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the profoundest reverence, that he is a contrary provoked great hostility to Mr. crític of the school of Coleridge, and a Dana, who was at that time much in adconservative in his philosophy, that he vance of the literary opinions of the has an instinctive abhorrence of all prud. “ American Athens." There has been ish moralists and authors who talk of a great deal said about this lecture, which conventionalisms and taste, that he seeks should be either repeated or printed. If the true and genuine in character, and published with proper revision and some does not mince his words by the way. additions, it would render our literature,
Much bas been said of Mr. Hudson's at the present time, an important service, manner as a lecturer, and he has been charged with affectation-a charge which would be fatal to the sincerity of his opinions, and destroy the value of his lectures at once. Mr. Hudson has some peculiarities at the lecturer's desk, but they Mr. Poe has been for some weeks past are not affected. At first the presump- engaged in a critical discussion in the tion to be sure is against him, and remem- Broadway Journal on the subject of bering the prevalent characteristics of the plagiarism. While it is necessary that erowd of lecturers who appear before the something should be said on this point, public, it is as well that suspicion should there is also great danger that the thing be on its guard. As the lecturer goes on may be carried too far. There is no litwith his subject, these imperfections of erary question which requires more dismanner (they soon appear nothing more) crimination, greater nicety of apprehen. are scarcely noticed, so completely are sion and occasionally more courage. We they lost in the depth of the discourse. If appreciate the latter quality in Mr. Poe; they were affectations we should never it is especially necessary in a country get used to them, but they would jar upon which numbers some thousand poets, and us more unpleasantly as the lecture went not one, in the highest sense, worthy the on, and the discrepancy between sound name among them all. It is something opinions and an unsound tricky manner for a man to encounter so formidable an of expressing them, become more evident. opposition in this day of newspapers and
Mr. Hudson is now delivering his public opinion, when the opportunities for course of Lectures at the Stuyvesant In- the gratification of a whim or prejudice, stitute and at Brooklyn, to audiences in to say nothing of malice and disappointed which the professions and literature of the hate, are so ready at hand. Yet, it is city are amply represented.
necessary that a man should respect bimself and tell the truth. Occasionally critics are found in this predicament. Of all
pursuits in the world we know of none MR. POE'S LECTURE ON THE POETS. more humiliating, more dastardly, or less
comfortable to an honest mind than the There were some things in Mr. Poe's aimless, shifting, puffing, practice of litLecture on the American Poets at the erature as a poor, mean, good natured Society Library which appeared out of thing to live by from day to day, impart harmony with the general tone of his complacency to a certain number of fools, remarks, but they were slight, unworthy and persecute a certain number of supof being mentioned alongside of the de- posed enemies. The more noble the callvoted spirit in which he advocated the ing, the greater the temptation to assume claims and urged the responsibilities of it hypocritically, and the more prompt literature. The necessity of a just inde- should be the reckoning. It is for the inpendent criticism was his main topic. He terest of literature that every man who made unmitigated war upon the prevalent writes should show his honesty and not Puffery, and dragged several popular bring letters into contempt. If in doing idols from their pedestals. His closest this he should happen to fall on the other eritical remarks were given to an exami- side of harshness or rudeness—provided nation of the poetry of Mrs. Sigourney he do not sin from ignorance or wantonand the Davidsons. Bryant, Halleck, and ness, or self-sufficiency- let him be par. Willis were spoken of briefly, but any doned, for it is better both for the cause of neglect in this particular was compensat- truth and virtue that this should be the ed by several choicely delivered recitations case than that a man should be always from their verses. There was some in- dull and complaisant. As an exercise of justiee done to Dana, whose early reputa- the intellect let us have now and then a tion was attributed to his connexion with little witty asperity; as a relief to the the North American Review at its com- heart let us keep up an antagonism with mencement-a circumstance which on the Sin and vent our indignation loudly.
Freedom of speech is the pride of Eng- and forced exaggerations, simply to dislishmen-may it never be said of us, that guise them. we have neither virtue to give birth to or Sincerity is at the bottom of true origiendure a sound hearty Satirist.
nality. Words are weapons which canFor the other side of the matter, while not be used without strength and vigor. criticism should be free, clear and loud, What matters it, if sometime in the heat if we would ever arrive at excellence--it of the battle, the author snatches another should always be just; nay it should lean man's sword, his language, and deals a toward merit, and protect and kindle the hearty blow with it? Wordsworth is faintest spark of promise. A charge of surely an original writer, if he is any. Plagiarism is a very serious one and thing, yet he states, according to a passhould not be lightly ultered. It is a sage in Hare's “ Guesses at Truth," that word which has a taint in it of dishonesty, he had always found his thoughts (afterand will be resisted to the death. In the wards) in other writers, and upon one occases employed by Mr. Poe, a gentler casion when he had written something word might be substituted to advantage. which he thought“new," he had found In the discussion of these topics there are it the next day in so common an author as always a great many preliminary distinc- Boyle. tions, to be settled by demurrer and argu- But we may take the case of known ment, before the case can be fairly de- plagiarists-authors who have been taken termined. Plagiarism may be anything in the act. Sterne is as noted a thief as from downright theft, according to the any on record. His sermons he stole original signification of the word, steal- from Bishop Hall; his moralizing from ing people's children and as a necessary Montaigne and Bacon; his wit from Raconcomitant disguising them, to the most belais, and courageous robber that he harmless and permissible familiarity with was, a passage on plagiarism itself from them. The vilest plagiarist on record re- old Burton's “ Anatomy of Melancholy." duced the system to an art, and his name Yet there is nothing more unquestionable is recorded by D’Israeli. This grave prose than that Sterne's sermons are as unlike writer seems entirely unconscious of a Hall's as possible ; that Burton had no pun, but he tells us the name of this mis- conception of the fineness of touch in creant was Richesource. He was the Tristram Shandy, and that Rabelais himvery Machiavelli of dishonest authorship; self would be delighted with the novelty a bawd to weak minds and empty heads, of his own garments if he could see them teaching fools how to shuffle and trans- on the back of the Sentimentalist. Dr. spose and translate another man's writ- Ferriar, a witty physician, exposed all ings into their own. What an interval these things in a delightful book which between the paltry tricks of a Riche- holds a permanent place in the librarysource, and the subtle associations of a which we read alongside of Sterne himShakspeare. Yet both these extremes and self. Yet who thinks the less of the all shades of difference between pass “Journey in France,” or of “My Father," commonly for plagiarism. One of the two or “Uncle Toby,” or “Corporal Trim ?." or three anecdotes we have of Shakspeare We admire Dr. Ferriar for his learning, is an authentic one, which relates a con- and pleasant mode of communicating it, versation in which Alleyn the player and and Sterne for a thousand things—just as founder of Dulwich College, accuses him the future connoisseur in American lite-Shakspeare-of stealing the address to rature will rejoice in the acumen of Mr. the Players in Hamlet. He had said the Poe, and the picturesqueness of Mr. Long. very same things to him in conversation! fellow.
Is a man to be forbidden to write every- Gray is another example of an author thing that he hears or sees or reads--for who borrowed largely. In Mitford's edi. you might as well forbid the impulses de- tion of his poems nearly every line of the rived from conversation or observation as Elegy has its parallel in an ancient or those from books. In the former cases, modern author. Some passages are transwhich generally go scot-free, the impulses ferred bodily, and there is no end of the may be quicker and more tangible. If this phrases worked in Mosaic. One tenth of were carried out, few men of the present the evidence would damn a contemporary day would write at all. Literature would author. Yet Gray's Elegy is his own be left to Shakspeares and to Miltons —every line of it, for it is pervaded by his but these too have not been exempt from own spirit—and there is no poem more the charge.
read or more enjoyed in English literaThere is a bastard originality, which is ture. What are the notes of crities against more spurious than sheer commonplace, the “ adamant” of genius—the fire and the artifices of a man, for instance, who the feelings of Gray ? dresses up his thoughts with bits of tinsel Pope, somewhere, we believe, in his letters says, the Old Poets are very good pricked by the Canon's pen, and the drabto steal from. His Christian's Dying colored men of Pennsylvania pass quietly Address to his Soul, is taken wholesale over to history. But it will long be refrom Flatman, an old writer, whose name membered that such things were, and the as an accuser he might have thought name of Sydney Smith point many a would have rendered the man harmless in frequent aphorism in the annals of Wit. any court where the English language We have no particular accounts of the was spoken. But not so. Flatman lives death of Sydney Smith ; whether, like Sir on the immortality of Pope-a fly pre- Thomas More and Rabelais, he jested in served in bis amber.
articulo mortis, we know not, but this we Not that the thing was either rich or rare, may venture to say, that had he lived a few
One wondered how the Devil it got there. days longer, to hear of the first payment Much more might be said on this sub- of Philadelphia dividends, it would have ject—which we should regret to see “put cost him his quip, though he had died for down” in literature by any force or col- it. It was a poetic adjustment of the little lusion. It is one of the fair tests of drama of life, by which the curtain fell in authorship. Does a writer borrow? If time to leave his great jokes immaculate so, how often and what? Has he any and entire. How many invitations might he excellence beside ? This matter of Pla- have received from interest-paying Penngiarisms should be an open question-notsylvanians had he lived, to keep that cele. handled wantonly or illiberally, but with brated promise, and appear at the bar of a reverence for Truth. As we have sug- the Senate in the plumeopicean robe ! gested, it is a very nice matter for Criti. “to suffer Conscript Jonathans to trickle cism, but it should be fearlessly encoun- over him the few drops of tar—to stand artered, otherwise our libraries will be over- rayed in those penal plumes in which the run with pretenders and mountebanks. vanquished reasoner of the transatlantic
world does homage to the physical supeREV, SYDNEY SMITH.
riority of his opponents !” Alas! poor " Behold the fatal day arrive!
Yorick! Many will miss him—those who
courses, will sigh for his brief pointed ON THE DEATH OF DR. SWIFT. eloquence at St. Paul's; the men who It is now some months past,* since we
lived upon his jokes will thirst for his wit, bore our testimony to the many merits of and American travellers will long for his Sydney Smith as a man, a wit, a reformer, hospitality - for be it known, Sydney and remembering the cheerfulness of his Smith was a hospitable man, and a great old age, we called down upon him the friend of Americans individually, though blessing of a long life, with full permis. he had his own notions of an insolvent sion to write as many American and Duff state in the abstract. We have heard of Green letters as he pleased, provided al. his kind reception of many who will ways they were as witty as the first. The treasure his name. spectacle of an old man, triumphing over
Now that he is dead the jackals of age, and with a few strokes of his pen in his literature will pounce upon his remains, study ruffling one half the world, was some
for the newspapers, and we shall, doubtthing cheerful to look upon. « For many less, have many very readable articles, years," said we, “may he be another proof
“ Recollections of the late Sydney Smith," of the long life that is nourished by a
“ Hours with Peter Plymley,” &c., &c.quick and fruitful intellect.” Dis aliter then the man will be handed over to the visum. Sydney Smith has gone to join biographers, a new chapter will be added, the wits of the past, the shades of Swist and a rare one to Joe Miller, some half and Sterne and Echard, and South and dozen volumes will take their chosen Fuller, his great clerical predecessors. place in the library, and our children will Lord John Russell shall ‘now rest in read of him as we do of Swift and Rabepeace; Sir Robert Peel no more be lais.
NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
The regular monthly meeting of the His- absence of Mr. Gallatin, the President. torical Society was held at their rooms in On taking the chair, Mr. Bradish, who the University of the City of New York had been prevented by illness from aton Tuesday evening, 4th ult. The Society tending since his election, addressed the was called to order by Lieut. Gov. society in substance as follows: Bradish, the first Vice President, in the Gentlemen of the Society; Before entering upon the duties which you have as. members expressed their hearty concursigned me, permit me to tender my cor- rence in the object of the bill—but their dial acknowledgments for the unexpected fear that it would be impossible to reach honor conferred upon me in my election it the present session. as Vice President of the Society. This Mr. Jay announced the recent decease, has been the more flattering from the fact, at Seville, of Mr. E. Champion Bacon, of that I had not previously been for some Litchfield, Connecticut, a corresponding time an attendant upon or participator in member of the Society, and appropriate its proceedings. This unearned honor, resolutions were thereupon passed. therefore, has been bestowed in generous The Executive Committee, through confidence, without a corresponding obli, their chairman, reported upon the nomigation on my part. A satisfactory dis- nations referred to them, and the followcharge of it will be the more difficult ing gentlemen were elected : from the ability with which the duties Resident Members George B. De Forhave hitherto been performed, but what. rest, Oliver De Forrest, Edward D Nelever a sincere desire to aid in your labors, son, Andrew W. Green, J. J. Bowden, and an industrious attention to the duties George P. Nelson, David E. Bartlett, of the station may enable me to perform, Jacob Van Nostrand, Stephen Hyatt, that I can promise--for the rest I must Morris Barker, Thomas R. Gerry. throw myself upon your indulgence." Mr. Welmore, on behalf of the Exe
* Democratic Review, lxxij., June, 1844.
The librarian then announced among cutive Committee, laid upon the table the the donations for the month, a valuable new volume of the Proceedings of the collection of bibles and testaments from Society for the past year, with an Appenthe American Bible Society, mostly in dix, embracing Mr. Broadhead's Oration, foreign languages, and several in different and the speeches at the late celebration of Indian tongues. Documents of the New their fortieth Anniversary. This volume, York Legislature, and of Congress, from containing upwards of 300 pages, like different gentlemen. Two memorials ad- those which have been previously pubdressed by Miss D. L. Dix, to the legisla- lished from the press of the Historical tures of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Society, under the direction of the Execuon the subject of Insane Asylums, from tive Committee, is characterized no less the authoress, and a deposit of forty-seven by its excellent typography and execution, volumes of the late New York American than its intrinsic value. It will be for from Charles King, Esq., its editor, sale at Messrs. Bartlett & Welford's,
Among new nominations was that of Broadway. the Hon. James K. Polk, virtute officii, an On motion of the Domestic Correspond. honorary member.
ing Secretary, it was Resolved, That this Mr. Jay, Domestic Corresponding Sec- Society have learned with sincere pleasure retary, next read communications from the formation of the New Jersey State the following gentlemen--from Dr. J. P. Historical Society, and tender to that InKirtland, of Cleaveland, Ohio; from Wm. stitution their cordial congratulations and A. Whitehead, Esq. Corresponding Secre- friendly services. tary of the New Jersey State Historical Resolved, That the Librarian be directSociety, announcing the formation of that ed to forward to the New Jersey State Institution, and transmitting a list of its Historical Society, copies of all the col. officers-from George Johnston, of Lake lections and proceedings of this Society, Michigan, Grand Traverse Bay, with a and also any duplicates, documents, books translation from the Indian Dialect, of the or pamphlets, bearing upon the history of etymology and tradition of the word the country, which may be spared from its “Osawgenong,”—the land of the Sacs, collections. and from whence the river derives its Prof. Robinson in continuation read the name, signifying the sortie of the Foxes or posthumous paper of the late Col. Stone, Sacs-from Mr. Rufus W. Griswold, of commenced at the last meeting, prefacing Philadelphia, acknowledging his election it with a few remarks on the character of as a corresponding member-and letters, the author. The subject of Indian or abfrom the Honorable Moses G. Leonard, original archæology was briefly treated of, J. Phillips Phænix, W. B. Maclay, with notices of the researches and labors Thomas J. Patterson, and Wm. J. Hub- of Henry R. Schoolcraft, Henry Wheaton, bell, in reply to certain resolutions passed and others. by the Society at the last meeting request- Mr. D. D. Field introduced, with a few ing the co-operation of the members from remarks, a resolution proposing a comNew York, in the passage through the mittee for the purpose of restoring the InHouse of Representatives, of the “ Act to dian names to localities in the United establish the Smithsonian Institute for States. Mr. Field, Mr. Schoolcrast, and the increase and diffusion of knowledge Mr. Hoffınan were appointed such con among men."-The letter from three miltee.