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Though none should read me, have i lost my time in entertaining 



JV. Dillingham, Publisher, 

Successor to G. W. Carleton & Co. 








Header, if you find this volume of any value, your 
thanks are due to Charlemagne Tower, whose liber- 
ality and public spirit not only originated its publica- 
tion, but furnished the means by which it was accom- 

True, it had previously been suggested that some of 
my newspaper contributions might be worthy of book 
shape, but I knew that this could only be done at a pe- 
cuniary loss which I was not prepared to meet. Then, 
too, I naturally shrank from the task of preparing so 
laborious a work, being already under a very heavy 
pressure of daily toil. 

The reader can, therefore, imagine my surprise at 
receiving from an entire stranger, the proposal men- 
tioned below. It led me, burdened as I was, to make 
a beginning, being impelled in no small degree by 
what might be called the " moral support " — that is 
the interest felt by a man of Mr. Tower's position and 
attainments in my productions. 

Under this influence and with the aid of an effi- 
cient secretary, I compiled a selection extending over 
the work of a quarter century, and have classified the 
articles to assist in reference. 

Nearly three years have elapsed since Mr. Tower's 
proposal was received, and during this interval he has 
advanced a large sum of money — much more indeed 

iv Preface. 

than I could have expected, and this has placed the 
publication beyond all risk of loss. While thus fulfill- 
ing his pledge, he has harmonized with me in the plan 
that should there be any contingent profit in the work 
it should enure to benefit a scheme which I have long 
cherished, but have been unable to accomplish. 

Having thus introduced Mr. Tower's proposal, I 
liave thought proper to add a few extracts from some 
of his letters : 

Philadelphia, November 16, 1886. 
Rev. Washington Fkothingham: 

I have frequently read with great interest the weekly letters, 
of which I am informed you are the author, and I have been so 
impressed by them, containing as they do individual and local 
histories, that it occurred to me they should be reprinted and 
put in book form. I presume you have copies from which 
this can be done. I write you now, to ask if this would be 
agreeable to yourself. I do not solicit any share of profit, if 
there should be any, but I would cheerfully, if permitted, share 
in the cost or in the losses that might be incurred. You will 
gratify me by acknowledging this letter and particularly by 
complying with my request for publication. 

Respectfully and truly yours, 


Philadelphia, December 27, 1886. 
Dear Sin — I was gratified by the receipt of your letter and 
particularly by your inclination to allow a republication in book 
form, of at least a portion of your letters. 

Let me suggest to you to select from your stock sufficient to 
make a satisfactory production, and permit me to caution you 
against being too limited in your selection. Your writings 
have cost much labor, and are so valuable that not many of them 
can be spared. Better be profuse than omit anything that may 
be useful in local or personal history. 

Respectfully and truly yours, 


Preface. v 

Philadelphia, March 19, 1887. 
Dear Sir — I am pleased to learn from your last, that the future 
book is started, and that you hope to yet see it in real existence, and 
I am not surprised at your remark " Alas! how long a task it will 
be." I have myself believed that the work would be larger, 
and would require more time than you had at first expected, and 
your present conviction that " Even at the greatest amount of reduc- 
tion, it will be a large volume, and that if the book reaches pub- 
lication in two years, it will be as expeditious as can be ex- 
pected," is very natural. Take heart, however, and push it on; 
we will yet see the realization of these expectations, and I suggest 
that you increase your assistant force. 

Respectfully and truly yours, 


Philadelphia, September 19, 1888. 

I really hope that there may arise to you out of this undertak- 
ing, some profit — the greater the better. I was only anxious at 
the out set, that the many facts, incidents, and the abundant di- 
versified information, which you had embodied in your published 
letters, should not be lost, but should be all published and made 
accessible in a condensed and inviting, as well as a durable form. 

If there should be any profit from the work, I shall be the more 
gratified that I have said and done, what I have, since you tell 
me that you shall appropriate it to a " pet scheme " of yours. 
Please accept my thanks for this benevolent purpose — "a post- 
humous effort," though you say " it must be" — and my sincere 
wishes that you may have an abundance with which to accomplish 
the purpose. 

Very truly yours, 


Under such encouragement, added to continued health 
and ability to work (for which I should be more thank- 
ful than I am), the task has been continued until it 
has at last reached completion. Of course the book 
could have been indefinitely enlarged, but it has passed 
the proposed limit and is already almost too cumbrous 
for convenience. 

vi Preface. 

To those who, knowing my clerical position, inquire 
why there is so little religious matter in its pages, I 
reply that the latter are made up, not from pulpit, but 
from newspaper work, whose profits, meagre as they 
are, have enabled me to accomplish a clerical service 
which otherwise would have been impossible. 

Such being the origin of the present volume, its title 
justly sets forth the combination in the work, making 
it really, Our Book. 

I would add, however, in justice to Mr. Tower, that 
I placed his name on the title page without asking 
consent, the interest he has manifested in the joint 
effort being my only excuse for this liberty. He had 
suggested that it should be published under one of my 
best known pen names, but I preferred my own method. 


Since writing the above, I have been pained to 
learn of the death of my honored patron, which took 
place at his country seat in his native town, among 
his kindred and the friends of early days, and under 
circumstances which befit the close of a long and use- 
ful life. I forbear giving utterance to my feelings 
under such a shock — the greater since I knew how 
deeply he was interested in our mutual project. His 
hope to "see a realization of these expectations" has 
been denied, thus giving another proof of the vanity 
of human wishes. The book now becomes in some 
degree at least a monument to his memory, and death 
adds a sad and solemn consecration to our combined 
effort for public instruction. 



[From the Utica Herald.] 

Oneida county lost one of her most famous sons, and a thriving 
village was bereft of its greatest benefactor in the death of 
Charlemagne Tower, which occurred July 24 (1889), at Water- 
ville. He was one whose life of integrity, patient labor and great 
good to others, whose widely extending influence as a citizen and 
as a professional man, in war and in peace, made him one of the 
remarkable men of his country and of -his time. 

Charlemagne Tower was the seventh in descent from John 
Tower, who came to America from Hingham, in Norfolk, Eng- 
land, with a colony led by Rev. Peter Hobart, and settled in 
Hingham, Mass., in the year 1636. His father was Reuben 
Tower, who was born in Rutland, Worcester county, Mass., Feb- 
ruary 15, 1787, and who moved to Oneida county in the early 
part of this century. His father was active in the development 
of the public improvements of his time in New York, notably the 
Chenango canal, and was a member of the Legislature in 1828. 
He died in St. Augustine, Fla., March 14, 1832, whither he had 
made a horseback journey for his health. Charlemagne's mother 
was Debora Taylor Pearce Tower, who was born in Little Compton, 
R. I., July 6, 1785. Charlemagne was born April 18, 1809, in the 
township of Paris. 

His Education. 
His education began in his native place, was continued at Ox- 
ford Academy, Clinton Academy and the Utica Academy, where 
he was assistant teacher in 1825. He taught school in the com- 
mon schools of Paris and Marshall for two consecutive years, 
when he was fourteen and fifteen years of age. Shortly after he 

viii Obituary. 

was also engaged as a clerk in the store of Hart & Grid ley, mer- 
chants of this city. He entered the freshman class at Harvard 
University, for which he prepared under the tutelage of Rev. 
Caleb Stetson of Cambridge, Mass., in February, 1827, and was 
graduated in the class of 1830, with high honors. 

Among his classmates was Charles Sumner, with whom he 
formed a close acquaintance. The friendship lasted until Mr. 
Sumner's death. Many of the letters of their continuous cor- 
respondence are published in Peirce's "Life of Sumner." 
Another of his classmates, with whom the intimacy of college 
life was perpetuated, was John 0. Sargent, who has been president 
of the Harvard Association of New York, and who is at present 
living in that city. 

Beginning at Law. 
After graduation in 1831, Mr. Tower began the study of law in 
the office of Hermanus Bleecker, an old Dutch patrician of Al- 
bany. The death of his father in the following year recalled him 
to Waterville, the home of his family, where he continued his 
studies. Later he went to New York city and finished his 
course in the study of law in the office of John L. & James L. 
Graham. He was admitted to practice in the courts of New 
York State at Utica, in October, 1836. His beginning in the pro- 
fession was made in the office of Graham & Sanford, New York, 
and it was continued in Waterville, where he was also engaged 
for several years in manufacturing and commercial pursuits. He 
finally returned to his practice and attained a high position at the 
bar of Oneida county. 

Removal to Pennsylvania. 
Legal questions in connection with his charge of the well-known 
Munson estate, then in litigation, led him to Schuylkill county, 
Pennsylvania, in 1846, and he remained a resident of that State. 
retaining the old family homestead at Waterville as his summer 
home. The Tower estate is indeed a feature of the village. It 
has often been described. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have 
been expended upon it, and $50,000 is expended each year in keep- 
ing it up. The benefits thus accruing to the village have been 
very great. He lived in Pottsville until 1876, when he removed 
his home to Philadelphia. 

Obituary. ix 

Mr. Tower's caueer at the bar in Pennsylvania extended over a 
period of more than twenty years, and was exceedingly active and 
laborious. He became especially noted as an authority upon the 
titles of lands, being brought in contact with some of the most 
difficult and intricate questions of law upon that subject. The 
best legal talent of the day was called upon to conduct the wide- 
spread litigation over the great coal fields of the State, involving 
estates of large value. 

Mr. Tower had a wonderful faculty for mastering the smallest 
details of his cases, and he prepared to meet the most exacting 
inquiry, even going out upon the lands themselves with his corps 
of engineers, and without regard to the physical difficulties of the 
country, running the lines and establishing the monuments him- 
self. Such was the confidence established in his knowledge, 
good judgment and high integrity, that it was not unusual to 
hear him quoted in open court as authority. Several of the great 
leading battles in which he was engaged were protracted for more 
than twenty years and carried to a successful issue on his part. 
Bright and loyal war Record. 

Mr. Tower's devotion to the Union was uncompromising and 
enthusiastic. At the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, 
although he was fifty-two years of age and had a family of chil- 
dren and business interests that needed his constant attention, his 
loyalty became immediately active. He raised two companies 
and part of a third in Pottsville within a week, and proceeded 
with them to Harrisburg, where they were mustered into the 
United States service April 21, 1861. The men were equipped 
out of his own purse. 

Mr. Tower received a captain's commission at the time of the 
muster and commanded throughout the term of three months' serv- 
ice, Company H, Sixth Regiment of Pennsylvania volunteers, to 
which his men were attached. He declined to accept higher 
rank because he had promised to stay with his men. He took 
part in the campaign under the command of General Robert 
Patterson, and was at the battle of Falling Waters, Ya., one of 
the earliest engagements of the war, having crossed the Potomac 
river at Williamsport, June 21, 1861. 

At the end of the three months' service, he and his men were mus- 
tered out of service at Harrisburg, June 26, 1861, and Mr. Tow r Eii 

x Obituary. 

returned to his family. He afterward enlisted another full com- 
pany for three years' service, paying to each man a bounty of five 
dollars. This became Company C, Forty-eighth Regiment, Pennsyl- 
vania volunteers, which performed distinguished service under the 
command of Captain Henry Pleasants, afterward brigadier general 
and engineer in charge of the Petersburg mine, who was his lieu- 
tenant during the three months' service. On August 15, 1861, the 
Tower Guards, who had served under Mr. Tower, marched to his 
residence in Pottsville and presented him with a handsome sword 
bearing an appropriate inscription. Mr. Tower served as United 
States provost marshal for the tenth Pennsylvania congressional 
district from April 18, 1863, until May 1, 1867, when he resigned, 
having won distinction at Washington by his administration. 

After the War. 

When the war was over Mr. Tower returned to the practice 
of his profession, which he continued until his removal to Phil- 
adelphia. He had acquired large bodies of coal lands and other 
business interests, to the development of which he devoted him- 
self after his retirement from activity at the bar in 1872. He was 
one of the promoters and for many years a director of the North- 
ern Pacific railroad. In connection with Charles B. Wright lie 
rendered particularly valuable assistance to the company. In all 
the vicissitudes of the enterprise Mr. Tower never lost confidence 
in its ultimate success, and the great part it was to play in the 
development of the country through which the road was 
built. With his other property, he had extensive interests in 
lands in Washington territory, Dakota and Minnesota. He was a 
member of the G. A. R. and the Loyal Legion. 

Greatest Undertaking. 

Probably Mr. Tower's most successful enterprise was the de- 
velopment of the great Vermillion iron district in Minnesota, un- 
dertaken when he was seventy-two years of age. These ore 
bodies, to which his attention was first called in 1875, and to 
which he sent several investigating expeditions, that reported 
favorably, lay in St. Louis county, Minnesota, ninety miles north- 
east of Duluth. The country presented almost insurmountable 
obstacles. But the indomitable courage of Mr. Tower did not 
yield in the least. 

Obituary. xi 

The opening and working of iron mines so far from the border 
of civilization, implied a formidable expenditure ; a railroad one 
hundred miles long must be built and equipped, and docks, and 
harbors must be built. Experienced business men drew back 
from the enterprise, but Mr. Tower single-handed, determined to 
carry it through. He built the railroad, erected docks and all the 
buildings necessary, and in addition had so far developed the 
mines, that when the railroad was completed, their product was 
ready for shipment. 

The first shipment was made to Cleveland in August, 1884. A 
town called Tower sprang up at the mines which to-day employ 
from 1,500 to 1,800 men, and another at the railroad terminus on 
Lake Superior. The shipment of ore from Tower in 1884, the 
first year, was 68,000 tons, and in 1887 had increased to 400,000 
tons. This enterprise to-day gives support to 5,000 people, and 
is growing steadily. 

This industry, planted by the hand of a single man in a remote 
and difficult country, will be a grand monument to Mr. Tower's 
memory. It placed Minnesota, hitherto unknown as a mineral 
producing district, in the space of four years., among the foremost 
iron markets of the United States. A syndicate was formed in 
1887 which purchased the entire property for $6,000,000, Mr. 
Tower retaining, however, a large interest. 

Such is the record of the life of this remarkable man. He lived 
to see his enterprise thoroughly successful and increasing in im- 
portance and benefit to the country every day. His life of eighty 
years made its influence felt in every direction throughout the 
United States and resulted in good to thousands of people, and it 
will continue to be felt for years to come. 

The funeral was attended by a multitude from far and near and 
amid this general sorrow his remains were laid to rest by the side 
of his ancestors in hope of a glorious resurrection. 



Genius and Beauty 1 

Literary Marriages , 5 

Southey's Domestic Life « 7 

Literary Bachelors 8 

Walter Scott's Early Love 10 

His Wife : 13 

Addison's and Milton's Domestic Troubles > . . 15 

The Lamia , 17 

Woman's Discernment 18 

Happiness from Self-Denial , . . 19 

Coleridge's Marriage 20 

Courtship from Shakespeare 21 

Book Making 23 

Professional Reading t 25 

Rejected Books 27 

Lessons to Authors . . 28 

Old Publishers. : 29 

Authors' Pay. . . = 30 

Book Histories 33 

Sufferings of Authors 37 

Literary Reward 38 

Wealth and Authorship 40 

Rich American Authors 41 

Literary Attractions 42 

Bohemian Life 43 

xiv Contents. 


Savage , 44 

Publishers and Authors 45 

Rich Copyrights 47 

Unfinished Works , 48 

Literary Tools 51 

Book Names 54 

Rowe and Dryden 55 

Proof of Vitality 56 

Periodical Literature 59 

My Own Experience , 63 

Munchausen 64 

Fun and Fact G5 

Whittier's Satire 66 

Ichabod Explained. 68 

Literary Curiosity 69 

Tom Moore 71 

His Early Life 72 

Visits America 73 

Picture of Washington City , 76 

Moore's Marriage 77 

His Life in Europe 80 

Literary Sisters 82 

Female Writers and Longevity 85 

Joel Barlow 86 

His Hasty Pudding 88 

Bibliomania 90 

Costly Books 92 

Book Values 94 

Lenox Treasures 95 

Literary Frauds 96 

Sample of Formosan Language 98 

Psalmanazar History 99 

Contents. xv 


Psalmanazar's Repentance 100 

Other Literary Deceptions \ , 101 

Chatterton's Imposture 103 

The Ireland Fraud , 105 

Malicious Frauds 107 

Concerning Pen Names 108 

Anonymous Publications ... Ill 

Robert C. Sands 114 

Henry Kirke White 11G 

Byron's Tribute to White 117 

Other Tributes to Genius 118 

Interpolations and Alterations , 120 

The Dunciad 122 

Pope and Hampton Court _, 123 

Addison's Egotism 125 

Answers to Correspondents 126 

Immortality of Genius , 127 

Authors' Graves 134 

Efforts for Fame 135 

Literary Publishers . . 138 

Plagiarism 140 

Remarkable Parallels 141 

Imaginary Plagiarism 153 

Clever Imitations 154 

Father Prout's Literary Joke 155 

Paul and Virginia 158 

Gray and Goethe 159 

Severn and Keats 161 

Keats and Drake 163 

Coleridge's Crime 165 

Autobiography 166 

Literary Biography 167 

xvi Contents. 


Criminal Biography 171 

Twice Mentioned Book 172 

Literary Correspondence 173 

Latimer's Sermons 175 

Dickens' Early Success 176 

Robinson Crusoe and its Author 179 

Authors and Dogs 180 

Suppressed Works 182 

First American Tale 185 

Walpole Wits 18G 

Clergymen's Titles 187 

Penalty of Success 190 

Literary Friendships , 192 

Dormant Literature 193 

Cheerful Authors 195 

Purchas' Pilgrimage , 196 

Scott and Napoleon 197 

Samuel Johnson 202 

Boswell and Gibbon 207 

Boswell's Lottery Ticket 208 

Burns 209 

Scott and Burns 212 

Burns' Independence 216 

Junius 217 

His Style 224 

Mysterious Friendship 225 

Who Was Junius 229 

Astronomical Fancies 231 

Washington Irving , . . , 232 

His Love Matters 236 

Irving and Burr .... 238 

Life in Paris . . 245 

Contents. xvii 


Irving returns to New York 248 

Death and Burial 254 

His Sisters 255 

His Pen Names 259 

Irving and the G-host 2G0 

Irving's Sorrows 264 

Byron 265 

His Bride 268 

Byron's Italian Life , 273 

His Descendants . 276 

Influence Over Scott , .. . 278 

His Artificiality 279 

His Yolcanic Outbursts 282 

Literary Copartnerships 286 

Dr. John W. Francis 289 

Thomas Paine : 290 

His Will 294 

Boston Memories 296 

Walter Scott 298 

Biterary By-Play 299 

Abbottsford 300 

Waverley 302 

Scott's Children 303 

Scott's Sermons 304 

Strange Book History 305 

Costly Resentment 306 

Scott's Debut in America 307 

Authors and Aunts 308 

Byron's Early Memories 310 

Old Newspapers 311 

The First Regular Issue 312 

Early New York Printers 313 

xviii Contents. 


Franklin and Bradford 315 

Franklin's First Job 316 

First New York Paper 317 

Satanic Press 319 

Franklin's early Pen Name 321 

First Libel Suit 323 

Bryant 325 

London Times , 326 

Editorial Retrospect 326 

Ann Street 327 

Editorial Mortality 328 

Hebrew Journalist 330 

Rapid Workers 331 

Greeley 332 

Addison in Journalism 333 

Goldsmith and Boswell 335 

Byron as a Journalist 336 

Astor Library 337 

Greeley's Confession 339 

Shakespeare Incidents 3-f 1 

Progress of His Fame 342 

Love Question 343 

Ridicules his Wife 344 

Makes the Amends 345 

Shakespearean Expressions 347 

Shakespeare Critics 349 

Shakespeare's Geography 351 

First American Amateur 353 

Bacon vs. Shakespeare 354 

Shakespeare vs. Bacon 358 

Greek Drama 360 

Thespis and Roscius 361 

Contents. xi'x 


Augustin's Confession 362 

Mortuary Record 363 

Players' Ages , 366 

Prologues and Epilogues 367 

Garrick 369 

His Characteristics ... 371 

Theatre Prices , 373 

Actors' Irritability 375 

Former Dramatic Salaries 376 

Sheridan Knowles 377 

Macready 378 

Play Writing 379 

First American Play 380 

Stage Solecisms 382 

Young Roscius .... 383 

John Howard Payne 385 

Home, Sweet Home , 386 

Dramatic Literature 387 

Resurrection of the Devil 388 

Dramatic Changes 389 

Lear Forbidden , 390 

Death on the Stage 392 

Cibber Revived 394 

Transitory Fame 395 

Pressure for the Stage 398 

Theatrical Benefits. . . , 400 

The Ophidian 402 

Old Costumes 403 

Actors' Jealousy 404 

Metamora 405 

Amateur Theatricals 406 

Napoleon on the Stage 40 

xx Contents. 


Dramatic Marriages 409 

Kemble Family 410 

Mrs. Siddous 411 

Fanuy Kemble 413 

Kean 414 

Dramatic Succession 417 

Interesting Prologue 420 

Possible Tragedians 421 

Unsuccessful Plays 422 

Shakespeare's Names 424 

Shakespeare and His Commentators 425 

New Reading in Shakespeare 426 

Stage Fright 428 

The Tempest, a New Theory 429 

Congress, its Origin 450 

Franklin's Scheme 452 

First State Paper . . 456 

Franklin's Latest Happiness 456 

Pensioners and Presidents 457 

Jefferson's Sorrow 458 

Washington's Inauguration 459 

His Namesakes 461 

Washington City Projected 461 

Howard and Washington 462 

Signers of the Declaration 463 

Anniversaries of the Fourth 465 

Hancock's Eloquence 467 

Washington Libelled 468 

His Magnanimity 473 

Biographers of Washington 475 

Washington Monument 480 

Washington in New York 481 

Contents. xxi 


Portraits of Washington 482 

Memorials of Washington , 485 

His First Love , 489 

His Marriage 491 

Lady Washington 492 

Byron's Eulogy 493 

Washington's Death 494 

His Funeral 498 

Battle of New Orleans 499 

DeWitt Clinton 501 

Robert Fulton 502 

The Clermont 503 

Madison Reminiscences 505 

War of 1812-14 506 

Naval Duel 508 

Madison's Eloquence 510 

The Pig Story 513 

Love and War 514 

John Randolph 515 

Clay's Oratory 516 

Lewis and Clark , 517 

Pacific Road Projector 519 

Paul Jones * 522 

John Ledyard 522 

Alexander Hamilton . . . . , 524 

The Thirteen Trees : 526 

The Famous Duel 529 

Hamilton's Funeral 531 

His Will 533 

His Death Place 535 

The Eacker Duel 538 

Aaron Burr , 541 

xxii Contents. 


Fictions Concerning Burr 542 

His Land Operations 543 

Burr and Greeley 544 

Theodosia 540 

Burr's First Marriage 550 

Buys Richmond Hill 551 

His First Misfortune . , 555 

Wife Wanted 556 

Various Candidates 558 

Curious Correspondence 561 

Dramatic Scenes 563 

Madame Jumel 568 

Burr Divorced , 570 

Burr and Vanderlyn . . 572 

Theodosia's Trunk 573 

Burr's Gra^e 577 

The Alexander Family 578 

Presbytery and Prelacy 578 

Lessons to Public Men 580 

Disappointed Candidates 583 

Interesting Tourists 586 

Jefferson Criticised 593 

Wirt's Retort 594 

Foreign Graves 595 

Trinity Church 598 

The Two Cemeteries , . . 600 

Midnight in Wall Street 602 

Religious Thoughts 640 

Our Bool^. 


It is an admitted fact that genius and beauty are rarely 
found in the same person. The handsomest man of Lon- 
don society in the opening of the present century was 
Count Dorsay, but he was in every other point very 
inferior. Wellington, the chief soldier of his age, was 
impaired by his prodigious nose, and both Rogers and 
Southey, as well as Henry Kirke White, suffered from 
the same excess. Pope was partially deformed, and not- 
withstanding his fine eyes was a facile object for the 
caricaturist. Hence he speaks of "the libelled person 
and distorted shape." Another reference to his personal 
defects is as follows : 

" There are who to my person pay their court, 
I cough like Horace, and though lean, am short. 
Ammon's great son one shoulder had too high ; 
Such Ovid's nose — and sir, you have an eye. 
Go on, obliging creatures — bid me see 
All that disgraced my betters met in me." 

Goldsmith was hardly of passable appearance, and John- 
son was huge and clumsy. Gibbon was corpulent and suf- 
fered from a rupture which still more impaired his form. 
Burke was awkward and ungraceful, and John Wilkes, 
the so-called champion of liberty, was the worst looking 
man in England. What an ill-looking set the famous 
Literary Club must have been. 

2 Our Book. 

Byron had a fine face, but his club foot was a per- 
petual humiliation, and the consciousness of this defect 
seemed never to abate. This is illustrated by the follow- 
ing incident : One night as Byron and some friends left 
the theatre, one of the "link boys" volunteered to illu- 
minate the way, expecting the usual fee. " This way, 
my lord," exclaimed the light bearer, uttering the title 
at random. " How does he know you are a lord? " asked 
one of the friends. "Know me," exclaimed the poet, 
" why they all know me ; I'm deformed." Walter Scott 
was a man of line personal- appearance, but he too was 
lame — having been injured in infancy — and walked 
with a peculiar limp. When Lady Blessington first met 
him she exclaimed, "Why, sir, have you got hurt?" 
" Yes," was the reply, "about fifty years ago." 

Campbell, the author of Pleasures of Hope, though a 
small man, was considered handsome, but his life was a 
failure and its miseries afford a painful contrast with his 
pretty face. It is probable that Burns was the noblest 
specimen of manly beauty that British authorship ever 
produced. Walter Scott, who saw him in his prime, 
said that " his eyes literally glowed," and added that hav- 
ing seen most of the distinguished men of that age, none 
of them had such eyes as Burns. Bulwer was considered 
a handsome man, and so was Lockhart, but on the other 
hand Charles Lamb, Wordsworth, Shelley, and most of 
the literati of that day were of very plain appearance. 

Coleridge had large, expressive eyes, but this was 
all that was noticeable on his countenance, and Dickens 
retained till the last that cockney aspect which was the 
more apparent from his excessive display of jewelry. 
Moore was the smallest poet — in point of stature — in 
the entire Parnassian list, and he would have given half 
his beauty for six inches of height. 

American Genius. 3 

The pigmy of literature, however, was M. G. Lewis, 
compiler of Tales of Wonder, a now forgotten book. 
Yiewed from behind, he was often taken for a half-grown 
boy, and yet this little fellow had influence in literary 
circles. His specialty was the weird and the horrible, 
and he induced Scott to write a number of harrowing 
ballads for the Tales of Wonder. He thus really started 
Scott into authorship, for after the latter had written 
Glenfinlas and the Eve of St. John, the way was open 
for higher effort. They appeared in Tales of Wonder, 
and in this manner the pigmy led forth the giant. 


In earlier days American genius was more favored in 
point of personal appearance than that of the old world. 
In military life there were Washington and Winfield 
Scott, who were the finest looking men of their day. In 
orators, both Daniel Webster and Edward Everett may 
be mentioned — both having been not only men of elo- 
quence but also of remarkably fine personal appearance, 
while in literature there were Cooper, Irving and Bayard 
Taylor. Irving in his latter day was often solicited to sit 
for his portrait, but he uniformly referred to the picture 
taken by Leslie and the bust by Ball Hughes. The 
former is in the Lenox gallery, and is of such small size 
that it is generally overlooked ; but it is a gem of art 
and is a correct picture of the author when in the fulness 
of manly beauty. The bust is in the Mercantile library, 
and, though of maturer years, is also a fine specimen of 
manhood. In point of personal appearance indeed, Irv- 
ing held high distinction. He stood five feet ten and 
was well built, and then his countenance had a genial 

4 Ouk Book. 

as well as an intellectual expression, which, indeed, w T as 
the best exponent of his character. 

1ST. P. Willis alwa}'s looked as though he had just step- 
ped out of a bandbox. He was of light build and stood 
about five feet nine. He dressed in the best taste and 
his appearance in the Broadway afternoon promenade was 
so pretty that he was a great favorite with the ladies. 
His partner, George P. Morris, who once was so popular 
as a song writer, was a short, stout man, with a dull 
countenance, which would hardly suggest " Woodman 
Spare that Tree." Poe w T as of rather undersize and 
dressed in good taste for one so wretchedly poor. His 
face had a sad, dreamy, intellectual look, which would at 
once rivet attention. 

Longfellow was not of poetic countenance. Before 
lie became gray he was a blonde and the most strik- 
ing feature was his nose, which was altogether too prom- 
inent for beauty. When I first saw him his face was 
clean-shaven, and this rendered the nasal organ the more 
conspicuous. I think that he afterward wore full beard and 
moustache in order to give the rest of his face more full- 
ness and thus reduce the nose to reasonable proportions. 

Bayard Taylor was a man of very fine personal appear- 
ance. He was tall and well-shaped, and his countenance 
was marked by power. He too had jj, prominent nose, 
but it was one which gave dignity and strength to his 
face. Edward Everett w T as also a man of unusually fine 
appearance, and this added much to his admirable oratory. 

James Fenimore Cooper, however, bore the palm among 
the literati of America. He was the beau ideal of physi- 
cal development, combined with intellect. The former, 
however, was most conspicuous. He was six feet and 
finely proportioned. His movements were easy and had 
that air which belongs to the naval service in which he 



Literary Marriages. 5 

passed his early years. His head was large, and his 
features were of a leonine cast, while his clear, gray eyes 
were radiant with power. He was one of that class of 
authors whose personal appearance was superior to their 
writings. I saw him once plead in court, the case being 
one of his libel suits, and the impression became at once 
indelible. Those libel suits (like libel suits in general) 
were a great blunder, but they certainly developed a, sur- 
prising gift of eloquence. Cooper, indeed, was the only 
American author whose oratory excelled his books. 

Hawthorne was well built and had an abstract dreamy 
look which suggested his mysterious character. Halleck 
and Bryant, though diminutive in stature-, were dignified 
in countenance. This reference to Bryant leads to the 
remark that some of our leading editors were noted for 
ungainly appearance. Greeley, though well shaped, was 
awkward in manner, and in his early days had a verdant 
look. Bennett was huge and clumsy with repulsive fea- 
tures, while Raymond had a powerful but an unattractive 
face and his deficiency in stature surprised those who felt 
the power of his pen. M. M. Noah was tall and un- 
graceful and the same statement applied to David Hale, 
founder of the Journal of Commerce, but he had unusually 
fine eyes and a face of great power. 


It has been questioned whether such unions can be 
advantageously formed, but I think that experience is 
in the affirmative. Progressive education is necessary, 
and the one having the best attainments will of course 
be the educator. Woman is generally ready to learn, 

6 Our Book. 

while a man, from the affected importance of the sex, 
often objects to receiving lessons from his wife. This, 
however, is a great mistake. Another error on the part 
of literary men (including the clergy) is the expectation 
of conjugal praise. Clergymen are generally pleased with 
flattery, and as long as the wife administers it her words 
are acceptable, while judicious criticism is unpalatable. To 
illustrate the benefit of the latter, I may refer to such a 
man as Scott, the commentator, who habitually read his 
sermons to his wife before pulpit delivery, and found her 
suggestions very valuable. 

Literary people are more liable to matrimonial difficul- 
ties than most t)ther classes, because they so rapidly ex- 
haust one another. A literary man who is obliged by his 
profession to advance in knowledge will soon reach a 
higher plane than that occupied on the wedding day, and 
will of course leave his wife behind unless she maintain a 
proportionate advance. Here will be found an increasing 
separation of thought and culture such as never could 
occur under other circumstances. Hence the wife of a lit- 
terateur may become merely his housekeeper instead of a 

By the same rule we may notice the unsuitableness of 
a woman, strictly literary in taste, marrying an illiterate 
man. "We have a number of female writers who have 
attained rank in the world of letters, but are married to 
men whose only distinction is found in their wives. The 
Litter pursue a path which leads to mental culture, while 
the former are engrossed with business. The woman 
finds that her husband does not equal her progress and he 
soon ceases to be a real companion. She must pursue a 
solitary path or find congenial society elsewhere. Sad 
illustrations of this are found in Mrs. Hemans and Mad- 
ame De Stael, but American society has enough examples 
without seeking them abroad. 

Literary Marriages. 7 

The best read man of his day was Hobert South ey, and 
he wae one of its most versatile writers. He was a toler- 
able poet and a popular biographer, as well as a frequent re- 
viewer, and though not profound, was laborious and learned. 
He lived at Keswick, and his studies were prosecuted in 
his own house. Here he had a congenial companion in his 
wife, whose health afterward failed, but he cherished her 
to the very last. As he said in a letter to his publisher : 

I have declined joining a literary club to which I have been 
elected. Surely a man does not do his duty who leaves his wife 
to evenings of solitude, and I feel duty and happiness to be 
inseparable. I am happier at home than any other society can 
possibly make me. With Edith, I am alike secure from the weari- 
ness of solitude and the disgust which I cannot help feeling at 
the contemplation of mankind. 

Edith eventually sank beneath slow disease, and her 
husband at last surrendered her to the grave. After her 
death he married Caroline Lisle Bowles, who had won 
position as a popular writer. She lived to see the labor- 
ous literateur suffer intellectual paralysis, and watched 
over him after he had become reduced almost to second 
childhood, which occurred a few years before his death. 

Turning to public life, it is a matter of note that many 
of our best statesmen were very happily married. Jeffer- 
son lost his wife before she had parsed middle life, but 
their union was of a very happy character. It was, 
however, onry of ten years' duration. After his death, 
which was forty years subsequently, there was found in 
his drawer a parcel inscribed, " A lock of our first Lucy's 
hair, with some of my dear wife's writing." The mem- 
ory of that wife was cherished to the very last. 

John Adams was still more fortunate. He married 
Abigal Smith, the daughter of a clergyman, and their 
letters prove their union to have been one of intellect 
as well as one of affection. Madison also married one 

8 Our Book. 

who was in every point adapted to the position which 
destiny assigned her. The value of woman as a com- 
panion of a statesman is one of the lessons taught by 
Walter Savage Landor in his Pericles and Aspasia, and 
it is to be remembered that as soon as Napoleon cast 
off Josephine, his true and devoted wife, fortune ceased 
to favor him, and he went rapidly to ruin. 

Literary Bachelors. 

I might continue this subject long enough to fill a vol- 
ume without exhausting it, but before I go any farther I 
may be met by the inquiry why are men of genius so 
often bachelors? To this I reply that such instances are 
not owing to any thing like a want of appreciation of 
woman's value, but generally to unfavorable circum- 
stances. Most of our celibate authors have been in love, 
but found that its course did not run smooth. Irving, 
for instance, was engaged to a maiden whom he lost by 
death. Charles Lamb remained unmarried in order to 
devote himself to his lunatic sister Mary, whom he kept 
as an inmate of his house until her death. Lord Macau- 
lay never married, but it is probable that this was due to 
some youthful disappointment. He might have had 

"A love that had an early root, 

And early had a doom ; 
Like trees that never come to fruit, 

But perish Jin their bloom." 

Goldsmith was deeply in love with the charming Miss 
Horneck, whom he styled "the Jessamine bride," and 
even Pope, though a life-long invalid, expressed his ad- 
miration of Martha Blount, but neither of these men 
married. The one w r as prevented by poverty — the other 
by ill health. Hume seems almost the only distinguished 
w liter who was formed for celibacy. He was naturally 
cold and apathetic, and indeed any one who could defend 

Literary Marriages. 9 

suicide by such ingenious sophistry, was unfit for social 

Gibbon, when a student, /v /as in love with Mademoiselle 
Churchod, the daughter of a poor clergyman. His father 
opposed the union, and the love-lorn student resigned his 
hopes of matrimonial bliss. The girl was talented and 
became a teacher, and afterward married the richest man 
in France, and was the mother of Madame De Stael. She 
entertaiued her former lover at her palace twenty years 
after the match had been broken. 

To return to American authors, I am reminded that 
Percival proposed, but was refused. Indeed, he was 
unfit for married life by reason of his peculiarities. Hal- 
leck became deaf, and remained single. So did Tucker- 
man. Confirmed bachelors are very rare among editors, 
physicians, lawyers and clergy, and have always been so. 

In conclusion it is very evident that wedlock ha3 been 
beneficial to American liter ateurs as is illustrated by 
the lives of Hawthorne, Cooper, Longfellow and others 
who might be mentioned. Literary life indeed will never 
become so celestial that authors will cease to marry and 
be given in marriage, and if any one needs the richest 
blessings of domestic affection it is this class of so often 
over-tasked brain workers. 

Most of the leading authors in Great Britain were 
married — some unhappily, the most recent case being 
that of Dickens. Such difficulties indeed have too often 
marred the history of genius as is found in Shelley, 
Byron and Coleridge. The first of this wonderful trio 
ran a rapid career. Before he was twenty-nine he had 
married twice, had abandoned his first wife who com- 
mitted suicide, had achieved fame and reached a grave in 
the English burial ground at Rome. Byron was unfit to 
marry because of intense selfishness and lawless appetite. 

10 Our Book. 

Coleridge loved his wife, but was so addicted to opium 
that he was unfit for domestic life, and this led to a per- 
manent separation. Bulwer's domestic troubles were 
among the most painful of this character, especially since 
he incarcerated his wife in a lunatic asylum as the most 
effectual way of escaping matrimonial incumbrance. 
Tom Moore married a young actress whom he loved 
intensely, and who was his " Bessie" to the last. The 
later circle of poets, such as Thomas Hood, Proctor, bet- 
ter known as Barry Cornwall, and Ebenezer Elliot, were 
married men, and lived in a manner which commends 
home life to other literateurs. Hugh Miller courted with 
poetry and stone cutting in alternate exercise, and his 
" winsome marrow " delighted to read to him while he 
wore the mechanic's apron and plied his chisel and mallet. 

Scott's Love Matters. 

Scott's early disappointment was very bitter, and al- 
though its full details cannot be given it may be said that 
when he was a poor barrister, living under the paternal 
roof he fell in love with a maiden whose rank was above 
his own, and whom he could not expect to win. 

Still he hoped against hope. His father heard of the 
affair, and with the sober sense of mature years, informed 
the lady's parents of Walter's weakness, and they at once 
sent her on a protracted visit to distant friends. 

Scott never knew the cause of her absence till years 
afterward, but he submitted to his fate, for as the income 
of his profession during the first five year3 averaged only 
£100 a year, he could not dare encounter the expense of 
a domestic establishment. The girl married soon after- 
ward, and one of Scott's friends was so deeply interested 
and even alarmed concerning the result that he wrote as 
follows : " This is bad news to our romantic friend, and I 

Literary Marriages. It 

now shudder at the violence of his most irritable and un- 
governable mind. It is said that ' men have died and 
worms have eaten them, but not for love.' I sincerely 
hope it may be verified on this occasion." 

Scott did nothing worse than to pen a few stanzas, 
which are worth reading in this connection. They are 
addressed to a violet and the following are the closing lines : 

"Though fair her gems of azure hue, 

Beneath the dew-drops' weight reclining; 
I've seen an eye of lovelier blue, 

More sweet through watery lustre shining." 

" The summer sun that dew shall dry, 

E'er yet that sun be passed its morrow; 
Nor longer in my false love's eye, 

Remained the tear of parting sorrow.'' 

The maiden thus referred to was the only daughter of 
Sir John Stewart. She married Sir William Forbes, the 
opulent Edinburgh banker, and died in 1811, but she had 
lived long enough to see her former lover the author of 
Marmion and the Lady of the Lake, which rendered him 
the chief poet of the age. The year after her death he 
introduces her and also himself in Rokeby, and it is 
creditable to him that much as he had evidently craved 
to give utterance to his feelings he suppressed them until 
the one whose memory might have been deepest moved 
had passed away. She is the Matilda in Rokeby who re- 
jects the young poet Wilfred in favor of the warrior 
chief, and Scott thus describes his hopeless passion : 

u Wilfred must love and woo the bright 
Matilda heir of Iiokeby's knight: 
To love her was an easy test 
The secret empress of his breast. 
To woo her was a harder task, 
To one that durst not hope or ask." 

The same idea of hopeless love and blighting disap- 
pointment breathes through Wilfred's song of which I 
give the first and last verses : 

12 Our Book. 

11 Lady twine no wreath for me, 
Or twine it of the cypress tree: 
Too lively glows the lilies light, 
The varnished holly's all too bright; 
The Mayflower and the Eglantine, 
May shade a brow less sad than mine. 
Then lady weave no wreath for me 
Or weave it of the cypress tree.'' 

"Yes! twine for me the cypress bough 
But O Matilda twine not now : 
Stay till a few brief months are passed, 
And I have looked and loved the last. 
When villagers my grave bestrew, 
With pansies, rosemary and rue, 
Then lady weave a wreath for me, 
But weave it of the cypress tree." 

It is an interesting feature in Scott's history that the 
husband of his first love was his chief creditor during 
his bankruptcy, and no doubt fellow feeling did much 
toward that leniency which the unfortunate author re- 
ceived. Sir William Forbes and Sir Walter Scott were 
then both widowers and from the grave itself arose a bond 
of sympathy. Her death was deeply felt by Scott, for 
although he had been married twelve years the old flame 
was not extinguished. Rokeby appeared the next year, 
and Loekhart says " that there is nothing wrought out 
in all Scott's prose more exquisite than the contrast 
between the rivals." Six years afterward Scott wrote 
thus to Miss Edgeworth : " Matilda was attempted for 
the person of a lady who is now no more, so that I am 
flattered with your distinguishing it." As this took place 
nearly twenty years after the disappointment, it illustrates 
the tenacity with which the author held to his first love. 

Mutual Soekow. 

When Lady Forbes died Scott was so affected that he 
called on her mother and they both fell to weeping over 
the sad affair. It is a curious incident in domestic history 

Literary Marriages. 13 

to see a man carry his first love so tenderly through life, 
while married to another woman to whom he always 
showed great attachment. Scott evidently made Matilda 
the ideal or dream wife who accompanied him to the last. 
Daring his latter days he said by way of consolation to a 
young lover who had suffered a similar disappointment, 
that "scarce one person out of twenty marries his first 
love, and scarce one out of twenty of the remainder has 
cause to rejoice at having done so. What we love in these 
early days is rather a fanciful creation of our own than a re- 
ality. We build statues of snow and weep when they melt." 
Ten years previous to his death Scott copied some 
verses written by his early love. " I leave it," says Lock- 
hart, " to the reader's fancy to picture the mood in which 
the gray-haired man may have traced such a relic of his 
youthful dreams." Twenty-six years after this disap- 
pointment Scott wrote Peveril of the Peak, in which 
he draws on his own experience for the remark that 
" there are few men wmo do not look back in secret to 
some period of their life at which a sincere or early 
affection was repulsed or betrayed." 

His Wife. 

A few years after his disappointment Scott met a 
beautiful French girl, an orphan and heiress of £1,000. 
She w r as known as Charlotte Margaret Carpenter, and 
was the daughter of Jean Carpenter — or Charpentier — 
a royalist who fled at the outbreak of the revolution. In 
this courtship Scott was more moderate than in the first, 
and writes to his mother of his a anxiety lest you should 
think me flighty or inconsiderate," and adds " that experi- 
ence is too recent to permit my being so hasty in my con- 
clusions as the warmth of my temper might have other- 
wise prompted." It is generally admitted that Scott was 

14 Our Book. 

not well mated in the marriage which followed. His 
wife, who by her husband's baronetcy became Lady Scott, 
was deficient in intellect and her weaknesses often dis- 
tressed her husband, especially as they were so generally 
the theme of literary and social gossip. On one occasion 
when Jeffrey dined at his house after issuing a severe 
critique on Marmion, to which Scott, of course, made no 
reference, the wife said to the guest when he departed, 
" Well, good-night Mr. Jeffrey, dey tell me you have 
abused Scott in do Review, and I hope Mr. Constable 
has paid you well for writing it." This outburst of feel- 
ing annoyed Scott deeply, especially as soon afterward it 
became a matter of humorous and satirical comment. 

Southey's Method. 

The method which Robert Southey pursued is worthy 
of notice. He was in love with Edith Fricker, a girl as 
poor as himself, and was obliged to leave England for 
Portugal for the purpose of improving his foi tunes. 
Just before the vessel sailed ho married Edith and his 
maiden bride bade him a sad farewell at the wharf, and 
went home wearing her wedding ring as the only memento 
of the occasion. Southey desired to send her money, and 
knew that she would not accept it from one not legally 
her husband. This strange wedding was the beginning 
of a union marked by a more than usual degree of felicity. 
Upon the whole, it seems, as Shakespeare says, that 
"marriage and hanging go by destiny." It is, of 
course, very trying- to be disappointed in love ; as Orlando 
says, "O how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness 
through another man's eyes," but it is an experience often 
met in the history of genius. 

Campbell married his cousin and their children were 
deficient, one of the number becoming a lunatic early in 

Literary Marriages. 15 

life. The poet, indeed, seems to have seen much sorrow, 
and though he was the bard of hope he was through life 
the victim of disappointment. Burns' experience in wed- 
lock was all that could be expected under that dire pov- 
erty which was his fate through life. Going back still 
further in the literary record, Gray died a bachelor at 
lifty-five. His life was singularly uniform and presents 
few facts on which to base an opinion. It lias been sup- 
posed, however, that he was disappointed in his affections, 
indeed one of the most powerful lines in the Elegy seems 
to have been an utterance of his heart : 

" Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, 
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove, 
Now drooping, woful wan, like one forlorn, 
Or crazed with care or crossed in hopeless love." 

Cowper was deeply in love with his cousin, Theodora, 
but as he was really unfit for matrimonial life his friends 
interfered. The affection, however, which united this 
fond couple held its power to the last, and neither sought 
nor found another mate. 

Addisox and Milton. 

Addison married the Countess of Warwick and the 
union proved uncongenial. He was a disappointed man 
and no doubt found the Spectator a consolation. Tn one 
of its essays (No. 607) he says, u it requires more virtues 
to make a good husband or wife than what go to the 
finishing of the most shinino- character whatsoever.' 1 ' ^N"o 
doubt he wrote this from his own experience. His 
matrimonial infelicity led to a separation, and Pope gave 
him a severe hit when he spoke of 

"Marrying discord in a noble wife." 
for though no name was mentioned the reference was too 
clear to be mistaken. 

Fielding seems to have been the best mated author of 

16 Our Book. 

that day. His wife bore with his irregularities with great 
patience, and he has embalmed her in the lovely Amelia. 
Swift was the ogre of matrimony, and the only excuse 
for his horrible treatment of the woman whom he un- 
willingly wedded is that he was insane. 

It may seem strange that Milton, whose married life 
was unhappy, should have made so beautiful a reference 
to the subject in his L' Allegro : 

" There let Hymen oft appear, 
In saffron robe with taper clear, 
And pomp and feast and revelry, 
With masque and antique pageantry. 
Such sights as youthful poets dream 
On summer eve, by haunted stream." 

It may be replied that the above was written before the 
author reached that sad experience which clouded his do- 
mestic life. It is evident, however, that the latter inspired 
that prophetic view which Adam utters in Paradise Lost, 
and which so painfully portrays some of the infelicities of 
married life 

''For either 
He shall never find out fit mate, but such 
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake ; 
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain. 

Or his happiest choice too late 

Shall meet already link'd and wedlock bound." 

It is sad indeed to think how often this prophecy has 
been fulfilled, forming so large an element in poetry from 
Shakespeare, who moralizes on " the course of truelove " — 
down to Whittier, whose touching lines will not soon be 
forgotten : 

"For of all the sad words of tongue or pen, 
The saddest are these — it might have been." 

As the author of the above lias gone through life a 
bachelor, it is possible that he uttered on this occasion 
the lessons of his own experience. 

The Lamia. 17 

One of the most striking poems written by Keats is 
the Lamia. The theme is the serpent turned into the 
woman, who enchants the Grecian youth, notwithstand- 
ing the expostulations of the old philosopher. In modern 
society the Lamia is the woman whose vanity is fed by 
the admiration and attention of married men, who, on 
the other hand, are fascinated by her graces of conversa- 
tion or flattery. This is often done under a clear sky, 
and with no such attempt at secrecy as might involve 
guilt, and yet it cannot but occasion distress, and event- 
ually break up family peace. These downward steps are 
seldom retraced, and the tendency is to a deeper descent in 
the path of ruin. The Lamia is frequently to be seen in 
what is called "good society," and much of the disrup- 
tion found in such circles is thus to be explained. Men 
under such influences often lose self control and yet they 
cannot deny responsibility. 

It may be noticed here that some of the best emotional 
poetry of the eighteenth century w T as written by a bachelor 
who, as some think, never intended to call any woman 
wife. Such, however, was the case with Pope. Perhaps 
he did not at first contemplate celibacy, and therefore 
consecrated the early products of his muse to love. Ill 
health and other reasons now unknown may have pre- 
vented marriage, though his intimacy with Martha Blount 
is a matter of biographical record. 

Pope saw many instances of marriages in which wealth 

was the sole object, as is so frequently the case in our 

own day, and he writes thus : - 

"The gods to curse Pamela with her prayers, 
Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares; 
The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state, 
And to complete her bliss — a fool for mate." 

This occurs in his epistle to the above-mentioned 

18 Our lioorc. 

Martha, in which he offers some excellent advice on mar- 
riage, but omits to give her the opportunity of becoming 
a poet's bride, which seems a great inconsistency. 

Woman's Discernment. 

Speaking of courtship, a woman of some experience 
made the remark that the«first refusal is never to be taken. 
A gentle urgency, a soft and tender pleading, is often 
necessary in order to remove those peculiar difficulties 
which occur under such trying circumstances, and there- 
fore Theodosia Burr rallies her father {vide page 565), for 
not pressing his suit when wooing Celesta. " You took it 
as a plump refusal and walked off — I would have seen 
you in Japan before I would have gone farther." 

A woman well read in modern fiction says, that she can 
readily tell the sex of an author by the manner in which 
husbands treat their wives. In a woman's novel, the former 
is more demonstrative of aflectiou. He pets his wife, 
calls her "darling" and other fond names, often ridicu- 
lous but full of feeling. She says that wives crave such 
demonstrations which unfortunately they too rarely re- 
ceive, and hence woman when waiting naturally portrays 
her own heart. 

Happiness from Self-denial. 
Is it to be understood that only rich folks should marry ? 
If so, to what a narrow range must matrimony be limited ? 
And then experience has shown that there is, relatively 
speaking, as much matrimonial trouble among the rich as 
among the poor. Poor people as they are often termed — 
meaning those who work for a living — are the very class 
to whom wedded life is the greatest boon. " Love in a 
cottage" may be a reality if the furniture be of a proper 
character. Self-denial is one of the chief elements in 

Literary Marriages. 19 

domestic happiness, and a cottage furnished m this style 
will be a happy one. 

Wedded life in its highest development is a new crea- 
tion formed by the fusion of two harmonious natures, in 
which each seeks to promote the happiness of the other. 
If such be the case, selfishness is one of its worst foes, 
and Crabbe, while describing a match based upon it, 
writes thus : 

" Love dies all kinds of death ; in some so quick 
It conies — he is not previously sick. 1 ' 

Campbell, on the other hand, says : 

" Time makes all but true love old; 

The burning thoughts that then were told 
Run molten still in memory's mould, 

And will not cool ; 
Until the heart itself be cold 
In Lethe's pool." 

These lines were quoted by Irving, in reference to his 
dead sweet-heart, whose memory was cherished so dearly 
until the last. 

Southey's Ideas. 
Alas that courtship is so often killed by the wedding 
ring. Robert Son they says: "I once saw a book on a 
blank page of which a servant girl had written thus, 
'Not much love after marriage, but a good deal before.' " 
This sad confession may be true in every station of life 
where the follies or the cares exercise an unwholesome 
influence, but it is not so with well-constituted minds. 
The true view is that wedlock is the greatest privilege 
of our race. Like all other privileges, it is best won by 
sacrifice. All that one gives up in order to obtain love 
will be repaid, because love is its own reward. The high- 
est attainments of wedded bliss are impossible to the self- 
ish. True love is shown by the willingness to labor and 
endure hardship for the object of affection. 

20 Our Book. 

Southey, who wrote from deep experience says the 
dream of life can last with none of ns 

"As if the thing beloved were all a saint, 
And every place she entered were a shrine," 

but it must be our own fault when it has passed away, .if 
the realities disappoint us. He adds " that love is the 
best of letter- writers, because in such a correspondence 
the feelings flow from the heart, but he expresses his 
contempt for amatory poetry of any kind. 

Coleridge and Son they were unequally gifted, the 
former being endowed with a splendid genius, while the 
latter had the gift of industry and was a laborious liteva- 
teur. His abilities were cultivated to a degree seldom 
equaled, and were driven with prodigious application. 
These men married sisters — poor girls — whom Byron 
contemptuously called the " milliners of Bath," and 
whose subsequent history reveals a surprising difference. 

Edith Fricker married Southey the literary drudge, 

while Sara married Coleridge the wonderful genius. 

The latter, however, squandered his abilities and passed 

most of his time in opium intoxication, until at the age 

of forty he abandoned his family, which was generously 

protected by Southey. For several years the latter shared 

his slender earnings with Sara Coleridge and her children, 

while the husband and father was begging the means of 

gratifying his depraved appetite. And yet in the point of 

love poetry Coleridge was a master. No wonder Southey 

formed a low idea of this style of verse, since his inebriate 

brother-in-law who abandoned wife and children, could 

write : 

"All thoughts, all passions, all delights, 
Whatever stir this mortal frame 
Are but the ministers of love, 

And feed his sacred flame.' 1 

The reason why Southey lived happily with his wife 

Literary Marriages. 21 

while Coleridge made domestic life a failure, is found in 
the fact that the first based his love on self-denial, while 
the latter was selfish. Sonthey refused while living in Lou- 
don, to join a literary club, because it would take his even- 
ings from home, but Coleridge would not abandon opium 
for any domestic considerations. The man who cannot sac- 
rifice a depraved appetite in order to promote home life has 
a small chance of making himself or any other one happy by 

Shakespeare' s Picture. 
See how naturally Shakespeare hits off this very idea 
in The Tempest : 

Ferdinand (carrying logs in obedience to Prospero.) 
There be some kinds of baseness 
Nobly undergone. This rny mean task 
As heavy to me as 'tis odious ;* but 
The mistress which I serve quickens what's dead 
And makes my labors pleasure. I must remove 
Some thousands of these logs and pile them up. 
My sweet mistress weeps when she sees me work, 
But these sweet thoughts do refresh my labors. 

Enter Miranda — 

Alas now ! Pray you 
Work not so hard. I would the lightning had 
Burnt up those logs that you are enjoined to pile. 
Pray set it down and rest you. 
If you '11 sit down, 

I '11 bear your logs the while ; pray give me that, 
I '11 carry it to the pile. You look wearily. 

Ferdinand — 

No, noble mistress, 'tis fresh morning with me 
When you are near, * * * and for your sake 
I am this patient log man. 

Prospero then appears, speaking thus : 

If I have too austerely punished you 
Your compensation makes a just amend. 
All thy vexations 
Were "but trials of thy love. 

The question with those who seek the joys of wedlock 
is, how many logs are they willing to carry ? 

22 Our Book. 

Matrimonial Difficulties. 

A popular preacher recently addressing young men, 

said that "even if they were unhappily married they 

should not separate." This is all very well so far as it 

goes, but why not tell them how to preveut or forestall 

unhappiness? Shakespeare is better authority on this 

point than the clergy, for he makes one of his female 

characters utter the following : 

11 Alas, poor woman ! Make us but believe 
You love us. We in your motion turn 
And you may move us. 
Comfort my sister, cheer her, call her ivife." 

The preacher might have improved the opportunity to 
tell these young men not to stop their courtship as soon 
as the bridal vow is uttered. 

"How is matrimony to be made practicable in a great 

city?" To find an answer, however, has embarrassed 

reformers and political economists for ages. It was one 

of the important questions in Rome before the Christian 

era, and its importance is no less vital at present. One 

of the saddest features, indeed, of a great city is the 

vast number of young people of both sexes who, under 

more favorable circumstances, would be married, but are 

not. It is a beautiful idea that everyone has a mate. 

Alas for the sad reality that so many go through life 

without finding one even in wedlock — for in painful 

contrast with the blind search after the ideal — there is, 

too often that " incompatibility " which interferes with 

wedded bliss. Perhaps this may have suggested the lines 

by Mrs. Brooks, better known as Maria del Oceidente : 

"Many a soul o'er life's drear desert faring, 

Love's pure congenial springs unfound, unquaffed, 
Suffers, recoils, then thirsty and despairing 

Of what it would — descends and sips the nearest draught." 

This descending to sip the nearest draught is a sad 

Book Making. 23 

ature in society, especially as single life so often devel- 
opes the highest usefulness which brings its own reward. 
Those who descend to sip the nearest draught, often find 
it bitter, if not poisonous. Marrying merely to be mar- 
ried, is only an importation of one of the worst customs 
in India. 


Formerly publishers, in issuing a work, assumed all 
risks, but they now generally require authors to make their 
own stereotype plates. It will cost about $400 to stereo- 
type an ordinary novel, and hence an author requires not 
only brains but some cash. Next is the copyright, to 
obtain which he must comply with the legal requirement 
which will be furnished by the librarian of Congress. 
To secure the claim he must send two copies of the book 
to the Congressional library at "Washington within ten 
days after publication. 

This library is certainly unfortuate in being thus encum- 
bered with immense quantities of trash. Just think what 
a collection it must be when every copyrighted volume, 
good, bad and indifferent, is forced upon its shelves. 

When the stereotype plates are finished, the publisher, 
if he -accepts the work, assumes the remainder of the 
expense. If the book be of an interesting character, and 
has a profitable sale, he will give a percentage of ten or 
even twenty per cent on the retail price. Out of this 
commission the author must expect to meet the expense 
of making the plates, and perhaps he may have a little 
over for his literary toil. It will however, be a success- 
ful book that yields $500, and, indeed novels rarely do 
better than $300 to $500, while many fail to pay the 

24 Our Book. 

cost of the plates. There are few trades liable to greater 
risk than book making, as both authors and publishers 
have learned by experience. 

A sad lesson of this kind is found in the life of Scott, 
which affords so impressive a contrast between grandeur 
and misfortune. His publishing house issued a number 
of valuable works, whose sale was unremunerative, and, 
in fact, the loss on these sunk a large part of the profit 
made on the Waverley novels. In a like manner our book- 
sellers sometimes lose in one unsalable edition all the 
profits made on a half dozen successful works. A volume 
which has cost seventy-five cents to manufacture may be 
unsalable at a dime, and indeed may only be worth the 
price of old paper. Some writers are so desirous to see 
their names in print that they are ready to encounter the 
risks of sale, and many of those works which bear the 
imprint of respectable book houses are gotten up solely 
at the author's expense. 

Even writers of repute are often required to stand a 
large part of the expense of publication. This was the 
case with Horace Greeley, who said that when he con- 
templated issuing a volume of essays, the scheme was 
proposed to the Harpers. The reply was : u Get your book 
stereotyped and bring us the plates, and we will publish 
it." Had it been any less distinguished man than Horace 
Greeley, the publishers would have required him to bear 
the entire expense of publi cation. 

When a book has been printed, the work is only half 
done. However much it may have cost to manufacture, 
as much more may be required to advertise it. A large 
number should be presented to editors and critics, a few 
of whom may read the book, while others merely glance 
at the title page and contents. Being lately in the office 
of a leading daily, I saw a large pile of new volumes sent 

Book Making. 25 

in to be noticed. The first thing done was to number 
them, and I observed that the figures had reached beyond 
six thousand ! Just think of that ! Six thousand vol- 
umes passed into that office for criticism. What kind of 
criticism could they have received ? Yery superficial at 
best, and yet what more can be expected ? 

All who have any literary experience know that the 
reading of books professionally in order to write brief 
criticisms, is a drudgery of which the mind becomes very 
weary, but critics learn to bear it as they would any other 
bondage. Now as for sales, it may be said that almost 
every retailer can work off two or three copie3 of a new 
book. This may exhaust the first edition, whose number 
will range from one thousand to thrice that number. 

After that one will learn whether the volume is to 
succeed or not. It onsrht to sell to the number of ten 
thousand to be remunerative, but very few reach this 
degree of success. The leading publishing house in New 
York always prints two thousand five hundred copies as 
a beginning. They can generally sell that number, and 
they calculate that its sale just pays for getting up the 
work. If any more are called for it is very easy to strike 
off another edition. 

Professional Reading. 
Publishers generally employ some man of high literary 
character to examine whatever may be offered them. 
This person is called their " reader," and his duty is one 
of great importance since both the destiny of the author 
and the profit of the employer are in his hands. Some 
houses of extensive character employ several readers, one 
to examine works of fiction, while to another is detailed 
the department of science. Such reading is always very 
trying work and a veteran reader once said to me with 

26 Our Book. 

emphasis, "A man's judgment is good for nothing after 
he has read two hours. He must then rest." Indeed, it 
is difficult for any one to divest himself of his own pref- 
erences and place himself in the attitude of the public. 
This must be done however, and it is done by a good 
reader. He must not only be able to say how a work 
pleases his own taste, but also how it will be received by 
book purchasers. 

Here is the point where publishers often make great 
mistakes. For instance, Irving says, that after he had 
written the Sketch Book, much of which was done in 
England, he offered it to John Murray, the most fashion- 
able publisher in London, who was patronized by Byron 
and other distinguished writers of the day. Murray 
declined the offer, coining as it did from an obscure 
American. Irving subsequently found a publisher in 
Miller, and the book sold readily. Miller afterward 
failed, and Murray was then glad to accept the business. 
Thenceforth he became Irving's publisher and found the 
American author a source of great profit. 

Irving and the Smiths. 
About the same time that the Sketch Book was seeking 
a publisher another equally interesting volume was a simi- 
lar applicant. I refer to Rejected Addresses, by Hor- 
ace and James Smith — which became one of the most 
popular books of its day. Horace Smith says: "Being 
strangers to the bookseller's method we little imagined 
they would refuse to publish our book, especially as we 
asked nothing for the copyright. Such, however proved 
to be the case. Our MSS. was perused and returned by 
several of the most eminent publishers. Well do we re- 
member calling on one of the craft who inquired ' what 
have you written ? ' The reply was i nothing by which 

Book Making. 27 

we can be known.' ' Then' said he 'I am afraid to un- 
dertake the publication.' The applicant suggested in 
reply that every writer must have a begin mug, and the 
publisher then promised to look over the MSS. and give 
an answer the next day. The reply was a firm refusal 
accompanied by the observation ' these trifles are not de- 
ficient in smartness — but they will not pay for advertis- 
ing and without it I should not sell fifty copies.' " Such 
was John Murray's curt dismissal of the young satirist. 
The latter adds, "our addresses might never have seen 
the light had not some good angel whispered us to apply 
to Miller, and no sooner had he looked over our MSS. 
than he immediately offered to assume all risk of publica- 
tion and give us one-half the profits." The result was a 
brilliant success. Murray also declined Yirginius, which 
found another publisher, and proved one of the best hits 
of that day. A half century previously Goldsmith's 
She Stoops to Conquer was rejected by Manager Cole- 
man, but he was over-persuaded, and it became a favorite. 
Miss Mitford offered Our Tillage to the New Monthly 
Magazine, then edited by Thomas Campbell, but the 
work was declined. Fortunately, however, she found a 
publisher and the "book proved highly popular. An illus- 
trated edition has recently been issued in this country as 
a gift-book for which it is very appropriate. Kingslake's 
admirable book of travels Eothen was declined by sev- 
eral publishers, and he then issued it at his own risk 
and it succeeded. Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella was 
declined by two London publishers, but was accepted by 
Bentley who found it very profitable. The Diary of a 
Late London Physician was one of the most popular 
works of its day, but for a long time its author sought in 
vain for a publisher. Eventually he tried Blackwood 
who saw its value, and this led to a long and brilliant 

28 Our Book. 

career of authorship. Fanny Fern's first offering was also 
declined, but in a few years she made $75 a week. A far 
more remarkable instance, however, is found in Uncle 
Tom's Cabin, which was declined by Phillips, Sampson & 
Co., who thought the subject too unpopular. It was then 
offered to John P. Jewett & Co., and soon became the most 
popular of American books. I do not mention these facts 
to encourage unwarranted presumption, but merely to show 
that professional readers sometimes make great blunders. 

Lessons to Authors. 

Authors who may be disappointed in the expectation 
of profit should reflect on the example afforded by Shakes- 
peare who never obtained a penny by book making. The 
progress of his works was very slow, and almost a cen- 
tury had elapsed before they became generally read. 
Addison was the first critic to direct public attention to 
the great dramatist, for, though Milton had spoken of 
him as "My Shakespeare," there were few to share his 
admiration. One of the first signs of general popularity 
was the fact that Jacob Tonson, in the year 1715, used a 
Shakespeare's head as his sign. 

Speaking of authors and booksellers it may be said 
that Thomas Cadell of London, who published Gibbon's 
History of the Decline and Fall, was the first of the craft 
to compliment an author by a special dinner. This oc- 
curred when the last volume was published, which took 
place on the fiftieth birthday of the author, the celebra- 
tion thus being of two-fold character. 

Gibbon was the most modest of authors. His first pro- 
duction, the " Essai sur V etude de la literature" was only 
published on the urgent request of his father. When the 
first volume of the Decline and Fall went to press he 
limited the edition to 500 copies, but the printer doubled 

Book Making. 29 

the number. The modest author was astonished to find 
three editions of equal size immediately called for, and he 
Bays it was soon to be seen on the parlor tables of thegentiw, 
while the author's praise was a theme in general society. 
Booksellers have generally been peaceable men, but 
Mathew Carey, formerly of Philadelphia where he was 
one of the founders of the trade, fought a duel with Colo- 
nel Oswald and was severely though not fatally wounded. 
Henry Knox, the young bookseller of Boston, became the 
Gen. Knox of the Revolution, and was Secretary of War 
under "Washington. 

Old Publishers. 

Looking back upon the early history of our literature, 
we find much that is interesting in the printers'and pub- 
lishers who pioneered the profession. The works of 
Aldus are among the gems of the great Tuscany library, 
and the term " Aldine " is now suggestive of high art. 
The Elzevirs stood at the head of the trade in Holland 
for a century. The founder of this house published one 
hundred and fifty first class works, and five of his seven 
sons pursued the same craft. The entire list of Elzevir 
publications is one thousand two hundred and thirteen, 
including seven different languages. The Stephens family, 
of Paris and Geneva, also maintained for a century and a 
half the dignity of the book trade. 

Shakespeare's first posthumous publishers were two 
fellow actors, John Hemminge and Henry Condell, who 
issued the first collected edition seven years after the 
author's death. It is not probable that this work was 
remunerative since it is said that only two hundred and 
fifty copies were printed, and indeed it is doubtful whether 
any thing was 'made out of Shakespeare for the first hun- 
dred years. 

30 Our Book. 

Milton's publisher was Samuel Simmons, of London, 
who, in 1667, agreed to pay £5 for Paradise Lost, but an 
additional £5 was to be paid after one thousand three 
hundred copies should be sold. This occurred in two 
years. Seven years after the appearance of the first 
edition, a second was published. In 1681 the poet's 
widow sold the entire copyright for £8. Milton has never 
been as profitable to the trade as Shakespeare, but still 
the sale of his works has been remunerative. Shakes- 
peare had but little idea of general literature as a traffic, 
and though he speaks of " books in the running brooks," 
they were not for sale, but were as free as water. 

Authors' Pay. 

This subject has been handled in a very careless man- 
ner and generally contains an unusual degree of exaggera- 
tion. The record goes back to Dry den, who published 
his translation of Yirgil in 1697, and it proved so popu- 
lar that his reward was a sum equal to $6,000, but this 
was the only good hit in his whole life. Pope began 
small and gradually advanced. His Windsor Forest, pub- 
lished when he was twenty-four, brought him £32 — 
equal to $156. Money was then worth much more than 
at the present time, but, admitting this, it is a small sum 
for a first-class poem. His Homer yielded equal to 
$16,000, but he was ten years at the task. Goldsmith re- 
ceived $105 for the Traveler and $500 for the Deserted 
Village. The Yicar of Wakefield was also $500, but his 
plays did much better, for the two brought him $6,250, 
this being the equivalent in our currency. 

Walter Scott received $3,800 for the Lay of the Last 
Ministrel and $5,200 for Marmion, while the Lady of the 
Lake yielded double the last mentioned sum. Byron's 
muse was also profitable. He gave Childe Harold to his 

Book Making. 31 

friend and critic Dallas, who realized $20,000 from its 

Tom Moore was paid $15,000 for Lalla Rookh which, 
however, occupied a number of his best years. Campbell 
was the poorest paid of all modern poets for he only 
received $100 for his first and best poem, the Pleasures 
of Hope. He wrote it early in life, and neither he nor 
the publisher ever imagined it would be so wonderfully 
popular. Southey, on the other hand, having a reputa- 
tion, got large sums for his so-called poetry, and even the 
unreadable Thalaba brought him $500. Now that these 
poems are so completely dead one cannot but be surprised 
that they ever had a place in literature. 

Other Writers. 

"William Godwin received only $400 for his Caleb 
Williams, but the reputation it brought him made his 
next booh, St. Leon, worth five times as much. God- 
win's novels were the literary wonders of that day, but 
no one reads them now. George Elliot (Mrs. Lewes) 
averaged $10,000 for each of her novels. Bulwer's 
novels averaged him $5,000, and Marryatt's one-fifth of 
that sum. 

First-class biography pays well, and Moore got $20,000 
for his Life of Byron, and even half that sum for his life 
of Sheridan. The most profitable work of this kind, 
however, was Scott's Life of Napoleon, which had an 
immense sale, not only from the fame of the author but 
because it was the first life of the wonderful soldier. 
It was written in the most hurried manner, and is no 
longer authority, but it brought the author — or rather 
his creditors, $70,000. 

Popular history is often remunerative and Gibbon 
received $30,000 for his Decline and Fall, but as it was 

32 Our Book. 

the work of twenty years the profit is not so great after 
all. Prescott received $7,500 from the Harpers for his 
Conquest of Mexico, with a royalty of $1 a copy for all 
subsequent sales. 

I have spoken of Washington Irving as the best paid 
American author, and it is evident that he was the most 
successful in obtaining foreign patronage. Although 
John Murray at first declined issuing the Sketch Book, 
he was afterward glad to publish all of Irving's works, 
and the entire sum realized by the author in England was 
£12,217 — equal to nearly $60,000. All of this came 
from Murray except £1,000 which was paid by Bentley 
for the Alhambra. The highest price was for the Life of 
Columbus. This work is now but little read, and yet such 
was the interest in the subject that when published Irving 
received £3,150 from Murray, and $9,000 from American 
publishers, in all about $25,000. No American author 
has ever received so much for any work, except Mrs. 
Stowe, who has, as it is said, cleared $40,000 on Uncle 
Tom's Cabin. Irving's popularity increased rapidly dur- 
ing his latter days. Up to 1843 he had received $63,000, 
and had been before the public nearly forty years. Dur- 
ing the last eleven years of his life his publisher, Mr. 
Putnam, paid him $88,000. The demand has continued 
since the author's death, and the commissions received by 
his heirs for five years were $34,000. 

Roe was the best paid author since Irving ; his success, 
however, is much exaggerated. Grant's Memoirs yielded 
a richer return than any other American book, but the 
General was not included among our authors. 

Hawthorne, who had more genius than any other 
American prose writer, never received much from his 
novels, though they are superior to any other produc- 
tion of American fiction. 

Book Histories. 33 

I have often thought that the history of books would 
be as entertaining as the books themselves, and the revela- 
tions made on this point in literary biography are always 
of interest. I should like to know what impulse led Gold- 
smith to write the Vicar of Wakefield, his only novel and 
chief pillar of his fame. I would also like to know what 
led Coleridge into the horrors of the Ancient Mariner or 
Warren (a lawyer) to pen the Diary of a London Physician. 

Walter Scott says that Miss Edgeworth's admirable Irish 
sketches awoke the desire to portray Scottish character in 
a similar manner, and this led to Waverly. He there- 
fore presented her a copy through the publisher, who 
soon afterward sent her an acknowledgment of her in- 
fluence on the unknown author. Gibbon mentions that 
his life work (the Decline and Fall), was suggested during 
his first and only visit to Rome, while he was musing 
amid the ruins of the capitol one October evening. He 
heard the barefoot friars singing vespers, and the idea 
occurred of writing the history of those causes which 
brought the grandeur of imperial Rome to decay and ruin. 
To those friars the world owes a grand literary work. 

Going back to antiquity it is evident that the perusal of 
the Iliad led Yirgil to write the ^Eneid. In later times 
Cervantes wrote Don Quixote for the purpose of ridiculing 
knight errantry, and coming down to our own day Joseph 
Rodman Drake wrote the Culprit Fay in order to prove 
that the Hudson and its vicinity could be made the scene 
of romantic and imaginative poetry. It is very evident 
that a leading feature in Salmagundi — the letters of 
Rubadub Keli Khan — were suggested by the letters of 
Lien Chi Altingi in Goldsmith's Chinese Philosopher. Pol- 
1 ok tells us that the Course of Time was suggested by read- 
ing one of Byron's minor poems called Darkness, and Byron 

34: Our Book. 

himself says that his tragedy of Werner was drawn from 
the Canterbury Tales. The successful fraud of George 
Psalmanazar — the history of Formosa — no doubt led 
Swift to write Gulliver's Travels, and Coleridge says his 
Kubla Khan was the result of reading Purchas Pilgrimage. 

Fielding was led to write Joseph Andrews by a 
desire to satirize Richardson's Pamela, and Gay wrote 
the Beggar's Opera to ridicule the foreign opera which 
had recently been introduced and which became so 
fashionable that lovers of old English amusements were 
indignant. The foreign opera sought its heroes in royalty 
and romance, and by way of contrast Gay took for his 
hero a highway robber. Very strangely as some would 
think, he gave to this production the name of Beggar's 
Opera, and yet there is not a beggar in it. Here, how- 
ever, we may see another satirical hit. The foreign operas 
had high sounding names, but Gay determined, by way 
of contrast, to take the most contemptible one that came 
within the range of decency. Hence he called his play 
the Beggar's Opera, or opera fit for beggars and the pub- 
lic showed its appreciation of the satire by the extraor- 
dinary run which attended its performance. 

Irving wrote his Knickerbocker history as a burlesque 
on the Historical Society, and Dr. Mitchell burlesqued 
Knickerbocker by his picture of New York. Walter 
Scott wrote Ivanhoe because he had been so limited to 
Scottish scenes in his previous works that they were often 
called the " Scotch Novels," and he wanted to show the 
world that he could handle other subjects with equal mas- 
tery. The Lay of the Last Minstrel, on the other hand, 
sprang from the request of a lady who hearing a border 
legend asked Scott to make it the theme of a ballad. The 
latter, when begun, led to the poem which was its author's 
first great effort of the kind. 

Book Making. 35 

Pursuing this theme a little further I find that Scott 
was indebted for one of his most popular characters to a 
friend who called on him and their conversation included 
a reference to Dundee. " Might he not," said the friend, 
" be made the hero of a national romance, and what if the 
story be delivered as from the mouth of Old Mortality, 
would he not do as well as the Minstrel did in the Lay ?" 
Acting on this hint Scott produced that admirable romance 
in which this character is so prominent. Jedediah Cleish- 
botham, whose name appears in the Tales of My Landlord, 
was derived from a school master who was proverbially 
called Clashbottom from the severity with which he plied 
the birch. Tom Moore says that Scott told him that the 
Heart of Mid Lothian was suggested by an anonymous 
letter whose author he never discovered. It gave suffi- 
cient facts to encourage him to attempt what proved a 
very successful book. Miss Mitford's admirable series of 
sketches called Our Tillage was suggested by Irving's 
Sketch Book. 

Thompson, the poet of the Seasons, is said to have been 
the most indolent author in the literary record. He evi- 
dently regretted this habit very deeply, which no doubt 
led him to write the Castle of Indolence, in which he 
exhibits the destructive consequences of a slothful life. 
It begins with attraction but ends in horror. 

Dickens wrote Oliver Twist in order to expose the 
abuses of the pauper system, and he also wrote Bleak 
House as an exposure of the ruinous delay of the Court 
of Chancery. He was almost the only first class British 
novelist that made his pen subserve reform. Dr. John- 
son wrote Rasselas two months after the death of his 
mother. She died in January, 1759, and the work was 
written in March. He was in a desponding frame and 
needed money to pay for her funeral — which, however, 

36 Our Book. 

lie did not attend for he was in London and she died at 
Litchfield. Lie was then fifty. Twenty-seven years pre- 
viously he had translated Lobo's voyage to Abyssinia 
which indeed was his first publication. No doubt this 
led him to locate Rasselas in the same country. Boswell 
says he wrote it during the evenings of one week. 

To return to Scott, it may be mentioned as a point of 
literary interest that he claimed the right to deny the 
authorship of the Waverley novels. Indeed in 1815, when 
the literary world was so excited concerning " the great 
unknown," he wrote thus to John Murray, who had 
credited him with Tales of My Landlord : " I assure you 
that I never read a volume of them until they were 
printed." True, he had not read them in their published . 
shape but he does not say he had not read them in MSS. 

Scott's position is thus expressed in his own words, "he 
who is not disposed to own a work must necessarily deny 
it — otherwise his secret would be at the mercy of all 
who chose to ask the question, since silence must always 
pass for assent." Cowper's best poem was called The 
Task, because it was done in obedience to the request of 
a dear friend. It does not appear that the ancient poets 
gave names to their works. Did Homer issue his im- 
mortal epic as the Iliad — or did Virgil call his best 
production the ^Eneid ? No: these names were ap- 
plied by others. Such authors indeed, cared little for 
book titles. They simply gave an initiatory idea, such as 
the Wrath of Achilles, with which Homer begins. 

Virgil announces Arms and the Man. They no more 
thought of giving their works a name than Cheops did of 
naming his pyramid. Names, however, are very import- 
ant since they often awaken interest, and it is very remark- 
able how authors are led in this choice. Scott says he got 
Ivanhoe from an old song which refers to three estates : 

Book Making. 37 

"Trig, Rig and Ivanhoe 
These three did John forego. 
For striking but a single blow, 
And glad he was to be let off so, 1 ' 

Reference was thus made to the insult offered to one 

of the royal family, and this case may also be mentioned 

as the heaviest damages ever paid for assault and battery. 

Scott's attention was arrested by the name which proved 

a very fortunate selection. Book histories often reveal 

the power which grief has exercised on literature. In 

addition to the crowd of elegies and monodies there is 

Milton's grand lament over Lycidas, while Tennyson's In 

Memoriam, which some consider his best poem, w T as also 

occasioned by the death of a dear friend. Bryant also 

says of his translation of Homer — which really is his 

greatest work, " it helped in some measure to divert me 

from a great domestic sorrow." He referred to the death 

of his wife, by whose side he was soon laid to rest. How 

much this reminds one of Pope's beautiful lines : 

Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, 
Deaf the praised ear and mute the tuneful tongue; 
E'en he whose soul now melts in mournful lays, 
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays. 

A still more striking instance is found in Queen "Vic- 
toria, who w T as led, by the loss of the Prince Consort, to 
write a book in which she found solace by recalling the 
scenes of the happiest conjugal life in the entire records 
of royalty. 

Even the JSnead opens with sorrow, and the Iliad 
closes with a lament over the mighty dead. 

Sufferings of Authors. 

I have said that books are brain-children, and hence 

authors must expect parental sufferings. Who can see 

with indifference his son kicked and cuffed in public ? 

Well, is it much better to see your darling volume mis- 

38 Our Book. 

represented and perhaps vilified in the papers ? Just as 
some people have gone broken-hearted over the misfor- 
tunes of their children, so authors have been broken- 
hearted by the misfortunes of their books — aye and died 
of it too ! What killed John Keats ? What killed Henry 
Kirke White? Some of my readers will anticipate my 
reply — abuse of their brain-children. The latter were 
slaughtered cruelly by the critics. " Wherever I go," 
said White, " that review follows me." It followed him 
to the grave. 

A modern writer describes Charlotte Bronte, reading 
in silence a critique of the London Times on one of her 
novels and stifling her emotions, while tears of agony ran 
down her cheeks. It was a critic's attack on Byron's 
maiden volume which awoke the poet's genius as well as 
his wrath. If the critic had given the author a horse whip- 
ping it would not have been so unbearable as the assault 
on the first production of his intellect. 

Trying, however, as it may be, authors must expect 
just such treatment. They must acquire an habitual 
toughness, and they will find an example in such a man 
as Pope, who was fearfully assailed by the petty scrib- 
blers of his day. He says of himself : 

"Did some more sober critic come abroad, 
If wrong I smiled, if right I kissed the rod.'' 

Scott made up his mind, when he entered the profes- 
sion of literature, to read no criticisms and pay no atten- 
tion to praise or censure, and if he had adhered to* this 
rule it would have saved him a great deal of trouble. 

Literary Reward. 

Money is highly desirable and authors have a right to 
expect it, and yet the best writers have received the least. 
Those who properly pursue literature find it to be its own 

Book Making. 39 

exceeding great reward. Hence the author of a book 
which proves a pecuniary failure may derive a benefit 
which is a real though imperfect compensation. This 
idea is thus quaintly expressed by Montaigne: "Though 
nobody should read me, have I lost my time in entertain- 
ing myself in pleasing and useful thought % " Byron 
said of the Bride of Abydos it "was written in four nights to 

distract my dreams of . Had I not done something 

at that time I must have gone mad. Whether it succeeds 
or not is no fault of the public. I am much more indebted 
to the tale than I can be to the most partial reader." 

It is highly probable that Shakespeare found himself 
well repaid by the delight of giving scope to his genius, 
and neither he, nor Milton, nor Bunyan ever dreamed of 
pecuniary reward. Even Addison never earned any thing 
by his pen, and Pope was really the first British author 
who made literature a profitable profession. In this 
point, indeed Pope stood alone among all the writers of 
the first half of the eighteenth century. Even Johnson 
in the midst of his fame made but a scant living by his 
pen, and his support was in no small degree due to his 
pension. Genius must always work out its own develop- 
ment, even though, as in the case of Chatterton its fate 
be famine and despair. Coming to our own country, it 
may be added that during the first century and three- 
quavters of its existence no one made any thing out of 
authorship. Charles Brockden Brown w T as the first writer 
who cleared a profit, and this was very small. He wrote 
to a friend as follows : " Book making is the dullest of 
trades, and the most that an American can look for in his 
native country is to be reimbursed for his unavoidable 
expenses." Brown was the earliest American novelist, 
and held high rank m his day, but is now almost for- 

40 Wealth and Authorship. 

The poverty of authors is Dot without marked excep- 
tions, and one of the most striking combinations of wealth 
and literature was found in Rogers, the poet banker of 
London. II is works, though but little read at present, 
were at one time in vogue among the better class of 
British society, and his wealth enabled him to publish in 
the most splendid style. It was to rival this elegance that 
Campbell made such an effort to issue an illustrated edition 
of his own works as the closing labor of his life. Rogers 
was the richest author in the entire record of British litera- 
ture, but in this point Waldorf Astor ranks him. William 
Beckford, author of Tathek, was another rich litera- 
teur. He inherited an immense fortune, and invested a 
sum equal to $2,000,000 in the Fonthill estate. The 
grand tower, which was 260 feet high, fell a few years 
after its erection, and the whole place eventually went to 
ruin. Beckford's last literary work is Vathek, which 
made a sensation at the time, but is now almost forgotten. 

Going a little further back one meets Horace Walpole, 
the wealthy dilletanti, who maintained a private printing 
press, and rendered Strawberry hill so famous for its 
collection of literary curiosities. His principal work was 
the u Castle of Otranto," which, being full of horrors, 
eventually led to the harrowing spectre-haunted school 
of romance." Walpole was a very clever writer, and 
had he not been encumbered with wealth, might have 
won an enduring name in the literary world. In later 
days the Earl of Carlisle made an attempt at authorship, 
but it w T as a failure, and would now be forgotten had not 
Byron embalmed him in his early satire. Byron un- 
kindly applied to the noble author Pope's caustic lines, 
italicizing one word in the foHowin^ manner : 

" What can ennoble knaves or fools or cowards? 
Alas! not all the blood of all the Howards." 

Book Makthg. 41 

Another nobleman (rhe Earl of Derby) lias recently 
ffiven tbe world a translation of Homer, which, however, 
is no improvement on other efforts of the same kind. 
Lord Surrey was the chief poet among the British aris- 
tocracy until the appearance of Byron, whose literary 
istinction is far greater than that of mere birth. As a 
member of the peerage he would soon have been forgot- 
ten, but as the author of Childe Harold he has now greater 
fame than any other poet of his age. Even at the pres- 
ent day the sale of Byron's works exceeds that of the 
entire aggregate of contemporary British poets, and is 
only equalled by Tennyson. It may be mentioned as a 
peculiar feature in Byron that as he advanced in literary 
labor he became more indifferent to the distinction of 
birth. In his first production, for instance, he speaks of 
himself as a nobleman, but in his last he makes the Brit- 
ish nobility the object of his keenest satire. He had 
learned that genius had a rank higher than that of mere 
blood, and that a place in the catalogue of high-born 
authors was small ambition for one who felt the power of 
true inspiration. 

Eich American Authors. 
The number of rich Americans who have ventured 
into authorship is small, and their success has not been 
of an encouraging character. Charles Astor Bristed 
l>ecame known by the pen name of Carl Benson, but his 
Five Years at an University was hardly a creditable 
work. Prescott, however, was rich before he began his 
I) story and, indeed, had not this been the case he could 
not have accomplished the work. Samuel Ward, who 
did some clever things in literature, inherited a fortune 
from his father, who was one of the banking firm of 
Prime, Ward £ King, but he never fulfilled the promise 

42 Our Book. 

of his youth. Waldorf Astor is the richest of American 
literateurs, hut his Yalentino proved a failure and 
hardly holds a place in American fiction. From these 
facts it is evident that great wealth is not favorable to the 
development of genius, and this idea Horace presents to 
Maecenas in one of his best odes. He tells his lordly 
patron that while the gods gave him immense wealth they 
gave on the other hand to himself pctrva rura — rural 
poverty —but with it the favor of the muses. 

Literary Attractions. 

To a man of letters a great city will always have 
peculiar attractions. This indeed is one of the few 
points in which city life excels. If you wish to consult 
rare books you will find them in such places as New York, 
Philadelphia, Boston, London and Paris. Hence students 
tend toward great cities. The lexicographer, Johnson, 
said that a mile round in London contained all that the 
world held that was desirable. There are many who can 
apply the same expression to New York. 

To a mere bookworm this is sufficient ; but a man is 
much to be pitied in whom nature has lost its charms. 
The Astor library is a place of delightful reading, but its 
lofty dome and crowded alcoves sometimes seem like a 
literary prison. The pressure of brain work and research 
suggested here is crushing. Here are thousands of books 
of which I have never heard, and it is enough to bewilder 
one to look over the catalogue. At such times I feel the 
need of communion with nature and recall the lessons af- 
forded by Wordsworth. The best students and litera- 
teurs combined city and rural advantages. . 

Gibbon wrote much of his great history in a room 
which commanded a view both of Lake Leman and the 
mountains of Savoy. Irving did his life work at Sunny- 

Book Making. 43 

side, and Scott passed his best days in the valley of the 
Tweed. The students and literateurs of New York need 
some such suburban advantages, but the privation must 
be patiently endured. Pope never could have boasted of 
his grotto at Twickenham had he not been the best paid 
author of the eighteenth century. 

Bohemian Life. 

There are few more striking contrasts in social life than 
that exhibited by the elegant leisure of a rich liter ateur 
surrounded by books and all the luxury of a cultured 
taste, and the grim poverty of a bohemian who writes 
merely for bread. Such a man knows not what leisure 
means. lie snatches at subjects with a death grip and 
drives his quill with all the energy inspired by necessity. 
He will write rapidly and often elegantly, on all themes 
which may serve the market. He is a critic, paragraphist, 
essayist, historian, sermonizer, writer of tales, advertise- 
ments, or any thing else that may be required. 

He is a visitor at a dozen offices, in each of which he 
is offering some article whose rejection is one of the 
things he has got used to. He has the run of all the 
magazines and may get two or three articles published in 
a year out of a score that are offered. He might be driven 
to despair were it of any use, but he has learned that the 
only way is to endure. 

All the managing editors w r ill recognize this picture in 
a group of men who driven by poverty, are urging arti- 
cles into columns which are already crowded. 

Such are some of the dark features of literary life. 
They are not confined to America. I may quote the im- 
pressive words of Hugh Miller — himself once an ob- 
scure and struggling genius. " I remembered," said he, 
" in crossing Westminster bridge that the poet Crabbe 

44 Ouk Book. 

walked on it all night when in distress and his last shilling 
expended. Here it was that Otway perished of hunger 
and Chatterton by suicide. And these were the very 
streets where Richard Savage and Samuel Johnson had 
so often walked from midnight to morning having no 
roof under which to find shelter." 

Speaking of bohemians and journalists it is worthy of 
note that one of the best descriptions ever given of a 
newspaper office by any writer in advance of history, is 
afforded by Pope in the Temple of Fame : 

*' There various news I heard of love and strife, 
Of peace and war, health, sickness, death and life, 
Of loss and gain, of famine and of store, 
Of storms at sea and travels on the shore, 
Of prodigies and portents seen in air, 
Of fires and plagues, and stars with blazing hair, 
Of turns of fortune, changes in the state, 
The falls of favorites, projects of the great, 
Of old mismanagements, taxation new, 
All neither wholly false, nor wholly true." 

The author of the above lines certainly had a correct 
idea of what a newspaper ought to be, and though he 
does not aim in this sketch to describe one, yet nothing 
else will answer to the picture he has drawn. 

There are some points in the life of Richard Savage 
which are worthy of mention, in addition to the mystery 
of his origin. He was the early companion of Johnson, 
sharing his deepest misery, and the friendship formed 
under such painful conditions was of an enduring char- 
acter. Johnson says they often walked the streets of Lon- 
don together — hungry and homeless. Savage was the 
first poet whose life was written, and this may be con- 
sidered the beginning of literary biography. Johnson 
wrote it under the intensity of friendship, and it is there- 
fore the best of all his productions. Savage has gone to 

Book Making. 45 

oblivion and yet he wrote at least one couplet of impres- 
sive character: 

" On earth success must in its turn give way 
And e'en perfection introduce decay." 

The above is one of the deepest utterances of a reflect- 
ive mind. Savage is the first poet that describes tooth- 
ache and though Burns wrote a few painful verses on 
the same subject they are far inferior to the following 
picture of dental agony : 

" A tooth's minutest nerve let anguish seize 
Swift kindred fibres catch — so frail our ease — 
Pinched, pierced and torn, inflamed and unassuaged, 
They smart and swell and throb and shoot enraged, 
From nerve to nerve fierce flies the exulting pain. 
And are we of this mighty fabric vain." 

Savage died in Bristol jail in his forty-sixth year, being 

under arrest for debt. He had enjoyed the patronage of 

Lord Tyrconnel, but lost it through reckless indifference 

to the proprieties of life. His death occurred in 1743, 

and as Johnson published his Vanity of Human Wishes 

soon afterward, I have sometimes thought that Savage's 

miserable end suggested the following painful picture : 

" But see what ills the scholar's life assail, 
Toil, envy, want — the patron and the jail.' 1 '' 

Publishers and Authors. 

Publishers have occasionally been immortalized by their 
authors. We should have heard nothing of Jacob Ton- 
son or of Lintot, had it not been for Addison and Pope. 
The former published the Spectator, and the latter the 
works of Pope, who was the only author of his day that 
made literature profitable. Coming down to a later age, 
John Murray is embalmed by Byron, who formed a close 
friendship for his publisher, and made him the subject of 
some brief poems, which have redeemed him from oblivion. 

Junius both enriched and immortalized WoodfalL 

46 Ouk Book. 

and this is the only instance of a writer benefiting 
his publisher without receiving even the smallest share. 
Woodfall incurred heavy risks in this publication, but the 
sales of his paper, and also of the letters in book form, 
were sufficient remuneration. He offered to divide the 
profits with his anonymous contributor ; but the latter 
generously declined, and advised the publisher to make all 
he could out of them — adding, in very sensible manner, 
that " without a competency a man could not be happy, 
or hardly honest.' ' 

Walter Scott has given enduring distinction to his 
publishers, whose slip-shod method of doing business 
resulted in their common ruin. The Bannatynes will 
always be remembered as long as Scott, and so will 
Constable — the latter having also been one of his pub- 
lishers. It is a remarkable feature in Scott's character 
that the failure of the Bannatynes did not occasion any 
breach of previous friendship. He always spoke kindly 
of them, although their failure had wrecked his fortune 
and blasted the hopes of a life-time. Irving owed much 
of his success to Putnam, who became distinguished as 
the publisher of the most popular American author of 
his day. 

Coming down to Dickens, we find, upon looking up his 
connections with his publishers — Chapman and Hall — 
that he became very indignant at a mere omission on 
their part, and punished them in the severest possible 
manner. See how he abandoned them because they neg- 
lected inserting his card in the advertising cover of 
Punch of which they were publishers. 

When his domestic troubles were made public, he issued 
the above-mentioned card of explanation, but the pub- 
lishers wished to keep out of the controversy. They, 
therefore, omitted its publication, whereupon the author 

Book Making. 4? 

became wroth, and canceled his connection with them. 
As he owned the copyrights, this was not difficult. He 
also suppressed the profitable and well-established House- 
hold Words, which they had published for him, and pub- 
lished in its place All the Year Round. Seldom has a 
mere omission been thus severely visited. 

One of the most worth} 7 of the book publishers of his 
day was Joseph Cottle, of Bristol. Byron ridiculed his 
brother Amos in English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, 
whose readers may thus be prejudiced. Cottle had a ten- 
derness in dealing with authors which is seldom found in 
the trade. He published for Southey, Wordsworth, Han- 
nah Moore and Coleridge, and was always proud of his 
connection with this galaxy of genius. How patiently 
he bore with the faithless and irresponsible Coleridge ! 
How generously he paid Southey for his cumbrous epics ! 
Cottle Avas a prince in his line, and his name is an honor 
to the trade. Bristol should always revere his memory. 

Rich Copyrights. 

It is a remarkable fact in literary history that three 
authors, each the greatest of his native land, Dickens, 
Scott and Irving, should each die in possession of the 
copyrights of his works. Irving and Dickens were sole 
proprietors, but in the case of Scott, who was bankrupt, 
possession was conceded by his creditors, and the author 
granted Cadell one-half interest in this property. The 
price fixed for the copyrights, from Waverley to Quentin 
Durward, was £8,500. 

Four years previously Scott had, while under a severe 
pressure, sold the copyrights of seven of his best novels 
and eight of his poems for £12,000 ; but Constable, who 
bought them, failed in business, aud they were sold at auc- 
tion in 1827, when Scott was permitted to purchase them. 

48 Our Book. 

Taking into consideration the difference between the 
value of money, the sum of £8,500 must be estimated at 
$80,000. This, as it must be remembered, was not for 
any new works, but for a series of novels which began 
seventeen years previously, and which had yielded enor- 
mous profits. 

Scott earned nearly a half million of dollars during his 
literary career, which lasted twenty-six years, and had he 
not been involved in the ruin of the Bannatyne concern 
he would have been the richest literateur the world had 
ever seen. 

Dickens, like Scott, disposed of his copyrights and then 
obtained them by purchase, paying for each a large ad- 
vance. This recovery was gradual, and when he became 
the sole owner of his works he was in receipt of an in- 
come which would have surprised even the author of 
Waverley. This is shown by the fact that a literary career 
of thirty-four years enabled him not only to live in hand- 
some style at Gad's Hill, but also to leave a fortune of 
£80,000, which is equal to nearly a half million of dollars. 

Irving never disposed of his copyrights, at least in 

America. He sold the privilege of publication in Eng 

land, but being an American, he could obtain a copyright 

at home. 

Unfinished Works. 

The failure of literary enterprises seems the more pain- 
ful when the author's hand is paralyzed by death, leaving 
some important task unfinished. Milton seems to have 
been much grieved over the fragment which Chaucer left 
of what should have been a fine poem and hence he exclaims: 

a Call him up who left half told 
The story of Cambuscan bold." 

No one, however, can assume the spirit and enthusiasm 
of an author, and for this reason, unfinished works defy 

Book Making. 49 

all supplementary effort. Hence those who have been 
engaged in great literary tasks have felt anxious to live 
for their completion. Such was the case of Gibbon, who 
i-pent twenty years on the Decline and Fall. Having 
enjoyed its first success, and having also silenced his 
antagonists, he soon afterward died. 

Irving felt anxious lest he should be unable to finish 
his life of Washington. He was, however, permitted to 
do this, but died within six months from its completion. 
He was then seventy-six, which rendered him the oldest 
historian of his day. Rather strange, he had contem- 
plated the life of "Washington for a third of a century, 
and yet had he died a year earlier the work would have 
been unfinished. 

Macaulay began his history of England at forty-seven 
and continued it until his death, which occurred twelve 
years afterward. As in the case of Irving, it was com- 
pleted only a few months before his end. Pollok, who 
died in his twenty-ninth year, also saw his poem — The 
Course of Time — published. It was the great ambition 
of this noble young man to behold his work in print, and 
the six months which elapsed between its issue and his 
death gave him the assurance of its permanent success. 

Boswell, who was seven years writing his life of John- 
son, lived only four years after publication, and as he 
himself acknowledges, was highly elated with its rapid 
sale. These instances might be called narrow escapes 
from the risk, but oq the other hand Dickens left Edwin 
Drood unfinished, and this also was the case with Cole- 
ridge's Christabel, which is so fascinating that the reader 
is much annoyed by the sudden break at its close. 

Horace "Walpole attempted a quarto edition of his 
works, but death interfered with its progress, and it 
remains unfinished, but this, however is no great loss. 

50 Ouu Book. 

Goldsmith never completed his life of Voltaire, and Haw- 
thorne left the Dolliver romance unfinished, while the 
unfortunate Keats gives us,in Hyperion, the promise of a 
poem which never was fulfilled. 

Matthew Henry was engaged for many years in his 
exposition of the Scriptures, but he left it unfinished, and 
other hands assumed as far as possible, the purpose of the 
author. He died at fifty-two, his task having reached no 
further than the close of the u Acts of the Apostles." 
Doddridge hardly lived as long as Henry, and hence con- 
sidered it a special mercy that he finished his Expositor, 
but he did not live to see it in print. Sir Philip Sidney 
who died when only thirty -two, left his Arcadia unfin- 
ished, and this accounts for its numerous defects. 

Beecher's Life of Christ is a shattered promise, and 
Bayard Taylor left an unfinished life of Goethe but no one 
has assumed either task. Byron's Don Juan is another 
instance, but that poem should never have been begun. 
Upon the whole when one considers the brevity of life, 
it is a matter of surprise that there are not more unfin- 
ished works. The proportion indeed is very small, when 
the world of literature is brought before us. Concerning 
Taylor's proposed life of Goethe, it may be said that it is 
just as well that it made no further progress, since such a 
book will not sell. It is doubtful indeed whether any 
publisher would undertake it except at the author's risk. 

Taylor was led to this effort by his unbounded admira- 
tion of Goethe. Such ill-advised enthusiasm is not uncom- 
mon. Walter Scott for instance, was an admirer of Swift, 
and issued his life and writings in sixteen volumes, 4mt it 
only proved a failure. Goethe is but little read in this 
country, and had he died before his fiftieth year he never 
would have been known out of Germany. It was his 
Faust, issued when he was fifty-five, which has given him 

Book Making. 51 

general fame, and this was not published until its author 
was older than the man who desired to write his biog- 
raphy, Taylor being fifty-four at the time of his death. 
To return to unfinished works reference is due to the 
Philadelphia poet, William Clifton, who died in 1799, 
aged twenty-seven. His poem, called the Chimiriad, 
deserves mention because it assailed the false notions of 
the French revolutionists. It was never finished, but the 
fragment that was published displays much ability. 

Literary Tools. 

All literateuvs have their special works of reference, 
which are as indispensable as the implements of a me- 
chanic. Shakespeare's tools were the ancient chronicles 
of England, together with miscellaneous tradition. Pope's 
tools were Dry den, Dr. Donne, Homer, Horace, Mon- 
taigne, Ovid and Chaucer. Addison's were the Latin 
classics with Shakespeare and Milton. Bunyan was 
limited to the Bible and to Luther's commentary on the 

Chatterton's principal tools were Camden's Britan- 
nia and a few black letter records. His skill in coloring 
parchments so as to resemble extreme age insured his suc- 
cess. Gibbon evidently used the greatest variety of tools 
in the records of authorship. His references in the 
Decline and Fall, exhibit a marvelous degree of re- 
search. Byron's tools were Pope, Gibbon, the old Italian 
poets and the chronicles of Venice. Keats manipulated 
the Latin and Greek classics. Walter Scott had a greater 
variety of tools than any other novelist — a contrast be- 
ing found in Dickens, who had the least. 

Irving had such facilities in the Astor library that his 
own collection was comparatively small. This leads to 
the remark that the Astor is the tool chest of all New 

52 Ouk Book. 

York literateurs. The visitor will always find this class 
making notes from works of reference with a view of 
serving the press. Writers often go to the superin- 
tendent and tell him the subject they wish to investigate, 
and he will at once suggest the range of tools which they 
need. Hence a list of the books called for at the Astor 
on any day of the week is, in itself a curiosity. 

It is said that not one book in five hundred ever 
reaches a second edition, and if literary men do not get 
into jail, as they did in old times, it is not because their 
trade is flourishing. It is curious to note how many of 
what are now considered first-class productions were at 
first unsuccessful. Here, for instance, is the Ancient 
Mariner, one of the most wonderful of imaginative poems, 
and one which has a place in every collection. Reader, 
can you credit the statement that when first issued it was 
a failure ? It was called a Poet's Re very, and formed a 
part of Lyrical Ballads, a copartnership volume made 
by Wordsworth and Coleridge, and published in Bristol, 
because no London house would accept it. 

Lyrical Ballads did not sell, and Wordsworth told the 
publisher that the chief reason was " that it contained 
Coleridge's poem, which ho one seemed to understand." 
Motley's first volume was a failure; I refer to Morton's 
Hope, published by the Harpers in 1839. Cooper's first 
novel, Precaution, was also a failure. 

Turning to Scott, his brilliant romance Waverley, lay 
unfinished in a drawer two years, having been unfa- 
vorably criticised by a friend. The manuscript met en- 
couragement from another reader, and the book became a 
great hit. Novels sometimes do better by a change of 
name. Bulwer published his grand romance of Zanoni 
first under the title of Zicci, or the Secret Order, but 
soon changed it. Edgar A. Poe first published his 

Book Making. 

stories with the title of Tales of the Grotesque and the 
Arabesque, but it was not a taking name and was after- 
ward dropped. Hawthorne republished the Marble Faun 
in London under the title of Transformation, but with 
his : ■r::::.:r.::r. S".:r. :i change see:;-? r. ::::-• .-esse, :y. 

What a striking contrast between an author and his 
books fa suggested by the recent splendid edition of Poe's 
Raven. When dial poem first appeared its author was 
leading i bol emian I fie in New York, and was an object 
of general pity in literary circles. I well remember the 
birth of the Raven. It appeared in the Whig Eeview for 
January, IS45, and though I knew the latter was ephem- 
eral, I also knew that the poem was immortal. I have 
heai 3 that Poc re $15 for it, and if so this was all 

that it ever brought him. J . ears afterward he died 

Could the unfortunate author be restored to life and 
behold the Raven illustrated by the genius of Dore 
and published in such splendid style by the Harpers, he 
might feel at least that posterity had done him justice. 
Another work which Dore has illustrated in his best style 
revives similar associations. I allude to Coleridge's An- 
cient Mariner, which when first published, was an utter 
failure, and yet it eventually reached the highest rank in 
k:e:o-:/.re. Some ;: Lor.^if-.ew'? £~:n? Ar-oe-vre I ::: :ke 
Knickerbocker which is no : r gotten. Among these were 
the Psalm of life and the Skeleton in Armor. Charles 
F. II ;-/.:.;:: ;:_> vr:;: v ;; f :;;;::. ^ 'I:;', -.ill live, Mon- 

rey, which is a martial outburst with the ring of a 

e.-.:;. I: £rs: erve.-:el:r Y.-,::kee P:oI'e. a :;::::: eykc:.:- 
al, which only lived a : few weeks. 
In :his day of literary fecundity one may look back 
nth surprise to the time when an author was identitied 

'::.: I::s book. To wrk t - .\ ^ooo. :.\'c :'..■::: _.v.\ .-. >.:.i- 

54 Our Book. 

tinction. Goldsmith only attempted fiction in the Vicar 
of Wakefield, while his patron, Johnson, has given the 
world but one tale, Rasselas. Horace Walpole is the 
Castle of Otranto, Beckford is Vathek, and John Sterling 
is The Onyx Ring. Gifted as these men may have been, 
they exhausted their invention each in one literary effort. 
The strange and horrible story of the Yampire is 
another instance, as its author never reappeared in any 
other work, and sank away to oblivion after creating a 
brief sensation in the literary circles of London. 

Book Names. 

These often arise from arbitrary circumstances. Dick- 
ens says " Boz " was a corruption of " Mose," a pet name 
for a little brother. Scott got the best title for a novel 
by glancing at an old triplet concerning " Trigg, Bigg 
and Ivanhoe." The poem which he first called the 
Romance of Border Chivalry was published with the 
much better name of the Lay of the Last Minstrel. 
The same author having written a fine romance, was at 
loss for a suitable name, and his publisher, Bannatyne, 
suggested Rob Roy, and this ringing title aided its sale 

Some of the most useful books have grown out of small 

beginnings. John Bunyan tells us that he did not expect 

to make a volume when he began Pilgrim's Progress. 

He says: 

" When at the first I took my pen in hand 
Thus for to write I did not understand 
That I at all should make a little book." 

Few who look at so small a volume as Butler's 
Analogy would think it was in the author's hands for 
twenty years; Thompson whose Seasons were so pop- 
ular, wrote Winter first, but it is printed as the last 
in the series; Fielding wrote Tom Jones in the brief 

Book Making. 55 

leisure which he stole from the office of police justice in 
London. Never before or since has a police justice pro- 
duced a first class novel. Hyperion does uot sound like 
a hook of travels, and Longfellow when thus nsing it 
displayed great ingenuity. It is derived from two Greek 
words, hyper-eon — going beyond or excelling, and is, 
therefore, applied to Apollo. Longfellow only meant 
that he had gone beyond his previous track, and it proved 
a very taking title. 

Speaking of book names it seems very strange that 
Byron first called his greatest poem"Childe Buren's 
Pilgrimage." His friends remonstrated and were suc- 
cessful. He then adopted its present title. They saw 
that the poem was too suggestive of himself to require 
any similarity in name, and Byron perceiving his error 
was thankful for their criticism. 

Wordsworth gave the very inappropriate name of " the 

Excursion * to a prolix series of scenes and meditations, 

but»this misnomer, dull as it is to most readers, contains 

what DeQuincy ranks among the finest things in our 

language. It is the city seen in the clouds : 

Here serene pavilions bright, 
In avenues disposed — there towers begirt 
With battlements that on their restless fronts 
Bore stars. 


Jane Shore is the only one of Rowe's plays that has 
been performed on the American stage, and it recalls the 
name of an author who had almost gone to oblivion. 
Rowe died in 1718, being then forty -five, and was buried 
in Westminster Abbey. He wrote a half dozen plays, 
but none of them ever held first rank. The most that 
can be said of Rowe is that he was admired by Pope, who 
wrote his epitaph. The latter contains so pungent an 

56 Ouk Book. 

allusion to the neglect which Dryden's grave had suffered, 
that it led to the immediate erection of a monument. 
This incident connects these three men in a peculiar 
manner, and hence is interesting as a bit of literary his- 
tory. Dryden died in London in 1700, when Pope was 
but twelve. The interment was in Westminster Abbey, 
but no memorial was erected and Pope felt keenly this 
neglect of a brother poet. Eighteen years afterward 
Pope was called to write Howe's epitaph, in which he 
thus expresses his sense of the neglect by which so great 
a genius was dishonored: 

" Thy reliques Rowe to this fair urn we trust, 
Aud sacred place by Dryden's awful dust, 
Beneath a rude and nameless slab he lies, 
To which thy tomb shall guide enquiring eyes. 
One grateful woman to thy fame supplies 
What a whole thankless land to his denies." 

The contrast thus shown between the affection of 
Howe's widow and the ingratitude of the nation aroused 
such feeling that a monument was soon erected oyer 
Dryden's grave. 

Proof of Vitality. 
An interesting feature in literature is found in the hold 
which some writers take on common parlance, thus incor- 
porating their utterances in our language. Gray gives 
us the " bliss of ignorance," taken from his lines " where 
ignorance is bliss 7 tis folly to be wise." His elegy also 
has afforded some very popular utterances. Gay on the 
other hand only lives by a couplet in the Beggar's 

Opera : 

How happy I could be with either 
Were t'other dear charmer away. 

Goldsmith, considering his popularity, is surprisingly 
deficient in this point, but his scenes make up for the 
lack. 1 refer to " Moses going to the fair " in the Vicar 

Book Making. 57 

of Wakefield, and the exquisite pictures in the De- 
serted Village. Johnson gives us "not for a day but 
for all time," " to point a moral and adorn a tale," also 
''studious to please." The latter occurs in the prologue 
to Irene, and how little he thought it would survive 
that cumbrous and artificial tragedy. 

Pope ranks next to Shakespeare. His bright things 
are incorporated so extensively into common talk that, 
one hardly knows whence they came until one discovers 
them in his poems. One of the most common is "damn 
with faint praise," another is "the feast of reason and 
flow of the soul," but I have no space for any more and 
can only refer the reader to the original which will well 
repay careful and repeated perusal. Addison has done 
but very little in this line, but " talking one to death " is 
in the Spectator and the same idea is repeated both by 
Pope and Johnson. 

Some of the old classics have contributed to the say- 
ings of the present day and Homer bids us " welcome the 
coming and speed the parting guest," while " thunder out 
of a clear sky " comes from Horace and we are indebted 
to Yirgil for the oft-quoted "facilis descensus Averni" — 
also for that noble expression of sympathy with which 
Dido welcomes iEneas. To these are to be added Caesar's 
" veni vicli vici " and Constantine's " in hoc signo irinces" 
" Strike but hear " is also an ancient utterance. Coming 
clown to modern writers Blair's Grave gives us " the 
better half " and also " angel's visits few and far between," 
which one also finds in Campbell. 

Bishop Berkeley would long since have been forgotten 
had he not written that hackneyed line " Westward the 
star of Empire takes its way," and Thompson of the 
Seasons gives us " teach the young idea how to shoot," 
also " killing time," which is found in the Castle of Indo- 

58 Our Book. 

lence. Young of the Night Thoughts and also the satirist, 
gave the world many living utterances, and Dry den, 
though less fertile, speaks of " rule or ruin," " packing a 
jury," and bids us " beware of the wrath of a patient 
man." He also tells us that " great wit to madness is 
near allied." 

Cowper is best known by his saying that " God made 
the country and man made the town." Swift is but little 
quoted and Sterne's best hits are " our army swore terri- 
bly in Flanders," and " God tempers the wind to the shorn 
lamb." Chatterton, though he died at sixteen, left one 
grand utterance, " Oh give the mighty will, or give the 
willing power." 

Tom Moore, with all his grace of rhyme and thought, 
has not entered largely into common use, but his "love 
me it were sure to die "is often repeated. Keats gives 
us " a thing of beauty is a joy forever," and Mrs. Bar- 
bauld lives in her " Life we have been long together." 
Whittier's "it might have been" is too painful to die 
and Longfellow lives in his " lives of great men oft re- 
mind us," and some other pensive utterances. 

John Randolph coined " doughface." Franklin's prov- 
erbs in Poor Richard's Almanac are now as fresh as ever 
and one meets them at every turn. " The school- master 
is abroad " is the only living utterance of Lord Brougham, 
who of all the brilliant coterie that gave the Edinburgh 
Review its fame, was the only man that shot a keen pro- 
verb into public use. Southey, though a life-long writer, 
failed in this point, even Tennyson has given us but two 
or three living utterances, while Browning has no hold 
on common parlance. 

Byron is extensively incorporated into our language, 
and among his best things are " the glory and the nothing 
of a name : " " between two worlds life hovers hke a 

Book Making. 59 

star "; " a book's a book although there's nothing in it." 
He entirely ranks Coleridge and "Wordsworth, and yet the 
latter wrote two lines which Bryant quoted and credited 
to Shakespeare. 

"The good die first but those whose life is dry 
As summer dust, burn long in the socket." 

Shelley is less quoted than any other man of high order 
of genius. Scott holds a medium position, and is ranked 
by Burns whose " a man's a man for a' that " is the best 
thing ever said in Scotland, and will be heard in common 
use as long as our language exists. 

Irving's only noted saying is the " almighty dollar." 
Joel Barlow's cumbrous epics are forgotten — not so, how- 
ever, "the man of straw." Campbell gives to common 
parlance " distance lends enchantment to the view "; and 
" coming events cast their shadows before." Milton has 
obtained a deep hold on onr language by the bright 
utterances in L' Allegro and Penseroso where he speaks 
of the "light fantastic toe"; "linked sweetness long 
drawn out" and "dim religious light." His sonnets 
contain "peace hath her victories not less renowned 
than those of war." Also, " they also serve who only 
stand and wait." 

Lord Macaulay and Edward Everett were admirable 
writers but they have no place in common parlance. I 
need hardly add that Dickens is more quoted than any 
other modern author, and he has written himself into our 
language to a degree that ensures permanent fame. 

Periodical Literature. 

When one considers the enormous size and wonderful 
perfection of Harper's Monthly or the Century it is cer- 
tainly gratifying to national pride that they are American 
publications. In order, however, to appreciate their im- 

60 Our Book. 

mensity it is necessary to compare them with the earliest 
efforts of a similar character. The first monthly periodi- 
cal published in America was issued in Philadelphia by 
Andrew Bradford in 1741. It was called the American 
Magazine, and a copy of the first volume may be found 
'in the New York Historical Society. It did not, how- 
ever, receive sufficient patronage and hence never reached 
a second volume. The next effort of the kind bore the 
same name and was issued in New York by Samuel Lou- 
don m 1788. It was edited by Noah Webster, the subse- 
quent lexicographer w T ho was then thirty and had already 
won a name in the literary world. The American Maga- 
zine was issued at $2.50 a year and yet the entire volume 
does not contain as much reading as a single number of 
any first-class modern periodical. 

An examination of the contents reveals the fact that at 
that time America had but little that could be called lit- 
erature. The entire continent did not contain a respect- 
able tale writer. The American Magazine was a weak 
imitation of London periodicals, and among its contents 
are dry essays on education, scraps of foreign news, births 
and deaths. Some Indian researches also appear, and 
occasional articles on politics. 

The most interesting feature in this antique volume is 
a description of New York which gives one some idea of 
the metropolis as it appeared a century ago. At that 
time Irving was a prattler of three years, and even 
Charles Brockden Brown, who is considered the father of 
American fiction, was only a schoolboy. It is strange, in- 
deed, to think that at the time referred to nothing had 
appeared in America to even suggest that vast advance 
in literature which has been gradually established. The 
best poet of that day was a colored girl who lived in Bos- 
ton, and who had been named Phillis Wheatley by her 

Book Making. 61 

mistress. Phillis was a native of Africa and had been 
brought hither in a slave ship. Her mistress, who 
bought her in the slave market, educated her in the 
family and Phillis soon surprised the public by her 
verses. They are certainly " remarkable productions con- 
sidering their author, who died early but is still remem- 

The opening of the present century was marked by the 
appearance of the Port Folio published in Philadelphia 
and edited by Joseph Dennie who was the most versatile 
literateur in the country. Irving was one of its contrib- 
utors and it lived twenty-seven years. Dennie, who gave 
it high rank, was a native of Boston, and had won dis- 
tinction before coming to Philadelphia where he died 
after eleven years' editorial service. 

Other Periodicals of the Past. 

Charles F. Hoffman established the Knickerbocker, and 
afterward was editor of the American Monthly, both of 
which failed. The former was for many years under the 
care of Lewis G. Clarke, but had passed out of his 
possession before its conclusion. !N". P. Willis and George 
P. Morris founded the New York Mirror, which for a 
long time was the most fashionable periodical in America, 
but who ever hears of it now ? After the failure of the 
Mirror, "Willis began the Corsair which however had but 
a brief existence. Park Benjamin for a short time, is- 
sued the Evergreen, an excellent monthly which de- 
served a better fate. William M. Snowdon made the 
Ladies' Companion a temporary success, and it boasted a 
circulation of 20,000, but it gradually reached the inevit- 
able doom. 

William E. Burton, who had a literary as well as a dra- 
matic turn, issued the Gentleman's Magazine, which went 

62 Our Book. 

through a brief struggle for existence and then quietly 
sank into oblivion. The Duyckinks, who were the most 
thorough literateurs of New York, published the Literary 
World for several years, but though its value was uni- 
versally admitted it was unsuccessful. Samuel Colman 
the publisher, issued Colman's Magazine, and Putnam 
also had a magazine but both failed. James Mowat pro- 
jected a similar effort, with no better success. Charles 
Matthews founded Arcturus, a Magazine of Books and 
Opinions, but notwithstanding its pompous name it 
proved a failure. Thomas Dunn English made a simi- 
lar effort with the Aristidean, but with no better suc- 

Another enterprise of the same character was found in 

the Democratic Review, whose political rival, the Whig 
Review, was almost equally short-lived. The International, 
though a very clever periodical, failed to reach a perma- 
nent foothold, and so did the brilliant Appleton's Jour- 
nal. The Continental was begun by James R. Gilmore, 
better known by the pen name of Edmund Kirke, assisted 
by Richard B. Kimball, who won distinction as a novelist. 
Charles G. Leland also wrote for it, but after making a 
hard struggle for two years, the usual result was reached. 

The shortest-lived of all American periodicals, and also 
really the least valuable, is doomed to renewed publica- 
tion, by the fact that one of its projectors afterward be- 
came a famous author. Hence it has a place among his 
complete works — but what an infliction on the reader ! 
I allude to Salmagundi, which only reached its twentieth 
number. It was a clever thing in its day, but though it 
deserved immediate oblivion, it lives as a part of Irving's 

Among the entire record of unfortunate periodicals 
none held a prouder position than Graham's Magazine. 

Book Making. 63 

It was at one time edited by Poe, and its contributors 
included J. Fennimore Cooper and other popular names 
of that day. Its sales were reported at 50,000, and for 
several years it was a power in the literary world, but 
eventually it sank under increasing competition until it 
finally disappeared. The Galaxy was another instance of 
a noble effort that ended in failure. The war of periodi- 
cals for existence has been as relentless as any other ri- 
valry, and the path through which a few have risen to 
success is strewn with wrecks which only suggest painful 

Personal Allusion. 
My reference to the Knickerbocker leads me to men- 
tion that my first literary effort after coming to New 
York appeared in its columns. I was then a boy of seven- 
teen and earned $1 a week as a clerk for John B. Glover, 
auctioneer, corner of Broad street and Exchange place. 
I was allowed to sleep in the store and boarded myself at 
a cost of nine cents a day. This close economy supple- 
mented by the kindness of a lady who aided me with 
occasional gifts, enabled me to go through a severe press- 
ure. That a poor clerk may find in literature consolation 
as well as recreation I know by experience, and when I 
saw my maiden piece printed in the Knickerbocker in 
company with articles by Charles F. Briggs, Caleb Gush- 
ing and Washington Irving it was a moment of inex- 
pressible delight. The poor clerk had deposited the 
offering in the editors box at night with trembling hand ; 
he had not expected its acceptance ; he had, in fact, looked 
on it as dead, and was therefore surprised a few weeks 
afterward by its resurrection. Of course he never received 
any compensation, nor indeed, did he have enough assur- 
ance to even introduce himself to the editor. The 
increase in his duties prevented any further contributions, 

64 Our Book. 

but this incident always gave him special interest in the 
Knickerbocker. The latter was then under Clarke's 
management and he was unable to pay any except a few 
rare authors. Longfellow and Irving received small 
compensation, but most of the Knickerbocker writers felt 
sufficiently rewarded by a place in its columns — remind- 
ing one of Byron's expression : 

" 'Tis pleasant sure to see one's name in print, 
A book 's a book, although there's nothing in 't." 


It is not generally known that Baron Munchausen was 
a reality, and that the name has long been one of high 
rank. Gerlack Munchausen for instance, was a German 
statesman of marked importance during the reign of 
Frederick the Great, and the baron himself was an officer 
in the cavalry. He served in the Russian army with 
credit, and then retired to his native town, where he died 
in 1797. He had a penchant for boastful stories, and it 
increased as he advanced in age, until his name became 
proverbial for ridiculous exaggeration. It is hardly prob- 
able, however, that he ever expected to see his tales in 
print, and hence the book itself must have been a sur- 
prise. It appeared in London in 1785 and was written 
by a German liter ateur named Raspe, who had fled from 
his country and taken refuge in London. He sought a 
subject for his pen, but at that time literature was at too 
low a mark to afford encouragement except in nonsense. 
The nation had just passed through the horrors of a 
seven years' war and wanted something humorous rather 
than solid. This led Raspe to the idea of ridiculing 
military life, and recalling the big stories in which the 
baron indulged he not only- repeats them but adds all 
other absurdities within his reach. To give the volume 

Book Making. 65 

a showy name he styled it Baron Munchausen's Narra- 
tive of his Marvelous Travels and Campaigns. The 
book proved popular and the next year another edition 
was issued with pictures " from the baron's drawings." 
The same year it was translated into German, where its 
popularity has continued until the present time. In Lon- 
don it ran through seven editions in as many years, but 
in 1793 its extravagances seemed so weak before the in- 
credible horrors of the French revolution that the sale 
was for a time checked. In a few years, however, it 
revived, and at last it was honored by the genius of Dore. 
There is so much real humor in the Munchausen extrava- 
ganzas that the book may be considered one of the per- 
manent features in literature, and it will be long before 
its absurd and grotesque inventions are equaled. 

Fun Turned to Fact. 
It is a curious and, indeed, a surprising fact that one of 
the greatest triumphs of modern science is but a repro- 
duction of one of the Baron Munchausen absurdities. 
How strange to find the following statement in a book 
published a hundred years ago : 

Seized with a fury for canal cutting, I took it into my head to 
form an immediate communication between the Mediterranean 
and the Red sea. I proceeded to the isthmus of Suez * * * 
Having made a track with my chariot from sea to sea, I ordered 
my Turks and Russians to begin, aud in a few hours we had the 
pleasure of seeing a fleet of British East Indiamen in full sail 
through the canal. The officers of this fleet were very polite and 
paid me every applause and congratulation my exploit could 

The baron also creates with equal facility a canal across 
the isthmus of Darien, but in this achievement he is still 
in advance of the age. 

Whittier the Satirist. 

The attention which the octogenarian poet has at- 

66 Our Book. 

tracted leads one to consider a very important feature in 
Iiis character, and also one which has been generally over- 
looked. I refer to his powers of satire, in which he 
ranks all others who have made poetry snbserve censure. 
The three greatest British satirists were Dryden, Pope 
and Byron ; but Whittier by one effort threw them all 
in the shade. His Ichabod is the most terrible thing 
of the kind in existence, and when first published created 
a more intense sensation than any similar production in 
America. In other words, Ichabod is a picture of 
Daniel Webster after his "seventh of March speech," in 
which he went over to the pro-slavery ranks in hope of 
gaining the presidency. I well remember the deep sor- 
row which filled the hearts not only of Webster's friends, 
but of all the friends of freedom, and amid this general 
lament was heard the voice of Whittier, touching and 
plaintive, but scathing as the fire from heaven. It was, 
indeed, this very combination of sorrow and indignation 
which gave the utterance such terrific power. 

Other Satires. 

Having referred to other distinguished satirists I would 
say that Dryden gave a severe picture of Villiers in the 
following lines : 

" Stiff in opinion, yet always in the wrong; 
Was everything by starts and nothing long; 
But in the course of one revolving moon 
Was chemist, fidler, statesman and buffoon." 

There is a coarseness in the above which did not suit 
the next generation, and passing over a number of sharp 
personalities we come to the keenest thing in the eigh- 
teenth century, Pope's exposure of Addison. These men 
had been close friends, and Pope had written the pro- 
logue for Addison's tragedy of Cato, but jealousy 
afterward arose, and eventually Pope suspected that 

Book Making. f>7 

Addison was endeavoring to injure him. This suspicion 
gradually led to conviction, and Pope determined to in- 
clude Addison in a general castigation of his literary 
enemies. I do not mean The Dunciad, but in that 
previous review found in the Prologue to the Satires ; 
where he draws the following picture of one : 

"Bless'd with each talent and each art to please, 
And born to write, converse and live with ease. 
Should such a man, too fond to rule alone, 
Bear like the Turk no brother near the throne, 
View him with scornful yet with jealous eyes, 
And hate for arts that caused himself to rise, 
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, 
And without sneering, others teach to sneer. 
Willing to wound and yet afraid to strike, 
Just hint a fault and hesitate dislike, 
A timorous foe and a suspicious friend, 
Alike reserved to blame or to commend. 
Like Cato give his little senate laws 
And sit attentive to his own applause. 
Who but must laugh if such a man there be, 
Who would not weep if Atticus were he ? " 

This lampoon thrilled the literary circles of London, for 
all knew that Atticns was none other than Addison, while 
to make the identity more complete there is the refer- 
ence to Cato, which was Addison's only attempt at 


The third satirist is Byron, but I do not here refer to 
his "English Bards and Scotch Reviewers," for keen as 
were its shafts, the variety in his attack impaired its 
intensity. I, therefore, designate his Windsor Poetics 
as the chief satire of his day, not only because of the 
truth which it contains, but because it is concentrated on 
one man, and he the most exalted person, in rank at 
least, in the kingdom being indeed the heir to the throne. 
Byron became deeply indignant at the imprisonment of 
Leigh Hunt for an alleged libel on the prince regent, and, 

68 Our Book. 

therefore, gave expression to his feelings in the following 
outburst which was headed thus : 

" Lines composed on the occasion of his royal highness, 
the prince regent, being seen standing between the coffins 
of Henry VIII and Charles I in the royal vault at 

"Famed for contemptuous breach of sacred ties, 
By headless Charles, see heartless Henry lies; 
Between them stands another sceptred thing; 
It moves, it reigns, in all but name a king. 
Charles to his people, Henry to his wife, 
In him the double tyrant starts to life ; 
Justice and death have mixed their dust in vain, 
Each royal vampire wakes to life again. 
Ah, what can tombs avail, since these disgorge 
The blood and dust of each to mould a George." 

These lines were, of course, widely read, and the sensa- 
tion can hardly be described. Never was a shot more 
effective, since it came, not from a plebeian, but from a 
peer of the realm and the loftiest genius that the peerage 
has ever produced. 

Whittier on Webstek. 
I need hardly say that " Ichabod " means " his glor} r is 
departed." This stands number four in point of time, 
but it ranks all of the others, because it represents princi- 
ple. Having, however, already referred to this feature 
in the case, I will place the poem immediately before my 
readers and let them judge for themselves. 


So fallen ! So lost ! the light withdrawn 

Which once he wore ! 
The glory from his gray hair gone 


Revile him not, the tempter hath 

A snare for all ; 
And pitying tears, not scorn and wrath, 

Uefit his fall ! 

Book Making. 69 

O, dumb be passion's stormy rage, 

When he who might 
Have lighted up and led his age, 

Falls back in night. 

Scorn! would the angels laugh, to mark 

A bright soul driven, 
Fiend-goaded, down the endless dark, 

From hope and heaven ! 

Let not the land once proud of him 

Insult him now, 
Nor brand with deeper shame his dim, 

Dishonored brow. 

But let its humbled sons, instead, 

From sea to lake, 
A iong lament, as for the dead, 

In sadness make. 

Of all we loved and honored, naught 

Save power remains, 
A fallen angel's pride of thought, 

Still strong in chains. 

All else is gone ; from those great eyes 

The soul has fled ; 
When faith is lost, when honor dies, 

The man is dead! 

Then, pay the reverence of old days 

To his dead fame ; 
Walk backward, with averted gaze, 
And hide the shame ! 

A Literary Curiosity. 
I now give a resurrected poem which Whittier wrote 
when he was only twenty-three, and which was inscribed 
to Miss L. E. Landon, author of " The Improvisatrice." 
Whittier omitted it in his complete edition and hence I 
now feel it my duty to publish the poem in full, so that 
those who desire to incorporate it in "Whittier's works 
may have the opportunity. It is certainly a fine produc- 
tion and deserves preservation, and its discovery was very 
fortunate. I found it in the Boston Athenceum of Aug- 
ust, 1830. One cannot fail to be surprised that "Whittier 
should omit so creditable a poem, but it is possible that 

70 Our Book. 

he considered it too gushing for a Quaker, and not in 
harmony with the tenor of his muse. It is evident, how- 
ever, that he caught inspiration from the person whom 
he addresses, for this is the earliest poem of his that I 
can find in print, and I have reason to believe that it is 
really his first effort of the kind. I wrote Whittier ask- 
ing why he omitted it, but received no reply. The pub- 
lic, however, has a right to it and I now give it fresh life. 



I know thee not, high spirit, but the sympathy of thought 
Hath often to my hours of dreams thy living presence brought; 
And I feel that I could love thee with the fondness of a brother, 
As the sainted ones of Paradise bear love for one another. 

For I know thy spirit hath been pour'd full freely in thy song, 
"Where feeling hath been prodigal, and passion hath been strong — 
That the secrets of thy bosom are burning on thy lyre, 
In the nature of thy worshiping a ministry of fire. 

Young priestess at a holy shrine, I scarce can dream that years 
So few and beautiful as thine are register'd in tears — 
That the gift of thy affection hath gone abroad in vain — 
A rose-leaf on the autumn wind — a foam wreath on the main? 

Yet blended with thy beautiful and intellectual lays, 

I read a mournful consciousness of cold and evil days ; 

Of the weariness existence feels when its sunlight has gone down, 

And from the autumn of the heart the flowers of hope are strown; 

Of the coldness of the hollow world, its vanities that pass 
Like tinges from the sunset, or night-gems from the grass — 
Its mocking and unmeaning praise, the flatterer's fatal art — 
Flowers madly to the bosom clasp'd, with serpents at their heart! 

And Oh ! if things like these have been the chasteners of thy 

How hath thy woman's spirit known the bitterness of tears! 
How hath thy girlhood visions — the warm wild thought of youth, 
Folded their sunny pinions, and darken'd into truth ! 

O wearily, most wearily, unto the child of song, 
The heavy tide of being rolls, a sunless wave, along — 
When the promise of existence fades before the time of noon, 
And the evening of the soul comes on, unblest by star or moon. 

Book Making. 71 

God help thee in thy weary way ! and if the silver tone 
Of fame hath music for an ear so chasten'd as thine own, 
Thou hast it from another clime, where heart and mind are free, 
And where the brave and beautiful have bow'd themselves to thee. 

And one whose home hath been among the mountains of the north, 
Where the cataract mocks the earthquake, and the giant streams 

come forth, 
Where spirits in their robes of flame dance o'er the clear blue sky, 
And to the many-voiced storm the eagle makes reply. 

A worshiper before the shrine at which thy spirit bendeth, 
While on its pure and natural gifts the holy ilame descendeth, 
Hath pour'd his tribute on thine ear, as he would praise a star 
Whose beams had wander'd down to him from their blue home afar. 

Lady ! amidst the clarion-note of well-deserved fame, 
It were, perhaps, but vain to hope this feeble lay might claim 
A portion of thy fair regard, or win a thought of thine 
To linger on a gift so frail aad dissonant as mine. 

But onward in thy skyward path — a thousand eyes shall turn 
To where, like heaven's unwasting stars, thy gifts of spirit burn — 
A thousand hearts shall wildly thrill where'er thy lays are known, 
And stately manhood blend its praise with woman's gentlest tone. 

Farewell! — the hand that traces this may perish ere life's noon, 
And the spirit that hath guided it may be forgot as soon — * 
Forgotten with its lofty hopes — the fever'd dreams of mind — 
Unnoted, stealing to the dead without a name behind. 

But thou upon the human heart, in characters of flame, 
And on the heaven of intellect hast registered thy name; 
The gifted ones of fallen earth shall worship at thy shrine, 
And sainted spirits joy to hold companionship with thine. 

How remarkable that one who spoke of perishing " ere 
life's noon " should live to four-score, while she whom he 
apostrophizes died so early, and only found a grave on 
the African coast ! It is also surprising to see how cor- 
rectly Whittier understood the voice of sorrow, and hence 
his first poem has peculiar interest. 

Tom Moore. 
Some of my readers will find it hard to believe that an 
author so famous as Moore was in point of stature one of 
the smallest men of his day. Isaac Watts the hymnist, 

72 Our Book. 

was also a very small man, and thus the most distin- 
guished lyric writers of the British empire — the one 
sacred and the other profane — were matched in stature ; 
Moore was of delicate but graceful frame, beautiful in 
countenance and highly gifted as a vocalist. No society 
man equaled him as a convivial guest and to this was 
added his poetical genius. He was one of the few who 
throw their souls into their words, and for this reason his 
verses will always be popular. Moore's works indeed, 
are proof against time and must always hold promi- 
nence in emotional poetry. Nearly a century previously 
Pope wrote of a poet of his day : 

"And Ireland, mother of sweet singers, 
Presents her harp still to his fingers." 

Could he however have returned to life he would have 
been astonished to see how much more applicable the?e 
lines are tc Moore than to the now forgotten Southern. 

Early Incidents. 
John Moore a Dublin tradesman had been married but 
a year when his wife, who was but eighteen, presented 
him with the infant bard. The family was respectable, 
the parents were ambitious, and the boy was as soon as 
possible sent to a tirst class school. At thirteen he de- 
livered a "piece" at the public exhibition, being styled 
"Master Moore," and was even then gifted in both reci- 
tation and song. In fact he was almost a prodigy, since 
his talents were in such contrast with his diminutive size. 
He was " little Thomas," but such was his popularity as 
a speaker that he was already one of the Dublin charac- 
ters. This "little Thomas," whose stature never ex- 
ceeded five feet, became a graduate of the university 
and soon won a reputation for poetry. At fourteen, in- 
deed he had appeared in print, and his effusions thence- 



Tom Moore. 73 

forth were marked by decided promise. The next step 
in progress is the transition to London, where, if means 
could be obtained, he was to enter the Temple as a student 
of law. Moore, however, did not visit London as a mere 
adventurer. How different indeed his reception there 
from that of another Irish genius — the unfortunate Gold- 
smith? He came with such a prestige as gave him the entree 
of the highest circles, where he soon became a favorite. 
His first volume was published when he was but twenty- 
two, and seldom has such brilliant success been so early 
achieved. He writes thus to his mother: " I assure you 
I am six feet high. The new edition will soon be out, 
and will be got up very handsomely. What do you thii k 
— young Lord Forbes and another young nobleman dire 
with me to-morrow." Moore's next appearance as an 
a/ithor was like that of many others, with a pen name, 
and in view of his small size he styled himself " Thomas 
Little." It was of this volume that Byron, seven years 
afterward, wrote in his famous satire : 

"Tis Little, young Catullus of his clay; 
As sweet but as immoral as his lay." 

Byron also adds the following personal reference with- 
out regard to the disguise of a pen name : 

"Let Moore be lewd, let Strangford steal from Moore, 
And swear Camoens wrote such strains before." 

Moore was justly censured for his lack of delicacy and 
Ms later effusions were free from this blemish. Thence 
forth he was one of the most popular of songsters, and 
his gems are stilly cherished by all true lovers of poetry. 

Moore in America. 
In 1804, two years after the publication of poems by 
Thomas Little, America welcomed the most gifted foreign 
author that had ever visited our shores. He was in his 

74 Our Book. 

twenty-fifth year — full of enthusiasm and poetic fire, 
and how unfit must New York have been to entertain the 
brilliant stranger ! The population was not more than 
one-thirtieth its present number, and it had neither music, 
literature nor the drama, except in the most limited degree. 
Our nation, indeed had not, up to that time, produced a 
first-class author, since neither Joel Barlow nor Charles 
Brockden Brown can be entitled to such rank. The latter 
had attracted attention by his novels, but he was a Phila- 
delphian, aud New York then had no writer, for even 
Irving was unknown. The latter, indeed, had just sailed 
for Europe, both to improve his health and to see the 
world, and being only twenty-one had hardly any expec- 
tations of either legal or literary success. Under such 
circumstances the poet could hardly be other than dis- 
gusted with a community which had but one public theme 
— politics — for which he cared nothing. At that very 
time however John Davis made his American tour, but 
being a sensible London printer he found no fault with 
those defects that the poet censured. Davis' travels indeed 
are a marked contrast with Moore's letters. 

American hotels and other accommodations for travelers 
naturally repelled the favorite of London's best society, 
and this explains his pungent ridicule of our institutions. 

If it be inquired what brought the young poet hither, 
the reply is as follows : The sensation he had made in the 
literary world had won the patronage of an influential 
nobleman (Lord Moira), who had procured him a berth 
under the government. As literature was not self-sup- 
porting, such an appointment was highly desirable for a 
penniless poet. 

The office was at Bermuda but it proved unsatis- 
factory, and the poet having left it to a deputy was 
about to return home. It may be added that the deputy 

Tom Moore. 75 

proved a defaulter, and the Bermuda office, from which 
much had been expected, proved a protracted misfortune. 
Moore came from Bermuda to New York, in order to 
procure trans- Atlantic passage, and while here determined 
to visit a few scenes of special interest. He was the first 
British author that saw Niagara Falls, and his emotions 
show that nature, not society, awoke his admiration. 

He visited Washington, which then was a settlement 
not ten years old, and the unfinished state of society jarred 
upon a young aristocrat who had been a favorite even in 
court circles. The way he traveled presents some con- 
trast with the facilities of the present day. He writes to 
his mother as follows, dated Baltimore, June 13, 1804: 

" Such a road as I have come and such a conveyance ! The mail 
takes twelve passengers which generally consist of squalling 
children, stinking negroes and republicans smoking cigars. How 
often it has occurred to me that nothing can be more emblematic 
of the government of this country than its stages, filled with a 
motley mixture, all "hail fellow well met," driving through mud 
and filth and risking an upset at every step ! God comfort their 
capacities ! As soon as I am away from them both the stages and 
the government may have the same fate for all I care." 

These flings at the government may be explained by 
the fact that hardly twenty-one years had elapsed since the 
close of that war which had so humbled the British flag. 
He, therefore, shows the power of that bitter prejudice 
which was so generally directed against all that was 

British Satire. 
On his return (1806) Moore published a volume of mis- 
cellaneous effusions which he dedicated to the nobleman 
who had given him his appointment, and in the preface 
he says, " though prudence might have dictated gentler 
language, truth would have justified severer." He also says 
in the same connection that what he saw " represses every 
sanguine hope of the future energy and greatness of 

76 Our Book. 

America." While at Washington the poet addressed a 
rhyming epistle to a London friend, in which, among 
other disconsolate utterances, I find the following : 

e'en now 

While yet on Columbia's rising brow, 
The showy smile of young presumption plays 
Her bloom is poisoned and her heart decays. 
Even now in dawn of life her sickly breath 
Burns with the taint of empires near their death." 

Another epistle addressed to a friend of different name, 
contains an equally unfavorable sketch: 

This faui'd metropolis where fancy see3 
Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees ; 
Which traveling fools and gazetteers adorn, 
"With shrines unbuilt and heroes yet unborn, 
Though naught but woods and swamps they see, 
Where streets should run and sages ought to be." 

The poet also invites his friend to accompany him (in 

spirit at least) during his American tour: 

" O'er lake and marsh, through fevers and through fogs, 
'Midst bears and Yankees, democrats and frogs." 

Prose Sketch. 
In a note to one of these letters Moore writes thus : 

"The federal city (if it must be called a city) has not much in- 
creased since Weld visited it. Most of the public buildings, which 
were then in some degree of forwardness, have been utterly sus- 
pended. The hotel is already a ruin and a great part of its roof 
has fallen in. The president's house (a very noble structure) is 
by no means suited to the philosophic humility of its present oc- 
cupant, who inhabits but a corner himself and abandons the rest 
to a state of uncleanly desolation. The private buildings display 
the same arrogant, speculative and premature ruin, and the few 
ranges of houses which were begun some years ago have remained 
so long unfinished that they are now for the most part dilapidated. 
On a small hill near the capitol there is to be an equestrian statue 
of Washington." 

Such is the picture drawn by the first professional lit- 
erateur that visited our capital. Could Moore be re- 
stored to life he would find in the Washington monu- 
ment a loftier height than architectural genius has ever 

Tom Moore. 77 

elsewhere attained, and in the Smithsonian Institute he 
would behold a striking instance of British regard for 
American institutions. 

The poet remained a sufficient time in Philadelphia to 
form an enduring friendship, which he honors by one of 
his prettiest poems, and thence he came to New York 
and ascended the Hudson in a sloop. A letter to his 
mother, dated Saratoga, July 10, 1804, contains the 
following sketch : 

"The country round here seems the very home of the sav- 
ages. Nothing but tall forests of pine, to which a narrow 
road with difficulty winds its way, and ye^this is the water- 
ing-place for ladies and gentlemen from all parts of the 
United States." He speaks of being "stowed into a 
miserable boarding-house, whose guests were smoking and 
drinking the waters. They were astonished at our ask- 
ing for basins and towels for ourselves, and thought we 
ought to come down to the public wash-stand along with 
the other gentlemen." 

How strange does this sound when contrasted with the 
Saratoga of to-day ! Notwithstanding the prejudices 
expressed in some of his London friends, he 
could not suppress in his home correspondence a con- 
sciousness of our national importance. He admits that 
he saw signs of future national greatness, and wrote 
to his mother of " this very interesting world, which, not- 
withstanding the defects and disgusting peculiarities of 
its natives, gives every promise of no distant competition 
with the first powers of the Eastern hemisphere." 

Moore's Marriage. 
The poet proceeded from Niagara to Halifax, and 
reached home after a short passage, having been absent a 
year. He resumed London life, and at twenty-seven was 

78 Our Book. 

one of the most popular society men in the British me- 
tropolis. He was not only the favorite of the aristocracy, 
but had even been noticed by the prince regent. It 
was, therefore, expected by his friends that he would im- 
prove his social and literary position by a splendid mar- 
riage. What, then, must have been the surprise of Lon- 
don society, and what the distress of his parents, who still 
lived in Dublin, when it was announced that the most 
brilliant poet of the day had become the husband of an 
inferior actress. Thomas Moore and Bessie Dyke ! Who 
would have thought it? The bride's history is involved 
in obscurity. If, however, she never made a name on 
the boards, it is evident that she never was contaminated 
by the vices which so often stain the drama. 

Disappointing as such a match must have been to an 
ambitious family, the union proved one of the happiest 
in the literary record. True, Bessie always felt the infe- 
riority of her early position, and hence never entered that 
society which welcomed her husband, but it is evident 
that the latter never met a greater attraction. Their con- 
jugal life was one of tender affection and sympathy, and 
Bessie not only proved a cheerful companion and a faith- 
ful mother, but also watched with untiring devotion over 
the decay of her husband. Moore's diary for thirty years 
invariably refers to Bessie in the highest terms, and it is 
evident that she was one of the noblest of her sex. It 
was a peculiar feature in her character that she shrank from 
high life and declined being patronized. On one occasion 
an aristocratic lady wrote to Moore " to come and bring 
along his little wife." The remark of the latter on hear- 
ing the message was " the little wife will remain at home." 

Moore and Byron. 
The strongest literary friendship of that day existed 
between these men, and yet it began under the very 

Mooee and Byron. 79 

shadow of a duel. I have already referred to Byron's 
lampoon on Moore's maiden volume, but this was accom- 
panied by allusions of a still more pungent character. 
The "hostile meeting" between Moore and Jeffrey 
afforded another subject for Byron's caustic wit. Jeffrey 
had criticised Moore's poems with his usual severity, 
and the latter was disposed to retaliate by a challenge, 
but was, as he admits, too poor to travel to Edinburgh for 
that purpose. Jeffrey however, soon afterward came to 
London, and a duel was then arranged. The parties met 
early one summer morning, but before a shot could be 
fired they were seized by the police which had been 
secreted for the purpose. The field of honor was immedi- 
ately changed into a theme of ridicule, and both combat- 
ants were held to bail. To this affair Byron refers in 
those pungent lines beginning " Health to great Jeffrey : " 

"Can none remember that eventful day, 
That ever glorious, almost fatal fray, 
When Little's leadless pistol met his eye, ' 
And Bow street myrmidons stood laughing by? 

The above was leveled at Jeffrey, but of course included 
Moore who was full of pluck, and would not be the butt 
of a "rhyming peer." He, therefore, called Byron's 
attention to the offensive lines in a letter, which might 
have led to a challenge. Byron however, disclaimed all 
intention of reflecting on personal character. The result 
was that, the two poets met at Kogers' and formed a life- 
long friendship. Byron wrote more letters to Moore than 
to any other of his correspondents, and he also committed 
to him his autobiographic memoirs to be published after 
death. When the latter occurred however, the volume 
was suppressed by Lady Byron who paid £2,000 for this 
privilege. Moore and Byron could agree better than poets 
generally, since their difference in style prevented any 

80 Our Book. 

Byron knew that his life would be written by some 
one and he designated Moore to this task, adding " I have 
a strong presentiment that you will outlive me. The 
difference of a few years in our age i3 nothing." Such 
proved to be the case, and Moore was one of the last 
survivors of that limited circle which could boast of 
acquaintance with the author of Childe Harold. In 
obedience to Byron's request he wrote his biography, 
which naturally was influenced by friendship. Impar- 
tiality indeed under such circumstances was not to be 

Foreign Life. 

Pending the settlement of his Bermuda troubles Moore 
was obliged to leave London to avoid arrest, and one of 
the most interesting scenes which occurred during this 
exile was his re-union with Byron in Venice. It was of 
brief duration and was never renewed. Moore could not 
but notice that Byron had worsened during his residence 
in Italy, and had also acquired a reckless method of utter- 
ance, which was shown by such remarks as this : " Moore, 
what do you think of Shakespeare? I think him ahum- 
bug." He also noticed, as did others, that Byron was 
deteriorating in genius as well as in morals. Byron soon 
introduced him to the Countess Giuccioli, and made no 
secret of the nature of their intimacy. At Paris Moore 
became acquainted with Irving, who was his junior by 
four years, and this led to a friendship only sundered by 
death. Moore was then living with great economy, 
which was one of Bessie's virtues, and Irving describes 
the pleasant scenes which marked their simple method of 

Moore was one of the best paid authors, received £3,000 
for Lalla Hookh, and his receipts from other productions 
in all amounted to seven times that sum, but his latter days 

Moore's Misfortune. 81 

were shadowed by poverty as well as by bereavement. 
The latter includes the loss of his deeply beloved sisters, 
and also his daughters Anastasia and Barbara. In addi- 
tion to this was the overwhemling blow which came in his 
old age, the death of his sons, one of whom (named after 
himself) found a grave in a far-distant land. Moore, in 
fact, not only survived his parents and all their family, 
but all of his own except the faithful Bessie. Who that 
saw Tom Moore in his palmy days, when he was the chief 
attraction in many a brilliant re-union, could have fore- 
east such a history \ But alas, how often is this the fate 
of genius! 

Moore lived for nearly thirty years in " Sloperton Cot- 
tage," where he finished his days on the 26th of Febru- 
ary, 1852, being in his seventy-third year. He had suf- 
fered two years of mental paralysis, and hence death was 
only to be viewed as a relief. He was buried in the 
neighboring church -yard beside the graves of his four 
children. Thirteen years afterward Bessie was placed l»y 
those she so tenderly loved and so faithfully cherished. It 
was said of Moore, by one who knew him well, that amid 
the pleasures of the world he had preserved all his home 
affections. Moore indeed was of an overflowing dispo- 
sition, and his letters, like his poetry are full of soul. 
He wrote to his mother twice a week, and this corre- 
spondence breathes an ardor of filial affection which 
warms the reader with sympathy. It was no doubt, this 
enthusiasm of friendship which awoke the admiration 
of Byron, and to no other human being did the latter 
write with such entire freedom. As there can never be 
but one Byron, so there can never be but one Tom Moore. 
The first has a higher rank in point of genius, but the 
latter though his greatest efforts are no longer read, will 
always hold the heart by his songs, and the Last Rose of 

82 Our Book. 

Summer and the Meeting of the Waters will be sung as 
long as emotional sentiment is cherished. 

Literary Sisters. 

The history of those remarkable sisters — Charlotte, 
Emily and xinne Bronte — illustrates in a very interest- 
ing manner, the risks of authorship. They lived with 
their father in a secluded hamlet in the north of England, 
and being desirous of issuing a volume of poems, wrote 
to a publishing house and arranged to have the book 
printed at the authors' expense. The volume fell dead 
from the press, and the girls remitted the bill, which was 
equal to about $250. This was a heavy loss but it was 
borne without complaint. These poems were published 
as the production of three brothers — Currer, Ellis and 
Acton Bell — and the best notice which they received was 
accorded to the poems of Ellis (Emily) who was consid- 
ered by Charlotte the most gifted of the family. 

The ambitious sisters determined to continue their 
efforts notwithstanding this failure. Charlotte had writ- 
ten a novel which she sent to a publisher, who returned 
it. She then sent it successively to six other houses, each 
of which declined it. While this work was going the 
rounds Charlotte began Jane Eyre, which she determined 
to make more sensational, and she succeeded far beyond 
her expectations. The MSS. was sent to the house of 
Smith, Elder & Co., and was published at their risk. T 
need hardly add that it had a ready sale. 

Later on the author and her sister Anne went to Lou- 
don to see the publishers, and the latter were astonished 
to behold two diminutive young women, clad in dress of 
rural simplicity, representing so popular a book. Char- 
lotte had Smith, Elder & Co.'s business correspondence 
as a proof of her identity, and this removed all doubt. 

Literary Sisters. 83 

Then for the first time, the publishers learned that Cur- 
rer Bell, whom they supposed to be a man, was a delicate 
girl, whose opportunities to study society had been of a 
very limited character. 

Prior to the Brontes, though hardly equal in literary rank, 
were the sisters Sophia and Harriet Lee, who held distinc- 
tion in London authorship during the early part of the pres- 
ent century. They wrote both novels and plays, but their 
best mutual production was the once popular Canterbury 
Tales. From one of these — Kreuitzner — Byron drew the 
plan and also the details of his tragedy of Werner. He 
acknowledges, in the preface, his debt to these gifted sis- 
ters, who were gratified to assist the greatest poet of the age. 

The Porters. 

Another literary family of much brighter fortune is 
found in the sisters Jane and Anna Porter, whose gifted 
brother added much to their position. The sisters were 
successful novelists, and the brother became an artist, a 
soldier and a diplomat, being known in history as Sir 
Robert Ker Porter. It may be added in order to show 
how a fortunate selection of a subject may assist an author, 
that while Anna Porter's novels are forgotten, her sister's 
still hold a place in literature, because the theme retains 
a power over the younger portion of the reading public. 
I allude, of course, to Thaddeus of Warsaw and the 
Scottish Chiefs. 

The Davidsons. 

Plattsburg is justly proud of the memory of Lucretia 
and Margaret Davidson. The first was born in 1808. 
She wrote verses in early childhood, and one of her pro- 
ductions at nine is still preserved. Before her sixteenth 
year she had written more than three hundred pieces, 
many of which were deemed worthy of publication. 

84 Our Book. 

Such early brain activity was too exhausting for a 
delicate frame, and she died in her seventeenth year. 
Her sister Margaret, who was also a literary prodigy, 
died at fifteen. It is a sufficient proof of the rank held 
by this gifted pair that Irving honored them with a brief 

Warners and Carys. 

The Warner sisters — Susan and Anna — though not 
recluse were very retiring. Hence but little is known 
of their personal characteristics. Their works, however, 
hold distinction in American literature, and the Wide 
Wide World was, with but one exception, the most popu- 
lar novel of its day. Much more is known of the melo- 
dious sisters Alice and Phebe Cary, who for more than 
twenty years were numbered among the New York 
literati, and who gradually rose from poverty to compe- 
tence by their poetic offerings. The Carys were natives 
of Ohio, their home being so sequestered as to afford but 
few advantages. Their early struggles were such as are 
common to the children of genius, and they were at first 
glad to see their poems in a country newspaper. Alice 
began writing at eighteen and Phebe was still younger 
when her first efforts attracted attention. 

In 1819, when Alice was twenty -nine and Phebe was 
four years younger, their first combined effort appeared 
in a volume of poems. Two years afterward they 
removed to New York and entered the field of literature 
in which they gradually won distinction. Eventually 
their house was a popular resort for literary characters 
and their reception evenings were a favorite resort for 
Horace Greeley whenever he could steal away from his 
engagements. The greatest work, however, in which 
these sisters were engaged was the establishment of 

Authors' Longevity. 85 

Sorosis, the woman's club, which still flourishes and is a 
noble gathering of the best elements in the sex. The 
Gary sisters retained their distinction to the last, and 
what seems very remarkable they both died the same year, 
and six months from the time Alice was laid to rest in 
Greenwood, Phebe was laid by her side. 

Greater Longevity. 
Notwithstanding the frequent instances of early death 
among female authors, it is still evident that brain workers 
of that sex have, as a class reached more than average 
age and have had a full share of health and happiness. 
Here are a few instances from the records of the old world. 
Grace Aguilar died at thirty-one ; Miss Landon, the once 
popular L. E. L., married Captain MacLean and accom- 
panied her husband to the coast of Africa where she died 
in her thirty-sixth year ; Jane Taylor died at forty and 
Mrs. Ilemans was a year older; Jane Austen was forty- 
two; Mrs. Shelley was fifty-three and Charlotte Elizabeth 
fifty-four ; the Countess of Blessington was sixty ; Fred- 
erika Bremer, sixty-four; Mrs. Inchbald, sixty-seven; 
Miss Mitford, sixty-nine ; while Jane Porter and Mrs. 
Holland were each seventy-four ; Mrs. Sherwood reached 
seventy-seven and Regina Maria Roche was eighty ; Lady 
Morgan, Mrs. Barbauld, Mrs. Piozzi and Miss Edgeworth 
each died at eighty-two ; Hannah Moore and Madame 
D'Arblay both were eighty-eight, and Joanna Baillie, 
eighty-nine ; Elizabeth Carter died at ninety, and Miss 
Caroline Herschell, the astronomer, only lacked two years 
of a full century. Taking a few names from the Ameri- 
can record: Maria Brooks, whom Southey admired, 
was fifty; Helen Hunt, fifty-five and Louisa Alcott, 
fifty-six; Mrs. Parton (Fanny Fern) was sixty-one; Mrs. 
Sigourney, seventy-four; Hannah F. Gould, seventy- 

86 Our Book. 

seven, while both Hannah Adams and Mrs. Sedgewick 
reached seventy-eight; Julia Ward Howe is sixty-nine; 
Mrs. Stowe is now seventy-six, and her sister Catharine 
was spared till four-score. 

Joel Barlow. 

The first book published on this continent after the 
close of the revolution was Watts' Psalms, edited 
by Joel Barlow, which was issued in Hartford in 1785. 
Barlow was then thirty. He was a native of Connecticut, 
and had studied at Yale, where in 1778 he delivered a 
poem entitled the Prospect of Peace. His poetic 
talents had already attracted notice, and this led the clergy 
to request that he should prepare an edition of Watts for 
public worship. He also edited a weekly paper in Hart- 
ford called the American Mercury, but afterward added 
law to literature. He had however, already contemplated 
what he considered his great poem, The Columbiad. 
This was not completed until the lapse of twenty years, 
but its inception was given in the Yision of Columbus, 
which was published the year our government was formed. 

Pursuing this reminiscence, it may be added that Bar- 
low went to Europe soon after issuing the Yision, and 
was the first American author that visited Great Britain 
after the close of the war. He sympathized with the 
French revolutionists, to whom he rendered some diplo- 
matic service, and on his return in 1805 he was the best- 
informed American on the subject of foreign affairs. He 
was then fifty, and his ripe experience rendered him 
highly useful to the general government. He made 
Washington his abode and erected an elegant house. 

Two years afterward his great work, The Columbiad, 
appeared. It was published in Philadelphia and was the 
most costly book which, up to that time, had ever been 

Joel Barlow. 87 

issued in this country. It was dedicated to Robert Fulton, 

of steamboat fame, and was graced by a portrait of the 

author, together with eleven copper-plate illustrations 

executed in London. The author expected that this work 

would permanently retain its distinction as the greatest of 

American poems. 

It was read and admired, but like many other works of 

temporary value it gradually sank out of sight, and it is 

not probable that another edition will ever be printed. 

Its prophecy of future development is one of its most 

striking features, of which the following is an instance : 

"From Mohawk's mouth far westing with the sun, 
Through all the woodlands recent channels run, 
Tap the redundant lakes, the broad hills brave, 
And marry Hudson with Missouri's wave. 
From dim Superior, whose unfathomed sea 
Drinks the mild splendor of the setting day, 
New paths unfolding lead their watery pride, 
And towns and empires rise along their side. 
To Mississippi's source the passes bend 
And to the broad Pacific main extend." 

How wonderfully this prophecy .has been fulfilled dur- 
ing the eighty years of interval ! 

The Columbiad at once gave Barlow national dis- 
tinction, and this led him to project a full history of the 
country, but his plans were broken by the call to diplo- 
matic service. Madison needed an ambassador to France, 
and there was no one so well adapted to this service as 
Joel Barlow. On reaching Paris he found that the dream 
of liberty and its bloody frenzy had given place to the 
still more bloody despotism of Napoleon. He beheld the 
march of the deluded conqueror to Moscow with an army 
of nearly half a million, so few of whom ever returned. 
Four months afterward came the sad tidings of the fail- 
ure of the expedition, accompanied by a request from 
Napoleon that Barlow should meet him at "Wilna. His 
object was never published, but it is probable that he 

88 Our Book. 

wished to obtain troops from America to renew an army 
sacrificed to his ambition. 

The Last Scene in Life. 
Barlow obeyed Napoleon's request and, attended by 
his private secretary, hastened to the appointed spot, but 
the expected meeting never took place. The exposure 
of the journey and the wretched condition of the Polish 
inns reduced his health, and on the 22d of December, 
1812, he died of pneumonia near Cracow, where he lies 
in an obscure grave. His last days were saddened by 
scenes of horror, for lie beheld the wretched remnant 
of Napoleon's army perishing by frost and famine on the 
borders of Poland. These scenes gave his genius its last 
inspiration, and being unable to use the pen, he dictated 
the most tremendous indictment which the poetic muse 
ever delivered against the imperial tyrant. It is called 
Advice to a Raven, and closes with the hope of 

"Earth's total vengeance on the monster's head." 

Hasty Pudding. 
This is a much better poem than the Vision of Colum- 
bus because it shows how a simple theme can be treated 
in a poetic manner. It was written con amove as may be 
seen from the following extract : 

"My father loved thee through his length of days; 
For thee his fields were shaded o'er with maize; 
Thy constellation ruled my natal morn ; 
And all my bones were made of Indian corn. 
Delicious grain whatever form it take. 
To roast or boil, to smother, or to bake ; 
In every dish 'tis welcome still to me; 
But most, my hasty pudding, most in thee." 

A very interesting feature in the history of this poem 
is the fact that it was written in Europe. Barlow was one 
of the earliest American visitors thither after the revolu- 

Joel Barlow. 89 

tion, and of course, he missed his favorite dish. What- 
ever might be the treasures of Paris, there was no hasty 
pudding, and he indignantly exclaims : 

"For thee through Paris — that corrupted town — 
How long in vain I wandered up and down." 

No doubt this sharpened appetite assisted inspiration, 

for on reaching Savoy he found a family which had 

brought the meal from America and knew how to cook 

it. Hence he says : 

"Dear hasty pudding, what unpromised joy 
Expands my heart to meet thee in Savoy! 
My soul is soothed, my cares have found an end 
In thee my lost but not forgotten friend. 
Yes, here, though distant from our native shore, 
With mutual glee we meet and laugh once more." 

Hasty Pudding is a national and also a philanthropic 
poem, and the author, to show his earnestness in an at- 
tempt to dignify a plebeian dish, dedicated it to Mrs. 
Washington. He gives as a reason that he desires her 
influence to combat vicious tastes (in cookery) and to re- 
store simplicity of diet, and he adds : 

"I had hopes of doing some good, or I should not have taken 
the pains of putting so many rhymes together — or ventured to 
place your name at their head." 

Barlow was one of the first to notice the bad effect of 

modern cookery, which awoke the following lament : 

"To mix the food by vicious rules of art, 
To kill the stomach and to sink the heart: 
For this the kitchen muse first framed her book, 
Commanding sweets from every artful cook. 
Children no more their antic gambols tried, 
And friends to physic wondered why they died." 

To "sink the heart" of course refers to dyspepsia, 

which is one of the common consequences of artificial 

living, and the improving nature of Barlow's favorite 

dish is suggested in the following couplet : 

"To shield the morals while it mends the size, 

And all the powers of every food supplies." 


Our Book. 

Such reader, is the commendation this forgotten dish 

received from the chief bard and diplomat of his day, 

and I hope it will not be lost upon you. Should it 

lead you to read Hasty Pudding, you will find it rich in 

sketches of early days, and you will also find in it the 

only utterance of the author which lives and must always 

live. Nothing survives of Barlow's epics, but in Hasty 

Pudding he gives use the "man of straw," and who has 

not heard that term used to represent the shams of the 

day? It is introduced when speaking of the need of a 


"The feathered robber with his hungry maw, 
Swift flies the field before your man of straw." 


There is no reference to bibliomania in the classic writ- 
ers, but we know that a public library existed at Alexan- 
dria two centuries and a half before the birth of our Sav- 
iour. Adjacent to this library was a museum for the 
purpose of collecting what Pliny calls "learned curiosi- 
ties." This shows that literary antiquities had even then 
a recognized value — but all went to destruction in the 
burning of the library. This was done by the Saracens 
A. D. 642, as they suspected the immense collection to 
be works on magic. 

The first public library in Rome was collected by the 
Consul Pollio, who was contemporary with our Saviour. 
He patronized authors and hence Virgil addressed to 
him his best eclogue. Augustus also founded a library 
on the Palatine Hill, and another near the theatre of 
Marcellus. Similar institutions were afterward estab- 
lished in Rome, but they could not have approached the 
importance of a modern library even of but moderate 
size, since- the books were rolls of parchment which must 
have been very cumbrous. 

Book Making. 91 

Modern bibliomania originated in Holland more than a 

century after the invention of printing, and was no doubt 

due to the taste exhibited by the Elzevirs. This famous 

family of printers flourished from 15S0 to a century later, 

and their publications naturally improved with increased 

experience. From Holland the mania spread to England. 

Its growth however, was impeded by the civil wars, so 

that its influence was not felt before the days of Pope. 

He was the first writer to make any allusion to a feature 

which was so powerful both in Sir Hans Sloane and the 

Earl of Harley. This rage for old volumes led Pope to 

pen the following pungent couplet: 

<l Authors, like coins, grow rare, as they grow old; 
It is the rust we value, not the gold." 

This indeed, is the rule which generally controls the 
book collector. No matter what the subject be if the 
volume only has the merit of age and rarity. 

Sometimes bibliomaniacs confine themselves to special- 
ties. Eor instance, Boulard of France spent a large sum 
gathering the varied editions of Racine, and James Lenox 
devoted much time and money to his collection of Bibles. 
Another specialist was Dr. Douglas of London, who ex- 
hibited an insatiable passion for the works of Horace. 
He eventually owned specimens of every edition which 
had been issued of this famous poet, and also every trans- 
lation and critical commentary. Douglas was an excel- 
lent physician whose rich fees enabled him to thus indulge 
his peculiar taste. No other classic shared his affection. 
He was simply under an Horatian madness, and there- 
fore gathered all the lumber that came under this caption 
to the extent of nearly 500 volumes. 

Gibbon, on the other hand, though a man of great 
learning and a life-long student, only loved books for 
their contents. He mentions in his autobiography the 

92 Our Book. 

pleasure with which he exchanged a twenty pound note 
for as many volumes of an instructive character, but he 
adds that he bought no book except for its solid value. 

Costly Books. 

The most costly literary undertaking ever attempted 
by a single individual was the Aborigines of Mexico, 
published by Lord Kingsborough, at an expense equal to 
$170,000. It is in seven immense volumes, with one 
thousand illustrations of the finest character. The num- 
ber of copies issued was limited to fifty, and many of 
these were presented to the most important public libra- 
ries of Europe. A copy of this wonderful book is in the 
Philadelphia library. 

Lord Kingsborough was an enthusiast on this subject, 
and like all enthusiasts he went to a ridiculous extreme. 
He gratified his taste at the expense of all other interests. 
The cost was greater than either his expectations or his 
resources. lie was involved in law, and after many vexa- 
tious suits he finished his course in a Dublin jail. 

John Boydell, of London, assisted by Nichols, spent a 
large fortune in publishing fine books. They invested 
£350,000 in perfecting printing and engraving, and they 
sunk in their Shakespeare gallery £100,000, equal to a half 
million of dollars. Audubon's Birds is the most costly 
book ever published in America, each copy being oii fi- 
nally priced at $700. The pictures are of natural size, 
and the artist spent the largest part of his life in the 
work. At the sale of A. T. Stewart's books a copy of 
Audubon's Birds sold for $1,350; another has recently 
been sold at $2,450. The plates are still in existence, 
but it is not probable that another edition will be printed. 

One book alone is on record as being printed in an edi- 
tion of one copy. This is a history of the house of Rus- 

Book Making. 93 

sell, including elaborate portraits of all its peers. It cost 
3,000 guineas, and was placed in. the library of "Woburn 
Abbey, where the duke resides, with orders never to be 
removed. The edition of the Greek Testament, pub- 
lished by Erasmus, at Basle in 1519, was very limited, 
and all have been lost except one copy, which is in the 
cathedral at York. An offer of 5,000 guineas for this 
literary curiosity has been refused. 

A beautiful copy of Owen Jones's Alhambra was ex- 
hibited at the Crystal Palace in New York in 1852. It 
was bound by Matthews, then the best binder in America, 
whose bill was $500, and it may be considered a moderate 
charge, as the work required six months. It is the most 
costly specimen of binding in this country. 

Some men have a passion for collecting Bibles. There 
are two hundred copies in the Astor library of different 
editions, which one might think a sufficient variety, but 
the late Duke of Sussex had six thousand different edi- 
tions of the Bible (or of portions of it), which is the 
largest collection of the kind in existence. These collec- 
tions are generally dispersed after their owner's death. 
If any man wishes to keep his collection from a general 
breaking up, he must like James Lenox, devise it to 
some institution where it will have permanent care. 
Among other collectors of rare works was Robert Har- 
ley Earl of Oxford, who flourished during the reign of 
Queen Anne. His library is now one of the treasures of 
the British Museum, and a selection from his manuscripts 
forms what is called the Harleian Miscellany. This 
selection was made by Henry Oldys, who was the most 
remarkable book- worm of that day. In 1737 he pub- 
lished the British Librarian, an Abstract of Our Most 
Scarce and Valuable Works, and thus did much to create 
a taste for antique literature. Dr. Johnson wrote the 

94 Our Book. 

preface of the Harleian Miscellany, which is now an im- 
portant feature in all firs>class libraries. 

Book Values. 

There was a time when a book was almost a fortune. 
It is said that one of the Saxon kings gave eight hundred 
acres of land for a single volume — in manuscript of 
course — for there was no printing then. The first 
printed volume the Bihlia Pauper urn, or Poor man's 
Bible, which was done by letters engraved on blocks 
of wood. It contains about thirty pages of text and 
is supposed to have been printed before 1100, since 
movable types were invented in 1437. In 1274 a Bible 
in vellum in nine volumes was sold at a price equal to 
more than eight thousand days' work of a laborer. One 
of the finest vellum Bibles is the copy presented by his 
preceptor to Charlemagne after the latter had learned to 
read — being then forty-five. In universities books were 
formerly loaned on a deposit ensuring their return, and 
at Oxford the Bible was frequentlj r borrowed on these 

The oldest manuscript book in our language is the con- 
fessions of Richard Earl, of Cambridge, which bears date 
1415, and the earliest ballad is the cuckoo song, which 
begins thus : 

"Sumer is icumen in, 
Lhude sing cuccu; 
Groweth red and bloweth med 
And springth ye wode nu 

Singe cuccu." 

Among the first books printed in our language is the 
Eecuyell of the Historye of Troye, issued by Caxton in 
1471, a copy of which is in the Lenox library. The 
demand for so great a curiosity may be judged from the 
fact that while in 1756 a copy sold at nine pounds, the 

Book Making. 95 

next sale, which took place in 1812, reached £1,060, and 
recently another sale was made at £1,820, equal to $9,100. 
A copy of Bocaceio's Decameron, also published in 1471, 
recently sold for £2,260. 

Lenox Treasures. 

James Lenox was a life-time making his collection, and 
a student would require almost an equal period to fully 
master its contents. The gem of the collection, of course, 
is the Mazzarin Bible, the first book printed with mova- 
ble types. Though issued without date, there is proof 
that it appeared before 1456. It was printed at Mayence 
and is in two volumes containing 1282 pages. There are 
fifteen copies of this work in existence, some printed on 
paper and others on vellum, which are much more val- 
uable. The Lenox copy is in vellum, and is, in other 
respects, one of the best. The ink is jet black, and 
the impression is clear. The type is German text, and 
the language is Latin. Its value is $17,000. 

The Lenox library contains three thousand Bibles, one 
of which, printed at Nuremberg in 1467, has Melanc- 
thon's autograph. Another is the first Bible that has a 
date, the time and place being Mentz, 1462. There is 
also a copy of the Biblia Pauperum, printed from blocks 
before 1400. The total number of Bibles and parts of 
the Bible is 3500. Another rare volume is the Bay Psalm 
Book, the first volume printed in America, and worth 
$1,000 ; and to this is added Eliot's Indian Bible, which 
has been sold for $1,340. There is a copy of the first 
Homer, printed in Florence in 1488, and also one of 
Dante's Divine Com media, dated twenty-four years 

The rare and curious editions of Shakespeare give the 
Lenox peculiar distinction, since in this specialty it has 

96 Our Book. 

no equal in America. One may behold not only the first 

collected edition published in 1623, but also editions of 

single plays issued during the author's life-time, which 

is very clear proof that Bacon made no claim to their 

authorship. One of these has the following title page : 

" The Tragedie of King Richard the third containing his treach- 
erous plots against his brother Clarence and the pity full murthcr 
of the innocent nephew his tyranical Vsurpation with the whole 
account of his detested life and deserved death As hath been 
lately acted by the Kings Majesties servants newly augmented by 
William Shakespeare London printed by Thomas Creede and are 
to be sold by Matthew Lowe at St. Pauls church yard 1612." 

This copy is valued at $2,000, and was obtained by 
Lenox with great difficulty many years ago. At present 
it would not be easy to replace it at any price. At the 
recent sale of the Hawkins library Bryant's Embargo 
brought $41. By way of explanation, it may be said 
that when Bryant was only thirteen President Madison 
proclaimed an embargo, or stoppage of foreign com- 
merce, as a retaliation on British aggression. It was 
sufficient to awaken the young poet's genius, and his 
friends published a small edition of the poem with a cer- 
tificate of the youth of the author. The rarity of this 
book is shown by the extraordinary price above quoted. 
Thirteen years after the publication of the Embargo its 
author occupied the editorial chair of the Evening Post, 
which he held until removed by death, after nearly half 
a century's service. Another instance of high price was 
found in the Federalist, a copy of which sold for $24. 

Literary Frauds. 
One of the most remarkable books in the Astor is the 
volume on Formosa, by George Psalmanazar. It is the 
earliest literary fraud, at least of any extent, and its com- 
bination of audacity and skill for a time commanded cred- 
ence, but the imposture was soon suspected, and eventu- 

Book Making. 97 

ally the author confessed. The book is gotten up in a 
style which, at that time, was very elegant, and is illus- 
trated by copper-plate engravings of an elaborate and ex- 
pensive character. It is highly probable that the success 
of this fictitious narrative led Swift to write Gulliver's 
Travels, in which he found such a ready medium for his 

To return to Psalmanazar, it is evident that this char- 
latan possessed more than usual talent, and though a for- 
eigner he wrote good English. He also gave samples of 
the Formosan language, which displayed no little inge- 
nuity, and upon the whole, he was one of the remarka- 
ble men of that day. The title of the book is as follows : 

"An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa — An 
Island subject to the Empire of Japan. 

" Second edition corrected, with many large and usefull additions, 
particularly a new preface, clearly answering every thing that has 
been objected against the author and the book. By George Psal- 
manazar, a native of the Island. London, 1704. Published by 
Bernard Lintot." 

Psalmanazar died in i 763, leavihga MS. autobiography, 

with the following title : 

" Memoirs of , commonly known by the name 

of George Psalmanazar, a reputed native of Formosa." 

He also left the following will : 

"Last will and testament of me a poor, sinful and worthless 
creature, commonly known by the assumed name of George 
Psalmanazar. I desire my body to be conveyed to the common 
burying ground and there interred in some obscure corner and in 
the lowest and cheapest manner in a shell. 

" The principal manuscript I leave behind is a faithful narrative 
of my education and the various ways I was led to the base and 
shameful imposture of passing on the world for a native of 
Formosa and backing it with a ficticious account of that island, 
and of my travels and conversion — all or most of it hatched out 
of my own brain without regard to truth or honesty. It is true I 
have long since disclaimed even publicly all but the shame and 
guilt of that vile imposition, yet as long as I knew that there were 
still two editions of that scandalous romance remaining in Eng- 
land I thought it incumbent to undeceive the world by a posthu- 
mous work, which was begun 25 years ago. 


98 Our Book. 

u If it be worth printing I desire it to be sold to the highest 
bidder in order to pay arrears for my lodging and defray mv 
funeral. It will be found in the deep drawer on the right hand 
of my white cabinet." 

Sample of Formosan Language. 
Psalmanazar's ingenuity in inventing a language is 
certainly wonderful and being called on for a sample 
be gave the following as the Lord's Prayer. 


"Amy pornio dau chin ornio vrey guay jorhe sai lony sysodore 
sai bagalin jorhe sai domion apo chin ornio kay chin bodi eyen 
amy khat sodi nadakchion toye ant naday Kay donye ant amy 
sochin apo ant radonem amy soch takhin bagne ant kai chin 
malabooski ah abinaye ant twen broskasy kens sai vie bogalin kay 
fary kay barhani chinania sen ly Amien." 

Personal Facts. 

The history of this man is so peculiar that it may be 
said to stand alone in the chronicles of literature. The 
facts may be given as follows : In 1704, five years befoie 
the birth of Johnson, and while Swift, Addison and Pope 
were rising men, there appeared in London a clergyman 
named Innes. He had just come from Holland, bringing 
with him a mysterious young man of oriental birth, who 
through his efforts had been converted from heathen- 
ism to Christianity. The zeal and labors displayed by 
Innes so impressed the bishop of London that he gave 
him a handsome benefice as a mark of approval. 

The young convert was visited by the clergy and other 
men of learning, to whom he unfolded a strange and 
moving history. He told them (in broken English) that 
he was a native of the far-distant island of Formosa, 
where his father (whose name wasPsalmanazar) held high 
rank. He had been induced to abscond from home by a 
Roman priest named De Rode, and they escaped in an 
open boat, whence they took passage in a homeward- 

Book Making. 99 

bound ship. When asked the name of the latter the 
stranger confessed his ignorance. Re said he was not 
then aware that ships had names, and as his guide kept 
him from mingling with the crew, he had no chance to 
learn. On arriving at Gibraltar the priest left the vessel 
and took the youth to France, where an attempt was made 
to convert him to Romanism. He objected to this and was 
at last led to fear that violence and penalty might be the con- 
sequence of his obduracy. He therefore escaped at night 
and made his way to Holland, where he was pressed into 
the army. There he met the zealous Innes, by whom he 
was led to accept Christianity. He then related to the 
latter his marvelous history, and Innes procured his re- 
lease in order to bring him to London. Psalmanazar 
was baptized by the name of George — being then twenty- 
five, and six years having elapsed since he left his native 

We now come to that wonderful fraud which gives 
this man a prominent place in literature. He soon learned 
to speak and write English, and then proposed to give an 
account of his native island, which hitherto had never 
been visited by a British tourist. He therefore wrote his 
description of Formosa, which includes its religion, do- 
mestic life, history, with other details. The book was 
issued by the noted publisher Lintot, and was illustrated 
with costly copperplate engravings. In these the author 
introduced the elephant, which does not exist in Formosa, 
but there was no one able to detect the error. In fact, 
the only point of truth in a volume of four hundred pages, 
is the name of the island. The mantle of piety was 
cleverly thrown over the volume by dedicating it to the 
bishop of London, and the preface closes with the follow- 
ing doxology : 

"Now to the omnipotent and merciful God, who hath bjr the 

100 Our Book. 

grace of His Holy Spirit called me from Paganism to the true 
knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ, my Mediator and Redeemer, 
be ascribed eternal praise, honor and glory, by all creatures, for- 
ever and ever. Amen. 

As an instance of impious hypocrisy the above has seldom 
been equalled. 

Brief Success. 

The young impostor became an object of intense inter- 
est among religious and literary circles, and his book was 
subjected to close scrutiny. While indulging his inven- 
tion however, lie made one mistake which was fatal. In 
speaking of the bloody religion which prevailed there he 
said that eighteen thousand infants were sacrificed annu- 
ally, which in realit}', would soon depopulate the island. 
"When cornered, instead of explaining it as an error in 
figures, he boldly adhered to it, and then when he saw 
that his patrons were losing confidence, he changed from 
imposture to confession, and acknowledged that the entire 
book was merely an invention. London was astonished, 
and when this was past the adventurer, being cast off by 
his friends, sought employment of the booksellers. He 
could do some kinds of literary drudgery, and this kept 
him from starving. He lived for sixty years in this man- 
ner, and expressed great penitence for his fraud. 

His subsecpient life was passed in London, and when 
Johnson, at the age of twenty-six went thither to try his 
chance in literature, he found Psalmanazar a lonely 
drudge, and a friendship was gradually established. John- 
son, indeed, became an admirer of the mysterious adven- 
turer, who certainly must have possessed some peculiar 
attraction. Boswell tells us that Johnson mentioned him 
as the most agreeable of his associates, and at one time, 
when referring to his friend, he spoke thus : " Sir, I 
sought after Psalmanazar the most ; I used to go and sit 
with him at an ale house in the city." The man who thus 

Book Making. 101 

awoke the admiration and friendship of Johnson could 
be no ordinary character. 

Psalmanazar was then deeply ashamed of his impos- 
ture, and for this reason never disclosed his true name. 
He retained the livery of fraud till the last as a part of 
his self-inflicted penance. We therefore have this re- 
markable fact, that the true name of an author who left 
his mark on the age in which he lived has never been 
revealed, and also that the place of his birth, as well as 
that of his burial, are utterly unknown. This is one of 
the mysteries of modern literature. It was generally sup- 
posed, however, that Psalmanazar was a native of France, 
and that he had traveled over a large part of Europe, thus 
acquiring much general information. 

Other Literary Deceptions. 

The eighteenth century is noted for its literary frauds, 
all of which were sufficiently skillful to win the confi- 
dence and admiration of some of the most accomplished 
critics and were only detected by close and prolonged 
research. Psalmanazar was followed by Ossian's poems 
concerning which the following statement is presented as 
embodying the principal facts. A young Scotchman of 
Highland birth and well educated was serving as tutor in 
a family of rank, and while thus engaged claimed to have 
found a number of fragments of ancient Celtish poetry. 
He showed copies to some Edinburgh critics who encour- 
aged his desire of publication, and the result was the 
appearance of a small volume. Such was the advent of 
James Macpherson who found himself at twenty-four the 
object of sufficient attention to make any young man 

This success led him to pursue the same subject until 
not long afterward he published a volume of more fin- 

102 Our Book. 

ished character which he called Ossian' s Poems. It was 
received with great enthusiasm and was translated into 
other languages. Many of the old Highland families were 
so delighted with the idea that poems had been preserved 
and perpetuated orally among their people for a thousand 
years that they at once gave Macpherson implicit credence, 
but he had a more important dupe in Blair, then famous 
as a preacher and professor of rhetoric in Edinburgh uni- 
versity. He credited Macpherson implicitly and when 
the authenticity of the poems was assailed he published 
a volume in their defense. Doubts indeed had been 
expressed soon after the appearance of the book, and 
Hume wrote to Blair that as he had adopted the theory 
he should defend it by producing some of the originals. 
This never was done and Macpherson when asked for 
them took refuge in wounded pride since the request cast 
doubt upon his veracity. 

Blair's essay compared Ossian with Homer, and Mac- 
pherson must have been astonished to see so strong a case 
made out by his champion. It is supposed indeed that 
one reason why he never confessed the imposture was a 
consideration for the feelings of those who had shown 
such inexhaustible credulity. Dr. Johnson with sturdy 
common sense, scouted the theory and called for the pro- 
duction of the original manuscripts boldly asserting that 
"no man has aright to demand credence of his state- 
ments when he has power to add proof." 

The controversy concerning Ossian continued for forty 
years, and eventually the Highland Society made an 
investigation throughout the entire Highlands which- 
sufficiently proved that all these poems must have been 
written by Macpherson. The latter left Scotland and 
found government employment in London where he 
passed many years and then returned to his native land 

Book Making. 103 

in possession of a competence. His fraud gradually 
dropped out of notice, and he avoided any reference to 
it, assuming indifference to the verdict of public opinion 
which pronounced Ossian an ingenious imposture. 

The Rowley Papers. 

Chatterton was the only literary fraud that possessed 
the highest order of genius, and his imposture was not 
due to the desire of triumph over credulity but to that 
worship of the past which had mastered his soul. His 
creations were superior to all others which have been 
offered to the world under an assumed garb, and even 
when stripped of the latter and exposed in modern Eng- 
lish they still command our admiration. He was the 
youngest and also the most unfortunate of the class of 
which I am now speaking, for he died by his own hand in 
his eighteenth year. That an attorney' s clerk in Bristol 
should have so mastered the language of six centuries 
previous as to deceive the best critics in the kingdom is 
certainly surprising. 

At twelve Chatterton had written a poem — Ellen ore 
and Juga — which has decided merit, and after he had 
been apprenticed to a conveyancer he soon produced 
antique fragments of great local interest. A new bridge 
over the Avon at Bristol was opened and the clerk grati- 
fied the public by a curious account of the opening of the 
old bridge seven centuries ago. This was published in 
one of the papers and the youth said that he found the 
original in an old chest in the tower of an ancient church. 
The skill with which it was written led to its general 
acceptance and the young clerk then produced other frag- 
ments which displayed great knowledge of heraldry and 
which also required mastery of the customs and language 
of an earlier day. 

104 Our Book. 

His chief creation, however, was Thomas Rowley the 
poet, whose productions he gave the world with such 
apparent accuracy that not only Bristol antiquarians 
bowed in veneration to the ancient bard, but other men 
of critical acumen yielded credence, and after Chatterton's 
death a controversy was held on this subject to such an 
extent that twenty-seven publications were issued before 
the question reached a negative conclusion. 

Johnson's Opinion. 

Dr. Johnson, who had been antagonistic to the claims 
of Ossian, was equally incredulous in the Rowley contro- 
versy, and the following extract from Boswell may be of 
use in this connection : " We made an excursion to Bris- 
tol where I was entertained by seeing Johnson inquire 
upon the spot into the authenticity of the Rowley poetry, 
as I had seen him inquire on the spot into the authenti- 
city of the Ossian poetry. George Catcot, the pewterer 
who was as zealous for Rowley as Dr. Blair was for Ossian, 
attended us at our inn and exclaimed with a triumphant 
air, 'I will make Dr. Johnson a convert' Dr. Johnson, 
at his desire, read aloud some of Chatterton's fabricated 
verses, while Catcot stood at the back of his chair, mov- 
ing himself like a pendulum of a clock and beating time 
with his feet, and now and then looking into Dr. John- 
son's face — wondering he was not yet convinced. We 
also called on Dr. Barrett, the surgeon, and saw some of 
the originals — as they were called — which were exe- 
cuted with much art — but from a careful inspection we 
were quite satisfied of the imposture. Johnson said of 
Chatterton 'this is the most extraordinary young man 
that has encountered my knowledge.' " True enough ! 
Chatterton was the wonder of the eighteenth century, and 
even Wordsworth exclaims! 

Book Making. 105 

"I thought of Chatterton the marvelous boy; 
The sleepless youth that perished in his pride! '' 

At the time of Johnson's visit to Bristol Chatterton 
had been six years in his grave. He had adventured to 
London in search of literary employment, and like many 
of the same class had met the keenest disappointment. 
After brief and crushing misery he ended his sad career 
by poison and had a pauper's burial. Chatterton as has 
been remarked, was the only one of these literary forgers 
that possessed genius, so it may also be said that he is the 
only one of the number that holds literary existence. 
His works have a place in all libraries and some of his 
utterances combine great beauty and moral truth. One 
of these is the appeal to the Deity which closes a brief 
poem on the misery of our race. 

"O! give the mighty will — or give the willing power.'' 

How much, indeed, is included in this brief prayer? 

The Ireland Fraud. 

During the year 1796 a London dealer in old books 
and curiosities visited Stratford and was accompanied by 
his son, a bright and clever youth of eighteen, who had 
already displayed much of that antiquarian taste which 
characterized his father. The enthusiasm which the lat- 
ter manifested when they reached the birth-place of the 
great dramatist was increased by the discovery made by 
his son of an ancient lease with Shakespeare's signature. 
In this manner the Irelands — both named Samuel — 
attracted unusual notice, and the son soon afterward 
found one of Shakespeare's lost plays which occasioned a 
still greater sensation in the literary world. It was called 
Yortigern, and had so genuine an appearance that it was 
played at Drury Lane with John Philip Kemble in the 
leading role. 

106 Our Book. 

It proved a failure however, and then a closer critical 
examination took place which resulted in a general con- 
viction of imposture. Young Ireland was plied with the 
same demand to which Macpherson had been subjected 
— to furnish the originals — and being unable to escape 
the dilemma he confessed the fraud. His father was 
overcome with grief and the young impostor left the 
paternal roof never to return. 

The admiration which Yortigern awoke led its author 
to write another play called Henry II and both were 
printed in 1799. The impostor seems to have gloried in 
his success, for thirty years afterward he republished 
Yortigern as a literary curiosity. He also published his 
Confessions in which he gives a description of his forger- 
ies. It is evident that he possessed a respectable share of 
ability, and he supported himself by literary labor until 
his death, which occurred in 1835. 

It may be added that a copy of Ireland's Shakespearian 
forgeries was recently sold at auction in New York, and 
as might have been expected, occasioned sharp rivalry. 
The value of the book was increased by the signature of 
John Philip Kemble with interleaved engravings, and 
after spirited bidding it was carried off by a bibliomaniac 
at $155. It thus appears that the first and the last of 
these impostors — Psalmanazar and Ireland — confessed 
their frauds but while the one expressed repentance the 
other seemed proud of his success. Macpherson on the 
other hand maintained a reserve on the Ossian question, 
and appeared indifferent to public opinion. Chatterton 
was the only one of the number who died before the 
complete publication of his works, and whose genius so 
commands our admiration that one is led to forgive his 
youthful imposture. 

These literary frauds indicate the natural tendency to 

Book Making. 107 

reproduce the antique, and while the present century fur- 
nishes nothing of the kind in a literary line it has still 
to testify against Collier the Shakespearean charlatan. 

Malicious Frauds. 

The basest form of literary fraud is when it assails 
character by forged letters, and this was one of those out- 
rages which Washington so patiently endured. In 1776 
a pamphlet was published in London containing letters 
alleged to have been written by the commander of the 
American army. The fraud was very ingenious, for the 
style was cleverly imitated, and they made reference to 
local and even family affairs. The object was to misrep- 
resent both himself and the American cause, and they 
were well adapted to this malicious purpose. 

These letters were reprinted in New York by the tories, 
but to perpetuate the mischief, the enemies of Washing- 
ton published them in book form during his last adminis- 
tration, and to assist the deception, a number of genuine 
documents were added. In this manner truth was made 
to assist falsehood. The author was never known. Per- 
haps he lived to see the futility of his malice. 

Concerning Pen Names. 
One of the earliest is Piers Ploughman, whose Com- 
plaint is one of the curiosities of British literature. Later 
on, when Edward Cave started the Gentleman's Maga- 
zine, he assumed the editorial title of Sylvanus Urban, 
which is still retained by his successors. Dr. Johnson 
wrote for the same magazine under the name of S. Smith. 
Addison was the Clio of the Spectator, and Goldsmith 
was The Chinese Philosopher of the Public Ledger. His 
spicy letters are the only ones of that day that have been 

108 Our Book. 

reprinted, and they are among the best things of his pen. 
Horace Walpole published his Castle of Otranto as the 
work of Onuphrio Murallo, translated by William Mar- 
shall Robert Southey wrote letters from Portugal un- 
der the name of Espriella, and Sydney Smith used the 
name of Peter Plymly. Walter Scott had three pen 
names. He was not only the Author of Waverley, but 
also Paul, and then as a politician he signed Malachi Mala- 
growther. James Hogg was The Ettrick Shepherd. 

Thomas Moore's first poems were issued as the works of 
the late Thomas Little. As Moore was a very small man, 
this pen name semed most appropriate. Prof. Wilson 
had two pen names. His Lights and Shadows of Scottish 
Life were by Arthur Austin, and then he was the Chris- 
topher North of Blackwood's Magazine. John Wolcott 
was Peter Pindar, and the gifted and mercurial Francis 
Mahoney was Father Prout, the wittiest man of his day, 
and one of its best linguists. Proctor, the London law- 
yer, wrote poetry under the name of Barry Cornwall. 
Elia was Charles Lamb, and De Quincy was the English 
Opium Eater. Douglas Jerrold appeared in print as Bar- 
rabas Whitefeather, and E. R. Lytton as Owen Meredith. 

The once popular Country Pardon was the Rev. A. H. 
K. Boyd, and Sidney Yendys is Sidney Dobell. Delta 
of Blackwood was Dr. Moir, and Etonensis is William E. 
Gladstone. The sisters Bronte were severally Acton 
Bell, Ellis Bell and Currer Bell, and I need hardly say 
that Boz was Dickens, though I can remember the time 
when this popular name was a mystery, and it continued 
thus for two years. Mrs. Marion C. Lewes was the novel- 
ist George Eliot, and Thomas Hughes is Tom Brown. 
Max O'Rell is Paul Blouet, and Mme. Durand is Henry 
Greville. Mrs. Frank Tracy is Agnes Ethel. Turning 
to the continent, Mme. Dude van t was George Sand, 

Book Making. 109 

Clara Mundt was the author of the Louise Mulbach nov- 
els, and Louise De la Rame is the famous Ouida. 

American Names. 

Pen names seem native to America. In 1645, only 
tifieen years after the settlement of Boston, Nathaniel 
Ward issued a tract called the Cobbler of Agawam, by 
Theodore De La Guard. This example became popular. 

One of the happiest pen names was that adopted by 
Ben. Franklin when he was an apprentice to his brother, 
who published a paper in Boston. A number of essays 
appeared signed Silence Dogood, and attracted much 
attention, which encouraged their author to greater effort, 
and he afterward became the author of Poor Richard's 
Almanac, which rendered him famous. Immediately 
after the Revolution Judge Tyler appeared in print as 
Updike Underbill, and with this pen name appeared the 
first American play and also the first tale. Next came 
the pen names in Salmagundi, where William Irving was 
Pindar Cockloft and James K. Paulding Launcelot Long- 
staff, while Washington Irving was Anthony Evergreen, 
and also wrote the letters of Keli Khan. He was also 
the Jonathan Old Style of the Morning Chronicle, and 
later on appeared as Diedrich Knickerbocker and Geoffrey 
Crayon. Philip Freneau was Robert Slender, and Wil- 
liam Wirt was the clever British Spy. Matthew L. 
Davis, Burr's biographer, was the Old Man in Specs, and 
Willis Gaylord Clarke was the Ollapod of the Knicker- 
bocker Magazine. 

Other prominent Names. 

Howard Carroll is II. C. of the New York Times; 

Edwin Williams was The Berkeley Men, and Nathaniel 

Green was Boscowen ; Maria Brooks was Maria del Oc- 

cidente, whose poetry Southey quotes ; Anna Cora Mo- 

110 Our Book. 

watt was Helen Berkeley; Susan Warner was Elizabeth 
Witherell ; C. T. Briggs was Harry Franco; N. P. 
Willis was Philip Slingsby ; Mrs. Whitcher was The 
Widow Bedott ; Dr. Francis Lieber was Americus ; 
Charles F. Browne was Artemns Ward ; E. G. Squires 
was Samuel Bard ; Benjamin Perley Poore was Perley ; 
Matthew Hale Smith was Burleigh : Charles Astor 
Bristed was Carl Benson ; Mortimer Thompson was Doe- 
sticks ; H. W. Herbert was Frank Forrester ; Mrs. James 
Parton was Fanny Fern ; Mrs. Judson was Fanny For- 
rester ; the Rew S. I. Prime was Irceneus ; H. W. Shaw 
was Josh Billings ; Dr. Holland was Timothy Titcoinb; 
Charles G. Halpen was Miles O'Reilly ; Mrs. S. Lippin- 
cott was Grace Greenwood ; S. G. Goodrich was Peter 
Parley; P. H. Newell was Orpheus C. Kerr — (office- 
seeker) ; Judge Haliburton was Sam Slick ; the Pev. 
Nicholas Murray was Kerwan, and Henry Ward Beecher 
was the * of the Independent, while Alice B. Neal was 
Cousin Alice; Rev. Charles A. Stoddard is Augustus of 
the New York Observer, as well as its chief editor. 

Mrs. G. L. Alden is Pansy ; Mrs. Searing is Howard 
Glyndon ; Mrs. Farley is Ernest Gilmore ; J. T. Trow- 
bridge is Paul Creyton ; Henry Watterson is AsaTrench- 
ard; C. C. Coffin is Carleton ; Mrs. Stowe is Chris Crow- 
field ; Mrs. Pittman is Margery Deane ; Julia C. R. Dorr 
is Caroline Thomas ; Mrs. Halley is Josiah Allen's Wife ; 
Maria Gilmore is Mabel Gerard ; G. A. Townsend is 
Gath ; Miss Abigail Dodge is Gail Hamilton ; Mrs. 
Richardson is Pearl Rivers; Henry Harland is Sydney 
Lnska; Charles G. Leland is Hans Breitman ; Joel 
Chandler Harris is Uncle Remus ; James R. Lowell is 
HoseaBiglow; G. W. Curtis is The Howadji; Donald 
G. Mitchell is Ik Marvell ; Mrs. D. G. Croly is Jennie 
June; C. H. Webb is John Paul; S. L. Clemens is 

Pen Names. Ill 

Mark Twain ; William Winter is Mercntio ; B. P. Shil- 
laber is the irresistible Mrs. Partington ; William T. 
Adams is Oliver Optic; A. C. Wheeler is Nym Crinkle; 
Mrs. Rush Ellis is Saxe Holme ; W. H. Bogart is Senti- 
nel ; William H. McElroy is Richard Scudder ; Lyman 
Abbott is Ben Auley ; John Neal is John A. Cataract; 
Miss Murfrec is Charles Egbert Craddock, and Rossitcr 
Johnson is Phaeton Rogers. 

Initials and Fancy Names. 
Some authors prefer initials, and Miss Landon acquired 
temporary fame as L. E. L., while in our own day H. H. 
was sufficient to indicate a writer who is still mourned by 
the literary world. Johnson was accustomed to apply 
grotesque titles to his friends, and thus Goldsmith became 
Goldy, and Boswell was Bozzy, Garrick was Davy, while 
Edmund Burke the famous orator, was only designated 
Mun Burke. Some literary men have changed their 
names as a matter of taste, and one is not surprised that 
Joseph Tinker preferred the name of Buckingham, nor 
that Jeremiah Colbath should change his name to Henry 
Wilson. Bayard Taylor dropped the prefix of James, 
and Commodore Slidell added Mackenzie. Going back 
to a still earlier day we find John Paul changed his name 
to Paul Jones and won fame for his naval victories dur- 
ing the revolution. Our country has never shown a 
proper gratitude toward this hero. 

Anonymous Publications. 
The habit of publishing anonymously is very ancient, 
and Yirgil tried the method when he wrote verses lauding 
Augustus. As might have been expected, the credit was 
appropriated by another, and Virgil's strategy in exposing 
the fraudulent claimant was very ingenious. The most 
wonderful of all anonymous writers was the author of 

112 Our Book. 

Junius, and his secret is the best kept of any tiling of 
the kind on record. It is generally supposed however, 
that Sir Philip Francis was the author. 

Byron issued his Don Juan anonymously, but though 
he was then in Italy the London public soon settled the 
question of its authenticity. Another remarkable in- 
stance of the kind is The Doctor, which also appeared 
anonymously in London. Its style, its indication of 
extraordinary reading and also its conservatism led the 
public to charge it to Sou they. He was indeed its author, 
but to blind the reader he introduced allusions to himself, 
among other writers, and actually quoted some of his own 

Walter Scott issued his novels by the Author of 
Waverle}', and at the same time published poems and 
biography under his own name in order to distract atten- 
tion. He never alluded to the "Waverley novels either in 
piint or in family conversation while the Great Un- 
known was under discussion — a space of twelve years. 
In addition to this secrecy he issued Tales of my Landlord 
anonymously — for not even The Author of Waverley 
was on the title page. The public however soon dis- 
cerned the identity, and the books were at once classed 
with the Waverley novels. 

The most popular novel published anonymously before 
the days of Scott was Miss Burney's Evelina, which 
appeared in 1778. Twelve years had elapsed since Gold- 
smith had published the Yicar of Wakefield, and as no 
respectable fiction had occurred during this interval the 
public welcomed this clever production. Edmund Burke 
when twenty-seven, published anonymously his maiden vol- 
ume (Vindication of Natural Society), which was ascribed 
to Bolingbroke. The Dunciad was a much more strik- 
ing instance, for Pope not only suppressed his name but 

Book Making. 113 

in order to blind the public more effectually, published it 
in Dublin. He was afraid of the consequences. 
Another Instance. 

While Byron was living in Venice, in 1819, three 
years after leaving England, and being then in his thirty- 
first year, he was surprised to learn that a prose fiction 
had been ascribed to him. The tale first appeared 
anonymously in a London magazine, and was afterward 
published in a volume, also anonymous. The same vol- 
ume contained a beautiful sketch of the poet's residence 
on the Island of Mytelene, which was described in all the 
detail which suggested a special visit, made for this pur- 
pose. Byron at once saw that these two fictions were in- 
tended by such a connection to lead the public to the 
conclusion that he was the author of the first, and also, 
that the other had his approval. Pie was startled by the 
liberty thus taken with his name, and wrote to Galignani 
and also to John Murray, denying the authorship. 

The Vampire was, by popular opinion, ascribed to 
Byron as soon as it appeared, and this gave it a wide cir- 
culation. Even Walter Scott held such a belief until 
Byron's denial was published. It was thought that only 
he could be its author, not only because he was conver- 
sant with oriental scenes, but also from the following 
allusion to the Vampire in the Giaour: 

" But first on eartli as Vampire sent 
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent; 
Then ghastly haunt thy native place 
And suck the blood of all thy race, 
There from thy daughter, sister, wife 
At midnight drain the stream of life." 

Byron soon learned that the author of the mysterious 

tale was Dr. Polidori, whom he had known in London, 

and who accompanied him to the continent. There they 

parted and Polidori returned to London where he pub. 


114 Our Book. 

lisbed the Vampire. lie soon sank into his original 
obscurity and no trace of his subsequent history can be 
discovered. The Vampire is a repulsive and harrowing 
tale, but though the theme be revolting it had many 
readers, and I also felt its fascination — finding it among 
the curious books in the Astor library. 

To return to American literature Charles Brockden 
Brown issued his novels anonymously and Caritat, the 
Broadway publisher, advertised Wieland by a Citizen of 
the United States, also Ormond by the author of Wie- 
land. The fashion thus begun has been very permanent. 

Only poet buried in New York. 

Robert C. Sands, to whom reference is here made, was 
in his day a man of high literary position, and his early 
death — being only thirty-three — was considered a public 
calamity. He was buried in St. Paul's churchyard, and a 
suitable tablet in the church honors his memory. 

The Sands were a leading family, and Robert was one 
of the most gifted writers born in this city, next to 
Washington Irving. He developed an early literary 
taste, and not only became associated with Bryant in the 
publication of Tales of Glauber Spa, but was also en- 
gaged with William L. Stone in editing the Commercial 

Sands' work as a journalist was limited to five years, 
and its close was marked by his best poem, The Dead of 
1832. It was written in December, and before the year 
was finished he too was in its mortuary record, hav- 
ing survived this poem but a few days. It was cer- 
tainly a very remarkable feature in the year above re- 
ferred to that its death-roll included such a variety of 

Having mentioned The Dead of 1832 in a fragmentary 

Book Making. 115 

manner, I now add the entire poem, as worthy of a place 
in this connection. 

Oh Time and Death ! with certain pace 

Though still unequal, hurrying on, 
Overturning in your awful race 

The cot, the palace, and the throne. 

Dread ministers of God! Sometimes 

Ye smite at once — to do His will — 
In all earth's ocean severed climes, 

Those — whose renown ye cannot kill. 

When all the brightest stars that burn 
At once are banished from their spheres, 

Men sadly ask when shall return 
Such luster to the coming years? 

For where is he — who lived so long, 

Who raised the modern Titan's ghost, 
And showed his fate in powerful song 

Whose soul for learning's sake was lost?* 

Where he — who backward to the birth 

Of Time itself adventurous trod; 
And in the mingled mass of earth, 

Found out the handiwork of God?f 

Where he — who in the mortal head, 
Ordained to gaze on heaven, could trace 

The soul's vast features, that shall tread 
The stars, when earth is nothingness? J 

Where he — who struck old Albyn's lyre, 

Till round the world the echoes roll, 
And swept with all a prophet's fire, 

The diapason of the soul? || 

Where he — who read the mystic lore, 

Buried where antique Pharaohs sleep; 
And dared presumptuous to explore 

Secrets four thousand years could keep? § 

Where he — who with a poet's eye 

Of truth, on lowly nature gazed, 
And made even sordid poverty 

Classic, when by his numbers graced? 1T 

* Goethe. tCuvier. *Spurzheim. II Scott. § Champollion. 1 Crabbe. 
** Jeremy Bentbaui. t+ Adam Clarke, tt Napoleon. II II Charles Car roll, of 

116 Our Book. 

Where — that old sage so hale and staid, 
The greatest good who sought to find ; 

Who musing in his garden made 

All forms of rule, for all mankind?** 

And thou — by millions far removed, 
Revered — the hierareh meek and wise; 

Thy ashes rest, adored, beloved, 

Near where thy Wesley's coffin lies? ft 

He, too — the heir of glory — where 

Hath great Napoleon's scion fled? 
Ah, glory goes not to an heir, 

Take him, ye noble, vulgar dead. ft 

But hark! a nation sighs! for he, 

Last of the brave who periled all, 
To make an infant empire free, 

Obeys the inevitable call.|||| 

All earth is now their sepulcher. 

The mind their monument sublime; 
Young in eternal fame they are, 

Such are your triumphs, Death and Time. 

Henry Kirke White. 
It was his early death which gave him fame, since his 
sad fate awoke sympathy, and his works are thus en- 
shrined in that halo which surrounds disappointed genius 
and crushed ambition. Had White survived his fiftieth 
year he would have outlived his poetry, but lie passed 
away so rapidly that his name is associated with tender 
and pathetic associations to a degree unknown by any 
author. One of the most striking features in Kirke 
White's history is the fact that his boyhood was passed 
at Nottingham, which is near Byron's ancestral home, 
Newstead abbey. White was a poor boy working in a 
factory and then an attorney's clerk, while Byron was the 
favored son of wealth as well as of genius. Years after- 
ward they met in Cambridge university. The one was 
the incipient nobleman and peer of the realm, while the 
other was an ill-clothed charity scholar. Nevertheless the 
latter commanded the respect and even the admiration of 

Henry Kirke White. 117 

the former, who, amid all his love of vice, acknowledged 
and honored the purity of the humble student. 

Byron's Tribute. 
Not long afterward White died, and when Byron ex- 
coriated the literati of Great Britain (in his English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers) he paid the former the fol- 
lowing beautiful tribute : 

"Unhappy White, while life was in its spring, 
And thy young muse just waved her joyous wing, 
The spoiler swept that soaring lyre away, 
Which else had sounded an immortal lay, 
Oh, what a noble heart was here undone, 
When science self-destroyed her favorite son ; 
'Twas thine own genius gave the fatal blow, 
And helped to plant the wound that laid thee low." 

Byron's tribute to White shows how the simple piety 
and studious application of the latter could command the 
admiration of one so highly elevated in wealth and social 
rank as well as genius. 

White could not be correctly called " unhappy," for 

though his early plans were all blasted he had learned 

submission, and tins sublime lesson pervades one of his 

best effusions : 

Come disappointment, come ! 

Though from hope's summit hurled 
Still rigid nurse thou art forgiven, 
For thou, severe, were sent from heaven, 
To wean me from the world ; 
To turn my eye 
From vanity, 
And point to scenes of bliss, that never, never die. 

The above was written by one who never saw his 
twenty-second year, but it is really a grander utterance 
than anything in Childe Harold, whose author more than 
once acknowledges the value of that religion which he so 
madly rejected. The same testimony, however, is fre- 
quently given by perverted genius. 

118 Our Book. 

Byron says in letters : " Harry White had poesy and 
genius notwithstanding his cant, which in him was siu- 
cere. Setting aside his bigotry, he surely ranks next to 
Chatterton. It is astonishing how little he was known. 
At Cambridge no one thought or heard of such a man 
till his death rendered all notice useless. For my own 
part, I should have been most proud of such an acquaint- 
ance." To such a man as Byron it was natural to desig- 
nate piety as cant and bigotry, but it is highly probable 
that he often envied the charity scholar that peace which 
only true religion can give. White little dreamed of the 
impression he was making on the high born slave of sin, 
and this is an additional proof of the unconscious power 

of piety. 

Tributes to Genius. 

One of the most touching features in literature is that 

series of eulogies which authors one after another pay to 

departed genius. Milton honors Shakespeare with the 

sonnet beginning : 

What needs my Shakespeare for his honored bones 
The labor of an age in piled stones? 

Pope pays a beautiful tribute to Cowley and also to 
Denham. Collins penned a poetic tribute to Thomson, 
and Cowper sought in the same manner to do justice to 
Whitefield. Johnson wrote Goldsmith's epitaph and 
Garrick performed a similar service for Hogarth. Burke 
wrote the obituary which followed the death of Sir Joshua 
Reynolds. The learned Dr. Parr wrote Johnson's epitaph, 
and Wordsworth paid a mortuary tribute to the eloquent 
Charles James Fox. Coining to our own authors, Hal- 
leck's most pathetic lines were in honor of his departed 
friend Joseph Rodman Drake. Bryant delivered a eulogy 
on Irving and received after his death a similar honor 
from Stedman. 

The Bryant bust in the Central park is this poet's chief 

Poets and Monuments.. 119 

monument, as his grave is designated in a very simple 
manner. Poetic genius has seldom asked more than this 
and even Horace, who claimed that he had built a monu- 
ment more enduring than brass, referred to his writings 
rather than to a mortuary shaft. The oldest grave of 
any author is that of Yirgil at Posilippo, near Naples. 
Shakespeare's, however, is the most frequently visited, 
being the chief shrine of genius. Probably the longest 
epitaph ever written on any literary man was that which 
Johnson inflicted on Goldsmith, and which to make it 
worse is in Latin. The shortest is that which marks the 
grave of the once noted Boston preacher and lecturer, 
who died in Florence, and consists merely of the name 
" Theodore Parker." 

Wordsworth in his latter days when contemplating his 
final departure from the scenes he so deeply loved, refers 
thus to himself in the lines on a stone placed by him at 
Rydal Mount : 

So let it rest and time will come, 

When here the tender hearted : 
May heave a gentle sigh for him, 

As one of the departed. 

The most painful in its suggestions, at least of all the 
epitaphs of genius, is that which Swift wrote for himself, 
but the most pathetic is that which Keats desired. It is 
the language of broken hope which made him feel that 
his life had indeed been " written in water," but the for- 
mer suggests that bitter disappointment which Swift so 
long endured. 

Few men are inclined to write their own epitaphs, but 

in addition to those of Swift and Keats may be given one 

which Coleridge left for his own tomb : 

"Stop, Christian passer by: Stop, child of God, 
And read with gentle breast. Beneath this sod 
A poet lies, or that which once seemed he, 
O ! lift a thought in praver for S. T. C. 

120 Our Book. 

That he who many a year, with toil of breath 

Found death in life, may here find life in death, 

Mercy for praise — to be forgiven, for fame, 

He asked and hoped through Christ. Do thou the same." 

To the above may be added the lines which close Gray's 
Elegy, and which gives one the poet's idea of what should 
be his own mortuary inscription. What a beautiful illus- 
tration of sympathy is given in such lines as these : 

"He gave to misery — 'twas all lie had — a tear, 
He gained of heaven — 'twas all he wished — a friend." 

Interpolations and Alterations. 
There has been from time immemorial a class of scrib- 
blers so conceited as to think that they can improve the 
works of men of genius, and a very striking instance is 
found in Cibber's mutilation of Shakespeare. I was per- 
sonally acquainted with one of this class who tinkered 
Collin's Ode to the Passions with great satisfaction. 
A similar instance is found in an edition of Coleridge's 
poems, published in Boston, 1S60, by Crosby, Nichols & 
Co., in which eight verses of the Ancient Mariner are 
altered, and the following verse is interpolated : 

A gust of wind starts up behind, 

And whistles through his bones; 
Through the hole of his eye and the hole of his mouth 

Half whistles and half groans. 

This attempt to " improve " a wonderful poem show T s 
a degree of audacity which is really surprising. Such 
alterations are among the highest literary crimes, and yet 
they are the most frequently found among a class whose 
religious profession, to say the least, requires honesty. I 
refer to the tinkerers of hymns, who have done such vio- 
lence to the best productions of the sacred muse, and 
often, indeed, made the hymnists father sentiments repul- 
sive to their very nature. 

First Poetical Visitor. 121 

The first foreign poem published in America was thus 
announced in the New York Museum, April 12, 1800 : 

" The Pleasures of Hope, and Other Poems, by Thomas 
Campbell, are just published by Jones Bull, 403 Pearl 
street, at sixty-two cents, neatly bound and lettered." 

It is painful to learn that an author whose principal 
work was the Pleasures of Hope, should have been 
through life the victim of disappointment. Campbell 
unfortunately struck twelve the first time. In other 
words, he never equaled his first effort, and the Pleasures 
of Hope was the ghost at his door through life. As he 
said, " I was married as the author of the Pleasures of 
Hope, and I shall be buried as the author of the Pleas- 
ures of Hope." True enough, the inscription on his 
coffin-plate was "Thomas Campbell, author of the Pleas- 
ures of Hope." 

This poem was published when its author had hardly 
passed his twenty-first year, and being then unknown he 
sold his copyright for a mere trifle, but the publisher 
kindly gave him £50 for each new edition for several 
years. It is probable, however, that it never yielded him 
more than £350, while Scott received £1,000 for Marmion. 

Embarked on the treacherous sea of literature, the 
poet's life thenceforth was a struggle with poverty and 
other calamities, which eventually rendered him a mere 
wreck, and he died in a French port, whither he had gone 
for health. His favorite child preceded him to the grave, 
and as the sole survivor showed signs of derangement 
while yet a youth, he was conveyed to an asylum, whence 
he was only removed by death. The poet was also be- 
reaved by the death of his faithful and affectionate wife, 
and the following sad picture of grief and desolation is 
taken from a brief address made to a circle of friends : 

I am alone in the world. My wife and also the child of my 
best hopes are dead, and the surviving child is conveyed to a liy- 

122 Our Book. 

ing touib. My old friends, my brothers and sisters, are dead, all 
but one, and she too is dying. As for fame, it is a bubble 
that will soon burst. When earned for others it is sweet, but in 
my condition it can only be bitter. 

What a sad, and even terrible confession from the au- 
thor of the Pleasures of Hope, Gertrude of Wyoming and 
Hohen Linden — the best war poem of that age. Forty 
years after the publication of his first and greatest work 
the poet lay dying in Boulogne, and a friend who was in 
attendance gave the following sketch of the closing scene : 

At four in the afternoon our beloved poet expired without 
a struggle. His features look sharper and more defined than yes- 
terday, but they are perfectly serene — almost like a statue. He 
lies on his left side, his head and shoulders supported by pillows. 
Though prepared, as I thought, for the crisis, yet I confess I was 
so bewildered when I saw the head drop lifeless on the chest that 
I could hardly realize the scene. 

There lay the breathless form of one who had impressed all sen- 
sitive hearts by the magic influence of his genius — whom I had 
seen struggling with difficulties and then striving to seek repose 
in exile, but finding it only in death. With these feelings we 
gently closed his eyes that had now opened on another world. 

A poor compensation for the poet's life-long sorrows 
was found in rare posthumous honor. Thomas Camp- 
bell indeed was the only author of that age buried in 
Westminster Abbey — ranking in this point both Scott 
and Byron. 

The D unci ad. 

This satire has never been excelled in point of wit and 
felicitous hits at both men and the times. Byron found 
in the Dunciad a model for his English Bards and Scotch 
Reviewers, and the latter showed that the pupil was not 
far behind the master. Pope was the only man of his 
day whose works sold sufficiently well to make their au- 
thor independent. This excited the jealousy of less for- 
tunate writers, who attacked him sharply, and in some 
instances without justice. He determined, at last, to bring 
the whole of this class to a settlement, which was done 
in the Dunciad. The plan was taken from Dryden, but 

The Dunciad. 123 

no one but Pope could fill it with such overflowing satire. 
The publication of the Dunciad made an intense excite- 
ment in London. Pope was then (1728) in his fortieth year, 
and probably nothing saved him from personal violence, 
but the fact that he was a feeble and shattered invalid. 
Sir Robert Walpole presented a copy of the Dunciad 
to the king, and it became very popular in court. As 
soon as it was published, the victims of the satire met, in 
order to display in a concerted manner their wrath and 
vengeance. This they expressed in violent words, but 
concluded that they could do nothing more at the time 
and determined to wait for any chance that might offer. 
It never came however, and Pope escaped, while his vic- 
tims owe to the Dunciad the preservation of their names. 
I now suggest a subject for any first-class artist — the 
dunces reading the Dunciad. Artists are much in want 
of subjects, and this has never been attempted. Properly 
handled, it would make an admirable picture, displaying 
Dennis, Gildon, Henley, Cibber, Budgell, Welsted and 
others gnashing their teeth as they read the fiery page. 
One of this class — James Ralph — was a youthful asso- 
ciate of Franklin, to whom he sent a portion of an epic 
poem. " He was," says Franklin, "fixed in his determi- 
nation to become a poet. I did all I could to divert him 
from his purpose, but he persevered till Pope cured him." 
The cure referred to was severe but effectual, and only 
required two lines in the Dunciad: 

"Silence, ye wolves, while Ralph to Cynthia howls 
And makes night hideous; answer him, ye owls.'* 

Pope and Hampton Court. 
The recent fire at Hampton court recalls the fact that 
Pope made that ancient palace the scene of the Rape of 
the Lock which some consider his finest poem. It is cer- 
tainly surprising that the philosophic author of the Essay 

124 Our Book. 

on Man and the satirist of the Dunciad should add to these 
the amatory scenes of a poem which also calls gnomes and 
sylphs into active service. As the Rape of the Lock was 
written in 1712, it is the latest effort to bring these 
imaginary beings into real life, at least in British litera- 
ture. Here is Pope's description of the palace and its 
scenes : 

" Close by those meads forever crowned by flowers, 
Where Thames with pride surveys his rising towers, 
There stands a structure of majestic frame 
Which from the neighboring Hampton takes its name' 
Here, thou great Anna, whom three realms obey 
Dost sometimes counsel take and sometimes tea. 
Hither the heroes and the nymphs resort 
To taste a while the pleasures of a court, 
In various talk the instructive hours they passed, 
Who gave the ball or paid the visit last; 
One speaks the glories of a British queen, 
And one describes a charming India screen, 
A third interprets motions, looks and eyes, 
At every breath a reputation dies. 
Snuff and the fan supply each pause of chat 
With singing, laughing, ogling and all that." 

The above is one of the best descriptions of elegant 

gossip in existence, and to this may be added Pope's 

picture of a lady's toilet, from the same poem : 

" And now unveiled the toilet stands displayed 
Each silver vase in mystic order laid; 
A heavenly image in the glass appears, 
To that she bends, to that her eye she rears, 
The various offerings of the world appear; 
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks, 
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box; 
The tortoise here and elephant unite, 
Transformed to combs, the speckled and the white. 
Here files of pins extend their shining rows; 
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux. 
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms, 
The fair each moment rising in her charms, 
Repairs her smiles, awakens every grace, 
And calls forth all the wonders of her face; 
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise 
And keener lightning quicken in the eyes." 

How surprising that such a description could have been 


Addtson. 125 

written by a bachelor whose irritable temper, aggravated 
by ill health found highest delight in saying bitter 
things? Under such circumstances the above becomes 
one of the curiosities of literature. 

An Addisonian Query. 
The question has been raised whether an author can 
refer to his own productions in terms of commendation, 
In some instances this has been done, notwithstanding 
the risk of censure, one of the most striking being found 
in Addison. This distinguished writer, after completing 
his tragedy of Cato, felt the importance of calling the at- 
tention of the public to its most impressive lesson — the 
immortality of the soul. I h'nd this in the Spectator for 
December 3, 1 714, which opens with a disquisition on 
eternity and closes thus : 

"I have a translation of the speech of Cato, which hath acci- 
dentally fallen into my hands, and which for . conciseness, purity 
and elegance cannot be sufficiently admired." 

He then gives the speech in Latin hexameters on one 
side of the page, while the other side contains the trans 
lation, beginning " It must be so : Plato, thou reasonest 
well." This speech, which is termed Cato's Soliloquy, 
was in Addison's opinion the best thing in the play, and 
hence he translates it into Latin and offers it to its read- 
ers as a fragment of antiquity. Such is the example 
Addison gives us of an author commending his own 
works. Pope discovered it and was no doubt highly 
amused at Addison's self-complacency, and when the 
time came to use it in satire he made it very effective. 
Addison afterward incurred Pope's displeasure, and the 
latter retorted by that scathing paragraph which is one 
of the brightest things of that age. Here lie couples 
Addison and his hero in the following manner : 

126 * Our Book. 

"Like Cato give his little senate laws, 
And sit attentive to his own applause." 

Answers to Correspondents. 
As this is now an acknowledged feature in journalism, 
it is curious to note its origin, which is due to the humor 
of Addison. Any one who reads the Spectator will ob- 
serve the occasional replies, of which the following is an 
instance : 

"T. C, who offers a love case, is requested to speak to the min- 
ister of the parish, as it is strictly a case of conscience." 

"The poor young lady who complains of a harsh guardian, can 
only have my good wishes until she is more particular." 

From the days of the Spectator the custom has been 
on the increase, and there are now a dozen papers in 
which it is a leading feature. 

Immortality of Genius. 

Visitors to the Astor library will be impressed with 
that power of intellect which survives mortality. The 
founder of this institution is dead, and of the vast number 
of books now on the catalogue few bear the names of 
living authors. On visiting such a spot I am reminded 
of what Byron says of those " who rule us from their 
urns." Looking upon the authors presented here, what 
an array of departed genius is before us! To go no 
further back than Shakespeare, who died in 1616, it is 
sad to think that nothing is known of his last hours. In 
fact the story of his entire life is so brief that it seems 
almost like a myth. It is known however, that the last 
part of his life was spent in his native town of Stratford, 
and it is supposed that lie died suddenly, his age being 

Milton died in 1674, aged sixty-six, having spent sev- 
eral years in blindness and poverty. Cowley, whom Pope 
so much admired, died in 1664, aged forty -nine. Bunyan 

The Immortality of Genius. 127 

died in 1688, aged sixty. His Pilgrim's Progress had 
been seventeen years in print, and he had seen the begin- 
ning of its marvelous popularity, while his contemporary, 
Milton, never witnessed the public admiration of Para- 
dise Lost, though it had been seven years in print before 
his death. 

Passing from early poetry to early fiction, we meet the 
name of Richardson, the founder of the English novel, 
who died in 1761, aged seventy-two. Fielding who so 
admirably succeeded and excelled him, was attacked by 
a severe and lingering disease, which obliged him to take 
a voyage for his health. He went to Lisbon where he 
died in 1764, aged forty-eight. 

Doddridge, the pious and learned divine, undertook a 

similar voyage for his health, and also found a grave in 

the same city, being then only fifty. Pope, who died in 

17^4, was so completely an invalid that he could speak 

of " that long disease my life," and adds. u weak though 

I am of limb and short of sight." Notwithstanding this, 

he labored with an almost incredible industry, and in his 

verse he says how 

" Slow the unprofitable moments roll 
That lock up all the functions of the soul ; 
That keep me from myself and still delay 
Life's instant business to a future day." 

His frail body, however, held out until he reached his 
fifty-sixth year. 

Johnson, the lexicographer, was the sturdiest in body 
and mind of all the literati of his day. He was a labori- 
ous but poverty-stricken bohemian until his fiftieth year, 
and continued to write for a quarter of a century after- 
ward. He died in 1784, in his seventy-fifth year, of a 
protracted disease which ended in dropsy. 

The fear of dissolution was in his case the ruling pas- 
sion, and although he was a professing Christian, the 

128 Our Book. 

thought of death gave him unutterable horror. Hence 
he urged his physician to use all means, however painful, 
to prolong existence. " You fear," said he to the latter, 
" to give me pain, for which I care nothing so long as it 
may extend life." It was found after his death that his 
legs were scarred with incisions which he had made 
secretly with the hope of relieving himself of the dropsi- 
cal deposit. 

Among his last words were those to his physician : 
" Always think of my situation, which one day must be 
yours ; always remember that life is short and eternity 
never ends. Remember all this, and God bless you." 

Thompson, author of the Seasons, lived in compara- 
tive indolence after reaching success, and died at the 
comparatively early age of forty-eight. Gibbon died in 
London the city of his birth. He had but recently re- 
turned from Lausanne in Switzerland, where he had 
passed a number of studious years, and where he wrote 
the concluding volumes of the Decline and Fall. He 
died in his fifty-seventh year after a few days' illness, but 
had suffered for many years from a hydrocele, which 
suddenly inflamed and caused a speedy death. 

Hume, who like Gibbon was a bachelor, died in Edin- 
burgh, his native town, in 1776. He was sixty-seven and 
declined gradually, with a consciousness of approaching 
death, his last hours being whiled away by a game of 
cards. He spoke about Charon and the mythic boat with 
a levity which ill became his situation, and soon after 

Goldsmith died suddenly in 1774, of nervous fever, 
which aggravated a severe local disorder. He was only 
forty-five, and was in debt £2,000. " It was wonderful," 
says his biographer, "that he could get this unusual 
amount of credit." He was buried in the grounds adja- 

The Immortality of Genius. 129 

cent Temple church, but his bust has a place in West- 
minster abbey, near Johnson, who was his dearest friend. 
Chatterton committed suicide in 1770, being then only 
seventeen, and was buried in a pauper shell in Shoe lane. 
He came to London with high hopes of fame, but within 
a few months died in despair. One cannot think of him 
without recalling that touching allusion of Wordsworth : 

"I thought of Chatterton, the marvelous boy, 
The sleepless youth that perished in his pride.'' 

Churchill, the most brilliant satirist, but one of the 
worst men of his day, died suddenly in 1764 — before 
he had closed his thirty-fourth year. He was buried in 
an obscure grave, which Byron visited and described in 
lines beginning thus : 

" I stood beside the grave of one who blazed, 
The cornet of a season, and I saw 
The humblest of all sepulchers." 

And where, as he says, he learned from the old sexton's 
homily, " the glory and the nothing of a name." 

Burns died in 1794, aged thirty-seven, at Dumfries, 

having just lost his only daughter. He was the victim 

of hard drinking, and was younger at the time of his 

death than Walter Scott was when he began his literary 


White and Keats. 

Henry Kirke White and John Keats both died early, 
and of the same disease — consumption — which was 
aggravated by bitter and unjust criticism. The first was 
only twenty-two, and the last was but four years older. 
Keats was buried in the English cemetery at Borne, leav- 
ing that sad epitaph: " Here lies one whose name was 
writ in water." 

Shelley, in his twenty-ninth year, perished at sea in a 
gale in 1822, with two others, being the entire crew of 

130 Our Book. 

the shallop Don Juan. His remains drifted ashore, and 
were burned under the requirement of the quarantine, the 
funeral pile being witnessed by Leigh Hunt and Byron. 
The ashes were deposited near Keat's grave at Koine. 
Byron soon followed his atheist friend, dying in 1824 of 
fever at Missolonghi, whence his remains were borne to 
his ancestral tomb near Newstead abbey. His last words 
were, " My sister ! my child ! " To which he added, " Now 
I shall go to sleep," and fell into a slumber from which 
he never woke. 

Walter Scott died in 1832, utterly worn out and de- 
stroyed by excessive labor. Judging from his great bodily 
strength, he should have lived to four-score, but he was 
only sixty-one. He was buried at Dry burgh, not far from 
his own Abbottsford. 

Coleridge lived to his sixty-second year, notwithstand- 
ing the pernicious effect of opium. Charles Lamb died 
in London in 1834, aged seventy. 

Swift died in 1745, in Dublin, aged seventy-eight. He 
had been dean of St. Patrick's cathedral for more than 
thirty years. This office was uncongenial, because of its 
distance from London and because of his own irreligious 
character. His last days were passed in a state of mental 
disease, and he spoke of himself as one " dying like a tree, 
at the top." Johnson, in his Vanity of Human Wishes, 
refers to him thus : 

' 'From Marlboro's eyes the tears of dotage flow, 
And Swift expires a driveler and a show." 

His misery is suggested by the epitaph which, by his 
own order, was inscribed thus : " Hie depositum est corpus 
Jonathan Swift, ubisceva indignatio ultevius cor lacerare 
nequit" " Here is deposited the body of Jonathan Swift, 
where bitter indignation can no more lacerate his heart." 
Near this inscription is one to Mrs. Hester Johnson, 

The Immortality of Genus. 131 

better known as the unfortunate "Stella," who died sev- 
enteen years before him. Swift has left a mysterious 
and painful memory. 

As his epitaph suggests, he was one of the most mis- 
erable of his race. Indeed he appears like one who w r as 
under a curse and who felt that curse withering him until 
relief came in death. No one seems to have fully under- 
stood his character, and even Walter Scott, who w r rote his 
biography, found him a mystery. Perhaps no modern 
author except Edgar A. Poe, so completely embarrasses 
all who study literary character. 


Voltaire, commonly called " the philosopher of Ferney," 
died at that place in 1778, aged eighty-six. Goethe the 
"sage of Weimar," died there in 1832, aged eighty-three. 
The year of his demise was noted for the number of 
illustrious names on its mortuary roll. 

Speaking of Goethe, we notice the contrast between 
his age and that of Schiller, who died in 1805, in his 
forty-sixth year. This is young when we consider the 
fame he reached, and yet Addison was but a year older, 
having died in 1719, aged forty-seven. Cowper, though 
of so frail and delicate an organization, saw almost the 
verge of three score and ten, while the robust William 
Godwin reached eighty. The first died in 1800 and the 
next thirty- six years after. 

Edmund Burke reached his sixty-eighth year, dying in 
1 797, when the era of great events was just opening. He 
had exposed the ambitious progress of Warren Hastings, 
but how little could he have dreamed of the success of 
that far more wonderful military adventurer who was just 
commencing his victorious career. Robert Southey a 
native of Bristol, died at Keswick in 1843 in his sixty- 

132 Our Book. 

ninth year, worn out by excessive brain work. Humor 
ists seem of shorter life, for Theodore Hook died in 
London, in 1841, aged fifty-three, while Hood, like- 
wise a Londoner, died in that city in his forty-sixth year, 
and Jerrold died in 1857, aged fifty -four. Leigh Hunt, 
the friend of Shelley, died in London, in 1859, but 
reached the respectable age of seventy-five. James Mont- 
gomery, whose sacred poetry is so popular, reached eighty- 

Tom. Moore lived to seventy-three, and died peacefully, 
at his cottage, in 1852. Hugh Miller, who was one of 
the most wonderful men of his day, fell by his own hand, 
in 1856. His vigorous intellect had been shattered by 
excessive study, and in a temporary delirium he died thus 
in his fifty-fourth year. Dickens also was the victim of 
excessive labor, and died from its effects in 1870, aged 

American Authors. 

Cotton Mather, the father of American literature, died 
in 1725, and was buried in Boston, where he passed his 
whole life, which was sixty-five years. Jonathan Ed- 
wards, the greatest metaphysician of his age, died in 
1758, at Princeton in his fifty-sixth year, and his tomb 
is, with one exception, the first in the long roll of college 
presidents. Charles Brockden Brown died at Philadelphia, 
in 1810, aged thirty-nine. He was the earliest American 
novelist, and was read extensively, though now his works 
are much neglected. Cooper, who gave American fiction a 
distinction in Europe, reached his sixty-third year and died 
at Cooperstown. Halleck lived to four score, and was bur- 
ied in his native town in Connecticut. Everett also saw 
long life and is buried at Mount Auburn where Prescott 
also sleeps. The former of these was born in Dorchester 
and died in Boston in 1865, aged seventy-one, while the 

The Immortality of Genius. 133 

latter was a native of Salem and died in Boston in 1859, aged 
sixty-three. Among theologians we note the distin- 
guished Albert Barnes, who died in 1870, in his seventy- 
third year. Poe, the most peculiar and least understood 
of all American authors, died in Baltimore, the place of 
his birth, in 1849 aged thirty-eight, and was buried in 
the Westminster cemetery in that city. 

Irving and Hawthorne. 

Irving died at Sunnyside in 1859, aged seventy-seven. 
Hawthorne, who next to Poe is the most mysterious of 
American authors, lived to sixty. Willis was two years 
older, dying in 1869. These men were New Englanders, 
the first being a native of Salem, while the second was 
born at Portland ; but what a contrast is exhibited in 
their books and characters! George P. MorrL, whose 
name is so closely identified with that of Willis, was a 
native of Philadelphia, and died in New York in 1864, 
aged sixty-two. 

Joseph Rodman Drake was the youngest of all our 
poets at the time of his death, being just twenty-five. 
His profession was medicine, but his marriage rendered 
him independent. His poems were all produced in a 
very brief space, and the Culprit Pay is due to the at- 
tempt to show that the rivers and mountains of America 
are capable of romantic incident. Drake was encour- 
aged by his friend Halleck, and they wrote in a literary 
co-partnership, whose signature in the Evening Post was 
"Croaker & Co." His death, which occurred in 1S20. 
occasioned Halleck's exquisite tribute beginning " Light 
be the turf above thee, friend of my better days." Now 
if the reader ask why I have introduced this detail of 
mortality I reply that one is by this very contrast the 
more impressed with the immortality of genius. So far 


Our Book. 

from being dead, they have attained a higher life and in 

this retrospect 1 feel with renewed power the lesson given 

us by Wordsworth : 

' ' For backward as I cast my eyes 
I see what was and is and will abide." 

The poet had a true view of the great object of author- 
ship and of every other service, as may be seen from the 
concluding lines of the same sonnet : 

" The function never dies 
While we, the brave, the mighty and the wise, 
We men who in our morn of youth defied 
The elements, must vanish: — be it so! 
Enough if something from our hands have power 
To live, and act, and serve the future hour: 
And if as toward the silent tomb we go, 

Through love, through hope, and faith's transcendent dower 
We feel that we are greater than we know." 

Authors' Graves. 

Cooper rests in the town that bears his name, where, 
indeed, he spent the best years of his life. Mrs. Sigour- 
ney is buried in Hartford, but Percival, who was the best 
American poet of his day, fills an obscure grave in Wiscon- 
sin. Halleck is buried in his native Guilford — a place 
that he loved with deepest intensity. He left Guilford 
and came to New York, where he spent a half century, 
and then returned and finished his course amid the scenes 
of his youth. Bayard Taylor, who died abroad, was borne 
to his early home (Kenneth square), and, like Halleck, 
found a grave in the spot where his happiest days were 
passed. Longfellow is one of the honors of Mount Au- 
burn. Hawthorne and Emerson rest in Concord. Willis 
and Morris, who, though authors of once popular books, 
are best remembered as the founders of the Home Journal, 
were buried in Greenwood. So was David Hale, the 
founder of the Journal of Commerce. Robert C. Sands 
and William L. Stone, the one the poet of the Commer- 

Efforts fur Fame. 135 

cial Advertiser and the other formerly its editor-in-chief, 
are buried, the first in St. Paul's church and the other in 
Saratoga Springs. Greenwood holds high distinction in 
the record of genius. One may find there the graves 
of the Cary sisters (Alice and Phebe), whose effusions 
were once so popular. Raymond, Bennett and Greeley, 
the three greatest editors of their day, are also buried 
there. Bennett's monument is one of the most expen- 
sive in the entire grounds, but Greeley only asked 
that "Founder of the New York Tribune" should 
be inscribed over his grave, and this has been done. 
Bryant was laid by the side of his wife at Roslyn. 
to which place his name gives its sole distinction. Audu- 
bon, the naturalist, lies in the family plat in Trinity ceme- 
tery. John S. C. Abbott, once noted for his fictitious 
histories, was buried in New Haven. Fulton, of steam- 
boat fame, is among the mighty dead of Trinity church- 
yard, but has no monument. Being connected with the 
Livingstons, he was placed in the family vault. Joseph 
Rodman Drake, being connected in a similar manner with 
the Eckf ords, had the same degree of mortuary hospitality. 
Joel Barlow, Theodore Parker and the historian Mot- 
ley — a rare trio of intellectual distinction — died abroad 
and were laid in foreign graves. 

Efforts for Fame. 
How quickly the dead pass out of notice ! The con- 
sciousness of inevitable oblivion is painful to a sensitive 
or an ambitious mind, and for this reason men are pleased 
at the thought that their names may survive. Among the 
early instances of this kind is Horace's self-congratulation 
in that ecstatic ode beginning " Exegi monumentum cere 
perennius" and true enough his works prove an enduring 
monument. Yirgil, too, felt the same craving for remem- 

136 Our Book. 

brance, which is expressed in the tenth line of his third 

Georgic, where, after referring to the achievements of 

others, he says : 

u tentanda via est que me quoque passim 

Tellere hurao victor que virum volitare per ora." 

which may be translated as follows : "I too, must attempt 
a way whereby to lift me from the ground and victorious 
spread my fame through the mouths of men." Fielding 
enjoyed the assurance of a share in the immortality of 
genius to which he thus gives utterance : " Come, bright 
love of fame. Comfort me by the solemn assurance that 
when the little parlor in which I now sit shall be changed 
for a worse furnished box, I shall be read with honor by 
those who never knew or saw me." 

Danton, when sentenced to death by the revolutionary 
tribunal, exclaimed : " My name will be found in the 
Pantheon of history." lie did not believe in existence 
after death, and yet could not surrender his name to annihi- 
lation. The same idea which animated the atheist French- 
man when facing the guillotine, was confessed by even the 
humble and devoted missionary, David Brainerd, who thus 
records his frailties in his journal : " The sins I had most 
sense of were pride and a wandering mind, and the former 
of these evil thoughts excited me to think of writing and 
preaching, and converting the heathen or performing 
some other great work that my name might live when I 
should be dead." No doubt the pyramid builders cher- 
ished the same expectation, but their names are lost though 
their work remains — from which Byron draws the follow- 
ing lesson : 

" Let not a monument give you or me hopes 
Since not a pinch of dust remains of Cheops." 

Byron, next to Shakespeare, has a more enduring fame 
than any poet in our language, and yet it is evident that 

Efforts for Fame. 137 

he had a clear view of his final end — oblivion. Look at 

these lines : 

M What is the end of Fame ? Tis but to fill 
A certain portion of uncertain paper; 
Some liken it to climbing up a hill 

Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapor." 

Again, when viewing the monument of the warrior and 

the poet, he thus expresses the same idea : 

** I pass each day where Dante's bones are laid, 

A little cupola, more neat than solemn, 

Protects his dust, but reverence here is paid 

To the bard's tomb, not to the warrior's column. 
The time must come when doth alike decayed, 
The chieftain's trophy and the poet's volume, 
Will sink where lie the songs or wars of earth, 
Before Pelides' death or Homer's birth." 

Gay, who wrote the Beggar's Opera and some other 

things which gave him temporary distinction, utters the 

following humorous presentation of the same idea: 

" And now complete my generous labors lie 
Finished and ripe for immortality. 
Death shall entomb in dust this mouldering frame 
But never reach the eternal part — my fame. 
When Ward and Gildon, mighty names, are dead, 
Or but at Chelsea under custards read ; 
When poems crazy bandboxes repair 
And tragedies turned rockets bounce in air, 
High raised on Fleet street ports consigned to fame 
This work shall shine and readers bless my name." 

Unfortunately, however, the only thing of Gay's that 

holds a place in current literature is the couplet from the 

Beggar's Opera : 

" How happy I could be with either 
Were t'other dear charmer away." 

Those who desire memory can accomplish their end in 
no better way than by erecting some permanent benefit 
to the race. And now, reader, let me apply this feature 
in our race to the Donnelly-Baconian theory. As the 
We of fame is admitted to be the universal passion, it 
affords one of the most convincing proofs that Bacon was 

138 Our Book. 

not the author of Shakespeare's plays. If Bacon, indeed, 
were willing to throw away the fame inseparable from 
these productions, he must have been an isolated exception 
to the rest of mankind. 

Literary Publishers. 

It is very rare to find the book trade successful in 
authorship. The first literary publisher was Kichardson, 
the author of Clarissa Harlowe, and several other prosy 
novels. He was a London printer in the time of Pope, 
and reached fifty before he attempted authorship. His 
works were then popular, but are now hardly known even 
by name. Perhaps the most interesting feature in his 
literary history is the fact that Fielding wrote Joseph 
Andrews in order to ridicule Pamela, and the parody 
has outlived the original. 

The next literary publisher was Dodsley who began 
life as a servant, but having published a volume of poems, 
called The Muse in Livery, he was led to exchange his 
humble position for a small book-store. His success was 
of a striking character, and his establishment increased 
in size until it was the resort of the literati of London. 
He wrote several popular dramas, and began the Museum, 
which was an influential periodical. The once literary 
menial thus became an opulent publisher, and also a re- 
spectable author. He published for Johnson during his 
early struggles, and was an intimate friend of Burke. 
He also published for Shenstone and Chesterfield, and 
his collection of poems was for many years the best poetic 
miscellany in existence. Dodsley thus leaves a very in- 
teresting record. 

Edward Moxon, also a London publisher of some note, 
was the author of a volume of poems, and his sonnets 
were much admired. Joseph Cottle, the Bristol pub- 

Literary Publishers. 130 

lisher, who introduced Coleridge and Sonthey to the 
reading public, was also a very clever writer. He is 
best known by his Reminiscences of the above-mentioned 
authors, but he also wrote several poems and essays which 
attracted general notice. It was his chief pride, however, 
to have been the early friend and patron of Coleridge and 
Sonthey, and his description of the former as a victim to 
the opium habit is painful in the extreme. Charles 
Knight was also an author as well as publisher. 

Turning to our own shores, Benjamin Franklin was the 
first literary publisher, and one of his earliest efforts in 
Philadelphia was the History of the Quakers. Many 
years afterward, while Franklin was our Ambassador at 
Paris, he became acquainted with a bright young Irish- 
man, who had been obliged to flee from his country. He 
was a printer b} T trade, and Franklin assisted him in ob- 
taining employment. This man was Mathew Carey, who 
some years afterward sought a new home in Philadelphia. 
He established a newspaper, and became an extensive 
book publisher, winning however, still greater distinction 
by his own works. 

Saved by a Couplet. 

Two American writers have been saved from oblivion, 

each by a couplet. One was William Martin Johnson, a 

literary physician who died in 1796 while yet a young 

man. His epitaph on young lady is his only production 

worthy of remembrance. 

Here sleep in dust and wait the Almighty's will 
Then rise unchanged and be an angel still. 

The other was Jonathan Mitchell Sewall, a New Eng- 
land lawyer who lived to three score and published a 
volume of poems. One of these is an epilogue to Cato in 
which occurs the following well-known lines: 
No pent up Utica contracts your powers 
But the whole boundless continent is yours, 

140 Our Book. 


The best authors are sometimes accused of plagiarism, 
simply because the same ideas may occur to different 
men. One of the finest things in Yirgil is the allusion 
to the power of sympathy thus uttered by the Cartha- 
genian queen: 

"Non ignara mali, miseris succerrere disco," 
which may be translated. " Myself no stranger to misfor- 
tune, I have learned to succor the distressed." I find the 
same idea in Garrick's appeal in behalf of the impover- 
ished play actors of his day. 

" Their cause I plead — plead it with heart and mind. 
A fellow feeling makes one wondrous kind." 

One finds on close examination that there is very little 
real originality, since authors either insensibly drink in 
other men' 3 thoughts, or else have the same ideas sug- 
gested by what is commonly termed inspiration. 

The basest form of plagiarism is the deliberate stealing 
of an author's entire production. This is of course, a 
complimentary expression of admiration, but no one wants 
to be robbed, even in a complimentary manner. Instances 
of this kind are to be met all through the history of 
literature. Yirgil found his verses in eulogy of Augustus 
stolen by Bathyllus, but he cunningly set a trap for the 
latter, who was easily detected. 

"When Mackenzie (Scotland's best novelist before Sir 
Walter) published anonymously the Man of Feeling, it 
was immediately claimed by an Englishman named Ec- 
cles, who lived in Bath. The latter, to support his claim, 
transcribed the entire book with his own hand, and 
offered the manuscript in evidence. Mackenzie was 
then obliged to prove the authenticity of the work, which 
was done in the clearest manner. 

Plagiarism. 141 

The continued tendency to this kind of larceny is illus- 
trated by William Allen Butler's Nothing to Wear, a 
poem which on its first appearance created a marked sensa- 
tion in fashionable circles, being in fact the best satire of 
the kind in existence. It was universally read, and all 
were eloquent in admiration. The literary world, how- 
ever, was soon startled b}' the announcement that Butler 
was a wholesale plagiarist. This charge was brought by 
a clergyman named Peck, who claimed (and no doubt 
really believed) that his daughter was the author. He 
said that he heard her repeating extracts, and when he 
asked who wrote it she replied, " Why, pa, I wrote it 
myself." According to Peck's theory, the daughter had 
lost the manuscript in a street car, and Butler having 
found it, had claimed the honor. 

The best w r ay to meet such a case originated with 
Yirgil, and was also suggested by Butler's friends. Yir- 
gil wrote some half lines, and Bathyllus, being asked to 
finish them, was self-exposed. Miss Peck, when asked 
to furnish some other effusions, failed entirely, and this 
at once silenced her claims. 

In the same manner Campbell's Exile of Erin, which 
is his sweetest poem, was claimed by a man named 
Nugent, whose sister swore that she saw the poem in the 
handwriting of the latter before the date of Campbell's 
publication. Nugent's claim was maintained by a pro- 
vincial editor to Campbell's great annoyance, but the 
public (as in the case of Butler) readily discerned the true 
author. Another very prominent case is the appearance 
of that beautiful poem, If I Should Die To-night, in 
Jess, by H. Rider Haggard. The true author is Miss 
Bel Smith of Tabor College, Iowa. 

"Remarkable Parallels. 

Disraeli gives some interesting literary parallels, to 

142 Our Book. 

which I add the following which have come under my 
personal observation. Longfellow's Village Blacksmith 
is a very pretty picture, but it recalls a rustic poem by 
William Halloway who writes thus : 

" Beneath you elders, furred with blackening smoke, 
The sinewy smith with many a labored stroke 
His clinking anvil plied in shed obscure, 
And truant schoolboys loitered near the door." 

Longfellow presents the same scene in the following lines: 

"Under a spreading chestnut tree 
The village smithy stands ; 
The smith, a mighty man is he, 
With large and sinewy hands. 

And children coming home from school 

Look in at the open door, 
They love to see the flaming forge 

And hear the bellows roar." 

His much admired verse in the Psalm of Life : 

"Art is long and time is fleeting, 

And our hearts, though strong and brave, 
Still like muffled drums are beating 
Funeral marches to the grave." 

is but a repetition of the idea given in Bishop King's 

exequy to his deceased wife : 

'' But hark, my soul like a soft drum 
Beats my approach, tells thee I come." 

Another of his expressions recalls the lines by Scott, 

who in Marmion, makes injured Constance say : 

" Now men of death go work your will 
For I can suffer and be still." 

Longfellow's verses thus render the same idea : 

'' O, fear not in a world like this, 
And thou shalt know ere long, 
Know how sublime a thing it is 
To suffer and be strong." 

We may find another striking parallel, between Crabbe 
and Longfellow in the following extracts, the one being 
taken from Silford Hall, and the other from Longfellow's 

Plagiarism. 143 

Morituri vos Salutamus, which is one of the best things 

l.e ever wrote. Crabbe's lines are the following: 

"Dream on, dear boy; let pass a few brief years 
Replete with troubles, comforts, hopes, and fears 
Bold expectations, efforts, wild and strong, 
Thou shalt find thy *bold conjectures wrong. 

" Imagination rules thee ; thine are dreams, 
And everything to thee is what it seems. 
Thou seest the surfaces of things that pass 
Before thee colored by thy fancy's glass." 

Longfellow gives the same idea thus : 

" How beautiful is youth I How bright it gleams 
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams; 
Book of beginnings; story without end; 
Each maid a heroine and each man a friend. 
All possibilities are in thy hand; 
No danger daunts thee, and no foe withstands. 
In its sublime audacity of faith, 
Be thou removed it to the mountain saith; 
And with ambitious feet, secure and proud, 
Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud." 

Both of these extracts are very pretty, and it is rather 

surprising that the same idea should be so well handled 

by two writers so diverse in their gifts and general style 

of both thought and language. 

Dryden, Chaucer and Others. 

While speaking on the similarity between authors who 

may be removed by distance of years and nationalities, I 

am reminded of the old expression, " making a virtue of 

necessity." Dryden, in Palamon and Arcite, writes : 

"Then, 'tis our best, since thus ordained to die, 
To make a virtue of necessity." 

Chaucer writes : 

''That I made a virtue of necessity and took it well." 

A striking similarity occurs between Jean Ingelow and 

Wordsworth, as a brief extract will show. The former 

writes thus concerning life's failures : 

" We are much bound to them that do succeed, 
But in a more pathetic sense are bound 

144 Oue Book. 

To such as fail. They all our loss expound; 

They comfort us for work that will not speed. 
Aye, his deed, 
Sweetest in story who the dusk profound 
Of Hades flooded with entrancing sound, 

Music's own tears, was failure. Doth it read, 

Therefore, the worse? Ah, ilo." 

How much does this beautiful extract reminds us of 

Wordsworth's lines : 

"Oh, life, without thy chequered scene 
Of right and wrong, success and failure, 
Could a ground for magnanimity be found, 
Or whence could virtue flow?" 

Critics have recently discovered that Byron in some of 
his finest passages merely reproduced French poetry. 
This is particularly true with respect to the Dying Glad- 
iator. I may, in connection with this statement, allude 
to the fact that in Lara he reproduces some ideas which I 
have found in West, an obscure and half forgotten poet 
of the last century. 

I quote from Lara thus : 

" The sun is in the heavens and splendor in the beam, 
Health in the gale and freshness in the stream; 
Immortal man behold these glories shine, 
And cry exultingly, they're mine. 
Gaze on while yet thy gladdened eye may see, 
A morrow comes when they are not for thee; 
And grieve what may above thy senseless bier 
Nor earth, nor sky will yield a single tear, 
Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall, 
Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee for all.'' 

Let the above extract be compared with West as he 
writes in Ad Amicos : 

11 For me whene'er all conquering death shall spread 
His wings around my unrepining head, 
I care not though this face be seen no more; 
The world will pass as cheerful as before, 
Bright as before the day star will appear, 
The fields as verdant and the skies as clear; 
Nor storms, nor comets will my doom declare. 
Nor signs on earth, nor portents in the air; 
Unknown and silent will depart my breath, 
Ncr nature ere take notice of my death." 

Plagiarism. 145 

Byron and James Hall. 

I will add another instance, which connects the name of 
Byron with that of James Hall. The latter spent part of his 
days in Illinois, but afterward removed to Cincinnati, where 
he became a member of the bar and also a man of letters. 

The following occurs in Hall's poem on Solitude : 

"But when the friends of youth are gone, 

Aud the strong ties of blood 
And sympathy are riven one by one, 
The heart, bewildered and alone, 

Desponds in solitude. 

" Though crowds may smile and pleasures gleam 

To chase its lonely mood ; 
To that lone heart the world doth seem 
An idle and a frightful dream 

Of hopeless solitude." 

The above reminds us of the following extract from 
Hours of Idleness : 

N I loved, but those I loved are gone, 

Had friends — my early friends are dead; 
How cheerless feels the heart alone, 

When all its former hopes are fled ! 
Though gay companions o'er the bowl, 

Dispel awhile the sense of ill ; 
Though pleasure stirs the maddening soul, 

The heart, the heart is lonely st*ll." 

It is hardly proper, however, to call this a plagiarism, 
for Byron's maiden volume may never have fallen into 
the hands of the early rhymester referred to above. 
Hours of Idleness is but little read, and hence the above 
may be considered one of those coincidences which so 
often occur, both in thought and utterance. 

Gray, Pope, Emily. 
Whoever heard of a poet called Emily, and yet such a 
name is on record, and his poem on Death is still extant. 
I refer to it simply because it gives us two expressions 
found in Gray's clergy. He speaks of the dawn of that 
inevitable day, and also refers to the virtuous 

146 Our Book. 

*' Gently reposing on some friendly breast,' 7 

an idea which Gray renders 

" On some fond breast the parting soul relies." 

In the same poem Emily presents an idea which is 

found in Pope : 

" The seasons as they fly 
Snatch from us in their course, year after year, 
Some sweet connection, some endearing tie." 

Pope writes thus : 

"Years following years steal something every day. 
At last they steal us from ourselves away." 

and we find the same idea in Horace, from whom Pope 

no doubt obtained it. 

To return to Gray, I find him indebted to Pope, who, 

in the Rape of the Lock, writes thus : 

" There kept my charms concealed from mortal eye, 
Like roses that in deserts bloom and die. " 

This was, perhaps, the origin of that oft-quoted coup- 
let in the elegy : 

" Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its fragrance on the desert air." 

Another curious parallel is found between Robert Blair 
and Campbell. The former in the Grave speaks of 

" visits 
Like those of angels few and far between," 

and Campbell, in the Pleasures of Hope, exclaims : 

" What though my winged hours of bliss have been 
Like angels' visits few and far between." 

How strange it seems that Campbell never changed these 
lines although his attention was called to the similarity. 

It may be added that there is also an undesigned simi- 
larity between those beautiful lines with which Campbell 
opens the Pleasures of Hope, and the following from 
Dyer's Grongar Hill : 

14 As yon summits soft and fair 
Clad in colors of the air, 
Which to those who journey near 
Barren, brown and rough appear." 

Plagiarism. 147 

Campbell writes 

" 'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view 
And robes the mountain in its azure hue. 

Other Paralle-ls. 

Elijah Fenton, who lived in the days of Pope, but was 

a dozen years his senior, made the following remarks on 

the rich men of his day : 

' ' Some, by the sordid thirst of gain controlled, 
Starve in their stores, and cheat themselves for gold ; 
Preserve the precious bane with anxious care, 
In vagrant lusts to feed a lavish heir." 

Crabbe, a century afterward, thus renders the same 
lesson : 

u To all the wealth my father's care laid by 
I added wings and taught it how to fly, 
To him that act had been of grievous sight, 
But he survived not to behold the flight, 
The rest was flown — I speak it with remorse — 
And now a pistol seemed a thing of course." 

Another picture is from Thompson, being found in his 
Castle of Indolence : 

" Here you a muck-worm of the town might see, 
At his dull desk amid his ledgers stalled, 
Eat up with carping care and penury, 

More like to carcass pitched on gallows tree. 

" Straight from the filth of this low grub behold 
Comes fluttering forth a gaudy spendthrift heir, 

All glossy, gay, enameled all with gold, 
The silly tenant of the summer air, 

In folly lost, of nothing takes he care ; 

Pimps, lawyers, stewards, harlots, flatterers vile, 

And thieving tradesmen him among them share.'' 

Pope, who was as close an observer as that age pro- 
duced, wrote in a similar strain concerning the useless 
hoards of some of the misers of that day : 

" At best it falls to some ungracious son, 
Who cries, My father's damned and all's my own." 

The same author saw so many estates broken up and 

14:8 Our Book. 

dissolved under spendthrift Lands, that he might well add 

as the result of his observation : 

"Riches, like insects when concealed, they lie, 
Wait but for wings and in their season fly; 
Who sees pale Mammon pine amid his store, 
Sees but a backward steward for the poor; 
This year a reservoir with none to spare, 
The next a fountain spouting through his heir." 

Dr. Johnson, like Pope, was a keen observer of the 
follies of societ} r , and had a ready turn for satire. This 
he shows in his lines addressed to Sir John Lade. The lat- 
ter was a young rake who had just come of age, and was 
going rapidly through a large estate. He annoyed John- 
son by some foolish words, and got the following reply : 

" Long expected one and twenty, 

Lingering year at length has flown; 

Pride and pleasure, pomp and plenty, 

Great Sir John, are now your own. 

" Locsened from the minor's tether, 
Free to mortgage or to sell ; 
Wild as wind and free as feather, 
Bid the sons of thrift farewell. 

" Wealth, my lad, was made to wander, 
Let it wander as it will; 
Call the jockey, call the pander, 
Bid them come and take their fill. 

*' All that prey on vice and folly 
Joy to see their victim fly; 
There the gamester, light and jolly, 1 
There the lender, grave and sly. 

" Should the guardian, friend or mother, 
Tell the woes of willful waste, 
Scorn their counsel, scorn their pother, 
You can hang or drown at last." 

After a lapse of a century, the same idea forcibly re- 
appears in the following stanzas, written in Paris by 
Roswell Smith, who was then making a European tour. 
He had been to see a grand performance of Faust, and 
the lesson of the occasion is thus powerfully given. Such 
is the history of the poem given me by its author. The 
title is What the Devil Said to the Young Man : 

Plagiarism. 149 

" ! youth so brave aud strong, 
The maiden's looks belie her; 
Though she seem shy, a song, 
A kiss — well, only try her ! 

"Love is the wine of life, 

That flows alone for pleasure; 
Dull husband and tame wife 

Know not the sparkling measure. 

'* Discovery — that's crime ; 
No sin but this, no sorrow ; 
No punishment in time — 
None in the far to-morrow ! 

" Drink off the golden cream 

Of youth, and wealth and pleasure; 
Then spill life's purple stream, 
And drop the empty measure ! " 

As Shakespeare contains something on every subject, 
the reader will find that he has not omitted one so import- 
ant as this. In his day, as in all times before and after, the 
same evils marked society. We find King Henry speaking 

thus : 

" See, sons, what things you are; 
For this the foolish overcareful fathers, 
Have broke their sleep with thoughts, 
Their brains with care, 
Their bones with industry; 
For this they have engrossed and piled up 
Their cankered heaps of strange achieved gold.'' 

Mrs. Norton, also. 
Many of our readers are familiar with Mrs. Norton's 
beautiful poem, Bingen on the Rhine, which begins thas : 
"A soldier of the Legion lay dying in Algiers." 

The same idea occurs in an anonymous poem, which the 

writer found in an old London periodical. The first 

verse is as follows : 

" A knight of valor and of rank lay on his couch of death ; 
And thus he to his kinsmen spoke, with faint and fleeting 

breath ; 
'Farewell! farewell! Soon must I lie within the darksome 

grave ; 
No longer gaze on this fair world, and all its beauties brave.' " 

150 Our Book. 

If Mrs. Norton's poem were not suggested by the one 
to which reference has just been made, then there is a 
very strange coincidence between these two productions. 

We find occasionally remarkable identities of thought 

among the sons of genius, such as Dryden and Pope. 

The latter was a great admirer of the former, who wrote : 

" For truth has such a face and such a mien 
As to be loved needs only to be seen.'' 

Pope, in speaking of vice, shows how he could improve 

the same antithetical idea : 

" Vice is a monster of so frightful mien 
As to be hated needs but to be seen." 

Byron and Coleridge. 

Another very striking instance of the same character 

is found in the close resemblance between Byron and 

Coleridge as shown by the following extracts — the first 

being from the Siege of Corinth : 

"Was it the wind, through some hollow stone 
Sent that soft and tender moan? 
He lifted his head and he looked on the sea 
But it was uurippled as glass may be. 
He looked on the long grass, but it waved not a blade 
How was that gentle sound conveyed? 
He looked to the banners — each flag lay still 
So did the leaves on Cithseron's hill. 
And he felt not a breath come over his cheek : 

What did that sudden sound bespeak? 
He turned to the left — is he sure of sight? 
There sat a lady youthful and bright." 

After Byron had published the above he was present 

in a literary circle where Christabel was read aloud from 

the MSS., for though written many years previously, it had 

never been in print. Byron was of course delighted witli 

the poem, but his pleasure was changed to surprise as he 

heard the following lines : 

"The night is chill, the forest bare, 
Is it the wind that mDaueth bleak? 
There is not wind enough in the air 

Plagiarism. 151 

To move away the ringlet curl 

From the lovely lady's cheek. 

There, is not wind enough to twirl 

The one red leaf — the last of its clan, 

That dances as often as dance it can 

Hanging so light and hanging so high 

On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky. 1 " 

Byron says in a note on this subject " the original idea 
undoubtedly pertains to Mr. Coleridge whose poem has 
been composed more than fourteen years." lie also ex- 
presses his hope that Coleridge would no longer delay its 
publication. Perhaps the reason of this delay was Cole- 
ridge's expectation of finishing it but his procrastination 
was such that he left it the most beautiful fragment in 
our language. 

Byron and Ariosto. 

The description of a shipwreck given in one of Byron's 
latest poems is admired at least as a terrific scene, and the 
author of the Real Lord Byron says it was due to a de- 
structive wreck which occurred on the English coast. 
Byron, however, wrote his shipwreck while in Italy years 
after the above-mentioned calamity, and as he w r as an 
admirer of Ariosto, I think he unintentionally repeated 
the Italian poet. I give both so that the reader may 
form his own opinion. The first is from an old transla- 
tion of Orlando Furioso : 

"T'was lamentable then to heare the cries, 

Of companies of every sort confused : 
In vain to heaven they lift up their hands and eyes, 

And make late vows such as in such case is used; 
For over them the wrathful sea doth rise, 

As though to give them care they had refused ; 
And make them hold their peace by hard constraint, 
And stopped the passage whence comes out the plaint.'' 

Byron's description : 

"Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell! 

Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave; 
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell, 
As eager to anticipate their grave; 

152 Our Book. 

And the sea yawned round her like a hell, 

And down she sucked with her the whirling wave. 
Like one who grapples with his enemy, 
And strives to strangle him before he die. 1 ' 

Macaulay and II. K. White. 
Macaulay's sketch of tlie possibilities of the future is 
probably the best known of all his utterances, and cer- 
tainly there is no picture of desolation more impressive 
than the New Zealander standing in a vast solitude on a 
broken arch of London bridge, to sketch the ruins of St. 
Paul's church. One finds the same idea, however, in a 
poem written by Henry Kirke White forty years previ- 
ously, as may be seen by the following quotation : 

"Where now is Britain? Where her laurelled names 
Her palaces and halls? Dashed in the dust. 

O'er her marts ' 

Her crowded ports broods silence ; and the cry 
Of the low curlew and the pensive dash 
Of distant billows breaks alone the void; 
Even as the savage sits upon the stone 
That marks where stood her capitol and hears 
The bittern booming in the weeds he shrinks 
From the dismaying solitude.'' 

Bryant and Others. 
In writing Thanatopsis Bryant made no claim to origi- 
nality, for in so old a theme it were impossible. There 
is, however, a very striking parallel between one portion 
of it and the utterance of Claudio in Measure for Meas- 
ure. Bryant writes thus : 

" Earth that nourished thee shall claim 

Thy growth to be resolved to earth again; 
And lost each human trace, surrendering up '/ 
Thine individual being shalt thou go 
To mix forever with the elements, 
To be a brother to the insensible rock, 
And to the sluggish clod." 

Shakespeare renders the same idea more forcibly in the 

above mentioned play : 

" Ay, but to die and go we know not where; 
To lie- in cold abstraction and to rot, 

Plagiarism. 153 

This sensible warm motion to become 
A kneaded clod." 

Bryant's fine address to Lincoln reminds one of Wal- 
ler's eulogy on Cromwell. In the first we have the 
apostrophe : 

" O strong to strike and swift to spare," 

while Waller gives the same idea in the following less 

finished rhyme : 

" To pardon willing and to punish loath 
You strike with one hand but you heal with both." 

Coming down to Whittier, how much his Snow Bound 
reminds one of Burns' Cottager's Saturday Night, and 
yet this resemblance is of course unintentional. The 
reader however, may think that enough has been said on 
this subject, which indeed ranges through the whole field 
of literature. Even Yirgil in some things reproduces the 
Greek poets, and they in turn may be indebted to forgot- 
ten writers. Horace tells us there were brave men before 
Agamemnon, and if so, then were no doubt poets before 
Homer, some of whose utterances may have been re-pro- 
duced in the Iliad. 

Imaginary Plagiarism. 
While speaking on this subject allusion may be made 
to the notions uttered by Wordsworth. Tom Moore, 
who met the philosophic poet in London at a time when 
each had won distinction, says in his diary, October 27, 

"Wordsworth spoke of Byron's plagiarisms from him: the 
whole third canto of Childe Harold founded on his style and sen- 
timents. The feeling of natural objects which is there expressed 
not caught by B. from nature herself, but from him (Words- 
worth) and spoiled in the transition. Tintern Abbey is the source 
of all — from which poem the celebrated passage about Solitude 
in the first canto of Childe Harold is taken, with this difference, 
that what is naturally expressed by him has been worked by 
Byron into a labored and antithetical sort of declamation." 

154 Our Book. 

Reader, how utterly ridiculous such egotism sounds, 
and how absurd also, since at almost that very time Byron 
had penned the line, 

u When Southcy's read or Wordsworth's understood," 

-which shows how little Byron would have dreamed of 
borrowing from the latter. It is probable that Words- 
worth was smarting from Byron's reference to him in his 
famous satire : 

" Yet let them not to vulgar Wordsworth stoop, 
The meanest object in the lowly group; 
Whose verse, of all but childish prattle void, 
Seems blessed harmony to Lambe and Lloyd." 

Wordsworth, notwithstanding Byron's lampoon, has an 
enviable place in literature. It is hardly probable, how- 
ever, that Byron ever read those poems to which Words- 
worth ascribed his adoration of nature. 

Hem askable Imitations. 
This allusion to parallel passages leads to a brief refer- 
ence to that artificial resemblance which had become so 
frequent a feature in modern literature. The most re- 
markable instance is found in Rejected Addresses by 
Horace and James Smith, which still retain their interest 
at the lapse of seventy years. The history of the volume 
may be briefly given as follows : Drury Lane theatre, 
having been destroyed by fire in 1812, was rebuilt, and 
the managing committee offered a prize for the best 
opening address. The Smiths were a pair of legal and 
literary brothers who had published some good things, 
and who also had a fair professional practice. One of 
them offered an address which was rejected, and this led 
the brothers to write a series of similar poems, imitating 
the style of Scott, Southey, Tom Moore, Byron, Cole- 
ridge, Wordsworth and other leading poets. The whole 

Plagiarism. 155 

work was done in six weeks, and then the book was 
offered in turn to several publishers, each of whom de- 
clined it. At last an obscure dealer made the venture, 
and it proved an extraordinary success. The literary 
world was astonished by the felicity in which the best 
authors were taken off, for Byron and Scott are unpar- 
alleled imitations. The financial success was of corre- 
sponding value, and the publisher paid the authors £1,000 
or $5,000 for one-half the copyright. It may be added 
that the names of the travestied authors were only given 
in initial — W. S. standing for Walter Scott, W. W. for 
"Wordsworth, R. S. for Southey — and in this manner a 
score of authors were served up in the most unexpected 

The travesty of Scott was accepted by himself as a 
clever hit, and led to an acquaintance which became true 
friendship. When Scott read it he said pleasantly, 
"Well, I must certainly have written those verses. If not 
they are a capita 1 burlesque on the Battle of Flodden in 
Marmion." Wordsworth fared the worst, and the 
Smiths afterward felt that they had been too severe, but 
the poet took it in good nature, which is always the best 
way of meeting a joke. It should be added that the 
Drury Lane committee rejected all the offerings and 
asked Byron to furnish them with an opening address, 
which was spoken on the occasion. 

Father Prodt's Literary Joke. 
Rejected Addresses is the best literary joke the world 
has ever seen, but the talent and the ingenuity displayed 
by Francis Mahony in a similar vein certainly entitles 
him to the very next rank. As a linguist, however, he 
awakens still greater admiration, for he displays consum- 
mate mastery, not only over our own language, but also 

156 Our Book. 

over Latin, French and Greek. Maliony was better known 
in the literary world as Father Prout, whose Reliques were 
collected from the periodicals in which they first appeared, 
and were honored by republication in book form, and 
with appropriate illustrations. Some years ago one of my 
fiiends, a self-educated man of more than ordinary intel- 
ligence, while speaking of Tom Moore, uttered a very 
earnest regret that so brilliant a poet should be merely a 
plagiarist. On my expressing surprise at this statement, 
he proceeded to explain by the assertion that he had a 
book which proved that some of Moore's best things were 
merely translations from Greek, Latin and French au- 
thors. I soon learned that the book referred to was 
Father Front's Reliques, and I was obliged to inform my 
friend that he was simply the dupe of Mahony's learning 
and skill. In other words, Father Prout puts Moore's 
poetry with such perfect versification into the above- 
mentioned languages, that it might be difficult to decide 
which was written first. He then calls this alleged pla- 
giarism the Rogueries of Tom Moore, and says : 

11 How often he plagued me to supply him with the original songs 
I had picked up in France, and he has transferred these foreign 
inventions into the Irish Melodies. Some of the songs he would 
turn upside down, and others he would disguise in various shapes; 
hut he would still worry me to supply him with the productions 
of the Gallic muse, 'for d'ye see old Prout,' the rogue would say: 

' The best of all ways 

To lengthen our lays 

Is to steal a few thoughts from the French, my dear.' 

" It would be easy to point out detached fragments and stray met- 
aphors which he has scattered here and there in such gay confus- 
ion, that every page contains plagiarism enough to hang him; but, 
would you believe it, if you had not learned it from old Prout, 
that the very opening song of the collection " Go where glory 
waits thee,' is but a literal and servile translation of an old French 
ditty which is among my papers. I believe it to have been writ- 
ten by the Comptesse de Chateaubriand, born in 1491. She was 
the favorite of Francis I, who, however, soon abandoned her, 
and, indeed, these lines appear to anticipate his infidelity. They 
were written before the battle of Pavia. 




tie la Complesse de Chateauhriand 
d Francois I. 

Va ou la gloire t'invite; 
Et quand d'orgueil palpite 

Ce cceur, qu'il pense a moi ! 
Quand l'eloge enflamme 
Toute l'ardeur de ton ame, 

Pense encore a moi! 
Autres cliarmes peut-etre 
Tu voudras counaitre, 
Autre amour en maitre 

Eegnera sur toi; 
Mais quand ta levre presse 
Celle qui te caresse, 

Mechant, pense a moi ! 

Quand au soir tu erres 
Sous l'astrc des bergeres, 

Pense aux doux instans 
Lorsque cette etoile, 
Qu'un beau ciel devoile, 

Guida deux amans! 
Quand la fleur, symbole 
D'ete qui s'euvole, 
Penche sa tete molle, — 

S'exhalant a l'air, 
Pense a la guirlande, 
De ta mie l'off rande — 

Don qui fut si cher! 

Quand la feuille d'automme 
Sons tes pas resonne, 

Pense alors a moi ! 
Quand de la famille 
L'antique foyer brille, 

Pense encore a moi 1 
Et si de la chanteuse 
La voix melodieuse 
Berce ton ame heureuse 

Et ravit tes sens, 
Pense a l'air que cliante 
Pour toi ton amante — 

Tant aimes accens! 

Pense alors a moi. 

"Any one who has the slightest tincture of French literature 
must recognize the simple and unsophisticated style of a genuine 
love song in the above, the language being that of the century in 
which Clement Marot and Maitre Adam wrote their incomparable 


Translation of this Song in the 
Irish Melodies. 

Go where glory waits thee ; 
But while fame elates thee 

Oh, still remember me! 
When the praise thou meetest 
To thine ear is sweetest, 

Oh, then remember me ! 
Other arms may press thee, 
Dearer friends caress thee — 
All the joys that bless thee 

Dearer far may be : 
But when friends are dearest, 
And when joys are nearest, 

Oh, then remember me ! 

When at eve thou rovest 
By the star thou lovest, 

Oh, then remember me! 
Think, when home returning, 
Bright we've seen it burning, 

Oh, then remember me! 
Oft as summer closes, 
When thine eye reposes 
On its lingering roses, 

Once so loved by thee, 
Think of her who wove them — 
Her who made thee love them, 

Oh, then remember me! 

When around thee dying, 
Autumn leaves are lying, 

Oh, then remember me! 
And at night when gazing, 
On the gay hearth blazing, 
• Oh, still remember me! 
Then should music stealing 
All the soul of feeling, 
To thy heart appealing. 

Draw one tear from thee ; 
Then let memory bring thee 
Strains I used to sing thee — 

Oh, then remember me! 

158 Our Book. 

ballads, and containing a kindly admixture of gentleness and 
sentimental delicacy, which no one but a ' ladye ' and a lovely 
heart could infuse into the composition. Moore has not been in- 
felicitous in rendering the charms of the wondrous original into 
English lines adapted to the measure and tune of the French. 
The air is plaintive and exquisitely beautiful; but I recommend 
it to be tried first on the French words as it was sung by the 
charming lips of the Countess of Chateaubriand to the enraptured 
ear of the gallant Francis I." 

Having thus given Father Prout's opening of his " ex- 
posure" of Moore's rogueries the reader may desire to 
see those additional proofs in Latin and even in Greek 
but lack of space prevents any additional extract. Moore, 
however, heartily relished the joke which probably will 
long remain unequaled. 

Paul and Virginia. 

Few of those who during their childhood were melted 
by this affecting story are aware that its author (St. Pierre) 
was a military man, and that its origin is due to the opera- 
tions of war. A military engineer sent from Paris to the 
Mauritius for the purpose of erecting a fort, became 
famous, not by his professional labors, but by the tale 
which he brought home. The Mauritius is a mere dot 
on the map and its insignificance in point of size may be 
inferred from the fact that the State of New York con- 
tains thirty counties each of greater area, and yet what a 
place it holds in literature. St. Pierre indeed almost ful- 
fills the idea of "giving an airy nothing a local habitation 
and a name." 

While the origin of the book is military, its appearance 
in our language is identified with scenes of bloodshed 
and horror. An English woman (Mrs. Helen Williams) 
who was living in Paris during the Reign of Terror found 
relief in translating St. Pierre's affecting tale which soon 
afterward was published in London. Mrs. Williams' state- 
ment, of which I give an extract, is certainly interesting : 

Plagiarism. 159 

The following translation was written in Paris amid all the 
horrors of Robespierre's tyranny. During that gloomy epoch, it 
was difficult to find occupation which could cheat the days of 
calamity of their weary length. Society had vanished, and writ- 
ing, and even reading, was encompassed with danger. In that 
situation I gave myself the task of translating Paul and Virginia, 
and I found the most soothing relief, from my own gloomy reflec- 
tions in the enchanting scenes in the Mauritius. 

Gray and Goethe. 
Gray's Elegy is a household word. Reader, can you 
remember your first acquaintance with it? 1 cannot re- 
member mine. It is identified with my youthful exist- 
ence, and its exquisite pictures are among the gems which 
I shall cherish to the last. One of the finest features in 
Gray's character is the honor which he paid to humanity 
in its humblest condition. His description of the life of 
the peasant throws a charm upon privation and even on 
poverty, and how touching is that appeal uttered in behalf 
of the lowly : 

" Let not ambition mock their useful toil, 
Their humble joys and destiny obscure ; 
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile 
The short and simple annals of the poor." 

At that time men of genius were generally seeking 
the patronage of the nobility. The patron advanced 
money liberally, and was repaid by a dedication. Savage 
had Lord Tyrconnell, and even Tom Moore, a century 
later, depended on Lord Moira. Gray, however, sought 
no favor of this kind. On the other hand, he expressed 
deep sympathy with that humiliation of genius when 
forced to pursue such a method. I once asked a young 
friend of more than usual perception to designate the 
finest verse in the elegy. The reply, which was as fol- 
lows, would no doubt have pleased the poet : 

" The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, 
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame; 
And heap the shrine of luxury and pride, 
With incense kindled at the muses' flame." 

160 Our Book. 

In that day for an author to espouse the cause of the 
poor was to incur the risk of contempt. Gray not only 
did this, but portrays himself in the same colors in that 
epitaph which so appropriately closes the elegy : 

M He gave to misery — 't was all he had — a tear. 
He gained of heaven — 't was all he asked — a friend." 

Goethe will always be an interesting subject, but one 
of his most beautiful tilings is generally overlooked by 
lecturers and critics. I refer to the idea of the eternal 
sunset which occurs in Faust. Goethe was one of that 
favored few whose genius is appreciated during life. 
Byron never met him, but as a testimony of admiration 
he dedicated his tragedy of "Werner, and received a very 
appropriate acknowledgment. Byron was then about to 
make his voyage to Greece, whence he never returned 
alive, and he wrote to Goethe as follows: 

" I am going to Greece to see if T can be of any use there. If 
ever I come back, I will pay a visit to Weimar to offer the sincere 
homage of one of the many millions of your admirers. " 

The everlasting sunset was often suggested to me as I 
stood on Brooklyn Heights — then free from buildings — 
and saw the bay and its islands enveloped in all the gor- 
geous beauty of approaching evening. On such occasions 
I could exclaim with the poet : " See how the green-girt 
cottages shimmer in the setting sun ! He bends and 
sinks. Yonder he hurries off to nourish new life! O 
that I had wings to follow on — to see in everlasting 
evening beams the stilly world at my feet — every height 
on fire — every vale in repose! The rugged mountains, 
with their rude defiles — the heavens above me and be- 
neath me the waves." 

Severn and Keats. 
The erection of a monument of mutual honor to these 

Plagiarism. 161 

men in the English cemetery at Rome is a very interest- 
ing feature in the history of genius. But little is known 
of Severn except that he was an artist. His kindness to 
Keats, however, has made him partner of the poet's fame, 
and that is the highest reward he could have asked. 
During the present aesthetic craze, Keats is unjustly 
claimed as belonging to this class. The only foundation 
for this claim, however, is found in that oft-quoted line, 
" a thing of beauty is a joy forever." Keats was rather 
a reviver of the antique, as is shown by the very name of 
his principal work, Endymion, while his other productions 
are much of the same character. He fell in love with 
the dreamy beauty of classic mythology, and endeavored 
to graft it on to modern poetry, and though he failed in 
his attempt, he won an enduring place in literature. 

Keats' admiration for the classics was like Chatterton's 
mania for antique English, and they both found their true 
element in the mythic past. It was said that Keats died 
of the effect of a severe critique. His health, however, 
had been failing for several years, and he sailed for Italy 
in company with Severn but never returned. Shelley 
was his ardent admirer, and embalmed his memory in 
Adonais, which is the finest of mortuary poems. 

Byron wrote thus to Murray : " Is it true what Shelley 
writes me that poor John Keats died of the Quarterly 
Review? I am very sorry for it, though I think he took 
the wrong line as a poet, and was spoiled by versifying 
Tooke's Pantheon and Lempriere's classical dictionary. 
I know by experience that a savage review is hemlock to 
a suckling author, and the one on myself knocked me 
down, but I got up again. Instead of bursting a blood 
vessel I drank three bottles of claret and began an answer. 
I would not, however, be the author of the homicidal 
article for all the honor and glory of the world." Byron 

162 Our Boo*. 

with all his sympathy could not avoid taking a humorous 
view of this sad case, which lie thus presents : 

"John Keats — who was killed off by one critique, 
Just as be really promised something great, 
If not intelligible — without Greek — 
Contrived to talk about the Gods of late, 
Much as they might be supposed to speak, 
Poor fellow, his was an untoward fate.'' 

It is however far better for his fame that Keats died 
in Rome since this identifies him with the eternal city. 
His grave is one of the shrines of genius and he rests 
in the spot of which he said it is so beautiful that it 
almost made one in love with death to think of being 
buried there. A few months afterward the heart of 
his friend Shelley was laid by his side. How strange 
it seems that of those three English poets who were 
in Italy at the same time (Byron, Shelley and Keats) 
not one should return to his native land, except the 
former, who, however, only went back in his coffin. 

Of this trio Byron will always be the most generally 
read because his poetry is emotional, while Shelley will 
be the least, because his is solely intellectual. Keats holds 
a place between them, and hence has his share of readers. 
His St. Agnes Eve is a series of wonderful pictures, each 
finished with exquisite touch, but the most powerful of 
all his appeals to the emotional nature is found in a couple 
of stanzas which illustrate those painful changes which 
time inflicts upon the tender and sensitive heart. 

The closing lines are as follows : 

"Oh, would 'twere so with many 
A gentle girl and boy ; 
But was there ever any 
Writhed not at passed joy? 

"To know a change and feel it, 

Where there is naught to heal it, 
Nor numbed sense to steel it, 
Was never said in rhyme." 

Keats and Drake. 163 

While speaking of Keats, let us look at the striking 
parallel which holds between him and Joseph Rodman 
Drake. On the 7th of August, 1795, the latter was born 
in New York, and on the 29th of the following October 
Keats was born in London. When grown to adolescence 
both studied medicine, and Drake was admitted to prac- 
tice. On the 21st of September, 1820, the latter died in 
New York of consumption, and on the 21st of February, 
1821, just six months afterward, Keats died at Rome of 
the same disease. His entire life was three months longer 
than that of Drake. 

These young and ill-fated contemporaries never heard 
of each other. Drake's best poetry was published only a 
year before his death, and the same may be said of Keats. 
The latter displays more genius than Drake, but both will 
live in the chronicles of literature. The death of each 
inspired the highest order of elegiac poetry. Halleck's 
verses on Drake, beginning " Green be the turf above 
thee," and Shelley's Adonais are among the best of 
either author's productions, and both are rich in pathetic 

Byron, as has been said, disliked Keats' poetry and was 
rather surprised at Shelley's eulogy. Byron, however, was 
so thoroughly an admirer of Pope that he had hardly 
room to take in any other poet, and though he flattered 
Tom Moore, it is not probable that he cared much for his 
verse. In fa«t, Byron disliked all the new school of 
British poets. In none of his letters does he make allu- 
sion to Coleridge, and hardly to Wordsworth, though he 
slashes at both in his famous satire. He hated all his 
contemporaries, because of the intense antagonism which 
he held toward the literary world. 

The first man who undertook to make the lecture plat- 

164 Our Book. 

form profitable in England was Coleridge, and he would 
have succeeded had it not been for his inveterate procras- 
tination. Being a born genius, he did not consider him- 
self amenable to any of the ordinary rules of society, and 
his indifference to appointments soon destroyed public 
confidence. As a conversationist Coleridge held a dis- 
tinction equal to that of Gough in oratory. By this I 
mean to say that neither Britain nor America ever beheld 
his equal. When lie spoke all others were hushed in 
admiration, and had he simply talked to an audience he 
would have not lacked for hearers. He was, however, so 
forgetful of his appointments that it destroyed his chance 
of success, and this happened once in Bristol and twice in 
London. Prof. Wilson, of Edinburgh, said of Coleridge : 
" There is nothing more wonderful than the facile majesty 
of his world of imagery, which starts up before us like 
the palace of Aladdin. He ascends to the sublimest 
truths by a winding track of sparkling glory, which can 
only be described in his own language." Dibdin says 
that at one social entertainment he u heard Coleridge 
hold the group spellbound for nearly two hours." Such 
was the founder of the lecture system in England, and 
he himself is the richest theme for a lecture to be found 
in our language. 

Coleridge's Crime. 

Coleridge was the chief literary mendicant of the age. 
He was a charity scholar during boyhood, and his univer- 
sity life was of the same nature. During his subsequent 
career he was considered a literary beggar by those who 
knew him best — this being due to his slavery to the 
opium appetite. In reality the greatest poetic genius of 
the nineteenth century was what in common parlance is 
called u a dead beat." He was often a vagrant, leaving 


his wife and children to be supported by his brother-in- 
law Southey, who, though far less gifted, was an indus- 
trious plodder, and thus made literature profitable. 
Coleridge was conscious of the crime he committed by 
yielding to his appetite, and his mental sufferings were 
often beyond the power of language. When Cottle 
wrote his description of Coleridge's condition and sent it 
to John Foster, the latter replied thus : "It is as melan- 
choly an exhibition as I ever contemplated. Why was 
such a sad phenomenon to come in sight on earth ? Was 
it to abase the pride of human intellect and genius?" 
Cottle's picture of the poet, then only forty -two, includes 
the wild eye, the sallow countenance, the tottering step 
and the trembling hand. At this time Coleridge wrote 
to Cottle that he wished to be placed in an asylum. No 
wonder indeed, since Cottle says that u opium had so 
completely subdued his will that he seemed carried away 
without resistance, as by an overwhelming flood." Cot- 
tle's sketch of Coleridge was published as a warning to 
others and his sense of duty triumphed over friendship. 
As an illustration of the pauperism to which this bondage 
had reduced the author, it may be said that having aban- 
doned his family to Southey's care, and having no home, 
he accepted, at the above-mentioned age, the invitation of 
Dr. Gilman, with whom he remained till his miserable 
life terminated, nineteen years afterward. Dr. Gilman 
was an admirer of his genius, and the name of Coleridge 
was no doubt advantageous as an addition to professional 


As a feature in literary entertainment autobiography 
has a long admitted value and almost every profession 
has been illustrated. Men love to tell what they have 
done, and this led Caesar to write the history of the Gal- 

166 Our Book. 

lie war in which, however, he judiciously speaks of him- 
self in the third person. Turning from war to religion 
the earliest work of the kind is Augustin's Confessions, 
which have survived their author 1,400 years. Bunyan's 
Grace Abounding is another remarkable self-portrayal 
and to these may be added John Newton's personal narra- 
tive, also the Force of Truth by the commentator Scott, 
which gives a sketch of his profound experience. 

In art there is the autobiography of Charles R. Leslie, 
and then Robert B. Ilaydon, who destroyed himself while 
under a cloud of despondency, also left a painful perso- 
nal narrative. Science includes Hugh Miller, who also 
committed suicide during a delirium induced by over 
application to study. His self-told history is as instruc- 
tive as it is entertaining and takes a high rank among 
works of this character. Ferguson and Priestly also pub- 
lished their own memoirs, which illustrate the arduous 
path of science. Sir James Mackintosh gives us in his 
autobiography an interesting view of the life of a com- 
bined statesman and philosopher, and Carlyle presents a 
fascinating sketch of his struggles and conflicts. 

Politics and the Drama. 
In politics there are the names of Lord Clarendon, 
Fouche and Madame Roland. The drama has a great 
number of autobiographers, such as Col ley Cibber, Mrs. 
Bellamy, Mrs. Inchbald, Grimaldi, Mrs. Anna Cora 
Mowatt and the London manager Alfred Bunn. Ma- 
cready's personal memoirs, however, will always hold 
precedence, not only on account of his genius but also 
because of the honesty with which he exposes his own 
weakness and faults. Those who knew the irritability 
which marked this gifted tragedian will see it often made 
the subject of regret in his diary, especially when it led 

Autobiography. 107 

him under a sudden impulse of wrath to strike Manager 
Bunn — an assault which not only cost him £150 (equal 
to $750) but also an immense amount of vexation. 
Macready also gives one an interesting view of his court- 
ship and marriage, and then his emotions on retiring from 
the stage are solemn and grand. 

George Yandenhoff also published an autobiography in 
which he refers to Macready's faults which rendered him 
so objectionable to all the supporting troupe. Barnum's 
autobiography seems to present a truthf xA view of char- 
acter and is certainly one of the most amusing books 
of the kind. It was, indeed, so true that he eventually 
became ashamed of it and suppressed the publication. 

Literary Autobiographies. 
Literary people live such quiet lives that they can 
hardly expect to interest the public and yet they have 
produced some very readable books of this kind. Madame 
D'Arblay, author of Evelina, published her memoirs after 
reaching fourscore, and they present some interesting 
scenes in which Johnson occasionally appears. Johnson 
himself attempted a similar effort which unfortunately 
never extended over more than a few pages, but. even 
these are quaintly interesting, and the following extract 
is really curious : 

"In Lent I was taken to London to be touched for the evil 
(scrofula) by Queen Anne. I remember a boy crying at the palace 
when I went to be touched. My mother bought me a speckled 
linen frock which afterward was called the London frock. She 
also bought two teaspoons and till my manhood she never had 
any more." 

The above is the latest record of " touching," but in 
earlier days it was supposed that the royal touch was 
highly efficacious, and .his is the reason the scrofula was 
so generally called the "kings evil." Johnson, in refer- 
ring to the queen, said he had "a confused but solemn 

168 Ouu Book. 

recollection of a lady in diamonds and a long black hood." 
What a kind hearted monarch. Gibbon, at the age of 
fifty-three, wrote an elaborate autobiography, which is 
one of the most delightful books of the kind. He ex- 
pected to live to old age, but died suddenly two years 
after finishing his personal narrative. 

Walter Scott began an autobiography, but did not con- 
tinue it through his most active scenes. His diary, how- 
ever is of the same nature, and gives impressive views of 
his greatness and his misfortunes. Charlotte Elizabeth 
Tonna, who was much in vogue among religious readers 
a quarter of a century ago, gave her autobiography the 
title of Personal Recollections, and it was for a while very 

Byron and Moore. 

Byron also had an autobiographical turn, as may be 
seen from his fragments which allude to personal history. 
Among these is Extracts from a Journal, also Detached 
Thoughts which appear to be the true utterance of his 
heart. The power with which the details of life attracted 
Byron shows that he would have been an excellent autobi- 
ographer — though of course his views would have been 
discolored by prejudice. He actually wrote his memoirs 
and placed the manuscript in the hands of Moore, his 
most intimate friend, with privilege of publication after 
death. Moore sold the manuscript to Murray for a sum 
equal to $10,000, but after Byron's death his friends ob- 
jected to the publication and refunded the money. The 
manuscript was then burned. The only American who 
ever read this memoir was Irving, to whom Moore con- 
fided it as a matter of friendship. 

Tom Moore's journal during the most active part of 
his life was published by his literal executor, and is re- 
markable for its fulness of detail. It covers twenty-eight 

Autobiography. 1C9 

years, and one cannot but be surprised at the minute nar- 
ration of men and also of opinions, conversations and in- 
cidents. It introduces the reader to the literati of that 
day in something of the Boswell style. In addition to 
this however, the poet began a personal narrative which 
he brought down to his twenty-first year, at which time 
he entered society, but unfortunately it was discontinued. 
Moore's Journal closes sadly. He was then sixty-seven 
and six years afterward he was laid in the grave. 

Public Men. 

Thurlow "Weed's autobiography like the personal rec- 
ords of Thomas IT. Benton and James G. Blaine illustrate 
public affairs, and John Quincy Adams kept an ample 
diary during all his public life which is now found of 
much value as a work of reference. In England Horace 
Walpole, and also Wraxall, preserved personal and public 
records, which are now read with interest by all who de- 
sire to study the history of the times. Franklin's auto- 
biography is highly instructive, and should be generally 
read by the young because of its lessons of thrift. All 
who read it must regret its brevity. It probably would 
never have been written had its author not found a little 
leisure during the early part of his residence in France as 

The most important work of this kind, as well as the 
most widely circulated, is General Grant's personal 
memoirs. They will never be paralleled. How fortunate 
that the hero's life was spared until he had told the un- 
varnished tale of his wonderful achievements, and how 
impressive is the simple and unassuming utterance, " I 
commanded the whole of the mighty host engaged on the 
victorious side." It is this which gives such grandeur to 
his memorable utterance, "LET US HAVE PEACE." 

170 Our Book. 

The earliest autobiography written in our language is 
that of Lord Herbert, who died in 1648, being then sixty- 
seven. He was a prominent man both in court and camp, 
and held several important stations in which he won high 
honor. His latter days were devoted to the preparation 
of his memoirs, which he left for posthumous publication. 

The civil wars however prevented this. Charles I was 
beheaded the following year, and then came a series of 
national changes which impaired the progress of litera- 
ture, and Herbert's MSS. lay in neglect. A century 
passed by and yet the author's plan had not been carried 
out. At last Horace Wal pole's attention was called to 
the work. He was a man of wealth, and being a pro- 
fessed virtuoso in literature and art, had established a 
private printing press at his residence — where he printed 
Herbert's memoirs one hundred and sixteen years after 
the death of their author. 

Criminal Autobiography. 
The tendency of bad men to glory in evil deeds is too 
common to attract special notice, but there is one instance 
which holds distinction from its combination of learning 
and general ability, both of mind and body, with a strange 
crookedness which perverted all his gifts to evil. This is 
found in the autobiography of Stephen Burroughs, in 
which the details of a bad life are given in so racy a 
manner that it occasions amusement rather than censure. 
In fact the reader might imagine it to be a fiction and I 
really had some idea of this kind but it was effectually 
removed by the following incident : While looking 
through a collection of rare books I found an old copy of 
the life of Stephen Burroughs, on the fly leaf of which 
was pasted an autograph letter written by Burroughs him- 
self and dated in some jail where he was held for crime. 


It is said that Burroughs reformed in the latter part of 
his life and became a useful member of society. He was 
a native of New England but died in Canada^ 

Another autobiography identified with fraud is that 
written by the literary impostor who called himself George 
Psalmanazar, but who eventually confessed that it was 
only an assumed name. The book is by no means inter- 
esting and indeed its only importance is found in its 
connection with that history of Formosa which was the 
great literary fraud of its day. It is imbued with repent- 
ance for his imposture and this leads him to withhold 
both his name and nationality. He admits however, that 
he was an opium eater and may be mentioned as the first 
instance of the kind in the literary record. 

This book is entitled " Memoirs of , commonly 

known as George Psalmanazar — a reputed native of 
Formosa. Printed for the Executrix 1764." He left it 
to the woman with whom he boarded, but as I insert his 
entire will in another part of this volume, the reader can 
refer to it if he desire any more information on the 

The popularity of autobiography is shown by the fic- 
tions which take this shape, such as Gil Bias and Robinson 
Crusoe and even Dante's Inferno is in some respects a 
personal narrative. Readers like to have the hero of a book 
toll his own story. Even the egoism of autobiography 
has a charm and Montaigne, whose egoism is so fascinat- 
ing, says in reference to his book "finding myself empty 
of other matter I presented myself to myself for an 
argument and subject." How vacant our literature would 
be were it shorn of autobiography. 

Twice Mentioned Book. 
Speaking of autobiography there was a book of this 

172 Our Book. 

kind written more than a century ago which no doubt 
had some merit, and jet I have only seen it mentioned 
twice, and if it be in existence it certainly would be a 
great curiosity. Walter Scott mentions among the books 
which he read during his youth one called " Automa- 
thes," and Gibbon in his autobiography writes as fol- 

"I was delivered at the age of seven into the hands of Mr. 
John Kirkby, who exercised for eighteen months the office of 
domestic tutor. He was the author of a Latin grammar and also 
of the Life of Automathes — the story of a youth the son of a 
shipwrecked exile who lives alone on a desert island from infancy 
to manhood. A barbarian is his nurse ; he inherits a cottage and 
some useful implements; some ideas remain of the education of 
his first two years; some ideas he borrows from the beavers of 
an adjacent stream ; some truths are revealed in visions. With 
these helps and his own industry Automathes becomes a self- 
taught though speechless philosopher. The book is not devoid of 
entertainment and instruction and among other interesting pass- 
ages I would select the discovery of fire." 

A book which interested Walter Scott and of which 
Gibbon thus speaks must have some real merit, and yet 
were it not for the mention made by these two authors I 
should never have known its existence. 

Authors and their Correspondence. 
The publication of literary correspondence is a modern 
feature in literature — beginning with the wits of Queen 
Anne' s reign. The letters of Swift, Gay and Bolingbroke 
which have been gathered together and issued in book 
shape afford an interesting view of literary life in that 
day, but on the other hand few of either Addison or 
Fielding's letters have been preserved. Pope's letters 
were published by himself as he said in order to prevent 
a surreptitious and imperfect edition. The latter was 
threatened by Curl, the bookseller, who had got possession 
of a sufficient number to make a small volume and Pope 
tried to suppress them by legal measures. This added 

Popular Letter Writers. 173 

much to public interest but it declined when the corre- 
spondence appeared as the latter had but little merit. 

Lad j Mary Wortley Montague, though hated by Pope, 
was vastly more popular as a letter writer. Chesterfield's 
letters were once widely read but are now but little known. 
They are addressed to a son who went while a child to 
the continent and the paternal correspondence began 
when the boy was only ten. It was at first chiefly occu- 
pied with advice in reference to study, but later on the 
father gave those counsels concerning deportment and 
social life which seem only intended to make a man of 
the world. 

Gray's letters are but little read, being too artificial, 
while on the other hand the simple unassuming but ele- 
gant letters of Cowper hold high rank in literary corre- 
spondence. Charles Lamb's letters have recently been 
published and fill two volumes. In point of religious 
value the letters of John Newton bear the palm. Burns' 
letters are interesting, and Walter Scott was really 
inimitable. His combination of ease, vivacity and humor 
always fascinates me and I am never weary of his letters. 
Johnson's letters have some points of interest though 
often gloomy. His letter to Chesterfield is the most 
powerful thing of the kind in literature. Published cor- 
respondence is becoming more popular than ever, and 
the life and letters of Irving have had an extensive sale. 
Irving was a delightful correspondent. Tom Moore's 
letters may be mentioned as showing an admirable degree 
of domestic affection, which seems in strong contrast with 
Byron, Coleridge, Shelley, and some other men of genius. 
Moore's letters to his mother indeed are remarkable for 
free utterance and for tender sentiments. His entire 
correspondence covers an extent of twenty-five years and 
includes four hundred letters. 

174 Our Book. 

Horace Walpole having plenty of time became an un- 
usually copious correspondent, and his letters fill a half 
dozen volumes, and possess an historical as well as asocial 
value. Love letters should not as a general rule be pub- 
lished, this remark being due to a perusal of Keats' billet 
doux to Fanny Brawne, which are so spoony that one 
cannot but regret their appearance in print. They arc 
merely the gush of a diseased system, both mind and 
body, and only awaken the reader's pity. He was en- 
gaged to his Fanny before he went to Italy for his health, 
and it is well that he died there, for had he returned and 
married the result would probably have been unfortunate. 
Love to be enduring must be healthy. 

Byron's letters number six hundred and thirty -five and 
are really the most crisp and racy of all such productions. 
They have the charm of piquant gossip and are so full of 
hits at the literati of that clay that the reader is often in 
an unconscious smile. It is sad to notice, however, the 
deficiency in true sentiment, and the only one that has 
any serious aspect is his reply to the clergyman which 
seems to me a sad confession of an ill-directed life. How 
strange, considering that he was such an admirer of the 
sex, that hardly a dozen of his published letters are ad- 
dressed to women. They were chiefly written to John 
Murray his publisher, or to his devoted friend Tom 
Moore, who afterward became his biographer, the propor- 
tion being two hundred and twenty -three to the former, 
and one hundred and twenty -four to the latter. Three- 
fifths of the whole number are thus addressed to two 
peisons, the others being divided among a half dozen 

The occasional slurs at his wife show that he never for- 
gave her for checkmating him so neatly — by turning a 
visit home into a permanent separation. He felt that she 

Popular Letter Writers. 175 

had got the better of him in the matrimonial difficulties, 
and hence he never returned to England, although he 
often expressed a desire to do so. The above-mentioned 
correspondence was chiefly written during his eight years 
of foreign life, closing at Missolonghi, and the last is only 
dated two weeks prior to his death. Dickens' corre- 
spondence shows that he too was an admirable letter 

Coming still nearer home it may be said that the 
most remarkable series of letters, in point of extent at 
least, is the correspondence maintained by James W. 
Alexander with John Hall of Trenton. Both were 
active clergymen, friends from boyhood, and men of con- 
genial tastes. 

They corresponded for forty years, and Hall published 
Alexander's letters, thus giving the world a charming 
series of brief outflows of incident and opinion. The 
writer of this certainly feels deeply indebted to Hall for 
his addition to literary correspondence. 

Latimer's Sermons. 

The sermons of Latimer, who suffered martyrdom 

three centuries ago, have been republished lately, and 

are considered fine specimens of earnest preaching. The 

faithful martyr was very severe on the fashion worshipers 

of his day. Let me give modern hearers a sample of 

old-fashioned preaching in the matter of woman's apparel 

concerning which Latimer discourses as follows : 

"What was her swadlyng cloth wherein holy Mary lay ed the 
kyng of heaven and earth? No doubt it was poor gore; perad- 
venture it was her kerchief e which she took from her head, or 
such like gere, for I think Mary had not much fine gere. She 
was not trimmed up as our women are now-a-dayes, for I think in 
the olde tyme women were content with honest and single gar- 
ments. Now they have found out these rounde aboutes ; they were 
not invented then ; the devil was not so cunnyng to make such 
gere; he found it out afterward. Therefore Mary had it not." 

176 Our Book. 

Speaking of " rounde aboutes," what would the preacher 
have said to the ladies' jackets of modern days ? Per- 
haps however no more than might be uttered in the way 
of censure of the other sex. 

Dickens' Early Success. 

Looking backward to the advent of Dickens to the 
American public, I am much surprised to observe how slow 
our great publishers were to acknowledge his power. In 
1838 a petty book-seller in Chatham street named James 
Turney, commenced the issue of a monthly humorist, 
with caricature plates, called the Pickwick Papers. It 
was extensively read, but failed to get above clerks and 
apprentices, who were charmed with Sam Weller and the 
fat boy. 

There were but two episodes in the whole book which 
indicated the hidden power of the author. These were 
the fragment found in a mad house, and the dying scene 
of the pantomimist. A few months subsequently I was 
visiting at the family of one of our most scientific men 
who read the Pickwick Papers with delight, and who told 
me that their design was in part to ridicule the false sci- 
ence of the day, and the tendency to form societies of in- 
vestigation, w T hich then w T ere all the rage. Almost every 
town in England had some gathering of would-be sci- 
entists, whose proceedings were glorified in monthly 

To ridicule this Dickens invented the Pickwick Club, 
whose object was to travel for the purpose of investigat- 
ing both scenes and phenomena of an important charac- 
ter. The very name Pickwick refers to the use of the 
midnight oil so often mentioned in connection with stu- 
dent life. As the work advanced this feature was neg- 
lected in favor of the more humorous and social scenes ; 

Popular Letter Writers. 177 

but it was still retained until the close, and Mr. Pickwick 
will always be tlie caricature of the kind-hearted and 
blundering philosopher, whose mistakes and misfortunes 
keep the reader in perpetual glee. 

It was not however, until Oliver Twist and Nicholas 
Nickleby appeared that their author readied full recogni- 
tion as a genius, and even those books, like the Pickwick 
Papers, were neglected by the leading publishers of this 
city. Neither Appleton nor Harper then cared to invest in 
the new humorist, although they were subsequently glad 
to do so. Nicholas Nickleby was first issued in Philadel- 
phia in monthly parts, each embellishsd with two pic- 
tures. It had a tolerably good sale in New York, the deal- 
ers being supplied by the Philadelphia house. The writer 
of this was then a clerk in a Broadway book-store, and 
sold many of these monthly issues, but the contrast be- 
tween the past and the present in the Dickens' literature 
is one of the astonishing things of this wonderful age. 

When Dickens came hither in 1842, being then thirty- 
one, the fashionable world sought him as a lion at their 
receptions, and its ridiculous toadyism fully deserved all 
the chastisement which it received. It culminated in 
the Boz Ball held at the Park theater, and in order to be 
exclusive the tickets were $5, which, at that time, was 
sufficiently large. The author attended, and the affair 
passed off in an endurable manner. The managers, how- 
ever, spoiled the effect by selling tickets for the second 
night at $3, and a crowd of rich plebeians improved the 
opportunity of enjoying the music and the pictures — 
everything but the author, who repaid American folly 
as soon as he reached home. 

Variations in Taste. 

A noticeable feature in literature is the attention now 

178 Our Book. 

paid to the writers of the eighteenth century, recalling 
the coarse but pungent Swift, the classical Addison, the 
rollicking Fielding, the latinized Johnson, the piquant 
Goldsmith, the thundering Junius, the inflated Gibbon, 
and the emotional Burns, closing with the grandeur of 
Burke. It is certainly a point of distinction in the lit- 
erary record of the eighteenth century that it gave Pope 
and Burns to the world. The former was immensely popu- 
lar in his day, and the neglect which his works afterward 
suffered was mentioned by Byron as one of the worst 
signs of the decay of taste. True enough ; and when the 
proper standard was restored, the popularity of Pope was 

Wordsworth was at that time the so-called " high priest 
of nature," and the new school then opening threatened 
a speedy oblivion to the author of the Dunciad. Byron, 
whose perceptions in literature were always accurate, 
assumed the defense of Pope and affirmed that he would 
survive the poets of that age — a fact whose reality is 
now very clear. Southey is utterly dead and buried. 
So is Landor ; Coleridge is only known by a few of his 
best things. Shelley is neglected, and Wordsworth is 
only known to that little circle which admires his pecu- 
liar genius. 

Speaking of Wordsworth, the greatest of all reflective 
poets, it is sad to see how his works are neglected, and 
though he cannot sink as low as Southey, he is shelved 
among those classics which are better known by name 
rather than by close perusal. Wordsworth condemned 
Pope, and yet the latter has outlived him. Wordsworth, 
however, deserves a better fate, but it is inevitable, for 
the piquant satirist must naturally survive the man of 
mere thought. 

Gibbon is only kept before the public by the import- 

Variations in Taste. 170 

ance of his subject, while Johnson has but a traditional 
reputation, being embalmed in the gossipy pages of 
B. swell. 

Going still farther back, how little is known of Dry- 
den, and yet Scott's admiration led him to write .his life 
and publish an annotated edition of his works. The 
corrupt influence of the court of Charles II. renders 
Dryden's comedies unfit for the stage or even perusal, 
but his Alexander's Feast will always hold distinction. 

It was Drydcn's weakness to imagine that he could 
improve Shakespeare by altering both Troilus and Cres- 
sida and the Tempest, thus setting a bad example to 
other literary tinkerers. 

To return to Wordsworth it may be said that lie affords 

the only instance of an author making a suggestion which 

was afterward fulfilled by a crime of the most horrible 

character. I refer to the following lines : 

"Swoet is the lore that nature brings, 
Our meddling intellect 
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things, 
We murder to dissect." 

The poet lived to read the trial of Burke and Hare 
for committing several murders, the victims being sold 
for dissection, and 1 need hardly add that the crime was 
expiated on the gallows. 

Robinson Crusoe and its Author. 
This is the only book of that date which has grown in 
popularity with the flight of time. Rousseau was so de- 
lighted with it that it was to form the sole library of 
Emile (Rousseau's perfectly educated young man), while 
Johnson said it was one of the small number of books 
of which he was never tired. The first edition was issued 
in 1719, and only six copies of the first volume are known 
to be in existence, two of which are in America. The 

180 Our Book. 

author was fifty-eight when it first appeared, and he sur- 
vived its publication only eleven years. The author of 
Robinson Crusoe was a strange combination of religion, 
trade, politics and imagination, who went througli the 
most varied experience ever connected with literature. 

Daniel De Foe was the son of a London butcher, and 
became a preacher. He was born more than two centu- 
ries ago, and as politics were more congenial than the pul- 
pit, he devoted himself to public questions, which he 
handled with great courage and power. He also was en- 
gaged in merchandise, but failed in a disastrous manner. 
He then became more radical in politics than ever, and 
was arrested for the severity of his attacks on the House 
of Commons. He was fined, and not only placed in the 
pillory, but imprisoned two years. None of these severi- 
ties, however, could abate his love of liberty. After he 
had reached his fifty-eighth year he wrote Eobinson 
Crusoe as an amusement. How strange that it should be 
the sole basis of his fame ! He issued two hundred and 
ten publications, and yet this is the only one that sur- 
vives. Dc Foe lived twelve years after the appearance 
of this work, and saw its popularity. He died in his 
seventieth year, a few months before the birth of Wash- 
ington — with whom he is wortlvy of mention in patri- 
otic connection. Dying insolvent, he left the follow- 
ing couplet as a picture of his life. 

" No man lias tasted different fortunes more, 
And thirteen times have I been rich and poor." 

Authors and Dogs. 
It is interesting to notice what power dogs have, in 
some cases, held over men of genius ! Hogarth was de- 
cidedly a canine amateur, and introduced this animal into 
his best works, including his own portrait. His com- 
panion in the latter is a bull-dog, which appears to have 


been his favorite breed. Turning from painters to au- 
thors, there is the case of Byron, who found in the death 
of " Boatswain " an early bereavement. The animal had 
a respectful burial, and was honored by a monument with 
the following inscription : 

" Near this spot 
Are deposited the remains of one 
Who possessed beauty without vanity, 

Strength without insolence, 

Courage without ferocity, 
And all the virtues of man without his vices. 
This praise, which would be unmeaning flattery 

If inscribed over human ashes, 

Is but a just tribute to the memory of 
Boatswain — a dog, 
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803, 
And died at Newstead Abbey, November 18, 1808." 

Byron built a vault for his dog and also for himself, 

including his faithful servant Joe Murray. He did not 

wish to be placed in the ancestral tomb in Hucknell 

church, and hence inserted the following clause in his 

will : 

"I desire that my body may be buried in the vault in the gar- 
den at Newstead, without any ceremony or funeral service, and no 
inscription except name and age. It is also my wish that my 
faithful dog may not be removed from said vault." 

His executors, however, did not obey this injunction, 
and the interment was in the family tomb. Joe Murray 
was buried elsewhere, and hence Boatswain lies " alone 
in his glory." Byron wrote an elegiac poem on the death 
of this favorite, part of which is as follows : 

" When some proud son of man returns to earth, 
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth ; 
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe, 
And storied urns record who rest below ; 
When all is done upon the tomb is seen, 
Not what he was, but what he should have been, 
But the poor dog, in life the warmest friend, 
The first to welcome and the foremost to defend; 
Whose honest heart is still his master's own; 
Who labors, fights, lives and breathes for him alone; 

1S2 . Our Book. 

Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth, 
Denied in heaven the soul he holds on earth; 
While man, vain insect, hopes to be forgiven, 
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven. 

" O man! thou feeble tenant of an hour, 
Debased by slavery or corrupt by power; 
Who knows thee well must quit thee in disgust; 
Degraded mass of animated dust; 
By nature vile, ennobled but by name, 
Each kindled brute might bid thee blush for shame." 

Scott and Maida. 

Lockhart says of Maida that lie was Scott's faithful 

friend, and the most celebrated of his dogs. After death 

this animal was honored with a Latin epitaph, which was 

engraven upon his monument thus: 

u Maida marmorea donnas sub imagine Maida, 
Ad januam domini sit tibi terra levis." 

These hexameters have been thus translated : 

" Beneath the sculptured form which late you wore 
Sleep soundly, Maida, at your master's door." 

Lockhart speaks of Maida as one of the noblest dogs 
that ever shared the fellowship of man. His portrait 
was frequently painted, and appears both in the pictures 
of Scott's oldest daughter Sophia, and also in that of the 
author himself. The latter also honored this beloved 
companion with a place in Woodstock under the name 
of Be vis. 

Going back to Homer, we find Telemachus recognized 
in the following manner when returning from his pro- 
tracted wanderings : 

il The prince's near approach the dogs descry, 
And fawning round his feet confess their joy." 

Suppressed Works. 
The most remarkable instance was the effort made by 
the German government to suppress Dr. Mackenzie's 

Suppressed Works. 183 

book concerning the treatment of the late emperor. In 
general literature may be mentioned Motley's first 
book called Morton's Hope. "When the author became 
known as an historian, he was ashamed of his early pro- 
duction, and carefully destroyed all the copies he could 
obtain. In the same manner James Fenimore Coopt r 
suppressed his first novel, which was called Precaution, 
and Whittier suppressed his glowing tribute to L. E. L. 

Dickens suppressed a comic opera, which was issued 
among his early productions. Byron tried to suppress 
that portion of his English Bards and Scotch Re viewers, 
which reflects so severely on "Walter Scott. He much 
regretted his severe and unwarrantable sarcasm, and apolo- 
gized to the author in a very candid manner. Scott sup- 
pressed his poem called the Battle of "Waterloo. It was 
hastily written, being for the benefit of the sufferers, and 
was so inferior as to be unworthy of preservation. 

Cowper had a still more bitter feeling concerning his 
John Gilpin. It got beyond his power, and therefore he 
could not suppress it ; but the memory of so comic a pro- 
duction added to the woe of that madness which for 
years threw its horrors over his soul. 

Washington Irving suppressed the satirical dedication 
of Knickerbocker History to the Historical Society. In 
his early days he wrote a piece of poetry — The Falls of 
the Passaic — which later on, he would have suppressed 
had it been in his power. Conscious that he was not a 
poet, he deeply regretted this production, which, however, 
was very clever in its day. 

Gibbon suppressed his first book Essai sur Vitude de 
la Literature. It had runout of print and the appear- 
ance of his history awoke curiosity for his early effort. 
The publisher desired to issue another edition but the 
author refused. He did not however, conceal his satis- 

184 Our Book. 

faction at seeing it sell as a curiosity, for six times the 
original price. 

Coming down to modern times a prominent New York 
house published the adventures of Arthur Gordon Pym 
from an English edition, supposing it to be a record of 
actual discovery ; but as soon as they learned that it was 
a tiction by the ingenious Edgar A. Poe, they suppressed 
the entire edition. 

The Suppressed Byron. 
Two books relating to Byron were suppressed, one 
being his personal memoirs — to which I shall make later 
reference — while the other was the Dallas collection of 
com spondence. Robert C. Dallas was a prominent litera- 
teur and, as his sister married Byron's uncle, this led to 
an acquaintance with the poet who found him useful in 
revising his early productions and seeing them through 
the press. Dallas superintended the publication, both of 
English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, and also Childe 
Harold, and as a token of gratitude Byron gave him the 
copyright of the latter which brought £4,000 — equal to 
$20,000. Dallas obtained Byron's correspondence with 
his mother, and also other family letters, and as soon as 
the poet died he announced his intention to publish them. 
It would certainly have been a sensational book and would 
have had large sale, but the family opposed any revela- 
tions of the dark scenes in the poet's life and obtained an 
injunction — much to the regret of London gossipers. 
Dallas however wrote a series of reminiscences of the 
poet, but it was a hurried work and did not satisfy 
the public. It may be added that Robert C. Dallas was 
uncle of the late G-eorge M. Dallas, vice-president under 

Suppressed Works. 185 

A third book on Byron which should have been sup- 
pressed, was Mrs. Stowe's alleged exposure. This was 
one of the greatest blunders ever committed by any author, 
and what a pity some good angel did not interfere. 

The first American Tale. 

Eoyal Tyler not only wrote the first American drama 
but also the first American tale — called the Algerine 
Captive. It went through two editions but is now almost 
unknown. It has no plot and the author's object seems 
to have been to show up the errors of the times and 
especially the disgrace in paying tribute to the Algerines 
for the privilege of sailing in the Mediterranean unmo- 
lested. It now seems almost incredible that the United 
States was ever subjected to this humiliation but such is 
history. Our government, however, eventually sent a 
squadron to Algiers under Decatur who soon taught that 
nation of pirates to respect our flag. The author pub- 
lished his book with a pen name and the title was as fol- 
lows : The Algerine Captive, or the life and adventures 
of Dr. Updike Underhill, six years a prisoner among the 
Algerines. The book was popular and Tyler perhaps would 
have pursued fiction, but the very next year — 1798 — 
Charles Brockden Brown's first novel appeared and this 
checked all rivalry. 

I have seen but one copy of the first edition of the Alge- 
rine Captive, and as the book is not to be found in the Astor 
Library it must be indeed rare. The print is very good and 
so is the paper, and it is highly probable that this was an un- 
usually elegant effort of typographical art. The chapters 
are short and are garnished with those poetic captions which 
once were in common use but are now discontinued. 

The book is autobiographical, and the author tells of 
his early life in New England, and then gives his expert 

186 Ouit Book. 

ence as a school-master, boarding 'round and taking 
pay in barter. He then becomes a physician and attempts 
practice in a small village, where the medical faculty com- 
prised the cheap doctor, the learned doctor, the safe doc- 
tor and the musical doctor. The author received so 
small an amount of patronage under this rivalry that he 
determined to go south, and on reaching Philadelphia 
called on Franklin, who received him with much kind- 
ness. In this connection the author gives some of those 
anecdotes of the great philosopher which have been gen- 
erally copied but are original here. From Philadelphia 
the author journeys to Fredericksburg, but finding no 
encouragement sails for London as a ship surgeon, and 
while there he meets Thomas Paine, of whom he gives a 
very neat pen picture. 

On July 18, 1788, the author sails in the ship Sympa- 
thy for Africa, the object being to bring a cargo of slaves 
to South Carolina. The reader will understand that the 
name of the vessel is in itself a satire, the author s object 
being to expose some of the horrors of the slave trade. 
They reach the slave coast and take in a cargo, but he, 
with some others who remain too long on shore, are cap- 
tured by a Moorish privateer and carried to Algiers, 
where by way of retribution they are made slaves. It may 
be said that the Algerine Captive, being the first Ameri- 
can fiction, is a very creditable beginning of a specialty 
which now seems almost boundless. The author portrays 
life as he found it, and if his followers in fiction have ex- 
celled him they certainly have had a broader field. The de- 
velopment of society, indeed, is fully equal with all advance 
in literature. 

Walpole Wits. 

Could Horace "Walpole have designated the character of 
the New Hampshire village which should bear the family 

Walpole Wits. 187 

name he could hardly have been more felicitous. How 
strange it now seems that Walpole should have been one 
of the most important literary centers ! This was at the 
beginning of the present century, but still it is worthy of 
remembrance. Isaiah Thomas was a printer at that place, 
and though he afterward concentrated his efforts at Wor- 
cester he did some of his best work in Walpole, and his 
Farmers' Museum was the ablest periodical of its day. 
It contained the brilliant contributions of Royal Tyler, 
and also of Joseph Dennie, who afterward became the 
editor of the Portfolio, which was the best thing of the 
kind on the entire continent. 

It is no small distinction to Walpole that the first 
American fiction should have been published there, and 
the Algerine Captive was followed by a volume of Den- 
nie's Essays. During the publication of the Farmers' 
Museum Walpole attracted the attention of the literary 
world, but hard times killed the Museum, and then Royal 
Tyler devoted himself to law, and reached a high posi- 
tion in the judiciary of Yermont. 

It may be added that Walpole not only produced the 
first American fiction, but that it was the birthplace of 
the first American author who appeared in English lit- 
erature after the revolution. I allude to Thomas Fes- 
sen den, who was one of the Walpole wits, but afterward 
visited London, where he published, in 1804, a satire 
which went through two editions, and was reprinted in 
New York. It appeared under the pen name of Christo- 
pher Caustic, F. R. S., LL. D. and A. S. S., and was one 
of the best things of that day. 

Clergymen and their Titles. 
The hit which Christopher Caustic makes at titles 
shows that even in his time the ridiculous nature of this 

188 Ouk Book. 

mania was apparent. Had Christopher Caustic, however, 
lived in the present age how much more intense would 
have been his sarcasm 1 The mania indeed has increased 
to a degree which often awakens contempt, and if the 
clergy and others, who are so proudly displaying their 
titles, could see how this appears to others it certainly 
would do them no harm. Perhaps, Mr. D. D. and LL. D., 
it might at least induce you to omit the title occasionally. 

This leads me to say that no class is so tenacious on 
this point as the clergy. Horace Greeley, Charles O'Conor, 
Secretary of War Stanton and Wasiiington Irving, 
each received LL. D., and yet who ever beheld it tacked 
to their names? Such men have too much self-conscious- 
ness to permit this display. Our clergy, however, gen- 
erally parade every additional title in the most showy 
manner — first D. D., then LL. D., then D. C. L., and 
all others that they may obtain. These titles they exact 
when their names are put in print, and the result is that 
the religious papers are studded with D. D. and LL. D. 
to a degree that is often disgusting. The editors, how- 
ever, know that an omission of title would give offense. 

A young clergyman, who was preaching at a rural 
resort during his outing, said to a friend of mine when 
they posted a notice of the meeting : " Make it doctor. 
It may attract more." This man could not forego his 
title even for one evening. Another instance of the same 
kind is as follows: The writer of this once addressed a 
young clergyman as plain " Mr.," when the person ad- 
dressed drew back with an appearance of offended dignity 
and said " doctor, if you please, sir." I am not, however, 
in the habit of giving flattering titles to any one, and I 
can only regret that my clerical brethren show so little 
self- consciousness of their great work as to think they can 
really be honored in this manner. 

Clergymen and their Titles. 1S9 

The clergy, however, are but human, and yet true 
humanity rises far above such petty vanity. See how- 
much greater "William Pitt" sounds than any title 
belonging to the peerage. As prime minister he ruled 
Great Britain, but he never desired to be aught else than 
Mr. Pitt. How grand also does "Mr. Gladstone" ap- 
pear — retaining this simplicity among the titled ranks of 
the British aristocracy. 

In speaking of the mania of the clergy some excep- 
tions are to be noticed. The learned commentator Barries 
declined it, and so have other distinguished preachers, 
thus leaving an example worthy of imitation. 

One of the evil results of clerical titles is the discon- 
tent among those whose ambition has long been fixed on 
this attainment, and in some instances the practice has 
been as Shakespeare says : " assume a virtue if you have 
it not." Men have boldly attached the D. D. to their 
names without waiting for the slow movements of colleges, 
and I have even seen it engraved on a door-plate by one 
who had assumed it in this manner. This also explains 
the pressure on college trustees by solicitous applicants — 
or their friends — who, after all their wire-pulling, are 
often disappointed. The editor of a New York religions 
paper was once called on by a rural pastor who requested 
him, in mailing his paper, to address it to " Dr." instead 
of '*' Mr.," and the editor naturally inquired what college 
had conferred the honor. " Oh, none," was the reply, 
"but it's a way my people are getting into of calling 
me." He really meant it was a way which he desired 
they should be led to adopt. 

The degree business has become so extensive that it is 
now classified. When a clergyman parades his D. D. the 
question is often asked, " where did he get it? " and then 
will come the estimate of its rank. Harvard stands first, 

190 Ocr Book. 

Yale next, and after these come the colleges of more. 

recent date. " Yes," was the remark made concerning a 

preacher who flourished one of these titles, " true, he's a 

D. D., but he only got it from a western college." Hev. 

Henry K wrote thus to a catalogue maker : 

My degree (D. D.) was conferred by Harvard. In the catalogue 

you mention College. It proceeds from an institution that 

is less profuse in its degrees than the younger colleges. You 
may therefore make the alteration. 

What an example of gospel humility. 

The colored congregations have caught the same itch, 
and it was said by a man on his return from the south 
that he had been shaved by a doctor of divinity, while 
another blackened his boots and a third waited on him at 
table. The colored people are determined their preachers 
shall be doctors, however humble may be their secular 
employment, thus emulating that display which they see 
so dearly coveted by their white brethren. Perhaps this 
mania may yet inspire another " Christopher Caustic." 

Penalty of Success. 
This is jealousy and hate. Poe sneered at Longfellow, 
and Irving endured the spite of another American 
writer. Wordsworth was jealous of Byron, but a 
more impressive instance is found in Pope, for the reason 
that he was the first writer that made literature profita- 
ble. This was sufficient to occasion the attack of the 
starving horde of Grnb street, which employed every 
method of expressing hate — as he says in the Prologue 
to the Satires: 

The tale revived — the lie so oft overthrown, 
The imputed trash, the dullness not his own; 
The moral, blackened when the writings 'scape, 
The libell'd person and the pictured shape; 
Abuse on all he loved, or loved him spread, 
A friend in exile or a father dead. 

A sample of these libels is found in Gildon's statement 

Penalty of Success. 191 

concerning the envied and hated poet: "His origin is 

not from Adam but the devil, and he wanted nothing but 

horns to be the exact resemblance of his infernal father." 

John Dennis, wrote as follows : 

Wli at rare members are here! Would not one swear that this 
youngster had espoused some antiquated muse who has got the 
gout in her decrepid age, which makes him hobble so damnably. 

In another place he thus describes Pope : 

A young squat, short gentleman whose outward form, though 
it should be that of a downright monkey, would not differ so 
much from the human shape as his unthinking immaterial part 
does from human understanding. 

Smedley says : " He will do well to escape with his 

life, and adds a desire that he would hang himself or cat 

his throat," while a number of small wits issued a satire 

called the Popiad, which contained a full measure of 

insult. No wonder this incessant fire awoke the severest 

vengeance of which the galled poet was capable, and the 

result was the Dunciad which as has been mentioned was 

published anonymously and in Dublin in order to distract 

public attention from the author. As soon as the latter 

found himself free from what he calls " the threats of 

vengeance on his head," he took great delight in this 

satire, which he published in London in an enlarged 

edition. To this he thus refers in his Prologue to the 

Satires : 

Out with it Dunciad. Let the secret pass 
The secret to each fool that he's an ass. 

John Dennis, who was one of Pope's worst assailants, 

afterward became old, blind, and so poor as to be an 

object of charity, and Pope then assisted him, as he says 

in one of his poems : 

Dennis will confess 
Foe to his pride, but friend to his distress. 

Pope's generosity in forgiving Dennis and assisting 
him is one of the most beautiful traits in his character. 

192 Our Book. 

In 1733, a benefit was given to Dennis at one of the 

theaters and the prologue, written by Pope is rich in 

sympathy. Having compared the unfortunate critic to 

Belisarius, he thus refers to his opposition to the foreign 

drama : 

Such, such emotions, should in Britons rise 
When pressed by want and weakness, Dennis lies, 
Dennis who long had warred with modern Huns 
Their quibbles routed and defied their puns, 
Stood up to dasli each vain pretender's hope, 
Maul the French tyrant or pull down the pope. 

One cannot but notice in the closing line a pardonable 
pun, leaving a question which Pope he desired to pull 

Literary Friendships. 

A painful lesson found in the history of Pope is the 
brevity and uncertainty of literary friendships. During 
his youth he was intimate with Wycherley, who submitted 
his verses to the young poet for correction, but this early 
intimacy resulted in a quarrel. Later on he was on 
friendly terms with Addison, and his Messiah first 
appeared in the Spectator. He also wrote the prologue 
for Addison's Cato, but this harmony was soon broken, 
Addison no doubt being in fault, and Pope then made 
his former friend the subject of one of the keenest satires 
in the language. Pope was at one time an admirer of 
Lady Mary Wortley Montague, with whom he maintained 
a correspondence, and he afterward induced her to reside 
at Twickenham, but a quarrel occurred and he gave vent to 
his irritability in a lampoon which was unworthy of him. 

Pope's long intimacy with Bolingbroke also ended in a 
rupture, and it is said that the latter hired Mallett to tra- 
duce the poet even after the grave forbade a reply. The 
only one of Pope's literary friendships that escaped rup- 
ture was with Swift, and no doubt the reason is found in 
their wide separation. Swift lived in Dublin and Pope 

Dormant Literature. 193 

in London, and this was a safe distance. Pope knew 
Swift's influence and dedicated the Dunciad to him, no 
doubt as a method of conciliation, and Swift readily saw 
that peace with such a man was the wisest policy. Hence 
these two greatest satirists of the age never crossed swords. 

As a feature in literary history Pope connects the comic 
dramatists of the restoration with Johnson and his early 
associates, who counted it a matter of note to have even 
caught a glimpse of the great satirist when carried in his 
sedan chair through the streets of London — as was said 
in classic days : " Virgilium vidl ipsi" 

Rogers says in his Table Talk : " When I first began 
to publish, I got acquainted with an elderly person named 
Lawless, who was in the book trade. lie told me that he 
was once walking through Twickenham, accompanied by 
a little boy, and on the approach of a very diminutive, 
misshapen and shabbily-dressed person, the child drew 
back, half afraid. ' Don't be alarmed,' I said, 'it is only 
some poor old man.' ' A poor old man,' exclaimed one 
who overheard me, * why that is Mr. Alexander Pope.' " 

Dormant Literature. 
It is surprising to notice the length of time a work may 
lay in manuscript. I have already referred to Lord Her- 
bert's Memoirs, which were printed one hundred and six- 
teen years after the death of the author. Pepys' Diary 
was published one hundred and twenty-two years after 
his death, and to this may be added one of Wycliffe's 
tracts, which first appeared in print in 1840, having lain 
in utter neglect four hundred and forty-four years. It 
is called the Last Age of the Church, and is a prediction 
of the speedy approach of the day of judgment, based on 
the pestilence which had so recently ravaged Europe. 
Like many others who have attempted this feature in 

19± Our Book. 

prophecy, Wy cliff e made a signal failure, and we may 
rest assured " the end is not yet." 

Another instance is found in the Minutes of the Tryon 
County Committee, which lay in manuscript for more 
than a century, when they were published by that inde- 
fatigable antiquary and historian, J. R. Simms. They 
are of great value as proof of the patriotism of the Mo- 
hawk valley during the revolution, and form the most im- 
portant feature in the historical collection of the Frcy 
family. I mention these instances because they occurred 
since the invention of printing — previous to which all 
literature was in manuscript. 

In this connection I may also refer to the vast amount 
of books which utterly fail of publication. How many 
histories, essays, poems and works of fiction have been 
rejected by booksellers and died before birth. 

The most striking instance of this kind is found in 
Cotton Mather's Illustrations of the Scripture, now in 
the Massachusetts Historical Society. It forms six vol- 
umes of closely written manuscript and has waited more 
than a century and a half for a publisher. Reader, do 
not complain if you are called to share a similar fate. 

Books of even great merit have died — or, what is the 
same thing, have sunk hopelessly out of sight through 
change of taste. Look for instance at Young's Night 
Thoughts — the most impressive poem of the eighteenth 
century. What a sensation it created ! Martha Laurens 
committed it to memory, and the eloquent President Nott 
was wont to enrich his discourses with its tremendous 
thoughts — but who hears of it now? This once famous 
author indeed only reminds us of one of his own lines, 
Poor pensioner on the bounties of an hour. 

Cheerful Authors. 
In order to produce good books, the writers should be 

Cheerful Authors. 195 

in healthy, if not a buoyant, condition. Much that is 
pernicious in Byron may be ascribed to his morbid frame. 
Poe's painful tales were no doubt born of that gloom 
which so often obscured his genius. Dickens, on the 
other hand, was cheerful, notwithstanding his domestic 
troubles. Irving was remarkably cheerful. Occasionally, 
however, he had long spells of disinclination to writing, 
and he never used his pen till a genial mood returned. 
The cheerfulness, both of Dickens and Irving, was no 
doubt chiefly due to their excellent bodily health, and also 
to their financial success. The same remark will apply 
to Robert Southey, who was one of the most voluminous 
writers of his day. He was of a cheerful turn, and bore 
the burdens of life with great patience. 

Our melancholy authors, such as Dr. Johnson and Cow- 
per, were chronic invalids, and much of Pope's bitterness 
may be ascribed to his infirmities. He spoke a volume 
of painful experience when he called his life " a long dis- 
ease," and the wonder which many feel is that so frail a 
frame could endure such laborious application. 

Johnson's mental disease led him to impress the follow- 
ing lesson on all who seek divine mercy : 

Pour forth thy fervors for a healthy mind, 
Obedient passions and a will resigned. 

Tom Hood, who died too soon, is almost the only in- 
stance of a humorous writer w r ho was obliged to contend 
with incessant physical suffering. Speaking of Southey, 
who labored till he was an old man, we note the contrast 
between him and his brother-in-law Coleridge, a large part 
of whose writings suggest a dark undercurrent of misery — 
the utterance of a blighted life, and genius paralyzed by 
an intoxicating drug. 

Wordsworth gives us several very fine illustrations of 
cheerfulness amid age and poverty. One of these is his 

100 Our Book. 

friend Mathew and another is the old leech gatherer of 
the moor. The last occurs in his poem called Resolution 
and Independence, and reader, I have thought that this 
title is worthy of your adoption as a rule of life. 

There exists in many gifted youth before they pass what 
may be termed the vealy state, a tendency to diseased imagi- 
nation, which finds utterance in melancholy verse. Even 
Keats felt the danger of such an influence, and how pain- 
fully does he refer to himself in the preface to Endy- 
mion : " The imagination of a boy is healthy and the ma- 
ture imagination of a man is healthy, but there is a space 
of life between in which the soul is in a ferment, the 
character undecided and the way of life uncertain, and 
thence proceeds mawkishness and all the thousand bitters 
which those must taste who go over the following pages." 

Reader, if you pursue literature, let mental health be 
maintained. It is a great mistake to imagine sickly sen- 
timentality to be a mark of genius. 

Stay-at- home Tourists. 

Samuel Purchas was a London clergyman who never 
left the shores of England. He had a great desire to see 
foreign parts, but being unable to do so, he traveled by 
the use of such authorities as were accessible. The study 
of foreign lands through other men's narratives, formed 
the amusement of his life, and led him to write his Pil- 
grimage. The last volume was published only three years 
before his death, which took place in 1628. 

Pnrchas'Pilgrimage has some points of peculiar interest, 
one of which is that it was while Coleridge was reading it 
that he had that strange series of visions called Kubla Khan. 
Purchas set a good example, and it has been followed by 
a vast number of stay-at-home tourists, who enjoy foreign 
scenes without the sufferings and dangers that accompany 

Scott and Napoleon. 197 

travel. His Pilgrimage is now one of the curiosities of 

Scott and Napoleon. 

The fate of this pair of gifted men is recalled by the fact 
that the 15th August is their birthday, Scott being the 
younger by two years. Each possessed immense brain power 
with sufficient physical strength to sustain it. It is not easy 
to establish a table of proportions which will illustrate the 
varied endowment of this nature. Some persons are 
reckoned to have a ten-man power, while others are 
reckoned as high as one hundred. These statements are 
highly suggestive, but they are of a general nature, and 
cannot be reduced to figures. But if we have, as a given 
point, perception, judgment, energy, courage and intel- 
lectual gifts generally sufficient to endow ten men, all con- 
centrated in one strong body and fixed on one great pur- 
pose, a proportionate decree of mastery must be obtained. 
Let the rate of concentration be increased and the con- 
quest will be greater, but when these powers give way 
the collapse will be in proportion. Thus was it with the 
pair referred to, both having been vastly elevated above 
their race in the scale which I have mentioned, and hence 
the points of resemblance, as well as those of contrast, 
are striking and instructive. 

His famous Utterances. 
Napoleon, though not utterly destitute of imagination, 
made no display of it. Those grandiloquent speeches 
which writers enjoying his patronage put into his mouth, 
are fine in point of sound, but really mean nothing. On 
the Alps it is " The eagle your guide," while at the pyra- 
mids it is " Soldiers, forty centuries are looking down 
upon you." These are pretty utterances, but are not 
true to nature, though they are true to French rhetoric. 

198 Our Book. 

Napoleon may have encouraged this publication for effect, 
just as he is said to have had dispatches written for the 
occasion, describing the tactics at certain victories. For 
instance, it is now affirmed that the description of the 
echelon movement which decided the day at Marengo was 
an after-thought neatly described by an accomplished 

It may be remarked that successful military leaders are 
seldom imaginative, Washington, Wellington, Grant and 
Sheridan being examples. Still an imaginative man may 
be a good soldier, as is shown by Korner and others of 
modern days, as well as by the troubadours of chivalry. 
Scott would have made a good soldier had he been put 
into mounted service, for his lame leg forbade any other. 
While visiting Paris after the battle of Waterloo the czar 
of Russia, to whom he was presented, mistook him for a 
wounded veteran, and asked him where he received his hurt. 

The principal difference between these giants was that 
the one marshalled men in the field while the other mar- 
shalled them to the imagination. The one subjugated na- 
tions by the power of the sword, the other subjugated ihe 
world of literature by the power of the pen. Both were 
bold in their plans, even to temerity, and by assuming 
unparalleled risks came to ruin. Bonaparte reached su- 
preme power at an earlier time in life than Scott, but 
sooner reached his collapse, and in point of age died much 
earlier; but their reigns were about the same in duration, 
the extent being nearly twent} 7 years. 

Napoleon was autocrat of France as soon as he returned 
from Egypt, and Scott was at the head of literature from 
the date of the Lady of the Lake until three years be- 
fore he died. Abbottsford was a throne occupied by con- 
quering genius, and even the house in Edinburgh was 
also worthv of that name. One of the most devout of 

Scott and Napoleon. 199 

all admiring subjects — -himself a genius — confesses 
standing by the hour near the latter watching for a 
glimpse of Sir Walter. This man was Hugh Miller, who 
was then a poor stone cutter, and who thus bore his trib- 
ute to the great. 

Their schemes were not dissimilar — family aggran- 
dizement being the main idea. Napoleon exalted each of 
his brothers and also his brothers-in-law, while Scott ob- 
tained a commission in the army both for his son and his 
brother, together with a berth in the civil service for his 
other son, and if there had been a score of additional 
dependants they might have been promoted. In point of 
self-confidence there was great similarity. Napoleon 
never permitted defeat to form a part of his plans, and 
when the fatal invasion of Russia was 'projected here- 
fused to listen to expostulation. Thus also with Scott — 
failure never seemed possible. He had won success like 
that of enchantment, and one of his last acts before in- 
solvency was to add another tract of land to his enor- 
mous estate. Failure came on both in the midst of most 
dazzling success. 

While death held its way around them, each seemed 
expectant to live forever. The soldier marched over the 
ruins of kingdoms, while the author summoned the dead 
to new life on his page, but each of them was planning 
schemes of the most evanescent character. How strange 
it seems that men of such penetration should only follow 
the general crowd in the old experience of human destiny. 
Both had the empty show of great success, and both 
fought well against their fate, but having begun wrong, 
their first error gathered strength with time until it led 
to hopeless ruin. 


Each of these men, though thoroughly worldly, showed 

200 Our Book. 

at times the power of conscience. After Napoleon had 
been banished to St. Helena, and had time for reflection, 
the murder of the Due D'Enghien, which is the greatest 
stain on his character, seemed to awaken distress, and he 
frequently sought to extenuate the crime. In like man- 
ner Scott's hours of misfortune were harrowed by 
the remembrance of his anger against his miserable 
brother Daniel to whom I shall refer hereafter. 

Scott like Napoleon was insatiably ambitious and even 
before Abbottsford was occupied he planned a still greater 
elevation. Lockhart thus speaks of a memorable night 
when he accompanied the author to the tower — the build- 
ing being then unfinished. 

Nothing could ba more lovely than the panorama; the Tweed 
winding and sparkling beneath our feet and the distant ruins of 
Melrose appearing in the delicious moonlight as if carved out of 
alabaster. The poet leaning over the battlement seemed to hang 
over the beautiful vision as if he had never seen it before. "If 
I live," he exclaimed, "I will build me a higher cower and a 
more spacious platform." 

In this utterance one beholds the same ambition, which 

under another form of development, led the Corsican to 

Wade through slaughter to a throne, 
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind. 

Napoleon probably had little moral education. A 
Corsican home could have offered but few advantages, 
and at seventeen he was a cadet at a military school. But 
little was to be expected of one trained to a military life 
at a time of such general violence. Scott on the other 
hand was educated in a land of piety, and the influences 
which surrounded his childhood were of a purifying and 
elevating character. Hence more is to be expected of 
him, nor is it expected in vain. He was morally superior, 
and that too in a very great degree. 

Domestic life is one of the great cultivators of the 

Johnson. 201 

heart. This Scott possessed, but not Napoleon. The 
latter was childless and almost homeless, for what home 
is there in palaces and camps? It is remarkable that 
after Napoleon was banished to St. Helena he foimd in 
the society of the English family at the "Briars" a new 
experience — domestic life. A bouncing girl used to sit 
on his lap, pull his ears and greet him with her tiny 
k isses, and thus developed those feelings which are iden- 
tified with home life. I have called Napoleon " childless." 
True, he had a son, but he was then engrossed with war. 
Before the babe was a year old the invasion of Russia 
began, and during the ensuing troubles the queen fled to 
her father, and Napoleon never again saw mother or child. 

Contrast of Burial. 

The burial of Napoleon in Paris in 1840 was one of 
the grandest pageants which that city ever saw, and such 
was its imposing character that it was presented as a 
dramatic spectacle on the boards of the Bowery Theater. 
Amid the thunders of artillery and the gaze of thousands 
who were entranced by the majesty of the scene the 
grand array of veterans laid the dead emperor in Les 
Invalides. The funeral of Sir Walter Scott, on the con- 
trary, was simple in the extreme, although the attendance 
was great, the procession of carriages being a mile in 
length. The old servants of the family asked the privi- 
lege of bearing the remains, and it was granted them. 
They bore the coffin to the hearse, and from the hearse 
to the grave, and amid the mourning multitude it was 
laid by the side of his wife in Dryburgh Abbey. It will 
be some time before the 15th of August will give the 
world an equal pair. 

Samuel Johnson. 

This once popular author has not been much read since 

202 Our Book. 

his death — which took place more than a century ago — 
and he is now chiefly known through Boswell, who is also 
falling out of notice. In fact, Johnson is now little bel- 
ter than a tradition of genius, learning and sorrow. His 
prose died soon after its author, and of his poetry all that 
is held in common parlance is a couplet on the Vanity of 
Human Wishes. Hence had it not been for Boswell, the 
lexicographer might have been utterly forgotten. 

Boswell was the Johnsonian chatterbox, and though a 
respectable lawyer, was in some points the weakest man 
ever immortalized in literature, but at the same time he 
was the best biographer the world ever saw. He was de- 
termined at the beginning of his acquaintance with John- 
son to allow nothing to break their friendship. This, in- 
deed, was his chief capital as a society man, and hence he 
submitted to Johnson's irritable and overbearing temper. 
The gratification of his vanity compensated for occasional 
humiliation, and he repaid his surly friend with such ad- 
ulation that it conquered rudeness — as Milton says : 

Smoothing the raven down 
Of darkness till it smiled. 

Boswell was only twenty-three when he first met the 
great author. He went to London with a desire to see 
u Dictionary Johnson," and their friendship was begun 
with that sacrifice of nationality which renders the biog- 
rapher contemptible. He knew that Johnson disliked the 
Scotch, and hence, when the desired introduction was 
about to take place he said, " Don't tell him where I come 
from." The friend, however, roguishly added, " from 
Scotland." Boswell replied, " Mr. Johnson, I do come 
from Scotland, but I can't help it." How utterly un- 
worthy he tlms proved himself of that noble nation ! 

Johnson was then fifty-five. After the much-desired 
acquaintance had been formed, Boswell made the tour of 

Johnson. 203 

Europe and then established himself in his profession at 
Edinburgh. He soon cherished the purpose of writing 
Johnson's life, and by adroit toadying became a special 
favorite. He visited London as often as possible, and 
made the most of his opportunity of seeing Johnson, tak- 
ing notes of all that was said and done in such reunions- 

On close examination it is found that Boswell's visits 
to London during the twenty-one years which elapsed 
prior to Johnson's death, made an aggregate of two hun- 
dred and seventy-six days, and yet the personal interest 
is kept up so vividly that it seems as though he was there 
most of the time. This is done by interweaving anec- 
dotes obtained from others, and also by letters and de- 
lightful gossip, such as are found in no other volume. 

After ten years' acquaintance, he announced his inten- 
tion of writing the biography, but eleven additional years 
elapsed before Johnson's death rendered the task practi- 
cable. Seven years more were occupied in getting the 
work before the public, and Bos well was then fifty -one. 
Only live years were added for the enjoyment of his suc- 

Boswel'l considered his greatest achievement, next to 
the biography, to be the tour to the Hebrides. While 
Johnson was in such demand in London, Boswell was de- 
lighted to think he had captured him, and carried him 
through Scotland, w T here they beheld the rudest as well 
as most cultivated society. This journey seems the more 
surprising when one considers Johnson's bitter hatred of 
the Scotch, in almost every point of view. Boswell's 
narrative of the tour is now obsolete, and yet it was once 
thought interesting, as it gave Johnson's sayings and do- 
ings, many of which were highly grotesque. While walk- 
ing along a crooked street in Edinburgh after nightfall, 
Boswell (who was in front) inquired : " Doctor, can you 

204 Our Book. 

find your way?" "Keep on," was the reply, "I can 
smell you in the dark." 

Some Pictures. 

Boswell gives us the picture of a huge, clumsy pedant, 
whose early days had been passed in poverty of a pain- 
ful character. Poverty in youth, poverty at the univer- 
sity and poverty in married life until he had reached fifty, 
when his pen yielded a respectable support. His parents 
kept a petty bookstore in Litchfield, but the profits were 
too small to raise them above meagre poverty. He says 
himself that he was a miserable babe, infected with 
scrofula, and he mentions that one of his relatives said 
he would not have picked up such a child from the 

Another aspect is the poverty-stricken student leaving 
the university, when we see him in his twenty -seventh 
year marrying the widow Porter, who was forty-eight. 
Notwithstanding this unusual discrepancy, they were 
deeply attached, and after her death he remained a wid- 
ower. Then we see this newly-married pair opening a 
boarding school, which soon failed, and after which they 
started for London to try their chances in a great city. 

From his twenty-ninth to his forty-fifth year Johnson 

led the life of a bohemian, suffering extremes of want, 

such as are suggested by some of his poems, which are 

always deep-toned and melancholy. Of this time of 

misery no record is left, but enough is known to show 

that he keenly felt the truth of his own lines. 

Still is this mournful truth contest 
Slow rises worth by poverty represt, 

Under these circumstances his wife died, and it always 
seemed an additional grief that she could not have lived 
to share even that moderate prosperity which he enjoyed 
after he became distinguished as " Dictionary Johnson." 

Johnson. 205 

Looking again at Boswell's picture we see Johnson in 
his widower establishment, which included two women 
and a servant. One of the former was a poverty-stricken 
daughter of a family friend, and the other (Mrs. Wil- 
liams), in addition to poverty, suffered from blindness. 
Connected with this establishment was the poor physician, 
Levett, who had rooms and a living and was deeply be- 
loved and tenderly mourned by his patron. 

His social Lite. 
A more agreeable feature is the social side of Johnson's 
life, including his literary friendships and the famous 
club of which he was the leader — where Burke, Gold 
smith and Reynolds were among his admirers. Boswell 
also opens us to the palatial abode of Thrale, where John- 
6on is the lion of many a social scene, though Mrs. Thrale 
often chafes under his rude speech and clumsy maimers. 
Here it is that Boswell seems in his element, since it en- 
ables him to indulge in that gossip which is his delight. 
Then the picture changes. Thrale dies, and an alienation 
between his widow and the author is the natural result. 
How t sad seems the utterance of the latter : " I went to 
Streatham, but there was no Thrale." 

Mortality of "Fkiekds. 
As Johnson advanced in life his best friends were re- 
moved by death, awakening many a touching lament. 
In addition to the loss of Thrale may be mentioned the 
death both of Garrick and Goldsmith, and also poor, 
blind Mrs. Williams. To these was added the loss of 
Levett, the physician of the poor, whose death was so 
deeply felt that it awoke a poetic tribute. Along with 
this record of mortality one is led to notice Johnson's 
prolonged and incurable fear of death, which at last 
shrouded him with gloom. This was partially due to his 

206 Ouk Book. 

natural melancholy and partially to the dark and errone- 
ous nature of his religion. 

As he grew old his constitution failed and the dropsy 
set in. His fear of death intensified the misery of his 
condition, and thinking his surgeon too reluctant in 
using the knife, he exclaimed : " You fear to give me 
pain, for which I care little. It is life that 1 want." 
Carrying out this idea he actually opened one of his 
bloated limbs, hoping to find relief, and when this was 
discovered, he said: "I would give one of these legs for 
a year or more of comfortable life." 

A few days before his death, at the urgent request of 
a friend, he made his will, leaving an annuity to his faith- 
ful servant, Francis Barber, to whom he said : " Francis, 
remember yon have a soul to save." He also gave his 
physician an injunction to " remember his need of a Sav- 
iour." On the 13th of December, 1784, a number of his 
friends were present, and they all saw that dissolution 
was momently expected. A young lady called and asked 
the dying man's blessing, and he feebly replied, " God 
bless you ! " soon after which he expired, being then in 
his seven ty-sixth year. His death made a deep sensation 
in London, and the interment was in Westminster Abbey. 

His Works. 

No one now is expected to read Johnson, but every one 
should know something of him who held such distinction 
in the literary world a century ago. 11 is Rambler is a 
collection of heavy essays. His tragedy of Irene, though 
its publication brought some profit, proved a failure when 
presented on the stage by Garrick, and is now forgotten. 
His Lives of the Poets is interesting only to those who 
wish to make literary research. His dictionary is super- 
seded. His poems, though powerful, are unattractive. 


His Rasselas is full of wisdom, but is exceedingly dull, 
and even his criticisms on Shakespeare, v/liic'i are his best 
productions, are little known. His Latinized style was 
very injurious because it was imitated by those who could 
not equal its power, and it did much to impair the influ- 
ence which Addison had so admirably exerted. 

Notwithstanding all this, however, Johnson made a 
beneficial as well as an enduring mark on the literary 
world. He was the first man that rose from the lowest 
conditions of bohemian life to the front rank of society 
solely by learning and ability, and was indeed the first 
writer that made the British public feel that genius was 
higher than rank, an instance of which is found in his 
letters to Lord Chesterfield. His dictionary, the work of 
eight years, was the first that was worthy of a name, and 
it prepared the way for greater efforts. 


There is a noticeable parallel between these two authors, 
both of whom prosecuted through the best part of their 
lives a great task, which they were allowed to finish, and 
then died, after brief fruition. The two most important 
publications of the London press during the last part of 
the eighteenth century were Gibbon's Rome and BoswelFs 
Johnson. The first was issued in 1788, and the latter 
three years afterward — each author being then fifty- 
one. Both died in London — Gibbon being fifty-seven 
and Boswell a year younger. 

Those who read Boswell's Johnson, must, in order to 
appreciate the work, enter fully into that man-worship 
with which it is imbued. The sole idea seems to be, 
" Johnson is great, and Boswell is his prophet." To 
properly read such a work, one must remember that there 
can be no trifle so small that the name of Johnson does 

208 Our Book. 

not make it important. Those who take this view of the 
subject find Eoswell's Johnson one of the most delightful 
biographies in the world. 

Boswell's lottery Ticket. 
One of Boswell's weaknesses was a love of lottery gam- 
ing. While preparing the biography for the press, he 
was much in need of money, and this led him to try the 
chances of a prize, but he was grievously disappointed. 
This was the more annoying, since a ticket bought in the 
same office the same day and for the same price, drew 
£5,000. Boswell wrote the following account to Malone, 
the Shakespearian critic, dated February 10, 1791 : 

I bought my ticket at Nicholson's, and paid £16 8s for it. 
That very evening I learned from an advertisement that a ticket 
sold at the same office for £16 8s had drawn £5,000. The number was 
mentioned in the advertisement. I had sealed up my own num- 
ber without looking at it, for I had resolved not to know what it 
was until after the drawing, in order to avoid any shock at a blank. 
This advertisement made me highly elated, but on opening the 
envelope I saw that mine w T as not the lucky number. O, could I 
get but a few thousands on a credit for a few years, what a differ- 
ence would it make on my state of mind. I am sorry to add that 
your own ticket has also drawn a blank. 

Boswell had invested a sum equal to $120, while Ma- 
lone's ticket cost half as much. Neither of them was in 
a condition to lose, and yet their funds went to swell the 
profits of the dealers, and this has been the common fate 
of all who pursue gaming in any shape. 

Reader, having thus briefly viewed the conflicts and 
the sorrows of educated genius, let us now by way of 
contrast ramble through the leading incidents in the life 
of the peasant bard. His birthday was January 25, 1759 
— when as he says : " 't was then a blast of Jan war win, 
blew hansel on Robin." This occurred in a clay-built 
cottage at Alloway. Passing on to his sixth year he was 

Burns. 209 

sent with his brother Gilbert to a neighboring school. 
He says " the earliest compositions in which I took 
pleasure were the Yision of Mirza, and the hymn by the 
same writer, How are Thy Servants Blest, O Lord. The 
first two books I ever read were the Life of Hannibal 
and the Life of Sir William Wallace." 

His mind was at this time imbued with the witch-lore 
of the country to such a degree that as he says " he could 
not for many years afterward move about at night with- 
out keeping a sharp lookout in suspicious places." 


Robin, who has already made some rhymes, becomes 
ploughman on his father's farm and falls in love with a 
lass who assisted in reaping, in whose praise he writes his 
first song, beginning O Once I Loved a Bonny Lass. 

The farm proves unprofitable and the family is obliged 
to seek another place. Burns writes My Father was a 
Farmer and It was on Lammas Night. He now read 
some reputable authors, which gave him an idea of the 
world of literature. 


His brother Gilbert says this was the happiest year in 
the record of the family, which included the two brothers, 
their three sisters and their parents. Burns wrote John 
Barleycorn, My Nannie O and some other of his most 
sprightly songs. 


Burns had established a social club which, no doubt, 
led him to his fatal habit of drinking. He left home, 
working for a flax dresser, and became so despondent 
that he wrote his father that he was willing to leave the 
world. The reason for this, no doubt, was in that first ruin- 
ous error of his life, the paternity of an illegitimate child. 

210 Our Book. 

twenty-fifth yeak. 

Had began a commonplace book, and started the record 
of his thoughts, which were still more saddened by the 
death of his father, whom he portrays in the Cotter's 
Saturday Night. The family is evicted and most of its 
property seized. Hence they seek a cheaper home on a 
"cold upland farm." After the failure of two successive 
crops the poet returned to his rhymes, and his soured 
frame is indicated by Holy Willie's Prayer and some 
other discreditable utterances. 


He still continued to help the family by farm labor, 
but found so much time for writing that this may be 
considered the most active period of his life. It brought 
the Cotter's Saturday Night, Halloween, Lines to a 
Mouse, Death and Dr. Hornbook and other of his best 


This was a very eventful year, since his poems appeared 
in a small volume issued in Kilmarnock by subscription. 
Burns wanted money to obtain passage to the West 
Indies, and he devoted part of the proceeds to this pur- 
pose, but the intervention of a friend led to a change of 
purpose. This year JVIary Campbell, his Highland Mary, 
died, and he wrote the Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast. 
At this time, however, he was cheered by the sale of his 
book and the encouragement to visit Edinburgh for the 
purpose of getting out another edition. He was received 
with great favor, and at this time Walter Scott saw him, 
an account of which is given in another place. The new 
edition was 3,000 copies, and its proceeds were £500, 
equal to $2,500, but money was then worth thrice its 
present value. One-third of this amount he gave to his 

Burns. 211 

brother to aid the family, and the remainder was devoted 
to leasing and fitting up a farm for himself, having 
already married Jean Armour, and thus restoring her 


Fails at farming and is appointed exciseman. ~No 
doubt the constant intercourse with whisky-dealers 
increased his already destructive habits. He attended 
the great drinking contest for the whistle, and his con- 
vivial habits led to such reaction that he complained of 
" a horrid hypochondria pervading body and soul." Not- 
withstanding this bad influence, he wrote this year To 
Mary in Heaven. 


Having given up his farm he hired part of a house in 
Dumfries and joined the volunteers. Tarn O'Shanter 
was written at this time and was the last of his long 
pieces. His popularity was then so great that more than 
one hundred of his lyrics were published in the collection 
called Scottish Melodies. 


A new edition of his poems is issued, including Scots 
Wha Hae, which added much to his fame, and the next 
year another edition is ordered, which enabled him to 
take a better house in the street which now bears his 


Wrote his best production, A Man's a Man for a' That, 
which is the noblest utterance of the Scottish muse. He 
then began to realize the full power of his evil habits, and 
wrote a friend that the " stiffening joints of old age were 
fast coming over his frame." 


In January seized with rheumatic fever which left him 

212 Our Book. 

pale, emaciated and so feeble a3 to require help to rise 
from his chair. In summer he was removed to a rural 
abode whence he issued his last song called Fairest Maid 
on Devon's Banks. In the middle of July he was brought 
back to Dumfries, where he died on the 21st, aged thirty- 
seven years and six months. Four days afterward he was 
buried in St. Michael's church-yard, and then Scotland 
began to realize its loss. 

Later Facts. 
Seven years after Burns' death Wordsworth visited his 
grave and commemorated the event in the verses begin- 
ning : 

'Mid crowded obelisks and urns 

I sought the untimely grave of Burns. 

And he addresses the poet's sons a touching lesson, 

which closes thus : 

Let no mean hope your souls enslave; 
Be independent, generous, brave, 
Your father such example gave 

And such revere, 
But be admonished by his grave 
And think and fear. 

In 1815 the remains of the poet were removed from 
his obscure grave and placed in a beautiful mausoleum. 
Nineteen years afterward his widow was laid by his side. 
In 1844 a Burns festival was held in Ayr, not only in 
honor of the poet but also to welcome his two sons, who 
had been in foreign service. The banquet was presided 
over by the Earl of Eglinton, and the speech of the oc- 
casion was by John Wilson, the Christopher North of 
Blackwood. In 1859, centenary celebrations were held 
in Britain and in America, and on one of these occasions 
Beecher delivered one of his finest efforts. 

Scott and Burns. 
Walter Scott always considered it a fortunate incident 

BuitNs. 213 

that he had not only seen Burns but had received from 

him a favorable utterance. His description of this occur* 

rence is as follows : 

I was a lad of fifteen when Burns came to Edinburgh, and I 
was highly desirous to know him. One day I was at Professor 
Ferguson's, who on that occasion entertained Burns and several 
other literary men, while we youngsters sat silent. The only re- 
markable thing I remember about Burns was the effect produced 
on him by a picture representing a dead soldier — his dog on one 
side and his widow and child on the other. Burns seemed mucli 
affected by the scene, and actually shed tears. Beneath the en- 
graving were some poetic lines, and Burns inquired the name of 
the author. I was the only person in the room that could answer 
the question, and Burns rewarded me with a look and a word, 
which I received and still recollect with very great pleasure. 

Such was the only interview betw T een these distinguished 

characters, and how little could Burns have imagined that 

the youth whose intelligence he thus complimented w r ould 

become the greatest author of his age. Scott thus de- 

cribes the peasant bard : 

His person was strong and robust; his manners rustic, not 
clownish. There was a strong expression of sense and shrewd- 
ness in all his lineaments, but the eye alone, I think, indicated 
the poetical character. It was large and of a dark cast and 
glowed (I say literally glowed) when he spoke with feeling. I 
never saw such an eye in a human head, though I have seen the 
most distinguished men of my time. 

This is an interesting picture, since it presents the chief 
author of his day, described by the greatest author that 
succeeded him. Scott never became personally acquainted 
with Burns, though he saw him occasionally in the streets 
of Edinburgh. Scott was always convinced of Burns' 
superiority to himself, and while speaking on this subject 
said to a friend, " There is no comparison between us, and 
I ought not to be mentioned on the same day with him." 
Scott ranked the two great emotional poets together in 
the following manner : " I have always reckoned Burns 
and Byron the most genuine poetical geniuses of my time, 
and of a half century before me." This estimate has been 

214 Our Book. 

fully confirmed by history. It may be said of Burns and 
Byron that although separated by the extreme of social 
difference, they now occupy the same rank as masters of 
the heart. Xo other writers wield such power over the 
emotional nature. 

A point of peculiar similarity is found in the fact that 
both reached the same age — thirty -seven — and died the 
victims to their vices. There was also a close similarity 
in national origin, the one being full-blooded in his Cale- 
donian birth, while the other sprang from a union be- 
tween Scottish and English families. Byron ? s mother 
was Catharine Gordon, a Highland heiress, and a part of 
the poet's youth was spent in the wildest part of Scotland, 
which led to such effusions as the following: 

I would I were a careless child, 

Still dwelling in my Highland cave; 
Or roaming through a dusky wild. 

Or bounding o"er the dark blue wave. 
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride 

Accords not with the free-born soul, 
Which loves the mountain's craggy side, 

And seeks the rocks where billows roll. 

The following extract is still stronger in national char- 
acter : 

Shades of the dead ! have I not heard your voices 

Rise on the night-rolling breath of the gale? 
Surely the soul of the hero rejoices 

And rides on the wind in his own highland vale. 
Round Loch na Garr, while the stormy wind gathers, 

Winter presides in his fierce icy car; 
Clouds there encircle the forms of my fathers: 

They dwell in the tempests of dark Loch na Garr. 

Again, when describing the battle of Waterloo, he thus 
gives a glowing tribute to Caledonia bravery : 

And wild and high the Cameron's gathering rose, 
The war note of Lochiel, which Albyn's hills 

Have heard, and heard, too, have her Saxon foes; 
How in the noon of night that pibroch thrills. 

These quotations, and others which might be offered, 

Burns. 215 

show that Byron was at heart a Scotsman, and hence he 
and Burns have a tie in nationality as well as in genius. 

Another Interview. 

More than a third of a century after Scott first met 
Burns he entertained one of the sons of the latter at Ab- 
bot tsford, and the occasion was one of special interest. 
Scott had then gone through his splendid career of author- 
ship and was broken in health and in fortune. He had 
retired from society and was living in seclusion, and this 
was the last time that he opened Abbottsford for social 
purposes. Loekhart, who was present, penned a few 
s auzas on the occasion, from which I make the following 
extract : 

What princely stranger comes, — what exiled lord, 
From the far East to Scotia's strand returns, 

To stir with joy the towers of Abbottsford, 

And wake the minstrel's soul? — The boy of Burns. 

The children sang the ballads of their sires, 

Serene among them sat the hoary knight; 
And if dead bards have ears for earthly lyres, 

The peasant's shade was near and drank delight. 

The u hoary knight'' was Scott, while the " peasant " 
was Burns, but genius leveled all distinctions and they 
were one in the sad lessons of misfortune. 

A Contrast. 
A very striking contrast is found between Burns and 
his poetical predecessor, Allan Ramsay, who had for many 
years been the admiration of Scotland. Ramsay's best 
production, the Gentle Shepherd, though a very clever 
poem, is tainted with that snobbish worship of rank 
which then was so general throughout the British realm, 
and if it be less prevalent at the present time, the change 
to a great degree is due to Burns himself. The Gentle 
Shepherd represents the loves of a shepherd and a rustic 

216 Our Book. 

maiden, but the progress of their attachment is broken 
by a startling disclosure. The shepherd is found to be 
the son of a baronet, who comes for the purpose of call- 
ing him from his humble employment and placing him in 
that station to which his rank is entitled. Then we have 
the sorrows of the disappointed maid and their sad fare- 
wells, which, however, are happily terminated by another 
startling discovery. The maid herself is an incognito 
member of a blooded family, and when this is known it 
removes the b-*r to their union. 

Burns' Independence. 
Burns took a far loftier position, and instead of bowing 
to the tyranny of caste he boldly proclaimed " a man's a 
man for a' that.'' This tyranny has been modified to a 
\evy great extent owing to Burns' influence, and the 
Gentle Shepherd no longer expresses a national sentiment. 
In conclusion, it may be said that those who really love 
Burns feel that intense devotion which overloooks his in- 
temperance and other defects, and who clasp him the 
closer to their hearts whenever his faults may be men- 
tioned. Like Shakespeare, he shows that the true poet is 
owned of all mankind, because he masters the heart. 

State of Literature. 

The death of Burns marked the lowest reach of Brit- 
ish literature. All the great lights had gone out ; John- 
son, Gibbon and Hume were dead, and Burke died 
the next year. The world of literature seemed almost 
extinct, and yet what a new glory was about to arise ? 
Wordsworth, Scott, Moore, Byron, Coleridge, Shelley and 
Keats were already in existence, and some of the number 
had already felt the first movings of genius — but how- 
ever great their subsequent development they have 
not eclipsed the peasant bard. 

Junius. 217 

As I begin this old but interesting theme I am led to 
notice the similarity between the phenomena of the 
literary and astronomical worlds. Byron speaks of 
Churchill as " one that blazed the wmet of a season." 
This was a very suitable expression. Churchill was for a 
short time the object of great admiration. His biting wit 
and relentless sarcasm when clothed with ringing rhyme 
could not but command a high position both in politics 
and literature. But his course was as evanescent as it 
was brilliant. Who hears of Churchill now? An apos- 
tate clergyman he burst from the obscurity of his pro- 
fession, and after a brief splendor disappeared in an early 

It is said by as'tronomers that there are stars which 
suddenly increase in brilliance to a degree which suggests 
the idea that they may be burning worlds, and which 
afterward disappear forever. Such an instance once 
occurred in the world of literature. A resplendent genius, 
masked as to name, suddenly broke forth, commanding 
the highest degree of admiration, and after exciting the 
wrath of the government and the curiosity of two conti- 
nents it totally disappeared. More than a century has 
since elapsed, and has evoked all possible scrutiny, but in 
vain. The same shadow from which he emerged covers his 
retreat, and all that can be said is that he was Junius, 
and to this is added the defiant motto which was placed 
on the title page of the first published volume " stat 
nominis umbra" 

The facts surrounding the history of these letters, are 
as follows: Prior to the American revolution the Eng- 
lish government had become exceedingly corrupt. It 
was indeed the time of political and national demoraliza- 
tion. The result was a series of blunders which not only 
cost the nation the American colonies, but led to general 

218 Our Book. 

disgrace. The energies of the government were to a 
large degree expended in prosecuting a noted reformer, 
who baffled every attempt to crush him. This man was 
John Wilkes, who for three years filled the British mind 
to a greater degree than has ever been known lief ore or 
since. Wilkes was a dissolute but highly gifted man, and 
conducted a fiery journal called the North Briton. He 
was prosecuted by the government, but though con- 
victed his punishment only added to his fame and power. 

At this time of weakness and corruption, a prominent 
London editor received from an unknown source a con- 
tribution of unusual character. Its style was elegant, and 
indicated greater knowledge of public affnirs than could 
be possessed by any other than a statesman, while that 
knowledge was devoted to the vindication of public 
rights. The editor referred to was Woodfall of the Pub- 
lic Advertiser; but who was the contributor? The article 
was printed and attracted general attention. It was fol- 
lowed by other contributions, the signatures being varied, 
from which it appeared that the author desired to identify 
his most polished and powerful efforts with a pen name, 
which was withheld from others of less importance. 

The 2Sth April, 1767, was the date of the first letter, 
and among other signatures were Lucius, Junius, Bru- 
tus, no doubt in honor of that celebrated Roman patriot in 
whom these names were united. For nearly two years 
these various signatures were employed, with the 
exception of one. This was only assumed when the 
author felt the importance of an unusual effort, and 
appeared on the 21st January, 1769, when the Public 
Advertiser contained the first letter by Junius. In this 
he attacks the administration in a manner which may be 
judged by the following extract, with which it concludes : 

In one view behold a nation overwhelmed with debt: her 

Junius. 219 

revenues wasted; her trade declining; the colonies alienated and 
the administration of justice made odious. We are governed by 
counsels from which a reasonable man can expect no remedy but 
poison: no relief but death. If by the interposition of Providence 
it were possible for us to escape, posterity will not believe the 
history of the present times. They will not believe that their 
ancestors could have survived while a Duke of Grafton was prime 
minister, a Granby commander in chief, and a Mansfield chief 
criminal judge of the Kingdom. 

In another article, he thus expresses his views: 

Our worthy governors divide their time between private 
pleasures and ministerial intrigues. Away they go; one retires to 
his country house; another is engaged at a horse race; a third has 

an appointment with a and as to their country, they 

leave her like a cast-off mistress to perish under the diseases they 
have given her." 

Ldd Hillsborough he addresses thus: 

That you are a polite person is true. Few men understand the 
little morals better or observe the great ones less than your lord- 
ship. You can bow and smile in an honest man's face while you 
are picking his pocket. These are virtues in a court in which 
your education has not been neglected. 

Of the cabinet he thus speaks : 

"While the fate of Great Britain is at stake, these worthy coun- 
sellors dispute without decency, advise without sincerity, resolve 
without decision, and leave the measure to be executed by the 
man that voted against it. The state is in disorder and the phy- 
sicians consult only to disagree; opposite medicines are prescribed 
and the last fixed upon is changed by the hand that gives it. 

The attention paid to these philippics and the celebrity 
they immediately acquired stimulated the author to still 
greater effort, and when the name of Junius was adopted 
he attained a finished power that never has been sur- 

It was evident to Woodfall that his correspondent was 
n<>t only a man of highly cultivated intellect, but that he 
had studied carefully the laws and the constitution of his 
country as well as its political detail. Woodfall knew too 
well the value of such a correspondent to embarrass him 
by the indulgence of curiosity, and in addition to this he 
was controlled by a sense of honor. Had he placed a de- 

220 Our Book. 

tectivc on the track he would, no doubt, have discovered 
the author, but that discovery would have cost him the 
distinction of being the publisher of Junius. Curiosity 
however, was tempered to patience by the promise which 
Junius extended in one of his private notes, in which he 
says : "Act honorably by me and at the proper time you 
bhall know me/' This promise was never fulfilled. 
Junius ceased to appear on the 21st of January, 1772, 
and the editor in vain gave hints in his paper that his cor- 
respondent should resume his pen. Junius' reply to these 
hints will be found in the latter part of this article. 

Leading Characteristics. 

The leading characteristics of Junius and the circum- 
stances of his position may be inferred from his own 
statements. He was not only, as has been said, a man of 
culture and acquainted with the constitution and laws of 
his country, but it may be presumed that he was also 
possessed of wealth ; that he moved in the immediate 
circle of the court and was acquainted with most of its 
secrets. The first of these is evident from his refusing 
any participation in the profits arising from his letters, 
especially when Woodfall issued them in book form. 
His reply is : " What you say about profits is very hand- 
some. * * * Be assured I am above all pecuniary 
views. * * * Make the most of it, therefore." To 
this may be added his assurance to Woodfall, at an earlier 
day, that in the event of the latter's being subjected to 
pecuniary damage by reason of these letters, the author 
would not allow him to suffer. " Some way or other," 
says the latter, "you shall be reimbursed." In another 
place he adds : " You may be satisfied that my rank and 
fortune place me above a common bribe." 

It is evident that the author had attained an a^e that 

Junius. 221 

would allow him to speak from experience as well as from 
information, and also that during the years 1767 to 1771 
and part of 1772, he resided almost constantly in London 
and its vicinity, and that most of his time was devoted to 
the highest order of politics. It is also evident from 
these letters that he was excitable and impetuous and was 
subject to strong prejudices, but that he possessed a rare in- 
dependency of spirit, was attached to the British consti- 
tution, and was both fearless and indefatigable in main- 
taining his opinions. It is also evident that he was an 
advocate for morals, was an avowed member of the Church 
of England, and though well acquainted with legal prac- 
tice was not a lawyer by profession. 

Scope of Information. 

How any man, not a member of government and hence 
interested in concealing its plans, could penetrate and ex- 
pose such secrets is one of the most surprising features 
of this mystery. His accuracy was extraordinary. He 
tells Woodfall, at one time, that " war is inevitable, and 
that a squadron of four ships of the line is ordered with 
all possible expedition to the East Indies." At another 
time he refers to a prosecution with which the printer was 
threatened, and adds : " You have nothing to fear from 
the Duke of Bedford in case he should bring you before 
the House of Lords. I am sure I can threaten him pri- 
vately with such a storm as would make him tremble even 
in his grave." In his published letter to the same Duke 
he tells him things which could scarcely be known outside 
the latter' family. He wrote Woodfall " That Swinney 
is a dangerous fool ; he had the impudence to go to Lord 
George Sackville (whom he had never before spoken to) 
and to ask him whether or no he was the author of Junius." 

This statement is true and was made shortly after it 

222 Our Book. 

had happened, but how should Junius, unless he were Lord 
Sack ville, know ? For this reason some have supposed that 
the mysterious writer was Sackville himself. Another 
instance is found at the time when the prime minister's 
friends are boasting of his honesty in refusing to sell a 
monopoly in Jamaica, especially as the would-be buyer 
was prosecuted for an attempt at corruption. Junius ex- 
posed this hypocrisy by showing that this very minister 
had recently been concerned in the sale of just such a 
monopoly as now was refused. He even knew the anony- 
mous writer in the Public Advertiser, and says to Wood- 
fall, "Your Veredicus is Mr. Whitworth ; yourLycurgus 
is Mr. Kent, a young man of good parts." 

Consciousness of Danger. 

With all his boldness Junius was not unconscious of 
his danger. Indeed, he occasionally- refers to the perils 
inseparable from such a position. When Sir William 
Draper bids him " throw off his mask," he replies, 4 * Ft is 
not necessary that I should expose myself to the resent- 
ment of the worst and most powerful men in this country. 
Though you would tight, there are others who would 
assassinate" He also writes Woodfall, " I must be more 
cautious than ever. I am sure I should not survive a 
discovery three days." 

Later on he thus addresses the same man : " Tell me 
candidly whether you know or suspect who I am?" 
Again, in another private note, he says: "Upon no ac- 
count are you to write me until I give you notice." 
Again : " Change to the Somerset Coffee-house and let 
no mortal know the alteration. I am persuaded that you 
are too honest a man to contribute to my destruction." 

Method of Communication. 
In a literary alliance like that existing between the 

Junius. 223 

publisher and his unknown contributor, there must be 
some peculiar method of communication, and this was 
devised by the latter. It is evident that he shunned the 
post-office. His letters, both to the Public Advertiser 
aud to private parties, such as John Wilkes, were all sent 
direct by private hand. His arrangements with Wood- 
fall were these : A common name and one not likely to 
attract attention was chosen by Junius, and a place of do- 
posit was indicated. The parcels for Woodfall were con- 
veyed directly to him, but whenever a letter was sent to 
the unknown, it was announced in answers to correspond- 
ents by such signals as these: "C — a letter at usual 

place," sometimes " a letter," and then simply, 

a Vindex shall be considered." "Don't always use the 
same signal," said the writer, "any absurd Latin verse 
will answer." Among those used were such expressions as 
" Quid vetat ? " or " Infandum Regina jubes renovare do- 

During November, 1771, eight of these signals ap- 
peared in the paper, and each indicated that a letter had 
been left for Junius at the spot designated. The names 
which thete letters bore w T ere either " Mr. William Mid- 
dleton " or "Mr. John Fretly," and the most frequent 
depot was the bar of the Somerset Coffee-house, although 
Munday Coffee-house was sometimes chosen. The waiters 
received appropriate fees, and hence no better plan for a 
secret correspondence could be devised. By what agency 
Junius obtained his parcels from the coffee house has 
never been ascertained. In his correspondence with John 
Wilkes, the letters were sent by a public messenger, with 
directions that replies should be left at Woodfall' s, whence 
they were forwarded to the coffee-house in an enclosure 
addressed to either "Middleton" or "Fretly," as the 
choice might be. 

224 Our Book. 

It is evident that a variety of schemes were employed 
by his enemies in hope of detecting the writer, but his 
extreme vigilance and the honorable forbearance of his 
publisher enabled him to baffle them. " Your letter/' 
says he in one of his private notes, " was twice refused 
last night, and the waiter as often attempted to see the 
person who sent for it." Among other expedients, let- 
ters were frequently addressed to him at the printing of- 
fice, with a hope of tracking them up to their destination. 
Hence he thus says to Wood fall : " I return you the letters 
sent yesterday. It is probably a trap for me. If he writes 
again, open his letter, and if it contain any thing worth 
knowing, send it — otherwise, not. Instead of ' C. at the 
usual place,' say ''only a letter ' when you address me again." 

The most persistent attempt to discover him was made 
by David Garrick, who was a favorite at the court. For 
three weeks Junius, in every letter to Woodfall, cautioned 
him against this famous player — " To deter him from 
meddling, tell him," says he, Vi that I am aware of his 
practices, and will be revenged if he do not desist. An 
appeal to the public from Junius would destroy him." 
He says again : '* Beware of David Garrick. He was 
sent to pump you, and went directly to Richmond to tell 
the King I should write no more." Having mentioned 
that the letters to the publisher were sent by private 
hand, it may be added that chair-men (as they were called) 
were generally employed. Once, however, a tall gentle- 
man, dressed in a light coat and sword, was seen to throw 
a letter from Junius into Woodfall' s door, and a young- 
man who followed saw him enter a hackney coach and 
drive off — but whether this man was Junius himself or 
his messenger is, of course, uncertain. 
His Style. 

The style of Junius is too latinized to be popular at 

Junius. 225 

the present day, but such was then the fashion. This 
defect, however, is offset by their brilliant antithesis and 
their overwhelming power. That they cost a great deal of 
application is admitted by the author. His inferior pro- 
ductions were signed variously, and Junius was only 
applied to those of highest finish. Thus he writes to 
Woodfall : " As for Junius I must wait for fresh mat- 
ter, for this is a character that must be kept up with 
credit." The letter against Lord Mansfield is accom- 
panied by a note saying : " This has been greatly labored" 
In his epistle to Mr. Home he refers to himself by 
asking : " What public questions have I declined \ 
What villain have I spared? Is there no labor in the 
composition of these letters ?" The most elaborate are 
those to the King and also to Lord Mansfield. The most 
sarcastic is to the Duke of Grafton, and the most valuable 
is that to the editor of the Public Advertiser on the 
means of uniting the people in one great party for a 
common cause. 

He thus expresses to Wilkes the difficulties of procuring 
information: "In pursuing such enquiries I lie under a 
singular disadvantage. Not venturing to consult those 
who are qualified to inform me, I am forced to collect 
every thing from books or common conversation. The 
pains that I took with that article were greater than I can 
express to you, yet after I had blinded myself with por- 
ing over debates and parliamentary history, I was at last 
obliged to hazard a bold assertion which I am now con- 
vinced is true." 

Mysterious Friendship. 

Junius was an admirer of John Wilkes and did him 
the honor to address him a letter which led to a corre- 
spondence lasting more than a year, and included seven- 
teen letters on both sides. Junius offered Wilkes, advice, 

226 Our Book. 

which the latter usually followed, and in several instances 
with great benefit. The mysterious correspondent speaks 
thus in reply to Wilkes' profession of friendship : 

I will accept as much friendship as you can impart to a man 
whom you will assuredly never know. Beside every personal con- 
sideration, if I were known, I could no longer be of any service 
to the public. At present there is something oracular in the de- 
livery of my opinions. I speak from a recess which no curiosity 
can penetrate, and darkness, we are told, is one source of the 
sublime. The mystery of JUNIUS increases his importance. 

Having given Wilkes political advice of the highest 
value, he adds the following on personal bearing: "It is 
your interest to keep up dignity and gravity. I would 
not make myself cheap by walking the streets so much 
as you do." He also advised Wilkes to dress well and 
pay better attention to personal appearance, but perhaps 
this admonition was based on the fact that Wilkes was the 
ugliest man that ever became prominent in public life. 

Reason for Discontinuing. 
The last letter of Junius appeared January 21, 1772. 
On the 19th of January, 1773, nearly a year afterward, 
Woodfall received a brief note from the mysterious au- 
thor, who writes thus : 

I have seen the signals thrown out for your old correspondent. 
Be assured I have good reasons for not complying with them. In 
the present state of things if I were to write again I should be as 
silly as any of your wise aldermen. I meant the cause and the 
public. Both are given up. I feel for the honor of this country 
when I see that there are not ten men in it who will unite and 
stand together on any one question. But it is all alike, vile and con- 
temptible. You have never flinched, that I know of, and I shall 
always be glad to hear of youi prosperity. 

This was the last trace of the great unknown, and it is 

supposed that the retirement of Junius was occasioned, 

in part, at least, by disgust at the corrupt state of public 

affairs, which he had vainly attempted to reform. It is 

remarkable that his last published letter (to Lord Camden) 

Junius. 227 

should be totally different from its predecessors. Instead 
of containing satire and invective, it is of a flattering 
character. Indeed it is the only encomium on any indi- 
vidual which received the signature of Junius. 

Having begun in bitterness he closed his career with 
words of peace and approbation to the person addressed. 
He had some time previously expressed to Woodfall the 
burden and danger of keeping up the Junius correspond- 
ence. " I doubt," says he, at one time, " whether I shall 
write under this signature. I am weary of attacking a 
set of brutes. n The labor involved in the seK-assumed 
task must have been very great, and he wrote to Wood- 
fall : " I want rest most severely and am going to find it 
in the country for a few days." It is very evident that 
Woodfall supposed Junius to be a man of high rank, and 
he also inferred, from an expression in one of his private 
letters, that the unknown writer expected to become a 
member of the government, if its policy should change. 

A few Extracts. 
I shall give a few additional extracts from Junius in 
order that those of my readers who have no time to read 
the original may form an idea of his style. Here is some- 
thing on the press : 

It remains for me to speak on the liberty of the press. The dar- 
ing spirit by which these letters are supposed to be distinguished 
requires that something should be said in their defence. The lib- 
erty of the press is our only resource. It may be a security to the 
king as well as to his people. The constant censure and admoni- 
tion of the press would have corrected the conduct of Charles the 
First, would have prevented a civil war and saved him from an 
ignominious death. 

To the Duke of Grafton (prime minister) : 

If nature had given you an understanding qualified to keep 
pace with the wishes and principles of your heart, she would have 
made you perhaps the most formidable minister that was ever em- 
ployed to ruin a free people. We owe it to the bounty of Provi- 
dence that the completest depravity of the heart is sometimes 

228 Our Book. 

united with a confusion of mind which counteracts the most fav- 
orite principles and makes the same man treacherous without art, 
and a hypocrite without deceiving. It is not, indeed, the least 
of the thousand contradictions which attend you, that a man 
marked by the grossest violations of ceremony and decorum 
should be the first servant in a court where prayers are morality 
and kneeling is religion. 

As you became minister by accident, were adopted without 
choice, trusted without confidence and continued without favor, 
you will, when occasion presses, be discharged without regret. 
Yet for the benefit of the succeeding age I could wish that your 
retreat might be deferred until your morals shall be ripened to 
that maturity of corruption at which the worst examples cease to 
be contagious. 

To the Duke of Bedford: 

Can grey hairs make folly venerable ? Can age itself forget 
that you are now in the last act of life? For shame, my lord; let 
it not be recorded of you that the latest moments of your life 
were dedicated to the same unworthy pursuits in which youth and 
manhood were exhausted. Consider that though you cannot dis- 
grace your former life, you are violating the character of age, and 
exposing the imbecility after you have lost the vigor of the pas- 

To Chief Justice Mansfield : 

In public affairs, my lord, cunning, let it be ever so well 
wrought, will not conduct a man honorably through life. Like 
bad money, it may be current for a time, but will soon be cried 
down. I feel for human nature when I see a man so gifted as you 
are, descend to such vile practice. Yet do not suffer your vanity 
to console you too soon. Believe me, my lord, you are not ad- 
mired in the same degree in which you are detested. 

To the Duke of Grafton again : 

Your cheek turns pale, for a guilty conscience tells you you are 
undone. Come forward, thou virtuous minister and tell the 
world what was the price of the privilege Mr. Hine has bought, 
and to what purpose the money has been applied. Do you dare 
to complain of an attack on your honor while you are selling the 
favors of the Crown to raise a fund for corrupting the morals of 
the people ? And do you think it possible that such enormities 
should escape impeachment? Unhappy man! What party will 
receive the common deserter of all parties ? At the most active 
period in life you must quit the busy scene and conceal yourself 
from the w T orld, if you would hope to save the wretched remains 
of a ruined reputation. 

Junius expresses his relentless purpose as a public writer 

in the same letter : 

Junius. 229 

I should scorn to keep terms with a man who preserves no 
measures with the public. Neither abject submission nor the 
sacred shield of cowardice should protect him. I would pursue 
him through life and try the last exertion of my abilities to pre- 
serve the perishable infamy of his name and make it immortal. 

Question of Authenticity. 
¥lio ws Junius? To answer this question, not less 
than one hundred volumes have been written. Immedi- 
ately upon the publication of the letters, suspicion lighted 
on several individuals whose claims have since been laid 
aside. But quite strangely he who is now commonly 
designated as their author was not then thought of. Sir 
William Draper, who attempted a controversy with Junius 
and was sorely worsted, divided his suspicions between 
Burke and Lord George Sackville, and when the former 
denied the charge, he fastened upon the latter. The fact 
that Junius, in a private note to Woodfall, asserts that 
Swinney actually called on Sackville and taxed him with 
being Junius, has led some to believe that the charge was 
correct. At any rate it is a mystery how any other man 
could have learned this incident. Junius, however, knew 
it a few hours after its occurrence. But if Sackville were 
the author, it is strange that Junius should have accused 
him in one of his letters of cowardice — the basest charge 
that could be urged against a gentleman. Byron in his 
Vision of Judgment, says: 

Now Burke, now Tooke, he grew r to people's fancies, 
And certes often like Sir Philip Francis. 

The person with whom the above reference concludes 
was at the time of the Junius letters a clerk in the War 
office in London. This institution (at present called the 
Horse Guards) was under the control of Lord Barrington, 
who little dreamed that one of his own clerks might be 
attacking both himself and the government. This position 
would afford the writer a minute acquaintance with the 

230 Our Book. 

condition of the army, which is one of the strongest 
characteristics of the letters of Junius. However, instead 
of following my own train of reasoning, I accept that of 
the historian Macaulay, who writes thus on the question 
before us : 

kC Was he (Sir Philip Francis) the author of Junius? 
Our firm belief is that he was. The external evidence is 
we think such as would support a verdict in a civil, nay 
in a criminal proceeding." Macaulay proceeds to state 
the reasons for his conviction, which are as follows : The 
author of Junius must have been acquainted with the 
technicalities of the department of State, and must also 
have been intimate with the business of the War office. 
It is evident that he attended the debates of the House 
of Lords during 1770 and took notes — that he was 
strongly attached to Lord Holland. Philip Francis did 
pass several years in the office of the Secretary of State, 
and was subsequently chief clerk in the War office. He 
repeatedly mentioned having heard in 1770 the speeches 
of Lord Chatham, and he was introduced into public life 
by Lord Holland. To this it may be added that the 
handwriting of Junius resembles the disguised hand of 
Philip Francis. 

The investigation has been recently revived, and a 
fresh array of argument has been adduced in favor of the 
position taken by Macaulay. It may be remembered by 
some of our readers, that while the Waverley novels were 
first interesting the public, the question of their authen- 
ticity was frequently discussed. The secret was kept 
with remarkable success for twelve years, but the author- 
ship was soon fastened on Sir Walter Scott by a writer 
of unusual acumen, who produced a train of circumstan- 
tial evidence which even Scott could not resist, and 
therefore replied to by a piece of badinage. He was 

Astronomical Fancies. - 231 

determined to maintain his eecret, even at the expense 

of telling a few white lies. As he says in a letter to a 

friend : 

I shall noiown Waverley. chiefly because it would prevent the 
pleasure of writing again. David Hume (nephew of the historian) 
says the author must be of Jacobite family, a cavalryman and a 
Scottish lawyer, and desires me to guess in whom these are united. 
I shall not plead guilty however, and as such seems to be the 
fashion of the day, I hope charitable people will believe my affi- 
davit in contradiction to all other evidence. 

By a similar train of reasoning the letters of Junius 
are now traced to Sir Philip Francis. The latter died in 
1818, and had for some time enjoyed the reputation of 
this mysterious authorship. It is said that some years 
previously he had an interview with that King, whom he 
attacked so bitterly at an earlier day. Many years had 
passed and both had become old men, and if the King 
felt the keenness of the philippic launched against him 
in his youth, lie might forgive the author, because it was 
the work of an Englishman. 

Astronomical Fancies. 
The death of Professor Proctor recalls some of his pe- 
culiar astronomical theories, among which is the river in 
Mars, whose width is at least twenty miles, together with 
other discoveries equally surprising. Another astrono- 
mer has reached the conclusion that Jupiter is of no firmer 
consistence than water — to which a wag replies that if 
so, then the inhabitants must be web-footed. How neatly 
such vagaries as these are hit off by Wordsworth in one 
of his poems (Peter Bell), where he takes the reader sail- 
ing through the stars : 

The Crab, the Scorpion and the Bull, 
We pry among them all — have shot 
High o'er the red-haired race of Mars, 
Covered from top to toe with scars — 
Such company I like not. 

232 Our Book. 

The towns in Saturn are decayed 
And melancholy spectres throng them; 
The Pleiades that appear to kiss 
Each other in the vast abyss, 
With joy I sail among them. 

Swift Mercury resounds with mirth, 
Great Jove is full of stately bowers; 
But these and all that they contain, 
What are they to that tiny grain, 
That little earth of ours? 

According to the above, Wordsworth seems to think 
that Mars owes its color to its red-headed population, 
which he calls combative, while as in mythology Saturn 
is the oldest of the gods, the planet that bears his name 
naturally shows signs of decay. Mercury on the other 
hand is " mercurial," and society there is full of fun and 
frolic, while Jupiter, being named after a very dignified 
god, is a place where good form is observed. Reader, this 
discrimination is certainly as sensible as many other the- 
ories, some of which, indeed, remind one of the revela- 
tions which startled the world a half century ago and 
which are now only remembered as Locke's " moon hoax." 

The revolution had terminated, but the British army 
still held New York, and their barracks occupied what is 
now the city hall park, while most of the churches were 
turned to military use. New York indeed was desolate, 
and at least one-quarter of the city lay in ruins, occasioned 
by the fire of 1776. At such a time — the date being 
April 3, 1783 — a babe was born into the family of a 
Scottish merchant, who already had what now would be 
considered a sufficient burden. Four sons and three 
daughters already claimed his protection when the eighth 
and last born gladdened the mother's arms. William 
Irving — the father — was from the Orkneys, and had 

Irving. 233 

cruised on the ocean before settling in New York. His 
wife was a beauty whom he had won while in an English 
port, and her character was as beautiful as her person. 
They had reached this city just in time to meet the 
colonial troubles, and having weathered the storms of the 
war, gave the name of the patriot hero to their new-born 
babe. Under such circumstances Washington Irving 
made his appearance in the world. 

Early Days. 

The first New York directory, issued in 1786, contains 
" William Irwing, merchant, 75 William street." The 
place mentioned was a small, two story house, and the 
front room was occupied as a store. William Irving was 
a thrifty dealer, and supported his family in a reputable 
manner.- Every Sunday they attended the Brick church, 
and that group of children which followed their parents 
to the family pew awoke admiration. William, John, 
Ebenezer, Peter and Washington were the names of the 
sons, the daughters being Ann, Catharine and Sarah, and 
the former was the special guardian of the youngest and 
most beautiful, as well as the most gifted. But we can 
only take a brief glimpse of youth. The family grew up 
to usefulness. William and Ebenezer became merchants, 
John studied law, Peter chose medicine, while Washington 
seemed at first to promise little but amiability. He was 
not of a business turn, but his beautiful person and charm- 
ing manners rendered him a universal favorite. The easy 
life of such a boyhood had an enduring effect upon the 
man. It was not, however, a life of idleness, but one of 
roving through those scenes which were then so full of 
interest. New York was a small city, but it held chief 
distinction. Broadway only extended to St. Paul's, and 
Wall street was the center both of fashion and political 

Our Book. 

influence ; but there was the East river with its Hell gate, 
and its traditions of Kidd and his buried treasures, and 
in fact the little city was surrounded by an atmosphere 
of romance which threw its charm upon the youth and 
prepared him for authorship. 

A voyage across the ocean was then so rare that it gave 
oue marked distinction. Hardly a score of Americans 
had made an European tour, but the youth was in deli- 
cate health, and his brother Wiliiam, who was doing a 
good business, determined to send him abroad. Passage 
was taken on a ship bound for Bordeaux, whence the 
young tourist went to Nice, to Naples, to Sicily and to 
Rome. The Eternal City contained three Americans, 

one of whom was Allston, who almost persuaded Irving 
to become an artist. This tour was one of deep interest, 
and Irving saw the effect of Napoleon's war, being as he 
traveled through France taken for an English prisoner. 
He saw much for so limited an opportunity, and while in 
London witnessed the histrionic performances of Kemble, 


Irving. 235 

Mrs. Siddons and Cooke. After nearly two years of 
wandering he returned home with a head full of beauti- 
ful thoughts, but with no settled purpose. 

Nothing better offered, and so, like many others who 
have nothing else to do, he studied law. This means that 
he entered Josiah Ogden Hoffman's office and turned 
over the leaves of law books while his heart was some- 
where else. Nevertheless, he was admitted to the bar, 
the examination being conducted under th3 plea " be to 
my faults a little blind." Irving could answer a few 
simple questions. " He knows a little law, Wilkins," 
remarked Hoffman to his associate examiner. " Make it 

stronger, Joe," was the reply ; " say little." So 

they let him in, and the tin sign was soon visible in Wall 
street, " Washington Irving, Attorney-at-Law." 

Literary Efforts. 

America at that time had no literature. A few books 
came from England, and of course controlled taste. Pope 
was read, and the Spectator was popular among the cul- 
tured few. Fielding's novels were also known, and so 
were the writings of Goldsmith. Some of the best 
poetry America had thus far produced was by a colored 
girl brought from Africa and sold in Boston as a slave, 
and it may be added that the verses of Phillis Wheatley 
contain a surprising degree of merit. New York had 
neither poet, reviewer, editor, novelist, nor even tale- 
writer. Its newspapers rarely contained a well written 
paragraph, and the thinking part of the public was so 
occupied by politics that there had hardly been any op- 
portunity for general literature. 

The time, however, had come for a new birth, and the 
literary infant was called Salmagundi. Its paternity was 
three-fol 1. One of these was William Irving, who, 

236 Our Book. 

though a business man, cultivated literature, and had 
he pursued it instead of trade would have won high 
rank. James K. Paulding was another. He had re- 
cently come from Dutchess county, and William Irving 
had married his sister. The third was Washington Irving, 
who was just twenty-one. Salmagundi was a series of 
humorous hits at the town, and being the first thing of 
the kind made a sensation, but at present such an issue 
would hardly attract notice. It is now only kept from 
oblivion by the fame of one of its authors. After an 
existence of little more than a year, during which twenty 
numbers had been issued, Salmagundi was discontinued, 
owing to a disagreement with the publisher. 

One now reads its pages not only with a melancholy 
sense of the change in society and its locality, but also 
with a sense of the value of progress an 1 improvement. 
The allusion to " our lawmakers waiting at Albany for the 
opening of the river," and also to " the sail boat that 
served as ferry to New Jersey" are sufficient for this. 
It may be added that Sophie Sparkle of Salmagundi 
was Mary Fairlie, who afterward married Cooper, the 
tragedian. She was the most brilliant girl in the city, 
and no doubt would have won Irving's affections had they 
not been previously fixed on the delicate form and tender 
beauty of the daughter of his legal patron, Josiah Ogden 

Love Matters. 

Life is nothing without love, and love becomes both 
elevated and deepened by disappointment. It is this which 
gives such power to Pope's epistle of Eloise to Abelard, 
and adds such a charm to Byron's emotional pieces, while 
it reaches its highest utterances in Burns' Highland Mary. 
Matilda Hoffman was in no wise a striking character. 
Indeed, she was too young for development, and would 

Irving. 237 

probably have held an average place among the amiable, 

sympathetic girls just released from the hard lessons of 

daily tuition and admitted into society. Irving loved her, 

however, and to such a man the emotion could only be of 

the most intense power. His affection was returned, and 

there was that union of hope and happiness which recalls 

the words of the poet : 

O there's nothing half so sweet in life 
As love's young dream. 

Now comes the crushing hand of death rending the 
lovers, but giving Irving the deep tone which was needed 
by such a mercurial character. Matilda died— only sev- 
enteen. How early to fill so large a space in the history 
of genius ! Her death made Irving what he became. 
Had Matilda lived her husband would have been merely 
:t struggling lawyer (half litterateur) and the father of 
a sickly family. She died to become an object of conse- 
cration, and to give him an experience like that uttered 
by Byron : 

Time tempers love but ne'er removes; 
More hallowed when its hope is fled. 
Oh ! what are thousand living loves 
To that which cannot quit the dead? 

More Authorship. 
Irving' s life had thus far been sunny and joyous to an 
unusual degree, but now he was called upon to meet re- 
peated sorrows. The death of Matilda was preceded by 
that of his father, and then died his beloved sister, Ann, 
who had nurtured him with such fondness that the tie 
was one of unusual strength. These shadows fell upon 
him at a time when he was writing a humorous book, and 
the contrast was therefore one of peculiar power. The 
Knickerbocker History of New York made others smile, 
while its author was laden with sadness. The book had 
merits, and also glaring defects. Its humor is overdone, 

Our Book. 

and its style shows that the author had not read Fielding 
in vain, but the creation of Diedrich Knickerbocker, the 
quaint old historian, is fully equal to that of Sir Roger 
De Coverly, and the allusions to Dutch manners in the 
olden times were pleasing and felicitous. 

The book was successful from the very rarity of author- 
ship. It was the first original volume printed in this city 
outside of politics, and the Dutch gentry were so indig- 
nant at the liberties a Scotchman's son had taken that the 
sale was beyond expectations. This work, however, which 
brought Irving $3,000, is so ephemeral that only his sub- 
sequent fame keeps it alive. Had its author written no 
more it would now be in oblivion, except one utterance. 
I refer to the* most vital contribution the author ever 
made to the common parlance of the age when he spoke 
of the "almighty dollar." 

Ikving amd Burr. 

Irving, while in Europe, heard of the Hamilton and 
Burr duel, but shocking as it was, this tragedy did not de- 
stroy the friendship which united the families. The Ir- 
vings, like many of the young men of that day, had been 
magnetized by the fascinating politician, and Peter Irving, 
having renounced medicine, became the editor of the 
Morning Chronicle, which advocated Burr's claims to the 
presidency. To this paper, Washington Irving, when 
only nineteen, contributed a series of articles on the drama, 
and as the Park theatre was then recently opened, they 
attracted some notice. These Jonathan Oldstyle papers 
were so inferior that the author was much annoyed by 
their republication after he had reached fame. 

To return to Burr, it may be said that when in prison 
in Richmond he sent for Irving, hoping that his influence 
might be of assistance. Burr needed all possible power 

Irving. 239 

of friendship. Irving obeyed the request, and found the 
friend of better days the solitary inmate of a cell. He 
remained through the trial, and ever afterward spoke of 
Burr in terms of kindness, though he felt a proper dis- 
gust for his depraved morals. 

The war of 1812. 

The success of the Knickerbocker history did not im- 
mediately stimulate its author to greater efforts, and dur- 
ing a whole year he wrote nothing more than a brief 
sketch of Campbell to grace an edition of The Pleasures 
of Hope. The brothers were so deeply interested in his 
welfare that they proposed to give him a share in their 
importing house as a mere benefaction, for they had no 
idea of his ever becoming a business man. The plan was 
to send him abroad, but before this was done it was im- 
portant that the movements of Congress should be learned, 
and hence the young author was sent to "Washington. 
He wrote to Brevoort that " the journey was terrible. I 
was three days going to Baltimore, and slept one night in 
a log-house. 1 have attended Mrs. Madison's drawin^- 
room. She is a fine, buxom, portly dame, and has a smile 
and pleasant word for every one.*' 

The ensuing war prevented Irving from going abroad, 
and he remained in New York, doing such literary work 
as fell to his hands. He became editor of the Analectic 
Magazine, to which he contributed some biographical 
sketches of our victorious naval commanders. This kind 
of work, however, did not suit him, and was discontinued. 
The governor of the State then appointed him military 
secretary, and the young author held the rank and title of 
colonel, and did good service in this specialty. A mili- 
tary order is still extant bearing the signature of " Wash- 
ington Irving, aid-de-camp. " 

240 Our 13ook. 

Peace soon gladdened all hearts, and brought a renewal 
of the importing scheme. Foreign goods were in great 
demand, and Peter Irving, who had been abroad during 
the war, repaired to Liverpool and awaited his brother- 
Peter had been physician and editor, and now intended 
to try his hand at trade, for which he was as little adapted. 
He took an office, however, erected his sign, " P. Irving 
& Co.," the " Co." being the author and his New York 

More foreign Life. 

In May, 1815, Washington Irving, then in his thirty- 
second year, sailed for Liverpool in order to take his 
place in the new firm. He had a literary distinction not 
limited to America, for Scott had read the Knickerbocker 
history, and expressed his gratification, but he was not 
worth a dollar, and hence it was time to try for pecuniary 
success. After a brief tour through some interesting lo- 
calities, we now find the author laboring at the desk like 
an ordinary bookkeeper, and he writes a friend : " I am 
as dull, commonplace a fellow as ever figured on 'change." 

He soon perceived that Peter's purchases were too 
heavy for the capital of the New York firm. The mar- 
ket glutted, sales were dull, and the New York partners 
were unable to remit. After seven months of this expe- 
rience, the author says, in one of his letters : " I would 
not again endure the anxious days and sleepless nights 
which I have suffered since I have taken hold of business 
for the wealth of Croesus." 

Dark Period. 
We now reach the darkest period in Irving's life. Fail- 
ure and ruin threatened the concern, but his anxiety was 
not so much for himself as for his brothers. This is 
shown by the following extract from one of his letters: 
" My heart is torn by anxiety for my relatives. My own 

Irving. 241 

individual interests are nothing. The merest pittance 
would content me if I could sec my connection safe." 
Dark, however, as were his own prospects, he could sym- 
pathize with others. He met Campbell, who, like most 
poets, was very poor, and who had a scheme for lecturing 
in America. Irving encouraged the idea, but the un- 
fortunate poet had not nerve enough to make the attempt. 
Irving, in these troubles, again resorted to literature. 
He went to London and tried to induce the leading pub- 
lishers to send their best works to America, hoping that 
such an agency would afford him a commission, but in 
this he was disappointed. He also hoped to republish his 
Knickerbocker History, but this scheme was long delayed. 
Irving had now been two years in England, and was get- 
ting poorer every day. He determined to break away 
from trade, and made an excursion to Scotland, where he 
met his first encouragement. Blackwood invited him to 
write for his magazine, and Scott, who gave him a warm 
welcome, wished him to edit a new periodical. They 
viewed the young author as the son of " a brother Scot," 
and hoped that he would become a resident of the land 
of his fathers, but though Irving was delighted with 
Scott's hospitality, he declined these proposals, having 
still a hope of success in his negotiations with London 


The house of P. Irving & Co. having sunk in the uni- 
versal storm, we now find the author, at the age of thirty- 
four, a bankrupt. He wrote Brevoort : " We are now to 
pass through the bankruptcy act. It is a humiliating al- 
ternative, but my mind is made up to anything that will 
extricate me from this loathsome entanglement." He 
adds : " I trust that something will turn up to give me 
subsistence, and however scanty may be my lot I can be 

242 Our Book. 

content — but I feel harrassed in behalf of my brothers. 
It is a dismal thing to look round and see the wreck of 
such a family." Irving appeared before the commission- 
ers in bankruptcy, stood an examination and was dis- 
charged. Then came the first token of success in an en- 
gagement to forward British works to a Philadelphia 
house. It lasted a year, and gave him $1,000. What a 
grand lift to one who seemed sinking! 

At this time of darkness he entered the literary market 
with somesketches which had amused li is shadowed hours, 
and which he submitted to John Murray, who was the 
most liberal and at the same time the most aristocratic 
publisher of the age. His plans are thus unfolded in a 
letter to a friend : " I have been for some time nerving 
my mind up for literary work. Should I succeed (beside 
the copyright), I trust it will not be difficult to obtain 
some official situation of a moderate, unpretending kind, 
in which I may make my bread. Should I not succeed, 
I am content to throw up the pen and take to any com- 
monplace employment. I shall not return to America 
until I have sent some writings which shall make me wel- 
come to the smiles of my friends, instead of skulking 
back, an object of pity." 

It may be added that the above-mentioned " writings " 
w T ere sent to one of Irving' s brothers, who had them pub- 
lished as fast as received, and they were entitled the 
Sketch Book, by Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Their popu- 
larity in New York was decisive, and the sale was much 
beyond expectations. This led Irving to offer the work 
to Murray, as above mentioned, and when it was declined, 
Irving, remembering Scott's kind notice of Knickerbocker, 
sent him the printed pages, and requested his influence 
with Constable. Scott's reply was encouraging, but in 
the meantime Miller had arranged to issue the book, 

Irving. 243 

which appeared in London eight months after its first 
appearance in New York. Miller was at that time in 
financial difficulty, and would only publish on condition 
that the author should meet all the bills, including adver- 
tising. On these terms 1,000 copies were issued, and 
soon afterward Miller failed. 

Success at Last. 

Irving had reached thirty-seven, and up to this time 
he might have been termed a failure. In both law and 
merchandise he had proved unsuccessful, and this was 
added to a series of bereavements. He had lost his 
sweetheart, his parents and his best-loved sister. He was 
poor, and his brothers were also poor. Misfortune was 
crushing the family, and yet at that time he had just 
reached the turn of the tide which thenceforth set in and 
was soon to show a full wave of success. Scott was in 
London when Miller failed ; he induced Murray to issue 
the work, and the author received the handsome fee of 
£250 for the copyright. 

The Sketch Book had a rapid sale. An American 
author was then a curiosity, and the British were delighted 
to see their country so elegantly portrayed by a foreigner. 
They had heard the oft-repeated inquiry, " Who reads an 
American book % " Here, however, was an American 
book they could not but read. Irving became a welcome 
guest in society, where his beauty and elegant manners 
awoke general admiration, while as a litterateur he became 
one of Murray's favorites and was sure of the highest 
price that genius could command. A report soon got in 
circulation that the Sketch Book was written by "Walter 
Scott, and this alone is proof of its popularity. 

Unlucky Peter. 
Irving was utterly devoted to his brothers, but Peter 

244 Our Book. 

was the special object of his affection. As soon as the 
Sketch Book placed its author in funds he and Peter 
started fur the continent. A scheme had been started for 
steam navigation on the Seine, and the two brothers 
became interested in it. The author thought it would be 
a line thing for his unfortunate brother, and this was a 
sufficient inducement. He was able to raise $5,000, and 
had achieved a reputation which would bring more. 
Hence lie invested the above-mentioned sum in the 
steamboat scheme, and Peter was installed manager. The 
man who had failed as physician, editor and merchant, 
now added one more failure to the list. The scheme 
proved a bubble, and the entire capital was sunk. Irving 
briefly alludes to it in a letter w r ith the closing remark: 
"If all I have advanced is lost, my only regret is on 
Peter's account." In contrast with this ill-luck, however, 
was the news that Crayon was overselling every other 
book of the season, and Murray sends £200 additional 
merely from a sense of justice. 

Life in Paris. 
The next scene is Paris, where Irving met Tom Moore, 
who had left England on account of financial difficulty. 
Moore was living in a cottage in the suburbs, and one 
night his wife gave a little reception. Piano music and 
dancing were among the amusements, and a chalk line 
was drawn around a hole in the floor to warn of danger. 
Another hole was watched by one of the guests, and 
every time the floor cracked the humor of the scene rose 
to a higher degree. It was an occasion so full of real 
pleasure that Irving always loved to recall it. Irving also 
met at this time John Howard Payne, and both being 
Americans a close friendship was the consequence. They 
took rooms together, and engaged in adapting French 
dramas to the London stage. Payne had gone through 

Irving. 245 

severe poverty, and Irving could fully sympathize with 
him. It was at this time that Payne wrote the opera of 
Clari, which contains his famous Home, Sweet Home. 
Irving was indebted to Payne for an introduction to 
Talma, the famous French tragedian. While in Paris 
Moore allowed Irving to read Lord Byron's autobio- 
graphical memoirs, and he was the only man thus favored, 
except the publisher, as the latter was induced to suppress 
the work out of regard to the family. 

Returning to London. 
Irving soon returned to London and wrote Bracebridge 
Hall, which, indeed, had been begun in Paris, and also 
aided Payne in bringing out one of his plays. Murray 
paid Irving £1,000 for the new book, which also had a 
large sale in America. The author immediately sent £200 
to Peter, who was still in Paris — it being always his rule 
to share his good luck with the family. Irving was now 
a courted guest in the highest circles, and for a time be- 
came a society man, but he felt his homeless condition 
deeply, as may be seen by the verses written by him at 
that time in a lady's album, one of which is as follows: 

For ever thus the man that roams, 
On heedless hearts his feeling spends ; 

Strange tenant of a thousand homes 

And friendless with ten thousand friends. 

Visits Germany. 
Irving's life now became a " tale of a traveler," and 
we next find him rambling through Germany and drink- 
ing in the romantic and supernatural legends of that land 
of mysticism. Frankfort, Mayence, Heidelberg and 
Darmstadt were visited, and at the latter he began the 
Tales of a Traveler, of which his life was indeed an illus- 
tration. Thence to Munich and Vienna, after which 
came six months in Dresden, which formed indeed one of 

240- Our Book. 

tlio brightest scenes in Irving' s life. He found a delight- 
ful circle of English visitors, and as his fame preceded 
him, he had an enthusiastic welcome. He became a fa- 
vorite with the royal family, and aided in getting up pri- 
vate theatricals, in which he bore a part and performed in 
a very clever manner. 

Among others whom he met at this time were the Fos- 
ters (mother and two daughters), a family of British 
gentry with whom he became very intimate. Emily 
Foster afterward claimed that Irving offered her li is hand, 
which was declined for prudential reasons. This, how- 
ever, is hardly probable. The lost Matilda was enshrined 
in his heart; her prayer book was his companion during 
all his travels, and a still greater treasure — her miniature 
— Avas always with him, and to these memorials was 
added a lock of her hair, all of which were kept sacred 
from other eyes until revealed by death. 

Six months at Dresden was a delightful dream which 
passed away, and then came renewed literary effort. 
Murray sent him a spurring letter wanting another book, 
and offered £1,200 without seeing the contents. Irving was 
then finishing Tales of a Traveler, and when he brought 
the manuscript to the publisher, the price was raised to 

London and paeis Again. 

Irving, at forty, was one of the lions of London so- 
ciety. He met Rogers, Crabbe, Proctor and others of 
the literary notables, while the artists Newton and Leslie 
wee rivals for his portrait. Newton's drawing of the 
author is inferior, while Leslie's portrait is both elegant 
in finish and correct as a likeness. It is one of the gems 
of the Lenox collection, and its reduced size is its only 
defect. From London again to Paris to see Peter and 
afford all possible encouragement, and then in order to 

Irving. 247 

provide for the future the author takes stock in a copper 
mine. A. " friend," as usual, is ready to assist him in 
making the investment. Friends are plenty under such 
circumstances, reminding one of the bubbles of the present 
day. So the money goes, bringing only experience, and 
the author must once more to literature. 

Life of Columbus. 
Alexander Everett was then our minister at Madrid, 
and as a life of Columbus had just been issued by a Span- 
ish historian (Navarettc), he wrote to Irving that a trans- 
lation would be remunerative. Irving replies: "I doubt 
whether I shall get as much as you suppose, but there is 
something in the job that pleases me, and this will be 
compensation.' , Before the lapse of a month Irving was 
in Madrid, and the task was begun. A mere translation, 
however, was found less desirable than an original work, 
and the latter plan was adopted. Irving, who was then 
forty-three, did the hardest labor of his entire life. Two 
years of close application finished the work, and Murray 
paid £3,000, while the American edition gave a profit of 
$3,000, thus making an aggregate of $18,000. Irving 
then visited Grenada, the seat of the ancient Moorish 
monarchy, and passed several months in those researches 
which afterward gave the Conquest of Grenada, and the 
still more charming Alhambra, or Moorish Sketch Book. 

Back to London. 
A tour embracing Seville, Cordova, Malaga, Cadiz, 
Gibraltar and other places of interest followed, and the 
scenes thus visited are given in many delightful letters 
which can be read even now with pleasure. Seville was 
for one season a place of residence, when suddenly comes 
the appointment of secretary of the legation at London, 
thus breaking up dreamy romance and ancient memories 

248 Our Book. 

in the soft and fascinating atmosphere of Spain. Here is 
a picture of Jife in the Alhambra (in a letter to Peter) : 
" I cannot tell you how delicious these cool halls and 
courts are in this sultry season. My room is so com- 
pletely in the centre of the old castle that I hear no sound 
but the hum of the bees, the notes of birds and the mur- 
muring of fountains." Irving's three years in Spain, in- 
deed, was one of the most agreeable episodes in his Euro- 
pean career. 

His arrival in London opened diplomatic life — a new 
and interesting experience. Irving was now the most 
honored of all the litterateurs of the metropolis, and Ox- 
ford made him an LL.D. The Colonel Irving of the 
war of 1812 is thus the Dr. Irving of a British university. 
Irving, however, was well aware of the ridiculous charac- 
ter of all such titles, and hence dropped it at once. He 
was presented at court, and became acquainted with many 
of the political magnates of the day, but he now began to 
sigh for home and was glad to be relieved of his office. 
One of his most interesting events at this time was a visit 
to Newstead Abbey, the former seat of Lord Byron, and 
also a farewell interview with Scott, who was merely a 
wreck, body and mind, and who went to the grave in a 
few months. 

New York once More. 

Seventeen years had elapsed since Irving left New 
York for the purpose of becoming a Liverpool merchant. 
He returned the most popular author of his day. We 
need hardly say that his welcome was of the most en- 
thusiastic character. A grand dinner at the City Hotel 
was one of the features, and the leading toast (given by 
Chancellor Kent) was "Our illustrious guest — thrice 
welcome to his native land." The author replied in an 
unassuming but earnest manner, and closed thus : 

Irving. 249 

I come from countries lowering with doubt and danger, where 
the rich man trembles, and the poor man frowns, and where all 
.repine at the present, and dread the future. I come from these to 
a country where all is life and animation, and where every one 
speaks of the past with triumph, and of the future with confident 
anticipation. Is not this a land in which one may be happy to 
fix his destiny? I am asked how long I mean to remain here? 
They know but little of my heart who can ask this question. I 
answer, as long as I live. 

The hall resounded with applause, and Irving, as soon 
as he could again be heard, added as a finale, " Our city, 
may God continue to prosper it." 

Next Movements. 

Irving now determined on a tour through the West, 
extending to the prairies, to gain an experience of frontier 
life. He had seen the most finished society, and he 
wanted now to see a contrast. Making this tour, he vis- 
ited Johnstown, where the grave of his sister Ann was an 
object of hallowed interest, and where some of her chil- 
dren were still living. Irving, then in his fiftieth year, 
was a model of manly beauty. I was at that time one of 
the small boys of the place, but I remember vividly the 
easy and elegant form as it passed through the street, and 
the countenance so expressive of the kind and genial na- 
ture. He walked down alone to the grave, and recalled 
the sister that once dandled him in her arms, and whose 
lullaby so often had laid him to sleep. Then he turned 
away, and it was his last visit to that sacred spot. 

His Tour through the Prairies was the result of this ex- 
pedition, and, as usual, it had a remunerative sale. Then 
Astor was ambitious of a place in literature as well as in 
finance, and he wanted Irving to write Astoria. He 
justly felt proud of his grand enterprise to the mouth of 
the Columbia, and wished it suitably chronicled. This 
work brought its author $7,500, which he needed to 
carry out a long-cherished purpose. 

250 Sdnnyside. 

A little home on the banks of the Hudson had lonsr 


been a leading point in the author's ambition. lie wanted 
a place where he could gather around him that circle 
which had always been so dear to him, and to this he 
refers in a letter to a friend: "You have been told no 
doubt of my purchase of ten acres on the river bank. It 
is a beautiful spot, capable of being made a paradise. 
There is a small stone Dutch cottage on it, built about a 
century ago. My idea is to make a little nookery, quaint 
but unpretending. In fact it is more with a view of 
furnishing my brother a retreat for himself and his girls, 
where they can ruralize during the summer." 

The brother referred to was Ebenezer, who had been 
unfortunate in business, and who passed the last twenty 
years of his life in that very cottage, which indeed became 
the home of his family. The first })lan was enlarged, and 
the building became all that the author expected. He 
received many distinguished guests there, including Louis 
Napoleon and Thackeray, and Sunnyside indeed soon 
attracted the admirers of genius both of American and 
foreign birth. 

Mission to Madrid. 
The politicians had made every effort to turn Irving to 
account. He had declined nomination for Congress, and 
also fur the mayoralty of his native city. Next came a 
message from Van Buren, offering him a place in his 
cabinet as secretary of the navy, which was also declined, 
but when Tyler appointed him to the Spanish mission he 
could no longer refuse the demands of his country. His 
business affairs were committed to the hands of a faithful 
nephew, and the cottage was in charge of Ebenezer dur- 
ing this period of absence. Going by the way of England 
the author saw some of his former friends, among whom 

Irving. . 25 1 

was Moore, whom lie met at the dinner given in behalf 
of the literary fund, where Prince Albert presided. 
Moore was much shattered, while Irving was in full vigor. 
lie also attended Queen Victoria's fancy ball, but was 
obliged to decline an invitation to a public . dinner in 
Glasgow. Of his official services I have no time to speak, 
and therefore omit all allusion except to say they proved 
highly satisfactory to the government which he repre- 
sented. His anxiety to return is shown by the following 
extract from his domestic correspondence: " I long to be 
once more at my dear Sunnyside while I have yet 
strength and spirits to enjoy the simple pleasures of the 
country, and to rally a happy family once more around 
me. I grudge every year of absence. To-morrow is my 
birthday, and I shall then be sixty-two. The evening of 
life is fast drawing over me, but I hope to get back among 
my friends while there is a little sunshine left." In a 
few weeks after writing the above he was restored to the 
bosom of friends and kindred on the banks of the Hudson. 

More literary Work. 

It is certainly remarkable that two American authors 

of high rank should select the same subject. These men 

were Irving and Prescott, the theme being the conquest 

of Mexico. Irving had just made a beginnino: when he 

CD O ~ 

learned that Prescott was similarly engaged, and with 
his customary generosity he at once discontinued, and 
informed Prescott of his purpose. A prompt and grate- 
ful acknowledgment was soon received from the favored 
author, but he little knew the sad and even bitter regret 
which accompanied this surrender. 

Irving, however, had long cherished a desire to write 
the life of Washington. This subject, indeed, had been 
proposed by Constable soon after the appearance of the 

252 Our Book. 

Sketch Book, since at that time but little was known of 
Washington outside of America. This fact recalls a mot 
which Irving occasionally related with a full sense of its 
humorous aspect. He was passing through an exhibition 
of pictures in London when his attention was arrested by 
a portrait of the "father of his country," which attracted 
much attention. While all were thus gazing the inquiry 
was heard from a full-grown girl : " Mamma, who was 
Washington ''. " " La, child," was the reply, " why, he 
wrote the Sketch Book." To produce a history which 
should be authority on so grand a theme w r as now Irving's 
great purpose, and formed the crowning work of his life. 

Putnam's Proposal. 

For several years after Irving's return from Europe 
his works had been issued by a Philadelphia house, but 
as the latter lacked enterprise there was a good chance for 
rivalry. At that time (1848) Putnam opened negotiation 
and secured the exclusive privilege. He produced Irving's 
works in so attractive a form that a fresh demand 
appeared, and its extent surprised both author and pub- 
lisher. A new generation had come into existence since 
Irving's first publications, and this gave what might be 
called "the verdict of posterity" to the works of the 
veteran author. Putnam's success led him to still greater 
efforts, and the rapid sales yielded Irving a degree of 
wealth of which he had little expectation. 

The misfortune which marked Irving's early life found 
a compensation in the prosperity which now awaited him. 
The sale of his works gave him a handsome income, and 
instead of living in solitude and penury as he once imag- 
ined, he was able to afford an establishment which cost 
$6,000 a year. What a contrast between his condition 
and that of Scott ! The one began in disappointment, but 

Irving. 253 

ended in wealth; the other began with success, but ended 
a bankrupt. 

Among other points of Irving's good fortune was the 
selection of his name by Astor as one of his executors. 
The business was done by his associates, but Irving drew 
$10,000 as his fees. The popularity of his name was 
everywhere apparent. There were Irving banks, Irving 
insurance companies, Irving stores, Irving magazines, 
Irving fire companies, Irving hotels and even Irving oys- 
ter houses. He had, however, seen too much adversity 
to be inflated with such honors, and in point of real 
humility few such instances are ever found. His charac- 
ter was simple, and while he avoided public notice, he 
was accessible to the humblest and had a deep fellow 
feeling for his race. The life of Washington kept him 
busy, and the favor with which each volume was received 
encouraged him to labor amid the infirmity occasioned by 
age and illness. He was social among his neighbors and 
was a regular attendant of the Tarry town Episcopal 
church, of which, indeed, he was for many years a 
regular communicant. Among his greatest pleasures 
were the family gatherings at the " cottage." His great 
desire of being useful to his brothers had been fulfilled, 
and his life thus was rounded by a completeness which is 
rarely met in social history. 

Personal Appearance. 
The children of William Irving were all of fine appear- 
ance, but the author was the most attractive. His height 
was five feet seven, and he was finely proportioned. His 
countenance is so well known from portraits that no 
description need be added except to say that the artist 
rarely did him full justice. I remember him as he 
appeared in New York after he had passed fifty, for my 

254: Our Book. 

employer was his favorite nephew. I was then struck by 
the absence of all assumption. He seemed (in common 
parlance) "an every d<iy sort of a man," and his conversa- 
tion was marked by a flow of humor that a child could 
appreciate. A stranger would hardly believe that this 
could be the diplomat and author, who had met more of 
the great than any other American, and who had been on 
friendly terms with royalty. I also occasionally saw him' 
walking the streets in an apparent reverie. His erect 
form moved quietly along, his glance was downward, and 
his countenance bore a pensive look. He was no doubt 
thinking of old times, when he and Brevoort and Pauld- 
ing were among the lively youth of New York, and when 
Matilda Hoffman was the star of his affections. Ah, 
what changes had come over the spirit of his dream since 
that day of buoyant youth ! 

Death axd Burial. 
During his latter days Irving suffered many painful 
symptoms which indicated disease of the heart He 
enjoyed the ministrations of his faithful nieces and the 
best medical talent of New York, but all was in vain. 
He kept busy at his great work, however, but only sur- 
vived its completion a few months. His life had reached 
seventy-seven, and had attained such a completeness that 
all that was now required was an easy dismission. Suf- 
fering, indeed, had become the sole condition of exist- 
ence. He was unable to sleep, and this often tilled his 
nights with unutterable distress. His last day on earth, 
however, was one of peculiar beauty. The autumn was 
closing with that sad and solemn grandeur which some- 
times marks the decline of the year. All of the family 
were rapt in admiration of a glorious sunset, and the au- 
thor himself exclaimed at the beauteous scene, little 

Irving. 255 

dreaming that it would be the last he would ever behold. 
He retired at half-past ten o'clock, expressing a dread of the 
night, and added in a sad tone, " When will this end?" 
His niece, who stood near, saw him as he uttered these 
words, sink to the floor, and the next moment he was 
dead. It was in every aspect of the case a relief which 
none could deny to such a sufferer. Thus passed away 
on the 29th of ^November, 1859, the author whom the 
world delighted to honor. 

The funeral was of imposing character. The services 
were held in the church at Tarrytown, and the attend- 
ance was estimated by thousands, many of whom moved 
in solemn procession to the old Sleepy Hollow cemetery, 
where the author was buried by the side of his parents, 
and in the bosom of the kindred whom he loved so well. 

Agreeable to general expectation the entire estate (ex- 
cept one copyright) was bequeathed to Ebenezer, the solo 
surviving brother, and to his daughters. The testator 
wished the cottage to continue a gathering place for the 
family ; hence he desired that it should not be sold, but 
that the last survivor of the nieces should bequeath it to 
some good man of the name of Irving. The entire estate 
was nut less than §100,000. Ebenezer survived the au- 
thor five j'ears, and since then the nieces have been dim- 
inished by death to two, who reside in New York in the 
winter, but make Sunnyside their summer home. The 
place remains unchanged. The pen which the author 
last used lies on the table, as though awaiting his touch, 
and his hat hangs in the hall where he left it. Sunny-id e 
has become one of the shrines of genius, and pilgrims 
from distant nations resort thither to honor the memory 
of Washington Irving. 

Irving's Sisters. 
Irving had three sisters, who were in all points women 

256 Our Book. 

of worth and usefulness. One of the number (Sarah) 
married Henry Van Wart, who then was a fine-looking 
scion of an old Dutch family. He became a partner with 
William and Ebene^er Irving in the importation of hard- 
ware, and went to Birmingham as purchasing agent. 
Both he and his wife died there, and the latter is the only 
member of the Irving family buried in a foreign land. 
Another sister (Catharine) married Daniel Paris, a highly 
respectable lawyer, who at one time was prominent in 
State politics, and held a seat in the Senate. He was a 
reoident of Troy for several years, and both he and his 
wife were buried there. Anne w T as the oldest of this 
trio, and became to a very great degree the nurse and 
guardian of her youngest brother, who for this reason 
was tenderly attached to her. JS'ext to his sweetheart he 
loved Anne with all the depth of that affection which 
marked his character. Anne Irving married Richard 
Dodge, a native of New York, who, with his young bride, 
settled in Johnstown, which was then the " far West.'' 
In point of time it was nearly as distant as San Francisco 
Anne was the first of the Irving family that passed 
away from this transitory world, and her death was the 
first serious blow the author received, lie was at that 
time making a journey to the northern part of the State, 
and he wrote to a friend as follows, under date of June 
2, 1S08 : 

While I was traveling in high spirits, with thoughts of home to 
inspire me, I had the shock of hearing of my sister's death, and 
never was a blow struck so near my heart before. One more heart 
lies cold and still that ever beat toward me with the warmest af- 
fection, for she was the tenderest and best of sisters, and a woman 
of whom a brother might be proud. To-morrow I start for Johns- 
town. Would to heaven I had gone there a month ago. 

When Irving returned from Europe in 1832 he visited 
his kindred in Johnstown, and the writer of this, who 
was then a child, saw him walking down to Anne's grave. 

Irving. 257 

The author went alone, for lie wished no one to interfere 
with the sad and tender memories thus recalled. The 
grave is near the entrance, and is marked by a stone bear- 
ing the following inscription : 

Sacred to the memory of Anne, wife of 

Richard Dodge, and daughter of William Irving 

of New York, who died on the 20th May, 1808, 

in her thirty-eighth year. 

She lived in the exercise of the Christian virtues, 

and died in the full hope of a glorious resurrection. 

This was the author's last visit to a spot consecrated by 
holy affection. 

Irving as a Dramatist. 

We seldom view Irving as a dramatist, and yet this was 
at one time a marked feature in his literary labors. He 
and John Howard Payne were intimate friends while liv- 
ing in Paris in 1817, and the latter led Irving to attempts 
of this character. Payne went to London for the purpose 
of introducing some of his own dramas, and while there 
Irving sent him a play in three acts entitled Charles II, 
or the Merry Monarch. This was a mere adaptation of 
Le Jeunesse de Henry V, a French play by Duval, which 
appeared thirty years previously. 

Payne wrote to Irving that he thought it one of the 
best pieces of the kind he ever read, and adds that he 
sold it to Covent Garden for 200 guineas (etpal to 
$1,100). The play was immediately produced, and was a 
marked success. One of its peculiar characters was an old 
sea captain, who was continually trying to sing the only 
song lie ever knew. This was a very clever hit in Irving, 
whose rhymes ran thus : 

In the time of the Rump, 
As old Admiral Trump, 
With his broom swept the chops of the channel, 
And his crew of Big Breeches, 

Those Dutch sons of . 


258 Our Book. 

Mary (putting lier hand on his month) said: "Oh, 
uncle, uncle, don't sing that horrible rough song!" In 
this manner something always happened to stop the cap- 
tain's song, and Charles Lamb said that '• he got so anxious 
to hear it that it kept him awake nights." 

Irving had stipulated for the concealment of his name, 
but in the preface Payne mentioned "his obligation to a 
literary friend for invaluable assistance." Some time af- 
terward Payne wrote thus to Irving: "I am under obli- 
gations to you beyond the common kindnesses between 
friends of long standing. In the comedy of Charles the 
Second I have referred to the assistance you gave me, 
without violating your injunction of secrecy. I only re- 
gret that it is not in my power to make a more adequate 
return." Irving and Payne long since went to their graves, 
but it is interesting, even at this distance of time, to re- 
view their literary friendship. 

Authorship and Chronology. 
While looking at Irving' s life I am led to notice the 
recurrence of the number nine in the following manner: 
lie began authorship in 1809, with the History of New 
York. In 1810 his Sketch Book was issued in New York, 
which placed him at the head of American literature. 
Ten years later (1829) he was the guest of the Spanish 
government in the Alhambra, and was elevated by his Co- 
lumbus to the first rank in history. Ten years later (183<>) 
he began his Life of Washington — an old echeme which 
was thus deferred by circumstances of a peculiar charac- 
ter. In 1849, Putnam's national edition gave Irving 
what was called " the verdict of posterity." Ten years 
later (1859) the Life of Washington wa^ finished. An- 
other point to be noticed is the connection between au- 
thorship and mortality. Scott, for instance, reached Ins 

Irving. 259 

highest degree of fame with the publication of Ivanhoe, 
but this grand success was marred by the death of his 
mother and an unusual mortality in the family. The life 
of Irving is also a similar illustration of the contrasted 
lights and shadows of genius. His first book was pub- 
lished while its author was crushed by the loss of his be- 
trothed — Matilda Hoffman — who died just six months 
before the appearance of the Knickerbocker History. His 
last — The Life of Washington — was finished in the spring 
of 1859, six months previous to the death of its author. 

Irving's pen Names. 
Irving had five pen names, each so peculiar as to at- 
tract attention. The first was Jonathan Oldstyle of the 
Morning Chronicle — the next was Anthony Evergreen, 
of Salmagundi, and then we have Diedrich Knickerbocker 
and Geoffrey Crayon. His Chronicles of Grenada were 
also published as the work of Fra Antonio Agapida, this 
being another fanciful creation. Rather strange the Old- 
style articles, though the crudities of a youth of nineteen 
contain one of the best things the author ever wrote. It 
has, however, escaped observation, and hence some of my 
readers may be glad to see a new thing from an old au- 
thor. Hence I offer the following extract : 

Among other characters of the play was an ancient maiden, at 
whom flings and jests were made by the others for the entertain- 
ment of the audience. I think, however, that these attempts to 
injure female happiness are both cruel and unmanly. I have ever 
been an enthusiast in my attachment to the fair sex — I have ever 
thought them possessed of the strongest claims of our admiration, 
our tenderness and our protection. When, therefore, to these are 
added stronger claims — when we see them aged, solitary and ne- 
glected — cold, indeed, must be the heart thnt can point the shafts 
of ridicule and poison the little comfort that heaven may have 
poured into their cup. 

This is certainly an admirable sentiment, and indicates 
the style of thought which Irving maintained through life. 

260 Our Book. 

Irving and Byron. 

Irving was the only American who knew the contents of 
a manuscript volume which has awakened intense curiosity 
and which indeed had a strange history. A great but 
polluted genius writhing under the verdict which society 
had uttered against him, wrote the memoirs of his own 
life, as an appeal which must be heard. It was to have 
the additional power of a voice uttered from the grave, 
for not till its author should have been laid there was it 
to appear. Such was the character of Byron's autobio- 
graphic memoirs. Having finished the work a few years 
before his death, he gave it to his friend Tom Moore, 
who sold it to John Murray for 2,000 guineas' — equal to 
$12,000 — this being the largest sum ever paid for any 
work of the kind. 

After making the sale Moore became convinced that 
its revelations endangered the characters of others to such 
a degree that its publication would be dangerous. Indeed, 
when the annunciation was made, society was thrilled 
with surprise, and no doubt a tremendous influence was 
brought to bear on its suppression. Moore returned the 
price to Murray, and the amount was made up to him in 
a private manner, after which the manuscript was burned. 

By way of explanation it may be said that as Irving 
and Moore were intimate friends, the latter consulted the 
former, who read the work, and therefore knew all its 
strange revelations. As the book was suppressed, Irving 
never divulged its secrets. It may be added that the 
destruction of the manuscript was done by Mrs. Leigh, 
the poet's half sister, into whose hands it was placed by 
its former owner. 

Irving and the Ghost. 

There was during Irving's life a story afloat concerning 
his intimacy with a young Englishman — an invalid — who 

Irving. 261 

agreed to appear after death if lie should be invoked. 
This story is to a certain degree correct. The invalid 
referred to whose name was Hall, met Irving in Spain, 
whither he had gone for his health. Irving gives the 
following account of the affair : " One day we were talk- 
ing about ghosts, and Hall suddenly asked me if I should 
like to receive a visit from him after death? I replied 
that, as we had always been on good terms, I would not 
be afraid to receive such a visit if it were practicable. 
Hall then said he was serious in his idea, and added ~ I 
wish you to say you will consent.' To this I agreed, and 
Hall then said: 'Irving, it is a compact, and if I can 
solve the myster^v for you I will do it.' " Soon afterward 
the invalid expired, and Irving w T as the only real mourner 
at the funeral. He wrote to the dead man's friends a 
full description of the sad event, and, while oppressed 
with the tender associations of such a mournful scene, he 
wandered out to one of their former haunts and there 
recalled the compact. In obedience to his promise he 
whispered an invocation, but no one appeared, nor did 
Hall ever make himself present to his last earthly friend. 
The latter w T as wont to say that " the ghosts were not 
kind to him." 

Similar Case. 
Ben Franklin mentions a similar agreement which he 
made with a friend named Osborne, when he was a young 
man living in Philadelphia. He says in his autobio- 
graphy, " We had seriously engaged that whoever died 
first should return, if possible, and pay a friendly visit to 
the survivor, to give him an account of the other world," 
and he adds, " Osborne never fulfilled his engagement." 
This desire for such mysterious knowledge is so natural 
that it has been a matter of discussion for ages, and Blair 
thus alludes to it in his poem, The Grave : 

2G2 Oub Book. 

Tell us, ye dead! Will none of you in pity 
To those you left behind disclose the secret? 
O, that some courteous ghost would blab it out, 
What 'tis you are and we must shortly be? 

Hoffman and Irving. 

The late Charles F. Hoffman was half-brother to Ma- 
tilda Hoffman — the object of Irving's early affection. 
Matilda was the daughter of Josiah Ogden Hoffman, an 
eminent attorney, who had been left a widower with sev- 
eral children. The youngest of these was Ogden, who 
became bo noted for his eloquence. Two others were 
daughters, the youngest of whom was Irving's betrothed. 
Her mother died early, while Ogden was but a small 
child. Before Irving had become acquainted with the 
family there was a second Mrs. Hoffman, who had three 
children, one of whom was the unfortunate Charles. The 
family was a very happy one, and the new mother was 
deeply beloved. She was a favorite with Irving, who at 
that time was studying law in Hoffman's office. 

How odd to think of Irving's Matilda as a pupil at the 
writing-masters; and yet, by reference to the Museum, 
published weekly in New York, in 1798, I see the adver- 
tisement of " Jenkins' Writing School," which contains 
the following certificate : 

I engaged John Jenkins to give my daughter — a child not nine 
years old, and who was altogether ignorant of writing — twenty- 
one lessons. I have great pleasure in saying that by his instruc- 
tion she has acquired a legible and good handwriting. I there- 
fore cheerfully recommend Mr. Jenkins' manner of teaching as 
deserving peculiar encouragement. 

Josiah Ogden Hoffman, 
Attorney-General to the State of New York. 
December 21, 1798. 

Irving, at the date of the advertisement, was fifteen, 
and was attending Fisk's High School, and the next year 
he began the distasteful study of the law. He first en- 
tered Masterton's office, but in two years began his studies 

Irving. 2(33 

with Hoffman, and this led to his acquaintance with the 
former pupil of the writing-master. 

Josiah Ogden Hoffman had reason to be proud of his 
children. Of those of his first marriage, Matilda won the 
heart of Washington Irving, while Ogden became the most 
brilliant advocate of the age. Of the second family, 
Jnlia was an elegant woman, and Charles became a very 
popular writer. I met him during the latter part of his 
literary life, and noticed his fine personal appearance, not- 
withstanding his lame leg. He started the Knickerbocker 
Magazine, and afterward the American Monthly. In 
1S46 he began a comic weekly called Yankee Doodle, 
which was unsuccessful; but its columns were graced by 
an effusion which will live as long as our national litera- 
ture. This is his Monterey. The news of Taylor's vic- 
tory over the Mexicans had just been received and oc- 


casioned that thrilling outburst of martial poetry. It was 
among his last pieces, and is the only one which will live. 
Soon afterward it was whispered that his mind was fail- 
ing, and it was not long before he was placed in an asylum, 
w T here he remained until relieved by death. 

2G4 Our Book. 

Irving's Sorrows. 
Irving lost his father, his best beloved sister and his 
betrothed within the space of little more than a year. 
Such blows would naturally affect, in a very powerful 
manner, a sensitive young man of twenty-five, but tliey 
were followed by other disastrous changes. He became a 
partner w T ith his brothers, and the firm failed. He went 
to Liverpool to take charge of the business, and bank- 
ruptcy overtook him in a strange land. Under such cir- 
cumstances he thus writes to Mrs. Hoffman : 

I have been so crushed by cares and troubles that I have almost 
abandoned letter writing, and indeed would do so altogether but 
that I am fearful that those whose affection I most value would 
either forget me or think I had forgotten them. I met Mr. Ver- 
planck lately, and the sight of him brought up a thousand melan- 
choly reflections of past scenes and of distant friends, and also of 
those that have gone to a better world. When I look back a few 
years, what changes have taken place! Is this an epoch peculiar 
for its vicissitudes, or has my own circle been especially subject 
to calamity, or is it the common lot of man to find, as he advauces, 
the blows of fate thickening? What wreck and ruin a few short 
years have produced ! My future prospects are dark and uncer- 
tain, but I hope for the best, and may yet find wholesome fruit 
springing up from trouble and adversity. 

"When we consider that Irving's subsequent life was 
highly prosperous, we may see the benefit of his example 
in always hoping for the best. The darkest hour is often 
just before dawn. It was at such a time that he ventured 
the publication of the Sketch Book, which brought him 
immediate success. 

Viewing Byron either physically or intellectually his 
life was unusually rapid. His poetic career was hardly 
more than ten years in duration, and he ceased writing at 
an age when most men have hardly reached notice. 
Walter Scott, for instance, at that age had only published 
his Border Minstrelsy and a few ballads. Byron 
wrote nothing for the press after his thirty-fourth year, 

Byron. 205 

his lines on reaching thirty-six being merely a personal 
lament, and he died three months afterward. His history 
may be divided into four parts : First, from infancy to 
the university, a period of nineteen years; second, uni- 
versity to marriage, a period of eight years ; third, mar- 
ried life, a period of thirteen months; fourth, life in Italy 
and death in Greece, including a period of little more 
than seven years. 

The first of these periods gives us the wild and head- 
strong boy at school in Scotland, of which country his 
mother was a native. ~No control was exercised upon his 
passions, which he inherited in great force from both 
parents. Capt. Byron, indeed, was a notorious profligate, 
who died when the future poet was only three, and on 
the other hand the mother was subject to fierce paroxysms 
of rage. 

Capt. Byron was married twice, the fruit of the first 
union being Augusta, who was, therefore, the poet's half- 
sister. He says of this period in his life: 44 I differed 
not from other children, except in my sullen moods, and 
then I was a devil. They once wrenched a knife from 
me which 1 had applied to my own breast. My passions 
were developed so early that few people would believe 
me." This ferocity was the prominent feature in his 
life, and is one of the proofs of mental disease. He had 
what he calls "an infant passion for Mary Duff." At 
twelve he was so deeply in love with his cousin that it 
called forth his first poem. He says that "the effect of 
his passion was that he could not eat nor sleep." The 
girl died soon afterward, and before two years were past 
he was again intensely in love, the object of his affection 
being Mary Chaworth, whom he called " the star of his 
boyhood." He says: "Our union would have healed 
feuds and joined lands." 

2(36 Our Book. 

Castelar is of the opinion that it should have taken 
place, and that it would have changed favorably the poet's 
life. This view I cannot accept. She was two years his 
senior, and being his third love, would naturally have 
given away to other attractions. I do not believe that 
Byron and Mary Chaworth would have lived together a 
year. It is my conviction, based on his own sentiments, 
that his " love," as he called it, was as diseased as the rest 
of his nature. Evidently it was as variable as it was 
intense. Having begun with Mary Duff in childhood, it 
shitted from one object to another. He says that he was 
"attached fifty times before marriage." After his wife 
had left him he continued these varied attachments until 
he reached Guiccioli, and when he got tired of her he 
went to Greece, where death stopped his amours. 


He thus speaks of his university life: "I took my 
graduation in the vices with great promptitude, but they 
were not to my taste." He means that he was too soli- 
tary to go into what he calls "the commonplace liber- 
tinism of the university." He adds : " The heart thrown 
back on itself threw me into excesses, perhaps more fatal 
than those from which I shrunk." From such hints as 
these it may be inferred that Byron's college life w T as 
marred by dissipation and licentiousness. He had a set 
of wild, but talented companions, including Bankes and 
Hobhouse, but the most noted was Matthews, who was, 
indeed, one of the most gifted men in England. He gave 
promise of attaining distinction, but was drowned while 

It was these roysterers that he invited to Newstead 
Abbey, and as a costumer had provided them with monas- 
tic robes their orgies were the more fantastic when con- 

Byron. 207 

trasted with the garb of a religious order. On these 
occasions Byron was styled "the abbott." He had 
amused himself while in the university by writing poetry, 
and in his nineteenth year, having left Cambridge, he 
published Hours of Idleness. Had it not been for the 
attack made on this volume by the Edinburgh Be view it 
would have died a natural death, and that would have 
been the end of Lord Byron. The review was bitter and 
unjust as a criticism and rude in its personal allusions, but 
it was just what was wanted to wake up dormant genius, 
and he had a reply ready for the press before the end of 
the year, but while the world was thrilled by English 
Bards and Scotch Reviewers the author had sailed on a 
voyage to Spain. 

After two years' absence in the east Byron returned and 
published Childe Harold. He was then (1812) in his 
twenty-third year, and it is surprising that the fame 
which this work conferred did not make him dizzy. 
Probably the reason why it did not was because the love 
of fame had less power over him than his sensual passion. 
The loose morals of Spanish life had their natural effect 
and the scenes of the Orient were much of the same 

He came back ready to alternate in the series of the 
muse on the one hand and the temple of Yenus on the 
other. His poetic fertility at that time was wonderful. 

Childe Harold was followed by r the Curse of Minerva, 
the Giaour, the Bride of Abydos and the Corsair — all 
published within three years after his return, the author 
being then just twenty-five. No such precocity can else- 
where be met in the annals of genius, and the best 
explanation is found in the fact that it was that rapid 
operation which is generally the proof of disease. lie 
was as he said — " unnaturally old." The Bride of Aby- 

268 Our I3ook. 

dos was written in four nights, in order to divert bis mind 

from an unpleasant subject. 

During this time be was on tbe managing committee 

of Drnry Lane Theater and had every facility of loose 

life. One of the actresses was under his "protection/' as 

he expresses it, and the occasional hints in his letters 

prove that he sank deep into the vices of the metiopoli •. 

This was a strange preparation for domestic life and 

hence one is somewhat surprised at the announcement 

which he thus makes to Tom Moore : 

September 20, 1814. 
Dear Moore, — I am goings to be married. You need not be in 
a hurry to wish me joy. I must of course, reform thoroughly. 

Tli is last sentence is decidedly suggestive, but as for 
reformation, that was impossible. To another person he 
writes concerning the happy event : " You know I must 
be serious all the rest of my life." With such prepara- 
tions he approached a union with an heiress on whose 
wealth he laid favorable eyes. lie was so reduced by his 
extravagance that money must be had, while some check 
to his excesses was necessary to save him from decay and 
perhaps early death. 

The Bride. 
She who was to be offered up to this combination of 
genius, drunkenness and passion was a calm and self- 
possessed young woman of twenty-three, of fine mathe- 
matical abilities and one who, being controlled by reason 
as w^ell as by affection, was just the reverse of her be- 
trothed. In fact, the union was, to a very^ great degree, 
the reverse of the sex in each party. Anna Arabella Mil- 
banke — commonly called Annabell — the discreet and 
methodical bride, was of the masculine element, while the 
passionate, capricious, unstable and heedless poet, was 
what is sometimes regarded as the feminine. 

Byron. 269 

On January 2, 1815, the wedding took place, the poet 
being nearly twenty-seven. Seldom is a man found less 
fitted for married life, and his opinion of the condition is 
thus expressed in a letter to Moore just a month after- 
ward : " The treacle moon is over ; I am awake v and find 
myself married. * * * Swift says no wise man ever 
marries, but for a fool I think it the most ambrosial of 
all future states." 

The reformation of which Byron spoke was hardly at- 
tempted. He commenced married life in London, and in 
elegant style ; spent his money lavishly — was a regular 
patron of the theatre in all its freedom, and mingled in 
orgies of the vilest character. Toward autumn, when 
Lady Byron was approaching maternity, her husband was 
reveling at dinners whose drunkenness he chronicles in 
his letters. On the 10th of December Ada was born, 
and the poet writes to Moore that " it is a large child for 
her days," and adds : " I have been married a year, heigh 
ho ! " Little did he think that he was so soon to be free 
from such burdens. 

A sensible Woman. 

The lorn Annabel! had for a whole year lived with a 
poetical rake whose reformation at last seemed beyond 
hope. He was the most brilliant writer of his day, and 
yet his evil habits more than off-set his fame. Had he 
loved his wife she might have endured a still greater bur- 
den of misery, but she learned by a year of sorrow that 
his heart was in the stews of London. She had become 
the mother of a lovely babe, and this at once absorbed 
her soul. The reckless debauchee whom she was once 
proud to call husband had lost his power over her. The 
babe was her life, and the question was how to save it 
from the abominations which overhung the father's name 
for two generations. 

270 Our Book. 

One excuse, however, had caused her to contemplate 
him with pity, and made her willing to cling to his side. 
lie was insane ! Such, indeed, was the theory by which 
she accounted for that abominable depravity which no 
words could express. She would not abandon the wretched 
lunatic, brute as he had become. This explains the kind- 
ness which she displayed when they parted (the last time), 
six weeks after Ada's birth. She went to visit her parents 
in the country, and then thought to return, but having 
reached her paternal home, a thorough examination was 
made of her husband's conduct. 

She was forced by fresh testimony, obtained in a way 
which I need not describe, to another conclusion. That 
conclusion was that, so far from being a lunatic, he had 
full use of his reason ; the trouble was nut insanity, but 
the domination of foul and. damning passions. Informa- 
tion was then conveyed to the poet that the separation 
was forever, and they never met again. In this way the 
greatest woman-killer of the day found that there was at 
least one of the sex who was his master. lie also learned 
that the details of his evil life had been discovered by his 
indignant wife by means of an espionage under which he 
had been placed. The woman had completely out-gen- 
eraled him, and if he demanded the babe she was ready 
to meet him in the courts with proof. 

Byron's wife became a widow at thirty-two, but never 
married again. She rarely sought society, but visited 
Walter Scott at Abbottsford in 1817, when Ada was 
nearly two years old. No doubt she had at this time 
heard of Allegra, who was then nearly a ye;ir old. Scott 
writes thus of this visit in a letter to a friend : "My heart 
ached for her all the time we were together — there was 
so much patience and decent resignation to a situation 
which must have pressed on her thoughts, that she was to 

Byron! 271 

me one of the most interesting creatures I had seen for a 
score of years." Lady Byron devoted much of the last 
thirty years of her life to works of benevolence, and died 
in 1860, being then in her sixty -ninth year. She sur- 
vived her husband thirty-six years, and her only child 
(Ada) one-quarter of that time, and no doubt had a full 
share .of the sorrows of life. 

Exciting Gossip. 

The separation of a titled family, after so brief a union, 
occasioned the most exciting gossip which up to that time 
London had ever enjoyed. The genius of the young 
peer, his beauty, his intrigues and his embarrassments, 
were the vivid and inspiring subjects of conversation. 
Everybody justified the course pursued by the wife, and 
the splendid rake received the entire volume of public 
denunciation. He was compelled, as by force of con- 
science, to vindicate his wife, and he thus writes Moore 
three months after the separation : " I must say in the 
very dregs of this bitter business, that there never was a 
better or even a brighter, a kinder or more amiable and 
agreeable being than Lady B. I never had, nor can 
have, any reproach to make. Where there is blame it 
belongs to myself, and if I cannot redeem I must bear." 

To escape the gossip which pervaded the aristocracy, 
including Parliament, of which he was a member, Byron 
determined to leave England. Another reason was his 
financial condition. He had spent money so lavishly and 
foolishly that lie was deeply in debt, and his library was 
under levy. He writes to Murray, four months after the 
separation : " This is the tenth execution in as many 
months. So I am pretty well hardened ; but it is fitting 
that I should pay the penalty of my forefathers' extrava- 
gance and my own." 

Before the lapse of six weeks he left England, little 

272 Our Book. 

thinking he would never return, but such was the case. 
He raised sufficient funds from the sale of his works to 
give him a start, and the cheapness of living in Italy 
would afford an opportunity to retrieve his condition. 
The poet, though then little past twenty-eight, was pre- 
maturely old. His constitution was one of great natural 
strength, but it had been terribly impaired by the habits 
which had mastered him. During his journey he col- 
lected material for a continuation of Childe Harold, but 
in Switzerland an intrigue with an English woman 
resulted in the birth of his second daughter Allegra, who 
was only a year younger than Ada. Six months after 
leaving England he reached Venice, and in a few weeks 
his letter to Moore announces a fresh intrigue. His god- 
dess "has the voice of a lute and the song of a seraph," 

Congenial Abode. 
Byron's letters from Italy show that he had at least 
reached a congenial state of society. Yet even at this 
time genius reasserted her power, and he wrote Manfred 
and other works of ability, including the remainder f 
Childe Harold. The next year he took up his residf j 
at Ravenna, and the inevitable amour which followed 
introduces the name of Guiccioli. About this time he 
placed in the hands of his best friend, Tom Moore, that 
autobiography which was afterward destroyed. It is to 
be noted that Byron's letters from Italy rarely referred 
to the glories of art or architecture. One would hardly 
imagine from their perusal that he was in the land of 
Raphael and Michael Angelo, but they are spiced with 
allusions to his intrigues. His appeal in Childe Harold 
to "Ada, sole daughter of my house and heart," was 
written when he had another daughter (Allegra), whom 
he loved much more tenderly, but who died two years 

Byron. 273 

before her father. These things show that his paren- 
tal sentiment was artificial and was intended for public 
display, while the reality was of a very different char- 

The true Yiew. 

Byron's Italian life was, in fact, one in which his 
earlier sins were deeply intensified. He described the 
social depravity that surrounded him with a gusto which 
showed how much he loved it. Never did he express 
regret, still less repentance. He says : " If I were to 
live over again I do not know that I would change in my 
life, except it were for — not to have lived at all." The 
true view of Byron is genius overcome by the unclean 
spirit. The social corruption of Italian society inspired 
his last poem, Don Juan, which was begun at thirty, the 
year of life in which the missionary, Brainerd, closed his 
wonderful career. An impressive contrast with Byron is 
found in Augustin, for both confessed the power of the 
baser passions. In one we see the soul rising after 
repeated struggles, in which he made an eventual triumph. 

the other we see the spiritual nature gradually yielding 
to nie unclean spirit, until it became the slave of the 

The worst spectacle in the world is a wasted life, and 
such was the picture Byron thus presents of himself : 

In short, I 

Have squandered my whole summer while 't was May, 

Have spent my life both interest and principal, 

And deem not — what I deemed — my soul invincible. 

The best thing to read in connection with this confes- 
sion is James Russell Lowell's Extreme Unction, the or- 
iginal of which Byron might have supplied better than 
any other character. 

The sated svbarite left Italy for Greece worn out and 

274 Our Book. 

in premature age. Indeed, the rapid decline occasioned 
by vice had for some years made hiin feel like an old man. 
This idea he brought out in Manfred, with an almost pro- 
phetic foresight : 

Look on me! there is an order 
Of mortals on the earth who do become 
Old in their youth, and die ere middle age. 
Without the violence of warlike death, 
Some perishing of pleasure. 

The year before he died he wrote thus to the Countess 
of Blessington : 

I am ashes where once I was fire, 
And the bard in my bosom is dead; 

What T loved I now merely admire, 
And my heart is as gray as my head. 

My life is not dated by years, 

There are moments which act as a plow; 

And there is not a furrow appears, 
But is deep on my soul as my brow. 

The poet's life in Greece was limited to nine uninter- 
esting months, and perhaps its only noticeable feature is 
that mournful confession, dated "Missolonghi, January 
22, 182±. On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year," 
and of this the following extract is sufficient : 

My days are in the 3 T ellow leaf; 

The flowers and fruits of life are gone, 
The worm, the canker and the grief 

Are mine alone. 

The tire that in my bosom preys 

Is lone as some volcanic isle; 
No torch is kindled at its base, 

A funeral pile. 

Three months after the above was written, its author 
died, but the rude condition of a Greek fortress had no con- 
venience for a distinguished funeral. A carpenter was 
ordered to make a chest, which was done in a rough 
manner, and this was the poet's coffin. As there was not 
a pall in the place, a half -worn black cloak was used as a 
covering, but it only partially concealed the rude exterior. 



The chest was borne to the Church of St. Nicholas by 
the officers of the Greek army, followed by the troops 
and many of the population. When placed in the church 
a helmet, a sword and a crown of laurel were laid upon 
it, and the funeral services of the Greek Church was then 
read. A guard of honor afterward took charge of the 
remains until they were shipped to England. They lay 
in state for two days in London, and were then conveyed 
to Hucknell Church, a distance of a hundred miles, 
the journey occupying six days. The poet was not only 
transported to his native land contrary to his fixed desire, 
but the latter was also violated in another particular. He 
desired, if buried in England, to be placed in the vault 
by the side of the dog he loved so well, and which he 
honored with an epitaph. Instead of this, however, he 
was laid in the tomb under the church. Byron had 
another favorite dog, which was brought to England with 
the corpse of its master, and was for many years a 
cherished feature at Newstead. Irving who visited the 
poet's former home in 1832, saw this favorite animal, in 
which he became deeply interested. 

The Poet's Descendants. 

His first child was Ada, whom he never saw after her 
second month, for his wife then abandoned him. Allegra 
was thirteen months younger than Ada, and was the 
only object Byron really loved. She died, however, in her 
childhood, and was sent from Italy to England for burial. 
Ada Byron became an elegant woman, but never displayed 
intellectual power. In her twentieth year she married an 
English gentleman named King, who by courtesy was 
called the Earl of Lovelace. She died in 1852, being 
in her thirty-seventh year, just the age of her father. 

She had two sons, and the elder w r as so eccentric that 
his death was a relief. He turned amateur highwayman 

276 Our Book. 

and stopped a carriage with a pistol, to which was added 
other mischief which soon wore out the patience of his 
friends. Then he renounced the name, and got employ- 
ment in a ship-yard, and was on the point of marrying the 
daughter of a carpenter when his death suddenly took place. 
The next son inherited wealth and a title, hut he lacked 
force of character. He married the daughter of a clergy- 
man, but the union, which was very unhappy, was soon 
dissolved by the death of the wife. One daughter was 
born to this discordant couple, and she is now the sole 
representative of the line, which no doubt will become 
extinct, and if so it is just what the miserable poet de- 

Byron Characteristics. 

The fact that a statue of this poet has recently been 
erected at Missolonghi, recalls some personal references of 
a peculiar character. I find, for instance, that he had 
some very peculiar notions in reference to his own burial. 
When he was in his twenty-first year, he made his first 
will, in which appears the following clause: "I desire 
that my body be buried in the vault at Newstead, with- 
out any ceremony or burial service whatever." He also 
desired that his dog (buried in the same vault) should not 
be removed. A few days afterward he wrote to a friend 
thus: " With regard to the few and simple directions for 
the disposal of my carcass [his own italics], I must have 
them implicitly followed, and this will save trouble and 
expense." At that time Byron had recently lost a num- 
ber of friends (including his mother), and he endeavored 
to familiarize himself with death by keeping tour skulls 
in his room. One of these was made to hold a silver cup, 
out of which the young poet and his roystering compan- 
ions were wont to quaff bumpers of Burgundy wine dur- 
ing the revels at Newstead. 

Byron. 277 

Byron and the Sexton. 

When Byron left England after his domestic troubles, 
life and death, the festal scene and the grave followed 
him in alternate experience. Whenever he visited a citv, 
after mingling in its wildest dissipation, he often would 
pass an hour in the cemetery to commune with mortality. 
A notable instance of this kind occurred at Bologna, 
where he visited the highest circles, and then immediately 
went to the Cettora cemetery. He wrote an English 
friend a full description of the spot, and said the sexton 
afforded him much interest, especially as he had a collec- 
tion of the skulls of former friends, each labelled on the 
forehead. Taking down one of them, he said : " This 
was brother Berro, a monk, who died at forty — one of 
the best of my friends. I begged his head of the breth- 
ren after his decease, and they gave it me. I cleaned it, 
and here it is in good preservation. He was the merriest 
fellow you ever knew, but I shall never see his like again." 
One cannot be surprised that the scene recalled to the 
poet the grave digger in Hamlet, with his " Alas, poor 
Yorick !" of which it was indeed a perfect reproduction. 

Italian Epitaphs. 
This sexton told the poet that in eighteen years they 
had buried 53,000 persons in that inclosure. Many of 
these were Ms own acquaintances, and he said he felt a 
strong attachment to what he called his " dead people." 
The poet copied (in the above-mentioned letter) some of 
the Italian epitaphs, such as 

Martini Luigi, 
Implora pace. 

" Can anything," said he, " be more expressive of 
pathos ? " Another was as follows : 


Iinplora eterna quietc. 

278 Our Book. 

•' These few words/' said the poet to his friend, " are all 

that can be said or thought. The dead had enough of life ; 

all they wanted was peace, and this they implore." No 

doubt the poet was gratified to see a reproduction of his 

own idea. 

When time or soon or late shall bring 

The dreamless sleep that lulls the dead 
Oblivion, may thy languid wing 
Wave gently o'er my dying head. 

Oblivion is the highest boon to bad men, but Chris- 
tianity gives the assurance of eternal life. That Byron 
had no desire (in case he died abroad) to have his remains 
carried to England, is evident from the conclusion of the 
same letter: ''I hope that whoever may survive me and 
shall see me put into the foreigners' burying ground will 
have these words inscribed over me and nothing more. T 
trust they won't think of pickling me and bringing me 
home. I believe the thought would drive me mad on my 
death-bed could I suppose that any of my friends would 
be base enough to convey my carcass back to your soil." 
This was written in 1819, when the poet was thirty-one. 
Five years afterward he died at Missolonghi, and, con- 
trary to his request, his remains were borne to the an- 
cestral vault at the Huckuell church, near New r stead. 

Byron's influence over Scott. 
It was to Byron that the world owes Scott's concen- 
tration on fiction, for the latter had previously devoted 
his genius to poetry until Byron's genius, drove him from 
the field, and on the appearance of Childe Harold, the 
author of Marmion and the Lady of the Lake acknowl- 
edged his inferiority and turned to prose. Sir William 
Gell, vvho was living at Naples when Scott visited that 
place in pursuit of health, mentions that the latter stated 
that he longed to turn to poetry and see if he could equal 
the rhymes of his youth. 

Byrox. 279 

"I asked him," says Sir William, " why lie ever relin- 
quished poetry?" "Because Byron bet me," said he, 
pronouncing beat short. I rejoined " I could remember 
as many passages of his poetry as of Byron's." " That 
may be," he replied, " but he bet me out of the field in 
the description of strong passions and in deep-seated 
knowledge of the human heart, so I gave up poetry for 
the time." 

Byron and Shelley. 

The two poets had each left England to escape popular 
opinion, and were at the time of the latter's death living 
in Italy. Shelley's sad fate was primarily due to his 
benevolence. Leigh Hunt, who was a broken-down 
literary adventurer, had come to Italy to seek Byron's 
assistance in some literary project, and Shelley lost no 
time in calling on his unfortunate countryman. He 
sailed from his sea-shore dwelling to Leghorn for that 
purpose, and had an interview with Hunt, but was lost 
on his return. Both Byron and Hunt witnessed the 
funeral pile, which was a sad and affecting scene. Shel- 
ley's heart was found untouched, and was taken to Rome 
and buried near the grave of Keats. Of this literary' 
quartette Hunt was the only one who returned alive to 
England, where the remainder of his career was marked 
by painful vicissitude, and then Dickens intensified his fate 
by reproducing him in the slipshod Harold Skimpole. 

His Artificiality. 
Byron has for a half century been the most popular of 
poets. The reason of this is found in his power over the 
human heart - , or mastery over the emotional nature, in 
which he is only excelled by Shakespeare. With the 
exception of the latter Byron stands alone. Every youth 
or maiden who is disappointed in love turns immediately 
to Byron for consolation, and finds a full response in the 

280 Our Book. 

poet's wounded heart. In precocity he is only excelled 
by Cliatterton. All his works indeed were between 
eighteen and thirty-four, and he was at twenty-five the 
greatest poet of that day. We have no similar instance 
of a first-class author culminating at so early a period, and 
nothing written after that added to his fame. Precocity 
is generally caused by disease, and this was the case with 
Byron whose works display that rapid and unhealthy 
development which so often accompanies a defective 
and deformed moral character. Whatever in his works 
has a better aspect is evidently artificial. He played a 
role before the public which awoke a degree of admira- 
tion, and this double life was so well performed that the 
world was for a long time deceived. 

Byron's artificial sentiment is shown in his poetry, 
while his true character is revealed by his letters. He 
makes a showy appeal to his wife in." Fare thee well, and 
if forever," and some readers may consider it the heart- 
broken utterance of an injured husband, but his letters at 
that very time speak of her in a contemptuous tone, and 
while writing in this melting mood, he was really wallow- 
ing in the licentiousness of Venice. Thus we have two 
Byrons, the artificial and the real. The first is always 
seeking sympathy for his misfortunes, is eloquent over 
disappointed affection, is blasted by destiny and finally is 
deserted by one who should have remained true till the 
very last, and he is inspired by these crushing sorrows 
to the highest flights of maudlin poetry. The second is 
the sybarite of either London or Italy,with whom woman's 
love was a mere bagatelle and who married solely to 
win a fortune. 

Schxegel's Error. 

Moore gives one an impressive idea of the fallibility of 
critics when he mentions that Schlegel said of Byron, 

Byron. 281 

" that he would outlive himself, and be laid on the shelf 
before his body should be carried to the grave." Such 
an opinion sounds rather strange at present, when Byron 
is as vital as ever, while Schlegel is forgotten. Among 
other interesting bits that Moore gives us concerning 
Byron is the statement that during his residence in Pisa, 
which was nine months, he never saw the leaning tower. 
This seems almost incredible, and yet it may be correct, 
for in none of Byron's letters, written from that city, is 
any reference made to that wonderful structure. 

Moore's reminiscences lead us into Byron's state of 
mind previous to his marriage. He had offered himself 
to another lady, but his suit was unsuccessful. He there- 
upon thought of Miss Millbanke, who had previously de- 
clined his hand, and wrote her a letter renewing the of- 
fer, which was accepted. The idea of such an emotional 
creature as Byron offering his heart and hand by letter 
seems really ridiculous, and yet this was the mechanical 
way in which he sought Miss Millbanke. 

A very remarkable illustration of the lack of heart in 
Byron's matrimonial life is found in the following inci- 
dent. Only three months after an event which should 
have rendered him the happiest of mankind, he expressed 
his feelings in the lines beginning thus : 

There's not a joy the world can give, like that it takes away; 
When the glow of early thought declines in feelings' dull decay. 
'Tisnot on youth's smooth cheek the blush alone that fades so fast, 
But the tender bloom of heart is gone e'er youth itself has past. 

These painful lines conclude with the verse : 

O could I feel as once I felt, or be what I have been ; 
Or weep as once I could have wept, o'er many a vanished 

As springs in deserts found seem sweet, all brackish though 

they be, 
So through the withering waste of life those tears would flow 

to me. 

How strange a commentary on married life is the fact 

282 Our Book. 

that it could inspire such sentiments ! Still more strange 
is it that the author could ask one so recently his bride to 
copy them for the press. 

Byron married an heiress and one of the highest order 
of aristocracy. Tom Moore, on the other hand, married 
an obscure actress. The former found matrimony a hard 
bondage, while the other enjoyed an unbroken career of 
domestic happiness. His wife was his " Bessie," while 
her pet name for him was "Bird." How like love in a 
cottage does such life seem, and it was certainly a near 
approach to the poetic idea of matrimonial bliss. 

Volcanic Outbursts. 
Byron wrote the Corsair in ten days. He could have 
boasted, however, a much more remarkable instance of 
rapidity in the Bride of Abydos. The Corsair contains 
nearly 1,900 lines, while the Bride of Abydos contains 
1,200. As the latter was written in four days, it indi- 
cates a much more rapid pace in Pegasus. The Corsair 
was written in London in 1814, the author then being 
twenty-six. The Bride of Abydos was written a few 
weeks previously. Their popularity was remarkable, and 
14,000 copies of the Corsair were sold in a week. These 
productions indicate not so much the intellectual powers 
of the poet as the volcanic nature of his brain. The lat- 
ter broke out in brilliant eruptions, and then sank into 
indifference. After the two productions above referred 
to he remained quiet for nearly seven months, when 
another outburst took place, and Lara delighted the world. 
The poet then had a rest for more than a year, when the 
Siege of Corinth appeared. As these outbursts occurred 
during three years of dissipated life, they naturally sug- 
gest the occasional efforts of genius to rise above the de j 
basement of his nature. They seem due to a series of 

Byron. 283 

tremendous conflicts between the beautiful and the vile, 
in which, as is too often the case, the latter eventually 
triumphed. These poems contain the finest descriptions 
of moonlight in our language, and are rich in occasional 
allusions to classic scenes, one of which. I cannot but 
quote : 

The winds are high and Helles' tide 

Rolls darkly heaving to the main, 
And night's descending shadows hide 

The fields with blood bedewed in vain. 
The desert of old Priam's pride, 

The tombs, sole relics of his reign, 
All — save immortal dreams that could beguile 
The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle. 

How little could Byron have imagined that the time 
would come when Priam's deserts should reveal their 
hidden testimony, and that the immortal dreams of Homer 
should be turned to reality by the researches of the anti- 

Byron had a remarkably small head, and Moore indeed 
says it was so " small that it was out of proportion to his 
face." His forehead, though high, was narrow, but these 
defects were lost in the fascinating though sensuous beauty 
of his countenance. The .relative proportion of brain 
was never known, as no post-mortem examination was 
made. Gibbon was the first author whose condition was 
surgically examined after death, and the next was Walter 
Scott. Strange to say, though Scott had the finest fore- 
head of his day, his brain was found to be small and the 
cranium was very thin. Such are the facts, and phre- 
nology must meet them. 

Byron and Dallas. 
Having previously referred to the latter, I will add 
some personal facts. Robert CharltonDallas was a littera- 
teur of respectable rank, but his works were not rem nn- 

284 Our Book. 

erative, and though he wrote and compiled forty-six vol- 
umes, he hardly holds a place in literature. His sister 
married George Anson Byron, uncle of the poet, and this 
led to an acquaintance. Byron found Dallas of great use, 
for he was not only an encouraging critic, but being more 
than thirty years older had an influence on other features 
of character. 

Byron's first book — Hours of Idleness — was printed for 
the author in a country town which happened to be conven- 
ient. When, however, he wanted to attack the reviewers, 
he desired to appear in London, and this rendered the expe- 
rience of Dallas of great value. Dallas had the satire pub- 
lished by Cawthorn, an obscure bookseller, for no promi- 
nent house would incur the ill-will of all the literati of 
the day. 

Byron found the satire well received, and having had 
full satisfaction in slaughtering not only his critics but 
most of the literary world, sailed on an Oriental tour. 
Soon after his return he showed Dallas a poem of which 
the author had a very low opinion, but which the friend 
discerned to be of the highest character. Dallas was de- 
termined that it should be published by some house of 
better rank than Cawthorn, and for this purpose submit- 
ted it to Murray. The latter, however — acting on the 
same conservative principle which led him to decline both 
Irving's Sketch Book and Smith's Rejected Addresses 
— first consulted the highest critical authority in London. 
This was Gifford, editor of the Quarterly, whose full ap- 
proval of Childe Harold led Murray to undertake the 
work. It proved a grand success, and thenceforth Mur- 
ray became Byron's sole publisher. 

Friendly Criticism. 
Dallas felt the responsibility of his position as Byron's 

Byron. 285 

literary accoucheur, and therefore ventured some bold 
criticisms — to one of which Byron replies, as follows: 

I have shown my respect for your suggestions by adopting them. 
I received from Murray a proof which I requested him to show 
you, so that anything which might have escaped my observation 
m;iy be detected. I will not apologize for the trouble I have 
given you, though I ought to do so — but I have worn out my po- 
litest periods, and can only say that I am much obliged to you. 

Byron showed his sense of obligation by presenting 
Dallas the copyright, and this, indeed, was much better 
than any apology. 

Dallas evidently attempted to add advice in morals to 
his literary criticisms, and this led Byron to reply in a 
manner unusually serious — of which the following is a 
sample: "I am very sensible of your good wishes, and 
indeed, I have need of them. My whole life has been at 
variance with propriety — not to say decency — my cir- 
cumstances are involved, my friends are estranged or 
dead, and my life is a dreary void." 

Byron had found Dallas useful in opening the way of 
publication, but he became restive under the moral sug- 
gestions of his critic, and their intercourse terminated with 
the publication of Childe Harold. When Byron died, 
Dallas, who was in reduced circumstances, endeavored, as 
1 have previously said, to publish the poet's family cor- 
respondence, but was prevented by an injunction. It is 
not probable that they contained anything unfit for the 
public, but Byron's sister Augusta was determined to stop 
gossip as much as possible. Dallas, however, improved 
tie opportunity to begin his reminiscences, which were 
never very popular. He died only six months after the 
poet, his age being three score and ten, while the latter 
was only thirty-six. 

To return to the satire which Dallas assisted in print- 
ing — Byron, as he mingled among literary men, became 

286 Our Book. 

ashamed of his early wrath, and bitterly regretted some 
portions. He began by suppressing his attack on Scott, 
but ended by destroying the fifth and last edition, of 
which only one copy survived, that being in the possession 
of a friend. 

Three fold Request. 
In early manhood and while living atNewstead Abbey, 
Byron expressed the desire to be buried in the same 
vault with his favorite dog, and he even incorporated it 
in his will. Years afterward while living a! -road and 
embittered against his country by what he considered 
unjust public opinion, he declared his wish if he died in 
a foreign land to bo buried there. In Childe Harold, 
however, he utters the following solemn thought : 

Should I leave behind 
The inviolate island of the wise and free, 
And seek a home by a remoter sea, 

And should I lay 
My ashes in a soil which is not mine, 
My spirit shall resume it — if we may 
Unbodied choose a sanctuary. I twine 
My hope of being remembered in my line 
With my land's language. 

That hope is now realized to a degree beyond the poet's 
expectation, and he will hold distinction in literature as 
long as his "land's language" exists. 

Literary Copartnerships. 
The most celebrated of these combinations was Beau- 
mont and Fletcher, whose works are now only known l>v 
this united name. Beaumont died the same year with 
Shakespeare — his age being only thirty-one, while 
Fletcher died the same year Shakespeare's collected works 
were printed — his age being forty-nme. Each of these 
men published separate productions, but they are still 
only known in literature in the above-mentioned union. 



Literary Copartnerships. 287 

Anpther interesting instance of the same kind is found 
in Horace and James Smith, whose partnership produced 
Rejected Addresses. 

Dr. Johnson wrote the closing paragraph in the Trav- 
eler, and this is his only appearance in a literary combi- 
nation — but had not Goldsmith died so early they might 
have extended their combined efforts. Another instance 
is found in Conybeare and Howson's work on St. Paul, 
which is the most elegant and costly as well as the most 
learned production of a foreign literary copartnership. 

American Combinations. 

One of the earliest instances is found in the Echo, 
which was the united effort of Timothy D wight and Rich- 
ard Alsop, and which was marked by both wit and liter- 
ary ability. The Echo appeared as a series of anony- 
mous articles, both prose and verse, in Joel Barlow's 
paper, tho American Mercury, issued in Hartford. The 
date was 1791, but they were afterward published in col- 
lected form. Later 0:1 two other poetical wits amused 
New York with their joint productions. I refer to the 
literary firm of Croker & Co., which once so deeply inter- 
ested the readers of the Evening Post. Croker & Co. 
were Fitz Greene Halleck and Joseph Rodman Drake, 
whose death dissolved the copartnership. Carrying out 
the same idea, Bryant joined Robert C. Sands and Gulian 
C. Yerplanck, in writing Tales of Glauber Spa, and also 
The Talisman. 

One of the most felicitous literary copartnerships was 
that of the brothers Duyckink, whose mutual labors gave 
the world the Cyclopedia of American Literature — a 
work of that research to which they were adapted. N. P. 
W illis and George P. Morris, maintained a literary co- 
partnership of twenty years — for though some of their 

288 Our Book. 

works were published separately, their hardest labor was 
mutually devoted to the New York Mirror, and later on 
to the Home Journal, which they founded, "and which 
still bears the impress of their taste and ability. 

(JEOROE p. morris. 

Stedman and Hutchinson. 
The most important literary copartnership at present 
is that which now unites the genius and attainments of 
Edmund C. Stedman and Ellen M. Hutchinson — the 
joint effort being the Library of American Literature. 
This work is one of stupendous character, and requires 
not only the highest order of literary ability, but also 
that patient and unwearying industry which masters the 
dry detail of dates, and also those minor facts which are 
necessary to perfection. In order to succeed one must 
love the subject to a degree which almost reaches supreme 
devotion, to which must be added the highest training of 
brain power. Such being the requisites, it is evident that 
the task could not have been committed to a better com- 
bination than that which is now engaged upon it — and 
the success thus far achieved gives assurance of a finished 
work which will long stand unparalleled. 

Inlaying and Illustrating. 289 

One of the curious features in literary taste is the 
present style of special illustration. Those who wish to 
indulge in such a task obtain an unbound copy of a work, 
and if possible have it printed in large quarto. They 
then improve every opportunity for purchasing engravings, 
and even MS. letters which illustrate the work, and per- 
haps a dozen years may elapse before the task is completed. 

One of the most elaborate works of this kind is a copy 
of the Life and Letters of Washington Irving, which was 
valued at $5,000. Another still more remarkable in- 
stance is found in an illustrated copy of Dr. Francis' 
Address to the Historical Society on old New York. 
The book contains four hundred pages, and the retail 
price was $1.75. It contained but one picture — the 
portrait of the author. In the case referred to, however, 
the work was expanded to four massive quartos contain- 
ing portraits of almost all the characters mentioned, some 
of them indeed being drawings made for this special pur- 
pose. The work was sold at $1,000 a volume, and no 
doubt would now bring an advance. Several w T orks of this 
character are now under way which will be of far greater 

Dr. Francis. 
The author, whose work was thus honored, was a re- 
markable instance of medical science and antiquarian 
taste combined with literary culture. Dr. Francis was a 
native of New York, and knew the city in the days 
which comparatively seem primitive. He was a school- 
mate with Washington Irving, and was personally ac- 
quainted with all the literati of the metropolis for a half 
century. He kept pace with the advance of science, 
and at the same time cherished the memory of the past 
to a degree which gave him distinction as the leading 
antiquary of the city. 

290 Our Book. 

The Historical Society of which he was then the oldest 
member, invited him on its fiftieth anniversary, to deliver 
an address, which reviewed the changes and progress of 
the city in a very interesting manner, and to this work I 
have just referred. Dr. Francis saw New York increase 
from thirty thousand inhabitants to twenty times that 
number, and yet this advance, great as it must have ap- 
peared to such a man, is evidently only the beginning of 
that vast development which will eventually be reached 
by the American metropolis. 


Thomas Paine. 
The question is sometimes asked, was Paine an atheist, 
and my reply is no. He avowed belief in the existence 
of a Deity, but denied the claims of Christianity, which 
he attacked in a very rabid manner. As a political writer 
he had no equal during the revolution. He was one of 
that class of men which live too long. Had he died before 
publishing the Age of Reason, he would have ranked w T ith 
Jefferson, who was equally sceptical, but had better mental 
balance. Paine died in New York in 1809, and was 

Thomas Paine. 291 

buried in New Rochelle ; but when William Cobbett, the 
noted reformer visited America, he had the bones ex- 
humed in order that they should honor the land of their 
birth. They were taken to England, but no report was 
ever made of their burial, and it has been stated that 
the box that contained them was taken by mistake to a 
public store, and they were forgotten. No doubt they 
now rest in an obscure grave. 

No one knows when Paine became a sceptic. In one 
of his early political works (The Crisis), he refers to a 
Divine Providence favoring Washington and the Ameri- 
can cause. I think that his anti-Christian notions were 
matured while he was in Paris, during the revolution. 
There he wrote the Age of Reason, which he sent in MSS. 
to New York by the hands of Joel Barlow, and it was 
published in that city in 1795, several years before its 
author returned to America. While in France, Paine 
did the best and the worst acts of his life. The one was 
the book I have referred to, the other was to vote against 
the condemnation of the king, in doing which he risked 
his life. This act commands our admiration, but his attack 
on Christianity threw his good deeds into shadow. 

It may be remarked that Paine made one exception in 
his general attack on the Scriptures. This was in favor 
of the book of Job, which he affirmed to have no connec- 
tion with the rest of the Bible. He was bred a Quaker, 
and in his denunciation of Christians made them an ex- 
ception. Whatever may be said against Paine, the fol- 
lowing points are in his favor : From a sailor boy he 
rose to be an English custom house officer ; then came to 
America and became a leader in the cause of independ- 
ence ; returned to England and was indicted for his Eights 
of Man ; went to France and was elected to the national 
convention; voted with the king's friends and lay in 

Our Book. 

prison eight months, daily expecting to be sent to the 
guillotine, from which he was released on, the fall of 
Robespierre. This is a striking record to be written up 
concerning a poor sailor boy. Paine's error in writing 
the Age of Eeason, recalls Byron's pungent expression, 
" But one sad loscl stains a name for aye." The poet aimed 
this at himself, but he gave Paine a hard hit in the Epi- 
gram on Cobbett, which reads thus : 

In digging up your bones, Tom Paine 

Will Cobbett has done well ; 
You visit him on earth again. 

He'll visit you in . 

Paine was the author of the oft quoted utterance, 
" These are the times that try men's souls." He was a 
verv caustic writer, and said of Sir William Howe the 
bitterest thing every uttered against a military leader. 
It appeared in one of his revolutionary publications, and 
was no doubt read extensively in the British army. Per- 
haps, indeed, it even reached the highest authorities, for 
Sir William was soon afterward removed from com- 

Paine and Grant Thorburn. 293 

Thomas Paine was the first man interviewed for the 
press in America and hence the incident is worth a brief 
reference. The interviewer was Grant Thorburn, who 
wrote occasionally for the press. Paine had just arrived 
from France, and was a gnest at the City Hotel in Broad- 
way, near Trinity Church. The scene took place in 1803 
when he was in his sixty-sixth year and Thorburn's narra- 
tive is as follows: 

"I asked the waiter is Mr. Paine at home?" " Yes." 

'•In his room?" " Yes." 

"Alone?" "Yes." 

' ' Can I see him ? " " Follow me. " 

lie ushered me into a spacious room where the table was set 
for breakfast; a gentleman at the table writing, another reading 
the paper. At the further end of the room a long, lank, coarse- 
looking figure stood, with his back to the fire; from the resem- 
blance to portaits I had seen in his Eights of Man, I knew it 
was Paine. While I followed the waiter, presuming Paine was 
alone, I was preparing an exordium to introduce myself in com- 
pany with the great author of Common Sense. For a moment 
I was at a stand. Says I: "Gentlemen, is Mr. Paine in this 
room?" He stepped toward me and answered, "My name is 
Paine." I held out my hand, and while I held his, says I: "Mr. 
Paine, and you, gentlemen, will please excuse my abrupt entry; I 
came, out of mere curiosity, to see the man whose writings have 
made so much noise in the world." Paine answered, "I am very 
glad your curiosity is so easily satisfied. " Says I, " Good morning, 
gentlemen," walked out and shut the door behind me. I heard 
them all burst out into a loud laugh. Thinks I, they may laugh 
that win; I have seen Paine, and, all things considered, have made 
a good retreat. The gentleman called the waiter, and inquired 
who that was. "It is Thorburn, the seedsman." They reported 
the matter at the coffee-house, and among their acquaintances. 
As the story traveled it was told with all manner of additions. 
One was that I told Paine he was a rascal; had it not been for his 
books I would never have left my native country, etc., etc., in 
short, there was nothing heard for many days but Thorburn's visit 
to Mr. Paine. 

Political excitement was at that time intense, and was 
combined with the opposition of religious circles, which 
naturally recoiled from the author of the Age of Reason. 
This explains the action of the church with which Thor- 
burn was connected. To pay any honor to an enemy of 

294 Our Book. 

Christianity were an act which required discipline, and 
Thorburn was censured and placed under temporary sus- 
pension. This may now seem very unreasonable, but 
things were very different then. The assailants of Chris- 
tianity were very aggressive, and the arrival of Paine 
brought them a powerful ally. Hence those who gave 
them encouragement were liable to censure. 

Paine's Will. 
This document is on record at the surrogate's office, 
and I examined it carefully up as a matter of curiosity. 
Then, thinking that some of my readers might be equally 
interested, I made a copy of the opening paragraph, which 
in one point is unparalleled. This is the avowal of his 
works, which was done, I suppose, in order to prevent 
any other person laying claim to them. I copy as fol- 

The last will and testament of me the subscriber Thomas Paine. 
Reposing confidence in my creator God and in no other being for 
I know no other neither believe in any other. I Thomas Paine of 
the State of New York — author of the work entitled Common 
Sense written in Philadelphia in 1775 and published in that city 
in the beginning of January 1776 which awakened America to a 
Declaration of Independence on the 4th day of July following 
which was as fast as the work could spread through so extensive 
a country; author also of the several numbers of the American 
Crisis published occasionally during the progress of the Revolu- 
tionary war, the last is on the peace; author also of the Rights of 
Man, parts first and second written and published in London in 
1791 and 1792; author also of a work on religion called Age of 
Reason part the first and second. N B I leave a third part by me 
in manuscript and an answer to the bishop of Llandaff ; author 
also of a work lately published entitled Examination of the pass- 
ages in the new Testament quoted from the old and called prophe- 
sies concerning Jesus Christ and showing there are no prophesies 
of any such person ; author of several other works not here enume- 
rated; Dissertations on first principles of government; Decline 
and fall of the English system of finance ; Agrarian Justice Etc — 
make this my last will and testament. 

Some of Paine's admirers claim that he was the author 

of the letters of Junius, and when attention is called to 

Thomas Paine's Namesake. 295 

the omission of so important a production in this list of 

his works they explain it by the assertion made by Junius 

that his secret should die with him, and they claim that 

Paine adhered to this resolution. The public, however, 

will hardly believe that any man when making a final 

catalogue of his works would omit that special one which 

would give him the highest fame. His will is dated 

July 18, 1809, a few months before his death, and closes 

thus : 

I have lived an honest and useful life to mankind. My time 
has been spent in doing good, and I die in perfect composure and 
resignation to the will of my creator God. 

He certainly rendered valuable service to America dur- 
ing her darkest hours, and in fact never should have left 
this country. In such case it is not probable that he 
would ever have written those volumes which gave him 
a bad name and have often shown a damaging effect on 

His Namesake. 
It may be observed that only one person on record was 
ever named after Thomas Paine. This was a son of 
Robert Treat Paine (signer of the declaration of inde- 
pendence), born amid the excitement of the u time that 
tried men's souls." His father, out of admiration of the 
author of the Crisis and Common Sense, called the child 
" Thomas/- thus making him " Thomas Paine, Jr." This 
did very well until the Age of Reason appeared, when 
Thomas Paine, Jr., became disgusted with his title, and 
at his request, the legislature of Massachusetts allowed 
him to take the name of his father. He became a very 
clever writer, and his best production —a poem called 
Adams and Liberty, brought him $1,500, this being the 
largest amount which up to that time had been paid for 
any literary work of American origin. When Thomas 

296 Our Book. 

Paine returned from France lie found that the rejection 
of his name was only a part of that general detestation 
occasioned by his assault on Christianity. 

Boston Memories. 
It was my good fortune to visit Boston before it had 
lost the charms of antiquity. This occurred when I was 
but a lad and my antiquarian instinct led me to see many 
things which are now passed away. One of these was John 
Hancock's house, which occupied a prominent place in Bea- 
con street. 'It was a story and a half structure of stone, 
but, in its day, was a grand house. Among other antiqui- 
ties I visited the old Province house, which has received 
fame from the genius of Hawthorne. I also remember 
seeing in the shop windows a small book called Twice- 
Told Tales, by this author, but I did not hear -them 



mentioned in conversation, and, in fact, they attracted 
very little notice. Hawthorne was then a custom-house 
officer and attended to the uncongenial service of watch- 
ing the unloading of vessels, but his leisure hours were 
spent in the old Province house, searching the ancient 
records, and thus mastering old New England char- 

Boston Memories. 297 

acters. I, too, loved to gaze on that storied building, and, 
boy though I was, I often ventured in and became deeply 
interested in its history and associations. 

How strange to think what genius has since then been 
developed. Oliver Wendell Holmes was then a young 
physician who had attracted attention by some very clever 
poetry, including his lines on the frigate Constitution. 
It had been proposed to break up that famous ship, but 
Holmes' appeal created such sensation that she was recon- 
structed and put into renewed service. I visited the navy- 
yard at that time and saw the Constitution undergoing 
this renovating process, and I trod with pride the deck 
of the gallant ship which captured the Guerrierre and 
the Java. 


To return to the litterateurs of that day. Longfellow had 
just been elected professor of rhetoric at Harvard and had 
gone to Germany to pursue preparatory studies. Harriet 
Beecher had just attracted attention by writing a tale which 
carried off a prize. Her father had moved from Boston to 
Cincinnati, leaving Channing the most popular preacher, 
and I well remember the pale, thoughtful face of the 
latter as it appeared in the pulpit. 

298 Our Book. 

James R. Lowell was just venturing into literature and 
his father, long a prominent preacher, was succeeded 
by Bartol, who then had recently graduated and was only 
known as an able young man. Emerson was then attract- 
ing attention by his transcendental lectures, which, being 
a novelty, were of course popular. He had a mild voice, 
but spoke in such clear silvery tones that it gave additional 
charm to his utterance, and I remember this as the most 
important feature in his public efforts. 


When I visited Boston in after life I found the city 
grown immensely but so modernized that much of the 
power by which it held me was gone. It had become the 
modern Athens, but the charm of antiquity had passed 
away and I am glad that it is the old Boston which lives 
in my memory. 

Walter Scott. 
Reader, though I have previously referred to this de- 
lightful author, you will perhaps be willing to accept a 
few more personal incidents — among which his magna- 

Walter Scott. 299 

nimity holds prominence. Let me say that one of the 
noblest features in literary Jife is that large heartedness 
which some authors have shown toward rivals or assail- 
ants. Having already mentioned Pope's kindness to 
John Dennis, who had attacked him in the bitterest man- 
ner, I find another striking instance in Scott. Byron 
lampooned him with a severity which was keenly felt, in 
his English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, with no reason 
except that he was enraged at the Edinburgh Review and 
wanted to abuse everybody within reach. Scott's reply 
was to review Byron's poems in one of the quarterlies, 
with all the enthusiasm their beauty awakened. 

Byron immediately sent Scott an apology and the allu- 
sion to the latter was subsequently eliminated from the 
satire, though it still appears in the American editions. 
These two poets met in London in 1815, the scene being 
the parlor of John Murray, the princely book-seller. 
They then became friends for life and exchanged gifts 
like the old heroes in Homer. Scott's present was a beau- 
tiful dagger, mounted with gold, which once belonged to 
a Moorish bey, and Byron reciprocated by sending a sil- 
ver vase containing human relics found in one of the 
ancient sepulchres of Athens. 

Literary By-Play. 

Scott's love of perplexing the public led to somethings 
which really have a humorous aspect. I have previously 
referred to his publishing the Tales of My Landlord 
anonymously, omitting even " by the author of Waver- 
ley," his object being to increase the mystery which 
clothed those wonderful productions. He was at that 
time, however, well known as Walter Scott, the poet, but 
even, in this specialty, he felt a craving for mystery. 
Consequently, though his name graced the Lay of the 

300 Our Book. 

Last Minstrel, Marmion, The Lady of the Lake and 
Rokeby, yet when he issued the latter he determined to 
give the impression that he had an imitator. Hence, 
within two months after the publication of Rokeby the 
Bridal of Triermain appeared. It was anonymous, and 
though it bore strong resemblance to Scott, yet the lite- 
rary world inferred that lie could not be the author be- 
cause the preface had several Greek expressions, and 
Scott knew nothing of that language. True enough, but 
he had employed a friend of high classical attainment 
io insert that very Greek, and in this way the public 
was blinded, which afforded the author much amuse- 

Scott was eight years in becoming a novelist and he 
endured an equal and even greater delay in building and 
finishing Abbottsford. He purchased this place simply 
because he was obliged to " flit" from Ashtiel, where he 
had first established a home. His lease had expired and 
he writes to Ballantyne that he had just " resolved to 
purchase a piece of ground sufficient for a cottage and two 
fields." The " piece of ground " contained one hundred 
acres, and the property cost £4,000. Scott wrote to a 
friend in 1811 that his plan was to have two spare bed- 
rooms, and adds concerning the place, in the words of 
Touchstone : " It is an ill-favored thing, but my own." 
A year afterward he writes : " Abbottsford begins to look 
the whimsical, gay, odd cabin that we had chalked out. 
The old farm-house is not without picturesque effect." 
From this humble beginning he built up his grand estab- 
lishment, which became the most interesting dwelling in 
Great Britain. It was finished in 1824, after a gradual 
progress of thirteen years, during which the author's en- 


Walter Scott. 301 

ergies had been, to a large degree, devoted to this great 

object. The tempting territory had increased tenfold, but 

unfortunately he could not apply to it the satisfactory 

words of Touchstone, " it is my own." In reality, he 

was even then, through Ballantyne's bad management, 

insolvent and daily sinking deeper in ruin. 

The year referred to was the happiest in Scott's life, 

and clouds immediately began to gather which soon brought 

hopeless bankruptcy. From the cottage and hundred-acre 

farm arose that passion for accumulation concerning 

which Horace says, " But growing wealth brings thirst 

for more," adding with great truth, 

Who to himself denies great store 
To him the willing gods give more, 
Naked I seek contentment's door, 
And from the paths of wealth retreat. 

Happy would it have been for Scott had such philoso- 
phy controlled him. In that ca?e Abbottsford would have 
remained a cottage, but it would have been preferable to 
the ruinous grandeur of a baronial residence. 

The thirteen years during which Scott was constructing 
Abbottsford formed the most brilliant period of his lite- 
rary career. After the grand structure had been finished 
he never produced a first-class work. An immediate de- 
cadence was noticed, especially in The Betrothed, and his 
publishers expressed their opinion that he was "over- 
cropping," or, in other words, writing too much. Scott's 
craving for territory continued with full power, and only 
a few months before his failure he was negotiating for 
an extensive land purchase. 

Notwithstanding this towering ambition Scott was a 
man of unpretending character and had a vivid sense of 
the evanescent nature of earthly things. In IS 13, he men- 
tions with much feeling in a letter to Byron, the follow- 
ing inscription on a signet-ring : " And this too shall pa? 

302 Our Book. 

away." Bitterly, indeed, Scott learned this lesson, and 
sadly, yet faithfully, he placed it on record. 


How 6trange it seems that Scott's first novel should 
lie in an unfinished state for eight years. It was be- 
gun in 1805, and was published in 1813. After one- 
third had been written it was laid aside as unworthy of 
further effort. Later on the author accidentally found it 
and became so interested in the subject that he wrote the 
remainder in three weeks. This is wonderful execution, 
but was fully equaled in his second novel — Guy Man- 
ncring — which some consider his best. This was begun 
and finished within the space of six weeks. William 
Eiskine, to whose criticism Scott submitted the early 
chapters of Waverley, discouraged further progress. 
Strange enough, when the book was published, many 
credited its authorship to this very man, who stood high 
in the literary world. Monk Lewis, in writing to Scott 
a month after the book was published, said : " I am now 
told that Waverley is by William Erskine. If this be 
60, tell him from me that I think it excellent in every re- 
spect." Waverley's appearance marked a prolific year. 
Scott was then forty-three and in the fullness of his 
powers. Within six months the Lord of the Isles was 
published, and four weeks afterward Guy Mannering ap- 
peared. I believe this is the only instance on record 
in which an author issues three first-class works within so 
brief a period. 

Lucky or Unlucky. 
In some portions of the world May is considered an 
unpropitious month for wedlock. Walter Scott was, in 
most points, a very sensible man, and yet he could not 

Walter Scott. 303 

resist this superstition which then, indeed, was prevalent 
throughout Scotland. 

While the union of his daughter Sophia, with Lockhart, 
was in preparation, he had important engagements in 
London, but he left them unfinished, at a time when a 
delay of a week would have been of great value, merely 
because that delay would have thrown the marriage into 
the dreaded month. It was delayed until the last day, 
but one, in April, and yet the result was almost as bad as 
though it had occurred in May. The Lockharts had but 
one child, a sickly boy, who died at the age of ten, and 
Sophia did not long survive him. She left a daughter 
who married John Hope who took the name of Scott and 
became proprietor of Abbottsford. 

Going back to Scott himself it may be said that he was 
married on Christmas eve, 1797, but the union was not 
felicitous — though never marred by open rupture. The 
bride indeed was much inferior to the average of young 
society of that day, and this defect was inherited by their 
four children, all of whom were far below mediocrity in 
point of brain activity. The oldest son was of noble 
figure, which is all that can be said of him. The second 
son was glad to get a clerkship under the government, 
which was his highest attainment. The oldest daughter, 
Sophia, was the brightest of the children, but never left 
any thing on record to suggest that she was the daughter 
of a genius. The youngest daughter, Anne, like her 
brother Charles, died unmarried. She was a frail crea- 
ture, and was dreadfully shattered by the ruin which fell 
upon her father's fortunes. After his death she went to 
London, became a member of Lockhart's family, and 
died there, loss than a year after her father. A pension 
from the king gave her a support, and thus the daughter of 
the greatest author of the age, died an object of royal charity. 

304 The Family Representative. 

The second Walter Scott died childless, and the sole rep- 
resentative of the author's ]ine is the great granddaughter 
Monica, who was born in 1852 and who still lives at 
Abbottsford. Her mother, Mrs. Hope Scott (Lockhart's 
daughter), died in 185S. It is sad to see how Sir Walter 
Scott was disappointed in all his children, and also in his 
grand residence, Abbottsford. He was thirteen years per- 
fecting this establishment, and failed two years after it 
might have been called a finished place. Only twice was 
Abbottsford opened to its full capacity during his life. 
The first of these occasions was the entertainment given 
in honor of his son's marriage, the second was the funeral 
of his wife, which took place soon afterward. After these 
scenes of joy and sorrow the lordly mansion fell into de- 

Scott's Sermons. 

The highest earnings of Scott's pen was in a case 
which illustrates his overflowing kindness, as well as his 
versatility. I refer to his " sermons " whose history is as 
follows : He had in his service as amanuensis a young 
divinity student who was required to produce two ser- 
mons by a specified time. The youth was so appalled by 
the magnitude of this task that he could not pen a page. 
Scott noticed his distress, and having learned its cause 
said, " Never mind, my young friend, leave this matter to 
me, and I will write for you a couple of sermons that 
shall pass muster." The next morning Scott handed him 
two discourses. The student's mind being relieved, was 
in a condition to write, and he afterward prepared two 
sermons, for he could not honestly offer Scott's — but he 
kept the latter as a memorial of his employer's kindness. 

Some years afterward the student, or rather the clergy- 
man, fell into financial difficulties, and it was necessary 
that he should raise £180. In his distress he remembered 

Walter Scott. 305 

the sermons, and he wrote Sir Walter for permission to 
publish them. The request was granted, and the sum of 
£250 was thus obtained. This is the highest price on 
record for sermons, and it is also the largest pay earned 
by literary services in the brief space of one day. The 
discourses were very inferior, as might be expected, but 
they awakened curiosity, for the public desired to know 
what kind of a sermon the poet and novelist could write. 

Strange book History. 

Scott suffered painful and prolouged illness during one 
of his most important years, and Lockhart says that the 
effect was such that " his countenance was meagre and 
haggard — his clothes hung loosely about him — his com- 
plexion was the deadliest yellow of the jaundice, and his 
hair had, during a few weeks, become almost white." He 
also says that being at this time at Abbottsford, Scott had 
a very severe attack, and adds : " I never can forget the 
groans which his agony extorted from him." Lockhart 
considered the Bride of Lammermoor, the most pow- 
erful and thrilling of Scott's tragic romances, and this 
gives special interest to the following statement by Bal- 
lantyne : " This book was not only written, but published 
before the author was able to leave his bed, and he assured 
me that when put in his hands he did not recall a single 
incident, character or conversation which it contained. 
The original tradition, learned in childhood, held its place 
in his memory, but nothing of his ow^n work was there." 

It is not surprising that Ballantyne adds, " The history 
of the human mind contains nothing more wonderful 
than this." Scott having learned that the book was pro- 
duced during this oblivious condition, read it with much 
anxiety, but was gratified to find nothing improper in its 



306 Our Book. 

During the legal proceedings which followed Scott's 
failure, he wrote Woodstock, working with great rapidity 
to escape the distress inseparable from his condition. 
Such was the public interest in the author that this tale, 
which was merely three months' labor, and which is an 
inferior production, brought the enormous sum of 
£8,000. This sum at present valuation would be equal 
to $40,000, but as money was then of much greater value 
than at present, it may be estimated at $60,000 at least. 
These figures give Woodstock the distinction of being 
the most remunerative work in the entire range of fiction. 

Costly Resentment. 

At the beginning of his literary career Scott deter- 
mined to pay no attention to unjust criticism, and well 
would it have been for him had he adhered to this reso- 
lution. His publisher — Constable — also issued the 
Edinburgh Review, which, on the appearance of Mar- 
mion, criticised that poem with unexpected severity. 
Scott naturally felt indignant that such an attack should 
be permitted in a review issued by his own publisher, and, 
forgetting his early resolution, he determined on a rup- 
ture. He withdrew his patronage from Constable and 
started the Ballantynes in the publishing business, with 
his novels as a specialty. The Ballantynes had long been 
engaged in printing, and Scott was a secret partner. They 
were not, however, adapted to the book trade, and after 
suffering heavy loss, Scott was glad to form a new 
arrangement with Constable. This continued until the 
general collapse in business, in which both Constable and 
Scott, together with the Ballantynes, sank to bankruptcy. 

Debut in America. 
It may interest some of my readers to learn the earliest 

Walter Scott. 307 

appearance of Scott's name in America. In 1807 the 
Lay of the Last Minstrel was published in New York, and 
as this is Scott's fiivt prominent production it might be 
considered his debut among American readers. Such, at 
least, was my idea until I happened to find a copy of 
Tales of Wonder, compiled by M. G. Lewis. It is a col- 
lection of weird and harrowing ballads, but is dignified 
by Scott's Glentinlas and several other early efforts. The 
compiler in introducing the author says in a brief prefa- 
tory note : " By Walter Scott. For more of this gentle- 
man's ballads, both original and translated, see the poems 
following it." As the Tales of Wonder were published 
by Samuel Campbell, No. 12-1 Pearl street, in 1801, this 
must be considered Scott's first appearance in America. 
But who would have imagined from so humble an an- 
nouncement that he would so soon achieve fame as the 
great minstrel of the north ? Scott, indeed, was then 
merely an Edinburgh lawyer, who was amusing himself 
by literature, little dreaming of the brilliant future which 
awaited him. 

His Journal. 

Scott kept during the darkest years of his life a journal. 
This was a solace amid the frowns of ill-fortune and a 
companion in that solitude which followed the death of his 
wife. There are few instances on record in which a great 
mind unveils itself so thoroughly as he has done in these 
self-communings. They open to us the dark and desolate 
experiences of one blasted in ambition and left only to 
labor in the almost hopeless task of paying debts incurred 
by a mismanaging partner. 

Pride was Scott's greatest weakness and it has always 
been the sin of genius. This led him, when forming his 
partnership with Ballantyne, to require the closest secrecy, 
for had it been known it would have impaired his social 

303 Our Book. 

rank. According to the false opinion which then pre- 
vailed a "gentleman" could not be connected with any 
craft, aud for that error Scott atoned by the loss of all his 

If pride, however, were his sin, honesty was his great 
virtue. Scott's failure developed an element in his char- 
acter which otherwise never would have been known. 
He would pay his debts, including all that Ballantyne's 
blunders had heaped upon him. He saw the glory of 
Abbottsford pass away, and it left him a solitary and 
shattered widower; bnt here is displayed true nobility — 
he would pay his debts. Uis honesty was really grander 
than his genius. 

Authors and Aunts. 
An aunt often fills a sphere equal in importance to that 
of the mother, and occasionally even greater, and hence 
this influence has often been acknowledged by men of 
genius. Wilberforce's mother was a fashionable society 
woman, who would have modelled her son in the same pat- 
tern, but fortunately the influence of his aunt saved him 
from the full extent of maternal perversion. Southey 
was reared under the care of his eccentric aunt Tyler. 
Gibbon, who lost his mother early, says : " The maternal 
office was supplied by my aunt, Mrs. Catharine Porter, 
at whose name I feel a tear of affection trickling down 
my cheek. My weakness excited her pity ; her attach- 
ment was strengthened by labor and success, and if there 
be any who rejoice that I lived, to that dear and excellent 
woman they must hold themselves indebted. Many anx- 
ious and solitary days did she consume in patient trial 
of every mode of relief and amusement. Many wakeful 
nights did she sit by my bed expecting each moment to 
be my last. She was the mother of my mind as well as 

Authors and Aunts. 309 

ray health, and it was her delight and reward to observe 
the first shoots of my early ideas. To her kind lessons I 
ascribe my early and invincible love of reading, which I 
would not exchange for the wealth of the Indies." 

More than a century and a half ago a recluse London 
student was wont to visit a beloved aunt who lived at Stoke 
J/ogis and while there passed many pensive hours in the 
churchyard. Gray's elegy would never have been written 
had it not been for these visits and now both he and his 
aunt Antrobus and also his mother rest in the very spot 
which he rendered one of the shrines of genius. 

Scott says of his kind and affectionate aunt Janet Scott, 
that when he was but a small child she read to him the 
little collection of books which the family possessed, and 
he adds, " her memory will be ever dear to me." 

It may be mentioned that both Gibbon and Scott were 
taken by their aunts to Bath, in order to try the waters. 
Scott, while there, first attended the theatre, and saw As 
You Like It. He was then only five, but he remembered 
it vividly. Indeed, he says in his autobiography, " the 
witchery of the whole scene is alive in my mind at this 
moment. I remember being so distressed by the quarrel 
between Orlando and his brother in the first act, that I 
screamed out, 'A'nt they brothers?'" The Bath waters 
did not heal Scott's lameness, being indeed no more effi- 
cacious than an earlier remedy, which may be mentioned 
in order to illustrate the power of memory. Scott says 
that it had been recommended that whenever a sheep was 
killed, he should be swathed in the warm hide, and he 
remembered on such occasion when an old gentleman 
who happened to be present, got down on the floor and 
drew his watch along to induce the lame child to creep. 
Scott says he was then only three, and it is certainly an 
unusual instance of the power of early impressions. 

310 Other Early Memories. 

The early memories of men of genius are always of 
interest. What pictures of home life, dear though hum- 
ble are given by Carlyle, Burns and Hugh Miller. Irving 
too describes the scenes of his youth with much enthusi- 
asm, and Woodworth exclaims: 

How dear to this heart are the scenes of my childhood, 
When fond recollection presents them to view; 

The orchard, the meadow, the deep tangled wildwood, 
And every loved spot which my infancy knew. 

A remarkable instance is found in the following state- 
ment, written by Byron only two years before his death 
in reference to meeting, at Pisa, Lord Clare, a former 
schoolmate : 

"Our meeting annihilated for a moment all the years between 
the present and the days of Harrow. We were hut live minutes 
together, and that on the public road, but I hardly recollect an 
hour of my existence that could be weighed against them." 

It is evident that tlie true language of the poet's heart 
was, " Would I could become a child again." 

A still more impressive instance of Byron's love of the 
scenes of his boyhood, may be given in connection with 
the death of his illegitimate daughter, Allegra, who had 
acquired great pow r er over the heart of her profligate 
father. She died in Italy after a brief illness,' and Byron 
determined to send the remains to England for interment. 
He wrote thus to his publisher, under date of Pisa, April 
22, 1822 : " It is a heavy blow, but must be borne with 
time. The body is embarked, and I wish it buried at 
Harrow. There is a spot in the churchyard on the brow 
of the hill, looking toward Windsor, under a large treo 
where I used, to sit for hours and honrs when a boy — 
but as I wish to erect a tablet to her memory, the body 
had better be deposited in the church. Near the door 
there is a monument whose inscription I remember after 
a lapse of seventeen years. I wish Allegra to be buried 
as near as is convenient, and on the side of the wall a 
marble tablet with these words : 

Journalism. 311 

4 In memory of 


Daughter of G-. Gr. Lord Byron, 

Who died April 20, 1822, 

Aged five years and three months. 

I shall go to her, but she shall not return 

to me. 2nd Samuel X, 12-23.' " 

The death of this little child led its father to look into 
the Bible for an epitaph, and the latter, though incorrect 
in one point, is almost the only scriptural quotation to be 
found in his writings. It shows that lie had a desire to 
share that happiness which became her eternal portion, 
and had he yielded to such influences he might even then 
have escaped from the abominations into which he ha 1 
plunged, but it is mentioned here to show his love of 
early association. Byron's memory of Harrow was in- 
tensely powerful, and sometimes indeed overcoming. 


Old Papers 
How strange it is that of the first newspaper printed in 
America there should be only one copy in existence and 
it i- not probable that more than one was printed. The 
paper referred to has no title and the solitary copy is in 
the State Paper Office in London where it was seen and 
examined by librarian Fell of the Massachusetts Histori- 
cal Society. Possibly it may be a revised proof sub- 
mitted to the authorities who forbade any such publica- 
tion without license, which discouraged the printer, and 
he suppressed it. Such, at least, is my theory. It was 
printed by Richard Pierce, for Benjamin Harris, who had 
a printing-house and book store in Boston. As the bi- 
centennial of this effort is almost at hand would it not be 
well to have this pioneer sheet reproduced in order to show 

312 Our Book. 

the public the acorn from which has grown so immense an 
oak. It is a small quarto and is dated September 25, 1690. 

The Next. 

On the 24th April, 1704, the Boston News Letter 
appeared, and an imperfect file is preserved in the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Library. The New York Historical 
Society also has a few copies, and it is said that there is a 
third copy, but, if so, this is the limit of its existence. It 
was published by John Campbell, the postmaster of Boston, 
and was the first newspaper that Franklin read — being 
in existence during his earliest years. The paper whicli 
James Franklin started, in 1723, was a rival to the News 
Letter, which was continued long after the death of its 
founder. The first issue of the News Letter gave Lon- 
don news four months and twenty days old. It announces 
trouble in Ireland and there has been trouble there ever 
since. " A man had been killed for appearing in court 
against Teddy O'Quin," and here we see the same terror- 
ism whicli has become so fearful in modern days. The 
next page states that the Queen (Anne) opened Parlia- 
ment with much solemnity and made the usual address. 

There is no division of local matter in the News Let- 
ter, and the foreign items are followed by the announce- 
ment that "Mr. Nathaniel Oliver, a principal merchant 
of this place, died April 15, and was decently inter d 
April 18, States 53. The 20 the Re'd Mr. Pemberton 
Preach'd an Excellent Sermon on 1 Thess. 4., ii, And do 
your own business. Exhorting all Ranks and Degrees of 
Persons to do their own work in order to a Reformation 
which His Excellency has ordered to be Printed." "Capt. 
Davison of the Eagle Galley sailes for London in a 
month ; if the Virginia Fleet stays so long he intends 
to keep them Company Home if not to run for it, being 
Built for that service." 

Journalism. 313 

Here is a postal advertisement which may interest some 

of my readers: 

The Western Post between Boston and New York sets out once a 
Fortnight the Three Winter Months & to go Alternately from Boston 
to Say brook and Hartford to Exchange the Mayle of Letters with the 
New York Ryder on Saturday Night the lYth And he sets at Boston 
on Monday Night the 20th to meet the New York Ryder at Hartford 
on Saturday Night the 25th to Exchange Mayles. All persons that 
sends Letters from Boston to Connecticut are hereby Notified first 
to pay Portage on the same. 

Campbell deserves credit for Ids enterprise in starting a 
paper, which he conducted for eighteen years, when he 
sold out, but the paper lived under varied management 
until it sank amid the revolutionary troubles, after an ex- 
istence of seventy-two years. 

Other Journals. 
The Historical Society of New York contains files of 
all the old papers issued in that city, the first being the 
New York Gazette, which Bradford began in 1725, 
twenty-one years after the first issue of the Boston News 
Letter. In 1754, just a half century after the first issue 
of Campbell's News Letter, there were four papers pub- 
lished in Boston, two in Philadelphia, two in New York, 
and one in Williamsburgh, Ya. In 1825 a book was 
published called a Picture of New York, in which the 
following statement was made : " About one hundred 
years have elapsed since a regular weekly newspaper was 
established called the Weekly G-azette. At present the 
aggregate circulation of daily papers published here is 
15,000." This was mentioned as a proof of progress, 
but at the present day the aggregate circulation of the 
New York dailies is not much less than a million. 

New York Printers. 
The first printer New York ever contained was William 
Bradford, an Englishman, who landed first in Philadel- 

314 Our Book. 

phia, but meeting ill success went to New York. Here 
he was encouraged by the government patronage, and for 
more tban a half century Bradford's press was thus dis- 
tinguished. His first issues are now in great demand 
among bibliomaniacs, and at the late Brinsley sale one 
volume brought $l,o()0. It is a copy of the colonial laws 
and was printed in 1G93. New York was then, a6 it is 
now, the most important of American seaports, and yet 
its population could not have been more than five thou- 
sand — of whom three-quarters were Dutch. The book 
above referred to is a folio ten inches long and six wide 
and weighs not more than three-quarters of a pound, and 
yet it brought a greater price than was ever previously 
paid for an American book. It was purchased for the 
State library, at Albany, and as it has been asked why 
our government should spend its money for mere curios- 
ities the reply is as follows: It is for the law department 
of the library, which should possess a copy of the first 
legislative proceedings of the colony. Its value as a lit- 
erary curiosity is due t > the fact that it is the first book 
ever printed in New York, and there are only three other 
copies in existence. 

As the tramp nuisance has of late years called forth 
continued discussion, until at last it has been met by leg- 
islative action, I may remark that it is by no mems a 
new question. I find it, indeed, in this very volume of 
the first colonial laws, under the title of " An act for the 
prevention of vagabonds and idle persons from other 
puts." This nuisance was, therefore, felt as early as 
1093, and the prohibitory clause is as follows: ''Beit 
enacted, that all persons that shall come to inhabit within 
this province, and hath not a visible estate or manuel 
occupation, shall give sufficient surety that he shall not 
be a burden or charge to the respective places he shall 

Journalism. 315 

come to inhabit." Vagabonds and beggars are by the 
same" statute turned over to the constable, and the statute 
shows that the authorities even then had a correct idea of 
the proper way to deal with such a class. 

Concerning Bradford. 
But little is known, personally, concerning William 
Bradford, except that he was a practical printer and lived 
to an unusual age. His principal distinction arises from 
the fact that he was the first man that started the craft in 
the city of New York. Another point is that he refused 
Franklin emphnmcnt, a'id thus led him to seek it in 
Philadelphia. Had Franklin been successful in his appli- 
cation New York would have had the special benefit of 
his genius, and been honored by his name. The young 
adventurer had left Boston in order to seek his fortune, 
ami having reached New York, applied to Bradford. The 
latter had no need of any assistance and hence Franklin 
went to Philadelphia, making most of the journey on 
foot. Bradford had a son in that city who was also a 
printer, and knowing that Franklin had gone thither, he 
was anxious to learn what effect the arrival of another 
member of the craft would have upon it. Hence he fol- 
lowed Franklin, who was soon surprised to find himself 
watched by the man who so recently had refused him 
employment. It is evident that Bradford discerned ele- 
ments of power in the young printer. 

Early Progress. 

Franklin obtained employment from Keimer, who was 
the only other printer in Philadelphia, and his first job 
was an elegy on Aquila Rose. Some of our readers may 
not only be interested to see Franklin's first work, but may 
be gratified by a rare bit of antique poetry. Hence 

316 Our Book. 

I offer an extract which gives one a view of an ancient 

Philadelphia funeral procession ; italics copied : 

What Mournful Accents thus accost my ear, 
What doleful echoes hourly thus appear ? 
What sighs from melting Hearts proclaim aloud 
The Solemn mournings of this numerous Crowd? 


A gen'rous Mind tow'rds all his Friends he bore, 

Scarce one he lost, but daily numb'red more. 

Courteous and humble, pleasant, just and wise; 

No Affectation vain did in him rise. 

While on his Death Bed oft, Dear Lord he cry'd, 

He sang and sweetly like a lamb he dy'd. 

His Corpse attended was by Friends so soon 

From seven at Morn till one o'clock at Noon 

By Master Printers carried toward his Grave. 

Our City Printer such an honor gave. 

A worthy Merchant did the Widow lead, 

And then both mounted on a stately steed. 

Next Preachers, Common Council, Aldermen. 

Our aged Post Master here now appears, 

Who had not walked so far in twice Twelve years. 

With Merchants, Shop-Keepers, the Young and old; 

A numerous Throng, not very Easy told. 

And what still adds a further Lustre to \ 

Some rode well mounted, others walked afoot 

Where to the crowded meeting he was bore: 

I wept so long till I could weep no more. 

We learn from these verses that in Philadelphia, at the 
time referred to, funeral processions were either eques- 
trian or pedestrian, and that even the widow followed her 
husband to the grave on a pillion. Bradford's influence 
was sufficient to procure the appointment of his son to 
the office of postmaster in Philadelphia, and the family 
thus reached distinction. This is referred to by Keimer 
(Franklin's acquaintance), who, when issuing the Barba- 
does Gazette, thus uttered his piteous plaint : 

What a pity it is that some modern bravadoes, 
Who dub themselves gentlemen here in Barbadoes, 
Should time after time run in debt to their printer, 
And care not to pay him in summer or winter ? 
In Penn's wooden country type feels no disaster; 
Their Printer is rich and is made their Post Master. 
His father a printer, is paid for his work, 
And wallows in plenty, just now in New York. 

Journalism. 31 7 

To return to Franklin. Bradford's fears were event- 
ually fulfilled. Franklin's skill, industry and good sense 
gradually gave him precedence, and Bradford lived to see 
the applicant for employment become the most important 
printer in America. The following is Bradford's epitaph, 
which may be found in Trinity churchyard : 

Here lieth the body of Mr. William Bradford, printer, who de- 
parted this life May 23, 1752, aged 92 years. He was born in 
Leicestershire, Old England, in 1660, and came over to America 
in 1680 before Philadelphia was laid out. He was printer to this 
government for upward of 50 years, and being quite worn out 
with old age and labor, he left this mortal state in the lively hope 
of a blessed immortality. 

Reader, reflect how soon you'll leave the stage; 
You'll find few live to such an age. 
Life's full of pain. Lo, here's a place of rest — 
Prepare to meet your God and you are blest. 

From the above record it is evident that our first 
American printer was, during his early days, contempo- 
rary with Bunyan, Milton, Dryden, Pope and Addison. 
What a rare galaxy of talent ! 

The first newspaper in New York. 

When Franklin sought employment of Bradford, the 
latter was only a job printer, but two years afterward he 
began the New York Gazette, which was the first news- 
paper issued in that city. He was then sixty-five. Rather 
old for a new effort, but he conducted it for a long time, 
and indeed, it was twenty- seven years old at the time 
of his death. 

Hugh Gaine was the next printer of any importance, 
for he nourished both before and after the Revolution, 
but he was not a partisan, while John Holt was pro- 
nounced and decisive in his patriotic affinities. Holt edited 
the first Whig paper ever published in New York. It 
was called the New York Journal and General Ad ver. 
tiser, and was devoted to the cause of liberty. When the 

318 Our Book. 

British took possession of the city, he removed his press 
to Kingston, and when that place was burned he removed 
to Poughkeepsie and renewed its publication. After the 
war closed he returned to New York, and called his paper 
the Independent Gazette, or the New York Journal 
Revived. Fifteen \ ears later he died, and his p iper then 
became Greenieifs Journal. It soon fell into the 
hands of James Cheetham, an Englishman who achieved 
a temporary notoriety. Holt died in 1788, and was buried 
in St. Paul's. His tombstone is a prominent feature in 
that storied cemetery, and the inscription says that it was 
erected by his widow, whose affection is displayed in the 
eulogistic epitaph. 

To return to, it mav he paid that he changed 
Greenleaf's Journal to the American Citizen, which was 
an abusive partisan sheet, but he died in 1810, and is now 

James Rivington was a noted printer during the revo- 
lutionary troubles. He was a native of London, and was 
in his fiftieth year when he started a paper in New York 
called the New York Gazetter, or the Connecticut, New 
Jersey, Hudson River and Quebec Weekly Advertiser. 
A more extended title to any journal cannot be found on 
the record of the craft. Rivington was at first a tory, but 
perceiving that the British cause was sinking, he became 
a spy for Washington. Hence, when the city was evacu- 
ated he remained and continued his business. lie died in 
1802, and his name is perpetuated by Rivington street, 
while his portrait is preserved in the New York Histori- 
cal Society, where a complete file of his paper may be 

Satanic Press. 

This title was assumed in the earlier issues of the New 
York Herald, whose caustic editor, made it a matter of 

Journalism. 319 

1 toast This, however, was not its origin, for I find that 
James Franklin's New England Courant (iiist issued in 
Boston in 1721) was the satanic press of its day, and its 
satires and pasquinades were felt as keenly as those of the 
senior Bennett. James Franklin, however, was honored 
by a month's imprisonment. lie was also threatened 
with suppression, to avoid which he put the concern in the 
hands of his younger brother, Benjamin. The latter was 
in this manner a publisher before he reached eighteen, 
but he had given early proof of his business ability. The 
New England Courant was full of fight, and assailed 
Harvard College in an unsparing manner, while at the 
same time the clergy and other leading men were severely 
handled. These attacks were answered in the rival paper 
(the News-Letter), but Franklin always had the best of 
the controversy. He was keen and relentless, and there- 
fore awoke bitter denunciation, but he had the faculty of 
turning it to good account, and in this point Bennett also 
excelled. It was said by its enemies that the Courant 
was edited by the "Hell-fire Club," to which Franklin 
replies thus : 

I would advise the enemies of the Courant not to publish any- 
thing more against it, unless they wish to have it continued. 
Above forty persons have subscribed for the Courant since the 
first of January, and by one advertisement more the anti-Courant- 
crs will be in danger of adding forty more. 

Hit at Harvard. 

Here is another of James Franklin's retorts, the italics 

being copied : 

The hearty curses on the Courant and its publishers are all to 
no purpose, for, as a Connecticut man said of his onions, the more 
they are cursed the more they grow. Notwithstanding this a scrib- 
bling young collegian, who has just learning enough to make a 
fool of himself, has taken it into his head to put a stop to this wick- 
edness (as he calls it) by a letter in his last week's paper. Poor boy ! 

The above really seems like an extract from some of 

320 Our Book. 

Bennett's sharpest paragraphs, and one can hardly believe 
that it was written in Boston more than a century and a 
half ago. This " collegian " was Mather Byles, afterward 
a prominent preacher, and his reply brought a fresh dis- 
play of Franklin's wit in several scraps of jargon, written, 
as he said, "in the Mnngundean language for the benefit 
of Ilarfet Coleg (Harvard College) who strive in vain or 
are too lazy to study the other learned tongues? The 
italics are copied, and some other interesting extracts 
might be given if space permitted, but I will merely add 
that Franklin's enemies succeeded (as has been previously 
mentioned) in getting him jailed for four weeks. The 
Courant was issued for a while by Benjamin Franklin, 
but after his departure for Philadelphia its proprietor 
removed it to Newport, where there was less tyranny. 
He died soon afterward, and his name is now only recalled 
by this reference to the founder of the satanic press. 

Franklin Memoriks. 

The present Franklin ian revival reminds one that Ben- 
jamin Franklin was the first American journalist to assume 
a pen name. He was then only an apprentice of sixteen 
years, and while he wished to publish his ideas he de- 
termined to conceal his name both from his brother and 
from the public. He mentions in his autobiography that 
he was ambitious to appear in print, but fearing that 
his brother would refuse his offering he disguised his 
handwriting and thrust the piece under the door. It was 
accepted and published, and its author was gratified by 
hearing it highly approved by good judges. It was ascribed 
to several clever writers, but no one i nagined it could be 
the work of the apprentice. This encouraged the latter, 
who continued his offerings, which were very acceptable, 
and the elder brother was astonished when the secret was 

Journalism. 321 

revealed. By reference to the New England Courant it 

has been discovered that these articles were signed Silence 

Dogood, and this name was evidently prompted by Cotton 

Mather's volume, entitled Essays to Do-Good. Sixty 

years afterward Franklin wrote thus to Dr. Mather of 

Boston : 

When I was a boy, I met with a book entitled Essays to Do- 
Good, which was written by your father. It gave me such a turn 
of thinking as to have an influence on my conduct for life. 

The above extract shows the connection between the 
Silence Dogood of the New England Courant and the 
Essays to Do-Good, by Cotton Mather. 

Another point of Identity. 
Another proof that the apprentice was the author of 
the Silence Dogood papers is found in the identity of 
opinions on temperance. Franklin says in his autobiog- 
raphy that, while working at his trade in London, he 
astonished the printers by the amount of hard labor that 
could be done by a teetotaler. While they drank great 
quantities of ale, he only used water, and thus saved four 
shillings a week, which they spent for drink, and he adds : 
" Thus do those poor devils continue all their lives in a 
state of voluntary wretchedness and poverty." Now, 
turning to the very last of the Silence Dogood papers, 
I find a brief temperance lecture, in which the writer 
says : 

As the effects of liquor are various, so are the characters given 
to its devourers. It argues some shame in the drunkards them- 
selves that they have invented numberless words and phrases to 
cover their folly. They are seldom drunk, but are often boozy, 
typsy, mellow, fuddled, and in fact, every day produces somu 
new phrase which is added to the vocabulary of the tipplers. 

Eive years after the publication of the above the 
"water American" (as he was called) astonished the Lon- 
don printers by the vigor of an habitual abstinent. 

Gradual Progress. 

Now that typography has readied such perfection it is 
interesting to notice its gradual advance. It was slow to 
obtain a foothold, but when that was accomplished the 
progress was so rapid that all other nations have been 

Thomas Greenleaf, a leading New York printer, pub- 
lished the first collection of State laws in January, 1792. 
He expresses his grateful thanks for a generous list of up- 
wards of fourteen hundred subscribers, obtained throughout 
the State, and he adds as follows, the italics being copied : 

The types and paper were manufacture! in this state and the 
editor, anxious to give good satisfaction, engaged an ingenious 
typefounder from Holland to cast a new font. The types arc not 
so perfectly regular as those from the London foundries, but no 
cash icent to London for them and our infant manufactures ought 
to be encouraged. 

Types had previously been made in Philadelphia, but 

Greenleaf felt commendable pride in being the fi-st to 

manufacture them in New York. 

Franklin's Difficulties. 
We are a nation of newspapers, and how they all live 
is a wonder. Printers are generally in trouble, and there 
are but few offices that have smooth sailing. This is 
nothing new, and Franklin gives us an impressive \iew 
of the difficulties which beset the craft in its early days. 
He also mentions the very encouraging patronage < f a 
friend who became a customer to the amount of. jive shil- 
lings, and small as this sum may appear, most of our 
great editors have seen the time when it was not to be 
despised. The printing business up to Franklin's time, 
had never been remunerative. Even Bradford hardly 
made it profitable, and Franklin was the first in this 
country that really succeeded. Franklin, however, would 
have done well at any business, and it may be added that 
only such will succeed at printing, since it requires an 

Journalism. 323 

unusual degree of skill, tact and perseverance. The 
limited size of Franklin's printing office may be judged 
by the fact that having to set up and print a folio page of 
.1 book as a day's work, he found it exhaused his font, 
<>r, in the parlance of the trade, he got "out of letter," 
and hence after printing a page, the type was distributed, 
and the task renewed. Slow work, bnt it was the day of 
small things. 

Government Hostility. 
The jealousy of the colonial government was one of 
the chief difficulties to which the early press was subject, 
as is evident from the suppression of the iirst paper. 
James Franklin, who issued the Courant, was also the 
victim of similar injustice. He was arrested for some 
reflections on the government, or as Ben. Franklin says, 
" an article in our paper gave offense, and my brother 
was censured and ordered into confinement for one 
month." James Franklin's release was accompanied by 
the order that he should no longer publish the New Eng- 
land Courant, and therefore it passed into the hands of 
Benjamin. It was a long time a matter of interest to 
learn what was James Franklin's precise offense, and 
Edward Everett, for the purpose of satisfying the in- 
quiry, consulted the MSS. records. lie there learned 
that the offensive article referred to a pirate vessel which 
had appeared off Block Island, and it concludes thus: 
" We are advised from Boston, that the government of 
the Massachusetts are fitting out a sloup to go after the 
pirates and it is thought the captain will sail sometime 
this month, wind and weather permitting." The insinu- 
ation of tardiness was the sole cause of this outrage. 

First libel Suit. 
The same governmental opposition was manifested in 

324 Our Book. 

New York where Peter Zenger in his Weekly Journal, 
took a bold position against Governor Cosby. The arti- 
cles were written by some prominent lawyers, but Zenger 
manfully bore the charge. He was arrested and tried 
for libel, but the governor was unpopular, and public 
sympathy ran strongly in favor of the defendant, who 
was acquitted amid the huzzas of the populace. This 
occurred in 1734, just twelve years after the Franklin 
affair, and it seems to have emboldened the Boston peo- 
ple to that defiant utterance which marked the press of 
that city alter the passage of the stamp act. 

Some old Names. 
Immediately after the revolution, Hugh Gaine, who 
kept a book store, started the New York Gazette, and 
boasted of four hundred subscribers. Samuel Loudon, 
who had left the city during the war, returned and issued 
the New York Packet, and also the American Magazine. 
The latter only lived a year, and the former was after- 
ward merged into Greenleafs Journal, which in turn 
give place to the American Citizen. In 1797 the Com- 
mercial Advertiser was started by Zachariah Lewis, and 
is therefore the oldest paper in New York. Four years 
afterward William Coleman started the Evening Post, 
and being a man of fine taste, his paper became popular 
in literary circles. Ilalleck and Drake were then the 
leading New York poets, and they honored the Evening 
Post with their effusions, which bore the pen name of 
Croaker & Co. Drake's American Flag appeared in this 
manner, and so did some of Halleck's best things, includ- 
ing his monody on the death of his poetic associate. 
Coleman died in 1829, having edited the Post for twenty- 
eight years, and was succeeded by Bryant, who held this 
position for fifty-one years — an unparalleled extent of 

Journalism. 325 


editorial service. His staff included William Leggett, 
who was one of the leading men of his day, and who 
afterward issued the Plain Dealer. William L. Stone of 
the Commercial Advertiser, was also one of the strong 
men of that day. To return to Coleman, it may be said 
that he had a bitter opponent in James Cheetham whose 
American Citizen was noted for abuse. 

These editors of the olden times did not bequeath their 
genius to their children, and coming down to later years, 
one cannot but notice that neither Charles King of the New 
York American, nor David Hale, or his associate Gerard 
Hallock, left sons who could conduct a paper. Hale and 
Hallock established the Journal of Commerce, from which, 
however, their names long since passed away. The same 
statement applies to Greeley and Raymond, and hence the 
present James Gordon Bennett, is an exception to the 
general record of the American press. 

Foreign Families. 
Family succession, however, has been maintained in 
Great Britain with remarkable success, the most noted 

32o Oi'K Dock. 

instance being the Walters — so long identified with the 
London Times. John Walter was born in 1739, was 
bred a printer, and was a workman in London while 
Woodfall was issuing the letters of Junius, lie saw the 
general Lick of energy in the profession, and knew that 
there was a field for editorial enierprise. In 1785, being 
then forty-six, lie started the Universal Register, whose 
circulation w;s not more than five hundred copies, but its 
proprietor had some government printing which gave him 

In three years the title was changed to the Times, but 
it remained a very pf'tty affair until the second John 
Walter assumed its control. He was an infant when his 
father issued the Universal Register, but at the age of 
nineteen, lie took control of the paper, its daily sale being 
not more than one thousand copies. 

This was in 1804. It wis a time of intense mental and 
political excitement, and under this impulse and also the 
energy of the new manager, the sale increased in ten 
years to five thousand copies. He applied himself closely 
to the improvement of the press, and the London Times 
in its thirtieth year of existence, was printed by steam, at 
the rate of four thousand impressions per hour. This 
was at that time a wonderful achievement. But what im- 
provements have since occurred. 

The second Walter, who gave the Times its immense 
importance, died in London in 1847, and was succeeded 
by his son John. Decay then began, reaching appalling 
disgrace in the Parnell affair. How are the mighty fallen ! 

Editorial Retrospect. 
Looking back on the history of New York journalism, is 
like walking through a cemetery, and gazing on the monu- 
ments that bear the names of one's friends. I have seen 

Journalism. 327 

such mortality in the profession that it can not but awaken 
many painful memories. Among others there was the 
Evening Star, edited by Major Noah, who was the best 
paragraphist of its day. Also the Morning Dispatch, the 
Daily Whig, the Evening Signal, the Tattler, the New 
Era, the Plebean, the Republic, and many others of 
equally attractive names. Among literary efforts were 
the New York Mirror, edited by N. P. Willis ; and also 
the Broadway Journal, edited by Edgar A. Poe, each of 
which deserved a better fate. Greeley's New Yorker 
made the hardest fight for existence that ever proved 
unsuccessful. For six years Greeley worked tixteen 
hours a day in this effort, but still it failed. Much of 
this work was writing for other papers at a very low rate, 
in order to earn money to sustain his own, where he was 
editor, compositor and publisher. Had Greeley sunk 
under this disappointment how great would have been 
the public loss, but he knew he had acquired experience, 
and this led him lo fresh effort in the Log Cabin, and 
eventually in the Tribune. 

Ann Street. 

Those who now pass through Ann street can hardly imag- 
ine the struggles which once it witnessed, in which the 
ablest intellects contended, first for mere existence and 
then for superiority. Greeley was an Ann street man 
until after the inception of the Tribune, which was issued 
there until its increase demanded more extended space. 
Bennett, too, first developed in Ann street, and how 
strange it seems that so limited a place could contain two 
such giants. Bennett was a combative in anything which 
might advance his paper, while Greeley was the earnest 
opponent of social wrongs and was vigilant to defend the 
right. I often recall these men as they appeared in Ann 

328 Our Book. 

street during my boyhood. There is the tall, ungainly 
form of Bennett with his repulsive face and eyes fixed on 
the ground, moving hurriedly along, mindful of nothing 
but his paper. There, too, is Greeley, with his rural ex- 
pression and half a smile, notwithstanding hard times, 
looking so boyish that one could hardly believe that he 
was the man of the New Yorker. Bennett then wrote 
most of the copy for his paper and was also its Wall 
street reporter. He had another reporter for miscellane- 
ous work and an assistant editor to make up the form, 
and then two printers completed his staff. From such 
small beginnings modern journalism has reached its pres- 
ent immense extent, and its pioneers, Greeley and Ben- 
nett, both lived to see the grand development of that sys- 
tem whose foundations they laid in so humble a manner. 

Editorial Deaths. 

Bryant's death was due to over exertion in making a 
public address, but he was a worn out man, having passed 
four-score. David Hale, who began the Journal of Com- 
merce a year after Bryant's connection with the Post, 
died after a quarter century of service. He was attacked 
with a sudden paralysis which he survived but a few 
weeks. This was in 1849. He was then fifty-eight 
while Bryant was fifty-five. How remarkably the life 
of the latter was prolonged, and yet Hale was the strong- 
est and most vigorous of this remarkable pair. 

Henry J. Raymond died suddenly, and perhaps an- 
other so remarkable and impressive a case cannot be found 
in editorial history. I met him one summer day walking 
toward the Times office in apparent health. What was 
my astonishment to read in the next issue of his own 
paper the announcement of his death ! He had left the 
office in the evening, after finishing his usual task, had 

Journalism. 329 

attended a social meeting at midnight, and then returned 
home, but fell in a fit as soon as lie had entered the hall. 
There he was found dead in the morning, and the whole 
community was shocked by this sudden and dreadful ter- 
mination of so active a life. Raymond was then fifty 
and had been a working editor for twenty-eight years. 

The close of Bennett's life was totally in contrast with 
that of Raymond. He was one of the victims of ex- 
treme senility. After a long life of close application, his 
faculties gradually failed, and, as Swift said, he a began 
to die like a tree, at the top." His family kept him at 
their country seat where he was drawn about in a donkey- 
cart under care of a servant. 

Later on he was removed to the Fifth avenue mansion, 
where he reached the extreme of second childhood, till 
relieved by death, being then seventy-six. 

Greeley died after a short illness, accompanied by loss 
of reason. He was the only one of our great editors who 
became insane, and this was really the result of a shat- 
tered physical condition. His age was sixty, and his life 
was no doubt shortened by that injudicious and crushing 
campaign in which he so vainly canvassed for the presi- 

N. P. Willis, of the Home Journal, died of a lingering 
illness, being sixty-eight. James Brooks, of the Express, 
was about the same age, while his brother Erastus, passed 
three-score and ten. 

All of these men found graves in Greenwood cemetery, 
except Bryant, who was buried at Roslyn. Hale was the 
first great journalist to honor Greenwood with his name, 
and although those of the same profession who have been 
borne thither since have had finer monuments, none left 
a purer memory. 

The Bennett monument is the most striking, in point 

3::<> Our Book. 

of expense and ornament, of the editorial memorials. 
Greeley's is simply a bust surmounting a column, bearing 
the description he had designated, '• Founder of the New 
York Tribune." Such an array of editorial genius as 
this can be equalled by no other cemetery in the world. 

Hebrew Journalist. 
Mordecai M. Noah holds distinction as the first Jew 
who became a power in the political journalism of New 
York. He was a native of Philadelphia and in early life 
studied law, which led him to politics, and he obtained 
the Morocco consulship, which later on led him to write 
a play based on the Algerine war. Returning to New 
York he started the Advocate which failed, and he then 
began the New York Enquirer, which was also threatened 


with a similar f:ite. To escape this it wa3 fused with 
the Morning Courier, edited by James Watson Webb, 
with Bennett as an asri^tant. Bennett afterward do 
nou need these associates, in the most unsparing man- 
ner, in the Herald. Noah was elected sheriff and held 

Journalism. 331 

great political influence, which, however, passed away, 
and he then started the Evening Star, which eventually 
failed, and his last effort of the hind was the Union, which 
shared the same fate. Notwithstanding the ill success of 
his papers, Noah held a prominent position in journalism, 
being a very able writer, but not adapted to business man- 
agement. I well remember his tall massive form as he 
walked the street, and it possessed more dignity than the 
average of the profession. Noah was highly gifted as a 
dramatist, and was, indeed, one of the most versatile men 
of his day. Bennett, however, served him up as " the 
old clothesman," simply because this trade was chiefly 
pursued by the Hebrews, and Noah suffered from these 
lampoons probably more than any other victim of the 
satanic press. 

Rapid Work. 

The most rapid, as well as the most laborious writers 
New York has ever contained, were Greeley and Raymond, 
neither of whom ever found any assistants who could 
equal them in dispatch. The self-inflicted toil of these 
master editors was much beyond the severest labors of 
their associates. For many years Greeley worked fifteen 
hours daily. His writings were imbued with deep thought, 
and he elaborated a greater amount of opinion than any 
publicist up to his day. His American Conflict contains 
nearly as much matter as Gibbons' Rome, but it was done 
in the space of two years. Greeley's early style was 
crude and incorrect, but he gradually improved until he 
became a master. 

Raymond, on the other hand, had a better gift for 
writing than Greeley, and his earliest contributions to the 
press were marked by a neat and graceful style. In the 
combination of rapidity and elegance, Raymond has never 
been equalled. His application was intense, but it in- 

332 Our Book. 

creased with the exigencies of the occasion until it some- 
times reached an almost incredible degree. The most re- 
markable instance of this character was his life of Daniel 
Webster, which appeared in the New York Times imme- 
diately after the death of the great statesman. It filled 
thirty-six columns, and though written under extraordi- 
nary pressure, is as admirable in style as it is in its record 
of facts. Kay mon d had the material in hand and no 
doubt part of the article ready, but the remainder of the 
work was done with the rapidity of ordinary speech, and 
the task will long stand alone in point of extended dura- 
tion and masterly success. Raymond was then thirty- 
two. He was the smallest of our great editors, his height 
being not more than five feet two inches, while his frame 
was so light that one could but wonder at his power, but 
his head indicated great expanse of brain, and this was 
sufficiently evident. 


No journalist, either secular or religious, ever equalled 
Greeley in moral power, and the public was convinced at 
an early period in his editorial life that whatever might 
be his errors he was always sincere. 

It was Greeley's desire to be simply remembered as the 
founder of the New York Tribune, and this is inscribed 
on the monument that marks his grave. The importance 
of his services, however, has given him a distinction 
shared by no other journalist of his day, and he has taken 
a position in history far above his contemporaries. The 
time, indeed, has come when his eccentricities fade before 
his true greatness, not only as a journalist but as a pa- 
triot. He was a man of tender heart and full of mercy ; 
but in this was united a love of truth and a fearless de- 
fense of the wronged. He was ready to throw himself 

l^r^cx- J^-^^L? 

Journalism. 333 

into the gap, and asked nothing of others that he had not 
first done himself. When you add to this his wonderful 
industry, his devotion to the greatest questions of na- 
tional polity and his purity of motive, it is not surprising 
that posterity accords him peculiar distinction. The ele- 
ments of his character, indeed, remind one of the words 
of Shakespeare in Cymbeline : 

— They are as gentle 

As zephyrs blowing before the violet, 
And yet as rough (their blood enchafed) 
As the rudest wind that doth shake 
The mountain pine. 'Tis wonderful 
That an invisible instinct should frame one 
To royalty unlearned — honor untaught, 
Civility not seen from other; valor 
That wildly grows in them, but yields 
A crop as if it had beeu sowed. 

Addison in Journalism. 

Journalism has attracted the best intellect of every age 
since the inception of the profession. Addison in his 
Spectator, showed its more elegant aspect, but his effort 
failed because he overlooked the important feature of 
news. He was warned of the deficiency, but omitted to 
improve the lesson, although he printed the communica- 
tion in which it was contained. As a matter of curious 
interest, I give an extract from the above which bears 
date November 18, 1714: 

Mu. Spectator — I wonder that in the present state of affairs 
you can take pleasure in writing anything but news, for who 
minds anything else? I have a good ear for a secret, and am of a 
communicative disposition. Hence I am capable of doing you 
great service in this way. I am early at the ante-chamber, (of 
Parliament), where I thrust my head in the midst of the crowd 
and catch the news while it is fresh. 

I stand by the big men and catch the buzz as it passes me. At 
other times I lay my ear to the wall and suck in many a valuable 
whisper. I spare no pains to know how the world goes, and I 
sometimes sit all day at a coffee house and have the news as it 
comes from court, fresh and fresh. 

A piece of news loses its flavor when it hath been an hour in the 

334 Our Book. 

air. I love to have it fresh and convey it to my friends, before it 
is faded. Accordingly my expense for coach hire is no small item, 
for I post away from one coffee house to another for this purpose. 
Once more, Mr. Spectator, let me advise you to deal in news. 

Had Addison adopted this man's advice, the Spectator 
might have still been in existence, but his health was then 
declining, and his habits were beyond improvement. The 
Spectator soon failed, and five years afterward its founder 
was laid in Westminster Abbey. 

Another man of genius who attempted journalism was 

Johnson, whose Rambler appeared twice a week for two 

years. He was like Addison, deficient in the correct idea 

of his work, and when the Rambler failed he took his 

valedictory in the following words, dated March 14, 1752: 

If I have not been distinguished by literary honors, I have 
seldom descended to the arts by which favor is obtained. 1 have 
seen the meteors of fashion rise and fall without any attempt to 
add to their duration, in my paper no man could look for cen- 
sure of his enemies, or praise of himself. I have never complied 
with temporary curiosity, nor enabled my readers to discuss the 
topics of the day. 

A more remarkable confession of stupidity is rarely 
found on record. If Johnson had done just those very 
things that he left undone, the Rambler might have been 
a permanent institution. When an editor, however, gives 
such a view of his duty as is found above, and finishes it 
with the statement that he " never enabled his readers to 
discuss the topics of the day," there need be no wonder 
at his failure. 

Another Blunder. 
Johnson's reputation was so great that the bookseller 
Dodsley, when about to start the London Chronicle, em- 
ployed him to write the prospectus. This proves that the 
true idea of journalism was not then understood. How 
ridiculous, indeed, to think that a confirmed pedant like 
Johnson, should know anything about making a news- 

Journalism. 335 

paper ! It is true he refers in his prospectus to the im- 
portance of obtaining news, but he adds the following 
statement, which reminds one impressively of the closing 
paragraph in the Rambler : 

We pretend to no peculiar power of disentangling contradic- 
tions or denuding forgery. We have no settled correspondence 
with the antipodes, nor maintain any spies in the courts of 

Johnson thus disclaims those features for which a true 
journalist makes every effort, and success in this very 
point is the present boast of the profession. Of course 
Dodsley's paper proved a failure. 

Goldsmith and Boswell. ; 

Goldsmith wrote his popular letters, The Citizen of the 
World, for the Public Ledger, and they are the best frag- 
ments of journalism of that age — with the sole excep- 
tion of Junius. They appeared in 1759, and are still 
read, their racy and sparkling style rendering them very 
attractive. Goldsmith also started a weekly paper called 
the Bee, but it stopped at the close of two months. The 
best reporter of that age was Boswell, whose life of John- 
son shows how he would have excelled in newspaper 
work. lie had the faculty — so rare among biographers — 
of making the reader realize the presence of the persons 
introduced. One feels that he has heard them converse, 
and also that he is really in the circle of friendship, 
and for this reason Boswell stands alone as the master of 


This famous author had a strong desire to try his hand 
at journalism, and he looked on Moore as a suitable col- 
league. What an interesting brace of editors these poets 
would have made ! Byron wrote thus to Moore from 
Italy in 1822: 

330 Our Book. 

I have been thinking of a project for you and me on our return 
to London, which in my case may be next spring. This project 
is to set up jointly a weekly newspaper — nothing more or less — 
with some improvement upon the plan of the present scoundrels 
who degrade that department — but a newspaper which we will 
edit in due form and with some attention. There must always be 
in it a piece of poesy from one or the other of us two, and also as 
much prose as we can compass. Our names though not announced, 
will be suspected, and we will, by the blessing of Providence, 
give the age some new lights upon policy, poesy, biography, criti- 
cism, morality, theology, and all other isms, ality and oloyy what- 
ever. * * * 

Why, man, if we were to take to this in good earnest your debts 
w r ould be paid off in a year, and with a little diligence and prac- 
tice we would distance the blackguards who have so long dis- 
graced common sense. They have no merit but practice and im- 
pudence, both of which we may acquire, and as for talent and 
culture, the devil is in it if such proofs as we have given of both 
can't furnish something better than " the funeral baked meats " 
which have set forth the breakfast table of all Great Britain for 
so many years. 

Moore was at that time in Paris, exiled by his debts, 
but he soon returned to London, while Byron, instead of 
also returning, found himself continually delayed and 
never reached his native land until he went thither, in his 
coffin. In another letter he says : " With regard to our 
proposed journal I will call it what you please, but it 
should be a newspaper to make it jpayp I copy Byron's 
italics to show his earnestness in a scheme which never 
went into operation. 

Scott and Dickens. 
Walter Scott, on one important occasion, served as a 
newspaper reporter, this being after he had reached his 
highest point of fame. He went from Edinburgh to 
London for the purpose of attending the coronation of 
George IY, and wrote an extended description of the 
scene for the Edinburgh Journal, whose editor was his 
special friend. It is really one of the best samples of 
writing to be found in the journalism of that day, and 
shows that Scott would have excelled in this profession. 


Dickens, as is well-known, began his literary career as 
a reporter for the London True Sun, and afterward 
for the Morning Chronicle. His odd pen name, Boz, first 
appeared in the latter, and the sketches to which it was 
appended were the first indications of his genius. These 
instances (which might be extended) show the connection 
between genius and journalism in the past, and this union 
has now reached a grand consummation. 

Centre of Information. 

Whenever the New York journalists require informa- 
tion on recondite subjects, they seek it in the Astor library, 
where a number of this class may be found every day mak- 
ing researches for the press. You can readily distinguish 
a newspaper man from all other readers by the earnest- 
ness of his countenance, and the rapidity with which he 
takes notes. He differs also in other points, and it is 
very interesting to see how readily they master any sub- 
ject through the facilities thus afforded. 

The Astor library contains two hundred and fifty thou- 
sand volumes, the aggregate weight of which is three 
hundred tons. When a man looks into the catalogue 
and sees how immense are the literary treasures which 
surround him, the effect is staggering. It impresses 
one with a consciousness of his own ignorance. As 1 
gaze upon the crowded shelves, reaching to an elevation 
of thirty feet, I may exclaim how many books are here 
of which I have never yet heard even the names ! The 
very best readers are seldom able to compass more than 
a literature of one nation, but in this place how many 
nations are represented % One may here get an idea of 
the brain work which has been applied to authorship, for 
every volume in the Astor has a value, due either to its 
author or subject. The librarian must also know the 


Our Book. 

geography of departments, alcoves and shelves, so that he 
can readily place his hand on any volume. It will require 
two years of practice here to become tolerably acquainted 
with this detail, but a much longer experience is needed 
to ensure a rapid reference. 

In fact the Astor library is a world in which a man of 
literary taste could spend his whole existence. 


Humble Beginning. 
When one contemplates the grandeur which modern 
journalism has attained, it is well to recall the fact that it 
arose from the humblest beginning. Greeley, for in- 
stance, reached Xew York from the west by canal boat 
and worked as journeyman printer. Raymond began 
journalism by reporting on the Tribune at eight dollars a 

Journalism. 339 

week. Bennett came to New York penniless and earned 
a bare living in a very hard manner, shifting from one 
thing to another as circumstances might direct. At one 
time he projected a commercial school and then tried lec- 
turing ; after which, he obtained employment on the press 
and eventually started the Herald. George Jones was, in 
early life, a clerk not far from the New York Times 
building. He, too, went through many changes in em- 
ployment before trying journalism. Whitelaw Reid was 
at one time glad to serve as a newspaper correspondent. 
Joseph Pulitzer began journalism as a reporter. Thurlow 
"Weed rose from the lowest rank in the craft. David 
Hale, who founded the Journal of Commerce, had failed 
in the dry goods business in Boston and then came to 
New York to renew his struggle for a living. His part- 
ner, Gerard Hallock, was at one time a teacher. Bowen, 
of the Independent, had failed in the dry goods trade be- 
fore he became a journalist, and it is evident that the 
greatest success in this profession was born amid misfor- 

Greeley's Confessions. 

I find in occasional paragraphs in the New Yorker a 
view of Greeley's struggles in the effort to make that 
paper a success, and some of them have a ludicrous aspect 
which makes one smile even amid his tale of trouble- 
Here is an extract from one of his personal references : 

Five years and a half have now elapsed since, young in years, 
poor even in friends and utterly unknown to the public, we gave 
the world the first number of the New Yorker. On the 23d of 
March, 1834, we spread our sail to the breeze backed by the mod- 
erate earnings of two or three years of successful industry — the 
good wishes of some forty friends (mostly humble ones whose 
good wishes were all they could afford us), a sanguine spirit (our 
experience has mainly been since then), and about two hundred 
subscribers. Heaven bless them for their generous reliance in 
advance on our editorial capacities of which they could have had 
small evidence beforehand. The success of our journal has not 
been at all of a peculiar character thus far. 

340 Our Book. 

Greeley made constant efforts to assist his paper by 
other literary projects, one of which is shown by the fol- 
lowing advertisement whose italics are copied : 

The publishers of the New Yorker announce that they 
have fitted up a reading room in connection with their new office, 
No. 1, Ann street. For the accommodation of the public a bul- 
letin of news will be kept up — subscription $5. Transient vis- 
itors are invited, and will be charged the merest trifle. 

Greeley also hoped to earn something as a corre- 
spondent and his proposals sufficiently prove that he was 
the founder of that system of metropolitan correspond- 
ence which now has reached such vast extent. 

To Editors and Publisiieks. — The conductors of journals 
desiring a correspondent in the city of New York are respectfully 
apprised that arrangements for daily, semi-weekly, or weekly let- 
ters may be effected on advantageous terms by addressing a line to 
the editor of the New Yorker. Commercial, political, or general 
intelligence will be given as desired, and the utmost exertion 
made to forward early news. 

Well, the New Yorker eventually proved a failure, 
that is as a journalistic effort, but as a school for a higher 
sphere of labor it was a grand success. Greeley little 
dreamed while conducting the New Yorker that he was at 
school for the great work of his life. Such, however, 
w T as the case. It was the ability displayed in this early 
effort that led Weed and Seward to make him the editor 
of the Log Cabin, and the Tribune was the next ad- 
vancing step. This gradual progress, in the midst of 
conflict, recalls the lesson with which Yirgil opens the 
JEneid : 

Multa quoque et bello passus, dum conderet urbem 
Inferret que Deos Latio ; genus unde Latinum, 
Albanique patres, atque altse mcenia Roma. 

which may be translated. Much too he suffered in war 
until he founded the city and introduced his deities into 
Latium, whence sprang the Latin race, the Alban fathers 
and the walls of lofty Rome. Reader, true success is 
always the reward as well as the result of conflict. 

The Drama. 341 

Now, reader, for a few pages on dramatic scenes and char 
acters, and of course I must begin with the one name which 
will probably always hold unapproachable distinction. 

It is evident that London had a bad influence on Shakes- 
peare. Great cities are always dangerous to youth, and 
genius is often early misled. The licentiousness and ob- 
scenity which deform Shakespeare's plays are no doubt 
due to the evil influence of the theatre, which was his chief 
resort. When, however, he was brought under home in- 
fluence his writings were at once improved. Shakespeare, 
having wickedly abandoned his family, spent thirty years 
in London, and then returned to Stratford, where he re- 
mained. Coming back after this long absence, he found 
that the deserted wife had brought up his two daughters 
in a reputable manner, and no doubt he felt ashamed of 
his misconduct. He built a fine house and the family was 
reunited until separated by the hand of death. Under such 
circumstances The Tempest and Henry Y III were written 
and the careful reader will discern the internal proof which 
indicates the above-mentioned change. Shakespeare has 
of late years been studied more closely in America than in 
England, of which Richard Grant White's admirable 
volume (Shakespeare's Scholar) is a sufficient proof. Some 
time ago I attended an auction sale which included four 
hundred volumes, all on this subject. Among the num- 
ber was a photographic copy of the first collected edition 
(1623), and having seen the original in the Astor library, 
I noticed how closely the paper as well as the type was 

Curious Fact. 

It seems strange to me that so wonderful a writer should 
go to the grave without seeing his entire works in print, 
but Shakespeare had been dead seven years when the 
above-mentioned edition appeared. Just think of the 

342 Our Book. 

risk incurred ! How easily might these dramas have 
been destroyed by fire ! Their posthumous publication is 
a reason for the manifold blunders which even now per- 
plex critics. Authors generally read their proof-sheets, 
but Shakespeare was at the mercy of the printer. 

One advantage, however, was enjoyed by such a writer. 
He escaped all criticism. His writings were the develop- 
ing of his grand dreams, and he had seen some of them 
on the stage. This was all, and yet Shakespeare seemed 
content and never left a complaint " that mankind had 
neglected him, or that men of genius stand no chance in 
this world." He did not wage war on society like Byron, 
nor aspire to reform it like Shelley, nor even to satirize 
like Pope. He sought not family aggrandizement like 
Scott, and never dreamed of the wealth of Dickens — the 
second Shakespeare. lie wrote in obedience to the voice 
of genius, unconscious of his true stature, and in his last 
days was content to be Master Shakespeare of his native 
town, a mere country gentleman, who made the best of 
life and was i bought well of by a class of people who 
never had an idea of his genius. 

Progress of Fame. 

Seven years had elapsed since the funeral at Stratford, 
when the world saw the first issue of the poet's collected 
dramas, and this small edition was sufficient for nine years. 
Then came the civil war which checked literary taste, 
while to the severe simplicity of the Puritans such a book 
was hateful. It did not altogether perish, but thirty-two 
years passed before another edition was issued — its ap- 
pearance being in 1664, the time of " the restoration." 
In 1685 Shakespeare had reached the fifth edition, and 
even this impression is highly valued. 

We find nothing in Bunyan which leads us to suppose 

The Dkama. 343 

that lie had ever read Shakespeare. Had he become ac- 
quainted with the genius which left the world so near the 
time of his own birth, he would have been one of its 
greatest admirers. Bunyan had so admirable a dramatic 
genius and such a conception of the beautiful and the 
grotesque, as well as of the sublime, that he may be 
called the Shakespeare of theology, and yet it is probable 
that he never read a line of the great dramatist. 

Milton, however, Puritan as he was, had been mas- 
tered by the volume to which Bunyan was so complete a 
stranger, and gives expression to his admiration in the 
sonnet which speaks of " my Shakespeare." From that 
time until the present the fame of the great author has 
been steadily on the increase. In 1715 Jacob Tonson, 
the London bookseller, had Shakespeare's head as a sign. 
He no doubt desired to honor genius, but since then the 
highest order of intellect has bowed before the dramatist 
who has long stood alone, as Milton says, " the great 
heir of fame." 

Love Question. 

Was Shakespeare ever in love ? By this is meant the 
highest development of that passion. It seems impos- 
sible that one should so admirably delineate the operations 
of the strongest affections without a deep experience, but 
in this instance there is an almost entire absence of proof. 
True, Shakespeare was a married man, but seldom did 
man of genius marry in a more unsuitable manner. 

He was not, however, a man, but merely a youth, for 
when only eighteen he married Anne Hathaway, eight 
years his senior, In order to protect her character. Soon 
afterward he became a father, and a youth without money 
or employment could be in no condition to support such 
a burden. The next feature in his history is abandon- 

344 Our Book. 

ment of his family and flight to London, where he no 
doubt soon became an attache of the theatre. Under 
those circumstances the question was Shakespeare ever in 
love, must remain unanswered ; and yet how could he 
have described the tender passion in all its varied emo 
tions without a deep and potent experience % 

He ridicules Anne. 

Shakespeare, no doubt, felt keenly his matrimonial 
blunder. He did not love Anne, and being bound to her 
by wedlock, it probably resulted in hate. He represents 
her as Audrey in As You Like It, and in the coarse, ill- 
favored shepherdess I recognize the wife, while the hus- 
band is evident in Touchstone. What a suggestion is 
offered concerning the very nature of their union when 
the latter exclaims: "Audrey, we must marry or live in 
bawdry." Even his expression, " Sweet Audrey," is mere 
sarcasm, since he has previously called her a " foul slut." 

Again, when he is about to employ the "irregular" 
Martext to perform the ceremony, and Jaques says: 
" Will you be married under a bush like a beggar? Get 
you to church and have a good priest that can tell you 
what marriage is" — his reply is as follows: "I were 
better to be married of him than of any other; for he is 
not like to marry me well, and being not well married it 
will be a good excuse for me to leave my wife." 

This reveals that sophistry by which Shakespeare may 
for a time have justified his conduct. Touchstone and 
Audrey eventually come before the duke fat the finale, 
when so many of the characters are married), and the 
former thus explains his appearance : u I press in here, sir, 
among the rest of the country copulatives to swear and to 
forswear according as marriage binds and blood breaks." 
Here I find another allusion to his violated covenant. 

The Drama. 345 

Then follows a highly uncomplimentary reference to 
the bride : u Ill-favored thing, but my own ; a poor hu- 
mor of mine, sir, to take that which no other man will " 
Looking at this part of the play, as illustrated by the 
author's history, it is very clear that he is giving his own 

The Contrast. 

As You Like It was written in the early part of 
Shakespeare's life. The time comes, however, when he 
must return from London to Stratford, and perhaps the 
political trouble of the day had much influence upon his 
movements. No doubt he intended eventually to return 
to the metropolis, but his untimely death shattered all 
such plans. Coming back, he finds that this rude and 
despised Anne Hathaway has acquitted herself much bet- 
ter than he in every point of duty. His son (Hannett) is 
dead, but the daughters are grown up and in reputable 

He builds a home for them, for he feels that his injured 
wife deserves some act of condonement, and having ridi- 
culed her in an early play he makes amends by embody- 
ing a portion of her character in the unfortunate heroine 
of Henry YIII. ~No doubt such a view led to the 
words uttered by Queen Katharine, and however ignorant 
Anne Hathaway might have been, she may have expressed 
the same ideas : 

I do desire you to do me right and justice, for 
I am a most poor woman. Heaven witness, 
I have been to you a true and humble wife, 
At all time to your will conformable. 
Sir, call to mind 

That I have been your wife in this obedience 
Upward of twenty years. If in the course 
And process of this time, you can report 
And prove it, too, against my honor aught, 
Turn me away and let the foul'st contempt 
Shut door upon me. 

346 Our Book. 

The king's reply is probably the real utterance of the 

poet's heart : 

Go thy way, Kate ; 

That man who shall report he has 

A better wife, let him in naught be trusted, 

For speaking false in that. 

A very striking parallel is found in Scott's Fair Maid 

of Perth, but the reader of that tale would never know, 

had not the information been given, that the principal 

object of the author was to make reparation to an injured 

brother. Now if such were the case with Scott, why 

should it not also have been the case with Shakespeare? 

If the reader inquire concerning the former, I briefly 

reply that Scott had a brother named Daniel, who became 

a mere w r reck and was a blot on the family. Every effort 

was made in his behalf, but in vain, and at last he was 

sent to Jamaica, where he sank lower than ever. Daniel 

indeed was not only a hopeless drunkard, but to this was 

added the charge of cowardice, which the high-toned 

Walter could not forgive, and when Daniel returned to 

the maternal roof, Walter refused to see him during life, 

and even to attend his funeral. Lockhart says : 

It is a more pleasing part of my duty to add that he spoke to 
me twenty years afterward in terms of great contrition for this 
austerity, and he took a warm interest in a child whom Daniel 
had bequeathed to his mother's care, and after the old lady's death 
religiously supplied her place as the boy's protector. 

Scott's regret took another shape, for Lockhart says, 
a when the Fair Maid of Perth appeared, Scott said of 
Connochar (one of its prominent characters), ' my secret 
motive in this was to perforin a sort of expiation to my 
poor brother's manes.'' lie also told me of the unhappy 
fate of Daniel, and how he had declined attending his 
funeral." Connochar, indeed, is a painful apology for 
the cowardice of the miserable brother. 

Byron too made a similar effort to atone for unkind 

Shakespearean Expressions. 347 

words (uttered in his great satire), and hence,, when speak- 
ing of the dead of Waterloo, he says : 

Their praise is hymned by loftier harps than mine; 
Yet one I would select from that proud throng, 
Partly because they blend his line with mine, 
And partly that T did his sire some wrong. 

Shakespearean Expressions. 

Whatever be Shakespeare's faults he certainly bears the 

palm in giving advice. Polonious' parting words to his 

son where the latter is about to leave home can only be 

excelled by the more condensed utterances of a mother 

under similar circumstances — in All's Well That Ends 


Love all : trust few 

Do wrong to none : be able for thy enemy 
Rather in power than use, Be checked for silence 
But never for speech. 

Then too Wolsey's counsel to Cromwell, how grand. 

Coming down, however, to common parlance, the 
power of Shakespeare over the public is shown by 
the extent to which his phrases (and even his slang) has 
become incorporated into our language. In this point, 
indeed, he is unequaled. Among these is " bag and bag- 
gage," "dead as a door nail," " proud of one's humility," 
" tell the truth and shame the devil," " hit or miss," " love 
is blind," "selling for a song," "wide world," "cut ca- 
pers," "fast and loose," "unconsidered trifles," " west- 
ward ho," " familiarity breeds contempt," " patching up 
excuses," " misery makes strange bed-fellows," " to boot " 
(in a trade), " short and long of it," " comb your head 
with a three-legged stool," "dancing attendance," u get- 
ting even " (revenge), " birds of a feather," " that's flat," 
" tag rag," " Greek to me " (unintelligible), " send one 
packing," " as the day is long," " packing a jury," " mother 
wit," " kill with kindness," " mum " (for silence), " ill 
wind that blows no good," " wild goose chase," " scare- 

34:8 Our Book. 

crow," "luggage," "row of pins" (as a mark of value), 
"viva voce" "give and take," "sold" (in the way of 
joke), " give the devil his due," " your cake is dough." 

These expressions have come under my own notice, 
and, of course, there must be many others of equal famil- 
iarity. The girl who playfully calls some youth a " milk- 
sop " is also unconsciously quoting Shakespeare, and even 
" loggerhead " is of the same origin. "Extempore " is first 
found in Shakespeare, and so are " almanacs." The " elm 
and vine " (as a figure) may also be mentioned. Shakes- 
peare is the first author that speaks of " the man in the 
moon," or mentions the potato or uses the term "eye 
sore," for annoyance. 

Among other features of common parlance which are 
derived from the same source are "breaking the ice," 
"love at first sight," "taking a nap," "too thin," "it 
beggars description," "packed cards," " boxing the ears," 
"helter skelter," "are out" (i. e., rupture), "sixes and 
sevens," "chinks" (for money), "foul, play," " bibble 
babble," "give one's self away," " dainty duck," "virtue 
of necessity," "laying their heads together," with others 
that might be added. 

Shakespeare mentions the " properties " of a play and 
also refers to " proving poison on animals," and tells us 
that the " big fish eat up the little ones." He also refers 
to "corns" (on the toe), mentions copy books in school, 
speaks of advertisements and is the first author to use the 
word "reporter." 

He is the first to use "antipodes," and also the first to 
speak of America, and I find in his pages " wo-ha," which 
I presume to be the same utterance now used in driving 
oxen and pronounced " wo-haW." He gives us an idea 
of the attraction of gravitation in the following lines on 
Tr«»ilns and Cressida : 

The Drama. 340 

The strong base of my love 

Is as the very centre of the earth 

Drawing all things to it. 

He also thus apologizes for the frequent solecisms in 
his works : 

We commit no crime 

To use one language in each clime 

Where our scenes seem to live. 

How strange it is that Rosalind is the only one of 

Shakespeare's leading characters that can only be played 

by a tall woman. No one can imagine why Shakespeare 

required this qualification, but perhaps he had seen and 

admired some one of fine stature, and this may have led 

him to make Rosalind exclaim : 

were it not better 

Because that I am more than common tall 
That I do suit me all points like a man. 

A fcimilar idea occurs in Mid Summer Night's Dream, 
where Helena and Hermia are quarreling about a lover. 
Shakespeare makes the former tall and the latter short, 
which renders it necessary for the players to be of corres- 
ponding stat are. Here is is a specimen of their tilting : 

Helena. Fie, fie! You puppet! 

Hermia. Puppet! Ay, that way goes the game. 

Now I perceive that she hath made compare 

Between our statures, she hath urged her height, 

And with her personage — her tall personage, 

Her height, forsooth; she hath prevailed with him; 

How low am I, thou painted maypole? Speak, 

How low am I? I am not yet so low 

But that my nails can reach unto thine eyes. 

Shakespeare Critics. 

Some of Shakespeare's utterances have been entirely 

misunderstood. For instance, there is that oft-quoted 

sentence, " A touch of nature makes the whole world kin,'' 

which refers not to generosity but to selfishness. Another 



Our Book. 

is the "beggarly account of empty boxes," which is inva- 
riably applied to a playhouse (when unsuccessful), whereas 
it refers to the empty boxes placed on a druggist's shelf 
to help out the display of goods. 

Shakespeare has been studied more closely than any 
other author, and yet the subject is as far as ever from 
exhaustion. After Hamlet had been studied for two 
centuries Henry Irving discovered a typographical error 
which he corrected by a new reading — "the dog will 
have his bay" instead of "day," which evidently i* 

Amon^r the earliest of Shakespearean commentators 
was Dr. Johnson, whose corrections of the text were gen- 
erally well received. Since then the number has so 
increased as to exceed my narrow limits, and yet the 
theme is by no means exhausted. 


One of the ablest of Shakespearean critics was Richard 
Grant White, whose Shakespeare Scholar gave him high 
rank in dramatic literature. I do not accept all his conclu- 
sions, but he has given some very valuable interpretations. 

Halliwell's Shakespeare. 351 

Halliwell was bom in 1820, and early displayed great 
literary taste. His love of Shakespeare led to the pro- 
duction of twenty original essays on that author, some of 
which reached the size of a volume. Later on he pub- 
lished a life of the great dramatist, soon after which his 
ambition led to the finest possible edition of the works of 
the latter. To this task he devoted five years. It is in 
sixteen volumes and was published in London, at three 
pounds and three shillings per volume, and only one hun- 
dred and fifty copies were printed. This grand work 
was once offered in a New York auction and created 
much excitement among the book fanciers. It was soon 
run up to $40 per volume, which is more than double the 
original cost. The entire set thus brought $540, which 
is the highest price ever paid for a modern copy of 
Shakespeare — but what a luxury it is to read the great 
dramatist in this perfection of typographic art. 

Shakespeare's Geography. 
One of my readers addresses me the following inquiry : 

You say that " Shakespeare mentions America." Will you 
have the kindness to inform me in what play or plays I can find 
this mention? 

My reply is as follows: In the Comedy of Errors, 
act third, Antipholus and Dromio discuss one of the 
female characters in the following geographical manner : 

Dromio — She is spherical like a globe. I could find out coun- 
tries on her. 

Ant. — Where is Scotland? 

Dromio — Hard in the palm of the hand. 

Ant. — Where France? 

Dromio — In her forehead. 

Ant. — Where England. 

Dromio — I look'd for the chalky cliffs, but could find no white- 
ness in them ; but I guess it stood on the chin. 

Ant. — Where America and the Indies? 

Dromio — 0, sir, upon her nose, all over embellished with ru- 
bies, carbuncles and sapphires. 

352 Our Book. 

From the above it appears that Shakespeare shared the 
general idea that America lay adjacent to the Indies, and 
although Sir Francis Drake had at that time circumnavi- 
gated the globe, the information he had acquired had not 
been generally extended. 

Shakespeare evidently had a taste for geography, and 
his plays are widely extended in point of locality. Among 
his latest references of this kind is " the still vexed Ber- 
moothes." The Tempest, in which this expression 
appears, was written at the time an English vessel, 
commanded by Sir George Somers and bound for Vir- 
ginia, had been wrecked on the above-named islands. 
Perhaps, indeed, that very disaster may have led to the 
story of Prospero and the potent spells by which he con- 
trolled the ocean. It is the very play that gives us the 
old saying that he " that is born to be hanged will never 
be drowned.' , The same play gives us Shakespeare's idea 
of a showman, and also of the difference between charity 
and curiosity. - Trinculo thus exclaims on seeing Caliban : 
" A strange fish ! Were I in England now and had this 
fish, not a holiday fool but would give a piece of silver 
(to see it). There would this monster make a man. Any 
strange beast there makes a man. When they will not 
give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten 
to see a dead Indian." True enough at the present day, 
and it is by rendering this idea practical that Barn um has 
attained such wealth and notoriety. 

Shakespeare's Kambles. 

Considering the limited extent of Shakespeare's early 
education, he certainly takes his readers round the world 
with a facility which is surprising. In addition to those 
numerous plays which are limited to English soil, we 
have the Tempest, located on an uninhabited island ; the 

The Drama. 353 

Two Gentlemen of Verona, in Italy; Twelfth Night, 
Illyria ; Measure for Measure, Vienna ; Much Ado About 
Nothing, Sicily ; Midsummer's Night Dream, Athens ; 
Love's Labor Lost, Navarre ; All's Well That Ends Well, 
France and Tuscany ; Taming of the Shrew, Bohemia ; 
Comedy of Errors, Ephesus ; Macbeth, Scotland ; Troilus 
and Cressida, the Troad ; Julias Csesar, Rome and Pliil- 
lipi ; Antony and Cleopatra, Egypt and Italy; Pericles, 
Asia ; Hamlet, Denmark ; Othello, Italy and Cyprus. If 
the world had only been larger at that time we should no 
doubt have had a still wider range of territory. 

The other Side. 

Notwithstanding his wonderful genius, Shakespeare was 
naturally of a low turn of mind, and has been properly 
described as "an inspired blackguard." It has been 
urged, in extenuation of this defect, that it was due to the 
age in which he lived. This fact, however, is not sufficient 
to account for the incessant violations of decency which 
mark his works. Re introduces the latter with an appa- 
rent gusto, which indicates his preference. Hence, for 
general reading, the book should be cleaned up, and some 
of his plays should be omitted. It is painful to see such 
splendid works of genius as Macbeth, Hamlet, and even 
Lear, defaced with wanton obscenity. 

First American Amateur. 
Now that Shakspeare is so universally the object of ad- 
miration it may be a matter of interest to inquire wiio 
was the first American amateur? Reader, should you 
ask me concerning this point, I reply that the earliest that 
I can find was Josiah Quincy, the Boston patriot, who did 
so much toward our independence, though he did not live 
to see it consummated. He practiced law in Boston prior 

354 Our Book. 

to the revolution, but failing health required a voyage 
from which he never returned. 

His published articles abound in quotations from 
Shakespeare, and in addition to these there is still extant 
a MSS. volume of extracts made by himself and filling 
seventy pages. They were probably put in this shape for 
more facile reference, and as this was done when he was 
only eighteen, it shows how early he had become the ad- 
mirer of the great dramatist. 

The latter has since then been steadily increasing in his 
mastery over the American mind, until at last it may 
almost be said that he is better understood here than even 
in his native land. It is a very remarkable proof of the 
appreciation of Shakespeare in this country that twelve 
copies of the first foiio edition are held in New York, and 
these books are worth, in the aggregate, $50,000. 

Bacon vs. Shakespeare. 

The recent renewal of the Baconian theory proves at 
least one thing in a very decided manner. This is the 
utter weakness of the effort. The previous attacks on 
Shakespeare's claims had been so utterly forgotten that 
this revival is almost a novelty. It may, however, be re- 
vived annually to the end of the world without really 
impairing the authenticity of Shakespeare. One very 
strong point (as it is claimed) against the latter is the im- 
possibility of an illiterate youth from an obscure village 
attaining such a wide range of knowledge. But to this it 
may be replied that genius is beyond all rule or limitation. 

Perhaps the time will come when it will be a matter 
of doubt that another Englishman equally illiterate, and 
also reared in an obscure hamlet and bred to a mechanical 
trade, should suddenly develop into a wonderful orator — 
that year after year he should attract and fascinate vast 


The Drama. 355 

audiences, eclipsing all rivalry, and while deficient in 
education his diction should be elegant, his grammar coin 
rect, and his utterances so far beyond the power of criti- 
cism that the latter was never raised against it. Yes, reader, 
this may yet he a matter of doubt, but at present I find in 
Gough one of the most convincing arguments to prove 
that genius is so superior to all limitation that even the 
Stratford hoodlum might become the author of all that 
is ascribed to Shakespeare. 

The Converse. 
If it be impossible for the illiterate Shakespeare to have 
written the plays because of the learning displayed, then, 
on the other hand, it seems impossible that a man of 
education, like Bacon, should have been their author be- 
cause of the ignorance displayed. For instance, think of 
Lord Bacon, when writing Borneo and Juliet, introduc- 
ing the curfew. Yet it occurs in act iv, scene 4 : 

Capulet — Come stir, stir, stir ! The second cock hath crowed, 
The curfew bell hath rung; 't is three o'clock! 

Here we find the learned Lord Bacon not only intro- 
ducing the curfew to Italy, but changing its character 
by making it a morning instead of an evening bell. 
Header, can you believe that a man of learning and an 
astute lawyer could be guilty of such a blunder ? Still 
less could this be done by the author of Bacon's prim 
and precise essays, in which every word is so carefully 

On the other hand, the accepted author (Shakespeare) 
assumes that genius has the right to deal with such mat- 
ters without rule or sense of propriety, as he says in 
Pericles, Prince of Tyre, w^here Gower exclaims : 

By you being pardoned we commit no crime 
To use one language in each several clime 
Where our scenes seem to live. 

3543 Our Book. 

Pursuing this liberty, Shakespeare next introduces the 
curfew in the far-distant island, where Prospero exclaims: 
and you whose pastime 

Is to make the midnight mushrooms 
That rejoice to hear the solemn curfew. 

Here we have more regard to the time when the bell was 
rung, but how impossible it were for the learned Bacon 
to shift the curfew from England to Italy, and thence to 
the still vexed Bermoothes. 

(Sample of Bacon. 
Pursuing this theory of impossibility the reader may 
be interested to read some of Bacon's acknowledged writ- 
ings, in order to compare the style with that of the plays 
Here is a sample : 

It is true that a little philosophy incliueth man to atheism, but 
depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds back to religion; for 
while the mind of man looketh on second causes scattered, it may 
sometimes rest in them, and go no farther; but when it beholdeth 
the chain of them confederate and linked together, it must needs 
fly to providence and deity. 

Reader, think of the author of the above cumbrous and 
unwieldy sentence being also the author of "it" 'twere 
done when 'tis done, then 'twere well 'twere done quickly." 

Again, there are utterances in Shakespeare which con- 
demn Bacon's crime, and I can hardly believe that a judge 
who sold the decisions of the bench could ever have writ- 
ten such a bitter thing against himself as the words of 

See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief. 

Change places, handy dandy, which is the justice and which is 

the thief ? 
Through tattered clothes small vices do appear; 
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold 
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks, 
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw doth pierce it. 

Eobes and furred gowns were worn by the judiciary, 
of whom Bacon was chief. Does it seem possible that 

The Drama. 357 

with his pocket full of bribes he could have even in- 
directly thus referred to his own crime ? 

Another striking Instance. 

Now I propose to yield acceptance to the Baconian 
theory for a few moments, because I have found what a 
true Baconian may consider a strong parallel case. While 
looking over an old periodical of very respectable charac- 
ter I came to the following, published in London more 
than a century ago. 

February 25, 1787. 
To the Editor of the Qentlemaris Magazine : 

In the course of a recent conversation with a nobleman of the 
first consequenee and information in this kingdom he assured me 
that Benjamin Holloway assured him some time ago that he knew 
for a fact that the celebrated romance of Robinson Crusoe was 
really written by the Earl of Oxford when confined in the Tower 
of London; that his lordship gave the manuscript to Daniel 
DeFoe, who frequently visited him during his confinement, and 
that DeFoe published it as his own production, and the work has 
been generally attributed to him. 

W. W. 

Arguing in the Baconian manner, it might be said that 
the proof from history in support of this statement is 
clear and irrefragable. For instance, DeFoe and Oxford 
were contemporaries, and they were on the same side in 
politics, and both were imprisoned. DeFoe was released 
first, and naturally visited his old friend, who, being in 
what he supposed to be confinement for life, entrusted to 
him (DeFoe) the book whose composition had cheered 
his prison hours. Another proof that Oxford wrote the 
book is found in his wonderful literary taste. He made 
the largest collection of pamphlets and manuscripts which 
had up to that time ever been known, and these are still 
preserved in the British museum. A selection was com- 
piled many years ago and published in ten enormous 
volumes, entitled the Harleian Miscellany. 

35 S Our Book. 

Continuing the Baconian method of reasoning, if it 
be asked why the true author of Robinson Crusoe 
allowed another man to carry off the honor, it may be 
replied that he was probably afraid that his enemies 
would turn it against him. Those, indeed, who read 
Robinson Crusoe intelligently will at once perceive its 
real meaning. 

Crusoe is the British king, who has wrecked the ship 
of state, and who, with his man Friday (the prime minis- 
ter) is obliged to suffer the wretched consequences. I 
have not space to designate other interesting points of 
testimony, and in tact the case is too clear to need anv, 
but I might add that the marine character of Crusoe's 
great calamity is suggested by the frequent voyages the 
king made to his native Germany. Johnson refers to 
this in one of his satires : 

Scarce can our fields — such crowds at Tyburn die — 
With hemp the gallows and the fleet supply. 
Propose your schemes ye senatorian band 
Whose ways and means support the sinking land, 
Lest ropes be wanting in the tempting spring 
To rig another convoy for the king. 

The unpopularity of these excursions was deep and 
general, and hence the risk a nobleman would incur by a 
reflection of this kind. He, therefore, naturally preferred 
to let DeFoe take the authorship, since being a plebeian 
there was far less risk. In fact, the Baconian argument 
is as strong against DeFoe as it is against Shakespeare, 
and it can be turned against any other author who may 
be sufficiently distinguished to attract the cranks of 

Shakespeare versus Bacon. 
The claim urged in behalf of Francis Bacon as the au- 
thor of Shakespeare's plays suggests the counter-inquiry 
whether Shakespeare be not the author of Bacon's essays 

The Drama. 359 

and all that scheme of philosophy which the world calls 
Baconian? 1 find that the affirmative may be proven by 
the following facts : First, William Shakespeare was con- 
temporary with Francis Bacon. Second, he was a man of 
brilliant wit. This class, however, has its serious turns 
and just as the humorist Sterne and the witty Sidney 
Smith both wrote sermons, so this Shakespeare must have 
had his hours of sober study. Third, it is highly proba- 
ble that he was too timid and reserved to offer his work 
in his own name, and hence assumed that of a friendly 
lawyer, preferring to appear by attorney. Fourth, it is 
very improbable that this lawyer, who falsely bears the 
palm, could have produced such pure and exalted ideas, 
since he was of a very base character. 

Turning from the reductio ad absurdum to the plain 
facts in the case, the following question is to be met : If 
Francis Bacon be the author of the above mentioned 
dramas, why did he permit even one of the number to be 
published under another man's name ? Was he ashamed 
to be known as a dramatist, or was it due to kindness % If 
so, it were an unheard of generosity. 

Men have often been convicted of stealing the produc- 
tions of others, but I have never heard of any one so lib- 
eral as to write a series of wonderful plays and then pre- 
sent the chaplet of fame to a mere attache of the theatre. 
Had Shakespeare conferred any important favor on Bacon 
there might be some shadow for the wonderful generosity, 
but no such idea is suggested. Hence the reader (if he 
thinks the Baconian hypothesis worthy of notice), is 
obliged to choose between the horns of the following 
dilemma. Either the dramas in question were written by 
the Stratford man, or else their real author disowned them, 
generously exalting the latter to the highest literary rank 
in the temple of fame. It may also be mentioned Shakes- 

360 Our Book. 

peare's works were published in a collected edition in 
1023, three years before the deatli of Bacon, and yet he 
continues to make no objection. At this time Bacon was 
in disgrace and needed all possible assistance. Why, then, 
did he throw away these dramas which would have done 
so much to redeem his reputation ? 

The Greek Drama. 

The Acharnians, which was so admirably rendered at 
the Academy of Music, was written by Aristophanes, who 
nourished B. C. 400. Of the sixty plays ascribed to this 
author, eleven are still extant; of these the Acharnians is 
the best adapted to performance, and the public was en- 
abled to form some idea of the way in which the Athen- 
ians were entertained by the drama. 

The latter, at least in tragedy, had its moral lessons. 
Euripides, for instance, comments on the uncertainty of 
wealth. He also speaks of the blessings attending filial 
duty, and he refers to the increased severity of misfortune 
when it follows prosperity. The ills of city life as com- 
pared to the country are also mentioned by him, and so 
are the three divisions of society, the useless rich, the 
miserable poor, and the middle class, which really support 
the state. 

Sophocles portrays a collision at a horse race, with fatal 
result. He also pictures time as the conqueror, or (as he 
says) " Time, the mighty, withers all away," and then he 
comments on the bitterness of mutation. Sophocles also 
first gives us the idea that life is often a failure, and he 
painfully contrasts the follies of youth with the musings 
of old age. He .raws the distinction between the troubles 
which fall on mankind and those which we bring on our- 
selves, and he is also the author of that oft quoted utter- 
ance that no man is to be counted happy until after he is 

The Dbama. 361 

dead. Many other lessons applicable to the present day 
occur in these old dramatists, and perhaps that to which 
experience most readily responds is found in the words 
with which Euripides makes the Cyclops reply to Ulysses : 
" Wealth, my little man, is the deity of the wise ; the rest 
is mere bosh." How painfully true is this utterance at 
the present day. 

Thespis and Roscrus. 

The drama has held its power over mankind from time 
immemorial. Thespis nourished, it is said, B. C. 535, and 
no doubt there was some histrionic leader before his day. 
Roscius nourished at Rome a century before the Christian 
era, and was very popular among the gentry. He is men- 
tioned by several writers of that day, and, being a star, 
drew enormous pay. Like many other stars, however, he 
was improvident, and fell a victim to the harpies of usury. 
Cicero, who was his ardent friend, defended him from a 
claim of this kind, and a fragment of the oration is still 
extant. Such was the power of the drama at Rome that 
Gibbon says that during time3 of scarcity, when all stran- 
gers were banished, the populace demanded that the play- 
ers should remain. 

Augustin, who was a teacher of elocution and rhetoric, 
but afterward became a preacher and one of the fathers of 
the church, gives in his confessions the following expe- 
rience : 

Stage plays also carried me away, and that acting best pleased 
me which drew tears from me. Why is it that man desires to be 
sad, beholding doleful and tragical things which he himself would 
by no means suffer ? Yet he desires as a spectator to feel sorrow 
at them, and this very sorrow is his pleasure. The auditor is not 
called on to relieve, but only to grieve, and he applauds the actor 
the more he grieves. And if the calamities be so acted that the 
spectator be not moved to tears, then he goes away disgusted, 
but if he be moved to passion, then he stays intent and weeps for 



3o2 Our Book. 

Mankind loves that which awakens sympathy, as Cole- 
ridge said of the object of his affections : 

She loves me best when e'er I sing 
The songs that make her grieve. 

Irving also confesses the same tendency, for he says 
that when he was a little boy his sister Nancy would sing 
the touching ballad of William and Mary until he cried, 
and when she stopped he would exclaim: " Sing it again I" 
Like Augustin, he loved to be made to weep. 

Mortuary Record. 

Taking a retrospect of the British stage it may Ikj 
noticed that few of its distinguished members were 
buried in London, though they won their greatest 
triumphs on the metropolitan boards. The only play- 
actor buried in Westminster Abbey was Barton Booth, 
who died in 17-13. He was one of the stars of that day 
and the success of the family in subsequent years shows 
that it is an inherent gift. Garrick, who was the best 
Shakespearian delineator the world ever saw, won liis 
fame in London, but was buried in his native Litchfield, 
where his monument is to be seen, being <*>ne of the chief 
ornaments of the cathedral. 

John Philip Kemble won life-long admiration in Ham- 
let. He seemed born for this part and his friends never 
wished him in any other. He was for many years the 
pride of Drury Lane and commanded a degree of ap- 
plause which might have satisfied a much higher ambition. 
After a long and successful histrionic career he retired to 
Lausanne for the benefit of his health and died there 
February 26, 1823, being then in his 66th year. 

Kean succeeded Kemble on the British boards and was 
in many points a wonderful performer. He could sing, 
fence and dance with inimitable skill, and w;is not 

The Drama. 363 

a remarkable acrobat but was also one of the most im- 
pressive tragedians of his day. In .Richard III he was 
beyond rivalry. He visited America twice, and was, as 
might have been expected, greatly admired. Return- 
ing to London he played Othello to his son Charles' Iago, 
but during the performance fainted and would have sunk 
to the ground had not Charles caught him in his arms. 
He died soon afterward, his death being in no small 
degree the result of intemperance. This occurred May 
15, 1833, his age being only forty-six. He was buried 
in the village of Richmond-on-the-Thames, ten miles from 
London. It may be added that Queen Elizabeth also 
died in the same town, which is one of the most beautiful 
resorts in the vicinity of the British metropolis. 

Charles Matthews. 
This man was the most distinguished comedian of hi3 
day, and reached a position seldom accorded to mere 
humor. He visited America twice with great success. 
His death occurred June 23, 1835, just as he reached his 
sixtieth year, and he was buried in Plymouth, where ha 
had parsed his last days. Another Matthews won a name 
on the stage and then also passed away, his monument 
being in Kensal Green. It bears this curious inscription : 
" Sacred to the memory of Charles James Matthews. 
Born December 26, 1803. Died June 24, 1878. Aged 
seventy-four. Oh bliss when all in circle drawn about 
him. Heart and ear fed to hear him. How good ! how 
kind ! and he is gone. In memoriam." 

Sheridan and Others. 
Congreve and Ben Johnson were buried in Westmin- 
ster Abbey, also Gay, who wrote the Beggars' Opera, 
which had a remarkable run and was the forerunner of 

364 Our Book. 

the present comic opera. The only modern dramatist 
buried in Westminster Abbey was Richard Brinsley Sheri- 
dan, the most brilliant man of his day. He was theatrical 
manager, playwright, and also member of parliament, 
and was successful in each position, but his thriftless 
habits and gross intemperance led to a life of misery. 
He died in London June 7, 1816, being then in his sixty- 
fifth year, and was almost under arrest during his last 
illness. Byron was among his acquaintances and was in 
some points influenced by his evil example. 

Macready was buried at Kensal Green, in the same 
vault with his wife and children, and the commemorative 
tablet bears the following touching utterance from Gray's 
Elegy : 

There they alike in trembling hope repose 
The bosom of their Father and their God. 

Talma, who was the grandest of French tragedians, 
was buried in Pere La Chaise. Foote, the "English 
Aristophanes," as he was sometimes styled, died and was 
buried at Dover. He was the first performer that made 
religion the butt of stage wit which he did incessantly, 
often ridiculing Whitefield. He died October 24, 1777, 
being then in his fifty-eighth year. 

The first British performer who died in America was 
George Frederick Cooke, the famous tragedian, whose 
monument has for many years been a marked feature in 
St. Paul's churchyard. He was born in London and was 
bred a printer, but his love of the drama led him to the 
stage on which he reached eminence. He was noted for 
his power in Macbeth and other important characters. 
His genius, however, was debased by intemperance, and 
this vice eventually destroyed him. He was the first 

The Drama. 365 

British star that came to this country and won great dis- 
tinction on the American stage, but died suddenly in New 
York, September 26, 1812, and was buried in St. Paul's. 
Eight years after his death Kean came hither and 
erected the monument to which reference has been made. 
Twenty years afterward it was repaired by his son Charles, 
who came to America on a professional engagement. 
After a lapse of twenty additional years Sothern, the 
well known comedian, came hither from London, and at 
his own expense the entire work was cleaned and put in 
good condition. Each of these men placed his name on 
the monument, which is the only one which thus bears 
the mark of- three successive generations. 


Junius Brutus Booth was the second British player of 
note to find a grave in America. He was remarkably 
gifted in the highest walk of tragedy, but his intemperate 
habits prevented that degree of success which might have 
been expected. He was, as Richard III, almost unri- 
valed, being as great in that character as his son Edwin 
is in Hamlet. Booth died in 1852, being then fifty-six 
years, and is buried at his former residence near Balti- 
more. He was a great admirer of John Wilkes and gave 
that name to his son, the subsequent murderer of Lincoln. 

Edwin Forrest died at sixty-six and was buried at 
Philadelphia where he founded an institution for decayed 
actors, but his scheme has not been successful. How 
much better would it have been had he carried it out by 
personal attention. In the same manner had A. T. Stew- 
art fitted up his lodging house for girls instead of leaving 
it for Judge Hilton, it might have proved a success. 

Tyrone Power was the only prominent player that 
was ever lost at sea. He was one of the passengers in 

3ti6 Our Book. 

the ill-fated President, which was the lirst ocean steamer 
that was never heard from after leaving port. 

Greenwood Graves. 

The record of this famous cemetery includes the names 
of more than fifty actors, one of whom is Mrs. Duff, who 
played Lady Macbeth with George Frederick Cooke. 
She was thirty years younger than the latter, whom she 
long survived, and at the time of her death she was the 
last of the players who charmed the ])ublie when Irving 
was a young man. William II. Blake and J. W. Ilalleck 
are also in the same record, both men of great power, and 
to these is added the name of Harry Placide, who was 
the most inimitable comedian of his day. I well remem- 
ber him as one of the attractions of the old Park, where 
he was a permanent favorite. 

A plain monument, bearing the name of " Eliza, wife 
of Captain Brevoort," recalls another former favorite. Her 
stage name was Mrs. Sharp and she played Lady Macbeth 
admirably, with Charles Kean in the title-role. The once 
notorious Lola Montez also found a grave in Greenwood, 
but the inscription on the stone is simply u Mrs. Eliza Gil- 
bert, died January 17, 1861." Since then a large num- 
ber of performers have joined the silent multitude of 
Greenwood, including some who commanded popular ap- 
plause to a rare and remarkable degree. 

Players' Ages. 
Players have attained more than the average of human 
life, this being no doubt mainly due to the fact that only 
those who are in good health adopt the profession. I 
have already mentioned that Garrick died at sixty -three, 
and John Philip Kemble at sixty-six, but Mrs. Siddons 
(sister of the latter) reached seventy-six. Another sister, 

The Dkama. P>67 

also a player, died at seventy live. Edmund Kean died at 
forty-six, but he was wrecked by intemperance. Cooke 
who was also a hard drinker, lived to fifty-five. Charles 
Kean, however, reached old age, and so did his wife, the 
once admired Ellen Tree who once charmed the audience 
at the Park. 

Macready died at eighty-two ; he was a hard worker and 
did a life-long service on the stage, but was temperate 
and careful in his habits. Junius Brutus Booth, on the 
other hand, died at fifty-six, having long been the victim 
of intemperance. Harry Placide lived to be an old man. 

Charlotte Cushman was past sixty at the time of her 
death and may be mentioned as the most distinguished 
member of the profession buried in Mount Auburn. 
Cooper, who was the star of the Park in Irving's early 
days, lived to be an old man, and many other similar 
instances might be mentioned. Among later names is 
that of Chanfrau, who was forty years before the public 
and reached full three score, while John Gilbert played 
more than a half century and died at eighty. 

Prologues and Epilogues. 
In old times prologues and epilogues were in constant 
use, the former being spoken before the play and the lat- 
ter on its conclusion. The custom however, has lon«- 
been discontinued, but it may be well to mention that 
some of our most common proverbs are found in these 
forgotten productions.. For instance "let them laugh 
that win," occurs in Garrick's epilogue to the English 
Merchant. "All the world and his wife" is found in 
Foote's prologue to the Trip to Paris. " Give the devil 
his due " occurs in one of Dryden's epilogues. " Make 
hay while the sun shines" is in a prologue by George 
Colman. " A fellow-feeling makes one wondrous kind " 

368 Our Book. 

occurs in Garrick's prologue on leaving the stage. " Stu- 
dious to please but not ashamed to fail" is in Johnson's 
prologue to his unfortunate tragedy Irene. The word 
" journalist " I first find in the epilogue to Ignoramus, 
played in 1747, where the speaker exclaims : 

For not in law alone could I appear, 
My parts would shine in any sphere; 
I could turn journalist and write 
"With little wit and large recruits of spite. 

It may seem strange to see the use of epilogues cen- 
sured in one of these very productions, and yet I find the 
following in an epilogue written in 1734: 

I have been peeping for these many days 
In the tail of all the Greek and Latin plays, 
And after strictest search in none can find 
An epilogue like a dish clout pinned behind. 
These ancient bards knew when the play was done, 
Nor like Sir Martin Mar — all, still played on; 
They imitated nature in their plan, 
Nor made a numkey when they meant a man. 

What a hit at the development theory in the last two 

lines. That " damning a play " is nothing new is shown by 

the following lines in the prologue to Nero, dated 1675. 

I'm told that some are present here to day, 
Who e'er they see, resolve to damn the play. 

The only really important production of this kind is 

Shakespeare's epilogue to the Tempest in which we have 

the confession of a bad life and a prayer for forgiveness, 

as may be seen from the closing lines : 

And my ending is despair 
Unless I be relieved by prayer, 
Which pierces so that it assaults, 
Mercy itself — and frees from faults, 
As you from crimes would pardoned be 
Let your indulgence set me free. 

This appeal to the reader for release from censure is 
enough to awaken sympathy and also the hope that the 
once vice-stained dramatist eventually found mercy. 

Garrick. 3(30 

In speaking of the greatest player of the last century, 
I begin at his death. This leads me to say that Garrick 
was then sixty -three, and his usual health had been 
such as to give promise of longevity. Hence the general 
surprise. As Johnson wrote to a friend soon after the 
funeral : " Futurity is uncertain ; poor Garrick had 
many futurities in his head which death intercepted — a 
death, I believe, totally unexpected. He did not, even in 
his last hour, seem to think his life in danger.-' John- 
son was deeply interested in Garrick, because the latter 
was, at one time his pupil, and they entered London 
together, a pair of fortune seekers, each of whom reached 
eminence, but how different were their paths ! 

Johnson and Garrick were from the same town, Litch- 
field, where the father of the latter, a retired half-pay 
officer, was trying to bring up a family of boys on his 
slender income. When Johnson opened a boarding 
school Garrick became a scholar, and used to amuse 
himself by mimicking his master and also Mrs. Johnson, 
who was nearly double the age of her husband. The 
school failed and both teacher and pupil then went to 
London, where the latter opened a wine store in partner- 
ship with his brother, the capital being a bequest from a 
recently deceased uncle. 

Garrick's attention, however, was quickly turned to the 
drama. He had while a boy won a name for such per- 
formances, and he soon felt the overcoming power of a 
life-absorbing passion. This led him to attempt the 
stage, but in a manner so obscure that a failure could 
inflict no injury. He obtained permission to appear in a 
country theatre as Oronooko, his role being one that 
required him to blacken his face, and to add to the con- 
cealment, he assumed the stage name of Lyddal. As 
it was the first instance of the kind, Garrick may be 

3T0 Our Book. 

considered the originator of a disguise which has now 
become general. 

1] is success was so marked that it led to his appearance 
in London a few months afterward, and he made his 
debut in a small theatre in the role of Richard TIL It 
was an immediate triumph, and gave him at once the 
foremost rank. In this manner a young man of twenty- 
five, of no previous experience and newly come from the 
country stepped to the summit of high tragedy. Most 
performers require long practice to walk the stage, but 
Garrick showed himself at home even at Drury Lane 
and Covent Garden. He was the star of London, and 
held this distinction until the end. 

Johnson's Feelings. 

The difference between the success of these two adven- 
turers was so marked as to awaken the natural jealousy of 
one who had been obliged to grovel for a living amid a 
hungry crowd of hack writers, while his former pupil so 
rapidly rose to wealth. They occasionally met and 
renewed their friendship, but Johnson for a long time 
felt keenly the difference in their fortunes. As soon, 
however, as Garrick obtained control of Covent Garden, 
he produced Johnson's play of Irene, which certainly 
showed grateful remembrance. This play was begun 
while Johnson was keeping boarding school, and his 
ambition was thus gratified by his former pupil, but the 
author was grievously disappointed, for Irene proved a 
hopeless failure. 

Chief Characteristics. 
Aside from histrionic genius, the peculiar points in Gar- 
rick's character were vanity and generosity. At John- 
son's request he gave a benefit to the blind protege of the 

Garrick. 371 

former (Miss Williams), which cleared £200. Johnson 
said that Garrick, though brought up in extreme poverty, 
was very liberal . To quote the words of the lexicographer : 

Garrick was a very good man, the cheerfulest man of his 
age; a decent liver in a profession which is supposed to give 
indulgence to licentiousness, and a man who gave away freely 
the money he had earned. He was bred in a family whose study 
it was to make four pence do as much as others make four pence 
half-penny do, but when he got money he gave away more than 
any other man in England. 

Garrick, though generous, was opposed to waste, and 
Johnson mentions that on one of his visits, " Mrs. Wof- 
fington (better known as Peg Woffington) made the tea 
at the table and as it was too strong she was found fault 
with.'' Peg was a great favorite, but Garrick would not 
permit waste in any one. The great histrionist was often 
censured for vanity which certainly was very natural, con- 
sidering the applause he had received for a life-time — 
but Goldsmith's raillery of this weakness is evidently too 
pointed to be accurate. I allude to that admirable Jeu 
d) esprit Retaliation, from which I make the following 
extract : 

Here lies David Garrick — describe him he who can, 

An abridgment of all that was pleasant in man, 

As an actor, confessed without rival to shine. 

As a wit, if not first, in the very first line. 

Yet with talents like these and an excellent heart, 

The man had his failings — a dupe to his art. 

Like an ill-judged beauty, his colors he spread, 

And beplastered with rouge his own natural red, 

On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting, 

'T was only that when he was off he was acting. 

With no reason on earth to go out of his way, 

He turned and he varied full ten times a day. 

Though secure of our hearts, he was confoundedly sick, 

If they were not his own by finessing and trick. 

He cast off his friends like a huntsman his pack, 

For he knew when he pleased he could whistle them back. 

Of praise a mere glutton, he swallowed what came, 

And the puff of a dunce — he mistook it for fame, 

Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease, 

Who peppered the highest was surest to please. 

372 Our Book. 

That this above picture is overdrawn is evident from 
the words of Johnson ; " How little Garrick assumes. 
Other celebrated men have had their applause at a dis- 
tance, but Garrick had it dashed in his face, and sounded 
in his ears, and went home every night with the plaudits 
of a thousand." 

Domestic Life. 

Garrick married an actress (M'lle Violette) who had a 
handsome portion, and they lived in such harmony that 
it affords a marked contrast with the usual matrimonial 
difficulties of the profession. His moral character re- 
mained stainless to the end. Mrs. Garrick survived him 
forty-three years, and died in 1822, being then ninety- 
eight. Johnson mentions that he met her two years after 
the loss of her husband, on which occasion she said, " that 
death was now the most agreeable object to her thoughts." 
How sad to think that she had to wait such a length of 
time ! 

The best sketch we have of Garrick is given by a lady 
friend, who wrote thus : " I see him now in his dark blue 
coat, the button-holes bound with gold, a small cocked 
hat laced with gold — his countenance never at rest, and 
indeed seldom his person." When in the countiy he 
gave way to his natural volatility, dashing out on the 
lawn in quest of friends and acting on the impulse of the 
moment. As a performer Garrick had a mastery over 
the highest walk, both of tragedy and comedy, and hence 
was painted thus by Reynolds — whose picture has often 
been engraved. 

Garrick, as has been mentioned, died suddenly in 1779, 
being then in bis sixty-third year, and was buried in his 
native town of Litchfield, where his monument, is one of 
the marked features in the cathedral. The Shakespeare 
jubilee at Stratford was one of the most prominent events 

Garrick. 373 

in his life. It took place in 1769 and was afterward 
dramatised and had a run at Drury Lane of ninety-two 
nights — & success which had never been known before. 
Neither the British nor the American stage has ever pro- 
duced his equal, for, though Booth is probably as great in 
Hamlet, he has no comic vein. Garrick, on the other 
hand, wrought his hearers to tears or smiles, as he chose 
to wield his power. 

Theatre Prices. 

It is a curious feature in the dramatic record that an in- 
different line in Shakespeare gives us the price of admit- 
tance in his day. The principal play-house in London at 
that time was the Black Friars theatre, where Shakes- 
peare was highly popular, and where some of his best 
plays were first brought out. The price of admittance is 
found in the prologue to King Henry VIII, which reads 
as follows : 

I come no more to make you laugh — things now 

That bear a mighty and a serious brow 

We now present. Those that can pity, here 

May, if they think it well let fall a tear. 

The subject will deserve it; 

Those that come to see 

Only a show or two, and so agree 

The play may pass; if they be still and willing 

I'll undertake may see away their shilling 

Richly in two short hours. 

A shilling in those days was worth as much as a dollar of 
our present currency, and hence it may be considered that 
the prices have not really advanced. A century and a half 
later Garrick had made the drama so popular with the 
crowds of London that it was one of the great features of 
the day. The same rate was continued, for the masses at 
least, but the distinction between pit and boxes was in- 
troduced. In Shakespeare's time this did not exist, but 
Garrick found it necessary. This explains the words of 

374 Our Book. 

Johnson who, as Boswell says, spoke of Garrick as "a 
fellow that shows himself for a shilling." The London 
managers tried to raise prices, but a riot occurred and 
it was a long time before they succeeded. 

Players' Sufferings. 

The efforts exerted by players to maintain their roles 
are often of a very exhaustive nature. No allowance is 
made by an audience for illness, and the player is some- 
times brought from a sick bed, and is plied with strong 
drink in order to carry him through. Hence the scene, 
which may delight an audience, may be to the player only 
agony. Sometimes he even comes from some death-bed 
under his own roof in order to play in comedy or farce. 
The countenance, though devoured by watching and 
anxiety, is lit up by paint and gaslight, and the shadow 
of sorrow is driven away by the necessity of the occasion. 
Ballet girls often faint under the severe service and foul 
air of the stage, and are kept up by liberal potations of 
strong drink. The inside of the theatrical life is, indeed, 
a strange contrast with the glare and splendor of its 
garish display. 

Anna Cora Mowatt, when describing her efforts while 
ill, and the agony and failure which follows, says : 

I have seen many an actor play with thrilling effect, and the 
instant he left the stage sink, unable to speak from acute suffer- 
ing. I have often seen actors after fits of swooning, forced to 
return and continue their performance. I remember an actor that 
drew down the displeasure of an audience by the feeble delivery 
of his role. How little they imagined that he was even then 
dying. Three days afterward he was a corpse. 

One of the severest trials to which the profession is lia- 
ble is keen and often unjust criticism. An actress, after 
playing till midnight, may lie awake till morning in 
anxiety to see how much of her reputation will be left 

Actors' Sufferings. 375 

her when the papers appear. Pope says " there's noth- 
ing blackens like the ink of fools," to which many a 
player can assent from personal experience. Next to 
the dangers of the press are those arising from personal 
jealousy and domestic quarrels, which so commonly 
infest the stage. 

Nervous Irritability. 

This is one of the sufferings endured by public speak- 
ers, and actors have to endure it to a degree far beyond 
all others. How many of those quarrels, which occur in 
the profession, are due to this cause \ Other difficulties 
may be explained in a similar manner. Forrest, for in- 
stance, while in an irritable frame, assaulted N. P. Willis, 
for which he paid damages to the amount of $2,500 and 

Macready suffered all his life from nervous irritability, 
which, at last, became a leading characteristic. The re- 
sult was that he also appeared in an assault and battery 
case in London, which he thus describes in his journal : 

Rose with uneasy thoughts, and in a disturbed state of mind, 
laboring under the alternate sensations of exasperation and de- 
pression. On reaching my office, I wrote a letter on the subject 
of Bunn's debt, but thinking it was tinctured with revenge, I 
threw it into the fire. My spirits were so much depressed that I 
lay down to compose myself, and thought over my role as well as 
I could. Went to the theatre ; was techy and unhappy, but 
pushed through the performance in a sort of a desperate manner. 

As I came off the stage, passing Bunn I could not contain my- 
self, and exclaimed: *' You scoundrel! How dare you use me in 
such a manner !" I struck him across the face, and dug my fist 
into him as effectively as I could. As I read these lines I am an- 
noyed at my intemperate and unfortunate rashness. My passions 
mastered me, and no enemy can censure me more harshly than I 
do myself, and I felt ashamed to appear on the street. 

Bunn sued the unlucky tragedian, who made no defense, 
and the damages were assessed at £150 — equal to $750, 
to which were added costs. When one considers the 
nervous exhaustion inseparable from such a profession, 

370 Our Book. 

one need not be surprised at the irritability of dramatic 


Mr. and Mrs. Ilallam, who were prominent performers 
in the early part of the present century received each $25 
per night. Mrs. Oldmixon, who was famous in her day, 
had $37 ; Cooper, who held respectable rank in tragedy, 
received $25. The entire bill for performers at the Park 
theatre then amounted to $480 per week, and other 
expenditures swelled the amount to $1,650. Such was 
the cost at that time of running the most expensive thea- 
tre in America. Cooper, whose name is mentioned above, 
was at one time manager of the Park. He married Miss 
Mary Fairlie, the Sophie Sparkle of Salmagundi, and 
one of the most charming ladies of that day. As a man- 
ager he was decidedly unsuccessful, but he holds a place 
in the history of the drama as the first to present high 
tragedy on the American stage. 


Knowles, like many other men of genius, went through 
a life of poverty. At one time he taught elocution in 
Glasgow and other cities, but later on he received a pen- 
sion, and this enabled him to gratify his inclination for 
the pulpit. He became a Baptist preacher at the age of 
sixty-one, and remained in the service until his death, 
seventeen years afterward. He is said to have been the 
oldest man ordained to the ministry since the days of the 
apostolic church. His sermons are forgotten, but his 
plays will live as long as the drama itself, and the Hunch- 
back and Virginius are sufficient to ensure fame. 

Knowles was thirty-eight when Yirginius was first pro- 
duced. He was then teaching elocution, and had been 
struggling amid poverty for many years. He loved his 

Sheridan Knowles. 377 

home, and in the midst of his troubles would say to his 
wife as he pointed to his children, " Maria, are we not rich 
in these % " Hence the success of Yirginins was a grand 
domestic event, and his wife then exclaimed, " Oh James, 
we shall not want friends now !" 

The play was offered to Manager Harris of Covent 
Garden, who requested Macready to read if. The latter 
says that having undergone the perusal of several trage- 
dies he disliked the task, but determined to make the best 
of it jn a professional manner. He adds : 

The freshness and simplicity of the dialogue fixed my attention. 
I read on and on, and was soon absorbed in the passion oi its 
scenes, till at its close I found myself in such a state of excitement 
that for a time I did not know what step to take. Impulse was 
on the ascendant, and snatching up my pen I hurriedly wrote, as 
my agitated feelings prompted, a letter to the author — a perfect 
stranger. Knowles replied in a tone of gratitude and delight, 
and the tragedy was immediately announced. 

Before the lapse of a month the first performance took 
place — May 17, 1820 — with Charles Kemble as Icilius, 
while Mrs. Foote, afterward Countess of Harrington, took 

Macready, who though only twenty -eight, had won high 

rank, was of course Virginius. He says in his memoirs : 

The interest grew as the play advanced, and in the third act in 
Icilius's great scene, Kemble brought down thunders of applause. 
The rapt attention of the audience soon kindled into enthusiasm. 
Long continued cheers followed the close of each succeeding act. 
Ilalf stifled screams and involuntary ejaculations burst forth as 
the fatal blow was struck, and the curtain fell amid deafening 
applause. The play was a triumph which Knowles, being pres- 
ent, witnessed and enjoyed. 

Macready adds that " so long as there is a stage and actors 

capable of representing the best feelings of our nature, 

the pathos, the poetry and the passion of Virginius will 

command the tears and applause of its audience." 

Virginius marries Virginia. 
Macready played Virginius the same seasoD at Dublin 

378 Our Book. 

with grand success, and then made a professional tour 
tli rough Scotland. At Aberdeen he found a Virginia of 
fifteen, of charming form and countenance. He says: 

She might have really been Virginia. There was a native grace 
in every movement and never were sensibility and innocence more 
sweetly personified than in her mild look and eyes, streaming with 
unbidden tears. I soon learned her little history. She was the 
support of her family. She showed an aptness for improvement 
which increased the partiality she had awakened. I could have 
wished that one so purely minded and so gifted had been placed 
in some other walk in life — but all that might be in my power 
for her advancement I resolved to do. We parted at Perth, but 
her image accompanied me on my journey and indeed never after 
left me. 

This girl was the popular Miss Atkins. Macready met 
her the next year at Bristol, and says that he then noticed 
her rare talent, and the advice he then gave her led to a 
correspondence of an educational character. He then adds 
that "love approached us under friendship's name, al- 
though unsuspected and nnconfessed by either of us." 
Four years after their first acquaintance the marriage took 
place. It was one of much happiness, and Macready adds 
that it realized to him all that the most sanguine heart 
could have pictured. 

Virgtnius in America. 

Two years after his marriage Macready was engaged 
by Price at the Park theatre, where he made his debut as 
Virginius, with great success. His fee was $250 per 
night, and his American tour was one of great pleasure 
and profit. Ever since the introduction of this play in 
1826, it has been a favorite with theatrical stars, but it re- 
quires such a display of the emotional character that few 
can do it justice. Forrest never succeeded in it, since he 
lacked emotional power. 

It is an interesting fact that Macready and Forrest both 
appeared at the Park the same season (1826), and it is 

Macready. 379 

probable that even at that early day the jealousy of the 
latter was awakened. It continued to increase until it 
culminated in the Astor place riot, where Macready's per- 
formance was broken up and more than twenty persons 
were slain to gratify the base passions of one man on 
whom rests more bloodshed than on any other member of 
the drama. 

Farewell to Virginitts. 
In 1851 Macready played his favorite role for the last 
t'me. He was then fifty-eight and felt that it was time 
to retire while he could do so in a reputable manner. 
This took place in London, and he says in his diary : 

Acted Virginius for the last time, as I have never acted it be- 
fore, with discrimination, energy and pathos, exceeding any former 
effort. The audience was greatly excited. I was deeply impressed 
by the reflection that I should never again appear in this character, 
which has seemed one of those exclusively my own, and which 
has been unvaryingly powerful in its effect upon my audience — 
ever since the first night in 1820, when I carried them by storm; 
that now I have done with it, and done with it. I was very much 
affected during the evening, very much, with a feeling of sorrow 
at parting with an old friend. The thought, the deep emotion, 
the scenes grouped in this drama now only live in memory. Sad 
it is for the player when he stands up before all men and says, I 
have done. 

Macready's last words in reference to closing his dra- 
matic career were so touching that they deserve a place in 
this connection : 

My professional life may be said to be ended. That life was 
begun in a mediocre position, but I have attained the loftiest 
rank, having gained the respect and friendship of the amiable and 
distinguished. I have what I trust will prove a competency. My 
home is one of comfort and of love, and most gratefully and 
earnestly do I bless the name of Almighty God, who has granted 
such indulgence to me — sinner as I am. 

Play Writing. 
Few are aware of the difficulty in writing a good play 
or the quantity of trash with which managers are flooded. 
A. professional stage reader has a hard task but he must 

3So Ouk Book. 

endure it patiently. Often he is astonished at the stupidity 
of authors while sometimes he is amused by their ab- 
surdity. During the past year one reader in New York 
has examined 150 plays, out of which only five were 
accepted. As there are more than twenty theatres in the 
city, and all have a full supply of such offerings, one may 
form an idea of the efforts made in dramatic literature. 
A well known theatrical leader says that American play- 
writers generally select some foreign scene, — chiefly Eng- 
land — simply because " distance lends enchantment to the 
view." When they take American scenes they generally 
go west where there is more adventure. 

Actors rarely can write a good play. Their lives are 
rather reflections of the thought of others and hence they 
are deficient in originality. PI ay- writing requires a de- 
gree of tact which few men of genius possess. Walter 
Scott, for instance, wrote admirable novels, but could not 
produce a play, while Shakespeare, who never wrote a 
novel, seemed born for a dramatist. Some of Scott's 
novels were dramatised, but this was not done by himself. 
It required an entirely different intellectual power. 

Johnson wrote a tragedy which Garrick brought out in 
the best possible style, and yet it was a failure. On the 
other hand poor Goldsmith, who was no genius but only 
a wit and a clever writer, gave the world several comedies 
which will live as long as the British stage endures. 
Coleridge, Byron and Charles Lamb wrote tragedies which 
proved failures, while Sheridan Knowles, who was vastly 
inferior to the first two, was the author of Yirginius. 

First American Play. 

JSow that play-writing has become so extensive a feature 
in our literature it may be a matter of interest to recall 
its inception. The first play written and produced in 

Royal Tylek's Play. 381 

America was the Contrast, by Royal Tyler, and brought 
out at the old John Street theatre by managers Hallam 
and Henry. Royal Tyler was a witty and well-educated 
liwyer who had reached his thirtieth year before thus 
making his debut as a playwright. The plan of the 
Contrast (for it has no plot) is certainly both original 
and amusing. A country fellow visits the metropolis, 
and while gazing at the sights is attracted by the theatre, 
but does not understand the nature of the performance. 
He supposed it to be a legerdemain exhibition and ex- 
pects to see a conjurer swallow an egg and then pull rib- 
bons out of his sleeve, with similar feats. 

Next day, on being asked what he saw at the theatre, 
he replied : " Why, I vow, while I was looking for the 
man with the tricks they lifted up a big green cloth and 
let me see right into the neighbor's house." " How did 
you like the family % " was the next inquiry. " Why, I 
vow," was the reply, u they were pretty much like other 
families : there was a poor, good-natured husband and a 
regular rantipole of a wife, and when they got done I 
asked for my money back — for that's no show, but only 
hearing folks' private family business gabbled about." 
The object of the Contrast is to display in a laugh- 
able manner the blunders of the stranger, and also his 
Yankee dialect. This was afterward done more admi- 
rably by Yankee Hill, and it has always been a popular 
entertainment for the masses. 

The Contrast took well and had an encouraging 
run, which led its author to write another drama, in which 
he turned the laugh on the city folks. He had observed 
the great amount of spring moving, which he "showed 
up" in a very humorous manner in May Day ; or, New 
York in an Uproar. This play was also very popular, 
and Wignell, who appeared in both, found it a gratifying 

382 Our Book. 

harvest. The author gave him the copyright, and the 
Contrast was published and had a remunerative sale, 
but copies are now so rare as to be among the curiosities 
of the drama. 

Tyler soon left New York and went to the interior of 
New England where he became a contributor to various 
papers published both in Boston and in the country. He 
formed the imaginary firm of Colon & Spondee, and ad- 
vertised " literary goods, including orations on the shortest 
notice, dead languages for living drones, anagrams and 
acrostics, also puns and conundrums by the dozen, love 
letters bj r the ream, sermons for texts and texts foi ser- 
mons, old orations scoured and blunt epigrams new 
pointed, serenades for nocturnal lovers and black jokes of 
all kinds. Newspaper editors supplied with accident?, 
bloody murders, premature news, thunder and lightning 
with hailstones of all sizes, adapted to the season. Also, 
serious cautions against drunkenness and other coarse 
wrapping paper gratis to all who buy the smallest article. 
N. B. — On hand, a few tierces of Attic salt ; also, high- 
est price paid in cash for raw wit, or taken in exchange 
for the above articles." 

It is very evident that Royal Tyler was the cleverest 
humorist of that day, but he was also one of its best law- 
yers, and in his forty-fourth year the legislature of Ver- 
mont elected him chief justice of the State. While 
holding this office he published nine volumes of reports 
and gave other proof of eminent professional ability. 
Judge Tyler died at Brattleboro in his seventieth year. 

Stage Solecisms. 
Many who write for the stage show the most ab- 
surd omission of common sense. An experienced play 
examiner says that recently "a play was offered him which 

Play Writers' Blunders. 383 

opened with an embarkation scene, and the ship sails to 
the Arctic regions where it is wrecked by an iceberg. 
The hero cnts down a spar to which he attaches himself 
after jumping overboard. 

" In the third act he is discovered standing on an ice- 
berg while in the distance a battle is progressing between 
a Chinese junk and a pirate ship. The hero is recovered 
from the iceberg and then turns up in a tropical count' y 
where his feet suffer from having been frost bitten. The 
closing act brings him back to America where the usual 
happy denouement takes place." 

This may seem strange to the reader, and yet such 

absurdity is nothing new. In 1815 when Byron was a 

member of the Drury Lane committee, he wrote thus to 

Tom Moore : 

There is a play before me whose hero is an Irish king, while 
the villain of the piece is a Danish invader named Turgesius. 
The latter is chained by the leg to a pillar on the stage, while the 
king makes him a speech about the balance of power. This 
throws Turgesius into a frenzy. He draws a dagger and rushes 
at the orator, but finding himself at the end of his tether he 
sticks it into himself and dies. Now it is serious, downright fact 
that this tragedy was not intended for burlesque, and the writer 
really hopes it will be accepted. 

Our most clever amateurs are often unable to write for 
the stage, as was illustrated by Oakey Hall's failure in 
the Crucible. Hall studied the drama for years, and 
was confident of success, and yet what a failure he made. 
He could hardly believe that the Crucible would not 
take, and it was not until it failed night after night, and 
his partner's patience was worn out, that the ambitions 
but unsuccessful amateur acknowledged his defeat. 

Young Roscius. 
New York and London each have had a "Young 
Roscius," and what is more remarkable, they were almost 
contemporary. John Howard Payne was born in 1792 

3S4 Our Book. 

and William Henry Betty was then but a year old. The 
latter, however, appeared on the stage at twelve, while 
Payne's debut was at sixteen. 

Both exhibited wonderful histrionic powers in youth, 
which they lost soon after reaching manhood, and both 
lived to see the time when the memory of their success 
only seemed like a splendid dream. Payne at thirteen 
started the Thespian Mirror, and Betty when a year 
younger appeared on the boards of the Belfast theatre, 
and made a great sensation. Uis parents were English, 
but removed to Belfast, where Mrs. Siddons, while mak- 
ing a professional tour, played a short engagement. 

The boy was taken to the theatre and was stage-struck 
by the performance. He began spouting Shakespeare, 
and his parents brought him to the manager, who after 
hearing his recitation, placed him under instructions. In 
a few months the young prodigy appeared before a Bel- 
fast audience with such success that his parents took him 
to other towns, where he increased in fame, and after 
charming the capital of Scotland they were encouraged 
to try his genius in the capital of the nation. 

At the age of thirteen he played at Covent Garden 
for £50 per night (equal to $250), one-third more than 
John Philip Kemble had ever received. He drew im- 
mense houses, and his Hamlet awoke enthusiastic admiri- 
tion. Fox, the statesman, said he excelled Garrick. His 
portrait was seen everywhere, and his popularity so 
increased that during a run of fifty-six nights he drew 
into the manager's treasury £34,000 — equal to $170,000. 
Reader when you recall the fact that this was done by a 
boy of thirteen, you will certainly join in the universal 

By the time the " Young Hoscius " reached twenty- 
one his popularity was gone. The elegant youth had 

John Howard Payne. 385 

become a stout man of very clever parts, but the charm 
had fled, and the public wondered how he had ever 
conquered the most critical play-goers of London. Betty 
had sense enough to retire and never reappeared. 

In a similar manner John Howard Payne — though at a 
later age — lost his histrionic power and sank into a mere 
playwright. Betty was the most fortunate of the two 
in financial success, as he had accumulated a competence, 
while Payne was always the victim of poverty. As 
soon as Betty withdrew the public welcomed their old 
favorites, whose popularity became more permanent than 

John Howard Payne. 

John Howard Payne, author of Home, Sweet Home, 
who awoke admiration as the boy performer of the Park 
theatre, was born in New York, where his father was a 
reputable school teacher. In early life he was placed in 
a store, but his love of the drama led him, while only 
thirteen, to issue the Thespian Mirror. This brought 
him to the acquaintance of William Coleman, editor of 
the Evening Post, who was astonished to see a boy con- 
ducting such a paper. 

In his sixteenth year the youth appeared on the Park 
boards as Norval with great success, and afterward played 
Edgar to George Frederick Cooke's Lear. Cooke urged 
him to try his fortunes on the London stage. Acting on 
this suggestion he sailed for Liverpool, but on his arrival 
was arrested, for the war of 1812 had just opened. This 
was only the beginning of Payne's troubles while abroad. 
He made a great sensation on the London stage, being 
the first American to appear before a British audience. 

Thence he went to Paris to see Talma, and was em- 
ployed by a London manager to examine all new French 
dramas, and adapt them, if possible, for the British stage. 

386 Ouit Book. 

Payne met a series of vicissitudes, and both poverty and 
success alternately awaited him. When only twenty- 
eight he wrote his tragedy Brutus, in which Kean made 
a great sensation at Drury Lane, but at this very time its 
author was suffering extreme poverty in Paris. 


Home, Sweet Home. 

Some time afterward Charles Kemble became manager 
of Covent Garden, and, like others, sought the produc- 
tions of Payne. The latter, who was extremely poor, 
offered the manager an opera called Clari, the price be- 
ing the trifling sum of £30. Kemble accepted it, and in 
a few weeks it was the admiration of London. Ellen 
Tree made her first great success in this play, which con- 
tained Home, Sweet Home, the most popular of all Ameri- 
can songs. One hundred thousand copies were soon sold, 
and the publisher's profits were estimated at $10,000, but 
Payne never received any tning beyond the original price. 

No doubt this pathetic utterance of home feelings was 
due to his lonely and impoverished life in Paris, and in 

Dramatic Literature. 387 

the remembrance of early associations and of a domestic 
circle lie could say with heartfelt emotion : 

'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, 
Still be it so humble there's no place like home. 
An exile from home pleasure dazzles in vain; 
Ah give me my lowly thatched cottage again. 
Home, sweet home, there's no place like home. 

While in Paris Payne met Irving, who was also strug- 
gling with many difficulties, and they took rooms together, 
becoming fellow- workers in dramatic literature. Irving 
said that Paj ne was always in difficulties, owing to the 
unprofitable nature of such employment. After nine- 
teen years of foreign life, during which he had endured 
many bitter experiences, Payne returned to New York. 

When he left America his intention was to only remain 
abroad a year, and during this protracted absence such 
changes had been wrought that he felt alone even in his 
native land. The contrast was painful, and after making 
a literary effort which failed, he was desirous to again seek 
distant scenes. Hence the consulate to Tunis was an ac- 
ceptable appointment, and he died while holding this 
office. His remains were afterward brought home and 
buried in Washington. 

Dramatic Literature. 

The greatest of all dramatic writers was the worst paid, 
for he not only wrote without compensation, but never 
saw his works in a complete volume. A half dozen plays, 
in addition to his sonnets, were all that went through the 
press during his life, and it was only the liberality of the 
Earl of Southampton that enabled the great dramatist to 
retire to his native town in a respectable manner. 

Those who pursued dramatic literature during the next 
century were by no means so fortunate. Wycherly nar- 
rowly escaped the Fleet prison, while Otway starved in a 

388 Our Book. 

garret till relieved by death. Addison's Cato had a tran- 
sient degree of popularity, owing to the fact that its 
author had political influence and the play was supposed 
to represent the ruling party of that day. 

The first handsome fee received by any playwright was 
the £500 paid to Goldsmith for his comedy of The Good 
Katurcd Man. This was eight times more than the price 
of the Vicar of Wakefield, and no dramatist was equally 
well paid till the days of Byron. The tragedies of the 
latter brought a high price as literary works, but they 
were not written for the stage, and their author was an- 
noyed when they were produced before a London audi- 
ence. For these dramas, four in number, Byron received 
£2,500. Had he never written any thing else they would 
now be forgotten. Few, indeed, care to read them, and 
though Sardanapalus was made effective a few years ago 
before a New York audience, it was solely due to its author 
whose name always awakens interest. 

Resurrection of the Devil. 

In accordance with the proverb that there " is nothing 
new in the world," it is to be remembered that Burton's 
popular play of the Serious Family was but a repro- 
duction of the Minor which was brought out by Foote, the 
London dramatist, in 1760, for the especial purpose of 
ridiculing Whitefield. The epilogue to this play is a joke 
on the doctrine of Divine Providence, and it closes with 
what is meant to be a playful hit at the audience : 

How d'ye spend your days ? 

In pastimes, prodigality, and plays ! 

Let's go see Foote. Oh Foote's a precious limb, 

Old Nick will soon a foot-ball make of him 

For foremost boxes in the play you shove; 

Think you in boxes thus to sit above ? 

No you will all be crammed into the pit 

And crowd the house for Satan's benefit. 

Passing Scenes. 389 

Shockingly wicked, and disgusting in levity as these lines 
may sound, they do no more than in reality express the 
spirit that animated a play which had a long run in JSTew 
York. This shows that in a large community the drama 
will prosper with much success, when the best features in 
society are subjected to buffoonery. 

Passing Scenes. 

Booth's theatre was built for the purpose of exhibiting 
the best of Shakespeare's dramas, and this was done with 
all the enthusiasm and genius of the great tragedian. But 
notwithstanding the expense and also the talent brought 
into exercise, the scheme was a failure, and the theatre 
was during its last decade occupied by second-rate melo- 
drama, and then it was demolished. 

This fate has followed all attempts to restore the drama 
to classic dignity, and is thus referred to in one of Gar- 
rick's epilogues : 

Sacred to Shakespeare was the spot designed 
To pierce the heart and humanize the mind. 
But if an empty house (the actor's curse) 
Show us our Lears and Hamlets losing force, 
Unwilling we must change the noble scene ; 
And in our turn present you Harlequin. 
If want comes on, importance must retreat; 
Our first great ruling passion is — to eat. 

The incessant change in theatrical taste is proof of the 
transitory nature of earthly scenes. Most of those plays 
which entertained a London audience in the days of Gar- 
rick are now forgotten. The Minor was revived by Bur- 
ton in the Serious Family, and Shakesperian dramas live 
by the power of inherent genius, but who now hears of 
The Inconsistant, The Twin Rivals, The Lying Yalet, 
The Apprentice, The Reprisal, The School for Lovers, 
The Tailors, etc., and yet these were the. popular perform- 
ances which displayed the talents of Foote, Ned Shuter, 

390 Our Book. 

Mrs. Clive, Peg Woftington, and other performers of 
that day — who with their plays have gone to oblivion. 

The same oblivion has swallowed up the world of play- 
ers, whose names are only found by research. Among 
these were female stars, such as Mrs. Clive, Mrs. Pritch- 
ard, Mrs. Abingdon and Miss Macklin ; while the leading 
males, in addition to Garrick, wereQuinn, Footc, Weston, 
Palmer, King, Yates, Shuter and others. Foote was the 
impersonation of humor, which sometimes degenerated 
into ribaldry, and even blasphemy. 

The enduring Master. 

The wonderful power of Shakespeare is shown by his 
surviving all these changes. However fashion may rule 
the drama, it cannot affect the great master of the human 
heart. It is also a point of notice in the histrionic pro- 
fession that no name can live unless identified with his 
productions. It is as Hamlet that Betterton is now re- 
membered. Garrick chiefly lives in dramatic history as 
Lear. John Philip Kemble would be forgotten were it 
not for his Hamlet. Kean the elder is remembered only 
as the greatert Richard the Third, and thus with Cooke, 
Forrest and our own Booth — their fame is identified 
with the genius of Shakespeare. How aptly Johnson 
designated him as one " not for a day, but for all time." 
The dramatic crowd may exclaim, like the Steward in 

Lear : 

That eyeless head of thine was first framed flesh 
To raise my fortunes. 

Lear Forbidden. 

It is not generally known that one of Shakespeare's best 
tragedies (some think it the very finest) was for several 
years debarred from the London stage. Reference is made 
to Lear, during the latter part of the life of George 

Actors' Retirement. 391 

Third. The British king was then hopelessly deranged, 
and it was not considered proper to keep this painful fact 
before the public by a theatrical display of insanity. As 
soon, however, as the unfortunate king was removed by 
death Lear was reproduced in the highest style of dra- 
matic art, and was highly welcomed after a prohibition of 
nearly twenty years. 

In 1820 when Virginius was first announced the British 
government required its previous perusal by a competent 
judge to see if it contained any thing that would inflame 
the public, but no objection was made. How strange 
it now seems in view of the great popularity of this 
tragedy that its publication should have been declined by 
John Murray, who was then the leading London book- 

Actors' Retirement. 

Players find retirement the most difficult of all things. 
Hence, often after a farewell has been taken, they return 
to the stage, if this be possible. Miss Cushman was sin- 
cere in her repeated attempts to withdraw from profes- 
sional life, but in each case it became impossible until 
disease and approaching death placed their seal on her 
professional career. Forrest also reappeared several 
times after retirements made in determined purpose, and 
it was not until old age and rheumatism disabled him 
that his " farewell" became permanent. 

Tom Moore, who became acquainted with Mrs. Siddons 
in her latter days, said that she suffered great distress 
from the ennui, which followed her retirement from the 
stage. The worst attacks occurred at the approach of 
evening. When sitting alone how dreary every thing 
appeared in contrast with former times when she would 
be dressing for the stage. There was all the expectation 
of a crowded house and a consciousness of her power, and 

392 Cur Book. 

even sovereignty over both minds and hearts. But all 
this had gone forever! One day when Rogers (the poet) 
called on her she said in a very touching manner, " Oh 
me ! this is about the time I had to prepare for the 
theatre. What pleasure I found in dressing for my part, 
and then came the additional pleasure of acting it — but 
that is all over now." 

No one need be surprised at this who has read Cum- 
berland's sketch of Mrs. Siddons coming off the stage in 
the full flush of triumph and walking up to the mirror in 
the green room to take a full view of her combined 
dignity and beauty. 

Garrick evidently had a similar experience to which he 
refers in the prologue which he spoke on retiring. Hav- 
ing alluded to the sale of his costumes and his consequent 
retirement he puts the question to himself in a manner 
which 6eems really painful : 

Will he in rural shades find ease and quiet? 

Oh no; he'll sigh for Drury and seek peace in riot. 

Death on the Stage. 

The fact that McCullough broke down on the stage re- 
calls some other incidents of similar character. Nearly 
a century ago John Palmer, who had won a reputa- 
tion in some of his roles, fell dead while playing before 
a Liverpool audience. Peg Woffington, while playing 
Rosalind, was paralyzed and never recovered. She had 
just uttered the words, " I'd kiss as many of you as 
pleased me," when her voice was hushed and was never 
again heard on the stage. The once famous comedian 
Foote was also paralyzed while performing in his 
own comedy, The Devil on Two Sticks, and never re- 

Another case was that of Moody, who held respectable 


rank on the British stage, and whose last appearance was 
as Claudio, in Measure for Measure. Just as he exclaimed, 
"Aye, but to die and go we know not where," he sank to 
the floor and was borne off a corpse. James Bland, who 
also had a respectable position in the profession, expired 
in the Strand theatre. 

Edmund Kean affords another very impressive instance. 
While playing Othello in London, just as he exclaimed, 
" O, then, farewell," he fell into the arms of his son (who 
took the role of Iago), and he had just strength enough 
to say, "Speak to them, Charles, I am dying." He was 
borne off and revived for a while, but death soon closed 
his chequered career. 

Hanley, the comedian, became speechless on the stage 
after uttering the words of Launcelot Gobbo, " I have an 
exposition of sleep come over me," and he never spoke 
again. Cummings, who occasionally appeared in tragedy, 
expired while performing the role of Dumont in Jane 
Shore, just as he uttered the following words : 

Be witness of me, ye celestial hosts; 
Such mercy and such pardon as my soul 
Accords to thee and begs heaven to show thee, 
May such befall me at my latest hour. 

Barrett, w T ho was so clever in old men's parts, died 
after playing Polonius, and was carried home a corpse. 
Mrs. Glover was struck with paralysis on the occasion 
of her farewell benefit, and died three days afterward. 
Mrs. Linley, the once popular vocalist, expired at a 
concert, while singing "I know that my Redeemer 

A very remarkable occurrence of this kind took place 
at the Holliday street theatre, Baltimore, in 1871. John 
Ferris, while playing a leading role in Lady Audley's Se- 
cret, was borne off the stage in a helpless condition and 

39± Our Book. 

died before morning. These facts show the exhaustive 
nature of the dramatic profession, and many of those 
scenes which awaken applause are performed amid agony 
and under the very shadow of death. 

Cibberian Reminiscences. 

A very curious reproduction of old-fashioned drama is 
found in Cibber's play, entitled She Would and She 
Would not, which was recently played in New York. 
The Cibbers were once a noted family and held rank 
in London for three generations, but at present they 
are almost forgotten. The first of the London family 
came from Holland, and was an inimitable wood-car- 
ver, his gigantic figures of raving and melancholy mad- 
ness being the finest works of the kind in existence. 
They were executed for Bedlam where they still attract 

His son, Collcy Gibber, was connected with the drama 
during almost the entire extent of a long life. lie was 
contemporary with Pope, who made him the butt of 
some of his keenest shafts. The wit of the great satirist 
indeed was sharpened by the ridiculous appointment of 
poet laureate, which had been conferred on Cibber, and 
this explains the pungent paragraph in the Dunciad : 

High on a gorgeous seat which far outshone 
Henley's gilt tub or Flecknoe's Irish throne, 
Great Cibber sat; the proud Parnassian sneer, 
The conscious simper and the jealous leer, 
Mix in his look. 

In another place in the same work Pope says that 

Less human genius than God gives an ape 

'Twixt Plautus, Fletcher, Shakespeare and Corneille, 

Can make a Cibber, Tibbald and Ozill. 

Pope also represents the goddess of dullness thus ex- 
claiming after she had annointed the laureate : 

The Cibbeks. 305 

All hail and hail again! 

My son, the promised land expects thy reign. 
Know Eusden thirsts no more for sack or praise, 
He sleeps among the dull of ancient days. 
Safe where no critics damn or duns molest, 
Where wretched Welsted, Ward or Gilden rest, 
And high-born Howard's more majestic sire, 
With Fool of Quality completes the quire. 
Thou Cibber, too, his laurels shall support, 
Folly, my son, has still a friend at court. 
She ceased ; then swells the chapel royal throat, 
"God save King Cibber," mounts in every note. 
Familiar White " God save King Colley " cries; 
"God save King Colley," Drury Lane replies. 
Back to Drury the last echoes roll, 
And " Coll '' each butcher roars at Hockley hole. 

Notwithstanding Pope's keen satire, Colley Cibber re- 
tained his popularity as a dramatist. He was fifty-seven 
when the Dunciad appeared, and though he no doubt 
felt its power, he had won a position which he held till 
death. He wrote a large number of popular plays, and also 
adapted Richard Third to the stage, taking liberties with 
the text which have awakened the indignation of many 
admirers of that famous tragedy. His son Theophilus 
was also a player and dramatist. 

Transitory Fame. 
The evanescent nature of an actor's fame is in striking 
contrast with that of artists and authors. The effusions 
of the poet may be preserved and kindred spirits may 
give them renewed existence after the lapse of centuries. 
There is, however, no way of perpetuating the effect of 
histrionic genius. The impressions which the actor creates 
only live in the memory of those who witness his per- 
formance, and yet the sensations which it produces are 
the most powerful in all the mastery of genius. No 
demonstration of applause is so hearty as that of a 
crowded theatre whose sea of heads all harmonizes in 
one grand utterance — but how quickly it is passed. 

300 Our Book. 

Hence the difficulty of really measuring the compara- 
tive ability of different players. Who, one may ask, was 
the greatest Hamlet ? Was it Betterton, Garrick, Kemble, 
Henry Irving, or our own Booth ? Who, it may also 
be asked, was the best personator of the Crookback 
Tyrant, Edmund Kean or Booth, senior ? To these ques- 
tions no satisfactory reply can be given. 

The impression made on a house full of spectators is 

beyond the power of description, and in this feature the 

histrionic profession differs from all others. Garrick 

alludes, in a touching manner, to this very point in 

one of his prologues, when comparing himself to Hogarth: 

The painter dead yet still he charms the eye, 
While England lives his fame can never die. 
But he who struts his hour upon the stage 
Can scarce extend his fame but half an age. 
Nor pen nor pencil can the actor save; 
The art and artist share one common grave. 

It is thus evident that though the actor's life may be a 
succession of triumphs, yet when once he is gone, his art 
is gone also. Not a vestige is left, and though it may 
be the theme of eloquent description, how completely 
this fails to convey the effect ? The triumphs of the 
drama indeed cannot be described ; they must be seen ; 
aud hence when a great actor dies his role dies with 

Macready's Emotions. 
Macready was one of the most emotional of his pro- 
fession. Often irritable and overbearing, the public 
little imagined the depth and tenderness of his feelings 
when in a better frame. lie seemed fully conscious of the 
transitory nature of professional reputation, and his journal 
contains the following remark in reference to the sad obse 
quies of one of the most brilliant dramatic stars of that 
clay : 

Actors' Fund. 397 

Entered the room where lay the remains of Kean! Poor 
creature ! Soon after the procession "was formed and we paced 
through the crowded streets, amid the loud remarks and repeti- 
tion of names by the crowd. Entering the church the coffin was 
set in its proper place, and as I gazed upon poor Kean I was filled 
with sad memories — contrasting his once burning energy with 
the mass of cold corruption before me. 

Years afterward, when Macready retired, worn out by 

years of hard service, he wrote to a friend : " What a 

dream to me now is Hamlet ; also Macbeth and Lear and 

Iago and Cassius and others, in whose very being I seem 

to have lived — so much of their thoughts and feeling, 

indeed, were my own." This idea recalls the appropriate 

worths of Prospero, in the Tempest: 

These our actors, 

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and 

Are melted into air — thin air. 

Macready' s depth of thought is indicated by the fact 

that he inscribed on the tablet over the vault in Kensal 

Green, which contains the remains both of himself and 

all the family, the following lines from Gray's elegy: 

There they alike in trembling hope repose, 
The bosom of his Father and his God. 

Actors' Fund. 

The effort made to establish a permanent fund in be- 
half of decayed performers reminds us that there is more 
poverty among this class than any other. The dramatic 
profession is full of broken-down players, and there are 
few cases which look more hopeless than a poverty-stricken 
actor. A few stars carry off both the honors and the 
profits of the profession, leaving the rest to the common 
fate of poverty and misery. True, Charlotte Cushman 
and Edwin Forrest each left an immense fortune. Jef- 
ferson is rich, and so are a few others, but the profession 
in New York alone numbers more than a thousand, and 
how few of the number can hope for wealth or fame '( 

398 Our Book. 

Poverty, indeed, has always been the shadow on the 
drama, and even Betterton, who flourished in the days of 
Charles II, and who was the first man that could play 
Hamlet, became so poor in his latter days that he was 
glad to receive a benefit. Garrick's sympathy with the 
unfortunate members of the profession was such that his 
last appearance was at a benefit of this very character. 
He originated the fund for decayed actors, and on the 
10th of June, 1776, he took his farewell as Don Felix in 
the Wonder, making, on this occasion, a plea for the un- 

To show the depth of hio sympathy, I add a few line; 
from the prologue, which, being spoken by himself, mutt 
have been of great power : 

A veteran see whose last act on the stage 
Entreats your smiles for sickness and for age ; 
Their cause I plead — plead it with heart and mind, 
A fellow feeling makes one wondrous kind, 
Might not we hope your zeal would not be less 
When I am gone, to patronize distress? 
That hope obtained the wished-for end secures, 
To soothe their cares who oft have lightened yours. 

Pressure for the Stage. 

There never was a greater effort to obtain a position 
on the stage than at the present time. Managers aie 
continually solicited by amateurs of both sexes for 
such opportunities. It is, however, very difficult lo 
gratify their request, and hence, when a debut is ui- 
gently demanded, it costs a large sum. If a beginner 
has money, the way to the stage can be bought, but 
otherwise there are many obstacles. Perhaps it were 
better if there were more, since the profession, as has 
been mentioned, is one of the most undesirable char- 

Stage fever is evidently on the increase, and a dramatic 

Stage Fever. 399 

agent says that the pressure from amateur actresses is be- 
yond all idea. Many of this class belong to respectable 
families, while others are j>oor girls who imagine that 
they have histrionic genius, and are captivated by the 
glamour of the performance. Occasionally an advertise- 
ment appears offering to educate ladies for the stage, but 
the object is merely to get money out of the applicant. 
The latter will be informed that it will cost $600, $800, 
or even $1,000 to get up a play in which she can appear, 
and in many cases the artifice is successful. As soon as 
the money is paid, however, the scheme fails, and the 
amateur must make the best of the lesson of experi- 

This rush for the stage is nothing new, and indeed it 
was so incessant in London more than a century ago, that 
the play of the Apprentice was written for the very pur- 
pose of checking it. The prologue, spoken by the author, 
contains the following lines : 

My hero is a youth by fate designed 

For culling simples — but whose stage-struck mind 

Nor fate could rule nor writings bind. 

A place there is where such young Quixotes meet. 

Where 'prentice kings alarm the gaping street — 

To check these heroes and their laurels crop, 

To bring them back to reason — and their shop, 

Was but my aim. 

The epilogue (or closing address) spoken by Mrs. Clive, 

also has a similar lesson directed to the female aspirants 

for stage honors : 

O, I could show you, were I so inclined, 

A spouting junto of the female kind. 

There is a maid that deals out lace 

That fain would fill the fair Ophelia's place. 

O, little do these silly people know, 

What dreadful trials actors undergo. 

Then take advice from me, ye giddy things, 

Nor envy more the drama's queens and kings; 

Maidens, beware — let not our tinsel train 

Enchant your eyes and turn your dizzy brain. 

400 Concerning Benefits. 

The earliest instance of tins kind which I can find on 
record is the benefit given to Betterton, who was the first 
player that ever did justice to Shakespeare. The latter 
had been dead more than twenty years before the birth 
of him who was first to give the world a true idea of 
high tragedy. Betterton was the son of a London pastry 
cook, and was born in 1635. Sir William Davenant, who 
then had control of the London Theatre, discerned his talent 
and brought him before the public in the days of Charles II 
when the theatre was revived under royal patronage. 

Betterton soon displayed great genius, which was much 
in contrast with his personal appearance. He was the 
ugliest man in face and form that ever became a star — 
being short, fat, clumsy, with a big head, short neck, 
short arms, small eyes, big face with pock marks, thick 
legs and big feet. Notwithstanding these defects, he 
mastered his part so perfectly as to become majestic and 
thrilling. He made Hamlet popular, a role which till 
his day had never been properly performed. In his old 
age Betterton became very poor and for this reason the 
London theatres gave him a benefit. This took place in 
1710, and it was but a few days before his death. 

The sympathy shown the poverty-stricken tragedian is 
a proof of the kindly feeling which marked the profession 
even at that early day. The performers were Quinn, 
Barton Booth, Bowen, Mrs. Oldfield, and others whose 
names are now hardly remembered. 

Betterton married an actress w T ho was the first person 
that could play Lady Macbeth. She died soon after her 
husband and then there was no one to fill this role until 
Sarah Kemble appeared sixty years afterward. 

Other Benefits. 
The same sympathy toward the profession was a marked 

Theatrical Benefits. 401 

feature in the masters of the drama who followed Shakes- 
peare's time, and it was extended not only to needy 
players, but also to critics. 

John Dennis, for instance, who wrote much on this 
subject, and who is one of the prominent victims of 
Pope's Dunciad, had a benefit given him in 1733 — just 
before his death. Pope wrote the prologue for the occa- 
sion. He had been greatly slandered by Dennis, whom 
he repaid with bitter sarcasm ; but when the old litterateur 
was in distress forgiveness took the place of wrath. This 
prologue has some very fine points, especially where it 
mentions Dennis' opposition to French theatricals : 

Such, such emotions should in Britons rise 
When pressed by want and weakness Dennis lies; 
Dennis, who long has warred with modern Huns, 
Their quibbles routed and defied their puns. 

A benefit was given in 1750 to Milton's granddaughter. 
The prologue was written by Johnson and spoken by 
Garrick. Three years afterward Addison's Cato was 
performed by the scholars of a grammar school for the 
benefit of the orphan of one of their teachers. The pro- 
logue is a very appropriate apology and was written by 
one of the scholars, a few of whose lines I present as a 
sample : 

No Garrick here majestic treads the stage, 
No Quin your whole attention to engage ; 
No practiced actor here the scene employs; 
But a raw parcel of unskilled boys. 

Comus was performed for the benefit of the hospital 
at Bath in 1756. The prologue was written by Hoadley 
and spoken by Miss Morrison. It recites her difficulty 
in soliciting charity and here is the result of her applica- 
tion : 

He shook his head, 

Complained that stock were low and trade was dead. 
In these Bath charities a tax he found 
More heavy than four shillings on the pound. 

402 Our Book. 

It now seems strange that such dull plays as Com us 
and Cato should be offered to an ordinary audience. 
Strange also to think that such a man as Addison, who 
never had the fire of genius, and never rose above the 
dead level of the quiet essayist, should ever attempt a 
tragedy after reading Shakespeare. 

In 1777 the comedy of the Word to the Wise was 
performed for the benefit of Kelly, a well known player 
of that day, though now forgotten. The prologue was 
written by Johnson and refers to the nature of the occa- 
sion in the following closing lines : 

Then shall calm reflection bless the night 
When liberal pity dignified delight; 
When pleasure fired her torch at Virtue's flame, 
And Mirth was bounty, with an humble name. 

The Ophidian. 

One of the most remarkable female performers that 
ever appeared on the American boards was Rachel, whose 
wonderful powers were increased by that fascinating 
serpent look which often surprised and charmed her audi- 
ence. She was called an ophidian and attracted the notice 
of physiologists, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, who 
soon after wrote a novel — Elsie Venner — which pre- 
sents the same idea. An ophidian, according to this 
theory, is a person who is naturally endowed with a ser- 
pent-like power, and also with an expression which occa- 
sionally carries the same influence. When Rachel 
rendered her finest roles, the audience often felt as though 
the eyes of a serpent were fixed upon them, and they 
became fascinated in an indescribable manner. Mrs. 
Ritchie, herself an actress, said of Rachel: " There was 
something terrific and overwhelming in her impersona- 
tions. From the moment she came on the stage I was 
under the influence of a spell. Her eye had the power 

The Ophidian. 403 

of a basilisk and flashed with an intense brightness which 
no serpent could have rivalled. 

Rachel sprang from the lowest order in Europe. H er 
father was a poverty-stricken pedlar ; his daughters, how- 
ever, were popular vocalists, and one became the star of 
Paris. In 1855, Rachel played in New York and made 
a tremendous sensation, but she died soon after her 
return to Europe. As an ophidian she stands alone in 
the dramatic record. 

Old Costumes. 

The sale of the costumes and other properties formerly 

belonging to McCullough awoke many of those painful 

associations which are repeated in the history of every 

star. What, indeed, becomes of the dresses, weapons and 

general outfit of our great players after they have left 

the stage? Garrick brings out this idea in a pathetic 

manner in a prologue spoken more than a century ago : 

The master of this shop, too, seeks repose; 
Sells off his stock in trade, his verse and prose, 
His daggers, buskins, thunder and old clothes. 

One of the most attractive exhibitions in connection 
with the dramatic world would be a collection of the 
costumes of distinguished performers. How interesting, 
indeed, it would be to see how Garrick dressed in Hamlet, 
or in Lear ; or Cooke in Macbeth, Kean in Richard III, 
Mrs. Siddons in Lady Macbeth, Ellen Tree in Rosalind, 
and Charlotte Cushman in any of her roles. 

What becomes of all these theatrical relics? They are 
rarely thrown into the market, and indeed this is the first 
sale of the kind that I can recall. Hence, I presume 
they are left to the usual fate of old clothes, and perhaps 
are worked over by the costumer and go through a 
gradual decline until their final appearance might remind 
one " to what base uses we may come at last," 

404 Our Book, 

Actors' Jealousies. 

Few of those who are attracted by stage performances 

have any idea of the jealousy and bitter rivalry which so 

often gnaw the actor's heart. Macready, who was one of 

the most successful of the profession, confesses the power 

of such passions, and I find in his journal the following 

record : 

Sent for the morning paper, and read the account of Phelps 1 
appearance, which seems to have been a decided success. This 
depressed my spirits. An actor's fame and his dependent in- 
come is so precarious that we start at the shadow of every rival. 
It is an unhappy life. 

If such be the feelings of a star, what must be those 

of others whose lives are a mere struggle for bread? 

Macready himself was pursued by the jealousy of Forrest, 

which was the real cause of the Astor Place riot, and a 

score of unfortunate citizens was sacificed to the base 

passions of one who could not endure a rival. It was 

said of Forrest by a fellow player : 

He was cowardly, bullying and dictatorial. He monopolized 
the stage as much as possible, forcing his support to subordi- 
nate themselves in order that he might gain the entire applause. 
The opportunity they might have for " making a point " was 
hurried over in order to secure his own glorification. 

This disposition is too frequent to awaken surprise, 
though fortunately it is rarely that it reaches such an 
extent, as in the case of Forrest, whose passions have left 
a dark stain upon his character. 

This was one of Forrest's best roles, and yet it was 
inferior in every point except adaptation to his great 
muscle and power of rant. In 1828 he had an engage- 
ment at the Park, and in order to awaken public interest 
he offered a prize of $500 for the best drama, the judges 
including the names of Fitz Greene Halleck, Prosper M. 
Wetmore, William Legget and William Cullen Bryant, 

Metamora. 405 

the two latter being associate editors of the Evening 
Post. The prize was adjudged to John A. Stone, who 
offered an Indian play called Metamora. The splendid 
success of the drama is too well known to need further 
reference, but it affords a sad contrast with the fate of 
the author. Five years afterward, being then deranged, 
he drowned himself in the Schuylkill. Forrest had a 
monument placed over the grave of the unfortunate 
dramatist, bearing the following inscription : " To the 
memory of John Augustus Stone, who died June 1, 
1834, aged 33 years." On the reverse is inscribed, 
" Erected to the memory of the author of ' Metamora,' by 
his friend Edwin Forrest." 

Amateur Theatricals. 

Some of our most popular authors have been successful 

amateur players, at the head of whom stands the gifted 

Charles Dickens. This distinguished novelist, indeed, 

would probably have become the most successful comedian 

of his day had he made the drama his profession. Byron 

was also a very clever stage amateur, notwithstanding his 

lameness. He says in his journal : 

When I was a youth I was reckoned a good actor. I played 
Penruddock in the Wheel of Fortune, and also Tristram Fickle in 
the Weathercock, and some private theatricals in 1806, with great 
applause. The prologue for one play was also my production, 
and the whole went off with great effect on our good-natured 

Byron was an admirable mimic and delivered the above 
mentioned prologue, which contained a hit at each of the 
other performers, and with the addition of tone and man- 
ner was highly comic. This prologue is one of the best 
things in Hours of Idleness, and the same volume con- 
tains the following poetic reminiscence of a similar char- 
acter : 

406 Our Book. 

I once more view the room with spectators surrounded, 
Where as Zanga, I stood on Alonzo o'erthrown ; 
"While to swell my young pride such applauses resounded, 
I fancied that Mossop himself was outshown, 
Or as Lear, I poured forth the deep imprecations, 
By my daughters of kingdom and reason deprived; 
Till fired by loud plaudits and self adulation, 
I regarded myself as a Garrick revived. 

Washington Irving was also a very clever amateur 
player, and while at Dresden united with the Fosters and 
other English society in producing Three Weeks after 
Marriage, his role being Sir Charles Backet. Irving 
afterward took the part of Don Felix in the Wonder, and 
had he cultivated his histrionic talent, he might have 
reached distinction on the stage — though his rank as an 
author rendered this unnecessary. 

Yoltaire was the oldest of stage amateurs, for Gibbon 
saw him when sixty-three play a role in several of his 
own tragedies. The dramatist organized a company 
among his friends and fitted up a theatre at his villa near 
Lausanne. It was the recreation of -an active mind, 
when expelled from a royal court. Gibbon was highly 
favored to obtain admittance. He thought Yoltaire too 
declamatory, but that was the style of the old French stage. 

The earliest instance of private theatricals is found in 
the Tempest, where Prospero honors the marriage of 
Ferdinand and Miranda with a simple but exquisite dra- 
matic performance, the players being, as he says: 

Spirits which by mimic art 
I have from their confines call'd to enact 
My present fancies. 

The enchanting scenes, however, soon disappear, and 

then Prospero exclaims : 

Our revels now are ended, these our actors 

Are melted into air — thin air, 

And like the baseless fabric of this vision 

The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, 

The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 

Thk Napoleon Play. 407 

Yea, all which it inherit shall dissolve, 
And like this unsubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a wreck behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made of, and our little life 
Is rounded by a sleep. 

What a grand lesson is thus taught by the first private 
theatricals in the dramatic record ! 

Napoleon on the Stage. 
In 1840 the remains of Napoleon were brought from 
St. Helena to Paris and placed in Les Invalides, an event 
which awoke great interest in America, as well as in 
Europe. Hamblin improved the opportunity by drama- 
tising the entire movement, and it proved very popular. 
A young actor named Mason, who had a Napoleon figure 
and profile, personated the famous exile whose last days 
at St. Helena were rendered in a skillful manner. The 
death scene was very impressive, and after an imaginary 
interval of twenty years came the resurrection with the 
shipment of the corpse, the steamboat voyage up the 
Seine and the grand military procession in Paris. The 
latter was assisted by a military company which was 
marched in a manner so ingenious as to represent a vast 
column of troops. The effect was heightened by fine 
scenery and martial music, and the apotheosis which closed 
the performance was really thrilling. Just as the coffin 
was lowered into the sarcophagus, Napoleon himself ap- 
peared in effigy suspended in mid air. It was the tradi- 
tional emperor with top boots, cocked hat and folded arms, 
but with a radiant countenance. Before the audience 
conld recover from its surprise the e^i^y was rapidly 
drawn up and disappeared amid a celestial brilliance which 
suggested glory and beatitude. 

Dramatic Marriages. 
Looking at theatrical life, one is led to notice that 

408 Our Book. 

players generally marry in their own profession. This 
occurs not only among stock actors but among stars. The 
drama cannot boast of matrimonial felicity even in 
the moderate degree enjoyed by other classes, but there 
are a few instances of an exceptional character, among 
which Garrick stands prominent. Macready married a 
young actress who played Virginia with him, and their 
union was as favorable as his irascible temper would 
permit. The Chanfraus were a united couple, and yet 
both were professional players and acted together with 
much success. 

Edwin Forrest married a young actress named Catharine 
Sinclair, daughter of a public singer of some note in 
London. It may be remembered that after she had beaten 
her faithless husband in the divorce case she went on the 
stage, but did not reach success in the drama. Tom Hamblin 
married Miss Medina, who was an accomplished writer of 
farces, and small dramatic pieces. Edwin Booth's first 
wife though not a star, was an excellent actress ; his sec- 
ond was the daughter of a theatrical manager. His 
brother, Junius Brutus Booth, married an actress, and I 
might refer to other illustrations of this peculiar fact. It 
is very reasonable that these alliances should take place, 
as the parties are constantly thrown into each other's 
society, and are at the same time secluded from that of 
outside circles. 

Star players of good repute may enter first-class 
society, but the number thus admitted is small. Mr. 
and Mrs. Charles Kean, and also Macready, Booth, 
Frederick Paulding and Henry Irving, may be men- 
tioned among the small list of favored names. Hence 
the profession is, to a large degree, shut up to itself 
for society, and intermarriage follows as a natural re- 

Histrionic Families. 409 

The fact that histrionic genius is bequeathed, often to 
an unusual degree, has been frequently noticed. The 
Kembles are the most prominent instance, but there are 
also the Wallacks and the Jeffersons. The present admira- 
ble Kip Yan Winkle is the second of the family that won 
histrionic rank, and his son, though not equally gifted, is 
still very clever in light comedy. The American drama 
was founded by the Hallams, and in this family the 
histrionic gift was bequeathed for three generations. 

Washington Irving has been mentioned as an amateur, 
and his grand nephew, Frederick Paulding, comes very 
naturally by his histrionic gift, which he has cultivated 
in a very successful manner. Kate Claxton is the grand- 
daughter of the late preacher Cone, who, in his early 
days, was an admirable player. 

The Keans, father and son, were another striking 
instance, and though the first had by far the greatest 
genius, the latter was one of the stars of his day. The 
Booths are also an histrionic family, and its founder, 
Barton Booth, was the only player ever honored by a 
grave in Westminster Abbey — but he has been far ex- 
celled by some of his descendants. 

The Kembles. 
Having referred to this remarkable family, I add a few 
details. Roger Kemble died in 1802, aged four score; 
having long itinerated with his wonderful family, whose 
genius was developed often under the most trying cir- 
cumstances. One who lived to see the family reach dis- 
tinction mentioned seeing Mrs. Siddons, when a very 
young woman, standing behind the scenes and knocking 
a pair of snuffers against a candlestick to imitate the sound 
of a windmill during some harlequin performance. 

Boger Kemble lived to see three of his sons and two of 


Our Book. 

his daughters on the stage, the latter being Mrs. Whit- 
lock and Mrs. Siddons. Mrs. Whitlock made a profes- 
sional visit to this country and was much admired by 
Washington, who, during his presidency, occasionally 
attended the John street theatre. 

Mrs. Siddons reached much higher rank and indeed 
has never been equaled. Her husband was a respectable 
player, but the genius of his wife kept him in a life long 
shadow. Mrs. Siddons was noted for her majestic person, 
and her mastery over Shakespeare's greatest characters. 
She commenced playing in company with Garrick, who 
then was about to retire, and continued until 1812, when 
she withdrew, just as Kean and a new generation of 
great performers were winning fame. 

The brilliant critic, William Ilazlitt, said of Mrs. Sid- 
dons that "she appeared of a superior order of beings, and 
to be surrounded by a personal awe like some prophetess 
of old. 1 ' Washington Irving, who saw her in her fiftieth 
year, said : " What a wonderful woman ! She froze and 
melted my heart by turn3. A glance of her eye or an 
exclamation thrilled my whole frame. I can hardly 
breathe while she is on the stage." 

Macready's Tribute. 

Macready who played with Mrs. Siddons when she was 
in her fifty-sixth year, says in his reminiscences : 

The thought of standing by the side of this great mistress of 
her art hung over me in terrorem,. After several rehearsals the 
dreaded day of her arrival eame and I was ordered by my father 
to go to the Queen's Head Hotel to rehearse my scenes with her. 
The impression the first sight of her made on me recalled the 
page's description of the effect on himself of Jane de Montfort's 
appearance in Joanna Baillies' tragedy of De Montfort. It was 


So queenly, so commanding, and so noble, 
I shrunk at first in awe ; but when she smiled, 
For so she did to see me so abashed. 
Methought 1 could have compassed sea and land 
To do b,er bidding. 

Mrs. Siddons. 411 

What eulogy can do justice to her personations! How inade- 
quate are the endeavors of the best writer, to depict with accu- 
racy to another's fancy, the landscape that in its sublime beauties 
may have charmed him ! 

The tall rock, the mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood 
may have " their colors and their forms " particularized in elo- 
quent language, but can they be so presented to the " mind's eye " 
of the reader as to enable him to paint from them a picture with 
which the reality will accord? or will any verbal account of the 
most striking features of "the human face divine," convey a 
distinct portraiture of the individual? 

How much less can any force of description imprint on the 
imagination the sudden but thrilling effects of tone, or look, of 
port or gesture, or even of the silence so often significative hi the 
development of human passions. As these are not transferable, 
I will not presume to catalogue the merits of this unrivaled .artist 
but may point out, as a guide to others, one great excellence that 
distinguished all her personations. This was the unity of design, 
the just relation of all parts to the whole, that made us forget the 
actress in the character she assumed. 

Throughout the tragedy of The Gamester devotion to her hus- 
band stood out the mainspring of her actions — the ruling passion 
of her being; apparent, indeed, when reduced to poverty in her 
graceful and cheerful submission to the lot to which his vice has 
subjected her, in her fond excuses of his ruinous weakness, in her 
conciliating expostulations with his angry impatience, in her in- 
dignant repulse of Stukeley's advances, when in the awful dig- 
nity of outraged virtue she imprecates the vengeance of Heaven 
upon his guilty head. The climax of her sorrows and sufferings 
was in the dungeon, when on her knees, holding her dying hus- 
band, he dropped lifeless from her arms. Her glaring eyes were 
fixed in stony blankness on his face; the powers of life seemed 
suspended in her; her sister and another player gently raised her 
and slowly led her unresisting from the body ; her gaze, never for 
an instance, averted from it; when they reach the prison door she 
stopped, as if awakened by a trance, uttered a shriek of agony that 
would have pierced the hardest heart, and rushing from them, flung 
herself, as if for union in death, on the prostrate form before her. 

She stood alone on her height of excellence. Her acting was 
parfection, and as I recalt it I do not wonder, novice as I was, at 
my perturbation when on the stage with her. 

Mrs. Siddons, after the play, sent to me to say when I was 
dressed she would be glad to see me in her room. On going in 
she "wished," she said, "to give me a few words of advice be- 
fore taking leave of me." " You are in the right way," she said, 
u but remember what I say; study, study, study, and do not marry 
till you are thirty. I remember what it was to be obliged to study 
at nearly your age with a young family about me. Beware of 
that; keep your mind on your art; do not remit your study, and 
you nre certain to succeed. Do not forget my words; study well, 
and God bless you.'' 

412 Our Book. 

Her words lived with me, and often, in moments of despondency, 
have come to cheer me. Her acting was a revelation to me, which 
ever after had its influence on me in the study of my art. Ease, 
grace, untiring energy through all the variations of human pas- 
sion, blended into that grand and massive style, had been with 
her the result of patient application. On first witnessing her 
wonderful impersonation, I may say with the poet: 

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken. 

And I can only liken the effect they produced on me, in devel- 
oping new trains of thought, to the awakening power that Michael 
Angelo's sketch of the colossal head in the Farnesina is said to 
have had on the mind of Raphael. 

The Sons. 
Roger Kemble's three sons made their mark on the 
stage, but the genius of the eldest overs! 1 ad owed the 
others and thus this has left but one of the name on 
prominent record. In this manner John Philip Kemble 
and Sarah Siddons stand as a matchless pair. Charles, 
the youngest of the gifted trio of sons, was not born 
until Sarah had reached the highest distinction. He be- 
came well known as a comedian of more than respectable 
talent, and would have had a prominence in the profes- 
sion had it not been for the grandeur of genius so near 
of name and kin. Next comes George who was some 
years older than the last mentioned, and who was a good 
player until excessive corpulence drove him from the 
stage. He was, however, a successful manager and ad- 
hered to the profession through life. It is a matter of 
peculiar note that out of Roger Kemble's twelve chil- 
dren the oldest son and the oldest daughter should bear 
the honors. John Philip was just eighteen months 
younger than Mrs. Siddons. They made their first ap- 
pearance on the stage in almost the same week. He was 
nineteen while his sister was nearly twenty-one. That 
year Garrick retired from the profession and his mantle 
seemed to fall on Kemble. He remained at the head of 

The Kembles. 418 

the stage until his retirement in 1817, after an unpar- 
alleled dramatic career of forty-one years. This was live 
years longer than Garrick's, whose professional career 
had hitherto been of unequalled duration. Kemble's 
representation of Hamlet has a traditional majesty which 
probably has never been attained except by Edwin Booth. 

Fanny Kemble. 

This gifted woman was the daughter of the above- 
mentioned Charles, and hence was grandchild of the first 
histrionist of the name. She made her debut in London 
in 1829, being then eighteen. This was two years before 
the death of her aunt, Mrs. Siddons, and the latter, who 
was then in her seventy-fourth year, was enabled to see the 
talent of the family thus continued in admirable perfec- 
tion. Her success before the public was such as to en- 
title her to the first rank in the performers of the day. 
Three years afterward she made a professional tour 
through the United States, accompanied by her father, 
who was old and poor and needed her assistance. She 
subsequently married the rich Pierce Butler, of Phila- 
delphia, and retired from the stage. 

The alliance was of an unhappy character. It was 
severed by a divorce granted by the State of Pennsylva- 
nia, and she resumed her family name. Since then she 
has won distinction as a reader of Shakespeare and was 
the first woman to introduce this entertainment to au 
American audience. 

John Philip Kemble was, from his swarthy counte- 
nance, familiarly known in the profession as " Black 
Jack." Irving saw the unusual spectacle of three Kem- 
bles on the stage at once at Covent garden. John was 
Othello, Mrs. Siddons was Desdemona, while Charles 
was Cassio. To make the play still more effective the 

414 Ocr Book. 

gifted George Frederick Cooke took the part of Iago. 
Some years afterward Irving met the latter in this city 
and reminded him of the wonderful performance. Cooke 
was much gratified by the remembrance, and exclaimed 
with delight, "Didn't I play up to Black Jack ? I saw 
his dark eye sweeping back on me." At the time this 
auecdote occurred Cooke was playing at the Park theatre. 
He died soon afterward and was buried in St. Paul's 


The history of this man is peculiarly strange and even 
romantic. An illegitimate son of an actress named Carey, 
he for some years bore his mother's name. He was from 
childhood brought up to the stage, and his eyes, so won- 
derfully black, attracted great admiration. His father, 
wlv se name he soon assumed, was little known except as 
a workman about the theatres. At the age of twelve 
the boy player accompanied his mother in a theatrical 
tour, and after long practice he rose to fame on the Lon- 
don boards. From pantomime and harlequin he readily 
became Shyloek and Richard III, in which, at the age of 
twenty-eight, he was distinguished. 

He was the smallest actor, in point of size, that ever 
attained distinction, but that little form had wonderful 
powers, and he surprised the public with the variety of 
his gifts. He sang so sweetly that he would have done 
well as a vocalist ; he was an accomplished dancer, and 
at the same time an adroit pugilist ; as a fencer he had no 
superior ; he was a ventriloquist, and also an admirable 
acrobat, and played harlequin to delighted houses. To 
these points it is to be added that he was the most terrific 
of all living delineators of high tragedy. Kean's black 
eyes startled and attracted everybody. They were said 



to be the blackest ever seen. Kean was thirty- three when 
he appeared on the boards of the Park theatre, but though 
lie made a capital Richard III, he could not succeed as 


Studying Character. 

Kean told Dr. Francis that Lear was best played by a 
young man, because his insanity and decrepitude were a 
very laborious part. He said that he had studied insanity 
at the London asylums as a preparation for Lear, and he 
expressed a desire to visit the Bloomingdale asylum for 
the same purpose. Dr. Francis took him thither in a 
carriage. While on the way Kean expressed a desire to 
see Vauxhall, which stood near what is now Astor place. 
The carriage halted, and Kean asked to survey the estab- 
inent. The keeper assented, and was astonished to see 
the stranger give two somersaults which brought him 
near to the end of the garden. 

They then drove to the asylum, and the tragedian was 
allowed to see some of the patients. The fine prospect 
to be seen from the roof of the building was mentioned, 

416 Our Book. 

and he was invited to ascend. He was much exhilarated 
by the view, and exclaimed : " I will walk to the edge of 
the roof, and take a leap. It is the best use 1 can make 
of my life." He then hurried forward, but the attend- 
ants seized him and he submitted to their kind violence. 
Dr. Francis thought that it was really a subtle and irre- 
sistible purpose of suicide. 

Kean's name is perpetuated by the shaft which he 
placed in St. Paul's churchyard to the memory of G-eorge 
Frederick Cooke, who died in this city in 1812. It was 
repaired by Charles, his son, in 1846, and also by E. A. 
Sothern in 1874, so that it is now restored to original 
beauty. This is a remarkable succession of respectful 
tokens, following from one generation to another. I can- 
not gaze upon that monument without recalling Dr. Fran- 
cis's description of Kean standing by its side the evening 
of his departure for England, and singing in his sweet 
manner, "Those Evening Bells," and also "Come O'er 
the Sea/' 

The greatest danger of the histrionic profession is in- 
temperance. Cooke, Kean and the senior Booth were 
lamentable illustrations of the destructive power of this 
habit, which at the present time is doing its work of ruin 
in the theatrical world. One reason of this is found in 
the exhausting nature of stage performance. Some of 
those parts which seem the easiest are really the severest 
in their effects. Players soon get jaded by the intense 
strain on the nervous system, and the resort to strong 
drink seems inevitable. Ballet performers generally have 
a trying part in the performance, and therefore drink 
freely. The inside life of the dramatic world is full of 
sorrow, and presents a strange contrast with the garish 
splendor which so often awakens the admiration of the 
young and inexperienced. 

Dramatic Succession. 417 

How these players come and go in constant succession ! 
When Kemble came upon the stage, Garrick had just 
retired after a long and brilliant reign. His immediate 
predecessor in tragedy was Barton Booth, who though 
a clever player, was not to be compared with himself. 
Garrick made his debut in 1741, being then twenty-five. 
At that time Quin was the best player in London, but 
was hardly above mediocrity. 

Garrick's superiority was at once manifest, and he re- 
tained supremacy of the stage until 1776, when he retired 
after a reign of thirty-five years. He was then sixty, and 
he died three years afterward. 

Barton Booth had been in his grave seven years when 
Garrick appeared. He was the best actor during Queen 
Anne's reign, and at his death the London stage was reduced 
to Quin. The latter began his dramatic career by appear- 
ing in 1717, being then only twenty-four. When Garrick 
entered upon the stage Quin felt that his day was over, 
and in a few years he retired at the age of fifty-five. Quin 
had a popularity among the lowest orders of theatre goers, 
to which Pope alluded, coupling his name with Mrs. Old- 
field, who had also won a moderate reputation : 

While all its throats the gallery extends, 
And all the thunders of the pit ascends. 
Loud as the wolves on Orca's stormy steep, 
Howl to the roarings of the northern deep. 
Such is the shout, the loud applauding note 
At Quin's high plume and Oldfield's petticoat. 

Barton Booth, like Quin, and also Garrick, had been 
intended for the bar, but deserted law for the drama. He 
made his debut at seventeen, and for thirty-one years 
reigned on the London stage, and yet his style was proba- 
bly far beneath the present standard. 

The Founder. 

The founder of the British stage was Sir William Dave- 

418 Our Book. 

n ant, who was by some supposed to be really a son of 
Shakespeare. His father kept a tavern which the great 
dramatist often visited, and Davenant bore a striking 
resemblance to the latter. Davenant was nine years old 
when Shakespeare died. He early displayed histrionic 
talent and after the restoration of Charles If, made up a 
company of players and organized a permanent theatre. 
He was the first to produce movable scenery, rich cos- 
tumes, and other desirable appointments, and through his 
influence Betterton was introduced to the public. 

Davenant was buried in Westminster Abbey, and is the 
only stage manager laid in that place of fame, except 
Sheridan. His place of rest is marked by that pithy, but 
expressive sentence, " O, Good Sir William Davenant." 
How much such a brief review of departed talent reminds 
one that u All the world's a stage," and the changes in 
the modern drama are full of such lessons. 

Gradual Progress. 
If Shakespeare could only return to life and see the 
difference between Hamlet, with Booth in the title role, 
and the performance of the same play at the Black Friars, 
with himself as " the ghost," how great would be his as- 
tonishment ! The advance has been the steady growth of 
two centuries. In Shakespeare's day there was no man 
that could do justice to Hamlet, and indeed that wonder- 
ful play had been in existence sixty years before any one 
appeared who could master so difficult a role. This man 
was Betterton, who was bred a paltry cook, but rose to 
bo the first tragedian of his day. Betterton was deficient 
in persona] appearance, but he could master a character, 
and Hamlet thus rendered became a reality. After his 
death there was no Hamlet for another sixty years, when 
(ia r'ck left his wine cellar for the stage, just as Better- 

Interesting Prologue. 419 

ton left the cook shop. The Booth family dates before 
even Garrick, but though Barton Booth could play Cato 
in Addison's tragedy, he was not adequate to Hamlet. In 
his day, however, Hamlet was not played, and it can 
hardly be said that Addison ever saw Shakespeare prop- 
erly performed. Barton Booth's best feature was his im- 
pressive appearance, as appears from Pope's lines: 

Booth enters — hark! the universal peal! 
But has he spoken? — not a syllable. 

The Booth family has only developed the highest 
histrionic genius in its later generations. The theatre in 
Garrick's day was a great advance on Betterton's, but 
how inferior to that of the present ! Personally speaking, 
however, Garrick rendered Shakespeare inimitably, and 
hence was the leading attraction of the London stage for 
thirty years. Just as he retired, John Philip Kemble 
made his debut and became the Hamlet of a succeeding 

The histrionic talent of Great Britain reached a sud- 
den development at the opening of the present century, 
equal, indeed, with that which marked its poetic genius. 
While Byron, Coleridge, Shelley and Scott afforded a re- 
vival of literature, Kemble, Cooke, Kean, Mrs. Siddons 
and Macready were contemporary stars on the British 
stage. As a galaxy they have never been equalled. 

Interesting Prologue. 
The gradual progress to which I have referred is sug- 
gested by the following prologue, written by Sir William 
Davenant, and spoken at the Black Friars theatre in 
1643, just twenty-seven years after Shakespeare's death. 
The object of the writer was to censure the artificiality 
of taste as compared with the simplicity of primitive 

420 Our Book. 

For ten times more wit than was allowed 

Your silly ancestors in twenty year, 

You expect in two hours to be given here; 

For they I know to the theatre would come 

Ere they had dined, to get the best room; 

There sit on benches — not adorned with mats, 

Good, easy judging souls — with what delight 

They would expect a jig or target fight,- 

A furious tale of Troy, which they ne'er thought 

Was weakly written, so 'twere strongly fought; 

Laugh at the very shadow of a jest 

And cry u a passing good one I protest." 

Such dull and humble witted people were 

Your forefathers, whom we governed here; 

And such had you been too — had not 

The poets taught you how to unweave a plot, 

And trace the scenes and to admit 

What was true sense and what did sound like wit. 

Thus they have armed you 'gainst themselves to fight, 

Made strong and mischievous by what they write. 

Perhaps one of the audience that heard the above pro- 
logue was Milton, who some years previously had written : 

Then to the well trod stage anon, 
If Jonson's learned sock be on: 
Or sweetest Shakespeare, fancy's child, 
Warble his native wood notes wild. 

What, however, seems to be a more interesting point 
in this connection is the allusion to the " tale of Troy," 
which must have been very popular at that time, for Mil- 
ton in portraying the drama, presents the following im- 
pressive idea of a revival of the classic stage : 

Sometime let gorgeous tragedy 
In sceptercd pall come sweeping by: 
Presenting Thebes or Pelop's line 
Or the tale of Troy divine. 

Another interesting point, is the date of the prologue 
which is 1643. At that time the war between Charles I 
and the people was in progress, and one thus sees that 
the drama could still live even amid such bloody and try- 
ing times. In the same manner it flourished during the 
late civil war in America, which was vastly more horri- 

Poe and Hawthorne. 421 

ble. The mind often seeks relief when under a pressure 
of agony. During the bloodiest scenes in the French 
revolution, a dozen theatres were sustained in Paris. 

Possible Tragedians. 

America has been more deficient in tragedy than in 
any other dramatic literature. There were two authors, 
however, who under favoring influences would no doubt 
have shown great power in this specialty. I refer to 
Hawthorne and Poe. Each was essentially dramatic, 


and it is this which gives their productions such deep in- 
terest. Poe's biief sketch of the History of William 
Wilson could have been extended into a thrilling tragedy, 
and the same statement applies to the Raven. The 
gloomy grandeur of Poc's works recalls Milton's idea of 
the tragic muse with its "sceptered pall," and like the 
old Greek tragedians, he omits every thing that might 
relieve the load of sorrow. His Fall of the House of 
Usher, is another tragedy which, had he thrown it into 
stage shape, would be both fascinating and harrowing to 
a degree which would have ensured popularity. 

Haw thorne's works are also highly dramatic, and had 

422 Our Book. 

he adapted them to the stage, we would have seen old 
times in New England revived in their most saddening 
aspect. The death of Governor Pynchon in the House 
of the Seven Gables, is a fine scene of this kind, and 
even the Man with the Yeil could be made an effective 
feature in some composite effort. What I mean is, that 
Hawthorne might have brought together the scenes and 
characters in these isolated sketches in a shape admirably 
adapted to stage effect. I should not be surprised indeed, 
if both Poe and Hawthorne were eventually dramatised, 
and if properly done, it will command success. 


Unsuccessful Plays. 
The disappointments incurred by dramatists are often of 
a very painful nature. Dr. Johnson based great hopes on 
his Irene which Garrick as an act of friendship brought out 
in the best possible style. It was unsuccessful and John- 
son being in attendance witnessed its failure, which was 
one of the most painful scenes in his life. In our own day 
both Henry Bergh and Judge Barrett were obliged to 

Unsuccessful Plays. 423 

submit to a similar experience, for each wrote a play which 
the audience damned. Another striking instance is found 
in Charles Lamb whose case is presented in his own words. 
Let us imagine a young man of thirty, a professional 
clerk with literary taste, who had written a farce which 
found acceptance with a manager. What glowing hopes 
must have cheered him in expectation of the perform- 
ance. Assured of success he wrote thus to a friend : 

The managers — thank my stars — have decided on its merits 
forever. They are the best judges, and it would be ridic- 
ulous in me to affect a false modesty after the very flattering letter 
I have received. I shall get £200 if it has a good run, but nothing 
if it fails. Mary and I are to sit next the orchestra on the open- 
ing night. 

The farce was called "Mr. H.,"and certainly if brevity 

be the soul of wit, here it was in perfection. The title 

attracted a full house, but before the close of the first act 

the author's friends began to fear. The second dragged 

heavily on, and at last the audience uttered its verdict — 

in hisses and tumult. Lamb exhibited the perfection of 

good humor, for when he saw his case was hopeless he 

joined in the hooting and hisses. In a letter written soon 

afterwards he says : 

Mary is a little cut at the ill success of " Mr. II." I know you 
will be sorry, but never mind, we are determined not to be cast 

To a brother poet he wrote as follows : 

Dear Wordsworth : — " Mr. H." failed. The subject was not 
substantial enough, and John Bull must have solider fare. We 
are pretty stout about it and have plenty of condoling friends — 
but after all, we had rather it should have succeeded. The quan- 
tity of friends we had in the house was astonishing, but they yielded 
at last. A hundred hisses (hang the word, I write it like kisses) 
outweigh a thousand claps. The former come more directly from 
the heart. Well, 'tis withdrawn, and there's an end of it. 

Thus reader you have an example of the way in which 
a very sensitive man may bear even so severe a disappoint- 
ment as this. It is doubtful if either Judge Barrett or 

424 Our Book. 

Henry Bergh displayed greater resignation under similar 

Shakespeare's Names. 

One of the amusing features in Shakespeare, is the 
liberty which he takes with names, mixing all nationalities 
in the most liberal manner. For instance, Much Ado 
about Nothing is located in Italy, but it contains Dogberry. 
Twelfth Might is an Illyrian play, but among its amusing 
characters are Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Ague- 
Cheek who, like Dogberry, are thoroughly English. 

AVhen reading As You Like It, I was surprised to find 
Audrey applied to a woman, since female names rarely 
have such a termination. While walking recently through 
a rural cemetery however, the apparent impropriety was 
explained, for I saw a slab bearing the inscription, 
" Audra Ellis." This show r s that Shakespeare wrote the 
name as it was incorrectly pronounced. It may have then 
been in common use, but at present it is so rare that the 
above was my first acquaintance with it. A cemetery is 
an unexpected place to find a commentary on Shakespeare, 
and yet many important facts are revealed by mortuary 
records. That the great dramatist was very careless 
concerning names is shown by the fact that he spelled 
his own in different ways even when writing his will. 
This strange variety is humorously explained in the 
following lines : 

When Master Shakespeare spelled his name, 

He sought all men to please; 
And when it shone he made his A., 

But took foul weather for his ee's. 

Having previously referred to some of Shakespeare's 
solecisms, it may be mentioned that he takes a similar 
liberty with money, and though the Comedy of Errors is 
located in Greece the duke in the opening speech refers 

Shakespeare and his Commentators. 425 

to the "merchants wanting guilders," and also mentions 
<4 a thousand marks," but a still greater anachronism is 
found in his reference to America in the same pla}^. 
Such a genius, however, could not be held by minor 
distinctions. When Johnson said " he was not for a day, 
but for all time," he might properly have added he was 
not for one clime, but for all the world. 

Shakespeare and his Commentators. 

A very interesting picture has been painted represent- 
ing Shakespeare and his friends, and I would now suggest 
as a corresponding theme, Shakespeare and his commen- 
tators — not the entire number, for that were impossible, 
but those who have displayed the highest order of critical 
genius. Shakespeare being an attractive as well as an 
unexhaustible subject, the variety of his critics is almost 
unlimited, and the number of books written upon his 
life, text and genius fills eighty-nine octavo pages in 
Sillig's Index of Shakespearean Literature, which is still 

The first to publish a book on the great dramatist was 
Thomas Rymer, a man of high rank in the study of ancient 
law records, but very deficient in other points, for he 
made Shakespeare the subject of mere ridicule. This 
occured in 1693, but Dryden and Langbaine had pre- 
viously issued their criticisms, and these were followed 
by Howe's edition, published in 1709, which was the first 
attempt to revise the text. When Pope had won dis- 
tinction as a poet he became ambitious to appear as a 
Shakesperian commentator, and issued an edition in 1725, 
which only proves that a man may be an admirable poet, 
and yet utterly fail in dramatic criticism. 

Pope's edition indeed was so defective that nine years 

later Lewis Theobald published another edition entitled 

426 Our Book. 

Shakespeare Restored, or Specimens of Blunders Com- 
mitted and Unamended in Pope's Edition of this Poet. 
From that time until the present day Shakespeare has 
been a constant subject for critics and commentators and 
this will no doubt continue as long as our language en- 

Sensible Remark. 
One of the most sensible utterances concerning Shakes- 
peare was made by Theodore S. Fay who, though now 
forgotten, held at one time a very respectable position in 
literature. He wrote as follows: 

His intellectual dimensions are too great for any one man to ex- 
plore liim. No one age could grasp his full meaning. It has re- 
quired two centuries to give even superior minds a just idea of 
Shakespeare, and there are even now those who have written books 
on his characters and yet do not completely comprehend him. To- 
morrow perhaps the wisest of them will discover in some one of 
his plays a resplendent meaning never known to him before. 
Speaking for myself, I frankly confess I have never understood 
him. Every day I make new discoveries, and I have no doubt I 
shall continue to do so as long as I live. 

Notwithstanding Fay's confession that he had never 
understood Shakespeare his comments show deep study 
and close analysis of the most important characters. 

Fielding's new Reading. 

Disputes concerning the meaning of some of Shakes- 
peare's utterances have continually occurred, and even 
Fielding — more than a century and a half ago — refers to 
the perplexity concerning what he calls " the celebrated 
line in Othello " where the latter exclaims before killing 

Put out the light, and then put out the light. 

In his Journey from this World to the Next, Fielding 
represents Betterton and Barton Booth in Elysium asking 
the meaning of the author himself. Fielding gives several 

Personal Memoirs. 427 

readings of the line and then adds his own which seems 
very judicious : 

Put out the light, and then put out thy light. 
The author no doubt meant (as Fielding claimed) that 
Othello preferred to commit the terrible crime in the dark. 
I mention this merely to show how early Shakespeare be- 
came the subject of new readings, and having given one 
of Fielding's in Othello I now offer one of my own in the 
Tempest where Prospero toward the close exclaims : 

Sir, my liege, 
Do not infest your mind with beating on 
The strangeness of this business. At picked leisure, 
"Which shall be shortly, single I'll resolve you 
These happened accidents. 

Now as Prospero is showing how a great and general 
benefit has arisen from the wreck of the ship, and also from 
previous misfortune and even crimes, is it not more natural 
to suppose that the author wrote "happy instead of hap- 
pened — especially as the latter is mere tautology, for 
4 accident ' always means something that happens ? *' 
Shakespeare rarely uses superfluous words, and I therefore 
submit to the reader that he was in the present case refer- 
ring to the felicitous consummation of what, appeared like 
a series of accidents, but was really the result of Divine 

Shakespeare Memories. 
Having said so much concerning the drama, the reader 
may ask for my personal impressions. I have never been an 
enthusiast in my admiration of the stage, and yet I am glad 
to have seen some of Shakespeare's best plays rendered in a 
very effective manner. While I was a poverty stricken 
clerk, earning but one dollar a week, and boarding myself 
in the store in a very meagre manner, Charles Kean came 
from England in order to play an engagement, and I was 

428 Our Book. 

determined to see him. I paid twenty-five cents for 
admission to the gallery or fourth tier, and certainly I 
never regretted the investment. The play was Othello, 
with liamblin in the title role and Kean was Iago. The 
performance left an agreeable memory which I still cherish, 
especially as I have never since then seen that tragedy 
performed. A few years afterward Kean repeated his 
visit, bringing his wife (Ellen Tree) with him, and I saw 
them in King John. I was deeply impressed with her 
performance of Constance, and afterward they played As 
You Like It, which was as charming as King John was 
majestic. I have not seen these plays performed since 
then, but their memory is certainly very pleasing. Later 
on, when Macready made his last visit to this country, I 
saw him in Hamlet, where the mysterious prince was 
rendered in an admirable manner, and I am very glad I 
improved this opportunity. It is unfortunate, however, 
that if the theatre be limited to such plays it cannot be 
sustained. Its best profits generally arise from perform- 
ances which are decidedly injurious, and as a consequence, 
the theatre is justly condemned by those who take a seri- 
ous view of the duty and destiny of our race. 

Concerning stage Fright. 
's failure through stage fright is the com- 

mon theme of the dramatic world, but those who know 

anything of an actor's sufferings will not be surprised 

when an unusually nervous person fails from this cause. 

Macready says of his debut (as Romeo) : 

The emotions I felt on first crossing the stage, coming forward 
to the lights and facing an audience, were almost overpowering. 
There was a mist before my eyes and for some time I was like an 
automaton moving in certain defined limits I went mechanically 
through the variations to which I had been drilled, and it was 
not until the plaudits of the audience awoke me to self-conscious- 
ness that I entered into the spirit of the character. 

Stage Fkight. 429 

Stage fright is not limited to first appearance, and Mrs. 
Anna Cora Mowatt had her worst attack three years after 
her debut, which she describes as follows : 

For the first time I comprehended the full meaning of the 
words "stage fright." My moment of fear had come and the 
malady seized me in its worst form. I could not force my 
quivering lips into a smile, and when I spoke I could not hear 
my own voice. Floating mists were before my eyes. What was 
the matter with my feet? When I tried to walk it seemed as 
though they were bound together. Mechanically I uttered the 
words of my part, gazing around with a vacant stare. 

Like an automaton I moved immediately through the perform- 
ance, and I seemed to be gradually sinking on a shoreless sea — 
the sea of public condemnation. At last came a change, the icy 
spell was suddenly broken, my paralyzing fears melted away and 
I went on with an impassioned abandon that called forth a storm 
of applause. It was six months before I recovered from the 
mental effects of that night. 

The case of , seems much of the same nature. 

He has played often in a creditable manuer, but on the 
occasion referred to a sudden fear of meeting the public 
overcame him and he sought refuge by leaving the place, 
and another actor was called into service. It may be 
added that stage fright is often a serious embarrassment 
to preachers, lecturers and even lawyers, and the dread of 
appearing in public often becomes a fearful incubus. 
Some men never fully master it and are life-long sufferers, 
and indeed it often requires great nerve and determina- 
tion to meet even a good natured audience. 

The Tempest. 
Well, reader, perhaps you have had enough of the 
drama, and if so, you may skip the following essay whose 
didactic nature will only be suitable for the more thought- 
ful class. I make, however, no apology for inserting it. 
On the other hand, I invite the attention of all Shakes- 
pearean students to the subject, and if they differ, I shall 
be glad to hear their views. I hope indeed to attract 
attention to this deeply interesting drama. 

430 Our Book. 

What is the Tempest? This question meets us at the 
very start. Shakespeare's plays are chiefly divided into 
tragedies and comedies. The Tempest, however, is not a 
tragedy, for though several murders are planned, they 
are all prevented in a sudden and surprising manner. 
On the other hand it is not a comedy, for though it con- 
tains some comic features, they are subordinate to the 
grand purpose. 

The Tempest, indeed, holds a unique position — differ- 
ing in its essential points from all the rest of Shakes- 
peare's works. 

To renew the question, what is the Tempest ? I reply 
it appears to me the solemn presentation of great moral 
truths in a dramatic garb. 

If it be asked why, when such a serious purpose was 
entertained, so much of the comic should be admitted, I 
reply that the latter is required to enliven the didactic 
element. Without it the play would be too tame for 

It was written at Stratford, and with the exception of 
Henry VIII, is the latest of Shakespeare's productions. 
It bears the impression of a deep work of conscience in 
the author, whose former evil life gave ample ground for 
repentance. Tt is the purest of his works, and the only 
one that teaches the doctrine of an overruling Providence 
and shows how God can bring good out of evil, while at 
the same time it illustrates the triumphant manner in 
which evil can be overcome by good. I am convinced 
that Shakespeare was under a deeply serious frame when 
it was written, and that he not only desired to justify the 
ways of God toward man, but also to make a plea for 
himself, since his own sins (in abandoning his family) had 
been made to yield an eventual benefit.. 

Evil is presented under various aspects. There is the 

The Tempest — a new Theory. 431 

murderous ambition of the usurping brother, the thievery 
of Stephano, and the low animal nature of the thoroughly 
debased Caliban, but in each case mercy prevails over 

Of the nine male characters that bear a part, in- 
cluding Caliban, six purpose to commit murder — a 
greater proportion than in any other play by the same 

The Tempest differs from all other of Shakespeare's 
plays in the fact that it opens with all in trouble. The 
horrors of a shipwreck on the one hand, and the banish- 
ment of Prospero on the other, are combined with the 
rebellions hate of Caliban and then there is Ariel chafing 
for liberty, while Miranda suffers from extreme sympathy. 
These troubles gradually abate, but while doing so each 
yields its lessons, and the finale is one of joy (though of a 
subdued tone) at the manner in which a grand benefit is 
drawn, not only from misfortune but from the worst of 

This bold interpretation is not suggested by other 
Shakespearean critics, but I am not surprised at their de- 
ficiency, for I had read the play many times before the 
true view dawned upon me. Most of the critics make 
but little reference to the moral aspect. Coleridge, while 
discoursing on Shakespeare, says k 'the Tempest ad- 
dresses itself entirely to the imaginative faculty," whereas 
I hold that it addresses itself chiefly to the moral 

The nearest approximation to my view is found in 
Hudson's lectures, but it is not sufficiently comprehensive 
in its extent, and while accepting his idea so far as it 
goes, I add to it those deeper lessons which have been 
revealed to me. 

Theodore S. Fay, whose admirable disquisition on 

432 Our Book. 

Macbeth, shows his mastery of dramatic literature, 
writes thus concerning the drama now under considera- 
tion : 

Of the Tempest it may be said that over it hangs a beautiful 
mystery, which has not, that I am aware of, been yet explained. 
* * + I dwell with delightful curiosity on those grand, and 
yet not all explained lessons of this fascinating creation. 

That beautiful mystery I think I have penetrated and 
therefore I invite the reader to share its benefit. I will 
add, by way of explanation, that the following interpre- 
tation flashed upon my mind one day while taking a walk, 
and when on returning home I read the printed page, I 
saw that I had never previously understood the author's 
purpose. I would add that in order to assist the reader 
and avoid confusion of names, I have used some adjec- 
tives such as the "good counselor" and the "false king," 
only meaning, however, that the latter was false to 

Story of the Tempest. 
Prospero, the Duke of Milan, is supplanted by his 
treacherous brother Antonio, who is assisted by Alonso, 
the king of Naples, to whom, as a consideration, he 
promises tribute. They convey the deposed duke and 
his little daughter Miranda, to a rotten hulk and set them 
adrift, expecting them, if spared by the sea, to starve 
to death. An old friend, however (the counselor Gon- 
zalo) being apprised of this infernal plot, places food and 
clothing on the hulk and also Prospero's books. Thus 
provided, they drift to the island where Prospero makes 
a home. He finds Ariel (a spirit in human form) fastened 
in a cloven tree by the malignant charms of an old witch, 
and having released him by his greater power of magic he 
obtains his constant services, and then there are other 
spirits occasionally employed. 

The Tempest. 433 

The only other inhabitant of the island is Caliban, a 
monster in shape but with human voice, and the personi- 
fication of total depravity. 

The next Point. 

Years passed by and the usurper has temporary pros- 
perity. At last he makes a voyage to Tunis for the pur- 
pose of attending a royal wedding, and is accompanied 
by his ally Alonso, king of Naples, and Ferdinand the 
son of the latter ; also Sebastian, Alonso's brother. The 
good counselor Gonzalo, is also one of the company. 
After the wedding they attempt a return voyage, but 
Prospero, by his magic, brings them to the shore of his 
island and then creates a violent tempest. Here the play 
opens, and Miranda seeing the vessel in danger, pleads 
with her father in their behalf. Prospero assures her of 
their safety and then refers to his past history and tells 
her that his enemies are now within his power. He then 
puts her to sleep, after which Ariel enters and gives an 
account of the storm and tells that some have escaped to 
land, while others are preserved alive on shipboard by 
his protecting power. 

The usurping duke, together with the king of Naples 
and his son, and also Sebastian escape to land — and so do 
the good counselor Gonzalo, together with two worthless 
fellows, Trinculo and Stephano. The king of Naples sup- 
poses his son Ferdinand to be lost and feels deeply this 
bereavement, but Prospero has not only preserved him 
but has contrived that he should meet Miranda, intending 
that a mutual love should be the consequence. The love 
scene is certainly very pretty and natural. 

Other Survivors. 
We now leave love's young dream for another part of 
the island where most of those who escaped are gathered. 

434 Our Book. 

The good counselor, Gonzalo, tells his associates that they 
have reason to be thankful for their escape, but they care 
little for his words, which indeed they ridicule. He then 
tells them that there is every thing to supply life, and re- 
fers to the beauty of the verdure — and adds what seems 
so marvellous, that their garments, though drenched in 
the sea, seem really improved rather than stained. They 
look as fresh as when they attended the wedding in 

Alonzo, the false king, is annoyed at this reference to 
the marriage and expresses his regret that he ever allowed 
his daughter (Claribel) go thither to marry, since ou the 
return he has lost his son. His brother Sebastian retorts 
that he may thank himself for this bad result since lie 
wonlcl not allow his daughter to marry in Europe — but 
the good counselor chides Sebastian for this severity and 
then expatiates in a scheme of beneficence — which if he 
were king would be developed on that very island. 

Murder Planned. 

Just at that time Ariel plays solemn music, which 
causes them to be drowsy, and all but two fall asleep. 
These two are Sebastian, brother of the false king of 
Naples, and Antonio, the treacherous brother of Pros- 
pero. The latter then proposes to the former that he kill 
the king and thus inherit the crown, since the son is 
drowned. He urges Sebastian to this crime — his secret 
object being to become released from the tribute he is 
required to pay. 

Sebastian is encouraged to the deed by the success of 
Antonio in supplanting Prospero, and Antonio adds that 
he had no occasion to regret it. Sebastian then refers to 
the power of conscience. Antonio replies that it did not 
trouble him, and then renews his urgency, saying " your 

The Tempest. 435 

brother lies there and three inches of steel can put him 
to rest forever," and adds that the others will submit to 
the event. Sebastian then asks Antonio to draw and stab 
the good counselor, Gonzalo, while he himself stabs the 

Narrow Escape. 

Just as they are about to commit this double murder, 
Ariel enters, and though invisible to the conspirators, ex- 
claims that his master has discovered the danger and sent 
him to the rescue. He wakens the good counselor and 
also the false king, Alonso, who is astonished to see the 
two men with drawn swords. Sebastian endeavors to ex- 
plain by saving that they had heard the bellowing of 
some wild animal and were on guard. The good coun- 
selor then suggests that they leave that spot, and Albnso, 
says he wants a further search made for his lost son. 

The scene then changes, and we have a view of the 
man-monster, Caliban, bearing a burden of wood, and at 
the same time cursing his master in the most malignant 

While thus engaged the two worthless fellows, Trin- 
culo and Stephano, appear, and the former expresses his 
astonishment on seeing Caliban. Stephano, who has a 
bottle in his hand and is evidently under its influence, 
begins a song. They then speak to Caliban and give him 
a taste from the bottle, and he swears to be their subject 
and to show them the best parts of the island. He prom- 
ises to dig pig nuts for them and catch young sea gulls, 
with other luxuries, and he asks them to follow him. 
They do so, and he leads, at the same time singing in great 
glee for he hopes to escape from his master. 

The scene now changes again and we behold Prospero's 
abode, where Ferdinand (the false king Alonso's son) is 
carrying a log. He does this in a very patient manner, 

436 Our Book. 

consoling himself with the thought that love renders his 
labor pleasant, and that though he is ordered to move 
thousands of logs he is refreshed by Miranda's words. 
Miranda then enters, and desires her lover not to work so 
hard and offers to assist him in the heavy task. They 
then engage in conversation of a tender character, and 
each avows the strongest affection, which Prospero, be- 
holding from a distance, fully approves. 

Another Scene. 

We next behold the two tipplers, Trinculo and Ste 
phano, with Caliban — the latter bearing the bottle — 
Stephano imagines that he and his companions are the only 
ones saved from the wreck. Caliban immediately sug- 
gests- that they kill Prospero, and offers to conduct them 
to him while he (Prospero) is asleep, at which time they 
can easily knock him on the head. Stephano seems to 
have the advantage of Trinculo, and he announces his 
purpose of killing Prospero and becoming king of the 
island, with Miranda for queen and Trinculo and Caliban 
as viceroys. Trinculo assents and Caliban is very happy. 

Sudden Change. 

Just as they are giving utterance to their glee in a 
comic song Ariel plays on a tabor the tune of the very 
song they are singing. They are so astonished by this 
supernatural music that their voices are hushed, and in- 
stead of glee they are filled with horror, while at the 
same time conscience begins to work. Trinculo exclaims, 
" O, forgive me my sins," while Stephano' s cry is for 
mercy. Caliban reassures them by saying the isle is full 
of noises, some of which are very lovely, and Stephano 
then repeats his anticipation of triumph, which Caliban 
says will be complete as soon as Prospero is slain. The 

The Tempest. 437 

reader cannot but notice the general complication of 
deviltry this play reveals — and yet it will be made to 
yield a beneficial result. 

Bad men in Trouble. 

The next scene reveals the rest of the rescued party, 
and the good counselor, Gonzalo, exclaims that he "is 
weary with the maze which they have trodden and can 
go no farther." The false king, Alonso, also is weary, 
and says he will henceforth resign all hope of his son, 
who is drowned, and it is of no use to seek him any more. 

The usurper, Antonio, then says (aside) to the king 
Alonso 1 s brother, Sebastian, that this discouragement is 
a good sign, and that their purpose to kill him (Alonso) 
must be carried out. Sebastian replies that he will im- 
prove the next opportunity. Antonio says it should be 
done that very night, as fatigue renders them easier vic- 
tims. Sebastian replies " to-night." Just then solemn 
music is heard, and Prospero is there, but invisible to the 
conspirators. Several strange looking shapes appear, 
bringing in a banquet, to which they invite the false king, 
Alonso, and then they disappear. The king objects to 
eating, but the good counselor, Gonzalo, encourages him 
by saying that these strange shapes are in their manner 
more kind and gentle than many, if not most, of man- 
kind. Prospero says (aside) " this is true, for some of you 
present are worse than devils." The false king, Alonso, 
then says he will eat, and he invites the others to partake 
with him ; he also says " no matter even it be his last 
food, since the best is past " — i. e., his son is dead. 

Startling Manifestations. 
Just as they begin to eat thunder and lightning terrifies 
them and the banquet disappears. The bewildering 

4:38 Our Buok. 

amazement with which they are overwlielmecl, added to 

hunger and fatigue, has brought them into a fitting frame 

to receive a full view of Divine anger for their crimes, and 

Ariel then appears and utters the fearful denunciation. 

You are three men of sin! You three 
From Milan did supplant good Prospero; 
Exposed unto the sea him and his innocent child, 
For which foul deed the powers have 
Incensed the seas and shores against your peace. 

He specially addresses to the false-hearted king, Alonso, 
the fearful message that it is for this crime that he is be- 
reaved of his son, and he adds, as a final sentence, that 
they shall suffer lingering perdition, worse than immedi- 
ate death, wandering around the desolate island. He also 
adds, at the close, that nothing can save them but "heart 
sorrow" (repentance) and a "clear life ensuing," or refor- 
mation for the future. 

This tremendous indictment seems to be enforced by 
supernatural power. It is like the language of the prophet 
to the guilty king, '• thou art the man !" It awakens a 
fearful sense of guilt, and this being accomplished Ariel 
disappears, and Prospero says (aside) that his charms work 
well and his enemies are all distracted. This is shown by 
the horror-stricken countenance of Alonso, the false king 
of Naples, which startles the good counselor, Gonzalo, 
and he utters his surprise. The false king pays no atten- 
tion to the counselor. His mind is occupied by his own 
terrible emotions. 

His conscience is fearfully aroused — his horrible crime 

is brought before him in all its atrocity and he exclaims : 

0, 'tis monstrous! Monstrous! ' 
Methought the billows spoke and told me of it; 
The winds did sing it unto me ; and the thunder, 
That deep and dreadful organ pipe, pronounced 
The name of Prospero. 

Thus showing that his conscience had been awakened 

The Tempest. 439 

during the recent storm ; then he recalls his great bereave- 
ment and utters his acknowledgment of penalty : 

Therefore my son in the ooze is bedded ; and 
I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded, 
And with him lie mudded. 

The reader will notice the precise nature of this imagi- 
nary retribution. As Alonso aided in drowning Pros- 
pero (as he supposed) the same doom is meted out to his 

His equally perfidious brother, Sebastian, feels a horror 
as though tormented by devils and exclaims : 

But one fiend at a time! 

I'll fight their legions o'er. 

On the other hand the good counselor, Gonzalo, who 

now understands the cause of their tremendous agony, 


their great guilt 

Like poison given to work a great time after, 
Now 'gins to bite their spirits. 

He fears they may be led to commit suicide, and there- 
fore bids the others watch them. 

Beautiful Transition. 
In contrast with this scene of horror we are next pre- 
sented with the gentle words of Prospero to Ferdinand 
and to Miranda, who stand before his cell. He tells the 
young prince that if he has punished him too severely it 
is to be followed by an ample compensation in the gift 
of his daughter. He also says that the previous severe 
discipline was but a trial of his love, and adds that he 
(Ferdinand) has stood the test in an unexpected manner. 
He then gives some paternal advice to the happy pair and 
orders Ariel to prepare a suitable wedding entertainment 
such as will afford them a view of his (Prospero's) power. 

440 Our Book. 

Prospero then entertains Ferdinand and Miranda with 
a beautiful play gotten up by Ariel, in which the rural 
deities bear a leading part, but Juno also appears and 
pronounces her blessing, and Ceres does the same. This 
is really the marriage service, after which Ferdinand ex- 
claims : 

Let me live here ever ; 

So rare a wondered father and a wife 
Make this place paradise. 

Ariel's play continues, and the naiads and reapers join 
in a rustic dance, in the midst of which Prospero speaks 
and the scene suddenly vanishes. 

Prospero says (aside) that the conspiracy of Caliban 

and his confederates now demands his attention, and then 

turning to Ferdinand, exclaims : 

Our revels are now ended ; these our actors, 
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and 
Are melted into air — thin air; 
And like the baseless fabric of this vision, 
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, 
The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 
Yea, all which it inherit shall dissolve, 
And like this unsubstantial pageant faded, 
Leave not a rack behind. We are of such stuff 
As dreams are made of, and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep. 

Another Change. 

Prospero then informs Ariel that they must prepare to 
meet Caliban and asks where he left them? Ariel re- 
plies that they were " red-hot with drinking," and full of 
valor, but that he had led them by his music through 
briars and thorns that had pierced their shins, and at last 
he had left them neck deep in a filthy pool. Prospero 
commends Ariel's success, and then bids him go into his 
(Prospero's) dwelling for something gaudy as bait for 
them. Ariel brings in some glittering clothing and hangs 
it on a line. They then remain invisible while Caliban 

The Tempest. 441 

enters accompanied by Trinculo and Stephano. Caliban 
has brought them thither in order that they may kill 
Prospero while he is asleep, and he therefore says, " tread 
softly, we are near his cell." 

Both Trinculo and Stephano reeking in the slime of the 
pool bitterly rail at Caliban for their disgusting condition, 
but he tells them the benefit they are to receive will com- 
pensate. Trinculo then exclaims that they had lost their 
bottles in the pool. Caliban replies by asking Stephano 
to be quiet since they are at the very mouth of the cell 
which he (Stephano) must enter and do that murderous 
deed which will make him king of the island. Stephano 
avows his bloody purpose, but just then Trinculo spies 
the glittering apparel and calls "King Stephano " to see 
what a wardrobe is ready for him. Caliban expostulates 
and says he must do the murder first or Prospero will 
awake and torment them. Stephano however is so fasci- 
nated by the tinsel garments that lie replies, " be quiet, 
monster ! " and proceeds to strip the line of all but one 
garment left fur Caliban, who refuses it and says, " we 
shall lose our time," and then exclaims, "let it alone 
thou fool, it is only trash! " Stephano, however, orders 
him to carry it off or he will turn him out of his kingdom. 

In the midst of this scheme for plunder and murder, 
Prospero and Ariel appear with a number of spirits in the 
shape of hounds which chase the conspirators. Prospero 
says, " let them be hunted soundly," and then he adds, 
" at this hour, lie at my mercy all my enemies." 

The Last Act. 
The grand consummation now rapidly develops, and 
Prospero thus congratulates himself on approaching suc- 
cess : 

Now does my project gather to a head ; 
My charms crack not; my spirits obey; aud time 
Goes upright with his carriage. 

442 Our Book. 

lie then inquires of Ariel concerning the king of 
Naples and his attendants, and the reply is as follows : 

They cannot budge till you release. The king, 
His brother and yours — all three distracted; 
And the remainder mourning over them, 
Brimful of sorrow and dismay; 
If you beheld them your affections 
Would become tender. 

Prospero then asks, " Dost thou think so ?" and the re- 
ply is 

Mine would, sir, were I human. 

We now reach the finest point in the whole play, for 
Prospero has avowed his intention of a complete forgive- 
ness, which is thus beautifully expressed. 

And mine shall. 
Hast thou (which art but air) a feeling 
Of their afflictions — and shall not myself, 
One of their kind — be kindlier moved than thou? 

At the same time he has a clear and unabated sense of 

their crimes, for he adds : 

Though with their high wrongs I am struck to the quick, 
Yet with my nobler reason, gainst my fury 
Do I take part, — they, being penitent, 
The sole drift of my purpose doth extend 
Not a frown farther. Go release them, Ariel! 

While Ariel is gone to fulfil this grand act of mercy, 

Prospero seems overcome with a view of the termination 

of his supernatural powers. He is conscious that this gift 

having accomplished all for which it was bestowed, is 

now to be surrendered, and he, therefore, addresses a 

tender and touching farewell to the spirits which have 

served him — apostrophising thus : 

Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves, 
And ye that on the sands with printless foot 
Do chase the ebbing Neptune 
By my so potent art. 

He adds that after one more charm shall have been 
performed, he will renounce his magic. 

The Tempest. 443 

The charm referred to is performed when Ariel re-en- 
ters, bringing the good counselor, Gonzalo, and the false 
king, Alonso, with all the other wicked and conscience- 
smitten captives. Prospero then addresses each, begin- 
ning with a tribute to the counselor : 

Holy Gonzalo, honorable man ; 

My true preserver and a loyal sir 

To him thou follow'st, I will pay thy graces 

Both by word and deed. 

Then turning to the false king Alonso, he exclaims: 

Most cruelly 
Didst thou, Alonzo, use me and my daughter. 
Thy brother (Sebastian) was a furtherer in the act. 

Addressing the latter, 

Thou'rt pinched for it now, Sebastian. 

Then turning to his own brother, Antonio, the usurper 

Flesh and blood, 
Thou brother mine that entertained ambition, 
Expelled remorse and nature. Who with Sebastian, 
(Whose inward pinches therefore art most strong), 
Would here have killed your king — 
1 do forgive thee! unnatural though thou art. 

Prospero then more fully makes himself known by re- 
suming his costume as Duke of Milan, and then thus ad- 
dresses the false king of Naples : 

Behold, sir king, 
The wronged Duke of Milan, Prospero! 
For more assurance that a living prince 
Doth speak to thee, I embrace thy body, 
And to thee and thy company 
I bid a hearty welcome. 

As he says this, he embraces the false king, whose re- 
morse abates as these words of mercy are heard, and he 
exclaims — 

I do entreat 
Thou pardon me my wrong! 

Prospero then embraces the good counselor, Gonzalo, 
and next turning to his wicked brother, Antonio, and to 
the base confederate, Sebastian, he tells them that he 
could expose them to king Alonzo for their attempt to 

444 Our Book. 

murder him (the king) which he (Prospero) had foiled. 

Sebastian is so astonished to find his purpose exposed that 

he says (aside), li the devil speaks in him." 

Prospero then again addresses his false brother Antonio. 

For you most wicked sir, whom to call brother, 
Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive. 

The false king of Naples, whose great sorrow is the 
loss of his son, again refers to this crushing bereavement, 
when suddenly the door of Prosperous cell opens and they 
behold Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess. Ferdi- 
nand discerning his father comes forward and kneels to 
him in token of affection. A general astonishment per- 
vades the whole group. The false king asks concerning 
Miranda, and the son replies : 

Sir, she's mortal, 
But by immortal Providence she's mine. 

The astonished father is so overwhelmed by the good- 
ness of Prospero that he again attempts confession, but 

Prospero replies : 

There, stop, sir, 
Let us not burden our memories 
With a heaviness that's gone. 
The good counselor, Gonzalo, then pronounces a bene- 
diction thus : 

Look down, ye gods, 
And on this couple drop a blessed crown ; 
For 'tis you that have chalked the way 
Which brought us hither. 

Later on Gonzalo thus expresses his perception of the 

vast benefit derived from this strange series of occurrences: 

Was Milan thrust from Milan that his issue 
Should become King of Naples? O, rejoice 
Beyond a common joy, and set it down 
With gold on lasting pillars. In one voyage 
Did Claribel her husband find in Tunis 
And Ferdinand, her brother, found a wife 
Where he himself was lost; Prospero, his dukedom 
In a poor isle; and all of ourselves 
When no man was his own. 

The Tempest, 445 

Amid all these tender and touching congratulations 
Ariel enters with the boatswain and master of the ship, 
who report the vessel in as good condition as when they 
left port — this having been done by Ariel. The boat- 
swain then describes this shipwreck and adds it was all 
like a dream. The false king Alonzo — now repentant — 
exclaims : 

This is as strange a maze as e'er man trod, 
And there is in this business more than nature, 
Some oracle must rectify our knowledge. 

Prospero thus replies : 

Do not infest your mind with 

The strangeness of this business, 

A.t leisure I'll resolve you of 

These happy accidents — till when 

Be cheerful and think of each thing well. 

Prospero then gives another command to Ariel : 
Set Caliban and his companions free. 

Ariel then brings in Caliban, together with Trineulo 
and Stephano dressed in their stolen apparel. Prospero 
sarcastically addresses the latter " You'd be the king of 
the island, sirrah ! " then pardons the entire trio, which 
immediately makes its exit — prior to which, however 
Caliban promises obedience and says, "I will be wise 
hereafter and seek for grace." Prospero next invites the 
others to his cell where they will pass the night, promis- 
ing to unfold the history of this whole affair, and specially 
his life on the isle. He adds that to-morrow they will 
all sail for home, and that thenceforth every third thought 
will be his grave. Then he releases Ariel from all duty 
(except to assist in auspicious gales) and says as they 
part — " be free and fare thou well ! " 

The author's Purpose. 
It seems to me that Shakespeare must have deeply 
meditated on the Divine purpose in permitting evil, and 

446 Our Book. 

that he intended this drama as a partial elucidation of his 
views. It brings before us the apostolic precept : " Be 
not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good," 
and Prospero's treatment of the conspirators reminds one 
of Joseph and his brethren. The Tempest is, therefore, 
a dramatic sermon showing how God can turn the wick- 
edness of man to good account, and without abating its 
malignity can meet it with pardon. Mutual forgiveness 
is a natural consequence, and it would seem that Mac- 
rjady had fully mastered this lesson when he left on 
record the following utterance : " Never show hostility 
until you have the power to crush, and then use it only 
to prove a better nature than your antagonist." Macrcady 
was probably the most irritable play actor of his day, but 
he had some noble points of character. 

Other Aspects. 

To return to the Tempest, it may also be mentioned 
that Prospero is, in some points, a picture of Shakespeare 
himself in his latter days. See how domestic he has be- 
come ! He is a father protecting a daughter, and while 
willing to yield her up in wedlock, to her lover he adds 
kind yet penetrative warnings to the latter. The sustain- 
ing power of a daughter's affection is also manifest, as 
Prospero says to Miranda : 

O, a cherubim 
Thou wast that didst preserve me. 

The author's contemplated farewell to his life-work, is 
also suggested by Prospero's purpose : 

This rough magic 
I here abjure. I break my staff, 
And deeper than ever plummet sounded, 
I'll drown my book. 

The closing of life, indeed, seems suggested, not only 

The Tempest. 447 

by the fading of " the cloud-capped towers," but also in 
the words : 

And thence retire me to Milan, where 
Every third thought shall be my grave. 

In this sad and plaintive manner the great dramatist 
seems to resign his office as though conscious that his time 
was near at hand. True enough, he was soon afterward 
removed by sudden death on his fifty-second birthday 
(according to tradition), the date being April 16, 1616. 

The Epilogue. 
In Love's Labor Lost Shakespeare gives us his idea of 
the nature of such an address, for he calls it " an epilogue 
or discourse to make plain some obscure precedence 
that hath been said." It is evident, therefore, that the 
epilogue to the Tempest is to be viewed in this explana- 
tory character, and after the play is finished Prospero ap- 
pears and speaks as follows : 

Now my charms are all o'erthrown 
And what strength I have's mine own; 
Which is most faint: now 'tis true, 
I must be here confined by you, 
Or sent to Naples. Let me not 
Since I have my dukedom got, 
And pardon'd the deceiver dwell 
In this island — by your spell : 
But release me from my bauds 
With the help of your good hands. 
Gentle breath of yours, my sails 
Must fill, or else my project fails, 
Which was to please. Now I want 
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant, 
And my ending is despair, 
Unless I be relieved by prayer : 
Which pierces so that it assaults 
Mercy itself, and frees from faults. 
As you from crimes toould pardon'd be. 
Let your indulgence set me free. 

Personal Plea. 
Under this remarkable presentation of God's power to 
bring good out of evil there dwells the purpose of the 

448 Our Book. 

author to turn it to his own account as a personal plea. 
Being deeply conscious of sin he felt the need of full 
forgiveness. He bad as deeply wronged his wife and 
family as the usurper had wronged Prospero, and hence 
if the former was forgiven, he too might hope for mercy, 
both human and Divine. 

This most impressively recalls the epilogue which 
seems to clinch the point. I am much surprised that 
Richard Grant White should deny the authenticity of 
this epilogue, which in my opinion is the key note 
of the whole drama. White says "it was probably 
written by Ben Jonson." I mentioned this to Mr. Saun- 
ders, assistant librarian of the Astor library, as we were 
examining the edition of 1623, and he replied, " Ben 
Jonson never wrote it. It is Shakespeare's utterance. 
This is what Ben Jonson wrote," and he then pointed to 
the lines under Shakespeare's effigy, signed B. I. Mr. 
Saunders' profound acquaintance with old English litera- 
ture renders him better authority on this point than 
White, and if I err at all, I am certainly in good com- 

Shakespeare Speaks. 
Shakespeare, speaking through Prospero, seeks mercy 
and sympathy, being evidently conscious that life's work 
is done, and that his nights of genius are at an end. He 
deprecates the claims of justice, making Prospero to say, 
" I must be here confined — or sent to Naples." The 
first were imprisonment and the second banishment, and 
as Prospero deserved neither, it is evident that the poet is 
here speaking for himself. The plea that he has forgiven 
others is urged in his own behalf. His purpose, if life 
be prolonged, is to please — or live for others; but he 
feels his own deficiency. Then comes the awful view 

The Tkmpkst. 449 

which conscience reveals of the penalty of sin, to which 
is added the only hope that could afford relief : 

And my ending is despair, 
Unless I be relieved by prayer. 

And all the prevailing nature of the latter is power- 
fully shown by the lines that follow : 

Which pierces so that it assaults, 
Mercy itself and frees from faults. 

Then comes the appeal to all whom he may have in- 
jured, in view of their own need of pardon : 

As you from crimes would pardon'd be, 
Let your indulgence set me free. 

Such a plea as this can only be answered by full for- 
giveness, and it is evident that this was required in order 
to relieve conscience. Taking this view of the Tempest, 
how grand and solemn its lessons appear — and, reader, I 
now submit the question whether this interpretation does 
not clear up that mystery which some have found in 
its pages. 

Stage Performance. 

That the Tempest was but lightly esteemed in John- 
son's day is shown by the fact that it is not mentioned 
even once hy Boswell. 

It was first used as a musical entertainment, and the 
entire play was never performed until Macready brought 
it out in London, and then it had a very respectable run — 
as one may learn from the following extract from his 
diary, June 13, 1839 : 

The last night (the 55th) of the Tempest was crowded. I felt 
quite melancholy as we approached the end of the play. It had 
become endeared to me by success. I was called for and well 
received. I look back on its production with satisfaction, for it 
has given the public one of Shakespeare's plays which had never 
been seen before, and it has proved the charm of simplicity and 


450 Our Book. 

The Tempest has been played during several seasons in 
New York, and is also a favorite theme with some public 
readers. The first reference to it in this country I find 
in the travels of John Davis, who taught school in Vir- 
ginia in 1800. He found a copy of Shakespeare and 
taught a young maiden to read it. Here is his sketch of 
her success : 

I shall not easily forget the feeling with which my pupil read 
aloud that beautiful and natural scene in the Tempest where 
Miranda sympathises with Ferdinand who is bearing logs to Pros 
pero's cell. No seene can be more exquisitely tender, and no lips 
could give juster utterance to Miranda's words than those of my 
fair disciple. I was transported into fairy land. I was rapt in a 
delicious dream from which it was misery to be wakened — and 
what Ferdinand exclaimed on hearing the music of Ariel I applied 
in secret to the voice of my pupil : 

There is no mortal business, nor no sound 

That the earth owns. 

The teacher must have really been in love, and as he 
was obliged to leave for New York he carried with him 
this charming reminiscence. 


Why did not our forefathers call their chief legislative 
body "parliament" after the British custom? Why did 
they on the other hand use the word u congress " ? These 
queries have led me to consider the statement made by 
John Adams, "that there were four things which ensured 
the independence of the colonies. One was the public 
school and another was town meeting. The third was 
training day and the fourth was the congregational form 
of church government." I think that congress comes 
from the latter, for though the root be different, the ap- 
plication is the same. The ancient New England people 

National. 451 

"congregated" for church rule, and hence, when they 
met for national government they called it a Congress. 

The first Instance. 

In 1690 a committee of seven, representing Massa- 
chusetts Bay, Connecticut and New York met in New 
York, to form a combined effort against the French and 
Indians. This committee has sometimess been called a 
" congress," but seems hardly worthy of that name. 

The first real Congress was the assemblage ordered by 
the British government, which in 1753, became alarmed 
by the increasing influence of the French who obtained 
control of so many Indian tribes that they had becon e 
highly dangerous to British America. The home govern- 
ment, therefore, requested the provinces (or colonies) to 
appoint commissioners to meet in some place of their own 
choice, the object being to treat with the Indians, and 
the government in its message to the commissioners, 
speaks as follows : 

This leads us to recommend one thing more to your attention, 
and that is to take care that all the provinces be, if practicable, 
comprised in one general treaty to be made in his Majesty's name — 
it appearing that the practice of each province making a separate 
treaty in its own name is very improper. 

It is evident that a general union was first suggested 

° Co 

by the British, for though the New England colonies had 
at one time formed a union, it was only a temporary 
arrangement. In pursuance of this order the colonies 
appointed delegates and chose Albany as the place of 
meeting, giving preference to the summer because the 
roads were more available than at any other season. 

The Meeting. 
On the 19th of June, 1754, the Congress met in the 
Albany court-house, the number being twenty-three. 

452 Our Book. 

New York was represented by the regular colonial coun- 
cil, four in number, the most prominent being Johnson — 
afterwards Sir William. The other colonies were New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, Rhode Is- 
land, Pennsylvania and Maryland. 

The lirst business was to treat with the chiefs of the 
Six Nations, who were present, and a spirit of general 
amity was apparent. The speeches of the Indians and 
the replies of the Congress are preserved among the col- 
onial papers at Albany, and are certainly interesting. 

These being concluded, the Congress proceeded on 
the 24th of June to consider the proposal for a union. 
Plans were offered and referred to a committee of six, 
among whom were Stephen Hopkins, of Rhode Tsland, 
and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania. Four days 
afterwards this committee distributed short hints of its 
scheme and the next day (June 29th), the latter was de- 
bated, but without reaching a conclusion. July 2d the 
debate was renewed, and the question was proposed, shall 
we proceed to form a plan of union to be established by 
act of Parliament. This was carried in the affirmative, 
and on the 4th the debate was renewed. On the 10th 
Franklin reported a plan of union and this was read, one 
paragraph at a time, and each was debated, and the entire 
plan was eventually adopted. 

Franklin's Scheme. 
This was a grand council to be elected for three years, 
the number to be forty-eight. New York was to have 
four, and each of the Carolinas was to have the same 
number, but Connecticut was to have five, while Virginia 
and Massachusetts Bay were each to have seven. Vacan- 
cies by death were to be filled by the council, but the 
home government was to appoint a president-general. 

National. 453 

The council, however, was to elect its own speaker, who 
was to take the place of the president-general ad interim 
in case of the death of the latter. 

Philadelphia was to be the place of meeting, and the 
members were to receive ten shillings and mileage at the 
rate of one day for each, twenty miles, which was then a 
good day's travel. The council was empowered to raise 
troops and pay them, to build forts, to equip vessels, 
guard coasts and protect trade on ocean, lakes and rivers. 

Looking at the details of the session, it may be said 
that this " Congress " (which name it adopted) spent five 
days in Indian affairs (for which it had been assembled), 
while seventeen days were devoted to the plan of union. 
The latter did not become popular, for the colonies ob- 
jected to a president-general appointed by the crown, 
while the latter objected to giving so much power to the 
colonies. The Congress however was not a failure, for 
it led the public to contemplate a union which was after- 
wards accomplished in a far better manner. 

The second Congress. 

Eleven years afterward (March 22, 1765), the Stamp 
Act was passed and created intense excitement through- 
out America. The Massachusetts Legislature immedi- 
ately invited the other colonies to send delegates to a 
Congress to be held in New York on the first Tuesday in 
October, and as the act was to go into operation on the 
first of November, this measure was to utter a national 
protest. Hence, the meeting of the delegates was called 
the " Stamp Act Congress." 

The whole thirteen colonies spoke in this assemblage, 
for though New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina 
and Georgia sent no delegates, their Assemblies wrote 
that they would approve of the proceedings. This Con- 

454 Our Book. 

gress only numbered twenty-seven men, and was but 
fourteen days in session, but its proceedings were of vast 
importance, for it issued the first declaration of Ameri- 
can rights, and also delivered the united appeal of the 
colonies to the mother country. 

Distinguished Members. 

James Otis, the famous Boston orator, was a member, 
and so was Philip Livingston, who became one of the 
signers of the Declaration of Independence. Robert R. 
Livingston, another of its members, administered the 
inaugural oath to Washington in the very same building. 
This Congress issued a loyal address to the king, and also 
an elaborate petition to the House of Lords, and another 
to the House of Commons, but the effort was unavailing. 

These papers were dated October 19, 1765. Very 
strangely, on the 19th October, 1781, just sixteen years 
afterward, Cornwallis surrendered. It was nine years 
before another Congress met, but the federative principle 
had been established and could not be repressed. 

The Third. 
The third was what is commonly called " the old Col- 
onial Congress." It was held in Philadelphia, opening 
in September, 1774, and numbered fifty-live members, 
one of whom was George Washington. This Congress, 
like the previous one, issued a declaration of rights, and a 
protest against the unjust laws, and also a petition to the 
king and an address to the people of Great Britain, after 
which came the consideration of colonial affairs. The 
Continental Congress continued in service fifteen years, 
and was then superseded by our present form of govern- 
ment — from which our Congress is numbered. The 
reader will thus see the successive steps by which the 
American Congress became established. 

Remarkable Record. 455 

The youngest member of the stamp act congress really- 
left the most remarkable record. I refer to Robert R. 
Livingston, who then was only nineteen, arid had just 
graduated at King's (afterward Columbia) college. He 
became a New York lawyer and continued prominent as 
a patriot. He was a member of the Continental con- 
gress, and was one of the committee on the Declara- 
tion of Indpendence, which he would have signed had 
he not been previously called away by other duty. 
Congress afterward appointed him secretary of foreign 

He was member of the convention which framed the 
constitution of New York in 1777, and George Clinton, 
the first governor, appointed him chancellor of the State. 
In the fulfillment of this high office, he administered the 
official oath to Washington on the first inauguration. He 
was then forty-two, and the ceremony as I have said, took 
place in the same building which twenty-two years previ- 
ously contained the stamp act congress. Jefferson made 
him ambassador to France, and while there he purchased 
Louisiana of Napoleon. On his return home he assisted 
his son-in-law Robert Fulton, in his steamboat enter- 
prise, and it was his capital which enabled the latter 
to build the Clermont. He died two years before 
Fulton, and they rest in the same vault in Trinity church 

The Livingstons were a remarkable family, but 
none of the rest of them equaled this record. His 
brother Edward, however, was also distinguished in pro- 
fessional and also public life, and was also ambassa- 
dor to France under Jackson — whom he served as aide- 
de-camp at the battle of New Orleans, — but let us 
turn from these biographical sketches to the nation it- 

456 The First State Paper. 

The first paper which could in reality be called a 
" state paper," was issued by the Continental Congress on 
the 25th of October, 1774. It was in the form of an 
address to the king of Great Britain and was signed by 
Henry Middleton, president, " by order and on behalf of 
the congress." It was enclosed in a letter to Paul Went- 
worth, Benjamin Franklin, William Bollen, Arthur Lee, 
Thomas Life and Charles Gorth, who were acting as col- 
ony agents in London. It closed with the following 
solemn instructions : 

We commit the enclosed paper to your care. We desire that 
you will deliver the petition into the hands of his Majesty and 
after it has been presented we wish it maybe made public through 
the press, together with the list of grievances. 

Dr. Franklin, Mr. Bollen and Mr. Lee alone acted un- 
der these instructions. They carried the petition to 
Lord Dartmouth, by whom it was laid before the king. 
Happy would it have been for the latter had the griev- 
ances of the colonies been heard — but, the British gov- 
ernment was madly bent on coercion while the true 
policy would have been conciliation. 

The first treaty was made with France, February 6, 
1778, and was a treaty of alliance. The first treaty made 
after the organization of the government was that made 
with Great Britain, November 19, 1794, and was one of 
" peace, amity, commerce and navigation." 

Franklin's latest Happiness. 
Franklin lived to behold his idea of a president, more 
than realized in Washington the true president-general, 
being commander-in-chief of army and navy. He had 
indeed seen three methods of government attempted, but 
only the last was successful. First was the Albany plan, 
and next was the Articles of Confederation, which were 
a failure, except as preparation for something better. The 

National. 457 

third is our present government. He bore an important 
part in the first and last, which were separated by an 
interval of thirty-three years. 

Franklin affords an impressive example of greatest use- 
fulness accomplished in old age. He was seventy when 
he signed the Declaration of Independence ; seventy-two 
when he effected the alliance with France, and seventy- 
six when he signed the treaty of peace with Great Britain. 

When seventy-nine, he was elected president of Penn- 
sylvania, and at eighty-two he served in the Constitutional 
Convention. The election of Washington found him in a 
dying bed, but the news of the inauguration cheered his last 
hours, for he saw the fulfillment of his heart' s desire. 

Pensioners and Presidents. 
The proposition to pension our ex-presidents recalls the 
fact thai, some of this number were so poor that their re- 
duced condition awoke general sympathy. Monroe, for 
instance, was, during his last ten years, almost threatened 
with want. When his poverty became known a number 
of New York gentlemen proposed that he should be 
made postmaster of that city. To this proposition the 
ex-president made the following touching reply : 

As to my accepting the appointment it is impossible — not on 
account of the grade of the office, for I have accepted that of 
magistrate of this county — but on account of the consideration 
that I could only accept it with a view to emolument. 

If the nation is willing that an individual who has served them 
thus long and in the offices which I have held, should be reduced 
to want, (and I cannot escape that fate by my own efforts,) I am 
willing to meet it rather than accept any office to prevent it. 

The extremity of the ex-president's condition was met 

in the manner indicated by the following paragraph taken 

from Niles' Register, November 22, 1828 : 

A short time ago ex- President Monroe's family seat at Albe- 
marle was sold to pay his debts, and being reduced to a state of 
poverty he will make his home in New York with one of his 
daughters, who is married to Samuel L. Governeur. The latter 


453 Our Book. 

has been appointed postmaster of that city — a delicate compli- 
ment to the ex-president. 

It need hardly be added that Monroe died while still 
a guest with his son-in-law, on the 4th of July, 1831, 
being then seventy-three. 


The case of this distinguished patriot was precisely 
similar. He became so poor as to awaken an appeal to 
national sympathy. In May, 182G, a public meeting was 
held in New York for the purpose of raising funds in 
his behalf, and a similar meeting was held in Boston, 
The citizens of Washington planned a lottery for the 
purchase of Monticello (placing its value at $100,000), 
with a view of presenting it free of debt to its embarrassed 

It was then suggested by Niles' Register of May 16, 
1826, that tickets should be purchased immediately and 
held until the 4th of July, on which day they should be 
burnt "in honor of one who on that day 50 years before, 
pledged his life, his fortune and his sacred honor in de- 
fense of American independence. 1 ' This was a very 
beautiful idea, but on that very day designated for such 
an offering, the noble old patriot expired. 

Melancholy Picture. 

I offer in this connection the following letter written 

by Jefferson five months before his death, to his grandson. 

What a melancholy picture does it give of the last days 

of so illustrious a patriot: 

I see in the failure of my hopes a deadly blight on my peace 
of mind during my remaining days. You kindly encourage me 
to keep up my spirits, but oppressed with disease, debility, old 
age and embarrassment, this is difficult. For myself I should not 
regard the loss of fortune — but I am overwhelmed at the con- 
dition in which I shall leave my family — my dearly beloved 
daughter, the companion and nurse of my age, and her children. 

National. 459 

My difficulties have been occasioned in part by my own unskill- 
ful management and by my devoting my time to the service of 
the country, in addition to the depression of farming interests. 
I had hoped to pay my debts and retain Monticello; but where 
there are no buyers property, however great, is no security for the 
payment of debts — all may go for little or nothing. 

Perhaps, however, in this case I have no right to complain. I 
acknowledge that I have gone through a long life with less afflic- 
tion than is the lot of most men, and should this last request be 
granted, I may yet close with a cloudless sun, a long and serene 
day of life. 

Such is the utterance of the author of the Declaration 
of Independence in his eighty-fourth year. What an ex- 
ample of dignity and resignation! 

Washington's Inauguration. 

The crowd which witnessed the first inauguration in- 
cluded an unusual gathering of illustrious patriotism. 
The balcony of Federal Hall contained Baron Steuben, 
Roger Sherman and George Clinton — the war governor 
of our State during the Revolution — together with Col. 
Willett, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and others 
of distinction. John Adams, who had previously tak^n 
the oath as vice-president, stood on Washington's right 
and on the left was Robert Livingston. The latter, though 
chancellor of the State, was only forty-two, while Wash- 
ington was fifty-seven. Livingston was a native of New 
York, and was afterward minister to France, where he 
made the purchase of Louisiana. Fulton married his 
daughter, and thus obtained a patronage which carried 
the steamboat project into success. How remarkable that 
the man who on inauguration day administered the oath 
to Washington should be the means of launching the first 
really successful steamboat. Among those present were 
two subsequent presidents — John Adams and James 
Madison, and two others who afterward became vice- 
presidents, Aaron Burr and George Clinton. The ages 

460 Our Book. 

of the officers of the newly-formed government were as 
follows : The president, fifty-seven ; the vice-president, 
fifty-four ; secretary of war, Gen. Knox, thirty-nine ; 
secretary of the treasury, Hamilton, thirty-three ; John 
Jay, judge of the supreme court, forty-four, Jefferson, 
who soon afterward became secretary of state, was forty- 
six, while James Madison, then a member of Congress, 
was thirty-eight. What an historic assemblage! 

Reminiscences of the Occasion. 

Washington was a man of profound feelings and hence 
the memories suggested by his inauguration must have 
been of an intense character. Within stone cast were the 
ruins of old Trinity, destroyed during the conflagration, 
which occurred so soon after the hurried retreat of 
the Continental army, and the new church was hardly com- 
pleted. Within its precincts was the grave of Lord Stir- 
ling, one of the ablest of American generals, who died 
the next year after the close of the Revolution. Put- 
nam, another of the heroes of Long Island, and the oldest 
of the generals, then lay on a dying bed, and so did the 
venerable Franklin. The death of these illustrious pa- 
triots indeed gave deep solemnity to the first year of the 
presidency. While men die, however, principles live. 
Washington occupied a house in the aristocratic vicinity 
of Cherry street, which is now one of the lowest parts of 
the city. The vice-president chose Richmond Hill, which 
afterward was owned by Aaron Burr. Hamilton lived 
in Cedar street, while General Knox, secretary of war 
lived in William street, and Jefferson in Maiden Lane. 

The new government was formed by married men, and 
their wives were of a high order of ability. Mrs. Ham- 
ilton was a daughter of Gen. Schuyler, and inherited rare 
mental and moral qualifications. Mrs. Aaron Burr had 

National . 461 

sufficient talent and influence to command her husband's 
respect, but was removed by death a few years afterward. 
Mrs. Washington needs no additional reference. Mrs. 
Adams was a woman of extraordinary ability. Jefferson 
had a few years previously lost a noble-hearted companion 
— a bereavement which he felt through life — and he 
died a widower. 

Washington's Namesakes. 
The first man named after the father of his country 
was Washington Alston, who was born on the 5th of No- 
vember, 1779. His father being an ardent admirer of 
the patriot general, called the babe after the latter, who 
certainly had no reason to be ashamed of his namesake 
Three years afterward another babe was honored in the 
same manner, and became Washington Irving. As a 
general thing, however, few of those who bore this name 
have reached distinction — the most prominent of the 
number being the liberal and enterprising editor, George 
W. Childs. There was also Washington Hunt, who be- 
came governor of New York, but these are among the 
few exceptions to the rule. Concerning the names of 
places, it may be said that when the present national cap- 
ital was laid out it was simply designated as " the federal 
city." President Washington attended to its survey, and 
his name was given to it a few years afterward. 

Washington City Projected. 
One of the most interesting paragraphs in the New 
York Daily Advertiser, April 13, 1791 — when Phila- 
delphia was the national capital — is the announcement 
that " the president had arrived at George Town in order 
to meet the commissioners for locating the federal city. 
He had obtained the promise for four thousand acres, sur- 
passed by no spot on earth. He had instructed Col. 

462 Our Book. 

L'Enfant, who served with distinction during the Revo- 
lution, and whose tastes and talents are generally admired, 
to plan and lay out the city." In this simple paragraph 
we have the germ of the present national capital. The 
name of the latter had not then been chosen, but some 
time before Washington's death it was decided to give 
him 1 1 lis honor. 

Howard and Washington. 

While Great Britain was trying to conquer the colo- 
nies, John Howard was conducting a good right against 
the abuses of the prison system. He was of the same 
age with Captain Cook, each having just passed their 
fiftieth year. It was on the 18th of April, 1778, that 
Howard started on his extensive European tour. Having 
spent the five previous years in reforming the condition 
of the British prisons, he devoted himself to that broader 
field found in the different kingdoms of Europe. This 
series of labors he continued for twelve years, when he 
died at Kherson, on the Black Sea, near Sebastopol, hav- 
ing fallen a victim to the plague in an attempt to dis- 
cover a remedy for that terrible scourge. 

These facts show that even amid the horrors of war 
the tenderest sympathies may be exerted, while science 
may at the same time accomplish its benign mission. 

Howard and Washington were the noblest men of that 
age, and the scenes which revive the memory of the one 
may also be of use to suggest afresh the equally beautiful 
memory of the other. It may be also said that there has 
been in regard to these two men an international ex- 
change of a very peculiar and exceptional character. 
Washington became the admiration of the patriotism of 
both Great Britain and Europe, while the name of How- 
ard to this day enjoys special honor amid the philan- 
thropy of America. 

National. 463 

These men attained each a grand success in the midst 
of perplexing obstacles by devotion to the duty which 
had been laid upon them. They were simply faithful, 
each to a great cause, and it is in this view that their 
examples possess so high a value. 

The Signers of the Declaration. 

In the committee that framed the Declaration the south 
was represented by Jefferson, the middle states by Frank- 
lin and Livingston, and the north and east by Sherman 
and Adams. We have reason to believe that the first and 
the last mentioned of this committee had never met until 
the convening of congress. They harmonized at once, 
for both had been schooled in free opinions. Adams was 
senior by eight years, but was much older in experi- 

The signers were men of mature years, and two-thirds of 
the whole number were more than forty. The oldest w r as 
Benjamin Franklin, who was seventy ; the youngest was 
Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, who was but twenty- 
six. The oldest live were Philip Livingston, sixty ; Mat- 
thew Thornton, sixty-two ; Francfs Lewis, sixty-three ; 
Francis Hopkins, sixty-nine ; and Franklin, who was a 
year older. The youngest five next to Rutledge w r ere 
Thomas Lynch, twenty -seven; Benjamin Rush, thirty-one; 
while Thomas Jefferson, Arthur Middleton and Thomas 
Stone were each thirty -three ; John LTancock, the presi- 
dent of congress, was thirty -nine. 

The first to sign after the president was Josiah Bart- 
lett, a physician, who was forty-seven. Francis Lewi* 
w as a Welshman. Robert Morris and Button Gwinnet 
were from England. James Wilson and John Wither- 
spoon were of Scottish birth, while Ireland furnished 
Matthew Thornton, George Taylor and James Smith. 

464 Dying too Soon. 

How sad to contemplate this grand array as among the 
dead, and then to think that six of the number, more than 
one- tenth of the whole, expired before the close of the 
struggle. They never saw the acknowledgment of that 
independence for which they had made so solemn a pledge. 
This number includes John Morton, who only lived ten 
months after affixing his signature, and Philip Livingston 
who died while in Congress in 1778. He had also served 
in the Stamp Act Congress. Thomas Lynch, was lost at 
sea in 1779, being then only twenty -nine. The same 
year George Ross died, aged forty-nine. John Hart died 
in 1780, and George Taylor in 1781. 

Three of the signers died in 1790, and the same num- 
ber in 1803. Two died the same day — Adams and Jef- 
ferson — that being the fiftieth anniversary of the national 
birthda\\ Josiah Bartlett was first to introduce the use 
of Peruvian bark (from which quinine is made), and this 
certainly is an additional point of distinction. One of 
the number — George Wyeth of Virginia — died by ac- 
cidental poison. He was a man of marked ability, and 
had reached the ripe age of fifty at the time of signing. 
He lived to see four-score, when his life was terminated 
in the above-mentioned manner. Eleven of the number 
lived to see eighty or more, and John Adams reached 
ninety, while William Ellery lived to ninety-two, and 
Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, died at ninety-five. 

The average of the fifty-six signers at the time of 
death was sixty years — a fact which shows that a healthy 
and well-preserved body of men formed the congress of 
1776. Another feature is the uniform excellence of the 
handwriting, and it will not be easy to find in any repre- 
sentative body an equal proportion of well-written names. 
Charles Carroll was the richest of all the signers, and as 
he held the most extensive of all manorial grants in 

National. 465 

Maryland there was to him a deep meaning in the expres- 
sion " our fortunes " as well as our " sacred honor." 

Statesman and Parson. 

There was one clergyman in this Congress —John 
Witherspoon — whose influence was of a very powerful 
character. He was a man of both talent and education, 
and naturally carried great weight. In addition to this 
he was president of Princeton College. This institution 
being closed by the war, he entered public life and did 
good service as a congressman. Witherspoon, like Mc- 
Cosh, was called to his duty from across the Atlantic. 
He was preaching in Scotland at the time of his election 
and bad only been eight years in America when he signed 
the Declaration. 

Interesting Reunion. 
Benjamin Franklin and Francis Hopkins were the two 
oldest and they were united by memories of a stirring 
character. They were members of the Albany congress, 
where a union of the colonies were first planned. After 
a lapse of twenty-two years, they meet in a congress of 
vastly more important character — one indeed which not 
only renewed the plan of union, but established national 
government. Hopkins was in public life for half a cen- 
tury (in Rhode Island), and he was the first of the signers 
to pass away after witnessing the triumph of the cause. 
He died in 1785. 

The fiest Anniveesary. 
The Fourth of July, 1777, found Washington and his 
army in ^New Jersey skirmishing with the British gen- 
erals — Howe and Cornwallis — and wearing them with 
his Fabian tactics. During the year just passed he had 

been defeated in a terrible manner at Long Island, and 

4r,6 Our Book. 

had won two encouraging victories — Trenton and Prince- 
ton. The second anniversary — July 4, 1778 — found 
Washington victor in a battle fought less than a week 
previously at Monmouth. On that day a court martial 
was organized with Lord Stirling as president, for the 
trial of General Lee, who was accused of miscon- 
duct on the field, and also with disrespect toward his 

The third anniversary occurred when Washington and 
the Continental forces were encamped near West Point, 
and the general was then planning the attack on Stony 
Point, which Wayne stormed at the point of the bayonet 
eleven days afterward. On the fourth anniversary — 
July 4, 17S0 — the army had just accomplished severe 
service in New Jersey, and Washington was at Dobbs 
Ferry, twenty -five miles from New York, expecting soon 
to be reinforced by the French allies under Count Ro- 
chainbeau. The next Fourth — 1781 — Washington and 
Lafayette were making a reconnoissance of New York 
for the purpose of expelling the British, who had held it 
during the war. They were on the Westchester Heights, 
and might really have captured the city, had not their 
attention been called to Yorktown, which offered a more 
brilliant success, and within four months the army of 
Cornwallis had surrendered. 

We thus perceive that the Fourth has been connected 
in the military life of the " great liberator" with stirring 
events, and this has since been noticeable in the history of 
our country. Two ex-presidents of eminent distinction 
— John Adams and Thomas Jefferson — died on one of 
these anniversaries, and another, ex-President Monroe, 
subsequently on a similar occasion. During the rebellion 
the Fourth of July was celebrated in the army by salutes 
lired from shotted guns pointed toward the enemy. The 

Natio'nal. 467 

capture of Vicksburg by Grant occurred July 4, 1863, 
while the battle of Gettysburg was almost coincident 
with the same glorious anniversary. 

Hancock's Eloquence. 
Previous to the Re volution, the citizens of Boston 
solemnly observed the anniversary of what was called 
the " Boston massacre." This occurred on the 5th of 
March, 1770, and created such deep indignation, that it 
soon found utterance in the boldest defiance. In 1774, 
John Hancock, then a Boston merchant, was the orator 
of the occasion, and when one recalls the fact that he was 
still a subject of the king % and also that a British gov- 
ernor ruled in Boston, sustained by a large body of troops, 
it may be considered a rare instance of bearding the lion 
in his den. The oration was printed, and I give the 
reader a series of extracts which show the power of Plan 
cock's unpolished oratory : 

Let this sad tale of death never be told without a tear, and let 
all America join in prayer that the inhuman, unprovoked murder 
may ever stand without a parallel. But let not the miscreant host 
vainly imagine that we fear their arms. No! Them we despise. 
We dread nothing but slavery. Death is the creature of a pol- 
troon's brain. 'Tis immortality to sacrifice ourselves to the salva- 
tion of our country. Let us be ready to take the field when 
danger calls. Kemember, my friends, from whom you sprung. 
I conjure you by all that is dear — by all that is honorable, by 
all that is sacred, that ye not only pray, but act — that if neces- 
sary, ye fight and even die. Break in sunder the bonds with 
which the Philistines have bound you. I have the most animated 
confidence that the present noble struggle for liberty will termi- 
nate gloriously for America. 

Little more than two years afterward this very orator 
was the first man to sign the Declaration of Independence. 
Hancock was not bred to public life. He was as I have 
said, a Boston merchant, and being the richest man in the 
entire colony, met the risks of patriotism in every possi- 
ble shape. If, however, the Boston people were the first 

468 Ouk Book. 

to celebrate public occasions, the south led in the observ- 
ance of the Fourth. 

The first Oration. 

The first celebration of the Fourth took place in Charles- 
ton in 1778 — a time when independence was a matter of 
great uncertainty, and Dr. Ramsay was the orator. Rain- 
say was a man of more than ordinary ability. He was an 
esteemed physician an orator, a member of the first con- 
gress, and also wrote a history of America. He married 
a daughter of Henry Laurens, the distinguished patriot 
and pioneer in cremation. Immediately after the close 
of the Revolution the celebration of Independence Day 
became a national custom. 

Speaking of Mrs. Ramsay, it may be said that 6he was 

educated in England, and was living there when the 

Revolution begun. Being reduced to self-dependence 

her father wrote her thus : 

My love for you constrains me to give you timely notice. Pre- 
pare to earn your bread by daily labor. Fear not servitude; en- 
counter it if it shall be necessary, with a spirit becoming a woman 
of an honest and pious heart. 

Reader, if such had not been the spirit of 1776, inde- 
pendence would never have been won. 

Washington Libelled. 
Some reckless writers of recent appearance have striven 
to command attention by detracting from Washington, 
and among these is McMaster, who seems determined to 
make sensation by the flippant and very incorrect way in 
which he speaks of America's noblest character: 

He [Washington] died in his sixty-eighth year, and in the hey- 
day of his glory and his fame. Time has since dealt gently with 
his memory, and he has come to us as the greatest of all leaders, 
and the most immaculate of all men. No other face is so familiar 
to us. His name is written all over the map of our country. We 

National. 409 

have made of his birthday a uational feast. The outlines of his 
biography are known to every schoolboy in the land. Yet his 
true biography is still to be prepared. 

General Washington is known to us and President Washington. 
But George Washington is an unknown man. When at last he is 
set before us in his habits as he lived, we shall read less of the 
cherry tree and more of the man. Naught, surely, that is heroic 
will be omitted, but side by side with what is heroic will appear 
much that is common-place. 

We shall behold the great commander repairing defeat with 
marvelous celerity, healing the dissensions of his officers and calm- 
ing the passions of his mutinous troops. But we shall also hear his 
oaths and see him in those terrible outbursts of passion to which 
Air. Jefferson has alluded, one of which Mr. Lear has described. 
We shall see him refusing to be paid for his services by congress, 
and yet exacting from the family of the poor mason the shilling 
that was his due. We shall know him as a cold and forbidding 
character, with whom no fellow man ever ventured to live on 
close and familiar terms. 

Brief Reply. 

The " historian " who says that " George Washington 
is an unknown man " can hardly expect either the respect 
or confidence of his readers. From his death down to the 
present time Washington has heen explored by biogra- 
phers who have spared no effort to obtain facts. Weems 
had his Life of Washington out within three months 
after the old hero's death, and then came Marshall, Botta, 
Sparks, Irving and Everett. 

Aside from his public life we have the proof that Wash- 
ington was a good brother, a good son, and a good hus- 
band, and we all know that home is the best place to test 
character. In his twentieth year he became nurse and at- 
tended on his half-brother Lawrence, whom he accom- 
panied to Barbadoes — this being his only marine voyage. 
He took care of Lawrence three months, but the latter 
was in a hopeless condition, and only returned home 10 

As a son, Washington's first act after election to the 
presidency was a visit to his aged mother (who lived at 

470 Our Book. 

Fredericksburg), and it proved to be their last meeting 
on earth. A public dinner was given him at the same 
time at Alexandria and this "cold and forbidding char- 
Meter " spoke as follows : 

Just having bidden adieu to my domestic connections, this ten- 
der proof of your friendship is but too well calculated to awaken 
still further my sensibility and increase my regret at parting from 
the enjoyment of private life. All that now remains for me is t<> 
commit myself and you to the care of that beneficent Being who 
has happily brought us together after a long and distressing sepa- 

Perhaps the same gracious Providence will again indulge me. 
But words fail me. Unutterable sensations must be left to more 
expressive silence, while with an aching heart I bid all my affec- 
tionate friends and kind neighbors farewell. 

It is highly probable that McMaster never read the 
above address and hence may be excused on the ground 
of ignorance. He might perhaps be allowed such a plea 
were it not that his conceit is indulged in such sneers as 
the following : " We shall read less of the cherry tree and 
more of the man." McMaster knows that the cherry 
tree is a fable and is never mentioned in any respectable 
history. It was inrented by Parson Weems who was as 
untrustworthy as McMaster himself. "We shall also 
hear his oaths and see him in those terrible outbursts of 
passion to which Jefferson has alluded." 

Those Oaths. 

Irving says that " Washington inherited from his mother 
a high temper and a spirit of command, but her early pre- 
cepts and example taught him to govern that temper, and 
to square his conduct on the exact principle of equity and 

The reader is probably aware that " high temper " is a 
prominent feature in all men of power. It is, in fact, as 
necessary to man as it is to steel, and it only becomes 
dangerous when it exceeds control. 

National. 471 

Washington's high temper gave him nerve and energy, 
and we have but two instances on record of " terrible 
outbursts." One was when reprimanding Lee for his 
cowardice in the Held of Monmouth, where, as Lafayette 
said, "the aspect of the commander was terrible." No 
oaths, however, are mentioned, and there is no proof that 
Washington ever used profane language. 

The other " outburst " took place in the executive cham- 
ber at Philadelphia, and Lear, the private secretary, was 
the sole witness. The occasion was the defeat of St. Clair 
by the Indians, and the massacre of a large part of his army. 
Lear gives us the following description of the scene, 
which, in reality, is not one of profanity, but of agony : 

The general walked slowly backward and forward for some 
minutes in silence. As yet there had been no change in his man- 
ner. Taking a seat on the sofa, by the fire, he told Mr. Lear to sit 
down ; the latter had scarce time to notice that he was extremely 
agitated, when he broke out suddenly: "It's all over! St. Clair 
defeated ! Routed ! The officers nearly all killed ; the men by 
wholesale; the rout complete; too shocking to think of, and a 
surprise into the bargain ! 

All this was uttered with great vehemence. Then, 
pausing and rising from the sofa, he walked up and down 
the room in silence, violently agitated, but saying noth- 
ing. When near the door he stopped short, stood still 
for a few moments, then there was another explosion : 

11 Yes,'' exclaimed he. "Here, on this very spot, I took leave 
of him; I wished him success and honor. You have your instruc- 
tions from the secretary of war," said I, " and I will add but one 
word : Beware of a surprise ! You know how the Indians fight us. 
I repeat it : ' Beware of a surprise ! ' He went off with that, my 
last warning ringing in his ears. And yet, to suffer that army to 
be cut to pieces, hacked, butchered, tomahawked by surprise — 
the very thing I guarded him against — O, God ! O, God !" exclaimed 
he, throwing up his hands, and while his frame shook with emo- 
tion: " He is worse than a murderer! How can he answer to his 
country ! The blood of the slain is upon him ; the curse of widows 
and orphans — the curse of heaven ! " 

Mr. Lear remained speechless; awed into breathless 

472 Our Book. 

silence by the appalling tones in which the torrent of in- 
vective was poured forth. The paroxysm passed by. 
Washington sat down on the sofa ; he was silent ; appa- 
rently uncomfortable, as if conscious of the ungovernable 
burst of passion which had overcome him. "This must 
not go beyond this room," said he; "I looked hastily 
through the dispatches, saw the disaster, but not all the 
particulars. I will receive him without displeasure ; I 
will hear him without prejudice ; he shall have full j ustice." 
The way in which McMaster quotes Jefferson in proof 
of Washington's high temper naturally leads one to sup- 
pose that the former had witnessed some extraordinary 
outbreak. Instead of this, however, Jefferson's testimony 
is limited to a brief sentence which, had McMaster been 
candid, he would have published and then left the reader 
to form his own conclusion. The sentence above referred 
to occurs in Jefferson's letter to Dr. Jones on Washing- 
ton's character, from which I quote as follows : 

He was indeed, in every sense of the word, a wise, a good 
and a great man. His temper Was naturally irritable and high 
toned, but reflection and resolution had obtained a firm and 
habitual ascendancy over it. If, however, it broke its bounds he 
was most tremendous in his wrath. 

That is all that Jefferson says about temper, and I sub- 
mit to the reader whether it be a sufficient basis for the 
impression which McMaster's words would naturally leave 
on the public mind. Jefferson adds in the same letter 
the following statement : 

His character was in its mass perfect; in nothing bad; in few 
points indifferent, and it may be truly said that never did nature 
and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great. 

Some Instances. 
How very inconsistent with the " cold and forbidding 
character" mentioned by McMaster was Washington's 
conduct toward his fallen enemy at Trenton. The latter 

National. 473 

(Colonel Eahl) had received a mortal wound and lay dying 
at a neighboring farm-house. Notwithstanding the hurry 
of the occasion, every moment being required to get away 
with the prisoners, Washington called on the dying man 
and (through an interpreter) expressed his sympathy. It 
was a scene worthy of an artist. 

Another instance, which occurs nine years afterward, 
may be mentioned as an illustration of the "cold and for- 
bidding character." Elkanah Watson, who was one of 
the projectors of the Erie canal, visited Mount Vernon 
in 1785. He had a severe cold, and after going to bed, 
suffered a severe attack of coughing. " When some time 
had elapsed," he writes, "the door of my room was 
gently opened and I beheld Washington himself with a 
bowl of hot tea in his hand." 

A very marked instance of Washington's kindness is 
found in his reply to Phyllis Wheatley, the colored prodigy 
of Boston, who sent him a page of complimentary* verses. 
Some military leaders would have thrown them into the 
fire, and under such a pressure even Washington would 
have been excused had he done this. Such, however, 
was not his character. He wrote the girl a letter of 
thanks, and did not seem to think less of her poetry be- 
cause its author was an African. 

The poem referred to is chiefly interesting as the first 
of those innumerable poetic effusions in honor of Wash- 
ington. It closes thus : 

Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side, 
Thy every action let the goddess guide ; 
A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine, 
With gold unfading, Washington! be thine. 

The letter of acknowledgment was as follows : 

Cambridge, February 2, 1776. 
Miss Phyllis : 

Your favor of the 23d October, did not 1 reach my hands until 
the middle of December. Time enough you will say, to have 


Our Book. 

given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of important 
occurrences continually interposing to distract the mind and 
withdraw the attention, I hope will apologize for the delay, and 
plead my exeuse for the seeming but not real neglect. I thank 
you most sincerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant 
lines you enclosed; and however undeserving I may be of such 
encomiums and panegyric, the style and manner exhibit a striking 
proof of your poetical talents; in honor of which, and as a tribute 
justly due to you, I would have published the poem, had I not 
been apprehensive that, while I only meant to give the world 
this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the im- 
putation of vanity. This, and nothing else, determined me not 
to give it place in the public prints. If you should ever come to 
Cambridge, or near headquarters, I shall be happy to see a person 
so favored by the muses, and to whom nature has been so liberal 
and beneficent in her dispensations. 

I am, with great respect, your obedient, humble servant, 

George Washington. 


How strange it seems that the above should have been 
written to a native of Africa, who only a few years pre- 
viously had been purchased in the Boston slave market — 
having been selected by Mrs. Wheatley on account of her 
delicate appearance. 

National. 475 

Now in regard to that " poor family" from which, as 
McMaster says, Washington exacted the shilling that was 
his due, I say let us have the details of the whole affair. 
If McMaster has discovered such parsimony the public 
has a right to know of it, and if the facts be not pro- 
duced McMaster cannot complain if he be considered a 
libeller of America's noblest citizen. 

Washington and Jefferson. 

The bitterness which Jefferson exhibited toward Wash- 
ington was one of the most painful trials that befell the 
father of his country. It is true after the retirement of 
the latter the breach was healed, but Washington, though 
he forgave never forgot the wounds he received from one 
of whom he expected friendship. Jefferson was the 
leader in the opposition which Washington endured all 
through his presidential service. He employed Philip 
Freneau to assail the president in the National Gazette, 
and as that paper did not afford its editor a support he 
supplemented it by a clerkship. Jefferson afterward re- 
gretted his conduct, and probably a reproachful conscience 
led him not only to publish his testimony in favor of 
Washington, but also to seek the friendship of John 
Adams, who had endured the full force of the same 
antagonism. Twenty years afterward Jefferson showed 
his change of feelings by sending a congratulatory letter to 
Adams on the election of his son to the presidency. This 
was certainly a kindly expression of friendship, and the 
two former rivals thus became reconciled. 

Biographers of Washington. 
These men exhibit a great variety in birthplace, educa- 
tion and ability, and the fact that their number is pre- 
cisely that of the muses, is in harmony with the idea of a 


Our Book. 

grand completeness. The series begins with Mason Lee 
Weems — a poverty-stricken parson who preached at 
Poliick — but his parish included Mount Vernon. To 
eke out a support he not only turned author but also book 
agent, and is the earliest of the last-mentioned class on 
record. As soon as Washington died Weems determined 
to write his life and worked with such rapidity that it 
was published in less than three months after the old 
hero's funeral. It was, however, only a pamphlet of 
eighty-two pages, which was afterward enlarged to a re- 
spectable volume. It was published on the 22d of Feb- 
ruary, 1800, with the following title: 

A history of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of Gen. 
George Washington, faithfully taken from authentic documents 
and respectfully offered to the perusal of his countrymen; as also 
all others who wish to see human nature in its most finished form. 
Price twenty -five cents. By the Rev. M. L. Weems. Printed for 
the author. 


The pamphlet was dedicated to Mrs. Washington and 
found ready sale, for Weems canvassed the country act- 
ively, and was well rewarded for his labors. Eleven edi- 
tions were sold in ten years, and each edition was enlarged 
until the book reached its present gige. 

National. 477 

It is to Weems' imagination that we owe the story of 
the cherry tree and the little hatchet, together with many 
other ridiculous fictions which, being of less interest, have 
not been so frequently published. Weems died in 1825. 
lie was an old man and had survived all the friends of 
Washington and also his own associates, but he lived to 
see his own name immortalized as the author of the little 


The contrast between the first and second biographers was 
one of striking character. In place of the driveling parson 
we have the exact and careful lawyer. In addition to this, 
however, was the experience of the statesman and also of 
the soldier. Marshall indeed served in the Continental 


army and afterward was honored with important appoint- 
ments both at home and abroad. He was member of 
congress at the time of Washington's death, and his reso- 
lutions on the occasion included the project of a monu- 

478 Our Book. 

Such a man could only be disgusted with Weems' bom- 
bast, and this no doubt led him to write a biography of 
more suitable character. His efforts, however, were, to a 
large degree, devoted to defending Washington's admin- 
istration, which had been so bitterly assailed. The w T ork 
appeared six years after Weems', but it was too expensive 
for the common people, and hence he afterward condensed 
it to less than one-half its original size, but even then it 
did not reach a wide circulation. 

Marshall's work was afterward condensed by Aaron 
Bancroft — father of George Bancroft — one volume of 
which appeared two years after the publication of the 
original. Aaron Bancroft did some useful work as an 
historian, but the above-mentioned volume is not included 
among the biographies of Washington. 

Botta and Sparks. 

An Italian living in France — a man of both education 
and ability — knowing the popularity of the American 
cause, published in 1 809 such a history of the Revolution 
as could be written in Paris. It was highly popular and 
was soon after translated by an American and published 
in this country. Botta really intended it as a life of 
Washington and no doubt omitted this title to avoid any 
contrast between the American liberator and Napoleon. 
The latter however, did take offense at some things 
which seemed to be criticisms on the imperial rule and 
made known his displeasure, though it was not followed 
by any dangerous consequences. 

The next biographer was Jared Sparks, a native of 
Connecticut and a Unitarian preacher, who cultivated lit- 
erature as well as pulpit oratory, and eventually gave the 
former full preference. Twenty years had elapsed since 
the appearance of Marshall's biography, when Sparks is- 

"Washington's Biographers. 479 

sued the writings of George Washington with his life. 
This work at once became authority, but the compiler 
was afterward charged with altering the old hero's lan- 
guage in order to keep up his dignity. Sparks' Life of 
Washington was intended to be an accompaniment of 
the correspondence and is to be viewed in this light. 

Paulding and Irving. 

These men were intimate during life, but though the 
former had an acknowledged rank in literature, he never 
dreamed of rivalling the latter. Paulding wrote a life 
of Washington for youth, in which he avoided Weems' 
fables, and sought to interest his youthful readers by sim- 
ple truth. J. T. Headley published a very readable life 
of Washington, and Lossing also produced a work of 
highly popular character on the same subject. 

Irving — following so many able writers — made no 
claim to originality, his great object being historical accu- 
racy. His style is more readable than any of his prede- 
cessors, and the work is pervaded with a glow of enthu- 
siasm which immediatly awakens the ardor of the reader. 


Edward Everett's dignity and elegance give him a pe* 
culiar distinction. lie was the latest to handle the sub- 

480 Our Book. 

jeet, and thus the first and last biographers present a 
striking contrast — the one the garrulous, exaggerating 
rhapsodist — and the other the most elegant and finished 
author of his day. Everett's address on Washington, 
which was delivered so often for the benefit of the Mount 
Yernon Association, is no doubt the finest specimen of 
writing in the English language, and to this he added a 
biography which appeared in separate shape. 

Such are the nine biographers of Washington, and the 
work may now be considered finished — especially as they 
have been so admirably supplemented by Henry Cabot 

Washington Monument. 

Now that this stupendous shaft is completed it may be 
well to recall its origin. Washington died on Saturday, 
December 14, 1799. When this sad event was announced 
in congress a committee was appointed to devise a suitable 
expression of feeling, and John Marshall (afterward chief 
justice) was chairman. His report (which was unani- 
mously adopted) proposed a funeral oration at one of the 
churches and also the wearing of crape for thirty days, 
but a more important feature was as follows : 

Resolved, By the senate and house of representatives of the 
United States of America, that a marble monument be erected by 
the United States at the capitol in the city of Washington, and 
that the family of Gen. Washington, be requested to permit his 
body to be deposited under it, and the monument be so designed as 
to commemorate the great events of his military and political life. 

To Chief Justice Marshall we are therefore indebted 
for the first suggestion of the Washington monument. 
A copy of these resolutions was sent to Mrs. Washington, 
but it was her preference that the remains of her husband 
should rest in the family tomb, and this is the only reason 
why they did not finally repose in the national capitol. 

Washington in New York. 481 

During the Revolution "Washington was but a short 
time in that city. In fact, New York was at first identi- 
fied with defeat. He went thither after driving the 
British out of Boston in March, 1776, and remained in 
its vicinity six months, being extremely desirous of hold- 
ing so important a sea port. His headquarters were at 
Richmond Hill — then far out of town. On the 9th of 
July the Declaration of Independence was received from 
Philadelphia, and was read at the head of the Continental 
army, and the bells of the churches (nineteen in number) 
were rung in honor of the event. 

In three weeks this army crossed to Brooklyn, and 
marched four miles to repel a force just landed from the 
British fleet, and on the 26th of August, 1776, it was 
defeated with great slaughter and almost routed. Wash- 
ington escaped with the survivors, recrossed to New York, 
retreated to the upper part of the city, and narrowly 
escaped capture, while two thousand of his men surren- 
dered at the extreme end of the island — the place being 
now known as Fort Washington. 

He forsook the city in September and entered upon 
that series of terrible reverses which are so dark a page 
in Revolutionary history. Seven years afterward he re- 
entered the city with his triumphant army, having accom- 
plished the great end of the war, and the British who 
once had driven him out now peacefully yielded posses- 
sion. After the evacuation, which took place on Novem- 
ber 25, 1783, Washington remained but ten days, going 
thence to Annapolis, where he resigned to congress his 
commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental 
army. Nearly six years afterward (April, 1789), he came 
back to the city as the president of the new republic, and 
on the 30th of that month he was inaugurated. The 
ceremony took place on the balcony of Federal hall, which 

482 Our Book. 

stood on the spot now occupied by the treasury, cornel 
Wall and Nassau streets. He then became a resident of the 
city, and for eighteen months dwelt in Cherry street near 
Franklin Square, which was then highly aristocratic. lie 
kept a handsome establishment and drove in a coach and 
four to St. Paul's church on Sabbath, using the same con- 
veyance during the week in traversing the distance be- 
tween his dwelling and his office, which was three-quarters 
of a mile. 

Seventeen days after the inauguration, Mrs. Washing- 
ton arrived, took possession of the mansion, and opened 
a series of Friday evening levees, which were very popu- 
lar. In December, 1790, congress removed the seat of 
government to Philadelphia, and after a residence here of 
eighteen months the Washington family departed for 
their new abode. From these statements we may learn 
that Washington's entire residence in New York was not 
over two years. The only architectual memorial of this 
is St. Paul's church, where, as we have said, he attended 
service. His dwelling was demolished in the course of 
improvements, and Federal hall was torn down to make 
way for dwellings, a new city hall having been built in the 

Portraits of Washington. 

An elegant engraving of Washington was presented 
on the last anniversary of his birthday to the Citizens' 
Exchange by one of its members, and this fact recalls 
the subject of his portraits generally. The first picture 
was painted by Charles Wilson Peale in 1772, when the 
original was in his fortieth year. This picture is now at 
Arlington House, or at least was there at the commence- 
ment of the rebellion. Seven years afterward, in the 
dark hours of the revolution, congress authorized the 
same artist to paint another portrait, and the French 

Washington's Portraits. 483 

minister ordered five duplicates for presents to foreign 
powers. One of these is now in the National Institute, 
and Chapman made two copies, for which he received 
$1,000 apiece. 

Peale made in all fourteen portraits, and saw his patron 
under a great variety of circumstances. Rembrandt 
Peale, son of the above, had the ambition to paint the 
same head, and, although only eighteen, he obtained a 
sitting, but he was so much agitated by the august pres- 
ence that he was compelled to ask his father's assistance. 
This picture was purchased by congress for $2,000. 
Jonathan Trumbull, who has left portraits of most of the 
Revolutionary heroes, painted Washington, in 1792, for 
the " Surrender at Yorktown." 

Gilbert Stuart came from London to Philadelphia, ex- 
pressly to paint Washington's portrait, and an ample op- 
portunity afforded. Stuart says that "no human being 
ever awoke in him such a degree of reverence. For a 
moment he lost self possession, and it required several 
interviews to overcome this difficulty." He made two 
original portraits, of which one became the property of 
Lord Lansdowne and the other is in the Boston Atheneum. 
From these he painted twenty-six copies, which are now 
known as " Stuart's originals," and bear a high value. 
To these may be added the pictures by Pine and by 
Wertmuller, both of which are of less importance. 

An enthusiastic Italian artist named Cerrachi sought a 
field for his genius in the new republic, and while here 
executed a bust of Washington, which was purchased by 
the Spanish ambassador, but its owner fell into misfor- 
tune, and Richard Meade, who was then in Spain, obtained 
it. Mr. Meade was the father of General Meade (of 

484 Our Book. 

Gettysburg), who was born in Spain. When Mr. Meade's 
collection was sold, about fifteen years ago, the bust was 
purchased by Governor Kemble, of Cold Spring, on the 
Hudson. Cerrachi returned to France and was guillotined 
for conspiring against Napoleon. 

The French sculptor Houdon was more successful, for 
his effort reached the dignity of a statue. It was exe- 
cuted for the State of Virginia, and Jeiferson, when em- 
bassador at Paris, commissioned the artist to sail for 
America. He accompanied Franklin to this country and 
remained long enough at Mount Vernon to model the 
head and then returned to Paris, where the statue was 
completed. At that time Governeur Morris was in Paris, 
and as he bore a strong likeness (in form at least) to 
Washington, he was employed to stand for the artist. 
The statue when finished was placed in the State House 
in Richmond, but a cast from it now adorns the national 
capitol at Washington. It is said to be a fine likeness, 
and at any rate exhibits a rare combination of elegance 
and imposing dignity. To these may be added the eques- 
trian statue in Union Place, which is the finest work of 
art of that kind at least in New York. 


Washington lived sixty-eight years, which passed as 
follows: Nineteen years of boyhood and youth, termi- 
nating in his appointment to a command in the militia ; 
twenty-six years of life at Mount Vernon, passed there 
at different intervals, of which his three last years were 
the happiest ; fifteen years of military service, in which 
the seven years of the Revolution is the chief feature ; 
one year of political service in the formation of the Con- 
stitution, and eight years in the presidency. While at 
Mount Vernon, however, he was to a great degree a 

National. 485 

public man, and hence it may be reckoned that his ser- 
vices date from his nineteenth year, and form a complete 
half century. 

Considered in a literary point of view, his opportunities 
were limited, and his education would now be called very 
inferior. The most popular author was Pope, although 
the Spectator shared in this to a large degree. Hume's 
History of England was published a few years before the 
revolution, and no doubt had a place in the library of 
Mount Yernon. Compared with the present advanced 
state of culture, a man of his limited attainments would 
now be in no small degree illiterate. The character of 
Washington proves how little art or even education has 
to do in the production of true greatness. The father 
of a nation was above all the ordinary accomplishments 
of intellectual culture. This idea is thus finely delineated 
by Byron : 

such minds be nourished in the wild, 

Deep in the unpruned forest, 'midst the roar 
Of cataracts, where nursing Nature smiled 
On infant Washington. 

The same sentiment applies to Lincoln, who saved the 
Union from those perils which Washington foresaw and 
so often deprecated. 

Memorials of Washington. 
Of the three most important in New York, one is the 
table exhibited in the city hall. It is a large mahogany 
writing table, and was in service during the early days of 
the first presidency. Another is the Farewell Address. 
This is bound elegantly, and is a manuscript volume of 
about forty pages. It contains all the corrections in the 
general's handwriting, and is the largest of all his pro- 
ductions. This document passed as soon as it had been 
printed into the hands of David Claypooie, of Phila- 

480 Our Book. 

delphia, in whose family it remained until an administra- 
tor's sale brought it before the public. 

James Lenox determined to purchase it, and sent an 
agent to outbid every one. The result was that it ran up 
to $2,000, at which price it became the property of the 
great philanthropist, who has made it a part of the Lenox 
Institute, where all desiring a view can be gratified. 
The third is St. Paul's church, of which I have spoken. 
Having referred to the Farewell Address, I may speak of 
one feature in it which has never been noticed in print. 
It was written and published in Philadelphia, but it is 

This signature shows that he considered nationality the 
great privilege of the American in contradistinction from 
the claims of any state. He never spoke of himself as 
a Virginian, and his allegiance to the state was subordi- 
nate to that which he owed to the great republic. 

This idea was repeated with more solemn importance 
in his will, which was written six months before his death. 
This instrument commences thus : " In the name of God, 
Amen. I, George Washington, of Mount Vernon, a 
citizen of the United States, and lately President of the 
same, do make and declare this instrument." 

How strong an antagonism do these words utter against 
the spirit manifested in the late rebellion ! It was Vir- 
ginia's departure from this example which gave secession 
a head and front and brought down upon the recreant 
state such bloodshed and desolation. 


This is certainly a strange combination, for not one ort 
of a hundred of New York's population have ever heard of 

Only War Relic. 


Dover street. It is almost unknown to the public, and 
perhaps with good reason, for it is only a few hundred 
feet in length, a very narrow series of angles, being the 
crookedest street for its brevity in A merica. I became 
acquainted with Doyer street during my youth and often 
plied myself with many queries concerning its angles. I 
thought surely there must be some reason why so short a 
street should not be straight, especially as none of the 
neighboring streets are irregular. Well, these queries 
continually occurred as I revisited the spot, for I felt fas- 
cinated by the very strangeness of the place — but at last 
an explanation was suggested which leads me to connect 

Doyer street with Washington. History states that when 
the latter endeavored to hold the city against the British 
in 1776, he erected ten forts, which Irving mentions as 
follows : 

488 Our Book. 

The Grand Battery at south part of the town. 
Fort George immediately above it. 
Whitehall Battery on the left of Grand Battery, 
Oyster Battery behind Washington's headquarters. 
Grenadier Battery on North River. 
Jersey Battery on the left of Grenadier Battery. 
Bayard's Redoubt on Bayard's Hill. 
Spencer's Redoubt. 
Waterbury's Battery. 

Badlam's Redoubt, eight guns, on Chatham street near Jew's 
burying ground. 

The mention of the battery in connection with the Jews' 
burying ground, adds much to my theory, for that mortu- 
ary spot occupied one side of Chatham square. It is my 
opinion that Doyer street is the rear line of the above- 
mentioned redoubt which had the extraordinary armament 
of eight guns because of its great importance. It com- 
manded the Bowery, which then was almost the only way 
of entrance and exit, for at that time Broadway w r as only 
open to the city hall park, and the west side of the city 
had no road because of its swamps. The reader will see 
from the map, which I obtained from the city surveyor, 
that the plat skirted by Doyer street would be available 
for defense. The Bowery at that time was not so clearly 
defined as at present, and it is probable that the east part 
of the fort was cut away in order to straighten the 

When Pell street was opened the northern part of the 
fort must also have been cut away. It is my theory, how- 
ever, that a track and roadway was formed along the west- 
ern angles, which soon became confirmed by time and 
custom, thus forming Doyer street. A dozen histories of 
New York have been written, but none of them mention 
this curious feature, which I now venture to pronounce 
the most interesting relic New York contains of the war of 

Washington's First Love. 439 

One of the historic graves in St. Paul's church yard is 
that of Beverly Robinson, whose name is connected with 
the Arnold and Andre treason. He built what was called 
the " Robinson house," which was Arnold's headquarters 
at the time of his attempt to betray West Point. Be- 
neath the general outline of this affair there is a thread 
of family history which gives this grave special interest. 
The Robinsons were an aristocratic Yirginia house, and 
two brothers of the name reached prominence in the 
olden time. John Robinson became speaker of the 
House of Burgesses, while Beverly came to New York 
and married Susan Phillipse, a distinguished heiress. 
He became a favorite with British gentry, and very 
naturally joined the royalists at the beginning of the 
Revolution, thus forfeiting one of the grandest estates on 
the Hudson. 

In 1756 Washington, at the age of twenty-four, made 
a horseback journey from Mount Vernon to New York, 
and Beverly Robinson opened his house to one who had 
been the friend of his youth. While there Washington 
met another guest, whose charms he immediately acknowl- 
edged. This was Mary Phillipse, sister of Mrs. Robinson, 
and heir to half of a grand estate. Jt is said that Wash- 
ington was so captivated with his new acquaintance that 
he made matrimonial advances, which were declined. 
He was of fine personal appearance, and had won distinc- 
tion by his bravery at Braddock's defeat, but an heiress 
and a beauty could hardly consent to be buried from the 
world on a Virginia plantation. 

In addition, it may be said that among her suitors w: s 
another hero of the same company. This was Captain 
Roger Morris, who, like Washington, had been on Brad- 
dock's staff. It was an unexpected reunion of these 

young soldiers, who, though formerly united on the field 

490 Our Book. 

of battle, were now rivals in the field of love. Captain 
Morris eventually proved the conqueror, and two years 
afterward he carried off the blooming heiress as his bride. 

Old Manor House. 

They were married at the Phillipse manor house, which 
now stands in the center of Yonkers, and has become the 
city hall. It is one of the few remaining ante-revolu- 
tionary buildings, and probably will long be preserved as 
a memorial of colonial times. 

The Phillipse family sprang from a distinguished Dutch 
colonist, who settled there in 1682, and obtained an exten- 
sive patent, his manor indeed being the grandest in that 
part of the State. The manor house was begun soon 
after the issue of the land grant, but its completion was 
only reached through varied stages of progress. The 
present front was built in 1745, and is the finest display 
of the architecture of that age. 

Looking inside one finds that the Dutch style prevails 
throughout. It is wainscoted in the best method of work- 
manship, and the ceilings are wrought in arabesque work. 
The carved marble mantels are also specimens of the lux- 
ury of a day when, perhaps, they were not equaled in the 
country. The bed-rooms are also paneled, and the fine 
view of the river adds much to its charms. 

In addition to this establishment the family had what 
was called "Castle Phillipse" at Sleepy Hollow, which 
was also a favorite resort, but the Yonkers manor house 
always retained its supremacy. Mary Phillipse — after- 
ward Mrs. Morris — was born at the manor house in 
1730, and hence was two years older than Washington. 
Her father, Frederick Phillipse, was speaker of the house 
of assembly, and was commonly called Lord of the 
IV ran or. His two daughters, whose marriage has been 
mentioned, found their expectations broken by the Revo- 

National. 401 

lution. Frederick Phillipse and all liis family held alle- 
giance to the crown, and his two sons-in law, Robinson 
and Morris, became colonels in the British army. 

The property was confiscated, and most of the family 
fled to England, where Frederick Phillipse died in 1785. 
Mary Phillipse Morris is the original of Frances in 
Cooper's novel of The Spy. There is still in existence 
a beautiful portrait of this interesting character, which 
for many years was owned by her grandniece, Mrs. Sam- 
uel L. Gouverneur. 

Colonel Morris being in military service could not live 
so far from New York, and he therefore built in the lower 
part of the manor the finest dwelling between Yonkers 
and the city. It w T as the expectation of the newly -wed- 
ded pair that it would be a permanent residence, but the 
colonial troubles soon convinced them of their mistake. 
The time came when Washington and his retreating 
American army passed that very manor house, whose in- 
mates had gone never to return. Perhaps amid all the 
confusion of that time of dismay, as the patriot chieftain 
gazed upon the building, he may have recalled the mem- 
ory of his early love. 

After the Ee volution the place was sold and went 
through several owners, until it fell into the possession of 
Stephen Jumel. Such is the history of that estate which 
has become so notorious in the annals of litigation. Ju- 
mel gave $10,000 for the house and one hundred acres of 
land, which are now worth millions. 

Washington's Marriage. 

Many inquiries have been suggested concerning Wash- 
ington's love matters. I have already mentioned that he 
was attracted by the charming Mary Phillipse, who fasci- 
nated him in New York, but who was carried off by Cap- 

492 O^'B BouK. 

tain Morris. In bis next love affair Washington was more 
fortunate. Two years had elapsed since he parted from 
Miss Phillipse, when, while engaged in military service 
near Whitehouse, he met a gentleman named Chamber- 
lavne who invited him to dinner. Washington was hardly 
ahle to spare the time, but at last yielded to the urgent re- 
quest, little dreaming of the influence the occasion would 
exercise over his future destiny. 

He met at the table a beautiful widow about two years 
his junior, whose maiden name was Dandridge, but who 
had in early life married Daniel Park Custis. The latter 
had been dead three years and had left her two fine chil- 
dren and a large fortune. She is described as below the 
middle size, but elegantly shaped, with an attractive coun- 
tenance, dark hazel eyes, and those agreeable manners so 
common among Yirginian ladies of the olden time. Wash- 
ington at once felt the charms of this new acquaintance. 
It was really love at first sight. 

Instead of leaving Chamberlayne's in haste he waited 
till the next morning and departed only with the inten- 
tion of meeting again. He was stationed for a short time 
in that vicinity, and before he left be had sought her 
hand and been accepted. All that interfered with their 
union was military duty, and when this had been accom- 
plished they were married. This occurred January 6, 
1759, at the residence of the bride, and it was a union of 
unbroken harmony through life. Mrs. Washington sur- 
vived her husband nearly three years and was buried by. 
his side. 

Lady Washington — A Correction. 

I notice that an illustrated paper honors Washington's 
birth-day by issuing an admirable copy of Huntington's 
picture, sometimes called Lady Washington's Recep- 
tion. I refer to this fine work of art chiefly to correct 

National. 493 

that increasing vulgarism of styling the wife of our great 
liberator "Lady Washington." This is not only in- 
correct, but is thoroughly un-republican, and, as such, 
would have been censured by Washington himself. His 
wife was, of course, a lady, in the ordinary use of the 
word, but she was not " Lady " Washington, for that title 
belongs solely to British aristocracy. The highest title 
which can properly be given to the wife of our first presi- 
dent is Mrs. Washington, and any thing beyond this is mere 

Father of His Country. 

The reader may be interested to know the first use of 
this title in America. The earliest that I find it is in an 
address delivered to the victorious general by a committee 
of the militia of the county of Somerset, New Jersey, and 
dated New Brunswick, November 18, 1783. In this the 
committee says of the militia " they revere your character 
and regard you as the Father of your Country." 

Byron's Eulogy. 

National pride did much at first to prevent the British 
mind from yielding due honor to one who had humbled 
the crown, but when Lord Lyons and the Prince of Wales 
visited the tomb at Mount Vernon, it was a tribute which 
expressed the full homage to departed greatness. This 
incident teaches us that all men who truly serve their race 
must await the verdict of posterity. 

It may be mentioned in this connection that Washing- 
ton's first eulogist among foreign literati was Byron, and 
notwithstanding the poet's perversion on moral questions 
he could not but admire the hero of the young republic. 
A striking illustration of this is found in the closing verse 
of the Ode to Napoleon : 

±94 Our Book. 

Where may the wearied eye repose, 

When gazing on the great? 
Where neither guilty glory glows, 

Nor despicable state ; 
Yes, one — the first — the last — the best — 
The Cincinnatus of the west, 

Whom envy dare not hate, 
Bequeathed the name of Washington, 
To make man blush there was but one. 

Really, however, the finest poetic tribute to Washing- 
ton was written by Richard Grant White, and it certainly 
deserves a place in this connection : 

High over all whom might or mind made great, 

Yielding the conqueror's crown to harder hearts, 

Exalted not by politicians' arts, 
Yet with a will to meet and master fate, 
And skill to rule a young, divided state, 

Greater by what was not than by what was done, 

Alone on History's height stands Washington; 
And teeming time shall not bring forth his mate. 
For only he, of men, on earth was sent 

In all the might of mind's integrity; 
Ne'er as in him truth, strength and wisdom blent; 

And that his glory might eternal be, 
A boundless country is his monumeut, 

A mighty nation his posterity. 

Washington's Death. 

Washington was endowed with great "personal vigor 
and enjoyed a degree of health seldom maintained during 
so long a period of life. Sixty-eight years without a 
day's illness ! This certainly was remarkable. When 
disease, however, came, it was rapidly fatal, and one day 
was sufficient to remove this venerated patriot. On the 
13th of December, 1799, he complained of a sore throat. 
The day previously he had taken a horseback ride around 
the plantation, during which it rained and he had no 
doubt become thoroughly chilled, but in the evening he 
appeared as well as usual. The sore throat above men- 
tioned, being the natural result of such an exposure, oc- 

Washington's Death Bed. 495 

casioned no alarm, and in the afternoon he walked out to 
give some directions concerning the grounds. 

Qn his return to the house his hoarseness became worse, 
but he was a cheerful member of the family circle and 
as usual conversed with Mrs. Washington and his secre- 
tary (Mr. Lear) on the news of the day. On his retiring 
for the night the latter suggested that he should take 
something to relieve the cold. The general, however, 
declined with the remark, " Let it go as it came. You 
know I never take any thing for a cold." Little indeed did 
they think that in that trifling cold there lurked such 
fearful danger. 

The next morning the general was very ill indeed. 
Daring the night the symptoms had increased, and before 
three o'clock difficulty in breathing set in. At day break 
the servant woman entered the bedroom to make fire as 
usual, and she was then told to call Mr. Lear. The latter 
came immediately and found Washington in a very criti- 
cal condition. The change since the previous evening 
indeed was fearfully distressing. The old hero could 
hardly draw an easy breath, while his powers of speech 
had failed, so it was difficult to understand his occasional 

Enough was gathered to know that Dr. Craik was to 
be sent for and also that one of the overseers (who had 
some knowledge of surgery) should bleed him. Very 
strange that one, who a few hours previously could say, 
" let it go as it came," should thus be compelled to call 
for such treatment? When the arm was exposed the 
overseer hesitated to use the lancet, but the honored in- 
valid said in a broken manner " don't be afraid." Blood 
was drawn until Mrs. Washington interposed and asked 
Mr. Lear to stop the flow, but Washington feebly said, 
" more, more." The flow, however, was stopped and his 

±9ti Our Book. 

feet were placed in warm water while the throat was 
treated with external applications, for he was unable to 
use a gargle. The latter, indeed, had almost produced 

Death Approaching. 

Three hours had elapsed since the first alarm was given 
and by nine o'clock, Dr. Craik, of Georgetown, was in 
attendance, with two other physicians. They applied 
their best remedies and also additional bleeding, but no 
relief was obtained. Washington evidently was convinced 
that his end was at hand and in the course of the after- 
noon directed his wife to bring him two wills from his 
desk. One of these was burned at his request, while the 
other was restored to its place. 

Just twenty-four hours previously Washington had 
been out on the plantation, but now he was dying ! How 
startling and how sudden ! Mr. Lear thus describes the 
solemn scene : ;i As I gently grasped the hand of the 
general, the latter feebly said, 'I find I am going; my 
breath cannot last long. Do you arrange and record all 
my military papers. Arrange my accounts and settle my 
books as you know more about them than any one else.' 
I told him this should be done. 

" He then asked if I could recollect any thing which it 
was essential for him to do, as he had but a very short 
time to remain with us, and he looked to the final event 
with perfect resignation." As he was in great distress by 
reason of difficulty in breathing, Mr. Lear raised him and 
occasionally changed his position which awoke expressions 
of gratitude. "I hope," said he, "that when you need 
such assistance you will find it." 

Closing Scene. 
That 14th of December, 1799, was a long and sol- 
emn day of watching, and the physicians rarely left the 

Washington's Death Bed. 497 

room. They saw that dissolution was approaching and 
all felt awed to solemn silence. At sunset Dr. Craik ap- 
proached the bed and the general, while gazing on his 
countenance, said in a broken tone, " Doctor, I die hard, 
but am not afraid to go." The sorrowing physician only 
replied by a silent pressure of the hand. At six on that 
evening, which closed bis illustrious career, he sat up in 
bed and again remarked, "I feel that I am going. I 
tbank you for your attentions, but I ask you to take no 
more trouble about me. Let me go off quietly, I cannot 
last long." At ten o'clock he made several ineffectual 
attempts to speak, but at last Lear made out the dying 
man's expressions. w I am just going. Have me decently 
buried and do not let my body be put into the earth until 
three days after 1 am dead." 

A half hour then elapsed and his breathing was noticed 
as being easier, but Lear saw that his countenance was 
changing. U I called," said he, "Dr. Craik, who sat by 
the fire. He came to the bedside ; the general was gone. 
As his hand dropped I took it in mine and pressed it to 
my bosom, while Dr. Craik put his hands over his eyes 
to conceal his tears. "While we were fixed in silent grief, 
Mrs. Washington (who sat at the foot of the bed) 
asked in a firm and composed voice, i Is he gone % 'Tis 
well,' she added, as she saw my signal (for I could not 
speak); 'all is now over; I shall soon follow him; mv 
trials will soon be over.'" How much such a scene 
as the above recalls the picture drawn by Longfel- 
low : 

As thus the dying warrior prayed 
Without one gathering mist or shade 

Upon his mind. 
Encircled by his family. 
Watched by affection's gentle eye, 

So soft and kind. 

498 Our Book. 

His soul to God who gave it rose, 
God led it to its long repose, 

Its glorious rest. 
Aud though the warrior's sun is set, 
Its light shall linger round us yet, 

Bright, radiant, blest. 

The Funeral. 
On the Wednesday following the hero's death the fu- 
neral ceremonies took place. They were of a simple but 
impressive character, and I make the following extract 
from one of the published reports : 

On Wednesday last the mortal part of Washington, the father 
of our country and the friend of man, was consigned to the tomb 
with solemn honors and funeral pomp. A multitude of persons 
assembled from many miles around at Mount Vernon — the choice 
abode and last residence of the illustrious chief. There were the 
groves, the spacious avenues, the beautiful scenes and the noble 
mansion — but, alas, the august inhabitant was no more. That 
great soul was gone. His mortal part was there indeed, but ah! 
how affecting, how awful the spectacle. In the long and lofty 
portico where oft the hero walked, now lay his shrouded corpse, 
the countenance still composed and serene, and there the assem- 
blage took its last farewell. At the head of the coffin was the 
inscription " Surge ad Judicium," and on the silver plate: 


George Washington — 

Departed this life on the 14th December, 1799 

M 68. 

Between three and four o'clock the sound of artillery from a 
vessel in the river firing minute guas, revived our solemn sorrow. 
The coffin was moved bearing the hero's sword and gloves, and 
the band played a suitable dirge which melted the soul in the ten- 
derness of woe. 

The procession moved in the following order : cavalry, infantry, 
guards with arms reversed, music, clergy, the general's horse with 
saddle, holsters and pistols, the corpse, pall-bearers, mourners and 
citizens. When the procession had reached the family vault on 
the banks of the Potomac, the cavalry halted, while the infantry 
marched forward and formed a hollow square. The clergy then 
performed the service of the church, assisted by those present — 
the firing was repeated from the vessel and the sounds echoed 
from the surrounding hills. Three discharges from the infantry 
and the artillery which lined the Potomac, concluded the cere- 
mony and paid the last tribute to the departed hero. 

The disease with which Washington died has been 

National. 499 

much discussed, being sometimes called diphtheria, but the 
best opinion designates it as acute laryngitis, which is 
of rare occurrence. The death took place on Saturday 
night the 14th of December, and by Monday it was 
known in Baltimore, where a public meeting was called 
to take appropriate action in reference to so solemn an 
event. Before the close of the week the news reached 
New York where a grand procession was held in honor of 
his memory. General Hamilton served as grand marshal, 
and Colonel Fish, father of Hamilton Fish, was one of the 
pall-bearers. St. Paul's church, where Washington wor- 
shipped during his residence in that city, was the scene 
of the eulogy which was delivered to a crowded audience. 
Congress also ordered a funeral eulogy, which was de- 
livered by Colonel Henry Lee, who had been one of 
Washington's body guard. In the closing paragraph of 
this address we find those oft-quoted words : Fiest 
in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his 

Battle of New Orleans. 

This action was, on the part of the British, a gross 
military blunder, only equaled by the charge of the light 
brigade at Balaklava. There was no chance of success, 
and Packenham only marched his veterans into a vast 
slaughter-pen. On the part of the Americans, however, 
it was the brilliant termination of a series of stupendous 
efforts to protect an almost defenceless port. This re- 
quired all that nerve, energy and apparent recklessness 
which really rendered Jackson equal to the emergency. 
When he took command at New Orleans public affairs 
were almost in a state of anarchy, and yet under such un- 
favorable conditions he organized a defense which proved 

500 Our Book. 

The battle of New Orleans led Aaron Burr to nominate 
Jackson for the presidency, but Old Hickory was not 
elected until after the lapse of thirteen years. Whatever 
may have been Jackson's errors, it is evident that his iron 
will was of immense value to the nation though it 
occasionally led to great risks. When, for instance, 
he hung Ambrister and Arbuthnot for selling powder 
to the Indians, he nearly involved our country in a 
third war with Great Britain — but the same nerve and 
decision saved New Orleans, and also crushed nullifica- 

Telegraphic Advantage. 

Had the ocean cable been in operation when the attack 
was made on New Orleans it would have saved us the 
horror of that field of slaughter. In other words, the 
battle of New Orleans was fought a fortnight after the 
treaty of Ghent had been signed — the date of the latter 
being December 24, 1814. 

Another bloody scene which would have been avoided 
had the telegraph then existed, was the battle of Tou- 
louse, fought by Wellington and Soult. 

It occurred on the 10th of April, 1814, a few days 
after Napoleon had been forced, by incessant defeat, to 
abdicate the throne. Three words from a telegraph bat- 
tery would, on each of these terrible occasions, have si- 
lenced the batteries in the field. In this manner science 
so often proves the handmaid of mercy. The difficulties 
which our government was obliged to suffer from dis- 
tances, is thus shown by Niles Register, July 4, 1812, "On 
the day after the declaration of war, Mr. Cozzens left 
Washington for New Orleans with despatches. He had 
contracted to reach that place in twelve days. Distance 
about 1,500 miles." 

DeWitt Clinton. 501 

He was admitted to the bar of this city the year before 
Washington was inaugurated. Thus, at the age of nine- 
teen, began that public career which is now so prominent 
a part of our national history. His advance was rapid, 
and at the age of thirty- two he was a member of the 
United States senate. He was afterward mayor of New 
York, and later on held a seat in the State senate, and 
was also lieutenant-governor. He then became a lead- 
ing candidate for the presidency, but was defeated by- 
Madison. II is public life indeed was full of vicissitude, 
and he suffered an unusual share of party hate. 

In 18 1G, when in his forty-seventh year, he was elected 
governor, and his long-cherished scheme of the Erie canal 
was immediately prosecuted. On the next Fourth of 
July he broke ground with his own hand for this grand 
enterprise, and eight years afterward he saw its com- 
pletion. He died suddenly in his sixtieth year, and his 
funeral was the most impressive mortuary occasion Albany 
had ever witnessed. 

Financial Misfortunes. 

Clinton, like Hamilton, Jefferson, Monroe and other 
public men of devoted character, died poor. After forty 
years of public life he had not made enough to pay his 
debts. While the world has re-echoed the fame of De- 
Witt Clinton, how strange it seems to think that he died 
almost under the hands of the sheriff. This is shown by 
the following extract from the Albany Advertiser, printed 
May 21, 1828, nearly four months after the death of this 
great national benefactor : 

Sheriff's sale. By virtue of a writ of fieri facias I have seized 
and taken all the personal property of DeWitt Clinton, consisting 
of household furniture, library, carriages, horses and other arti- 
cles, which I shall expose for sale at public vendue on Wednes- 

502 Our Book. 

day, the 28th day of May inst., at 10 o'clock in the forenoon, at 
the dwelling house late of the said DeWitt Clinton, deceased, sit- 
uate at the corner of North Pearl and Steuben streets, in the city 
of Albany. N. B. For the accommodation of the public the sale 
of the library will be adjourned until the next day, Thursday, the 
29th, when it will take place at the long room of the Atheneum 
at 9 o'clock, A. M. 

C. A. Ten Eyck, Sheriff, May 23, 1828. 

Clinton had been grand master of the grand lodge of 
this State, and the latter displayed its affectionate regard 
by purchasing a pair of splendid vases at the above-men- 
tioned auction. The price paid was $600, which was not 
one-quarter of their real value. The lodge then pre- 
sented them to the family as a token of remembrance as 
well as sympathy. 

One of the most impressive, as well as instructive 
features in Clinton history, is the humilation basely in- 
flicted by the legislature under political pressure — fol- 
lowed by glorious triumphs. I shall speak of this later 
on as a grand lesson to all public men. 

Robert Fulton. 

Fulton's life, though it reached a full half century, 
seems short, since he did not live long enough to realize 
his expectations. He died in the midst of important 
schemes, being then at the mere inception of that work 
which conferred such benefits upon mankind. Before 
the construction of his first steamboat he passed fifteen 
years in England and France, whence he returned to New 
York in 1807. He was then forty-two and had matured 
all his plans for the great experiment — for though bred 
an artist he had for years been an enthusiast on steam 

Being assisted by Livingston's capital, he at once begun 
his life work. The keel of the Clermont was laid at the 
ship-yard in the East river, and an engine, imported from 

National. 503 

Birmingham, was placed in position as soon as the boat 
was launched. On the first of August, 1807, only seven 
months after Fulton's return, the strange vessel vas 
finished, and the seventh of that month witnessed her 
trial trip up the Hudson. She was at first called " Ful- 
ton's folly," and the inventor had to suffer a full share of 
that ridicule which so generally attends such experi- 

Regular Service. 

The first voyage of the Clermont, though successful, was 
by no means a sufficient trial, and the practical nature of 
the invention was still a matter of uncertainty. In order 
to perfect the test, arrangements were made for regular 
service, which began on the fourth of the following 
month. It was Friday, and Fulton must have preferred 
this day since the trial trip occurred on Friday — just 
four weeks previously. The wharf was at the foot of 
Cedar street and the starting hour was half-past six in the 
morning. Great crowds came to witness the departure 
of the strange craft and many ill-bodings were uttered. 
One of the passengers indeed was thus addressed by a 
friend : " John, will thee risk thy life in such a concern ? 
1 tell thee she is the most fearful wild fowl living and 
thy father ought to restrain thee." 

The Clermont had only twelve berths, each of which 
was taken. The fare was $7, a sum which, owing to the 
scarcity of money, was more than double the amount at 
the present time. The bow was covered by a rude deck 
which afforded protection to the hands, and the vessel 
was steered by the old-fashioned rudder. Directly in 
front of the helmsman was the entrance of the cabin, 
which was very rudely furnished. 

In fact the Clermont was built solely as an experiment, 

504 Our Book. 

and everything was very imperfect. The valves leaked 
and steam whizzed from crevices in the boiler, and 
this, with the black smoke vomited from the chim- 
ney, gave the vessel a repulsive appearance; and yet, 
as she moved slowly np the river, the vast crowd ut- 
tered an irrepressible huzza, which was returned by 
cheers of all on board except one. This was Fulton, 
who stood in silent self-consciousness of a grand suc- 

At West Point the boat was cheered by the garrison. 
By four o'clock they made Newburgh, a distance of sixty- 
three miles. The next day, at eleven, they reached Albany, 
making the entire distance in twenty-eight hours and 
forty -five minutes. This was the Clermont's second ap- 
pearance in Albany, but being the beginning of her regu- 
lar service, the following certificate was signed by the 
passengers : 

The subscribers, passengers on board of this boat on her first 
passage as a packet, think it but justice to state that the accom- 
modations and convenience on board exceeded their most sanguine 
expectations. Selah Strong, G. H. Van Wagenen, Thomas Wal- 
lace, John Q. Wilson, J. P. Anthony, Dennis H. Doyle, George 
Witmore, William S. JJicks, J. Bowman, James Braiden, Stephen 
N. Rowan, J. Crane. 

The Clermont increased in popularity, and after the 
close of the season, which was highly successful, the 
boat was lengthened to one hundred and forty feet in 
order to increase her speed. The next season she ran as 
a regular packet, and another boat was soon required. 
This was called the Car of Neptune, and was very popu- 

Fulton's life was thenceforward rapid and brief. He 
died after seven years of great activity, being then only 
fifty, and was buried in the Livingston vault in Trinity 
church yard. Years have elapsed since his funeral, but 

National. 505 

not a line has been reared in that spot to his memory. 
He was one of the greatest benefactors of the age, and 
the first voyage of the Clermont was next in importance 
to that which first brought Columbus to America. 

Fitch's Experiment. 

Twenty years before the building of the Clermont 
John Fitch had propelled a small boat by steam on the 
Collect or fresh water pond which occupied the site of 
the Tombs or New York prison, and covered an area of a 
half dozen acres. 

This took place in 1787, when the public mind was so 
engrossed with the national questions that Fitch's project 
was neglected and his little steamboat rotted to pieces on 
the banks of the Collect. It was a very humble affair, 
being in fact merely a yawl, with an iron kettle for a 
boiler. The latter was made steam tight by a plank cover 
tightly bolted down, and the propeller was a screw in the 
stern, but the principle was the same as that used in an 
ocean steamer. 

The effort seemed so chimerical that it soon dropped 
out of public attention and Fitch went west and died in 
disappointment. It was in the face of such discouraging 
antecedents that Fulton carried his project to a grand 

Madison Reminiscences. 
March has the distinction of having given us two of our 
ablest presidents, but while the birth-day of Jackson — 
the 15th — is frequently noticed, that of Madison, which 
occurs the day afterward, awakes no comment. Madi- 
son was a rarely gifted man, and was in public life for 
forty-one years, during which time he hardly took what 
might be called a vacation. He never made a tour of 

506 Our Book. 

pleasure and recreation, and never left American soil. 
His public life was marked by foreign difficulties. lie 
was a member of the Virginia legislature in 1776, being- 
then only twenty-five years old, and he held the presi- 
dency during the last war with Great Britain, which was 
a period of inexpressible anxiety and distress. 

Judged by the rule of common sense, the war was a 
great blunder, for the nation was utterly inadequate to 
the conflict ; but it eventually brought beneficent results 
of an enduring character. The operations on land were 
generally unsatisfactory, but the plucky little navy accom- 
plished wonders. Five British frigates were captured 
within seven months in single combat. The British 
admiralty became astonished by the exploits of our ocean 
game-cocks, and it was evident that Britannia no longer 
ruled the waves. 

The severest Blow. 

The greatest humiliation the British navy ever suffered 
was when the Constitution captured the second hostile 
f rijrate. The first was the Guerriere, but the second was 
the Java, which was of vastly greater importance. The 
Java, indeed, was on a cruise to the East Indies, carrying 
as passengers the newly-appointed governor of Bombay 
and his staff; also a number of officers belonging to the 
British East India squadron. Such a defeat was, there- 
fore, doubly humiliating, and the governor of Bombay 
had to defer entering upon the duties of his office until 
an exchange took place. 

The fight between these vessels was begun by the Con- 
stitution, which, descrying a strange ship, fired a gun 
across its bow to bring it to. The British frigate, of 
course, considered this rather saucy, and her reply was a 
broadside. The engagement then followed, lasting three 
hours and a half, and was of the fiercest character. The 

National. 507 

Java lost sixty, including the captain, while the Consti- 
tution only lost nine. The Java was in so hopeless a con- 
dition that all her crew was removed to the Constitution, 
and the captured vessel was then blown up. This, as I 
have said, was the most humiliating defeat the British 
navy suffered during the war, and the lesson was not soon 

Decatur's Victory. 

When the Constitution fought the Java she was com- 
manded by Commodore Bain bridge, but Decatur and his 
frigate United States had won an admirable victory only 
two months previously, having captured the Macedonian 
after a short but terrific contest. Going back to the first 
victory won by the Constitution, she was then commanded 
by Capt. Hull, who met the Guerriere on the 19th of 
August, 1812, just two months after the declaration of 
war, and captured her after a severe fight. This was the 
first naval action after the war began, and hence its result 
was of vast importance. 

When the Guerriere struck she was really sinking, and 
all the prisoners were brought on board the Constitution, 
after which the Guerriere was burned. Her commander, 
Capt. Dacres, wrote from Boston a report of the fight, in 
which he said : " I feel it my duty to state that the con- 
duct of Capt. Hull and his officers to our men has been 
that of a brave enemy, the greatest care being taken to 
prevent our men losing the smallest trifle, and the great- 
est attention being paid to the wounded." It will be 
thus seen that the Constitution fought tw T o battles within 
the space of four months, and in each action captured and 
sunk its adversary. No wonder the British discontinued 
the right of search after the close of the war. 

The London Times commented on the capture of the 
Guerriere in the following manner : 

508 Our Book, 

It is not merely that a British frigate has been taken — after a 
brave resistance — but that it was taken by a new enemy — an 
enemy unaccustomed to such triumphs, and likely to be rendered 
insolent and confident by them. Never before in the history of 
the world did a British frigate strike to an American ; and although 
we cannot say that Captain Dacres is* punishable for the act, yet 
we do say that there are commanders in our navy who would rather 
a thousand times have gone down with their colors flying than have 
set so fatal an example. 

Captain Dacres did, indeed, suffer partial loss of caste 
by his defeat, but he soon found relief in the capture of 
the Java. The latter was vastly superior to the Guer- 
riere, and yet she was not only compelled to strike, but 
was also sunk — this being done by the same frigate, the 
Constitution, to which Dacres surrendered. 

The naval Duel. 
One of the sadest tragedies in the war was the death 
of Captain James Lawrence, whose monument is one of 
the most prominent objects in Trinity church yard. He 
was, as most of my readers are aware, in command of 
the frigate Chesapeake, which was captured by the British 
frigate Shannon, and he was mortally wounded during 
the action. Lawrence had been challenged by Captain 
Broke of the Shannon, and though he knew the latter was 
greatly superior, he was too gallant to refuse. He was 
hiken to Halifax where he died, and he was buried from 
the Chesapeake just a week after the action, which took 
place on the 1st June, 1813. He has been rendered fa- 
mous by his last words of command, " don't give up the 
ship." The British showed distinguished honor to the 
fallen hero, and I find in one of the newspapers of that 
day the following military order : 

Haltfax, 7th June, 1813. — Garrison Orders: A funeral party 
will be furnished to-morrow by the 64th regiment consisting of 
300 rank and file, under command of Col. Wardlaw, to inter the 
remains of Capt. Lawrence, late of the American frigate Chesa- 
peake, at half past 1p.m. The band of that corps will accom- 

The Hero's Funeral. 500 

pany and the officers of the garrison will march in procession, 
wearing black crape on the left arm. 

F. T. Thomas, Major of Brigade. 

Navy Orders: The body of the late commander of the United 
States frigate Chesapeake, will be interred to-morrow at 2 o'clock. 
The captains, lieutenants and midshipmen will attend the funeral 
and will meet at 1 o'clock alongside the Chesapeake for that pur- 
pose. Thomas A. Capel, Captain. 

The funeral procession was as follows : 

Funeral Firing Party. 
Pall Bearers. Pall Bearers. 

Captain Baker. the Captain Perchell. 

Captain Pearse. body. Captain Head. 

Captain Collier. Captain Blyth. 

American Naval Officers. 
British Naval Officers. 
Officers of the Garrison, According to Rank. 
Post Captains. 
Staff Officers. 
General and 
Senior Officers. 

These details show the extraordinary respect which 
Lawrence had won from the enemy, and indeed, the fu- 
neral was the most honorable ever granted by the British 
to a captured warrior. 

Coming Home. 

As soon as the sad fate of the fallen hero was known 
an effort was made to recover the body, and a Salem cap- 
tain offered to bring it back at his own expense. He re- 
ceived permission from our government and sailed with a 
flag of truce. Twelve ship captains volunteered to serve 
•is crew of the vessel, and in this manner the corpse of 
the hero reached New York, where it was interred in 
Trinity church yard with all the honors due to so illus- 
trious a character. 

A noticeable feature in the history of Captain Law- 
rence was the fact that his courtesy in victory was only 

510 Our Book. 

equaled by his nerve under defeat. A few months before 

his last battle he captured the British war vessel Peacock 

after a severe action and brought his prize into New York. 

The captain was among the slain, but the surviving officers 

were so won by the kindness they received at his hands 

that they addressed him as follows : 

New York, March 27, 1813. — Captain James Lawrence: We 
beg leave to return you our grateful acknowledgements for the 
kind attention and hospitality we experienced during the time we 
remained on board the Hornet. So much was done to alleviate the 
distressing situation in which we were placed when received on 
board, that we cannot better express our feelings than by saying, 
" We ceased to consider ourselves prisoners," and every thing that 
friendship could dictate was done by yourself and your officers. 
Permit us, then, sir, impressed as we are with a grateful sense of 
your kindness for ourselves and other officers and crew, to return 
to yourself and the other officers of the Hornet our sincere thanks, 
and believe us to remain, with a deep sense of the kind offices you 
rendered us, your humble servants, 

F. A. Wright, 1st Lieutenant. 

C. Lamert, 2nd Lieutenant. 

J. Whittaker, Surgeon. 

F. D. Unwin, Purser. 

Little more than two months after the above was writ- 
ten the gallant Lawrence was receiving the ministrations 
of generous foes at Halifax, and they rendered him the 
highest funeral honors in their power. Lawrence was 
but thirty-two at the time of his death, but he has won 
distinction as the most honored of all that fell in the whole 
war. The cannon that surround the monument were 
captured from the British, and they seem to stand as wit- 
nesses of that peace which must ever unite the nations. 

Madison's Eloquence. 
The Revolution was only finished by the war of 18)2 
which settled the long list of international troubles. Mad- 
ison, who held the presidential office during this last con- 
flict, placed great dependence on the spirit of '76, as will 
be ^een by his appeal to the public. Madison has long 

Madison's Eloquence. 511 

been famed for the elegance of his style, and his state 
papers are in this respect unequal ed. At times, however, 
he rose to a degree of eloquence which awakens my un- 
bounded admiration. I am surprised at the neglect which 
his best utterances have suffered, and as they are not found 
in any works on rhetoric or oratory, or even in literary 
collections, I think a brief extract will be appreciated by 
the reader. 

Conclusion of first war Message. 

We have the unestimable consolation of knowing that the war 
in which we are engaged is a war neither of ambition nor vain- 
glory ; that it is waged not in violation of the rights of others, 
but in maintenance of our own; that it was preceded by a pa- 
tience without example, under wrongs accumulating without end, 
and that it was not declared until every hope of averting it was 

To have shrunk under such circumstances from manly resist- 
ance would iiave been a degradation blasting our proudest hopes. 
It would have struck us from the high rank where the virtuous 
struggles of our fathers had placed us and have betrayed the mag- 
nificent legacy which we hold in trust for future generations. 

It was with such an alternative that war was chosen. The ap- 
peal was made in a just cause to the just and all powerful Being 
who holds in His hands the destiny of nations. It remains only 
that faithful to ourselves and ever ready to accept peace from the 
hands of justice, we prosecute the war with united counsels and 
with the amplest powers of the nation, until peace be obtained 

Another message concludes Thus : 

The contest in which the United States are engaged appeals for 
support to every motive that can animate an uncorrupted and en- 
lightened people — to the love of country — to the pride of lib- 
erty — to an emulation of the glorious founders of our independ- 
ence, and finally to the sacred obligations of transmitting entire 
to future generations that patrimony of national rights and inde- 
pendence which we hold in trust i'rom the goodness of Divine 

Reader, I think you will agree with me in pronouncing 
the above extracts the finest specimens of American elo- 
quence, and yet how little is known of Madison ! It 
may be added that the motto which was then so eloquently 

512 Our Book. 

displayed by the war party — " free trade and sailors' 
rights" — has been of late years not only misunderstood 
but really reversed. 

Free trade did not mean the abolition of a tariff but 
merely that our vessels should be free from the right of 
search which British cruisers then practiced. Sailors' 
rights merely meant an exemption from seizure and im- 
pressment by the same cruisers, which were in the habit 
of seizing men on American ships and pressing them into 
service under the claim that they were British subjects. 
These outrages were brought to a close by the war of 
1812, during which our little navy taught Great Britain 
to respect our flag. 

Madison's Closing Life. 

To return to Madison, it may be said that he will always 

be distinguished for elegance of literary style. He wrote 

the most finished state papers the world has ever seen. 

Even his briefest messages were distinguished by elegance. 

Madison lived to see his war policy approved by those 

who had been its worst opponents, and he also lived long 

enough to see his best general, Jackson, twice elected to 

the presidency. Madison's last days were peaceful, and 

were passed in public duty. He was president of a county 

agricultural society, and even at the age of seventy-eight 

he held a seat in the State Constitutional Convention, and 

seven years afterward he passed away, reminding one of 

the words of the poet : 

How sleep the brave who sink to rest 
By all their country's wishes blest. 

That Pig Story. 

I notice that ridiculous story that the war of 1812-1814 
was voted in the national legislature by a majority of one 

The Wau Vote. 513 

is again in circulation, and to make it still more ridicu- 
lous, this slender majority is ascribed to the damage done 
by a pig. I would hardly have noticed its recent repub- 
lication if it had not appeared ill one of the popular peri- 
odicals whence it was copied by a religious paper, and a 
professor in a theological seminary quoted it as an illus- 
tration of the workings of Providence. In order to pre- 
sent a correct historical statement, I have examined the 
Congressional Record, which is as follows : " June 1, 1812 ; 
president's message received, recommending war, which 
was read with closed doors, and was referred to the com- 
mittee on foreign relations, of which John 0. Calhoun 
was chairman. June 3, Calhoun reported to the house 
the reasons for a declaration of war (doors closed), and 
offered a bill for that purpose. John Randolph moved 
the bill be rejected, which was lost, the vote being 45 
ayes to 76 nays. The bill was then read the second time, 
and the house went into committee of the whole and con- 
tinued its deliberations all day. June *i, the house con- 
tinued its deliberations in committee of the whole, and the 
bill was ordered to a third reading ; ayes 78, nays 45. 

More Opposition. 

" On the third reading a motion was made that it do 
pass, whereupon John Randolph moved that the further 
consideration of the bill be postponed until the first Mon- 
day in October. Lost: ayes 42, nays SI. Mr. Stow 
then moved that further consideration be postponed until 
to morrow. Lost : ayes 48, nays 78. A motion was 
then made by Mr. Gouldsboro for an adjournment. Lost : 
ayes 43, nays 82. The question was then put that the 
bill do pass, and was carried ; ayes 79, nays 49," and then 
the doors were opened for the first time since the war 
vote was under progress. It may be added that Henry 

514 Our Book. 

Clay was the most earnest advocate of the war in the en- 
tire house (of which he was speaker), while John Ran- 
dolph was the most bitter opponent. The war bill passed 
the senate on the 18th by 19 ayes to 13 nays, and we thus 
see that on a joint ballot the majority would have been 
36. On the same day the bill was approved by the presi- 
dent, who the next day issued his proclamation of war. 
Such, reader, are the facts, though I hardly believe they 
will remove the favorite myth of the wonderful war pig. 

Love and War. 
An interesting contrast between love and war is found 
in the fact that during the above-mentioned conflict 
Francis Jeffrey, once the famous editor of the Edin- 
burgh Review, came to America after a wife. He was 
a widower of forty, and had been for some time engaged 
to Miss Charlotte Wilkes, who, though a resident of New 
York, was of British birth. He reached America before 
the declaration of war, and would have been detained 
here in a very distressing manner had not President 
Madison given him a pass, which, of course, included 
the vessel in which he sailed. He visited Washington, 
and had an interview with the president, who drew him 
into a discussion on national questions. It lasted an hour, 
and all present were deeply interested in the interchange 
of opinion. Most of my readers are aware that Jeffrey 
was favorable toward America, and after his return the 
Edinburgh Review was still more disposed to advocate that 
liberal policy by which it had been previously character- 
ized. Jeffrey was much impressed with Madison's ability, 
and by the general features of a republican government. 

Randolph's Oratory. 
One of the best specimens of Randolph's pithy, pointed 
and incisive oratory is found in his speech against Madi- 

Eandolph's Oratory. 515 

son's war policy from which I make the following extract. 
I need hardly add, that the banditti to whom he refers, 
were the Algerines with whom our country had recently 
made peace. 

There was a fatality attending plenitude of power. Soon or 
late some mania seizes upon its possessors — they fall from the 
dizzy height through the giddiness of their own heads. With 
chiefs of banditti, negro or mulatto, we can treat and can trade. 
Name, however, but England, and all our antipathies are up in 
arms. Against whom ? Against those whose blood runs in our 
veins, in common with whom we can claim Shakespeare and New- 
ton and Chatham, whose form of government is the freest on 
earth, our own only excepted ; from whom every valuable principle 
of our own institutions has been borrowed. In what school did 
the worthies of our land, the Washingtons, Henrys, Hancocks, 
Franklins, Rutledges of America, learn those principles of civil 
liberty which were so nobly asserted by their wisdom and valor? 
American resistance to British usurpation had not been more 
warmly cherished by these great men and their compatriots than 
by Chatham and his illustrious associates in the British parlia- 

He (Mr. Randolph) acknowledged the influence of Shakespeare 
and a Milton upon his imagination, of a Locke upon his under- 
standing, of a Chatham upon qualities, which, would to God ! he 
possessed in common with that illustrious man! This was a 
British influence which he could never shake off. He allowed 
much to the just and honest prejudices growing out of the Revo- 
lution. But by whom had they been suppressed? By felons es- 
caped from the jails of Paris and Newgate since the breaking out of 
the French revolution — who, in this abused and insulted country, 
have set up for political teachers, and whose disciples give no 
other proof of their progress in republicanism, except a blind de- 
votion to the most ruthless military despotism that the world ever 
saw. These are the patriots who scruple not to brand with the 
epithet of Tory the men by whose blood your liberties have been 
cemented. These are they who hold in such keen remembrance the 
outrages of the British armies, from which many of them were 
deserters. Ask these self-styled patriots where they were during 
the Revolution, and you strike them dumb — their lips are closed 
in eternal silence. If it were allowable to entertain partialities, 
every consideration of blood, language, religion and interest, 
would incline us toward England; and yet shall they be alone ex- 
tended to France and her ruler (Bonaparte), whom we are bound to 
believe a chastening God suffers to exist, as the scourge of a guilty 
world! On all other nations he tramples —he holds them in con- 
tempt — England alone he hates; he would, but he cannot despise 
her — fear cannot despise. 

And shall Republicans become the instruments of him who had 

510 Our Book. 

effaced the title of Attila to the " scourge op God! " Yet even 
Attila, in the falling fortunes of civilization, had, no doubt, his 
advocates, his tools, his minions, his parasites in the very countries 
that he overran. Mr. Randolph could not give utterance to that 
strong detestation which he felt toward (above all other works of 
the creation) such characters as Zingis, Tamerlane or Bonaparte. 
His instincts involuntarily revolted at their bare idea. Malefac- 
tors of the human race, who ground down man to a mere machine 
of their impious and bloody ambition. Yet, under all the accu- 
mulated wrongs and insults and robberies of the last of these 
chieftains, are we not in point of fact about to become a party to 
his views, a partner in his wars? 

I have made the above extract merely in order to show 
Randolph's intense style. It has no tender and sympa- 
thetic power, and in fact, Randolph was deficient in that 
mental balance without which no man can be a leader. 
It is remarkable, that during the above-mentioned war, 
the great antagonists should be a Kentuckian and a Vir- 
ginian, and this antagonism continued until a dozen years 
afterward, when they met as duelists, but fortunately it 
was a bloodless field. 

Henry Clay's Oratory. 
Clay was the most effective orator of his day because 
he added to a deep and comprehensive view of public 
matters an emotional power which no other modern states- 
man possessed. The following extract from one of his 
speeches, delivered in 1828, forty-three years before the 
great rebellion, shows his views on the Union : 

I have no fears for the permanency of our Union. It is a tough 
and a strong cord, as all will find who shall presumptuously at- 
tempt to break it. It has been competent to suppress all domes- 
tic insurrection and to carry us safely through all foreign wars, 
and it has come out of each with more strength and greater 
promise of endurance. It is the choicest political blessing we 
enjoy, and I trust and hope that Providence will permit us to 
transmit it unimpaired to posterity through endless generations. 

Clay's most enthusiastic champion was Horace Greeley, 
who felt his defeat not only with deepest personal regret, 
but also as a national calamity. Clay reappeared in pub- 

National. 517 

lie life in the effort for the perpetuity of the Union. I 
well remember seeing his reception in this city in 1839, 
when he was prominent as a presidential candidate, bat 
the nomination was given to Harrison. I also saw him 
enjoy a still more enthusiastic reception in 1846, and 
though he had lost the presidency, the bitterness of dis- 
appointment was mitigated by the intensity of popular 
affection. Six years later he died — having by a long 
career of statesmanship won the name of the ''Great Com- 

Lewis and Clark. 

These men certainly deserve remembrance, since they 
organized the first national effort to reach the Pacific. 
Their success gave them great distinction at the time, and 
also prepared the public for subsequent exploration. 
Both were of Virginia birth, but how different is their 
early history. Lewis was Jefferson's private secretary, 
while Clark was one of a family of pioneers, who, in 
1784, settled on the present site of Louisville. 

In 1796 Clark went to St. Louis. He had won a repu- 
tation in the Indian wars, and hence was designated to 
the exploring service. The expedition, which included 
thirty men, started from St. Louis in March, 1804, and 
before the close of the season they reached the lands 
of the Sioux, where they were obliged to go into winter 
camp. The next spring they marched onward, and on 
the 12th of August passed the summit of the Rocky 
Mountains. On the 15th of November, after great suf- 
fering, they reached the Pacific ocean. 

They remained all winter in camp, and in the spring 
returned, arriving at St. Louis in September, after an ab- 
sence of nearly two and a half years. In February, 1807, 
Lewis and Clark returned to Washington, and were re- 

518 Our Book. 

ceived by congress with appropriate honors. Their ex- 
plorations filled two large volumes, but how little did people 
then imagine that the same distance would ever be made in 
one week! 

Historical Cycles. 

The battle of Antietam, which was the first decided 
victory (in open field) won by the Union army, gave 
the assurance of final success. It had, however, an addi- 
tional importance, since it was followed by the emancipa- 
tion proclamation, which is the most important state paper 
since the Declaration of Independence. I am led by this 
historical reference to one of still more remote character, 
which may interest some of my readers, as it illustrates 
those cycles which sometimes occur in national history. 
Let us begin with 1762, when a Boston judge, appointed 
by the king, refused to obey an unjust law, and not only 
resigned his office but denounced the law in the most elo- 
quent manner at a public meeting in Faneuil Hall. This 
man was James Otis, the ablest speaker in New England; 
and John Adams says that on that occasion American 
liberty had its birth. 

The first epoch of twenty-five years brings us to 1787, 
when not only liberty had been won, but a Constitution 
had been formed, and this gave promise of a permanent 
nationality, whose greatest danger immediately appeared in 
the doctrine of State lights. George Clinton in New York, 
and James Monroe in Virginia, both opposed the Union, 
because they did- not want to surrender the State powers. 

The second epoch of twenty-five years brings us to the 
war of 1812, when the danger of State rights became 
still more apparent. George Clinton, who was then vice- 
president, died that year, having lived long enough to see 
his error, but he saw the latter revived by John C. Cal- 
houn, who then made his first appearance in congress. 

National. 519 

The war was so unpopular North that it awoke inany 
fears of disunion, but fortunately peace with Britain 
abated these internal dangers. 

The third epoch of twenty-live years brings us to 1837, 
when the independence of Texas was acknowledged by 
our government, with a view of its speedy admission into 
the Union, and on this occasion John C. Calhoun reaf- 
firmed his position that the Union was merely a compact, 
which could be sundered at any time. He was then per- 
fecting his scheme of dissolving the Union and forming 
a southern empire, to which Texas was necessary. Here 
the State rights doctrine which Jackson had checked in the 
nullification troubles reappeared with renewed strength. 
Fourth epoch, 1862, just twenty-five years later, when 
the battle of Antietam as the first open-field victory of 
the Union forces gave assurance of the establishment of 
the nation on the basis of perpetual union. 

Pacific road Projector. 
Now that four railroads cross the American continent, it 
may be well to recall the inception of this wonderful en- 
terprise. The projector was Asa Whitney, who certainly 
deserves some expression of national gratitude. In 1843, 
five years before the discovery of California gold, Whit- 
ney started the project of a railway to the Pacific, and 
from time to time presented it to various legislatures and 
at last to the general government. The idea was wel- 
comed by the small number of really advanced minds, and 
Freeman Hunt, editor of the Merchants' Magazine, wrote 
thus in 1844 : " Our population is pushing with a vigor- 
ous, rapid and increasing march toward the shores of the 
Pacific. Those persons are now living who will see a 
railroad connecting those shores with New York, and 
also steam communication to China." 

520 Our Book. 

The plan was submitted to congress in 1844 by Zadoc 
Pratt, then a member of the house, and who said, " this 
is no mysterious affair — it is a plain, simple business 
plan, grand and sublime." The scheme was again brought 
before congress in 1848, and an able as well as a highly 
favorable report was made by the committee. A strong 
opposition, however, appeared in an unexpected quarter, 
and Thomas H. Benton — then a member of the senate — 
was its leader. 

Benton must have been actuated by malignant personal 
feelings, or extreme ignorance, as he willfully perverted 
and misconstrued Whitney's project, and cast aspersions 
on his character. Perhaps he was jealous of any move- 
ment which might interfere with the claims of his son-in- 
law Fremont, who was then organizing an overland expe- 
dition. He was, however, led to a change of policy after 
the discovery of gold, and then introduced a bill favoring 
the measure. 

Various Steps. 

In 1853, an act was passed providing for surveys of 
different routes, but owing to national troubles ten years 
elapsed before the work was begun, and it required two 
additional years to finish the first forty miles — from 
Omaha to Fremont. 

On the 12th day of May, 1869, the road was opened, 
this being twenty years after the first favorable congres- 
sional enactment. Whitney, like all men of progressive 
genius, suffered the penalty of enterprise. He obtained 
the approval of eighteen State legislatures, and expended 
a large amount of time and money in personal inspection 
of the route, but he is now rewarded by oblivion. 

Whitney estimated the cost of the road at $70,000,- 
000, and he proposed to build it for a land grant of 
thirty miles on each side of the track. He said that the 

National. 521 

first eight hundred miles would be all that was of any 
value, the west of the territory being really worthless. 

The road cost nearly four times his estimate, but it is 
to be remembered that it was built at a time of great in- 
flation, and also that its construction was accompanied by 
an unusual system of fraud. 

Men who deserve Memorials. 
One of these is Paul Jones, who did more for America 
than any other man who saw so little of our country — 
which indeed he only visited four times during his whole 
life. He was a native of Scotland and came here before 
the Revolution. Being an expert sailor, a naval com- 
mand was given him, and after entering on his new ser- 
vice, he touched at Providence and then put to sea. His 
brief autobiography gives an interesting record of the 
captures he made, and he was the first man to spread the 
American colors on the ocean. Among other interesting 
points it may be mentioned that he bore the news of 
Burgoyne's surrender to Franklin and thus led to our 
treaty with France which ensured success. He was only 
thirty-two when he captured the Serapis and carried ter- 
ror to the British coast. One of the remarkable features 
in this action is that it was fought by moonlight, and an- 
other is that the vessel which Captain Jones commanded 
was so shattered that he left it to sink and sailed from 
the scene of conflict in his prize. That all this service 
should have been performed by one who never spent a 
year in the country which he so gallantly defended is, 
indeed, a matter of surprise. He died in Paris in 1792, 
being then only forty-five. I regret to add that there is 
not, either in this country or any other (as far as I can 
learn), a monument bearing the name of Paul Jones. 

Reader, is not this neglect wrong ? 

522 John Ledyard. 

Another man who deserves a statue is John Ledyard. 
This leads to the statement that in 1776, while a hostile 
fleet was sailing up New York harbor bearing that army 
which soon defeated Washington on Long Island, the 
British government sent out its exploring expedition to 
the Pacific under Captain Cook. Thus are we reminded 
of the words of Milton, that " peace hath her victories 
no less renowned than war." 

There was an American in this expedition with whom 
Cook was so well pleased, that though the former was 
merely a sailor, he was made corporal of marines. Tin's 
man was John Ledyard, who, though only twenty-five, 
had previously sailed up the Mediterranean in an Ameri- 
can vessel in order to see the Orient — had reached Lon- 
don, and hearing of Cook's expedition, sought a place, 
however humble, in his crew. Ledyard was the only 
American that was honored with Cook's friendship. He 
witnessed the tragic death of the famous navigator, and 
assisted in recovering his remains. It was this union 
between Cook and Ledyard which gave the latter such 
favor among English scientists. 

Subsequent Life. 

Ledyard was the first American of that roaming charat tcr 
which was so fully developed by Bayard Taylor and other 
noted tourists. He had a natural desire to visit foreign 
lands, which gradually became a ruling passion. On the 
close of the Revolution he returned to America and en- 
deavored to induce the commercial public to fit out an 
expedition for the northwest coast, an enterprise which 
he w T as the first to propose. This effort, however, failed, 
and he then visited Paris hoping there to obtain encour- 
agement. He was warmly received by Jefferson, our 
ambassador, but his project failed. He then repaired to 
London, and being supplied with a small sum of money 

National. 523 

by scientific friends who admired his enthusiasm, he 
started on an overland journey through Russia, with a 
view to going as far around the world as Behring straits. 
In seven weeks he walked one thousand four hundred 
miles in the dead of winter, and reached St. Petersburgh 
without shoes or money. He was befriended by a Scotch 
physician in the Russian service, and then proceeded 
through Siberia to the distance of three thousand miles. 
At this important period in his travels he was suspected 
to be a spy, and was conveyed under guard, out of the 
Russian borders and forbidden to return on pain of death. 

Journey to Africa. 

In the spring of 1787, less than a year after his depart- 
ure from London, Ledyard returned to that city ragged 
and penniless. Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed with him 
under Cook, gave him welcome, and another project was 
proposed, this being African discovery. The adventurous 
Yankee accepted the plan, and being asked when he 
would be ready to march, replied : " To-morrow." Lie 
left London as soon as an outfit could be prepared, and 
traveled through Europe in an expeditious manner, reach- 
ing Alexandria in safety. 

His plan was to cross the African continent and reach 
the Atlantic ocean, but death overtook him before he had 
passed the pyramids. The society which employed Led- 
yard considered him eminently adapted to the exploring 
service, and hence felt his death as a great loss. How re- 
markable that the plan projected by Ledyard should have 
eventually been carried out by Stanley, who, being com- 
missioned for this purpose by an American, gives a full 
share of the honors of African exploration to our own 
country. Reader, in view of the honor thus' conferred on 
our country, does not John Ledyard deserve a monument ? 

524 Our Book. 


Hamilton was the most versatile man of his day. He 
was an able lawyer, a powerful writer, an admirable ora- 
tor, a fine singer and a brilliant society man. He also 
combined the soldier, the financier, the statesman, and all 
these gifts were sublimed by the most devoted patriotism. 
His precocity was wonderful, and yet it was only a natu- 
ral development. At tho age of thirteen he took charge 
of a mercantile establishment. At fifteen his writings 
attracted notice, and even commanded applause. At 
seventeen he addressed a public meeting in New York 
with great eloquence. At nineteen he was an acknowl- 
edged writer on public questions, and had formulated, in 
thought at least, a system of Federal government. At 
tw r enty he was captain of an artillery company raised by 
himself, and soon won the confidence of Washington, who 
placed him on his staff. 

At twenty-three he has proved himself a master of 
the difficult subject of national finance. By the time he 
reaches twenty-five it is found that, even with so limited 
an opportunity of study, he has become a first-class law- 
yer. At twenty-six he takes rank as a congressman of 
marked power. At thirty he is a leading mind in fram- 
ing the Federal constitution. At thirty-three he is secre- 
tary of the treasury, and evolves a brilliant and success- 
ful system of finance, by means of which, to quote the 
language of Webster, "he touched the dead corpse of 
American credit, and it stood upon its feet." Where in 
all history can we find so rapid and so permanent a pro- 
gress in the combined action of war and statesmanship ? 

Misunderstood and Misrepresented. 
It is, however, the common fate of such men to be mis- 

Hamilton. 525 

understood and misrepresented by a large portion of the 
public, and I am impressively reminded of this by the 
following advertisement from the New York Daily Adver- 
tiser September 7, 1792 : 

Just published. Five letters, addressed to the yeomen of the 
United States, containing some observations on the dangerous 
scheme of Governor Duer and Mr. Secretary Ilamilton. 

Hamilton's " dangerous scheme " was the means of sav- 
ing the young republic from bankruptcy. One of the 
grandest efforts of this wonderful man was his triumph. 
over the governor of the State (George Clinton) in the 
convention which accepted the Federal constitution. Clin- 
ton threw a tremendous influence against it, and being 
governor as well as delegate, he had immense weight. 
His objection was that the State of New York would be 
obliged to surrender its port to the Union, and Clinton 
was already collecting a handsome revenue from the cus- 
toms. Hamilton eloquently argued that the State would 
be the gainer by the sacrifice, and he induced the repre- 
sentatives from the city to accept his views in antagonism 
to the governor. The result was that the constitution 
was adopted, and though the majority was only two, it 
secured to the State the highest position in the Union. 

Hamilton's country Seat. 
The Grange was built for a summer residence, for Ham- 
ilton's city house was in Garden street, now Exchange 
place. Attached to the Grange were thirty acres of wild 
land and a large garden, whose culture, however, must 
have been a labor of love rather than profit. Hamilton's 
good judgment was shown in several points. For in- 
stance, the Grange is near the great northern road, and 
its grand elevation gave it an extensive view of Harlem, 
and also the East river. At no other place in that vicinity 

526 Our Book. 

could such a prospect be obtained, and this selection thus 
indicates a careful choice. 

The Grange is a wooden structure, whose porch and 
piazza are reached by a flight of steps. The hall is very 
broad, and the ceilings are nearly eleven feet high. The 
apartments must, at that day, have been considered very- 
grand, and, upon the whole, it was no doubt one of the 
finest rural resorts on the island. To this place Hamilton 
was wont to invite his choice friends, and it has witnessed 
some of the most interesting gatherings that ever occurred 
in this city. On the fatal morning of July 11, 1801, 
Hamilton left the Grange in order to meet Burr on the 
" field of honor," and never returned. 

The thirteen Trees. 
The most historic trees in the world are the thirteen 
planted by Hamilton in honor of the Union. His efforts 
to establish if have never been suitably appreciated. As 
a member. of the convention which formed the constitu- 
tion, he performed no ordinary task, and he was pained 
to see that instrument opposed by some of the most influ- 
ential men in the State. The constitution, however, tri- 
umphed, iu honor of which Hamilton planted a tree for 
every State, and to show the true nature of the Union he 
placed them in a circle. Those who now visit the Grange 
will see these very trees, but instead of tender saplings, 
one beholds lofty height and spreading verdure. How 
strange it is that not one of this number has died. On 
the other hand, they exhibit a varied growth. Some are 
larger than others; just as the States themselves have 
varied in development. This group of trees is one of the 
most remarkable relics in America, and it may be hoped 
that they will be carefully preserved whatever may be the 
demands of progress. By way of explanation, it may be 

Hamilton. 527 

added that they are plane trees, a species noted for endu- 

The famous Duel. 

Our readers are so familiar with this harrowing affair 
that I shall only mention some of its prominent features. 
Burr being determined to have satisfaction for Hamilton's 
long-continued opposition, which he considered the cause 
of his political ruin, sent a message demanding explana- 
tion of some offensive remarks. This took place on the 
18th of June, 1S04. Four letters were exchanged be- 
tween the principals, and nine days elapsed before a chal- 
lenge was sent. 

Hamilton had a clear view of the determination of his 
correspondent. He saw that a hostile message was inev- 
itable, and being in obedience to what are falsely called 
the laws of honor, he accepted it as soon as offered. He 
was conscientiously opposed to the practice, with very 
good reason indeed, since his son Philip had fallen in a 
duel with Captain Eacker two years previously ; but he 
could not break the iron rule of military life. He would 
not send a challenge, but he would not refuse one. He had 
twenty years previously served as a second, and now he 
appeared as a principal. 

The duel to which I refer was fought between General 
Lee and Colonel Laurens, and the seconds were respect- 
ively Major Edwards and Colonel Hamilton, the latter 
being then only twenty-two years old. Lee, who hated 
Washington, had spoken of him openly in terms of dis- 
respect, and Laurens, as an admirer and friend of the 
latter, challenged the calumniator to mortal combat. This 
was in December, 1778, and the meeting took place near 
Philadelphia. It is remarkable that "Washington, though 
opposed to duelling, should have been the occasion of 

528 Our Book. 

two hostile meetings. The first look place on the previ- 
ous Fourth of July, General Cadwallader having chal- 
lenged General Conway, originator of the cabal whose 
object was to supersede Washington by Gates. In each 
of these occasions the offenders were wounded, though 
not fatally — but to return to Hamilton and Burr. 

Approaching Events. 

On the Fourth of July, 1804, just a week before the 
duel, both parties to it attended the dinner of the Society 
of the Cincinnati. Hamilton was in good spirits and 
sang The Drum, which then was a popular song. How 
little was it then dreamed that he had accepted a challenge ! 
Burr, on the other hand, conversed very little. The paper 
which Hamilton left as a testimonial against duelling 
shows that his conduct was in opposition to his conscience. 
He felt that he had no right to expose a life which his 
family needed so deeply, and acting as he did in face of 
this conclusion, he was guilty of a dreadful wrong. 

Hamilton's second was Nathaniel Pendleton, a respecta- 
ble lawyer, whose office was at No. 17 Wall street. Burr's 
second was William P. Yan Ness, also a lawyer, whose 
office was at No. 10 Pine street, near the Evening Post 
establishment. By special arrangement the meeting was 
postponed until after the circuit court, which was held 
on the 6th, in which Hamilton had an important case. 
When this had been disposed of, Mr. Pendleton informed 
Yan Ness that his principal was ready. Sunday, the 8th, 
was passed by Hamilton in the bosom of his family. 
What a grievous wrong he was about to inflict upon them ! 
On Monday he made his will, leaving everything to his 
wife and commending her to his children. Tuesday was 
spent in preliminaries to the meeting, which was to come 
off early the next day. A surgeon and a boatman were 

Hamilton. 529 

to be engaged, and the former was found in Dr. Hosack, 
who was one of the leading practitioners of the age. 

On that day Burr wrote a long letter to Theodosia, 
giving explicit directions as to the disposition of his af- 
fairs, and also advice in reference to the education of her 
little boy. He also wrote a careful and elaborate letter 
to her husband, in which other details are given, and he 
concludes with the brief explanation : " I have called 
out General Hamilton, and we meet to-morrow. Yan 
Ness will give you the particulars. The preceding has 
been written in view of this. If it should be my lot to 
fall -7- yet I shall live in you and your son." It may be 
observed as a striking contrast not only that Burr did not 
fall, but that he survived both his daughter and her hus- 
band, as well as their son, and died in miserable old age. 

The Meeting. 

It was arranged between the seconds that Burr should 
be on the ground first, and he must have left Richmond 
Hill before six o'clock. Pendleton says that at seven in 
the morning the Hamilton party reached the spot (which 
was Weehawken), and the ferryman was ordered to wait 
at the bank. Burr and Yan Ness were busy clearing the 
ground so as to make an opening. The principals saluted 
each other in that formal manner which the laws of honor 
demand. The distance (ten paces) was measured, and 
then Yan Ness and Pendleton united in loading a brace 
of pistols. They then drew for choice of position, which 
Hamilton won, and the combatants immediately took 
their places. 

By previous agreement, the following had been ar- 
ranged as the method of combat : " The parties having 
been placed in proper position, the second who gives the 

word shall ask them if they are ready, and being answered 


530 ^ UR Book. 

in the affirmative shall say ' present,' and after this the 
parties shall present and fire when they please." The 
word was given by Pendleton, and both parties presented 
and lired in succession. Pendleton says that Burr took 
deliberate aim. Hamilton tired after Burr, but the inter- 
vening time was a matter of disagreement. It could not, 
however, have been more than two or three seconds, for 
he fell mortally wounded by the first fire. Burr imme- 
diately advanced toward the wounded man with an ex- 
pression of regret, and then, without speaking, turned and 
left the field. The spot on which Hamilton fell was 
subsequently indicated by a monument placed there by 
the St. Andrew's Society, of which Hamilton was a mem- 
ber. It stood in what was Thirty-first street in the old 
Weehawken district, but the improvement in that vicinity 
lias required its removal. 

As Hamilton sank to the ground Pendleton ran to his 
assistance, and Dr. Hosack, who heard the firing, was also 
immediately at hand. The unfortunate man was hardly 
able to speak. They carried him down to the boat, pass- 
ing the Burr party, and to prevent identification Van 
Ness covered his principal with his opened umbrella. 
Burr was rowed as rapidly as possible to Richmond Hill, 
where he remained several days and then went to Phila- 
delphia. He felt that his crime had exiled him from 
New York, and he did not revisit that city until after the 
lapse of eight, years. 

IIosack's Statement. 
Dr. Hosack says he found Hamilton sitting on the 
ground upheld by the arms of his second. " His coun- 
tenance I shall never forget ; he had just strength enough 
to say * this is a mortal wound,' and then sank back to 
the ground apparently lifeless." The ferrymen put forth 

Hamilton. 531 

every effort to return, and the sea breeze revived the 
wounded man, who immediately referred to his wife. 
"Let her be sent for," said he; "but break the news 
gently and give her hope." Dr. Hosack soon found the 
words of the unfortunate man too true ; the wound was 
mortal. Mrs. Hamilton and the family reached Bayard's 
about noon, and here the dying man took his last view of 
that group which hp had so greatly wronged. The spec- 
tacle was too painful for him, and he closed his eyes in 
mental agony ; but when the children (six in number) 
were withdrawn, he consoled his wife with the words: 
"Remember, Eliza, you are a Christian." He was sub- 
sequently visited by Bishop Moore, who w r as gratified to- 
hear the dying man's repentance, and administered to him 
the communion according to the custom of the Protestant 
Episcopal church. Hamilton's wound was beyond human 
aid. Hosack found, on post-mortem examination, that 
the bullet had fractured the third rib and then passed 
through the liver and diaphragm and lodged in the second 
lumbar vertebra, Hamilton lingered in great agony until 
the next day at two o'clock in the afternoon, when he 
expired. Thus Aaron Burr obtained "satisfaction." 

The Funeral. 
Hamilton's city residence was closed for the season, or 
the funeral would probably have been held there. The 
remains, however, were removed from Bayard's to the 
house of John B. Church, down town. Church was Ham- 
ilton's brother-in-law and was so dear a friend that he had 
been named as one of the executors of his will, and no 
doubt craved this last privilege of hospitality to the hon- 
ored dead. Coleman, editor of the Evening Post, in re- 
ferring to the sad event, says : " In the death of General 
Hamilton I have lost my ablest adviser and my clearest 

532 Our Book. 

friend," and on the day of the funeral the office was 
closed and no paper issued. 

The obsequies were under the control of the Society of 
the Cincinnati. At ten o'clock Colonel Morton and his 
corps appeared in the park with six pieces of artillery. 
Two of these were stationary, and tired minute guns dur- 
ing the procession, of which the others formed an impos- 
ing feature. The Cincinnati and the clergy met in the 
college nearby, and thus, in detail, a grand funeral column 
was formed, which marched from Greenwich street up to 
the city hall park, then down Bcekman street and up 
Pearl to Whitehall street, after which it swept through 
Broadway until it reached Trinity church. Governeur 
Morris then delivered an appropriate eulogy, and the re- 
mains were buried and three volleys were iired over the 
grave. The monument placed here is still one of the 
most interesting features in Trinity church yard. Fifty- 
three years after his burial the remains of his widow were 
laid by his side. 

Hamilton's Preparations. 

On examining the real estate record of New York, I 
find that on the 6th of July, 1^04, the unfortunate states- 
man executed a deed of trust conveying all his property 
to John B. Church and William Pendleton (his second) 
for the purpose of meeting his debts, and especially a 
note due at the Bank of New York for $900. 

He also specifies that a set of the British classics just 
received from the bookseller (but not paid for) be re- 
turned. This shows Hamilton's honesty in business mat- 
ter-, and had he been equally honest toward his family he 
never would hare risked his life merely to obey the mis- 
called laws of honor. This deed of trust is the last 
record of Alexander Hamilton in the library of the regis- 

Hamilton. 533 

ter's office, and it was his last work prior to the duel, with 
the exception of his will. It was executed on Saturday, 
and the next Saturday witnessed his funeral. 

His Will. 

On the 9th of July, two days before the duel, Hamil- 
ton made his will, for, though he really had nothing to 
bequeath, he desired to give utterance to his feeliDgs in 
view of a possibly fatal result, and he also desired to im- 
press upon his children a full sense of filial duty. How 
sad, and yet how tender are the utterances which I quote 
from this instrument, which may be found in the surro- 
gate's ollice : 

Though, if it should please God to spare my life, I may look for 
a considerable surplus out of my present property ; yet, if he should 
speedily call me into the eternal world, a forced sale, as is usual, 
may possibly render it insufficient to satisfy my debts. 

I pray God that something may remain for the maintenance and 
education of my dear wife and children. But if, on the contrary, 
it happens that there is not enough for payment of my debts, I 
entreat my dear children, if they or any of them shall ever be 
able, to make up the deficiency. 

I, without hesitation, commit to their delicacy a wish which is 
dictated by my own. Though conscious I have too far sacrificed 
the interests of my family to public avocations, and, on this ac- 
count, have less claim to burden my children, yet I trust in their 
magnanimity to appreciate, as they ought, my request. 

In so unfavorable an event, the support of their dear mother, 
with the most respectful and tender affection, is a duty — all the 
sacredness of which they will feel. 

Does it not seem almost incredible that a man w T ho could 
write thus tenderly should set himself up for a mark for 
a duelist % "Why did not a sense of his duty to that be- 
loved family lead him to resist the miscalled law of honor ? 
It is certainly very strange. 

Hamilton and the Cincinnati. 
The most impressive meeting of this society was held 
in honor of Gen. Hamilton. It took place on the last 

534 Our Book. 

day of July, 1804, in the church which formerly occupied 
the corner of William and Fulton streets, and the address 
on the occasion was delivered by John M. Mason, who 
was an honorary member. The month was an eventful 
one in the records of the Cincinnati. They celebrated 
the Fourth by a dinner at the City hotel, Burr and Ham- 
ilton being both present. The latter appeared in good 
spirits, and entertained the company with The Drum, 
which was then a popular song. How little did that 
assemblage imagine that the deed was even then already 
planned, and the very day appointed. 

On the 11th the city was convulsed with the news of 
the bloody result. The next day Hamilton died, and the 
Cincinnati formed an impressive feature in the funeral 
procession. The occasion to which I have referred was 
the finale in this sad succession, and Mason's address was 
the finest of his efforts. It may be included among the 
best specimens of American eloquence, for Mason was 
really the most impressive speaker of his day, and his in- 
tensity of thought and pungency of expression rendered 
him, indeed, a model of oratory. The society afterward 
erected a tablet in the interior of Trinity church, and the 
inscription, also from the pen of Mason, is so admirable 
that I add it, not only as appropriate to the subject, but 
also as one of the finest paragraphs in our language: 

This tablet does not propose to perpetuate the memory of a man 
to whom the age has produced no superior, nor to emblazon worth 
eminently conspicuous in every feature of his country's greatness, 
nor to anticipate posterity in its judgment of the loss which she 
has sustained by his premature death, but to attest, in the sim- 
plicity of grief, the veneration and anguish which fill the 
hearts of the society of the Cincinnati on every recollection 
of their illustrious brother, Major-General Alexander Hamil- 

Keader, did you ever meet any thing more simple, more 
powerful and more comprehensive. 

Mason's Tribute. 535 

John M. Mason was the ablest preacher of that day 
and was often designated the Thunderer. He was an 
intimate friend of Hamilton and wrote the epitaph upon 
his monument; also the inscription on the tablet in 
Trinity Church — both of which are very felicitous. He 
was invited to deliver an address before the Society of 
the Cincinnati on the occasion of Hamilton's death. This 
took place a few days after the funeral, and I offer the 
following extract : 

Whoever was second Hamilton must be first. To his stupen- 
dous and versatile mind no investigation was difficult. Superi- 
ority, in some particular, belong to thousands. Pre-eminence in 
whatever he chose to undertake, was the sole prerogative of Ham- 
ilton. No fixed criterion could be applied to his talents. Often 
has their display been supposed to have reached the limit of hu- 
man effort; and this opinion stood firm till set aside by himself. 

When a cause of new magnitude required his exertion he rose, 
he towered, he soared, surpassing himself as he had surpassed 
others. Then was nature tributary to his eloquence! Then was 
felt his despotism over the heart! Touching at his pleasure every 
string of pity or terror, of indignation or grief, he melted, he 
soothed, he aroused, he agitated — alternately gentle as the dew, 
and awful as the thunder — yet, great as he was in the eyes of the 
world, he was still greater to those with whom he was the most 

The greatness of most men, like objects seen through a mist, 
diminishes with the distance; but Hamilton, like a tower seen 
afar off under a clear sky, rose in grandeur and sublimity with 
every step of approach. Familiarity with him was the parent of 
veneration. Over these matchless talents, probity threw her 
brightest lustre, while tenderness and benevolence breathed 
through their exercise. But, he is gone; that noble heart is silent 
in death, and the brightest gleam of American glory is extin- 
guished in the tomb. 

Hamilton's death Place. 
Biographers say that " Hamilton died at the house of 
a friend in the suburbs of the city." Such a statement, 
however, could not satisfy a careful enquirer and hence I 
was determined to make close investigation. I learned that 
the friend referred to was William Bayard, a prominent 
business man, who had a farm and country scat at Green- 

536 Our Book. 

wich, a village which then clustered on the banks of the 
Hudson within walking distance from the city. Being 
desirous of visiting the house I found it in Jane street 
about a mile and a half from the Battery. It was three 
stories high and of old-fashion breadth, with hall in the 
center, and though built of wood, had been kept in pres- 
ervation by paint, the color being light brown. 

Ringing at the door I was ushered into a spacious hall 
where the " lady of the house " soon appeared. She 
readily guessed the object of my visit and seemed pleased 
to inhabit a place of such historic character. She had a 
sub-tenant occupying part of the house, but I was made 
equally welcome by both families. 

One of the " ladies" seemed to look on my visit as a 
matter of course. " Oh, yes," said she, " there was a 
man here awhile ago and photographed the house and me 
sitting in the window." " Why did he photograph it ?" 
was my inquiry, for I had not mentioned any names and 
was desirous to see what she knew on the subject. " Why, 
sir, there was a great man died here and lie was a gen- 
eral," was the reply, "but I don't know his name. He 
was a great man though, and somebody killed him and 
everybody felt bad, but I don't know what his name 
was." Reader, how could I avoid smiling to myself and 
recalling Byron's lines on revisiting the grave of a dis- 
tinguished poet, of whom the sexton knew nothing : 

* * * * For I did dwell 
With a deep thought and a softened eye 
On that old sexton's natural homily, 
In which there was obscurity and fame, 
The glory and the nothing of a name. 

Going up stairs I could not but notice the dignity and 
elegance of the upper rooms, especially when I consid- 
ered that this was but a summer house. The ceilings 
were high and the wooden mantels must, in their day, 

Hamilton*. 537 

have been the best of workmanship. While I was look- 
ing at them the woman explained : " There was an old 
man came here a spell ago, and he looked at them and 
then he looked at everything else, and said it hadn't been 
changed since he was a tfoy." This man, of course, must 
have been some branch of the Bayard family, but my 
informant could not give me his name. 

The death Room. 

u Can you tell me where the General died ? " was my 
inquiry, after finishing my survey of up-stairs. " Oh, 
yes," was the reply, " lie died down stairs in the back 
room." We proceeded thither, and I immediately per- 
ceived this to be the best place in the house for a sick 
man. It looked out on a pretty yard and was connected 
with the front parlor by folding doors. This w T as the 
place where the greatest statesman of his day passed the 
last hours of his life, suffering the agony of a mortal 
wound and the deeper agony of parting from a wife and 
six children, who were left with no visible means of sup- 
port. The mourning family, in this very room, sur- 
rounded the dying bed, and thence the corpse was borne 
down town for the purpose of holding the funeral ser- 
vices. The latter began at the house of Hamilton's 
brother-in-law, John B. Church, but were concluded in 
Trinity with all the impressive accompaniments of such 
an occasion. I regret to add that not long after my visit 
the Bayard house was demolished in order to give place 
to a more profitable building. 

Hamilton's Monument. 
Having stood more than eighty years, it had fallen into 
a bad condition, but recent repair has fully restored it, 
and the epitaph is clearly legible. The latter is much ad- 

53S Our Book. 

mired, and as it may interest some of our readers, I add 
a copy : 

To the memory of 


The corporation of Trinity church has erected this 


In testimony for their respect 
The patriot of incorruptible integrity; 
The Soldier of approved valor; 
The Statesman of consummate wisdom, 
Whose talents and virtues will be admired 
Grateful posterity 
Long after this marble shall have moldered into 


He died July 13, 1804, aged 47. 

The Eacker Duel. 

The most talented of Hamilton's sons was the first born. 
lie was named Philip, after his grandfather, Gen. Schuy- 
ler, and was considered a brilliant youth. At nineteen 
he had graduated at Columbia college, and was an active 
young politician, a fact which easily explains the way in 
which he met his death. At that time duels were a very 
common way of settling political quarrels, and every lead- 
ing man was obliged to be ready at any time to send or 
accept a challenge. This is illustrated by the untimely 
death of Philip Hamilton. 

His antagonist was an ambitious young man from Pala- 
tine, New York, named George Eacker, who had lived in 
New York seven years, during which time he had studied 
law with Brockholst Livingston, and had become one of 
the best lawyers of the day. Eacker also had a military 
taste and was captain in the militia. He had reached his 
twenty-fourth year and was invited to deliver the Fourth 
of July oration, which then was a great distinction. 
Eacker was an admirer of Burr, and was a political oppo- 
nent of Hamilton. Hence the young Federalists turned 

Hamilton. 539 

their shafts upon him, and as a point of ridicule called 
him "the Mohawk Dutchman." 

One evening Philip Hamilton, accompanied by a young 
friend named Price, entered the Park theater and saw 
Eacker there accompanied by some ladies. He made use 
of a contemptuous expression, to which Eacker retorted, 
and added that he expected to hear from them. This 
hint was enough. According to the code of honor, both 
Price and Hamilton were obliged to challenge him, and 
this was done that very night. Eacker accepted, and the 
next Sunday was appointed for their meeting. Price 
came first, and after five shots had been exchanged with- 
out effect, the seconds interfered and declared their 
honor purged. Hamilton fought next day and was 
mortally wounded at the first fire. He was buried in 
Trinity church yard, and within two years his father 
was laid by his side, a similar victim to the laws of 

A peculiar feature in these duels is the fact neither of 
the Hamiltons had any murderous desire. One of them 
was the challenger and the ot