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after breathe patriotic indignation at the insulting proposals of the British and their rumored attack on New York, and all his similes, even those having love for their subject, are martial and bellicose. Item: “The gallant Sam has fairly changed front, and, instead of laying siege to Douglas castle, has charged sword in hand, and carried little Cooper's entrenchments.” As a Federalist and an admirer of England, Irving had deplored the war, but his sympathies were not doubtful after it began, and the burning of the national Capitol by General Ross aroused him to an active participation in the struggle. He was descending the Hudson in a steamboat when the tidings first reached him. It was night, and the passengers had gone into the cabin, when a man came on board with the news, and in the darkness related the particulars: the burning of the President's house and government offices, and the destruction of the Capitol, with the library and public archives. In the momentary silence that followed, somebody raised his voice, and in a tone of complacent derision “wondered what Jimmy Madison would say now.” “Sir,” cried Mr. Irving, in a burst of indignation that overcame his habitual shyness, “do you seize upon such a disaster only for a sneer 2 Let me tell you, sir, it is not now a question about Jimmy Madison or Jimmy Armstrong. The pride and honor of the nation are wounded; the country is insulted and disgraced by this barbarous success, and every loyal citizen would feel the ignominy and be earnest to avenge it.” There was an outburst of applause, and the sneerer was silenced. “I could not see the fellow,” said Mr. Irving, in relating the anecdote, “but I let fly at him in the dark.” The next day he offered his services to Governor Tompkins, and was made the governor's aid and military secretary, with the right to be addressed as Col. Washington Irving. He served only four months in this capacity, when Governor Tompkins was called to the session of the legislature at Albany. Irving intended to go to Washington and apply for a commission in the regular army, but he was detained at Philadelphia by the affairs of his magazine, until news came in February, 1815, of the close of the war. In May of that year he embarked for England to visit his brother, intending only a short sojourn. He remained abroad seventeen years.
WHEN Irving sailed from New York, it was with lively anticipations of witnessing the stirring events to follow the return of Bonaparte from Elba. When he reached Liverpool the curtain had fallen in Bonaparte's theatre. The first spectacle that met the traveler's eye was the mail coaches, darting through the streets, decked with laurel and bringing the news of Waterloo. As usual, Irving's sympathies were with the unfortunate. “I think,” he says, writing of the exile of St. Helena, “the cabinet has acted with littleness toward him. In spite of all his misdeeds he is a noble fellow [pace Madame de Rémusat], and I am confident will eclipse, in the eyes of posterity, all the crowned wiseacres that have crushed him by their overwhelming confederacy. If anything could place the Prince Regent in a more ridiculous light, it is Bonaparte suing for his magnanimous protection. Every compliment paid to this bloated sensualist, this inflation of sack and sugar, turns to the keenest sarcasm.” After staying a week with his brother Peter, who was recovering from an indisposition, Irving went to Birmingham, the residence of his brother-in-law, Henry Van Wart, who had married his youngest sister, Sarah; and from thence to Sydenham, to visit Campbell. The poet was not at home. To Mrs. Campbell Irving expressed his regret that her husband did not attempt something on a grand scale.
“‘It is unfortunate for Campbell,” said she, “ that he lives in the same age with Scott and Byron.” I asked why. ‘Oh,' said she, “they write so much and so rapidly. Mr. Campbell writes slowly, and it takes him some time to get under way; and just as he has fairly begun out comes one of their poems, that sets the world agog, and quite daunts him, so that he throws by his pen in despair.’ I pointed out the essential difference in their kinds of poetry, and the qualities which insured perpetuity to that of her husband. ‘You can't persuade Campbell of that,’ said she. ‘He is apt to undervalue his own