Text: Burton R. Pollin, “May 1836 (Texts),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 186-201 (This material is protected by copyright)


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May 1836

1. [Edgar A. Poe]. “Lynch’s Law.”

2. [Alexander Slidell]. Spain Revisited.

3. Charles Anthon. Sallust’s Jugurthine War.

4. Frances Trollope. Paris and the Parisians in 1835.

5. James K. Paulding. A Life of Washington.

6. Robert Walsh. Didactics.

7. [James Fenimore Cooper]. Sketches of Switzerland.

1

LYNCH’S LAW.

Frequent inquiry has been made within the last year as to the origin of Lynch’s law. This subject now possesses historical interest. It will be perceived from the annexed paper, that the law, so called, originated in 1780, in Pittsylvania, Virginia. Colonel William Lynch, of that county, was its author; and we are informed by a resident, who was a member of a body formed for the purpose of carrying it into effect, that the efforts of the association were wholly successful. A trained band of villains, whose operations extended from North to South, whose well concerted schemes had bidden defiance to the ordinary laws of the land, and whose success encouraged them to persevere in depredations upon an unoffending community, was dispersed and laid prostrate under the infliction of Lynch’s law. Of how many terrible, and deeply to be lamented consequences — of how great an amount of permanent evil — has the partial and temporary good been productive!

“Whereas, many of the inhabitants of the county of Pittsylvania, as well as elsewhere, have sustained great and intolerable losses by a set of lawless men who have banded themselves together to deprive honest men of their just rights and property, by stealing their horses, counterfeiting, and passing paper currency, and committing many other species of villainy, too tedious to mention, and that those vile miscreants do still persist in their diabolical practices, and have hitherto escaped the civil power with impunity, it being almost useless and unnecessary to have recourse to our laws to suppress and punish those freebooters, they having it in their power to extricate themselves when brought to justice by suborning witnesses who do swear them clear — we, the subscribers, being determined to put a stop to the iniquitous practices of those unlawful and abandoned wretches, do enter into the following association, to wit: that next to our consciences, soul and body, we hold our rights and property, sacred and inviolable. We solemnly protest before God and the world, that (for the future) upon hearing or having sufficient reason to believe, that any villainy or species of villainy having been committed within our neighborhood, we will forthwith embody ourselves, and repair immediately to the person or persons suspected, or those under suspicious characters, harboring, aiding, or assisting those villains, and if they will not desist from their evil practices, we will inflict such corporeal punishment on him or them, as to us shall seem adequate to the crime committed or the damage sustained; that we will protect and defend each and every one of us, the subscribers, as well jointly as severally, from the insults and assaults offered by any other person in their behalf: and further, we do bind ourselves jointly and severally, our joint and several heirs &c. to pay or cause to be paid, all damages that shall or may accrue in consequence of this our laudable undertaking, and will pay an equal proportion according to our several abilities; and we, after having a sufficient number of subscribers to this association, will convene ourselves to some convenient place, and will make choice of our body five of the best and most discreet men belonging to our body, to direct and govern the whole, and we will strictly adhere to their determinations in all cases whatsoever relative to the above undertaking; and if any of our body summoned to attend the execution of this our plan, and fail so to do without a reasonable excuse, they shall forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred pounds current money of Virginia, to be appropriated towards defraying the contingent expenses of this our undertaking. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands, this 22d day September 1780.”

2

SPAIN REVISITED.

Spain Revisited. By the author of “A Year in Spain.” New York: Harper and Brothers.

Some three months since we had occasion to express our high admiration of Lieutenant Slidell’s American in England. The work now before us presents to the eye of the critical reader many if not all of those peculiarities which distinguished its predecessor. We find the same force and freedom. We recognize the same artist-like way of depicting persons, scenery, or manners, by a succession of minute and well-managed details. We perceive also the same terseness and originality of expression. Still we must be pardoned for saying that many of the same niaiseries are also apparent, and most especially an abundance of very bad grammar and a superabundance of gross errors in syntatical [[syntactical]] arrangement.

With the Dedicatory Letter prefixed to Spain Revisited, we have no patience whatever. It does great credit to the kind and gentlemanly feelings of Lieutenant Slidell, but it forms no inconsiderable drawback upon our previously entertained opinions of his good taste. We can at no time, and under no circumstances, see either meaning or delicacy in parading the sacred relations of personal friendship before the unscrupulous eyes of the public. And even when these things are well done and briefly done, we do believe them to be in the estimation of all persons of nice feeling a nuisance and an abomination. But it very rarely happens that the closest scrutiny can discover in the least ofiensive of these dedications any thing better than extravagance, affectation or incongruity. We are not sure that it would be impossible, in the present instance, to designate gross examples of all three. What connection has the name of Lieutenant Upshur with the present Spanish Adventures of Lieutenant Slidell? None. Then why insist upon a connection which the world cannot perceive? The Dedicatory letter, in the present instance, is either a bonafide epistle actually addressed before publication to Lieutenant Upshur, intended strictly as a memorial of friendship, and published because no good reasons could be found for the non-publication — or its plentiful professions are all hollowness and falsity, and it was never meant to be any thing more than a very customary public compliment.

Our first supposition is negatived by the stiff and highly constrained character of the style, totally distinct from the usual, and we will suppose the less carefully arranged composition of the author. What man in his senses ever w rote as follows, from the simple impulses of gratitude or friendship?

In times past, a dedication, paid for by a great literary patron, furnished the author at once with the means of parading his own servility, and ascribing to his idol virtues which had no real existence. Though this custom be condemned by the better taste of the age in which we live, friendship may yet claim the privilege of eulogizing virtues which really exist; if so, I might here draw the portrait of a rare combination of them; I might describe a courage, a benevolence, a love of justice coupled with an honest indignation at whatever outrages it, a devotion to others and forgetfulness of self, such as are not often found blended in one character, were I not deterred by the consideration that when I should have completed my task, the eulogy, which would seem feeble to those who knew the original, might be condemned as extravagant by those who do not.

Can there be any thing more palpably artificial than all this? The writer commences by informing his bosom friend that whereas in times past men were given up to fulsome flattery in their dedications, not scrupling to endow their patrons with virtues they never possessed, he, the Lieutenant, intends to be especially delicate and original in his own peculiar method of applying the panegyrical plaster, and to confine himself to qualities which have a real existence. Now this is the very sentiment, if sentiment it may be called, with which all the toad-eaters since the flood have introduced their dedicatory letters. What immediately follows is in the same vein, and is worthy of the ingenious Don Puffando himself. All the good qualities in the world are first enumerated — Lieutenant Upshur is then informed, by the most approved rules of circumbendibus, that he possesses them, one and each, in the highest degree, but that his friend the author of “Spain Revisited” is too much of a man of tact to tell him any thing about it.

If on the other hand it is admitted that the whole epistle is a mere matter of form, and intended simply as a public compliment to a personal friend, we feel, at once, a degree of righteous indignation at the profanation to so hollow a purpose, of the most sacred epithets and phrases of friendship — a degree, too, of serious doubt whether the gentleman panegyrized will receive as a compliment, or rather resent as an insult, the being taxed to his teeth, and in the face of the whole community, with nothing less than all the possible accomplishments and graces, together with the entire stock of cardinal and other virtues.

Spain Revisited, although we cannot think it at all equal to the American in England for picturesque and vigorous description (which we suppose to be the forte of Lieutenant Slidell) yet greatly surpasses in this respect most of the books of modern travels with which we now usually meet. A moderate interest is sustained throughout — aided no doubt by our feelings of indignation at the tyranny which would debar so accomplished a traveller as our countryman from visiting at his leisure and in full security a region so well worth visiting as Spain. It appears that Ferdinand on the 920th August, 1832, taking it into his head that the Lieutenant’s former work “A Year in Spain” (esta indigesta produccion) esta llena de falsedades y de groceras calumnias contra el Rey N. S. y su augusta familia, thought proper to issue a royal order in which the book called un ano en Espana was doomed to seizure wherever it might be found, and the clever author himself, under the appellation of the Signor Ridell, to a dismissal from the nearest frontier in the event of his anticipated return to the country. Notwithstanding this order, the Lieutenant, as he himself informs us, did not hesitate to undertake the journey, knowing that, subsequently to the edict in question, the whole machinery of the government had undergone a change, having passed into liberal hands. But although the danger of actual arrest on the above-mentioned grounds was thus rendered comparatively trivial, there were many other serious difficulties to be apprehended. In the Basque Provinces and in Navarre the civil war was at its height. The diligences, as a necessary consequence, had ceased to run; and the insurgents rendered the means of progressing through the country exceedingly precarious, by their endeavors to cut off all communications through which the government could be informed of their manœuvres. The post-horses had been seized by the Carlist cavalry to supply their deficiencies, “and only a few mules remained at some of the post-houses between Bayonne and Vitoria.”

The following sketch of an ass-market at Tordesillas seems to embody in a small compass specimens of nearly all the excellences as well as nearly all the faults of the author.

By far the most curious pan of the fair, was the ass-market, held by a gay fraternity of gipsies. There were about a dozen of these for the most part of middle stature, beautifully formed, with very regular features of an Asiatic cast, and having a copper tinge; their hands were very small, as of a race long unaccustomed to severe toil, with quantities of silver rings strung on the fingers. They had very white and regular teeth, and their black eyes were uncommonly large, round-orbed, projecting, and expressive; habitually languid and melancholy in moments of listlessness, they kindled into wonderful brightness when engaged in commending their asses, or in bartering with a purchaser. Their jet-black hair hung in long curls down their back, and they were nearly all dressed in velvet, as Andalusian majos, with quantities of buttons made from pesetas and half pesetas covering their jackets and breeches, as many as three or four hanging frequently from the same eyelethole. Some of them wore the Andalusian leggin and shoe of brown leather, others the footless stocking and sandal of Valencia; in general their dress, which had nothing in common with the country they were then in, seemed calculated to unite case of movement and freedom from embarrassment to jauntiness of effect. All of them had a profusion of trinkets and amulets, intended to testify their devotion to that religion which, according to the popular belief, they were suspected of doubting, and one of them displayed his excessive zeal in wearing conspicuously from his neck a silver case, twice the size of a dollar, containing a picture of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Saviour in her arms.

Four or five females accompanied this party, and came and went from the square and back, with baskets and other trifles, as if engaged at their separate branch of trade. They had beautiful oval faces, with fine eyes and teeth, and rich olive complexions. Their costume was different from any other I had seen in Spain, its greatest peculiarity consisting in a coarse outer petticoat, which was drawn over the head at pleasure instead of the mantilla, and which reminded me of the manta of Peru, concealing, as it did, the whole of the face, except only a single eye.

I asked a dozen people where these strange beings were from, not liking to spcer the question at themselves; but not one could tell me, and all seemed to treat the question as no less difficult of solution than one which might concern the origin of the wind. One person, indeed, barely hinted the possibility of their being from Zamora, where one of the faubourgs has a colony of these vermin, for so they are esteemed. He added, moreover, that a late law required that every gipsy in Spain should have a fixed domicil, but that they still managed, in the face of it, to gratify their hereditary taste for an unsettled and wandering life. He spoke of them as a pack of gay rogues and petty robbers, yet did not seem to hold them in any particular horror. The asses which they were selling they had probably collected in the pueblos with a view to this fair, trading from place to place as they journeyed, and not a few they had perhaps kidnapped and coaxed away, taking care, by shaving and other embellishments, to modify and render them unknown.

I was greatly amused in observing the ingenious mode in which they kept their beasts together in the midst of such a crowd and so much confusion, or separated them for the purpose of making a sale. They were strung at the side of the parapet wall, overlooking the river, with their heads towards it and pressing against, as if anxious to push it over, but in reality out of sedulousness to avoid the frequent showers of blows which were distributed from time to time, without motive or warning, on their unoffending hinder parts, and withdraw them as far as possible from the direction whence they were inflicted.

As they were very much crowded together, there was quite scuffling work for an ass to get in when brought back from an unsuccessful effort to trade, or when newly bought, for these fellows, in the true spirit of barter, were equally ready to buy or sell. The gipsy’s staff, distributing blows on the rumps of two adjoining beasts, would throw open a slight aperture, into which the nose of the intruding ass would be made to enter, when a plentiful encouragement of blows would force him in, like a wedge into a riven tree. The mode of extracting an ass was equally ingenious, and, if any thing, more singular; continually pressing their heads against the wall with all their energy, it would have required immense strength, with the chance of pulling off the tail if it were not a strong one, to drag them forcibly out; a gipsy, taking the tail of the required animal in one hand, would stretch his staff forward so as to tap him on the nose, and, thus encouraged, gently draw him out.

The ingenuity of these gipsies in getting up a bargain, trusting to be able to turn it to their own account, was marvellous. Mingling among the farmers, and engaging them in conversation on indifferent subjects, they would at length bring them back to the favorite theme of asses, and eventually persuade them to take a look at theirs. “Here is one,” measuring the height of an individual with his staff, “which will just suit you; — what will you give for him? Come, you shall have him for half his worth, for one hundred reals — only five dollars for an ass like this,” looking at him with the admiration of a connoisseur in the presence of the Apollo; “truly, an animal of much merit and the greatest promise — de mucho merito y encarecimiento — he has the shoulders and breast of an ox; let me show vou the richness of his paces,” said the gipsy, his whole figure and attitude partaking of his earnestness, and his eve dilating and glowing with excitement. He had Drought the unwary and bewildered countryman, like a charmed bird, to the same point as the eloquent shopkeeper does his doubting customer when he craves permission to take down his wares, and does not wait to be denied. Vaulting to the back of the animal, he flourished his staff about its head, and rode it up and down furiously, to the terror of the by-standers’ toes, priding it on the spine with his iron-pointed staff to make it frisky, and pronouncing the while, in the midst of frantic gesticulations an eloquent eulogium on its performances and character, giving it credit, among other things for sobriety, moderation, long suffering, and the most unasslike qualification of chastity. To add to the picturesque oddity of the scene, an old monk stood hard by, an interested spectator of some chaffering between a young woman and a seller of charms and trinkets stationed beneath an awning, and no accessory was wanting to render the quaint little picture complete.

In our notice of the American in England, we found much fault with the style — that is to say, with the mere English of Lieutenant Slidell. We are not sure whether the volumes now before us were written previously or subsequently to that very excellent work — but certain it is that they are much less abundant than it, in simple errors of grammar and ambiguities of construction. We must be pardoned, however, for thinking that even now the English of our traveller is more obviously defective than is becoming in any well educated American — more especially in any well educated American who is an aspirant for the honors of authorship. To quote individual sentences in support of an assertion of this nature, might bear with it an air of injustice — since there are few of the best writers of any language in whose works single faulty passages may not readily be discovered. We will therefore take the liberty of commenting in detail upon the English of an entire page of Spain Revisited — See page 188, vol. i.

Carts, and wagons, caravans of mules, and files of humbler asses came pouring, by various roads, into the great vomitory by which we were entering, laden with the various commodities, the luxuries as well as the necessaries of life, brought from foreign countries or from emote provinces, to sustain the unnatural existence of a capital which is so remote from all its resources, and which produces scarce anything that it consumes.

This sentence, although it would not be too long, if properly managed, is too long as it stands. The ear repeatedly seeks, and expects the conclusion, and is repeatedly disappointed. It expects the close at the word ’’entering” — and at the word “life” — at the word “provinces” — and at the word “resources.” Each additional portion of the sentence after each of the words just designated by inverted commas, has the air of an after-thought engrafted upon the original idea. The use of the word “vomitory” in the present instance is injudicious. Strictly speaking, a road which serves as a vomitory, or means of egress, for a population, serves also as a means of ingress. A good writer, however, will consider not only whether, in all strictness, his words will admit of the meaning he attaches to them, but whether in their implied, their original, or other collateral meanings, they may not be at variance with some of his sentence. When we hear of “a vomitory by which we were entering,” not all the rigor of the most exact construction will reconcile us to the phrase — since we are accustomed to connect with the word vomitory, notions precisely the reverse of those allied to the subsequent word “entering.” Between the participle “laden” and the nouns to which it refers (carts, wagons, caravans and asses) two other nouns and one pronoun are suffered to intervene — a grammatical arrangement which when admitted in any degree, never fails to introduce more or less obscurity in every sentence where it is so admitted. Strict syntactical order would require (the pronoun “we” being followed immediately by “laden”) that — not the asses — but lieutenant Slidell and his companions should be laden with the various commodities.

And now, too, we began to see horsemen jantily dressed in slouched hat, embroidered jacket, and worked spatterdashes, reining fiery Andalusian coursers, each having the Moorish carbine hunt, at hand beside him.

Were horsemen, in this instance, a generic term — that is, did the word allude to horsemen generally, the use of the “slouched hat” and “embroidered jacket” in the singular, would be justifiable — but it is not so in speaking of individual horsemen, where the plural is required The participle “reining” properly refers to “spatterdashes,” although of course intended to agree with “horsemen.” The word “each,” also meant to refer to the “horsemen,” belongs, strictly speaking, to the “coursers.” The whole, if construed by the rigid rules of grammar, would imply that the horsemen were dressed in spatterdashes — which spatterdashes reined the coursers — and which coursers had each a carbine.

Perhaps these were farmers of the better order; but they had not the air of men accustomed to labor; they were rather, perhaps, Andalusian horse-dealers, or, maybe, robbers, of those who so greatly abound about the capital, who for the moment, had laid aside their professional character.

This is an exceedingly awkward sentence. The word “maybe” is, we think, objectionable. The repetition of the relative “who” in the phrases “who so greatly abound” and “who for the moment had laid aside,” is the less to be justified, as each “who” has a different antecedent — the one referring to “those” (the robbers, generally, who abound about the capital) and the other to the suspected “robbers” then present. But the whole is exceeding ambiguous, and leaves a doubt of the author’s true meaning. For, the words “Andalusian horse-dealers, or, maybe, robbers of those who abound about the capital,” may either imply that the men in question were some of a class of robbers who abounded, &c. or that they were men who robbed (that is, robbers of) the Andalusian horse-dealers who abounded, &c. or that they were either Andalusian horse-dealers, or robbers of those who abound about the capital — i. e. of the inhabitants of the suburbs. Whether the last “who” has reference to the robbers, or to those who abound, it is impossible to learn from any thing in the sentence itself — which, taken altogether, is unworthy of the merest tyro in the rules of composition.

At the inn of the Holy Ghost, was drawn up a highly gilded carriage, hung very low, and drawn by five gaily decorated mules, while two Andalusians sat on the large wooden platform, planted, without the intervention of springs, upon the fore-wheels, which served for a coach-box.

This sentence is intelligible enough, but still badly constructed. There is by far too great an interval between the antecedent “platform” and its relative “which,” and upon a cursory perusal any reader would be led to suppose (what indeed the whole actually implies) that the coach-box in question consisted not of the platform, but actually of the fore-wheels of the carriage. Altogether, it may safely be asserted, that an entire page containing as many grammatical errors and inaccuracies of arrangement as the one we have just examined, will with difficulty be discovered in any English or American writer of even moderate reputation. These things, however, can hardly be considered as more than inadvertences, and will be avoided by Lieutenant Slidell as soon as he shall feel convinced (through his own experience or through the suggestions of his friends) how absolutely necessary to final success in any undertaking is a scrupulous attention to even the merest minutiæ of the task.

3

ANTHON’S SALLUST.

Sallust’s Jugurthine War, and Conspiracy of Catiline, with an English Commentary, and Historical Indexes. By Charles Anthon, L. L. D. Jay-Professor of Ancient Literature in Columbia College, and Rector of the Grammar School. Sixth edition, corrected and enlarged. New York: Harper and Brothers.

In respect to external appearance this is an exceedingly beautiful book, whether we look to the quality of its paper, the clearness, uniform color, and great accuracy of its typography,* or the neatness and durability of its covering. In this latter point especially the Harpers and other publishers would do well, we think, to follow up the style of the present edition of Sallust dropping at once and forever that flimsy and unsatisfacry [[unsatisfactory]] method of binding so universally prevalent just now, and whose sole recommendation is its cheapness — if indeed it be cheaper at all. These are things of which we seldom speak — but venture to mention them in the present instance with a view of seizing a good opportunity. No man of taste — certainly no lover of books and owner of a library — would hesitate at paying twice as much for a book worth preservation, and which there is some possibility of preserving, as for one of these fragile ephemera which it is now the fashion to do up in muslin. We think in short the interest of publishers as well as the taste of the public would be consulted to some purpose in paying more attention to the mechanics of book making.

That Mr. Anthon has done more for our classical literature tItan any man in the country will hardly be denied. His Lemnpriere, to speak of nothing else, is a monument of talent, erudition, indefatigable research, and well organized method, of which we have the greatest reason to be proud, buit which is perhaps more fully and mnorn properly appreciated in any other climate than our own. Of a former edition of his Sallust, two separate reprints, by different editors, total strangers to the author, have appeared in England, without any effort on his part, as wve are very willing to believe, for procuring a republication of his labors. The correct and truly beautiful edition now before us, leaves nothing to be desired. The most striking emendation is the placing the narrative of the Jugurthine war before the conspiracy of Catiline. This arrangement, however, as Mr. Anthon we believe admits, has the merit of novelty in America alone. At least we understand him to make this admission in saying that the order he has observed is no novelty on the continent of Europe, as may be discovered from the works of the President De Brosses, the Abbé Cassagne, and M. Du Rozoir. At all events we have repeatedly seen in England editions of Sallust, (and we suppose them to have been English editions,) in which the Jugurthine war preceded the Conspiracy. Of the propriety of this order there can be no doubt whatever, and it is quite certain to meet with the approbation of all who give themselves even a moment’s reflection on the subject. There is an obvious anachronism in the usual arrangement — for the rebellion of Catiline was nearly fifty years subsequent to the war with Jugurtha. “The impression produced, therefore, on the mind of the student,” (we here use the words of our author,) “must necessarily be a confused one when he is required to read the two works in an inverted order. In the account of Catiline’s conspiracy, for example, he will find frequent allusions to the calamitous consequences of Sylla’s strife with Marius; and will see many of the profligate partizans of the former rallying around the standard of Catiline; while in the history of the Jugurthine war, if he be made to peruse it after the other, in the ordinary routine of school reading, he will be introduced to the same Sylla just entering on a public career, and standing high in the favor and confidence of Marius. How too will he be able to appreciate, in their full force, the remarks of Sallust relative to the successive changes in the Roman form of government, and the alternate ascendency of the aristocratic and popular parties, if he be called upon to direct his attention to results before he is made acquainted with the causes that produced them?”

The only reason assigned for the usual arrangement is founded upon the order of composition — Sallust having written the narrative of the Conspiracy before the account of the Jugurthine war. All the MS.S. too, have followed this order. Mr. Anthon, however, justly remarks that such an argument should weigh but little when positive utility is placed in the opposite scale.

An enlarged commentary on the Jugurthine War, is another improvement in the present edition. There can be no doubt that the notes usually appended to this portion of Sallust were insufficient for the younger, if not for all classes of pupils, and when this deficiency is remedied, as in the present instance, by the labors of a man not only of sound scholarship, but of great critical and general acumen, we know how to value the services thus rendered to the student and to the classical public at large. We subjoin one or two specimens of the additional notes.

Page 122. “Ingenii egregia faicinora.” “The splendid exertions of intellect.” Facinus denotes a bold or daring action, and unless it be joined with a favorable epithet, or the action be previously described as commendable, the term is always to be understood in a vituperative sense. In the present passage, the epithet egregius marks the character of the action as praiseworthy.

Page 122. “Quippe probitatem, &c.” “Since it (i.e. fortune) can neither give, nor take away integrity, activity, nor other praiseworthy qualities.” Induistria here means an active exercise of our abilities.

We might add (with deference) to this note of Professor Anthon’s, that industria, generally, has a more variable meaning than is usually given it, and that the word, in a great multiplicity of instances, where ambiguities in translation have arisen, has allusion to mental rather than to physical exertion. We have frequently, moreover, remarked its connection with that idea which the moderns attach to the term genius. Incredibili industrâ, industriâ singulari, are phrases almost invariably used in the sense we speak of, and refer to great mental power. Apropos, to this subject — it is remarkable that both Buffon and Hogarth directly assert that “genius is nothing but labor and diligence.”

Page 133. “Vos in mea injuria,” &c. “You are treated with contempt in the injustice which is done me.” Despicere always implies that the person despising thinks meanly of the person despised, as compared with himself. Contemnere denotes the absolute vileness of an object.

We may here observe that we have no English equivalent to despicere.

Page 135. “Quod uttinam,” &c. “But would that I may see.” The use of quod before many conjunctions, &c. merely as a copulative, appears to have arisen from the fondness of the Latin writers for the connexion by means of relatives.

Page 135. “Emori.” “A speedy death.” The infinitive here supplies the place of a noun, or more correctly speaking, is employed in its true character. For this ittood, partaking of the nature of a noun, has been called by grammarians “the verb’s noun” ([[Greek text]].) The reason of this appellation is more apparent, however, in Greek, from its taking the prepositive article before it in all cases; as [[Greek text]]. The same construction is not unknown in English. Thus Spencer —

For not to have been dipped in Lethe lake,

Could save the son of Thetis from to die.

Besides the new arrangement of matter, and the additional notes on the Jugurthine war, the principal changes in the present edition are to be found in two convenient Indexes — the one Geographical, the other Historical. We are told by Mr. Anthon that his object in preparing them was to relieve the Annotations from what might have proved too heavy a pressure of materials, and have deterred from, rather than have invited, a perusal. The geographical and historical matter is now made to stand by itself.

The account of Sallust himself, and especially the critical examination of his writings, which appeared in the ordinary way in previous editions, is now resolved into the form of a dialogue, and has gained by the change much force and vivacity, without being at all deteriorated in other respects. Upon the whole, any farther real improvement in the manner of editing, printing, or publishing, a Sallust would seem to be an impossibility.

4

PARIS AND THE PARISIANS.

Paris and the Parisians in 1835. By Frances Trollope, Author of “Domestic Manners of the Americans,” “The Refugee in America,” &c. New York: Published by Harper and Brothers.

We have no patience with that atra-bilious set of hyper-patriots, who find fault with Mrs. Trollope’s book of flumflummery about the good people of the Union. We can neither tolerate nor comprehend them. The work appeared to us (we speak in all candor, and in sober earnest) an unusually well-written performance, in which, upon a basis of downright and positive truth, was erected, after the fashion of a porcelain pagoda, a very brilliant, although a very brittle fabric of mingled banter, philosophy, and spleen. Her mere political opinions are, we suppose, of very little consequence to any person other than Mrs. Trollope; and being especially sure that they are of no consequence to ourselves we shall have nothing farther to do with them. We do not hesitate to say, however, that she ridiculed our innumerable moral, physical, and social absurdities with equal impartiality, true humor and discrimination, and that the old joke about her Domestic Manners of the Americans being nothing more than the Manners of the American Domestics, is like most other very good jokes, excessively untrue.

That our national soreness of feeling prevented us, in the case of her work on America, from appreciating the real merits of the book, will be rendered evident by the high praise we find no difficulty in bestowing upon her Paris and the Parisians — a production, in whatever light we regard it, precisely similar to the one with which we were so irreparably offended. It has every characteristic of the Domestic Manners of the Americans — from the spirit of which work, if it differs at all, the difference lies in the inferior quantity of the fine wit she has thought proper to throw away upon our Parisian friends.

The volume now issued by the Harpers, is a large octavo of 410 pages, and is embellished with eleven most admirable copperplate engravings, exclusive of the frontispiece. These designs are drawn by A. Hervioeu, and engraved by S. H. Gimnber. We will give a brief account of them all, as the most effectual method of imparting to our readers (those who have not seen the work and for whom this notice is especially intended) a just conception of the work itself.

Plate 1 is the “Louvre.” A picture gallery is seen crowded with a motley assemblage of all classes, in every description of French costume. The occasion is an exhibition of living artists, as the world chooses to call the exhibition of their works. Poussin, (consequently) Raphael, Titian, Correggio and Rubens, are hidden beneath the efforts of more modern pencils. In the habiliments of the company wlo lounge through the gallery, the result of newly acquired rights is ludicrously visible. One of the most remarkable of these, says our authoress, is the privilege enjoyed by the rabble of presenting themselves dirty instead of clean before the eyes of the magnates. Accordingly, the plate shows, among a variety of pretty toques, cauchoises, chaussures and other more imperial equipments, a sprinkling of round-eared caps, awkward casquettes, filthy blouses, and dingy and ragged jackets.

Plate 2 is “Morning at the Tuileries.” It represents that portion of the garden of “trim alleys” which lies in front of the group of Petus and Aria. In the distance are seen various figures. In the foreground we descry three singular-looking personages, who may be best described in the words of Mrs. Trollope herself.

It was the hour when all the newspapers are in the greatest requisition; and we had the satisfaction of watching the studies of three individuals, each of whom might have sat as a model for an artist who wished to give an idea of their several peculiarities. We saw, in short, beyond the possibility of doubt, a royalist, a doctrinaire, and a republican, during the half hour we remained there, all soothing their feelings by indulging in two sous’ worth of politics, each in his own line. A stiff but gentleman-like old man first came, and having taken a journal from the little octagon stand which journal we felt quite sure, was either ’La France’ or’ La Quotidienne’ — he established himself at no great distance from us. Why it was that we all felt so certain of his being a legitimatist I can hardly tell you, but not one of the party had the least doubt about it. There was a quiet, half-proud, half-melancholy air of keeping himself apart; an aristocratical cast of features; a pale, care-worn complexion; and a style of dress which no vulgar man ever wore, but which no rich one would be likely to wear to-day. This is all I can record of him: but there was something pervading his whole person too essentially loyal to be misunderstood, yet too delicate in its tone to be coarsely painted. Such as it was, however, we felt it quite enough to make the matter sure; and if I could find out that old gentleman to be either doctrinaire or republican, I never would look on a human countenance again, in order to discover what was passing within.

The next who approached us we were equally sure was a republican: but here the discovery did little honor to our discernment; for these gentry choose to leave no doubt upon the subject of their clique, but contrive that every article contributing to the appearance of the outward man shall become a symbol and a sign, a token and a stigma of the madness that possesses them. He too held a paper in his hand, and without venturing to approach too nearly to so alarming a personage, we scrupled not to assure each other, that the journal he was so assiduously perusing was ’Le Réformateur.’

Just as we had decided what manner of man it was who was stalking so majestically past us, a comfortable looking citizen approached in the uniform of the National Guard, who sat himself down to his daily allowance of politics with the air of a person expecting to be well pleased with what he finds, but, nevertheless, too well contented with himself and all things about him to care overmuch about it. Every line of this man’s jocund face, every curve of his portly figure, spoke contentment and well being. Ho was probably one of that very new race in France, a tradesman making a rapid fortune. Was it possible to doubt that the paper in his hand was ‘Le Journal des Debats?’ Was it possible to believe that this man was other than a prosperous doctrinaire?

Plate 3 is “Pro patria” — and represents two uniformed soldiers in a guard-room of the National Guard.

Plate 4 is entitled “’Ce soir, à la Porte St. Martin’ — ’J’y serâi,”’ and is full of humor. Two conspirator-like republicans stand in the gardens of the Luxembourg, with short staffs, conical hats, dark bushy eyebrows, fierce mustaches, and countenances full of fate. The hand of the one is clasped in the hand of the other with a vice-like impressiveness and energy, while the taller, looking furtively around him, lays his hand upon the shoulder of his associate, and is whispering some most momentous intelligence in his ear. This plate is explained thus in the words of Mrs. T.

It seems, that ever since the trials began, the chief duty of the gendarmes (I beg pardon, I should say of La Garde de Paris) has been to prevent any assembling together of the people in knots for conversation and gossippings in the courts and gardens of the Luxembourg. No sooner are two or three persons observed standing together, than a policeman approaches, and with a tone of command pronounces “Circulez Messieurs! — circulez s’il vous plait.” The reason for this precaution is, that nightly at the Porte St. Martin a few score of jeunes gens assemble to make a very idle and unmeaning noise, the echo of which regularly runs from street to street, till the reiterated report amounts to the announcement of an émeute. We are all now so used to these harmless little émeutes at the Porte St. Martin, that we mind them no more than General Lobau himself: nevertheless it is deemed proper, trumpery as the cause may be, to prevent any thing like a gathering together of the mob in the vicinity of the Luxembourg, lest the same hundred-tongued lady, who constantly magnifies the hootings of a few idle mechanics into an émeute, should spread a report throughout France that the Luxembourg was beseiged by the people. The noise which had disturbed us was occasioned by the gathering together of about a dozen persons; but a policeman was in the midst of the group, and we heard rumors of an arrestation. In less than five minutes, however, every thing was quiet again: but we marked two figures so picturesque in their republicanism, that we resumed our seats while a sketch was made from them, and amused ourselves the while in fancying what the ominous words could be that were so cautiously exchanged between them. M. de L —— said there could be no doubt they ran thus:

‘Ce soir à la Porte St. Martin!’

Answer — ’J’y serai!’

Plate 5 is the “Tuileries Gardens on Sunday,” in which the prominent and characteristic group is a “chère maman” in half toilet, and seated beneath a tree reading, or attempting to read, while her children, attended by their bonne, are frolicking about her knees.

Plate 6 is “Porte St. Martin,” and commemorative of one of the thousand and one little émeutes which have now become too much a matter of course at Paris to excite very serious attention, and which are frequently (so we are assured by Mrs. Trollope) quieted by no more effective artillery than that of a slight shower of rain. The prominent figures in the plate, are two gentlemen of the National Guard, who are vehemently struggling to secure a desperate and mustached republican, equipped cap à pie à la Robespierre, and whose countenance is indicative of deadly resolve, while a little urchin in a striped jacket, not having before his eyes the horrors of an arrestation, and being probably body squire to the republican, shoulders manfully a banner somewhat larger than himself, and, standing upon tiptoe, amuses himself with bellowing Vive la République!

Plate 7 is a “Soiree,” in which the peculiarities of Parisian sociability are humorously sketched. All the countenances are especially French. The prominent group is that of two little awkward-looking specimens of imperial noblesse who are making love upon a chaise-lougue. The options of Mrs. Trollope are quite orthodox in the matter of hereditary grace. Some of her good things upon this topic we must be allowed to quote, for the sake of their point, without being responsible for their philosophy.

I have heard that it requires three generations to make a gentleman. Those created by Napoleon have not yet fairly reached a second; and with all respect for talent, industry, and valor, be it spoken, the necessity of the slow process very frequently forces itself upon one’s conviction at Paris.

It is probable that the great refinement of the post-imperial aristocracy of France may be one reason why the deficiences [[deficiencies]] of those now often found mixed up with them is so remarkable. It would be difficult to imagine a contrast in manner more striking than that of a lady who would be a fair specimen of the old Bourbon noblesse, and a bouncing marechale of imperial creation. It seems as if every particle of the whole material of which each is formed, gave evidence of the different birth of the spirit that dwells within. The sound of the voice is a contrast; the glance of the eye is a contrast; the step is a contrast. Were every feature of a dame de l’Empire and a femme noble formed precisely in the same mould, I am quite sure that the two would look no more alike than Queen Constance and Nell Gwyn.

Nor is there at all less difference in the two races of gentlemen. I speak not of the men of science or of art; their rank is of another kind: but there are still left here and there specimens of decorated greatness, which look as if they must have been dragged out of the guard-room by main force; huge mustached militaires, who look, at every slight rebuff, as if they were ready to exclaim, ’Sacré nom de D——! Je suis un héros, moi! vive l’Empereur!’

And again. My parvenue duchess is very remarkable indeed. She steps out like a corporal carrying a message. Her voice is the first, the last, and almost the only thing heard in the salon that she honors with her presence — except it chance indeed, that she lower her tone occasionally to favor with a whisper some gallant décoré military, scientific, or artistic, of the same standing as herself; and, moreover, she promenades her eyes over the company as if she had a right to bring them all to roll-call.

Notwithstanding all this, the lady is certainly a person of talent; and had she happily remained in the station in which both herself and her husband were born, she might not, perhaps, have thought it necessary to speak quite so loud, and her bons mots would have produced infinitely greater effect. But she is so thoroughly out of place in the grade to which she has been unkindly elevated, that it seems as if Napoleon had decided on her fate in a humor as spiteful as that of Monsieur Jourdain, when he said — ’Your daughter shall be a Marcelioness in spite of all the world; and if you provoke me I’ll make her a Duchess.’

Plate 8 is “Le roi citoyen.” He is represented as a well-looking, portly, middle-aged man, of somewhat dignified appearance. His dress differs from that of any common citizen only by a small tri-colored cockade in the hat, and he walks quite at his leisure with one hand clenching a rough-looking stick, and the other thrust in his breeches-pocket. A republican, habited in full Robespierrian costume, is advancing towards him with a very deliberate air, and eyeing him nonchalantly through a lorgnon.

Plate 9 is entitled “Prétres de lat Jeune France.” The flowing curls, the simple round hat, the pantaloons, &c. give them the appearance of a race of men as unlike as possible to their stiff and primitive predecessors. They look flourishing, and well pleased with themselves and the world about them: but little of mortification or abstinence can be traced on their countenances; and if they do fast for some portion of every week, they may certainly say with Father Philip, that ’what they take prospers with them marvellously.’

Plate 10 is the “Boulevard des Italiens,” with a view of Tortoni’s. The main group is “a very pretty woman and a very pretty man,” who are seated on two chairs close together and flirting much to their own satisfaction, as well as to the utter amazement and admiration of a young urchin of a Savoyard, or professor of the gaie science, who, forgetting the use of his mandoline, gazes with open mouth and eyes at the enamored pair. To the right is seen an exquisite of the first water promenading with an air of ineffable grace, and deliberately occupied in combing his luxuriant tresses.

Plate 11 is called “V’la les restes de notre revolution de Juillet!” and like all the other engravings in the volume is admirable in its design, and especially in its expression. In the back ground are seen the monuments erected at the Marché des Innocens over some revolutionary heroes, who fell here and were buried near the fountain, on the 29th July 1830. A mechanic leans against a rail and is haranguing with great energy a young girl and a little boy, who listen to him with profound attention. His theme is evidently the treatment of the prisoners at the Luxembourg. We cannot too highly praise the exquisite piquancy of the whole of these designs.

In conclusion, we recommend Paris and the Parisians to all lovers of fine writing, and vivacious humor. It is impossible not to be highly amused with the book — and there is by no means any necessity for giving a second thought to the political philosophies of Madame Trollope.

5

PAULDING’S WASHINGTON.

A Life of Washington. By James K. Paulding. New York: Harper and Brothers.

We have read Mr. Paulding’s Life of Washington with a degree of interest seldom excited in us by the perusal of any book whatever. We are convinced by a deliberate examination of the design, manner, and rich material of the work, that, as it grows in age, it will grow in the estimation of our countrymen, and, finally, will not fail to take a deeper hold upon the public mind, and upon the public affections, than any work upon the same subject, or of a similar nature, which has been yet written — or, possibly, which may be written hereafter. Indeed, we cannot perceive the necessity of any thing farther upon the great theme of Washington. Mr. Paulding has completely and most beautifully filled the vacuum which the works of Marshall and Sparks have left open. He has painted the boy, the man, the husband, and the Christian. He has introduced us to the private affections, aspirations, and charities of that hero whose affections of all affections were the most serene, whose aspirations the most God-like, and whose charities the most gentle and pure. He has taken us abroad with the patriot-farmer in his rambles about his homestead. He has seated us in his study and shown us the warrior-Christian in unobtrusive communion with his God. He has done all this too, and more, in a simple and quiet manner, in a manner peculiarly his own, and which mainly because it is his own, cannot fail to be exceedingly effective. Yet it is very possible that the public may, for many years to come, overlook the rare merits of a work whose want of arrogant assumption is so little in keeping with the usages of the day, and whose striking simplicity and naiveté of manner give, to a cursory examination, so little evidence of the labor of composition. We have no fears, however, for the future. Such books as these before us, go down to posterity like rich wines, with a certainty of being more valued as they go. They force themselves with the gradual but rapidly accumulating power of strong wedges into the hearts and understandings of a community.

From the preface we learn, that shortly after the conclusion of the late war, Mr. Paulding resided for several years in the city of Washington, and that his situation bringing him into familiar intercourse with “many respectable and some distinguished persons” who had been associated with the Father of his Country, the idea was then first conceived of writing a Life of that great man which should more directly appeal to the popular feeling of the land, than any one previously attempted. With this intent, he lost no opportunity of acquiring information, from all authentic sources within his reach, of the private life, habits and peculiarities of his subject. We learn too that the work thus early proposed was never banished from the mind of the author. The original intention, however, was subsequently modified, with a view of adapting the book to the use of schools, and “generally to that class of readers who have neither the means of purchasing, nor the leisure to read a larger and more expensive publication.” Much of the information concerning the domestic life of Washington was derived immediately from his cotemporaries, and from the “present most estimable lady who is now in possession of Mount Vernon.” In detailing the events of the Revolution, the author has principally consulted the public and private letters of Washington.

The rich abundance of those delightful anecdotes and memorials of the private man which render a book of this nature invaluable — an abundance which has hardly more delighted than astonished us — is the prevailing feature of Mr. Paulding’s Washington. We proceed, without apology, to copy for the benefit of our readers such as most immediately present themselves.

Although it is of little consequence who were the distant ancestors of a man who, by common consent, is hailed as the Father of his Country, yet any particulars concerning his family cannot but be a subject of curiosity. In all my general reading I have only chanced to meet with the name of Washington three or four times in the early history and literature of England. In the diary of Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean Museum, are the following entries: —

“June 12th, 1643. I entered on my command as comptroller of the ordnance.”

“June 15th. I received my commission from Colonel Washington.”

Hume, in his account of the siege of Bristol, has the following passage: — “One party led by Lord Grandison was beaten off and its commander himself mortally wounded. Another, conducted by Colonel Bellasis, met with a like fate. But Washington, with a less party, finding a place in the curtain weaker than the rest, broke in, and quickly made room for the horse to follow.” This was in 1643. Five years afterwards, that deluded monarch, Charles I., suffered the just consequences of his offences against the majesty of the people of England, and from that time the cause of royalty appeared desperate. The more distinguished and obnoxious adherents of the Stuarts exiled themselves in foreign lands, and the date of the supposed arrival of the first Washington in Virginia, accords well with the supposition that he may have been the same person mentioned by Ashmole and Hume. In an old collection of poetry, by Sir John Menzies* and others, there is a fine copy of verses to the memory of Mr. Washington, page to the king, who died in Spain., In the year 1640, William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Washington. But the name and family of Washington are now extinct in the land of our forefathers. When General Washington was about making his will, he caused inquiries to be instituted, being desirous to leave some memorial to all his relations. The result was a conviction that none of the family existed in that country. But the topic is rather curious than important. The subject of this biography could receive little additional dignity through a descent from the most illustrious families of Christendom. He stands alone in the pure atmosphere of his own glory. He derived no title to honors from his ancestry, and left no child but his country to inherit his fame.

The house in which Washington was born stood about half a mile fronm the junction of Pope’s Creek with the Potomac, and was either burned or pulled down long previous to the revolution. A few scanty relics alone remain to mark the spot which will ever be sacred in the eyes of posterity. A clump of old decayed fig trees, probably coeval with the mansion, yet exists; a number of vines, and shrubs, and flowers still reproduce themselves every year as if to mark its site, and flourish among the hallowed ruins; and a stone, placed there by Mr. George Washington Custis, bears the simple inscription, “Here, on the 11th of February,” (O.S.) “1732, George Washington was born.”

The spot is of the deepest interest, not only from its associations, but its natural beauties. It commands a view of the Maryland shore of the Potomac, one of the most majestic of rivers, and of its course for many miles towards Chesapeake Bay. An aged gentleman, still living in the neighborhood, remembers the house in which Washington was born. It was a low pitched, single-storied, frame building, with four rooms on the first floor and an enormous chimney at each end on the outside. This was the style of the better sort of houses in those days, and they are still occasionally seen in the old settlements of Virginia.

On page 106, vol. i., we find the following interesting particulars:

It has been related to me by one whose authority I cannot doubt, that the first meeting of Colonel Washington with his future wife was entirely accidental, and took place at the house of Mr. Chamberlayne, who resided on the Pamunkey, one of the branches of York River. Washington was on his way to Williamsburg, on somewhat pressing business, when he met Mr. Chamberlayne, who, according to the good old Virginia custom, which forbids a traveller to pass the door without doing homage at the fireside of hospitality, insisted on his stopping an hour or two at his mansion. Washington complied unwillingly, for his business was urgent. But it is said that he was in no haste to depart, for he had met the lady of his fate in the person of Mrs. Martha Custis, of the White House, county of New Kent, in Virginia.

I have now before me a copy of an original picture of this lady, taken about the time of Which I am treating, when she captivated the affections of Washington. It represents a figure rather be low the middle size, with hazel eyes, and hair of the same colour, finely rounded arms, a beautiful chest and taper waist, dressed in a blue silk robe of the fashion of the times, and altogether furnishing a very sufficient apology to a young gentle man of seven and twenty for delaying his journey, and perhaps forgetting his errand for a time. The sun went down and rose again before Washington departed for Williamsburg, leaving his heart behind him, and, perhaps, carrying another away in exchange. Having completed his business at the seat of government, he soon after visited the White House, and being accustomed, as my informant says, to energetic and persevering action, won the lady and carried her off from a crowd of rivals.

The marriage took place in the winter of 1759, but at what precise date is not to be found in any record, nor is it, I believe, within the recollection of any person living. I have in my possession a manuscript containing the particulars of various conversations with old Jeremy, Washington’s black servant, who was with him at Braddock’s defeat, and accompanied him on his wedding expedition to the White House. Old Jeremy is still living while I am now writing, and. in full possession of his faculties. His memory is most especially preserved, and, as might be expected, he delights to talk of Massa George. The whole series of conversations was taken down verbatim, in the peculiar phraseology of the old man, and it is quite impossible to read the record of this living chronicle of the early days of Washington, without receiving the full conviction of its perfect truth.

The following account of his last illness is copied, we are told, from a memorandum in the handwriting of Tobias Lear, his private secretary and confidential friend, who attended him from first to last.

On Thursday, Dec. 12, the general rode out to his farms at about ten o’clock, and did not return home till past three. Soon after he went out the weather became very bad; rain, hail, and snow falling alternately, with a cold wind. When he came in, I carried some letters to him to frank, intending to send them to the post-office. He franked the letters, but said the weather was too bad to send a servant to the office that evening. I observed to him that I was afraid he had got wet; he said, no; his great coat had kept him dry: but his neck appeared to be wet-the snow was hanging on his hair.

He came to dinner without changing his dress. In the evening he appeared as well as usual. A heavy fall of snow took place on Friday, which prevented the general from riding out as usual. He had taken cold (undoubtedly from being so much exposed the day before,) and complained of having a sore throat; he had a hoarseness, which increased in the evening, but he made light of it, as he would never take any thing to carry off a cold, — always observing, ’Let it go as it came.’ In the evening, the papers having come from the post office, he sat in the room with Mrs. Washington and myself, reading them till about nine o’clock; and when he met with any thin, which he thought diverting or interesting, he would read it aloud. He desired me to read to him the debates of the Virginia Assembly on the election of a senator and governor, which I did. On his retiring to bed he appeared to be in perfect health, excerpt the cold, which he considered as trifling — he had been remarkably cheerful all the evening.

About two or three o’clock on Saturday morning he awoke Mrs. Washington, and informed her that he felt very unwell, and had an ague. She observed that he could scarcely speak, and breathed with difficulty, and she wished to get up and call a servant; but the general would not permit her, lest she should take cold. As soon as the day appeared, the woman Caroline went into the room to make a fire, and the general desired that Mr. Rawlins, one of the overseers, who was used to bleeding the people, might be sent for to bleed him before the doctor could arrive. I was sent for — went to the general’s chamber, where Mrs. Washington was up, and related to me his being taken ill between two and three o’clock, as before stated. I found him breathing with difficulty, and hardly able to utter a word intelligibly. I went out instantly, and wrote a line to Dr. Plask, and sent it with all speed. Immediately I returned to the general’s chamber, where I found him in the same situation I had left him. A mixture of molasses, vinegar, and butter was prepared, but he could not swallow a drop; whenever he attempted he was distressed, convulsed, and almost suffocated.

Mr. Rawlins came in soon after sunrise and prepared to bleed him; when the arm was ready, the general, observing Rawlins appeared agitated, said, with difficulty, ’Don’t be afraid;’ and after the incision was made, he observed the orifice was not large enough: however, the blood ran pretty freely. Mrs. Washington, not knowing whether bleeding was proper in the general’s situation, begged that much might not be taken from him, and desired me to stop it. When I was about to untie the string, the general put up his hand to prevent it, and, as soon as he could speak, said, ’More.’

Mrs. Washington still uneasy lest too much blood should be drawn, it was stopped after about half a pint had been taken. Finding that no relief was obtained from bleeding, and that nothing could be swallowed, I proposed bathing the throat externally with sal volatile, which was done; a piece of flannel was then put round his neck. His feet were also soaked in warm water, but this gave no relief. By Mrs. Washington’s request, I despatched a messenger for Doctor Brown at Port Tobacco. About nine o’clock, Dr. Craik arrived, and put a blister of canthatides on the throat of the general, and took more blood, and had some vinegar and hot water set in a teapot, for him to draw in the stream from the spout.

He also had sage-tea and vinegar mixed and used as a gargle, but when he held back his head to let it run down, it almost produced suffocation. When the mixture came out of his mouth some phlegm followed it, and he would attempt to cough, which the doctor encouraged, but without effect. About eleven o’clock, Dr. Dick was sent for. Dr. Craik bled the general again; no effect was produced, and he continued in the same state, unable to swallow any thing. Dr. Dick came in about three o’clock, and Dr. Brown arrived soon after; when, after consultation, the general was bled again: the blood ran slowly, appeared very thick, and did not produce any symptoms of fainting. At four o’clock the general could swallow a little. Calomel and tartar emetic were administered without effect: About half past four o’clock he requested me to ask Mrs. Washington to come to his bedside, when he desired her to go down to his room, and take from his desk two wills which she would find there, and bring them to him, which she did. Upon looking at one, which he observed was useless, he desired her to burn it, which she did; and then took the other and put it away. After this was done, I returned again to his bedside and took his hand. He said to me, ’I find I am going — my breath cannot continue long — I believed from the first attack it would be fatal. Do you arrange and record all my military letters and papers; arrange my accounts and settle my books, as you know more about them than any one else; and let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other letters, which he has begun.’ He asked when Mr. Lewis and Washington would return? I told him that I believed about the twentieth of the month. He made no reply.

The physicians arrived between five and six o’clock, and when they came to his bedside, Dr. Craik asked him if he would sit up in the bed: he held out his hand to me and was raised up, when he said to the physician — ’I feel myself going; you had better not take any more trouble about me, but let me go off quietly; I cannot last long.’ They found what had been done was without effect; he laid down again, and they retired, excepting Dr. Craik. He then said to him — ’Doctor, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go; I believed from my first attack I should not survive it; my breath cannot last long.’ The doctor pressed his hand, but could not utter a word; he retired from the bedside and sat by the fire, absorbed in grief. About eight o’clock, the physicians again came into the room, and applied blisters to his legs, but went out without a ray of hope. From this time he appeared to breathe with less difficulty than he had done, but was very restless, continually changing his position, to endeavor to get ease. I aided him all in my power, and was gratified in believing he felt it, for he would look upon me with eyes speaking gratitude, but unable to utter a word without great distress. About ten o’clock he made several attempts to speak to me before he could effect it; at length he said, ’I am just going. Have me decently buried; and do not let my body be put into the vault in less than two days after I am dead.’ I bowed assent. He looked at me again and said,’Do you understand me? I replied,’ Yes, sir.’’’Tis well,’ said he. About ten minutes before he expired, his breathing became much easier: he lay quietly: he withdrew his hand from mine, and felt his own pulse. I spoke to Dr. Craik, who sat by the fire; he came to the bedside. The general’s hand fell from his wrist; I took it in mine, and placed it on my breast. Dr. Craik placed his hands over his eyes; and he expired without a struggle or a sigh.

We proceed with some farther extracts of a like kind taken at random from the book.

His manly disinterestedness appeared, not only in thus divesting himself of the means of acquiring glory, perhaps of the power of avoiding defeat and disgrace, but in a private act which deserves equally to be remembered. While the British fleet was lying in the Potomac, in the vicinity of Mount Vernon, a message was sent to the overseer, demanding a supply of fresh provisions. The usual penalty of a refusal was setting fire to the house and barns of the owner. To prevent this destruction of property, the overseer, on receipt of the message, gathered a supply of provisions, and went himself on board with a flag, accompanying, the present with a request that the property of the general might be spared.

Washington was exceedingly indignant at this proceeding, as will appear by the following extract of a letter to his overseer.

“It would,” he writes, “have been a less painful circumstance to me to have heard that, in consequence of your non compliance with the request of the British, they had burned my house, and laid my plantation in ruins. You ought to have considered yourself as my representative, and should have reflected on the bad example of communicating with the enemy, and making a voluntary offer of refreshment to them with a view to prevent a conflagration.”

And here I will take what seems to me a proper opportunity of refuting a false insinuation. In the edition of Plutarch’s Lives, translated by John and William Langhorne, and revised by the Reverend Francis Wrangham, M. A., F.R.S., there is the following, note appendled to the biography of Cato the Censor, whose kindness is said to have extended to his cattle and sheep: “Yet Washington, the Tertius Cato of these latter times, is said to have sold his old charger!”

On first seeing this insinuation of a calumny founded on hearsay, I applied to Colonel Lear, who resided at Mount Vernon, and acted as the private secretary of Washington at the time of his death, and many years previously, to learn whether there was any foundation for the report. His denial was positive and unequivocal. The horse of Washington, sold, not by him, but one of his heirs, after his death, was that which he was accustomed to ride about his plantation after his retirement from public life. The aged war-horse was placed under the special care of the old black servant who had served the same campaigns with him; was never rode after the conclusion of the war, and died long before his illustrious master.

As illustrating his character and affording an example of his great self-command, the following anecdote is appropriate to my purpose. It is derived from Judge Breckenridge* himself, who used often to tell the story. The judge was an inimitable humorist, and, on a particular occasion, fell in with Washington at a public house. They supped at the same table, and Mr. Breckenridge essayed all his powers of humor to divert the general; but in vain. He seemed aware of his purpose, and listened without a smile. However, it so happened that the chambers of Washington and Breckenridge adjoined, and were only separated from each other by a thin partition of pine boards. The general had retired first, and when the judge entered his own room, he was delighted to hear Washington, who was already in bed, laughing to himself with infinite glee, no doubt at the recollection of his stories.

He was accustomed sometimes to tell the following story: — On one occasion, during a visit he paid to Mount Vernon while president, he had invited the company of two distinguished lawyers, each of whom afterwards attained to the highest judicial situations in this country. They came on horseback, and, for convenience, or some other purpose, had bestowed their wardrobe in the same pair of saddle-bags, each one occupying his side. On their arrival, wet to the skin by a shower of rain, they were shown into a chamber to change their garments. One unlocked his side of the bag, and the first thins he drew forth was a black bottle of whiskey. He insisted that this was his companion’s repository; but on unlocking the other, there was found a huge twist of tobacco, a few pieces of corn-bread, and the complete equipment of a wagoner’s pack-saddle. They had exchanged saddle-bags with some traveller on the way, and finally made their appearance in borrowed clothes that fitted them most ludicrously. The general was highly diverted, and amused himself with anticipating the dismay of the wagoner when he discovered this oversight of the men of law. It was during this visit that Washington prevailed on one of his guests to enter into public life, and thus secured to his country the services of one of the most distinguished magistrates of this or any other age.

Another anecdote of a more touching character is derived from a source which, if I were permitted to mention, would not only vouch for its truth, but give it additional value and interest. When Washington retired from public life, his name and fame excited in the hearts of the people at large, and most especially the more youthful portion, a degree of reverence which, by checking their vivacity or awing them into silence, often gave him great pain. Being once on a visit to Colonel Blackburn, ancestor to the exemplary matron who now possesses Mount Ver non, a large company of young people were assembled to welcome his arrival, or on some other festive occasion. The general was unusually cheerful and animated, but he observed that whenever he made his appearance, the dance lost its vivacity, the little gossipings in corners ceased, and a solemn silence prevailed, as at the presence of one they either feared or reverenced too much to permit them to enjoy themselves. He strove to remove this restraint by mixing familiarly among them and chatting with unaffected hilarity. But it was all in vain; there was a spell on the little circle, and he retired among the elders in an adjoining room, appearing to be much pained at the restraint his presence inspired. When, however the young people had again become animated, he arose cautiously from his seat, walked on tiptoe to the door, which was ajar, and stood contemplating the scene for nearly a quarter of an hour, with a look of genuine and benevolent pleasure that went to the very hearts of the parents who were observing him.

In regard to the style of Mr. Paulding’s Washington, it would scarcely be doing it justice to speak of it merely as well adapted to its subject, and to its immediate design. Perhaps a rigorous examination would detect an occasional want of euphony, and some inaccuracies of syntatical arrangement. But nothing could be more out

of place than any such examination in respect to a book whose forcible, rich, vivid, and comprehensive English, might advantageously be held up, as a model for the young writers of the land. There is no better literary manner than the manner of Mr. Paulding. Certainly no American, and possibly no living writer of England, has more of those numerous peculiarities which go to the formation of a happy style. It is questionable, we think, whether any writer of any country combines as many of these peculiarities with as much of that essential negative virtue, the absence of affectation. We repeat, as our confident opinion, that it would be difficult, even with great care and labor, to improve upon the general manner of the volumes now before us, and that they contain many long individual passages of a force and beauty not to be surpassed by the finest passages of the finest writers in any time or country. It is this striking character in the Washington of Mr.Paulding — striking and peculiar indeed at a season when we are so culpably inattentive to all matters of this nature, as to mistake for style the fine airs at second hand of he silliest romancers — it is this character we say, which should insure the fulfilment of the writer’s principal design, in the immediate introduction of his book into every respectable academy in the land.

6

WALSH’S DIDACTICS.

Didactics — Social, Literary, and Political. By Robert Walsh. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard.

Having read these volumes with much attention and pleasure, we are prepared to admit that their author is one of the finest writers, one of the most accomplished scholars, and when not in too great a hurry, one of the most accurate thinkers in the country. Yet had we never seen this collection of Didactics, we should never have entertained these opinions. Mr. Walsh has been peculiarly an anonymous writer, and has thus been instrumental in cheating himself of a great portion of that literary renown which is most unequivocally his due. We have been not unfrequently astonished in the perusal of the book now before us, at meeting with a variety of well known and highly esteemed acquaintances, for whose paternity we had been accustomed to give credit where we now find it should not have been given. Among these we may mention in especial the very excellent Essay on the acting of Kean, entitled “Notices of Kean’s principal performances during his first season in Philadelphia,” to be found at page 146, volume i. We have often thought of the unknown author of this Essay, as of one to whom we might speak, if occasion should at any time be granted us, with a perfect certainty of being understood. We have looked to the article itself as to a fair oasis in the general blankness and futility of our customary theatrical notices. We read it with that thrill of pleasure with which we always welcome our own long-cherished opinions, when we meet them unexpectedly in the language of another. How absolute is the necessity now daily growing, of rescuing our stage criticism from the control of illiterate mountebanks, and placing it in the hands of gentlemen and scholars!

The paper on Collegiate Education, beginning at page 165, volume ii, is much more than a sufficient reply to that Essay in the Old Bachelor of Mr. Wirt, in which the attempt is made to argue down colleges as seminaries for the young. Mr. Walsh’s article does not uphold Mr. Barlow’s plan of a National University — a plan which is assailed by the Attorney General — but comments upon some errors in point of fact, and enters into a brief but comprehensive examination of the general subject. He maintains with undeniable truth, that it is illogical to deduce arguments against universities which are to exist at the present day, from the inconveniences found to be connected with institutions formed in the dark ages — institutions similar to our own in but few respects, modelled upon the principles and prejudices of the times, organized with a view to particular ecclesiastical purposes, and confined in their operations by an infinity of Gothic and perplexing regulations. He thinks, (and we believe he thinks with a great majority of our well educated fellow citizens) that in the case either of a great national institute or of State universities, nearly all the difficulties so much insisted upon will prove a series of mere chimeras — that the evils apprehended might be readily obviated, and the acknowledged benefits uninterruptedly secured. He denies, very justly, the assertion of the Old Bachelor — that, in the progress of society, funds for collegiate establishments will no doubt be accumulated, independently of government, when their benefits are evident, and a necessity for them felt — and that the rich who have funds will, whenever strongly impressed with the necessity of so doing, provide, either by associations or otherwise, proper seminaries for the education of their children. He shows that these assertions are contradictory to experience, and more particularly to the experience of the State of Virginia, where, notwithstanding the extent of private opulence, and the disadvantages under which the community so long labored from a want of regular and systematic instruction, it was the government which was finally compelled, and not private societies which were induced, to provide establishments for effecting the great end. He says (and therein we must all fully agree with him) that Virginia may consider herself fortunate in following the example of all the enlightened nations of modern times rather than in hearkening to the counsels of the Old Bachelor. He dissents (and who would not?) from the allegation, that “the most eminent men in Europe, particularly in England, have received their education neither at public schools or universities,” and shows that the very reverse may be affirmed — that on the continent of Europe by far the greater number of its great names have been attached to the rolls of its universities — and that in England a vast majority of those minds which we have reverenced so long — the Bacons, the Newtons, the Barrows, the Clarkes, the Spencers, the Miltons, the Drydens, the Addisons, the Temples, the Hales, the Clarendons, the Mansfields, Chatham, Pitt, Fox, Wyndham, &c. were educated among the venerable cloisters of Oxford or of Cambridge. He cites the Oxford Prize Essays, so well known even in America, as direct evidence of the energetic ardor in acquiring knowledge brought about through the means of British Universities, and maintains that “when attention is given to the subsequent public stations and labors of most of the writers of these Essays, it will be found that they prove also the ultimate practical utility of the literary discipline of the colleges for the students and the nation.” He argues, that were it even true that the greatest men have not been educated in public schools, the fact would have little to do with the question of their efficacy in the instruction of the mass of mankind. Great men cannot be created — and are usually independent of all particular schemes of education. Public seminaries are best adapted to the generality of cases. He concludes with observing that the course of study pursued at English Universities, is more liberal by far than we are willing to suppose it — that it is, demonstrably, the best, inasmuch as regards the preference given to classical and mathematical knowledge — and that upon the whole it would be an easy matter, in transferring to America the general principles of those institutions, to leave them their obvious errors, while we avail ourselves as we best may, of their still more obvious virtues and advantages.

We must take the liberty of copying an interesting paper on the subject of Oxford.

The impression made on my mind by the first aspect of Paris was scarcely more lively or profound, than that which I experienced on entering Oxford. Great towns were already familiar to my eye, but a whole city sacred to the cultivation of science, composed of edifices no less venerable for their antiquity than magnificent in their structure, was a novelty which at once delighted and overpowered my imagination. The entire population is in some degree appended and ministerial to the colleges. They comprise nearly the whole town, and are so noble and imposing, although entirely Gothic, that I was inclined to apply to the architecture of Oxford what has been said of the schools of Athens;

“The Muse alone unequal dealt her rage,

And graced with noblest pomp her earliest stage.”

Spacious gardens laid out with taste and skill are annexed to each college, and appropriated to the exercises and meditations of the students. The adjacent country is in the highest state of cultivation, and watered by a beautiful stream, which bears the name of Isis, the divinity of the Nile and the Ceres of the Egyptians. To you who know my attachment to letters, and my veneration for the great men whom this university has produced, it will not appear affectation, when I say that I was most powerfully affected by this scene, that my eyes filled with tears, that all the enthusiasm of a student burst forth.

After resting, I delivered next morning, my letter of introduction to one of the professors, Mr. V — — , and who undertook to serve as my cicerone through the university. The whole day was consumed in wandering over the various colleges and their libraries, in discoursing on their organization, and in admiring the Gothic chapels, the splendid prospects from their domes, the collection of books, of paintings, and of statuary, and the portraits of the great men who were nursed in this seat of learning. Both here and at Cambridge, accurate likenesses of such as have by their political or literary elevation, ennobled their alma mater, are hung up in the great halls, in order to excite the emulation of their successors, and perpetuate the fame of the institution. I do not wish to fatigue you by making you the associate of all my wanderings and reflections, but only beg you to follow me rapidly through the picture-gallery attached to the celebrated Bodleian library. It is long indeed, and covered with a multitude of original portraits, but from them I shall merely select a few, in which your knowledge of history will lead you to take a lively interest.

I was struck with the face of Martin Luther the reformer. It was not necessary to have studied Lavater to collect from it, the character of his mind. His features were excessively harsh though regular, his eye intelligent but sullen and scowling, and the whole expression of his countenance, that of a sour, intemperate, overbearing controversialist. Near him were placed likenesses of Locke, Butler, and Charles II., painted by Sir Peter Lely; with the countenance of Locke you are well acquainted, that of Butler has nothing sportive in it — does not betray a particle of humor, but is, on the contrary, grave, solemn, and didactic in the extreme, and must have been taken in one of his splenetic moods, when brooding over the neglect of Charles, rather than in one of those moments of inspiration, as they may be styled, in which he narrated the achievements of Hudibras. The physiognomy of Charles is, I presume, familiar to you, lively but not “spiritual.” Lord North is among the number of heads, and I was caught by his strong resemblance to the present king; so strong as to remind one of the scandalous chronicles of times past.

The face of Mary queen of Scots next attracted my notice. It was taken in her own time, and amply justifies what historians have written, or poets have sung, concerning her incomparable beauty. If ever there was a countenance meriting the epithet of lovely in its most comprehensive signification, it was this, which truly “vindicated the veracity of Fame,” and in which I needed not the aid of imagination to trace the virtues of her heart. In reading Hume and Whitaker I have often wept over her misfortunes, and now turned with increased disgust from an original portrait of Elizabeth, her rival and assassin, which was placed immediately above, and contributed to heighten the captivations of the other by the effect of contrast. The features of Elizabeth are harsh and irregular, her eye severe, her complexion bad, her whole face, in short, just such as you would naturally attach to such a mind.

Among the curiosities of the gallery may be ranked a likeness of Sir Phillip Sydney, done with a red hot poker, on wood, by a person of the name of Griffith, belonging to one of the colleges. It is really a monument of human patience and ingenuity, and has the appearance of a good painting. I cannot describe to you without admiration another most extraordinary freak of genius exhibited here, and altogether unique in its kind. It is a portrait of Isaac Tuller, a celebrated painter in the reign of Charles II., executed by himself when drunk. Tradition represents it as an admirable likeness, and of inebriety in the abstract, there never was a more faithful or perfect delineation. This anecdote is authentic, and must amuse the fancy, if we picture to ourselves the artist completely intoxicated, inspecting his own features in a mirror, and hitting off, with complete success, not only the general character, but the peculiar stamp, which such a state must have impressed upon them. His conception was as full of humor as of originality, and well adapted to the system of manners which the reigning monarch introduced and patronized. As I am on the subject of portraits, permit me to mention three to which my attention was particularly called on my visit to the University of Dublin. They were those of Burke, Swift, and Bishop Berkeley, done by the ablest masters. The latter must have had one of the most impressive physiognomies ever given to man, “the human face divine.” That of Burke is far inferior, but strongly marked by an indignant smile; a proper expression for the feelings by which his mind was constantly agitated towards the close of his life. The face of Swift from which you would expect every thing, is dull, heavy and unmeaning.

Portrait painting is the forte, as it has always been the passion of this country. Happily for the inquisitive stranger, every rich man has all his progenitors and relatives on canvass. The walls of every public institution are crowded with benefactors and pupils, and no town hall is left without the heads of the corporation, or the representatives of the borough. The same impulse that prompts us to gaze with avidity on the persons of our cotemporaries, if there be any thing prominent in their character, or peculiar in their history, leads us to turn a curious and attentive eye on the likenesses of the “mighty dead,” whose souls as well as faces are thus in some degree transmitted to posterity. Next to my association with the living men of genius who render illustrious the names of Englishmen, no more sensible gratification has accrued to me from my residence in this country, than that of studying the countenances of their predecessors; no employment has tended more efficaciously to improve my acquaintance with the history of the nation, to animate research, and to quicken the spirit of competition.

I quitted Oxford with a fervent wish that such an establishment might one day grace our own country. I have uttered an ejaculation to the same effect whenever the great monuments of industry and refinement which Europe displays exclusively, have fallen under my observation. We have indeed just grounds to hope that we shall one day eclipse the old world.

“Each rising art by just gradation moves,

Toil builds on toil, an age on age improves.”

The only paper in the Didactics, to which we have any decided objection, is a tolerably long article on the subject of Phrenology, entitled “Memorial of the Phrenological Society of — t —— to the Honorable the Congress of ——— sitting at ———.” Considered as a specimen of mere burlesque the Memorial is well enough — but we are sorry to see the energies of a scholar and an editor (who should be, if he be not, a man of metaphysical science) so wickedly employed as in any attempt to throw ridicule upon a question, (however much maligned, or however apparently ridiculous) whose merits he has never examined, and of whose very nature, history, and assumptions, he is most evidently ignorant. Mr. Walsh is either ashamed of this article now, or he will have plentiful reason to be ashamed of it hereafter.

7

COOPER’S SWITZERLAND.

Sketches of Switzerland. By an American. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard.

These very interesting sketches are merely selections from a work of much larger extent, originally intended for publication, but which, as a whole, is, for private reasons, suppressed. There is consequently on this account, and on some others, several vacuums in the narrative. Mr. Cooper commenced the year 1828 in Paris, whence, after a short stay, he paid a visit to England. In June he returned to France by the way of Holland and Belgium. The narrative embraced in vol. i commences at Paris after his return from England, and terminates at Milan. The remainder of the year 1828, and the years 1829, 1830, and 1831, with part of 1832, were passed between Italy, Germany, France and Belgium. Volume ii recommences at Paris, and a great portion of it is occupied with matters relating to other countries than that which gives a title to the book.

We either see, or fancy we see, in these volumes, and more particularly in the Preface affixed to them, a degree of splenetic ill humor with both himself and his countrymen, quite different from the usual manner of the novelist, and evincing something akin to resentment for real or imaginary ill usage. He frankly tells us among other things, that had the whole of his intended publication seen the light, it is probable their writer would not have escaped some imputations on his patriotism-for in making the comparisons that naturally arose from his subject, he has spoken in favor of American principles much oftener than in favor of American things. He then proceeds with a sneer at a “numerous class of native critics,” and expresses a hope that he may be permitted at least to assert, that “a mountain fifteen thousand feet high is more lofty than one of fifteen hundred, and that Mont Blanc is a more sublime object than Butter Hill.” We quote a specimen of the general tone of this Preface.

The writer does not expect much favor for the political opinions that occasionally appear in these letters. He has the misfortune to belong to neither of the two great parties that divide the country, and which, though so bitterly hostile and distrustful of each other, will admit of no neutrality. It is a menacing symptom that there is a disposition to seek for a base motive, whenever a citizen may not choose to plunge into the extremes that characterize the movements of political factions. This besetting vice is accompanied by another feeling, that is so singularly opposed to that which every body ]s ready to affirm is the governing principle of the institutions, that it may do no harm slightly to advert to it. Any one who may choose to set up a semi-official organ of public opinion, called a newspaper, however illiterate, base, flagrantly corrupt, and absolutely destitute of the confidence and respect of every man in the community, may daily pour out upon the public his falsehoods, his contradictions, his ignorance, and his corruption, treating the national interests as familiarly as “household terms,” and all because he is acting in an admitted vocation; the public servant, commissioned to execute the public will, may even turn upon his masters, and tell them not only in what light they are to view him and his conduct, but in what light they are also to view the conduct of his associates in trust; in short, tell them how to make up their judgments on himself and others; and all because he is a public servant, and the public is his master: but the private citizen, who merely forms a part of that public, is denounced for his presumption, should he dare to speak of matters of general concernment, except under such high sanction, or as the organ of party.

It may be well to say at once, that this peculiar feeling has not been permitted to influence the tone of these letters, which have been written, in all respects, as if the republic did not contain one of those privileged persons, honored as “patriots” and “godlikes,” but as if both classes were as actually unknown to the country as they are certainly unknown to the spirit and letter of its institutions.

The spirit of these observations seems to be carried out (we cannot say with what degree of justice,) in many other portions of the book. On page 71, vol. i, we observe what follows.

Among other books, I have laid my hands, by accident, on the work of a recent French traveller in the United States. We read little other than English books at home, and are much given to declaiming against English travellers for their unfairness but, judging from this specimen of Gallic opinion, our ancient allies rate us quite as low as our quondam fellow subjects. A perusal of the work in question has led me to inquire further into the matter, arid I am now studying one or two German writers on the same interesting subject. I must say that thus far, I find little to feed national vanity, and I begin to fear (what I have suspected ever since the first six months in Europe) that we are under an awkward delusion respecting the manner in which the rest of Christessdom regards that civilization touching which we are so sensitive. It is some time since I have made the discovery, that the name of an American is not a passport all over Europe,’ but on the other hand, that where it conveys any very distinct notions at all, it usually conveys such as are any thing but flattering or agreeable. . . .. I shall pursue the trail on which I have fallen, and you will probably hear more of this, before these letters are brought to a close.

At page 113 of the same volume we have something of the same nature, and which we confess astonished us in no little degree.

We have just had a visit from two old acquaintances — Manhattanese. They tell me a good many of our people are wandering among the mountains, though they are the first we have seen. There is a list of arrivals published daily in Berne; and in one of them I found the name of Captain C —— , of the Navy; and that of Mr. O., an old and intimate friend, whom it was vexatious to miss in a strange land. Mr. and Mrs. G —— of New York, are also somewhere in thl: cantons. Our numbers increase, and with them our abuse; for it is not an uncommon thing to see, written in English in the travellers’ books kept by law at all the inns, pasqulinades on America, opposite the American names. What a state of feeling it betrays, when a traveller cannot write his name, in compliance with a law of the country in which he happens to be, without calling down upon himself anathemas of this kind! I have a register of twenty-three of these gratuitous injuries. What renders them less excusable, is the fact, that they who are guilty of the impropriety would probably think twice before they performed the act in the presence of the party wronged. These intended insults are, consequently, so many registers of their own meanness. Let the truth be said; I have never seen one, unless in the case of an American, or one that was not written in English! Straws show which way the wind blows. This disposition, in our kinsmen, to deride and abuse America, is observed and freely commented on by the people of the continent, who are far from holding us themselves in the highest respect.

And again, on page 327, vol. ii.

I have made this comparison as the last means I know of to arouse you from your American complacency on the subject of the adjectives grand, majestic, elegant and splendid, in connection with our architecture. The latter word, in particular, is coming to be used like a household term; while there is not, probably, a single work of art, from Georgia to Maine, to which it can with propriety be applied. I do not know a single edifice in the Union that can be considered more than third-rate by its size and ornaments, nor more than one or two that ought to be ranked even so high. When it comes to capitals, and the use of the adjectives I have just quoted, it may be well to remember, that there is no city in the Republic that has not decidedly the air and the habits of a provincial town, and this too, usually without possessing the works of art that are quite commonly found in this hemisphere, even in places of that rank, or a single public building to which the term magnificent can with any fitness be adjudged.

We can only say, that if the suppressed portions of Mr. Cooper’s intended publication embraced any thing more likely than these assertions and opinions to prove unacceptable to American readers at large, it is perhaps better, both for his own reputation, and for the interest of his publishers, that he finally decided upon the suppression. Yet Mr. Cooper may be right, and not having the fear of punishment sufficiently before our eyes; we, for ourselves, frankly confess that we believe him to be right. The passages which remain of a similar nature to those we have quoted, will only serve we hope, to give additional piquancy to these admirable Sketches. As a work affording extensive and valuable information on the subject of Switzerland, we have seen nothing in any shape, at all equal to the volumes before us.

The extract we now subjoin, will prove beyond doubt, that the fine descriptive powers of the author of the Prairie, are in as full vigor as ever.

It is at all times a very difficult thing to convey vivid and, at the same time, accurate impressions of grand scenery by the use of words. When the person to whom the communication is made has seen objects that have a general similarity to those described, the task certainly becomes less difficult, for he who speaks or writes may illustrate his meaning by familiar comparisons; but who in America, that has never left America, can have a just idea of the scenery of this region? A Swiss would readily comprehend a description of vast masses of granite capped with eternal snow, for such objects are constantly before his eyes; but to those who have never looked upon such a magnificent spectacle, written accounts, when they come near their climax, fall as much short of the intention, as words are less substantial than things. With a full consciousness of this deficiency in my craft, I shall attempt to give you some notion of the two grandest aspects that the Alps, when seen from this place, assume; fot it seems a species of poetical treason to write of Switzerland and be silent on what are certainly two of its most decided sublimities.

One of these appearances is often alluded to, but I do not remember to have ever heard the other mentioned. The first is produced by the setting sun, whose rays of a cloudless evening, are the parents of hues and changes of a singularly lovely character. For many minutes the lustre of the glacier slowly retires, and is gradually succeeded by a tint of rose color, which, falling on so luminouls a body, produces a sort of “roseate light;” the whole of the vast range becoming mellowed and subdued to indescribable softness. This appearance gradually increases in intensity, varying on different evenings, however, according to the state of the atmosphere. At the very moment, perhaps, when the eye is resting most eagerly on this extraordinary view, the light vanishes. No scenic change is more sudden than that which follows. All the forms remain unaltered, but so varied in hue, as to look like the ghosts of mountains. You see the same vast range of eternal snow, but you see it ghastly and spectral. You fancy that the spirits of the Alps are ranging themselves before you. Watching the peaks for a few minutes longer, the light slowlydeparts. The spectres, like the magnified images of the phantasmagoria, grow more and more faint, less and less material, until swallowed in the firmament. What renders all this more thrillingly exquisite is, the circumstance that these changes do not occur until after evening has fallen on the lower world, giving to the whole the air of nature sporting in the upper regions, with some of her spare and detached materials.

This sight is far from uncommon. It is seen during the summer, at least, in greater or less perfection, as often as twice or thrice a week. The other is much less frequent; for, though a constant spectator when the atmosphere was favorable, it was never my fortune to witness it but twice; and even on these occasions, only one of them is entitled to come within the description I am about to attempt.

It is necessary to tell you that the Aar flows toward Berne in a north-west direction, through a valley of some width, and several leagues in length. To this fact the Bernese are indebted for their view of the Oberland Alps, which stretch themselves exactly across the mouth of the gorge, at the distance of forty miles in an air line. These giants are supported by a row of outposts, any one of which, of itself, would be a spectacle in another country. One in particular, is distinguished by its form, which is that of a cone. It is nearly in a line with the Jung Frau,* the virgin queen of the Oberland. This mountain is called the Niesen. It stands some eight or ten miles in advance of the mighty range, though to the eye, at Berne, all these accessories appear to be tumbled without order at the very feet of their principals. The height of the Niesen is given by Ebel at 5584 French, or nearly 6000 English feet, above the

lake of Thun, on whose margin it stands; and at 7340 French, or nearly 8000 English feet above the sea. In short, it is rather higher than the highest peak of our own White Mountains. The Jung Frau rises directly behind this mass, rather more than a mile nearer to heaven.

The day, on the occasion to which I allude, was clouded, and as a great deal of mist was clinging to all the smaller mountains, the lower atmosphere was much charged with vapor. The cap of the Niesen was quite hid, and a wide streak of watery clouds lay along the whole of the summits of the nearer range, leaving, however, their brown sides misty but visible. In short the Niesen and its immediate neighbors looked like any other range of noble mountains, whose heads were hid in the clouds. I think the vapor must have caused a good deal of refraction, for above these clouds rose the whole of the Oberland Alps to an altitude which certainly seemed even greater than usual. Every peak and all the majestic formation was perfectly visible, though the whole range appeared to be severed from the earth, and to float in air. The line of communication was veiled, and while all below was watery, or enfeebled by mist, the glaciers threw back the fierce light of the sun with powerful splendor. The separation from the lower world was made the more complete, from the contrast between the sombre hues beneath and the calm but bright magnificence above. One had some difficulty in imagining that the two could be parts of the same orb. The effect of the whole was to create a picture of which I can give no other idea, than by saying it resembled a glimpse, through the windows of heaven, at such a gorgeous but chastened grandeur, as the imagination might conceive to suit the place. There were moments when the spectral aspect just mentioned, dimmed the lustre of the snows, without injuring their forms, and no language can do justice to the sublimity of the effect. It was impossible to look at them without religious awe; and, irreverent though it may seem, I could hardly persuade myself I was not gazing at some of the sublime mysteries that lie beyond the grave.

A fortnight passed in contemplating such spectacles at the distance of sixteen leagues, has increased the desire to penetrate nearer to the wonders; and it has been determined that as many of our party who are of an age to enjoy the excursion, shall quit this place in a day or two for the Oberland.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page ???:]

* In the course of a very attentive perusal we have observed only one typographical error. On page 130, near the top, we see Fatigatus a fatre in place of fratre.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page ???:]

* Perhaps Mennes — Ed.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page ???:]

* Author of Modern Chivalry.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page ???:]

* Jung Frau, or the virgin; (pronounced Yoong Frow.) The mountain is thus called, because it has never been scaled.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - BRP5S, 1997] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (May 1836 (Texts))