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should be both. It is, of course, not required | son, the partiality is conspicuous. Mr. Griswold's that all American books should treat of Ameri- censure of Jefferson is quite as strong as his can subjects; but those which are specifically praise of Franklin, but clearly the result of national will do so. A truly American writer philosophical prejudice. To Madison he is more will rather describe the Niagara than the Nile. just to Dr. Dwight more generous― to Chief An American Boccaccio would tell tales chiefly Justice Marshall more reverent - to Citizen of his own people, — just as the Italian preferred Hamilton more compassionate to Fisher Ames his native Florentines for the subjects of the more patronizing and to Quincy Adams more 'Decamerone,' though occasionally permitting obsequious. With the name of Charles Brockothers for the sake of variety. It would have den Brown, we are introduced at length into a been, therefore, the safer course for Mr. Griswold purely literary arena. This writer elected literto have insisted on the twofold nationality re- ature for his profession. His career was markquired; and, after all, we believe that his one- ed with the defects of the literary character-a sided concession is rather apparent than real- want of apparent aim at the outset and imperrather a measure of conciliation than the an- fect accomplishment at the end—an uncertain nouncement of a principle. Howbeit, we per- life and a premature death, leaving plans unexceive plainly enough that he prefers the sub-ecuted and talents undeveloped. He was both jective side. He "goes in" for originality a novelist and a critic; but crude and inelegant rather of thinking than of perceiving. Hence in both. Concerning Mr. Paulding, the author he praises the primitive theologists of America of Westward Ho!' it is desirable to add the -such men as Newman, Eliot, Cotton Mather, following citation. Jonathan Edwards, and their successors, both dead and living. We are afraid, nevertheless, that such writers are of no nation, but of the common mother, the Church. It is from the poets, the romancers, the historians, and essayists of a country that the national literature proceeds; not from ecclesiastical dogmatists, who, however honest, sincere, and original, more or less speak only in the various dialects of a common language.

America is not without the former. The names of Prescott, Bancroft, Sparks, Cooper, and others, hold a fair rank among historians. She has biographers many; and orators not a few, whose printed speeches may be fairly admitted to compose part of the national literature. We might refer with pleasure to the learned and scientific intellects which in America have cast light on archæological, oriental, and classical researches, or made discoveries in mathematical and physiological investigation; but our task confines itself chiefly to those who describe the manners of a people, reveal the mysteries of its heart, and illustrate the relations of social life. Mr. Griswold's volume- consisting, as it does, of seventy-two pieces of literary biography, with a considerable number of extracts given as illustrative of the peculiar talent and style of each author-represents, as it were, the corpus of American literature, "its form and pressure." Here is a fund of amusement and instruction, of which, for the benefit of our readers, we willingly avail ourselves.

It is natural, perhaps, that an American critic should overvalue the writings of Benjamin Franklin. Utilitarian as he is, we should be disposed to assign to him a high rank; but when his biographer prefers his style to that of Addi

"Mr. Paulding's writings are distinguished for a decided nationality. He has had no respect for authority unsupported by reason, but on all subjects has thought and judged for himself. He has defended our government and institutions, and has embodied what is peculiar in our manners and opinions. There is hardly a character in his works who would not in any country be instantly recognized as an American."

Mr. Timothy Flint, the next whom we shall name, is remarkable as having commenced his literary existence at forty-five years of age. The character of his works is sufficiently indicated in a single sentence : — To the end of his career “he was an invalid; but was compelled to write constantly and rapidly, and to print without revision." Mr. Griswold has, however, neglected to notice, among the productions of this writer, a series of excellent papers which appeared in the Athenæum in the year 1835, on the Literature of America, and to which we are happy here to re-direct public attention.

To later writers it is that we must turn in vindication of American authorship. The name of loudest report in this connexion is not an author of imagination—no novelist nor poet, but an essayist and a preacher-Dr. Channing. But he stands the centre of a literary group; and we extract a passage which represents him as such, for the sake of the relations to which we are thereby introduced.

"In 1780, Newport [in Rhode Island, the place of Dr. Channing's birth] was the residence of two of the most remarkable men who have ever lived in New England: the Reverend Doctor Hopkins, whose writings had so great an influence upon theological opinions in the last century, and the Reverend Doctor Stiles, fa

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mous for profound and various learning, and 'virtues proportioned to his intellectual acquisitions,' who was afterwards President of Yale College. They were ministers of the two Congregational Churches in the town, and though in many respects very different from each other, and representatives of rival parties, they were both friends of the Attorney General, and often at his house. Doctor Channing states that when a child he regarded Doctor Stiles with more reverence than any other human being, and to the influence of that extraordinary man in the circle in which he was brought up, he attributes a part of the indignation which he felt toward every invasion of human rights. He was also much attached to Doctor Hopkins, whom he used to see riding on horseback through the streets, in a plaid gown fastened by a girdle round the waist, and with a study cap on his head,' appearing like a man who had nothing to do with the world. In a sermon which he preached at Newport, when he was himself an old man, he presented an interesting picture of those peculiar and venerable persons, around whom clung so many recollections of his early life. Washington Allston, who was but one year his senior, went to Newport in 1787, and contracted an intimacy with him which continued through youth, the strength of manhood, and old age. They roamed together through the picturesque scenery which still attracts annual crowds of strangers, and ' amid this glorious nature' received impressions of the great and beautiful which had an influence in determining their modes of thought and habits of life. Richard H. Dana, a cousin of Channing, and afterwards a brother-in-law of Allston, in a few years wandered, an inspired boy, over the same fields, and on the rocky coast listened to the roar and dashing of the waters of that ocean, which he was to describe with such effect in his noble poetry. Allston, Channing, and Dana were thus connected in childhood. In old age they often visited, from their neighbouring homes in Boston, these scenes of their earliest inspiration. Two of them, in the order of their ages, have gone to the world in whose atmosphere they almost seemed to live while here among


We have a life of Allston in this volume,in which justice is done to his merits as an artist. As an author he had but few claims. Some particulars of the American Titian cannot

be unwelcome.

"Washington Allston was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, on the fifth of November, 1779. His family is respectable, and several members of it had been distinguished in the public service. When he was seven years old he was removed to Newport, Rhode Island, where he continued at school until 1796, when he was transferred to Harvard College. At Newport he became acquainted with Malbone, whose beautiful miniatures were then beginning to attract attention, and was smitten with the love of Art, so that meeting him again in Boston,


during his freshman year in college, he determined to adopt his profession. Under the casual direction of Malbone he devoted as much time to painting as he could borrow from his other pursuits, until he graduated, when he sold his paternal estate for the purpose of studying in Europe, and sailed for London. West was then president of the Royal Academy, and he received his young countryman very kindly. In a few months he became an exhibitor, and sold one of his pictures. In 1804 he went to Paris, and studied in the Louvre and Luxembourg; and proceeded to Italy, where he remained four years, with Coleridge and our own Irving for companions, and Thorwaldsen for a fellow-student. At Rome, on account of his fine coloring, they called him the American Titian. In 1809 Allston returned to Boston, where he remained nearly three years, marrying in this period a sister of Dr. Channing; and in 1811 he went again, to England. One of his first works after his arrival was the great picture of the Dead Man Revived by Elijah's Bones, which obtained a prize of two hundred guineas from the British Institution, and is now in the Pennsylvania Academy. While it was in progress he was seized with a dangerous illness, and retired from London to Clifton, a rural town, where on his recovery he painted portraits of Coleridge, Southey, and some others. When he went back to the city his wife died, suddenly, and 'left me,' he says in one of his letters, nothing but my art; and this seemed to me as nothing.' His intellect was for a while deranged, but the assiduities of friends, and his own will triumphed, and when his mind had recovered its tone he painted The Mother and Child, now in the collection of Mr. MacMutrie of Philadelphia; Jacob's Dream, which is owned by the Earl of Egremont; Uriel in the Sun, which was purchased by the Marquis of Stafford; and some other pictures. In 1818 he came back a second time to Boston, and he resided all the rest of his life near that city. He was married to a sister of Richard H. Dana, a man of kindred genius, and had many warm friends, some of whom could have left him nothing to desire of sympathy or appreciation. Among the pictures which he painted are Rosalie listening to Music, Ursulina, and The Spanish Maid, which he illustrated with beautiful and exquisitely finished poems; and Miriam singing her Song of Triumph, Jeremiah dictating to the Scribe his Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, Saul and the Witch of Endor, The Angel liberating Peter from Prison, and Lorenzo and Jessica. În 1814 he had commenced a large piece, Belshazzar's Feast, which it was thought would be his masterpiece; but though he continued to work upon it at times for nearly thirty years, it was never finished. I may say with confidence that it is the judgment of the best critics of this age that he left no equal, in his department of art, in the world."



Of Richard Henry Dana, the Elder, little is known-though he is both a novelist and a poet

but as his publishers failed soon after it was printed, he was not made any richer by it. In 1833 he published his Poems and Prose Writings, including The Buccaneer,' and other pieces embraced in his previous volume, with some new poems, and The Idle Man,' except the few papers written for it by his friends. For this he received from his bookseller about enough to make up for the loss he had originally sustained by the last-mentioned volume. Here I must again refer to the atrocious system of robbery of foreign authors, which, like every other sort of crime, however imperceptibly, brings sure punishment to the criminals. The printer to whom the privilege of snatching the bread from the mouth of the European author was secured by act of Congress, was not going Idle Man' succeeded, as it would have done if to pay copy money to an American. Had The not undersold, and thus Mr. Dana encouraged to go on, he would have been a voluminous writer, a benefactor, and a glory to the nation. As it is, indeed, what man that is a man does not feel that he has done more for the substantial advantage and honor of his country than the greatest of our heroes, so called, who have lived in this generation? Since 1833 Mr. Dana has published nothing except two or three articles in the Literary and Theological Review, and the Spirit of the Pilgrims, and a few poems, which appeared in a magazine of which the writer of this was editor."

of uncommon merit. His 'Buccaneer' and York Review, Dana in turn became a writer for 'Paul Felton' are romances of considerable that miscellany, in which he published his first power, both descriptive and pathetic; - the poem, 'The Dying Raven.' Discouraged by the former is, moreover, a manly poem, full of failure of The Idle Man,' Dana did not make thought and music. His novel of Tom Thorn- another attempt for himself until 1827, when he ton' is interesting,— and is written in a style of Buccaneer and other Poems,' which was well gave to the public a small volume entitled 'The earnestness which holds truth paramount even received, the popular taste having in the five to taste, and refuses to adorn vice with a veil of years which had elapsed since the publication of beauty. The system of piracy has been pecu-The Idle Man' been considerably improved; liarly injurious to Dana's interests; and his writings in consequence remain uncollected. "Mr. Dana was of the glorious old federal party, of which Washington, Hamilton, Marshall, Jay, Ames, and so many other great men had been ornaments; and his first public production was a politico-literary oration, pronounced on the 4th of July, 1814. From this time he wrote little, perhaps nothing, for the press, until 1817, when he contributed his first article to the North American Review. It was a brilliant and justly severe criticism of the poetry of Moore. Not long after, he became a member of the North American Club, and when his relative, Edward T. Channing, now a Harvard professor, was made editor of the Review, he took some part in the management of it, according to an agreement between them, and continued to do so until Channing entered the college, in 1820, when his connection with the work entirely ceased. Among the articles which he wrote for it was one on Hazlitt's Lecture on the British Poets, which excited much attention at the time. The Pope and Queen Anne school was then triumphant, and the dicta of Jeffrey were law. Dana praised Wordsworth and Coleridge, and saw much to admire in Byron; he thought poetry was something more than a recreation; that it was something superinduced upon the realities of life; he believed the ideal and the spiritual might be as real as the visible and the tangible; thought there were truths beyond the understanding and the senses, and not to be reached by ratiocination; and indeed broached many paradoxes not to be tolerated by the literary men of Boston and Cambridge then, but which now the same community has taken up and carried to an extent at that time unthought of. Soon after his withdrawal from the North American Club, Mr. Dana began The Idle Man,' of which the first volume appeared in 1821. In the following year came out what was intended for the first number of the second volume, but receiving information from his publisher that he was writing himself into debt, he stopped. In 'The Idle Man' was first printed Tom Thornton,' his other stories, and several essays, with poems by Bryant, and a few pieces by a third hand. Allston wrote for it Monaldi,' which would have formed part of the second volume had the work been continued. Bryant had also contributed to the North American

Review while Dana was connected with it, (among other things Thanatopsis,' the finest poem ever produced by a youth of eighteen,) and in 1825, when he was editor of the New

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This is a sad account- the record of " heavy blow and great discouragement" by which American genius has been visibly well nigh crushed, scotched, if not slain. We may here mention that American literature has more than one Dana: Richard H. Dana, jun., the son of the poet, and author of the well-known work "Two Years before the Mast,' and a Nathan Dana, the founder of a legal professorship in Harvard College, and who is described by Mr. Griswold "as one of the wisest and purest men who have lived" in his country. The celebrated Judge Story was the first occupant of the chair. In the extract just given the name of Bryant occurs. -a name too famous even in England as a poet to be passed over with a mere allusion. William Cullen Bryant has, however, long since exchanged poetry for politics — and prefers the columns of the Evening Post, which he edits, to the pages of the North American Review, to which he was once an eminent con

tributor." Mr. Griswold sums up his merits as a prose writer in the following passage, to which we specially give insertion on account of its assertion of Mr. Bryant's nationality.—

"Mr. Bryant is the leading journalist of his party, which is honored in having so illustrious a person among its champions. So much is now said of nationality in literature, and by a certain sort of critics it is so constantly and with such offensive arrogance denied that there is any thing national in the productions of the American mind, that I cannot forbear an allusion to this quality in Mr. Bryant's writings. It may be truly said that, whatever is in them of intrinsic truth, the views of Mr. Bryant on every subject respecting which the intelligent in all countries do not agree, are essentially American, both of and nurtured by our institutions, experience, and condition, and held only by ourselves and by those who look to us for instruction and example."

We must now become more miscellaneous in our references than we have hitherto been. Rather taking our matter at random than attempting selection, we come to the name of Richard Henry Wilde, and some record of his labors on the subject of Italian literature. Mr. Griswold thus speaks of that writer's Conjectures and Researches concerning the Love, Madness, and Imprisonment of Torquato Tasso.'

rara, where the duke, having been made acquainted with all the circumstances, instead of putting the parties to death and thus blazoning the dishonor of his house, attempted to throw discredit upon the whole affair by compelling Tasso to feign madness and lead a dissolute life; that the poet for a time complied with these conditions, but at length escaped to Turin, whence, urged by his extreme passion, he returned, with permission, professing himself cured of his malady, and was ultimately, upon his bursting out into some public paroxysm of rage at the treatment he had received from the court, thrown into prison and there detained seven weary years. This is a very meagre outline of what seems to be perfectly established in Mr. Wilde's masterly examination of Tasso's mysterious history. The work contains numerous admirable translations from the Italian, and the style of it throughout is chaste and classical.”

The poet Dante likewise received a large share of his attention.

"Embarrassed with the contradictions in accounts of Dante, he obtained from the Grand Duke of Tuscany permission to examine the secret archives of Florence, for the period in which he lived, and with indefatigable ardor devoted himself to this difficult labor many months, in which he succeeded in discovering many interesting facts, obscurely known, or altogether forgotten, even by the people of Italy. Having learned incidentally one day, in conversation with an artist, that an authentic portrait of this great poet, from the pencil of Giotto, probably still existed in the Bargello, (anciently both the prison and the palace of the republic,) on a wall, which by some strange neglect or inadvertence had been covered with whitewash, he set on foot a project for its discovery and restoration, which, after several months, was crowned with complete success. This discovery of a veritable portrait of Dante, in the prime of his days, says Washington Irving, produced throughout Italy some such sensation as in England would follow the sudden discovery of a perfectly well authenticated likeness of Shakspeare, with a difference in intensity, proportioned to the superior sensitiveness of the Italians.' It is understood that Mr. Wilde has since finished his life of Dante, but it has not yet been offered to the public. His printed writings on subjects connected with Italian literature, besides the work on Tasso, are an elaborate notice of Petrarch, in the form of a review of Campbell's worthless biography of that poet, and a Letter to Mr. Paulding on Count Alberto's pretended Mss. of Tasso. His miscellanies, in several magazines, mostly written during moments of relaxation while he was a mem ber of Congress, or engaged in the business of his profession, are elegant and scholarly, and make us regret that his whole attention has not been given to letters."

"Mr. Wilde collected his materials with a patient industry only surpassed by the clear and luminous manner in which he lays the whole evidence before the reader, and by the ingenuity with which he makes his deductions. The whole investigation indeed is conducted with the care and skill of a practised lawyer. The title of the work is perfectly descriptive of its contents; for starting with no theory, assuming nothing, nor seeking to establish any preconceived opinion, Mr. Wilde has been content to bring together all the facts bearing on the points at issue, to indicate very ably all the deductions that may be made from them, and there to leave the reader, fairly in possession of the case, to judge for himself, and form his own opinion. This plan is original and proves the writer's honesty and candor, but most persons would have been better satisfied if he had indicated clearly what he wished to prove, and gone on step by step, to prove it. By a close comparison of Tasso's writings, especially his sonnets and canzone, and a searching cross-examination of their hidden meanings, he convinces us that Tasso was really in love with Leonora of Este, and that she was the person to whom he addressed his amatory poems; that this princess granted to him all that virtue should have denied, and that he wrote private pieces of poetry proclaiming the fact, which were stolen by a traitorous friend; that fearing his amour had been revealed to the duke AlphonThe works of James Fenimore Cooper, the so, he fled to Sorrento, but his passion for the American Scott, as he is called, are so well princess overcoming his fears, returned to Fer-known in this country that the slightest allusion

to them will be sufficiently understood. Some account, however, of the sources from which he derived his materials for maritime description cannot fail of being welcome. In 1805, Mr. Cooper entered the navy, being then fresh from College; and he was six years afloat, when he retired from the sea-service to indulge in matrimony and authorship. The American periodicals, it seems, regarded Mr. Cooper's earliest works, such as 'Precaution' and The Spy, with coldness: -the latter, notwithstanding, quickly became popular. For 'The Pilot' and The Last of the Mohicans' Mr. Griswold claims the praise of originality and nationality. He asks,—

"Where can the model of the 'The Pilot' be found? I know of nothing which could have suggested it but the following fact, which was related to me in a conversation with Mr. Cooper. 'The Pirate' had been published a short time before. Talking with the late Charles Wilkes, of New York, -a man of taste and judgment

our author heard extolled the universal knowledge of Scott, and the sea portions of The Pirate' cited as a proof. He laughed at the idea, as most seamen would, and the discussion ended by his promising to write a sea story which could be read by landsmen, while seamen should feel its truth.The Pilot' was the fruit of that conversation. It is one of the most remarkable

novels of the time, and everywhere obtained instant and high applause."

We are prepared in a work of this kind to find such a writer as Mr. Cooper overrated, and even praised for qualities which we should rather be disposed to censure. Thus, the extreme Americanism of his conduct and opinions during his residence in Europe meets here with an unflinching advocate. A less exclusive spirit, we think, would not only have been more amiable but have exhibited a larger intellectual range. As a novelist Mr. Cooper's failures are nearly as many as his successes: - but it may be worth recording that his later works have derived extra importance in the eyes of his countrymen from their social and political tone.

The biographies before us, though numerous, are deficient in adventure. Their brevity precludes the accumulation of incident; and thus they have less interest than might have been expected. They are sketches, not portraits. There are, however, some events in the life of John Neal which are remarkable. This writer was of Quaker parentage, but of a most warlike disposition. “His mother, though she put him in drab, could by no means instil into him the peaceable notions of which that color is the sign, -as appeared when he disturbed the silence of a meeting in which there had been no moving of a better spirit, by knocking down a young


broadbrim who had insulted him." This spirit of insubordination seems to have grown up with him; to have been manifested at home, at school, and in the shop. Neal was for about six years what is called an accountant or salesman in Portland and Portsmouth (U. S.); and afterwards, at the age of twenty-three, established a wholesale store in Baltimore, where he failed. Being without money, he looked out for a profession. At first he thought of the law; but found there was in it something to learn. So he chose literature, in which he thought there was nothing.

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"He would turn author! he had scarcely any education, was ignorant even of the first principles of English grammar, and had never written a line for the press except his advertisements; but nevertheless he determined to be a scholar

and a critic, and do what no other person was then able to do in this country, gain a living by literature.”

Unpromising as might seem this commencement, Neal was successful. A review on Byron introduced him to the 'Portico' as a regular contributor; and within a month or two we find him regularly editing 'The Baltimore Telegraph.'

Cool, a Novel written in Hot Weather, which "In 1817 he published his first book,' Keep he himself has described characteristically as foolish fiery thing, with a good deal of nature and originality, and much more nonsense and flummery in it.' About the same time he prepared an Index to Niles's Weekly Register, which made over two hundred and fifty very closely printed imperial octavo pages, and is spoken of by Mr. Niles as probaby the most laborious work of the kind that ever appeared in any country.' In 1818 he published The Battle of Niagara, Goldau, the Maniac Harper, and Other Poems, by Jehu O'Cataract,' and Otho, a Tragedy,' and in the following year he assisted Dr. Watkins in writing the History of the American Revolution, which is commonly ascribed to Paul Allen. He had succeeded in supporting himself very handsomely by his literary labors, and was now admitted to the bar, and tice of his profession." with flattering prospects entered upon the prac

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The name of Jehu O'Cataract, above adopted, was given to Neal by the members of a club to which he belonged; and is said to be characteristic of his "impetuous and scornful temperament."

The brief history which we have sketched indicates a remarkable determination of character and promptitude of action. Such a man was likely to hit hard, if at all he reached the mark he aimed at. His novel of 'Randolph,' published in 1823, comes in excellent illustration. Hur

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