Page images

recesses, thinking that possibly there might be a stray bill which, in my better days, had been unintentionally separated from the others, and overlooked. Fruitless search: Vain scrutiny! All the pockets and folds had long since been divested of every thing like money, and nothing remained save a strip of soiled paper, cut from the Star, containing an advertisement of several thousand dollars to loan on bond and mortgage. By the way, I had made a bold push for that money, and should doubtless have obtained it, but for the want of real estate to offer as security. The individual rather declined loaning on my personal credit, although I showed him a good character, which I had obtained from a distinguished phrenologist, and declared, upon my honor, that I would one day return the whole amount, with lawful interest thereon. Observing, as I thought, that he hesitated, my pride would not suffer me to urge the matter.

These changes in the times have a wonderful in/uence, not only over the inward but the outward man. Whenever you see a mercantile gentleman getting into flesh, and carry a smirk upon his countenance as he trips along the street, scarcely recognising his best and most intimate friends, depend upon it he is not only doing a prosperous business, but is extremely easy in his finances. "If he is over-fat, and unable to button his new coat without difficulty, you may rest assured that his profits for the last six months have not been less than ten thousand dollars. He has not realized the tithe of that sum, but he has it on paper. When he begins to diminish, it is the consequence of having heard of numerous losses by the failure of those indebted to him ; and if he continues to decrcase, you may safely conclude that he is doing a bad business, and not accommodated so freely at the bank as formerly. When he is positively lean, and not sufficiently large, by one-third, to fill the clothes once too small for his dimensions, his friends begin to grow alarmed, and he is advised on all hands to spend the winter in St. Augustine or St. Croix. His lungs are affected, and his physicans prescribe a southern climate, as the last resort. How poorly do the pitying friends and physicians understand his case! The air of Wall-street will do him more good than that of the West Indies, and the gentlemen-shavers of that celebrated neighborhood, are more skilful in the treatment of his malady than our best physicians, provided he have such security as will authorize a loan, as a special favor, at four per ceni. a month. They can fill up his vest, and make him, in a very few days, as good as new. Yet these men are not aware of the extraordinary power they possess, to cover the poor fellow's bones with their natural quantity of flesh and blood ; nor do they know how frequently they reverse the operation, and reduce a man from the top to the bottom in the scale of húrnanity, so far as concerns the measure of his 'muddy vesture of clay:' They can accommodate a merchant or speculator with fifty or seventy-five pounds of good solid flesh, and they can recall the loan at their own sovereign will and pleasure, in spite of canvassbacks and roast beef. Their power is almost despotic, and they are not far behind the autocrat of all the Russias, in playing the devil with their subjects. Nicholas can take the lives of those whom he commands; but the Wall-street despot, if he cannot consign his subject to the bow-string, has the magic art of depriving him of sleep, of thrusting his eyes back into their sockets, of taking the color from his cheeks, (and, not unfrequenily, of transferring it to his nose,) and of making his ribs so articulate that they may be counted through an overcoat. Oh ye whose organs of conscientiousness are small, and your capitals large, and who, with a political figure of speech, may justly be called private 'monsters,' reflect upon the awful responsibility which rests upon you, in consequence of possessing such enormous power to do good or to do evil, as your interest may dictate! Have a regard for the feelings of those who require your aid, and be satisfied with two and a half per cent. per month, and not over-particular about the security! If you can double your capitals in twelve months, be content with what moderate men would call a living profit, and do not reduce us to the necessity of diminishing our establishments, nor compel our wives and daughters to forego their annual parties the unkindest cut of all! In more prosperous times, depend upon it we will remember the favors extended to us in the days of our adversity, and will never be ungrateful for the kind manner in which you took us by the hand, and led us safely over the 'slough of despond,' asking in return only full payment for the temporary bridge you erected for our convenience.

A CORRESPONDENT at Rochester, in this state, has addressed us the following note, confirmatory of the correctness of the assumption of this Magazine, in relation to the authorship of 'The Doctor ;'

GENTLEMEN : By way of addendum to the conclusive article in the November number of the Knickerbocker, touching the authorship of 'The Doctor,' permit me to suggest another certain sign.'

In the chapter concerning Love and Marriage, and Marriage without Love,' (vol. i. pp. 221, 222,) the author quotes the annexed stanzas from • Zophiel,' and adds : 'So VOL. IX.


sings Maria DEL OCCIDENTE, the most impassioned and most imaginative of all poetesses:'

The bard has sung, God never formed a soul

Without its own peculiar mate, to meet
Its wandering half, when ripe to crown the whole

Bright plan of bliss, most heavenly, most complete!

But thousand evil things there are that hate

To look on happiness: these hurt, impede,
And leagued with time, space, circumstance, and fate,

Keep kindred heart froin heart, to pine, und pant, and bleed.

And as the dove to fair Palmyra flying,

From where her native founts of Antioch beam,
Weary, exhausted, longing, panting, sighing,

Lights sadly at the desert's bitter stream,

So many a soul o'er life's drear desert faring,

Love's pure, congenial spring, unfound, unquaffe),
Suffers, recoils, then thirsty and despairing,

of what it would, descends and sips the nearest draught.

The poetess whom Dr. Southey etyles . Maria del Occidente,' is our fair countrywoman, Mrs. MARY A. Brooks. The first canto of 'Zophiel was published at Boston, in 1825, and met but a cold reception on this side the Atlantic. A copy of the poem, however, fell under the observation of the Laureate, who, learning that it had been received with indifference in this country, addressed a letter to Mrs. Brooks, desiring her to publish the remaining cantos in England, and offering to superintend their introduction to the British public. This was not done; and probably the existence of 'Zophiel is known to scarce a man in England, save the most book-ful of Laureates.' To how many is it known in the United States ?

This circumstance, (let it go for what it is worth, in reference to the identity of Southey and the author of 'The Doctor,') is worthy of publication, for the sake of keeping alive the memory of his courtesy.

[ocr errors]

The following remarks in relation to the great American Dictionary of Dr. WEBSTER were accompanied by a printed article from the pen of the venerable lexicographer, exposing numerous errors in RICHARDSON's Dictionary, a work which seems recently to have received a large amount of reverberating eulogy, from the journals of the day. For this article, at the late hour at which it was received, we regret that we have not space. We are glad of an opportunity, however - while we yield all praise to Richardson's work, as an invaluable historical thesaurus of the language, and one well calculated to be useful to scholars - to express our concurrence with the opinions of our correspondent - who, it may be proper to premise, is neither Dr. WEBSTER himself, nor one who writes by his dictation, or with his knowledge.

To the Editors of the Knickerbocker

GENTLEMEN : The great American Dictionary of Dr. Webster attracts less attention and respect, at this moment, than it will a century hence. The public do not fully know the sources of the frequent paltry and illiberal attacks upon this work, or they would give them less weight and consideration. The tribe of elementary book-makers in this country is very numerous. They engross, indeed, almost the only profitable branch of literary labor. The compilers of school-dictionaries spelling-books, reading-lessons, etc., etc., are arrayed in a body against the American Dictionary, because, if its principles prevail

, many of their books will be supplanted by those of Dr. Webster. The publishers of these heterogeneous productions, and all who re-publish English dictionaries, have a common interest in depreciating the merits of our American lexicographer. A little reflection will suggest, that these various interests embrace a numerous lost, who are strongly stimulated by self-interest, who wield ready pens, and exert a controlling infuence over many periodicals. They are indefatigable in their efforts. I have before me an examination of Dr. Webster's públications, by one of these spelling-book makers, the compilation of which must have cost the labor of several months. It fell, still-born, from the press; for it is disfigured with personal abuse and ignorance; but it serves to illustrate the zeal and true value of the opposition to which I allude.

of the seventy thousand words, defined in the American Dictionary, there may be some twenty or thirty, the derivation and orthography of which, by isolation from the

author's explanations and principles, can be invested with the appearance of ridiculous novelty. These few examples, paraded before the public by the diligence of secret enemies, and not examined in the spirit of generous criticisin, have, in some measure, created an unjust prejudice against a valuable work. But is this a fair test by which to try the value of the product of twenty laborious years? or, as it may truly be said, of fifty years, for that full period has been devoted by the author to the study of the English language. Is it not an indication of a habit of superficial judgment, and of superficial scholarship, in the American public, that with regard to a work of this magnitude, and of confessed erudition, they will be influenced by a distaste for some fourscore modifications of orthography? In so vast an undertaking, can entire exemption from error be expected ? And is it not reasonable to suppose that, here and there, a conclusion may have been adopted by the author which may fail to satisfy the world?

The American Dictionary has been splendidly re-published in England, under the supervision and by the recommendation of one of the most eminent English scholars. In that country, so far as I can learn, it has been every where spoken of with respect and commendation. I confess I feel on this subject some degree of national pride; nor can I read, without pain, the flippant censures bestowed by those who have neither the adequate learning, nor capacity, upon a work, in which the author has embodied the results of a more thorough and laborious research into the origin and philosophy of the English language, than was ever made by any other man: especially when I remember that this author is my countryman ; that he has devoted a long life to the interests of letters; that in his early years, he was the esteemed friend and correspondent of Washington, Franklin, Hamilton, and Jay; and that his anxiety to perfect his great work induced him, in the evening of his days, in despite of extraordinary obstacles, twice to cross the Atlantic, that he might avail himself of materials not to be found in this country. Whenever I chance to discover something inconsistent with my preconceived notions, in the productions of so learned and laborious a writer, I am forced rather to distrust my own qualifications, than to pronounce a hasty condemnation.

I am persuaded you will take pleasure in directing the attention of scholars, both in Europe and America, to a work, of which, whatever be its occasional defects, our countrymen have reason to be proud.


SALARIES IN THE AMERICAN NAVY. We remarked, not long since, in the original columns of the Sunday Morning News, a weekly journal of this city, conducted with ability, and possessing a wide circulation, some very just remarks upon the meagre salaries which officers of all grades in the United States' Navy receive for their services. It was well reasoned, that these were not such as to do justice to the national character, nor worthy the recipients of them. We have long known, that midshipmen in the United States' service, when not engaged in active duty at sea, were insufficiently remunerated; and it is now apparent, that none of the officers in our Navy are overpaid. It has been a just cause of complaint with the first-named class, that the services of their stations were not better rewarded. Penuriousness or retrenchment in such points, is ill-judged economy, and very poor policy. The effect of it is, to lessen the respect which is due to us from foreign nations, and to create a spirit of discontent, to a greater or less degree, among those attached to the service. It may be hoped that the Amercan Congress will bestow early attention to this important subject.

The PLAINDEALER. — A weekly political newspaper, of sixteen large octavo pages, entitled ' The Plaindealer,' has recently appeared in this city. It is under the sole editorial direction of Mr. William LEGGETT, late of the Evening Post, of whose talents few general readers in the United States are ignorant. Judging from the two numbers which have been published, it may be assumed, that whatever topic the Plaindealer may discuss, its readers may rely upon a manly and dignified independence of opinion, and a style so clear and forcible as to defy misunderstanding or misinterpretation. The literary departments of this journal — reviews of new books, notices of the Drama, the fine arts, etc., — will be looked for with an interest kindred to that which the political disquisitions of the editor are calculated to awaken and sustain. We wish The Plaindealer that success which we are confident it will use all honest means to deserve.

LITERARY RECORD. MEMOIRS OF AARON BURR. — The HARPERS have issued the first volume of the Life of Aaron Burr, from the pen of Mathew L. Davis, Esq., a gentleman who was his intimate associate for upward of forty years, and whose materials were ample, both for purposes of history, and the excitement of interest. An extensive correspondence with females — preserved with care by the veteran roué – was, however, very properly destroyed by his biographer, although such a course was strenuously opposed by Burr, when living. Doubtless it were well to preserve in history a memory of the redeeming virtues of the illustrious, or rather notorious, deceased; but to gloss over the deeds which have rendered his name a reproach, is what we hope never to see attempted by one calling himself an American. In one respect, at least, Aaron Burr must be considered as having

- fallen into a pit of ink, And the wide sea hath drops too few

To wash him clean again.' An admirable portrait, from the pencil of VANDERLYN, engraved by PARKER, faces the title-page.

The Young DISCIPLE. — Messrs. William MARSHALL AND COMPANY, Philadelphia, and D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, New-York, have given to the public a volume of some three hundred and fifty pages, containing 'The Young Disciple, or a Memoir of AnzoNETTA R. Peters,' a young girl born in this city, whose growth in piety and early death are made subservient to the inculcation of valuable religious lessons. The Rev. John A. Clark, an eloquent, sound, and deservedly popular clergyman, of Philadelphia, is the author. "The Young Disciple' cannot fail to be morally and religiously useful, and we commend it, with pleasure, to the favorable suffrages of the public.

The Family of NAIADES. — Messrs. Carey, LEA AND BLANCHARD have issued a beautiful volume, entitled ' A Synopsis of the Family of Naïades, by Isaac Lea, Member of the American Philosophical Society,' etc. The work was undertaken, says the author, purely with the view and in the hope of clearing away the difficulties which had incumbered one of the most interesting families of the Mollusca. Tables are given containing three hundred recent species, as admitted, twenty-two doubtful, and twentytwo fossil -- in all, three hundred and forty-four. The volume evinces diligent study and research, against many obstacles. A plate containing two delicately-colored prints of the Unis Spinosus, ornaments the volume.

HIEROGLYPHICAL BIBLE. — The Brothers HARPER have published a beautiful volume, which they entitle 'A New Hieroglyphical Bible; with Devotional Pieces for Youth.' It contains four hundred wood-cuts, of which it is sufficient praise to say that they are by Adams. A delightful task, and a useful, will it be for many a fond father to read and explain the varied pages of this pretty book to his delighted children. In addition to the scripture passages, picture-enforced, each page contains an appropriate hymn. It is ere this in the hands of thousands of masters and misses in the United States.

The New-York Book. — This volume, after the manner, in externals, of the poems of Drake and HALLECK, by the same publisher, will prove an appropriate gift for the present season of souvenirs and friendship-tokens. It is a compilation from the poetical writings of natives of the state of New-York, which, for the most part, have hitherto been circulated solely in newspapers and periodicals. The selections have been made with discrimination, and the work is tastefully presented.

USEFUL ANNUALS FOR JUVENILES. — Parents and guardians who may wish to blend useful instruction with entertainment in their selections for the young, at this gift-teeming season, will find in "The Casket of Gems,' and the handsomely-bound volume of Parley's Magazine, both liberally embellished with wood engravings, appropriate volumes for their purpose. Published by CHARLES S. FRANCIS, Broadway.




No. 2.

[ocr errors]





PORTICO. MR. MARIGOLD: I am much gratified by finding that you have commenced a series of disquisitions upon the subject of fine writing, and are endeavoring to awaken your readers to a right apprehension of the principles by which it is characterized, since no speculations appear to me more likely to be useful, at the present time, in this community. Although I partake of none of that spirit of prejudice and calumny which has too often appeared in those travellers from my country who have paid a visit to your's, yet I cannot but perceive a wide distinction between the taste of those countries in Europe, which have grown old in the cultivation of science, and that which is prevalent among us. With a view, therefore, to furnish you some aid in the prosecution of your laudable undertaking, allow me, instead of controverting your principles, to carry forward and complete your speculations, upon this topic, by the followingʻobservations, which occurred to my mind, upon the perusal of your last article.

You justly remark, that one of the greatest difficulties in elegant writing, as well as one of the principal circumstances by which an author will display his skill and capacity, lies in the judicious use of figurative language, and more especially in the management of his metaphors, which are the chief instruments made use of by the imagination to shadow forth our conceptions, and give to 'airy nothings' a‘ local habitation' and visible form. It has been remarked by that able critic, Dr. Blair, that the golden rule by which the accuracy of metaphors may be tested, is to suppose the painter attempting to exhibit upon canvass the pictures which are presented in them, and if they will sustain this touchstone, they must be licensable. Thus, when an able minister is said to be a pillar of the state, a righteous man is declared to stand securely upon the rock of his integrity, or be supported by the arm of the Almighty — when Cardinal Woolsey, in Henry the Eighth, asserts that his high-blown pride at length broke under him, and left him to the mercy of that rude stream upon which he had ventured for many summers,' or when Satan, in Milton's Paradise Lost for the same rule applies to comparison and all figures — is compared to the sun, which, new-risen, looks through the horizontal misty air, shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon in dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds on half the nations — in all these cases, the painter might readily follow the writers in the pictures they draw to the fancy. This rule, therefore, prescribed by the critic, is excellent, and an infallible guide to us, VOL. IX.


« PreviousContinue »