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Chapter 15

LETTER XV.

Perversion of Institutions.—The French Academy.—Laplace.—Astronomy.
—Theatres of Paris.—Immoral Plot.—Artificial Feelings.—French
Tragedy.—Literary Mania.—The American Press.—American
Newspapers.—French Journals—Publishing Manoeuvres.—Madame Malibran.

To JAMES E. DE KAY, ESQUIRE.

It appears to be the melancholy lot of humanity, that every institution which ingenuity can devise shall be perverted to an end different from the legitimate. If we plan a democracy, the craven wretch who, in a despotism, would be the parasite of a monarch, heads us off, and gets the best of it under the pretence of extreme love for the people; if we flatter ourselves that by throwing power into the hands of the rich and noble, it is put beyond the temptation to abuse it, we soon discover that rich is a term of convention, no one thinking he has enough until he has all, and that nobility of station has no absolute connexion with nobleness of spirit or of conduct; if we confide all to one, indolence, favouritism, and indeed the impossibility of supervision, throws us again into the hands of the demagogue, in his new, or rather true character of a courtier. So it is with life; in politics, religion, arms, arts and letters, yea, even the republic of letters, as it is called, is the prey of schemes and parasites, and things in fact, are very different from things as they seem to be.

"In the seventeen years that I have been a married man," said Captain —— of the British navy, "I have passed but seventeen months with my wife and family," "But, now there is peace, you will pass a few years quietly in America, to look after your affairs," said I, by way of awkward condolence. "No, indeed; I shall return to England as soon as possible, to make up for lost time. I have been kept so much at sea, that they have forgotten me at home, and duty to my children requires that I should be on the spot." In the simplicity of my heart, I thought this strange, and yet nothing could be more true. Captain —— was a scion of the English aristocracy, and looked to his sword for his fortune. Storms, fagging, cruising, all were of small avail compared to interest at the Admiralty, and so it is with all things else, whether in Europe or America. The man who really gains the victory, is lucky, indeed, if he obtain the meed of his skill and valour. You may be curious to know of what all this is à propos? To be frank with, you, I have visited the French Academy—"ces quarante qui ont l'esprit comme quatre," and have come away fully impressed with the vanity of human things!

The occasion was the reception of two or three new members, when, according to a settled usage, the successful candidates pronounced eulogies on their predecessors. You may be curious to know what impression the assembled genius of France produced on a stranger from the western world. I can only answer, none. The Academy of the Sciences can scarcely ever be less than distinguished in such a nation; but when I came to look about me, and to inquire after the purely literary men, I was forcibly struck with the feebleness of the catalogue of names. Not one in five was at all known to me, and very few, even of those who were, could properly be classed among the celebrated writers of the day. As France has many very clever men who were not on the list, I was desirous of knowing the reason, and then learned that intrigue, court-favour, and "log-rolling" to use a quaint American term, made members of the academy as well as members of the cabinet. A moment's reflection might have told me it could not well be otherwise. It would be so in America, if we were burthened with an academy; it is so as respects collegiate honours; and what reason is there for supposing it should not be so in a country so notoriously addicted to intrigue as France?

One ought not to be the dupe of these things. There are a few great names, distinguished by common consent, whose claims it is necessary to respect. These men form the front of every honorary institution; if there are to be knights and nobles, and academicians, they must be of the number; not that such distinctions are necessary to them, but that they are necessary to the distinctions; after which the oi polloi are enrolled as they can find interest. Something very like an admission of this is contained in an inscription on the statue of Molière, which stands in the vestibule of the hall of the Academy, which frankly says, "Though we are not necessary to your glory, you are necessary to ours." He was excluded from the forty, by intrigue, on account of his profession being that of a player. Shakspeare, himself, would have fared no better. Now, fancy a country in which there was a club of select authors, that should refuse to enrol the name of William Shakspeare on their list!

The sitting was well attended, and I dare say the addresses were not amiss; though there is something exceedingly tiresome in one of these eulogies, that is perpetrated by malice prepense. The audience applauded very much, after the fashion of those impromptus which are made à loisir, and I could not but fancy that a good portion of the assembly began to think the Academy was what the cockneys call a rum place, before they heard the last of it. We had a poem by Comte Daru, to which I confess I did not listen, notwithstanding my personal respect for the distinguished writer, simply because I was most heartily wearied before he began, and because I can never make anything of French poetry, in the Academy or out of it.

It would be unjust to speak lightly of any part of the French Academy, without a passing remark in honour of those sections of it to which honour is due. In these sections may be included, I think, that of the arts, as well as that of the sciences. The number of respectable artists that exist in this country is perfectly astonishing. The connoisseurs, I believe, dispute the merits of the school, and ignorant as I am, in such matters, I can myself see that there is a prevalent disposition, both in statuary and painting, to sacrifice simplicity to details, and that the theatrical is sometimes mistaken for the grand; but, after admitting both these faults, and some defects in colouring, there still remains a sufficient accumulation of merit, to create wonder in one, like myself, who has not had previous opportunities of ascertaining the affluence of a great nation in this respect.

As regards the scientific attainments of the French, it is unnecessary to say anything; though I believe you will admit that they ought at least to have the effect of counteracting some of the prejudices about dancing-masters, petits maîtres, and perruquiers, that have descended to us, through English novels and plays. Such a man as Laplace, alone, is sufficient to redeem an entire people from these imputations. The very sight of one of his demonstrations will give common men, like ourselves, headaches, and you will remember that having successfully got through one of the toughest of them, he felicitated himself that there was but one other man living who could comprehend it, now it was made.

What a noble gift would it have been to his fellow-creatures, had some competent follower of Laplace bestowed on them a comprehensive but popular compend of the leading astronomical facts, to be used as one of the most ordinary school-books! Apart from the general usefulness of this peculiar species of knowledge, and the chances that, by thus popularizing the study, sparks might be struck from the spirit of some dormant Newton, I know no inquiry that has so strong a tendency to raise the mind from the gross and vulgar pursuits of the world, to a contemplation of the power and designs of God. It has often happened to me, when, filled with wonder and respect for the daring and art of man, I have been wandering through the gorgeous halls of some palace, or other public edifice, that an orrery or a diagram of the planetary system has met my eye, and recalled me, in a moment, from the consideration of art, and its intrinsic feebleness, to that of the sublimity of nature. At such times, this globe has appeared so insignificant, in comparison with the mighty system of which it forms so secondary a part, that I felt a truly philosophical indifference, not to give it a better term, for all it contained. Admiration of human powers, as connected with the objects around me, has been lost in admiration of the mysterious spirit which could penetrate the remote and sublime secrets of the science; and on no other occasions have I felt so profound a conviction of my own isolated insignificance, or so lively a perception of the stupendous majesty of the Deity.

Passing by the common and conceded facts of the dimensions of the planets, and the extent of their orbits, what thoughts are awakened by the suggestion that the fixed stars are the centres of other solar systems, and the eccentric comets are links to connect them all in one great and harmonious design! The astronomers tell us that some of these comets have no visible nucleuses—that the fixed stars are seen through their apparent densest parts, and that they can be nothing but luminous gases; while, on the other hand, others do betray dark compact bodies of more solid matter. Fixed stars unaccountably disappear, as if suddenly struck out of their places. Now, we know that aerolites are formed in the atmosphere by a natural process, and descend in masses of pure iron. Why may not the matter of one globe, dispersed into its elements by the fusion of its consummation, reassemble in the shape of comets, gaseous at first, and slowly increasing and condensing in the form of solid matter, varying in their course as they acquire the property of attraction, until they finally settle into new and regular planetary orbits by the power of their own masses, thus establishing a regular reproduction of worlds to meet the waste of eternity? Were the earth dissolved into gases by fusion, what would become of its satellite the moon? Might not the principles of our planet, thus volatilized, yield to its nearer attraction, assemble around that orb, which, losing its governing influence, should be left to wander in infinite space, subject to a new but eccentric law of gravity, until finally reduced again within the limits of some new system? How know we that such is not the origin of comets?

Many astronomers have believed that the solar system, in company with thousands of other systems, revolves around a common centre, in orbits so vast as to defy computation, and a religious sentiment might well suggest that this centre of the universe is the throne of the Most High. Here we may fancy the Deity seated in power, and controlling, by his will, the movements of worlds, directing each to the completion of his own mysterious and benevolent designs.

It certainly might be dangerous to push our speculations too far, but there can be no risk in familiarizing men to consider the omnipotence of God, and to feel their own comparative insignificance. What ideas of vastness are obtained by a knowledge of the fact that there exist stars in the firmament which ordinary telescopes show us only as single bodies, but which, on examination, by using reflectors of a higher power, are found to be clusters of orbs—clusters of worlds—or clusters of suns! These, again, are found to be binary stars, or two stars revolving round each other, while they are thought, at the same time, to revolve around their central sun, and accompanied by this again, probably, to revolve round the great common centre of all!

But, in the words of the quaint old song, I must cry "Holla! my fancy, whither dost thou go?" Before taking leave of the stars altogether, however, I will add that the French, and I believe all Europe, with the exception of England, follow the natural order of time, in counting the seasons. Thus the spring commences with the vernal equinox, and the autumn with the autumnal. This division of the year leaves nearly the whole of March as a winter month, June as a spring month, and September as belonging to the summer. No general division of the seasons can suit all latitudes; but the equinoxes certainly suggest the only two great events of the year, that equally affect the entire sphere. Had the old method of computing time continued, the seasons would gradually have made the circle of the months, until their order was reversed as they are now known to be in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Quitting the Academy, which, with its schools of the classical and the romantic, has tempted me to a higher flight than I could have believed possible, let us descend to the theatres of Paris. Talma was still playing last year, when we arrived, and as in the case of repentance, I put off a visit to the Théâtre Français, with a full determination to go, because it might be made at any time. In the meanwhile, he fell ill and died, and it never was my good fortune to see that great actor. Mademoiselle Mars I have seen, and, certainly, in her line of characters, I have never beheld her equal. Indeed, it is scarcely possible to conceive of a purer, more severe, more faultless, and yet more poetical representation of common nature, than that which characterizes her art. Her acting has all the finish of high breeding, with just as much feeling as is necessary to keep alive the illusion. As for rant, there is not as much about her whole system, as would serve a common English, or American actress, for a single "length."

To be frank with you, so great is the superiority of the French actors, in vaudevilles, the light opera, and genteel comedy, that I fear I have lost my taste for the English stage. Of tragedy I say nothing, for I cannot enter into the poetry of the country at all, but, in all below it, these people, to my taste, are immeasurably our superiors; and by ours, you know I include the English stage. The different lines here, are divided among the different theatres; so that if you wish to laugh, you can go to the Variétés; to weep, to the Théâtre Français; or, to gape, to the Odéon. At the Porte St. Martin, one finds vigorous touches of national character, and at the Gymnase, the fashionable place of resort, just at this moment, national traits polished by convention. Besides these, there are many other theatres, not one of which, in its way, can be called less than tolerable.

One can say but little in favour of the morals of too many of the pieces represented here. In this particular there is a strange obliquity of reason, arising out of habitual exaggeration of feeling, that really seems to disqualify most of the women, even from perceiving what is monstrous, provided it be sentimental and touching. I was particularly advised to go to the Théâtre Madame to see a certain piece by a côterie of very amiable women, whom I met the following night at a house where we all regularly resorted, once a week. On entering, they eagerly inquired if "I had not been charmed, fascinated; if any thing could be better played, or more touching?" Better played it could not easily be, but I had been so shocked with the moral of the piece, that I could scarcely admire the acting. "The moral! This was the first time they had heard it questioned." I was obliged to explain. A certain person had been left the protector of a friend's daughter, then an infant. He had the child educated as his sister, and she grew to be a woman, ignorant of her real origin. In the meantime, she has offers of marriage, all of which she unaccountably refuses. In fine, she was secretly cherishing a passion for her guardian and supposed brother; an explanation is had, they marry, and the piece closes. I objected to the probability of a well-educated young woman's falling in love with a man old enough to be selected as her guardian, when she was an infant, and against whom there existed the trifling objection of his being her own brother.

"But he was not her brother—not even a relative." "True; but she believed him to be her brother." "And nature—do you count nature as nothing?—a secret sentiment told her he was not her brother." "And use, and education, and an open sentiment, and all the world told her he was. Such a woman was guilty of a revolting indelicacy and a heinous crime, and no exaggerated representation of love, a passion of great purity in itself, can ever do away with the shocking realities of such a case."

I found no one to agree with me. He was not her brother, and though his tongue and all around her told her he was, her heart, that infallible guide, told her the truth. What more could any reasonable man ask?

It was à propos of this play, and of my objection to this particular feature of it, that an exceedingly clever French woman laughingly told me she understood there was no such thing as love in America. That a people of manners as artificial as the French, should suppose that others, under the influence of the cold, formal exterior which the puritans have entailed on so large a portion of the public, were without strong feeling, is not altogether as irrational as may at first appear. Art, in ordinary deportment, is both cause and effect. That which we habitually affect to be, gets in the end to be so incorporated with our natural propensities as to form a part of the real man. We all know that by discipline we can get the mastery of our strongest passions, and, on the other hand, by yielding to them and encouraging them, that they soon get the mastery over us. Thus do a highly artificial people, fond of, and always seeking high excitement, come, in time, to feel it artificially, as it were, by natural impulses.

I have mentioned the anecdote of the play, because I think it characteristic of a tone of feeling that is quite prevalent among a large class of the French, though I am far from saying there is not a class who would, at once, see the grave sacrifice of principle that is involved, in building up the sentiments of a fiction on such a foundation of animal instinct. I find, on recollection, however, that Miss Lee, in one of her Canterbury Tales, has made the love of her plot hinge on a very similar incident. Surely she must have been under the influence of some of the German monstrosities that were so much in vogue, about the time she wrote, for even Juvenal would scarcely have imagined anything worse, as the subject of his satire.

You will get a better idea of the sentimentalism that more or less influences the tables of this country, however, if I tell you that the ladies of the côterie, in which the remarks on the amorous sister were made, once gravely discussed in my presence the question whether Madame de Staël was right or wrong, in causing Corinne to go through certain sentimental experiences, as our canters call it at home, on a clouded day, instead of choosing one on which the sun was bright: or, vice versa; for I really forget whether it was on the "windy side" of sensibility or not, that the daughter of Necker was supposed to have erred.

The first feeling is that of surprise at finding a people so artificial in their ordinary deportment, so chaste and free from exaggeration in their scenic representations of life. But reflection will show us that all finish has the effect of bringing us within the compass of severe laws, and that the high taste which results from cultivation repudiates all excess of mere manner. The simple fact is, that an educated Frenchman is a great actor all the while, and that when he goes on the stage, he has much less to do to be perfect, than an Englishman who has drilled himself into coldness, or an American who looks upon strong expressions of feeling as affectation. When the two latter commence the business of playing assumed parts, they consider it as a new occupation, and go at it so much in earnest, that everybody sees they are acting.[19]

[Footnote 19: Mr. Mathews and Mr. Power were the nearest to the neat acting of France of any male English performers the writer ever saw. The first sometimes permitted himself to be led astray, by the caricatures he was required to represent, and by the tastes of his audience; but the latter, so far as the writer has seen him, appears determined to be chaste, come what, come will.]

You will remember, I say nothing in favour of the French tragic representations. When a great and an intellectual nation, like France, unites to applaud images and sentiments that are communicated through their own peculiar forms of speech, it becomes a stranger to distrust his own knowledge, rather than their taste. I dare say that were I more accustomed to the language, I might enjoy Corneille and Racine, and even Voltaire, for I can now greatly enjoy Molière; but, to be honest in the matter, all reciters of heroic French poetry appear to me to depend on a pompous declamation, to compensate for the poverty of the idioms, and the want of nobleness in the expressions. I never heard any one, poet or actor, he who read his own verses, or he who repeated those of others, who did not appear to mouth, and all their tragic playing has had the air of being on stilts. Napoleon has said, from the sublime to the ridiculous it is but a step. This is much truer in France than in most other countries, for the sublime is commonly so sublimated, that it will admit of no great increase. Racine, in a most touching scene, makes one of his heroic characters offer to wipe off the tears of a heroine lest they should discolour her rouge! I had a classmate at college, who was so very ultra courtly in his language, that he never forgot to say, Mr. Julius Caesar, and Mr. Homer.

There exists a perfect mania for letters throughout Europe, in this "piping time of peace." Statesmen, soldiers, peers, princes, and kings, hardly think themselves illustrated, until each has produced his book. The world never before saw a tithe of the names of people of condition, figuring in the catalogues of its writers. "Some thinks he writes Cinna—he owns to Panurge," applies to half the people one meets in society. I was at a dinner lately, given by the Marquis de ——, when the table was filled with peers, generals, ex-ministers, ex-ambassadors, naturalists, philosophers, and statesmen of all degrees. Casting my eyes round the circle, I was struck with the singular prevalence of the cacoethes scribendi, among so many men of different educations, antecedents, and pursuits. There was a soldier present who had written on taste, a politician on the art of war, a diplomate who had dabbled in poetry, and a jurist who pretended to enlighten the world in ethics, it was the drollest assemblage in the world, and suggested many queer associations, for, I believe, the only man at table, who had not dealt in ink, was an old Lieutenant-General, who sat by me, and who, when I alluded to the circumstance, strongly felicitated himself that he had escaped the mania of the age, as it was an illustration of itself. Among the convives were Cuvier, Villemain, Daru, and several others who are almost as well known to science and letters.

Half the voluntary visits I receive are preceded by a volume of some sort or other, as a token of my new acquaintance being a regularly initiated member of the fraternity of the quill. In two or three instances, I have been surprised at subsequently discovering that the regular profession of the writer is arms, or some other pursuit, in which one would scarcely anticipate so strong a devotion to letters. In short, such is the actual state of opinion in Europe, that one is hardly satisfied with any amount, or any quality of glory, until it is consummated by that of having written a book. Napoleon closed his career with the quill, and his successor was hardly on his throne, before he began to publish. The principal officers of the Empire, and émigrés without number, have fairly set to work as so many disinterested historians, and even a lady, who, by way of abbreviation, is called "The Widow of the Grand Army," is giving us regularly volumes, whose eccentricities and periodicity, as the astronomers say, can be reduced to known laws, by the use of figures.

In the middle ages golden spurs were the object of every man's ambition. Without them, neither wealth, nor birth, nor power was properly esteemed; and, at the present time, passing from the lance to the pen, from the casque and shield to the ink-pot and fool's cap, we all seek a passport from the order of Letters. Does this augur good or evil, for the world? The public press of France is conducted with great spirit and talents, on all sides. It has few points in common with our own, beyond the mere fact of its general character. In America, a single literary man, putting the best face on it, enters into a compact with some person of practical knowledge, a printer perhaps, and together they establish a newspaper, the mechanical part of which is confided to the care of the latter partner, and the intellectual to the former. In the country, half the time, the editor is no other than the printer himself, the division of labour not having yet reached even this important branch of industry. But looking to the papers that are published in the towns, one man of letters is a luxury about an American print. There are a few instances in which there are two, or three; but, generally, the subordinates are little more than scissors-men. Now, it must be apparent, at a glance, that no one individual can keep up the character of a daily print, of any magnitude; the drain on his knowledge and other resources being too great. This, I take it, is the simple reason why the press of America ranks no higher than it does. The business is too much divided; too much is required, and this, too, in a country where matters of grave import are of rare occurrence, and in which the chief interests are centred in the vulgar concerns of mere party politics, with little or no connexion with great measures, or great principles. You have only to fancy the superior importance that attaches to the views of powerful monarchs, the secret intrigues of courts, on whose results, perhaps, depend the fortunes of Christendom, and the serious and radical principles that are dependent on the great changes of systems that are silently working their way, in this part of the world, and which involve material alterations in the very structure of society, to get an idea of how much more interest a European journal, ceteris paribus, must be, compared to an American journal, by the nature of its facts alone. It is true that we get a portion of these facts, as light finally arrives from the remoter stars, but mutilated, and necessarily shorn of much of their interest, by their want of importance to our own country. I had been in Europe some time, before I could fully comprehend the reason why I was ignorant of so many minor points of its political history, for, from boyhood up, I had been an attentive reader of all that touched this part of the world, as it appeared in our prints. By dint of inquiry, however, I believe I have come at the fact. The winds are by no means as regular as the daily prints; and it frequently happens, especially in the winter and spring months, that five or six packets arrive nearly together, bringing with them the condensed intelligence of as many weeks. Now, newspaper finders notoriously seek the latest news, and in the hurry and confusion of reading and selecting, and bringing out, to meet the wants of the day, many of the connecting links are lost, readers get imperfect notions of men and things, and, from a want of a complete understanding of the matter, the mind gives up, without regret, the little and unsatisfactory knowledge it had so casually obtained. I take it, this is a principal cause of the many false notions that exist among us, on the subject of Europe and its events.

In France, a paper is established by a regular subscription of capital; a principal editor is selected, and he is commonly supported, in the case of a leading journal, by four or five paid assistants. In addition to this formidable corps, many of the most distinguished men of France are known to contribute freely to the columns of the prints in the interest of their cause.

The laws of France compel a journal that has admitted any statement involving facts concerning an individual, to publish his reply, that the antidote may meet the poison. This is a regulation that we might adopt with great advantage to truth and the character of the country.

There is not at this moment, within my knowledge, a single critical literary journal of received authority in all France. This is a species of literature to which the French pay but little attention just now, although many of the leading daily prints contain articles on the principal works as they appear.

By the little that has come under my observation, I should say the fraudulent and disgusting system of puffing and of abusing, as interest or pique dictates, is even carried to a greater length in France than it is in either England or America. The following anecdote, which relates to myself, may give you some notion of the modus operandi.

All the works I had written previously to coming to Europe had been taken from the English editions and translated, appearing simultaneously with their originals. Having an intention to cause a new book to be printed in English in Paris, for the sake of reading the proofs, the necessity was felt of getting some control over the translation, lest, profiting by the interval necessary to send the sheets home to be reprinted, it might appear as the original book. I knew that the sheets of previous books had been purchased in England, and I accordingly sent a proposition to the publishers that the next bargain should be made with me. Under the impression that an author's price would be asked, they took the alarm, and made difficulties. Finding me firm, and indisposed to yield to some threats of doing as they pleased, the matter was suspended for a few days. Just at this moment, I received through the post a single number of an obscure newspaper, whose existence, until then, was quite unknown to me. Surprised at such an attention, I was curious to know the contents. The journal contained an article on my merits and demerits as a writer, the latter being treated with a good deal of freedom. When one gets a paper in this manner, containing abuse of himself, he is pretty safe in believing its opinions dishonest. But I had even better evidence than common in this particular case, for I happened to be extolled for the manner in which I had treated the character of Franklin, a personage whose name even had never appeared in anything I had written. This, of course, settled the character of the critique, and the next time I saw the individual who had acted as agent in the negociation just mentioned, I gave him the paper, and told him I was half disposed to raise my price on account of the pitiful manoeuvre it contained. We had already come to terms, the publishers finding that the price was little more than nominal, and the answer was a virtual conclusion that the article was intended to affect my estimate of the value of the intended work in France, and to bring me under subjection to the critics.[20]

[Footnote 20: The writer suffers this anecdote to stand as it was written nine years since; but since his return home, he has discovered that we are in no degree behind the French in the corruption and frauds that render the pursuits of a writer one of the most humiliating and revolting in which a man of any pride of character can engage, unless he resolutely maintains his independence, a temerity that is certain to be resented by all those who, unequal to going alone in the paths of literature, seek their ends by clinging to those who can, either as pirates or robbers.]

I apprehend that few books are brought before the public in France, dependent only on their intrinsic merits; and the system of intrigue, which predominates in everything, is as active in this as in other interests.

In France, a book that penetrates to the provinces may be said to be popular; and as for a book coming from the provinces, it is almost unheard of. The despotism of the trade on this point is unyielding. Paris appears to deem itself the arbiter in all matters of taste and literature, and it is almost as unlikely that a new fashion should come from Lyon, or Bordeaux, or Marseilles, as that a new work should be received with favour that was published in either of those towns. The approbation of Paris is indispensable, and the publishers of the capital, assisted by their paid corps of puffers and detractors, are sufficiently powerful to prevent that potent public, to whom all affect to defer, from judging for itself.

We have lately had a proof here of the unwillingness of the Parisians to permit others to decide for them, in anything relating to taste, in a case that refers to us Americans. Madame Malibran arrived from America a few months since. In Europe she was unknown, but the great name of her father stood in her stead. Unluckily it was whispered that she had met with great success in America. America! and this, too, in conjunction with music and the opera! The poor woman was compelled to appear under the disadvantage of having brought an American reputation with her, and seriously this single fact went nigh to destroy her fortunes. Those wretches who, as Coleridge expresses it, are "animalculae, who live by feeding on the body of genius," affected to be displeased, and the public hesitated, at their suggestions, about accepting an artist from the "colonies," as they still have the audacity to call the great Republic. I have no means of knowing what sacrifices were made to the petty tyrants of the press before this woman, who has the talents necessary to raise her to the summit of her profession, was enabled to gain the favour of a "generous and discerning public!"

James Fenimore Cooper

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