Text: Burton R. Pollin, “June 1836 (Texts),” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan PoeVol. V: SLM (1997), pp. 205-221 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 205, continued:]

Texts of June [[1836]]

1. [Philip H. Nicklin]. A Pleasant Peregrination through the Prettiest Parts of Pennsylvania.

2. John Armstrong. Notices of the War of 1812.

3. [Thomas Allsop]. Letters, Conversations and Recollections of S. T. Coleridge.

4. Calvin Colton. Thoughts on the Religious State of the Country.

5. Matthew Fontaine Maury. A New Theoretical and Practical Treatise on Navigation.

6. [William Leete Stone]. Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman.

7. [Charles Dickens]. Watkins Tottle, and Other Sketches.

8. [Anon.]. Flora and Thalia.

9. [Edgar A. Poe]. [Untitled Editorial Note]. [page 206, column 1:]



A Pleasant Peregrination through the Prettiest Parts of Pennsylvania. Performed by Peregrine Prolix. Philadelphia: Grigg and Elliot.

We know nothing farther about Peregrine Prolix than that he is the very clever author of a book entitled “Letters descriptive of the Virginia Springs,” and that he is a gentleman upon the wrong side of forty. The first fact we arse enabled easily to perceive from the peculiarity of an exceedingly witty — pedantic style characterizing, in a manner not to be mistaken, both the Virginia and the Pennsylvania Letters — the second appears from the first stanza of a rhyming dedication (much better than eulogistic) to John Guillemard, Esquire, Fellow of the Royal Society, London

I send my friend a little token

Three thousand miles across the sea,

Of kindness, forty years unbroken

And cherished still for him by me.

However these matters may be, it is very certain that Peregrine Prolix is a misnomer, that his book is a very excellent thing, and that the Preface is not the worst part of it.

Our traveller, before setting out on his peregrinations, indulges us, in Letter, with a very well executed outline sketch, or scratch, of Philadelphia, not troubling himself much about either his keeping or his fillings in. We cannot do better than just copy the whole of his picture. —

Philadelphia is a flat, rectangular, clean, (almost too clean sometimes, for on Saturdays “nunquam cessavit lavari, aut fricari, aut tergeri, aut ornari, poliri, pingi, fingi,”*) uniform, well-built, brick and mortar, (except one stone house,) well-fed and watered, well-clad, moral, industrious, manufacturing,rich, sober, quiet, good-looking city. The Delaware washes its eastern and the Schuylkill its western front. The distance between the two rivers is one mile and three quarters, which space on several streets is nearly filled with houses. Philadelphia looks new and is new, and like Juno always will be new; for the inhabitants are constantly pulling down and new-vamping their houses. The furor delendi with regard to old houses, is as rife in the bosoms of her citizens, as it was in the breast of old Cato with regard to Carthage. A respectable-looking old house is now a rare thing, and except the venerable edifice of Christ Church in Second above Market Street, we should hnrdly know where to find one.

The dwelling-houses in the principal streets are all very much alike, having much the air of brothers, sisters and cousins of the same family; like the supernumerary figures in one of West’s historical paintings, or like all the faces in all of Stothard’s designs. They are nearly all three stories high, faced with beautiful red unpainted Philadelphia brick, and have water tables and steps of white marble, kept so painfully clean as to make one fear to set his foot on them. The roofs are in general of cedar, cypress or pine shingles; the continued use of which is probably kept up (for there is plenty of slate,) to afford the Fire-Companies a little wholesome exercise.

The streets are in general fifty feet wide, having on each side convenient trottoirs well paved with brick, and a carriage way badly paved with large round pebbles. They are kept very clean, and the kennels are frequently washed by floods of pure Schuylkill water, poured from [column 2:] the iron pipes with which all the streets are underlaid. This same Schuylkill water is the cause of many comforts in the shape of drinking, bathing and clean linen, (indusia toraliaque;) and enters into the composition of those delicious and persuasive liquids called Pepper’s beer and Gray’s ale and porter.

This water is so pure, that our brothers of New York complain of its want of taste; and it is as wholesome and refreshing as the stream of father Nilus. It is also so copious, that our incendiaries are scarcely ever able to burn more than the roof or garret of one or two houses in a month. The fire companies are numerous, voluntary, well-organized associations, amply furnished with engines, hose, and all other implements and munitions necessary to make successful war upon the destroying element; and the members are intelligent, active and intrepid young men, so skilful from daily practice, that they will put you out three or four fires in a night, in less time than Higginbottom, that veteran fireman of London, would have allowed them to kindle.

The public confidence in these useful, prompt, energetic and faithful companies is so great, that no citizen is alarmed by the cry of fire; for he knows that the first tap on the State House bell, arouses hundreds of these vigilant guardians of the city’s safety, who rush to the scene of danger with one accord; and with engines, axes, ladders, torches, hooks and hose, dash through summer’s heat, or winter’s hail and snows.

The old State House, in whose eastern room the Declaration of Independence was signed, has on the top of it, a sort of stumpy steeple, which looks as if somewhat pushed in, like a spy glass, half shut. In this steeple is a large clock, which, twice as bad as Janus, presents four faces, which at dusk are lighted up like the full moon; and as there is a man in the moon, so there is a man in the clock, to see that it does not log behind, nor run away from father time; whose whereabout, ever and anon, the people wish to know. This close observer of the time is also a distant observer of the fires, and possesses an ingenious method of communicating their existence and position to his fellow citizens below. One tap on the great bell means north; two indicate south; three represent east, and four point out west; and by composition these simple elements are made to represent also the intermediate points. If the fire be in the north, the man strikes successive blows with solemn and equal intervals, thus; tap —— tap —— tap —— tap; if it be in the south, thus; tap tap —— tap tap; if it be in the north east, thus; tap —— tap tap —— tap tap —— tap tap tap; so that when the thrifty and well-fed citizen is roused by the cry of fire at midnight, from a pleasant dream of heaps of gold and smoking terrapins and whisky punch, he uncovers one ear and listens calmly for the State House bell, and if its iron tongue tell of no scathe to him, he turns him on his side and sleeps again. What a convenient invention, which tells the firemen when and where to go, and the terrapin men when to lie snug in their comfortable nests! This clever plan is supposed to have been invented by an M. A. P. S.; this however, we think doubtful, for the Magellanic Premium has never, to our knowledge, been claimed for the discovery. This reminds us that the American Philosophical Society is located* in Philadelphia, where it possesses a spacious hall, a good library, and an interesting collection of American antiquities, gigantic fossil bones, and other curiosities, all of which are open to the inspection of intelligent and inquisitive travellers.

The Society was founded by the Philosophical Franklin, and its presidential chair is now occupied by the learned and venerable Duponceau.

There exists here a club of twenty-four philosophers, who give every Saturday evening very agreeable male parties; consisting of the club, twenty invited citizens [page 207:] and any strangers who may happen to be in town. These parties are not confined to any particular circle; but all men who are distinguished in the arts, whether fine or mechanical; or in the sciences, whether natural or artificial, are liable to be invited. The members of the club are all M. A. P. S., and the parties are supposed to look with a steady eye towards the cultivation of science; the other eye however regards with equal complacency the useful and ornamental arts of eating and drinking. The only defect in the latter department that we have discovered, is the banishment of ice cream and roman punch.

The markets are well supplied with good things. The principal one is held under long colonnades running along the middle of Market street, and extending from Front to Eighth street, a distance of more than one thousand yards. The columns are of brick and the roofs of shingles, arched and ceiled underneath. If I were to say all they deserve of its beef, mutton and veal, there would be no end to the praises that flesh is heir to; beat the butter and cream-cheese in the spring and summer, are such dainties as are found in no other place under the welkin. They are produced on dairy farms and by families near the city, whose energies have for several generations been directed to this one useful end, and who now work with an art made perfect by the experience of a century.

Here is the seat of the University of Pennsylvania, which comprehends a College of the Arts and several preparatory schools; and a college of Medicine the most celebrated of the United States, in the list of whose professors are many names advantageously known in all civilized nations.

The Hospital for the insane, sick and wounded is a well conducted institution, and worth a stranger’s visit. Go and see also the Museum, the Water-Works, the Navy-Yard, and the public squares, and lots of otbet things too tedious to write down.

The site of the city promises very little for the scenery of the environs; but unlike the witches in Macbeth, what is promised is more than kept. Take an open carriage and cross the Schuylkill by the Market street bridge, and ride up the west bank of the river forfre or six miles, and your labor will be fully rewarded by a succession of lovely landscapes, comprehending water, hill and dale; wood, lawn and meadow; villas, farmhouses and cottages, mingled in a charming variety.

On the west bank of the Schuylkill opposite to the city, we regret to say, is an enormous palace, which cost many hundred thousand dollars, called an Almshouse, (unhappy misnomer,) which is big enough to hold all the paupers that would be in the world, if there were no poor laws to make them. But you had better go and see it, and take the length and breadth and height of our unreason, in this age of light, when we ought to know better.

The people of Philadelphia are in general well-informed, well-bred, kind, hospitable and of good manners, very slightly tinged with quaker reserve; and the tone of society is good, except in a small circle of exclusive imagines subitæ, who imitate very awkwardly the exaggerations of European fashion. The tone of the Satanic school, which has somewhat infected the highest circles of fashion in England, has not yet crossed the Atlantic.

There are many good Hotels, and extensive boarding houses; and the table of the Mansion House is said to be faultless.

Taking every thing into consideration, this is certainly the very spot for annuitants, who have reached the rational age of fifty, to nestle in during the long remnant of their comfortable days. We say long remnant, because as a class, annuitants are the longest livers; and there is an excellent company here, that not only grants annuities, but also insures lives.

The climate of Philadelphia is variable, and exhibits (in the shade,) all the degrees of temperature that are contained between the tenth below, and the ninetieth above zero, on the scale of Fahrenheit. In general, winter does not begin seriously until after Christmas, [column 2:] but he sometimes lingers too long in “the lap of spring,” and leaves a bridge of ice on the noble river Delaware until the tenth of March.

There are generally three or four weeks of severe told, during which the thermometer sometimes at night sinks below zero, and sometimes in the day does not rise to the point of thaw. This period is generally enlivened by two or three snow storms, which set in motion the rapid sleighs, the jingle of whose lively bells is heard through day and night. The Delaware is not frozen over every winter, but there is always made an ample supply of fine crystalline ice to last the citizens until the next winter. The annual average duration of interrupted navigation may be four or five weeks. In March there is sometimes a little Scotch weather in which Sawney would rub his hands and tell you, here is a fine cauld blawey snawey rainy day. There is however not much such weather, though the March winds have been known to blow (as Paddy would say,) even in the first week of April; after which spring begins with tears and smiles to coax the tardy vegetation into life.

Spring is short and vegetation rapid. Summer sprinkled a day here and there in May, and sets in seriously to toast people in June; during which month there are generally six or eight days whose average temperature reaches the altissimum of summer heat. In July the days are hot, but there is some relief at night; whilst in August the fiery day is but a prelude to a baking night; and the whole city has the air of an enormous oven.* The extremely hot weather does not continue more than six weeks, and so far from being a misfortune, it is a great advantage to the inhabitants; for it makes every body that can spare twenty dollars, take it pleasant journey every year, whereby their minds are expanded, their manners improved, and they return with a double zest to the enjoyments of Philadelphia, having learned, quantum est in rebus inane, that is, in the rebuses of other places.

The autumn, or as the Philadelphians call it, the Fall, is the most delightful part of the year, and is sometimes eked out by the Indian Summer as far as Christmas. The Fall begins in the first half of September and generally lasts until the middle of November, when it is succeeded by the Indian Summer; a pleasant period of two or three weeks, in which the mornings, evenings and nights are frosty, and the days comfortably warm and a little hazy. The Indians are supposed to have employed this period in hunting and laying in game for winter use, before the long-knives made game of them.

The population of Philadelphia and its suburbs exceeds 180.000 souls.

Having taken passage for himself and the friend in the Pioneer line, at 8 A. M., for Hallidaysburg, Mr. Prolix dates his second letter from Lancaster. This epistle is full of fun, bustle, and all good things — gives a lively picture of the horrors of early rising and half-eaten breakfasts — of a cruise in an omnibus, about the city of Brotherly Love, in search of the due quota of passengers — of the depôt in Broad Street — of an unilocular car(a) with its baggage and passengers — of an old woman in a red cloak and an old gentleman in a red nose — of a tall, good looking Englishman, who was at the trouble of falling asleep — and of an infantile little American gentleman, who had no trouble whatever about fulfilling all his little occasions. Some account, too, is given of the ride to the foot of the inclined plane on the western bank of the Schuylkill, of the viaduct by which the [page 208:] plane is approached, the view from the viaduct, of the country between Philadelphia and Lancaster, of the Columbia rail road, of Lancaster city, and of Mrs. Hubley’s very respectable hotel.

Letter III is dated from Dunoon’s Island. Mr. Prolix left Lancaster at 5 A. M. in a raid(*) [[rail]] road car, drawn by two horses tandem, arrived at Columbia in an hour and a half, and stopped at Mr. Donley’s Red Lion Hotel, where he “breakfasted and dined, and found the house very comfortable and well kept.”

“Columbia,” says Mr. P. “is twelve miles from Lancaster, and is situated on the eastern bank of the noble river Susquehanna. It is a thriving and pretty town, and is rapidly increasing in business, population and wealth. There is an immense bridge here over the Susquehanna, the superslructuie of which, composed of massy timber, rests upon stone piers. This bridge is new, having been built within three years. The waters of the Susquehanna, resembling the citizens of Philadelphia, in their dislike to old buildings, took the liberty three years ago, to destroy the old bridge by means of an ice freshet, though it was but twenty years of age, and still in excellent preservation. The views from the bridge, up and down the river, are very interesting. Here is the western termination of the rail road, and goods from the sea-board intended for the great west, are here transhipped into canal boats. Columbia contains about twenty-five hundred souls.”

Our author does not think that the state affords the public as good a commodity of travelling as the public ought to have for the money paid. Each passenger car, he says, pays for locomotive power two cents per mile, for each passenger — for toll two cents a mile for itself, and one cent per mile for each passenger — burthen cars(b) paying half these rates. There is some mistake here or — we are mistaken. The estimated cost of working an engine, including interest and repairs, is sixteen dollars per day — and the daily sum earned is twenty eight dollars — the state clearing twelve dollars per day on each locomotive. Empty cars pay the same toll and power-hire as full ones, which, as Mr. Prolix observes, is unreasonable.

At 4 P. M. our peregrinator went on board a boat to ascend the canal which follows the eastern bank of the Susquehanna. His description of the genus “canal boat,” species “Pioneer Line,” is effective, and will interest our readers.

A canal packet boat is a microcosm that contains almost as many specimens of natural history as the Ark of Noah. It is nearly eighty feet long and eleven wide; and has a house built in it that extends to within six or seven feet of stem and stern. Thirty-six feet in length of said house are used as a cabin by day, and a dormitory by night; the forward twelve feet being nocturnally partitioned off by an opaque curtain, when there are more than four ladies on board, for their accommodation. In front of said twelve feet, there is an apartment of six feet containing four permanent berths and separated from the cabin by a wooden partition, with a door in it; this is called the ladies’ dressing room, and is sacred to their uses.

At 9 P. M. the steward and his satellites begin the work of arranging the sleeping apparatus. This consists of a wooden frame six feet long and twenty inches wide, with canvass nailed over it, a thin mattress and sheets, &c, to match. The frame has two metallic points on one side which are inserted into corresponding holes in the side of the cabin, and its horizontally is preserved by little ropes descending from the ceiling fastened to its other side. There are three tiers of these conveniences on each side, making twenty-four for gentlemen, and twelve for ladies, besides the four permanent berths in the ladies’ dressing room. The number of berths, [column 2:] however, does not limit the number of passengers; for a packet is like Milton’s Pandemonium, and when it is brim full of imps, the inhabitants seem to grow smaller so as to afford room for more poor devils to come in and be stewed; and tables and settees are put into a sleeping fix in the twinkling of a bedpost.

Abaft the cabin is a small apartment four feet square, in which the steward keeps for sale all sorts of potables, and some sorts of eatables. Abaft that is the kitchen, in which there is generally an emancipated or escaped slave from Maryland or Virginia, of some shade between white and black, who performs the important part of cook with great effect. The breakfasts, dinners and suppers are good, of which the extremes cost twenty-five cents each, and the mean thirty-seven and a half.

The passengers can recreate by walking about on the roof of the cabin, at the risque of being decapitated by the bridges which are passed under at short intervals of time. But this accident does not often happen, for the man at the helm is constantly on the watch to prevent such an unpleasant abridgment of the passengers, and gives notice of the approaching danger by crying out ’bridge.’

This machine, with all that it inherits, is dragged through the water at the rate of three miles and a half per hour by three horses, driven tandem by a dipod with a long whip, who rides the hindmost horse. The rope, which is about one hundred yards in length, is fastened to the side of the roof, at the distance of twenty feet from the bow, in such fashion that it can be loosed from the boat in a moment by touching a spring. The horses are changed once in about three hours and seem very much jaded by their work.

At an hour past midnight Mr. Prolix arrived at Harrisburg, where the boat stops for half an hour to let out and take in passengers. It was pitch dark, however, and nothing was visible from the boat. We miss, therefore, a description of the town, which is cavalierly snubbed by the tourist for containing no more than forty-five hundred inhabitants. He goes to sleep, and awaking at 5 in tho morning, finds himself opposite to Duncan’s Island. He lands, and takes up his quarters at the hotel of Mrs. Duncan. Unlike the hotels previously described, which were all “elegant, respectable and neat,” this one is merely “neat, elegant and respectable.”

Letter IV is dated from Hallidaysburg. Leaving Duncan’s Island at 6, the traveller embarked in the canal packet Delaware, Captain Williams, following the bank of Duncan’s Island in a north-western course for about a mile, and then crossing the Juniata over “a substantial aqueduct built of timber and roofed in.” In the course of the day he passed Millerstown, Mexico and Mifflin, arriving at Lewistown before sunset, a distance of about forty miles. Lewistown contains about sixteen hundred inhabitants, some of whom, says Mr. Prolix, make excellent beer. Waynesburg and Hamiltonville were past during the night, and Huntingdon at 7 in the morning. In the course of the day Petersburg, Alexandria and Williamsburg made their appearance, and at 3 P. M. a shower of rain. At half past 6, “the packet glided into the basin at Hallidaysburg.” Here terminates that portion of the Pennsylvania canal which lies east of the Alleghany mountains. Goods destined for the west are taken from the boats and placed in burthen cars, to make their passage over the mountains by means of the Alleghany portage rail road. Mr. Prolix here put up at Moore’s hotel, which was not only very “neat, elegant,” &c but contained at least one vacant room, six feet wide by fourteen long, with a double bed, two chairs, and a wash-stand, “whose cleanliness was as great as its littleness.” [page 209:]

Letter V is headed Bedford Springs, August 7,1635. At half past 8 on the 6th, “after a good and abundant breakfast,” Mr. P. left Hallidaysburg in a coach and four for these Springs. The distance is thirty-four milos — direction nearly south. In six hours he arrived at Buckstown, a little village consisting of two taverns, a blacksmith’s shop, and two or three dwellings. Here our traveller put up at a tavern whose sign displayed the name of P. Amich — probably, quoth Mr. P, a corruption of Peregrini Amicus. Leaving this establishment at 3 P. M. he proceeded eleven miles to the Tillage of Bedford — thence two miles farther to the Springs, of which we have a very pretty description. “The benches,” says Mr. Prolix, “and wooden columns of the pavilion have suffered much from the ruthless ambition of that numerous class of aspirants after immortality who endeavor to cut their way to the temple of fame with their penknives, and inflict the ambitious initials of their illustrious names on every piece of stuff they meet. As a goose delights in its gosling, so does one of these wits in his whittling.”

Letters VI and VII are a continuation of the description of the Springs. From letter VII we extract, for the benefit of our invalid readers, an analysis by Doctor William Church of Pittsburgh, of a quart of the water from the particular springs ycleped Anderson’s.

A quart of water, evaporated to dryness, gave tiirrf one grains of a residuum. The same quantity of water, treated agreeably to the rule laid down by Westrumsb, contained eighteen and a half inches of carbonic and gas. The residuum, treated according to the rules given by Dr. Henry, in his system of Chemistry, gave the following result.

Sulphate of Magnesia or Epsom Salts, 20 grains.

Sulphate of Lime, .... 3 3/4 “

Muriate of Soda, ... 2 1/2 “

Muriate of Lime, ... 3/4 “

Carbonate of Iron, ... 1 1/4 “

Carbonate of Lime, ... 2 “

Loss, ... 3/4 “

31 grains

To which must be added 181 cubic inches of carbonic acid gas.

“These waters,” says our author, “have acquired so great a reputation that immense quantities are sent away daily in barrels to perform long and expensive journeys by land to go and cure those who cannot come to them. The price of a barrel filled, and ready booted and spurred for its journey, is three dollars — and that is enough to last a regular and prudent toper four months.”

Letter VIII is dated “Somerset, August 14.” At 10 in the morning of this day, our traveller left the Spnofi in a hack, to join the mail coach at Bedford on its way to Somerset. “In an hour,” says Mr. P. “were snugly ensconced in one of Mr. Reeside’s well-appointed coaches, and rumbling over the stone turnpike on our way to the great west. The road for eleven miles is, we are told, not very hilly. Afterwards the corntry rises gradually from plateau to plateau, for a distance of fourteen miles, when you reach the summit of the Alleghany. Here is a large stone tavern, where the coach takes fresh horses. The country is now nearly level — but for the next six miles descends by alternate declivities and levels into “the broad valley which lies between the summits of the Alleghany Mountain and Laurel Hill,” the distance between which is about [column 2:] twenty miles. In this valley stands Somerset, which Mr. P. reached at half past 7 P. M.” having been eight hours and a half in travelling thirty-eight miles from Bedford.”

Letter IX is dated “Pittsburg, August 16.” At half past 3 A M. on the 15th, the tourist took the coach from the east bound to the City of Furnaces(c) — at 7 passed the summit of Laurel Hill — at 5 arrived at Jones’ Mills, about one-third down the western declivity of (he mountain, and breakfasted — at one reached Mount Pleasant, having passed through two mountain villages, Donegal and Madison — thence twenty miles to Slewartsville — thence thirteen farther to

Pittsburgium, longæ finis chartæque viaque,(d)

in spite of the manifold temptations offered to keen appetites by the luxuries of ChalfanPs, at Turtle Creek, which, quoth Mr. Prolix, “is a very good house.” His opinions of Pittsburgh, as of every thing else, are entitled to much weight, and in the present instance we give them entire.

The sensation on entering Pittsburgh is one of disappointment; the country through which you have come is so beautiful, and the town itself so ugly. The government of the town seems to have been more intent on filling the purses, than providing for the gratifieauon of the taste, or for the comfort of its inhabitants. As for the Pittsburghers themselves, they are worthy of every good thing, being enlightened, hospitable, and urbane.

Pittsburgh has produced many eminent men in law, politics and divinity, and is now the residence of the erudite, acute and witty author of the Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, which should be read by every native American. Its manufacturing powers and propensities have been so often described and lauded that we shall »ay nothing about ihem, except that they fill the people’s pockets with cash, and their toiling town with noise, and dust, and smoke.

Pittsburgh is full of good things in the eating and drinking way, but it requires much ingenuity to get them down your throat unsophisticated with smoke and coal-dust. If a sheet of white paper lie upon your desk for half an hour, you may write on it with your finger’s end, through the thin stratum of coal-dust that has settled upon it during that interval.

The Pittsburghers have committed an error in not rescuing from the service of Mammon, a triangle of thirty or forty acres at the junction of the Alleghany and Monongahela, and devoting it to the purposes of recreation. It is an unparalleled position for a park in which to ride or walk or sit. Bounded on the right by the clear and rapid Alleghany rushing from New York, and on the left by the deep and slow Monongahela Sowing majestically from Virginia, having in front the beginning of the great Ohio, bearing on its broad bosom the traffic of an empire, it is a spot worthy of being rescued from the ceaseless din of the steam engine, and the lurid flames and dingy smoke of the coal furnace. But alas! the sacra fames auri is rapidly covering this »rea with private edifices; and in a few short years it u probable, that the antiquary will be unable to discover a vestige of those celebrated military works, with which French and British ambition, in by-gone ages, had crowned this important and interesting point.

There is a large bridge of timber across the Alleghany and another over the Monongahela; the former of which leads to the town of Alleghany, a rapidly increasing village, situated on a beautiful plain on the western side of the river. About half a mile above the bridge the Alleghnny is crossed by an aqueduct bringing over the canal, which (strange to say) comes down from the confluence of the Kiskeminetas with the Alleghnny on the western side of the latter river. The aqueduct is an enormous wooden trough with a roof, hanging from seven arches of limber, supported by six stone piers and two [page 210:] abutments. The canal then passes through the town and under Grant’s hill through a tunnel, and communicates by a lock with the Monongahela.

The field of battle on which the conceited Braddock paid with his life the penalty of obstinate rashness, is not far from Pittsburgh, and is interesting to Americans as the scene on which the youthful Washington displayed the germs of those exalted qualities which afterwards ripened into the hero, and made him the founder and father of a nation.

Pittsburgh is destined to be the centre of an immense commerce, both in its own products and those of distant countries. Its annual exports at present probably exceed 25,000 and its imports 20,000 tons. lis trade in timber amounts to more than six millions of feet. The inexhaustible supply of coal and the facility of obtaining iron, insure the permanent success of its manufactories. Pittsburgh makes steam engines and other machinery, and her extensive glassworks have long been in profitable operation. There are also extensive paper mills moved by steam, and a manufactory of crackers (not explosive but edible) wrought by the same power. These crackers are made of good flour and pure water, and are fair and enticing to the eye of hunger, but we do not find the flavor so agreeable to the palate as that of Wattson’s water crackers. Perhaps they are kneaded by the iron hands of a steam engine, whereas hands of flesh are needed to make good crackers.

New Yorkers and people from down east, who wish to visit the Virginia Springs, cannot take an easier and more delightful route, than that through Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, and thence down the Ohio to Guyandotte; whence to the White Sulphur the distance is one hundred and sixty miles over a good road, through a romantic country, and by a line of good stage coaches.

Letter X is dated “Johnstown, August 20.” Mr. P. left Pittsburgh on the 18th, at nine in the evening, in the canal packet Cincinnati, Captain Fitzgerald. In a few minutes after moving, the packet entered the aqueduct which carries the canal over to the western bank of the Alleghany, “along which it runs in a north eastern direction for thirty miles.” At five o’clock on the morning of the 19th, our tourist passed the village of Freeport, which stands on the western bank of the Alleghany, below the mouth of the Kiskeminilas. A few minutes afterwards he crossed the Alleghany through an aqueduct, which “carries the canal over that river to the northern bank of the Kiskeminilas, the course of which the canal now pursues in a south eastern direction.”

At eight A. M. Mr. P. passed Leechburg, at twelve Saltsburgh — and at two P. M. an aqueduct leading the canal into a tunnel eight hundred feet long, going through the mountain and cutting off a circuit of four miles. At 3 A. M. on the 20th, Johnstown is reached, “the eastern end of the trans-Alleghanian canal, and the western beginning of the Portage rail road.”

Letter XI gives a vivid picture of the Portage rail road. This also we will be pardoned for copying.

Packet Juniata, near Lcwistown, August 21, 1835.

Yesterday, at Johnstown, we soon despatched the ceremony of a good breakfast, and at 6 A. M. were in motion on the first level, as it is called, of four miles in length, leading to the foot of the first inclined plane. The level has an ascent of one hundred and one feet, and we passed over it in horse-drawn cars with the speed of six miles an hour. This is the very interesting part of the route, not only on account of the wildness and beauty of the scenery, but also of the excitement mingled with vague apprehension, which takes possession of every body in approaching the great wonder of the internal improvements of Pennsylvania. In six hours the cars and passengers were to be raised eleven hundred and seventy-two feet of perpendicular height, [column 2:] and to be lowered fourteen hundred feet of perpendicular descent, by complicated, powerful, and frangible machinery, and were to pass a mountain, to overcome which, with a similar weight, three years ago, would have required the space of three days. The idea of raising so rapidly in the world, particularly by steam or a rope, is very agitating to the simple minds of those who have always walked in humble paths.

As soon as we arrived at the foot of plane No. 1, the horses were unhitched and the cars were fastened to the rope, which passes up the middle of one track and down the middle of the other. The stationary steam engine at the head of the plane was started, and the cars moved majestically up the steep and long acclivity in the space of four minutes; the length of the plane being sixteen hundred and eight feet, its perpendicular height, one hundred and fifty, and its angle of inclination 5° 42′ 38″.

The cars were now attached to horses and drawn through a magnificent tunnel nine hundred feet long, having two tracks through it, and being cut through solid rock nearly the whole distance. Now the train of cars were attached to a steam tug to pass a level of fourteen miles in length. This lengthy level is one of the most interesting portions of the Portage Rail Road, from the beauty of its location and the ingenuity of its construction. It ascends almost imperceptibly through its whole course, overcoming a perpendicular height of one hundred and ninety feet, and passes through some of the wildest scenery in the state; the axe, the chisel and the spade having cut its way through forest, rock and mountain. The valley of the little Conemaugh river is passed on a viaduct of the most beautiful construction. It is of one arch, a perfect semi-circle with a diameter of eighty feet, built of cut stone, and its entire height from the foundation is seventy-eight feet six inches. When viewed from the bottom of the valley, it seems to span the heavens, and you might suppose a rainbow had been turned to stone.

The fourteen miles of this second level are passed in one hour, and the train arrives at the foot of the second level, which has seventeen hundred and sixty feet of length, and one hundred and thirty-two feet of perpendicular height. The third level has a length of a mile and five-eighths, a rise of fourteen feet six inches, and is passed by means of horses. The third plane has a length of fourteen hundred and eighty feet, and a perpendicular height of one hundred and thirty. The fourth level is two miles long, rises nineteen feet and is passed by means of horses. The fourth plane has a length of two thousand one hundred and ninety-six feet, and a perpendicular height of one hundred and eighty-eight. The fifth level is three miles long, rises twenty-six feet and is passed by means of horses. The fifth plane has a length of two thousand six hundred and twenty-nine feet, and a perpendicular height of two hundred and two, and brings you to the top of the mountain, two thousand three hundred and ninety-seven feet above the level of the ocean, thirteen hundred and ninety-nine feet above Hallidaysburg, and eleven hundred and seventy-two feet above Johnstown. At this elevation in the midst of summer, you breathe an air like that of spring, clear and cool. Three short hours have brought you from the torrid plain, to a refreshing and invigorating; climate. The ascending apprehension has left you, but it is succeeded by the fear of the steep descent which lies before you; and as the car rolls along on this giddy height, the thought trembles in your mind, that it may slip over the head of the first descending plane, rush down the frightful steep, and be dashed into a thousand pieces at its foot.

The length of the road on the summit of the mountain is one mile and five-eighths, and about the middle of it stands a spacious and handsome stone tavern. The eastern quarter of a mile, which is the highest part, is a dead level; in the other part, there is an ascent of nineteen feet. The descent on the eastern side of tie mountain is much more fearful than the ascent on the western, for the planes are much longer and steeper, of which you are made aware by the increased thickness [page 211:] of the ropes; and you look down instead of up.

There are also five planes on the eastern side of lie mountain, and five slightly descending levels, the last of which is nearly four miles long and leads to the basin at Hallidaysburg; this is travelled by the cars without steam or horse, merely by the force of gravity. In descending the mountain you meet several fine prospects and arrive at Hallidaysburg between twelve and one o’clock.

Letter XII is dated from Lancaster and is occupied with the return home of the adventurous Mr. Prolix, whose book we heartily recommend to all lovers of the utile el dulce.(e)



Notices of the War of 1812. By John Armstrong. New York: George Dearborn.

These “Notices,” by the former Secretary of War, are a valuable addition to our history, and to our historical literature — embracing a variety of details which should not have been so long kept from the cognizance of the public. We are grieved, however, to see, even in the opening passages of the work, a piquancy and freedom of expression, in regard to the unhappy sources of animosity between America and the parent land, which can neither today nor hereafter answer any possible good end, and may prove an individual grain in a future mountain of mischief. At page 12, for example.

Still her abuse of power did not stop here: it was not enough that she thus outraged her rights on the ocean; the bosoms of our bays, the mouths of our rivers, aw even the wharves of our harbors, were made the theatres of the most flagitious abuse; and as if determined to leave no cause of provocation untried, the personal rights of our seamen were invaded: and men, owing her no allegiance, nor having any connexion with her policy or arms, were forcibly seized, dragged on board her ships of war and made to fight her laities, own the scourge of tyrants and slaves, with whom submission, whether right or wrong, form the vrhojedtuytf man.

We object, particularly here to the use of the verb forms in the present tense.

Mr. Armstrong’s publication will extend to two volumes — the second following as soon as possible. What we have now is mostly confined to the operations on the frontier. The subjects of main interest are the opposition to the War — Hull’s Expedition — Loss at Michilimackinac — Surrender of Detroit — Militia operations in the West — Harrison’s Autumnal and Winter Campaigns — the Partial Armistice — the attack on dueenstown, by Van Rensselaer — the invasion of Canada, by Smith — the campaign against the British advanced posts on Lake Champlain, by Dearborn Chauncey and Dearborn’s Expedition — the reduction of York and Fort George — the affair of Sackett’s Harbor — the first and second investments of Fort Meigs — and the defeat of the British fleet on Lake Erie. The Appendix embraces a mass of official and other matter, which will prove of great service to the future historian. What follows has with us a deep interest, and we know many who will understand its origin and character. [column 2:]

The ministry of the elder Adams in England, began in the 10th of June, 1785. In a letter to the American Secretary of Foreign Affairs, on the 19th of July following, he says — “The popular pulse seems to beat high against America; the people are deceived by numberless falsehoods circulated by the Gazettes, &c so that there is too much reason to believe, that if the nation had another hundred million to spend, they would soon force the ministry into a war against us. Their present system, as far as I can penetrate it, is to maintain a determined peace with all Europe, in order that they may wear singly against America, if they should think it necessary.”

In a second letter of the 30th of August following, he says — “In short, sir, America has no party at present in her favor — all parties, on the contrary, have committed themselves against us — even Shelburne and Buckingham. I had almost said, the friends of America are reduced to Dr. Price and Dr. Jebb.”

Again, on the 15th of October, 1785, he informs the American Secretary — “that though it is manifestly as much the interest of Great Britain to be well with us, as for us to be well with them, yet this is not the judgment of the English nation; it is not the judgment of Lord North and his party; it is not the judgment of the Duke of Portland and his friends, and it does not appear to be the judgment of Mr. Pitt and the present set In short, it does not at present appear to be the sentiment of any body; and I am much inclined to believe they will try the issue of importance with us.”

In his two last letters, the one dated in November, the other in December, 1787, we find the following passages — “If she [England] can bind Holland in her shackles, and France, from internal dissension, is unable to interfere, she will make war immediately against us. No answer is made to any of my memorials, or letters lo the ministry, nor do I expect that any thing will be done while I stay.”



Letters, Conversations and Recollections of S. T. Coleridge. New York: Harper and Brothers.

We feel even a deeper interest in this book than in the late Table-Talk. But with us (we are not ashamed to confess it) the most trivial memorial of Coleridge is a treasure of inestimable price. He was indeed a myriad-minded man,”(a) and ah, how little understood, and how pitifully villified!(*) How merely nominal was the difference (and this too in his own land) between what he himself calls the “broad, pre-determined abuse” of the Edinburgh Review, and the cold and brief compliments with the warm regrets of the Quarterly. If there be any one thing more than another which stirs within as a deep spirit of indignation and disgust, it is that damnation of faint praise which so many of the Narcissi(b) of critical literature have had the infinite presumption to breathe against the majesty of Coleridge — of Coleridge — the man to whose gigantic mind the proudest intellects of Europe found it impossible not to succumb. And as no man was more richly-gifted with all the elements of mental renown, so none was more fully worthy of the love and veneration of every truly good man. Even through the exertion of his great powers he sought no immediate worldly advantages. To use his own words, he not only sacrificed all present prospects of wealth and advancement, but, in his inmost soul, stood aloof from temporary reputation. In the [page 212:] volume now before us, we behold the heart, as in his own works we have beheld the mind, of the man. And surely nothing can be more elevating, nothing more cheering than this contemplation, to one who has faith in the possible virtue, and pride in the possible dignity of mankind. The book is written, we believe, by one of the poet’s most intimate friends — one too in whom we recognize a familiarity with the thoughts, and sympathy with the feelings of his subject. It consists of letters, conversations, and fragmentary recollections, interspersed with comment by the compiler,(c) and dedicated to “Elizabeth and Robin, the Fairy Prattler, and still Meek Boy of the Letters.” The letters are by far the most valuable part of the compilation — although all is truly so. A portion of one of them we copy as affording a picture, never surpassed, of great mental power conscious of its greatness, and tranquilly submitting to the indignities of the world.

But enough of these generals. It was my purpose to open myself out to you in detail. My health, I have reason to believe, is so intimately connected with the state of my spirits, and these again so dependant on my thoughts, prospective and retrospective, that I should not doubt the being favored with a sufficiency for my noblest undertaking, had I the ease of heart requisite for the necessary abstraction of the thoughts, and such a reprieve from the goading of the immediate exigencies as might make tranquillity possible. But, alas I I know by experience (and the knowledge is not the less because the regret is not unmixed with self-blame, and the consciousness of want of exertion and fortitude,) that my health will continue to decline as long as the pain from reviewing the barrenness of the past is great in an inverse proportion to any rational anticipations of the future. As I now am, however, from five to six hours devoted to actual writing and composition in the day is the utmost that my strength, not to speak of my nervous system, will permit; and the invasions on this portion of my time from applications, often of the most senseless kind, are such and so many as to be almost as ludicrous even to myself as they are vexatious. In less than a week I have not seldom received half a dozen packets or parcels of works, printed or manuscript, urgently requesting my candid judgment, or my correcting hand. Add to these, letters from lords and ladies, urging me to write reviews or puffs of heaven-born geniuses, whose whole merit consists in being ploughmen or shoemakers. Ditto from nctors; entreaties for money, or recommendations to publishers, from ushers out of place, &c. &c.; and to me, who have neither interest, influence, nor money, and, what is still more àpropos, can neither bring myself to tell smooth falsehoods nor harsh truths, and, in the struggle, too often do both in the anxiety to do neither. I have already the written materials and contents, requiring only to be put together, from the loose papers and commonplace or memorandum books, and needing no other change, whether of omission, addition, or correction, than the mere act of arranging, and the opportunity of seeing the whole collectively bring with them of course, — I. Characteristics of Shakspeare’s Dramatic Works, with a Critical Review of each Play; together with a relative and comparative Critique on the kind and degree of the Merits and Demerits of the Dramatic Works of Ben Johnson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Messinger. The History of the English Drama; the accidental advantages it afforded to Shakspeare, without in the least detracting from the perfect originality or proper creation of the Shakspearian Drama; the contradistinction of the latter from the Greek Drama, and its still remaining uniqueness, with the causes of this, from the combined influences of Shakspeare himself, as man, poet, philosopher, and finally, by conjunction of all these, dramatic poet; and of the age, events, manners, and state of the English language. This work, with every art of compression, amounts to three volumes of about five hundred [column 2:] pages each. — II. Philosophical Analysis of the Genius and Works of Dante, Spenser, Milton, Cervantes, and Calderon, with similar, but more compressed, Criticisms on Chaucer, Ariosto, Donne, Rabelais, and others, during the predominance of the Romantic Poetry. In one large volume. These two works will, I flatter myself, form a complete code of the principles of judgment and feeling applied to Works of Taste; and not of Poetry only, but of Poesy in all its forms, Painting, Statuary, Music, &c. &c. — III. The History of Philosophy considered as a Tendency of the Human Mind to exhibit the Powers of the Human Reason, to discover by its own Strength the Origin and Laws of Man and the World, from Pythagoras to Locke and Condillac Two volumes. — IV. Letters on the Old and New Testaments, and on the Doctrine and Principles held in common by the Fathers and Founders of the Reformation, addressed to a Candidate for Holy Orders; including Advice on the Plan and Subjects of Preaching, proper to a Minister of the Established Church.

To the completion of these four works I have literally nothing more to do than to transcribe; but as I before hinted, from so many scraps and Sibylline leaves, including margins of books and blank pages, that, unfortunately, I must be my own scribe, and not done by myself, they will be all but lost; or perhaps (as has been too often the case already) furnish feathers for the caps of others; some for this purpose, and some to plume the arrows of detraction, to be let fly against the luckless bird from whom they had been plucked or moulted.

In addition to these — of my Great Work, to the preparation of which more than twenty years of my life ave been devoted, and on which my hopes of extensive and permanent utility, of fame, in the noblest sense of the word, mainly rest — that, by which I might,

“As now by thee, by all the good be known,

When this weak frame lies mouldered in the grave,

Which self-surviving I might call my own,

Which Folly cannot mar, nor Hale deprave —

The incense of those powers, which, risen in flame,

Might make me dear to Him from whom they came.”

Of this work, to which all my other writings (unless I except my poems, and these I can exclude in part only) are introductory and preparative; and the result of which (if the premises be, as I, with the most tranquil assurance, am convinced they are — insubvertible, the deductions legitimate, and the conclusions commensurate, and only commensurate, with both,) must finally be a revolution of all that has been called Philosophy or Metaphysics in England and France since the era of the commencing predominance of the mechanical system at the restoration of our second Charles, and with this the present fashionable views, not only of religion, morals, and politics, but even of the modern physics and physiology. You will not blame the earnestness of my expressions, n ir the high importance which I attach to this work; for how, with less noble objects, and less faith in their attainment, could Island acquitted of folly and abuse of time, talents, and learning, in a labor of three fourths of my intellectual life? Of this work, something more than a volume has been dictated by me, so as to exist fit for the press, to my friend and enlightened pupil, Mr. Green; and more than as much again would have been evolved and delivered to paper, but that, for the last six or eight months, I have been compelled to break off our weekly meeting, from the necessity of writing (alas! alas! of attempting to write) for purposes, and on the subjects of the passing day. Of my poetic works, I would fain finish the Christabel. Alas! for the proud time when I planned, when I had present to my mind the materials, as well as the scheme of the hymns entitled, Spirit, Sun, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Man; and the epic poem on — what still appears to me the one only fit subject remaining for an epic poem — Jerusalem besieged and destroyed by Titus.

And here comes my dear friend; here comes my sorrow and my weakness, my grievance and my confession. Anxious to perform the duties of the day arising out of the wants of the day, these wants, too, presenting themselves in the most painful of all forms, — that of [page 213:] a debt owing to those who will not exact it, and yet need its payment, and the delay, the long (not live-long but death-long) behindhand of my accounts to friends, whose utmost care and frugality on the one side, and industry on the other, the wife’s management and the husband’s assiduity are put in requisition to make both ends meet, — I am at once forbidden to attempt, and too perplexed earnestly to pursue, the accomplishment of the works worthy of me, those I mean above enumerated, — even if, savagely as I have been injured by one of the two influensive Reviews, and with more effective enmity undermined by the utter silence or occasional detractive compliments of the other,* I had the probable chance of disposing of them to the booksellers, so as even to liquidate my mere boarding accounts during the time expended in the transcription, arrangement, and proof correction. And yet, on the other hand, my heart and mind are for ever recurring to them. Yes, my conscience forces me to plead guilty. I have only by fits and starts even prayed. I have not prevailed of myself to pray to God in sincerity and entireness for the fortitude that might enable me to resign myself to the abandonment of all my life’s best hopes, to say boldly to myself, — “Gifted with powers confessedly above mediocrity, aided by an education, of which, no less from almost unexampled hardships and sufferings than from manifold and peculiar advantages, I have never yet found a parallel, I have devoted myself to a life of unintermitted reading, thinking, meditating, and observing. I have not only sacrificed all worldly prospects of wealth and advancement, but have in my inmost soul stood aloof from temporary reputation. In consequence of these toils and this self-dedication, I possess a calm and clear consciousness, that in many and most important departments of truth and beauty 1 have outstrode my contemporaries, those at least cf highest name; that the number of my printed works bears witness that I have not been idle, and the seldom acknowledged, but strictly proveable, effects of my labors appropriated to the immediate welfare of my age in the Morning Post before and during the peace of Amiens, in the Courier afterward, and in the series ard various subjects of my lectures at Bristol and at the Royal and Surrey Institutions, in Fetter Lane, at Willis’s Rooms, and at the Crown and Anchor (add to which the unlimited freedom of my communications ir. colloquial life), may surely be allowed as evidence that I have not been useless in my generation. But, from circumstances, the main portion of my harvest is still on the ground, ripe indeed, and only waiting, a few for the sickle, but a large part only for the sheaving, and carling, and housing, but from all this I must turn away, must let them rot as they lie, and be as though they never had been, for I must go and gather blackberries and earth-nuts, or pick mushrooms and gild oak-apples for the palates mid fancies of chance customers. I must abrogate the name of philosopher and poet, and scxibtle as fast as I can, and with as little thought as I can, for Blackwood’s Magazine, or, as I have been employed for the last days, in writing MS. sermons for lazy clergymen, who stipulate that the composition must not be more than respectable, for fear they should be desired to publish the visitation sermon!” This I have notyf. had courage to do. My soul sickens and my heart sinks: and thus, oscillating between both, I do neither, neither as it ought to be done, or to any profitable end. If I were to detail only the various, I might say capricious, interruptions that have prevented the finishing of this very scrawl, begun on the very day I received your last kind letter, you would need no other illustrations.

Now I see but one possible plan of rescuing my permanent utility. It is briefly this, and plainly. For what we struggle with inwardly, we find at least easiest to bolt out, namely, — that of engaging from the circle of [column 2:] those who think respectfully and hope highly of my powers and attainments a yearly sum, for three or four years, adequate to my actual support, with such comforts and decencies of appearance as my health and habits have made necessaries, so that my mind may be unanxinus as far as the present time is concerned; that thus I should stand both enabled and pledged to begin with some one work of these above mentioned, and for two thirds of my whole time to devote myself to this delusively till finished, to take the chance of its success by the best mode of publication that would involve me in no risk, then to proceed with the next, and so on till the works above mentioned as already in full material eiislenceshould be reduced into formal and actual being; while in the remaining third of my time I might go on maturing and completingmy great work (for if but easy in mind I have no doubt either of the reawakening power or of the kindling inclination,) and my Christa oel, and what else the happier hour might inspire — and without inspiration a barrel-organ may be played right deftly; but

“All otherwise the state of poet stands:

For lordly want is such a tyrant fell,

That where he rules all power he doth expel.

The vaunted verse a vacant head demands,

Ne wont with crabbed Care the muses dwell:

Unwisely weaves who takes two treat in hand!

Now Mr. Green has offered to contribute from 30l. to 40l. yearly, for three or four years; my young friend and pupil, the son of one of my dearest old friends, 50l.; and I think that from 10l. to 20l. I could rely upon from another. The sum required would be about 200l., to be repaid, of course, should the disposal or sale, and as far as the disposal and sale of my writings produced the means.

I have thus placed before you at large, wanderingly as well as diffusely, the statement which I am inclined to send in a compressed form to a few of those of whose kind dispositions towards me I have received assurances, — and to their interest and influence I must leave it — iniious, however, before I do this, to learn from you your very, very inmost feeling and judgment as to the previous questions. Am I entitled, have I earned a right to do this? Can I do it without moral degradation? and, lastly, can it be done without loss of character in the eyes of my acquaintance, and of my friends’ acquaintance, who may have been informed of the circumstances? That, if attempted at all, it will be attempted in such a way, and that such persons only will be spoken to, as will not expose me to indelicate rebuffs to be afterward matter of gossip, I know those to whom I shall entrust the statement, too well to be much alarmed about.

Pray let me either see or hear from you as soon as possible; for, indeed and indeed, it is no inconsiderable secession to the pleasure I anticipate from disembarrassment, that you would have to contemplate in a more spacious form, and in a more ebullient play of the inward fountain, the mind and manners of. My dear friend, Your obliged and very affectionate friend,


It has always been a matter of wonder to us that the Biographia Literaria here mentioned in the foot note has never been republished in America. It is, perhaps, the most deeply interesting of the prose writings of Coleridge, and affords a clearer view into his mental constitution than any other of his works. Why cannot some of our publishers undertake it? They would be rendering an important service to the cause of psychological science in America, by introducing a work of great scope and power in itself, and well calculated to do away with the generally received impression here entertained of the mysticism of the writer.(e) [page 214:]



Thoughts on the Religious State of the Country; with Reasons for preferring Episcopacy. By Rep. Calvin Colton. Veto York: Harper & Brothers,

If we are to consider opinions of the press, when in perfect accordance throughout so wide a realm as the United States, as a fair criterion by which to estimate the opinions of the people, then it must be admitted that Mr. Cotton’s late work, “Four Years in Great Britain,” was received, in the author’s native land at least, with universal approbation. We heard not a dissenting voice. The candor, especially — the good sense, the gentlemanly feeling, and the accurate and acute observation of the traveller, were the daily themes of high, and, we have no doubt, of well merited panegyric. Nor in any private circle, we believe, were the great merits of the work disputed. The book now before us, which bears the running title of “Reasons for Episcopacy,” is, it cannot be denied, a sufficiently well-written performance, in which is evident a degree of lucid arrangement, and simple perspicuous reason, not to be discovered, as a prevailing feature, in the volumes to which we have alluded. The candor of the “Four years in Great Britain,” is more particularly manifest in the “Reasons for Episcopacy.” What a lesson in dignified frankness, to say nothing of common sense, may the following passage afford to many a dunder-headed politician!(a)

Inasmuch as it has been supposed by some, that the author of these pages has made certain demonstrations with his pen against that which he now adopts and advocates, it is not unlikely that his consistency will be brought in question. Admitting that he has manifested such an inclination, it can only be said, that he has changed his opinion, which it is in part the design of this book to set forth, with the reasons thereof. If he has written against, and in the conflict, or in any train of consequciues, has been convinced that his former position was wrong, the least atonement he can make is to honor what he now regards as truth with a profession as public, and a defence as earnest, as any other doings of his on the other side. It is due to himself to say and to claim, that while he remained a Presbyterian he was an honest one; and it would be very strange if he had never done or said any thing to vindicate that ground. Doubtless he has. He may now be an equally honest Episcopalian; and charity would not require him to assert it.

But the truth is that Mr. Colton has been misunderstood. To be sure, he has frequently treated of the evils attending the existence and operation of the church establishment in England — the union of Church and State. He manifested deep sympathy for those who suffered under the oppression of this establishment, and even allowed himself to be carried so far (in some early communications on the subject which appeared in the columns of a New York weekly paper,) as to animadvert in unbecoming trims upon a class of British clergymen, whose exemplary conduct deserved a more lenient treatment, but whose zeal for the Church of England blinded them to a sense of justice towards Dissenters, and induced them to oppose that just degree of reform which would have proved effectual in remedying [column 2:] the great causes of complaint. He contended, however, if we are not greatly in error, that total reform, to be safe, must be slow — that a separation at a single blow, could not be effected without great hazard to the public interest, and great derangement of private society.

It is even possible (and Mr. Colton himself admits the possibility) that, mingled up with these animadversions of which we speak, might have been some censures upon the Church itself. This was nothing more than natural in an honest and indignant man — an American loo, who beheld the vices of the British Church Establishment. But it appears to us quite evident, that the strictures of the author (when considered as a whole and in their general bearing,) have reference to the character — not of the Church — but of the Church of England. Let us turn, for an exemplification of what we say, to his chapter on “The Church of England,” in the “Four Years in Great Britain.” This chapter consists principally of a collection of facts, tending to show the evils of a conjoined Church and State, and intended especially for the perusal of Americans. It is great injustice to confound what we find here, with an attack upon Episcopacy. Yet it seems to us, that this chapter has been repeatedly so misunderstood, by a set of people who are determined to understand every thing in their own particular fashion. “That Episcopacy,” says Mr. Colton, in vindicating himself from the charge adduced, “ is the established Church of England is an accident. Presbyterianism is the established religion of Scotland and of some parts of the north of Europe. So was it of England under the Protectorate of Cromwell. No matter what had been the form of the established religion of Great Britain, in the same circumstances the results must have been substantially the same. It is not Episcopacy that has induced these evils, but the vicious and impracticable plan of uniting Church and State for the benefit of society.”

While in England Mr. Colton wrote and published a book on the subject of Revivals, and declared himself their advocate. In the fifth chapter of his present work he opposes them, and in the Preface alludes to his so doing, maintaining that these religious excitements are materially changed in their character. He speaks also of a chapter in a former work, entitled “The Americans, by an American in England(b) — a chapter devoted to the removal of aspersions cast in England upon the developments of religion in America. For some such defence it appears that he was called upon by friends. The effort itself was, as Mr. C. assures us, of the nature of an apology — neither attempting to recommend or establish any thing — and he thus excuses himself for apparent inconsistency in now declaring an opinion against the expediency of the practices which were scandalized.

The Episcopacy of Mr. Colton will be read with pleasure and profit by all classes of the Christian community who admire perspicuity, liberality, frankness, and unprejudiced inquiry. It is not our purpose to speak of the general accuracy of his data, or the soundness of his deductions. In style the work appears to us excessively faulty — even uncouth. [page 215:]



This volume, from an officer of our Navy, and a Virginian, strongly commends itself to nonce. The works at present used by our navy and general marine, though in many respects not devoid of merit, hate always struck us as faulty in two particulars They aim at comprising a great multiplicity of details, many of which relate to matters only remotely bearing upon the main objects of the treatise — and they are deficient in that clearness of arrangement, without which, the numerous facts and formula” composing the body of such works are little else than a mass of confusion. The extraction of the really useful rules and principles from the multifarious matters with which they are thus encumbered, is a task for which seamen are little likely to have either time or inclination, and it is therefore not surprising that our highly intelligent navy exhibits so many instances of imperfect knowledge upon points which are elementary and fundamental in the science of navigation.

We think that Mr. Maury has, to a considerable degree, avoided the errors referred to; and while his work comprises a sufficient and even copious statement of the rules and facts important to be known in the direction of a ship, he has succeeded, by a judicious arrangement of particulars and by clearly wrought numerical examples, in presenting them in a disembarrassed and very intelligible form. With great propriety he has rejected many statements and rules which in the progress of nautical science have fallen into disuse, and in his selection of methods of computation, has, in general, kept in view those modern improvements in this branch of practical mathematics in which simplicity and accuracy are most happily combined. Much attention to numerical correctness seems to pervade the work. Its style is concise without being obscure. The dia grams(*) [[diagrams]] are selected with taste, and the engraving and typography, especially that of the tables, are worthy of the highest praise.

Such, we think, are the merits of the work before us — merits which, it must be admitted, are of the first importance in a book designed for a practical manual. To attain them required the exercise of a discriminating judgment, guided by a thorough acquaintance with all the points in nautical science which are of interest to seamen.

There are particulars in the work which we think objectionable, but they are of minor importance, and would probably be regarded as scarcely deserving criticism.

The spirit of literary improvement has been awakened among the officers of our gallant navy. We are pleased to sec that science also is gaining votaries from its ranks. Hitherto how little hare they improved the golden opportunities of knowledge which their distant voyages held forth, and how little have they enjoyed the rich banquet which nature spreads for them in every clime they visit! But the time is coming when, imbued with a taste for science and a spirit of research, they will become ardent explorers of the regions in which [column 2:] they sojourn. Freighted with the knowledge which observation only can impart, and enriched with collections of objects precious to the student of nature, their return after the perils of a distant voyage will then be doubly joyful. The enthusiast in science will anxiously await their coming, and add his cordial welcome to the warm greetings of relatives and friends.(a)



Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gentleman. By the author of Tales and Sketches, such as they are. New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co.

This book is a public imposition. It is a duodecimo volume, of the usual novel size, bound in the customary muslin cover with a gilt stamp on the back, and containing 225 pages of letter press. Its price, in the bookstores, is, we believe, a dollar. Although we are in the habit of reading with great deliberation, not unfrequently perusing individual passages more than two or three times, we were occupied little better than one hour in getting through with the whole of the “Ups and Downs.” A full page of the book — that is, a page in which there are no breaks in the matter occasioned by paragraphs, or otherwise, embraces precisely 150 words — an average page about 130. A full page of this our Magazine, will be found to contain 1544 words — an average page about 1600, owing to the occasional notes in a smaller type than that generally used. It follows that nearly thirteen pages of such a volume as the “Ups and Downs “ are required to make one of our own, and that in about fourteen pages such as we are writing, (if we consider the sixteen blank half-pages at the beginning of each chapter in the “Ups and Downs,” with the four pages of index) the whole of the one dollar duodecimo we are now called upon to review, might be laid conveniently before the public — in other words, that we could print nearly six of them in one of our ordinary numbers, (that for March for instance) the price of which is little more than forty cents. We give the amount of six such volumes then for forty cents — of one of them for very little more than a fi’penny bit. And as its price is a dollar, it is clear either that the matter of which the said “Ups and Downs “ is composed, is sixteen times as good in quality as our own matter, and that of such Magazines in general, or that the author of the “Ups and Downs “ supposes it so to be, or that the author of the “Ups and Downs “ is unreasonable in his exactions upon the public, and is presuming very largely upon their excessive patience, gullibility, and good nature. We will take the liberty of analyzing the narrative, with a view of letting our readers see for themselves whether the author (or publisher) is quite right in estimating it at sixteen times the value of the ordinary run of compositions.

The volume commences with a Dedication “To all Doating Parents.” We then have four pages occupied with a content table, under the appellation of a “Bill of Lading.” This is well thought of. The future man of letters might, without some assistance of this nature, meet with no little trouble in searching for any particular chapter through so dense a mass of matter as [page 216:] the “Ups and Downs.” The “Introduction” fills four pages more, and in spite of the unjustifiable use of the word “predicated,” whose meaning is obviously misunderstood, is by much the best portion of the work — so much so, indeed, that we fancy it written by some kind, good-natured friend of the author. We now come to Chapter I, which proves to be Introduction the Second, and extends over seven pages farther. This is called “A Disquisition on Circles,” in which we are informed that “the motion produced by the centripetal and centrifugal forces, seems to be that of nature” — that “it is very true that the periphery of the circles traversed by some objects is greater than that of others” — that “cast a stone into a lake or a mill-pond, and it will produce a succession of motions, circle following circle in order, and extending the radius until they disappear in the distance” — that “Time wings his flight in circles, and every year rolls round within itself” — that “the sun turns round upon his own axis, and the moon changes monthly” — that “the other celestial bodies all wheel their courses in circles around the common centre” — that “the moons of Jupiter revolve around him in circles, and he carries them along with him in his periodical circuit around the sun” — that “Saturn always moves within his rings” — that “a ship on the ocean, though apparently bounding over a plain of waters, rides in fact upon the circumference of a circle around the arch of the earth’s diameter” — that “the lunar circle betokens a tempest” — that “those German principalities which are represented in the Diet are denominated circles” — and that “modern writers on pneumatics affirm every breeze that blows to be a whirlwind.”

But now commences the “Ups and Downs” in good earnest. The hero of the narrative is Mr. Wheelwright, and the author begs leave to assure the reader that Mr. W. is no fictitious personage, that “with the single abatement that names are changed, and places not precisely designated, every essential incident that he has recorded actually occurred, much as he has related it, to a person who, if not now living, certainly was once, and most of them under his own observation.”

Chapter II, treats of the birth and parentage of the hero. Mr. Daniel Wheelwright originally came from New Jersey, but resides at the opening of the story, in the beautiful valley of the Mohawk “on the banks of the river, and in a town alike celebrated for the taste of its people in architecture, and distinguished as a seat of learning.” He was early instructed by his father in the “elementary principles of his trade,” which was coach-making. “He was also taught in some branches of household carpentry work, which proved of no disadvantage to him in the end.” “Full of good nature he was always popular with the boys,” and we are told “was never so industrious as when manufacturing to their order little writing desks, fancy boxes, and other trifling articles not beyond the scope of his mechanical ingenuity.” We are also assured that the young gentleman was excessively fond of oysters.

In Chapter III, Daniel Wheelwright “grows up a tall and stately youth.” His mother “discovers a genius in him requiring only means and opportunity to wing an eagle-flight.” “An arrangement therefore is effected” by which our hero is sent to school to a “man whom the mother had previously known in New Jersey, and whose occupation was that of teaching young ideas how to shoot — not grouse and woodcock — but to shoot forth into scions of learning.” This is a new and excellent [column 2:] joke — but by no means so good as the one immediately following, where we are told that “notwithstanding the natural indolence of his character, our hero knew that he must know something before he could enter college, and that in case of a failure, he must again cultivate more acquaintance with the felloes of the shop than with the fellows of the university.” He is sent to college, however, having “read Cornelius Nepos and three books of the Æneid, thumbed over the Greek Grammar, and gone through the Gospel of St. John.”

Chapter IV, commences with two quotations from Shakspeare. Our hero is herein elected a member of the Philo-Peithologicalethian Institute, commences his debates with a “Mr. President, I are in favor of the negative of that are question,” is “read off” at the close of every quarter, “advances one grade higher” in his classic course every year, and when about to take his degree, is “announced for a poem” in the proces verbal of the commencement, and (one of the professors, if we comprehend, being called Nott) distinguishes himself by the following satirical verses —

The warrior fights, and dies for fame —

The empty glories of a name; —

But we who linger round this spot,

The warrior’s guerdon cover Nott.


Nott for the miser’s glittering heap

Within these walls is bartered sleep;

The humble scholar’s quiet lot

With dreams of wealth is troubled Nott.


While poring o’er the midnight lamp,

In rooms too cold, and sometimes damp,

O man, who land and cash hast got,

Thy life of ease we envy Nott.


Our troubles here are light and few; —

An empty purse when bills fall due,

A locker, without e’er a shot, —

Hard recitations, or a Knot-


Ty problem, which we can’t untie —

Our only shirt hung out to dry, —

A chum who never pays his scot, —

Such ills as these we value Nott.


O, cherished *****! learning’s home,

Where’er the fates may bid us roam,

Though friends and kindred be forgot,

Be sure we shall forget thee Nott.


For years of peaceful, calm content,

To science and hard study lent,

Though others thy good name may blot,

T’were wondrous if we loved thee Nott.

For this happy effort he is admitted ad gradum in artibus,(a) and thus closes chapter the fourth.

Chapter V, is also headed with two sentences from Shakspeare. The parents of Mr. W. are now inclined to make him a clergyman, being “not only conscientious people, but sincerely religious, and really desirous of doing good.” This project is dismissed, however, upon our hero’s giving no evidence of piety, and Daniel is “entered in the office of an eminent medical gentleman, in one of the most beautiful cities which adorn the banks of the majestic Hudson.” Our author cannot be prevailed upon to state the precise place — but gives us another excellent joke by way of indemnification. “Although,” says he, “like Byron, I have no fear of being taken for the hero of my own tale, yet were I to bring matters too near their homes, but too many of the real characters of my narrative might be identified. Suffice it, then, to say of the location — Ilium fuit. “ Daniel now becomes Doctor Wheelwright, reads the first chapter of Cheselden’s Anatomy, visits New York, attends the lectures of Hosack and Post, “presses into his goblet the grapes of wisdom clustering around the tongue of Mitchill, and acquires the principles of surgery from the [page 217:] lips, and the skilful use of the knife from the untrembling hand, of Mott.”

At the close of his second year our hero, having completed only half of Cheselden’s article on Osteology, relinquishes the study of medicine in despair, and turns merchant — purchasing “the odds and ends of a fashionable fancy and jobbing concern in Albany.” He is gulled however, by a confidential clerk, one John Smith, his store takes fire and burns down, and both himself and father, who indorsed for him, are ruined.

Mr. Wheelwright now retrieves his fortune by the accidental possession of a claim against government, taken by way of payment for a bad debt. But going to Washington to receive his money, he is inveigled into a lottery speculation — that is to say, he spends the whole amount of his claim in lottery-tickets — the manager fails — and our adventurer is again undone. This lottery adventure ends with the excellent joke that in regard to our hero there “were five outs to one in, viz. — out of money, and out of clothes; out at the heels, and out at the toes; out of credit and in debt!” Mr. Wheelwright now returns to New York, and is thrown into prison by Messieurs Roe and Doe. In this emergency he sends for his friend the narrator, who, of course, relieves his distresses, and opens the doors of his jail.

Chapter IX, and indeed every ensuing chapter, commences with two sentences from Shakspeare. Mr. Wheelwright now be-comes agent for a steamboat company on Lake George — but fortune still frowns, and the steamboat takes fire, and is burnt up, on the eve of her first trip, thus again ruining our hero.

“What a moment!” exclaims the author, “and what a spectacle for a lover of the’sublime and beautiful!’ Could Burke have visited such a scene of mingled magnificence, and grandeur and terror, what a vivid illustration would he not have added to his inimitable treatise on that subject! The fire raged with amazing fury and power — stimulated to madness, as it were, by the pitch and tar and dried timbers, and other combustible materials used in the construction of the boat. The night-bird screamed in terror, and the beasts of prey fled in wild affright into the deep and visible darkness beyond. This is truly a gloomy place for a lone person to stand in of a dark night — particularly if he has a touch of superstition. There have been fierce conflicts on this spot — sieges and battles and fearful massacres. Here hath mailed Mars sat on his altar, up to his ears in blood, smiling grimly at the music of echoing cannons, the shrill trump, and all the rude din of arms, until like the waters of Egypt, the lake became red as the crimson flowers that blossom upon its margin!” At the word margin is the following explanatory note. “Lobelia Cardinalis, commonly called the Indian Eye-bright. It is a beautiful blossom, and is frequently met with in this region. The writer has seen large clusters of it blooming upon the margin of the ‘Bloody Pond’ in this neighborhood — so called from the circumstance of the slain being thrown into this pond, after the defeat of Baron Dieskau, by Sir William Johnson. The ancients would have constructed a beautiful legend from this incident, and sanctified the sanguinary flower.”

In Chapter X, Mr. Wheelwright marries an heiress — a rich widow worth thirty thousand pound sterling in prospectu — in Chapter XI, sets up a Philomathian Institute, the whole of the chapter being occupied with his advertisement — in Chapter XII, his wife affronts the [column 2:] scholars, by “swearing by the powers she would be afther clearing them out — the spalpeens!(b) — that’s what she would, honies!” The school is broken up in consequence, and Mrs. Wheelwright herself turns out to be nothing more than “one of the unmarried wives of the lamented Captain Scarlett,” the legal representatives being in secure possession of the thirty thousand pounds sterling in prospectu.

In Chapter XIII, Mr. Wheelwright is again in distress, and applies, of course, to the humane author of the “Ups and Downs,” who gives him, we are assured, “an overcoat, and a little basket of provisions.” In Chapter XIV, the author continues his benevolence — gives a crow, (cock-a-doodle doo!) and concludes with “there is no more charitable people than those of New York!” which means when translated into good English — “there never was a more charitable man than the wise and learned author of the ‘Ups and Downs.’ “

Chapter XV, is in a somewhat better vein, and embraces some tolerable incidents in relation to the pawn-brokers’ shops of New York. We give an extract — believing it to be one of the best passages in the book.

To one who would study human nature, especially in its darker features, there is no better field of observation than among these pawn-brokers’ shops.In a frequented establishment, each day unfolds an ample catalogue of sorrow, misery, and guilt, developed in forms and combinations almost innumerable; and if the history of each customer could be known, the result would be such a catalogue as would scarcely be surpassed, even by the records of a police-office or a prison. Even my brief stay while arranging for the redemption of Dr. Wheelwright’s personals, afforded materials, as indicated in the last chapter, for much and painful meditation.

I had scarcely made my business known, at the first of “my uncle’s” establishments to which I had been directed, when a middle-aged man entered with a bundle, on which he asked a small advance, and which, on being opened, was found to contain a shawl and two or three other articles of female apparel. The man was stout and sturdy, and, as I judged from his appearance, a mechanic; but the mark of the destroyer was on his bloated countenance, and in his heavy, stupid eyes. Intemperance had marked him for his own. The pawn-broker was yet examining the offered pledge, when a woman, whose pale face and attenuated form bespoke long and intimate acquaintance with sorrow, came hastily into the shop, and with the single exclamation, “O, Robert!” darted, rather than ran, to that part of the counter where the man was standing. Words were not wanted to explain her story. Her miserable husband, not satisfied with wasting his own earnings, and leaving her to starve with her children, had descended to the meanness of plundering even her scanty wardrobe, and the pittance for the obtaining of which this robbery would furnish means, was destined to be squandered at the tippling-house. A blush of shame arose even upon his degraded face, but it quickly passed away; the brutal appetite prevailed, and the better feeling that had apparently stirred within him for the moment, soon gave way before its diseased and insatiate cravings.

“Go home,” was his harsh and angry exclamation; “what brings you here, running after me with your everlasting scolding? go home, and mind your own business.”

“O Robert, dear Robert!” answered the unhappy wife, “don’t pawn my shawl. Our children are crying for bread, and I have none to give them. Or let me have the money; it is hard to part with that shawl, for it was my mother’s gift; but I will let it go, rather than see my children starve. Give me the money, Robert, and don’t leave us to perish.”

I watched the face of the pawn-broker to see what effect this appeal would have upon him, but I watched in vain. He 120 was hardened to distress, and had no sympathy [page 218:] to throw away. “Twelve shillings on these things,” he said, tossing them back to the drunkard, with a look of perfect indifference.

“Only twelve shillings!” murmured the heart-broken wife, in a tone of despair. “O Robert, don’t let them go for twelve shillings. Let me try some where else.”

“Nonsense,” answered the brute. “It’s as much as they’re worth, I suppose. Here, Mr. Crimp, give us the change.”

The money was placed before him, and the bundle consigned to a drawer. The poor woman reached forth her hand toward the silver, but the movement was anticipated by her husband. “There Mary,” he said, giving her half a dollar, “there, go home now, and don’t make a fuss. I’m going a little way up the street, and perhaps I’ll bring you something from market, when I come home.”

The hopeless look of the poor woman, as she meekly turned to the door, told plainly enough how little she trusted to this ambiguous promise. They went on their way, she to her famishing children, and he to squander the dollar he had retained, at the next den of intemperance.

Chapter XVI, is entitled the “end of this eventful history.” Mr. Wheelwright is rescued from the hands of the watch by the author of the “Ups and Downs” — turns his wife, very justly, out of doors — and finally returns to his parental occupation of coach-making.

We have given the entire pith and marrow of the book. The term flat, is the only general expression which would apply to it. It is written, we believe, by Col. Stone of the New York Commercial Advertiser, and should have been printed among the quack(c) advertisements, in a spare corner of his paper.



Watkins Tottle, and other Sketches, illustrative of everyday Life, and every-day People. By Box. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Blanchard.

This book is a re-publication(a) from the English original, and many of its sketches are with us, old and highly esteemed acquaintances. In regard to their author we know nothing more than that he is a far more pungent, more witty, and better disciplined writer of sly articles, than nine-tenths of the Magazine writers in Great Britain — which is saying much, it must be allowed, when we consider the great variety of genuine talent, and earnest application brought to bear upon the periodical literature of the mother country.

The very first passage in the volumes before us, will convince any of our friends who are knowing in the requisites of “a good thing,” that we are doing our friend Boz no more than the simplest species of justice. Hearken to what he says of Matrimony and of Mr. Watkins Tottle.

Matrimony is proverbially a serious undertaking. Like an overweening predilection for brandy and water, it is a misfortune into which a man easily falls, and from which he finds it remarkably difficult to extricate himself. It is no use telling a man who is timorous on these points, that it is but one plunge and all is over. They say the same thing at the Old Bailey, and the unfortunate victims derive about as much comfort from the assurance in the one case as in the other. [column 2:]

Mr. Watkins Tottle was a rather uncommon compound of strong uxorious inclinations, and an unparalleled degree of anti-connubial timidity. He was about fifty years of age; stood four feet six inches and three quarters in his socks — for he never stood in stockings at all — plump, clean and rosy. He looked something like a vignette to one of Richardson’s novels, and had it clean cravatish formality of manner, and kitchen-pokerness of carriage, which Sir Charles Grandison himself might have envied. He lived on an annuity, which was well adapted to the individual who received it in one respect — it was rather small. He received it in periodical payments on every alternate Monday; but he ran himself out about a day after the expiration of the first week, as regularly as an eight-day clock, and then, to make the comparison complete, his landlady wound him up, and he went on with a regular tick.

It is not every one who can put “a good thing” properly together, although, perhaps, when thus properly put together, every tenth person you meet with may be capable of both conceiving and appreciating it. We cannot bring ourselves to believe that less actual ability is required in the composition of a really good “brief article,” than in a fashionable novel of the usual dimensions. The novel certainly requires what is denominated a sustained effort — but this is a matter of mere perseverance, and has but a collateral relation to talent. On the other hand — unity of effect, a quality not easily appreciated or indeed comprehended by an ordinary mind, and a desideratum difficult of attainment, even by those who can conceive it — is indispensable in the “brief article,” and not so in the common novel. The latter, if admired at all, is admired for its detached passages, without reference to the work as a whole — or without reference to any general design — which, if it even exist in some measure, will be found to have occupied but little of the writer’s attention, and cannot, from the length of the narrative, be taken in at one view, by the reader.(b)

The Sketches by Boz are all exceedingly well managed, and never fail to tell as the author intended. They are entitled, Passage in the Life of Mr. Watkins Tottle — The Black Veil — Shabby Genteel People — Horatio Sparkins — The Pawnbroker’s Shop — The Dancing Academy — Early Coaches — The River — Private Theatres — The Great Winglebury Duel — Omnibuses — Mrs. Joseph Porter — The Steam Excursion — Sentiment — The Parish — Miss Evans and the Eagle — Shops and their Tenants — Thoughts about People — A Visit to Newgate — London Recreations — The Boarding-House — Hackney-Coach Stands — Brokers and Marine Store-Shops — The Bloomsbury Christening — Gin Shops — Public Dinners — Astley’s — Greenwich Fair — The Prisoner’s Van — and A Christmas Dinner. The reader who has been so fortunate as to have perused any one of these pieces, will be fully aware of how great a fund of racy entertainment is included in the Bill of Fare we have given. There are here some as well conceived and well written papers as can be found in any other collection of the kind — many of them we would especially recommend, as a study, to those who turn their attention to Magazine writing — a department in which, generally, the English as far excel us as Hyperion a Satyr.(c)

The Black Veil, in the present series, is distinct in character from all the rest — an act of stirring tragedy, and evincing lofty powers in the writer. Broad humor is, however, the prevailing feature of the volumes. The [page 219:] Dancing Academy is a vivid sketch of Cockney low life, which may probably be considered as somewhat too outré by those who have no experience in the matter. Watkins Tottle is excellent. We should like very much to copy the whole of the article entitled Pawnbrokers’ Shops, with a view of contrasting its matter and manner with the insipidity of the passage we have just quoted on the same subject from the “Ups and Downs” of Colonel Stone, and by way of illustrate; our remarks on the unity of effect — but this would, perhaps, be giving too much of a good thing. It will be seen by those who peruse both these articles, that in list of the American, two or three anecdotes are told which have merely a relation — a very shadowy relation, to pawn-broking — in short, they are barely elicited by this theme, have no necessary dependence upon it, and might be introduced equally well in connection with art one of a million other subjects. In the sketch of the Enrlishman we have no anecdotes at all — the Pawnbroker’s Shop engages and enchains our attention — we are developed in its atmosphere of wretchedness arid eration — we pause at every sentence, not to dwell upon the sentence, but to obtain a fuller view of the gradualiv perfecting picture — which is never at any momentary other matter than the Paicnbroker’s Shop. To the illustration of this one end all the groupings and fillings in of the painting are rendered subservient — and when our eyes are taken from the canvass, we remember the personages of the sketch not at all as independent existences, but as essentials of the one subject we hare witnessed — as a part and portion of the Pawnbroker’s Shop. So perfect, and never-to-be-forgotten a picture cannot be brought about by any such trumpery exertion, or still more trumpery talent, as we find employed in the ineffective daubing of Colonel Stone. The scratching at a schoolboy with a slate-pencil on a slate might as well be compared to the groupings of Buonarotti.

We conclude by strongly recommending the Sketches of Boz to the attention of American readers, and by copying the whole of his article on Gin Shops.(d)

It is a very remarkable circumstance, that different trades appear to partake of the disease to which elephants and dogs are especially liable; and m run start, staring, raving mad, periodically. The greatdisimelion between the animals and the trades is, that the lornier run mad with a certain degree of propriety — they are very regular in their irregularities. You know the F.riod at which the emergency will arise, and provide against it accordingly. If an elephant run mad, you are all ready for him — kill or cure — pills or bullets — calomel in conserve of roses, or lead in a musket barrel. If a dog happen to look unpleasantly warm in the summer months, and to trot about the shady side of the streets with a quarter of a yard of tongue hanging out of his mouth, a thick leather muzzle, which has been previously prepared in compliance with the thoughtful injunction of the Legislature, is instantly clapped over his head, by way of making him cooler, and he either looks remarkably unhappy for the next six weeks, or becomes legally insane, and goes mad, as it were, by act of Parliament. But these trades are as eccentric as comets; nay, worse; for no one can calculate on the recurrence of the strange appearances which betokea the disease: moreover, the contagion is general, and the quickness with which it diffuses itself almost incredible

We will cite two or three cases in illustration of our meaning. Six or eight years ago the epidemic leg” to display itself among the linen-drapers and haberdashers The primary symptoms were, an inordinate love of plate-glass, and a passion for gas-lights and [column 2:] gilding. The disease gradually progressed, and at last attained a fearful height. Quiet, dusty old shops, in different parts of town, were pulled down; spacious premises, with stuccoed fronts and gold letters, were erected instead; floors were covered with Turkey carpets, roofs supported by massive pillars, doors knocked into windows, a dozen squares of glass into one, one slwpnun into a dozen, — and there is no knowing what would have been done, if it had not been fortunately discovered, just in time, that the Commissioners of Bankrupts were as competent to decide such cases as the Commissioners of Lunacy, and that a little confinement and gentle examination did wonders. The disease abated; it died away; and a year or two of comparative tranquillity ensued. Suddenly it burst out again among the chemists; the symptoms were the same, witli the addition of a strong desire to stick the royal arms over the shop-door, and a great rage for mahogany, varnish, and expensive floor-cloth: then the hosiers were infected, and began to pull down their shop-fronts with frantic recklessness. The mania again died away, and the public began to congratulate themselves upon its entire disappearance, when it burst forth with ten-fold violence among the publicans and keepers of “wine vaults.” From that moment it has spread among them with unprecedented rapidity, exhibiting a concatenation of all the previous symptoms; and onward it has rushed to every part of town, knocking down all the old public-houses, and depositing splendid mansions, stone balustrades, rosewood fittings, immense lamps, and illuminated clocks, at the corner of every street.

The extensive scale on which these places are established, and the ostentatious manner in which the business of even the smallest among them is divided into branches, is most amusing. A handsome plate of ground glass in one door directs you “To the Counting-house;” another to the “Bottle Department;” a third, to the “Wholesale Department;” a fourth, to “The Wine Promenade,” and so forth, until we are in daily expectation of meeting with a “Brandy Bell,’’ or a “Whiskey E’ trance” Then ingenuity is exhausted in devising attractive titles for the different descriptions of gin; and the dram-drinking portion of the community, as they gaze upon the gigantic white and black announcements, which are only to be equalled in size by the figures beneath them, are left in a state of pleasing hesitation between “The Cream of the Valley,” “The Out and Out,” “The No Mistake,” “The Good for Mixing,” ’’The real knock-me-down,” “The celebrated Butter Gin,” “The regular Flare-up,” and a dozen other equally inviting and wholesome liqueurs. Although places of this description are to be met with in every second street, they are invariably numerous and splendid in precise proportion to the dirt and poverty of the surrounding neighborhood. The gin-shops in and near Drury-lane, Holborn, St. Giles’, Covent Garden, and Clare-market, are the handsomest in London — there is more filth and squalid misery near those great thorough-fares than in my part of this mighty city.

We will endeavor to sketch the bar of a large gin-shop, and its ordinary customers, for the edification of such of our readers as may not have had opportunities of observing such scenes; and on the chance of finding one well suited to our purpose, we will make for Drurylane, through the narrow streets and dirty courts which divide it from Oxford-street, and that classical spot adding the brewery at the bottom of Toltenham-court-road, best known to the initiated as the “Rookery.” The filthy and miserable appearance of this part of London can hardly be imagined by those (and there are many such) who have not witnessed it. Wretched houses, with broken windows patched with rags and paper, every room let out to a different family, and in many instances to two, or even three: fruit and “sweet on” manufacturers in the cellars; barbers and reding venders in the front parlors; cobblers in the back; a bird-fancier in the first floor, three families on the second; starvation in the attics; Irishmen in the passage; a “musician” in the front kitchen, and a charwoman [page 220:] and five hungry children in the back one — filth every where — a gutter before the houses and a drain behind them — clothes drying at the windows, slops emptying from the ditto; girls of fourteen or fifteen, with matted hair, walking about bare-footed, and in old white great coats, almost their only covering; boys of all ages, in coats of all sizes, and no coats at all; men and women, in every variety of scanty and dirty apparel, lounging about, scolding, drinking, smoking, squabbling, fighting, and swearing.

You turn the corner. What a change! All is light and brilliancy. The hum of many voices issues from that splendid gin-shop which forms the commencement of the two streets opposite; and the gay building with the fantastically ornamented parapet, the illuminated clock, the plate-glass windows surrounded by stucco rosetts, and its profusion of gaslights in richly gilt burners, is perfectly dazzling when contrasted with the darkness and dirt we have just left. The interior is even gayer than the exterior. A bar of French-polished mahogany, elegantly carved, extends the whole width of the place; and there are two side-aisles of great casks, painted green and gold, inclosed within a light brass rail, and bearing such inscriptions as “Old Tom, 549;” “Young Tom, 360;” “Samson, 1421.” Behind the bar is a lofty and spacious saloon, full of the same enticing vessels, with a gallery running round it, equally well furnished. On the counter, in addition to the usual spirit apparatus, are two or three little baskets of cakes and biscuits, which are carefully secured at the top with wicker-work, to prevent their contents being unlawfully abstracted. Behind it are two showily-dressed damsels with large necklaces, dispensing the spirits and “compounds.” They are assisted by the ostensible proprietor of the concern, a stout, coarse fellow in a fur cap, put on very much on one side to give him a knowing air, and display his sandy whiskers to the best advantage.

Look at the groups of customers, and observe the different air with which they call for what they want, as they are more or less struck by the grandeur of the establishment. The two old washerwomen, who are seated on the little bench to the left of the bar, are rather overcome by the head-dresses, and haughty demeanor of the young ladies who officiate; and receive their half quartern of gin-and-pepperminl with considerable deference, prefacing a request for “one of them soft biscuits,” with a “Just be gooil enough, ma’am,” &c. They are quite astonished at the impudent air of the young fellow in the brown coat and white buttons, who, ushering in his two companions, and walking up to the bar in as careless a manner as if he had been used to green and gold ornaments all his life, winks at one of the young ladies with singular coolness, and calls for a “kervorten and a three-out-glass,” just as if the place were his own. “Gin for you, sir,” says the young lady when she has drawn it, carefully looking every way but the right one to show that the wink had no effect upon her. “For me, Mary, my dear,” replies the gentleman in brown. “My name ain’t Mary as it happens,” says she young girl, in a most insinuating manner, as she delivers the change. “Veil, if it an’t, it ought to be,” responds the irresistible one; “all the Marys as ever 1 see was handsome gals.” Here the young lady, not precisely remembering how blushes are managed in such cases, abruptly ends the flirtation by addressing the female in the faded feathers who had just entered, and who, after stating explicitly, to prevent any subsequent misunderstanding that “this gentleman” pays, calls for “a glass of port Wine and a bit of sugar,” the drinking which, and sipping another, accompanied by sundry whisperings to her companion, and no small quantity of giggling, occupies a considerable time.

Observe the group on the other side: those two old men who came in “just to have a dram,” finished their third quartern a few seconds ago; they have made themselves crying drunk, and the fat, comfortable looking elderly women, who had “a glass of rum-srub” each, having chimed in with their complaints on the hardness of the times, one of the women has agreed to [column 2:] stand a glass round, jocularly observing that “grid never mended no broken bones, and as good people’s wery scarce, what I says is, make the most on ’em, and that’s all about;”a sentiment which appears to afford unlimited satisfaction to those who have nothing to pay.

It is growing late, and the throng of men, women, and children, who have been constantly going in and out, dwindles down to twp or three occasional stragglers — cold wretched-looking creatures, in the last stage of emaciation and disease. The knot of Irish laborers at the lower end of the place, who have been alternately shaking hands with, and threatening the life of, each other for the last hour, become furious in their disputes; and finding it impossible to silence one man, who is particularly anxious to adjust the difference, they resort to the infallible expedient of knocking him down and jumping on him afterwards. Out rush the man in the fur cap, and the pot-boy: a scene of riot and confusion ensues; half the Irishmen get shut out, and the other half get shut in: the pot-boy is knocked in among the tubs in no time; the landlord hits every body, and every body hits the landlord; the bar-maids scream; in come the police, and the rest is a confused mixture of firms, legs, staves, torn coats, shouting and struggling. Some of the party are borne off to the station-house, and the remainder slink home to beat their wives for complaining, and kick the children for daring to be hungry.

We have sketched this subject very lightly, not only because our limits compel us to do so, but because, if it were pursued further, it would be painful and repulsive. Well-disposed gentlemen and charitable ladies would alike turn with coldness and disgust from a description of the drunken, besotted men, and wretched, brokendown, miserable women, who form no inconsiderable portion of the frequenters of these haunts; forgetting, in the pleasant consciousness of their own high rectitude, the poverty of the one, and the temptation of the other. Gin-drinking is a great vice in England, but poverty is a greater; and until you can cure it, or persuade a half-famished wretch not to seek relief in the temporary oblivion of his own misery, with the pittance which, divided among his family, would just furnish a morsel of bread for each, gin-shops will increase in number and splendor. If Temperance Societies could suggest an antidote against hunger and distress, or establish dispensaries for the gratuitous distribution of bottles of Lethe-water, gin-palaces would be numbered among the things that were. Until then, their decrease may be despaired of.



Flora and Thalia; or Gems of Flowers and Poetry: being an Alphabetical Arrangement of Flowers, with appropriate Poetical Illustrations, embellished with Colored Plates By a Lady. To which is added a Botanical Description of the various parts of a Flower, and the Dial of Flowers. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard.

This is a very pretty and very convenient volume, on a subject which, since the world began, has never failed to excite curiosity and sympathy in all who have a proper sense of the beautiful. It contains 240 pages, and 24 finely colored engravings, which give a vivid idea of the original plants. These engravings are the Meadow Anemone — the Harebell — the Christmas Rose — the Dahlia — the Evening Primrose — the Fox-Glove — the Heliotrope — the Purple Iris — the Jasmine — the King- Cup — the Lavender — the Mezereon — the Narcissus — the Orchis[page 221:] the Clove Pink — the Quince — the Provence Rose — the Solomon’s Seal — the Tobacco — the Bear Berry — the Violet Pansy — the Wall-Flower — the Yellow Water-Flag, and the Zedoary. The bulk of the volume is occupied with poetical illustrations exceedingly well selected. We do not believe there is a single poem in the book which may not be considered above mediocrity — many are exquisite. The Botanical description of the variety parts of a Flower, is well conceived — brief, properly arranged, and sufficiently comprehensive. The Dial of Flowers, will be especially admired by all our fair readers. The following extract from page 227, will given an idea of the nature of this Dial — the manner of composing which, is embraced entire, in the form of a Table, on page 229.

These properties of flowers, and the opening and shutting of many at particular times of day, led to the idea of planting them in such a manner as to indicate the succession of the hours, and to make them supply the place of a watch or clock. Those who art disposed to try the experiment, may easily compose such a dial by consulting the following Table, comprehending the hours between three in the morning and eight in the evening. It is, of course, impossible to insure the accurate going of such a dial, because the temperature, the dryness, and the dampness of the air have a considerable influence on the opening and shutting of flowers.

We copy from the Floria and Thalia the following anonymous lines.

Alas! on thy forsaken stem

My heart shall long recline,

And mourn the transitory gem,

And make the story mine!

So on my joyless winter hour

Has oped some fair and fragrant flower,

With smile as soft as thine. [column 2:]

Like thee the vision came and went,

Like thee it bloomed and fell;

In momentary pity sent,

Of fairy climes to tell:

So frail its form, so short its stay,

That nought the lingering heart could say,

But hail, and fare thee well!


We are sorry to perceive that our friends of the “Southern Literary Journal” are disposed to unite with the “Knickerbocker” and “New York Mirror” in covert, and therefore unmanly, thrusts at the “Messenger.” It is natural that these two journals (who refund it exchange with us from the first) should feel themselves aggrieved at our success, and we own tint bearing them no very good will, we care little what injury they do themselves in the public estimation by suffering their mortification to become apparent. But we are embarked in the cause of Southern Literature, and (with perfect amity to all sections) wish to claim especially as a friend and co-operator, every Southern Journal. We repeat, therefore, that we are grieved to see a disposition of hostility, entirely unprovoked, manifested on the part of Mr. Whitaker. He should reflect, that while we ourselves cannot for a moment believe him otherwise than perfectly upright and sincere in his animadversions upon our Magazine, still there is hardly one individual in ninety-nine who will not attribute every ill word he says of us to the instigations of jealousy.



[The following footnote is omitted from the text as printed in 1997, but should appear at the bottom of page 206, column 1:]

* Plautua, Pænuli, Act i., sc. 1, I. 10.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 206, column 2:]

* A new and somewhat barbarous, but exceedingly convenient yankeeism, which will probably work its way into good society in England, as its predecessor ‘lengthy,’ has already done.

Called Wistar parties, in honor of the late illustrious Caspar Wistar, M. D., Professor of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 207, column 2:]

* The season of the Dog Days. A witty Philadelphia lady wing once asked, how many Dog Days there are, answered ton there must be a great many, for every dog has his day. At that time the city abounded in dogs, but the corporation has since made fierce war upon them, with a view perhaps of lessening the number of Dog Days, and improving the climate, by curtailing those innocent beasts.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 213, column 1:]

* Neither my Literary Life, (2 vols.) nor Sibylline Leaves, (1 vol.) nor Friend, (3 vols.) nor Lay Sermons, nor Zapolya, nor Christabel, have ever been noticed by the Quarterly Review, of which Southey is yet the main support.(d)






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