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our most eminent scholars, jurists and statesmen, and constitute a very important part of our literature.
The humour, repose, simplicity and strong sense of Franklin are conspicuous in nearly every thing he wrote. He is among the most national of our authors. The very spirit of New England lives in The Way to Wealth, The Morals of Chess, and The Whistle, as well as in his Letters, so full of prudence and sagacity. His style is elaborate, and in some respects is better than that
of his contemporaries. It is familiar, condensed, of pure English, and has considerable variety.
The Lay Preacher of Dennie and his articles in the Portfolio seem to me feeble and affected, though occasionally marked by considerable excellence. It was natural to overrate him, as in his time we had very few writers with whom he could be compared. For several years after the death of Brockden Brown I believe he was the only man in the country who made literature a profession.
Mr. Wirt, in the Old Bachelor and The British Spy, wrote in a natural, copious and flowing style, which was occasionally polished into elegance. It was perhaps too full and ornate for a writer, but was admirable for an orator. The story of the Blind Preacher was in his happiest manner, but his disquisitions on eloquence are more carefully composed, and are vigorous and full of just reflections.
Among our historical essayists a distinguished place is held by Mr. Verplanck. Nearly thirty years ago he undertook in various discourses and reviews the eulogy of the excellent men who had most largely contributed to raise or support our national institutions and to form or to elevate our national character. His sketches have in parts the elaboration of cabinet pictures. His colouring and drawing have the fidelity and distinctness of De Leide and
ture, but for several years their contents have been original, and their extraordinary sale has enabled their publishers to employ the best writers. Graham's Magazine is embellished with the most costly engravings, and has a circulation of nearly thirty thousand copies. Like their predecessors, The Portfolio and The Analectic, the Philadelphia magazines of the present day owe their principal attractions to New York and New England writers.
The Southern Quarterly Review was established in Charleston in 1828, and suspended in 1833. It was recommenced in 1842, and I believe is now edited by the Rev. Mr. Whittaker. Among its most distinguished writers have been Stephen Elliott, Hugh S. Legare, and W. G. Simms.
The Southern Literary Messenger was founded by Mr. T. W. White, in 1834, and since his death has been under the direction of Mr. B. B. Miner. The best writers of Virginia and some of the other states have contributed to it, and it has been from the beginning a very valuable and interesting work.
The New Englander, published at Hartford, Conn., has not been very long established, but it is among the first of our periodicals in character.
Wouvermans. He is the most learned of our writers in the history of Dutch colonization, and occasionally his style is marked by a certain humorous gravity which is inherited by the descendants of the New Netherlanders. All his productions are marked by excellent taste and a most genial spirit.
Robert Walsh was editor of the American Quarterly Review, and a contributor to some similar periodicals abroad. His commentaries on books, the drama, and works of art, exhibited industry and good sense, knowledge and reflection, within a limited range;* but he lacked the earnest sympathy of such critics as Dana, who views books not only as subjects of intellectual observation, but as appealing to man's primal instincts, and whose comments on works of genius are accordingly not merely technical but psychological.
The works of Dr. Channing have had and will continue to exert a powerful and healthful influence. He is original, even when not new or novel, for he gives his own perceptions of truth. His style owes less popularity to its fluency than to its being a just expression of his character: every faculty of his mind and peculiarity of his position being reflected in it. It is marked by feeling, imagination, and moral energy. When he expresses a common idea, it will be found, on examination, that he gives it a new character, by connecting it with the deepest feelings and instincts. His clear perception of man's duties made him particularly insist on many principles which, though universally admitted, do not influence the conduct. His writings are the sincere expressions of an earnest mind. He makes his readers love virtue and truth. He often convicts us of a superficial perception of what we deemed the commonplaces of religion and morality, and makes us feel their depth and great importance.f
Edward Everett is one of our best specimens of culture and scholarship. His style is copious, graceful, and justly modulated. It shows considerable energy and fancy, and great command of language. His brother, Alexander H. Everett, has less tact and taste, but is perhaps equal to him in extent of knowledge and variety of accomplishments. He is the author of more than fifty articles in the North American Review, of which he was a considerable
• He wrote a large volume in defence of the moral and intellectual character of the country, in which he presents the claims of many insignificant persons to consideration, but does not once in any way allude to Jonathan Edwards, whose simple name was worth all his five hundred pages, for the purpose he had iu view. This was perhaps less from ignorance than from prejudice against Edwards's theology and metaphysics.
Channing is one of those men whose mind is hung upon heaven with golden chords, and whose thoughts vibrate between what is pure below and sublime above.-Dr. Bowring.
Dr. Channing, one of those men who are a blessing and an honour to their generation and their country.–Southey.
time editor, and has written largely in other periodicals. His favourite subjects are connected with French literature and political history and economy.
Hugh S. Legaré was equal to Edward Everett in classical scholarship, and superior in the vigour and chasteness of his style. Some of his contributions to the New York and Southern Quarterly Reviews have scarcely been excelled for accuracy of investigation and comprehensiveness of views. There was not however much variety in his subjects or his manner.
The Rev. Dr. Gilman, formerly a frequent contributor to the North AmeriIan Review, and the author of that graphic and humorous picture of rural manners, the Memoirs of a New England Village Choir, has written forcibly and with taste upon many subjects connected with philosophy and general literature.
Of contemporary philosophical essayists Ralph Waldo Emerson is the most distinguished. He is an original and independent thinker, and commands attention both by the novelty of his views and the graces and peculiarities of his style. He perceives the evils in society, the falsehoods of popular opinions, the unhappy tendencies of common feelings; and is free from vulgar cant and enslaving prejudice. Mr. Emerson is the leader of a considerable party, which is acquiring strength from the freshness and independence of its literature.
Mr. Orestes A. Brownson is bold and powerful, and I suppose honest, notwithstanding his want of consistency. Conscious of the possession of great abilities, conscious of the validity of certain claims he has to unattained good reputation and happiness, he has sought for both through almost every variety of action and opinion, always thinking himself right, though nearly always, as he has been doomed to learn, in the wrong. He is an exceedingly voluminous writer, in religion and politics as well as in metaphysics, and his works, if collected and chronologically printed, from Charles Elwood down to his last speech in defence of the Roman religion, would present the most remarkable and interesting of psychological histories.
Mr. George P. Marsh is one of our most learned essayists, and his writings are as much distinguished for good sense and acuteness as for scholarship. They are also marked by a thorough nationality.
C. C. Felton, Greek Professor in Harvard University, is one of the principal writers for the North American Review, and is a discriminating critic. His style is brilliant and pointed.
The Rev. Dr. Hawks has an easy and copious style, skill in analysis, accurate acquaintance with history, caustic wit, and a uniform heartiness of purpose, which make him a powerful as well as an attractive character writer.
Francis Bowen, editor of the North American Review, is a clear, forcible, independent thinker, and has much precision and energy of style. His contributions on metaphysical subjects, and on the principles of law and government, are of a very high character. He is a man of large acquirements both in literature and philosophy.
George S. Hillard is one of the most polished writers of New England. His taste is fastidious, and he is a fine rhetorician. He excels in arrangement and condensation, and has an imaginative expression. Of his numerous articles in the North American Review one of the most brilliant is on Prescott's Conquest of Mexico, but I think the happiest of his essays is that on the Mission of the Poet, read before the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
Charles Sumner, though still a young man, is widely known for the extent of his legal knowledge and his general attainments. His style is rapid and energetic, with much fulness of thought and illustration. He has a great deal of enthusiasm and courage, as is shown by his discourse on the True Grandeur of Nations.
Mr. Tuckerman's appreciation of the beautiful seems instinctive, and the style of his criticisms is unaffected, flowing, and graceful. His Thoughts on the Poets contain passages which are the perfection of that sort of writing. He has manly sense, and tenderness without mawkish sentiment, and a just contempt of prudery and hypocrisy. His generous warmth and independence may serve in some degree to counteract in this country the sordid and calculating spirit of the age.
Mr. E. P. Whipple is one of our youngest and most brilliant writers. His papers which have appeared in the reviews and magazines are discriminating and comprehensive, analytical and reflective, and display an extraordinary maturity of judgment.
Respecting Mr. David Hoffman's volumes of pleasant practical morality, Mr. Wilde's ingenious Researches and Considerations concerning Tasso, Mr. Fay's Dreams and Reveries, Mr. Lowell's Essays on the Old Poets, The Analyst of Mr. Jones, and the reviews and other essays on art, literature, philosophy and manners by Dr. Norton, Dr. Bethune, Mr. Hazard, Mr. Parker, Mr. Reed, Mr. Carey, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Simms, Mr. Duyckinck, and many others who have distinguished themselves as essayists and critics, my present limits will not admit any particular commentary.
I shall but allude to our writers of voyages and travels: to the learned, acute and honest Robinson, Stevens, always lively and picturesque, the graphic and reflective Cooper, the discriminating and humorous Sanderson, the animated and genial Headley, and Cheever, Cushing, Dana, Dewey, Mackenzie, Melville, Miss Sedgwick, Willis, and others, whose journals abroad have delighted the readers of both continents; and with the same brevity I must refer to Lewis and Clarke, Long, Flint, and Irving; to the ingenious and laborious Schoolcraft, to Audubon and Catlin, with their enthusiasm, strange adventure and happy delineation, to Stephens and Norman wandering among the vestiges of forgotten nations in the New World, to the intrepid Fremont, and many beside, who have not only added to the literature of the country by their journals, full of novel facts and important observations, or attractive by the graces of style, but have sown seeds for richer harvests in exposing the subjects and materials for the sculptor and painter, the poet and romancer, scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Polar to the Carib seas.
I have yet made no particular notice of the contributions to our literature by that sex who until recently were content to be the subjects and the inspiration of the finest creations of genius. Throughout Christendom woman has assumed new offices and achieved new and unlooked-for triumphs. In fifty years
she has done inore in the domains of intellect than she had done before in five centuries. When Hannah Adams produced her histories she was perhaps not inferior to any historical writer then in America. Miss Sedgwick followed, with her charming pictures of New England Life, Redwood, Clarence, Hope Leslie, the Linwoods, and other novels and tales ; Mrs. Child with Hobomok, The Rebels, the classical romance of Philothea, her elegant Biographies, and volumes of Letters ; Mrs. Brooks with Zophiel, so full of imagination and passion; Mrs. Hale with Northwood, and Sketches of American Life; Miss Leslie with Mrs. Washington Potts and her other spirited views of society; Miss Beecher with her profound and acute metaphysical and religious writings; Mrs. Gilman with Love's Progress, her graphic Recollections of a Southern Matron, and other works ; Mrs. Kirkland with A New Home, Forest Life, and Western Clearings, unequaled as pictures of manners among the pioneers; Miss Fuller with Summer on the Lakes, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, and her brilliant Papers on Literature and Art; Miss Mackintosh with Conquest and Self-conquest, Praise and Principle, and Woman an Enigma ; and Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Sigourney, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Ellet, Mrs. Stephens, Mrs. Worthington, Mrs. Judson,* Mrs. Sedgwick, and
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