Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

inebriate—a draught which shall do them patience while we state a fact or two to as much as they will endure of good, in a substantiate our assertions; facts, as the way more delightful than the most delight- chess-books say, “recently occurring in ful evil? Can you?

actual play." A gentleman-of the cream Your smile is gone. Now we see your of gentility-a spoonful of cream of genblue(ish) eyes sparkle a little under the tility, we might say-sent us a poem ; a gathering yellow brow. You have forgot- composition which we will mildly characten the lip-service. And the thought of terize as less than Miltonian. And thereheavy and complicated responsibility chal- with he wrote, “ If you accept the inclosed, lenges a rising respondent energy in your send me a check for One Thousand Dollars." heart. That is manly. You are not so You know, Alick, that every man has the ignorantly certain, either, as you were. right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of Not discouraged ? Wait a little. An im- happiness. He has also the right, my partial intellectual eclecticism has been friend, to set his own value upon his own the very ideal of your studies and your poetry. But, candidly, we did not send literary efforts ? And that may perhaps him the document alluded to; and that for -!

a plain reason; namely, that the amount Perhaps; and only perhaps. You may would, at twenty-five cents per hundred be the Coming Man. Who knows? If you (the usual rate), have procured us four are, we individually will enlist as a faith- bundred thousand old newspapers, full of ful private under your banner. But who matter equally valuable for our purposes ; knows?

from among which we might select any We think we remember you angry, Alick. portion, correspondent in dimension with Were you ever? Oh yes, you say-when

the Thousand Dollar Poem, at an expense that great jeering tow-headed fellow boxed (estimated) of one eighth part of a mill, your ears. Yes, you were. We recollect current money of the United States. We how you polished him off; and were sus- may add, as a specimen of the curiosities pended from college, too. Aha, impassible -or rather the amenities of literature, Alick ?

that there was a most wonderful quantity Why, dear man, you are as touchy as of diplomatic noncommittalism in a set of tinder. Do you not know that if a careless

kind endorsements which our friend had waiter, even, at a public dining-room, de- forwarded to further his suit. layeth his coming, you fume and fret your

That is a mild specimen of an asker." self into a hot mist of fidgets? How at But, Alick, in such a case you must not fire any suspected imputation or insult, you off a quiverfull of jokes at him, the un. jump like a snap-bug, and avoid firing great happy. You must write a civil and suvolleys of vituperation only by biting off gared letter, regretting that the finished the tip of your tongue ?

(a safe word) production which he sent is Well; you can't deny it, though we see unfortunately of a length which must at that you are getting angry already, even present preclude its insertion. at the description.

Here, again, is a case of mental delusion But-suppose, for instance, you sat in or frailty, which is worth recording. A our place, as we said—truly it is a place correspondent, very evidently a worthy and to be filled by a man mightier than he who

kind-hearted one,-writes to our publishers taketh a city-namely, by a ruler of his that a literary friend of his had recently own spirit. For humbugs will be let fly at died at his house, in the country. As liteyou. Spiteful rivals will sneer at you. rary executor of the deceased, our correUnscrupulous contemporaries will-ahem! spondent says he is much interested in -convey. Arguments for belief as clear, learning from the papers left in his possesto you, as common honesty, or the golden sion, that his late friend was the author of rule, will be vilipended as nests and sum- the Potiphar Papers, and as there could maries of all iniquity-infernal machines be now no reason to the contrary, he calls exploded to shatter the peace of God and upon our publishers to do justice to his the happiness of men. Each contribution friend by announcing the fact, that these rejected may be the chrysalis whence shall i admirable papers," &c. were by Mr. shortly creep a volant thing, Sitting dimly. The reply of our publishers (was briefly to here and there, and whispering contagious the effect that the gentleman was mistaken, dislike. For contributors (although all inasmuch as the said papers were from anBry nice people) are only human. Have other source altogether; and, moreover, the said publishers had never written a line able and entertaining work. The only way to the deceased friend, and, indeed, had in which I can reconcile the matter is, that never heard of him, or from him in any the letters to Mr. were written by youway whatever. Whereupon our worthy while that to myself was written by Mr. correspondent replies, with very excusable Blank." indignation, that he has positive proofs to Now, Alick, perhaps you would have the contrary. “I have,” says he, “Mr. considered this curious assumption of bor

—'s correspondence in my possession. rowed plumes in no other light than as In it I find several letters from your firm a mere imposture for selfish or mercenary of the most flattering description.” “ As a purposes'; but why not suggest the charisample, I will quote the following, which I table benefit of the doubt, and let it pass wish you to reconcile with the one quoted for an instance of peculiar mental halluci. above," i.e. to the effect that the authorship nation? of said papers belonged elsewhere.

It was rather cruel that the worthy exe

cutor should be so rudely undeceived in - Mr.

regard to the claims of his departed friend; “ DEAR SIR :-Inclosed please find our but even charity could do no less. Our draft on · New York City Bank' for four

publishers had simply to pronounce the let. handred dollars, which we ask you to

ter quoted as an entire fabrication, having accept as a small consideration for the Faluable services you have rendered us.

no shadow of a foundation. But, whatever As we have often before said, so we now

the motives which prompted such an imsay to you, that the · Potiphar Papers have posture, or the mental disorder which caused done more for the popularity of our Maga- such a delusion, we need only note it in zine, more to establish its character, than

this nameless way, as one of the minor all else we have received or published. We

curiosities of literature. feel that the trifle we send you is no compensation, but you know this is our first

Our publishers, you think, should profit year, and the enterprise thus far has been by the demonstration of liberality and hosan experiment. Its success warrants us in pitality so handsomely assessed upon them making it a permanent thing; and if we in this counterfeit epistle. They will of can secure yourself and a few others to

course seize the next opportunity to deserve contribute montbly, we think we can make

this pleasant reputation. Lesser cheques it what the public now have reason to expeet. Yoar health being again well-estab

and colder compliments, and more limited lished. may we not expect regularly con- invitations, would be very ungracious, after tribations from your flowing pen? Let all the precedent so generously imagined for your leisure time be devoted for writing for them as suitable in such cases. us, and we will make the compensation The “fitness of things” in creditable satisfactory. We have under consider

authorship, is again exemplified and ation a plan which, in the course of two months, we shall submit to you, for your

rather too often by the way) by some of improvement and approval, and then shall our contemporaries on the other side of the

the terms upon which you will execute water. We refer to the now chronic habit it. We have not realized the promised in which several English Magazines indulge pleasure of seeing you in our city. What

of copying from American books and perinere inducements can we offer? The freedon of our houses and the city shall be

odicals, not only without credit, but in yours. We do desire most sincerely to

a way calculated to deceive. Here in Bentmake your acquaintance personally, and ley's Miscellany, for August, is a specimen shall not be satisfied with anything short of -a poem of Tuckerman’s, copied from his seeing you in oar own “sanctum,” and in volume published by Ticknor in 1850, is our own houses. With new assurance of

given as an orginal contribution to Bentoar interest in your prosperity, and contisuing good health, we are, most cordially, ley, with the careful omission of the auyours, &c.,

thor's name-reversing, in this instance, a (Signed) “G. P. Putxax & Co." recent compliment to ourselves in the saine

magazine, when it copied the poem of The ** This letter,” proceeds our correspondent, Two Angels," adding the words “ By " proves conclusively, by your own acknow- Henry W. Longfellow," and giving it as an ledgment, that Mr. was the author of original poem, written specially for Bentthe · Potiphar Papers,' and I am at a loss ley! And then as an example of appreciato perceive how, with this letter in being, tive and generous “conveyance," we find • Mr. Blank, one of our editors,' should that a composition for which our publishclaim for himself the authorship of this very ers had taken pride in sending the author a considırable' compliment, is going the pectable a man would never fire a brutum rounds of American periodicals credited to fulmen at you—an empty bang ? and you an English magazine! Call you this “en- would have jeeringly inquired how you couraging American literature? No? You must needs expect to be compelled? You would denounce the meanness, dishonesty, would have stated with offensive innuendo &c. &c. ? Calmly, worthy friend. Remember that free speech was yet exercisable in some that anything mean is decidedly “ Un- portions of the country; and that you, inEnglish.” Besides do not our excellent dividually, proposed to dwell in some such and respectable cousins bave provocation ? portion. You would have asked what inThese several courtesies' they think are teresting "question” is not "disturbing;" only reciprocal, and if they are so deficient and how, if not “disturbing," there could in poets, and find it so difficult to fill their be any“ question” about it? pages with readable matter from their own We, Alick, are wiser. What is the use authors, can we grudge them a lift, now and of calmly stating cases to a man in a delithen? True, it is pleasant to have one's rium? What did we say about it? No.' "good works” recognized and acknowledged thing. in some shape—but meekness and charity We wished, to be sure, that allowance are Christian virtues. Let us help our

had been made for human liability to err; neighbors over sea as far as practicable, and for our (possibly) honest mistake; and we let the “ balance” go towards the old scores resolved, as we had always resolved, not to that are certainly rather in their favor, and choke down fair statements of our own or so we will still pay our poets and lend anybody's else opinion, to suit Maine, Michithem to Bentley and Eliza Cook and the gan, or Mississippi. rest, without con-sid-e-ra-tion.

You would demolish them! You would Further, Alick; for we would exhibit to show them what it is to undertake to gag a you a fair specimen of the thorny under

free citizen ? Restrain your impetuosity, stratum beneath that which you count a impulsive friend. They honestly differ from bed of roses—there exploded upon us, not us, and if they are unfortunate in not being long ago, a direful storm of wrath, aroused able to endure a fair and thorough examiby an article discussing a question of great

nation of both sides of any subject, let us importance, touching the religious, moral, not imitate their tender timidity. social, and pecuniary prosperity of the whole But you look disconsolate. You don't country. We will quote only one specimen see the use of trying either to edit or of the epistolary torpedoes which cracked contribute, if neither editor nor contributor about us as fast as squibs at a regimental has only such chances of pleasure and suctraining

cess as we have delineated ? “I can but hope and trust,” says our

You are vibratory, Alick. There is use, correspondent, “that this matter will be and great use, both in editing and conamended ; and that the Magazine will sim- tributing ply occupy neutral ground in relation to It is a noble object, that of standing all political and disturbing questions. If highest among the periodic utterances of not, I shall then be compelled in self- so true and living a mind as our American defence to adopt more decisive measures mind. And the achievement of adequately upon the subject.”

controlling those utterances—or a principal Alick, Alick! your conduct in respect vehicle of them,-is task enough to satisfy to this esteemed friend would have been a very high ambition-and a very widely totally indefensible. You would have and vividly active intellect. flashed editorial thunder and lightning The honest editor's is a noble office ; and about his head and ears, enough to make a we magnify it accordingly.

And why Sennacherib of him. You would have should you take a view so suddenly sad, of twitted him with being an emperor, or some- the contributor's fate? It is true that ninething of the kind ; with residing (we do

tenths of the matter offered us cannot come not break confidence in saying so much) in into the Magazine, and could not, even if the "kingdom of South Carolina"-and Bacon, Milton, Shakespeare, Scott, Irving, talking as if he owned it; you would have Hawthorne, or De Quincey, should furnish inquired, with sarcastic quietude, after the us the same amount. The greater the pass, precise nature of the force to be applied the better is the best ; and this is our reason “in self-defence;" you would have been for desiring an extended field from which to confident that so clear-sighted and self-res- choose. Meanwhile, lest you, “humble"

Alick, and other modest worth unknown to Its second requisite is, to admit of rapid fame, should take undue discouragement execution. from our words, understand, we pray you, Its third requisite, to be beautiful in that we have found our most satisfying form, of letter, line, and page. literary success in the fact that while we Therefore, Alick, when you send MS. to have received assistance from leaders in us, be careful, first, that it is legible. That American literature, so we have transplant- secured, write as fast and as handsomely ed into our conservatory, full many a plant as you will. that otherwise might have wasted every Alick departed. He had, perhaps, been particle of its sweetness upon the desert air. unceremoniously trimmed. But he is much What we mean, in plain English, is simply benefited, if only he adds to the tail of his this : that nobody ought to be dismayed at judgment as the English judge learnedly this chance of failure; because, first it is remarked, by way of obiter dictum-what Do greater here than elsewhere; and second- we clipped from the wings of his imaginaly, the greater the alternative honors. tion.

Perhaps, that is reasonable, you say? It Alick is,nobody. We mean that he is is. That last MS. of yours? Had we had nobody in particular. time to read it ?

No. We did read one page ; and it occupied a golden half hour of our time. You have no right to expect that we shall

CORRESPONDENCE. decipher for you. If you send us hiero

We insert a letter, unfortunately some glyphics, you must inclose a Champollion.

time mislaid, giving valuable information Your composition was evidently very good ;

as to Fitch's and Fulton's deserts in the and we think we may promise that if you history of steam navigation. It is from will do two or tbree more clerical opera

a distinguished contemporary observer and tions upon it, it shall appear.

actor in the matters whereof he speaks. You write a remarkably plain band ?

Pray “ don't be dreadful.” It is so FITCH'S AND FULTON'S STEAY NAVIGATIOX. plain that it is repulsive. We speak to you

To the Editor of Putnam's Monthly. like a father, dear Alick ; with tears in our

SIR :-I have been infinitely amused by eyes; and you should not be vexed. In

your article upon the “ Reminiscences" of the first place, you have written on both the cosmopolitan Nolte ; more so, even, than sides of the sheet. Paper is not so dear, by the book itself, which, though amusing bat that you might waste half the space on

from its very errors, contains, among many it, to do much towards gaining the eyes of

“ too tedious to mention," one in particuthe editor, and the care of the composi

lar that, from its relation to the judicial

history of our State and the Union, calls tor.

for correction. I undertake this task the You have used foolscap. Leave it, here- more readily, from personal participation after, for those whose heads it fits. It folds and knowledge in regard to the matter in very inconveniently; and, in our hands, or question. on the table, it wriggles and crooks in an

I refer to his account of the introduction of ogly, inconvenient, provoking fashion ; 50

steam navigation upon our waters, the whole

credit of which he gives to Mr. Fulton, that we cannot well appreciate the excel

without noticing the assistance which that lence of the sentiments inscribed upon it. ingenious and adroit mechanician derived - Commercial note,” or an equivalent size, from the inventions and experiments of his is the paper you should use.

predecessors. He mistakes, in the first The writing is not good. See here, is place, in assigning a secondary part to the that word-oo, you must not see the context

late Chancellor Livingston, in his connec

tion with Mr. Fulton ; whereas, it was the --pealm. or Jerusalem ?

Chancellor that first directed the attention Jerusalem, you say, of course.

of Mr. Fulton to steam navigation, and No, it is meant for psalm. “ A psalm furnished the pecuniary means for its fucexhaled from the deep soul of the nation." cessful establishment, as well as for the pre

I could pose you over your own script, vious experiments—and that, not in conseI this day. You cannot read your own

quence of any family connection between writing when it is cold. Let us enunciate

them, as Mr. Wolte supposes, but from Mr.

Fulton's introduction to him at Paris, in to you our statement of the theory of

relation to bis torpedo and catamaran proTriting,

jects, while Mr. Livingston resided there as Its first requisite is to be read easily. Minister from this country. Both Mr. Liv. ingston and his brother-in-law, the late ral Government. It was upon this ground, John Stevens, besides, John Fitch, James principally,* that the validity of the State Rumsey, and others, had been engaged in grant was drawn in question, both in the experiments of the kind_long before Courts and Legislature of this State. The the Chancellor's mission to France. Upon Chancellor, Lansing, decided against it; but Mr. Fulton's presenting himself in Paris, his decree was reversed by the Court of ErMr. Livingston, apprised of his me- rors, and final judgment rendered in its fachanical skill and ingenuity, engaged him vor. A compromise, however, was entered to assist in the experiments he was then into between the parties, by which Messrs making in steam navigation on the Seine. Livingston and Fulton granted a license to He was aware that prior to any of his own their adversaries for the exclusive right of attempts, John Fitch had, in the year 1787, steam-navigation upon Lake Champlain, obtained exclusive grants from the States upon condition of their forbearing to appeal of Pennsylvania and New York, to navi- to the Supreme Court of the United States, gate their waters with “the steamboat by whose decision alone was final upon the him lately invented,” provided, that within main point in controversy. one year, such boats should be placed by But a memorial was subsequently prehim on those rivers, and whose speed should sented to the Legislature at the session of not be less than four miles an hour. This 1814, by Governor Ogden of New Jersey, condition was performed, whereupon the setting forth in substance that he was the State grants became absolutely vested in proprietor of a ferry between ElizabethFitch and his representatives. About the town, in that State, and the City of New same time, Rumsey was engaged in similar York, the value of which was destroyed by experiments upon the waters of Virginia, reason of a license granted by Messrs. but with what result, does not appear. Livingston and Fulton to John R. Living

Fitch, who had used a very imperfect en- ston, for the exclusive navigation of the gine, constructed by himself, afterwards intermediate waters by means of steam ; and repaired to Europe, to avail himself of the that he had applied to the State grantees improvements made in that machine, in its for a similar license, and had been refused. application to other purposes, both in Eng- He also stated, that he was deterred from land and France. Having gained the in- venturing a steamboat upon his ferry by formation he sought, he was about to em- the extraordinary penalties given to protect bark on his return home, when he was taken the State grant, declaring it ipso facto forill, and died at L'Orient. His papers, feited to their use, directing the Court of plans, models, and drawings, fell into the Chancery to issue an injunction for the hands of Mr. Moses Vail, United States seizure of such boat, and rendering it irreConsul at that port, of which Mr. Livings- pleviable during a trial, thus in effect ton was informed, and sent Mr. Fulton with awarding execution before judgment, and authority to receive them, and they were without a trial. He, therefore, prayed relief, delivered to him accordingly by Mr. Vail. either by an act, declaring that the State Before, however, Mr. Livingston went to grant did not extend to the conterminous France, he had procured from the Legisla- waters, common to both States, or by a ture of New York, in the year 1798, an repeal of the extraordinary remedies above Act transferring to himself the exclusive mentioned, which, in their operation closed right granted to Fitch, upon a representa- the doors of the Courts of Justice against & tion that the latter had gone abroad and trial of his rights. died, without performing the condition This memorial was referred to a select. upon which his grant depended. The same committee, consisting of the Hon. William allegation might have been made with A. Duer, late President of Columbia Colstricter truth in regard to Mr. Livingston, lege; the Hon. John Savage, late Chief who was never able to perform the similar Justice of the Supreme Court; the Hon. conditions, till on his return from France, he Samuel Young, afterwards Canal Commishad associated Mr. Fulton in his enterprise, sioner and State Senator ; John H. Avery, and obtained a revival of his grant, which Esq., an eminent lawyer of Owego; and Jad in the meantime expired, by its own Bethel Mather, a respectable merchant of limitation, in their joint names.

Troy. It was upon the hearing before this You will observe that the grant to Fitch committee that the facts above stated apwas made before the adoption of the present peared in evidence. A remonstrance having Federal Constitution, when the State had a been interposed by Messrs. Livingston and right to make it, while the transfer to Mr. Fulton, they appeared before the comLivingston was made, after that Constitution mittee, by their counsel, Messi's. Emmet had been nine years in operation, and the and Colden ; while Governor Ogden conState had surrendered the right to the Gene- ducted the inquiry on his part in person.

* Another ground of objection to the State grant had been previously taken by the Council of the Revision in 1798, when the bill was sent up for their approval, viz. : that it divested the right of Fitch, without proof of the facts upon which its forfeiture was alleged to have arisen. But the act passed the Legislature, notwithstanding this objection, and the question of the repugnancy of the grant to the Constitution was not raised cither in the Council or the Legislature.

« AnteriorContinuar »