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or less, about American litera- with all who venture upon the perilture, of late, as if there were any such ous life of authorship-a life that ends thing in the world as American litera- oftener than any other in a broken ture; or any such thing in the Unit- heart, or a disordered mind-that we ed States of North America, as a body owe to humanity. of native literature—the production But if we would not over-cuddle of native writers—bearing any sort of the young American writers; kill national character, either of wisdom them with kindness ; turn their heads or beauty-heavy or light—or having with our trumpeting, or produce a faany established authority, even among tal revulsion in the popular mind, let the people of the United States. And us never make a prodigious fuss about go where one will, since the appari- any American book, which, if it were tion of one American writer among English, would produce little or no us, (of whom a word or two more by sensation. It is the sur and by,) some half-a-dozen stories and feat our own plans in the long run, story books; a little good poetry, however profound our calculations (with some very bad poems ;) four or may be. Honesty is the best policy five respectable, and as many more after all,- even for booksellers. trumpery novels--with a book or two It is only insulting the Americans, about the.logy--one is pretty sure to whom we desire to conciliate by our hear the most ridiculous and exagger- gentlemanly candour, if we so cry up ated misrepresentations, one way or any tolerable book of theirs, as if it the other, for or against American au were a wonder to meet with anything thorship, as if American authorship tolerable from an American writer. (so far as it goes) were anything These noisy rushes of popularity different from English, or Scotch, or never do any good. They are alike Irish authorship ; as if there were affronting to our countrymen and to any decided nationality in the style or the Americans ; injurious to our litemanner of a book-maker in America rary men, and ruinous to theirs. They who writes English, or endeavours to discourage ours, and spoil theirs; or, write English-to set him apart, or what is quite sure to be fatal, they istinguish him from a book-maker in provoke a calm, severe investigation he United kingdom, who is engaged of the grounds upon which judgment n the same business.
has been rendered. With two exceptions, or at the most The truth is, that there are more three, there is no American writer American writers in every branch of who would not pass just as readily for literature, and they are more respectaan English writer, as for an American, ble, ten times over, than our countrywhatever were the subject upon men would readily believe: but then, which he was writing ; and these there is no one of them whose works three are PAULDING, Neal, and would abide a temperate, firm, unCharles Brockden Brown, of whom sparing examination, as a standard in we shall speak separately in due time. its way, much less a conspiracy to
We have hitherto underrated, or, write it down. We happen to know more properly speaking, overlooked something of the matter, and without. the American writers. But we are any professions of impartiality, (leavnow running into a contrary extreme; ing our behaviour to speak for us on abundantly overrating some, and in a that score,) shall proceed in arranging fair way, if a decided stand be not it systematically, after a few observataken against the popular infatuation, tions. of neglecting our own for the encour Our arrangement will be alphabetiagement of American talent.
cal, so that those who happen to know Give the Americans fair play the name of any American author,
may be able to tell, at a glance, what are centuries in dropping away; he has written; while others who trees, that are a hundred years in know only the work, by referring to coming to maturity, abide for another the title of the class, may learn the hundred years, without shaking to the name of the author.
blast, and sink away into dust and Some of these American writers ruin again, like the very pyramids. have been very popular of late, and Yet-yet-cities have sprung up in a all are aiming to become so-as who, season, and flowers in a night. But indeed, is not, even among our own for what?-only for the one to be countrymen ! But let them be wary. abandoned, and the other blighted, in Nothing is more short-lived than vio- the next revolution of the season or lent popularity. It is the tempestuous the sun. brightness of a moment~a single mo Let no man be in a hurry about ment only—the sound of passing mu- getting a reputation. That reputasic-the brief blossoming of summer tion is not worth having, which can flowers.
be had easily, or in a little time. Let them remember, that there is Why is it that we are astonished at one law of nature, which governs the first efforts of the unknown ? It is alike through all creation. It is one for that very reason—it is because to which all things, animate and inani- they are unknown. They have grown mate, are subject ; and which, if it up in “ brave neglect,” in wind and were thought of, would make men storm; disclosed their powers unextremble at sudden popularity. It is pectedly, without being intimidated or this—That which is a given time in abashed by observation, or worried coming to maturity, shall abide a like and fretted with public guardianship. time without beginning to decay; and It were better for the very giants to be a like time again in returning to be unknown ; and better for all, who the earth.
would have their It is a law alike of the animal, the grand or beautiful, to bring forth all vegetable, and the mineral kingdom, their young
in the solitude, or the applicable alike to the productions of mountain. The world, and the tempnature and of art.
tations of the world, only enfeeble The longest-lived animals are the and enervate them. A sickly off longest in coming to maturity. Dia- spring is produced with more hardship monds, it is thought, since the disco- in the crowded atmosphere of a veries of Professor Silliman, may re. city, than young lions in the wilderquire ages to consummate their vir- ness. tues; other crystals are formed in
Why is it that the sons of extraorstantaneously. But the diamond is dinary men do not more frequently indestructible, and the latter dissolve grow to the stature of their fathers ? breath.
It is because they are intimidated and Some islands are formed by accre- discouraged by continual comparison tion, and others are thrown up all at with their fathers: It is because they once from the bottom of the ocean. are awed and pestered out of their Ages and ages will pass away, without natural way, by the perpetual guarobliterating the vestiges of the former, dianship of that public, who never fail while the others will disappear as to spoil whatever they take a liking they came, in a single night, leaving to : It is because they are overshadowno record of their having been, but in ed by the giants of whom they are the sea-legend of the mariner, or in born, and compared every hour, from the conflicting testimony of men upon their childhood up, with great fullthe same voyage, who had hardly grown men, who, if they had been ever lost sight of one another, as their watched over in the same way, would great ships went over the place of never have been full-grown men. contention.
Few things under heaven will endure Cities, that are whole centuries in the guardianship of a multitude, and building, flourish for centurics, and fewer still, their tyranny and caprice.
The plants of genius, like children popular favour, in awkward imitation or costly flower-trees, may require of established favourites, who do what continual attention, but then it is not they please, and are liked the better the attention of the world—that only for it; then, without any sort of nospoils them—it is the attention of the tice or preparation, he will be seized few, the sincere, and the delicate. with a sudden paroxysm of originali
Why is it, that we are continually ty. He springs into his saddle-up amazed at the first efforts—and with goes the whip, and he precipitates only the first efforts-of a thousand himself, head foremost, at some obwonderful young men ? It is because ject, which other people dare not venthey were not popular. It is because ture upon. But, just at the critical we expected nothing from them, and moment, just when nothing but desthey knew it. After their first essay, peration can carry him through, his no matter in what department of art heart fails him, he pulls up, (like the or science, they were known-and of inexperienced rider, who gives whip course popular. Our expectations be- and spur over the field, and check at came unreasonable; we worked them a five-bar gate ;) and finishes the adbeyond all decency,—all humanity. venture either by shutting his eyes We called upon them to produce, in and breaking his neck, or by turning a few years, or perhaps a few months, aside with a laugh that is anything but amid the bustle, strangeness, and con- natural or hearty, or with some unfusion of a great city, that which profitable appeal to the indulgence of would be more wonderful than their a jaded and disappointed public, as first effort, though that had been the if any public ever cared a farthing production of many years, in the for one of their pets, after a tumble spring-time of their heart's valour- or a balk. in solitude and had appeared even The unknown do well at first, beto ourselves miraculous.
cause they are unknown ; because So with all mankind. They never nothing was expected of them; bepermit the same person to astonish cause they had everything to gain, them a second time, if they know it. and nothing to lose. That made To be astonished, indeed !-what is them fearless of heart. And they do it but an imputation upon their breed- badly, in a second effort, because ing,foresight, wisdom, and experience ? their whole situation is reversed; beSo they set their faces against it.- cause they are known-because too They seek, as it were, to avenge much is expected of them; and bethemselves for having been surprised cause, in one word, they have everyinto anything so ungenteel as a stare, thing to lose, and nothing to gain. (of astonishment, I mean,) by resolv That very reputation, in the pursuit ing never to be caught again—by him of which they have accomplished in- whatever he may do.
credible things—when overtaken, is a Let him do better a second time, crushing load-a destroying power, and he will appear to do worse. Do upon all their finer and more sensible what he will, they are, and always faculties. Hence it is, that some diswill be, disappointed. But it is a tinguished men (like Scott and Byron) thousand to one that he does worse. so often venture anonymously, or unHe becomes, on a second appearance, der fictitious names, into the field, neither one thing nor another. One whenever they begin to distrust the minute he will repeat himself; the partiality of the public, or to suspect next he will imitate himself, with va- the mischievous influence of that parriations, in those passages, attitudes, tiality, upon themselves, or their weaand peculiarities, which have taken pons. There is no other way to rewell; then he will be caught with a assure their own hearts, when they sudden whim, (like an only child,) begin to doubt a diminution of edge trusting to the partiality of his friends, or power--they must on with their or to his reputation for genius or ec- ponderous armour once more-away centricity --coquetting timidly with from the banquetting place—and scour
the world anew, under a blank pen- neglect of the public--we may as well non, or a blank shield : and hence is add a word or two of encouragement it, that the course of others (like for all, by assuring them that the mulMoore and Southey) is one eternaltitude are never long insensible to exzig-zag—through every kind of prose, traordinary power; that sooner and every kind of poetry-on every later, opportunity will arrive to the subject—now on one side of the ques- watchful and brave; that those who tionnow on the other.
deserve to succeed, will, one day or All are striving by these expedients other, succeed; and that good sense, to avoid the inevitable catastrophe of enthusiasm, perseverance, and origipopular favour: to prolong their do- nality, combined, are never unsuccessminion ; to keep off the evil day; ful, or out of fashion for a long time when, whatever may have been their together. merit, their thrones will be demolish Now, then, for the American Wried; their crowns trampled on, and ters, whom we shall introduce as we their sceptres quenched, by that very have said before, in alphabetical ormultitude who have built pyramids, der. and burnt incense to them.
Adams John QUINCY—Son of John The world are unreasonable ; and Adams, late President of the United always unmerciful to the second essay States America—is himself one of the of every man-(that is, to his next ef- candidates (of whom we gave some fort after that which has made him account in a late Number) for known) but they always appear to the the next Presidency. There is litcandidate himself, of course, far more tle or no doubt of his election, at this unreasonable and unmerciful than they time. And hence is it, that ninety
Mr. Adams was born in New-Eng. nine tines out of one hundred, noth- land ; educated at Harvard Universiing more is ever heard of him. He ty; made no great figure there ; stugenerally perishes in obscurity, sore died law; wrote some common-place and sick at heart, or dies cursing the poetry ; (which has been recently recaprice of the world.— Indeed-indeed produced by certain of his political
that reputation is not worth having partizans, in aid of his pretensions to which can be easily obtained.
the chair; (as if the writing of toleraThe truth is, that we dread this ble poetry were a serious qualification kind of popularity, not only for others, for the office of a chief magistrate over but, strange as it may seem, for our
ten millions of people:) and went forthselves; and we would seriously ad- with into political training, under the monish all young writers to be on eyes of some American minister, to their guard against it-never to relax some European court. -never to lie upon their oars.
Be Mr. Adams is a fine scholar ; a caside, there is a kind of reputation that pital politician ; an admirable writer; rises about one, like the sea, while, to and a profound statesman. He has the common observer who looks only lived nearly all his life in the courts of at the surface, it may appear to be re- Europe; and is familiar with all the ceding: and there is another, which trick and accomplishment of diplomagoes on slowly, accumulating against cy, without having been corrupted the barriers and obstacles which op- by it. pose it, until they give way on every He has written only one book; but side at last, and only serve to augment that comes nearer to the character the power and impetus of that which of a standard in its way, than any has overborne them.
other American work, except the FedBut, while we put those who are eralist, which is, and very deservedly popular upon their guard against popu- too, a sort of national boast in Amelarity ; and apprise others, who are rica. slowly and silently making their way This book, by Mr. Adams, is a seinto popular favour, of how much ries of lectures upon judicial and poputhey have to be thankful for, in the lar eloquence, delivered by himself at
Harvard University, an American col- per well known in Europe for the unlege, near Boston, Massachusetts, common ability and eloquence of its which, from the number and variety writers; and, soon after, in the Port of its professors, and the respectability Folio, (a periodical miscellany of high of its endowments, really deserves the reputation, till it fell into the hands of name of university. It is an able and the present editor,) to which he largely beautiful production ; and will, after contributed, until a few years before all, perpetuate his name and character the last war between America and among those who
may never know of, Great Britain, when the Federal party or care for, his having been President of Maryland being about to establish of the United States.
a newspaper for political purposes, enAMES, FISHER-A New-Englander gaged Mr. Allen for editor. It was also; a political writer ; a fine orator; called the Telegraph ; and, soon after, a lawyer, and an honest man. No became incorporated with the Fedevestiges remain of him, though he ral Republican. Out of these two wrote continually for the journals and papers, after their junction, grew the papers of the day, except a volume or Baltimore mob, of which we have two of essays and orations, which are heard in this country—a mob that not remarkable for any particulur ex- might have been overawed in ten mincellence, although when the latter nutes by a single company of horse, or were delivered by him spontaneously, half a hundred serious, determined the sober people of New-England were men; and, perhaps, (had they been affected and wrought upon by them, properly countenanced by the authorias their more fervid brethren of the ties of the city,) without any military south were by the eloquence of Patrick aid, by the constables and police ; a Henry himself.
mob, however, that got possession of ALLEN, Paul-History-Poetry- the town, (one of sixty thousand inhaMiscellany. This gentleman, after bitants)-blockaded the streets-dehe wrote Lewis and Clarke's Journal molished a large printing establish--(for which office he was chosen, we
the public prisonbelieve, by the American government, a fortress in appearance, into which a on account of his literary character,
number of distinguished political men chosen, we mean, by intimation, pro- of the Federal party had been beguilbably from the Secretary of State) — ed by the mayor, under pretence of was pronounced by no less a man than providing for their safety-beat, manMr. Jefferson himself, (as we have gled, and tortured all whom they heard from high authority,) to be the found there politically obnoxious to very best, or one of the two best wri- themselves; and, finally, murdered an ters of America. This became pub- old revolutionary officer, (General lickly known, and was a great advan- Lingan.)* tage to Mr. Allen, who took rank soon Mr. Allen persevered, however, after over everybody in the country, until the political animosity of the two except Robert Walsh, jun. esq. a gen- parties having subsided--and the war tleman (well known here) of whom we being over-it was no longer a field shall speak in due season.
worthy of him. Then he established Mr. Allen is a native of Providence, the Journal of the Times, which held Rhode Island, one of the New-Eng- up its head only for a few months— land States, and never was out of Ame- abandoned that-and, finally, set up a rica. He was educated for the bar; newspaper, quite, of a literary charactook to poetry at an early age; read of ter, called the Morning Chronicle, Dr. Franklin, and, like him, resolved which holds a very high rank among to seek his fortune-at Philadelphia. the American newspapers : and that
Having arrived in that city, (then - where newspapers are everything the quaker London of America, he and where the ablest men of the soon became engaged as a writer for the United States Gazette, or Bronson's Gazette, as it was called; a pa
* And were never punished for it so much for
mobs in that country.