, if my share of the work conld 
be performed in the period specified, and I could be 
assured of two thousand dollars for my cooperation, 
rejecting all idea of advantage or remuneration from 
the sale of the work itself. 

To this Mr. Irving responded as follows : 

Niw York, Oct. 20, 1834. 

Mt dear Piebbe : 

I received, a few days since, your letter of Oct 5th, which 
gives me to suppose that you would undertake the task pro- 
posed to you, provided you could be sure of a compensation <^ 
two thousand dollars. I have since had a definite conversation 
with Mr. Astor, and fixed your compensation at three thousand 

Now for the nature of the work, and the aid that will be 
required of you. My present idea is to call the work by the 
general name of Astoria — ^the name of the settlement made by 
Mr. Astor at the mouth of Columbia River : under this head 
to give not merely a history of his great colonial and commer- 
cial enterprise, and of the fortunes of his colony, but a body 
of information concerning the whole region beyond the Rocky 
Mountains, on the borders of Columbia River, comprising the 
adventures, by sea and land, of traders, trappers, Indian war» 


rion^ hunters, &c. ; their habits, characters, peracms, costtimes, 
&c ; descriptions of natural scenerj, animals, plants, &c^ &c. 
I think, in this waj, a rich and varied work maj be formed, 
both entertaining and instructive, and laying open scenes in 
the wild life of that adventurous region which would possess 
the charm of freshness and novelty. You would be required 
to look over the various papers, letters, and journals in the 
possession of Mr. Astor, written by various persons who have 
been in his employ, to draw anecdotes and descriptions from 
him, and from Northwest traders who occasionally visit him ; 
to forage among various works in French and English that 
have been published relative to these regions, and thus to draw 
together and arrange into some kind of form a great body of 
£u;ts. In all this I may be able to render you much assistance. 
"When the work is thus crudely prepared, I will take it in 
hand, and prepare it for the press, as it is a sine qua non with 
Mr. Astor that my name should be to the work. You now 
have a general idea of what will be your task. I think you 
may find it a very interesting and agreeable one, and may 
accomplish it within the space of a year. 

Should you determine to undertake the work, you most 
come on immediately. Mr. Astor has his mind set upon the 
matter, and, in fact, looks forward to it as a source of pleasant 
occupation for the winter. He has taken a house in town for 
his winter residence, and, if you undertake the task, would 
wish you to reside with him, as long as you may find it agree- 
able, and has likewise invited Halleck [the poet] to be his 
guest. The latter you will find a very pleasant companion. 

Mr. Astor has his papers all arranged, so that you would 
be able to get to work immediately. Let me hear from you 
on the receipt of this. If you "determine to come, you had 

04 LIF£ AHO LETrBBS [18M. 

better put your portmanteau in the first stage coach, and come 
on as promptly as possible. 

Your aflfectionate uncle^ W. L 

I arrived in New York, to perform my share of this 
literary imdertaking, not long after a closely contested 
election, which had been conducted with great bitter- 
ness, and in which the Jackson party had wished tc 
hold Mr. Irving up for Congress. He had declined, 
however, mingling in any way in the feuds of parly, 
not even giving a vote. A short time previous he had 
written to Peter : 

You are right in your conjectures that I keep myself aloof 
from politics. The more I see of political life here, the more I 
am disgusted with it. * * * There is such coarseness and 
vulgarity and dirty trick mingled with the rough-and-tumble 
contest. I want no part or parcel in such warfare. 

He had at this time completed his Tour on the 
Prairies, as will be seen from the following extract of 
a letter to his brother Peter, dated Nov. 24, 1834 : 

For my own literary occupations I cannot speak so confi- 
dently as you would wish. I have written a little narrative of 
my tour from Fort Gibson on the Pawnee hunting grounds. 
It makes about three hundred and fifty pages of my usual 
writing ; but I feel reluctant to let it go before the pubHc. Sc 
much has been said in the papers about my tour to the TVest, 
and the work I was preparing on the subject^ that I dread the 
expectations formed, especially as what I have written is ex- 
tremely simple, and by no means striking in its details. 


In the letters which follow, we have some further 
glimpse of his literary plans and purposes — '^ Hterary 
babblings," as he terms them : 

[To Peter Irving.] 

Kkw Tobk, Jan. 8, 1886. 

My deab Bbotheb : 

* * * * I have at length resolved to break the ice, and 
begin to publish. I have been delayed in this by the expecta- 
tion manifested that I would publish something about this 
country, and the difficulty I found in preparing anything, under 
whip and spur, that would satisfy myself. I have now re- 
solved to come out in a series of volumes, published from time 
to time, under the general title of " Miscellanies," by the author 
of the Sketch Book, No. I, II, &c., with a second title giving 
the particular contents of the volume. In this way I mean to 
clear off all the manuscripts I have on hand, and to throw off 
casual lucubrations concerning home scenes, &c. I have sent 
off the MS. for the first volume to Colonel Aspinwall. The 
title of the volume will be, " A Tour on the Prairies," by the 
author of the Sketch Book, and will comprise merely my ex- 
pedition with the rangers from Fort Gibson to the Pawnee 
hunting grounds. The volume will be about the size of a vol- 
ume of the Sketch Book. 

In the course of the volumes I will include my writings 
relative to Spain, &c., so that the series will form a kind of 
gallery of varied works. This plan enables me to throw off 
single volumes which would not be of sufficient importance to 
stand by themselves, and which would otherwise lie dormant 
in my trunk, as they have aheady done. When once launched, 
I shall keep going. 

Vol.111.— (5) 


Three monthg later (April 11), he writes to the 
same correspondent : 

My " Tour on the Prairies ** has just been published here, 
though it has been out for upward of a month in London. 
The second volume of my Miscellany is nearly stereotyped, 
and will be ready for publication in a month or six weeks. I 
am glad to be once more in dealings with Murray, and am weU 
satisfied with the terms of sale of my volume about the 
Prairies — ^£400, in a bill at four months. The price . is not so 
high as I used to get, but there has been a great change in the 
bookselling trade of late years. The inundation of cheap pub- 
lications, penny magazines, &;c., has brought down the market. 
The market here, in the mean time, has immensely extended, so 
that^ between the two, I fancy I shall be as well off as before. 
At any rate, I aim content^ and feel no further soHcitude in 
money matters, excepting to acquire the means of benefiting 

The Tour on the Prairies received a highly com- 
mendatory notice in the North ATnerican Heview, in 
which the accomplished critic, Edward Everett, after 
dwelling on the peculiar merits of Mr. Irving's style, 
and the wide range of his topics — ^*'the humors of 
contemporary politics and eveiy-day life in America— 
the traditionary peculiarities of the Dutch founders of 
New York — the nicest shades of the school of English 
manners of the last century — ^the chivalry of the Mid- 
dle Ages in Spain — the glittering visions of Moorish 
romance — and, lastly, the whole unhackneyed firesh- 
ness of the West — life beyond the border — a camp out- 


side the frontier — a hunt on bnffalo ground" — ^pro- 

To what class of compositions the present work belongs, 
we are hardlj able to say. It can scarcely be called a book 
of travels, for there is too much painting of manners and scene- 
ry, and too little statistics ; — ^it is not a novel, for there is no 
story ; and it is not a romance, for it is all true. It is a sort 
of sentimental journey, a romantic excursion, in which nearly 
all the elements of several different kinds of writing are beau- 
tifully and gayly blended into a production almost sut generis. 
* * * We are proud of Mr. Irving's sketches of English 
'life, proud of the gorgeous canvas upon which he has gathered 
in so much of the glowing imagery of Moorish times. "We 
behold with delight his easy and triumphant march over these 
beaten fields ; but we glow with rapture as we see him coming 
back, laden with the poetical treasures of the primitive wilder- 
ness, rich with spoil from the uninhabited desert. "We thank 
him for tummg these poor barbarous stej)pes into classical land, 
and joining his inspiration to that of Cooper in breathing life 
and fire into a circle of imagery, which was not known before 
to exist, for the purposes of the imagination. 

For the right of pnblishing and vending five thou- 
sand copies of the Tour on the Prairies, from the ste- 
reotype plates furnished by the aiithor, Messrs. Carey, 
Lea & Blanchard, of Philadelphia, gave fifteen hun- 
dred dollars, in three equal notes, dated April 14, at 
six, nine, and twelve months, and three hundred dol- 
lars for every additional thousand. I find that on the 


10th November, 1835, they gave their note at nine 
months ($300) for the eighth thousand. 

The American edition of the Tour on the Prairies, 
published more than a month after the English, con- 
tained an Introduction, not retained in subsequent edi- 
tions. Only that part of the Preface which had rela- 
tion to the volume was given in the English edition, 
or will now be found in the collective edition of the 
author's works published by Mr. George P. Putnam. 
This portion of the Introduction was so purely per- 
sonal, temporary, and local in its interest, that any 
intelligent reader will readily understand why it was 
neither embraced in the English copy nor retained in 
later American editions. It will be seen, however, in 
a future chapter, that this difference between the Eng- 
lish and American Preface received a harsh and illib- 
eral construction, and was sought to be turned to the 
author's prejudice. 

I give some further extracts from his letters to his 
brother Peter, which ftimish, at this period, a sort of 
connected biography of him. Peter had now removed 
from Paris to Havre, where he was comfortably situ- 
ated in the mansion of his friend Beasley, the Ameri- 
can Consul, vainly hoping to get the better of a malady 
with which he had recently been attacked, and which, 
he feared, would throw increased difficulty in the way 
of his return to America. 


[To Peter Irving,'] 

April 1*1 th, — ^The first volume of the Crayon Miscellany is 
doing well, both in England and the United States. The 
second volume will go to press here Urithin a fortnight. I have 
farmed out all my back works (excepting the Abridgment of 
Columbus) to Carey & Lea, for another term of seven years, 
at a yearly allowance [eleven hundred and fifty dollars]. 
The Abridgment goes on steadily increasing in circulation. 
The funds invested in stock produce handsomely ; so that I look 
forward to have easy times in pecuniary matters for the rest of 
my life. 

Theodore's work * is in the press at Philadelphia, and will 
goon be published, when I will forward you a copy. Mur- 
ray has agreed to publish it in London. Treat's "Indian 
Sketches " f will soon be put to press, so that the family will 
figure in print this year. 

Pierre Munro is busily engaged gathering together mate- 
rials for the work about old Mr. Astor's grand commercial, or 
rather colonial enterprise. I have not taken hold of the sub- 
ject yet, but have no doubt I shall be able to make it a rich 
piece of mosaic. * * * 

[To the Same.] 

May l^ih. — * * * Brevoort arrived a few days since. 
* * * From what he says of your inclinations, and fi-om 
passages in your letters, I indulge the hope that we shall yet 

* De Soto^s Conquest of Florida, by Theodore Iryiog, in 2 yola. 12mo. 
(Republished in 1851, in one Yolume.) 

f Indian Sketches, taken during an Expedition to the Pawnee Tribes, 
by John T. Irving, Jr. 

70 l^OFE AKD LBTTEBS [18tt^ 

ha^e you among us. Whe& yoor health is better establi^ed, 
it may be worth the ordeal of a sea voyage, and I would come 
out to accompany you. Indeed, I should come out to you at 
once, were I not mixed up, just now, with so many matters 
that concern the interests of others, as well as of mysell 
These I shaU, in the course of a little while, be able to arrange 
so as to leave me more at liberty. Among other things, I 
have lately become a bank director I This was for the sake 
and at the soUcitation of Mr. McLane, who has taken the 
presidency of the Morris Canal and Banking Company, with a 
salary of six thousand dollars. 

* * * My second number of the Crayon Miscellany^ 
containing Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey, will be out in a 
few days. My next number, I think, wDl be the Conquest of 
Spain, which is fairly copied out, and has been so for a long 
time. I am now engaged in the work on the subject of Mr. 
Astor's great enterprise ; and I am much mistaken if I do not 
make it a yery rich, curious, and unique work. Pierre Mnnro 
makes an admirable pioneer. 

[To Peter Irving,] 

My deab Bbotheb : 

I have just received a letter from Colonel Aspinwall, dated 
London, April 14, stating the terms he has made with Murray 
for the second volume of my Miscellany.* It is a light volume, 
not quite as full as a volume of the Sketch Book. The follow- 
mg is an extract from the Colonel's letter : 

" I have agreed with him for £600, payable in the follow- 

* Abbotsfoid and Newstead Abbey. 


ing manner, viz. : £iOO at six and nine monUis after the daj 
of publication, and d&200 at six and nine months after the daj 
of publication of a second edition — the first edition to consist 
of three thousand copies. These were the best terms that I 
could obtain, and I feel a strong persuasion that the popular 
character of the work will make them more profitable than the 
five hundred guineas named by you as your price." 

I am highly satisfied with the Colonel's arrangement; 
indeed, considering the times in England, where the political 
crisis absorbs all thought, and leaves pohte literature nearly 
stagnant, and considering the quantities of cheap publications 
that inundate the reading world, the prices obtained for my 
two light volumes have been very liberal. I shall be well con- 
tent to go on at such a rate ; and, indeed, my pecuniary cir- 
cumstances are now in such an easy and regular train, that I 
no longer feel solicitous about making keen bargains for any 
particular work. 

* * * I talk thus much about myself and my concerns, 
from having no other subject just now to talk about, and be- 
cause I know you take an interest in my literary prospects and 

Brevoort is regaining his good looks and good condition 

We are all well at home. With affectionate regards to 
friend Beasley, yours ever, my dear brother, W. I. 

The price obtained from the American publishers, 
Carey, Lea & Blanchard, was the same as for No. I 
of the Crayon Miscellany — fifteen hundred dollars for 
an edition of five thousand, payable in three equal 

72 ^^OfK AND LETTEB8 [IMft. 

notes, dated June 1, at six, nine, and twdve mcHlllm. 
Ko. n was published May 1, in London, and Maj 80 
in America. 

Aspinwall writes: ^^Mnrraj says Abbotsford de- 
lights everybody, especially the Lockharts." 

[To Peter Irving, Havre.] 

Kbw Tobk, Jane lO^ im. 

Mt deab Bbotheb : 

I have yours of the 24th April, and regret to find that 
your distressing malady still continues. I had hoped, from the 
representations of Captain Funck, that you were gradually 
recovering from every inconvenience. He seems to think you 
are much inclined to venture upon a sea voyage, and return to 
New York. I shall look with some solicitude to hear from 
you in reply to what I have already written on this subject, 
and if I find you think of returning soon, I will come out at 
once to convoy you home. At any rate, I shall push to put 
all my literary and other afiEairs here in such train as to permit 
me to rejoin you. At present I am so committed in variou3 
matters, that I cannot leave here without a sacrifice not 
merely of my own interests, but of those of others. I want 
to get the Astor work into the rough. Pierre M. has acted as 
an excellent pioneer, and, in the course of two or three 
months^ will have gathered together all the materials. I have 
commenced, and have rough-cast several of the chapters, and 
have no doubt I shall make a rich and taking vrork of it. 

I am just now putting the finishing touches to the Legends 
of the Conquest of Spain, which will make the next volunae 
of my Miscellany. I shall send you, by this ship, the second 


number of the Miscellany^ containing " Abbotsford and New- 
stead Abbey." It takes with the public; indeed, the two 
numbers of the Miscellany are doing admirably, and give 
promise that the plan of a series of similar light volumes will 
be very popular and profitable. 

The Hive has sent forth its swarms for the siunmer. 

* * * Our nephew Treat's work (Indian Sketches) is 
nearly printed. He sets ofif for Europe about the beginning 
of next month ; and I think it very probable brother John T. 
will set off at the same time, to be absent eight months or a 
year, intending to visit England, France, Italy, &c. He can 
well do it, having an assistant judge in his court, who will 
take the whole business in his hands during his absence — ^and 
being opulent in circumstances. * * * 

In the following letter to Peter Irving, at Havre, 
we have the first mention of his purchase of Sunny- 
side, which had taken place as early as April, though 
the deed bears date on the 7th of June : 

^ N«w York, July 8, 1886. 

Mt deab Bbotheb : 

♦ ♦*♦♦♦ 

The valiant little Funck has departed, with the full persua- 
sion that he will be able to induce you to come out with him 
in the Erie, on her return voyage. I am not so sanguine on 
the subject, or I should have broken through every plan and 
occupation, to come out and take charge of you. 

It is a matter on which I never wish to press or persuade 
you ; but should you feel at any time strong enough in health, 
and inclined to attempt the voyage, I will insure you pleasant 
and comfortable quarters here, both in town and country. It 

Vol. til— 4 

74 Un ANJ> LBTT£B8 118S5. 

is, at any rate, my intention to come out to you as soon as I 
can get all the materials in order for my work on the subject 
of Ck)lumbia Bi^er : this, however, will probably take me some 
few months, as I have been interrupted by tlie puUication of 
my Miscellany, and I shall require, after I have worked up<m 
the materials collected for me by Pierre M. Irving^ and pos- 
sessed myself generally with the subject, to have conversaticms 
with various individuals who have been engaged in the enter- 
prises by sea and land connected with the settlement. 

I have nearly stereotyped the third volume of my Miso^ 
lany, and shall send proof sheets to London for publication; 
but shall not publish the work here until September or Octo- 
ber, so as to give the London publishers full time. The title, 
I think, will be, " Legends of the Conquest of Spain." It will 
contain "The Legend of Don Roderick," "The Legend of 
the Subjugation of Spain," "The Legend of Pelayo,"* and 
" The Legend of the Family of Count Julian." I have pre- 
ferred giving these writings in this form, rather than giving 
them the more pretending name of History or Chronicle. It 
enables me to indulge with less reserve or disquiet in those 
apocryphal details which are so improbable, yet so picturesque 
and romantic. Did I claim for these wild medleys of truth 
and fiction the dignity and credence of history, I should throw 
a discredit upon my regular historical works. It is this scruple 
that has lain in the way of the publication of these writings;, 
while I contemplated publishing them under a more imposing 

The two preceding volumes of my Miscellany have suc- 
ceeded far beyond my expectations, on both sides of the water; 

* It did not contain the Legend of Pelayo, wfaidi he withheld. 

-fir. 52.] OP WASHINGTON IRYINO. 75 

and I look forward now with confidence, of being able to keep 
up the series from time to time, with ease to myself and witfi 
much advantage in every respect. 

* * * You have been told, no doubt, of a purchase I 
have made of ten acres, lying at the foot of Oscar's farm, on 
the river bank. It is a beautiful spot, capable of being made 
a little paradise. There is a small stone Dutch cottage on it, 
built about a century since, and inhabited by one of the Van 
Tassels. I have had an architect up there, and shall build 
upon the old mansion this summer. My idea is to make a 
little nookery somewhat in the Dutch style, quamt, but unpre- 
tending. It will be of stone. The cost will not be much. I 
do not intend to set up any establishment there, but to put 
some simple furniture in it, and keep it as a nest, to which I 
can resort when in the mood. In fact, it is more with a view 
of furnishing the worthy little Bramin a retreat for himself and 
his girls, where they can go to ruralize during the pleasant sea- 
son of the year. The Httle man has a great love for the coun- 
try, and is never so happy as when he can get away for a few 
days from his multifarious concerns, and refresh himself in the 
green fields ; and since I have purchased this little retreat, the 
very idea of it has haunted his mind with dreams of " rural 

* * * As soon as I have stereotyped my present vol- 
ume, which will be in the course of a week, I shall abandon 
the town altogether, and go to work diligently with my pen in 
the quiet of the country. 

To the same brother he writes, eight days later : 

I wrote to you by the last packet, since when I have been 
to Wilmington, Del., to visit the McLane family, who are 


waiting until McLane can find a good house for their residence 
in New York. * ♦ ♦ 

I stopped at Carej & Lea's, at Philadelphia, and had pros- 
perous accounts of the success of the two iiiunbers of Ihe Mis- 
cellany, which have a great circulation. I send by the packet 
Hibemia, for Liverpool this day, proof sheets of the third num- 
ber, containing Legends of the Conquest of Spain, It is all 
stereotyped, but I shall not publish it here until in September, 
to give time for the London publisher. 

The proof sheets of the Legends of the Conquer 
of Spain, being No. Ill of the Crayon Miscellany« 
were sent to Murray, July 16, who, it appears by a 
letter to Peter, Feb. 16, 1836, declined publishing 
them at the price asked by Mr. Irving, but put an 
edition to press on the author's account, which resulted 
in a payment of £100. It was published by Messrs. 
Carey & Lea, of Philadelphia, in October, they giving 
fifteen hundred dollars for five thousand copies, in 
their notes, dated October 10, at six, nine, and twelve 
months. The volume contained the Legend of Don 
Boderick, the Legend of the Subjugation of Spain, 
and the Legend of Count Julian and his Family, all 
of which had been partially finished in the Alhambra 
— ^ihe first entirely so. 

This volume was not afterward included in the col- 
lective edition of his works, published by Mr. Putnam 
in 1848, having been kept back, I judge, to accompany 
an intended publication of the Legend of Don Pelayo, 
and other Spanish and Moorish themes, at which I 


have previously glanced. It may be proper, also, to 
state, that, in consequence of an unlucky hiatus in for- 
warding the proof sheets to London, the work was not 
published in that city until the middle of December, 
two months after its appearance on this side of the 
water — a circumstance which, with the condition of 
the times, no doubt had its eflfect on its English circu- 

In the following extracts we get some further " lite- 
rary babblings," and a glimpse at the progress he was 
making in reconstructing the little Dutch cottage he 
had so lately bought 

\To Peter Irving, 1 

New York, August 2ith. — * * * I am working 
away at the Astor enterprise, and hope to get the narrative in 
frame in the course of the autumn ; after which I shall have 
nothing to do but enrich it. The workmen are busy upon my 
cottage, which I think will be a snug little Dutch nookery 
when finished. It will be of stone, so as to be cool in summer 
and warm in winter. The expense will be but moderate, as I 
have it built in the simplest manner, depending upon its quaint- 
ness rather than its costliness. 

While incurring this moderate expense, however, 
lie was locking up several thousand dollars in distant 
landed investments, into which, like the rest of the 
world, he was seduced by the prospect of a great and 
rapid advance in the value of such property. 

78 I'l^ AND LBTTBBS [1885. 

[To Peter Irving.] 

New Yobk, Se^ 26, 1835.— * * * For upward of 
a month past I have been quartered at Hellgate, with Mr. 
Astor, and I have not had so quiet and delightful a nest ^ since 
I have been in America. He has a spacious and well-built 
house, with a lawn in front of it, and a garden in rear. The 
lawn sweeps down to the water edge, and full m front of the 
house is the little strait of HeUgate, which forms a constantly 
moving picture. Here the old gentleman keeps a kind of 
bachelor hall. Halleck, the poet, lives with him, but goes to 
town every morning, and comes out to dinner. The only 
other member of his ^unily is one of his grandchildren, a very 
fine boy of fourteen years of age.* Pierre Munro Irving has 
been a guest for several weeks past, but lias recently returned 
to New York. I cannot tell you how sweet and dehghtful I 
have found this retreat ; pure air, agreeable scenery, a spacious 
house, profound quiet, and perfect command of my time and 
self. The consequence is, that I have written more since I 
have been here than I have ever done in the same space of 
time. Within the last month I have written more than a vol- 
ume, and have got within half a dozen chapters of the end of 
my work — an achievement which I did not expect to do for 
months. Of course there will be much to be done afterward 
in extending some parts, touching up others, enriching and em- 
bellishing. It will make two good volumes — probably octavo ; 
and Pierre Munro thinks it will be more liked than anything I 
have lately written. 

* Chizles Astor Bristed. 


Two weeks later (Oct. 8), he writes to the same 
brother : 

I finished my first draught of the Astor work about a week 
since, very much to my own surprise, not having anticipated 
such a long and successful fit of writing. I have yet much to 
do to it, but it will be merely in the way of enriching it by 
personal anecdotes, &c^ to be gathered from individuals, actors 
in the scenes narrated. I feel sanguine as to the work proving 
interesting to the general reader. I have promised old Mr. 
Astor to return to his rural retreat at Hellgate, and shall go 
out there to-day. 

I have just returned from a visit of two or three days to 
Tarrytown, to take a look at my cottage, which is in a consid- 
erable state of forwardness, and will soon be under cover. It 
has risen from the foundation since my previous visit (about 
six weeks since), and promises to be a quaint, picturesque little 
pile. I intend to write a legend or two about it and its vicin- 
ity, by way of making it pay for itself. 

[To Ehenezer Irving^ New Yorh!\ 

Tabbttowk, Oct. 16, 188ft. 

Mt deab Bbotheb : 

The porch is carried up, and the workmen are in want of 
the inscription stone, previous to removing the scafibld. I 
wish you would try to send it up by the Friday sloop or Satur- 
day morning steamboat. 

The Dutch for architect is Boumeester. I presume it may 
be abbreviated Bou"', or engraved in smaller letters (Geo. 
Harvey, Boumeester), whichever will be most convenient. 
Your affectionate brother, W. L 


George Harvey, the architect mentioned in the 
forgoing letter, was an English artist, living a few 
miles south of the cottage, who had interested himself 
very much in its construction, and whom Mr. Irving 
frequently consulted for designs and drafts. The in- 
scription stone of the porch still bears his name, with 
the adjunct of Bon"". 

[To Peter Irving^ HavreJ] 

Nxw Toss, Not. 2A, 188S. 

My deab Bbotueb : 

♦ * * I am just from Tarrytown, where I have been 
endeavoring to hasten the bnildrng of my cottage ; but though 
the weather has been uncommonly fine and mild for the season, 
and there has been no obstruction to the progress of the work, 
yet a snowstorm has come upon us before the house was com- 
pletely enclosed. The weather is again bright and mild, and I 
hope yet to complete all the external woric before the rigors 
of winter. The interior can be finished during the winter, 
being warmed by stoves, and I hope to have the mansion com* 
plete by the time the spring is sufficiently advanced to render 
a country residence agreeable. Like all meddlings with stone 
and mortar, the plan has extended as I built, imtil it has ended 
in a complete, though moderate-sized &mily residence. It is 
solidly built of stone, so that it will last for generations ; and I 
think, when finished, it will be both picturesque and conve- 
nient. It is a tenement in which a man of very moderate 
means may live, and which yet may form an elegant httle 
snuggery for a rich man. It is quite a hobby of the Bramin, 
and I really think will contribute greatly to his enjoyment for 
the rest of his life. 

ufir. 52.] OF WASHINGTON IBYING. * 31 

I have lately resumed the Astor MS., and hope to com- 
plete it in the course of a few weeks. 

He had suspended his labors, in expectation of the 
arriyal of a person who had been a principal actor in 
the enterprise of Astoria, and from whom he was to 
get many personal anecdotes for the enriching of his 

The letter to Peter I now give touches upon the 
.great fire in New York, and is written soon after his 
brother John had returned from a tour in Europe, in 
whicli he had visited his long-absent brother, whose 
residence abroad had now extended to upward of 
twenty-six years. 

New Yobk, Dee. 25, 1885. 

Mt deab Bbotheb: 

In consequence of being out at Mr. Aster's, at Hellgate, I 
miss the run of the packets, and have suffered two to go c^ 
without writing a line ; and this, too, at a juncture when you 
may be suffering uneasiness of mind from receiving news of 
our late calamitous fire. I find, however, that brother E. L 
has written to you punctually, and given you particulars. It 
was fortunate for the Bramin that he removed last spring, by 
which means he escaped being burnt out. The fire, however^ 
has singed almost everybody. Those who had no houses or 
goods burnt, suffered through the insurance companies, in 
which the funds of so many were invested. Poor Brevoort 
has lost about fifty thousand dollars, and feels a Htde sore at 
the loss, but, I trust, will soon get over it, as he has an ample 
fortune left. Brother John estimates his loss at forty-one thou- 
VoL. III.-4* (6) 

32 I4FE AND LETT£liS [1335. 

sand dollars — that is to say, he has insurance stock to that 
amount. Some of the companies in which he holds, howev^ 
will not be bankrupt. His son Gabriel thinks his father wiU 
not really lose much above half that amount ; but brother John 
is rather tenacious on that point, and we allow him to have the 
full merit of his misfortune. As his fortune is estimated at 
some three or four hundred thousand dollars at least, his case is 
not considered desperate. 

I lost three tkousand dollars, invested in the Guardian In- 
surance Company. Fortunately, I am consoled at the very 
same moment by the rise of another kind of stock in which I 
hold shares, and which will more than make up the loss. E. L 
held twenty-five hundred dollars in the same insurance com- 
pany. He likewise has been successful in some other quarters, 
which cover his loss. 

Your letter by brother John has diffused a general joy 
through the family, by the hope it holds out of your attempt- 
ing the home voyage in the spring. I have been extremely 
worried at the thoughts of not having been able to come out to 
you last autumn, and have endeavored to push matters so as to 
pay you a visit in the course of the winter. Brother John, 
however, tells me that you and Beasley think you will feel 
perfectly safe under the guardianship of our worthy Mend, 
Captain Funck. I shall, therefore, relinquish the idea, and 
turn all my attention to prepare matters for your reception. 
My cottage is not yet finished, but I shall drive at it as soon as 
the opening of spring will permit ; and I trust, by the time of 
your arrival, to have a delightful little nest for you on the 
bank3 of the Hudson. It will be fitted to defy both hot 
weather and cold. There is a lovely prospect from its win- 
do w^^ and a sweet green bank in front, shaded by locust trees, 


;^St.62.] of WASaiNQTON IBVIN6. g3 

Up which the summer breeze creeps delightfully. It is one of 
the most delicious banks in the world for reading and doang 
and dreaming during the heats of summer, and there are no 
mosquitos in the neighborhood. Here you shall haye a room 
to yourself that shall be a sanctum sanctorum. You may have 
your meals in it, if you please, and be as much alone as you 
desire. You shall also have a room prepared for you in town, 
where you will be equally master of your time and yourself 
and free from all intrusion ; while at both places you will have 
those at hand who love and honor you, and who will be ready 
to do anything that may contribute to your comfort. 

If you can meet with a good servant to take care of you 
in the voyage, and to remain with you here, you had better 
engage him. Such a one would be valuable at the cottage. I 
think you ought to have a trusty servant, accustomed to your 
ways, and who understands all your wants. 

I am still at Hellgate with Mr. Astor, who is detained in 
the coimtry in consequence of his new house in town not being 
finished. Pierre M. Irving is here likewise, and we pass our 
time most pleasantly and profitably. In fact, Mr. Astor does 
everything in his power to render our residence with him 
agreeable, and to detain us with him ; or rather, he takes the 
true way, by leaving us complete masters of ourselves and our 
time. In consequence of having so much leisure and quiet, I 
have been able to get on famously with my new work, and 
hope to finish it in the course of a few weeks. 

I am writing this from the Hive, where we are all assem- 
bled to keep a merry Christmas. I wish to God you were 
here with us; you would see a happy and charming group 
around you, comprising three generations ; for we have with 
us a daughter of Pierre P. Irving, a beautiful and delightful 


little girl about four years old, the pet of the house. She and 
her little aunt Charlotte are perfectly happy this morning 
Santa Glaus having filled their stockings with presents last 

Wishing you a merry Chnstmas, my dear brother, and 
sending the most affectionate regards to our worthy Mend 
Beasley, I am ever affectionately your brother, 

W. L 

. 68.] OF WABBOt&tOV IBVIRO. gft 



NEW pia 

fTlHE year 1836 opens upon the author in "that 
-*- admirable place for literary occupation," Mr. 
Astor's country retreat, opposite Hellgate, where he . 
was still sojourning, and working upon various parts of 
the Astorian manuscript which afforded room for en- 
richment. He was looking forward impatiently "to 
the completion of the cottage" in time to render it 
a " nest" for his brother Peter, who still continued in 
the purpose to attempt the voyage in April. "Now 
that you have made up your mind to cross the Atlan- 
tic," writes Washington to his brother, January 10, " I 
am all alive to the manner. I never adverted to it 
while I thought you would not be disposed to adven- 
ture. It is hard for one like myself, who never suffer 
from sea-sickness, to realize the horrors that it must 
present to the mind of one subjected to it. I am in 


hopes tiiat, by regimen and cautions management, you 
may neutralize its severest inflicticms ; and if you can. 
but get across the sea, even in pieces j we will gather 
you up and put you together, and make you feel Hke 
another being, when we have you once among us.'^ 

The infirmities which beset Peter at Washington's 
departure for this country had increased with the lapse 
of time, and taken a more painM form ; yet he had 
determined to embark on the 24th of April, with Gap- 
tain Funck, ^^ his early and excellent friend, who would 
take as much care of him as he could expect from a 
near relation.'' "As the term approaches," he writes 
to Washington, March 8th, " I feel increasing desire to 
be united to the family. The affectionate welcome 
they are disposed to give me, dissipates the hesitation I 
have felt to become an encumbrance to thcnu To yon, 
my dear brother, I know not what to say, and will 
make no effort. I hope, that if our fortunes in life had 
been reversed, I should have acted with some d^ree of 
the same generous affection." 

The following extracts are fit)m the last letter ad- 
dressed by Washington to Peter before his embarcation, 
from which it will be seen that, in addition to the three 
thousand dollars stipulated by Mr. Astor, I received a 
special compensation from Mr. Irving for my literary 
jobwork in lightening the labor before him ; yet the 
imputation was afterward made that Mr. Astor gave 
the author five thousand dollars to take up his manu- 


I would pr^Enise, abo, in this place, that during Mr. 
Irving's long acquaintance with Mr. Astor, commen- 
cing when he was a young man, and ending only with 
his death, he never came under a pecuniary obligation 
to him of any kind. The only moneyed transaction 
that ever took place between them, is alluded to in the 
following letter — ^the purchase of a share in a town he 
was founding in Green Bay, for which he paid the 
cash, though Mr. Astor wished the amount to stand on 
mortgage. The land was not sold when it had ad- 
vanced in value ; and long after it had declined, when 
Mr. Irving was in Spain, Mr. Astor, of his own free 
will, took back the share, and repaid the original pur- 
chase money. " He was too proverbially rich a man," 
says Mr. Irving, in a letter which appeared in the Lite- 
vary World of Nov. 22, 1851, " for me to permit the 
shadow of a pecuniary favor to rest on our inter- 

The other investment in Indian lands, alladed to in 
the letter, in which he embarked five thousand dollars 
directly, and four thousand dollars in a loan to a friend 
to enable him to engage in it, turned out almost a total 
loss, but a small fragment of the loan or the outlay ever 
coming back to him. A time of public pressure was 
approaching, which made these investments in wild 
lands a source of embarrassment. Indeed, almost 
every attempt he made of this kind to enlarge his 
means, only resulted in impairing thenu 


[To Pder.'] 


Mr DEAB Bbotheb : 

* * * Your return will be a perfect jubilee to us all, 
and I am sure you will feel happy yourself in seeing bow 
happy you make all around you. 

I am giving my last handling to the Astor work. It is 
this handling which, like the touching and toning of a picture, 
gives the richest effects. I am interested and pleased with 
the work, and feel that the labor I am now bestowing upon it 
will contribute greatly to its success. 

Pierre has received three thousand dollars from Mr. Astor 
for his services in the work. I have given him one thousand 
dollars. He sets off to-morrow for Toledo, a new town at tbe 
head of Lake Erie, where he has the offer of a share in a land 
purchase, which, it is thought^ will turn out very profitable. 
Real estate, and especially lots in the vicinity of new towns at 
great commercial points in the interior, are great objects of 
attention at present, and fortunes are rapidly made. The 
canals, railroads, and other modes of communication opening in 
every direction, is one great cause of the sudden rise in the 
value of various places. 

The Bramin and myself with Mr. , and our friend 

f are concerned in a purchase of Indian land in Missis- 
sippi. Mr. ^'s brother-in-law, ^ a very correct, 

amiable man, is the agent The purchase has been made with 
great judgment: the formalities with Government have all 
been complied with, and orders have been sent from Washing- 
ton to the land agent to deliver the titles. The lands so 
bought can at this moment be sold for a profit of at least one 
hundred per cent. ; and it is our intention to sell enough to 


realize our investments, and then to sell the rest from time to 
time, waiting for higher prices. 

Mr. Astor has likewise let ine have a share in the town of 
Astor, at Green Bay, Lake Michigan, for which I pay four 
thousand dollars, hut which is already at an advance of fifty 
per cent. I think this town is going to equal Chicago in its 
sudden rise and prosperity. 

I have just received a letter from Murray. He had de- 
clined purchasing my last work, " Legends of Spain," at the 
price I asked, and had put an edition to press on my account. 
I find the success of the work is heyond his expectations, as he 
has had already to print a second edition. Murray is not his 
own master in thcTse matters. In consequence of the cmhar- 
rassments in which he was involved about the time I lefl Eng- 
land, his afiairs are in the hands of trustees, whom he has to 
consult as to all his undertakings. My dealings with him are 
perfectly secure as to money matters, and in other respects I 
have always found him a gentlemanlike person to deal with. 

I am, my dear brother, yours affectionately, 

W. 1. 

In less than four months after the date of these ex- 
tracts, Peter found himself a member of " the family 
hive " in Bridge street, waiting until the cottage conld 
be rendered habitable, to take np his quarters in that 
little retreat. Meanwhile, the changes in his native 
city, after an absence of twenty-seven years, presented 
a constant subject of interest and curiosity. 

There is always "a world of finishing that one 
never calculates" in most buildings, and the cottage 

90 ^^^ AUD LBTTEBS [18M. 

did not prove an exception. Washington had expected 
it to be habitable some time in June ; but at the close 
of that month, and some five or six weeks after he had 
sent the first chapters of Astoria to press, he writes to 
me, then absent at Toledo, Ohio : " I am printing mj 
book and completing my cottage slowly, and hope the 
former will contribute toward defraying the accumu- 
lated expenses of the latter/' A month before, he had 
written me : " The cottage is slowly approaching to a 
finish, but will take a few weeks yet. For such a small 
edifice it has a prodigious swallow, and reminds me of 
those little fairy changelings called Killcrops, which eat 
and eat, and are never the fatter." The few weeks, 
however, lengthened out into months, and, though 
opened on the 1st of September, it was not until Octo- 
ber that the little edifice became fully habitable. On 
the 15th of that month, Washington writes to his brother 
Ebenezer, from the cottage : " Brother Peter's room 
shall be put in order the moment the furniture arrives, 
and I shall come down the beginning of the week to 
convoy him up. I wish he was here at present to 
enjoy this delightM autumnal weather." 

Astoria, which was going through the press at the 
close of June, was published in October. He received 
from Bentley, in London, £500, and from Carey & 
Lea, for the right of printing five thousand copies, four 
thousand dollars, in three equal notes, at four months. 

In the following letter to myself, we have an inter- 
esting allusion to its reception. To render its opening 


pafisi^es intelligible, I must preface it with the state- 
ment that in the latter part of March, not long after I 
had taken np my quarters at Toledo, at the head of 
Lake Erie, I had been authorized by Mr. Irving to 
inrest, on joint account for himself and his brother 
Ebenezer, the sum of twenty thousand dollars in the 
purchase of lots or lands at that infant city — an invest- 
ment which, like the other speculations in wild lands 
into which he had been drawn, failed to yield the 
prompt advantages he had expected. 

[To Pierre M, Irving , at Toledo^ 

Tarrttoww, Dec. 12, 1886. 

My dear Piebre : 

A thousand things have prevented an earlier reply to your 
letter of Nov. 6th, which gave me great satisfaction. As 
to Toledo, I hope the Governor's prediction may be verified, 
and that it may grow to be a mighty city like Babylon of old, 
I am so accustomed, however, to find sxoans turn out mere 
geese, that I have made up my mind not to be grieved if that 
should prove to be the case in the present instance. I only 
hope that our goose may be tolerably plump and well feath- 
ered. My confidence in quick returns from land speculations 
slackened early last summer, or rather in the spring, when I 
saw how wildly everybody was rushing into them ; and I have 
ever since made my calculations to " weather along," as the 
sailors say, for some time to come, without any of the funds I 
have so invested. It takes down some of my towering plans, 
and may induce me to bum the candle only at one end ; but I 
will make up for it by a perfect illumination, should things 

92 ^^Om AlfD LETTEBS [IfiM. 

reallj turn oat righity, and I come to a great fortune ! Lock- 
ilji my cottage was built and fnmitore bought before this frost 
set in to chill my prospects. It has only nipped one weather- 
cock, which I shall not mount until more propitions days ; f<H> 
tmiately, I have three secure (having received the Vanderliey- 
den one magnificently gilt), and with these I shall endeavor to 
make out for the present 

Seriously, I am living most cosily and delightfully in this 
dear, bright httle home, which I have fitted up to my own 
humor. Everything goes on cheerily in my little househ<dd, 
and I would not exchange the cottage for any chateau in 
Christendom. I am working, too, withajj^st as much indus- 
try and rapidity as I did at Hellgate^, and, I think, will more 
than pay for my nest^ from the greater number of eggs I shall 
be able to hatch there. 

Astoria succeeds equal to your anticipations, and far be- 
yond my own. It is highly spoken of in two English reviewrs 
which I have read. One pronounces it my chef cTceuvre, I 
am glad he thinks so, though I don't. Old Mr. Astor appears 
to be greatly gratified, which is very satisfactory to me. 
William Astor also expresses himself in the most gratifying 
terms, and seems surprised that the subject should have been 
made so interesting and entertaining. In fact, I have heard 
more talk about this work, considering the short time it has 
been laimched, than about any other that I have published for 
some time past. 

Old Mr. Astor most unexpectedly paid me a visit at the 
cottage about a month since. * * * He landed at Tarry- 
town, and hired a vehicle, which brought him to the cottage 
door. He spent two days here, and promised to repeat his 
visit as soon as there shall be good sleighing. 


I follow this letter with a few extracts fmn one of 
the reviews of Astoria, to which Mr. Irving alludes — 
the Zandon /Spectator for the week ending October 23, 
1886, which opens as follows : 

We have been agreeably surprised by these volumes. In- 
stead of a novel, which the title, on its first announcement, 
seemed to propose, Astoria is the history of as grand and com- 
prehensive a commercial enterprise as ever was planned with 
any well-grounded prospect of success, and which was prose- 
cuted among scenes as vast and nations as wild, gave rise to 
incidents as ludicrous, as interesting, as appallmg, and devel- 
oped characters and manners as marked and striking as any- 
thing on record respectmg the adventurous explorers of the 
Middle Ages, or the hardy discoverers of more modem days. 

Then, after giving a sketch of the large scheme of 
Ifc. Astor, and the main narratives of the original 
voyage to Astoria, " fnU of pleasant humor," and the 
land jonmey across the continent, " of a more interest- 
ing and massy nature," and glancing at the principal 
sources from which the materials of the volumes are 
drawn, the reviewer sums up as follows : 

The result is the production of the most finished narrative 
of such a series of adventures that ever was written, whether 
with regard to plan or execution. The arrangement has all 
the art of a fiction, yet without any apparent sacrifice of truth 
or exactness. The composition we are inclined to rate as the 
chef d^csuvre of Washington Irving. * * * The book, in 
its better parts, does not appear like a reproduction from other 

94 I'IFB ^^ LETTEB8 [ISM. 

writings, but as a creation of genius from the ori^nal obs^- 
vation of things themselves. The author, with a peculiar 
felicity, has retained the raciness of his authorities. He dis- 
plays the acuteness, distinctness, and reality of men of business 
and action, without their necessary minuteness and tedious 
expansion. He has extracted the spirit from the Astorian 
archives, and thrown off their dregs and dry matter. 

On the lOth of December, 1836, after Peter had 
become an inmate of the cottage, we have the follow- 
ing amusingly characteristic epistle from Washington, 
addressed to the daughter of his sister Catherine from 
the " Roost," as he at first christened his new home : 

[To MUs Sarah Paris,'] 

Thb Roost, Dec. 10, 1838. 

My dear Sarah : 

I was most agreeably surprised, this afternoon, when the 
worthy and all-provident Mr. Lawrence, on his return from one 
of his foraging expeditions to Tarrytown, brought home with 
him, besides many creature comforts, a " bonnie little epistle '' 
from you. It is true, my pleasure was a little dampened on 
finding that I was not to have you back at the cottage so soon 
as I had anticipated ; but I cannot expect to monopolize yon, 
and beg you to protract your stay in New York as long as 
business or pleasure may dictate. 

I cannot tell you how happy I was to get back again to my 
own dear, bright little home, and leave behind me the hurry 
and worry and flurry of the city. I found all things going on 
well. Your uncle Peter had passed his time comfortably, and 
was altogether better in health and spirits than when we left 


him, notwithstanding that he was without the superintending 
care of that "lively lady," your mother. He continues to 
improve. He says he is free from headache, and the touch of 
influenza is over. He is enabled, therefore, to enjoy the cosey 
comforts of the cottage ; takes his meals regularly with me, is 
cheerful and conversable, and occupies himself with writing 
long letters to his correspondents — ^a sure sign that he is in 
good trim. Tell all this to your mother, and tell her he re- 
ceives Benjamin's portion of everything, just as fiaithfully as if 
she had the dealing out 

AHce accomplished her return voyage successfully, and 
with but one blunder (which was doing amazing well for an 
Irishwoman). She landed at Tarrytown, instead of Dobbs' 
Ferry. As it was late and dark, she was at first at what she 
calls a nonpltsh ; but fortunately she discovered the little man- 
sion of Mrs. Bowman, who gave her quarter for the night. 
The next morning she reached the cottage in safety, to the 
great joy of honest John, who welcomed her with a smile of 
at least a quarter of a yard in width. 

The goose war is happily terminated ; Mr. Jones' * squad- 
ron has left my waters, and my feathered navy now plows the 
Tappan Sea in triumph. I cannot but attribute this great vic- 
tory to the valor and good conduct of the enterprising and 
ambitious little duck, who seems to enjoy great power and 
popularity among both geese and ganders, and absolutely to be 
admiral of the fleet. 

I am happy to inform you, that, among the many other 
blessings brought to the cottage by the good Mr. Lawrence, f 

* George Jones bad purchased the land adjoining his, in September, 
Just after he had commenced hia housekeeping, 
f Silas Lawrence. 

96 ^^OFR AKD LETTEBS [18S«. 

is a pig of first rate stock and lineage. It has been duly pot in 
possession of the palace in the rear of the bam, where it is 
shown to every visitor with as mach pride as if it was the 
youngest child of a &mily. As it is of the fair sex, and, in 
the opinion of the best judges, a pig of peerless beauty, I have 
named it " Fanny." I know it is a name which, with Kate 
and you, has a romantic charm, and, about the cottage, every- 
thing, as old Mrs. Martling says, must be romance. 

[His two nieces, with the rest of the world, had been run- 
ning mad over the acting of Fanny Kemble.] 

Imp, finding me abandoned by my womankind, has taken 
compassion on me, and gives me her company nearly all day 
long; sometimes clambering on my lap as I sit writing, at 
other times fondling about my feet, or stretching herself before 
the fire, clawing the carpet, and purring with perfect enjoy- 
ment. As brother John said of his mocking bird, I expect to 
have great comfort in that cat — " if it should be spared." 

I have been writing almost incessantly since my return to 
the cottage, so that I have scarcely been out of doors, though 
the weather, a part of the time, has been lovely. I wanted a 
companion to tempt me to long walks about the hills. Alice 
and John take good care of us, so that we want for nothing in 
the way of household comforts ; but, old bachelor though I be^ 
I cannot do without womankind about me ; so come back, my 
darUng girl, as soon as you are tired of New York, and bring 
whom you please with you ; but Kate must at aU events be 
here in the holidays. 

It is Saturday evening. I hear a solemn though rather 
nasal strain of melody from my kitchen. It is the good 

y setting his mind in tune for the morrow. Thank 

Heaven, I have brimstoned my cider according to Uncle 


Katt's receipt ; it would stand poor chance, otherwise, against 
such melody. 

Give my love to all. Your affectionate uncle, 

Washington Irving. 

A few days later, lie writes to his brother Ebenezer : 

All goes on well at the Roost. Brother Peter is getting 
quite in good feather again, and hegins to crow ! 

You must contrive to come up soon, if it is only to see my 
new pig, which is a darling. 

Vol. I5I.-6 (7) 

93 Un AND I£TTE9S [1837. 



rriHE month of January, 1837, found Mr. Irving in 
-^ his little cottage dressed off in Christmas greens, 
with only Peter for a housemate, who was now com- 
pletely settled in it, and apparently much to his taste 
and- humor. " We have a brilliant frosty prospect 
from our windows," writes Mr. Irving to me, who had 
expressed some fears that he was passmg a solitary 
winter ; " Tappan Bay covered with sparkling ice, and 
the opposite hills with snow ; but everything is warm 
and cosey within doors." In these winter quarters, 
•which he found " anything but gloomy," he was exer- 
cising his pen, and "getting on briskly" with the 
Adventures of Captain Bonneville, which he was in- 
tending to launch in the spring. Meanwhile, he is 
gladdened with the news of the farther sale of a 
Toledo lot. " I am glad," he writes, " to find Toledo 


is doing bo well in these hard times, and begin to think 
I shall yet be able to afford another weathercock to my 

While thus enjoying himself in the quiet of the 
country, he is called upon most unexpectedly to notice 
two gratuitous newspaper attacks. The first censor 
was Mr. Joseph Seawell Jones, who had written a his- 
tory of North Carolina, and had got into a controversy 
respecting the mutual and contested claims of Virginia 
and North Carolina to be the original depository of the 
peculiarities characteristic of the days of Sir Walter 
Kaleigh and his Virgin Queen. In the course of the 
discussion, which was carried on in the columns of the 
New York American^ at that time edited by Charles 
King, now President of Columbia College, one of the 
parties brought forward, in support of his views, a 
quotation from a little comic sketch of Mr. Irving's, 
called " The Creole Village," lately contributed to an 
annual (the MagndUa*) ; and Mr. Jones thereupon — 
with what propriety I need not say — ^indulged in some 
coarse personal allusions toward his innocent and un- 
suspecting offender. Mr. Irving, in order that there 
might be no misapprehension of the circumstances 
under which his name had been introduced into this 
controversy, addressed the following letter to Mr. King: 

* The Magnolia was edited by that brilliant but unfortunate English 
writer, Henry Herijert. Besides the Creole Village, Mr. Irving contrib- 
uted to this annual another piece — ^The Happy Man. Both were afterward 
incorporated in '' Wolfert's lioost,'' the latter under the tiUe of The Con- 
tented Man.** 


To the Editor of ihe New York American : 

Sib : I perceive a prolonged and angiy discussion in the 
papers, with which my name has heen strangely mingled. 
The manner in which I have become impUcated is this : In a 
trifling sketch of a French Creole village, inserted in one of 
the latest annuals, I observed, incidentally, that the Virginians 
retain peculiarities characteristic of the times of Queen Eliza- 
beth and Sir Walter Raleigh. By this remark, I have drawn 
upon me some very ungracious language from a writer of 
North Carolina, who charges me with a gross violation of the 
truth of history, and implies that I have committed an intent 
tional wrong on his native State. Conscious of no intention to 
controvert any point of history ; free from all disposition to do 
wrong or to give offence either to commimities or individuals ; 
and accustomed to observe, and to experience, the most cour- 
teous conduct in all dealings with my literary contemporarief^ 
I was at a loss to what to attribute so indecorous an attack. I 
have since, however, understood that the feelings of the writer 
in question had previously become sore and irritable, in the 
course of a contest in the papers between himself and some 
Virginian writers, as to the claims of their respective States to 
certain historical associations with the names of Queen Eliza- 
beth and Sir "Walter Raleigh; and that my innocently in- 
tended paragraph aforesaid, being quoted by one of his oppo- 
nents, had drawn upon me his undiscriminating ire. 

I have too great commiseration for any person laboring 
under a state of mental irritabihty, to seek to exasperate his 
malady ; and feel nothing but regret that any casual remark of 
mine should have fallen upon this sore spot in the mind of 
your correspondent 


As, however, the writer's misconception has been reiterated 
in the newspapers, and as some readers may imagine that I 
really stand convicted of a deliberate outrage upon historical 
truth, and hostility to the claims of North Carolina, I beg leave 
simply to put on record, that I have neither part nor interest 
in the claims of either of the beUigerent parties. The opinion 
expressed in my unlucky paragraph, had no sinister view with 
respect to North Carolina. It merely expressed a general 
notion as to the manners of the Virginians, and an idea that 
they had taken their original stamp from colonists who had 
lived in England in the time of Queen Elizabeth and Sir 
Walter Raleigh, and had brought with them the habitudes and 
manners characteristic of that period. 

If I am wrong in this idea, I plead ignorance, rather than 
submit to the imputation of wilfully misstating facts ; but I 
believe that the most accurate researches will establish the cor- 
rectness of the casual remark which has brought upon me so 
mnch ire. As to the people of North Carolina, they have 
always partaken of that general feeling which I have toward 
the people of the South, which is anything but one of coldness 
or disrespect. 

I^ after this explanation, any disputatious writer should 

think fit to persist in resenting an imaginary offence, I shall 

leave him to the singular caprice of fighting shadows, and will 

only pray for his speedy restoration to a happier state of mind 

and greater courtesy of language. 

Very respectfully yours, 

"Washington Ibving. 

OBinrBUBO,* Jan. 4, 1837. 

* Greenbuig, from which the letter bears date, is the name of the 
township in which the cottage is »tuated. 

]^Q2 UFB AND LBTTEBS [1817. 

l£r. Irving had hardly answered this attack, before 
he was assailed in the Plaindealer of January 14th. 
William Leggett, who conducted that able bnt shorts 
lived weekly, has been described, by one who knew 
him, as taking a sort of pleasure in bearding public 
opinion. He had been for several years employed as 
one of the editors of the Evening Post, and remained 
with the paper till December, 1836. During the ab- 
sence, in Europe, of his editorial associate, "William C. 
Bryant, from 1834 to 1836, the paper suffered in its 
finances from its extreme political course, and, soon 
after the poet's return to resume the position of a jour- 
nalist, Mr. Leggett withdrew from the Post^ and com- 
menced the Plaindealerj the first number of which 
appeared December 3, 1836. In the seventh number, 
in an article on ^^ Mutilating Books," the editor re- 
marks : " Whatever be the motive, it is an unwarrant- 
able liberty, particularly when the title page or preface 
gives no intimation that the work has undergone em^i- 
dation or mutilation ; " and afterward adds : '' liber- 
ties of this kind, taken with an author, are bad at best ; 
and they become contemptible, when they result from 
that unmanly timidity which is afraid to let the public 
see the truth. Our respect for Washington Irving un- 
derwent a sensible diminution, when we perceived that, 
in supervising the republication of Bryant's Poems in 
London, he changed a passage in the piece called ^^ Ma- 
rion's Men " : 

^ And the British foeman trembles 
VHien Haiion's name is heard,'' 


in order to substitnte Bomething that might be more 
Boothing to [English] ears than the mention of the 
effect which the mode of warfare practised by the 
Southern partisan leader had on the British soldiers. 
"When Mr. Irving, in publishing a book of his own, 
prepares one preface for his countrymen, full of amor 
patriw and professions of American feeling, and an- 
other for the London market, in which all such profes- 
sions are studiously omitted, he does what he has an 
undoubted right to do, whatever we may say of its 
spirit. But when, at the suggestion of a species of 
literary pusillanimity, he changes the language of 
poems, every word of which, as written by the author, 
will live long after even Bracebridge Hall and Knick- 
erbocker are forgotten, he shows a deficiency of manli- 
ness not calculated to raise him in our opinion, to say 
the least of it.'' 

Mr. Irving first saw or heard of this article in com- 
ing to the city to attend the funeral of his old law pre- 
ceptor, Judge Josiah Ogden Hoffman, who had died on 
the 24th of January. An attack so immannerly — as it 
has been truly characterized by Mr. Evert A. Duyck- 
inck, a fair-minded and elevated critic — and so unjust, 
took him entirely by surprise; and as it seemed to 
derive weight firom the known friendship of Mr. liCg- 
gett and Mr. Bryantj and their long association as edi- 
tors, he lost no time in addressing the following reply 
to the editor of the Plaindealer^ which I find in that 
paper of January 28 : 



To the Editor of the PlaindeaUr : 

Sib : Living, at present, in the country, and out of the way 
of the current literature of the day, it was not until this morn- 
ing that I saw your paper of the 14th of January, or knew 
anything of your animadversions on my conduct and character 
therein contained. Though I have generally abstained bom 
noticing any attack upon myself in the public papers, the pres- 
ent is one which I cannot suffer to pass in silence. 

In the first place, you have censured me strongly for hav- 
ing altered a paragraph in the London edition of Mr. Bryant's 
poems ; and the remarks and comparisons in which you have 
indulged on the occasion, would seem to imply that I have a 
literary hostility to Mr. Bryant, and a disposition to detract 
from the measure of his well-merited reputation. 

The relation in which you stand to that gentleman, as his 
particular friend and literary associate, gives these animadver- 
sions the greater weight, and calls for a real statement of the 

When I was last in London (I think in 1832), I received 
a copy of the American edition of Mr. Bryant's Poems from 
some friend (I now forget from whom), who expressed a wish 
that it might be republished in England. I had not, at that 
time, the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with Mr. Bryant^ 
but I felt the same admiration for his Poems that you have 
expressed, and was desirous that writings so honorable to 
American literature should be known to the British pubhc, and 
take their merited rank in the Uterature of the language. I 
exerted myself therefore, to get them republished by some 
London bookseller, but met with unexpected difficulties, poetry 
being declared quite unsalable since the death of Lord Byron. 

At length a bookseller was induced to undertake an edi- 


tion, by my engaging, gratuitously, to edit the work, and to 
write something that might call public attention to it. I 
accordingly prefixed to the volume a dedicatory letter, ad- 
dressed to Mr. Samuel Rogers, ii^ which, while I expressed my 
awn opinion of the Poems, I took occasion to allude to the still 
more valuable approbation which I had heard expressed by 
that distinguished author ; thus bringing the work before the 
British public with the high sanction of one of the most refined 
critics of the day. While the work was going through the 
press, an objection was started to the passage in the poem of 
" Marion's Men " : 

<< And the British foeman trembles, 
When Marion^s name b heard.^ 

It was considered as peculiarly calculated to shock the feelings 
of British readers on the most sensitive point, seeming to call 
in question the courage of the nation. It was urged that com- 
mon decorum required the softening of such a passage in an 
edition exclusively intended for the British public ; and I was 
asked what would be the feelings of American readers, if such 
an imputation on the courage of their countrymen were in- 
serted in a work presented for their approbation. These 
objections were urged in a spirit of friendship to Mr. Bryant, 
and with a view to his success, for it was suggested that this 
passage might be felt as a taunt or bravado, and might awaken 
a prejudice against the work, before its merits could be appre- 

I doubt whether these objections would have occurred to 
me, had they not been thus set forth ; but, when thus urged, I 
yielded to them, and softened the passage in question, by omit- 
ting the adjective British^ and substituting one of a more gen- 

Vol. in.— 6* 

106 I'm AND UETTEBS [1837« 

oral edgnificatioii. If tMs eyinced " timiditj of spirit,'' it ' 
a timidity felt entirely on behalf of Mr. Bryant. I was not to 
be harmed by the insertion of the paragraph as it originally 
stood. I freely confess, ho^^ever, that I have at all limes 
almost as strong a repugnance to tell a painful or humiliating 
truth, unnecessarily^ as I have to tell an untruth, under any 
circumstances. To speak the truth on all occasions, is the 
indispensable attribute of man ; to refrain from uttering dis- 
agreeable truths, unnecessarily, belongs, I think, to the character 
of a gentleman ; neither, sir, do I think it incompatible with 
fair dealing, however little it may square with your notions of 
plain dealing. 

The foregoing statement will show how I stand with regard 
to Mr. Bryant. I trust his fame has suffered nothing by my 
repubhcation of his works in London; at any rate, he has 
expressed his thanks to me by letter, since my return to this 
country. I was, therefore, I confess, but little prepared to 
receive a stab from his bosom friend. 

Another part of your animadversions is of a much graver 
nature, for it implies a charge of hypocrisy and double dealing 
which I indignantly repel as incompatible with my nature. 
You intimate, that " in publishing a book of my own, I pre- 
pare one preface for my countrymen, full of amor pairuB and 
professions of home feeling, and another for the London mar- 
ket, in which such professions are studiously omitted." Your 
inference is that these professions are hollow, and intended to 
gain favor with my countrymen, and that they are omitted in 
the London edition through fear of offending English readers. 
Were I indeed chargeable with such baseness, I should well 
merit the contempt you invoke upon my head. As I give you 
credit, sir, for probity, I was at a loss to think on what you 


could groctnd such an imputation, until it occurred to me that 
some circumstances attending the publication of my '' Tour on 
the Prairies " might have given rise to a misconception in your 

It may seem strange to those intimately acquainted with 
my character, that I should think it necessary to defend myself 
from a charge of duplicity ; but as many of your readers may 
know me as little as you appear to do, I must again be excused 
in a detail of facts. 

"When my Tour on the Prairies was ready for the press, I 
sent a manuscript copy to England for publication, and, at the 
same time, put a copy in the press at New York. As this 
was my first appearance before the American public since my 
return, I was induced, while the work was printing, to modify 
the introduction so as to express my sense of the unexpected 
warmth with which I had been welcomed to my native place, 
and my general feelings on finding myself once more at home, 
and among my friends. These feelings, sir, were genuine, and 
were not expressed with half the warmth with which they 
were entertained. Circmnstances alluded to in that introduc- 
tion had made the reception I met with from my countrymen 
doubly dear and touching to me, and had filled my heart with 
aflfectionate gratitude for their unlooked-for kindness. In fact, 
misconstructions of my conduct, and misconceptions of my 
character, somewhat similar to those I am at present endeavor- 
ing to rebut, had appeared in the public press, and, as I errone- 
ously supposed, had prejudiced the mind of my countrymen 
against me. The professions, therefore, to which you have 
alluded, were uttered, not to obviate such prejudices, or to win 
my way to the good will of my countrymen, but to express my 
feelings afbr their good wiU had been unequivocally manifest- 

108 ^^^ ^^^ LETTSBS [18S7. 

ed. While I thought they doubted me, I remained sileiit; 
when I found they believed in me, I spoke. I have never 
been in the habit of beguiling them by fulsome professions of 
patriotism, those cheap passports to public favor ; and I think I 
might for once have been indulged in briefly touching a cbord 
on which others have harped to so much advantage. 

Now, sir, even granting I had "studiously omitted" all 
those professions in the introduction intended for the London 
market, instead of giving utterance to them after that article 
had been sent ofi^ where, I would ask, would have been the 
impropriety of the act ? "What had the British public to do 
with those home greetings, and those assurances of gratitude 
and affection which related exclusively to my countrymen, and 
grew out of my actual position with regard to them ? There 
was nothing in them at which the British reader could possibly 
take offence ; the omitting of them, therefore, could not have 
argued " timidity," but would have been merely a matter of 
good taste ; for they would have been as much out of place 
repeated to English readers, as would have been my greetings 
and salutations to my family circle, if repeated out of the win- 
dow, for the benefit of the passers-by in the street 

I have no intention, sir, of imputing to you any malevolent 
feeling in the imlooked-for attack you have made upon me : I 
can see no motive you have for such hostility. I rather think 
you have acted from honest feelings, hastily excited by a mis- 
apprehension of facts; and that you have been a little too 
eager to give an instance of that " plain dealing " which you 
have recently adopted as your war cry. Plain dealing, sir, is 
a great merit, when accompanied by magnanimity, and exer- 
cised with a just and generous spirit ; but if pushed too fer, 
and made the excuse for indulging every impulse of passion or 


prejadice, it maj render a man, especially in your situation, a 
very offensive, if not a very mischievous member of the com- 
munity. Such I sincerely hope and trust may not be your 
case ; but this hint, given in a spirit of caution, not of accusa- 
tion, may not be of disservice to you. 

In the present instance, I have only to ask that you will 
give this article an insertion in your paper, being intended not 
so much for yourself, as for those of your readers who may 
have been prejudiced against me by your animadversions. 
Your editorial position of course gives you an opportunity of 
commenting upon it according to the current of your feelings ; 
and, whatever may be your comments, it is not probable that 
they will draw any further reply from me. Recrimination is a 
miserable kind of redress, in which I never indulge, and I have 
no relish for the warfare of the pen. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Washington Irving. 

The editor of tlie Plaindecder^ in introducing Mr. 
Irving's dignified reply to his strictures, accompanied 
the letter with " the most explicit exoneration of Mr. 
Bryant from any lot or part, directly or indirectly, in 
the remarks" he made concerning "what seemed to 
him a piece of literary pusillanimity on the part of Mr. 
Irving," and added, that "candor required him to 
state, that on various occasions he had heard Mr. Bry- 
ant express the kindest sentiments toward Mr. Irving 
for the interest he took in the publication of a London 
edition of his Poems, and for the complimentary terms 
in which he introduced them to the British public." 

XIO I<l™ J^^^^ LBTTBBS [1887. 

Mr. Bryant himself, however, to leave no doubt of 
the editor's sincerity in this exoneration, took occasion, 
in the succeeding number of the Plaindealer^ to state 
explicitly that, though he would not have made the 
alteration, he had never complained of it, and had no 
doubt it was done with the kindest intentions: ex- 
pressing, at the same time, with some feeling, his sur- 
prise at one or two unguarded passages in Mr. Irving's 
letter, as if levelled at himself. To this Mr. Irving 
replied through the columns of the New York Ameri- 
can^ in a letter addressed to Mr. Bryant, expressing his 
deep regret that any passages in his letter to Mr. L^- 
gett should have seemed susceptible of a construction 
unfavorable to him, and disavowing emphatically any 
suspicion or the remotest intention to insinuate that he 
had the least participation in the attack recently made 
on his character. The letter closed as follows : 

As to the alteration of a word in the London edition of 
your Poems, which others have sought to nurture into a root 
of bitterness between us, I have already stated my motives for 
it, and the embarrassment in which I was placed. I regret 
extremely that it should not have met with your approbation, 
and sincerely apologize to you for the liberty I was persuaded 
to take: a liberty I freely acknowledge the least excusable 
with writings like yours, in which it is difficult to alter a word 
without marring a beauty. 

The two letters of Mr. Bryant, written after he had 
received a copy of the London edition of his Poems, 


forwarded by Mr, Irving, in which he expresses his 
thanks to him for the kind interest he had taken in 
procuring the publication of his Poems in England, 
have already been given in a preceding volume. 

It is evident, from the tone of the Plaindealer in 
this attack, that its editor was infected with a notion 
that Mr. Irving had been too much inclined to pay 
court to England. It is not necessary to vindicate him 
from this false impression at the present day, but the 
question is so fully met, and the analysis of Mr. Irving's 
character in this particular so admirably and truly 
given by Mr. Bryant, in the beautiful address delivered 
on occasion of his death, that I cannot deny myself the 
pleasure of quoting from it in this connection. 

After alluding to the author's agreeable pictures of 
English life in the Sketch Book, Bracebridge Hall, and 
the Tales of a Traveller, " seen imder favorable lights, 
and sketched with a friendly pencil," he remarks : 

Let me say here, that it was not to pay court to the Eng- 
lish that he thus described them and their country; it was 
because he could not describe them otherwise. It was the 
instinct of his mind to attach itself to the contemplation of the 
good and the beautiful, wherever he found them, and to turn 
away from the sight of what was evil, misshapen, and hateful. 
His was not a nature to pry for faults, or disabuse the world of 
good-natured mistakes ; he looked for virtue, love, and truth 
among men, and thanked God that he found them in such large 
measure. If there are touches of satire in his writings, he ia 
the best-natured and most amiable of satirists, amiable beyond 

112 I*!!^ AND LETTKB8 [1817. 

Horace ; and in his irony — ^for there is a vein of playftd ironj 
running through many of his works — ^there is no tinge of bit- 

I rejoice, for my part, that we have had such a writer as 
Irving to bridge over the chasm between the two great nations 
— ^that an illustrious American lived so long in England, and 
was so much beloved there, and sought so earnestly to bring 
the people of the two countries to a better understanding with 
each other, and to wean them from the animosities of narrow 
minds. I am sure that there is not a large-minded and large- 
hearted man in all our country, who can read over the Sketch 
Book, and the other writings of Irving, and disown one of 
the magnanimous sentiments they express with regard to Eng- 
land, or desire to abate the glow of one of his warm and cheer- 
ful pictures of English life. Occasions will arise, no doubt, for 
saying some things in a less accommodating spirit, and there 
are men enough on both sides of the Atlantic who can say 
them ; but Irving was not sent into the world on that errand. 
A diflferent work was assigned him in the very structure of his 
mind and the endowments of his heart — ^a work of peace and 
brotherhood ; and I will say for him, that he nobly performed it 

I now go back a little, to give the following letter 
of Washington to his brother Ebenezer, dated January 
10, 1837, four days prior to the rude assault of the 
JPlaindealer : 

All is going on well at the cottage. Peter is in good con- 
dition and good spirits. 

I have looked over the account current, and find, on comr 
puting my expenses since I began housekeeping on the 1st of 

Mr, 58.] OF WASHlNaTON IRVINa. 118 

September, that I can keep on at the rate at which I have 
been living without any danger of running aground. This is 
very satisfactory; for so many fears were expressed on my 
account, that I almost began to doubt, myself whether I were 
not playing the part of the prodigal son, and wasting my sub- 
stance in riotous living. I question, after all, whether the cot- 
tage will not prove, in the end, the best of all my speculations. 
Let me hear, by mail, about the maps. 

The maps in question were designed for the work 
he was about to publish, entitled " The Adventures of 
Captain Bonneville, U. S. A., in the Bocky Mountains 
of the Far West. Digested from his Journal, and illus- 
trated from various other sources." 

A few weeks later, we find this work going through 
the press. Peter writes from the cottage, on the 6th 
of March : 

"Washington is in New York, superintending the printing 
of a new work, which will be supplementary to Astoria, as it 
treats of expeditions in the same regions since that date, with 
an ample account of the Indian tribes and the white trappers, 
with details of their peculiar characters and adventurous lives 
beyond the Rocky Mountains. It is a picture of a singular 
class of people midway between the savage state and civiliza- 
tion, who will soon cease to exist, and be only known in such 
records, which will form a department of great interest in the 
history of our country. 

The " leading theme " of these pages, however, was 
the expeditions and adventures of Captain Bonneville, 
Vol. III.— (8) 

114 I'li^ AHD LETTEBS [1897. 

of the United States army, ^^ who, in a rambling kind 
of enterprise, had strangely ingrafted the trappar and 
hnntar npon the sddier.'^ Mr. Irving had first met 
this gentleman in the antumn of 1835, at the conntiy 
seat of Mr. Astor. Coming npon him afterward, in the 
following winter, at Washington, and finding him en- 
gaged in rewriting and extending his travelling notes, 
and making maps of the regions he had explored, he 
purchased this mass of manuscripts fit>m him for one 
thousand dollars, and undertook to fit it for publication, 
and bring it before the world. That manuscript, which 
was full of interesting details of life among the moim- 
tains, and of the singular castes of races, both white 
and red men, among whom he had sojourned, formed 
the staple of the work, though other facts and details 
were interwoven, gathered from other sources, espe- 
cially from the conversations and journals of some of 
the captain's contemporaries, who were actors in the 
scenes he describes ; while to the whole he gave a tone 
and coloring drawn from his own observation during 
his tour on the prairies. 

Mr. Irving obtained for the work, from his Ameri- 
can publishers, Carey, Lea & Co., three thousand dol- 
lars, and from Bentley, in London, £900. 

It was while this work was going through the press, 
that Mr. Irving attended a complimentary entertain- 
ment, given by the booksellers of New York to authors 
and other literary and distinguished men, at which 
Chancellor Kent, James K. Paulding, William Cullen 


Bryant, Fitz-Greene Halleck, Eev. Orville Dewey, 
Judge Irving, and others were present. In the ab- 
sence of Thomas Swords, the oldest bookseller in New 
York, occasioned by ill health, Mr. David Felt pre- 
sided. Mr. George P. Putnam, then a youthM mem- 
ber of the trade, was one of the committee of arrange- 
ments and a reporter in part of the proceedings. I 
take from the report of the future publisher, in the 
New York American^ the following notice of Mr. 
Irving's brief remarks, which derive their chief interest 
from the pleasant allusion to ^Rogers and Halleck : 

Mr. Washington Irving, being called upon for a toast, 
observed that he meant to propose the health of an individual 
whom he was sure all present would delight to honor — of 
Samuel Eogers, the poet. Mr. Irving observed, that in a long 
intimacy with Mr. Rogers, he had ever found him an enlight- 
ened and liberal friend of America and Americans. Possess- 
ing great influence in the world of literature and the fine arts 
in Great Britain, from his acknowledged soundness of judg- 
ment and refinement of taste, he had often exerted it in the 
kindest and most gracious manner in fostering, encouraging^ 
and bringing into notice the talents of youthful American 
artists. He had also manifested, on all occasions, the warmest 
sympathy in the success of American writers, and the prompt- 
est disposition to acknowledge and point out their merits. I 
am led to these remarks, added Mr. Irving, by a letter re- 
ceived yesterday from Mr. Rogers, acknowledging the receipt 
of a volume of Halleck's Poems which I had sent him, and 
expressing his opinion of their merits. Mr. Irving here read 
the following extract from the letter : 

116 LIFE AND LBTTSBS [1887. 

''With Mr. Halleck's Poems I was alreadj acquainted, 
particularlj with the two first in the volume, and I cannot say 
how much I admired them always. They are better than any- 
thing we can do just now on our side the Atlantic [Hear, 
hear]. I hope he will not be idle, but continue long to delight 
us. When he comes here again, he must not content himself 
with looking on the outside of my house, as I am told he did 
once, but knock and ring, and ask for me as for an old ac- 
quaintance [Cheers]. I should say, indeed, if I am here to be 
found ; for if he or you, my dear friend, delay your coming 
much longer, I shall have no hope of seeing either of you on 
this side the grave." 

Mr. Irving concluded by giving as a toast: Samuel 
Rogers — the friend of American genius. 

The company all rose, and drank the health standing, with 
the greatest enthusiasm. 

I^otwithstandiiig the boding allusion to his declin- 
ing years in Rogers' letter — ^for he was then seventy- 
five — ^it*was the fortune of Mr. Irving to meet again 
the venerable bard " on this side the grave " more than 

Among the memorable events of this season at 
the cottage, was a visit from the present Emperor of 
France, then simple Louis Napoleon, who, after having 
been a prisoner of state for some months on board of a 
French man-of-war, was set at liberty on our shores at 
Norfolk, early in the spring of 1837. From Norfolk 
he came immediately to New York, where he remained 
about two months, and then returned to Europe. It 


was daring this interval that he made his visit to the 
" Roost/' accompanied by a yomig French count, and 
escorted by a neighbor, Mr. Anthony Constant, with 
whom he had been passing a day or two, and who had 
previously announced to Mr. Irving his intention of 
bringing him to breakfast. Mr. Irving enjoyed the 
visit, and was much interested in the peculiar position 
of his somewhat quiet guest, though little anticipating 
the dazzling career which awaited him. 

At this time Peter had resumed his place in " the 
family hive " in New York, preferring, in his invalid 
state, to reconnoitre the world from a nearer and more 
populous point than the cottage. During the remain- 
ing fourteen months of his life he continued in the 
city, which furnished so much more for amusement and 

In the following letter to Edward Everett, Mr. 
Irving declines an invitation to deliver a public ad- 

ObbbsbitbOi Jaly 12, 18S7. 

Dear Sib : 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 
24th ult., informing me that the government of the Boston 
Lyceum had done me the honor to invite me to deliver the 
introductory address at the opening of their course for next 
winter. The official communication to which you advert has 
not come to hand, probably owing to the irregularity with 
which my letters are forwarded me from town. I trust, there- 
fore, that a reply to you as President of the Institution will be 
sufficient, I have delayed replying earlier, in the hope that I 


might prevail upon myself to accept so very flattering and 
gratifying an invitation ; but I regret to say that a shrinking 
repugnance to everything calculated to bring me personally 
before the public eye, has, by unwise indulgence, grown upon 
me to such a degree as to be, I fear, absolutely insurmount- 
able. There is no gifl I more envy and admire than that 
which enables the possessor to bring his mind to act directly 
upon an intelligent audience, and to arouse and delight his 
auditors. Did I possess this great and glorious gift, I should 
feel a triumph in exerting it before such an audience as that of 
the Lyceum ; but feeling and deploring my incapacity, I can 
only, through you, convey to that institution my most sincere 
and grateful acknowledgments for the high proof they have 
given me of their esteem. 

Accept for yourself my dear sir, my kindest thanks for the 
repeated marks of friendly consideration which I have expe- 
rienced from you from time to time, and believe me, with the 
highest respect and regard, 

Very faithfully yours, 

"Washington Ibvino. 
Hon. Edward Etssett, &c, &c., &c. 

The little domain of the Roost, originally of ten 
acres, afterward swelled to eighteen, now consisted of 
about fifteen acres— eight acres, added in the spring of 
1836, having been exchanged by the author for a neigh- 
boring lot, the property of his nephew, Oscar Irving. 
In the succeeding year he bought fourteen additional 
acres, of which he soon aft^er parted with six for the 
cost of the fourteen — ^the only fortunate speculation, as 

-fir. 64.] OP WASHINGTON IRVING. 119 

he used to say^ he ever made, though the purchafie of 
Michigan lands, in which he went shares with his 
friend Kemble, humorously hinted at in the following 
letter, must certainly claim exemption from his unlucky 
ventures. The letter is addressed to his old friend, 
then a member of the House of Representatives at 
"Washington, from the residence of Mr. John Jacob 
Astor, in the city, where he was then on a visit, and 
contains something like a profession of political faith — 
as near, perhaps, as he ever came to one ; for though 
always keenly alive to everything that affected the 
interest or honor of his country, he had no party preju- 
dices or strongly marked political opinions. 

[To Gouverneur KembleJ] 

Niw YOBK, Jan. 10, 1838. 

Mr DEAB Kemble : 

On coming to town, I found yours of the 3d inst. waiting 
for me. Arrange with Grodfrey as you think best about the 
payment of the land. The late hardships of the times have 
moderated all my towering notions. I am now perfectly re- 
signed to fifty per cent, profit, and seven per cent, interest until 
paid. Nothing teaches a man better philosophy than a httle 
experience in ** castle building." 

My brother E. I., who, you know, is a wary man of busi- 
ness, suggests that the mortgage we are to receive should be 
signed by the wives of the opposite parties, if they have any, 
and that the buildings on the land mortgaged should be in- 
sured, and the policies assigned to us. 

As to Van Buren's insinuation that I have cut him, I repel 


the monstrous charge. What! cut a President? — turn my 
back upon a friend when at the height of power ? What the 
plague does he take me for ? I always suspected he had no 
very high idea of my merit as a politician, but I never ima- 
gined he could think me capable of so gross a departure from 
the ways of the poHtical world. 

Seriously, however, I have not corresponded with Van Buren, 
because I did not rehsh some points of his pohcy, nor believe 
in the wisdom and honesty of some of his elbow counsellors ; 
yet had too great diffidence of my own judgment and experi- 
ence in pohtical matters to intrude upon him my opinions. I 
have for him the most hearty and sincere regard, and, if I had 
the arm of a Hercules, I would lifl him out of the mire in 
which I think others are plunging him, and would place him 
upon firm ground ; but, with my feeble and uncertain means, I 
should only bother where I might seek to aid. 

As &r as I know my own mind, I am thoroughly a repub- 
h'can, and attached, from complete conviction, to the institu- 
tions of my country ; but I am a republican without gall, and 
have no bitterness in my creed. I have no relish for puritans 
either in religion or politics, who are for pushing principles to 
an extreme, and for overturning everything that stands in the 
way of their own zealous career. I have, therefore, felt a 
strong distaste for some of those loco foco luminaries who of 
late have been urging strong and sweeping measures, subver- 
sive of the interests of great classes of the community. Their 
doctrines may be excellent in theory, but, if enforced in violent 
and uncompromising opposition to all our habitudes, may pro- 
duce the most distressing effects. The best of remedies must 
be cautiously applied, and suited to the state and constitution 
of the patient ; otherwise, what is intended to cure, may pro- 


duce convulsion. The late elections have shown that the 
measures proposed by Government arc repugnant to the feel- 
ings and habitudes, or disastrous to the interests of great por- 
tions of our fellow citizens. They should not then be forced 
home with rigor. Ours is a Government of compromise. "We 
have several great and distinct interests boimd up together, 
which, if not separately consulted and severally accommo- 
dated, may harass and impair each other. A §tem, inflexible, 
and uniform policy may do for a small, compact republic, like 
one of those of ancient Greece, where there is a unity of 
character, habits, and interests ; but a more accommodating, 
discriminating, and variable policy must be observed in a vast 
republic like ours, formed of a variety of States widely differ- 
ing in habits, pursuits, characters, and climes, mi banded to- 
gether by a few general ties. 

I always distrust the soundness of political councils that 
are accompanied by acrimonious ftnd disparaging attacks upon 
any great class of our fellow citizens. Such are those urged 
to the disadvantage of the great trading and financial classes 
of our country. You yourself know, from education and ex- 
perience, how important these classes are to the prosperous 
conduct of the complicated afiEairs of this immense empire. 
You yourself kjiow, in spite of all the commonplace cant and 
obloquy that has been cast upon them by political spouters and 
scribblers, what general good faith and fair dealing prevails 
throughout these classes. Knaves and swindlers there are 
doubtless among them, as there are among all great classes of 
men ; but I declare that I looked with pride and admiration at 
the manner in which the great body of our commercial and 
financial men have struggled on through the tremendous trials 
Vol, m,— 6 

122 LIFE AND LETTERS [1888. 

which have of late overwhelmed them, and have endeavored, 
at every pecuniary sacrifice, to fulfil their engagements. Eu- 
rope, after an interval of panic and distrust, is beginning to do 
them justice ; and the faith of an American merchant, and of 
American moneyed institutions, is likely to take a still higher 
rank in foreign estimation, from the recent trials it has sus- 

As to the .excessive expansions of commerce, and the ex- 
travagant land speculations, which excited such vehement cen- 
sure, I look upon them as incident to that spirit of enterprise 
natural to a young country in a state of rapid and prosperous 
development ; a spirit wliich, with all its occasional excesses, 
has given our nation an immense impulse in its onward career, 
and promises to carry it ahead of aU the nations of the globe. 
There are moral as well as physical phenomena incident to 
every state of things, which may at first appear evils, but 
which are devised by an all-seeing Providence for some be- 
neficent purpose. Such is the spirit of speculative enterprise 
which now and then rises to an extravagant height, and sweeps 
throughout the land. It grows out of the very state of our 
country and its institutions, and, though sometimes productive 
of temporary mischief, yet leaves behind it lasting benefits. 
The late land speculations, so much deprecated, though ruinous 
to many engaged in them, have forced agriculture and civiliza- 
tion into the depths of the wilderness ; have laid open the 
recesses of primeval forests ; made uS acquainted with the 
most available points of our immense interior ; have cast the 
germs of future towns and cities and busy marts in the heart 
of savage solitudes, and studded our vast rivers and internal 
seas with ports that will soon give activity to a vast internal 
commerce. Millions of acres which might otherwise have 


remained idle and impracticable wastes, have been brought 
mider the dominion of the plough, and hundreds of thousands 
of industrious yeomen have been carried into the rich but 
remote deptl« of our immense empire, to multiply and spread 
out in every direction, and give solidity and strength to our 
great confederacy. 

All this has in a great measure been effected by the ex- 
travagant schemes of land spectdators. I am, therefore, in- 
clined to look upon Aem with a more indulgent eye than they 
are considered by those violent politicians who are prescribing 
violent checks and counter measures, and who seem to have 
something vindictive in their policy. 

But enough of all this scribble scrabble. I shall be heartily 
glad if Mr. Van Buren, by his sub-treasury scheme, or any 
other measure, can extricate both the Government and the 
country from the present state of financial perplexity. For 
my own part, I cannot but think a national bank, properly 
restrained and guarded (especially as it respects dealing in 
foreign exchange), will, after all, be the measure most likely 
to suit the circumstances of the country, and restore the pros- 
perous action of its trade. It would be a salutary check upon 
all minor banks, and would curb the power of Mr. Biddle, who 
is now getting a complete financial sway. 

And now, my dear Kemble, let me have done with this 
"mortal coil," and thank you for your kind invitation to Wash- 
ington. I should like much a visit there, if I could loimge 
about, a quiet and idle spectator ; but I have a love of ease 
and tranquillity growing upon me, that makes even the bustle 
of gay society irksome, and which quite incapacitates me for 
the turmoil and excitement of a great political metropolis in a 
high state of fermentation. I am now in the city, on a visit to 

134 ^'I^ ^I^ IXTTEBS L1888. 

old Mr. Astor, with whom I shall probahlj remain foi two or 
three weeks, and then return to my little retreat in the ooan- 
try, where I play the hermit without the least shadow of 
gloom, and from whence I peep forth upon the world without 
the slightest tinge of misanthropy or spleen. 

Give my kindest regards to Mr. Van Buren, and tell liim, 
that though I refrain from "bestowing my tediousness" upon him 
in the way of advice, yet I like him just as well as if I scrib- 
bled to him by the ream ; and that tho^h I may appear to 
cut him now in the day of his power, yet, whenever he may 
retire from the Presidential chfur, he shall be welcome to the 
easiest chair in my cottage. 

With kind remembrances to your sister Mary, 
Yours ever, my dear Kemble, 

Washington Irving. 

The following is also addressed to the same corre- 
spondent, in reply to some query respecting a romor 
which had reached him : 

Kbit Yosk, March 12, 1838. 

Mt dear Kemble : 

Absence from town has prevented my answering sooner 
your letter of the 4th inst. There is no truth in the rumor of 
my having consented to become a candidate for the Mayoralty. 
I have not even been applied to on the subject ; but, if I had 
been, nothing could induce me to undertake an office for 
which I feel myself so little fitted. Besides, I value my peace 
of mmd too highly to suffer myself to be drawn into the 
vortex of New York politics; which, not to speak profismely, 
is a perfect political Hellgate. 

iBr. 64.] OF WA8HIKQT0K IRVING. 125 

* * * With kindest remembrances to your sister, I 
am, my dear Kemble, yours ever, 

Washington Ibtino. 

P. S. — ^How stands the Godfrey affair ? Are we likely to 
have any more money this spring ? I wish to know, that I 
may make my calculations for the ways and meant for the 
current year. 

So large a portion of Mr. Irving's fiinds had now 
been locked up in unproductive land purchases, that it 
was a subject of anxious interest with him to know 
from what quarter he would derive an income to meet 
the current expenses of the cottage. 

At the date of the foregoing extract, Washington 
was in the city, attending at the bedside of John, who 
was soon after removed from him by death. This 
brother, about whom he had long before expressed his 
fears that his health would give way under the ex- 
hausting duties of his official position, was now sinking 
into the grave, a martyr to an overtasked mind. He 
expired on the 15th of March, in the fifty-eighth year 
of his age, after having filled with honor the position 
of First Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for the 
City and County of New York for twenty years. He 
was a man of perfect uprightness and great refinement 
of character, and enjoyed, through life, the high respect 
of the community. In his earlier days he had some- 
thing of a literary turn, which, however, was soon 
quenched under the dry details of the law, and the 

126 I'^^ -^^ LETTERS [1888. 

resolute fidelity with which he gave himself up to the 
claims of his profession. 

Some time after this, we find Mr. Irving again in 
his little country home, whence he writes to his sister, 
Mrs. Paris : 

My return to the cottage was a return to peace and tran- 
quillity of mind. I laid awake early this morning, with the 
little birds singing before the window, and all my thoughts and 
plans were pleasant I am convinced, now, that I can cany 
on this little establishment much more economically than here- 
tofore, and full as pleasantly. When the housekeeping at 
Bridge street \a broken up, the girls must hail from the cottage 
as a homestead, and must consider it such. 

Yesterday I had a full deputation from Tammany Hall at 
the cottage, informing me that I had been imanimously and 
vociferously nominated as Mayor, and hoping that I would 
consent to be a candidate. Of course I declined. 

Mr. Irving had scarcely declined this proffered 
nomination for an incongruous post, when he received 
a letter firom President Van Buren, informing him of 
the intention of the existing Secretary of the Navy to 
retire, and tendering him the appointment as his suc- 

I beheve you to possess [writes Mr. Van Buren, with 
whom he had maintained intimate and friendly personal rela- 
tions] in an eminent degree those peculiar quahties which 
should distinguish the head of that Department, and the sue- 


cessfid and efiBcieut employment of which is so important to 
this branch of the public service. This opinion has been con- 
firmed by a fiill and confidential conversation with your friends 
Paulding and Kemble, whose judgment and sincerity I highly 
respect, and the former of whom is more particularly informed 
in regard to the services to be rendered. 

Mr. Irving, however, was not to be tempted by the 
offer of BO honorable a post in the Cabinet of the 

Mature reflection [he writes in reply] and self-examination 
have served to confirm my first impulse, which was to decline 
your most kind and flattering offer. It is not so much the 
duties of the post that I fear, as I take a dehght in full occu- 
pation, and the concerns of the Navy Department would be 
peculiarly interesting to me ; but I shrink from the harsh cares 
and turmoils of public and political hfe at Washington, and 
feel that I am too sensitive to endure the bitter personal hos- 
tility, and the slanders and misrepresentations of the press, 
which beset high station in this country. This argues, I con- 
fess, a weakness of spirit and a want of true philosophy ; but 
I speak of myself as I am, not as I ought to be. Perhaps, 
had my ambition been directed toward official distinction, I 
might have become enured to the struggle ; but it has lain in a 
different and more secluded path, and has nurtured in me habits 
of quiet and a love of peace of mind that daily unfit me more 
and more for the collisions of the world. I really believe it 
would take but a short career of public life at Washington to 
render me mentally and physically a perfect wreck, and to 
hurry me prematurely into old age. 

128 un Ain> ifmss fuss. 



npHE letter whicli follows shows the anxiety of Mr. 
-■- Irving to tnm some of liis unproductive real 
estate into the means of income, as his cottage, from 
being a bachelor nest, had assumed the character of a 
family mansion, and made proportionate demands upon 
his purse. It had been decided that Ebenezer should 
give up the house in town, and his family, heretofore 
fluctuating inmates of the Roost, were now to make it 
their permanent home. Ebenezer and Peter still re- 
tained apartments in the city, whOe Washington, to 
quote from one of the last letters Peter was ever to 
write, addressed to Mrs. Irving at Toledo, "was 
vibrating between town and country like the pendu- 
lum of a clock." The letter is addressed to me at 
Toledo, at which place I remained until the following 
autumn, when I resumed my residence in New York. 

^T.65.] 0¥ WASHINGTON IBYING. 129 

[To Pierre M. Irving, Toledo, Ohio.] 

WoLFCRfs Boost, Hay 18, 1888. 

My deab Piebbe : 

I am more and more "convinced that the very best thing to 
be done with the Toledo lots, is to put up small buildings on 
some of them as speedily as possible ; by this means we may 
soon be in the receipt of a full interest on the whole amount 
invested there ; and, for my own part, I should be well con- 
tented to let it remain thus invested. I have urged your uncle 
E. L to write to you on the subject, but as he is apt to take a 
long time to load his piece regularly, I have thought proper to 
give you this random shot. 

* * * We are all cosily quartered at the Roost, and 
very comfortable. The season is coming out in all its beauty, 
and we are in the midst of birds and blossoms and flowers. I 
look forward with pleasure to the prospect of seeing you and 
Helen at the cottage in the course of the summer, and show- 
ing you what a capital florist and horticulturist and agricul- 
turist I am becoming. I beat all the gentleman farmers in my 
neighborhood, for I can manage to raise my vegetables and 
fruits at very little more than twice the market price. 

"With my best love to my dear Helen, 

Yours ever afiectionately, 

Washington Ibvino 

On the 27tli of the following month, Washington 
was called to meet one of the severest blows of his life 
in the death of his cherished brother Peter. His dan- 
ger was considered imminent but a very few days. 
How deeply he felt this great bereavement, following 
80 soon after the death of his brother John, the foUow- 

VoL. ni.— 6* (9) 

130 ^I^ ^^ LETTERS [ISSft. 

ing extract from a letter to his sister, Mrs. Van Wart, 
dated nearly three months after, will show : 

Every day, every hour I feel how completely Peter and 
myself were intertwined together in the whole course of our 
existence. Indeed, the very circumstance of our both having 
never been married, bound us more closely together. The rest 
of the family were married, and had famiUes of their own to 
engross or divide their sympathies, and to weaken the firatemal 
tie ; but we stood in the original, unimpaired relation to eadi 
other, and, in proportion as others were weaned away by cir- 
cumstances, we grew more and more together. I was not 
conscious how much this was the case while he was hving, bu^ 
now that he is gone, I feel how all-important he was to me. 
A dreary feehng of loneliness comes on me at times, that I 
reason against in vain ; for, though surrounded by affectionate 
relatives, I feel that none can be what he was to me; none 
can take so thorough an interest in my concerns ; to none can 
I so confidingly lay open my every thought and feelings and 
expose every fault and foible, certain of such perfect toleration 
and indulgence. Since our dear mother's death, I have had 
no one who could so patiently and tenderly bear with aU my 
weaknesses and infirmities, and throw over every error the 
mantle of affection. I have been trying, of late, to resume 
my pen, and, by engaging my mind in some intellectual task, 
to keep it from brooding over these melancholy themes ; but I 
find it almost impossible. My hterary pursuits have been so 
often carried on by his side, and under his eye — ^I have been 
so accustomed to talk over every plan with him, and, as it 
were, to think aloud when in his presence, that I cannot open 
a book, or take up a paper, or recall a past vein of thought, 


without having him instantly before me, and finding myself 
completely overcome. I hope and trust thaf^, as the autumn 
advances, and the weather becomes cool and bracing, I shall 
regain something of my usual vigor of body, and with it a 
healthier tone of mind ; at any rate, I will not trouble you 
again with such sad lamentations 

This extract is dated September 22d. October 
24:th lie writes to the same sister : 

My little cottage is well stocked. I have Ebenezer's five 
girls, and himself also, whenever he can be spared from town 
— sister Catherine and her daughter — Mr. Paris occasionally — 
with casual visits from all the rest of our family connection. 
The cottage, therefore, is never lonely. It is now the beau- 
tiful autumnal season, and the weather this year is extremely 
fine. The summer has extended far into autumn; we have 
had no sharp frosts, and it is but recently that we have made 
fires. The fohage has its rich and variegated autumnal tints, 
and the wide landscape has that prevailing golden hue that 
gives such sober magnificence to the decline of the year. The 
girls hve very much in the open air. The retired situation of 
the cottage, with its secluded walks, quiet glens, and sheltering 
groves, enables them to rove about without fear or restraint. 

December 1st he writes again to Mrs. Van Wart, 
giving her this glimpse into his domestic and literary 
concerns : 

You are urgent with me, my dear sister, to pay you a visit 
in the spring. You have no idea how completely I am rooted 
here. I cannot afiford any more to travel. A considerable 

132 ^^^^ ^^ L£TTSB8 ri6l8^ 

part of my means is invested in land, which at the present 
mom^it is unprodactiye of revenue, and I have to econ<»ake 
on various points, to keep from going too much behindhand. 
I cannot, as formerly, carry my home with me, and limit my 
expenses to my personal expenditure. Wherever I go, my 
cottage must be kept up ; so that my travelling expenditures 
would be an additional drain on my purse. What has made 
me feel rather poor of late, and cautious as to extra expenses, 
is the circumstance that for a long time past I have been un- 
able to exercise my pen ; until at length I became despondent, 
and thought the vein had entirely deserted me. This, of 
course, would dry up my usual source of support, and throw 
me entirely on the income to be derived from my actual capi- 
tal, which, as I have already observed, is in a great measure 
invested in unproductive property. Happily, within the last 
month, I have been once more enabled to get my pen into 
motion ; and the effect has been most salutary on my spirits, 
as well as cheering to my prospects. * * * The bra- 
cing weather of autumn has been quite a restorative to me, 
and I feel myself recovering from that wretched depression of 
^irits, and prostration of all physical and mental energy, into 
which I sank for a time last summer. I begin to hope there is 
yet some stuff in me unworked, and which I may be able to 
work out successfully. If so, life will still have its occupation 
and motive, and I may continue to live to some purpose. 

* * * I liad intended to write Marianne a letter the 
week before last, but I got into a vein of literary occupation — 
the first I had had for a long time — and it was too important 
an event to be trifled with ; so I nursed the mood along^ to 
get it completely under way, and had to give up all letter 



Mr. Irving was now busy upon the History of the 
Conquest of Mexico, and it was upon this theme that 
he was exercising that "vein of literary occupation" 
alluded to at the close of the foregoing letter. He had 
not only commenced the work, but had made a rough 
draft to form the groundwork of the first volume, when 
he went to New York to procure or consult some 
books on the subject. He was engaged in " The City 
Library," as it is commonly designated, though its 
oflScial style is " The New York Society Library," then 
temporarily in Chambers street, when he was accosted 
by Mr. Joseph Q. Cogswell, the eminent scholar, after- 
ward so long and honorably connected with the Astor 
Library. It was from this gentleman that Mr. Irving 
first learned that Mr. Prescott, who had a few months 
before gained a proud name on both sides of the Atlan- 
tic by his History of Ferdinand and Isabella, now had 
the work in contemplation upon which he had actually 
commenced. Cogswell first sounded him on the part 
of Mr. Prescott, to know what subject he was occupied 
upon, as he did not wish to come again across the same 
ground vnth him. Mr. Irving asked : " Is Mr. Pres- 
cott engaged upon an American subject ? " " He is," 
was the reply. " What is it ? Is it the Conquest of 
Mexico?" Mr. Irving rapidly asked. "It is," an- 
swered Cogswell. " Well, then," said Mr. Irving, " I 
am engaged upon that subject, but tell Mr. Prescott I 
abandon it to him, and I am happy to have this oppor- 
tunity of testifying my high esteem for his talents, and 

134 ^"I™ ^^^^^ LET^EBS [18B8w 

mj sense of the very oonrteom manner in whidi he 
has q)oken of myself and m j writings in his Ferdiiuaid 
and Isabella, though they interfered with a part of the 
subject of his history.'* 

In a subsequent oonversationy Mr. Irving learned 
from Mr. Cogswell that Mr. Prescott had not com- 
menced the work, but had merely collected materials 
for it. He did not, however, revoke what he had said, 
but threw by his pen, and gave up the task on which 
he had been occupied during the autumn and winter. 

It was not, however, without a pang that he surren- 
dered so glorious a theme ; and I think that on the 
same day in which he told me what I have related 
above, he mentioned to me that he had been looking 
over some papers in the morning, and had come across 
his commencement of the Conquest of Mexico ; that 
he read over what he had written, and, in a fit of vexa- 
tion at having lost the magnificent theme, destroyed 
the manuscript. 

With this preface, I introduce the following corre- 
spondence between him and Mr. Prescott, alike honor- 
able to both parties. The first letter is from Mr. 
Prescott : 

BoSTOH, Dee. 31, 1888. 

Mr DEAR Sib : 

— K you will allow one to address you so £Eimiliarly, who has 
not the pleasure of your personal acquaintance, though he feels 
as if he had known you for a long time. Oiu: friend, Mr. 
Cogswell, who is here on a short visit, mentioned to me a am- 
Tersation which he had with you respecting the design I had 


formed of giving an account of the Conquest of Mexico and 
Penu I hope you will excuse me, if I tell you how the mat- 
ter stands with me. 

Soon after I had despatched their Catholic Highnesses, 
Ferdinand and Isabella, I found the want of my old compan- 
ions in the long hours of an idle man's life ; and as I looked 
around for something else, the history of Cortes and Pizarro 
struck me as the best subject, from its growing out of the 
period I had become familiar with, as well as from its relation 
to our own country. I found, too, I had peculiar facilities for 
getting such books and MSS. as I needed from Madrid, through 
the kindness of Mr. Calderon, whom you know. The only 
doubts on the subject I had, were respecting your designs in 
the same way, since you had already written the adventures of 
the earlier discoverers. I thought of writing you, to learn 
from you your intentions ; but I was afraid it would seem im- 
pertinent in a stranger to pry into your affairs. I made inqui- 
ries, however, of several of your friends, and could not learn 
that you had any purpose of occupying yourself with the sub- 
ject. And as you had never made any public intimation of 
the sort, I believe, and several years had elapsed since your 
last publication of the kind, during which your attention had 
been directed in another channel, I concluded that you had 
abandoned the intention, if you had ever formed it. I there- 
fore made up my mind to go on with it ; and as I proposed to 
give a pretty thorough preliminary view of the state of civili- 
zation in Mexico and Peru previous to the Conquest, I deter- 
mined to spare no pains or expense in collecting materials. I 
have remitted £300 to Madrid for the purchase and copying 
of books and MSS., and have also sent for Lord Kings- 
borough's and such other works relating to Mexico as I can get 

136 ^^J^ ^^ LETTEBS [1SS8. 

torn London. I haye also obtained letters to individiials ia 
Mexico, for the purpose of collecting what may be of impor- 
tance to me there. Some of the works from London hare 
arrived, and the drafts from Madrid show that my orders are 
executing there. Such works as can be got here, in a pretty 
good collection in the College Library, I have ahready exam- 
ined, and wait only for my books from Spun. This is the 
state of affairs, now that I have learned from Mr. C. that yon 
had originaUy proposed to treat this same subject, and that yoo 
requested him to say to me that you should relinquish it in my 
favor. I cannot sufiBciently express to you my sense of your 
courtesy, which I can very well appreciate, as I know the mor- 
tification it would have occasioned me, i^ contrary to my ex- 
pectations, I had found you on the ground ; for I am but a dull 
sailer from the embarrassments I labor under, and should have 
found but sorry gleanings in the field which you had once 
thoroughly burnt over, as they say in the West I fear the 
public will not feel so well pleased as myself by this Hbend 
conduct on your part, and am not sure that I should have a 
right, in their eyes, to avail myself of it But I trust you 
will think differently, when I accept your proffered courtesy in 
the same cordial spirit in which it was given. It will be am- 
ferring a still further favor on me, if you will allow me occa- 
sionally, when I may find the want of it, to ask your advice in 
the progress of the work. There are few persons among us 
who have paid much attention to these studies, and no one^ 
here or elsewhere, so familiar as yourself with the track of 
Spanish adventure in the New World, and so well qualified, 
certainly, to give advice to a comparatively new hand. Do 
not fear that this will expose you to a troublesome corre- 
spondent. I have never been addicted to much letter writing; 

-fii. 65.] OP WASHINGTON IRVING. 137 

though, from the specimen before you, I am afraid you will 
think those I do write are somewhat of the longest. 

Beheve me, dear sir, with great respect, your obhged and 
obedient servant 

Wm. H. Pbescott. 
WjlShikoton Iryiko, Esq. 

P. S. — ^Will you permit me to add, that if you have any 
materials in your own library, bearing on this subject, that 
cannot be got here, and that you have no occasion for yourself 
it will be a great favor if you will dispose of them to me. 

Mr. Irving responded as follows : 

Niw YoBK, Jan. 18, 1889. 

Mr DEAR Sib : 

Your letter met with some delay in reaching me, and, 
since the receipt of it, I have been hovering between town 
and country, so as to have no quiet leisure for an earlier 

I had always intended to write an account of the Conquest 
of Mexico, as a suite to my Columbus, but left Spain without 
making the requisite researches. The unsettled life I subse- 
quently led for some years, and the interruptions to my literary 
plans by other occupations, made me defer the undertaking 
from year to year. Indeed, the more I considered the subject, 
the more I became aware of the necessity of devoting to it 
great labor, patient research, and watchful discrimination, to 
get at the truth and to dispel the magnificent mirage with 
which it is enveloped; for, imless this were done, a work, 
however well executed in point of hterary merit, would be 
liable to be subverted and superseded by subsequent works 

138 ^^^ ^^^ LETTERS. [im, 

founded on those docomentary evidences that might (be) dug 
out of the chaotic archives of Spain. These considerations 
loomed into great obstacles in my mind, and, amid the hunj 
of other matters, delayed me in putting my hand to the enter* 
prise. About three years since I made an attempt at it, and 
set one of my nephews to act as pioneer, and get together 
materials under my direction ; but his own concerns called him 
elsewhere, and the matter was again postponed. Last autumn, 
after a fit of deep depression, feeling the want of something to 
arouse and exercise my mind, I again recurred to this subject, 
fearing that, if I waited to collect materials, I should never 
take hold of the theme ; and, knowing my own temperament 
and habits of mind, I determined to dash into it at once, sketch 
out a narrative of the whole enterprise, using Solis, Herrera, 
and Bemal Dias as my guide books, and, having thus ac- 
quainted myself with the whole ground, and kindled myself 
into a heat by exercise of drafting the story, to endeavor to 
strengthen, correct, enrich, and authenticate my work, by ma- 
terials from every source within my reach. I accordingly set 
to work, and had made it my daily occupation for about three 
months, and sketched out the groundwork for the first volume, 
when I learned from Mr. Cogswell that you had undertaken 
the same enterprise. I at once felt how much more justice the 
subject would receive at your hands. Ever since I had been 
meddhng with the theme, its grandeur and magnificence had 
been growing upon me, and I had felt more and more doubtful 
whether I should be able to treat it conscientiously — ^that is to 
say, with the extensive research and thorough investigation 
which it merited. The history of Mexico prior to the discov- 
ery and conquest, and the actual state of its civilization at the 
time of the Spanish invasion, are questions in the highest 


degree curious and interesting, yet difficult to be ascertained 
clearly, from the false lights thrown upon them. Even the 
writings of Padre Sahagim perplex me as to the degree of 
faith to be placed in them. These themes are connected with 
the grand enigma that rests upon the primitive population and 
civilization of the American continents, and of which the sin- 
gular monuments and remains scattered throughout the wilder- 
ness serve but as tantalizing indications. The manner in which 
you have executed your noble history of Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella gave me at once an assurance that you were the man to 
undertake this subject ; your letter shows that I was not wrong 
in the conviction, and that you have already set to work on the 
requisite preparations. In at once yielding up the theme to 
you, I feel that I am but doing my duty in leaving one of the 
most magnificent themes in American history to be treated by 
one who will build up from it an enduring monument in the 
literature of our country. I only hope that I may live to see 
your work executed, and to read in it an authentic account of 
that conquest, and a satisfactory discussion of the various 
questions connected with Mexico and the Mexicans, which 
since my boyhood have been full of romantic charm to me, 
but which, while they excited my imagination, have ever per- 
plexed my judgment. 

I am sorry that I have no works to offer you that you have 
not in the Boston libraries. I have mentioned the authors I 
was making use of; they are to be found in the Boston 
Athenaeum, though I doubt not you have them in your own 
possession. While in Madrid, I had a few chapters of Padre 
Sahagun copied out for me, relating merely to some points of 
the Spanish invasion. His work you will find in Lord Kings- 
borough's collection; it professes to give a complete account 

^40 ^^^^ ^^ LBTTBBS [lan. 

of Mexico prior to the Conquest — ^its pubHc institationa^ trades^ 
callings^ customs, &c^ &c Should I find among my books 
any that may be likely to be of service, I will send them to 
you. In the mean time, do not hesitate to command my ser- 
vices in any way you may think proper. 

I am scrawling this letter in great haste, as you will doubt- 
less perceive, but beg you will take it as a proof of the sincere 
and very high respect and esteem with which I am your friend 
and servant. 

Wx. H. Prescott, Esq. 

Mr. Prescott rejoins : 

Washington Ibvino. 

BosTOir, Jan. 2&, 1830. 

Mt dbab Sib : 

You will be alarmed at again seeing an epistle from me 
so soon ; but I cannot refrain from replying to your very kind 
communication. I have read your letter with much interest, 
and) I may truly say, that part of it which animadverts on the 
importance of the theme, as illustrating the Mexican antiqui^ 
ties, with some dismay. I fear you will be sadly disappointed 
if you expect to see a solution, by me, of those vexed ques- 
tions which have bewildered the brains of so many professed 
antiquaries. My fingers are too clumsy to unravel such a snarL 
All I propose to do in this part of the subject^ therefore, is to 
present to the reader such a view of the institutions and civili- 
zation of the conquered people, as will interest him in their 
fortunes. To do this, it will not be necessary, I hope, to in- 
volve myself in those misty speculations, which require better 
sight than mine to penetrate ; but only to state facts, as iar as 
they can be gathered from authentic story. For this part of 
the subject I have not attempted, therefore, to collect MSS., 


of "^ich I suppose there is a great number in the libraries of 
Mexico—at least there was in Clavigero's time; but I shall 
content myself with the examination of such works as have 
been before the public, including, indeed, the compilation of 
Lord Kingsborough, and the great French work, " Antiquites 
Mexicaines,** since published ; the chief value of both which, I 
suspect, excepting the Chronicle of Sahagun in the former, 
consists in their pictorial illustrations. My chief object is the 
Conquest ; and the materials I am endeavoring to collect are 
with the view to the exhibition of this in the most authentic 
light. It will give you satisfaction to learn that my efforts in 
Spain promise to be attended with perfect success. I received 
letters, last week, from Madrid, informing me that the Acad- 
emy of History, at the instance of Sefior Navarrete, had 
granted my application to have copies taken of any and all 
MSS. in their possession, having relation to the conquests of 
Mexico and Peru, and had appointed one of their body to 
carry this into effect. This person is a German, named 
Lembke, the author of a work on the early history of Spain, 
which one of the English journals, I remember, rapped me 
over the knuckles for not having seen. This learned Theban 
happens to be in Madrid for the nonce, pursuing some investi- 
gations of his own, and he has taken charge of mine, like a 
true German, inspecting everything, and selecting just what 
has reference to my subject. In this way he has been em- 
ployed with four copyists, as he writes me, since July, and has 
amassed a quantity of unpublished original documents illustra- 
tive of the Mexican Conquest, which, he writes me, will place 
the expedition in a new and authentic light. He has already 
sent off two boxes of these MSS. for me to Cadiz, and is now 
employed in hunting up the materials relating to Peru, in 

142 I'I'E ^^^>"> LETTBBS [UtH 

which, he says, the library appears to be eqnaUy rich« I wish 
he may not be too sanguine, and that the MSS. may not M 
into the hands of Carlists or Christinos, who would pr<A»bly 
work them up into mueiket waddings in much less time than 
they were copying. The specification of MSS. furnished me 
by Dr. Lembkc makes me feel nearly independent of Mexico, 
with which the commimications are now even more obstructed 
than with Spain. I have endeavored to open them, however 
through Mr. Poinsett, and through the Barings, and cannot but 
hope I shall succeed through one or the other channeL 

I had no idea of your having looked into the subject so 
closely yourself^ still less that you had so far broken ground on 
it. I regret, now, that I had not commimicated with you 
earlier, in a direct way, as it might have saved both, or rath» 
one of us, some previous preparation ; for, during the summer 
and autumn, I have been occupied with the investigation of 
the early Mexican history, having explored all the sources 
within my reach here, and being stopped by the want of them. 
Now that I have gone on so far with my preparations, I can 
only acknowledge your great courtesy toward me, with my 
hearty thanks; for I know well, that whatever advantages I 
might have acquired on the score of materials, would have 
been far, very far outweighed by the superiority, in all other 
respects, of whatever might fall from your pen. And your 
relinquishing the ground seems to impose on me an additional 
responsibility to try to make your place good, from which a 
stouter heart than mine may well shrink. I trust, however, in 
you I shall find a generous critic ; and allow me to add, with 
sincerity, that the kind words you have said of the only child 
of my brain, have gratified and touched me more deeply than 
anything that has yet reached me from my countrymen. 


Belieye me, my dear sir, with sincere respect, your friend 
and servant, Wm. H. Pbescott. 

WjkSHJNQTON Ibyino, Esq. 

It was about five years after this correspondence, 
that Mr. Irving, then in Madrid, received from Mr. 
Prescott a copy of his History of the Conquest of 
Mexico, in the Preface to which he makes his public 
acknowledgments to him for his surrender of the sub- 
ject. " I need not say,'* writes Mr. Irving to me, in 
noticing its receipt, " how much I am delighted with 
the work. It well sustains the high reputation ac- 
quired by the History of Ferdinand and Isabella.'^ 
Then, adverting to the terms of Mr. Prescott's hand- 
some acknowledgment in the Preface, to which I had 
called his attention, he adds : 

I doubt whether Mr. Prescott was aware of the extent of 
the sacrifice I made. This was a favorite subject, which had 
delighted my imagination ever since I was a boy. I had 
brought home books from Spain to aid me in it, and looked 
upon it as the pendent to my Columbus. When I gave it up 
to him, I in a manner gave him up my bread, for I depended 
upon the profit of it to recruit my waning finances. I had no 
other subject at hand to supply its place. I was dismounted 
from my cheval de latatlley and have never been completely 
mounted since. Had I accomplished that work, my whole 
pecuniary situation would have been altered. * * * 
"When I made the sacrifice, it was not with a view to compli- 
ments or thanks, but from a warm and sudden impulse. I am 
not sorry for having made it. Mr. Prescott has justified the 
opinion I expressed at the time, that he would treat the sub- 

144 I'l^ ^^ LBTTES8 [IMl 

ject with more close and ample research than I should j^ob- 
ably do, and would produce a work more thoroughly w<»Uij 
of the theme. He has produced a work that does honor to 
himself and his country, and I wish him the full enjoyment of 
his laurels. 

The plan I had intended to pursue was different from that 
which he has adopted. I should not have had any preliminaiy 
dissertation on the history, civilization, &c., of the natives, ta 
I find such dissertations hurried over, if not skipped entir^, 
by a great class of readers, who are eager for narrative and 
action. I should have carried on the reader with the discover- 
ers and conquerors, letting the newly explored countries break 
upon him as it did upon them ; describing objects, places, cus- 
toms, as they awakened curiosity and interest, and required to 
be explained for the conduct of the story. The reader should 
first have an idea of the superior civilization of the peof^ 
from the great buildings and temples of stone and lime that 
brightened along the coast, and "shone like silver." He 
should have had vague accounts of Mexico from the people on 
the seaboard; from the messengers of Montezuma. EUs in- 
terest concerning it should have increased as he went on, de* 
riving ideas of its grandeur, power, riches, &c., from the Tlas- 
calans, &c. Every step, as he accompanied the conquerors on 
^eir march, would have been a step developing some striking 
fSEtct, yet the distance would still have been full of magnificent 
mystery. He Bhould next have seen Mexico from the moon- 
tains, far below him, shining with its vast edifices, its glassy 
lakes, its far-stretching causeways, its sunny plain, surrounded 
by snow-topped volcanoes. Still it would have been vague in 
its magnificence. At length he should have mardied in with 
the conquerors, full of curiosity and wonder, on every side 



beholding objects of novelty, indicating a mighty people, dis- 
tinct in manners, arts, and civilization from all the races of the 
Old World. During the residence in the capital, all these 
matters would have been fully described and explained in con- 
nection with the incidents of the story. In this way the 
reader, like the conquerors, would have become gradually 
acquainted with Mexico and the Mexicans ; and by the time 
the conquest was achieved, he would have been famihar with 
the country, without having been detained by long disserta- 
tions, so repulsive to the more indolent class of readers. 

My intention also was, to study the different characters of 
the dramatis personcB, so as to bring them out in strong relief, 
and to have kept them, as much as possible, in view through- 
out the work. It is surprising how quickly distinctive charac- 
teristics may be caught from a few incidental words in old 
documents, letters, &c., and how the development of them and 
the putting them in action gives life and reality to a narrative. 
Most of the traits that give individuahty to Columbus, in my 
biography of him, were gathered from sUghtly mentioned facts 
in his journals, letters, &;c., which had remained almost unno- 
ticed by former writers on the subject. 

However, I am runnmg on into idle "scribble scrabble" 
about a matter now passed away, and which I would not utter 
to any one but yourself who are becoming in a manner my 
&ther confessor. My plan might have had an advantage in 
some respects ; it might have thrown a more poetical interest 
over the work; but the plan of Mr. Prescott is superior in 
other respects ; and I feel I never should have wrought out a 
work 80 " worthy of all acceptation," as that which he has 
given to the public. 

Vol, IIL— T flO) 

]^46 ^'^^ -^^^^ LETTERS [18M. 

The letter from which I take this extract is dated 
Madrid, March 24, 1844, and is marked (Private) ; bat, 
now that both are gone, I have felt at liberty to give 
this interesting portion of its contents. 





nr"TAVLS"G Burrendered the theme of the Conquest 
' ' of Mexico, as we have seen at the close of the 
last chapter, Mr. Irving was induced to enter into an 
engagement with the proprietors of the Knickerbocker^ 
a magazine published in the city of New York, to con- 
tribute monthly to its pages; they agreeing upon 
stated payments at the rate of two thousand dollars 
per annum. In the March number of 1839, in which 
he introduces himself to the public, he holds the fol- 
lowing language to its editor, Louis Gaylord Clark, so 
long associated with its fortunes : 


I have observed, as a man advances in life, be is subject to 
a kind of plethora of the mind, doubtless occasioned by the 
vast accumulation of wisdom and experience upon the brain. 
Hence be is apt to become narrative and admonitory — ^tbat is 
to say, fond of telling long stories and of doling out advice, to 
the small profit and great annoyance of his friends. As I 

148 ^^^ ^^^^'^ LBTTmS llttl. 

have a great horror of becoming tbe oracle, or, more tedmicaHj 
speaking, the '' bore ** of the domestic circle, and would modi 
rather bestow my wisdom and tediousness upon the world it 
large, I have always sought to ease off this surcharge of the 
intellect by means of my pen, and hence hare inflicted direcs 
gossiping volumes upon the patience of the public I am 
tired, however, of writing volumes : they do not afford exac% 
the relief I require ; there is too much preparation, arrange- 
ment, and parade in this set form of coming before the paMi& 
I am growing too indolent and unambitious for anything that 
requires labor or display. I have thought, therefore, of secur- 
ing to myself a snug comer in some periodical work, where I 
might, as it were, loll at my ease in my elbow chair, and chat 
sociably with the public, as with an old fnend, on any chance 
subject that might pop mto my brain. 

Few woald imagine, fix)m the tone of this extract, 
at what expense of feeling he had just given np the 
task of ^^ writing Yolomes," and bonnd himself to the 
irksome obligations of periodical labor. To have to 
draw npon a capricious fancy once a month for an 
article, was not a position he wonld have songht, bnt 
for the necessity pressing npon him for additional 
income. Irksome as the task was, however, and not- 
withstanding the returns were less prompt than he had 
anticipated, his good will to the magazine induced him 
to continue his connection with it for two years. He 
brought it to an end in March, 1841, with the article 
of ^^ Don Juan : a Spectral Besearch." A majority 
of his contributions to the Knickerbocker^ including 


Mi. 55.] OF WAffllNOTON IBVING. 149 

tibiB article, were long afterward collected by him, and 
incorporated in a little volume, pnbliBhed in 1855, en- 
titled "Wolfert's Eoost," the extraordinary sale of 
-which made ample amends for any shortcomings of the 

The most felicitous, perhaps, of all his contribu- 
tions to this periodical, was " The Birds of Spring," in 
the May number of 1839, containing the exquisite 
sketch of "The Boblink," which was extracted into 
almost every paper in the Union. 

In January, 1840, Mr. Irving addressed the follow- 
ing letter to the editor of the Knickerbocker^ in which 
he defines his position on the subject of an interna- 
tional copyright law, so long and so ineflfectually 
pressed upon Congress. 

To the Editor of the Knickerbocker ; 

Sir : Having seen it stated more than once, in the public 
papers, that I declined subscribing my name to the petition, 
presented to Congress during a former session, for an act of 
international copyriglit, I beg leave, through your pages, to 
say, in explanation, that I declined, not from any hostility or 
indifference to the object of the petition, in favor of which my 
sentiments have always been openly expressed, but merely 
because I did not relish the phraseology of the petition, and 
because I expected to see the measure pressed from another 
quarter. I wrote about the same time, however, to members 
of Congress in support of the application. 

As no other petition has been sent to me for signature, and 
as silence on my part may be misconstrued, I now, as far as 

150 ^^^^ ^^^ LETTERS [18ti. 

my name may be thought of any yalue, enroll it among ihom 
who pray most earnestly to Congress for this act of ini^mir 
tional equity. I consider it due, not merely to foreign authors^ 
to whose lucubrations we are so deeply indebted for constant 
instruction and delight, but to our own native authors, who are 
implicated in the effects of the wrong done by our present 

For myself my literary career, as an author, is drawing to 
a close, and cannot be much affected by any disposition of this 
question; but we have a young literature springing up, and 
daily imfolding itself with wonderful energy and luxuriance, 
which, as it promises to shed a grace and lustre upon the 
nation, deserves all its fostering care. How much this grow- 
ing literature may be retarded by the present state of <»ir 
copyright law, I had recently an instance, in the cavalier treat- 
ment of a work of merit, written by an American, who had 
not yet established a commanding name in the hterary mark^ 
I undertook, as a friend, to dispose of it for him, but found it 
impossible to get an offer from any of our principal publishers. 
They even declined to publish it at the author's cost, alleging 
that it was not worth their while to trouble themselves about 
native works, of doubtful success, while they could pick and 
choose among the successful works daily poured out by the 
British press, for which they had nothing to pay for copyright 
This simple fisw^t spoke volumes to me, as I trust it will do to 
all who peruse these lines. I do not mean to enter into the 
discussion of a subject that has already been treated so volumi- 
nously. I will barely observe, that I have seen few arguments 
advanced against the proposed act, that ought to weigh with 
intelhgent and high-minded men ; while I have noticed some 
that have been urged, so sordid and selfish in their nature, and 


80 narrow in the scope of their policy, as ahnost to be insulting 
to those to 'whom they are addressed. 

I trust that, whenever this question comes before Congress, 
it will at once receive an action prompt and decided, and will 
be carried hj an overwhelming, if not unanimous vote, worthy 
of an enlightened, a just, and a generous nation. 
Your obedient servant, 

Washington Ibving. 

Not a month before the publication of this letter, 
in which Mr. Irving commits himself so decidedly to 
the justice of an international copyright law, as due 
alike to foreign and native authors, Mr. Prescott had 
written to him from Boston that, if anything was to 
be done in the matter, he was the one who, from his 
literary position in the country, should take the lead in 
it. In this letter the historian, in reference to a pro- 
jected copyright bill to be brought in by Mr. Clay at 
that session of Congress, says : 

"Whether anything effectual can be done, seems to me very 
doubtful. Such a law is certainly demanded by every principle 
of justice. But I suspect it is rather late in the day to talk of 
justice to statesmen. At all events, one of those newspapers, 
which they are now turning out every week here, and which 
contain an octavo volume each, of the new publications, at six- 
pence apiece, will, I am afraid, be too cogent an argument in 
fiivor of the present state of things, to be refuted by the best 
memorial ever drafted. 

In the letter from which I take the above extract, 

]^53 I'l^ AND LETTERS {MO. 

Mr. Preecott informB Mr. Irving that he was the pos- 
sessor of a copy of the Sketch Book which had been 
owned by Sir James Mackintosh, and had his pendl- 
lings in the margin. 

In April, 1840, Mr. Irving writes me, on renewing 
his yearly arrangement with the Knickerbocker^ thai 
behindhand in its payments: ^^I am convinced that, 
by exercising my pen in my former independent way, 
and taking my time to collect my writings into yol- 
nmes, I should make much more money eventually, 
and escape a monthly recurring task." 

It is worthy of mention, in connection with this 
allusion to the Knickerbocker^ that he had just given to 
the magazine liis skilful contribution, entitled, ^^A 
Time of Unexampled Prosperity: The Great Mjssis- 
sippi Bubble," afterward published in "Wolfert's 
Roost." He had written feelingly on the subject, for 
he himself was now suffering the embarrassment aris- 
ing from investments made in just such a time of ficti- 
tious prosperity and imreal fortunes. 

A year later he writes in reference to the disastrous 
results of this spirit of speculation in Western lands, 
which swept the country in 1836 : 

We are gradually getting through this "valley of the 
shadow of death," which the whole busy world has had for 
some few years past to traverse, and I am in hopes that the 
severe lessons received this time will be held in remembrance, 
and have a wholesome effect for the residue of our existence. 
The world at large is suffering the penalty of its own avarice ; 


for avarice for a time was as extensive and deleterious in its 
gway as the cholera. Every one was seized with the mania 
ef becoming suddenly rich ; and, in yielding to the frantic im- 
pulse, has impoverished himself. The only consolation to each 
individual sufferer is, that he is not worse off than most of his 
neighbors. It has been a mania, too, that has infected the 
most knowing as well as the most simple minded; indeed, 
some of the shrewdest calculators have been the most taken in. 

November 25th, 1840, after having contributed to 
the Knickerbocker "Sketches in Paris in 1825, jfrom 
the Travelling Note-book of Geoffrey Crayon," he 
writes to his sister, Mrs. Yan Wart : 

If times ever again come smooth and flush with me, so 
that I can command a decent income independent of the irk- 
some fogging of my pen, I shall think nothing of an occasional 
trip across the Atlantic, now that steam has made the voyage 
short and commodious ; but cares and claims multiply upon me 
as I advance in years. 

Then follows this agreeable picture of the neighbor- 
hood in which he had fixed his residence, so much 
changed from the "old Tarrytown" of his corre- 
spondent's recollection : 

I find, by your correspondence with sister Catherine, that 
she gives you many details of our country neighborhood and 
circle, and that you take great interest in everything relating 
to "old Tarrytown." You would scarcely recognize the place, 
however, it has undergone such cfianges. These have in a 
great degree taken place since I have pitched my tent in the 

3^54 ^*^^^ •^^^ LETTEBS [1848. 

neighborhood. M7 residence here has attracted others; cot- 
tages and ooontry seats have sprung up akHig the banks of the 
Tappan Sea^ and Tarrjtown has become the metropolis of 
quite a fashionable vicinity. When you knew the village, it 
was Uttle better than a mere hamlet, crouched down at the fooi 
of a hill, with its dock for the accommodation of the weekly 
market sloop. Now it has mounted the hill; boasts of its 
hotels, and churches of various denominations ; has its little 
Episcopalian church with an organ — ^the gates of which, on 
Sundays, are thronged with equipages belonging to £unilie6 
resident within ten or a dozen miles along the river banks. 
We have, in fact, one of the most agreeable neighborhoods I 
ever resided in. Some of our neighbors are here only for the 
summer, having their winter establishments in town; others 
remain in the country all the year. We have frequent gather* 
ings at each other's houses, without parade or expense, and I 
do not know when I have seen more delightful Httle parties, or 
more elegant little groups of females. We have, occasionally, 
excellent music, for several of the neighborhood have been 
well taught^ have good voices, and acquit themselves well both 
with harp and piano; and our parties always end with a 
dance. We have picnic parties also, sometimes in some inland 
valley or piece of wood, sometimes on the banks of the Hud- 
son, where some repair by land, and others by water. You 
would be dehghted with these picturesque assemblages, on 
some wild woodland point jutting into the Tappan Sea, with 
gay groups on the grass under the trees ; carriages glistening 
through the woods ; a yacht with flapping sails and fluttering 
streamers anchored about half a mile from shore, and rowboats 
plying to and from it, filled with lady passengers. Country 
life with us, at present, is very different from what it was in 


jour youthful days. There is more of morning visiting, like 
in country life in England ; still it differs essentially from Eng* 
lish rural life. The nature of our climate influences our habits^ 
We have so much simshine and fine warm weather during the 
genial months of the year, that we live more out of doors, and 
in a more free and unceremonious style. Our very winters, 
though sometimes intensely cold, are brilliant and beautiful 
from the purity of the atmosphere and the prevalence of sun- 
shine. For my part, I am almost a worshipper of the sun. I 
have lived so much of my life in climates where he was all- 
powerful, that I delight in his vivifying effect on the whole 
face of nature, and his gladdening influence on all animate 
creation. In no climate within the range of my experience is 
sunshine more beautiful in its effect on landscape than in this, 
owing to the transparency of the atmosphere, and, at the same 
time, the variety of clouds with which our skies are diversified. 
To my mind, neither Spanish nor Italian skies, so bright and 
cloudless, can compare with ours, forever shifting in their tints, 
and at times so gorgeous with their floating regions of ^' cloud- 

To the same Bister he gives the following picture of 
the holidays, under date of December 26tli : 

We have had a pleasant Christmas gathering at the cottage. 
The day was bright and sunny, but the weather changed in 
the night, and now a snowstorm is prevailing, which promises 
to be a severe one. This, however, is rather a welcome event 
in the country, as it produces fine sleighing, and sets all the 
country in movement. I know nothing more exhilarating than 
the first sleigh rides ; skimming over the sparkling snow, the ' 


air 80 pore snd bracing the gunshine so splendid; the veij 
horses seem to share jour animation and delight, and da^ for- 
ward merrilj to the jingling of the sleigh bells. 

Mr. Irving had recently written a biography of 
Goldsmith for Harper's Family Library, which was 
intended merely as a sketch to accompany a colleetion 
or selection of his writings. He afterward, as wiU be 
seen, prepared another, which is now known as his best 
and only biography of his favorite author. 

The following letter to Mrs. Van Wart has some 
allusion to this sketch of Goldsmith, and touches also 
upon another interesting biography upon which he had 
been employed during his engagement with the JShidk- 
erhocker. It opens, as will be seen, with a notice ci 
the prolonged absence fix^m the cottage of Eb^iezer, 
his only surviving broths, whose diaracter is feelingty 

It is now nearly a month since brother Ebenezer has been 
at the cottage. I never have known him to be so long absent 
before, unless when on a journey. Business has detained him 
in town. ♦ ♦ ♦ I think him one of the most perfect ex- 
emplifications of the Christian character that I have ever 
known. He has all father's devotion and zeal, without his 
strictness. Indeed, his piety is of the most genial and cheerful 
kind, interfering with no rational pleasure or elegant taste, and 
obtruding itself upon no one's habits, opinions, or pursuits. I 
wish to God I could feel like him. I envy him that indwelling 
source of consolation and enjoyment, which appears to have a 

JBx. 57.] OP WASmmQTOlS IBYINa. 157 

happier effect than all the maxims of philosophy or the lessons 
of worWlj wisdom. 

I promised, in a late letter, to send you a copy of my 
biography of Goldsmith, recently published. I have not been 
to town since, but when I do go, I will procure a copy and 
forward it. In the spring I shall publish a biography of Miss 
Margaret Davidson, with her posthumous writings. She was 
a sister of Lueretia Davidson, whose biography* you may 
have read — ^a lovely American girl, of surprising precocity of 
poetical talent, who died at the age of seventeen or eighteen. 
The one whose biography I have just written died a year or 
two since, between sixteen and seventeen years old. I saw 
her when she was about eleven years old, and again when 
about fourteen. She was a beautiful little being, as bright wid 
as fragile as a flower, and Hke a flower she has passed away. 
Her poetical effusions are surprising, and the spirit they 
breathe is heavenly. I think you will find her biography one 
of the most affecting things you have ever read. It is made 
up in a great degree from memorandums furnished by her 
mother, who is of almost as poetical a temperament as her 
children. The most affecting passages of the biography are 
quoted Hterally from her manuscript. You may recollect the 
&mily of Mrs. Davidson ; she is one of a number of sisters — 
very beautiful girla— of the name of Miller, who, in your 
younger days, Hved in Maiden lane. 

Mr. Irving transferred to the mother the copyright 
of the biography of Margaret Davidson, reserving 
merely the right to publish it at any time in conneo- 

« Written bj Miss Catherine Sedgwick. 


tion with his other writings. The smcoess which it 
met with he was not disposed to attribute to any merit 
of his, but to the extreme interest and pathos of the 
materiab placed in his hands. It has not yet appeared 
in a coUectiye edition of his works. 

It was dnring his engag^nent with the Knicker- 
hooker y now about to close, that its editor, Clark, made 
the visit to Mr. Irving of which he has given a pub- 
lished account. The littie brook on the place had 
lately broken bounds, and he foimd him engaged in 
making, as his host expressed it, ^^a dam and some 
other profane improvements." In the afternoon they 
drove out together in an open one-horse carriage, to 
explore the wizard r^ion of Sleepy Hollow. A sud- 
den and violent shower coming up, accompanied with 
thunder and lightning, Mr. Irving stopped the horse, 
and took refuge imder a large tree, leaning against the 
trunk, where, however, he soon became thoroughly 
drenched. All this while Clark was standing out in 
the pouring rain. "Why don't you come under a 
tree," asked Mr. Irving, facetiously, " and be dry and 
comfortable like me ? " Clark excused himself on the 
ground that his father had once taken refuge from a 
sudden thunder shower under a spreading chestnut 
tree, which was struck, his father prostrated and ren- 
dered insensible for four hours ; and that on his recov- 
ery he gave him an injunction never to stand under a 
tree, in an open field, in a thunder storm. "Oh!" 
replied Mr. Irving, with a look in which you could see 

.fit. 57.] OF WASHINGTON IBVING. 15g 

the hmnorouB thought before he gave expression to it, 
" that makes all the diflference in the world. If it is 
hereditary, and lightning runs in yonr family, yon are 





THE following letter is addressed to a niece, re- 
c^itly married, the only sorriying daughter of 
his sister Catherine, who had embarked on the 1st of 
May for Europe, and was now to find a home for many 
years in the gay capital of France. Identified wilh 
the cottage and its concerns from its bnilding, and 
forming one of the domestic circle of Snnnyside — as 
the rural retreat was now named — ^from the time the 
establishment was fairly set up, the separation across 
the wide Atlantic was felt by Mr. Irving as a bereave- 
ment. In adverting to it in one of his letters to Mrs. 
Van Wart, he writes : 

Thus you see, though a bachelor, I am doomed to experi- 
ence what parents feel, when their children are widely sepa- 
rated from them by marriage. But this is a world of 
changes ; and we were all too happy in our delightful little 
nest, for our domestic quiet to remain uninterrupted. 

The letter will be found to contain passages from 


his correspondence with Van Bibber, an early literary 
pilgrim to Snnnyside, G. P. R. James, the novelist, 
with whom he became acquainted at Bordeaux in 1825, 
and Charles Dickens, whom he had never yet seen, but 
to whom he had expressed his delighted interest in the 
Story of Little Nell. I give mainly these portions of 
his letter, omitting much that could be of no interest to 
the general reader : 

[To Mrs. Storrow:] 

SuirxTsiDi, May 26, 1841. 

Mt deab Sabah. 

* * * I am glad to fancy you on finn lane, and at the 
end of your voyage, for it was painM to think of you every 
day and hour and minute urging your way across the broad 
Atlantic, and adding to the space that separated us from each 
other. * * * 

I have received two or three letters recently, which I know 
would please you ; and as I have not you at my elbow to hand 
them to, as I always did all my correspondence of an interest- 
ing nature, I will transcribe them. The first is from that 
eccentric but excellent fellow, Van Bibber; of this I will 
merely give a scrap, as the greater part relates to his private 
concerns, and to a drama, in two acts, which he has just fin- 
ished, and is disposed to risk on the stage. His whole letter is 
charmingly written, and evidences a mind imbued with classi- 
cal literature, and with the golden old literature of England. 
I give you merely his conclusion, which is quaint but pictur- 
esque, full of kindness, and not deficient in beauty : 

*'Avon Dale, sweet lady, has just donned her annual 
Vol. III.— (11) 

lQ2l hm AND LETTEBS {IdO* 

garniture of buds and floweis ; her head is crowned with a 
garland of lilac, beech and apple blossoms, her feet coyeied 
with slippers of woven cowslips and poljanthus. Every 
morning I catch her twining some new bud or wreathing some 
new floweret into her coronet. Come, sir, I must renew my 
invitation for a visit Our means will not allow us to offer joa 
those costly juices ripened beside the Rhine or Mame, to which 
you have doubtless been ever accustomed ; but if you are fcmd 
of rich cream, fresh milk, and clear water (with ever and anon 
a sparkling glass of aromatic mint julep) ; if you love deep 
woodland solitude, and the voice of plaintive turtle doves (I 
never in any other place knew half so many or half such mu- 
sical ones), then come, dear sir, to Avon Dale, and I will 
insure you a hearty welcome, a room (when you wish it) to 
yourself a horse to ride on when you list, abundance of pure 
fresh air, and a glorious view of the distant mountains of 
Gotockton. But if you still turn a deaf ear to my invitationii^ 
and prefer to all this the company of your fisdr nieces, the 
manifold pleasures of Sunnyside cottage, and the deHcioiiB 
reveries inspired by Sleepy Hollow, then — ^my only wish is, 
that your own orchard may shower down its choicest blossoms 
on your head, and that, during all this merry springtime, you 
may have sweet thoughts, pleasant dreams, and frequent visits 
from the muses.^' 

Is not that delightfully said ? and does it not give a de- 
lightful idea of the man, and his wildwood retreat ? I declare 
to you, that, if I could possibly tear myself from the cottage at 
this moment) when it is all in bloom and beauty, and fragrant 
with lilacs, I should be delighted to pay a visit to the poetic 
retreat of the Van Bibbers. 


The next letter is from my friend James, the noTelist| 
dated from Bruxelles, 7th January last : 

" My deab Ibvino : 

"I cannot let slip the opportmiity of the return of my 
young acquaintance, Mr. Meline, to the United States, to 
write you a few lines, though it is now, alas I many a year 
since we met, and the broad Atlantic rolls between us, perhaps 
forever. The memory of oun intercourse while you were resi- 
dent in the Old World still remains fresh and pleasurable with 
me, and I trust that I am not forgotten either, but that when 
you see the name of one of my paper things, you think of him 
who wrote it. My productions in that way have been many — 
yours all too few ; but those that you have written have given 
me intense delight, especially Astoria, every word of Tdiich 
I dwell upon with feelings of excitement and interest, and 
longings for adventure, which I thought were gone with my 
boyhood. I am even now writing something for the Khicker- 
bockeff which I hear you take an interest in — ^as, indeed, you 
should in your godchild ; and what I shall require as payment 
shall be a few lines from your hand, to tell me how you are, and 
that you have not forgotten your English friends. My address, 
for the present, must be at Messrs. Longmans, Paternoster 
Row, for I am now wandering, having lately met with a severe 
family affliction, which made change of scene and air advisable 
for me. I shall soon, however, settle again ; and if ever you 
should be tempted once more to cross the broad stream, I trust 
that one of the first firesides at which you sit down will be 
that of Yours ever truly, &c." 

Is not this a most kind and friendly letter? And how 

204 ^^^^ '^^^^ LBTT£B8 IVUI. 

littk haye I deserved it \ I, who have let hk fcxnaier letter 
remain unanswered, and a book, which he sent me, unacknowl- 
edged and unthanked for. But I will reform ! 

And now comes the third letter — from that glorious fellow, 
Dickens (Boz), in reply to the one I wrote, expressing my 
heartfelt delight with his writings, and my yearnings toward 
himself. See how completely we sympathize in feeling : 

" My dear Sib : 

" There is no man in the world who could have given me 
the heartfelt pleasure you have, by your kind note of the 13th 
of last month. There is no living writer, and there are very 
few among the dead, whose approbation I should feel so proud 
to earn. And with everything you have written upon my 
shelves, and in my thoughts, and in my heart of hearts, 1 may 
honestly and truly say so. If you could know how earnestly 
I write this, yon would be glad to read it — ^as I hope you wHl 
be, faintly guessing at the warmth of the hand I autobio- 
graphically hold out to you over the broad Atlantic. 

"I wish I could find in your welcome letter some hint of 
an intention to visit England. I can't. I have held it at 
arm's length, and taken a bird's-eye view of it, after reading it 
a great many times, but there is no greater encouragement in 
it this way than on a microscopic inspection. I should love 
to go with you — ^as I have gone, God knows how often — ^into 
Little Britain, and Eastcheap, and Green Arbor Court, and. 
"Westminster Abbey. I should like to travel with you, outside 
the last of the coaches, down to Bracebridge Hall. It would 
make my heart glad to compare notes with you about that 
shabby gentleman in the oilcloth hat and red nose, who sat in 
the nine-cornered back parlor of the Masons' Arms ; and i^ooot 


£obert Preston, and the tallow chandler's widow, whose sitting 
room is second nature to me; and about all those deli^tM 
places and people that I used to walk about and dream of in 
the daytime, when a very small and not over-particularlj- 
taken-care-of boy. I have a good deal to say, too, about that 
dashing Alonzo de Ojeda, that you can't help being fonder of 
than you ought to be ; and much to hear concerning Moorish 
legend, and poor, unhappy Boabdil. Diedrich Knickerbocker 
I have worn to death in my pocket, and yet I should show you 
his mutilated carcass with a joy past all expression. 

"I have been so accustomed to associate you with my 
pleasantest and happiest thoughts, and with my leisure hours, 
that I rush at once into full confidence with you, and fall, as 
it were naturally, and by the very laws of gravity, into your 
open arms. Questions come thronging to my pen as to the 
lips of people who meet after long hoping to do so. I don't 
know what to say first, or what to leave unsaid, and am con- 
stantly disposed to break off and tell you again how glad I am 
this moment has arrived. 

" My dear Washington Irving, I cannot thank you enough 
for your cordial and generous praise, or tell you what deep and 
lasting gratification it has given me. I hope to have many 
letters from you, and to exchange a frequent correspondence. 
I send this to say so. After the first two or three, I shall 
settle down into a connected style, and become gradually 

"You know what the feeling is, after having written a 
letter, sealed it, and sent it off. I shall picture you reading 
this, and answering it before it has lain one night in the post 
oflBce. Ten to one that before the fastest packet could reach 
New York I shall be writing agwn. 


'* Do j<m suppose the post-office clerks care to receive letp 
ters ? I hare my doubts. The j get into a dreadful halHt of 
mdifference. A postman, I imagine, is quite callous. Coor 
ceive his deHvering one to himself without being startled by a 
preliminary double knock I 

'* Always your fiuthful friend, 

"Chabl£8 Dickens." 

May 2Qth. — Since copying the foregoing letters, I have 
answered them all, so you see I am becoming quite a prompt 
correspondent t * * * I shall be anxious to know whether 
you have seen any of my literary friends in England, to whom 
I gave Mr. Storrow letters. Among the artists, I learn that 
Sir David "Wilkie was absent on a visit to the Holy Land. I 
regret that you have missed him; the letter, however, will 
answer for another time. 

I have commenced the barricade at the foot of the bank, 
and trust, before long, to be protected against all the surf 2yid 
surges of the Tappan Sea, and the evil influence of the Erie 
railroad. Our neighborhood is filling up for the summer. The 
Hamiltons are at home ; Mrs. C. L and her family came up 
yesterday, and Mrs. Sheldon is to come up about the begin- 
ning of the month. 

* * * And now, my dear Sarah, I must conclude this 
letter, which has been so much taken up with myself. I, only 
ask, in return, that you will in your letters be equally egotis- 
tical. Tell me all about yourself— your movements, your occu- 
pations, your amusements ; all that you see, think, and feel ; 
let me have as much of yourself as possible, that I may not 
feel as if we are severed in spirit by the distance between us. 
I shall be eager to hear of your final establishment in your 


own habitation at Paris, and in what quarter of the great city 
jou are fixed, and how you acquit yourself in housekeeping. 
Mr. Storrow, however, is an able and experienced hand, who 
will arrange everything, I make no doubt, to your heart's con- 
tent. Remember me to him most kindly and heartily, and 
beheve me, my dear, dear Sarah, 

Ever your affectionate uncle, 

"Washington Irving. 

In July I find him among the Highlands, on a visit 
to his friend, Gonvemenr Kemble — a visit somewhat 
saddened by the recent death of that gentleman's sister, 
Gertrude, the wife of James K. Paulding, whose image 
was linked with the familiar scene. It is to her that 
the extract which foUows, from a letter to Mrs. Storrow, 
makes the brief and touching allusion. West, his com- 
panion in the visit, was William E. West, the amiable 
American artist, whose likeness of Lord Byron had 
made him famous. 

I arrived here the evening before last, in company with 
Mr. West. We had a splendid evening's voyage through the 
Highlands, which looked to me more magnificent than ever. 
I found Mr. Kemble*»house a real " bachelor's hall," having no 
longer a lady to preside there. * * * The glorious being 
who used to grace and gladden this little mansion with her 
presence is gone forever ! I cannot express to you how dreary 
I have occasionally felt since I have been here, 

I give this further extract from the same letter, for 

168 Un AHD LETTEBS [180. 

its interartiiig aDnfiicHi to the yeDerahle Albert GbOatiii, 
then l<»ig withdrawn from public life : 

The day before I left the cottage I dined at the Sheldona', 
to meet Mr. and Mrs. Ghdlatin (the old people), who were on a 
visit there. Mr. George Jones was the only guest besides 
myself from the neighborhood* We had a very cheerfbl din- 
ner. Mr. Grallatin was in fine spirits, and full of conversation. 
He is upward of eighty, yet has all the activity and deamess 
of mind and gayety of spirits of a young man. How delight- 
ful it is to see such intellectual and joyous old age ; to see life 
running out clear and sparkling to the last drop ! With such 
a blessed temperament, one would be content to linger and spin 
out the last thread of existence. 

From £emble^8, Mr. Irving proceeded to visit his 
friend, Henry Brevoort, who had taken the old Bever- 
ley House in the Highlands, which formerly bdonged 
to the family of the Bobinsons, and was associated with 
the history of the Arnold treason. It was distant 
about five miles from the residence of Qouvemeur 
£emble. It was while here that he was unexpectedly 
tempted into an excursion, of which he gives some de- 
scription in the extract which follows : 

[To Mrs, Van Wart, Btrmingkam,'] 

HovssoAix, Ai«. 1, 18iL 

Mt dear Sisteb : 

I write from among the mountains in the upper part of 
Pennsylvania, from a pretty village which has recently sprung 
into existence as the deposit of a great coal region, and which 


k called after our friend Philip Hone, who was extremely effi- 
cient in directing enterprise into this quarter. I came here 
along the Delaware and Hudson Canal, which extends from 
the Hudson River near the Catskill Mountains, upward of a 
hundred miles into the interior, traversing some of the most 
beautiful parts (as to scenery) of the State of New York, and 
penetrating the State of Pennsylvania. I accompanied the 
directors of the Delaware and Hudson Canal in their annual 
visit of examination. Among the directors are Philip Hone 
and my friend Brevoort. I do not know when I have made a 
more gratifying excursion with respect to natural scenery, or 
more interesting from the stupendous works of art. The canal 
is laid a great part of the way along romantic valleys, watered 
by the Rondout, the Lackawaxen, &c. For many miles it is 
built up along the face of perpendicular precipices, rising into 
stupendous cli£fe with overhanging forests, or strutting out into 
vast promontories; while on the other side you look down 
upon the Delaware, foaming and roaring below you at the foot 
of an immense wall or embankment which supports the canal. 
Altogether it is one of the most daring undertakings I have 
ever witnessed, to carry an artificial river over rocky moun- 
tains, and up the most savage and almost impracticable defiles ; 
and all this, too, has been achieved by the funds of an associa- 
tion composed of a handful of individuals. For upward of 
ninety miles I went through a constant succession of scenery 
that would have been famous had it existed in any part of 
Europe ; the Catskill Mountains to the north, the Shawangunk 
Mountains to the south, and between them lovely valleys, with 
the most luxuriant woodlands and picturesque streams. All 
this is a region about which I had heard nothing — ^a region 
Vol. til— 8 

170 ^^ ^^^ LETTERS [1841. 

entirely unknown to fame ; but so it is in our country. "We 
have some main routes for the fashionable traveller, along 
which he is hurried in steamboats and railroad cars ; while on 
every side extend regions of beauty, about which he hears and 
knows nothing. Some of the most enchanting scenes I have 
beheld since my return to the United States, have been in out- 
of-the-way places, into which I have been accidentaUy led. 

A letter to Mrs. Storrow, dated SuimyBide, Sept. 
Ist, more than three weeks after his return, shows that 
he did not gain in health by the exposures of this wild 
expedition into the mining regions : 

SUNNTSIDB COTTAOB, Sept. 1, 1841. 

Mt deab Sarah : 

Your mother, I believe, has given you, in her letter, a 
daily bulletin of my health during my recent malady ; finding 
myself, however, fairly emerged out of the " dark valley," I 
hasten to give you, under my own hand, assurance of my re- 
turning health. I have indeed received a lesson which will 
cure me hereafter of that heedless confidence in my constitu- 
tion, which made me think myself proof against heat or coW, 
wind or rain, and rendered me regardless of every exposure. 
I beheve the last day of my tour to the coal region, where, for 
the sake of seeing the mountain scenery, I sat from morning 
till night beside the driver, exposed to the intense heat c^ the 
sun, after my system had been deranged by previous fatigues 
and exposures, gave the effectual blow to my health. I re- 
turned home completely out of order, and in the course of 
three or four days my indisposition terminated in a violent 
fever. I have never known before what a real fever was; 


indeed, my health has been so unifonnly good, that I have 
scarcely ever had a serious malady of any kind. Perhaps this 
may have made my actual illness appear the more severe to 
me. At times, when I lay panting with fever, my whole 
fi*ame in a state of indescribable irritability, my mind at inter-* 
vals wild with dehrium, it seemed to me as if I could not exist 
under it — as if the fever must seize upon my brain, deprive me 
of my senses, and hurry me out of existence. But how can I 
express myself in sufficient terms of affectionate gratitude for 
the tenderness, the watchful, the devoted, the unwearied ten- 
derness with which I have been treated I * * * It is 
almost worth being ill to experience such tenderness. I used 
to look forward with doubt and distrust to the time when, 
through age and infirmity, I. might be unable to take care of 
myself, and, having no child of my own to cherish and bear 
with me, I might become an irksome burden upon others. I 
have no longer such apprehension. I feel that I have affec- 
ti<mate, tender-hearted beings about me, that would be to me 
like children, and love and cherish me the more for my very 
infirmities. Thank God, my malady has passed away, and I 
begin to be myself again. Yesterday, for the first time, I 
drove out in the carriage with your mother and Julia (Sanders* 
wife). We had a lovely drive past Mr. Constant's, through 
the new road to the Sawmill River, and up that delightful val» 
ley and by the Dobbs' Ferry road home. Oh ! how beautiful 
everything looked; my heart was full of love and gratitude 
and enjoyment. 

This morning opens bright and exhilarating ; a pure, bra- 
cing northwest wind has made the air light and elastic, and 
seems to give new vigor to my frame. I feel in the happiest 
of moods, and my happy feehngs are reflected from every 

173 I'™' ^^^ LETTEBS [18CL 

affectionate countenance around me. It is the fifth anniver* 
sary of our taking up our residence at the dear little cottage, 
>vhich has proved such a happy home to us all. 

His brother Ebenezer had now become a member 
of the domestic circle of Simnjside, which was hence- 
forth to be his permanent home, his growing dea&ess 
and advancing years disqualifying him for fbrther ac- 
tive occupation in the city. 


jbt.68.] of washinotox ibvino. 173 



"TN a communication to Mrs. Storrow, of October 
-*- 29th, Mr. Irving writes : 

What do you think ? — Dickens is actually coming to Amer- 
ica, He has engaged passage for himself and his wife in the 
steam packet for Boston for the 4th of January next. He 
says: "I look forward to shaking hands with you with an 
interest I cannot (and I would not if I could) describe. You 
can imagine, I dare say, something of the feelings with which 
I look forward to being in America. I can hardly believe I 
am coming." 

Three weeks later, November 19th, he thus apolo- 
gizes for the somewhat desponding vein of a recent 

I have written you rather a gloomy letter lately, and am 
sorry for it ; but for a time I was depressed in spirit by a con- 
currence of uncomfortable circumstances. I have always had 
a principle of reaction in my nature, however, which I am 

174 ^^^^ ^^^^ LBTTSB8 [IML 

happy to find is not extinguished. I hare taken pen in hand, 
and hare heen writing steadily for some weeks past. I do not 
know that what I have written will be of a nature to command 
much popularity or circulation, nor do I think I shall offer it 
soon to the press ; but the manner in which I have executed it 
satisfies me that I have *' good work in me yet," and I am de- 
termined to keep on until I have fairly worked it out. The 
effect, too, has been immediate on my spirits. ♦ ♦ * The 
moment I finish the work I am busied upon, I shall throw it 
aside and commence something else. If I continue in health 
and good spirits, I shall soon have a Httle capital lying by me 
in manuscript. 

On the Ist of December he writes to his niece in 

I have been about a week in town, and begin to long most 
heartily after the cottage, where, if nothing occurs imperatively 
to call me away, I shall remain through the winter, hard at 
work, that I may once more get a Httle ahead of the world, 
and cast dull care behind me. 

On the 7tli of the same month he writes : 

I have stayed until to-day, to be present at the anniversary 
of the St. Nicholas Society, which went off yesterday in great 
style. The dinner was more numerously attended than on any 
former occasion. "We had Lord Morpeth there, who of late 
has been the universal guest. He made a very neat speech on 
the occasion. My health was drunk in the course of the 
evening, and I was absolutely hurried upon my legs to make a 
speech, but, agitated and abashed as usual, and overcome by 



the prolonged and deafening testimonials of good will, I blon- 
dered through two or three indistinct sentences, and sat down 
amidst thundering applause. I never shall figure as an orator. 

Toward the close of the same month he again ex-' 
presses r^et at the boding vein, so imuBaal in him, of 
Bome of his late letters : 

I have written you two or three very uncomfortable letters 
lately, and am sorry for it ; but I was discouraged by evils 
that seemed thickening around me, and felt doubtful whether I 
still retained mental force and buoyancy sufficient to cope with 
them. Thank God, the very pressure of affairs has produced 
reaction ; a stout heart, not yet worn out, has rallied up to the 
emergency, and I am now in a complete state of literary activ- 
ity. I shall keep on without flagging or flinching, as long as 
health and good spirits are continued to me. ♦ ♦ ♦ Never 
did I feel the value of life and health more than at this mo- 
ment, and never did I take a deeper interest in existence. I 
beheve it is good for man to be thus roused to new exertion 
(even though by the stimulus of adverse circumstances), when 
the game of life would otherwise be growing tedious and unin- 

Tell Mr. Storrow I have received the books which he was 
so kind as to procure for me. * * * They are very rare 
works, not to be met with in this country, but indispensable to 
a work which I have in contemplation. 

I am now so much engrossed by my literary avocations, that 
I shall not be able to write to you as often or as circumstantially 
as before ; but you know the reason, and I am sure will not 

X76 I'^^^ -^^^^ LETTERS [1841. 

The work he had in contemplation was his Life of 
Washington, upon which he had actually commenced 
and got fairly under way, when he received the ap- 
pointment of Mim'ster to Spain — an honor totally un- 
sought and unlooked-for by himself and his friends. 
It was on the 10th of February, in the city of New 
York, where he had been passing the winter, that he 
first heard of his nomination. " Washmgton Irving," 
said Daniel Webster, the distinguished Secretary of 
State, when he supposed a sufBcient time had elapsed 
for him to have received the tidings of his nomination, 
" Washington Irving is now the most astonished man 
in the city of New York." I saw him at my ofBc« 
within an hour after he had received the news, and he 
had not yet got over the surprise and excitement of this 
unexpected event. Yet, as he paced up and down, re- 
volving the prospect of a separation from home and 
home scenes, he appeared less impressed with the dis- 
tinction conferred, than alive to the pain of such an 
exile. " It is hard — very hard," he half murmured to 
himself, half said to me ; " yet," he added, whimsically 
enough, being struck with the seeming absurdity of 
such a view, " I must try to bear it. God temjpera the 
wind to the shorn IwrribP 

At a later period, and in a different mood, he spoke 
of this appointment to me as " the crowning honor of 
his life ; " yet I am persuaded he would have declined 
it, but for a confident belief that a diplomatic residence 
at Madrid need work no interruption to his Lifi^ of 


Washington, the literary task upon a; hich he had now 
set his heart. 

The following letter was written after he had been 
dubiously balancing the pros and cons for a time in my 
presence, and had concluded by a determination to 
accept. It is addressed to his brother Ebenezer at 
Snnnyside, now, as we have seen, his home : 

Nbw Yobk, Feb. 10, 1842. 

My deab Bbotheb : 

I have been astounded, this morning, by the intelligence of 
my having been nominated to the Senate as Minister to Spain. 
The nomination, I presume, will be confirmed. Nothing was 
ever more unexpected. It was perfectly imsohcited. 

I have determined to accept. Indeed, under all the cir- 
cumstances of the case, I could not do otherwise. It will be a 
severe trial to absent myself for a time from dear little Sunny- 
side ; but I shall return to it better enabled to carry it on com* 

In the following unofficial letter from Mr. Webster, 
we find that the appointment had taken place : 

Wasbimoton, Feb. U, 1842. 

My dear Sir : 

You will have heard of your nomination and appointment 
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the 
Court of Madrid. I assure you it gives me pleasure to have 
been instrumental in calling you to so distinguished a post in 
the pubhc service. If a gentleman of more merit and higher 
quahfications had presented himself, great as is my personal re- 
gard for you, I should have yielded it to higher considerations. 

Vol. III.— 8* (12) 

X78 ^^^ '^^^ LGTTBBS llSltt. 

The time of jour departure from this country will be left 
to your own convenience. We have some confidential sab« 
jects, depending between the United States and Spain, in 
regard to which it would be well that you would confer with 
the Department, before you repair to your post 
I am, truly and cordially, yours, 

Daniel Websteb. 

The suggestion of this appointment, however readily 
it may have been adopted by the President, John Tyler, 
originated with Mr. Webster, who, in the first month 
of his Secretaryship, had been agitating Mr. Irving's 
name for a diplomatic post. The sudden death of the 
President, General Harrison, very probably effected a 
change in his views at that time, but his purpose would 
seem, from this evidence, to have remained. Mr. 
Irving's old Mend, William 0. Preston, then a Senator 
of the United States from South Carolina, is also linked 
in this testimonial. " I have rarely performed," writes 
that gentleman in a letter to Gouvemeur Kemble now 
before me, dated February 18th, " an official duty with 
more pleasure than that of reporting Irving from the 
Committee of Foreign Relations, and moving his con- 
firmation. Such things make pleasant little green 
spots amid our wearisome pitching and tossing here. 
It was very gratifying, the cordial feeling manifested on 
both sides of the Senate. This was a very good thing 
on the part of Webster, and makes me sorry to see him 
BO bedevilled by the Whigs, the Democrats, and the 

jar.t^.] OF WASUIHOTOK laVX^'G. I79 

Nothing could be more gratifying [writes Wftshington to his 
brother, February 16th] than the manner in which this appoint- 
ment has been made. It was suggested by Mr. Webster to 
the President, immediately adopted by him, heartily concurred 
in by all the Cabinet, and confirmed in the Senate almost by 
acclamation. When it was mentioned, Mr. Clay, who has 
opposed almost all the other nominations, exclaimed: "Ah, 
this is a nomination everybody will concur in I If the Presi- 
dent would send us such names as this, we should never have 
any difficulty." What has still more enhanced the gratifica- 
tion of this signal honor, is the imanimous applause with which 
it is greeted by the public. The only drawback upon all this 
is the hard trial of tearing myself away from dear little Sunnyside. 
This has harassed me more than I can express ; but I begin to 
reconcile myself to it, as it will be but a temporary absence. 

To the same brother, now entered upon his sixty- 
sixth year, he writes the next day : 

I now abandon the care of the place entirely to you. You 
will find, in my little library, books about gardenmg, farming, 
poultry, &c^ by which to direct yourself. The management 
of the place will give you healthful and cheerful occupation, 
and will be as much occupation as you want. * * * So con- 
tent yourself at Sunnyside, and never think of seeking any other 
" berth " for the rest of your days. Try if you cannot beat me at 
farming and gardening. I shall be able to bestow a little more 
money on the place now, to put it in good heart and good order. 

Tell the girls they must not repine at my going away for a 
time, but must cheer me off with pleasant faces. The parting 
from Sunnyside will be hard for me, and must be rendered as 


cheerful as possible. * « * I shall apply myself steadily 
and vigorously to my pen, which I shall be able to do at Mad- 
ridf where there are few things to distract one's attention, and 
in a little while I shall amass a new literary capital. I shall 
therefore return to Sunnyside with money in both pockets, be 
able to '' bum the candle at both ends," and to put up as many 
weathercocks as I please. 

The following is his letter of acceptance : 

Nbw York, Feb. 18, 1842. 

The Hon. Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, Washington : 
Sir : I accept, with no common feelings of pride and grati- 
tude, the honorable post offered me by the Government, of 
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain. 
It will take some little time for me to arrange my affairs pre- 
paratory to so sudden and unexpected a change of position and 
pursuits, but I trust to be ready to depart early in April, pre- 
vious to which time I will visit "Washington, to receive my 
instructions. I am, sir, very respectfully yours, 

Washington Irving. 

Previous to the date of this fonnal acceptance, Mr. 
Irving had intimated a desire to have Mr. Joseph 
G. Cogswell appointed as Secretary of the Legation. 
" He is a gentleman," he wrote, " with whom I am on 
terms of confidential intimacy, and I know no one 
who, by his various acquirements, his prompt sagacity, 
his knowledge of the world, his habits of business, and 
his obliging disposition, is so calculated to give me that 
counsel, aid, and companionship so important in Mad- 


rid, where a stranger is more isolated than in any other 
capital of Europe.'' 

It was kn object of great solicitude to him to get 
the right person for this important and confidential 
relation ; but just as he had succeeded in procuring the 
appointment for Cogswell, Mr. John Jacob Astor, find- 
ing that he was likely to lose the invaluable services of 
this gentleman in organizing the Astor Library, made 
him librarian of that embryo institution; and Mr. 
Irving, unwilling to stand in the way of a selection so 
admirable and of so much public importance, set about 
procuring the appointment of another in his place. 
His personal comfort and happiness were somewhat 
at stake in this matter, and it was a little doubtful 
whether he could get his inclinations consulted in an- 
other choice. He was most fortunate, however, in 
accomplishing the appointment of Alexander Hamil- 
ton, Jr., for the post ; though not without some politi- 
cal scruples on the part of Mr. Tyler, which were 
finally yielded to a conviction of his fitness for the 
place, and a disposition to oblige the newly appointed 

On the eve of his departure, President Tyler wrote 
him that he was most happy to say the difficulties in 
the way of Mr. Hamilton's nomination as his Secretary 
of Legation had been removed, and that his name 
would immediately be sent up to the Senate. " I am 
sorry," writes afterward the eloquent Hugh S. Legar6, 
^^ Cogswell does not go with you, but this appointment 

1^2 ^^^^ ^^ LSTTBB8 [ISOL 

of his mxeo&BBor makes all possible amends, espedaDj 
as the motive of his remaining is, with a Tiew both to 
the pubUc and to himself of so mndi importance.'' 
His wishes, in fact, conld not have been better aocom* 
modated than by this appointment of Hamilton, and 
his satisfiftction was the greater that he was the son of 
a friend and near neighbor. ^^ It will be like taking a 
bit of home with me," said Mr. Irving to the mother 
of the youthful Secretary. 

Taking no lady with him to preside over his bach- 
elor establishment at Madrid, his Secretary of L^ation 
and two yonng'gentlemen, Hector Ames, a son of Bar- 
rett Ames, of the city of New York, and J. Carson 
Brevoort, a son of his old friend, Henry Brevoort, 
would comprise his diplomatic family — ^the two last as 

It was just when Mr. Irving had received the ap- 
pointment of Minister to Spain, that Charles Dickens, 
the renowned author, made his first appearance in 
New York, having arrived shortly before at Boston. 

The genial and lamented Felton, at this date Pro- 
fessor, afterward President of Harvard University, was 
visiting New York at the same time ; and, after the 
death of Mr. Irving, in his remarks before the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, in paying his tribute to his 
memory, gives the following delightftilly characteristic 
picture of their intercourse at that period : 

The time when I saw the most of Mr. Irving, was the 
winter of 1842, during the visit of Charles Dickens in New 


York. I had known this akeady distinguished writer in Bos- 
ton and Cambridge, and while passing some weeks with my 
dear and lamented friend, Albert Sumner. I renewed my ac- 
quaintance with Mr. Dickens, often meeting him in the brilliant 
society which then made New York a most agreeable re- 
sort. Halleck, Bryant, Washington Irving, Davis, and others 
scarcely less attractive by their genius, wit, and social graces, 
constituted a circle not to be surpassed anywhere in the world. 
I passed much of the time with Mr. Irving and Mr. Dickens ; 
and it was delightful to witness the cordial intercourse of the 
young man, in the flush and glory of bis fervent genius, and 
his elder compeer, then in the assured possession of immortal 
renown. Dickens said, in his frank, hearty manner, that from 
his childhood he had known the works of Irving; and that, 
before he thought of coming to this country, he had received a 
letter from him, expressing the delight he felt in reading the 
Story of Little Nell; and from that day they had shaken 
hands autographically across the Atlantic. Great and varied 
as was the genius of Mr. Irving, there was one thing he shrank 
with a comical terror from attempting, and that was a dinner 
speech. A great dinner, however, was to be given to Mr. 
Dickens in New York, as one had already been given in Bos- 
ton; and it was evident to all that no man but Washington 
Irving could be thought of to preside. With all his dread of 
making a speech, he was obliged to obey the universal call, 
and to accept the painful preeminence. I saw him daily dur- 
ing the interval of preparation, either at the lodgings of Dick-j 
ens, or at dinner or evening parties. I hope I showed no want 
of sympathy with his forebodings, but I could not help being 
amused with the tragi-comical distress which the thought of 
that approaching dinner had caused him. His pleasant humor 

2g4 LU^ AKD LETT^tS [18^ 

mingled with the real dread, and played with the whimsical 
horrors of his own position with an irresistible drollery. 
Whenever it was alluded to, his invariable answer was, "I 
shall certainly break down I" — uttered in a half-melancholy 
tone, the ludicrous effect of which it is impossible to describe. 
He was haunted, as if by a nightmare ; and I could only com- 
pare his dismay to that of Mr. Pickwick, who was so alarmed 
at the prospect of leading about that " dreadful horse " all day. 
At length the long-expected evening arrived ; a company of 
the most eminent persons, from all the professions and every 
walk of life, were assembled, and Mr. Irving took the chair. 
I had gladly accepted an invitation, making it, however, a con- 
dition that I should not be called upon to speak — a thing I 
then dreaded quite as much as Mr. Irving himself. The direful 
compulsions of life have since helped me to overcome, in some 
measure, the post prandial fright. Under the circumstances — 
an invited guest, with no impending speech — ^I sat calmly, and 
watched with interest the imposing scene. I had the honor to 
be placed next but one to Mr. Irving, and the great pleasure 
of sharing in his conversation. He had brought the manu- 
script of his speech, and laid it under his plate. " I shall cer- 
tainly break down," he repeated over and over again. At last 
the moment arrived. Mr. Irving rose, and was received with 
deafening and long-continued applause, which by no means 
lessened his apprehension. He began in his pleasant voice; 
got through two or three sentences pretty easily, but in the 
next hesitated ; and, after one or two attempts to go on, gave 
it up, with a graceful allusion to the tournament, and the troops 
of knights all armed and eager for the fray ; and ended with the 
toast, " Charles Dickens, the guest of the nation." " There ! " 
siud he, as he resumed his seat under a repetition of the ap- 


-fir. 68.] OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 185 

plause which had saluted his rising; "there! I told you I 
shotild break down, and I've done it." 

There certainly never was made a shorter after-dinner 
speech ; I doubt if there ever was a more successful one. The 
manuscript seemed to be a dozen or twenty pages long, but 
the printed speech was not as many lines. I suppose that 
manuscript may be still in existence ; and if so, I wish it might 
be published.* Mr. Irving often spoke with a good-humored 
envy of the feUcity with which Dickens always acquitted him- 
self on such occasions. 

. The following letter is addressed to his brother from 
Washington, where he and "Boz" had gone shortly 
after the Dickens dinner : 

[To Ehenezer Irving!] 

WashixgtoMi March 18, 1842. 

Mt deab Brother : 

My reception in Washmgton, by all persons and parties, 
has been of the most gratifying kind. The Government seems 
disposed to grant me every indulgence as to the time and mode 
of my embarcation, my route, &c. I shall remain here until 
some time in the early part of next week, to read the corre- 
spondence and documents connected with my mission, and to 
make myself acquainted with the affairs of the legation, after 
which I shall return home to make my final preparations for 

I dined with Mr. Granger yesterday; Mr. Webster to-day j 
I dine to-morrow with Mr. Preston, of the Senate, the next 

• The manuscript, which conasted, no doubt, only of notes or huits, 
was probably destroyed at the time.— Ed. 


day with the President^ and on Saturday with l£r. Tayloe ; m 
you see I am launched in a complete round of diwnpation. 
Last evening I was at the President's levee — a prodigioot 
crowd. I set out to walk, with Julia Sanders on my stfin, hot 
was penned up against the waD, and for an hour had to stand 
shaking hands with man, woman, and child from all parts of 
the Union, who took a notion to lionize me. I thought I had 
become so old a story as to be past all such bozadng, but they 
seem to think me brought out in a new edition at Wadiing- 
ton. ♦ ♦ * 

March 17th he resnmes : 

I have nearly finished my business here. I have read all 
the correspondence and documents of importance connected 
with my mission, and had private conversations with the Secre- 
tary of State. I have received my letter of credit on the 
Rothschilds, London, for my salary, which, I find, commences 
from the date of my commission — 10th of February last I 
shall receive a draft for my outfit on Tuesday next. I intend 
paying a visit to Mount Yemon on Monday, and hope to leave 
this for Baltimore on Tuesday afternoon. As I shall stop in 
Philadelphia to see my booksellers, I shall not reach New 
York until toward the end of the week. I still shall endeavor 
to make all my arrangements so as to sail in the Liverpool 
packet on the 7th April, as I am anxious to get out to Europe 
early enough to have a portion of the fine season for travel- 

Yesterday I dined at the President's, and had a very pleas- 
ant dinner. Mr. Tyler has all the air of a very good-hearted, 
fine-tempered man, and I have experienced the most cordial 


reception from him. I sat next to his daughter-in-law, a 
daughter of my early friend, Mary Fairlie, and we had much 
interesting conversation about her mother, among whose papers 
she had found many of my letters during the time that, in oiu: 
voung days, we kept up an amusing correspondence. 

In the following^ we have a Airther glimpse of Boz 
and Diedrieli : 

[Charles Dickens to Washington Irving.l 

Washinotov, Monday afterooon, March 21, 1842. 

My deab Irving : 

We passed through — ^literally passed through — this place 
again to-day. I did not come to see you, for I really have not 
the heart to say " good-by " again, and felt more than I can 
tell you when we shook hands last Wednesday. 

You will not be at Baltimore, I fear ? I thought, at the 
time, that you only said you might be there, to make our part- 
ing the gayer. 

Wherever you go, God bless you I What pleasure I have 
had in seeing and talking with you, I will not attempt to say. 
I shall never forget it as long as I live. What would I give, 
if we could have but a quiet week together I Spain is a lazy 
place, and its climate an indolent one. But if you have ever 
leisure under its sunny skies, to think of a man who loves you, 
and holds communion with your spirit oftener, perhaps, than 
any other person alive — ^leisure from listlessness, I mean — ^and 
will write to me in London, you will give me an inexpressible 
amount of pleasure. 

Your affectionate friend, 

Chahles Diceeks. 


The following letter firom Henry day has rrfeirenee 
to the nomination of Alexander Hamilton as Secretaiy 
of ligation, some difficulties, as before hinted, having 
been interposed in the way of his appointment, whidi 
were not removed imtil the 7th of April, when his 
name was sent into the Senate, and inmiediately con- 
firmed. I introduce the brief epistle of this eloquent 
and illustrious man for the genial tone of its closing 
paragraph : 

Wabhihoton, March 29, 1842. 

My dear Sib : 

I received your fiavor, and, should I be in the Senate when 
the nomination to which it refers shall be acted upon, your 
wishes are sufficient to command my vote. 

Take with you, my dear sir, the fervent wishes of one 
whose sentiments of regard have remained unabated during 
twenty-eight years, for your success in your pubhc mission, and 
for increased fame in jour literary pursuits. 

I am, truly and faithfully, your friend and obedient servant, 

H. Cult. 

Philip Hone, who presents Mr. Irving with the fol- 
lowing invitation to a public dinner on the eve of his 
departure, was an old friend and his next-door neigh- 
bor in their boyhood, and had served the city, at one 
period, with great acceptance, as its Mayor : 

Friday, April 1, 1812. 

My dkab Irving : 

The pleasant duty is assigned to me of handing you the 


enclosed ; and I am directed to request you will communicate 
your answer (which it is hoped will be favorable) to, 
Dear sir, your obedient servant and sincere firiend, 

Philip Hone. 

The letter of invitation wWeh follows, is signed by 
some of the most honored names in New York, with- 
out distinction of party, and is worth giving as a testi- 
mony that his appointment was regarded as gratuitous 
and national, and not in return for claims of a political 
nature. Among the signers are William CuUen Bry- 
ant, Charles King, Gulian C. Verplanck, William 
Kent, Daniel Lord, Samuel B. Buggies, Thomas J. 
Oakley, Samuel Jones, Charles Augustus Davis. 

Nbw Tobk, March 29, 1842. 

Dear Sib : 

It is now nearly ten years since a number of the citizens 
of New York, prompted by personal afifection, and an honest 
pride in the high literary character of their townsman, assem- 
bled at the festive board to welcome your return from Europe ; 
to renew with you the recollection of former days of pleasant 
intercourse, and to participate in the rich stores of information, 
the fruits of your sojourn of seventeen years in foreign parts. 

An occasion now occurs to repeat this " feast of reason," 
which dwells so pleasantly on the memory of many of us. 
You have been appointed, in a manner alike honorable to the 
Government and yourself, unassisted by intrigue, and im- 
pledged to party, the nation*s representative at the Court of 
Spain — & station which seems to be universally conceded as 
your peculiar right. You have studied the language of that 

190 I'l^ ^^'^ LBTTEB8 . [184S. 

interestmg country, searched her archives, embdlished her 
story, and made her literature familiar to your countrymen. 

Understanding that your departure is nigh at hand, we are 
desirous to give you a '' Grod speed " upon your honorable mis- 
sion, to convince you that the hearts of your '' brethren and 
friends " here in your native city beat warmly as ever toward 
you, and that their pride in your hterary fame has suffered no 
abatement "With this view we offer ourselves as the repre- 
sentatives of a large number of your fellow citizens, to invite 
you, most affectionately, to dine with them previous to your 
departure for Spain, on any day most convenient to yourselfl 

We are, dear sir, with respect and affection, your friends 

and townsmen, 

Philip Hone, &c. 

The reply was as follows : 

[To Mr. PhxUp Hone,'] 

KiirT0BK,April4,18i2. ' 

Mt D£Ab Hone : 

I have just received your kind note of the 1st inst, endoG- 
ing an invitation, signed by a number of my townsmen, to par- 
take of a public dinner, as a &rewell expression of their r^ard, 
prior to my departure for Spain. 

I cannot but remember with deep sensibihty a similar tes- 
timonial of their good will with which X was surprised and 
overpowered ten years since, on my return home fix)m so long 
an absence that I had almost feared it had aUenated me from 
their affection; and it is a proud gratification to me to find 
tliat, after ten years of fiuniliar intercourse, the same good wHl 
still appears to be exhibited. Indeed, the manifestations of 
public regard have thickened upon me rather than declined 


with the lapse of years. And when I have made up my mind 
to find myself naturally waning in popular favor, and rightfully 
giving place to younger and fresher candidates, I am surprised 
by new marks of popular esteem and national confidence, sur- 
passing all that have gone before. Thus have I continually 
been paid, and overpaid, and paid again for all the little good 
I may have effected in my somewhat negligent and fortuitous 
career, until, at times, I feel as if, in acquiescing in such 
over-measured rewards, I am tacitly pocketing what is not 
due to me. 

In the present instance that shall not be the case. Indeed, 
the nature of my preparations, on the eve of departure for a 
post of important and untried responsibility, leaves me neither 
the leisure nor the frame of mind necessary to participate in 
such a festivity as is proposed ; but I beg you to assure my 
townsmen that, while I excuse myself from accepting their 
proffered banquet, I will treasure up in my heart of hearts the 
cordial " farewell " intended by it, as one of the dearest of the 
many testimonials of regard received by me from my native 

To you, my good friend, who have known me " from my 
childhood on," accept my thanks for the kind expressions with 
which you have accompanied this invitation, and my sincere 
wish that, should I Hve once more to return to my native land, 
I may find you in the full enjoyment of health and prosperity. 
Yours very faitlifuUy, 

Washington Irving. 

Seven days later, when his departnre was close at 
hand, he addresses the following letter to his niece, 
Sarah Irying, at his cottage : 

192 ^'^^ ^^^^ LETTEBS [18flL 

Nbv Yobk, April 7, 184S. 

Mr DEAB Sabah : 

I have given Pierre M. Irving a full power of attomej to 
act in mj name, and have made arrangements with him for the 
conduct of my pecuniary afiEiairs. ♦ ♦ ♦ 

And now, my dear, good little girl, Grod bless you ! You 
have been like a daughter, and an affectionate one, to me, and 
so have all your sisters; and have, by your kind attentions^ 
made the years I have lived among you one of the happiest 
portions of my life. In a little while we shall come together 
again, I trust, and then we will have merry times at sweet 
little Sunnyside. 

With my love to ail the flock, your affectionate uncle, 

Washington Irving. 

On the lOtL of April he embarked, with fine 
weather and a £Eur wind. 




rnnHE following letter to his sister, written at a 
-^ scanty moment snatched from amidst the hnrry 
of various occupations, gives the first tidings of his 
arrival in England, where the members of the family 
at Birmingham, from whom he had now been separated 
ten years, were looking forward with impatience to a 

[To Mrs. Paris, at Tarry town^ 

London, ICay 8, 1842. 

My dear Sister : 

I have arrived in England lefore my ship, and in London 
before visiting Birmingham ; and these are the circumstances 
of the case : We had a fair wind and fine voyage until we 
YoL. III.— 9 (18) 

194 ^^^^^ ^^^^^ USTTEBS [1842. 

made the Irish coast, when the wind came ahead. After beat- 
ing for a day or two in the channel, with the prospect of pass- 
ing several more days on shipboard, a steam packet hove in 
sight. A signal brought it within haiL It was bound from 
Cork for Bristol, where it would arrive on the following day. 
Several of my fellow passengers and myself therefore, got <m 
board, and were landed on the following day (April 30th) at 
Bristol. ♦ ♦ ♦ We landed after dark, and the next mom- 
ing I set oflf in the railroad cars for London. These railroads 
have altered the whole style and course of travelling in Eng- 
land. You fly through the country rather than ride. We 
were about four houna travelling a distance of one hundred 
miles; and such admirable vehicles. I sat as comfortably 
cushioned and accommodated as in my old Voltaire chair at 
the cottage. The railroads, too, are so well finished, that you 
experience none of the jarring and vibration that are felt in 
ours. In this way we were whirled through a succession of 
enchanting scenery, in all the freshness of spring ; the weather 
was lovely, and the sunshine worthy of our own country. 

I had intended merely to touch in London, and proceed by 
railroad to Birmingham, which is now but a five-hours' journey 
from the metropolis. I found, however, once here, it was impos- 
sible to get away as readily as I had supposed. I waited on our 
Minister, Mr. Edward Everett, and had some matters to arrange 
with him, and understood that it would be proper for me to 
appear at the levee, and be presented to the Queen on Wednes- 
day morning (to-morrow). Then I had to order some addition 
to my diplomatic uniform for the occasion — to get clothes, &c., 
&c. It worries me extremely to be thus detained from seeing 
sister Sarah, and I fear she will be grieved at my delay. I 
shall endeavor to break away from town the day after to*mor- 


row, and put off all further business and arrangements until mj 
return. In fact, I am not in mood and trim to enter upon the 
bustle and agitation of public life. The hurried transitions of 
the latter part of my voyage, and of my arrival, have excited 
me too much. I arrived here flushed, and heated, and agi- 
tated, and since that have experienced something of depres- 
sion. I have avoided making any calls that might involve me 
in engagements, and have felt a singular reluctance to commit 
myself once more to the current of society and the turmoil of 
the world. * * ♦ However, all this will pass away. 
"Wlien I have made my visit to Birmingham, I will come back 
and plunge into the stream, and trust to the buoyancy and 
activity of my spirit to enable me once more to buffet with the 
waves. I find that, by getting on board the steamer, and land- 
ing at Bristol, I escaped the bother of a pubHc dinner which 
they were prepared to offer me at Liverpool. This is a great 
comfort. * * * I question whether I shall get away from 
England until toward the end of the month ; and then I shall 
hurry on to Paris, where I expect to be joined by Mr. Hamil- 
ton. * * ♦ 

[To Mrs, PanSf at Tarry town.'] 

The Bhrubbirt, May 7, 1842. 

My dear Sister : 

I wrote you a hasty scrawl, a few days since, from Lon- 
don. I was detained in town three or four days by business, 
and then set off for Birmingham, where I arrived in about five 
hours by railroad, travelling without the least fatigue. My 
meeting with our dear sister was, as you may suppose, most 

196 I^<I^ '^^I^ LETTERS [l&iSL 

While I was in London I attended the levee, to be pre- 
sented. I know the great interest you take in the young 
Queen, and that you will expect some account of her. She is 
certainly quite low in stature, but well formed and well 
rounded. Her countenance, though not decidedly handsome, 
is agreeable and intelligent Her eyes light blue, with light 
eyelashes ; and her mouth generally a little open, so that you 
can see her teeth. She acquits herself in her receptions with 
great grace, and even with dignity. Prince Albert stood 
beside her — ^a tall, elegantly formed young man, with a hand- 
some, prepossessing countenance. He is said to be fiunk, 
manly, intelligent, and accomplished ; to be fond of his little 
wife, who, in turn, is strongly attached to him. It is rare to 
see such a union of pure affection on a throne. 

I experienced a very kind reception at court ; was warmly 
welcomed by many members of the diplomatic corps, though 
most of them were strangers to me ; but I met several of my 
old acquaintances among the ministers — Lord Aberdeen, Sir 
Robert Peel, &c. — ^who were very cordial in their recognitions, 
and seemed to be in high good-humor at having, themselves^ 
got once more into oflSce. 

Among the most gratifying meetings with old friends dur- 
ing my brief sojourn in London, I must mention those with 
Mr. Rogers, and with Leslie. Mr. Rogers was quite affected 
on meeting with me (it was at a dinner party at our Minister's, 
Mr. Everett's). The old man took me in his arms quite in a 
paternal manner. He begins to show the marks of his ad- 
vanced age, though he still goes out to parties, and is almost as 
much in company as ever. Leslie is occupied in painting a 
picture of the Royal Christening. His picture of the Corona- 



tion has been the making of him. He has more orders for 
paintings than he can execute. 

Little Cloistebs, Westminster Abbey, May 9ih, — I 
returned to town on Saturday, after passing two days in Bir- 
mingham, intending to pay it another and a longer visit before 
I leave England. I am here ensconced in the very heart of 
this old monastic establishment, with an old friend who keeps 
bachelor's hall in one of the interior buildings connected with 
the Abbey. My host is Mr. James Bandinel, of the Foreign 
Office, with whom I became acquainted during my former 
diplomatic residence in London. He is a peculiar character ; 
a capital scholar, a man variously and curiously informed, of 
great worth, kindness, and hospitality. His quarters in the 
old Abbey are a perfect " old curiosity shop," furnished with all 
kinds of antiquities and curiosities: quaint old furniture; the 
walls hung with ancient armor ; weapons of all ages and coun- 
tries ; curious pictures, &c., &c. ; cases and shelves of old 
books in every room. The entrance to this singular and 
monkish nest is through the vaulted passages and the long 
arcades of the cloisters, 6ver the tombstones (inserted in the 
pavements) of the ancient abbots, which I have mentioned in 
the Sketch Book, and past that mural monument with a marble 
figure reclining on it, which frightened Sarah so much that 
evening when she was brought to the Abbey unexpectedly by 
Mr. Storrow. I have repeatedly passed through these cloisters 
and by that monument at midnight, on my way home from a 
party, and on one occasion the Abbey clock struck twelve just 
as I was passing. How strange it seems to me that I should 
thus be nestled quietly in the very heart of this old pile, that 
used to be so much the scene of my half-romantic, half-medita- 
tive haunts, during my scribbling days. It is Hke my sojourn 

X98 ^^^^ '^^'^ LErms [is^ 

in the halls of the Alhambra. Am I always to have mj 
dreams turned into realities ? 

May IZih, — ^I have kept this letter by me several da 
but have been unable to add a word, such is the hurry of e 
gagements, visits, calls, notes, &a, &;c^ in this overwhelming 
metropolis. I have neither rest by day nor sleep by night, 
and am almost fagged out. I had hoped to enjoy some de- 
lightful quiet in this glorious seclusion in the heart of the cIchs- 
terSy but the claims of the world follow me here, and keep me 
in continual agitation. Last Sunday, it is true, I had a de- 
licious treat in hearing the cathedral service performed in a 
noble style, with the chaimts of the choir, and the accompani- 
ment of the organ ; but besides this, I have seen nothing of the 
Abbey excepting to pass to and fro, by night and day, through 
the cloisters, making the vaults and monimients echo with my 
footsteps at midnight 

I have not been able to call on many of my old friends^ 
but have met some of them on pubhc occasions. Many of the 
hterary men I met at an anniversary dinner of the Literary 
Fund, at which Prince Albert presidSd. Here I sat beside my 
friend Moore, the poet, who came to town to attend the dinner. 
He looks thinner than when I last saw him, and has the cares 
and troubles of the world thickening upon him as he advances 
in years. He has two sons; both had commissions in the 
army. The youngest has recently returned home, broken in 
health, and in danger of a consumption. The elder, Tom, has 
been rather wild, and is on his return from India, having, for 
some unknown reason, sold his commission. The expenses of 
these two sons bear hard upon poor Moore, and he talks with 
some despondency of the likelihood of his having to come 
upon the Literary Fund for assistance. The Literary Fund 


dinner was very splendid, and there was much doll speaking 
from various distinguished characters. I had come to it with 
great reluctance, knowing that my health would be drunk; 
and, though I had determined not to make a speech in reply, 
yet the very idea of being singled out, and obhged to get on 
my legs and return thanks, made me nervous throughout the 
evening. The flattering speech of Sir Robert Inglis, by which 
the toast was preceded, and the very warm and prolonged 
cheering by which it was received, instead of reheving, con- 
tributed to agitate me, and I felt as if I would never attend a 
pubhc dinner again, where I should have to undergo such a 

There is an amufiing description, in the Diary of 
Thomas Moore, of his endeavors to persuade Mr. Irving 
to be present at this annual dinner of the Literary 
Fund Society, which I am tempted to extract in this 
place, though, in so doing, I break off from the letter, 
to return to it, however, again : 

[From the Diary of Thomas Moore,'] 

May 10th, — Started for town, leaving our dear boy some- 
what better. Found, with my usual good luck, a note from 
Murray, asking me to meet at dinner, to^y^ the man of all 
others I wanted to shake hands with once more — ^Washington 
Irving. Called at Murray's, to say " Yes, yes," with all my 

11th, — ^Went to the Literary Fund Chambers to see what 
were the arrangements, and where I was to be seated, having, 
in a note to Blewitt, the Secretary, begged him to place me 
near some of my own personal firiends. Found that I was to 

200 I^^*^ ^^^^ LETTEBS [18& 

be seated between Hallam and Washington Irving. Afl 
right. By-the-bj, Irving had yesterdaj come to Mnrraj'fl^ 
with the determination, as I fomid, not to go to the dinner, and 
all begged of me to use my influence with him to change this 
resolution. But he told me his mind was made up on the 
point ; that the drinking his health, and the speech he would 
have to make in return, were more than he durst encounter ; 
that he had broken down at the Dickens dinner (of which he 
was chairman) in America^ and obliged to stop short in the 
middle of his oration, which made him resolve not to encoun- 
ter another such accident. In vain did I represent to him that 
a few words would be quite sufficient in returning thanks. 
"That Dickens dinner," which he always pronounced with 
strong emphasis, hammering all the time with his right arm, 
more suo, " that Dickens dinner " still haunted his ima^ation, 
and I almost gave up all hope of persuading him. At last I 
said to him, " Well, now, listen to me a moment. If you 
really wish to distinguish yourself, it is by saying the fewest 
possible words that you will effect it. The great fault with all 
' the speakers, myself among the number, will be our saying too 
much. But if you content yourself with merely saying that 
you feel most deeply the cordial reception you have met with, 
and have great pleasure in drinking their healths in return, the 
very simplicity of the address will be more effective, from such 
a man, than all the stammered-out rigmaroles that the rest c^ 
the speechifiers will vent." This suggestion seemed to touch 
him ; and so there I left him, feeling pretty sure that I had 
carried my point. It is very odd, that while some of the shal- 
lowest fellows go on so glib and ready with the tongue, men 
whose minds are abounding with matter should find such diffi- 
culty in bringing it out. I found that Lockhart also had d^ 

JBit. 59.] . OF WAOTUfaXON IBVING. 201 

clined attending this dinner under a similar apprehension, and 
only consented on condition that his health should not be 

Whether Moore's suggestion was adopted or not, 
certain it is that Mr. Irving did little more than bow 
his thanks to the toast of Sir Robert Inglis. Happily, 
the brilliant Everett, never at a loss, was there to speak 
for the honor of American literature. 

I now resume with some fiirther passages from the 
letter to his s'ster : 

I believe I told you, in a previous letter, of the public din- 
ner that had been intended me at Liverpool. I have since 
received an invitation to accept a public dinner at Glasgow, 
which, of course, I declined; indeed, the manifestations of 
public regard which I have continually experienced since my 
arrival have been quite overpowering. 

Last evening I was at the Queen's grand fancy ball, which 
surpassed, in splendor and picturesque effect, any courtly 
assemblage that I ever witnessed or could imagine. The 
newspapers are full of details of this magnificent pageant, and 
I must refer you to them for particulars, for the whole is a 
scene of bewilderment in my recollection. There were at 
least two thousand persons present, all arrayed in historical, 
poetical, or fanciful costumes, or in rich military or court uni- 
forms. A kind of scheme was given to the whole, by making 
it the representation of the visit of Anne of Brittany (the 
character sustained by the Duchess of Cambridge) to the Court 
of Edward III (Prince Albert) and his Queen Philippa 
(Queen Victoria). The respective sovereigns had all their 

Vol. m.— 9* 

202 I'I'B Ain> LETTSB8 [ISO. 

courtiers and attendants in the costnmes of the times, fiutlifbllj 
executed after old historical paintings and engravings. There 
was a reality mingled with the fiction of the scene. Here 
royalty represented royalty, and nobility represented nobility. 
Many of the personages present played the parts of their own 
ancestors, their dresses being faithfully copied £rom old fsonily 
paintings by Vandyke and other celebrated persons. There 
was no tinsel nor stage trumpery in the dresses and jewels ; all 
was of the richest materials, such as the characters represented 
would have worn ; and there was on all sides a blaze of dia- 
monds beyond anything I had ever seen. The saloons of the 
palace were of great size, so that there was ample room for 
display; and nothing could surpass the effect of the various 
groups, processions, &;c., or the splendor of the assemblage in 
the Throne Room, where Albert and Victoria, as Edward and 
Philippa, were seated in state, receiving the homage of the 
brilliant throng. 

I had a very favorable situation in one part of the evenings 
near the royal party, when the different quadrilles, each in uni- 
form costumes, danced before them. The personage who ap- 
peared least to enjoy the scene seemed to me to be the little 
Queen hersel£ She was flushed and heated, and evidently 
fatigued and oppressed with the state she had to keep up, and 
the regal robes in which she was arrayed, and especially by a 
crown of gold, which weighed heavy on her brow, and to 
which she was continually raising her hand to move it slightly 
when it pressed. I hope and trust her real crown sits easier. 
Prince Albert looked uncommonly weU in his costume. He 
would have realized the idea you have no doubt formed of a 
prince, fi-om all that you have read in fairy tales. He came 
up to where I was standing, and held scmie little conversation 


with me. He speaks English very well, and his manner is ex- 
tremely bland and prepossessing. 

The Shbubbebt, May 16^. — ^I was interrupted in my 
letter, and had to abandon it. Yesterday I made my escape 
from London, in spite of a host of temptmg invitations, and 
came off here, glad to get a little repose. I arrived wearied, 
exhausted, rheumatic (which I have been ever since my arrival 
on the coast of England) j and yesterday afternoon, and all 
last evening, could do little else than sleep, to make up for 
nights of broken rest * * * 

The Shrubbery, from whichi he dates on the 16th of 
May, was the residence of his sister, Mrs. Van Wart. 

A few days afterward he embarked at Southampton 
for France, in company with Hector Ames, of New 
York, who was to be attached to the Legation at Mad- 
rid, and form one of his household. 

To his sister, at Birmingham, he writes, June 8th : 

I arrived at Havre at an early hour on the Sunday morn- 
ing after I left you, having had a very smooth voyage across 
the channeL I passed the day at the dehghtful Httle half-rural 
retreat of my friend Beasley, which is situated in a garden on 
the descent of the hill overlooking Havre and the surroimding 
extent of land and sea. I stayed there until Monday morning, 
Hector being quartered there with me. We then ascended 
the Seine in a steamboat to Rouen ; passed a night there, and 
the next day proceeded by steamboat and railroad to Paris, 
where we arrived on Tuesday evening. My visit to my excel- 
lent friend Beasley, and my voyage up the Seine, however 
gratifying in other respects, were full of melancholy associa- 



iioha; for at every step I was reminded of mj dear, dear 
brother Peter, who had so often been my companion in these 
scenes. In fact, he is continually present to my mind snce my 
return to Europe, where we passed so many years togetiier, 
and I think this circumstance contributes greatly to the mix- 
ture of melancholy with which, of late, I regard all those 
scenes and objects which once occasioned such joyous excite* 
ment. There is one little, quiet, conventual garden, with shady 
walks, and shrubberies, and seats, behind the old Gothic church 
of St. Ouen, at Rouen, which used to be his ^Etvorite resort 
during his soHtary residence in that city, and where he used to 
pass his mornings with his book, amusing himself with the 
groups of loungers and of nursery maids and children. I felt 
my heart completely give way when I found myself in that 
garden. I was for a time a complete child. My dear, dear 
brother I As I write, the tears are gushing from my eyes. 

The following characteristic extract is taken from a 
letter to his niece, Sarah Irving, an inmate of Snnny- 
side, in reply to some welcome intelligence from home. 
It is dated five days after his arrival in Paris, and is 
addressed to her from beneath the roof of "Mis. Stor- 
row, with whom he was residing, and who, it may be 
remembered, had not long before been domesticated 
with him at the " Eoost." 

May 29^ 1842. — * * * My visit to Europe has by 
no means the charm of former visits. Scenes and objects 
have no longer the effect of novelty with me. I am no 
longer curious to see great sights or great people, and have 
been so long accustomed to a life of quiet, that I find the tor- 

-fir. 69.] OP WASHINGTON IKYING. 205 

moil of the world becomes irksome to me. Then I have a 
house of my own, a little domestic world, created in a manner 
by my own hand, which I have left behind, and which is con- 
tinually haunting my thoughts, and coming in contrast with 
the noisy, tumultuous, heartless world in which I am called to 
mingle. However, I am somewhat of a philosopher, and can 
accommodate myself to changes, so I shall endeavor to resign 
myself to the splendor of courts and the conversation of cour- 
tiers, comforting myself with the thought that the time will 
arrive when I shall once more return to sweet httle Sunnyside, 
and be able to sit on a stone fence, and talk about pohtics and 
rural affairs with neighbor Forkel and Uncle Brom. 

In a similar vein he writes to Ms sister, Mrs. Paris, 
the same day : 

* * * Hitherto, since my arrival in Paris, I have 
been hving very quietly, avoiding all engagements, that I 
might pass my time as much as possible with Sarah ; but now 
I shall have to launch in some degree into society. I have 
to make diplomatic caUs in company with our Minister, Gen- 
eral Cass, and these will lead, more or less, to various engage- 
ments. Fortunately, the fashionable season is over ; the royal 
family are absent, and there is less call for visits of ceremony 
and crowded entertainments. Still I feel a mortal repugnance 
to launching into the stream of public life, and I cling as long 
as possible to the quiet shore I am about to leave. I endeavor 
to conform to our old family motto, Suh sole suh umhra virens 
(flourishing in the sun and in the shade) ; but I think, upon 
the whole, I am more calculated for the shade. 

My predecessor, Mr. Vail, expects me early in July, and is 

206 ^^ ^^^^ LETTERS PSISL 

ftiudoos to leave Madrid with his fiEunily before the intense 
heats of smnmer. I hare made a kind of half arrangem^ity 
by letter, with Mr. Vail, hj which I shall take up my quarters 
with him when I arrive, and pretty much take his establish- 
ment, carriage, fomiture, and servants oflf his hands. * * • 
I shall thus have a home at once on my arrival, withont bdng 
subjected to the loss of time and trouble, the bother, and per- 
plexity, and cheatery which I would otherwise incur in forming 
an establishment. I mention this to you because I know yoa 
are anxious on this point. 


Not long after, lie entertains the same correspon- 
dent with the following : 

Paris, Jane 10, 1843L 

My deab Sisteb : 

A few days since, I drove out, in the evening, with our 
Minister, General Cass, to Neuilly, one of the royal country 
residences near Paris, to be presented to the King. Neuilly is 
situated in the midst of an English park, through which we 
had a pleasant drive. I observed sentinels stationed here and 
there about the park — & precaution taken in consequence of 
the repeated attempts upon the hfe of the King. Louis Phi- 
lippe, I am told, is extremely annoyed, in his rides on horse- 
back about the park, at finding himself thus under perpetual 
surveillance. He says he is almost as badly off as Napoleon 
at Longwood, who could never find himself out of sight of a 

A suite of saloons on the ground floor of the palace were 
lighted up. Very little formality is observed in these country 
receptions. Passing through a nimiber of domestics in the 


entrance hall, we found onr way from one chamber to another, 
until we came to where the company were assembled in a cen- 
tral saloon. The Queen and Madame Adelaide (sister to the 
King) were seated, with several ladies, at a round table, at 
work. The King was conversing by turns with gentlemen 
who were standing in groups round the room, some few of 
whom (General Cass and myself among the number), who 
were there on ceremony, were in court uniforms. The King 
was simply dressed in black, with pantaloons and shoes. I am 
thus particular in noting his dress, knowing your curiosity with 
respect to royalty, and lest you should suppose that kings and 
queens are always in long velvet robes, with golden crovms on 
their heads. I experienced a very kind reception from the 
Eling and Queen and Madame Adelaide, each of whom took 
occasion to say something complimentary about my writings. 
The King has altered much since I last saw him (which was in 
1830, when he took the oaths of office). Age may begin to 
weigh upon him, but care, no doubt, still more. He is less 
erect than he used to be, and at times stoops considerably. 
How different from what he was when I first saw him, nearly 
twenty years since — as the Duke of Orleans, in hussar uniform, 
moimted on a superb horse, in a public procession, the admira- 
tion of every eye. Still he is a fine-looking man for his years, 
and appeared to be in good health and good spirits, laughing 
heartily with some of those with whom he was conversing. 
In his conversation with General Cass and myself, he spoke of 
American afifeirs, and showed himself to be minutely observant 
of all that was passing in our country, and of the state of its 
relations with its neighbors in Canada, Texas, and Mexico. I 
am told he keeps a vigilant eye upon the newspapers, and thus 
informs himself of what is going on in all parts of the world. 

208 l^On& AKP LBTTEBS [ISIt. 

I am sure this will recommend him to the good opinion <^ our 
worthy brother, the present Laird of Sunnjside [whose dero- 
tion to the newspapers nearly ezdaded all other reading]. 

The Qaeen, who is a most excellent^ amiable person, is pale 
and thin, with blae eyes, and hair quite white. Nothing can 
be kinder than her manners. Her life is an anxious one. The 
repeated attempts upon the life of her husband, and even of 
her sons, have filled her with alarm, and I am told she is in a 
state of nervous agitation whenever they are absent on some 
public occasion of ceremony. She is a devoted wife and 
mother, a perfect pattern in the domestic relations of life. The 
King's sister, Madame Adelaide, is a woman of more force of 
character ; resembles the King in features, possesses vigorous 
good sense and great ambition. She is said to take great in- 
terest in public afiairs^ and in the stability of her broUier's 

June lAth, — ^I had intended to write something in this let- 
ter every day, but I have been so much taken up by the usual 
demands of society, and so oppressed by the heat of the 
weather, that I have found it impossible to do so. Two or 
three days since, Mr. Storrow, Sarah, and myself dined at the 
country seat of Mrs. "Welles, and passed the evening delight- 
fully in strolling about the grounds. The day after to-morrow 
we intend going to Versailles, to pass two or three days 
there. * * * 

I shall be glad to get out of Paris into the country. The 
weather is uncommonly warm, and, in spite of all my holding 
back, I have got launched into society, and find myself obliged 
to dine out almost every day. Yesterday I dined at the Brit- 
ish ambassador's (Lord Cowley, brother to the Duke of Weir 

-fir. 69.] OP WASHIKGTON TRYXSQ. 209 

lington). The dinner, however, was very pleasant. Lady 
Cowley I knew some years since, in England. I was treated 
most cordially. General Cass dined there also, and Mr. 
Rumpf, son-in-law to Mr. Astor, besides other persons of my 
acquaintance. In the evening I was at a magnificent fete 
given by our countryman, Colonel Thorn, on the occasion of 
one of his daughters* marriage with a French baron. Yoi^ 
know the history of Colonel Thorn, and the stand he has taken 
among the old French noblesse by dint of his wealth. His 
f(^te was really magnificent. His hotel was brilliantly lighted 
up, the extensive gardens fancifully illuminated, and singers 
and musicians stationed among the distant groves, who occa- 
sionally regaled the company with concerted pieces of instru- 
mental music, or romantic choruses and glees. The whole was 
one of those fairy scenes that would have enchanted me in my 
greener years of inexperience and romance ; but I have grown 
too wise to be duped by such delusions, so I sagely came away 
just as the thoughtless throng were beginning to dance. It is 
wonderful how much more difficult it is to astonish or amuse 
me than when I was last in Europe. It is possible I may 
have gathered wisdom under the philosophic shades of Sleepy 
Hollow, or may have been rendered fastidious by the gay life 
of the cottage ; it is certain that, amidst all the splendors of 
London and Paris, I find my imagination refuses to take fire, 
and my heart still yearns after dear little Sunnyside. This 
letter, I trust, will find you up there, and must answer for the 
household, for I have not time to write any more. Give my 
love to all the girls. I will not name any one in particular, 
lest it might appear like giving a preference ; and God knows 
I love them all with all my heart. Oh! what would I not 
give to be once more among them. 
Vol. IIL— (14) 


The following is in reply to a lettar fipom myed^ 
informing him how I had invested some funds left in 
my hands, and giving some personal details : 

[To Pierre M, Irving,'] 

FABI8, June 26, 18^ 

I have just received your most welcome letter of May 
31st, and have read it with great interest. I thank you 
heartily for your kind attention to my pecuniary afEisdrs, and 
am well pleased with the investment you have made. 

* * * I am delighted with the account you giTe of 
your nest at the bank. * * * I presume the iron safe 
which you extol as such a " convenient fixture," must have be- 
come necessary to hoard up the bags of money you are now 
accumulating. * * * 

* * * Since I begun this letter, Alexander Hamilton 
and Carson Brevoort have reached Paris, and have brought me 
a thousand interesting details about home. Being now joined 
by my household, I shall set forward for Spain as soon as pos- 
sible, though I suppose they will want a little time at Paris to 
fit themselves out. I am anxious to be at my post, to have 
my establishment formed, my books and papers about me, and 
to get settled. The restless hfe I have led for some months 
past has grown extremely irksome, and the continual ahifting 
of the scene, and of the dramatis personae^ distracts my mind 
without interesting me. I am too old a frequenter of the 
theatre of life to be much struck with novelty, pageant, or 
stage effect, and could willingly have remained in my little 
private loge at Sunnyside, and dozed out the rest of the per- 


Do write often, and let me know all about yonr own con* 
cems, and the concerns of those around you. *My heart dwells 
among you all at home, and my thoughts are continually re- 
verting thither. Your affectionate imde, 

"Washington InviNa. 

To a postscript added to my letter by my wife, lie 
replied as follows : 

My deab Helen : 

If you knew with what avidity and relish I devoured your 
half letter, you would immediately sit down and write me a 
whole one. * * * The merest gossip about home and its 
everyday concerns would be more prized by me than the finest 
turned periods. The accidental mention you make in your 
letter about the green sodded bank before the cottage, and 
about JuHa and Mary in their new bonnets and dresses, has 
presented home pictures that speak at once to my heart. 

* * * I have been living as quietly as I could for 
some time past, in Sarah's pretty little establishment, trymg to 
keep out of the turmoil of the great world ; for my desire has 
been not to mount the Minister, if possible, until my arrival in 
Spain, having no great relish for the pageantry of courts, or 
the thronged saloons of fashionable life; but I am drawn into 
the vortex occasionally in spite of myself, so am kept in a half- 
drowned state, neither one thing nor t'other ; neither enjoying 
repose nor dissipation ; like a poor drenched Yankee fisherman 
whom I once met with, shivering, and drying himself before 
a fire in a httle seashore inn at Martha's Vineyard, and who, 
tired of being neither fish nor flesh, wished he was " clever-?y 
dead." The fact is, I am spoiled by the life I have led at 

212 I'l^ ^^^^ liETTEBS {ISO. 

Sunnjside, and have not, during the whole time that I haye 
been in Europe, had one of those right-down frolicksome 
moods that I have enjoyed at the cottage ; but, indeed, thej 
would not be becoming in diplomatic life. I shall therefore 
put by all my merriment until my return home, and will en- 
deavor, in the mean time, to be dignified and dulL 

♦ ♦ • I am, my dear Helen, your affectionate unde, 

"Washington Ibying. 


iEr. 69.] OF WASHINGTON IBTIMa. 218 



fTHHE following lines were addressed to Henry Bre- 
-■- voort from the oflSce of the Legation at Paris, in 
reply to a letter from that gentleman brought by his 
son, J. Carson Brevoort, whom he was to have with 
him as an attach^ at Madrid. ^^I am delighted to 
have him with me," he writes. "My heart warms 
toward him, not merely on his own accoimt, but also on 
your own. He seems like a new link in our old friend- 
ship, which commenced when we were both about his 
age, or even younger, and which I have always felt as 
Boniething almost fraternal." Then, after giving a rea- 
son for his being detained eight or ten days longer in 
Paris, he adds : 

I am anxious to get to my post and relieve my predecessor, 
Mr. Vail, who wishes to get to the moimtains with his family 
for the health of his children. I am desirous, also, of forming 
my establishment, and feeling myself once more settled. The 

214 UFB AND LETTEBS [1811. 

unsettled life I have led for some months past begins to be 
extremely irksome. I have enough to do to bother me, yet no 
settled occupation to interest me. My mind is perplexed by 
arrangements for my domestic establishment and soUcitude about 
my new career, and, with all this, I am harassed by the claims 
of society, which, with all my exertions, I cannot fight cS, 
Paris and London are terrible places for these kind of claims, 
which cut up one's time, disturb one's quiet, and render life a 
continual round of empty toils. I am amused with the soEci- 

tude of our friend on my account, who thinks I am 

turning my back upon fortune, and ruining my prospects in life 
by neglecting to follow up the friendships proffered me in 
saloons. He could restrain his feelings no longer, a few even* 

ings since, at an evening party, where the Duchess of 

had sought an acquaintance with me, and held me for some 

time in very amiable conversation. On leaving her, 

took me aside, and implored me to leave a card the next day 
for the duchess, and at the same time read me a pdost affection- 
ate lecture on my neglect of this piece of etiquette with re- 
spect to various other persons of rank. He attributes all this 
to my excessive modesty, not dreaming that the empty inter- 
course of saloons with people of rank and fashion could be a 
bore to one who has run the rounds of society for the great^^ 
part of half a century, and who likes to consult his own hum<tf 
and pursuits. 

In the following letter, written when he was accom- 
plishing his jonmey from Paris to Madrid, in company 
with the future members of his diplomatic family, we 
have a touching allusion to his former sojourn at Bor- 


deanx, where he and his brother Peter spent four 
months, prior to their entrance into Spain in 1826 : 

[To Mrs. FartSf New York,] 

BATOHin, July 20, 1842. 

Mt dear Sister . 

Here I am, in the frontier town of France, with the Pyre- 
nees in view, which I shall be traversing in the course of the 
day. My journey from Paris hither has been very pleasant. 
* * * -^Q stopped at several fine old historical places, 
such as Orleans, Tours, Poitiers, and Angouldme. My fellow 
travellers are excellent companions, young and fresh and buoy- 
ant, and we get on joyously together. I have picked up a 
most valuable servant at Paris, a mulatto named Benjamin 
Growien, native of South Carolina, who came out with Mr. 
Middleton when he went Minister to Russia, remained with 
him ten or twelve years, and has been travelling about Europe 
in various capacities for twenty-four years past. He speaks 
most of the European languages fluently, is a capital travelling 
servant, and, indeed, a valuable servant at all points, steady, 
quiet, respectful, and trustworthy. He has already been three 
times at Madrid, and made himself well acquainted with the 
language and with the customs of the country. I write par- 
ticularly on this point, as I know you will feel some solicitude 
about my personal comforts. I passed between four and five 
days at Bordeaux, among my excellent friends the Guestiers, 
Johnsons, and Bartons. I was received by them as if I were 
one of their family connection. That good old lady, Mrs. 
Johnson, the great friend of our dear brother Peter, I found 
still in good health, though complaining of advanced age. My 
heart was full on meeting with her, for I thought of the many 

216 I'IFB AND LETTEBS [1841: 

Lapp J hours I had passed in her company and under her hos- 
pitable roo^ with our dear brother. The good old ladj re- 
ceived me with the warmest affection, and talked in the kindest 
and most touching manner about past times. Mj aojoom at 
Bordeaux was indeed full of heartfelt recollections, for here my 
dear brother was constantly by my side, enjoying the cc»diai 
intercourse with these excelleni people, who all cherish the 
kindest remembrances of him. Indeed, who ever knew him 
without loving him? For my own part, never have I felt hia 
loss more deeply than since my return to Europe, where every 
step I take recaUs him to my mind, and recalls something he 
has done or said ; some happy observation, some tasteful re- 
mark, some delightful pleasantry, from him whose whole lifis 
was an exemplification of every excellence. 

At the close of hk journey, after readiing Madrid 
on the morning of July 25th, and reoonnoitriiig his 
establishment, he writes to his sister, Mrs. Paris : 

I found the house in good order, and commodious. Juana 
(late head maid to Mrs. Vail, now my housekeeper) showed 
me through the rooms. Benjamin, my valet, who had trav- 
elled with me from Paris, brought my trunks to the house, and 
I at once found myself at home. The young gentlemen have 
since been here, chosen their rooms, and are to bring their lug- 
gage in the course of the day. Until my china ware, linen, 
&c^ &c., arrive from France, we have to make shift by hiring 
bedding, table furniture, &c. ; but we shall all feel dehghted to 
be under our own roo^ and settled. I like the appearance of 
my new servants, especially Lorenzo and Juana ; their counte- 
nances, deportment, and mode of dressing themselves are 


highlj in their favor, and I make no doubt I shall find them 
to answer to the high recommendations of Mr. Vail, with 
whom they have resided ever since he has been here. My 
cook, Antonio, who is a Greek, is said to be excellent in his 
art He is not very brilliant in appearance, but, as he will be 
among pots and kettles, it is not of much moment. 

It seems strange to me to find myself, all at once, the mas- 
ter of a new home, waUdng from room to room, all having the 
look of a long-established abode ; strange servants running at 
my call, and bowing to me with profound respect. My own 
chamber, which is a very spacious one, is already all in order, 
my trunks all emptied, and their contents neatly arranged by 
Benjamin iii the various drawers and presses, and everything 
has an air as if I had been master here for a long time past. 

To the same, he writes, five days later (July 30ih), 
giving a glimpse into the composition of his household, 
and a sketch of his meeting with his Granada friend, 
the Duke de Gor : 

I am completely installed in the late residence of Mr. Vail, 
and shall probably continue to reside there for some time to 
come, as it is not easy to find a suitable habitation in that part 
of the city which I should prefer. I am in one wing, or hal^ 
of the hotel of the Duke of San Lorenzo ; the opposite wing 
is occupied by Mr. Albuquerque, Brazilian resident Minister, 
who married one of the Miss Oakeys, of New York, so that 
we have a very pleasant and intelligent countrywoman for near 
neighbor. We are not far from the royal library and the 
royal palace. 

I have made Benjamin my butler, or upper servant, as I 
Vol. III.— 10 

213 UFE AKD UTTEBS [lg4a. 

found he best understood the business, and had the most judg- 
ment. He appears to manage the house extremely welL Lo- 
renzo is footman, or valet. Juana is housemaid, and has 
charge of the Hnen, &c., &c. Antonio is cook. The young 
gentlemen haye made a page, or tiger, of a nephew of Lo- 
renzo, a boy, whom they keep to loiter in the antechamber, run 
their errands, &c. Sudi is my household. As I have no 
horses yet, I have not engaged a coachman, though I have 
bespoken a trusty one, who is well recommended. 

The other morning, as I was seated in the saloon, con- 
versing with a gentleman, the servant announced the Duke de 
Gk>r ; in a moment I was in his arms. Tou may remember 
that this was the nobleman with whom I was so intimate at 
Granada, at whose house I was so often a guest, and who, with 
his children, made me frequent visits in the Alhambra. He is 
now resident with his fiunily in Madrid. I cannot express to 
you how rejoiced I was to see him. He is a most estimable 
character in every respect. One of the Moderados^ and there- 
fore not exactly in favor with the party in power. He is a 
leading man, however, in all public institutions, and the 
Duchess is at the head of many of the charitable institutions. 
The Duke gave me anecdotes of my friends in Granada. 
Mateo, on the strength of my writings, is quite the cicerone of 
Granada and the Alhambra. Dolores and her husband reside 
elsewhere. The lovely little Nina, the daughter of the old 
Count, she who was quite my admiration and delight, is dead. 
* * * The Duke was accompanied by a young gentleman, 
whom he recalled to my recollection as little Nicholas, alias^ 
el rey diico, who, a very small boy, had chased bats about the 
vaulted halls of the Alhambra. * ♦ ♦ 

An evening or two since, 1 had my audience of the Min- 


ister of Foreign Afiairs, the Count Almodovar, who received 
me in the most courteous manner, ezpressmg his satisfaction at 
my being sent to this court I delivered him an official copy 
of the President's letter to the Queen, and requested that a day 
might be assigned for me to present th^ original to the Regent. 
The day after to-morrow (Monday), at one o'clock, is ap- 
pointed for the ceremonial Mr. Albuquerque (hitherto charge 
d'affaires) will present his letters of credence as resident Min- 
ister at the same time. This ceremony over, I shall be a regu- 
larly accredited Minister, and will then make my visits of cere- 
mony to the heads of departments and the gentlemen of the 
diplomatic corps. I am curious to have this presentation, that 
I may have an interview with Espartero, the Regent, who cer- 
tainly is one of the most remarkable men of the age. I have 
as yet only seen him one day in public, on the Prado, when I 
was pleased with his soldier-like air and manly deportment 

The following letter relates liis audience with the 
Kegent and the Qaeen, and reads, in some of its par- 
ticulars, like a chapter in the romance of history. In 
sending it unsealed to Mrs. Storrow, at Paris, to be 
read and forwarded, he writes: "You are curious 
about the little Queen and her sister. The enclosed 
letter to your mother :will give you some particulars 
about them. I feel a great interest in them, isolated as 
they are at such a tender age, surrounded by dreary 
magnificence, and by the political and military precau- 
tions incident to the present position of the Govern- 


[To Mrs. Paris, New Y<yrh'\ 

Mabeio, Aug. 3, 18«1 

Mt deab Sisteb : 

The day before yesterday I had my audience of the Re- 
gent, Espartero, Duke of Yictoriay to present to him my origi- 
nal letter of credence from the President to the Queen. I was 
accompanied by Mr. Vail, who went to take leave^ and by 
Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of Legation. "We were in 
diplomatic uniform. The Regent resides in a very spadous 
palace called Buena Vista, formerly belonging to the Prince oi 
the Peace. It has an elevated site, with terraces in front, so 
that it might resist an attack and maintain a respectable de- 
fence — an important consideration in the residence of the pres- 
ent military head of the Government, who is surrounded by 
dangers, and the object of incessant machinations. 

We passed by sentuiels posted at the entrance and in vari- 
ous parts of the palace, and were introduced into an anteroom of 
spacious dimensions, with busts of Espartero in two of the cor- 
ners, and a picture of him in one of his most celebrated battlesL 
Some of his officers and aides-de-camp were in this room, as well 
as Mr. Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, charge d'affaires of Bnud], 
who came to deliver letters of credence as resident Minister. 
After a little while, we (Mr. Vail, Hamilton, and myself) 
were ushered into an inner saloon, at one end of which Elspar- 
tero stationed himself, with Count Almodovar, Minister of 
State, on his right hand. I advanced, and read in Spanish a 
short address, stating that I had the honor of delivering the 
letter of the President to the Queen into his hands, as Regent 
of the kingdom, and expressing the sentiments of respect and 
good will entertained by my Government for the sovereign <rf 
this country, for its institutions, and its people ; its desire to 


draw still closer the bonds of comity which exist between the 
two nations, and its ardent wish for the prosperity and glory 
of Spain under its present constitutional form of government. 
I concluded by. expressing my own feehngs of gratification in 
being appointed to a mission, the only object of which, I 
trusted, would be to cultivate the relations of good will be- 
tween my own country and a country which I had ever held 
in the highest consideration. My address was well received, 
and the Regent replied in a manly, frank, cordial, and courte- 
ous manner, responding to the expressions of national good 
will, and ending with some compHmentary expressions to my- 
self. I then introduced Mr. Hamilton as Secretary of Lega- 
tion ; after which Mr. Vail, having taken leave of the Regent, 
with mutual expressions of respect and good will, we retired to 
the anteroom, to make way for the Brazilian Minister. 

It being signified to us that the Queen would receive us at 
the royal palace, we drove thither, but had to wait some time 
in the apartment of Count Almodovar. After a while, we had 
notice that the Queen was prepared to receive us. "We ac- 
cordingly passed through the spacious court, up the noble stair- 
case, and through the long suites of apartments of this splen- 
did edifice, most of them silent and vacant, the casements 
closed to keep out the heat, so that a twilight reigned through- 
out the mighty pile, not a Httle emblematical of the dubious 
fortunes of its inmates. It seemed more Hke traversing a con- 
vent than a palace. I ought to have mentioned, that on 
ascending the grand staircase, we found the portal at the head 
of it, opening into the royal suite of apartments, still bearing 
the marks of the midnight attack upon the palace in October 
last, when an attempt was made to get possession of the per- 
sons of the little Queen and her sister, to carry them oflT, that 

222 ^^'I^ ^^^^ LETTBBS [ISttL 

their presence might give strength and authority to the party 
of the Queen Mother (Queen Maria Christina^ now at Paris), 
in any contemplated insurrection or invasion of the country to 
regain the authority which she had abdicated. The marble 
casements of the doors had been shattered in several places, 
and the double doors themselves pierced all over wi& buB^ 
holes, from the musketry that played upon them from the stair- 
case during that eventful night. What must have been the 
feelings of those poor children, on listenings from their apart- 
ment, to the horrid tumult, the outcries of a fririous multitude, 
and the reports of firearms, echoing and reverberating through 
the vaulted halls and spacious courts of this immense edifice, 
and dubious whether their own lives were not the object of the 

After passing through various chambers of the palace, now 
silent and sombre, but which I had traversed in former days, 
on grand court occasions in the time of Ferdinand VII, whai 
they were glittering with all the splendor of a court, we paused 
in a great saloon, with high vaulted ceiling incrusted with 
florid devices in porcelain, and hung with silken tapestry, b^ 
all in dim twilight like the rest of the palace. At one end oi 
the saloon a door opened to an almost interminable range of 
other chambers, through which, at a distance, we had a glimpse 
of some indbtinct figures in black. They gUded into the sa- 
loon slowly, and with noiseless steps. It was the httle Queen, 
with her governess, Madame Mina, widow of the general of 
that name, and her guardian, the excellent ArgueUes, aD in 
deep mourning for the Duke of Orleans. The little Queea. 
advanced some steps within the saloon, and then paused; 
Madame Mina took her station a little distance behind her. 
The Count Almodovar then introduced me to the Queen in my 


oflScial capacity, and she received me with a grave and quiet 
welcome, expressed in a very low voice. She is nearly twelve 
years of age, and is sufficiently well grown for her years. She 
has a somewhat fair complexion, quite pale, with bluish or light 
gray eyes ; a grave demeanor, but a graceful deportment. I 
could not but regard her with deep interest, knowing what im- 
portant concerns depended upon the life of this fragile little 
being, and to what a stormy and precarious career she might 
be destined. Her solitary position, also, separated from all her 
kindred except her little sister, a mere effigy of royalty in the 
hands of statesmen, and surrounded by the formalities and 
ceremonials of state, which spread steriHty around the occu- 
pant of a throne, I must observe, however, that the little 
Queen and her sister are treated with great deference and pro- 
tecting kindness ; that in Madame Mina, and in the upright, 
intelligent, and kind-hearted Arguelles, they have the best of 
guardians. ♦ ♦ * 

As I was retiring from the presence chamber, I was over- 
taken by Arguelles, who accosted me in the most cordial man- 
ner, reminding me of our having met in London, at the time 
of my return from Spain, when he was in a state of exile. I 
had not recollected the circumstance, though I well remem- 
bered having heard him often spoken of during my former resi- 
dence in Spain, as one of the best spirits of the nation. He 
promised to call upon me, and I look forward with interest to 
cultivating an intimacy with a man who holds in his hands a 
sacred trust, so important to the future destinies of Spain. He 
and Espartero are men I felt extreme interest in seeing. Es- 
partero is a fine, manly, soldier-like fellow, with a frank deport- 
ment, a face full of resolution and intelligence, and a bright, 
beanung, black eye. He was dressed in full uniform, with 

324 I'l^ ^^^ LETTEBS [18if. 

Tarious orders. He Has before him a grand career, if be fol- 
lows it out as be bas begun, and is permitted to carry it to a 
successful termination. I am inclined to think bis ambition of 
the right kind, and that he has the good of his country at 
heart If be can conduct the afi&urs of Spain through ^ 
storms and quicksands that beset bis regency ; if be can estab- 
lish the present constitutional form of government on a firm 
basis, and, when the Queen arrives at the age to mount the 
throne, resign the power into her bands, and give up Spain to 
her, reviving in its industry and its resources, peaceful at home 
and respected abroad, be will leave a name in history to be 
enrolled among the most illustrious of patriots. 

I cannot but feel a deep interest in the fortunes of this 
harassed, impoverished, depressed, yet proud-spirited and noble 
country, and a most earnest desire to see it relieved from its 
troubles and embarrassments, and reestablished in a prosperous 
and independent stand among the nations. 

* * * * « 

I am looking for the arrival of my books and papers, wbidi 
were forwarded from New York to Cadiz. As soon as I re- 
ceive them, I shall set to work at my Life of Washington, and 
foresee that I shall have abundant leisure here for literary 

These expectations of leisure for literary occnpation 
were doomed to be sadly frustrated by a long indispo- 
sition, and other interruptions consequent upon his 
diplomatic position. 

The following is addressed to a niece, a daughter of 
his deceased sister, then residing temporarily at Sunny- 


side, and gires an intereeting picture of a. day's life at 

[To Mrs. Eliza Romeyn,'] 

Madeid, Aug. 16, 1842. 

My dear Eliza : 

Having no news to tell you that is not in the other letters 
to the family, I shall give you a picture of the routine of one 
day, which will serve pretty much for a specimen of every day 
in the week, I rise about five o'clock, that I may have a good 
start of the sun, which rules like a tyrant throughout the day. 
Throwing open the doors and windows of my chamber, to 
admit a free current of the morning air, I occupy myself read- 
ing and writing until about eight o'clock. At this time the 
distant sound of military music gives notice of the troops on 
their way to relieve guard at the royal palace. In a little 
while the horse guards pass under my window, with a band 
of music on horseback, performing some favorite march or mili- 
tary air. I watch and listen as they prance down the street, 
between spacious dwellings of the nobility, and turn into the 
passage leading to the palace ; by this time another band of 
music comes swelling from a distance, and the foot guards 
approach in quick step to some glorious march or waltz ; by 
the time these have disappeared, I am summoned to breakfast, 
which is always a lively meal with us. While we are seated 
at breakfast, we again hear the strains of military music, and 
the troops come back from relieving guard, reversing the order 
of their march — the foot guards coming first, and the horse 
guards afterward. This pageant, which invariably takes place 
at the same hour every morning, is a regale of which we never 
Vol, m.— 10* (15) 

226 1^1^ ^"^^ LETTEBS [184S. 

get tired. On our breakfast table are laid the Madrid gazettes, 
which seldom contain anything of peculiar interest. Shortly 
after breakfast arrives the mail, with Paris and London papers^ 
which occupy us some time in reading and discussing news. 
Should the mail bring, as it sometimes does, a packet of letters 
for the different members of the household, giving us the news 
and gossip of home, there is a complete scene of excitement^ 
each hurrying on his letters, and calling out, every moment, 
some piece of intelligence, or some amusing anecdote. This 
over, we separate to our different rooms and pursuits, exchang- 
ing visits occasionally, as circumstances may require or humors 
dictate. The front windows of my apartments look into one 
of tlie main streets, traversing the city from the Prado, or pub- 
lic walk, to the royal palace, so that every movement of con- 
sequence is sure to pass through it. Immediately opposite 
some of my windows is a small square, with the ayuntamicnto^ 
or town hall, on one side, and a huge mansion on the other, in 
a tower of which Francis I is said to have been confined when 
a prisoner in Madrid. In tlie centre of this square is a public 
fountain, thronged all day, and until a late hour of the night, 
by water carriers, male and female servants, and the populace 
of the neighborhood, all waiting for their turns to replenish 
their kegs, pitchers, and other water vessels. An oflBcer of 
police attends to regulate their turns ; but such is the demand 
for water in this thirsty climate at this thirsty season, that the 
fountain is a continual scene of strife and clamor. The groups 
that form around it, however, in their different costumes, are 
extremely picturesque. My day, during the hot weather, is 
chiefly passed in my bedroom, which I likewise make my 
study. It is lofty and spacious, about thirty feet by twenty- 
two. The heat of day is shut out, as in the rest of the 


house, and just sufficient light admitted to permit me to read 
and write. Indeed, a kind of twilight reigns throughout a 
Spanish house during the summer heats. At five o'clock we 
dine, after which some take a siesta, or lounge ahout until the 
evening is sufficiently advanced to take a promenade either on 
the Prado, or on the esplanade in front of the royal palace. 
Such is the dull heat, however, that occasionally lingers in the 
streets, that I frequently remain at home all the evening, 
taking my seat in the balcony of my room, where I can catch 
any night breeze that is stirring, and can overlook the street. 
Between nine and ten a running footman gives notice, by the 
sound of a bugle, of the approach of the Queen, on her 
return from her evening's drive in the Retiro and in the 
Prado. Next come three or four horsemen in advance ; then 
the royal carriage, drawn by six horses, in which are the Httle 
Queen and her sister, and their aya, or governess, Madame 
Mina. As the carriage is an open barouche, and passes imme- 
diately under my balcony, I have a full view of these poor, 
innocent little beings, in whose isolated situation I take a great 
interest. Mounted attendants ride beside the carriage, and it 
is followed by a troop of horse, after which comes another car- 
riage and six, with those whose duties bring them in imme- 
diate attendance upon the persons of the Queen and Princess. 
After this cortege has passed by, I continue in my balcony 
imtil a late hour, enjoying the gradually cooling night air, 
which grows more and more temperate until toward midnight, 
when I go to bed. 

Such is the routine of most of my days during this hot 
weather, occasionally varied by a sultry visit of ceremony in 
the course of the day, or a stroll late in the evening to the 
Prado, or the esplanade about the palace. 

228 ^^^^^ '^^^^ IJETTEB8 [ISiS. 

• ****« 

I haye as jet been but once to the rojal mnsemn of paint- 
ingB, but it was like a peep into a gold mine. The colkctkm 
was one of the very best in Europe when I was here be£»e, 
bat such treasures have been added to it of late yeais, that^ to 
my mind, it surpasses all others that I have seen* This of 
itself will be an inexhaustible resource to me. 

♦ «♦*** 
Write to me as often as you feel disposed. Tour lettos 

are just such as I delight to receive. 

Your affectionate uncle, 

Washinoton Ibviko. 

It will be seen, by the following extracts fitmi his 
letters to his brother Ebenezer, still his ageat in n^o- 
tiating with the booksellers, tliat he could make no far- 
ther arrangements with Lea & Blanchard, of Philadel- 
phia, for the right of publishing his works. He had 
not expected a renewal of the arrangement soch as the 
last, which was about to expire, at a positive yearly 
stipend, but it had occurred to him that an arrange- 
ment might be made by which they might continue to 
seD his works already printed, they allowing him a 
stipulated sum on each copy sold. This would enable 
them to trade off the stock on hand, and him to par- 
ticipate in the profits. 

MADBin, Sept Sth, 1842.— ♦ ♦ ♦ I observe that 
Lea & Blanchard decline the arrangement I proposed. I 
presume, therefore, the source of income from that quarter is 
effectually dried up for the present. * * * 


To the Bame brother he replies, somewhat later : 

* * * You give me a sad account of my literary har- 
vest; everything behind me seems to have tmned to chaff and 
stubble, and if I desire any further profits firom literature, it 
must be by the further exercise of my pen. * * * If I 
can have one good course of literary occupation, I may pro- 
duce another profitable crop, though I cease to be very san- 
guine of profit. 

* * * I have all my books and papers now around me, 
and am about to set to work. I find I have no copies of the 
Crayon Miscellany, containing the Tour on the Prairies, the 
Legends of the Conquest of Spain, and Abbotsford and New- 
stead Abbey. I wish you would send me a set of each. 
* * * You may send them by the captain of any ship 
boimd to Cadiz, and direct them to the care of Alexander Bar- 
ton, Esq., Consul of the United States at that port. 

He was now meditating to nse what leisure he 
could spare jfrom more important literary occnpations, 
in preparing revised and improved editions of all his 
works, to be put forth at some future period, when busi- 
ness had revived, and the world was once more pros- 
perous. Hence his request for the copies of the Crayon 

I close this chapter with the following extract of a 
letter to his brother Ebenezer, upon which I venture 
no conmient, further than to state that the remains of 
his brother Peter were now deposited in a churchyard 
about three miles south of Sunnyside, and were after- 

230 I'l^ '^^l^ LBtTSaa [18A2. 

ward transferred to the spot where lie himself hopes 
" some day or other to deep '' his " last sleep." 

I mentioned, in a former letter, mj wish that jou would 
have an iron railing put aromid the grave of onr dear brother 
Peter, and a gravestone within, with a simple inscription of 
his name, age, date of his birth, &c. Have honeysuckles and 
shrubs planted inside of the inclosure, that they may, in time^ 
overrun it I had intended to have his remains transported to 
a family vault or burying ground which I contemplated estab- 
lishing at the old Dutch Sleepy Hollow church. ♦ * * 
Even now, perhaps, it might be as well to buy of the widow 
Beekman a few yards square of the woody height, adjacent to 
the north end of the burying ground, and have it enclosed 
with a paling for the fkmily place of sepulture. * ♦ ♦ I 
think a family burying place, with a gate opening into liie 
main burying ground, would be preferable to a vault. If this 
should be determined upon, it would not be necessary to put 
up the iron railing above mentioned, as our dear brother's re- 
mains might be conveyed to the above-mentioned place. Think 
of all this, and carry it into effect. It is a thmg that lies near 
my heart. I hope, some day or other, to sleep my last sleep 
in that favorite resort of my boyhood. 

P. S. — ^You do not mention, in any of your letters, whether 
neighbor Forkel has still the superintendence of Mrs. Jones' 
property. I like to hear occasionally how all my country 
neighbors are coming on — ^the Manns, the Forkels, the Ackers^ 
&c. Give a kind word to them occasionally in my name. 
They have always proved good neighbors to me. 




npBUE long domestic letter which I now offer, gives 
-■- a peep into the affairs of the Court, and abounds 
in details which will account to us for the deep interest 
Mr. Irving took in his first audience with the little 
Queen. " I must confess," he writes to Mrs. Pierre M. 
Irving, " the more I get acquainted with the present 
state of Spanish politics and the position of the Gov- 
ernment, the more does the whole assume a powerful 
dramatic interest, and I shall watch with great atten- 
tion every shifting of the scene. The fiittire career of 
this gallant soldier, Espartero, whose merits and ser- 
vices have placed him at the head of the Government, 
and the future fortunes of these isolated little prin- 
cesses, the Queen and her sister, have an uncertainty 
hanging about them worthy of the fifth act of a melo- 


[To Mrs. Pans, Tarrt/toum.'l 


Mt deab Sisteb . 

In the letter last receiyed from you, dated Julj 19tli, joq 
give me, as usual, a world of news from the cottage, I wiD, 
in return, give jou a little history of the palace, I know you 
like to hear, now and then, what is going on in the grand 
world, and, from yoiu: little sheltered country nook, to " take a 
peep at royalty." So I will perform the promise I made you 
in a former letter, to give you an inkling of Spanish politics, 
that you may understand the present state of this harassed 

Spain, haying long experienced the eyib of an absolute 
monarchy, where the will of the monarch was supreme law, 
has made repeated struggles to establish a constitutional form 
of government, such as is enjoyed in England and France, 
where the power of the king is limited and controlled by the 
constitution, and where the people have a voice in afiBiirs 
through elective chambers of legislation. It succeeded in 
forming such a constitution in 1812, with the approbation of 
its sovereign, Ferdinand VII, who was at that time detained 
by Napoleon in France. The constitution was overthrown by 
Napoleon, who placed his brother Joseph on the throne. At 
the downfall of Napoleon, Ferdinand regained his throne ; but, 
false to the nation, he refused to restore the constitution, perse- 
cuted those who had supported it, and reigned absolute mon- 
arch. A revolution, in 1820, was the consequence ; the con- 
stitution was again proclaimed, and Ferdinand again swore to 
support it, declaring that, in opposing it, he had acted under 
the influence of bad advisers. A French army, sent by 
Charles X, again trampled down the constitution, and replaced 

-fir. 69.] OP WASHINGTON IRVING. 233 

the faithless Ferdinand in absolute power, which he exercised 
for the remainder of his worthless life. At the time of my 
former visit to Spain, he was on the throne, and the French 
troops which had placed him there still lingered in the coun- 
try. The liberties of Spain seemed completely prostrate, and 
many of her most enhghtened, virtuous, and patriotic men 
were in exile. 

In 1829, Ferdinand married, for his fourth wife, Maria 
Christina^ sister of the King of Naples, and niece of the pres- 
ent Queen of France. By her he had two daughters, his only 
children. In 1833, being low in health, without prospect of 
recovery, he became anxious to secure the succession to the 
throne to his own progeny ; but here arose a difficulty. By 
long usage, the Salique law of France, which excludes females 
from the exercise of regal authority, had become naturalized in 
Spain. According to this, the King's eldest brother, l)on 
Carlos, being next male heir, would inherit the crown. Ferdi- 
nand, however, supported by the opinions of men learned in 
the law, revived the old Spanish law of succession, which 
made females equally entitled to inherit with males, and quoted 
the reign of the illustrious Isabella of glorious memory as a 
case in point. The question agitated the country even before 
the death of Ferdinand. Don Carlos insisted on his rights, 
and had a strong party in his favor, composed of many of the 
aristocracy, who knew him to be an absolute monarchist ; and 
by the monks and a great part of the clergy, who knew him 
to be a bigot The Queen, Maria Christina, of course, stood 
up for the rights of her infant daughter, and her cause was the 
popular one, having all the Liberals^ or those who were anxious 
for a constitutional government, in its favor. 

Ferdinand died in 1833, and, in conformity to his will and 

234 I'l^ '^^^ LETTSBS ll8ttL 

testament, his eldest daughter, then but three jeais of age, 
was proclaimed Queen, by the name of Isabella £1, and her 
mother, Maria Christina, Queen Regent, to exercise the royal 
authority in the name of her daughter, until the latter should 
be fourteen years of age ; when, according to Spanish law, die 
is of age to ascend the throne. Maria Christina was likewise 
constituted guardian to the Queen during her minority. 

Don Carlos immediately raised the standard of rebdlicMi, 
and here commenced the modem '* war of succesaon " which 
desolated Spain for seyen years. The Liberals rallied round the 
standard of the Queen Regent, and for a time she was exceed- 
ingly popular. Indeed, neyer had a woman a better opp<Mia- 
nity of playing a noble part as a mother and a sovereign ; bui 
she proved herself unworthy of both characters. What &si 
impaired her popularity with the Liberals was the opposition 
which she manifested to all their plans of salutary reform ; to 
this, it was suspected, she was secretly instigated by her unde^ 
Louis Philippe, King of France, who, though his own powm* 
originated in constitutional reform, has constantly been hostile 
to constitutional reform in Spain. 

Another deadly blow to the popularity, and, indeed, re* 
spectability of the Queen Regent, was an unworthy connec- 
tion which she formed, not very long after the death of her 
husband, with one of the royal body guards, named Munoo^ 
whom she subsequently advanced in rank and fortune. This 
scandalous connection, it is said, was ultimately reconciled to 
ideas of decency by a private marriage ; though such a mar- 
riage was not valid in point of Spanish law, and, if promul- 
gated, would have incapacitated her from acting as Regent, or 
as guardian to the Queen. The effect of this connection, in 
£Etct, was to render Maria Christina remiss in the exerdse of 


her high office as Regent, and, what was still worse, neglectful 
of her sacred duties to her legitimate children ; and the httle 
Queen and her sister were left to the interested and venial ser- 
vices of the attendants about a court, to supply the want of the 
vigilant tenderness of a mother. 

At length, in 1836, a popular movement wrung from the 
fears of Maria Christina what it was impossible to obtain from 
her gratitude or her sense of justice, and she was compelled to 
restore the constitution of 1812. From this time, it is thought, 
she contemplated the probability of a retirement from Spain. 
She had already amassed great property from her yearly allow- 
ance of two millions of dollars. This was sent out of the 
kingdom, as were large sums arising from the sale of every 
object under her control that she could convert into money. 
Munoz, her minion, who formerly appeared everywhere with 
her in public, had for some time ceased to make himself con- 
spicuous ; but it was known that she had lavished much of her 
wealth on him and his family, and that her children by this 
degrading union had alienated her thoughts from her regal 

At length, in 1839, the civil war was brought to a close, 
and Don Carlos driven from the kingdom. A patriot general, 
Espartero, had risen to great popularity and influence by his 
successful campaigns, and was now commander-in-chief of the 
army, which idoHzed him, and virtually controller of the politics 
of the kingdom. By this time Maria Christina had made her- 
self an object of popular distrust, and she gave a finishing 
blow to her ascendency, by signing an act vesting the appoint- 
ment of all municipal officers in the Crown ; thereby violating 
one of the grand principles of the constitution, and restoring, 
in a great measure, the absolute power of the throne. This 

236 ^^^^ ^^^ LETTEBS [istt. 

rash measure she was secretlj prompted to by the Frendi lim- 
ister resident at this Court; but^ before signing the act^ she 
repaired to Barcelona, under pretence of taking the rojal diil- 
dren there for sea bathing, but, in fact, to get the support of 
General Espartero and liis victorious army, who were quartered 
in that city. Maria Christina miscalcukted on her own re- 
puted powers of persuasion, and on the perstuisibUity^ if I may 
use the term, of Espartero. That general remained true to 
the popular cause, and warned her against the consequences of 
the act she contemplated. She disregarded his advice and his 
remonstrances, and signed the act The consequence was, a 
burst of indignation from all' parts of Spiun, under the appal- 
ling effects of which, and the pubUc obloquy of her connection 
with Mufioz, she abdicated the regency and retired from Spain, 
leaving her royal children to their fortunes. The little Queen 
and her sister, then of the respective ages of ten and eight 
years, were reconducted in state by Espartero to Madrid, 
where they were received with acclamation, replaced in their 
usual residence in the royal palace, and surrounded with the 
usual state and ceremony accorded to their rank and station. 
The office of regent being vacant by the abdicaticm of Maria 
Christina, Espartero was elected, and has hitherto discharged 
the sovereign duties with great integrity. Maria Christina 
having also forfeited her claims to the guardianship of the 
Queen and her sister, that important trust was confided to Doi^ 
Augustin Arguelles, one of the most intelligent, upright, and 
patriotic men of Spain, who, for his lofty principles, suffered 
exile under the perfidious Ferdinand. A kind of maternal 
care has likewise been exerted over the children by the Coun- 
tess Mina, widow of a patriot generaL She fills the station of 
aycLy or governess, and is a woman of amiable character and 


tmblemished virtue. Their education is superintended hj 
Quintana, one of the most learned men of the kingdom; the 
royal children, therefore, are more likelj to be well educated 
and trained up in pure principles under the persons of worth 
who now have charge of them, than thej were imder the for- 
mer misrule of a corrupt and licentious court. Thej are 
treated, too, with mingled respect and tenderness; still they 
cannot but feel their isolated situation, without a mother's care, 
and separated from all their kindred. ♦ ♦ ♦ 

Maria Christina, on leaving Spain, repaired to the Court of 
France, where she was received with great distinction, and 
where she has since resided, countenanced and favored by 
Louis Philippe and his Queen ; the latter of whom, as I have 
before observed, is her aunt. Her residence at Paris and in its 
vicinity has become the focus of all kinds of machinations 
against the constitutional government of Spain. Her immense 
wealth gave her the means of fomenting insurrections, and the 
relics of the rebel armies, and the rebel generals and nobles 
ejected from the kingdom, have lent themselves to her plans. 
Louis Philippe is accused, and with apparent justice, of having 
countenanced her, and secretly promoted her plans, in the hope 
of increasing the power of his family by effecting a match 
between one of his sons and the little Queen. The conse- 
quence of all these plots beyond the Pyrenees, was an insur- 
rection in the north of Spain, in the month of October last, 
when General O'Donnell (a Spaniard in spite of his name) 
seized upon the citadel of Pamplona, and proclaimed Maria 
Christina Queen Regent. Tlie most nefarious part of this plot 
was an attempt to get possession of the persons of the Httle 
Queen and her sister, and bear them off to the rebel army, so 
as to give it the sanction of the royal presence. To promote 

238 I'l™ ^^^'^ LEREB8 pflit. 

this plan, immenaft sums had been spent in Madrid, to conupt 
the soldiery and the people about the palace, and the evening 
of the 7th of October was the time appCHnted for the attempt. 
The royal palace stands on the confines of the city, on Ae 
brow of a steep descent sweeping down into the yalley of the 
Manzanares ; it overlooks the open comitiy toward the GnMdar" 
rama moontaina^ which is so lonely, in the very vicinity c£ 
Madrid, that ten minutes* gallop from its waQs takes you into 
scenes as savage and deserted as any of Salvator Rosa & The 
palace is guarded every night by a body of troops, and b 
capable of a powerful defence ; but the troops who were to 
mount guard that night were mostly under the inflnoice of 
Generals Concha and Leon, who had been gained over to the 
conspiracy. Gcmcha was an artful man, related by marriage to 
Espartero, so that, in this affidr, he was guil^ of a double 
treason. Leon was a brave, warm-hearted, weak-headed ^- 
low, who, from his popularity with the soldiery, was made use 
of as a tooL It was a dark, tempestuous evening when the 
attempt was made. A part of the armed force was 1^ to 
guard the avenues of the palace, and Concha and Leon, with a 
number of their followers, entered the main portal, rushed up 
the grand staircase, and expected to gain immediate entrance 
through the door leading into the Queen's suite of apartmentsi, 
being guarded merely by a band of eighteen veteran halber- 
diers. To their astonishment, they met with a vigorous re- 
pulse from these gallant fellows, and several of the assailants 
were shot down. Repeated attempts were made to force an 
entrance, but were uniformly repelled with loss. The halber- 
diers ensconced themselves within the apartment, and fired 
through the woodwork of the door the moment they heard 
footsteps at the head of the staircase. In this way the door 

JBei. 69.] OF WASfflNOTON IBVINQ. 239 

became completely riddled with bullet holes, which remain to 
this day, and many of the assailants were slain and wounded. 
In the mean time, the situation of the poor httle Queen and 
her sister may be more easily imagined than described. The 
repeated discharges of firearms, which reverberated through 
the courts and halls of the palace ; the mingled shouts and 
curses and groans and menaces wliich accompanied the attack, 
joined to the darkness of the night and the howling of the 
storm, filled their hearts with terror. They had no one with 
them but their ayaj or governess, Madame Mina, and some of 
their female attendants, excepting their poor singing-master, 
who was as much lightened as any of the women. Ignorant 
of the object of this attack, and fearful that their own lives 
were menaced, the poor children gave themselves up to tears 
and outcries. The Queen threw herself into the arms of her 
governess, crying, " Aya mta (my dear aya), who are they ? 
Are they rebels ? What do they want of me ? " The Prin- 
cess was in convulsions in the arms of an attendant, making 
the most piteous exclamations. It was with the greatest diffi- 
culty that the governess was able to soothe them into some 
degree of calmness. The noise of firearms continued; at- 
tempts were heard to force a door leading through a private 
passage ; two or three musket balls broke the windows of the 
apartment, but were stopped by the inside shutters. In the 
midst of these horrors, the poor little princess, trembling and 
sobbing, called to one of the ladies in attendance, " Inez, I 
wish to say something to you ; Inez, I want to pray I " The 
wish of the innocent child was gratified ; they all knelt down 
at the couch of the Queen, and prayed : " And I felt reUeved," 
says Madame Mina, in her narrative of this eventful night, " I 
felt relieved by the tears which I shed on contemplating the 

240 UFE AHD I£TTEB8 > [1SI& 

tdtuation of those two innocent beings, who, fuH of fenroi^ 
directed their supplications to Heaven to protect and deliv^ 
them from a peril, the extent of whick no one knew so well as 
I." The clamor of the attack subsided, the firing became less 
frequent The attendants now spread mattresses for the Qoeen 
and her sister in a comer of the apartment where they w<Hild 
be safe from any random shot ; and the poor little beings^ ex- 
hausted by the agitation and fatigue they had soffiared, at 
length fell asleep. 

The gallant defence of the handful of halberdiers effectu- 
ally defeated this atrocious attempt They kept the aflsailantB 
at bay until assistance arrived* The alarm ^read through 
Madrid. The regular troops and national guards assembled 
from all quarters-; Espartero hastened to the scene of action, 
and the palace was completely surrounded. Concha and Leon, 
seeing the case was desperate, lefb their followers in the lardi, 
and consulted their own safety in flight They spurred th^ 
horses -to the open country, but Concha, .being in ordinary 
dress, returned unobserved, concealed himself in Madrid, and 
ultimately escaped out of the kingdom. The heedless Leon, 
being in full general's uniform, was a marked object He was 
discovered and arrested at some distance from Madrid, and, 
though great interest was made in his favor, was ultimately shot. 

The result of this brutal attempt has been to throw com- 
plete odiiun on the course of Maria Christina, to confound the 
enemies of the constitution, and to strengthen the hands of 
Government The insiirrection in the provinces was speedily 
put down. Maria Christina hastened to disavow all share in 
the conspiracy ; but proofs are too strong against her, and the 
French Grovemment stands chargeable with at least con- 


Bivance. The stand which England has taken, of late, in the 
matter, and the declaration of ministers in FarUament that 
they would not quietly permit the hostile interference of any 
foreign power in the afifairs of Spain, has had a happy effect in 
checking the machinations of France. Spain now enjoys a 
breathing spell, and, I hope, may be enabled to regulate her 
internal affairs, and recover from the exhausting effects of her 
civil wars. The little Queen is now nearly twelve years of 
age; in about two years more her minority will terminate, 
and, with it, the regency of Espartero. I hope, while the 
power still remains in his hands, he may be enabled to carry 
out his proposed plans of reform, and to confirm the constitu- 
tional government, so that it may not easily be shaken. 

The foregoing sketch will, I trust, enable you to form an 
idea of the position of Spanish affairs, and to take an interest 
in any particulars about this Court which I may hereafter have 
to relate. You will understand that Spain is now a constitu- 
tional monarchy, having its Cortes, or representative bodies of 
legislature, consisting of a senate and chamber of deputies; 
and that, until the Queen is fourteen years of age, Espartero 
(Duke of Victoria) holds the reins of government as Regent, 
in her name. He is a soldier of fortune, who has risen by his 
merits and his services, and been placed in his present elevated 
situation by the votes of the Cortes, 

* • * * * * * 

You will now understand something of the jealousy and 

ill will that exists between this country and France, and of the 

failure of the embassy of Mr. Salvandy, which made so much 

noise last winter. However, as the last affair may have es- 

VoL.Iir.— 11 (16) 


212 I'm AND LETTEBS [19lt 

caped jonr notice^ and as you and I are now embarked k 
diplomacy, I will call your attention to it 

After the abdication and departure of Maria Christina from 
Spain, the French Grovemment, by way of {"light, suffered 
itself for a time to remain mirepresented at the Spanish Court, 
excepting by a temporary charge d'affaires^ whereas it has 
nsuaUy maintained a full embassy at Madrid* At length Louis 
PbiHppe, finding that he was exciting the indignation of the 
Spanish people against himself and increasing their antipathy 
to his nation, determined to send an ambassador. Mr. Sal- 
yandy, a man of conspicuous talents, accordingly appeared at 
Madrid with a brilliant train ; but here a difficulty arose : hi9 
letter of credence was addressed to the Queen, and he wa§ 
instructed to deliver it into her hands. He demanded an audi- 
ence of her for that purpose. It was objected, on the part of 
the Spanish Government, that the Queen, being yet a mimv, 
was disqualified by the constitution from the performance of 
any public act ; that a regent liad been appointed, to whom, 
under that constitution, the regal power had been delegated, 
and who, in the name and stead of her Majesty, and at his own 
palace, would receive Mr. Salvandy, and from his hands the 
credentials of which he was the bearer. The ambassador 
refused to deliver his letters at any other place than at the 
royal palace, or into any other hands than those of the Queen 
herself; though, he observed, the Regent, if he thought proper, 
might be present at the ceremonial. The Spanish Gk>vemment 
repeated its objections, and the ambassador wrote to Paris for 
new instructions. The Court of France approved of what he 
had done, and instructed him to persist ; Louis Philippe doubt- 
less being disposed to pass a slight upon the constitutional gov- 
ernment, and to pass by the Regent as not being the actual 


head. The ambassador again demanded an audience of the 
Queen, adding, that if he were refused, he should require his 
passports, take down the French arms from the front of the 
embassy, and withdraw with the whole embassy from the coun- 
try. The Spanish Government stood firm; the matter was 
discussed and argued on both sides, but the Spaniards were not 
to be argued into the admission of any slight or indignity to 
the constitutional Regent of their own election. Mr. Salvandy, 
after several days of fruitless discussion, at length demanded 
passports for the embassy, which were immediately granted, 
and he left Madrid with his retinue the same night. He mod- 
erated so much of his diplomatic threat, however, as to leave 
the escutcheon of the French arms standing over the gate of 
the embassy, and his second secretary, as charge d^ affair es^ 
to take temporary care of the afEairs of the mission ; other- 
wise a complete departure would have been tantamount to a 
rupture between the two nations. 

You will now understand why some httle importance was 
given to my arrival as Minister at this court. There was a 
curiosity to know how I would act with respect to the delivery 
of my credentials. My written instructions were to present 
the President's letter of credence to the Queen ; but, from con- 
versations with the Government at Washington before my 
departure, I imderstood that I might regulate my conduct by 
circumstances. As it is a principle with us, therefore, to deal 
always in our diplomacy with the actual government of a 
country, I made no hesitation in delivering my letter into the 
hands of Espartero, at an audience given at his palace, specify- 
ing in my address that it was from the President to the Queen, 
and delivered into his hands as Regent of the kingdom. You 
have no doubt seen the bad translation of my address, as the 

244 I^I^ ^^^ LBTTEB8 [1811, 

Gk>Teniinent was careful to obtain from me a copy of it for 
publication, as it was the first time a foreign Minister had pre- 
sented his credentials since the regency of Espartero. It was 
considered also as a precedent ; and, indeed, the resident Min- 
ister of Brazil, who presented his credentials at the same time, 
but after me, and who is rather opposed to the present form of 
government, told me he should not have presented his letter of 
credence to Espartero, unless I had broken the waj and set 
the example. Whether France will get over her pique, and 
make a step toward reconciliation with Spain, by sending a full 
mission, and authorizing her representative to acknowledge 
Espartero as the legitimate head of the Government, by dehv- 
ering the letter of credentials into his hand, is yet to be seen. 
The conduct of France toward Spain, of late years, has be^i 
anything but fair and magnanimous; and Louis Philippe, in 
manifesting such hostihty to the constitutional forms of the 
Government, and such a disposition to discoimtenance Espar- 
tero, the constitutional depositary of the regal power, seems 
singularly to have forgotten the history of his own elevation. 

And now, having discussed these royal and diplomatic 
themes, I find it impossible, my dear sister, to descend to sub- 
jects of ordinary import, so shall conclude, for the present, 
with a promise of giving you some further anecdotes of courts, 
kings, and queens, in my future letters, finding these matters 
are so much to your taste. I would observe, however, that 
as this letter is really meant merely for your private amuse- 
ment, I do not wish it to be shown about ; a Minister ought 
not to be gossiping about diplomatic affairs. Keep it, there- 
fore, strictly among yourselves in the family. 

And so Grod bless you. Your affectionate brother, 

Washington Irtiko. 


To myself, who had been left in charge of his pecu- 
niary aflFairs, he writes, three days after the date of the 
preceding epistle : 

My j)eab Piebbe : 

I have written so many family letters, of late, relative to 
myself and my Madrid concerns, of all of which you will 
probably learn the contents, that I have Uttle to say to you on 
that head, not being able, like Paganini, to play a thousand 
variations on one string of my fiddle. 

I find my home resources are drying up in various quarters, 
by the cessation of my arrangement with booksellers, the non- 
payment of dividend on stocks, &c. I trust, however, you 
have the ways and means to keep my home establishment on 
the usual footing. * * * Get all my funds, as soon as you 
can judiciously, out of these fluctuating stocks, and invest them 
safely, even though at less interest. I cannot afford to risk 
more losses for the chance of extra profits. * ♦ * 

I shall soon be comfortably settled in new quarters, with 
jnj books and papers about me, and shall then open a literary 
campaign, which I shall have ample leisure to prosecute, and 
which, I trust, will furnish me with the ways and means to 
abridge my absence from home, for I am anxious to pass as 
much as possible of the evening of my days among my rela- 
tives and friends at sweet little Sunnyside. 

Of that "dear home," he had written to Mrs. 
Irving, the day before : 

It seems to me as if I did not half enough appreciate that 
home when I was there, and yet I certainly delighted in it ; 
but the longer I am away, the more the charm of distance 

246 ''^^ ^^^^ LBTTKB8 [19^ 

gathers round it, until it begins to be all romance. I some* 
times catch myself calculating the dwindling space of life 
that*s left to me, and almost repining that so much of the 
best of it must be passed far away from all that I hold most 
dear and delightful ; but I check such thoughts, and recoUeci 
how much there is around me to interest and ezerdse mj 
mind. ♦ ♦ ♦ 

In the following letter to a javenile niece, the 
youngest daughter of his brother Ebenezcr, and one of 
the inmates of Snnnyside, he announces his change of 
habitation at Madrid, and giyes a picture of his new 
abode. The letter opens, it will be perceived, in qnile 
a sportive vein : 

[To Miss CharhtU Irving.] 

Madkid, Sept. 1«, lUL 

My dear Charlotte : 

Your letter of July 28th reached me three or four days 
smce, and brought me a world of intelligence. First of all, 
your first appearance at the Tarrytown and Dobbs' Feny 
soirees^ held that evening at Mrs. Sheldon's, at which, I trusti 
you produced a proper sensation. Then the invasion of Sunny* 
side, by sea, by a roving piragua^ fitted out at the port of 
Yonkers, and manned by Edgar and a desperate crew of ladies 

and gentlemen. Then the invasion by land, by Mrs. 

and Mrs. ^'s mother, and Mrs. ^*s sister and Mr. 

*s mother — ^no, Mr ^'s aunt, and a Miss P., who 

was staying with Mrs. . And then the influx of all 

the ^s and of all the Dr. s. And then a second 

— invasion by sea, of all the Hamiltons in the Dream, and the 


carrying off of half the garrison of Sunnyside to Bockland 
Lake and the mountains; and then the great party at Mr. 

's, given to Mr. and Mrs. , to which Mrs. 

did not think herself invited, but to which she afterward found 
she was invited, and which turned out a most delightful party. 
Guide us and keep us ! what an eventful period of liistory we 
live in ! Why, my dear Charlie, if matters go on at this rate, 
I shall find Sleepy Hollow wide awake by the time I come 

And now, my exceeding good and very dear little woman, 
I will try to give you, in return for your very agreeable letter, 
some little inkling of my Spanish home and its affairs. I have 
just changed my residence, and have taken the principal apart- 
ment in a great Spanish house belonging to a bachelor noble- 
man named the Marquis de Mos, who has a bachelor's nest in 
one wing of it. I have such a range of salons, that it gives 
me quite an appetite to walk from my study to the dining 
room. Then the windows of the salons all face the south, and 
look into a little dilapidated garden, in the centre of which is 
an old, half-ruined marble fountain, with gold fish swimming 
about in it, and a superannuated triton in the middle, blowing 
a conchshell, out of which, in his younger days, there no 
doubt rose a jet of water. My own private apartment, con- 
sisting of a bedroom and study, is in one end of the building. 
My bedroom formerly served as an oratory or chapel to the 
mansion. It is a small octagon room, rising to a little cupola 
or dome, with little windows in the top, about fifteen feet from 
the floor, by which the chamber is lighted. These windows 
catch the first rays of the rising sun, and, as the oratory is 
prettily painted of a delicate pink, yellow, and pale green, and 
as the centre of the dome is gilded, the whole becomes beauti- 

248 ^"^^ -^^^ LKTTEBS [ISiL 

fiiUj lighted up. You have no idea what a splendid wikiiig 
tip I have sometimes in the morning. I don*t think " glonocs 
ApoUoy" with his bedchamber of sun-gilt clouds, has much the 
advantage of me. * * * My study is immediately ac- 
cent to the OTatory ; one window overlooks the garden of as 
old convent, and has a fine view of the Regent's palace, and 
the distant groves of the Retiro. 

• ****« 

I have experienced a kind of home feeling of enjoyment 
since I have got into this house, that I have not felt before 
since my arrival in Madrid. My other residence was exces- 
sively noisy, and abounded with inconveniences^ so that I could 
never feel at home in it ; indeed, the very idea that I should 
remove as soon as I could find a house more to my mind, kept 
me unsettled and comfortless. Now, I trust, I am fixed for 
the whole of my sojourn in Madrid, and I consider myself sin- 
gularly fortunate in finding in this uncomfortable metropolis so 
pleasant an abode. 

The Bubjoined lettei was written soon after the 
happy adjustment of the long-standing dispute between 
Great Britain and the United States respecting the 
Northeastern boundary, the amicable settlement of 
which the shipowning husband of his correspondent 
was about to commemorate by a design, to which he 
suggests, with humorous significance, a ludicrous hei^it- 
ening. The lady to whom it is addressed was a daugh- 
ter of his deceased brother William, and was occupy- 
ing the former homestead of Abijah Hanunond, at 
Throgg's Neck, on the East River, a country retreat 


about fourteen miles from the city of New York, of 
which "Washington remarks: "I recollect the place 
well, having visited it occasionally in my froKcking 
and dancing days, when it was the seat of great hospi- 
tality. One of the pleasantest balls I ever attended 
was in that mansion, at which divers respectable old 
ladies of the present day sparkled as belles." 

[To Mrs. Moses H. Grtnnell] 

Madbid, Sept. 80, 1842. 

Mt dear Julia : 

I have just received your delightful letter of August 26th, 
which was, indeed most welcome. I wrote to you not long 
since, in hopes of drawing from you a letter in return, but you 
have kindly anticipated me. I can easily imagine your satis- 
faction with your country residence ; I know the old mansion 
well, and the delightful country in which it is situated, with its 
splendid advantages of water. I should think it would just hit 
Mr. Grinnell's fancy, and hope he may find Ibose spending 
money enough in his pocket to buy it. * * * Tell him 
not to cast all his bread upon the water in the shape of ships, 
however shipshaped they may be, hut to anchor a little upon 
land in fast property. I like your idea of Lord Ashburton 
and Mr. "Webster shaking hands, as an ornament for the stem 
of the new ship to be called after the former : perhaps the 
effect miglit be heightened, if you could bring in the boundary 
hne, running across his lordship's toes. 

I am delighted with the treaty ; it has been negotiated in 
a fine spirit on both sides, and is a great achievement for Mr. 
Webster. He has remained in the Cabinet to some purpose. 
Vol. III.— 11* 

250 ^^^^ ^^^^^ I^TTEBS [IML 

and now, if he thinks proper, may retire with flying coktis; 
yet I should be loth to see such a statesman retire from tba 
management of our affiiirs. What successor will give us such 
state papers ? Who would have managed our Mexican corre- 
spondence in such style ? Would to Qod he could remain in 
with satisfaction to himself and have a good majority in Coor 
gress to back him. 

I have just got myself settled in a pleasant habitaticm, 
which, I think, will be my home during my residence in Mad- 
rid. It is spacious, as all Spanish houses are, but quiet and 
clean, which are rare quaUties in Madrid manaims. I have 
just given my first dinner ; not such feasts as yon give in New 
York, one of which would exhai:^ a Madrid market^ but in a 
pretty French style, and to a small party ; never, if I can heJ^ 
it, intending to exceed the limits of a social round table. I 
have, indeed, to play the Ambassador on a cautious scale. 
• * * Fortunately, there is no rivalry in expense in the 
diplomatic corps at Madrid, the British Minister being the cmlj 
one that entertains, and his inmiense fortune putting competi- 
tion out of the question. I find him very fiimk and cordial, 
and we are already on the most social terms. 

I have had some brooding spells of homesickness since my 
arrival in Europe, but they are gradually wearing away, and 
I am now about to enter upon a career of literary occupation 
tliat will efiectually dispel them. 


Mr. Grinnell, in his appendix to your letter, says that Mr. 
Webster inquired particularly after me, and expressed much 
interest in my mission. As yet my mission has called for but 
little exertion of diplomatic skill, there being no question of 
moment between the Governments, and I not being disposed to 



make much smoke where there is but little fuel. * * * i 
have been very quiet ever since my arriviJ in Madrid^ getting 
mj domestic affairs in order, and making myself acquainted 
with the comphcated and entangled state of Spanish politics, 
but I shall now gradually take my stand in the diplomatic 
circle, and endeavor that it shall be an unobtrusive, but a firm 
one. * * * 

It was not long after the date of this letter, that 
Mr. Irving addressed his fifth diplomatic despatch to 
the Honorable Secretary of State, presenting a sketch 
of the political affairs of Spain, which were just then 
rising to fever heat, as the time for the opening of the 
Cortes was t^proaching, and powerful preparationg 
were making to displace the existing Cabinet. Mr. 
Webster used to speak in high terms of the interest of 
these papers, and once remarked to a friend, that he 
always laid aside every other correspondence to read a 
diplomatic despatch from Mr. Irving. 

The following half-melancholy letter to his old com- 
panion at Madrid, Prince Demetri Ivanovitch Dolgo- 
rouki, now Eussian Minister at Naples, was written 
when his yonng housemates, Hamilton, Brevoort, and 
Ames, were absent on a tour in Andalusia, to be gone 
four or five weeks, and he was living " in solitary dig- 
nity, pacing (his) great empty saloons to the echoes of 
his own footsteps." 

Hadbid, Oct. 18, 1842. 

My dear Dolgorouki : 

You certainly are one of the most faithful, long-suffering, 
and indulgent of friends, still to write to me, notwithstanding 

253 UK AHD LETTKB8 ll^L 

my neglect to answer yoor previoos letters. Bat I am refofm- 
ing as a correspondent^ and henceforth^ I trusty joa wOl find 
me more punctual in my replies. In &ct^ I had grown quite 
indolent and self-indulgent in my happy little retreat on tbe 
banks of the Hudson, and needed something to rouse me into 
action. This most unlooked-for appointment to the L^ation 
at Madrid has completely drawn me out of the oblivious infla> 
ence of Sleepy Hollow, and thrown me once more into the 
midst of the busy world and its concerns. 

And here I am, on our old campaigning ground, where wc 
first becauie acquainted ; but either I am or the place is greatly 
changed, for we seem to be quite strange to each other. I 
miss all my former intimates. Navarrete, grown old and 
infirm, has been absent from Madrid ever since my arrival I 
look with an eye of wistful recollection at the house once 
inhabited by the D'Oubrils, which was my familiar and favorite 
resort. It is undergoing great repairs and alteraticms, to be- 
come the residence of some miUionaire who has made a fc^tone 
by speculation. How often I recall the happy, happy hours I 
have passed there, and summon up the recollections of thai 
most amiable and interesting fiimily. Years have passed with- 
out my learning anything concerning thenu Can you give me 
any information? I understand Mr. D'Oubril is Minister at 
Frankfort ; the children, of course, are all grown up, some, 
perhaps, married. "When I was recently in Paris, I heard from 
an American gentleman that he had been acquainted with 
Mademoiselle Bolvilliers, who, with her mother, was at Flor- 
ence. Have you seen her lately ? — and how is she ? 

My return to Europe, after such a long absence, is full d 
half-melancholy recollections and associations. I am continu- 
ally retracing tlie scenes of past plejisures and friendships, and 


finding them vacant and desolate. I seem to come upon the 
very footprints of those with whom I have associated so pleas- 
antly and kindly, but they only serve to remind me that those 
who made those footprints have passed away. 

What would I not give to have that house of the D'Oubrik 
once more inhabited by its former tenants, just as they were 
when I was here in 1826. I long for such a resort ; I long for 
such beings in whom I can take interest and feel dehght. 
Madrid is barren, barren, barren to me of social intimacies. 
The civil wars, the political feuds and jealousies, seem to have 
cut up society, and rendered the Spaniards unsocial except in 
their own peculiar tertullias and cliques. Besides, I am not 
one to forage at large in general society ; my intimacies are 
generally few and cherished. 

I can give you but little intelligence of the gay world that 
used to assemble at the soiries of Madame D'Oubril. If you 
may remember, I mingled generally as a mere spectator, and 
seldom took sufficient interest in individuals to bear them in 
distinct recollection. "When I have done so, I do not find the 
recollection productive of present satisfaction. Time dispels 
charms and illusions. You remember how much I was struck 
with a beautiful young woman (I will not mention names) who 
appeared in a tableau as Murillo*s Virgin of the Assumption ? 
She was young, recently married, fresh and unhackneyed in 
j^ociety, and my imagination decked her out with everything 
thaK^was pure, lovely, innocent, and angelic in womanhood. 
She was pointed out to me at the theatre, shortly after my 
recent arrival in Madrid. I turned with eagerness to the origi- 
nal of the picture that had ever remained hung up in sanctity 
in my mind. I found her still handsome, though somewhat 
matronly in appearance, seated, with her daughters^ in the box 

254 l^m ^O LETTEB8 [18^ 

of a fashionable nobleman, yoimger than herself rich in purse 
but poor in intellect, and who was openlj and notoriouslj her 
cavalier servente. The charm was broken, the picture fell from 
the wall. She may have the customs of a depraved country 
and licentious state of society to excuse her ; but I can never 
think of her again in the halo of feminine purity and loveliness 
that surrounded the Virgin of Murillo. 

And so you have got my fellow traveller of the American 
wilds, and bufEalo hunter of the prairies. Count Pourtales, in 
your neighborhood. "When next you see him, remember me 
to him most cordially. Many, many pleasant scenes have wc 
had together. He was full of talent, and had wonderful apt- 
ness at anything he turned to, but he seemed careless of turn- 
ing his talent to account. 

And now, my dear Dolgorouki, let me hear from you 
again, and before long. I envy you your beautiful residence 
at Naples, which is one of the lovely spots of earth that must 
unquestionably have dropped from the sky. "Would that I 
could exchange for it the sterile vicinity of Madrid. 
Believe me, ev^ yours most truly, 

WASHiNaxoN Ibvikg. 




r I iHEEE is a vein of drollery in a portion of the 
-*- following, to one of the youthful members of his 
home establishment, quite in character : 

[To Miss Catherine Trvtng,'] 

Madrid, Nor. 16, 1842. 

My dear Kate : 

Your letter of October 1st reached me a few days since, 
and gave me a very sunshiny account of affwrs at pleasant 
little Sunnyside. I thus enjoy, by reflection, the bright days 
which pass at that brightest of little homes. My present home 
is enlivened by the return of the young travellers from their 
tour in Andalusia, which has been a very satisfactory one, ex- 
cepting that they have not been robbed, at which they appear 
rather disappointed, an adventure with robbers being looked 
upon as essential to the interest and romance of a tour in 
Spain. They have a world of travelling anecdotes to relate 
about Granada and Malaga and Gibraltar and Seville, which 
make our repasts quite instructive as well as convivial. They 
are all in fine health and i^iritsi, and, from their good tempers, 

256 I'"^ ^^ LETTEB8 pML 

good sense, good breeding, and perfect harmonj, make a yeiy 
pleasant household. 

You seem to pity the poor little Queen, shut op, with h» 
sister, like two princesses in fairy tale, in a great, grand, dieaiy 
palace, and '' wonder whether she would not like to diange faer 
situation for a nice little cottage on the Hudson." Perhaps siie 
would, Kate, if she knew anything of the gayetiea of cottage 
life ; if she had ever been with us at a picnic, or driyen oat in 
the Shandry-dran, with the two roans, and James, in his slip- 
shod hat, for a coachman, or yotted in tiie Dreamy or sang in 
the Tarrytown choir, or shopped at Tommy Dean's ; but, poor 
thing ! she would not know how to set about enjoying hecsdt 
She would never think of appearing at church without a wlwle 

train of the Miss s and the Miss s and the Miss 

8, as maids of honor, nor drive through Sleepy Hollow 

except in a coach and six, with a cloud of dust and a tnx^ of 
horsemen in glittering armor. So I think, Kate, we must be 
content with pitying her, and leaving her in ignorance of the 
comparative desolateness of her situation. 

The last time I saw the little Queen was about ten days 
since, at the opera, with her sister. Espartero, the Regent, 
sat on her right himd. She is fond of theatricals, and ap- 
peared to take great interest in the performance. She is grow- 
ing fast, and will soon be quite womanly in her appearance. I 
cannot say that she is strictly handsome, for which I am sorry, 
on account of your aunt ; bnt you may console the latter, by 
assuring her that the Queen's sister is decidedly pretty enoogh 
to answer her notions of a princess. I shall give your aimt 
another diplomatic chapter on royalty and its concerns as soon 
as I can find leisure from my diplomatic communications to 
Government ; but she must not let it get to Mr. Webster's ears 


how communicative I am to her on these subjects , he maj 
not be disposed to admit her into our secrets. 

God bless you, my excellent, noble-hearted little girl I I 
can never enough express how deeply I feel the afifection I 
have experienced and daily experience from you all. It con- 
stitutes the great happiness of my life. 

After relating a second interview with the Queen, 
on her saint's day — the day of St. Isabella — in which 
she received congratulatory deputations from the Senate 
and the Chamber of Deputies at two o'clock, and from 
the Corps Diplomatique at three, and giving an ac- 
count of her setting forth, followed by her sister, " on 
her awftil journey along the diplomatic line," to receive 
and reply to a speech from each, " with th6 terrors of a 
schoolgirl," a letter to his sister remarks : 

I believe, at first, I felt almost as much fluttered as herself 
I entered so much into the novelty and peculiarity of her task 
— a mere child having to give audience to the official repre- 
sentatives of nations. Mr. Asten first addressed her. She 
had been accustomed to see him on other occasions, and that 
served to put her more at her ease. It was the same case 
with Count Lima ; and, by the time she had finished with him, 
she began to smile. You will want to know what discourse I 
held with her, as my turn came next. I do not know whether 
I ought to impart these diplomatic conversations with royalty, 
as these are the verbal links that connect the destinies of na^ 
lions. However, for once, TU venture confiding in your 
Vol. m.--(l7) 

258 I'l^ ^^^ LETTSBS [lan 

secrecy. I had been so interested in contemplating the fit& 
sovereign, that I had absolutely forgotten to arrange anjthii^ 
to say ; and when she stood before me, I was, as nsoal with 
me on public occasions, at a loss. However, something most 
be said, so I expressed my regret that my want of fluency in 
the Spanish language rendered it so difficult for me to address 
her as I could wish. ^ But you speak it very weD," said she^ 
with a smile, and a little flirt of her fan. I shook my head 
negatively. " Do you like Spain ? " said she. *• Very modi," 
replied I, and I spoke sincerely. She smiled again, gave an- 
other little clack of her fan, bowed, and passed on. Her sister 
followed. She had not the womanly carriage of the QueeD| 
being still more the child. I told her I hoped die had be^ 
pleased at the opera^ where I had had the hcmor of seeing her 
a few nights before. She said, " Yes ; she liked the theatre^" 
and then glided on afler her sister. When they had passed 
down the line, they returned to their places, and again, on 
being prompted, bowed to us ; upon which we made respectful 
reverences, and retired, taking care, as we withdrew, not to turn 
our backs upon royalty. 

I have thus, my dear sister, given you another peep into 
court scenes, and shown you the petty machinery of the great 
world. I can imagine you smiling in the serene wisdom of 
your elbow chair, at this picture of a row of dignified diplo- 
matic personages, some of them well stricken in years, and all 
of them sage representatives of Governments, bowing with 
profound reverence, and conjuring up nothings to say to a 
couple of little girls. However, this is all the whipt syllabub 
of diplomacy. If I were to take you into one of our confer 
ences with Cabinet Ministers, then you would know the solid 


wisdom required by our station ; but this department of our 
official functions is a sealed book ! 

It was not long after this audience, that a popular 
paroxysm occurred, of which Mr. Irving gives this 
account, under date of November 25th : 

An insurrection has taken place in Barcelona. This is 
the next city in importance to Madrid. It is the capital of the 
province of Catalonia, the most active and industrious province 
in Spain. The Catalans are to Spain what the New England 
people are to the United States. Wherever money is to be 
made, there is a Catalan. They are pushing, scheming, enter- 
prising, hardy, and litigious. Catalonia is one of the most 
restless and insubordinate of the Spanish provinces, and fre- 
quently the seat of political disturbances. It borders on 
France, and is infested by half-robber, half-rebel bands, the 
remnants of the factions of the civil wars which lurk about the 
French frontiers. There is a small but busy party of repub- 
licans, also, at Barcelona, who would gladly pull down the 
present form of government, and establish a republic. Cata- 
lonia also has a strong manufacturing interest, having many 
cotton manufactories. This has taken the alarm at the rumor 
of a proposed commercial treaty with England for the introduc- 
tion of her cotton goods at a lower rate of duties, so that 
there is a mixture of various motives in the present convul- 
sion ; and the whole has been thrown in a ferment by the 
intrigues of foreign agents, who seek the confusion of Spain 
and the downfall of its constitutional government. The pres- 
ent insurrection seems to have broken out suddenly and acci- 
dentally, some trifling affray with custom house officers having 
been the spark which has set the combustible community in a 

260 ^Un AKD UBTTKB8 [18«1 

flame. There has been fightiiig in the streets, as in the &iimwb 
" three days of Paris," and the troops have been obliged to 
evacuate the city, but hold it closely invested. The Regent 
set off from Madrid some days since for the scene of action, 
and troops are concentrating upon Catalonia from every direc- 
tion ; in the mean time, Madrid is full of rumors and reports 
tliat insurrections are breaking out in other provinces, but I 
believe, as yet, the insurrection is confined to Barcelona, and I 
think it probable it will be suppressed without much difficulty. 
The departure of the Regent was a striking scene. All 
the uniform companies, or national guard of Madrid, am- 
sisting of several thousand men, well armed, equipped, and 
disciplined, paraded in the grand esplanade of the Frado in 
the neighborhood of the Regent's palace of Buena Vista. 
They really made a splendid appearance, and the air re- 
sounded with military music, several of the regiments having 
complete bands. It was a bright, sunshiny day. About two 
o'clock, the Regent sallied forth from Buena Vista, at the head 
of his staff. He is a fine martial figure, and was arrayed in 
full uniform, with towering feathers, and mounted on a noble 
gray charger with a flowing mane, and a long silken tail that 
almost swept the ground. He rode along the heads of the 
columns, saluting them with his gauntleted hand, and receiving 
cheers wherever he went. He stopped to speak particularly 
with some of the troops of horsemen ; then, returning to the 
centre of the esplanade, he drew his sword, made a signal as 
if about to speak, and in an instant a profound silence pre- 
vailed over that vast body of troops, and the thousands of sur- 
rounding spectators. I do not know that ever I was more 
struck by anything, than by this sudden quiet of an immense 
multitude. The Regent then moved slowly backward and fi>r- 


ward with his horse, about a space of thirty yards, waving his 
sword, and addressing the troops in a voice so loud and clear, 
that every word could be distinctly heard to a great distance. 
The purport of his speech was to proclaim his determination to 
protect the present constitution, and the liberties of Spain, 
against despotism on the one hand and anarchy on the other ; 
and that, as on a former occasion, when summoned away by 
distant msurrection, he confided to the loyalty of the national 
guards the protection of the peace of the capital, and the safe- 
guard of their young and innocent Queen. His speech was 
responded to by enthusiastic acclamations from the troops and 
the multitude, and he sallied forth in martial style from the 
great gate of Alcala. 

I must note, to complete the scene, that just as Espartero 
issued forth from Buena Vista, and rode slowly down the 
Prado between the columns of the troops, a solitary raven 
came sailing down the course of the public promenade, passed 
immediately above him, and over the whole line of troops, and 
so flitted heavily out of sight. This has been cited, even in 
the public papers, as a bad omen ; and some of the supersti- 
tious say Espartero will never return to Madrid. I should not 
be surpnsed, however, if the omen had been prepared by some 
of the petty politicians with which this capital abounds, and 
that the raven liad been let loose just at this opportune mo- 
ment. However, with this portentous circumstance I will 
close my letter, especially as I have just received despatches 
from Government, which, with the stirring events of the day, 
will cut out plenty of occupation for me. 

With love to all, your affectionate brother, 

Washington Irving. 


A fortni^t later, he writes to the Bame ooiTe^oa- 

My last letter ended, I think, with the departure of die 
Regent to quell the insurrection in Barcelona. He tnyeDed 
in liis own fearless stjle, pusliing on in a post chaise ahead of 
his troop, and without escort, accompanied merely hy an 
oflScer or two of his stal^ and threw himself frankly among the 
people in the towns and villages, who showed the sense of tkb 
confidence in their loyalty, receiving him everywhere with 
acclamatioii:<. After his departure, Madrid was full of nuDoa; 
insurrections were said to be breaking out everywhere. The 
downfall of £spartero and of the existing Government was 
confidently predicted, and there were not wanting fiu^tioas 
people and factious prints to endeavor to blow this hidd^ 
flame into a general conflagration. Thus far, however, they 
have been disappointed. Madrid has remained quiet under the 
guardianship of the national guards, and the insurrection did 
not extend beyond Barcelona. That factious city has once 
more been brought into submission to the Government^ but not 
until it had suffered a bombardment of several hours. As yet^ 
we have no particulars of the damage done, but it must have 
been considerable, and I fear we shall hear of some puni^ 
ments inflicted upon those who have been most active in ex- 
citing this rebeflion. Barcelona has smned so often in this 
way, that it is deemed necessary to treat it, m the present 
instance, with rigor. Tlie bombardment^ though repeatedly 
threatened, and the day and hour assigned, was put off firom 
day to day and hour to hour, in the hope that the insurgeot 
city would surrender ; but a band of desperadoes had got the 
upper hand, who refused to submit excepting on such terms 


as it would have been degrading to the Qovenunent to 

The year of Mr. Irving's departure on his interest- 
iBg mission was memorable for two attacks on him, to 
.which it is necessary to allude, to clear the way for the 
letters from him which I am about to quote. A writer in 
the Southern Literary Messenger^ in March, 1841, had 
been at great pains to show that Mr. Irving's expres- 
sions of obligation to Navarrete, in the preface to his 
life of Columbus, were not sufficiently explicit, while 
conceding that he had performed his historical task 
with "accuracy, judgment, and infinite beauty." In 
the writer's estimation, his statements implied, though 
perhaps unintentionally, he admits, a more extensive 
search into original documents than he could have 
made, while the history was mainly digested from 
documents already collected by Navarrete. 

The article was sent to Mr. Irving, and, without a 
perusal, handed over by him to a candid and discrimi- 
nating friend, with a request that he would read it, and 
tell him if tliere was anything in it which required an 
answer at his hands. If so, he would notice it ; other- 
wise he did not care to be discomposed by reading it. 
He claimed no immimity from critical animadversion, 
but it was his practice to shun the perusal of all stric- 
tures that did not involve a point of character, and 
demand reply. 

His friend read it, and, satisfied of the unsoimdness 
of the strictures, and that his acknowledgments to Na- 


varrete were ample, adyiaed him to give himsdf no 
concern about it He dismissed it^ accordin^y, firam 
his thoughts. 

In the May number of 1842 of the same magazine, 
after Mr. Irving had left; the country, the writer retuntt 
to the attack, and, as more than a year had ekpeed 
without any notice or refutation by the author, <»r his 
friends, of his " grave charges," he comes to the condn- 
sion that he had preferred ^^tbe quiet disparagemoit 
of a judgment by default to the notoriety of a verdict 
after a fruitless contest." To this article there was a 
reply in the Knickerbocker^ to which Mr. Irving was in 
no ways privy, and a rejoinder in the Messenger, in 
which the writer, with compliments to the purity and 
richness of his general style, still adhered to his origi- 
nal position that Mr. Irving had not sufficiently ac- 
knowledged his indebtedness to Navarrete. 

The other attack was in OrahanCs Lady*s cmi 
OerMeina/fCs Magazine, then under the editorial man- 
agement of the Rev. Ruftis W. Griswold, a Baptist 
clergyman of some six-and-twenty years, who had 
recently given to the world a valuable compilation, 
styled "The Poets and Poetry of America." The 
Magazine was published in Philadelphia, had a drcn- 
lation, it was said, of fifty thousand subscribers, and 
numbered, among its r^ular contributors, Ciooper, 
Bryant, Dana, and other distinguished names. In a 
notice of the Critical and Miscellaneous Writings of 
Sir Walter Scott, contained in the October number of 


that periodical, was a statement which, after charging 
Scott with numerous " puJBfe of himself fipom his own 
pen," proceeded in this language : " Washington Irving 
has done the same thing, in writing laudatory notices 
of his own works for the Eeviews, and, like Scott, 
received pay for whitewashing himself." 

As Mr. Irving was not in the country to meet this 
coarse aspersion with instant denial, should he see fit 
to notice it, before communicating with him on the 
subject, I addressed a letter to Mr: Griswold, asking 
his authority for the statement, and requesting him to 
name the Reviews containing the laudatory notices in 

question. . His reply gave a Mr. E , an English 

gentleman, with whom his acquaintance was limited to 
a single interview, as the person who informed him 
that "Mr. Irving wrote the articles in the Qtcarterly 
HevieWy on the Life of Columbus, and the Chronicles 
of Granada." I replied, that the London Quarterly 
contained no review of the Life of Columbus, " lauda- 
tory " or otherwise, and that the review it did contain 
of the Chronicles of Granada had not a commendatory 
expression of the work or its author, or a single sen- 
tence that might not have come from the pen of Mr. 
Irving without the slightest impeachment of his deli- 
cacy. If a self-review — and I did not then know 
whether it was or not — ^it was not, at any rate, a self- 

Pointing out these facts to Mr. Griswold, and refer- 
ring him to the files of the QuaHerly for proof, I ap- 

VoL. ni.— 12 

366 '^■'^ ^^^^^ LBTTBBg imx 

pealed to his sense of equity whether it were Bot due 
to Mr. Irving that he should review the gnmnds upon 
which, thus publicly and uncalled for, he had bod^ to 
bring the delicacy of his character into suspician. 

In his reply, dated October 13th, he expressed great 
regret for the whole matter, and said he wotdd do Mr. 
Irving justice in the December number of the Maga- 
siney the November number being already printed. 
He was as good as his word, and in that number le- 
tracted, though ralher ungraciously, the pitiful chaige 
he had been too eager to catch up and circulate. The 
imputation upon Scott, I presume, had as little foun- 

On the sixth of October — ^before, of course, the 
receipt of Mr. Griswold's promise of recantation of the 
13th — ^I wrote to Mr. Irving, enclosing the leaf of Gra- 
ham^ 8 Magazine which contained the offensive imputa- 
tion, and a copy of Mr. Griswold's answer to my fiist 
letter. In this answer, which named his authmly for 
the assumed self-laudation, he took occasion to add that 
he had strong ground for supposing Mr. Irving to have 
been a frequent contributor to the Landxm Quarterly^ 
while that periodical, more than any other in Europe, 
was distinguished for its unprincipled hostility to the 
XJnited States. 

With this preface, I submit the letters of Mr. Irving 
on the subject of these separate charges : 


[To Pierre M. Irving,'] 

Maobid, Nov. 12, 1842. 

Ht dear Fiebbe : 

I have just received your letter of October 6tli, enclosing 
an article from OraharrCs Magazine^ charging me with writing 
laudatory notices of my own works for the Reviews, and allud- 
ing especially to the Quarterly, The only notice I ever took 
of any of my works, was an article which I wrote for the 
Quarterly Review on my Chronicle of the Conquest of Gra- 
nada. It was done a long time after the pubhcation of the 
work, in comphance with the wishes of Mr. Murray, who 
thought the nature of the work was not sufficiently understood, 
and that it was considered rather as a work of fiction than 
one substantially of historic fact. Any person who will 
take the trouble to read that review, will perceive that it is 
merely illustrative^ not laudatory of the work, explanatory of 
its historical foundation. I never made a secret of my having 
written that review ; I wrote it under the presumption that the 
authorship of it would become known to any person who 
should think it worth his while to make the inquiry. I never 
wrote any other article for the Quarterly Review excepting a 
review to call favorable attention to the work of my friend 
and cauntrymauy Captain McKenzie (then Slidell), entitled 
" A Year in Spain, by a Young American," and another re- 
view, for the same purpose, of a work of my friend and couth 
tryman, Mr. Wheaton, at present Minister at the Court of Prus- 
sia. This last article, though written for the Quarterly Review^ 
did not appear in that publication, but was published in the 
North American Review. The work of Mr. Wheaton which 
it reviews, was, I think, the History of the Northmen. These 
are the only articles that I am conscious of having ever writ- 

268 I-I™ ^^^ LETTSBS liaOL 

ten for the Quarierly^ or any other European Review. I have 
never inserted in any publication in Europe or America a poff 
of any of my works, nor permitted any to be inserted by my 
publishers when I could prevent it; nor sought to procme 
fistvorable reviews from others, nor to prevent un&vorable oocs 
where I thought they were to be apprehended. I have on all 
occasions, and in every respect, left my works to take their 
chance, and I leave them still to do the same. My present 
reply to your inquiry is only drawn forth by a charge that 
would affect my private character ; though I hope OuU is suffi- 
ciently known to take care of itself on the point in question. 

I understand a kind friend has recently been vindicating 
me against attacks made on me in the Southern Literary Mes- 
senger^ on the subject of my Life of Columbus. I have never 
read those attacks, having been assured there was nothing in 
them that caUed for reply, and not being disposed to have 
my feelings ruffled unnecessarily. I understood they mainly 
charged me with making use of Mr. Navarrete's work without 
giving him due credit. Those who will look into my Life of 
Columbus, will find that in the prefru^e I have cited the publi- 
cation of Mr. Navarrete as the foundation of my work, and 
that I have referred to him incessantly at the foot of the pages. 
If I have not done so sufficiently, I was not aware oi my 
" shortcomings." His work was chiefly documentary, and, as 
such, invaluable for the purpose of history. As my work was 
not a work of invention, I was glad to And such a store of 
frwits in the volumes of Mr. Navarrete ; and as I knew his 
scrupulous exactness, wherever I found a document published 
by him, I was sure of its correctness, and did not trouble my- 
self to examine the original My work, however, was made x^ 
from various sourees, some in prints some in manuscript, all of 

JSet. 69.] OP WASHmGTON lEYINa. 269 

which, I thought at the time, I had faithfully cited. Those 
who wish to know Mr. Navarrete's opinion of the work, will 
find it expressed in the third volume of his collections of docu- 
ments, published after the appearance of Columbus, in which 
his expressions are anything but those of a man who felt him- 
self wronged. I can only say, that I have never wilHngly, in 
any of my writings, sought to take advantage of a contempo- 
rary,, but have endeavored to be fair in my literary dealings 
with all men ; and if ever you hear again of my having prac- 
tised any disingenuous artifice in literature, to advance myself 
or to injure others, you may boldly give the charge a flat con- 
tradiction. What I am as an author, the world at large must 
judge. You know what I am as a man, and know, when I 
give you my word, it is to be depended upon. 

Your affectionate uncle, 

Washington Ibving. 

P. S. — ^This letter is written in great haste on the spur of 
the moment, to go by the courier that sets off for Paris to-day. 
I have not yet read Helen's long letter, from which I promise 
myself a perfect treat. The foregoing letter is, of course, not 
intended for publication, but you may use it as "authority," 
quoting firom it what you think proper. I must expect attacks 
of this and other kinds now. I have been so long before the 
pubHc, that the only way to make anything now out of me is 
to cut me up. However, I shall follow the example of Sam 
Williams, whilome American banker at London, who, when 
his ship was sinking at sea, sprang on board of another one 
that had run foul of it, and was saved. A9 literature is sink- 
ing under me, I shall clmg to diplomacy. 

270 I'l^ ^^ LETTERS [1843. 

The following letter, written on the same day, has 
a more playful allusion to the same topic : 

[To Mrs, P. M. Irving:\ 

Madrid, Not. 12, 1842. 

My deab Helen : 

I did not intend to write to you by this opportunity, for I 
am fairly fagged out with letter writing by this courier, having, 
besides scribbling to friends, to send long despatches to Gor- 
emment; but I cannot suffer your long, delightful letter to 
remain unacknowledged, though, at present, I scrawl but a line 
of thanks. My dear Helen, you cannot imagine what a rich 
treat such a letter from home is to me. It fills my heart to the 
very brim, and with the very best of good feelings ; and then, 
your details about sweet little Sunnyside — God bless my dear 
little cottage ! — ^what a treasure of comfort and enjoyment it is 
to me ! Every letter from it or about it gives me such a picture 
of true, innocent, home-dwelling happiness, and of such joyous 
meetings and gatherings together of those I love, that I feel for 
a time as if I had just heard a strain of delightful music, which 
is one of my purest of earthly pleasures. I had just been 
reading and answering one of Pierre's, wherein he had given a 
most indignant account of a charge made upon me, in a Lady's 
Magazine^ of having puffed my own works. Don't tell Pierre, 
but absolutely he had put himself in such a passion on the sub- 
ject, that I found all the indignation appurtenant to the matter 
was done to my hand, so I retained the smoothness of my tem- 
per without a wrinkle. As authorhood seems to be getting 
down in the world, and I have taken to the company of kings 
and queens and regents, and others of " the quality," I begin 
to think Pll give out that I am not the Washington Irving that 


wrote that farrago of literature they are occasionally cutting 
up, and that I have never followed any line of life but diplo- 
macy, nor written anything but despatches. I certainly began 
life at the wrong end ; it is only recently I have discovered 
what I was cut out for. However, don*t mention it ; people 
might think me vain. * * * 

* * * And now, my dear Helen, as this letter was a 
perfect impromptu, totally unpremeditated, I must close it, to 
attend to other correspondents. I will take some other Occa- 
sion to answer your long letter more at length ; in the mean 
time, I beg you forthwith to sit down and write me such an- 
other one. And do, I again charge you, tell me everything 
that is pleasant and prosperous about yourself and Pierre ; and 
tell Pierre not to take it so much to hearty if they make any 
further attacks upon that poor-devil author who has scribbled 
under my name. 

Your affectionate uncle, 

Washington Ibving. 

Five days later, he returns to the subject of these 
attacks with the following supplementary letter, which 
relates, in his own words, particulars in his literary his- 
tory heretofore hinted at by myself, and disposes of 
Mr. Griswold's epistolary intimation about the fre- 
quency of his contributions to the London Quarterly. 
I have already briefly refuted this charge, by which it 
was intended to prejudice his popularity at home, but 
the reader may be willing to see in what spirit it is met 
by Mr. Irving. Mr. Griswold, it will be understood, 
makes no such charge himself, but only reports it aa a 
supposition which he was disposed to entertain. 

272 I'IFE AND LETTEBS [1843. 

[7b Pierre M. Irving?^ 

Madrid, Nov. 17, 1842. 

My deab Piebre : 

I wrote to you, a few days since, in reply to your letter 
concerning the attack upon me in GrahavrCs Magazine, As 
that reply was written hastily, I may not have been precise in 
one or two particulars. The review of the Conquest of Gra- 
nada* was written nearly, if not quite two years after the publi- 
cation of the work, and after it had been very favorably noticed 
in several periodical publications. As I before observed, it was 
written in compliance with the wishes of Mr. Murray, to state 
the hbtorical nature of the work ; my use of the soubriquet of 
Fray Antonio Agapida, and the occasional romantic coloring, 
having led many to suppose it was a mere fabrication. I did 
not ask or expect any remuneration from Mr. Murray, but he 
sent me the sum he was accustomed to pay for similar contri- 
butions to his Keview, and I did not hesitate to accept it, the 
article, in fact, being written for his benefit. Perhaps it would 
be as well to have the review republished in the Knicherbockery 
and then the public will be able to judge whether or no it is 

While I am upon these literary matters, I will furnish you 
with a fact or two in my literary life in Europe, which may 
enable you to reply to any similar charges that may be brought 
against me. In the early struggle of my literary career in 
London, before I had published the Sketch Book in England, I 
received a letter from Sir Walter Scott, inviting me to Edin- 
burgh to take charge of a periodical publication, holding out 
the certainty of a liberal sum per annum, with other incidental 
advantages. Though low in purse and imcertain in my pros- 


pects at the time, I declined acceptmg the invitation, fearing it 
might implicate me in foreign politics. 

When I was in Spain, I was offered, by Mr. Murray, 
£1,000 per annum to conduct a magazine which he had in 
contemplation, I to be paid, in addition^ for any articles I 
might contribute. This I dechned, because it would detain me 
in Europe, my desire being to return to the United States. 
Mr. Murray likewise offered me a hundred guineas an article 
for any article I might write about Spain for the Quarterly 
Review, I refrained from accepting his very liberal offer. As 
I mentioned in my former letter, I contributed but two articles 
to his Review — one explanatory of the historical grounds of 
my Chronicles of Granada, and the other a review of my friend 
McKenzie's " Year in Spain, by a Young American." 

I do not recollect having written for any other reviews or 
magazines in Europe , and I again repeat, I never in any way 
sought to " puff " my works, or to have them puffed. I always 
suffered them to take their chance, and always felt that I was 
favored beyond my deserts. 

At the close of the letter to me from whieli I have 
been quoting, dated November 17th, Mr. Irving gives 
this glance at his literary and diplomatic matters : 

* * * I have, of late, been so much occupied in diplo- 
matic business, that I have not had time to attend to the Life 
of Washington. Indeed, I have not done much at it since I 
have been here, but I shall soon take it earnestly in hand. I 
found it necessary to give up literary matters for a time, and 
turn my thoughts entirely into the subjects connected with my 
station. The statistics of trade about which I have had to 
Vol. in.— 12* (18) 

274 ^'I^ -^^^^ LETTERS [IStt. 

occupj myself are new to me^ and require dose attentkm Ix a 
time to master them. 

Five weeks later, December 2l8t, in a letter to his 
brother Ebenezer, he alludes in this way to his progress 
on the life of Washington : 

I haye been much interrupted in mj literary occiq»atioii8 
for the last two or three months, by the necesaty of ap^ying 
my mind to the examination of some subjects connected with 
my diplomatic duties, and of preparing rather vohnninous 
papers. Within this week or two past, however, I have been 
able to add a few chapters to my history. 

. 59.] OF yfAsmsmos mvrsa. 275 



rpHEEE is a sly vein of humor in the following ex- 
-■- tract from a letter to a juvenile inmate of Sunny- 
side, who had been keeping him in the current of family 
affairs, and giving him a budget of New York gossip : 

[ Jb Miss Sarah Irving.'] 

January 13^^ 1843. — * ♦ * Your information that 

Mr. had given Mrs. ■ a two-story house in 

Broadway, gave me great satisfaction; but when you added 
that the mantelpieces were of wood, it went to my heart. 
However, let us hope for the best. If the young couple really 
love Qach other, they may manage to have a happy fireside in 
spite of the mantelpiece ; and who knows but the old gentle* 
man's heart may soften toward them before his death, and he 
may leave them a marble mantelpiece in his will. Miss 
, on the contrary, who married according to his 
wishes, has been rewarded, I am told, with a three- 
story (I am not certain that it is not a /owr-story) house. 


These two instances of the matrimonial fc^rtmies of two sis- 
ters, my dear girl, should be held up as warnings to joimg 
ladies disposed to enter the connubial state, not to grre awaj 
their soft and tender hearts without first consulting the harder 
hearts of all the old gentlemen they may happen to be related 
to. For my own part, I should take it in great dudgeon, if any 
of you girls at the cottage should throw yourselves away upon 
any agreeable young gentleman, without his first gaining the 
affections of your father and myself; though I trust I should 
not go to the length of condemning you to a wooden numtei- 

I thought of you all at dear little Sunnyside on Christmas 
day, and heartily wished myself there to eat my Christmas 
dinner among you« I hope you kept up Christmas in the usual 
style, and that the cottage was decked with evergreens. You 
must not let my absence cause any relaxations in the old roles 
and customs of the cottage ; everything must go on the same 
as it did when I was there. 

His own Christinas dinner lie had eaten at the Brit- 
ish embassy, where, he remarks, ^^ we had the good old 
Ghristmas luxuries of plum pudding and minced pies, 
and our repast was a very pleasant one/* 

In the b^inning of this year, Mr. Irving was con- 
fined to the house by an indisposition, the consequence 
of a cold, which was soon followed by an inflammatory 
disease of the skin, similar to that which he had expe- 
rienced about twenty years before, but much mc^e 
virulent. It was the result, as in the former instance, 
of having overworked himself, and fagging too inces- 

-fir. 60.] OF WASHINGTON IRVING. 277 

santly at his literary, diplomatic, and epistolary tasks, 
wMle taking too little exercise. The malady, though 
annoying and obstmate, was not dangerous, but it re- 
quired him to renounce the pen for awhile, as the least 
mental excitement aggravated his symptoms. From 
this tedious and harassing complaint, which in a meas- 
ure unfitted him for everything, he was doomed to suf- 
fer more or less for two years, the remedies sometimes 
proving almost as irksome as the disease. At the time 
it first set in, he had been engaging with all his powers 
upon his Life of Washington, to which he had added 
some chapters, when he was compelled to throw by the 
pen, not, I think, to exercise it again on this task until 
his return to his own country. This interruption to 
his literary occupations, always cheering to him, 
brought additional discomfort in the midst of his mal- 
ady. But, though incapable of working, he could 
direct others, and manage to carry on the business of 
the legation. He was a less attentive correspondent, 
however, than heretofore, though not incapable of let- 
ter writing, as the following will show : 

[To Mrs. Parts.] 

Madbid, June 21^ lS43v 

My DEAB Sister : 

I have again to thank you for kind and cheering letters^ 
full of precious home details. I am sorry 1 can make but hucIi 
poor returns ; but, though my malady has ceased in it8 viru- 
lence, I find writing still irksome to me, and, indeed, am pro- 
hibited by my physician from indulgmg in it. It is a great 

278 ^^^^ ^^^^ LETTBB8 [Ua 

privatioii, and reduces me to a state of idleness foreign to my 
habits and inclinations. The doctor would also^ if he could, 
put a stop to my aknost incessant reading, as he thinks that 
any fixed attention for a length of time wearies the brain, and 
in some degree produces those effects on the system which 
originated my complaint ; but I cannot give up reading in my 
otherwise listless state. He has been very urgent for me to 
travel, not merely for a change of air, but because the succes- 
sion of scenes and incidents amuses without fatiguing the 
mind, and thus operates healthfully upon the system. I have 
been recovering so much of late, however, that I hope to be 
able to dispense with this part of his advice, and to continue at 
my post. I should be loth to leave it in the present critical 
state of the country, when insurrections are breaking oat in 
various parts of the kingdom, and Spain is once more threat- 
ened with civil war. 

My illness has prevented me from giving you a detail of 
the political events of the country, which have of late assumed 
an alarming aspect. A coalition of various fieictions (opposite 
in their views and doctrines, and no one of them of sufficient 
magnitude to form a majority) has united in a vehement 
attempt to pull down the Regent, and put an end to the exist- 
ing government. For this purpose, insurrections have been 
stirred up in various parts of the country, and, latterly, in Bar- 
celona, that old seat of rebellion. To-day, the Regent salhes 
forth from the capital, to put himself once more at the head 
of his troops and endeavor to quell these insurrections. I 
heartily pray for his success ; for, should he foil, and should he 
be ejected from power, a featfrd state of anarchy would ensue 
The very coalition now combined against him would break into 


warring factions^ each striviDg for the ascendency, and we 
might have civil war of the worst kind. 

I have just returned from attending a levee held by the 
Regent, at twelve o'clock, preparatory to his departure. He 
made a frank, manly address to the diplomatic corps, declaring 
his disposition to cultivate cordial relations with all countries, 
but particularly with those who had representatives at this 
Court, and who recognized the constitution of Spain, the 
throne of Isabella II, and his regency ; his loyal devotion to 
the constitution and the throne, and his sole and uniform ambi- 
tion to place the reins of government in the hands of the 
youthful Queen on the 10th of October, 1844, when she 
should have completed her minority, and to place under her 
command a peaceful, prosperous, and happy country ; but he 
expressed, at the same time, his determination to resist every 
attempt to throw the country into a state of anarchy, and to 
defend the throne of Isabella and the constitution of 1837 like 
a good soldier. 

At four o'clock a general review of the national militia 
takes place in the Prado, as on a former occasion, when the 
Regent, as before, will no doubt make them a speech, confiding 
the safety of the city, and of the youthful Queen and her sis- 
ter, to their patriotism and loyalty. At five o'clock he takes 
his departure. I cannot but feel that he sallies forth, this time, 
with much more doubtful prospects than in his former expedi- 
tion against Barcelona. The spirit of rebeUion is more widely 
diffused, and is breaking forth at various points. A few days, 
or a very few weeks at farthest, will decide his fate, and deter- 
mine whether he is to maintain his post, and keep up some 
form of government for the remainder of the minority of the 
Queen (about fifteen months and a half), or whether his power, 

280 ^^^ ^^^ LETTEBS \IS§». 

if not himself is to be annihilated, and eyerjthing for a time 
thrown into chaos. 

On Sunday evening last, I attended the soiree held weekly 
at the Regent's. It was the only one I have been able to 
attend for upward of four months ; but I was anxious to go to 
it, as it would be the last before the departure of the Begent 
It was thinly attended, and I remarked a general ^oom on the 
faces of those attached to the Regent, or whose interests were 
connected with his fortunes. The Regent himself did not 
appear, being engaged in a Cabinet counciL The Duchess 
was pale, and had a dejected air, complaining of headache. I 
rather fear it was heartache, for she feels their hazardous posi- 
tion, and the pitfalls which surround them. She is an amiable 
and a lovely woman, and her dejected air rather heightened 
her beauty in my eyes. I had not seen her since my Ulness, 
and I had to thank her for many kind inquiries she had made 
after my health, sending one of the Duke's aides-de-camp for 
the purpose. It will be a joyful hour for her, I am convinced, 
when the Duke lays down his regency, and returns to the 
quiet and secmity of private life. * * * 

I have scrawled a longer letter than I had any idea of 
accomplishing, and must conclude. Tell Ehza R., Sarah 
Irving, &c., &c., that I have received their letters, giving me 
most acceptable cottage news, and beg them to write on withr 
out waiting for replies. I cannot write letters at present; 
indeed, I must not. Everything concerning dear little Sunny- 
side is interesting to me. My heart dwells in that blessed 
little spot, and I really believe that, when I die, I shall haunt 
it ; but it will be as a good spirit, that no one need be a&aid 
of. Though I cannot enjoy its delights in person, at present, I 
enjoy them at second hand, by the accounts given by others. 

-ffir. 60.] OP WASHINGTON IRVING. 281 

"WTien I think of America, my thoughts all centre there ; and 
I believe that, even though exiled from it, a great portion of 
my actual enjoyment in life is hearing and thinking about it, 
picturing it in my thoughts, dreaming about it, and flattering 
myself with the hope that I shall return and end my days 
there. In the mean time, thank God I it is a happy home for 
my dear brother and his family. 

Ever, my dear sister, most affectionately your brother, 

Washington Ibvino. 

At the date of the following letter, Mr. Hamilton, 
his Secretary of Legation, was setting off on an excur- 
sion to the Pyrenees. Brevoort had left the legation 
in April, to make the tour of Europe, and Ames had 
left in June, to return to France and embark for the 
United States in July. His man Benjamin, with 
whom he was so much pleased at first, had also gone, 
having lost favor in his eyes by " playing the old sol- 
dier " during his long malady, and leaving all the extra 
work and the care of him to the faithful Lorenzo, 
whom he had now put at the head of his establish- 
ment. The letter gives some ftirther insight into the 
critical state of Spanish affairs, the observation of 
which still took up much of his time and thoughts. It 
is addressed to Mrs. Storrow, at Paris, and bears date 
June 27th : 

* * * We are in the midst of plots, conspiracies, and 
insurrections, and know not what a day may bring forth. The 
Regent is on his way to one part of the kingdom which is in 
a state of insurrection; in the mean time, insurrections are 

282 I'l^ ^^^^^ LETTESS flBBL 

breaking forth in other quarters. Manj predict that he wi& 
never return to Madrid ; but so the j predicted last year, when 
he salUed forth to put down the insurrection at Baicdana. 
For my part, I never expect to see Spain enjoy tranquilhty 
and a settled form of government during the time I maj 
sojourn in it, and fear I may have to witness some sanguinaij 
scenes of popular commotion. I have looked upon Espartcro 
as the only man Ukely to maintain the country in a tolerable 
state of tranquillity during the minority of the little Queen; 
but I now doubt if he will be able to keep up against the com- 
bination of factions bent upon his destruction. A few days 
will determine his fortunes. 

« « « « « * 

I am getting on very well, though it takes always a tcdions 
time to get rid of maladies of the kind I have to strug^ 
with. The weather has as much effect upon me as iqKm a 
barometer, and this seasoi^ has been unconmionly capricions. 
It favors me in one respect, that we have none of the usual 
fervid heats of sunmier, which might debilitate me ; but the 
cloudy, windy, and occasionally chilly weather irritates my 
system. However, I trust, in another month, to be superiw 
to these influences. 

Give my affectionate regards to Mr. Storrow, and kiss dear 
little good-for-nothing Kate for me. 

Your affectionate uncle, 

Washington Ibvino. 

[To Mrs. StorroiOy Parts.l 

ICADsm, July 14,1811 

Mt dear Sabah : 

I have just received your letter of the 8th, by which I find 
that the valiant Hector has arrived safely at Paris, after Us 


adyentarous journey. I have no news recently of Mr. Hamil- 
ton, who must be enjoying himself in the Pyrenees. The let- 
ters I have written to him I have reason to beheve have been 
intercepted on the road by the insurgents. 

We are here in the midst of confusion and alarm. I speak 
of the city and the people, for, as to myself, my mind is as 
tranquil and almost as stagnant as a millpond. A singular 
kind of rebellion is going forward. Armies marching and 
countermarching about the coimtry; city after city declaring 
itself in a state of insurrection, but as yet no fighting. An 
insurgent army, under General Espiroz, has been hovering 
about Madrid for several days ; another (under General Nar- 
Taez) is marching from a different direction to cooperate with 
it ; and Government troops, under Generals Soane and Zur- 
bano, are pushing in from a distance, to aid in the defence of 
the place. In the mean time, the city is declared in a state of 
siege, and placed imder martial law ; the gates are closed and 
guarded, and we are thus shut up within the walls. The day 
before yesterday I was sitting in my room writing, when I 
was attracted to the window by an uncommon bustle and con- 
fusion of voices in the street. I looked out, and saw men, 
women, and children scampering in every direction ; as far as 
the eye could reach, there was the same hurry-scurry move- 
ment hither and thither. I summoned Lorenzo, and asked the 
reason. He told me there was " a revolution I " It appears 
the " General," or iJarm, had been sounded, which is only done 
at moments of imminent peril, summoning every one to his 
post. The word was circulated that the enemy (an advanced 
guard of the army of General Espiroz) were at the Puerta de 
Hierro, or Iron Gate, which crosses the main road about half a 
league from the city gate. In a Uttle while the national 

284 I'l^ ^^^ LETTERS [1848. 

guards, or militia, were issuing from every side and comer, 
hastily equipped, and hurrying to their posts; women were 
gathering their children home, like hens gathering their chick- 
ens under their wings on the sight of a hawk. Before long, 
there were eighteen thousand men imder arms within the city ; 
all the gates were strongly guarded ; the main squares were 
full of troops, with cannon planted at the entrances of the 
streets opening into them. The shops were all shut up, and 
the streets, in general, deserted and silent, all those not on duty 
keeping as much as possible within doors. At night the whole 
city was illuminated, as is generally the case when any popular 
movement is apprehended, so that an enemy may not have 
darkness to favor his designs. 

I was advised not to stir out, as one may get involved in 
tumults at such times. I kept at home all day, but in the 
evening I could not resist the deske to see something of a city 
in a state of siege, and under an alarm. I accordingly sallied 
forth in my carriage, and drove to the Prado. Instead of 
being crowded by the fashionable world, it was full of troops, 
there having been a review of the national guards. I alighted, 
and walked among them. They seemed all to be in high 
spirits. There were but two carriages besides my own on the 
drive, usually so crowded. I drove from gate to gate of this 
end of the city, all closed an'd guarded. As the night ad- 
vanced, I drove through most of the principal streets. The 
houses were illuminated from top to bottom. Few people were 
walking in the streets ; but groups were gathered about every 
door. Troops were patrolling in every direction, and in the 
main squares, which formed military posts, both oflScers and 
men were bivouacking on the pavements. The appearance of 
a solitary carriage rumbling through the streets attracted uni- 


versal attention, but no one offered to molest me. I drove to 
Madame Albuquerque's, took tea there, and returned home 
about eleven o'clock. I never saw Madrid under more striking 
and picturesque circumstances. 

Yesterday was comparatively tranquil, but this morning 
the " General," or alarm, has been given at six o'clock. The 
enemy has approached a different gate of the city, and there is 
news that General Narvaez and his troops are at Guadalajara, 
a few leagues distant. The city is again imder arms. I pre- 
sume the shops are shut up, but I have not as yet been out of 
the house. The greatest evil I have as yet experienced, is the 
cutting off the supply of butter and cow's milk for my break- 
fast, both coming from the royal dairy beyond the Puerto de 
Hierro, or Iron Gate. 

As the Government has prohibited the circulation of the 
opposition papers by the mail, they have all ceased to publish ; 
the Government papers themselves are very scanty of intelli- 
gence, so that we are left in a state of ignorance of passing 
events, and are at the mercy of rumor, which fabricates all 
kinds of stories of plots, conspiracies to carry off the Queen, 
to blow up the powder magazines, &c., &c., &c. 

Contradictory reports prevail also with respect to the Re- 
gent, who, by last accounts, was in La Mancha. Some say he 
is on his march back to Madrid, others that he is going to 
Cordova, others to Granada, to quell the insurrection in Anda- 
lusia. Some say his troops are in a high state of enthusiasm, 
others that they are deserting him. Every report has its coun- 
ter report, so that one is reduced to mere conjecture. 

I had looked forward to such a state of things, and I look 
forward to one still worse, when the hostile parties come to 
blows. There may also be perplexing questions for diplo- 

286 ^^^ ^^^ LBTTEats irm, 

matists, should the inyading armies get possession of the capi* 
ta]y and of the person of the young Queen. The question maj 
then arise, '^ Where is the actual Goyenunent ? " and whidi 
party is to be considered legitimate? You will now under- 
stand why, at such a crisis, a diplomatic agent should not be 
absent from his post 

We have no regular troops in the city, but a large force of 
national guards, and of the national militia from the neighbor- 
ing villages. Some feel great confidence in their maintaining 
the safety of the city -, others doubt their being willing ix^ fight, 
seemg that the invaders are their countrymen. My idea is^ 
that if Soane and Zurbano arrive in the neighborhood with ^e 
force they are said to have, the invaders will have to retreat, 
or to make battle. Should no such succor arrive, I should not 
be surprised if, after a few days, the city should make terms, 
acknowledge the insurgent authority, and that a temporary 
government should suddenly be organized here — ^how long to 
last, it would be useless even to conjecture. 

I am scrawling this hastily, to be sent off by the FreiKi 
courier. I doubt letters going safely at present by the mail, as 
the insurgent cities through which it passes are eager to get at 
news from the capital. As I have no time to write to your 
mother, send her this letter, when you have done with it It 
will help to keep up the thread of Spanish affairs I have given 

I miss much the delightful companionship of Hamilton, 
whom I have learned to prize more and more, the more I have 
known him. But I trust he will be here again before long^ 
with renovated health and happy spirits. I am much cheered 
by the society of Mr. George Sumner, who dines with me 
almost every day, and is very intelligent and conversable. 


My health is daily improving, and I am gradually getting 
fteed from the malady which has so long clung to me. The 
weather continues generally cool for the season, and I find my 
large saloons very pleasant and airy for summer. 

Let me hear of your plans and your whereabouts; I can make 
Bone for myself at present, as you* must perceive. Give my 
kind regards to Miss Ledyard, and the young Ledyards. 

With affectionate remembrances to your husband, and 
kisses to Kate, 

Your affectionate uncle, 

Washington Irving 

\To Mrs. StorroWj Paris,'] 

Madrid, July 13, 184a 

Mt dear Sarah : 

I have just learned that a French courier is about to set 
off from the French embassy, and I hasten to scrawl you a 
line by it, as letters by the mail are apt, at the present mo- 
ment, to be intercepted, and you may be anxious to hear from 
me during these warlike times. I wrote to you about four 
days since, giving you some account of the critical state of 
affairs in this city. Since that time, we have been in a state 
of siege r^ the enemy at the gates ; the whole body of national 
guards, &c., under arms ; the main streets barricaded ; every 
house illuminated at night ; the streets swarming with military 
men ; the shops shut ; the publication of the newspapers sus* 
pended, and the public ear abused with all kinds of lying 
rumors. There has been brisk firing of musketry about some 
of the gates, and an occasional report of a cannon ; but the 
besiegers calculated upon disaffection and treachery within the 
walls ; upon a pronunciamento in favor of the insurrectional 


government, and upon the gates being thrown open to them. 
They therefore came without artillery. Thus far they hare 
been disappointed. The national guards have remained firm 
and true, and have kept up a brisk fire whenever the enemy 
made any demonstrations. One of my windows commands a 
view of one of the city gaies and its vicinity, and I could hear 
every discharge, and, at night, could see the Bash of the gunsL 
It has been extremely interesting to me, and, fortmiately, I 
have so far recovered from the lingering of my malady, that I 
could go all about on foot, and witness some of the ^xiking 
scenes presented by a city in a state of siege, and hourly in 
apprehension of being taken by assault Troops were sta- 
tioned in the houses along the main streets, to fire upon the 
enemy from the windows and balconies, should they effect an 
entrance ; and it was resolved to dispute the ground street by 
street, and to make the last stand in the royal palace, where 
were the Queen and her sister, and where the Duchess of Vic- 
toria, wife of the Regent, had taken refuge, her own palace 
being in one of the most exposed parts of the city. 

Apprehending that the lives of the Queen and her sist^ 
might be exposed to extreme hazard, as much in the defence as 
in the attack, the diplomatic corps addressed a note to the 
Government, urging the most scrupulous attention to the safety 
of these helpless little beings, and offering to repair in a body 
to the palace, and remain there during the time of periL Our 
offer has been declined, the ministry thinking the safety of the 
Queen and her sister suflSciently secured by the devotion of the 
inhabitants of Madrid, &c. 

Last evening it was confidently reported that there would 
be a grand attack at various points in the course of the night, 
and many were in a great state of alarm. I had returned 


home at a late hour, and had just got into bed, when I found a 
note lying on the table beside my bed, which proved to be 
from Mrs. Weismuller, tlie young and beautiful bride of Mr* 
WeismuUer, a connection and representative of the Roths- 
childs, who arrived here recently from England, and whose 
residence was in the main street leading from the gate that 
would be attacked. She requested permission to take refuge 
in my house. It was already twelve o'clock, but I hastily 
dressed myself again, and repaired to the residence of Mr. 
"Weismuller, escorted by Lorenzo. Groups of soldiers, with 
sentinels, were stationed at every corner. I foimd Mr. and 
Mrs. "Weismuller in much anxiety, he having received what he 
considered certain intelligence that the attack would take place 
about four o'clock in the morning. I offered every accommo- 
dation my house would afford, and, after much deliberation, it 
was determined that, on the first alarm of the attack, they 
should repair to my residence. This being settled, I returned 
home, but did not get asleep until between one and two 
o'clock. This morning I awoke about four. There was the 
sound of a drum in the street, and the report of two or three 
distant shots. I thought the attack was about to commence, 
and prepared to rise ; but all remained quiet, and there was no 
further alarm. It appeared that, instead of attacking, the 
enemy had drawn off in the night. They had heard of the 
approach of the forces under Generals Soane and Zurbano in 
one direction, and of a smaller force (about three thousand 
men) under Generals Iriarte and Enna in another direction. 
General Narvaez, therefore, has marched to encounter Soane 
and Zurbano, and General Espiroz to encounter Iriarte and 
Enna. Should they vanquish them, they will return upon 
Vol. III.--18 (19) 

390 ^^^^ ^^^'^ LBTTBBS ilMH 

Madrid, which, in such case, will probably capitulate. Should 
Soaae and the others be successful, the Regent's gOTenunent 
will be strengthened in Madrid ; should they fail, bis goTem- 
ment will be overthrown. However this present contest maj 
end, I look upon it as but the commencement of another series 
of conflicts and struggles for rule that will desolate unhappj 
Spain. Espartero has been the only man that has presented, 
for many years, calculated to be a kind of keystone to the 
arch; but his popularity has been undermined, and, wh^ka 
he be displaced or not, I fear he will no longer have power and 
influence sufficient to prevent the whole edifice falling to min 
and confusion. 

I scrawl this in great haste, and have no time to write to 
any of the family ; you must forward it, therefore, to yoor 
mother, that it may let all at home know that I am sajk, and 
mean to continue so, whatever storms may prevail around mc 
I have just received a letter from Hamilton, dated from the 
Pyrenees. He will be much grieved at being absent firom 
Madrid in these stirring and eventful times. 

My health is continually improving, and I think the excite- 
ment of the last two or three days has been of great service to 
me. Yesterday I was on my feet from ten o'clock in the 
morning until twelve or one at night, and, though modi 
&tigued, feel all the better for it. 




SOME of the letters of the foregoing chapter gave 
a glimpse or two of the scenes of warfare and con- 
fusion of which Mr. Irving was a witness, while alone 
in the legation, with the city in a state of siege, and 
in hourly expectation of a general assault. He had, as 
we have seen, recovered sufficiently from his tantalizing 
malady to be able to go about on foot, and felt so ex- 
tremely interested and excited during the crisis, that he 
could not keep in the house day or night. " I sallied 
out with as much eagerness," he writes, " as, when a 
boy, I used to break bounds, and sally forth at mid- 
night to see a fire.'* What added, no doubt, to his 
excitement, was that his residence was not far from the 
gate of Alcala, about which most of the skirmishing 
took place. He states that he could see the flash of 
firearms from his window, and was often roused from 
sleep by the report of them in the night. The conse- 

299 ^^^ ^^ LBTTEBS [ua 

queoce of this exposure and fatigue to one who had 
hardly jet r^ained the use of his legs, was a relapse. 

We have seen, in a former letter, that when prq»- 
rations were made for a last stand at the palace, in esse 
the city should be carried by assault, he had joined 
with the rest of the diplomatic corps in an offer to 
repair thither, and be near the Que^i in the hour of 
danger. In the following letter, written after the eyent 
of the siege and the catastrophe of Espartero's r^ncy, 
who had been driven from the counlary by a snocessfiil 
insurrection, he enters into some particulars of his 
agency in proposing the diplomatic intervention, and 
the motives which prompted the offer. The letter is to 
Mrs. Paris, is dated August 10th, and, besides the 
theme to which I have referred, contains other interest- 
ing and striking details of the royal drama of which 
he was a spectator. 

* * * I see the French and English papers have published 
incorrect accounts of an interposition of the corps diplomatique 
in relation to the safety of the little Queen and her sister, in case 
of the city being carried by storm. I am represented, by 
some, as having prepared a note under the direction of tlie 
French charge d"^ affaires^ by others as having prepared it in 
concert with the British Minister. The fact is, I prepared one 
according to my own conception of what would be likely to 
meet with the concurrence of both parties, whose disagreement 
was likely to defeat the whole measure. The intervention was 
in consequence of preparations being made to convert the royal 
palace into a citadel, where, in case the city were carried by 


assault, the last desperate stand was to be made , and in con- 
sequence of a declaration of that fanfaron Mendizabal, who had 
the control of afi&irs, that, if pushed to the utmost^ he would 
sallj forth with the Queen and her sister in each hand, put 
himself in the midst of the troops, and fight his way out of the 
city. I looked upon this as empty swaggering, but I knew 
not how far the defence might be pushed, or to what dangers 
the poor little Queen and her sister might be exposed by those 
who might seek to screen themselves behind the fancied sanc- 
tity of their persons. 

I entered, therefore, into the remonstrance of the diplo- 
matic corps solely on account of the royal children. I was for 
protesting against any extreme, either of attach or defence, 
which might put their persons in imminent jeopardy, knowing 
that the protest of the diplomatic corps would be promulgated, 
and would reach the besieging army, with the leaders of which 
the objections of a part of the diplomatic corps would have 
influence ; while that of another part would have an effect 
upon the leaders of the defence. I had, however, as I before 
observed, to modify the whole note, as the British Minister 
would only protest against the attack, while the rest of the 
diplomatic corps objected to omitting the word defence, I 
suggested the idea of offering to repair to the palace, and be 
near the Queen in any moment of danger ; which was adopted, 
and incorporated in the note. Our offer was declined. Fortu- 
nately, events obviated the necessity of the measure. My 
only view in joining in the measure, as I before observed, was, 
as far as our interference could have effect, to prevent the poor 
little Queen and her sister from being personally exposed to the 
dangers of any ruffian contest between warring and desperate 

294 ^^^ -^^ LETTERS [1M8. 

Actions. I am happy to say, the storm has passed away, and 
they are at present safe. 

The day before yesterday we had one of those transitions 
of scene and circumstance to which the melodramatic politics 
of this country are subject. Poor Espartero, as you will learn 
from the public papers, has been completely cast down, and 
driven out of the country. Notwithstanding all the obloquy 
heaped upon his name by those who have effected his down- 
fall, I still believe him to have been loyal in his intentions 
toward the crown and the constitution ; but of this, no more 
for the present. Those who were lately insurgents, now pos- 
sess the power; have formed themselves into a provisional 
government, occupy the capital^ and carry on the affairs of the 
country in the accustomed manner, at the public offices. Their 
great object now is to declare the Queen of age as soon as 
possible, so that there will be no need of a regency, and that 
they will be able to act immediately in her name and by her 
authority. Some were of opinion that the Government (or 
cabinet of Ministers) ought to declare her so instantly, as, 
authorized by the wish of the nation, expressed in the various 
juntas and pronunctamentos ; but others objected that this 
would be unconstitutional ; the Cortes only could, by its vote, 
abbreviate the minority of the Queen, and declare her of age 
to govern, and before the Cortes only could she take the neces- 
sary oaths on assuming the reins of government. It was de- 
termined, therefore, to defer the measure until the meeting of 
the Cortes, in October next, but, in the mean time, to have a 
grand ceremonial in presence of all the dignitaries of the king- 
<iom and the diplomatic corps, whenever the measure should be 
^*ecommended in an address to the Queen, and concurred in by 
^®J*, and thus a solemn pledge given to the nation, that, iht 


Cortes concurring, the minority would cease, and the Queen 
begin to reign in her own person in October, Accordingly, 
the day before yesterday, at five o'clock in the afternoon, I 
was present at another imposing scene at that theatre of poUti- 
cal events, the royal palace. I have given you two or three 
rather gloomy scenes there already, connected with the story 
of the little Queen. I will now give you one of a different 
character. As the recent change of affairs has been one in 
which the moderadosj or aristocracy, have taken great part, a 
complete change has taken place in the affairs of the palace. 
Arguelles, Madame Mina, and all the official characters ele- 
vated into place about the royal person by former revolutions, 
are now superseded, and the old nobiUty, who stood aloof and 
refused to mingle at court with people who had risen from the 
ranks, now surround the throne, and throng the saloons of the 
palace. As my carriage drew up at the foot of the vast and 
magnificent staircase, I observed hosts of old aristocratic cour- 
tiers, in their court dresses, thronging the marble steps, like the 
angels on Jacob's ladder — excepting that they were all ascend- 
ing, none descending. I followed them up to this higher 
heaven of royalty. I paused for a moment at the great portal 
opening into the royal apartments. The marble casings still 
bear marks of the shattering musket balls, and the folding 
doors are still riddled like a sieve — ^mementos of that fearful 
night when this sacred abode of royalty and innocence was 
made the scene of desperate violence. Now, all was changed ; 
the doors, thrown open, gave access to an immense and lofty 
antisala, where we passed through lines of halberdiers and 
court servants, all in new and bright array. All the ante- 
rooms were swarming with courtiers, military and civic officers 
and clergy, in their different costumes. The magnificent hall 

296 ^^"^^^ ^^ LETTBBS llSft 

of the ambassadors, which, at our last audience of Uie fitOe 
Queen, was almost empty and silent, was now absolutely 
crowded. I have already mentioned this hall to you. It is 
of great size, very lofty, the ceilings painted with representa- 
tions of the various climes and realms of Spain in her palmy 
days, when the sun never set on her dominions. The walls 
are hung with crimson velvet, reheved with rich gilding. The 
chandeliers are of crystal All the furniture is sumptuous. 
On one side of the saloon, just opposite the centre windows, is 
the throne, on a raised dais, and iwder a superb canopy of vel- 
vet. In this saloon, as I observed, were congregated an 
immense throng : old and new courtiers, many of the ancient 
nobility, who had kept out of sight during the domination of 
Espartero, but who now crept forth to hail the dawn of what 
they consider better days. Here, too, were many of the gen- 
erals and oflBcers who had figured in the recent insurrection, or 
who had hastened back from exile to come in for a share of 
power. Here was Narvaez, who lately held Madrid in siege ; 
here was Espiroz, his confederate in arms ; here was OT)on- 
nell, the hero of the insurrection of 1840, connected with the 
night attack on the palace. In short, it waa a complete resur- 
rection and reunion of courtiers and mihtary partisans, sud- 
denly brought together by a political coup de theatre. For a 
while, all was buzz and hum, like a beehive in swarming time, 
when, suddenly, a voice from the lower end of the saloon pro- 
claimed, La retna ! la reina I (the Queen ! the Queen I) In 
an instant all was hushed. A lane was opened through the 
crowd, and the little Queen advanced, led by the venerable 
General Castafios, Duke de Bailen, who had succeeded Ar- 
guelles as tutor and guardian. Her train was borne by the 
Marchioness of Yalverde, a splendid-looking woman, one of 

'Mt,60.l OF WABHIliiGTON IRVING. 297 

the highest nobility ; next followed her little sister, her train 
borne by the Duchess of Medina Celi, likewise one of the 
grandees; several other ladies of the highest rank were in 
attendance. The Queen was handed up to the throne by the 
Duke of Bailen, who took his stand beside her ; the Duchess 
of Valverde arranged the royal train over the back of the 
chair of state which forms the throne, so that it spread behmd 
the little Queen something like the tail of a peacock. The 
little Princess took her seat in a chair of state on the floor, a 
little to the left of the throne ; the Duchess of Medina CeH 
behind her, and the other noble ladies-in-waiting ranged along 
to her left, all glittering in jewels and diamonds. A Httle fur- 
ther ofi^ Lkewise in a chair of state, was Don Francisco, the 
Queen's uncle, and beside him stood his son, the Duke of 
Cadiz, who is one of the candidates for the hand of her little 
Majesty. I had now a good opportunity of seeing this youth. 
He was in a hussar's uniform, and a much better-looking strip- 
ling than I had been led to suppose him. As I know I am 
now on a diplomatic theme that will be peculiarly interesting 
to you — good republican as you are — I wish I could detail to 
you, learnedly, the dresses of the little Queen and her sister, 
which, as usual, were alike. I know the body and skirt were 
of beautiful brocade, richly fringed with gold ; there was abun- 
dance of superb lace ; the trains were of deep-green velvet ; the 
Queen wore a kind of light crown of diamonds, in which alone 
she differed from the Princess. They both had diamond pend- 
ants and necklaces, and diamond ornaments in their side 

The little Queen looked well. She is quite plump, and has 
grown much. She acquitted herself with wonderful self-pos- 

YoL. m.— 18* 

2$9 ^^^ ^^ LETTERS ^Ui. 

session, considering that she was thus elevated individuaHj in 
the midst of such an immense and gorgeous assemblage, and 
the object of every eye. Her manner was dignified and grace- 
ful. Her little sister, however, is far her superior, both m 
looks and carriage. She has beautiful eyes, an intelligent 
countenance, a sweet smile, and promises to be absolutely &sci- 
gating. Her looks and her winning manners she is said to 
inherit from her mother. She seemed to be in fine spirits; 
indeed, both of the sisters appeared to enjoy the scene. It 
was tlie first time that the little Queen had been surrounded by 
the aristocratical splendors of a court. 

When the Queen had taken her seat, the cabinet Ministers 
took their stand before the throne, and one of them read an 
address to her, stating the circumstances that made it expe- 
dient she should be declared of age by the next Cortes, and 
should then take the oaths of oflSce. As the little Queen held 
her reply, ready cut and dry, in a paper in her hand, she paid 
but little attention to the speech, but kept glancing her eyes 
here and there about the hall, and now and then toward her 
little sister, when a faint smile would appear stealing over her 
lips, but instantly repressed. The speech ended, she opened 
the paper in her hand, and read the brief reply which had 
been prepared for her. A shout then burst forth from the 
assemblage, of Viva la reina I (Long live the Queen !). The 
venerable Duke of Bailen, taking the lead as tutor to the 
Queen, then bent on one knee, and kissed her hand. The 
Infanta Don Francisco and his son gave the same token of 
allegiance. The same was done by every person present, ex- 
cepting the diplomatic corps. They also knelt and kissed the 
hand of the Princess, and some kissed the hand of Don Fran- 
cisco, but those weje his partisans. As the crowd was great, 


this ceremonial took up some time, I observed that the Queen 
{md her sister discriminated greatly as to the crowd of persons 
who paid this homage, distinguishing with smiles, and some- 
times with pleasant words, those with whom thej were ac- 
quainted. It was curious to see generals kneeling and kissing 
the hand of the sovereign, who but three weeks since were in 
rebellion against her government, besieging her capital, and 
menacing the royal abode, where they were now doing her 

This ceremony oyer, the Queen and her sister took their 
stand in a balcony in front of the great hall of ambassadors, 
under a rich and lofty silken awning. The high dignitaries of 
her court attended on her. The ladies of the court were in a 
balcony on one side, and the diplomatic corps in one on the 
other ; and every window of the royal suite of apartments was 
thronged by persons in court dresses or uniforms. The whole 
eflfect, in that magnificent palace, was remarkably brilliant. A 
vast throng was collected in the great square before the palace. 
In a little while, martial music was heard, and General Nar- 
vaez, with his staff, escorted by a troop of horse, came advan- 
cing under an archway on the opposite side of the square. In 
fact, the whole army that had lately besieged the city now 
came marching in review before the palace, shouting vivas as 
they passed beneath the royal balcony. It was really a splen- 
did sight — one of those golden, cloudless evenings of this bril- 
liant climate, when the sim was pouring his richest eflfulgence 
into the vast square, around which the troops paraded. Here 
were troops from various parts of Spain, many of them way- 
worn and travel stained, and all burnt by the ardent sun under 
which they had marched. The most curious part of this mili- 
taiy spectacle was the Catalan legion — ^men who looked like: 



banditti rather than sc^diers — arrayed in hatf-Arab diesB, wUk 
fiiantas^ like horsecloths, thrown over one should^, red wool* 
len caps, and hempen socks instead of shoes. Thej are, in 
feet, little better than banditti — a fierce, turbulent race, as are 
all the Catalans. I remained for a great part of an hour wit- 
nessing the passing of these insurgent legions, which were 
recently overrunning the country and menacing the capital, but 
which, by the sudden hocus pocus of political afDaurs, are trans- 
formed into loyal soldiers, parading peacefully before the royal 
palace, and 8houti:)g vivos for the Queen. This is the last act 
I have witnessed of the royal drama, and here I will let fell 
the curtain. 

After writing the forgoing to his sister, he drove 
out to pay visits of ceremony to some of the per- 
sons who had suddenly been brought into official sta- 
tion by the recent change of government. The visit 
detailed below, however, was not one of form, and 
had a higher prompting than diplomatic etiquette. 
I have heard him say it provoked a courtier's scoC 
When about to bring his long letter to an end, he 
writes to his sister, August 11th : 

Before I conclude, let me say a word or two about that 
most amiable and excellent woman, the Duchess of Victoria. 
I have always esteemed and admired her, but never so much 
as since her great reverse of fortune. During the siege, as the 
palace of Buena Vista was near the point of attack, she took 
refuge in the royal palace. Since the capitulation of the city, 
the occupation of it by the insurgent armies, and the formation 
of the provisional government, she retired to the house of aa 


aimt in the centre of Madrid. Here I visited her, and found 
iier still attended by some faithful friends. I foimd her calm, 
self-possessed, and free from all useless repining or weak lamen* 
tation. In fact, she was in a far better state of mind than 
when I saw her at her soirees at Buena Vista, surrounded bj 
something like a court, but harassed by doubts and forebodings. 
She said her conscience was clear ; she had never been excited 
by her elevation as the wife of the Regent, and trusted her 
conduct had always been the same as when wife of a simple 
general. She felt no humiliation in her downfall. She spoke 
of the charges made against her husband of grasping ambition, 
artifice, love of power — ^lie, said she, whose habits were so 
simple, whose desires so limited ; who cared not for state, and 
less for money ; whose great pleasure was to be in his garden, 
planting trees and cultivating flowers. It was a matter of 
pride and consolation to her, she added, that they left the 
regency poorer than when they entered it. I was pleased to 
see that she spoke without acrimony of those political rivals 
who had effected the downfall of her husband, but with deep 
feeling of the conduct of some who had always professed devo- 
tion to him, who had risen by his friendship, and who had 
betrayed him. " This," said she, " is the severest blow of all, 
for it destroys our confidence in humankind." I could not but 
admire the discrimination of her conduct with respect to the 
two great leaders of the present Government, Generals Nar- 
vaez (Commander-in-Chief) and Serrano (the Minister of War). 
They both sent her offers of escort, and of any other service 
and facility. "As to General Narvacz,** said she, "he ha« 
always been the avowed enemy of my htuband, but an open 
and frank one ; lie pndvsed noUiing but what lie prcffemed ; I 
accept hh oStn with gratitude and thanbi. Am to SemmOf h« 

802 I'lK '^^^VD LBTfEBS [ym. 

professed to be my husband's friend ; he rose bj his friendship 
and favors, and he proved faithless to him ; I will accept noth- 
ing at his hands, and beg his name may not again be men- 
tioned to me." 

The Duchess has set off for England by the way of France, 
and an escort was furnished her by Narvaez to protect her on 
her journey through Spain. I have no doubt she will be well 
received in England, and will feel a tranquillity of mind there 
to which she has long been a stranger. "Oh!" said she, 
drawing a long breath, " how glad I shall be to find myself 
once more at complete liberty, where I can breathe a freer 
air, and be out of this atmosphere of politics, trouble, and 




IJEING strongly urged by his physician to try the 
-■— ^ effects of travel and a change of air for the in- 
flammation in his ankles, which had now harassed him, 
more or less, for seven months past, confining him for a 
great part of the time to the house, and sometimes to 
his bed, Mr. Irving left Madrid on the 7th of Septem- 
ber, to make an excursion into France, leaving the 
i^ation in the hands of the Secretary, Mr. Hamilton. 
He was accompanied by his faithful servant, Lorenzo, 
and from Bordeaux, where he stopped to pass a few 
days among his friends, the Guestiers and Johnsons, 
writes to his niece, Mrs. Storrow, then quartered at 
Yersailles : 

I hope you will retain your apartments at Versailles. I 
would vastly prefer visiting you there, than at Paris. 

g04 - '^K ^^ LETTEBS [18^ 

I must tell you that I have thus far enjoyed my journey 
extremely. I do not know when scenery had a more vivifying 
effect on my feelings than in passing from the dreary, parched 
wastes of the Castile?, to the green mountains and valleys of 
the Basque provinces. The nights were superb, a full moon 
lighting up splendid mountain scenery ; the air bland and fiesh 
and balmy, instead of the parching airs of Madrid. The first 
sight of the sea, too, and the inhaling of the sea breeze, brought 
a home feehng that was quite reviving. You cannot imagine 
how beautiful France looks to me, with her orchards and vine- 
yards and groves and green meadows, after naked, sterile 
Spain. I feel confident I shall return from this excursion with 
a stock of health and good spirits to carry me through the 

He left Bordeaux on Wednesday, the 13th, and, 
travelling day and night, arrived at Versailles at three 
o'clock on Friday (15th). " I need not tell yon," he 
writes to the mother the day after his arrival, " what 
a joyful meeting it has been to Sarah and myselfl I 
am sure this visit will effect my perfect restoration. 
* * * Aftier so long a separation from kith and 
kin, and so much time passed in loneliness and sick- 
ness, it is a heartfelt satisfaction to be with one kindred 
in heart as well as blood." 

Mr. Irving remained at Versailles nearly two weeks 
without coming to Paris, and, indeed, without leaving 
the house, excepting in a carriage to take the air, the 
journey from Madrid having brought on a temporary 
irritation of the lingering symptoms of his malady. 


"We came to Paris the day before yesterday [he writes to 
his brother, September 30th], but I have not yet been out of 
the house. I am gradually, however, getting over this tran- 
sient access of my complaint, and hope in a few days to be 
again able to go about on foot. I intend consulting the ablest 
physician on the subject. I am anxious to get well, so as to 
be able to return to Madrid before the cold weather sets in. I 
do not like to be away from my post in these critical times. 
* * * I have full confidence in the ability of Alexander 
Hamilton to carry on the ordinary business of the legation, but 
questions may arise, and claims to sovereignty between warring 
parties in these revolutionary times, in respect to which I wish 
to take upon myself the responsibility of deciding. 

Thirteen days later, he writes to his sister (October 
12th) : 

I have now been two weeks in Paris, but am still confined 
very much to the house, excepting when I go out in a carriage. 
The least exercise on foot produces an irritation of the malady 
which still lingers about my ankles, and thus retards my cure. 
I begin to think it will yet take a considerable time to con- 
quer it, and that I shall have to return to Madrid before my 
cure is completed. My general health, however, is good, my 
appetite excellent, and I am growing as stout a gentleman as 
formerly. My time passes pleasantly in the house, having the 
"babe" for a playmate, and a delightful one she is, I can 
assure you. She is very intelligent for so young a creature, 
and has a thousand winning and amusing ways. "We now 
understand each other perfectly, and have a great many jokes 
together. She relishes my jokes greatly, and enters into the 

Vol. m.— (20) 


spirit of them completely, which makes me think ste fan « 
great perception of wit and hmnor. 

The ways and whims of diildren were to Mr. 
Irving an endless sooroe of amnsement. Kate, the 
little playmate here alluded to— ^^ dear, darling, reetlesB 
little Eate," as he calls her in one letter, ^ that pebble- 
hearted little woman," in another — ^was not yet two 
years of age. 

The next day (October 13th) he writes to me from 

I am leading a very quiet life in the very centre of aU that 
18 gay and splendid. My ohstinate malady, which sdll dings 
to me just suffici^iUy to fetter me, prevents my sallying fintii 
excepting in a carriage, so that I pass most of the time in the 
house. Last night, however, I managed to visit the open, 
and saw Grisi in Norma. She is one of the finest actors I 
have ever seen, quite worthy of heing classed with the Sid- 
donses, Pastas, &c. I had.scarcely expected ever again to have 
seen such a glorious combination of talent and personal endow- 
ment on the stage. 

November 22d, in a letter to me, he reports hun- 
self as being on the point of setting off in the maUs 
po9U for Bordeaux, in very good travelling o(mdition ; 
and, four days later, after a comfortable journey, he 
writes to his old friend, Brevoort, from that city, as 
follows, giving, as will be seen, a glance at his own pri- 
vate affairs, the public concerns of his mission, and an 


amnsiog sketch of an encounter with Rogers, while at 

BoBDiAUX, Nov. 26, 1843. 

My deab Brevoobt : 

I received your most kind and welcome letter some short 
time before leaving Paris, and should have answered it imme- 
diately, but I was in one of those moods when my mind has 
no power over my pen. Indeed, I have long owed you a let- 
ter, and have intended to write to you ; but correspondents 
multipUed fearfully upon me, and my pen was tasked, diplo- 
matically and otherwise, on my arrival at Madrid, to such a 
degree as to fag me out, and to produce the malady which has 
harassed me for nearly a year past. I am now on my way 
back to my post, after between two and three months' absence. 
I set out in pursuit of health, and thou^t a little travelling 
and a change of air would " make me my own man " again ; 
but I was laid by the heels at Paris, by a recurrence of my 
malady, and have just escaped out of the doctor's hands, suffi- 
ciently recovered to get back to my post, where I hope, by 
care and medical treatment, to effect my cure. 

This indisposition has been a sad check upon all my plans. 
I had hoped, by zealous employment of all the leisure afforded 
me at Madrid, to accomplish one or two literary tasks which I 
have in hand. * * * A year, however, has now been 
completely lost to me, and a precious year, at my time of life. 
The Life of Washington, and, indeed, all my literary tasks, 
have remained suspended; and my pen has remained idle, 
excepting now and then in writing a despatch to Government, 
or scrawling a letter to my family. In the mean time, the 
income which I used to derive from forming out my writings 
has died away, and my moneyed investments yield scarce any 

SOS I'™^ ^^^^ LETTSBS [18IK 

interest ♦ ♦ ♦ However, thank (Jod, my health, and 
with it my capacity for working, are retunmig. I shall soon 
again haye pen in hand, and hope to get two or three good 
years of literary labor out of myselC Times are improving m 
America, and Mrith them may improve the landed property 
which I hold. * ♦ ♦ 

Carson will give yon an account of diplomatic and house- 
hold afi&urs at Madrid. I was extremely scwry to part with 
him ; but I could not advise him to stay, where there was no 
career nor regular pursuit opening to him. ♦ * * 

I do not know whether you speak in jest or earnest about 
the popular view of my conduct on the occasion of the diplo- 
matic intervention for the safety of the little Queen, daring the 
late siege of Madrid. My conduct was dictated at the time by 
honest and spontaneous impulse, without reference to pohcy or 
politics. I felt deeply for the situation of the Queen and her 
sister, and was anxious that their persons should be secured 
from the civil brawls and fightings which threatened to distract 
the city, and invade the very courts of the royal palace. In 
all my diplomacy, I have depended more upon good intentions 
and frank and open conduct, than upon any subtle manage* 
ment. I have an opinion that the old maxim, " Honesty is 
the best policy," holds good even in diplomacy ! 

Thus far I have got on well with my brother diplomatists, 
tuad have met with very respectful treatment from the Spanish 
Government in all its changes and fluctuations. I have en- 
deavored punctually to perform the duties of my office, and to 
execute the instructions of Government ; and I believe that the 
archives of the legation will testify that the business of the 
mission has never been neglected. I have not suffered illness 
to prevent me from keeping everything in train ; and, indeed, 


my recovery has been retarded by remaining at my post dur- 
ing the revolutionary scenes of last summer, though urged by 
my physicians to spend the hot months at the watering places 
in the mountains. I do not pretend to any great skill as a 
diplomatist; but in whatever situation I am placed in life, 
when I doubt my skill, I endeavor to make up for it by con- 
scientious assiduity. 

While I was in Paris, in driving out, one day, with my 
niece in the Champs Elysees, we nearly ran over my old 
friend Rogers. We stopped, and took him in. He was ii^ 
one of his yearly epicurean visits to Paris, to enjoy the Italian 
opera and other refined sources of pleasure. The hand of age 
begins to bow him down, but his intellect is clear as ever, and 
his talents and taste for society in full vigor. He breakfasted 
with us several times, and I have never known him more de- 
lightful. He would sit for two or three hours continually con- 
versing, and giving anecdotes of all the conspicuous persons 
who have figured within the last sixty years, with most of 
whom he has been on terms of intimacy. He has refined upon 
the art of telling a story, until he has brought it to the most 
perfect simplicity, where there is not a word too much or too 
little, and where every word has its effect. His manner, too, 
is the most quiet, natural, and unpretending that can be ima- 
gined. I was very much amused by an anecdote he gave us 
of Httle Queen Victoria and her nautical vagaries. Lord 
Aberdeen has had to attend her in her cruisings, very much 
against his will, or, at least, against his stomach. You know 
he is one of the gravest and most laconic men in the world. 
The Queen, one day, undertook to reconcile him to his fate. 
** I believe, my lord,*' said she, graciously, " you are not often 
seasick." ^'•AlwaySy madam," was the grave reply. "But," 

810 i^m Ain> LETTfiis [im 

tUn more graciouslj, ^not very seasick." With profomidet 
gravity, '* Vebt, madam ! '' Lord Aberdeen declares, that if 
her Majesty persists in her cruisings, he will have to redgn. 

I rejoice to hear of Mrs. Brevoort*s improyed health, and 
think you are right, should you find the seacoast of Long 
Island fisivorable to the health of your family, to set up a 
retreat there. I can say from experience, that a man has t^i- 
fold more enjoyment from any rural retreat that belongs to 
himself than from any that he hires as a temporary sojourn. 

During his absence in Faris, the declaration of tl^ 
majority of the Queen had been made by the Corteij 
and she had taken the oath to support the constitntion ; 
an imposing ceremonial, at which the diplomatic body 
were present. Soon after his return to Madrid, he 
writes as follows : 

[To Mrs. Paris.] 

MADftii>} I>ee. 10, 18IS. 

Mt bear Sister : 

I received, yesterday, your letter dated about the middle 
of last month. It was extremely gratifying to me, for I was 
longing for domestic news from home, and your letters always 
place home completely before me. I have not time to write 
you a long letter, for I have been writing despatches to Grov- 
emment, and am fatigued, and the courier is soon to set off. 

I arrived safe in Madrid about ten days since, after a some- 
what rapid journey ; but I had the mail carriage to myself and 
was enabled to make myself comfortable. On approaching 
Spain, I heard of the mail having been robbed between Bay- 
onne and Madrid, and the passengers extremely maltreated, and 


was advised not to go until I could be well escorted ; but I 
knew that highway robberies seldota occurred twice in any 
neighborhood, unless at long intervals, so I pushed forward. 
It liad been advertised that the mail would be doubly guarded, 
in consequence of the late robberies, but the promise was not 
fulfilled. We passed through the robber region in the night, 
with only two musketeers to guard the carriage, both of whom 
went to sleep. As I did not care to keep watch myself, and 
alarm myself with shadows, I arranged myself comfortably, 
and fell asleep likewise, and continued napping through all the 
dangerous part of the road. I arrived in Madrid just in time 
to witness the three days of public rejoicing for the young 
Queen's accession to the throne. All the houses were dec- 
orated, the balconies hung with tapestry ; there were triumphal 
arches, fountains running with milk and wine, games, dances, 
processions, and parades by day, illuminations and spectacles at 
night, and the streets were constantly thronged by the popu- 
lace in their holiday garb. * * * The Moderados have the 
government at present, and are determined to maintain their 
sway by military means. General Narvaez is with them, and, 
under his military vigilance, the capital gleams with the bayo- 
net as in time of war. 

Ten days later, he writes to his niece, at Paris: 
* * * " I found Mr. Hamilton in good health and 
good looks on my retmn. He has conducted the lega- 
tion extremely well dm-ing my absence, and given it up 
into my hands in complete order." * * * « j -^ag 
cordially welcomed back by my brother diplomatists, 
and really had a home feeling on finding myself once 
more among them. I miss mj old crony, Mr. Asten, 

319 ^^^ ^^ LBTTESa (IM 

however, sadly, and fear it will be difficult to sopplj 

Mr. Ast^i, the British Minister, was suceeeded hj 
Henry Lytton Bulwer, who had not yet made his ap- 
pearance in the diplomatic circle. After mentioning 
some accessions to that body during his absence, he 
adds : 

We have here, also, Mr. Calderon, formerly Minister to the 
United States, and his wife. The latter recently wrote a very 
lively work on a residence in Mexico. She is originally 
Scotch, but has resided for some time in the United States. I 
am highly pleased with her. She is intelligent, sprightly, and 
full of agreeable talent I fear, however, she will not remain 
here long, as Mr. Calderon is likely to be appointed to some 
diplomatic post Madame Calderon is a constant correspon- 
dent of Mr. Prescott By tlie by, she has just lent me a copy 
of his Conquest of Mexico, in sheets. I have read a great 
part of the introductory chapters, treating of Aztec manners^ 
customs, &c., and am deeply interested in it 

I close the year with a few extracts from a letter, 
dated December 29th, to Mrs. Moses H. Grinnell, in 
answer to some account of changes and improvements 
in her residence in the city of New York : 

Your account of the wonderful additions and alterations in 
the house in College Place quite astonishes me. Grinnell cer* 
tainly must have the bump of constructiveness strongly devel- 
oped, particularly in that department of architecture which 
appertains to dining rooms, butlers' pantries, and wine cellars. 

jBt.60.] OF WASHINGTON mYING. 313 

I have no doubt that, in consequence of his increased facilities, 
he now gives two dinners where he formerly gave one ; though 
that can hardly be, as he formerly, in general, gave one dinner 
and a half per diem, the latter being smuggled into the house- 
hold economy under the name of a supper. * * * God 
bless his bounteous heart ! I have no doubt that, had he been 
in the place of his great namesake of holy writ, when he 
smote the rock, there would have spouted out wine instead of 

I perfectly agree with you in your idea of and 

. I feel deeply my separation from them ; they both 

seemed to take the place of others dear to my heart, whom I 

had lost and deplored. came to my side, when I was 

grieving over the loss of my dear brother Peter, who had so 
long been the companion of my thoughts, and I found in him many 
of the qualities which made that brother so invaluable to me as a 
bosom friend ; * * * while ^ in the delightful vari- 
ety of her character, so afifectionate, so tender, so playful at 
times, and at other times so serious and elevated, and always 
so intelligent and sensitive, continually brought to mind her 
mother, who was one of the tenderest friends of my childhood, 
and the delight of my youthful years. God bless and prosper 
them both! * * * 

The letter coneludeB with a fervent wish that he 
could return and be once more with liis " little flock " : 

My heart yearns for home ; and as I have now probably 

turned the last corner in life, and my remaining years are 

growing scanty in number, I begrudge every one that I am 

obliged to pass separated from my cottage and my kindred. 
Vol. hi.— 14 

g|4 ^^^ ''^^^ LETTEBS [ISM; 



queen's entrance upon her reign — ^EXPLANATION OF A 8CBKS IV THS 

rpHOUGH Mr. Irving had the advantage of one of 
-*- the most eminent physicians in Paris, he still 
brought back to Madrid the malady with which he had 
been so long tormented ; a malady the more annoying, 
as it robbed him of the free nse of his pen, and pre- 
vented liim from being agreeably employed. The fol- 
lowing extracts from various letters at this period are 
all more or less tinged with a depression arising from 
this drawback upon his literary plans : 

[To Mrs, Storrow,'] 

January 1th, 1844. — * * * Madame A says 

my visit to Paris has done me no good in one respect, that I 
am less content with Madrid since my return ; but, in fact, I 
am at times disheartened by the continuance of my malady, 
which obliges me to abstain from all literary occupations, and 
half disables me for social intercourse. If I could only exe^ 
cise my pen, I should be quite another being. * * * 


I am preparing to give a diplomatic dimier, which is some- 
thing of an undertaking in my present nerveless condition. 

[To the Same.] 

January \4dh,- — ♦ * * i fear I am growing miserly 
over the remnant of existence, and cannot bear to have any of 
the few years that remain to me wasted as the last has been. 
I hope this year I may live more to the purpose ; otherwise it 
is a heavy tax to pay for mere existence. 

To his niece, Sarah Irving, at the cottage, he 
Avrites : 

January \^th. — * * * j Y^qi^q jqh will all make 
your contemplated visits to New York in the course of the 
winter ; it will serve to break up the monotony of the season, 
though, for my part, if I could only be in my little cottage, 
looking out from its snug, warm shelter, upon the broad ex- 
panse of the Tappan Sea, all brilliant with snow and ice and 
sunshine, I think I should be loth to leave it for the city ; but 
then, what would suit a philosophic old gentleman, who has 
seen enough of the world, and grown too wise for its gayetiea, 
would hardly be to the taste of a bevy of young ladies, for 
whom the world has still some novelty. 

[To Pierre M, Irving,'] 

January 20th^ 1844. — * * * i feel gadly the loss of 
the past year, which has disconcerted all those literary plans I 
formed on leaving home. However, I still hope the opening 
year, or at least a part of it, may be more profitably em- 


Give my love to my dear Helen, whose letters are perfect 
balm to me when I am in a moody fit, as I am apt to be some- 
times, when my cure does not go on as well as I coidd wi^ 
I will write to her before long, so beg her to send the answer 
in advance. 

Though much depressed in spirit at this recurrence, 
or rather aggravation of his blighting malady, after 
such a long course of assiduous treatment, he still 
makes the exertion to continue to his sister, Mrs. Paris, 
an account of the aflFairs of the palace, in which she 
had taken great interest. His letter is dated January 
20th, 1844. I quote the part which gives his version 
of the abrupt dismissal by the Queen of her Minister 
of State, Olozaga, a chief of the Progresista party : 

The papers will have shown you that the entrance of the 
poor little Queen upon her reign has been the commencement 
of troubles. Mr. Olozaga, the Minister of State, and one of 
the leading men of the coalition that overthrew Espartero, was 
suddenly dismissed from office, and accused by the Queen with 
having, when alone with her in her cabinet, treated her in an 
arrogant and imperious manner, insisting on her signing a 
decree dissolving the CorteSy and actually bolting the doors and 
preventing her leaving the room until she had so given her sig- 
nature. This accusation has produced a prodigious effect in 
tlie political world. Mr. Olozaga has defended himself in the 
Chamber of Deputies, declaring that the Queen signed Uie 
decree voluntarily, that the accusation was dictated to the 
Queen by a camarilla, or knot of court intriguers who sur- 
round her, and that the whole was a palace intrigue, deagned 


to produce his downfall. The whole party of Progresistas^ 
who had been in league with the Moderados, broke from the 
eoahtion, and espoused the side of Mr. Olozaga ; and the mem- 
bers of the Cabinet who were of that party resigned their 
posts, and came out in defence of the fallen Minister. A com- 
mission was appointed to examine into the circumstances of 
the case, and to ascertain whether there were grounds for 
criminal proceedings against Mr. Olozaga. In the mean time, 
the latter secretly fled to Portugal, declaring, by letter, that he 
did so in consequence of finding himself waylaid and threat- 
ened with assassination, but that he was ready to return and 
appear before the commission whenever the investigation 
shoidd be commenced, and his presence required. 

The misfortune of all this is, that it places the veracity of 
the Queen in the balance with that of a subject, and that the 
pubhc seem inclined to decide in favor of the latter ; since, in 
a recent election to supply vacancies in the Chamber of Depu- 
ties, Mr. Olozaga has been placed at the head of the list of 
opposition candidates, and elected by a large majority. This 
is hailed as a great triumph by the Progresista party ; but it 
appears to me ominous to the throne, and shows that the pres- 
tige which so lately surrounded the youthful Queen is already 
impaired by party rancor. 

My idea is, that this famous scene in the cabinet of the 
Queen has not been fairly stated by either party, each having, 
perhaps unconsciously, given it an after-coloring. A jealousy 
evidently existed between Olozaga and those in the palace 
who were daily about the Queen. He suspected them of seek- 
ing his downfall. When the Queen hesitated to sign the de- 
cree dissolving the Cortes^ he no doubt supposed that she acted, 
not from her own judgment or inclination, but from the instiga- 

318 ^^Om AND LETTERS [18IL 

tions of others, his enemies. Accustomed, in his former ofiSce 
as tutor, to treat her with great familiarity, and to look upon 
her as a child, rather than as his sovereign, and vexed that his 
present measures of state policy should be impeded by the 
mere wilfulness of an inexperienced girl, he probably became 
authoritative and peremptory, like a tutor enforcing a neces- 
sary task upon his pupil, and the Queen acquiesced as a matter 
of course, without probably feeling outraged by his dictatorial 
conduct. It may not have been until afterward, when her 
palace advisers exclaimed against the dangerous nature of the 
decree which she had signed, that, like a child, she nought to 
excuse herself by saying Mr. Olozaga made her sign it ; and 
then was made aware, by those experienced courtiers, of the 
terrible infraction of sovereign dignity perpetrated by Mr. Olo- 
zaga, and of the gross outrage she had unconsciously sustained. 
Of course, she then saw the whole afiair in a different light ; 
her ire was kindled, and, in her subsequent accounts, focts 
were colored and exaggerated by her feelings. Such would 
commonly be the case with the statements of a child under 
similar circumstances; and, after all, the poor little Queen, 
though the Cortes has solemnly declared her of age, is but a 
child. I cannot explain this matter to myself in any other 
manner, without thinking either that the little Queen has been 
guilty of a wanton and unprofitable falsehood, or that Mr. 
Olozaga has acted like a fool as well as a brute. I have no 
great opinion of Mr. 01ozaga*s principles or manners. He has 
been a shifting, intriguing politician, and, during his elevation 
to oflBce, which brought him in immediate proximity with 
the sovereign, he displayed a forward, and, at times, jocose 
familiarity, which showed he was unaccustomed to the eti- 
quette of courts, unconscious of the high decorum and almost 


sanctity which should surround the royal person, and incapable 
of the dignified yet modest self-command and self-respect proper 
to a statesman in his elevated position. He is, however, a 
shrewd, able man, and could scarcely have been intentionally 
guilty of such an outrage upon the royal will and dignity, as 
might be inferred by a rigorous view of his conduct in this 
transaction. He probably was not aware of the construction 
of which his conduct was susceptible, nor thought that, while 
he was exercising the authority of a tutor over a refractory 
pupil, he, as a Minister, was outraging the dignity of a sov- 

You now see in what a critical situation the poor little 
Queen is placed by being declared of age. She has now to 
exercise the functions of a sovereign, while her mind is imma- 
ture, her character unfixed ; where she has no one at liand of 
talent, integrity, and disinterested devotion, to whom she can 
look for comisel ; where she is surrounded by court flatterers 
and court intriguers of both sexes, and where even her minis- 
ters are feithless. Already she is becoming an object of party 
hostihty, though it is not openly avowed j and the late tri- 
umphant reelection of Olozaga, in thus returning him to the 
Cortes, to confront his sovereign, as it were, in her own capital, 
before the charges against him are investigated, shows the dis- 
position of the opposition party to prejudge the case in his 
favor. * * * 

Twenty days later, we have the following picture 
of a royal princess on her bed of death : 


Madsid, Feb. 9, 1844. 

My dear Sisteb : 

* «r « « * * 

The Spanish Court has recently been put into mourning bj 
the sudden death of the Infanta Luisa Carlota, wife to the 
Infante Don Francisco, and aunt to the Queen. She was r. 
woman of strong passions and restless ambition. For some 
time past she has been scheming and intriguing to effect a mar- 
riage between her son, the Duke of Cadiz, and his cousin, the 
youthful Queen, and had embroiled herself with all parties, and 
impoverished her husband and herself in the prosecution of her 
plans. Their failure mortified her pride and exasperated her 
temper, and of late she had been extremely ungracious in looks 
and manners. Her illness was preceded by a kind of fever of 
the mind. " I know not what is the matter with me," said she 
to one of her attendants ; ** wherever I am, and wherever I 
go, I am in a constant state of irritation ; at the theatre, on the 
Prado, at home, it is still the same — I am in a passion {je 
Tn'enrage"). In this state of mind she was attacked by 
measles and pulmonia (a kind of inflammation of the lungs), 
which, acting upon an extremely full, plethoric habit, hurried 
her out of existence in the course of two or three days, and in 
the thirty-ninth year of her age. The body lay in state for 
three days, and the populace were admitted to see it, according 
to Spanish custom. I called to inscribe my name on the list 
of Vi^sitors, as is the etiquette, and suffered myself to be carried 
by llie throng through a suite of rooms decked out with 
escutcheons, funeral hatchments, lighted tapers, and files of 
mute attendants. The corpse was on a bed of state, and 
arrayed in a gala dress — white brocade and gold, with a royal 
coronet — the face livid, and bloated with disease. 



I have given you, my dear sister, some features of royalty 
in its grandeur : here you have it brought down to the dusty 
level of mere mortality. But a few days previously I had 
beheld this proud-hearted Princess walking the Prado with her 
family, with sullen and almost disdainful air, scarce noticing 
the salutations of the well-dressed throngs which bowed, with 
uncovered head, as she passed. Here she was, on her bed of 
death, exposed to the gaze of the unmannered populace, some 
of whom even whispered jests to each other, and sneered and 
laughed as they criticized the corpse and the funeral pageant ! 

We are again in the midst of popular commotions. Insur- 
rections have broken out in Alicante and Carthagena, and 
Government are taking strong measures to nip them in the 
bud. The whole kingdom is put under martial law ; all poht- 
ical offences are to be tried by military tribunals, and all offi- 
cers and subaltern officers taken in rebelHon are to be shot on 
the mere identification of their persons. The Government is 
evidently determined to rule by the sword. Unfortunately, 
some of these sanguinary decrees are worded as if proceeding 
frbm the immediate will and wish of the Queen, who, poor 
child, is httle conscious of the force and nature of the papers 
she is signing. They have produced a great sensation, and, I 
fear, will contribute to involve the innocent little Queen in the 
party odium which the opposition is endeavoring to excite 
against the Government. Important arrests have taken place 
of persons suspected of participation in the new conspiracies. 
Among these are some of those poHtical leaders who were 
active, last summer, in effecting the downfall of Espartero, and 
who are now proscribed by their late confederates, whom they 
helped up into power. Such is the continual succession of plot 
Vol. m.— 14* (21) 

822 ^^^^ ^^^ UBTTEBS l\ML 

and oonnterplot in this unhappy country. It is probahle the 
strong measures taken by Goyemment will check the present 
insurrection, and that the Moderados (or aristocratical party) 
may maintain the sway for a time. If not, their case will be 
desperate ; for their strong measures have awakened the most 
deadly enmity in the opposition, and a new revolution, I fear, 
would be sanguinary and vindictive in the extreme. 

March 15th, he writes to a niece at SnDnyside, yet 
in her teens, a letter, of which one or two extracts 
may amuse. The Countess of Montijo, whose name 
occurs in the letter, is the mother of the present 
Empress of France. 

[To Miss Mary Irvingil 

M^siD, March 15, 1844. 

Mr DEAR Maby : 

I am told you want me to write you again, " if it is only a 
few hues;" so, my dear, good little girl, I will give you a 
small letter, which is all I can afford for the present, having to 
write not merely to your aunt, in New York, but to " Uncle 
Sam," at "Washington, who generally expects pretty long 

"We are on the eve of great fetes and ceremonies, to greet 
the arrival of the Queen Mother, who is on her way once more 
to embrace her cliildren. I wish you could be here to enjoy 
these sights and festivities ; I think they would delight you. 
Tbey are rather thrown away upon me. I am not well 
enough to enter into them with spirit, and then, I have grown 
so wise ! 

I was, a few mornings since, on a visit to the Duchess of 


J^. 60.] OP WASmNGTON IBVING. 323 

Berwick. She is the widow of a grandee of Spain, who 
ckdmed some kind of descent from the royal line of the Stu- 
arts. She is of immense wealth, and resides in the most beau- 
tiful palace in Madrid (excepting the royal one). I passed up 
a splendid staircase, and through halls and saloons without 
number, all magnificently furnished, and hung with pictures 
and family portraits. This Duchess was an Italian by birtli, 
and brought up in the royal family at Naples. She is the very 
head of fashion here. Well, this lady, of almost princely 
state, will be one of the ladies-in-waiting on the little Queen 
when she receives her mother. She will stand behind the 
. Queen at the foot of the staircase of the royal palace, and per- 
haps bear her Majesty's train. Think of that, my dear ; think 
how grandly these little queens of thirteen years of age are 
waited upon. 

* * * A grand wedding took place, shortly since, be- 
tween the eldest son of the Duchess (the present Duke of 
Alva, about twenty-two years of age) and the daughter of the 
Countess of Montijo, another very rich grandee. The cor- 
hetlle, or wedding presents of the bride, amounted to one hun- 
dred and twenty thousand dollars, all in finery. There were 
lace handkerchiefs worth a hundred or two dollars, only to look 
at ; and dresses, the very sight, of which made several young 
ladies quite ill. The young Duchess is thought to be one of 
the happiest and best-dressed young ladies in the whole world. 
She is already quite hated in the beau monde. 

After all this magnificent detail, I shall expect, in return, 
an account of cousin Juha's ball, and how you all enjoyed 
yourselves, and how you were all dressed. Between you and 
I, I would not give little Sunny side for the grandest duke's 
palace in Spain ; and as to the bride and her fine dresses, when 

324 I^£ -^O UBTTEBS 118^ 

you and Julia get on your spring dresses and spring bonnets^ I 
should not be afraid to challenge a comparison. 

And now, my dear little girl, I have scribbled for you a 
yery rigmarole letter, but it was the best I could furnish in this 
hurried moment. I hope it may find you bright and happy at 
our dear little cottage, where it will be the happiest moment 
of my hfe once more to join you. 

Give my best love to all the family, and beheve me ever, 
my dear, dear Mary, your affectionate uncle, 

"Washington Ibving. 

The following letter unfolds another page in Span- 
ish affairs: 

[To Mrs. Paris.] 

Hadsid, March 16, 1844. 

My deab Sister : 

We are preparing for great ceremonies and festivities on 
the arrival of the Queen Mother, who has lately entered from 
France, and is slowly making her way to the capital, to be 
restored to her children. The Httle Queen and her sister de- 
parted from Madrid some time since, to meet her mother on 
the road, according to Spanish usage. The meeting is to take 
place a little beyond the royal sttio, or country residence of 
Aranjuez, between that place and Ocana. A temporary struc- 
ture has been put up in the road for the purpose. The corps 
diplomatiqitej and all the court and nobility, are invited to 
attend on the occasion, and Aranjuez is already crowded. 
This place is about twenty-seven miles from Madrid, situated 
in a narrow valley watered by the Tagus. It is a small town, 
or rather village, in which are some indifferent hotels, and large 
barracks of houses, and is almost deserted, excepting when vis* 

^T. 60.] OF WA8HINGT0N IRVING. 325 

ited by the sovereign in the spring. The royal palace is spa- 
cious, but not magnificent. The great attractions are delicious 
gardens, with shady walks and bowers, refreshing fountains, 
and thousands of nightingales; also noble avenues of trees, 
and fine, shady drives. All these render it a paradise in this 
arid, naked country ; and you come upon it by surprise, after 
traversing dreary plains, for it lies sunk in a narrow, green 
valley scooped out of the desert by the Tagus. As I have 
not yet sufficiently the use of my legs to enjoy the gardens and 
promenades, I shall not go to Aranjuez, this time, until the day 
before the Queen is expected to arrive. 

The return of the Queen Mother is quite an event in the 
royal romance of the palace, and the circumstances of her 
journey have really a touching interest for me. She returns 
by the very way by which she left the kingdom in 1840, when 
the whole world seemed to be roused against lier, and she was 
followed by clamor and execrations. What is the case at 
present? The cities that were then almost in arms against 
her, now receive her with f(^tes and rejoicings. Arches of tri- 
umph are erected in the streets ; Te Deums are chaunted in the 
cathedrals ; processions issue forth to escort her ; the streets 
ring with shouts and acclamations ; homage and adulation meet 
her at every step ; the meanest village has its ceremonial of 
respect, and a speech of loyalty from its alcalde. Thus her 
progress through the kingdom is a continual triumph. ♦ ♦ ♦ 

In the following, to the same correspondent, he 
gives a picture of the restoration of the Queen Mother 
to her children : 


ICiLOUO, March 2S, 1844. 

My dklb S18TEB : 

I have just received your long letter of February 25tli to 
29thy and feel how kind it is in you to give me such frequent 
budgets from home. Your letters are full of matter, and, 
being written from day to day, give me an everyday peep into 
domestic afiGairs. I have a letter, also, from Pierre M. Irving, 
giving me a very satisfactory statement of my affairs, which he 
has managed with great judgment. 

I must now give you a chapter of the romance of the pal- 
ace. I set o£^ the day before yesterday, for Aranjuez, to be 
present at the meeting of the little Queen and her mother. I 
. started at six o'clock in the morning, in my carriage, with old 
Pedro the coachman, and my faithful Lorenzo. Mr. Valde- 
vielso, the Mexican Minister, accompanied me, having sent on 
his four horses to be stationed on the road as relays. We had 
a beautiful morning, and enjoyed our drive to the old village 
of Valdemoro, where we left Pedro and the horses to await 
our return, and took the first pair of Mr. Valdevielso*s horses, 
with his coachman. "With these we drove to Aranjuez, not 
finding occasion to use the second relay, which followed us. 
"We arrived at Aranjuez at half-past eleven, and found the 
meeting was expected to take place about five o'clock in the 
afternoon, about three miles from Aranjuez, on the road to 
Ocana, a royal tent having been put up for the occasion. 
Aranjuez was crowded with company — aU the nobihty from 
Madrid, the military, and official characters of all sorts, not to 
mention office hunters, and the countless crowd that courts Uie 
smiles of royalty. 

Every vehicle at Madrid had been engaged at high prices 


to bring on the multitude; every lodging, good or bad, at 
Aranjuez, had been taken up beforehand. I had comfortable 
quarters with my good friends the Albuquerques, and found 
myself the inmate of quite a diplomatic commonwealth, occu- 
pying a huge house hired for the occasion. It was two stories 
high, built around a square courtyard. You may imagine the 
size of the Spanish houses, when I tell you that in tliis were 
accommodated the French ambassador and his lady, with two 
yoimg gentlemen of the embassy ; the Albuquerques and their 
family ; the Prince and Princess de Carini ; the Count Mamex, 
Belgian chargi d'affaires; Mr. D'Alborgo, charge d'affaires of 
Denmark; the Mexican Minister and myself; and that each 
femily had a distinct apartment to itself, with sitting room, 
antechamber, &c. We all dined together, and a pleasant din- 
ner we had ; while, throughout the day and evening, Madame 
Albuquerque's saloon was a general resort. Here I had a 
comfortable sofa to lounge upon, and was quite petted by the 
good people. This gathering together of the diplomatic corps 
had, indeed, a most sociable, agreeable effect ; we seemed hke 
one family. I became great friends with the Princess Carini, 
who is full of good humor and good spirits, and disposed to 
take the world cheerfully. Her husband was quite the life of 
the house, ever ready for anythmg that may amuse ; a man of 
varied talent — a musician, a painter, &c., &c. 

In the course of the afternoon, I drove out, with Mr. Val- 
devielso, to the place where the royal meeting was to take 
place. The road was fiill of carriages and horsemen, hastening 
to the rendezvous, and was lined with spectators, seated by the 
roadside in gaping expectation. The scene of the rendezvous 
was quite picturesque. In an open plain, a short distance 
from the road, was pitched the royal tent — ^very spacious, and 

32S ^^^^ -^^ LfiTTEBS [1844 

decorated with fluttering flags and streamers. Three or four 
other tents were pitched in the vicinity, and there was an im- 
mense assemblage of carriages, with squadrons of cavalry, and 
crowds of people of all ranks, from the grandee to the beggar. 
We left our carriage at a distance from the tent, and proceeded 
on foot to the rojal presence. The impatience of the little 
Queen and her sister would not permit them to remain in the 
tent; they were continually sallying forth among the throng 
of courtiers,' to a position that commanded a distant view of 
the road of Ocafia, as it sloped down the side of a rising 
ground. Poor things ! they were kept nearly a couple of 
hours in anxious suspense. * * * At length the royal 
cortege was seen descending the distant slope of the road, 
escorted by squadrons of lancers, whose yellow uniforms, with 
the red flag of the lance fluttering aloft, made them look at a 
distance like a moving mass of fire and flame. As they drew 
near, the squadrons of horse wheeled oflf into the plain, and 
the royal carriage approached. The impatience of the little 
Queen could no longer be restrained. "Without waiting at the 
entrance of the tent to receive her royal mother, according to 
etiquette, she hurried forth, through the avenue of guards, 
quite to the road, where I lost sight of her amidst a throng 
of courtiers, horse guards, &c., &c. * * * The reception 
of the Queen Mother was quite enthusiastic. The air resounded 
with acclamations. * * * The old nobility, who have long 
been cast down and dispirited, and surrounded by doubt and 
danger, look upon the return of the Queen Mother as the tri- 
ujuph of their cause, and the harbinger of happier and more 
prosperous days. 

After witnessing this meeting, I hastened back to Aran- 
juez, to dine and get some repose before the reception of the 


J8r*60.] OF WASHINGTON IKVlNa. 329 

covjps diplomatique^ which was to take place at the palace at 
half-past nine o'clock. We were received in plain clothes, the 
Queen Mother wishing to avoid the necessity of putting on a 
court dress. The royal palace was illuminated, and was sur- 
rounded by a crowd. We were received in a very beautiful 
saloon, furnished in the style of the " Empire ; " that is to say, 
the classic style prevalent during the reign of Napoleon. Our 
diplomatic circle has quite increased of late, since the Queen 
has been recognized by different courts. The ambassador of 
France takes precedence in it, from his diplomatic rank ; then 
come the Ministers, &c., according to the date of their resi- 
dence: first the Portuguese Minister, then myself, then the 
Mexican Minister, &c. The little Queen entered the room, 
followed by her mother and her sister, and the Minister of 
State. The Ambassador of France made her a congratulatory 
address in the name of the corps, to which she read a brief, 
written reply. She then, followed by her mother and sister, 
passed along the line, addressing some words, of course, to 
each member of the diplomatic corps ; after which the royal 
party courtesied themselves out of the room. 

I was glad to get to bed that night, for my poor ankles 
fairly ached with having to be so much on my legs that day. 
The next morning Mr. Valdevielso and myself returned to 
Madrid, as did most of the diplomatic corps, so as to be ready 
to see the royal entrance into the capital. It will take place 
between three and four o'clock this afternoon, and I will keep 
my letter open to give you a word or two about it. 

* ^k * % * It 

I have just returned from witnessing the entrance of Queen 
Christina, but have no time to give particulars, as it is dinner 

830 ^^^ ^^ LETTEBS {1$«|. 

time, and the courier is about to depart. There was a great 
parade of military, and the streets were filled with a countless 
multitude. The Queen Mother sat in an open carriage, on the 
left hand of her daughter. The houses were all decorated with 
tapestry himg out of the windows and balconies. The recep- 
tion of the Queen by the populace was not very animated. 
She is popular with the Moderados — that is to say, the aris- 

I must close my letter abruptly, with love to " all bodies." 
Your affectionate brother, 

Washington Ibving. 

The excellent Argaelles died the very morning of 
the day on which the Queen Mother entered Madrid. 

His health had been broken for some time [writes Mr. 
Irving, in giving the account, under date of March 20th], and 
the agitations through which he has passed, of late, may have 
hastened his end, which, however, was somewhat sudden. He 
was a good man, a true patriot, and an able statesman, but 
ardent and anxious as a politician. His life had been a hfe of 
trial and vicissitude ; he had borne all kinds of reverses of for- 
tune — one time in power, another in exile or in prison ; but, 
through every trial, has passed pure and unsullied, "When he 
had the guardianship of the young Queen, he was entitled to a 
salary of about seventy thousand dollars; he only accepted 
one tenth. On the triumph of the Moderado party, last year, 
he retired from office poor. When he died, but twenty-two 
dollars were found in his house, and he left debts to the amount 
of nearly five thousand dollars. He was faithful in his guar- 
dianship of the little Queen and her sister, and was strongly 


attached to them. He was represented by his political oppo- 
nents as an enemy of the Queen Mother; but, though he may 
have disapproved of her political course when in power, he did 
justice to the amiableness. of her character, and, in a conversa- 
tion with me, lamented that she was separated from her daugh- 
ters, as her presence would have been of vast advantage to 
them, especially to the young Queen. "When the Queen 
Mother was entering Madrid in state, in company with the 
httle Queen and her sister, an officious courtier rode up to the 
carriage, and announced to her, with congratulation, the death 
of her enemy, Arguelles ! " Hush ! " said the Queen Mother ; 
" do not let the children hear you, for they loved the old 
man ! " Poor Arguelles ! few men who have figured in the 
political affairs of Spain for the last thirty years will leave so 
honest a name behind. 

882 ^''^ ^^^ LETTEBS lliti 



IN the letter from which I am about to quote, Mr. 
Irving infonns me that he had just received from 
Mr. Prescott a copy of his History of the Conquest of 
Mexico, which, we have seen, he had previously read 
in sheets furnished him by Madame Galderon de la 
Barca, a correspondent of the historian. As I have 
already given the passages relative to the work in an- 
other connection, when speaking of his surrender of 
the theme, I content myself with the following open- 
ing allusion to his affairs : 

Madrid, March 24, 1844. 

My dear Pierre : 

I have received your letter of the 29th February, contain- 
ing the account current and the statement, both of which arc 
highly satisfactory. I am glad to find that you have concluded 
the Green Bay transfer, and raked twenty-one hundred dollars 
for me out of the ashes and cinders of that once sanguine 


speculation. It is so much money that will yield me interest 
during my lifetime, instead of producing a possible profit after 
my death. I trust my other investments will turn out more 
productive, but shall be glad to get them in such a train as to 
yield me income. I watch with an anxious eye the gradual 
growth of my productive funds at home. * * * 

The cruel malady which has afflicted me for nearly fourteen 
months past, has marred those literary plans on which I calcu- 
lated so sanguinely when I set oflf upon my mission. I have 
lately resumed my pen, and occupied myself occasionally with 
revising some of my works for a new edition ; but I have to 
exercise the pen sparingly, as I find literary excitement pro- 
duces irritation in my complaint. My correspondence, too, is a 
heavy tax upon my pen, and occupies most of the time I can 
venture to devote to it j yet I cannot give it up ; it is the only 
mode I have now of keeping up an intercourse with my family 
and friends. 

To Mrs. Storrow lie writes, six days after (March 
30th), when he was looking forward sorrowfully to the 
approaching departure of his Secretary of L^ation, 
Mr. Hamilton, after mentioning the call of two Ameri- 
can gentlemen the day before, without leaving their 

Madrid is becoming much more a place of visitation of the 
Americans than it used to be, though still an immeasurable dis- 
tance behind Paris in this particular. Colonel "W y 

when he was here, told me he was one of, I think, forty-six, 
presented at one time to Louis Phihppe. What a task for a 

884 ^^'^ ^^^^^ UETTERS psii 

Minister to have to present such a regiment ! I nerer oodd 
stand it. 

* * * Our spring is backward, not from cold, but from 
drought Vegetation needs more moisture to bring it forth, 
and there has been very little rain for months past Mj 
drives, therefore, in the neighborhood of the city, continue to 
be somewhat dull and dreary, but I hope soon to find the 
meadows along the Manzanares once more green, the grores in 
leaf, and the nightingales in song. I doubt if the king who 
first made Madrid a court residence has yet got out of purga- 
tory for this monstrous evil inflicted upon the nation and its 
visitors. I hope he may be kept there as long as I am obh'ged 
to sojourn here — so there^s Christian charity for you. 

In the following letter to Mi*s. Paris, he takes up 
the thread of his diplomatic themes. His elation, at 
the close, at being restored to the free use of his l^s, 
from which he had been so long debarred, is quite in 
character : 

[To Mrs. Paris, New Yorh.] 

Madrid, April 17, 18U. 

Mt deab Sisteb : 

My last letter concluded with the entrance of the Queen 
and Queen Mother into Madrid. Various fetes and ceremo- 
nies, civil and religious, have since taken place in honor of the 
return of Maria Christina. I have been obliged to absent 
myself from most of them on account of my indisposition. I 
was present, however, at the Besa manos (or hand kissing) at 
the royal palace. This is the grand act of homage to the sov- 
ereign and the royal family. The day was bright and prop!- 


tious. The place in front of the royal palace was thronged 
with people waiting to see the equipages drive up ; while the 
avenues were guarded by horse and foot, and the courts and 
halls echoed with military music. On entering the palace, the 
grand staircase and the antechambers were lined with the offi- 
cers, halberdiers, and attendants of the royal household, and 
thronged with a gorgeous multitude, civil and military, ghtter- 
ing with gold lace and embroidery. I made my way into the 
Hall of Ambassadors, where the throne is situated, and which 
I found already filled with grandees and high functionaries, and 
a number of the corps diplomatique, I have already noticed 
this hall in my former letters ; it is very magnificent, though 
somewhat sombre, the walls being covered with crimson velvet. 
It has a great number of large mirrors, immense chandeliers 
of crystal, and the vaulted ceiling is beautifully painted, repre- 
senting, in various compartments, the people and productions 
of the various countries and climates of the Spanish empire, as 
it existed before its dismemberment. The throne is on tlie 
side of the hall opposite to the windows, just midway. It is 
raised three or four steps, and surmounted by a rich canopy of 
velvet. There were two chairs of state thus elevated, one on 
the right hand for the Queen, and on the left for the Queen 
Mother ; at the foot of the throne, to the left, was a chair of 
state for the Queen's sister. As everybody is expected to 
stand in the royal presence, there are no other s^ats provided. 
I began to apprehend a severe trial for my legs, as some time 
would probably elapse before the entrance of the Queen. The 
introducer of ambassadors, however (the Chevalier de Arana), 
knowing my invalid condition, kindly pointed out to me a 
statue at the lower end of the hall, with a low pedestal, and 
advised me to take my seat there imtil the opening of the 


court. I gladly ayailed myself of the snggestlon, and, seating 
myself on the edge of the pedestal, indulged myself in a qm^ 
survey of the scene before me, and a meditation on the various 
scenes of the kind I had witnessed in this hall in the time of 
Ferdinand VII, and during the time of my present sojourn at 
this court, and in calling to mind the rapid vicissitudes which 
had occurred, even in my limited experience, in the gilded and 
anxious throngs which, each in their turns, have glittered about 
this hall. How brief has been their butterfly existence 1 how 
sudden and desolate their reverses! Exile, imprisonment, 
death itself^ have followed hard upon the transient pageants of 
a court ; and who could say how soon a like lot might befall 
tlie courtier host before me, thus swarming forth iuto sudden 
sunshine ? They all seemed, however, secure that their sum- 
mer was to last, and that the golden days of monarchical rule 
had once more returned. The arrival of the Queen Mother 
has been regarded by the aristocracy as the completion and 
consolidation of their triumph. They have crowded, therefore, 
to do homage to the throne, and the Spanish Court has once 
more resumed something of its ancient splendor. Indeed, I 
had never seen the royal palace so brilliantly attended ; and 
the whole ceremonial had an eflfect even upon the French Am- 
bassador, who has been slow to see anything good at Madrid, 
but who acknowledged that the splendor of the court quite 
surpassed his expectations. 

After we had been for some time assembled, the Queen 
was announced, and every one immediately ranged himself in 
order. The grandees take their station on the right hand of 
the throne ; the diplomatic corps forms a line directly in front 
of it, with the French Ambassador at the head. The Queen 
entered first, followed by her mother and the Princess Royal, 



and a long train of ladies of the highest nobility, magnificently 
dressed. The Queen and the Queen Mother took their seats 
on the throne, the latter on the left hand. The Princess was 
seated in a chair of state to the left of the throne, and the 
ladies in attendance ranged themselves from the left of the 
throne to the lower en€ of the hall. Among them were some 
of the most beautiful ladies of the nobility ; they were all in 
court dresses, with lappets and trains, and as fine as silk, and 
plumes, and lace, and diamonds could make them. I doubt 
whether even the liUes of the valley, though better arrayed 
than King Solomon in all his glory, could have stood a com- 
parison with them. (I hope it is not wicked to say so.) 

The httle Queen and her sister were each dressed in white 
satin, richly trimmed with lace ; they had trains of lilac silk, 
and wreaths of diamonds on their heads, the only difference in 
their dress being the superior number of diamonds of the 
Queen. The Queen Mother had a train of azure blue, her 
favorite color. I like to describe dresses, having a knack at 
it ; but I absolutely forget the rest of her equipments. The 
little Queen, who, by the by, will soon cease to deserve the 
adjective of littlcy looked rather full and puffy on the occasion, 
being perhaps rather too straitly caparisoned ; the Infanta, too, 
looked pale, and, I was told, was in bad health. The Queen 
Mother, on the contrary, was in her best looks; no longer 
fatigued and worn by a long and anxious journey, as when I 
saw her at Aranjuez, but cheerful and animated. I think, for 
queenly grace and dignity, mingled with the most gracious 
affability, she surpasses any sovereign I have ever seen. Her 
manner of receiving every one, as they knelt and kissed her 
hand, and the smile with which she sent them on their way 
Vol. III.— 15 (22) 

38S I'l^ ^^^ LETTERS [lS4i 

rejoidng, let me at once into the secret of lier popularity with 
all who have frequented her court. 

I remained but a short time after the Besa manos had com- 
menced. It was hkely to be between two and three hours 
before the immense crowd of courtiers, clergy, military, mu- 
nicipality, kc^ could pay homage, and it was impossible for 
me to remain standing so long. I beat a retreat, therefore, in 
company with the charge d'affaires of Denmark, the veteran 
D'Alborgo — a thoroughgoing courtier, who had risen from a 
sickbed to be present on the occasion. I have since written 
a note to the Minister of State, requesting him to explain to 
the Queen and Queen Mother the cause of my absence from 
most of the court ceremonies on the recent joyful occasion; 
and have received a very satisfactory note in reply, with kind 
expressions on the part of the sovereigns. There is to be an- 
other grand Besa manos on the twenty-seventh of this month, 
by which time I hope to be sufl&ciently recovered from my 
long indisposition to resume my usual station in the diplomatic 

I am happy to tell you that I am getting on prosperoudy 
in my cure by the aid of baths, which I take at home. In- 
deed, I expect, in a very little time, to be able to go about on 
foot as usual, and only refrain from doing so at present lest, by 
any over exercise, I might retard my complete recovery. 
When I drive out and notice the opening of spring, I feel, 
sometimes, almost moved to tears at the thought that in a httle 
while I shall again have the use of my limbs, and be able to 
ramble about and enjoy these green fields and meadows. It 
seems almost too great a privilege. I am afraid, when I once 
more sally forth and walk about the streets, I shall feel like & 
boy with a new coat, who thinks everybody will turn round 


JBn. 61.) OP WASHINGTON IRVfifG. 339 

to look at bim. " Bless my soul, how that gentleman has the 
use of his legs ! " 

I want some little excitement of the kind, just now, to en- 
liven me, for Alexander Hamilton is packing up, and preparing 
for his departure, which will probably take place in the course 
of three weeks. It ^ill be a hard parting for me, and I shall 
feel his loss sadly, for he has been everything to me as an effi- 
cient aid in business, a most kind-hearted attendant in sickness, 
and a cheerful, intelligent, sunshiny companion at all times. 
He will leave a popular name behind him among his intimates 
and acquaintances in Madrid, who have learned to appreciate 
his noble qualities of head and heart. What makes his depar- 
ture very trying to me, is, that he is in a manner linked with 
my home, and is the last of the young companions who left 
home with me. God bless him I he will carry home sunshine 
to his family. 

And now, with love to " all bodies," I must conclude. 
Your affectionate brother, 

Washington Ibvino. 

On the 27th of April, Mr. Irving informs his niece, 
at Paris, that he had given two diplomatic dinners 
lately, and should give a third the next day. " Ton 
will think," he says, " I am quite * breaking forth ' with 
dinner parties ; but, in truth, I have for a long time 
been so much depressed and out of social mood with 
my tedious malady, that I fell quite in arrears; and 
one of the first impulses, on finding myself really 
getting better, was to call my Mends about me and 
make good cheer." 

340 I^^ -^^^^ LETTERS [1844. 

The following is written under the same anspidons 
improvement in the state of his health, and after some 
encouraging news as to the condition of his invest- 
ments at home : 

[2b Mrs, Pierre M. Irvin^g.'] 

M4LDEID, April 28, 1844. 

My deab Helen : 

* * * I liave been rather lighthearted of late, at being in 
a great degree relieved from the malady which has so long kept 
me, as it were, in fetters. Yesterday I was at a Besa manos, or 
royal levee, at the palace, in honor of the birthday of the Queen 
Mother, where all the nobihty and people of official rank have 
the honor of kissing the hands of the Queen and royal fanuly ; 
and though the ceremonial lasted between two and three hours, 
I stood through the wliole of it without flinching. I have also 
taken a walk in the green alleys of the Retiro, for the first 
time in upward of fifteen months, and performed the feat to 
admiration. I do not figure about yet in the streets on foot, 
lest people should think me proud ; I continue, therefore, to 
drive out in my carriage. Indeed, I endeavor to behave as 
humbly and modestly as possible under " so great a dispensa- 
tion ; " but one cannot help being puffed up a Httle on having 
the use of one*s legs. 

* * * In consequence of the flourishing accounts 
Pierre has lately written of the state of my investments, I 
have just given a succession of diplomatic dinners, and am 
looking forward with impatience to the arrival of an American 
party of travellers, to have a pretence for giving more. I am 
terribly afraid my purse will get ahead of me imder Pierre's 
accumulating management, and I shall grow rich and stingy. 
Ilowever, I'll have a " hard try " for the contrary. 



May 3A — ^TVe have beautiful weather, and yesterday, for 
the first time in upward of a year, I took a walk on the Prado 
among all the gay world, and tlien seated myself under one of 
the trees, and looked on. The delightful temperature of the 
air, the sight of verdure, and the sound of fountains, made me 
feel quite young again, and I presume that was the reason why 
all the ladies looked so beautiful. I do not think I have seen 
so many pretty faces in the course of a morning since I was a 
young man. In fact, I have now and then thought that the 
world was growing old, and all the beauty dying out ; but yes- 
terday's walk in the Prado convinced me that I was mistaken. 

In the same cheerful mood he writes, a few days 
after, to his brother, who had informed him that Gen- 
eral George P. Morris had requested permission to 
publish his story of "The Wife," from the Sketch 
Book, in a periodical of which he was proprietor: 
" Give my regards to General Morris, and tell him he 
is quite welcome to my *Wife,' which is more than 
most of his friends could say." 

In another letter, written near the same period, we 
have, perhaps, the most curiously whimsical and origi- 
nal benediction that ever was invoked. It is in reply 
to information that one of his friends had submitted to 
a surgical operation, which had ended favorably : 

God bless these surgeons and dentists I May their good 
deeds be returned upon them a thousandfold I May they 
have the felicity, in the next world, to have successful opera- 
tions performed upon them to all eternity 1 

342 1*1^ ^^^^ UtTTEBS : [1844 



npHE day after the departure of Mr. Hamilton, the 
^ last of the three young companions who had em- 
barked with him in his mission, and were linked to him 
by home aflSnities, Mr. Irving writes to Mrs. Storrow 
(May 15th) : 

To-day there is an inexpressible loneliness in my mansioD, 
and its great saloons seem uncommonly empty and silent. I 
feel my heart choking me, as I walk about, and miss Hamilton 
from the places and seats he used to occupy. The servants 
partake in my dreary feelings, and that increases them. Juana 
cannot speak of the SenoritOy without the tears starting in her 
eyes. * * * 

I am scrawling this, because it is a relief to me to express 
what I feel, and I have no one at hand to converse with. The 
morning has been rainy, but it is holding up, and I shall drive 
out and get rid of these lonely feelings. To-day I dine with 
the Albuquerques, of which I am glad. 

All this will soon pass away, for I have been accustomed, 

^. 61.1 OP WASHINGT02f IBYINa. 343 

for a great part of mj life, to be much alone ; but I think, of 
late years, living at home, with those around to love and cher- 
ish me, my heart has become accustomed to look around for 
others to lean upon ; or, perhaps, I am growing less self-de- 
pendent and self-competent than I used to be. However, 
thank God, I am getting completely clear of my malady, and 
in a train to resume the occasional exercise of my pen ; and 
when I have that to occupy and solace me, I am independent 
of the world. 

I select some further passages from letters to Mrs. 
Storrow, addressed to her at Paris : 

May ISth, — I am wearied and at times heartsick of the 
wretched politics of this country, where there is so much in- 
trigue, falsehood, profligacy, and crime, and so little of high 
honor and pure patriotism in political affairs. The last ten or 
twelve years of my life * * * has shown me so much of 
the dark side of human nature, that I begin to have painful 
doubts of my fellow men, and look back with regret to the 
confiding period of my literary career, when, poor as a rat, but 
rich in dreams, I beheld the world through the medium of my 
imagination, and was apt to beUeve men as good as I wished 
them to be. 

May 2ith, — ^I see that a new Minister has been appomted 
for Paris, Mr. William King, of Alabama, who for many years 
has been in the Senate of the United States. He is an old 
acquaintance of mine, a very gentleman-like man. I first knew 
him about the year 1817, when I was residing with your imcle 
Peter, in Liverpool. He was then on his way home from Rus- 
sia, having been attached to the legation in that court. He 

344 ^^^^^ ^^^^ lETTEBS DdH. 

remained a week or two at Liverpool, and dined alternately 
with us, with a Mr. Kirwan, of Philadelphia, and Mr. Hag- 
gerty, of Virginia, so that we were every day the same party 
of five, though at different houses. "We supposed he would 
give a good account of Liverpool, on his return home, as a 
very hospitable place, but with only Jive inhabitants, I be- 
lieve he is still a bachelor, in which case I should not be siur- 
prised if he were an old one. 

I have enjoyed myself greatly in the Retiro of late. It is 
such a delight to be able once more to ramble about the shady 
alleys, and to have the companionship of nightingales, with 
which the place abounds at this season of the year. There is 
a beautiful prospect, too, of the distant Guadarrama moimtains, 
seen rising above the treetops, tinted with hazy purple, and 
crowned with snow. The Retiro is one of the few pleasant 
haunts that cheer the surrounding steriHty of Madrid. 

* ♦ * I am rejoiced to find, by my family letters, that 
Mr. Grinnell has taken Mr. George Jones's house for the pres- 
ent year, and that Mr. Mintum contmues to occupy Mrs. Col- 
ford Jones's. What delightful arrangements these will be for 
the cottage ! I feel homesick at the very idea ! It will be 
a gay, social neighborhood, with gayety of the right kind. 
Grinnell will be a famous hand for yachting with the jovial 
mariners of Nevis. Tell Alexander Hamilton I envy him the 
merry cruisings there will be this summer on the Tappan Zee. 

* ♦ ♦ Give my kind remembrances to Mr. Storrow, 
and kiss my darling little Kate for me, who, I fear, has quite 
forgotten the " Unty " from whom she receives so many remit- 
tances of the kind. 

Your affectionate uncle, 

"Washington Ibvino. 


Alexander Hamilton, to whom the message toward 
the close of this extract is sent, was his late Secretary 
of Legation, then at Paris, on his way homeward. 
Nevis was the name of the family homestead on the 
Hudson, about a mile south of Sunnyside. 

The following extract from a letter to his sister, 
Mrs. Paris, announces the arrival of his new Secretary 
of Legation, Mr. Jasper H. Livingston, a son of Brock- 
hoist Livingston, Judge of the Supreme Court of the 
Uiuted States, with whom, as has been noted, Mr. 
tving had passed a part of his novitiate as a student 
at law : 

June 15^A. — ^I am now preparing for a journey to Barce- 
lona, where I have to go to deliver two letters from the Presi- 
dent to the Queen : one congratulatory on her accession to the 
throne, the other of condolence on the death of her uncle. 
They have been a long time on the way, and did not reach us 
until long after the Queen*s departure; otherwise I should 
have delivered them here, and have endeavored to dispense 
with this journey to Barcelona. It is a long journey to make 
in this hot weather, and I fear I shall find Barcelona crowded, 
and comfortable quarters not to be had. 

Mr. Livingston, who takes the place of Mr. Hamilton, 
arrived here about a week since, with a nephew, a fine boy 
about thirteen years of age. They have taken up their abode 
with me, and have quite enlivened my house. 

Mr. Lrving left Madrid for Barcelona on the 26th 
of June. The following is written about a week after 
Vol. in.— 15* 

346 ^"^^ ^^^^ LETTEBS [1844. 

his arriyal in that " beantiM city, which,'' he writes to 
me, " appears to me to be one of the favored spots of 
the earth ; snrrotinded by a rich and fruitful country, 
magnificent prospects of land and sea, and blessed with 
a sweetly tempered southern climate." 

[To Mrs. Paris.] 

Baeosloha, July 5, 1844. 

Mt deab Sister : 

I presume Sarah Storrow has forwarded to you the letter I 
wrote to her on my arrival at this city, giving some account of 
my journey from Madrid, through the wild, mountainous region 
of Arragon. It was very fatiguing, very hot, and very dusty, 
yet I am glad I have made it, as it took me through a great 
part of what was a distinct kingdom before the marriage of 
Ferdinand with Isabella, by which the crowns of Arragon uid 
Castile became united. We travelled almost constantly, daj 
and night. In some of the mountainous parts the diligence 
was drawn by eight, and occasionally ten mules, harnessed two 
and two, with a driver on the box, a zagal, or help, who scam- 
})ered for a great part of the way beside the mules, thwackiDg 
them occasionally with a stick, and bawling out their names in 
all kinds of tones and inflections ; while a lad of fifteen years 
of age was mounted on one of the leaders, to act as pilot 
This lad kept on with us for a great part of the journey. 
How he bore the fatigue, I can hardly imagine; and more 
especially the want of sleep, for we only paused about six 
hours each evening to dine and take repose. He, however, I 
found, could sleep on horseback; and repeatedly, when our 
long line of mules and the lumbering diligence were winding 
along roads cut around the face of mountains, and along the 


brink of tremendous precipices, the postilion was sleeping on 
his saddle, and we were left to the caution and discretion of 
the mules. However, we accompUshed our journey in safety, 
in defiance of rough roads and robbers, and arrived here, after 
three days and a half of almost continual travel. 

My first care was to get into comfortable quarters, every 
hotel being crowded, and all furnished apartments being taken 
up since the arrival of the court. For a few days I was 
stowed away in a small room in the upper part of a hotel, and 
recollected, with regret, my spacious and cool saloons at Mad- 
rid. While thus lodged, I received a visit from a Mr. or Don 
Pablo Anguera, who formerly acted here as American Consul, 
and who is an old customer and intimate of Mr. Van "Wart, 
having a mercantile estabhshment in Havana, where he has 
made his fortune. He and his wife have resided for a couple 
of years in England, in the neighborhood of Mr. Van Wart, 
and have been extremely intimate with the family. 

Finding I was so indifferently lodged, nothing would suit 
this worthy man but I must accept of a part of hid house. It 
was very spacious, he said, j^nd his family was very small, and 
I could have a distinct apartment entirely to myself. In fine, 
I was easily compelled to avail myself of his hospitahty, and, 
accordingly, here I am, most capitally accommodated. I have 
the front part of the house, which looks on the street, to my- 
self, while the family occupy the apartments in the rear, which 
look on a very pretty garden, with fountains, statues, &c. I 
have a spacious and beautiful saloon, richly gilded, the ceilings 
painted in fresco, the furniture fashionable and commodious, 
adjoining which is a cabinet in similar style, where I write, 
receive visitors, &c. ; and a noble alcove, in which is a bed 
ample enough for the seven sleepers, and so luxurious, that. 

248 l^I^ ^^^ LETTERS [ISU. 

had they once been tucked into it, they would have slept on 
until doomsday. Lorenzo has a room adjoining, so as to be 
completely within call. My breakfasts are served to me in the 
cabinet, and I dine with the family, or dine abroad, as I may 
find pleasant or convenient. * * ♦ 

I am delighted with Barcelona. It is a beautiful city, 
especially the new part, with a mixture of Spanisli, French, 
and Italian character. The climate is soft and voluptuous, the 
heats being tempered by the sea breezes. Instead of the 
naked desert which surrounds Madrid, we have here, between 
the sea and the mountains, a rich and fertile plain, with villas 
buried among groves and gardens, in which grow the orange, 
the citron, the pomegranate, and other fruits of southern cH- 
mates. We have here, too, an excellent ItaUan opera, which 
is a great resource to me. Indeed, the theatre is the nightly 
place of meeting of the diplomatic corps and various members 
of the court, and there is great visiting from box to box. The 
greatest novelty in our diplomatic circle is the Turkish Minis- 
ter, who arrived lately at Barcelona on a special mission to the 
Spanish Court. His arrival made auite a sensation here, there 
having been no representative from the Court of the Grand 
Sultan for more than half a century. He was for a time quite 
the Hon ; everything he said and did was the theme of conver- 
sation. I think, however, he has quite disappointed the popu- 
lar curiosity. Something oriental and theatrical was expected 
— ^a Turk in a turban and bagging trousers, with a furred robe, 
a long pipe, a huge beard and moustache, a bevy of wives, 
and a regiment of black slaves. Instead of this, the Turkish 
Ambassador turned out to be an easy, pleasant, gentleman-like 
man, in a frock coat, white drill pantaloons, black cravat, white 
kid gloves, and dandy cane ; with nothing Turkish in lus cos- 


tmne but a red cap with a long, blue silken tassel. In fact^ he 
is a complete man of society, who has visited various parts of 
Europe, is European in his manners, and, when he takes oflf his 
Turkish cap, has very much the look of a well-bred Itahan 
gentleman^ I confess I should rather have seen him in the 
magnificent costume of the East ; and I regret that that cos- 
tume, endeared to me by the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, 
that joy of my boyhood, is fast giving way to the levelling and 
monotonous prevalence of French and Enghsh fashions. The 
Turks, too, are not aware of what they lose by the change of 
costume. In their oriental dress, they are magnificent-looking 
men, and seem superior in dignity of form to Europeans ; but, 
once stripped of turban and flowing robes, and attired in the 
close-fitting, trimly cut modem dress, and they shrink in dimen- 
sions, and turn out a very ill-made race. Notwithstanding his 
Christian dress, however, I have found the Eflfendi a very in- 
telligent and interesting companion. He is extremely well 
informed, has read much and observed still more, and is very 
frank and animated in conversation. Unfortunately, his so- 
journ here will be but for a very few days longer. He intends 
to make the tour of Spain, and to visit those parts especially 
which contain historical remains of the time of the Moors and 
Arabs. Granada will be a leading object of curiosity with 
him. I should have delighted to visit it in company with 

I know, all this while you are dying to have another chap- 
ter about the little Queen, so I must gratify you. I applied 
for an audience shortly after my arrival having two letters to 
dehver to the Queen from President Tyler ; one congratulating 
her on her majority, the other condoling with her on the death 
of her aunt. The next day, at six o'clock in the evening, was 

350 ^'^^^ '^^^ LBTTBB8 [ISM. 

appointed for the audience, which was granted at the same 
time to the members of the diplomatic corps who had trayeUed 
in company with me, and to two others who had preceded us. 
It was about the time when the Queen drives out to take the 
air. Troops were drawn up in the square in front of the pal- 
ace, awaiting her appearance, and a considerable crowd assem- 
bled. As we ascended the grand staircase, we found groups 
of people on the principal landing places, waiting to get a sight 
of royalty. This palace had a peculiar interest for me. Here, 
as often occurs in my unsettled and wandering life, I was com- 
ing back again on the footsteps of former times. In 1829, 
when I passed a few days in Barcelona, on my way to Eng- 
land to take my post as Secretary of Legation, this palace was 
inhabited by the Count de Espagne, at that time Captain Gen- 
eral of the province. I had heard much of the cruelty of his 
disposition, and the rigor of his military rule. He was the 
terror of the Catalans, and hated by them as much as he was 
feared. I dined with him, in company with two or three Eng- 
lish gentlemen, residents of the place, with whom he was on 
familiar terms. In entering his palace, I felt that I was enter- 
ing the abode of a tyrant. His appearance was characteristic. 
He was about forty-five years of age, of the middle size, but 
well set and strongly built, and became his military dress. His 
face was rather handsome, his demeanor courteous, and at table 
he became social and jocose ; but I thought I could see a lurk- 
ing devil in his eye, and something hardhearted and derisive in 
his laugh. The English guests were liis cronies, and, with 
them, I perceived his jokes were coarse, and his humor inclined 
to buffoonery. At that time, Maria Christina, then a beau- 
tiful Neapolitan princess in the flower of her years, was daily 
expected at Barcelona, on her way to Madrid to be married to 


Ferdinand VII. While the Count and his guests were seated 
at table, after dinner, enjoying the wine and cigars, one of the 
petty functionaries of the city, equivalent to a deputy alder- 
man, was announced. The Count winked to the company, and 
promised a scene for their amusement. The city dignitary 
came bustling into the apartment with an air of hurried zeal 
and momentous import, as if about to make some great revela- 
tion. He had just received intelligence, by letter, of the 
movements of the Princess, and the time when she might be 
expected to arrive, and had hastened to communicate it at 
headquarters. There was nothing in the intelligence that had 
not been previously known to the Count, and that he had not 
communicated to us during dinner ; but he aflfected to receive 
the information with great surprise, made the functionary re- 
peat it over and over, each time deepening the profundity of 
his attention ; finally he bowed the city oracle quite out of Uie 
saloon, and almost to the head of the staircase, and sent him 
home swelling with the idea that he had communicated a state 
secret, and fixed himself in the favor of the Count The lat- 
ter returned to us laughing immoderately at the manner in 
whicli he had played off the little dignitary, and mimicking the 
voice and manner with which the latter had imparted his im- 
portant nothings. It was altogether a high farce, more comic 
in the acting than in the description ; but it was the sportive 
gambolling of a tiger, and I give it to show how the tyrant, in 
his hours of familiarity, may play the buffoon. 

The Count de Espagne was a favorite general of Ferdinand, 
and, during the life of that monarch, continued in high miUtary 
command. In the civil wars, he espoused the cause of Don 
Carlos, and was charged with many sanguinary acts. His day 
of retribution came. He fell into the hands of his enemies, 

352 ^^^ ^^ LETTEBS [18M. 

and was murdered, it is said, with savage cruelty, while being 
conducted a prisoner among the mountains. Such are the 
bloody reverses which continually occur in this eventful coun- 
try, especially in these revolutionary times. 

I thought of all these things as I ascended the grand stair* 
casa Fifteen years had elapsed since I took leave of the 
Count at the top of this staircase, and it seemed as if his hard* 
hearted, derisive laugh still sounded in my ears. He was then 
a loyal subject and a powerful conmiander ; he had since been 
branded as a traitor and a rebel, murdered by those whom he 
had oppressed, and hurried into a bloody grave. The beautiful 
yoimg Princess, whose approach was at that time the theme of 
every tongue, had since gone through all kinds of reverses. 
She had been on a throne, she had been in exile, she was now 
a widowed Que^n, a subject of^her own daughter, and a so- 
joiuner in this palace. 

On entering the royal apartments, I recognized some of the 
old courtiers whom I had been accustomed to see about the 
royal person at Madrid, and was cordially greeted by them, for 
at Barcelona we all come together sociably as at a watering 
place. The " introducer of ambassadors " (the Chevalier de 
Arana) conducted my companions and myself into a saloon, 
where we waited to be summoned into the royal presence- I, 
being the highest in diplomatic rank of the party present, was 
first summoned. On entering, I found the httle Queen stand- 
ing in the centre of the room, and, at a little distance behind 
her, the Marchioness of Santa Cruz, first lady in attendance. 
Unfortimately, I forgot to take notice how the Queen was 
dressed, and, for this time, cannot give you accurate informa- 
tion on this important point. I only know that she was 
dressed to take her evening drive. She had a pinkish bonnet, 



with pinkish flowers, and, altogether, her whole dress has left 
a kind of pinkish idea in my mind. She had even a slight 
pinkish bloom in her face, which is usually pale. Indeed, her 
whole appearance is improved; it is more healthful. She is 
growing more and more womanly, and more and more en- 
gaging. The expression of her countenance was extremelv 
amiable. She received me in a quiet, graceful manner, with 
considerable self-possession, expressing, in a low voice, the 
hope that I had made a pleasant journey, &c. This must be 
the hardest task, for so young a creature, to have to play the 
Queen solus, receiving, one by one, the diplomatic corps, and 
beginning the conversation with each. Our interview was 
brief. I presented my two letters, expressed the satisfaction 
which I (really) felt at seeing, by her improved looks, that the 
sojourn at Barcelona had been beneficial to her, &c., after 
which I retired, to give place to my companions. We had 
afterward, one by one, an audience of the Queen Mother, who 
is looking very well, though, I am told, she is still subject to 
great anxiety and frequent depression of spirits, feeling the 
uncertainty of political affairs in Spain, and the difficulties and 
dangers which surround the throne of her youthful daughter. 
Nothing could be more gracious and amiable than her recep- 
tion. Her smile is one of the most winning I have ever wit- 
nessed ; and the more I see of her, the less I wonder at that 
fascination wb'ch, in her younger and more beautiful days, was 
so omnipotent, and which, even now, has such control over all * 
who are much about her person. 

July *Jth, — ^Yesterday I made a very pleasant excursion 
into the country, two or three miles from Barcelona, toward 
the mountains, to a little rural retreat of the Brazilian Consul, 

Vol. in.— (23) 

354 I'™^ AND LBTTEBS [I9ik 

who gave a dinner to about twenty-two persons, ladies and 
gentlemen, of the corps diplomatique and the consular corps. 
It was a very handsome and a very gay dinner. The saloon 
in which the table was laid looked out upon a garden, with 
foimtains, the rich plain, the city of Barcelona in the distance, 
and the blue Mediterranean beyond ; a splendid picture, seen 
under a southern sky, and with the enjoyment of the softest 
and most voluptuous temperature. The garden of the villa 
was shaded by fig trees, orange trees, citrons ; and the hedges 
of the neighboring fields were of the aloes. Everything 
looked and felt and breathed of the sweet south. We re- 
turned for a great part of th^ way to town on foot, the even- 
ing was so delicious. The more I see of Barcelona and its 
environs, the more I am delighted with them. * * * 

God bless you, my dear sister. Give my heart's love to all 
the dear inmates of sweet little Sunny side. 
Your affectionate brother, 

Washington Irving. 

Eleven days after the date of the foregoing letter, 
to which he refers me, with a hint that he Bhonld have 
to " greatly retrench the epistolary prodigality of [his] 
pen," and in reply to a letter in which I informed him 
of my having taken advantage of a miraculous resusci- 
tation of some long-barren stock of his to sell it, he 
writes me from Barcelona as follows : 

July I8th. — ^Yesterday I received my letters by the steam 
packet of the 15th of June, among which is a despatch from 
Government, granting me the temporary leave of absence for 
the benefit of my health which I had solicited. I shall avail 

JBft. 61.] OP WA^HKOTON IRVING. 355 

myself of the leave of absence toward the end of this month, 
to make an excursion to Paris previous to returning to Madrid. 
I shall thus escape the dry, parching summer heat of the Span- 
ish capital, be enabled, if necessary, to consult the French 
physician who attended me last autumn, refresh and recruit 
myself by a pleasant tour and complete change of climate, and 
return to Madrid early in the autumn, fully prepared, I trust, 
to enter with vigor upon my hterary as well as my diplomatic 
occupations. I feel quite obhged to President Tyler for ena- 
bling me to make this pleasant and healthful arrangement, and 
hope, in return, that, if he should succeed in annexing Texas, 
it may become an apanage in his family, for the benefit of his 
eldest son! However, this is a dangerous aspiration, and I 
beg you will not breathe it to any one but Helen. 

By the same opportunity I have received the joint letter 
of yourself and Helen ; or, rather, her letter with your post- 
script crowded into holes and comers. * * * Your post- 
script, however, is worth its weight in gold, as you tell me you 

have sold my ■ shares of stock for 

dollars a share. This is really so much money hauled out of 
the ashes. I shall now begin to think something may one day 
turn up for the girls, out of the dead and buried claim of 
Anaky Yanz. 

Tell Helen this new and unlooked-for influx of wealth 
makes it indispensable for me to hurry to Paris, to prevent a 
plethora of the purse. Jupiter ! how I will bum the candle 
at both ends when I get there ! Don't tell your aunt, though, 
for I see she thinks I'm a wild, expensive young dog. 

Your affectionate uncle, W. I. 

P. S. — ^I have written to Mr. Livingston, my Secretary of 

356 ^^^ "^^^^ LETTEBS [1844. 

Legation, to have my old carriage vamped up and varnished, 
and a taller cockade put in Pepe's hat against I return to Mad- 
rid, for I am determined, now mj pockets are so full, to strike 
out with unusual splendor. Not a word to your aunt, how- 

The "aunf to whom he alludes in this playful 
oatbreak, was his sister, Mrs. Fans. 





TN the following extract we have a pleasant picture 
-^ of the author's wayfaring from Barcelona to Mar- 

[To Mrs. Paris,] 

Baboblona, July 28, 1844. 

My dear Sister : 

To-morrow I embark in a Spanish steamer for Marseilles, 
on my way to Paris. I leave this beautiful city with regret, 
for my time has passed here most happily. Indeed, one enjoys 
the very poetry of existence in these soft southern climates 
which border the Mediterranean. All here is picture and 
romance. Nothing has given me greater delight than occa- 
sional evening drives with some of my diplomatic colleagues to 
those country seats, or Torres^ as they are called, situated on 
the slopes of the hills, two or three miles from the city, sur- 
rounded by groves of oranges, citrons, figs, pomegranates, &c., 
with terraced gardens gay with flowers and fountains. Here 
we would sit on the lofty terraces overlooking the rich and 
varied plain; the distant city gilded by the setting sun, and 

368 ^^^^ J^^^ UETTEBS [184^ 

the blue sea beyond. Nothing can be purer and softer and 
sweeter than the evening air inhaled in these favored retreats. 

July 2dth, On board of the Spanish steamer ViHa de 
Madrid. — ^At seven o'clock this morning we left Barcelona, 
and have been all day ghding along a smooth summer sea, in 
sight of the Spanish coast, which is here very mountainous 
and picturesque. Old ruined castles are to be seen here and 
there on the summit of cragged heights, with villages gleam- 
ing along the shore below them. The Catalonian coast is 
studded with bright little towns, the seats of industry and 
enterprise, for Catalonia is the New England of Spain, full of 
bustle and activity. We have, as usual, a clear blue sky over- 
head; the air is bland and delightful, and the sea enlivened 
here and there by the picturesque Mediterranean vessels, with 
their tapering lateen sails. To-night we shall have delightful 
sailing by the light of the full moon — a hght which I have 
peculiarly enjoyed, of late, among the orange gardens of Bar- 

On board of the steamer we have a joyous party of Cata- 
lans, gentlemen and ladies, who are bound to St. Filian, a 
town on the coast, where there is to be held some annual fete. 
They have all the gayety and animation which distinguish the 
people of these provinces. 

While I am writing at a table in the cabin, I am sensible 
of the power of a pair of splendid Spanish eyes which are 
occasionally flashing upon me, and which almost seem to throw 
a light upon the paper. Since I cannot break the spell, I will 
describe the owner of them. She is a young married lady, 
about four or five and twenty, middle sized, finely modelled, a 
Grecian outline of face, a complexion sallow yet healthful, 
raven black hair, eyes dark, large, and beaming, softened by 


long eyelashes, lips fiill and rosy red, yet finely chiselled, and 
teeth of dazzling whiteness. She is dressed in black, as if in 
mourning ; on one hand is a black glove ; the other hand, un- 
gloved, is small, exquisitely formed, with taper fingers and blue 
veins. She has just put it up to adjust her clustering black 
locks. I never saw female hand more exquisite. Really, if I 
were a young man, I should not be able to draw the portrait 
of this beautiful creature so calmly. 

I was interrupted in my letter writing, by an observation 
of the lady whom I was describing. She had caught my eye 
occasionally, as it glanced from my letter toward her. " Really, 
Senor," said she, at length, with a smile, "one would think 
you were a painter, taking my likeness." I could not resist 
the impulse. "Indeed," said I, "I am taking it ; I am writing 
to a fiiend the other side of the world, discussing things that 
are passing before me, and I could not help noting down one 
of the best specimens of the country that I had met with." 
A little bantering took place between the young lady, her 
husband, and myself, which ended in my reading off, as well as 
I could into Spanish, the description I had just written down. 
It occasioned a world of merriment, and was taken in excel- 
lent part. The lady's cheek, for once, mantled with the rose. 
She laughed, shook her head, and said I was a very fanciful 
portrait painter; and the husband declared that, if I would 
stop at St. Filian, all the ladies in the place would crowd to 
me to have their portraits taken — ^my pictures were so flatter- 
ing. I have just parted with them. The steamship stopped in 
the open sea, just in front of the little bay of St. Filian ; boats 
came off from shore for the party. I helped the beautiful 
original of the portrait into the boat, and promised her and her 
husband, if ever I should come to St. Filian, I would pay them 

330 ^^^^^ ^^ LETTERS £l84i. 

a visit. The last I noticed of her, was a Spanish fiurewefl 
wave of her beautiful white hand, and the gleam of her daz- 
zling teeth as she smiled adieu. So there's a very tolerable 
touch of romance for a gentleman of my years. 

Mabskilles, July 3lst. — I arrived here yesterday morn- 
ing, about eight o'clock, after a beautiful sail by nnxHilighti 
which kept me a great part of the night on the deck. 

I entered the harbor of Marseilles between the forts that 
guard it like two giants. Just without the fort I recognized a 
little cove where I used to bathe when I was here, just forty 
years since. I landed on the quay where I had often walked 
in old times. It was but little altered, but the harbor, at that 
time, was nearly empty, being a time of war; it was now 
crowded with shipping. The city had nearly doubled in size, 
and had greatly improved in beauty, as have all European 
cities during this long peace. It is indeed a magnificent city, 
one of the stateliest in France. 

On the afternoon of the Slst July, Mr. Xrving, ac- 
companied by his faithful Lorenzo, took the diligence 
for Avignon, and, after travelling all night, arrived 
early in the morning at that ^^ ancient and picturesque 
town," which he had visited in his youthM days. He 
took another look at the old castle where the Pope 
resided for nearly a century, and a peep into the old 
church where once was the tomb of Petrarch's Laura, 
and then embarked in a steamer on the Rhone for 
Lyons. "I was delighted with the scenery of the 
river," he writes. " It is very varied, many parts wild, 
mountainous, and picturesque ; some parts resembling 



the scenery of the Hndson, with the addition of old 
towns, villages, mined castles, &c.'' From Lyons he 
continued his course in enother steamer up the Saone, 
the scenery of which he did not find so striking as that 
of the Bhone, to Chalons, whence he took the diligence 
for Paris. After passing a week " of heartfelt pleas- 
ure '^ at Versailles with his niece, Mrs. Storrow, and 
her chfldren, he set off, with Lorenzo, for Havre, to 
pay his " worthy friend Beasley a visit," who had writ- 
ten him to come down there before Captain Funck 
sailed, " that he might jollify a little with the magnani- 
mous Captain and the Ledyards, who were to embark 
with him." From Havre, where he spent a few days 
"most pleasantly," he set off, at five o'clock in the 
afternoon of the 21st of August, in a steamer for Lon- 
don direct, whence he intended to make the best of his 
way to Birmingham, the residence of his sister. " Tell 
Mr. Storrow," he writes to his niece on the eve of his 
departure, " to send all letters for me in an envelope 
addressed to Mr. Yan Wart. I do not want my name 
to appear in any way that may draw upon me invita- 

He slipped through London, only stopping to pass 
his trunks through the custom house; and, after a 
pleasant sojourn of about three weeks at Birmingham, 
where he found his sister, who had been an invalid, 
improved beyond his expectations, he shaped his course 
again for France. 

Tlie teasing remains of his malady still clung to his 

Vol. III.— 16 

362 ^'^^ ^^^^ LETTEBS [1844. 

ankles, and he continned to linger in Paris for some 
time, in hopes of getting in good travelling condition 
by the aid of baths. A few -days before he set off on 
his long jonmej to his post, he sends his sister, Mrs. 
Paris, the following account of another visit to Louis 

I have been living so quietly for some time past, that I 
have nothing new to tell you excepting a visit which I paid to 
King Louis Philippe, about a week since. I made it in com- 
pany with Mr. King, our Minister at the Court, and Mr. 
Wheaton, our Minister to Prussia, who is making a sojourn in 
this city. The royal family were at St. Cloud, a few miles 
from Paris. The King, while at the country seats, receives 
privileged visitors in the evenings, when they go in plain 
dress. "We drove out to St. Cloud in Mr. King's carriage. I 
thought of Napoleon as we entered the gates and ascended the 
great marble staircase of this beautiful palace, for it was one 
of his favorite residences. The interior of the palace was bril- 
liantly hghted up. "W"e passed through spacious halls and 
antechambers, and caught vistas through long galleries superbly 
painted and gilded ; all contrasting with the partial gloom of 
the royal palace at Madrid, on my last evening visit to it. 

We found the royal family in a lofty square chamber, at 
tlie end of one of the saloons. As on my former visit (in 
1842), the Queen and Madame Adelaide were seated at a 
round table, engaged in needlework or embroidery. The beau- 
tiful young Duchess de Nemours was likewise seated at the 
table, as were two or three ladies of rank. At another round 
table on the opposite side of the room, were seated twc or 
three ladies of honor. The tea equipage was on the table, i. 


in a private house. Several gentlemen, some in military imi- 
forms, were in groups about the room. The Duke de Nemours 
was in one of the groups, and the Kang was conversing with a 
diplomatic personage in the embrasure of one of the windows. 
The King was in plain dress, and there was altogether an 
absence of form and ceremony. I paid my respects to the 
Queen and Madame Adelaide, both of Whom recollected me 
and my previous visit, received me very amiably, inquired 
whether I was engaged on any literary work, &c. The Queen 
is always pale and thin, but appears still thinner than when I 
last saw her. You may recollect that it was but a few days 
after that visit, that her son, the Duke of Orleans, was killed 
by a fall from his carriage — a domestic blow which she has 
never ceased to deplore. 

"We had a long and varied conversation with the King. 
He appears to be in excellent health and spirits, and bears in 
his countenance and carriage the promise of a length of days. 
He converses very freely and copiously, and turned from one 
subject to another, varying his humor with his theme. He is 
fond of telling stories of his adventures in the backwoods in 
America, and gave us one or two in excellent style, laughing 
heartily. I was surprised to find how tenaciously he retains 
the names of places and persons, the relative distances, the 
nature of the country, &c., &c. Our conversation must have 
lasted for half an hour, and was more like the frank, social 
conversation of common life, than the diplomatic communica- 
tions between a king and ambassadors. The King has been 
highly gratified by his late visit to England, and it has put him 
in wonderful good humor. He regretted that the ocean was 
8o wide and the United States so far off, that he could not pay 
our country a visit with equal convenience. 

304 ^^^^ '^^^ LETTSBS [im. 

The next letter from which I quote is addressed to 
the same correspondent, nine days after his arrival in 
Madrid, which he reached on the 17th of November, 
after a more comfortable journey from Paris than he 
had anticipated from the irritation that still hung about 
his ankles. 

My return home was hailed with transports of joy by the 
whole household. Juana threw her arms round my neck. 
Old Pedro, the coachman, cut a most uncouth caper, and I had 
much ado to avoid the embraces of the cook's aide-de-camp 
and the footboy. I found everything prepared to make me com- 
fortable for the winter : my bedroom fresh papered, curtained, 
and carpeted, and looking so cosey, that, were I an old bachelor 
(which you know I am not), I should have been tempted to 
nestle myself in it, and give up the world until spring time. 

I find Madrid quite grand and gay imder the domination 
of the Moderados. The nobility and the wealthy are vieing 
with each other in display, during this interval of political sun- 
shine ; and as many fortunes have been made by men in office 
and political speculators, all Madrid rattles and glitters with 
new equipages. One would hardly suspect, from the luxury 
of the capital, that the country was so wretchedly impover- 
ished. The Court, too, is more gay and magnificent than I 
have ever known it to be. There had been a grand concert at 
the palace a few days before my arrival ; and I came just in 
time for a Besa manos at the palace, and a ball at General 
Narvaez', on the yoimg Queen's saint's day. 

After some account of the crowded Bern mcmoSy 
where the diplomatic corps were kept standing for a 


couple of hours in front of the throne, while the im- 
mense throng passed one by one, kneeling, and kissing 
the hands of the Queen and royal family, the letter 
proceeds : 

In the evening was the ball at the hotel of General Nar- 
vaez, at which the Queen and royal family were present — a 
compliment rarely paid to a subject at this punctilious Court. 
Though the hotel of General Narvaez is of great size, built 
around an open court, with great saloons, yet it was exceed- 
ingly crowded, there being about fifteen hundred persons pres- 
ent. The General is of a swelling, magnificent spirit, and does 
not regard expense ; and certainly nothing had been spared to 
make this entertainment worthy of the royal presence. An 
inner room, at the end of the principal saloon, was appropri- 
ated to the Queen and royal family, with such of the royal 
household as were in attendance on them, and to the members 
of the corps diplomatique^ who are expected to be near the 
royal person. I had great difficulty in making my way 
through the crowded saloons to the royal presence. The 
young Queen had laid aside her state dress of the morning, 
and was arrayed simply, but becomingly, in white. Her prin- 
cipal ornament was a necklace of six rows of pearls with a 
splendid diamond clasp. She was in high glee. Indeed, I 
never saw a schoolgirl at a school ball enjoy herself more com- 
pletely. A royal quadrille was formed in the saloon just in 
front of the presence chamber. In the first quadrille, General 
Narvaez danced with the Queen ; Count Bresson (the French 
Ambassador) with the Queen Mother ; the Portuguese Minister 
with the Infanta ; others of the diplomatic corps and of the 
royal household Tnth the princesses (daughters of Don Fran- 

366 Un AHD I£RBBS [1841 

Cisco), the Princess Carini, the French ambassadors, &c. 
There were blunders in the quadrille, which set the little Queen 
laughing ; and queer, old-fashioned dancing on the part of the 
Portuguese Minister, which increased her risibiUtj. She was 
at times absolutelj conyulsed with laughter, and throughout 
the whole evening showed a merriment that was quite conta- 
gious. I have never seen her in such a joyous mood, having 
chiefly seen her on ceremonious occasions, and had no idea that 
she had so much real fun in her disposition. She danced with 
various members of the diplomatic corps; and about four 
o'clock in the morning, when she was asked if she could ven- 
ture upon another dance. Oh, yes ! she said ; she could dance 
eight more, if necessary. The Queen Mother, however, got 
her away between four and five. I was repeatedly asked to 
take a part in the royal quadrille, but pleaded my lameness as 
an excuse ; for I do not know whether my years would have 
been a sufficient apology where royalty was in question. I left 
the ball about three o'clock in the morning ; and, having been 
on my legs at that, and the Besa manos, almost ever since one 
o'clock in the preceding day, I expected to be laid up with 
inflammation of the ankles. To my great surprise and satia- 
£Ew;tion, I have experienced no ill effects, and, ever since, the 
symptoms of my malady have been declining. 

I have given you but the beginning of court gayeties. To- 
morrow, the corps diplomatique are invited to a royal dinner at 
the palace, which I am curious to see, having never been pres- 
ent on an occasion of the kind at this Court. There is a tall^ 
also, of a succession of concerts and balls at the palace ; of 
another ball at Greneral Narvaez', and of other entertainments 
in the court circle, unless some conspiracy or insurrection should 
break out to throw everything in confusion. Everything ia 


undertaken here with such a proviso ; and a ladj who was pre- 
paring for the grand ball of General Narvaez, expressed her 
fears to me that we should all be blown up there, a plot having 
been discovered, some months since, to blow the General up at 
his lodgings. 

A few days later, lie gives his Bister a long aecoimt 
of tlie royal banquet, at which, the number of guests 
was upward of a hundred, composed of the Cabinet 
Ministers, the principal dignitaries of the Government, 
the diplomatic corps, with their wives (such as had 
any), and the ladies in attendance on the royal family. 
His position at the table was to the left of the Queen 
Mother. In bringing his details to a close, he remarks : 

Thus, my dear sister, I have endeavored to give you a 
familiar idea of a royal banquet, and the interior of a royal 
palace. I am afraid, if any strange eye should peruse these 
domestic scribblings, I should be set down as one infatuated 
with courts and court ceremonies ; but these are intended only 
for your eye, my dear sister, and for the domestic little circle 
of the cottage, and to gratify that curiosity which those who 
live in the quiet and happy seclusion of the country have to 
leam the reality about kings and queens, and to have a peep 
into the interior of their abodes. 

At the close of another letter addressed to Mrs. 
Storrow at Paris, in which he had indulged in some 
details of court entertainments, and other festivities, he 
observes : 

You will conclude, from all these details of gayeties, that I 
am a very gay fellow ; but I assure you I am often, in the 

308 UFE AHD LETTSBS [1815. 

midst of these brilliant throngs, the yerj dullest of the duU 
Unless there should be some one or other of mj few cordial 
intimates present to whom I can link myself I am apt to gaze 
on the crowd around me with perfect apathy, and find it very 
difficult, and at times impossible, to pay those commonplace 
attentions, and make those commonplace speeches to scores of 
half acquaintances, required in the wide circulation of feshion- 
able society. I have grown too old or too wise for all that. I 
hope those who observe my delinquency attribute it to the lat- 
ter cause. How different my feelings are at these court fetes 
and fashionable routs, from what they were at our cordial little 
American soiries at Paris ! 

I take the following from a letter to Mrs. Paris, 
dated Madrid, February 19th, 1845 : 

Madrid has been uncommonly gay this winter. The aris- 
tocracy, having got the Grovernment in their hands, and feeling 
confident of continuing in power, have resumed somewhat of 
their old state and splendor. The Court has been quite mag- 
nificent. * * * 

I have been particularly pleased with two concerts given 
at the palace. One was an amateur concert, at which several 
ladies of the court circle acquitted themselves in a manner that 
would have done credit to first-rate artistes. On these occa- 
sions an immense range of saloons and chambers was thrown 
open, different firom those in which the banquet was given, or 
in which the Besa manos are held. The concert was given in 
a splendid saloon, where seats were provided for a great part 
of the company ; many, however, had to stand the whole time. 
The seats assigned to the diplomatic corps were in firont, dose 
to those of the Queen and royal family ; there was no stirring, 


therefore, from one's place. After the first part of the concert, 
however, we all adjourned to a distant apartment fitted up in 
the style of a grotto, where tables were set out with a cold 
supper, confectionery, ices, &c., &c. * * * 

"When the company returned to the concert room, I did not 
return to my place, but passed through, to the range of apart- 
ments beyond. Here I enjoyed myself in my own way: 
loitering about a long suite of magnificent rooms brilliantly 
lighted up, decorated with all the luxuries of art, hung with 
paintings of the great masters, and with historical portraits. 
These I had, in a manner, all to myself, for, excepting here 
and there a domestic in royal livery, or a couple of courtiers 
who had stolen out to whisper secrets in a comer, the whole 
range was deserted. All the embroidered throng had crowded 
into the concert room to be in the presence of majesty. I 
wandered about, therefore, musing, and weaving fancies, and 
seeming to mingle them with the sweet notes of female voices, 
which came floating through these silken chambers from the 
distant music room. And now and then I half moralized upon 
the portraits of kings and queens looking down upon me from 
the walls, who had figured for a time in the pageants of this 
royal pile, but, one after another, had "gone down to dusty 
death." Among them was Ferdinand YII, and his wife, 
Amelia of Saxony, who had presided in this palace during my 
first visit to Spain, and whom I had often seen objects of the 
adulation of its courtiers — Amelia, whose death knell I heard 
rung from the cathedral towers of Granada, at the time I was 
a resident in the Alhambra. Talk of moralizing among the 
tombs! You see one may moralize even in a palace, and 
within hearing of the revelry of a court. 
Vol, m.— 16* (24) 

370 I*!™ ^^^^ UBREBS [Ufi. 


■mucr FSOM ▲ Lirm to mbs. pabis— kabyabe — passages prom lbtteb 




T CONTINUE the picture of Mr. Irving's life at 
-*- Madrid, and the changing scenes in which he was 
mingling, with some extracts from a letter to the sister 
to whom he was accustomed to write so copiously on 
Spanish affairs : 

* * * Greneral Narvaez, you perceive, is quite the lord 
of the ascendant. There appears to be more court paid to him 
even than to the sovereign. Wherever he goes he is the 
object of adulation, not merely among men but among women. 
He is a great admirer of the sex, and received by them every- 
where with smiles ; and he has a quick, inflammable temper, 
that makes men stand in awe of him. He is, in fact, a singu- 
lar compound : brave, high spirited, proud, and even vain, gen* 
erous to profusion, very punctilious, excessively sensitive to 
affronts, but passionate rather than vindictive ; for, though in 
the first moment of passion he is capable of any excess, yet, 
when passion is past, he can forgive anything but an insult. 

-fiT. 61.] OP WASHINOTON JRYING. 371^ 

"While thus at the height of power as a subject, and ap- 
parently basking in the sunshine of royal favor, I look on the 
position of Narvaez as perilous in the extreme, and I should 
not be surprised at seeing him suddenly toppled down by some 
unlooked-for catastrophe. A schism has gradually taken place 
between him and the Queen Mother, which is daily widening, 
though still they wear the external appearance of good wiU. 
The Narvaez Cabinet has pushed the reform of the constitution 
to a great extent, so as to take a vast deal of the power out of 
the hands of the people, and invest it in the crown. It has 
stopped short, however, of what is desired by some of the 
Absolutists, who are for restoring an absolute monarchy ; and 
it has stopped short of the wishes of the clergy. During the 
revolution, the clergy were stripped of their immense landed 
possessions, which gave the Church such power in Spain ; and 
all the convents of monks, and most of those of nuns, were 
suppressed. A great part of the lands thus confiscated have 
been sold and resold, and have passed into the hands of per- 
sons of all ranks and conditions. One great object of the 
Queen Mother, since her return to Spain, has been to replace 
the clergy, as much as possible, in their former state. To this 
she is urged by the Court of Rome, and it is made a condition 
for her being taken into favor with the Pope, receiving absolu- 
tion for her sins, and for her daughter, Isabella II, being recog- 
nized by the Pope as the legitimate sovereign of Spain. The 
Narvaez Cabinet, in compliance with these views and wishes, 
have suspended the sale of the Church property, and have de- 
termined that all that remained imsold should be devoted to 
the benefit of the clergy. This, however, is not considered 
enough by a number of hot-headed priests, who have recently 
denounced from their pulpits all those who should purchase or 

872 ^^^^ AND LETTEBS [IMi. 

hold property that had been wrested from the Church. An 
alarm has spread through all ranks of society, as this rendered 
all property insecure, and threatened to unsettle society. The 
Queen Mother, being a little tender in conscience, and under 
the influence of some of the most bigoted of the priesthood, is 
thought to incline to ultra-monarchical and apostolical meas- 
ures. Narvaez has come out bravely in opposition to any 
measures of the kind, and has declared his determination to 
stand by the constitution as at present reformed, defending it 
equally against absolute Monarchists and ultra Apostolicals on 
the one side, and Bevolutionists, or Radicals, on the other. 
He says the Cabinet are all strictly united, and determined to 
stand or fall together ; and he trusts to the fidehty of the army 
to check any attempts at insurrection. Thus you see how 
critical a stand he takes — how full of danger. The whole 
Cabinet may be upset by a coup d^etat brought about by the 
policy of the Queen Mother ; or Narvaez may be shot down 
by a secret enemy or rival (as had nearly been the case last 
year) ; or the army may be corrupted, as it was under Espar- 
tero, and then we shall have confusion and bloodshed. Even 
within these two days a conspiracy has been discovered in Vit- 
toria, among the troops stationed there ; and this day's Gazette 
gives the names of three captains, several lieutenants, and about 
twenty sergeants arrested, of whom a number will no doubt 
be promptly shot. * * * 

Narvaez has great faults, but he has also great merits. 
He has risen to the level of his situation, and displays a tact 
and capacity in the various concerns of government quite be- 
yond what was expected from him. He is extremely vigilant, 
prrfcnpt in action, and possesses the true spirit of command. 
Altogether, he appears to me to be one of the most striking 


characters, if not the most striking, that has risen to power in 
Spain during the long course of her convulsions. 

The epistolary passages which follow, present some 
interesting touches of self-portraiture : 

[To Mrs. Storrow,] 

Hadbid, March 27, 1845. 
* * * The spring has suddenly broken upon us with 
all its splendor ; that is to say, as far as weather is concerned, 
for the vicinity of Madrid affords but little opportunity for the 
spring to put on its gala dress. The weather, however, is ex- 
quisite. Such bright sunshine, such a deep blue sky, and such 
bland temperature ! The Prado is gay with equipages, and the 
promenade crowded with all the beauty and fashion of Madrid. 
I confine my drives, at present, to this popular resort, which is 
somewhat like the Champs Elys6es, and amuse myself by 
observing the passing throngs. In this way, though alone, I 
am not lonely. Indeed, I have been for so much of my life a 
mere looker on in the game of society, that it has become 
habitual to me ; and it is only the company of those I truly 
like, that I would prefer to the quiet indulgence of my own 
thoughts and reveries. I therefore pass much of my time 
alone through choice. I breakfast alone, when I read the 
papers ; then pass the morning in my study, until summoned 
to my afternoon drive. This I usually take alone, amusing 
myself, as I before observed, with looking out upon the world. 
I return home in time to dress for dinner, which I take in com- 
pany with Mr. Livingston, and occasionally a guest or two ; 
and in the evening I take my quiet seat at the opera, where I 
need no company to help me enjoy the music. This is the 

374 ^'^^ -^^^^ LETIXBS [184& 

scheme of many of my days, though occasionallj diversified 
by visits to my particular intimates, and evening gatherings at 
the French embassy, or at Mr. 0*Shea's. My hterary occupa- 
tions have a great effect in reconciling me to a solitary life, and 
even in making it pleasant. * * * Besides, I am now at 
that time of life when the mind has a stock of recollections on 
which to employ itself; and though these may sometimes be 
of a melancholy nature, yet it is a " sweet-souled melancholy," 
mellowed and softened by the operation of time, and has no 
bitterness in it. My life has been a chequered one, crowded 
with incidents and personages, and full of shifting scenes and 
sudden transitions. All these I can summon up and cause to 
pass before me, and in this way can pass hours together in a 
kind of reverie. When I was young, my imagination was 
always in the advance, picturing out the future, and building 
castles in the air ; now, memory comes in the place of imagina- 
tion, and I look back over the region I have travelled. Thank 
God, the same plastic feeling, which used to deck all the future 
with the hues of fairyland, throws a soft coloring on the past^ 
until the very roughest places, through which I struggled with 
many a heartache, lose all their asperity in the distance. 

[To the Same.] 
April 3d. — * * * rpj^g jg ^y, sixty-second birthday. 
I recollect the time when I did not wish to live to such an 
age, thinking it must be attended with infirmity, apathy of 
feeling, peevishness of temper, and all the other ills which con- 
spire to "render age unlovely;" yet here my sixty-second 
birthday finds me in fine health, in the full enjoyment of all 
my faculties, with my sensibihties still fresh, and in such buxom 
activity that, on my return home yesterday firom the Prado, I 


caught myself bounding up stairs three steps at a time, to the 
astonishment of the porter, and checked myself, recollecting 
that it was not the pace befitting a Minister and a man of my 
years. If I could only retain such health and good spirits, I 
should be content to live on to the age of Methuselah. 

To-day I am to dine at the house of a rich neighbor, Mr. 
Arcos, who has a fine, joyous, musical family of young men, 
so that I anticipate a jovial birthday dinner, and am deter- 
mined to be as young as any of the party. 

You must not keep angling for me for your Swiss tour. I 
am not to be caught, even though you bait your hook with 
Mrs. E and her black velvet dress. I have visited Swit- 
zerland, though I may never have talked about it to you. In 
my young days I crossed St. Gothard, on my return from Italy. 
The road was not practicable for wheel carriages then, as now, 
so that I crossed on horseback, three days from the Italian val- 
ley of the Tecino, to the banks of the Lake of the Four Can- 
tons ; and a wild, picturesque journey it was : from the rich, 
umbrageous scenery of Italy, to the then terrific pass of the 
Devirs Bridge, and the dreary valley of Schoellenen. I»trav- 
ersed all of the four cantons, coasted by some of the scenes of 
the exploits of William Tell, visited Lucerne, Zurich, Basle, 
&c., and then struck off on my first visit to Paris. I well 
remember what a home feeling I had in Switzerland; what 
delight I had in again meeting with log houses among the 
mountains; what pretty girls I saw in every village. I am 
sure I should not see as many now, even though I have the 
advantage of looking through spectacles. Oh, days of my 
youth I how much younger and greener the world then was 
than now. And the women I — ^the world is full of old women 
now ; they were all young in those times. 

376 I''^ ^^^^ LETTEBS [18tf. 

* • * Let me hear all about Kate's visit to Tom 
Thmnb. I hope she maj not be guiltj of the same indiscre- 
tion as Mrs. E . I rather think she will be inclined to 

bang the General. 

[To the Same.] 

May 2ith. — * * * Yesterday we had a grand cere- 
mony — the Queen going in state to close the Cortes; after 
which the corps diphmaUque repaired to the palace to make a 
farewell visit to the Queen and her mother and sister, who 
depart this day for Barcelona. 

* * * There is a complete breaking up of society here 
for the summer. The diplomatic corps disperses in every 
direction. Fart will come together again at Barcelona. Even 
Mr. Livingston takes his departure for France in the course of 
a few days, so you see I shall be perfectly alone. If I can 
only exercise my pen, however, I shall be content. 

The following extract of a letter to Mrs. Paris, 
dated August 9th, presents scenes and groups charac- 
teristic of Spain. There is something striking in the 
picture it gives of the loneliness of the vast landscape 
in the neighborhood of Madrid : 

My evening drives, though lonely, are pleasant You can 
have no idea of the neighborhood of Madrid from that of other 
cities. The moment you emerge from the gates, you enter 
upon a desert: vast wastes, as far as the eye can reach, of 
undulating, and, in part, hilly country, without trees or habita- 
tions, green in the early part of the year, and cultivated^th 
grain, but burnt by the summer sun into a variety of bro^^ns, 



some of them rich though sombre. A long picturesque Hne of 
mountains closes the landscape to the west and north, on the 
summits of some of which the snow hngers even in midsum- 
mer. The road I generally take, though a main road, is very- 
solitary. Now and then I meet a group of travellers on horse- 
back, roughly clad, with muskets slung behind their saddles, 
and looking very much hke the robbers they are armed 
against ; or a line of muleteers from the distant provinces, 
with their mules hung with bells, and tricked out with worsted 
bobs and tassels ; or a goatherd, driving his flock of goats 
home to the city for the night, to furnish milk for the inhab- 
itants. Every group seems to accord with the wild, half- 
savage scenery around ; and it is difficult to realize that such 
scenery and such groups should be in the vicinity of a popu- 
lous and ancient capital. Some of the sunsets behind the 
Guadarrama mountains, shedding the last golden rays over this 
vast melancholy landscape, are really magnificent. 

I have had much pleasure in walking on the Prado on 
bright moonlight nights. This is a noble walk within the 
walls of the city, and not far from my dwelling. It has alleys 
of stately trees, and is ornamented with fine fountains deco- 
rated with statuary and sculpture. The Prado is the great 
promenade of the city. One grand alley is called the saloon, 
and is particularly crowded. In the summer evenings there 
are groups of ladies and gentlemen seated in chairs, and hold- 
ing their tertuliasy or gossiping parties, until a late hour ; but 
what most delights me, are the groups of children, attended by 
their parents or nurses, who gather about the fountains, take 
hands, and dance in rings to their own nursery songs. They 
are just the little beings for such a fairy moonlight scene. I 
have watched them night after night, and only wished I had 

378 ^'l^ ^^^ LETTERS il84& 

some of my own little nieces or grandnieces to take part in the 
fairy ring. These are all the scenes and incidents that I can 
furnish you from my present solitary life. 

I am looking soon for the return of the Albuquerques to 
Madrid, which will give me a family circle to resort to. Mad- 
ame Albuquerque always calls me Uncle, and I endeavor to 
cheat myself into the idea that she is a niece ; she certainly 
has the kindness and amiableness of one, and her children are 
most entertaining companions for me. 

Your letter from the cottage brings with it all the recollec- 
tions of the place : its trees and shrubs, its roses and honey- 
suckles and hummmg birds. I am glad to find that my old 
friend, the catbird, still builds and sings under the window. 
You speak of Vaney's barking, too; it was like suddenly 
hearing a well-known but long-forgotten voice, for it is a long 
time since any mention has been made of that most merito- 
rious little dog. 

A short time after, we find he is about to send in 
his resignation, and has made a sudden transfer of his 
establishment to the Albuquerques' — an arrangement 
satisfactory to all parties, excepting, he remarks, ^' to 
my poor servants, who, at first, were quite in conster- 

[To Mrs. Storrow,"^ 

Madrid, Sept. 6, 1846. 

My DEAR Sarah : 

This is the country of revolutions, and one has just taken 
place in my own domains. I have made a transfer of my 
establishment (furniture, &c.) to the Albuquerques', with whom 

-fix. 62.] OF WASHINGTON IBVING. 379 

I shall live en famille for the residue of 1117 residence in Mad- 
rid, having the intention to send home my resignation, so as to 
be relieved from mj post by the opening of spring, if not 
before. I retain a small part of the Apartment, and maintain 
the office of the Legation there. This arrangement suits us 
all admirably. The Albuquerques have a commodious, well- 
furnished house, ready provided for them, at a time when they 
were at their wits* end to find a habitation, and I am saved all 
the trouble, delay, and sacrifice of breaking up and seUing off 
an establishment by piecemeal. In the mean time, being now 
relieved from the responsibilities of housekeeping, I have re- 
solved upon making a brief visit to Paris. * * * I will 
return to Madrid, until regularly reheved from my post by a 
successor. When we return, Lorenzo imdertakes the super- 
intendence of the Albuquerques' household, in the same ca- 
pacity that he has Hved with me. The faithful Juana likewise 
remains as housekeeper and lady's maid; and my excellent 
cook retains his office, so that I shall have my old servants 
about me. At present, I am living delightfully in the Albu- 
querque family, and feel quite as if I were among relatives. 

The " brief visit to Paris " whicli Mr. Irving was 
meditating, resulted, as we shall see, in a much longer 
absence from Madrid than was his purpose when he 

It was on his journey to Bordeaux, at this time, on 
his way to the capital of France, that he was induced 
to go out of his route to visit the little town of Ton- 
neins, rendered memorable to him as the scene where, 
long years before, he had played the part of the Eng- 
lish prisoner of war. The reader may recollect this 

880 I'l™ -^^ LETTEB8 [184S. 

incident of his youthful days, as given in the fourth 
chapter of the first volume. 

From Bordeaux he proceeded by sea to Nantes, 
then ascended the Loire in steamboat, " through very 
beautiful and historical scenery," and at Orleans took 
the railroad to Paris, where, he observes, "I an-ived 
quite the worse for a fortnight of fatiguing traveL" 
On the 1st of November he was expecting " to be able, 
in the course of a few days, to return for the last time 
to Madrid." On the 15th of the same month, he 
writes to me that he was still lingering in Paris, in 
hopes of seeing Mr. McLane, the American Minister at 
London, who talked of making a brief visit to the 
French capital, and wished to find him there. " He is 
very anxious," he writes, " about the state of our affairs 
with England. The Oregon question is becoming more 
and more difficult of adjustment." * * * « Much 
will depend upon the temper and language of the forth- 
coming Message of Mr. Polk." 

On the 29th of December he writes to me, still at 

I have deferred my return to Madrid, and am in the midst 
of preparations for a visit to England, where my friends think 
I may be of more service, during the present crisis, than in 
Spain. I shall remain in England three or four weeks, part of 
which I shall pass at Birmingham, and will then set out for 
Madrid, there to await the arrival of my successor. I send my 
resignation by this steamer. 

The President's Message, though firm and unflinching on 


the subject of the Oregon question, has not been of a tone to 
create any flare-up in England. I think he is justifiable in the 
view he takes of that question, and believe that the present 
Cabinet of Great Britain would be well disposed to entertain 
the proposition which was so haughtily rejected by Mr. 
Packenham. I still hope the matter may be settled by nego- 
tiation ; but, should England provoke a war upon the question 
as it stands, I am clearly of opinion that we have the right on 
our side, and that the world will ultimately think so. 

Immediately after the date of the foregoing letter, 
Mr. IrviBg proceeded to England, and, on the 3d of 
February, writes me aB follows, from London : 

My deab Pierre : 

I have now been about a month in England, part of the time 
at Birmingham, and part in London. I came here imder an invi- 
tation from Mr. McLane, and in the idea that I might be of 
more public service here, at this particular juncture, than I 
would be at Madrid. I think I have been of service through 
old habits of intimacy with people connected with the Govern- 
ment, and through the confidence they have in me, in inspiring 
more correct notions of the disposition and intentions of our 
Government, and in facilitating the diplomatic intercourse of 
Mr. McLane. 

I have been closely occupied, during the greater part of my 
sojourn in England, in studying the Oregon question, and in 
preparing an article for publication, in the hope of placing our 
rights and our conduct in a proper light before the British 
public. I have not finished the article to my satisfaction, and 

382 ^'^^ ^^^^ LETTERS [1846. 

circumstances liave concurred to make it very doubtful whether 
I shall give it to the press. 

A close and conscientious studj of the case has convinced 
me of the superiority of our title to the whole of the territory, 
and of the fairness of the offers we have made for the sake of 
peace, and in consideration of the interests which have grown 
up in the country during the long period of the joint occu- 
pancy. British diplomatists have greatly erred in not closing 
with our proposition of the 49th parallel, with some additional 
items of accommodation. They should never have pushed so 
pertinaciously for the three additional degrees on the Pacific 
and the north bank of the Columbia. This was merely to -pro- 
tect the interests of the Hudson's Bay Company ; but they 
might have been protected by some other arrangement involv- 
ing no point of pride. The full possession of the Columbia 
River is a matter of importance in our eyes, as being one of 
the great outlets of our empire. By neglecting to close with 
our offer, and to negotiate upon the basis of the 49th parallel, 
the British diplomatists have lefl the question at the mercy of 
after influences, through the mahgnancy of the British press 
and the blustering of our candidates for popularity, to get up 
prejudice and passion on both sides, and to make diplomatic 
negotiation almost hopeless. 

As I doubt whether I can do any further good here at 
present, I propose setting off for Paris in the course of a few 
day^ thence to continue on to Madrid, where I shall await the 
arrival of my successor. I long to throw off diplomacy, and 
to return to my independent literary pursuits. My health is 
now excellent. 

From London, Mr. Irving proceeded to Paris, to 



take leave of his niece, Mrs. Storrow, who was soon to 
set off on a visit to the United States, and, on his de- 
parture, made a rapid jonrney day and night to Mad- 
rid, to await the arrival of his successor, who had not 
yet been nominated. 

From Madrid he writes to Mrs. Paris, March 29th, 
after a long absence from the Court : 

There have been several changes in the Cabinet here, 
which have caused great agitation in the poHtical circles. 
Narvaez, who had been in eclipse for a short time, is restored 
to power, and is again at the head of the Government, with a 
Cabinet completely under his dictation. The sessions of the 
Cortes are suspended; a royal decree has completely gagged 
the press, and there is every appearance of absolute rule. 
* * * The question of the marriage of the young Queen 
becomes more and more embarrassing. Until it is settled, the 
affairs of Spain will always be in a precarious state, and the 
kingdom liable to convulsions. 

I had letters from home, a few days since— one from the 
cottage, from my dear Kate, dated in February last. She had 
just heard of my having sent my resignation to Government, 
and now felt persuaded that I would soon return. She gives 
me until the month of June. I had hoped to be home before 
that time, but now I see no Hkelihood of it. My successor 
was not appointed at the middle of February. When ap- 
pointed, it will take him some time to prepare for embarka- 
tion J then he will probably come by the way of England and 
France, and loiter by the way— especially at Paris, which is a 
kind of fitting-out place, to buy furniture, &c., &c. I watch 
the American papers anxiously for some notice on the subject. 

884 ^^£ ^^^^ LETTEBS . [ISO, 

To-morrow I shall have news by the steamer of the Ist MM-ch, 
and I hope it will bring me something definite on the subject 
Now that I am in a manner half dismounted from my post, I 
am anxious to have done entirely with diplomatic business, and 
to be on my way home. 

April 25th, he writes to Mrs. Paris, shortly after 
the precipitate banishment of Narvaez : 

The day after to-morrow we have a grand Besa manos on 
the birthday of the Queen Mother. It will be the first grand 
Court ceremony since my return from Paris. 

You will have heard of the late events in the Spanish 
Court — ^the downfall and banishment of Narvaez. It was con- 
sidered a harsh and ungrateful act on the part of the sov- 
ereigns, and has added to the unpopularity of the Queen 
Mother. The changes and sudden transitions in the Spanish 
Court are something like those in the courts of the East. It 
only wants the bowstring to make the resemblance complete. 
I am getting tired of courts, however, altogether, and shall be 
right glad to throw off my diplomatic coat for the last time. 

In one of his diplomatic despatches to Mr. Web- 
ster, before his retirement from the administration of 
President Tyler, in the spring of 1843, referring to 
the unparalleled number of changes that had taken 
place in the Spanish Cabinet within the preceding 
eight years, which, in the Department of State,-4BL j 
which the lowest number occurred, amounted *'to 
two and a half ministei*s per annum," Mr. Irving 
remarks : 


It gives a startling idea of the interruptions to which an 
extended negotiation with this Government must be subject. 
* * * This consimiption of Ministers is appaUing. ♦ ♦ * 
To carry on a negotiation with such transient functionaries, 
is hke bargaining at the window of a railroad car: before 
you can get a reply to a proposition, the other party is out 
of sight. 

Vol. m.— 17 (26) 

3g6 ^^^ ^^^^'^ LBnsas [uk; 



T" CLOSE the Minister's narrative of the caprices of 
-*- Spanish politics with the following extract from an 
official despatch to James Bnehanan, Secretary of 
State, in which there had been allusion to a crisis of 
many days' continuance in completing the new Cabinet 
under Isturiz, as head of the State Department. The 
despatch is dated April 18th, 1846 : 

While dissension has been prevalent at headquarters, an 
insurrection has broken out in Gallicia. Symptoms of this 
appeared during the last period of Narvaez' administration, 
and apprehensions were entertained that the Prince Don En- 
rique, who was at Corunna, would be induced to head ii 
Narvaez proceeded in the matter with his usual promptness. 
Military measures were tak^n to suppress the insurrection, and 
a royal command was issued to the Prince to leave the kmg- 
dom instantly, and choose some place in France for his resi- 
dence, there to await royal orders, with the understanding that, 


should he absent himself from the place chosen, he would be 
stripped of all the honors and consideration of a royal prince 
of Spain ; and, should he return to Spam contrary to the royal 
command, he would subject himself to prosecution before any 
tribunal in the kingdom. The Prince obeyed the royal com- 
mand implicitly, and chose Bayonne as liis place of exile. 
Scarce had he been there a few days, when Narvaez himself 
arrived there — ^a banished man I The public papers state that 
Narvaez, soon after his arrival, paid the Prince a visit of re- 
spect, arrayed in full imiform. The interview must have been 
a curious one. As has been well observed, there is so much 
of the comic in these sudden and violent changes and transi- 
tions in Spanish poUtics, that we should be disposed to laugh at 
them, only that they occur so rapidly we have not time to 
laugh. Accustomed as I have become to all kinds of contra- 
dictory moves, I should not be surprised to see Narvaez back 
here agam before long, at the head of aflGsdrs. The Grovem- 
ment, in its perplexed condition, with differences of opinion in 
the Cabinet, with an active and confident opposition gaining 
strength in the capital, and rumors of conspiracies in the prov- 
inces, begins to feel the want of Narvaez' energy, activity, and 
spirit of control This is especially the case since it is found 
that, in Gkdlicia, some of the army have joined the insurgents. 
Every one of the leading personages in power attempts to shift 
oflf the odium of his precipitate banishment, and to hint a wish 
for his return. In the mean time, the arbitrary measures 
instituted under his ministry continue in force ; and an attempt 
has been made to imitate his military rigor, by issuing a circu- 
lar to the Gefes Politicos^ or heads of municipalities through- 
out the kingdom, authorizing them to declare martial law in 
tiheir respectiTe jurisdictions on any appearance of popular dis- 

0gg LUB AMD LBRBB8 - tliML 

turbimoe. These rigorous measures, however, are considaQd 
as proofis of distrust and alarm on the part of (loyemment, 
rather than of confidence and deciaon. A general uneasineas 
prevails throughout the community, and fearful forebodings of 
an approaching convulsion. 

Soon after the date of the forgoing extract, Mr. 
Irving was informed, through the public papers, that 
BomuluB M. Saunders, of Korth Carolina, had been 
appointed to the Spanish mission. His resignation had 
beai transmitted in December, and he had been look- 
ing impatiently for tidings of the appointment of a 

At this time came the news of the breaking out of 
the war with Mexico — a result of the scheme of the 
annexation of Texas, which had been brought to a suc- 
cessful issue at the close of Mr. Tyler^s administration, 
while John 0. OaJhoun was Secretary of State. 

On the 24th of June, he writes me from Madrid, 
where he was still awaiting the uncertain arrival of his 

I regret exceedingly that we have got engaged in a war 
with Mexico. That power has been badly advised ; she 
should have received Mr. Slidell, and the matters between us 
might have been amicably arranged. She has been inducei 
believe that certain foreign powers would back her, very prob- 
ably ; if so, she will find that, afler all their tampering, they 
will leave her in the lurch. The situation in which our little 
army under General Taylor was placed, apparently cut off 
from his supplies, and surrounded by a superior force, gave me 


great uneasiness. I feared some humiliating blow, and saw 
that the English press was preparing to trumpet it fortli to 
Europe with the customary insults and exaggerations. I 
feared, also, that a blow of the kind would tend to prolong the 
war, as we could not think of peace until we had completely 
obhterated the disgrace. When I read, therefore, the account 
of the gallant manner in which Taylor and his little army had 
acquitted themselves, and the generous manner in which they 
had treated their vanquished enemies, the tears absolutely 
started into my eyes, and a load was taken from my lieart I 
sincerely hope this brilliant victory will be followed up by 
magnanimous feeling on the part of our Government, and that 
the war may be brought to a speedy dose on lair and honor- 
able terms. 

With kind recollections of England and the home 
feeling he had once enjoyed there, Mr. Irving had been 
much disturbed of late by noticing, in the Madrid 
Gazette, articles from English journals, in which all our 
acts and intentions in regard to the Or^on question 
and the disputes with Mexico were grossly misrepre- 
sented, and we were reviled as a people without prin- 
ciple or faith. As the Oazette was exclusively a Court 
paper, edited by persons about the Government, he 
took occasion to inquire of Mr. Isturiz, the Minister of 
State, whether these British calumnies were believed 
and countenanced by the cabinet. Mr. Isturiz assured 
him that he had not noticed the offensive articles, and 
that he would take care to have them excluded for the 

890 i'™^ ^^^^ LRTTERS liau. 

In another letter, fihowing how much he d^recated 
the effect of these persevering attempts to debase the 
national name, he remarks: ^^A rancorous prejudice 
against us has been diligently inculcated of late years 
by the British press, and it is daily producing its finits 
of bitterness." 

" Bulwer," he once exclaimed to the British Minister 
at Madrid, in strong excitement on the same subject, 
" I should deplore exceedingly a war with England, for 
depend upon it, if we must come to blows, it will be 
serious work for both. Tou might break our head at 
first, but by Heaven ! we would break your back in the 

Late in July, in a letter to me, he has this allusion 
to the final adjustment of the Oregon embroilment : 

The settlement of the Oregon question is a vast event for 
our national credit and national prosperity. The war with 
Mexico will in all probability be wound up before long, and 
then our commercial affairs will have no external dangers to 
apprehend for a long series of years. 

I have reason to congratulate myself that, in a quiet way, 
I wa3 enabled, while in England, to facilitate the frank and 
confiding intercourse of Mr. McLane and Lord Aberdeen, 
which has proved so beneficial to the settlement of this ques- 
tion ; so that, though I did not publish the pamphlet I had 
prepared, my visit to England was not without its utility. 

On the 25th of July, Mr. Irving informs me that 

General Saunders had arrived about three days before, 

. ** I, of course," he adds, " am busy preparing to 


jBt* 6o.] op WASHINGTON IRTING. g^J 

the legation into his hands as soon as he has been 
accredited, which will probably be two or three days 
hence.- I shall then take my departure almost imme- 
diately, having made all my travelling preparations." 
Soon after, he closes his diplomatic letters to Mrs. 
Paris with this account of his audience of leave. 

A few evenings since, I had my audience of the Queen, to 
deliver the letter of the President announcing my recall. Ten 
o'clock was the hour appointed. Though sated with court 
ceremonies, I could not but feel a little sensitive on visiting the 
royal palace for the last time, and passing through its vast 
apartments but partially lighted up. I found the Queen in an 
inner cabinet, attended by the Minister of State and several 
ladies and gentlemen in waiting. I had prepared my speech 
in Spanish, which was to the following effect : 


" I have the honor to deliver into the hands of your Majesty 
a letter from the President of the United States, announcing 
my recall from the post of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister 
Plenipotentiary in this Court. 

" I am charged by the President to express, on delivering 
this letter to your Majesty, his constant and earnest desire to 
maintain the amicable relations which so happily exist between 
the two coimtries. 

" For my own part, I can assure your Majesty that I shall 
carry with me into private life the same ardent desire for the 
welfare of Spain, and the same deep interest in the fortunes 
and happiness of its youthful sovereign, which have actuated 
me during my official career ; and I now take leave of your 

S9S UR AKD isfnma om. 

Majesty, wishing jou, from the hottom of 1x17 heart| a long 
and happj life, and a reign which may form a glorious epodi 
in the histoij of this country." 

The following is as close a translation as I can make of the 
Queen*8 reply : 

*' It is with much regret that I receive the annomicement 
of your recall from the post of Envoy Extraordinary and Min- 
ister Plenipotentiary of the United States near my person. 

" Very gratifying to me are the wishes you express for the 
h^piness of Spain. On that, I found the happmess which you 
desire for me personally, and the glory of my reign. 

" You may take with you into private life the intimate con- 
viction that your frank and loyal conduct has contributed to 
draw closer the amicable relations which exist between North 
America and the Spanish nation, and that your distinguished 
personal merits have gained in my heart the appreciation which 
you merit by more than one titlel" 

This Httle speech reads stiff in translation, but it is very 
graceful and gracious in the original, and I have been con- 
gratulated repeatedly on receiving one so much out of the cold, 
commonplace style of diplomacy. In fact, my farewell inter- 
view with the whole of the royal family was extremely satis- 
factory. ♦ * * 

The Minister of State (Mr. Isturiz) has likewise been un- 
commonly cordial in his expressions of regret at my departure. 
In a word, from the different members of the Cabinet, and 
from my colleagues of the diplomatic corps, I have met with 
nothing but the most gratifying testimonials of esteem and 
good will in my parting interviews. 


Thus closes my public career. At six o'clock this evening 
I set off from Madrid, in company with Mr. Weismuller, a 
connection of the Kothschilds, stationed at this capital, to post 
for France in a private carriage. My saddest parting will be 
with the Albuquerques, who seem to me more like relatives 
than friends. * * * 

My intention is to push for England almost without stop- 
ping, so as to be ready to embark in one of the August steam- 
ers, should certain pubHc business with which I may be in- 
trusted by the Spanish Government render it necessary. 

I regret that the late arrival of General Saunders at Mad- 
rid, and various concurring circumstances, should oblige me to 
give up all the farewell visits I had promised to pay to certain 
of my European friends, and should render my stay with our 
dear sister so brief as it must now be. I have promised them 
and myself, however, a supplementary visit to Europe after I 
have been home some time, and have got all my American 
affairs in order ; when I will pass a few months in revisiting 
persons and places endeared to me by past pleasures and kind- 

This last purpose was never fdlfilled. Mr. Irving 
had reached London by the middle of August, and 
early in September he bade adieu forever to European 
scenes, embarking in the steamer Cambria for Boston, 
where he arrived on the 18th of that month, after an 
absence from his native country of nearly four years 
and a half. The following afternoon he took steam- 
boat at New York for Tarrytown, two miles north of 

Vot. ni.— 17* 

394 ^^^^ ^^ UBTTSRS [10^ 

^^ I long to be once more back at dear little Simnj- 
fiide, wbfle I have yet strength and good spirits to 
enjoy the simple pleasures of the country, and to rally 
a happy family group once more about me. I gniclge 
every year of absence that rdls by. To^norrow is my 
birthday. I shall then be sixty-two years old. The 
evening of life is fast drawing over me ; still I h<^ to 
get back among my Mends while there is yet a litde 
sunshine left." So wrote the Minister from the midst 
of his court life at Madrid, April 2d, 1845. It was the 
19th of September, 1846, when the impatient longing 
of his heart was gratified, and he found himself re- 
stored to his home for the thirteen years of happy life 
still remaining to him. 

A month or two before his official mission closed at 
Madrid, he had dismissed a correspondent's sugges- 
tion that he should rent the cottage, in the following 

I have some Scotch blood in my veins, and a little of ihe 
feeling, with respect to my cottage, that a poor devil of a laird 
has for the stronghold that has sheltered his family. Nay, I 
believe it is the having such an object to work for, which spurs 
me on to combat and conquer difficulties ; and if I succeed in 
weathering a series of hard times without striking my flag, I 
shall be largely indebted to my darling little Sunnyside for fur- 
nishing me the necessary stimulus. So no more talk of aban- 
doning the cottage. In the words of Thomas the Ehymer — 

** Betide, betide, whatever betide, 
Haig shall be Haig of Bemeiside.'' 


So fSEtr, indeed, from renting the cottage, his first 
concern was to build an addition to it, and enlarge its 
accommodations, which were quite too cramped for the 
number of its inmates. To Mrs. Storrow, who had 
now returned to Paris from a visit of some months to 
her native country, he writes, October 18th : " I am 
making preparations to commence, in the course of a 
day or two, th^ addition to the cottage. * * * I 
have a plan from Mr. Harvey which harmonizes with 
the rest of the building, and will not be expensive 
enough to ruin me." 

WhUe occupied with his new building, Mr. Irving 
was engaged, whenever he could find mood and leisure, 
in preparing a complete edition of his works, with cor- 
rections, alterations, and additions, with a view to 
make an arrangement for the whole, either by dis- 
posing of the copyrights, or by farming them out col- 
lectively for a term of years at a yearly consideration. 
It was important to him to get his literary property in 
train to yield an income, which had been unproductive 
ever siuce he embarked on his foreign mission. In the 
exigency of his official engagements, he was obliged to 
depart without having been able to make any arrange- 
ment with his Philadelphia publishers, Messrs. Lea & 
Blanchard, for a renewal of the old agreement for the 
exclusive publication of his works, or receiving from 
them any proposal by which he might continue to de- 
rive profit from them during his absence. They had 
probably grown timid during the long depression of the 

896 i>m ^^ umffis VMiL 

Ittenry market, and did not &el confident that Im 
works were cai>able of a renewed and active circid»- 
tion. Their former contract comprised Kn^xrhock- 
er's History of New York, the Sketdi Book, Brace- 
bridge Hall, Tales of a Traveller, the Life and Yoyages 
of Odnmbus (excepting the Abridgment), the Cam- 
panions of Colnmbns, the Conquest of Granada, and 
the Alhambra. Before he left, he sought to make a 
new arrangement with them, including his subsequent 
writings, at the rate of three thousand dollars a year. 
" You see," he writes to me from Sunnyside, on the 
31st of December, 1846, in mentioning this particular, 
^^ I asked higher than the sum you proposed to ask ; 
indeed, much higher than they could have afforded to 
give with advantage. I think, however, a similar 
arrangement for my works would be much more profit- 
able at present than it would have been at that time." 
If Lea & Blanchard held back, other publishers, who 
believed his works might be made a source of emolti- 
ment to him as well as to them, were pressing forward 
with liberal overtures. It was difficult for him, how- 
ever, to bring himself resolutely to the task of prepar- 
ing his works for a republication, while engaged in 
superintending the building of the new part of his 
house. " I was greatly disappointed at not seeing you 
at Christmas," he writes to me from Sunnyside, at 
the close of the year. " I wished much to talk to you 
about my literary affaurs. I am growing a sad laggard 
in literature, and need some one to bolster me up occa- 


BRmallj. I am too ready to do anything else rather 
than write." 

On the 6th of January, I wrote to Mr. Irving that 
the Screw Dock Company, in which he had an interest, 
had declared a qua/rterly dividend of five per cent., 
equivalent to twenty per cent, per annum, which it 
gave for a series of years; adding, that I had been 
called upon to pay out so much of late for him, it was 
quite cheering to have something coming in. I give 
his reply : 

SiTNNTBiDB, Jan. 6, 1847. 

My dear Pierre : 

* * * I am glad to hear you are receiving such a snug 
Httle bag of money from the Screw Dock. In faith, the Dock 
deserves its name. I fancy there must be a set of Jews at the 
windlasses to screw the ships so handsomely . Tell them to 
screw on, and spare not I These are building times, when all 
the world wants money. 

Since I was so " flush of money on his account.^' he 
then proceeds to specify three outstanding debts whidi 
I could pay, and adds : 

You now know the full extent of all my " indebtedness," 
excepting what relates to my new building, and to domestic 

I know I am " burning the candle at both ends " this year, 
but it must be so imtil I get my house in order, after which 
expenses will return to their ordinary channel, and I trust my 
income will expand, as I hope to get my literary property in a 
productive train. 

398 i'™^ ^^ umsBs om^ 

1 giye one or two fartiher extracts, wlucli affiwd 
glimpses of the tenor of hk life and feelings for a &m 
months after his return* At the date of the firsts his 
<dd malady had seized again npon one of his anldes, 
and had become aggravated by his standing too much 
out of doors in cold and wet weather, superintaiding 
the new building. 

[2b Mrs, Pierre M. Irving, 1 

SuHVTBCDB, Feb. 14» 

Mt deab Helen : 

Your letter was like manna in the wilderness to me, find- 
ing me mewed up in this little warm oven of a house, where, 
if I remain much longer without getting out of doors occasion- 
ally, I shall grow quite rusty and crusty. Fortunately, I was 
troubled for two or three days with an inflammation in my 
eyes, which made me fear I was about to be blind ; that has 
passed away, and you cannot think what a cause of self-gratu- 
lation it is to me to find that I am only lame. We have all 
abundant reason to be thankfiil for the dispensations of Provi- 
dence, if we only knew when and why. 

Still it IS some Uttle annoyance to me that I cannot get 
about and find some means of spending that sum of money 
which you tell me Pierre has been making for me. I think he 
takes advantage of my crippled condition, which prevents my 
going on with my improvements ; and I fear, if I do not get 
in a disbursing condition soon, he will get the weather gage of 
me, and make me rich in spite of myself. 

Your account of Mrs. 's reception was quite ani- 
mated. I cannot expect you to abstract yourself from so much 

Mt.6Z,] OF WASmKaTON IBTINa 399 

social enjoyment, and come to sober little Simnyside while the 
gay season lasts ; therefore I retract all that I said in my last 
letter to Pierre about your making me a visit just now, and 
wiU not say a word more on the subject ; not but that it would 
be an act of common humanity — ^to say nothing of natural 

He was still cut off from recreation out of doors, 
and confined to the house by bis unlucky ankle, when 
he wrote the following, to the same correspondent : 

BuNNTSxoa, March 12, 1847. 

"We were in hopes, a day or two since, that we had got rid 
of winter. The frost was out of the ground, and the roads 
were beginning to settle ; but cold weather has suddenly re- 
turned upon us, and everything is again frozen up. This keeps 
me back in the finishing of my new building, for I was on the 
point of putting the workmen upon it. I am impatient to 
complete the job. I want to get my study in order, and my 
books arranged. I feel rather cramped for room, now that I 
have resumed Hterary occupations, and am at the same time an 
invalid. Besides, the mterior of my household wants some dif- 
ferent arrangement, as you must be aware. * * * But 
the fact is, I am growing a confounded old fellow ; I begin to 
be so studious of my convenience, and to have such a craving 
desire to be comfortable. 

Give my love to all the household, and tell Pierre to make 
money for me as fast as possible, as my expenses will break 
out anew with the blossoms of spring, and will need all his 
screwing to keep pace with them. 

Affectionately, your uncle, 

Washington Irving. 

400 I'I'B AKD UEfTEBS pm, 

Abont the same time, he writes to his &stmty Iba 

I trust this teasing, obstinate malady may wear away as 
spring advances ; at any rate, I shali be able, by and by, to 
get out on the grass and lounge under the trees. But what a 
change from my usual active habits ! My great annoyance is 
not to be able to go about my place and see to gettmg things 
in order, and have them done to suit me. There is nothing 
like the eye of a master, however active and faithful may be 
the servants. I Sm anxious, also, to resume operations on my 
new building, and get it finished, that I may regulate my house 
and household, and estabhsh myself more conveniently, feeling 
much the want of more accommodation in my study for my 
books and papers. 

A few days later, he writes to me : 

* * * I am getting on well with my delinquent ankle, 
and am able, now the snow is gone, to take a turn occasionally 
out of doors, and visit the garden and poultry yard, which is 
very refreshing. I hope, by the time Helen gets through her 
** spring arrangements,'' disposes of her bandbox and carpet 
bag, and comes up here, she will find me 

" once more able 
To stomp about my farm and staUe.** 

I expect the carpenters this morning, to resume operations 
on the new building, and I shall keep all hands at work until 
the job is finished 

The following is in reply to a letter in which I had 


informed him of two small ramttances from the West, 
the offer at cost of an English saddle and bridle, and 
another qtcarterly dividend of five per cent, from the 
Screw Dock : 

SuNHTSroi, April 13, 184T. 

My dear Fiebbe : 

I was just setting off for town, this morning, to meet Mr. 
Prescott at dinner at Mr. Gary's, when a few drops of rain and 
the prognostications of the weatherwise made me draw back. 
I regret it now, as I hardly know when I shall be able to get 
away from superintending the arrangement of my grounds, 
house, &c. ; and I long to have a " crack " with you. 

I cannot afford a new saddle to my new horse. I am get- 
tmg my old saddle furbished up, which must serve until I can 
recover from the ruin brought upon me by the improvement of 
my house. You see, I am growing economical, and saving my 
candle now that I have burnt it down to an end. 

I am surprised and delighted at the windfall from Milwau- 
kie, and shall now not despair of the sky's falling and our 
catching larks. Toledo, too, begins to crawl. There's life in a 
muscle ! The screw, however, is the boy for my money. The 
dividends there are like the skimmings of the pots at Cama- 
cho's wedding. 

For some weeks past he had been engaged in close 
literary application. " That you may not be frightened 
at my extravagance, and cut off supplies," says a letter 

Vol. IIL— (26) 

402 U^ •^I^ LBTTBBS [i6^« 

to me, " I muBt tell you that I have lately been work- 
ing up some old stuff which had lain for years Imnber- 
ing like rubbish in one of my trunks, and which, I 
trust, will more than pay the expense of my new 

I close the volume with the following allusion to 
the new addition, of which he speaks in a letter as 
forming one of the most striking and picturesque fea- 
tures of his little edifice. It is in reply to Grouvemeur 
Kemble, who had banteringly asked him the meaning 
of the pagoda^ which he had noticed in passing up the 
river in the boat: 

Mt deab Kemble : 

I have long been looking out for your promised visit, but 
now your letter throws it quite into uncertainty. I should 
have come to you before this, for I long to take you once more 
by the hand ; but I have been detained at home by building 
and repairing, and the necessity of fighting o% by baths and 
prescriptions, the return of a malady which beset me in Spain, 
and which endeavors to keep possession of one of my ankles. 
However, I trust to finish all my buildings and improvements 
before long, and then I shall endeavor to look in upon you at 
CJold Spring. 

♦ ♦♦*** 

As to the pagoda about which you speak, it is one of the 
most useful additions that ever was made to a house, besides 
being so ornamental It gives me laundry, store rooms, pan- 
tries, servants' rooms, coal cellar, &c., &c., &c., converting 
what was once rather a make-shifl little mansion into one of 
the most complete snuggeries in the country, as you will con- 


fess when you come to see and inspect it. The onlj part of it 
that is not adapted to some valuable purpose is the cupola, 
which has no bell in it, and is about as serviceable as the 
feather in one's cap ; though, bj the way, it has its purpose, 
for it supports a weathercock brought from Holland by Gill 
Davis (the King of Coney Island), who says he got it from a 
windmill which they were demoHshing at the gate of Rotter- 
dam, which windmill has been mentioned in Knickerbocker. I 
hope, therefore, I may be permitted to wear my feather im- 

Ever, my dear Kemble, affectionately yours, 

"Washington Irving. 





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