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“BARNUM's Hotel, March 23, 1842. MY DEAR SIR.-I am truly obliged to you for the beautiful and delicious mint-julep you have so kindly sent me. It's quite a mercy that I knew what it was. I have tasted it, but await further proceedings until the arrival of Washington Irving, whom I expect to dine with me, tête-à-tête, and who will help me to drink your health. With many thanks to you, “Dear sir, faithfully yours,

CHARLES DICKENS.”

Side by side with this faded writing of Dickens is a little note of Jenny Lind's thanking Guy for some reed birds, and one from Daniel Webster acknowledging a present of some grouse.

It will be noted that many of the humorists died before they were very old men. Of these Douglas Jerrold was a fine instance-born 1803, died 1857. As I add his name to my list, I extract the following from his obituary, written by Charles Dickens, of whom, for a long period, he was a violent personal enemy:

“The last line he wrote, and the last proof he corrected, are among these papers through which I have so sorrowfully made my way. The condition of the little pages of manuscript, when death stopped his hand, shows that he had carried them about, and often taken them out of his pocket here and there for patient revision and interlineation. The last words he corrected in print were, 'And my heart throbbed with exquisite bliss.' God grant that on that Christmas-eve when he laid his head back on his pillow and threw up his arms, as he had been wont to do when very weary, some consciousness of duty done, and Christian hope throughout life humbly cherished, may have caused his own heart so to throb when he passed away to his Redeemer's rest.

“He was found peacefully lying as above described, composed, undisturbed, and to all appearances asleep, on the 24th of December, 1862. He was only in his fifty-third year so young a man that the mother who blessed him in his first

sleep blessed him in his last. Twenty years before, he had written, after being in a white squall,

• And when, its force expended,
The harmless storm was ended,
And as the sunrise splendid

Came blushing o'er the sea;
I thought, as day was breaking,
My little girls were waking,
And smiling and making

A prayer at home for me.'

“Those little girls had grown to be women when the mournful day broke that saw their father lying dead. In those twenty years of companionship with him they had learned much from him, and one of them has a literary course before her worthy of her famous name.”

Charles Lamb was perhaps the best specimen of the class I am trying to describe, and died aged fifty-nine. He was, to use his own picture of another, “A compound of the Jew, the gentleman, and the angel.” He was the associate of Wordsworth, Hood, De Quincey, Talfourd, Leigh Hunt, Southey, etc. He was amiable, fantastic, witty, subtle in his style, and will live in literary history as one of its most delightful characters. There was insanity in his family, and at twenty he was himself six weeks in a madhouse. His sister Mary was frequently insane, and killed her own mother in one of her paroxysms. I always thought Joseph C. Neal, so well beloved in Philadelphia for his quiet manners and easy humor, who preceded me in The Pennsylvanian, and died July 3, 1848, aged only forty-one, greatly resembled Lamb in the graceful beauty of his writings and the feebleness of his frame. One of Lamb's infirmities was that he stammered. He was sent by his physician to an English watering-place to recover his strength, and was put into the hands of two stout bathers. As they got him into the water, he said, “My doctor orders that I am to be dipped.”

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“Yes, your honor," was the reply, and down he went. As the little man rose in terror, he exclaimed, “I mean that I am to be dipped !” “Yes, your honor,” and in they doused him again. As he came up he recovered his speech and lost his temper, and shouted, “Damn it, my doctor said I was only to be dip

“ ped-once !"

Thomas De Quincey, the English “Opium-eater," died in 1859, aged seventy-four, a great age for one whose life was wasted and great intellect destroyed by his slavish surrender to an appetite he could not control. He was not so much a humorist as a dreamer; but some of his visions were gorgeous, and much that he wrote took a high rank in standard literature and secured him a large circle of admirers.

I might extend the list, but I think what I have written will serve the purpose. The comic men of our day soon wear out. There are few such perennial spirits as Sydney Smith and Francis Jeffrey, few such sparkling and exhaustless fountains of fun and satire as Theodore Hook. American humor of this generation is typified by the school of Artemus Ward (another melancholy man, who died very young, in the zenith of his fame), Bret Harte, Mark Twain, Petroleum V. Nasby, and the Man of the Danbury News. Unique as they are, they find it difficult to be always original.

The demand for their wares is greater than the supply. Of this fraternity Mark Twain and Petroleum Nasby are the steadiest and most enduring, but yet the latter (Mr. Locke) varies his lectures and letters with other work, and is far more a journalist than a joker. He, at least, cannot be added to the saturnine and dyspeptic catalogue. Life to him is a broad and tempting field; and though his letters from the Confederate X Roads may be out of fashion, he finds many other themes for his rare talents; and in working the mine of fact he will, I predict, be as successful as he has been in exploring the regions of fancy.

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XXI.

NEWSPAPER MEN DEAD AND LIVING. THEIR AUTOBIOGRAPH

ICAL TASTES.—THURLOW WEED, NATHAN SARGENT, ROBERT DALE OWEN, JOHN WENTWORTH, SCHUYLER COLFAX, ETC., ETC.

What was the exception in other days, so far as personal recollection is concerned, is now the rule. Autobiographies are as frequent as they used to be scarce; and presently they will be as necessary to the public or private library as a dictionary or an encyclopædia. I could name a dozen scholars who were busily engaged on their reminiscences. The noted writers of the time were Thurlow Weed, Nathan Sargent (“Oliver Oldschool"), Henry S. Foote, and Gideon Welles. H. H. Stuart, Secretary of the Interior; C. M. Conrad, Secretary of War; A. R. Hall, Postmaster-general; and W. H. Graham, Secretary of the Navy under President Fillmore, living to a great age, like their venerable chief, met frequently in the hospitable residence of W. W. Corcoran, in Washington, full of written and unwritten memories. There is hardly a retired editor or politician that has not contributed something to the general stock. The comparative neglect of former times bids fair to be followed by a flood of personal literature. It is easy to read the growth of these experiences in current periodicals and newspapers. Nothing is more welcome than Robert Dale Owen's chapters in The Atlantic, The Old Stager" in Harper, Justin McCarthy's sketches of European celebrities in the Galaxy, or the frequent individual portraits in Lippincott. I never open a journal like the Lancaster (Pa.) Express or the Delaware County (Pa.) Republican, or the Weekly Democrat or Intelligencer of Bucks County, or the weekly editions of dailies like the Newark (N.J.) Advertiser, the Cincinnati (O.) Commercial, the Albany (N. Y.) Argus or Fournal, the Indianapolis Fournal, the St. Louis Republican, the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, the Boston Post or

Advertiser, without finding some addition to the increasing collection. John Wentworth, of Chicago, famous for many years in the national capital, though much of his memoranda was lost in the great fire of October, 1871, has preserved a mass of MSS., and delights to converse about the men of other days. I saw him a few months ago at the Tremont House in Chicago, and found him a treasure of anecdotes of Webster, Clay, and Douglas. There is no readier writer than ex-Vice-President Colfax, with his fresh memory and sparkling style, and, of course, his leisure at South Bend, Indiana, is not neglected. Ex-Speaker Grow is not too busy to forget the scenes through which he passed. Both in the prime of life and full of ambition, they are well qualified to tell us of the characters who figured in the periods before and during the war, and to forecast the destiny of the possible competitors for future honors. The two Democratic ex-Vice-Presidents, one of them an ex-President - John C. Breckinridge and Andrew Jackson, both gone “to form the great majority”-how much they could tell us of their vicissitudes and experiences! In fact, there is hardly an ex-Congressman who has not done something in the way of a biography of himself or somebody else. Hendrick B. Wright, of Pennsylvania, has written an excellent life of his father, and Charles Francis Adams has just finished the voluminous diary of John Quincy Adams. The venerable John Law, who died a few years ago at Evansville, Indiana, and who, in his life, wrote a great deal, left, of course, volumes of commentaries on public affairs. Reverdy Johnson, of Maryland, has been equally attentive to the men of the past, of whom he was almost the last and the brightest survivor. Excepting ex-President Fillmore, Robert C. Winthrop, and Truman Smith, no man on this continent could talk more freely of the olden time; and none, indeed, ever described the giants of the bar-John Marshall, William Wirt, William Pinckney, Daniel Webster, Roger B. Taney, and their contemporaries and successors-with an in

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