A CHAPTER ON
Edgar A. Poe
[In this, our second "Chapter on
conclude the article and the year together. When we say that so
a collection has never been published before, we assert only that which
is obvious; and we are pleased to see that our. exertions upon this
have been well received. As we claim only the sorry merit of the
we shall be permitted to say that no Magazine paper has ever excited
interest than the one now concluded. To all readers it has seemed to be
welcome — but especially to those who themselves dabble in the waters
Helicon: — to those and their innumerable friends. The diligence
in getting together these autographs has been a matter of no little
and the expense of the whole undertaking will be at once comprehended;
but we intend the article merely as an earnest of what we shall do next
year. Our aim shall be to furnish our friends with variety,
and piquancy, without any regard to labor or to cost.]
F. W. Thomas
F. W. THOMAS, who began his literary
early age of seventeen, by a poetical lampoon upon certain Baltimore
has since more particularly distinguished himself as a novelist. His
Bradshaw" is perhaps better known than any of his later fictions. It is
remarkable for a frank, unscrupulous portraiture of men and things, in
high life and low, and by unusual discrimination and observation and
to character. Since its publication he has produced "East and West" and
"Howard Pinckney," neither of which seems to have been so popular as
first essay; although both have merit.
"East and West," published in 1836,
to portray the every-day events occurring to a fallen family emigrating
from the East to the West In it, as in "Clinton Bradshaw," most of the
characters are drawn from life. "Howard Pinckney" was published in
Mr. Thomas was, at one period, the
editor of the
Cincinnati "Commercial Advertiser." He is also well known as a public
on a variety of topics. His conversational powers are very great. As a
poet, he has also distinguished himself His " Emigrant " will be read
pleasure by every person of taste.
His MS. is more like that of Mr.
of any other literary person of our acquaintance. It has even more than
the occasional nervousness of Mr. B.'s, and, as in the case of the
of the " New World," indicates the passionate sensibility of the man.
T. G. Spear
THOMAS G. SPEAR is the author of
pieces which have appeared from time to time in our Magazines and other
periodicals. His productions have been much admired, and are
for pathos and grace. His MS. is well shown in the signature. It is too
our taste. [page 274:]
R. M. Morris
Mr. MORRIS ranks, we believe, as the
first of our
Philadelphia poets since the death of Willis Gaylord Clark. His
like those of his late lamented friend, are characterised by sweetness
rather than strength of versification, and by tenderness and delicacy
than by vigor or originality of thought. A late notice of him in the
Notion" from the pen of Rufus W. Griswold, did his high qualities no
than justice. As a prose writer, he is chiefly known by his editorial
to the Philadelphia "Inquirer," and by occasional essays for the
His chirography is usually very
at times sufficiently distinct. It has no marked characteristics, and
that of almost every editor in the country, has been so modified by the
circumstances of his position, as to afford no certain indication of
EZRA HOLDEN has written much, not
only for his
"The Saturday Courier," but for our periodicals generally, and stands
in the public estimation, as a sound thinker, and still more
as a fearless expresser of his thoughts.
His MS. (which we are constrained to
say is a
bad one, and whose general features may be seen in his signature,)
the frank and naive manner of his literary style — a style which not
flies off into whimsicalities.
Mr. MATTHIAS is principally known by
conduct of the "Saturday Chronicle" of Philadelphia, to which he has
much entertaining and instructive matter. His MS. would be generally
a fine one, but it affords little indication of mental character.
Geo. R. Graham
Mr. GRAHAM is known to the literary
world as the
editor and proprietor of "Graham's Magazine," the most popular
in America, and also of the " Saturday Evening Post," of Philadelphia.
For both of these journals he has written much and well.
His MS. generally, is very bad, or at
illegible. At times it is sufficiently distinct, and has force and
speaking plainly of the energy which particularly
him as a man. The signature above is more scratchy than usual.
W. L. Stone
Colonel STONE, the editor of the New
Advertiser," is remarkable for the great difference which exists
the apparent public opinion respecting his abilities, and the real
275:] in which he is privately held. Through his paper, and
a bustling activity always prone to thrust itself forward, he has
an unusual degree of influence in New York, and, not only this, but
appears to be a reputation for talent. But this talent we do not
ever to have heard assigned him by any honest man's private opinion. We
place him among our literati, because he has published certain
Perhaps the best of these are his " Life of Brandt," and "Life and
of Red Jacket. " Of the rest, his story called " Ups and Downs," his
of Animal Magnetism, and his pamphlets concerning Maria Monk, are
the most absurd. His MS. is heavy and sprawling, resembling his mental
character in a species of utter unmeaningness, which lies like the
upon his autograph.
The labors of Mr. SPARKS, Professor
of History at
Harvard, are well known and justly appreciated. His MS. has an
odd appearance. The characters are large, round, black, irregular, and
perpendicular — the signature, as above, being an excellent specimen of
his chirography in general. In all his letters now before us, the lines
are as close together as possible, giving the idea of irretrievable
still none of them are illegible upon close inspection. We can form no
guess in regard to any mental peculiarities from Mr. Sparks' MS., which
has been no doubt modified by the hurrying and intricate nature of his
researches. We might imagine such epistles as these to have been
in extreme haste, by a man exceedingly busy, among great piles of books
and papers huddled up around him, like the chaotic tomes of
The paper used in all our epistles is uncommonly fine.
H. S. Legare
The name of H. S. LEGARE is written
on the final e, yet is pronounced as if this letter were accented, —
He contributed many articles of high merit to the " Southern Review,"
has a wide reputation for scholarship and talent. His MS. resembles
of Mr. Palfrey of the " North American Review," and their mental
appear to us nearly identical. What we have said in regard to the
of Mr. Palfrey will apply with equal force to that of the present
R. W. Griswold
Mr. GRISWOLD has written much, but
chiefly in the
editorial way, whether for the papers, or in books. He is a gentleman
fine taste and sound judgment. His knowledge of American literature, in
all its details, is not exceeded by that of any man among us. He is not
only a polished prose-writer, but a poet of [column 2:] no
although, as yet, he has not put himself much in the way of the public
His MS. is by no means a good one. It
and vacillates in a singular manner; so that nothing can be predicated
from it, except a certain unsteadiness of purpose.
Mr. GEORGE LUNT of Newburyport,
known as a poet of much vigour of style and massiveness of thought. He
delights in the grand, rather than in the beautiful, and is not
turgid, but never feeble. The traits here described impress themselves
with remarkable distinctness upon his chirography, of which the
gives a perfect idea.
Jos. R. Chandler
Mr. CHANDLER'S reputation as the
editor of one of
the best daily papers in the country, and as one of our finest belles
Iettres scholars, is deservedly high. He is well known through his
numerous addresses, essays, miscellaneous sketches, and prose tales.
of these latter evince imaginative powers of a superior order.
His MS. is not fairly shown in his
latter being much more open and bold than his general chirography. His
handwriting must be included in the editorial category — it seems to
been ruined by habitual hurry.
Count L. FITZGERALD TASISTRO has
by many contributions to the periodical literature of the day, and by
editorial conduct of the "expositor," — a critical journal of high
in many respects, although somewhat given to verbiage.
His MS. is remarkable for a scratchy
and is by no means legible. We are not sufficiently cognizant of the
character, to draw any parallel between it and his chirography. His
is certainly a most remarkable one.
H. T. Tuckerman
H. T. TUCKERMAN has written one or
of " Sketches of Travel." His "Isabel" is, perhaps, better known than
of his other productions, but was never a popular work. He is a correct
writer so far as mere English is concerned, but an insufferably tedious
and dull one. He has contributed much of late days to the " Southern
Messenger," with which journal, perhaps, the legibility of his MS. has
been an important, if not the principal recommendation. His chirography
is neat and distinct, and has some grace, but no force — evincing, in a
remarkable degree, the idiosyncrasies of the writer.
Mr. BRYAN has written some very
and is appreciated by all admirers of "the good old Goldsmith school."
He is, at present, postmaster at Alexandria, and has held office for
years, with all the good fortune of a Vicar of Bray.
His MS. is a free, sloping, and
regular one, with
more boldness than force, and not ungraceful. He is fond of underscoring
sentences; a habit exactly parallel with the augmentative nature of
of his best poems.
L. A. Godey
Mr. GODEY is only known to the
literary world as
editor and publisher of " The Lady's Book," but his celebrity in this
entitles him to a place in this collection. His MS. is remarkably
and graceful; the signature affording an excellent idea of it. The man
who invariably writes so well as Mr. G. invariably does, gives evidence
of a fine taste, combined with an indefatigability which will ensure
permanent success in the world's affairs. No man has warmer friends or
John S. Du Solle
Mr. DU SOLLE is well known through
with the " Spirit of the Times." His prose is forcible, and often
in other respects. As a poet, he is entitled to higher consideration.
of his Pindaric pieces are unusually good, and it may be doubted if we
have a better iersifer in America.
Accustomed to the daily toil of an
editor, he has
contracted a habit of writing hurriedly, and his MS. varies with the
It is impossible .o deduce any inferences from it, as regards the
character. The signature shows rather how he can write than how he
J. S. French
Mr. FRENCH is the author of a `' Life
and also of a novel called " Elkswatawa," a denunciatory review of
in the " Southern Messenger," some years ago, deterred him from further
literary attempts. Should he write again, he will probably distinguish
himself, for he is unquestionably a man of talent. We need no better
of this than his MS., which speaks of force, boldness, and originality.
The flourish, however, betrays a certain floridity of taste.
Theo. S. Fay
The author of "Norman Leslie " and
Ida" has been more successful as an essayist about small matters, than
as a novelist. "Norman Leslie" is more familiarly remembered as "The
Used Up," while " The Countess " made no definite impression whatever.
Of course we are not to expect remarkable features in Mr. FAY'S MS. It
has a wavering, finicky, and over-delicate air, without pretension to
grace or force; and the description of the chirography would answer,
alteration, for that of the literary character. Mr. F. frequently
an amanuensis, who writes a very beautiful French hand. The one must
be confounded with the other.
J. K. Mitchell
Dr. MITCHELL has published several
have been set to music, and become popular. He has also given to the
a volume of poems, of which the longest was remarkable for an
polish and vigor of versification. His MS. is rather graceful than
or forcible — and these words apply equally well to his poetry in
The signature indicates the hand.
G. P. Morris
General MORRIS has composed many
songs which have
taken fast hold upon the popular taste, and which are deservedly
He has caught the true tone for these things, and hence his
— a popularity which his enemies would fain make us believe is
attributable to his editorial influence. The charge is true only in a
The tone of which we speak is that kind of frank, free, hearty
(rather than philosophy) which distinguishes Beranger, and which the
for want of a better term, call nationality.
His MS. is a simple unornamental
than angular, very legible, forcible, and altogether in keeping with
G. H. Calvert
Mr. CALVERT was at one time principal
"Baltimore American," and wrote for that journal some good paragraphs
on the common topics of the day. He has also published many
from the German, and one or two original poems — among others an
of Don Juan called "Pejayo," which did him no credit. He is essentially
a feeble and common-place writer of poetry, although his prose
have a certain degree of merit. His chirography indicates the
"common-place" upon which we have commented. It is a very usual,
clerk's hand — a hand which no man of talent ever did or could indite,
unless compelled by circumstances of more than ordinary force. The
is far better than the general manuscript of his epistles.
J. Evans Snodgrass
Dr. SNODGRASS was at one time the
Brooks in the " Baltimore Museum," a monthly journal published in the
of Monuments some years since. He wrote for that Magazine, and has
written for others, articles which possessed the merit of precision of
style, and a metaphysical cast of thought. We like his prose much
than his poetry. His chirography is bad — stiff, sprawling and
with frequent corrections and interlineations, evincing inactivity not
less than fastidiousness. The signature betrays a meretricious love of
Mr. McJILTON is better known from his
to the journals of the day than from any book publications. He has much
talent, and it is not improbable that he will hereafter distinguish
although as yet he has not composed anything of length which, as a
can be styled good. His MS. is not unlike that of Dr. Snodgrass, but it
is somewhat clearer and better. We can predicate little respecting it
a love of exaggeration and bizarrerie.
W. D. Gallagher
Mr. GALLAGHER is chiefly known as a
poet. He is
-author of some of our most popular songs, and has written many long
of high but unequal merit. He has the true spirit, and will rise into a
just distinction hereafter. His manuscript tallies well with our
It is a very fine one, — clear, bold, decided and picturesque. The
above does not convey, in full force, the general character of his
which is more rotund, and more decidedly placed upon the paper.
Rich. H. Dana
Mr. DANA ranks among our most eminent
he has been the frequent subject of comment in our Reviews. He has high
qualities, undoubtedly, but his defects are many and great.
His MS. resembles that of Mr.
but is somewhat more rolling, and has less boldness and decision. The
traits of the two gentlemen are very similar, although Mr. Dana is by
the more polished writer, and has a scholarship which Mr. Gallagher
Mr. MCMICHAEL is well known to the
by the number and force of his prose compositions, but he has seldom
tempted into book publication. As a poet, he has produced some
vigorous things. We have seldom seen a finer composition than a certain
celebrated " Monody."
His MS., when not hurried, is
without picturesqueness. At times it is totally illegible. His
is one of those which have been so strongly modified by circumstances
it iB nearly impossible to predicate any thing with certainty
them. [page 279:]
N. C. Brooks
Mr. N. C. BROOKS has acquired some
a Magazine writer. His serious prose is often very good — is always
— but in his comic attempts he fails, without appearing to be aware of
his failure. As a poet he has succeeded far better. In a work which he
entitled " Scriptural Anthology " among many inferior compositions of
there were several shorter pieces of great merit; — for example
Obsequies" and "The Nicthanthes.''
Of late days we have seen little from
His MS. has much resemblance to that
although altogether it is a better hand, with much more freedom and
With care Mr. Brooks can write a fine MS. just as with care he can
a fine poem.
Thos. H. Stockton
The Rev. THOMAS H. STOCKTON has
of fine poetry, and has lately distinguished himself as the editor of
" Christian World."
His MS. is fairly represented by his
bears much resemblance to that of Mr. N. C. Brooks of Baltimore.
these two gentlemen there exists also, a remarkable similarity, not
of thought, but of personal bearing and character. We have already
of the peculiarities of Mr. B.'s chirography.
C. W. Thomson
Mr. THOMSON has written many short
of them possess merit. They are characterised by tenderness and grace.
His MS. has some resemblance to that of Professor Longfellow, and by
persons would be thought a finer hand. It is clear, legible, and open —
what is called a rolling hand. It has too much tapering, and too much
between the weight of the hair strokes and the downward ones, to be
or picturesque. In all those qualities which we have pointed out as
distinctive of Professor Longfellow's MS. it is remarkably deficient;
in fact, the literary character of no two individuals could be more
W. E. Channing
The Reverend W. E. CHANNING is at the
head of our
moral and didactic writers. His reputation both at home and abroad is
high, and in regard to the matters of purity, polish and modulation of
style, he may be said to have attained the dignity of a standard and a
classic. He has, it is true, been severely criticised, even in respect
to these very points, by the Edinburgh Review. The critic, however,
out his case but lamely, and proved nothing beyond his own
To detect occasional, or even frequent inadvertences in the way of bad
grammar, faulty construction, or mix-usage of language, is not to prove
impurity of style — a word which happily has a bolder
than any dreamed of by the Zoilus of the Review in question. Style
more than anything else, the tone of a composition All the
is not unimportant, to be sure, but appertains to the minor morals of
and can be learned by rote by the meanest simpletons in letters — can
carried to its highest excellence by dolts, who, upon the whole, are
as stylists. Irving's style is inimitable in its grace and delicacy;
few of our practiced writers are guilty of more frequent inadvertences
of language. In what may be termed his mere English, he is surpassed by
fifty whom we could name. Mr. Tuckerman's English, on the contrary, is
sufficiently pure, but a more lamentable style than that of his "
" it would be difficult to point out.
Besides those peculiarities which we
mentioned as belonging to Dr. Channing's style, we must not fail to
a certain calm, broad deliberateness which constitutes force in its
character, and approaches to majesty. All these traits will be found to
exist plainly in his chirography, the character of which is exemplified
by the signature, although this is somewhat larger than the general
L. A. Wilmer
Mr. WILMER has written and published
much; but he
has reaped the usual fruits of a spirit of independence, and has thus
to make that impression on the popular mind which his talents,
other circumstances, would have effected. But better days are in store
for him, and for all who " hold to the right way," despising the
of the small dogs of our literature. His prose writings have all merit
— always the merit of a chastened style. But he is more favorably known
by his poetry, in which the student of the British classics will find
for warm admiration. We have few better versifiers than Mr. Wilmer.
His chirography plainly indicates the
and terseness of his style, but the signature does not convey the
appearance of the MS.
J. E. Dow
Mr. Dow is distinguished as the
author of many
sea-pieces, among which will be remembered a series of papers called
Log of Old Ironsides." His land sketches are not generally so good. He
has a fine imagination, which as yet is undisciplined, and leads him
occasional bombast. As a poet he has done better things than as a
His MS., which has been strongly
gives no indication of his true character, literary or moral.
H. Hastings Weld
Mr. WELD is well known as the present
of the New York "Tattler" and "Brother Jonathan." His attention was
directed to literature about ten years ago, after a minority, to use
own words, "spent at sea, in a store, in a machine shop, and in a
He is now, we believe, about thirty-one years of age. His deficiency of
what is termed regular education would scarcely be gleaned from his
which, in general, are unusually well written. His "Corrected Proofs"
a work which does him high credit, and which has been extensively
although "printed at odd times by himself, when he had nothing else to
His MS. resembles that of Mr. Joseph
C. Neal in
respects, but is less open and less legible. His signature is
much better than his general chirography.
Mr. McMAKIN is one of the editors of
Saturday Courier," and has given to the world several excellent
of his poetical ability. His MS. is clear and graceful; the signature
a very good idea of it. The general hand, in fact, is fully as good.
M. St. Leon Loud
Mrs. M. ST. LEON LOUD is one of the finest poets
of this country; possessing, we think, more of the true divine afflatus
any of her female contemporaries. She has, in especial, imagination
no common order, and unlike many of her sex whom we 3 could mention, is
not content to dwell in decencies forever
While she can, upon
ordinary metrical sing-song with all the decorous proprieties in which
are in fashion, she yet ventures very frequently into a more ethereal
We refer our readers to, a truly beautiful little poem entitled the "
of the Lonely Isle," lately published in this Magazine.
Mrs. Loud's MS. is exceedingly clear,
with just sufficient effeminacy and no more.
Dr. PLINY EARLE, of Frankford, Pa.,
has not only
distinguished himself by several works of medical and general science,
but has become well known to the literary world, of late, by a volume
very fine poems, the longest, but by no means the best of which, was
"Marathon." This latter is not greatly inferior to the "Marco Bozzaris"
of Halleck; while some of the minor pieces equal any American poems.
chirography is peculiarly neat and beautiful, giving indication of the
elaborate finish which characterises his compositions. The signature
the general hand.
Dr. JOHN C. MCCABE, of Richmond,
much and generally well, in prose and poetry, for the periodicals of
day — for the "Southern Literary Messenger " in especial, and other
His MS. is in every respect a bad one
clerk's hand, meaning nothing. It has been strongly modified, however,
by circumstances which would scarcely have permitted it to be otherwise
than it is.
JOHN TOMLIN, Esq., Postmaster at
has contributed many excellent articles to the periodicals of the day —
among others to the " Gentleman's" and to "Graham's" Magazine, and to
of the Southern and Western Journals.
His chirography resembles that of Mr.
being at the same time very petite, very beautiful, and very
His MSS., in being equally well written throughout, evince the
of his disposition.
DAVID HOFFMAN, Esq., of Baltimore,
has not only
much and well to monthly Magazines and Reviews, but has given to the
several valuable publications in book form. His style is terse,
and otherwise excellent, although disfigured by a half comic half
His MS. has about it nothing strongly
S. D. Langtree
S. D. LANGTREE, has been long and
to the public as editor of the "Georgetown Metropolitan," and, more
of the " Democratic Review," both of which journals he has conducted
distinguished success. As a critic he has proved himself just, bold and
acute, while his prose compositions generally, evince the man of talent
His MS. is not remarkably good, being
scratchy and tapering. We include him, of course, in the editorial
R. T. Conrad
Judge CONRAD occupies, perhaps, the
our Philadelphia literati. He has distinguished himself both
a prose writer and a poet — not to speak of his high legal reputation.
He has been a frequent contributor to the periodicals of this city,
we believe, to one at least of the Eastern Reviews. His first
which attracted general notice was a tragedy entitled " Conrad, King of
Naples." It was performed at the Arch Street Theatre, and elicited
from the more judicious. This play was succeeded by "Jack Cade,"
at the Walnut Street Theatre, and lately modified and reproduced under
title of "Aylmere." In its new dress, this drama has been one of the
successful ever written by an American, not only attracting crowded
but extorting the good word of our best critics. In occasional poetry
Conrad has also done well. His lines " On a Blind Boy Soliciting
" have been greatly admired, and many of his other pieces evince
of a high order. His political fame is scarcely a topic for these
and is, moreover, too much a matter of common observation to need
His MS. is neat, legible, and
combined caution and spirit in a very remarkable degree. [page 282:]
J. Q. Adams
The chirography of Ex-President ADAMS
" The Wants of Man," has, of late, attracted so much attention, ) is
for a certain steadiness of purpose pervading the whole, and overcoming
even the constitutional tremulousness of the writer's hand. Wavering in
every letter, the entire MS. has yet a firm, regular, and decisive
It is also very legible.
P. P. Cooke
P. P. COOKE, Esq., of Winchester,
known, especially in the South, as the author of numerous excellent
to the `' Southern Literary Messenger." He has written some of the
poetry of which America can boast. A little piece of his, entitled
Vane," and contributed to the "Gentleman's Magazine " of this city,
our editorship of that journal, was remarkable for the high ideality it
evinced, and for the great delicacy and melody of its rhythm. It was
admired and copied, as well here as in England. We saw it not long ago,
original, in Bentley's Miscellany. Mr. Cooke has, we believe,
ready for press a novel called " Maurice Werterbern," whose success we
predict with confidence. Elis MS. is clear, forcible, and legible, but
disfigured by some little of that affectation which is scarcely a
in his literary style,
T. R. Dew
Prof. THOMAS R. DEW, of William and
in Virginia, was one of the able contributors who aided to establish
" Southern Literary Messenger " in the days of its delut. His
is precisely in keeping with his literary character. Both are heavy,
unornamented and diuse in the extreme. His epistles seemed to
been scrawled with the stump of a quill dipped in very thick ink, and
or two words extend sometimes throughout a line. The signature is more
compact than the general MS.
J. Beauchamp Jones
Mr. J. BEAUCHAMP JONES has been, we
for many years past with the lighter literature of Baltimore, and at
edits the " Baltimore Saturday Visiter," with much judgment and general
ability. He is the author of a series of papers of high merit now in
of publication in the " Visiter," and entitled " Wild Western Scenes."
His MS. is distinct, and might be
termed a fine
but is somewhat too much in consonance with the ordinary clerk style to
be either graceful or forcible.
Chas. J. Peterson
Mr. CHARLES J. PETERSON has for a
long time been
connected with the periodical literature of Philadelphia, as one of the
editors of " Graham's Magazine " and of "The Saturday Evening Post."
His MS., when unhurried, is a very
good one —
weighty, and picturesque; but when carelessly written is nearly
on account of a too slight variation of form in the short letters.
W. E. Burton
Mr. BURTON is better known as a
comedian than as
a literary man; but he has written many short prose articles of merit,
and his quondam editorship of the " Gentleman's Magazine " would, at
events, entitle him to a place in this collection. He has, moreover,
one or two books. An annual issued by Carey and Hart in 1840, consisted
entirely of prose contributions from himself, with poetical ones from
West Thompson, Esq. In this work many of the tales were good.
Mr. Burton's MS. is scratchy and
indecision and care or caution. The whole chirography resembles that of
Mr. Tasistro very nearly.
Richard Henry Wilde
RICHARD HENRY WILDE, Esq., of
much reputation as a poet, and especially as the author of a little
entitled " My Life is like the Summer Rose," whose claim to originality
has been made the subject of repeated and reiterated attack and
Upon the whole it is hardly worth quarrelling about. Far better verses
are to be found in every second newspaper we take up. Mr. Wilde has
lately published, or is about to publish, a " Life of Tasso," for which
he has been long collecting material.
His MS. has all the peculiar
tastelessness of Mr. Palfrey's, to which altogether it bears a marked
The love of effect, however, is more perceptible in Mr. Wilde's than
in Mr. Palfrey's.
G. G. Foster
G. G. FOSTER, Esq., has acquired much
especially in the South and West, by his poetical contributions to the
literature of the day. All his articles breathe the true spirit. At one
period he edited a weekly paper in Alabama; more lately the " Bulletin
" at St. Louis; and, at present, he conducts the " Pennant," in that
with distinguished ability. Not long ago he issued the prospectus of a
monthly magazine. Should he succeed in getting the journal under way,
can be no doubt of his success.
His MS. is remarkably clear and
a keen sense of the beautiful. It seems, however, to be somewhat
in force; and his letters are never so well written in their conclusion
as in their commencement. We have before remarked that this peculiarity
in MSS. is a sure indication of fatigability of temper. Few
who write thus are free from a certain vacillation of purpose. The
above is rather heavier than that from which it was copied.
LEWIS CASS, the Ex-Secretary of War,
himself as one of the finest belles-lettres scholars of
At one period he was a very regular contributor to the "Southern
Messenger," and even lately he has furnished that journal with one or
very excellent papers.
His MS. is clear, deliberate, and
resembling that of Edward Everett very closely. It is not often that we
see a letter written altogether by himself. He generally employs an
whose chirography does not differ materially from his own, but is
Mr. JAMES BROOKS enjoys rather a
private than a
literary reputation; but his talents are unquestionably great, and his
productions have been numerous and excellent. As the author of many of
the celebrated Jack Downing letters, and as the reputed author of the
of them, he would at all events be entitled to a place among our literati.
His chirography is simple, clear and
little grace and less boldness. These traits are precisely true of his
As the authorship of the Jack Downing
even still considered by many a moot point, (although in fact there
be no question about it,) and as we have already given the signature of
Mr. Seba Smith, and (just above) of Mr. Brooks, we now present our
with a facsimile signature of the `' veritable jack" himself,
by him individually in our own bodily presence. Here, then, is an
The chirography of "the veritable
Jack " is a
good, honest sensible hand, and not very dissimilar to that of
Adams. [page 284:]
J. R. Lowell
Mr. J. R. LOWELL, of Massachusetts,
in our opinion, to at least the second or third place among the poets
America. We say this on account of the vigor of his imagination — a
faculty to be first considered in all criticism upon poetry. In this
he surpasses, we think, any of our writers (at least any of those who
put themselves prominently forth as poets) with the exception of
and perhaps one other. His ear for rhythm, nevertheless, is imperfect,
and he is very far from possessing the artistic ability of either
Bryant, Halleck, Sprague, or Pierpont. The reader desirous of properly
estimating the powers of Mr. Lowell will find a very beautiful little
from his pen in the October number of this Magazine. There is one also
(not quite so fine) in the number for last month. He will contribute
His MS. is strongly indicative of the
of his poetical thought. The man who writes thus, for example, will
be guilty of metaphorical extravagance, and there will be found terseness
well as strength in all that he does.
L. J. Cist
Mr. L. J. CIST, of Cincinnati, has
prose, and is known especially by his poetical compositions, many of
have been very popular, although they are at times disfigured by false
metaphor, and by a meretricious straining after effect. This latter
makes itself clearly apparent in his chirography, which abounds in
flourishes, not illy executed, to be sure, but in very bad taste.
T. S. Arthur
Mr. ARTHUR is not without a rich
of scenes in low life, but is uneducated, and too fond of mere
to please a refined taste. He has published "The Subordinate," and
two tales distinguished by the peculiarities above mentioned. He has
written much for our weekly papers and the " Lady's Book."
His hand is a commonplace clerk's
hand, such as
might expect him to write. The signature is much better than the
Jas. E. Heath
Mr. HEATH is almost the only person
distinction residing in the chief city of the Old Dominion. He edited
"Southern Literary Messenger" in the five or six first months of its
and, since the secession of the writer of this article, has frequently
aided in its editorial conduct. He is the author of "Edge-Hill," a
novel, which, owing to the circumstances of its publication, did not
with the reception it deserved. His writings are rather polished and
than forcible or original; and these peculiarities can be traced in his
Thos. H. Chivers
Dr. THOMAS HOLLEY CHIVERS, of New
York, is at the
same time one of the best and one of the worst poets in America. His
affect one as a wild dream — strange, incongruous, full of images of
than arabesque monstrosity, and snatches of sweet unsustained song.
his worst nonsense (and some of it is horrible) has an indefinite charm
of sentiment and melody. We can never be sure that there is any meaning
in his words — neither is there any meaning in many of our finest
airs — but the effect is very similar in both. His figures of speech
metaphor run mad, and his grammar is often none at all. Yet there are
fine individual passages to be found in the poems of Dr. Chivers, as m
those of any poet whatsoever.
His MS. resembles that of P. P. Cooke
and in poetical character the two gentlemen are closer akin. Mr. Cooke
is, by much, the more correct, while Dr. Chivers is sometimes the more
poetic. Mr. C. always sustains himself; Dr. C. never.
Judge STORY, and his various literary
labors, are too well known to require comment.
His chirography is a noble one —
and deliberate, betokening in the most unequivocal manner all the
of his intellect. The pram, unornamented style of his compositions is
with accuracy upon his hand-writing, the whole air of which is well
in the signature.
Mr. JOHN FROST, Professor of Belles
High School of Philadelphia, and at present editor of " The Young
Book," has distinguished himself by numerous literary compositions for
the periodicals of the day, and by a great number of published works
come under the head of the utile rather than of the dune — at least in
the estimation of the young. He is a gentleman of fine taste, sound
and great general ability.
His chirography denotes his mental
great precision. Its careful neatness, legibility, and finish are but a
part of that turn of mind which leads him so frequently into
The signature here given is more diminutive than usual.
James F. Otis
Mr. J. F. OTIS is well known as a
writer for the
Magazines; and has, at various times, been connected with many of the
newspapers of the day — especially with those in New York and
His prose and poetry are equally good; but he writes too much and too
to write invariably weld. His taste is fine, and his judgment in
matters is to be depended upon at all times when not interfered with by
his personal antipathies or predilections.
His chirography is exceedingly
his style, has every possible fault except that of the common-place.
J. N. Reynolds
Mr. REYNOLDS occupied at one time a
position in the eye of the public on account of his great and laudable
exertions to get up the American South Polar expedition, from a
participation in which he was most shamefully excluded. He has written
much and well. Among other works, the public are indebted to him for a
graphic account of the noted voyage of the frigate Potomac to
His MS. is an ordinary clerk's hand,
Mr. WILLIAM CUTTER, a young merchant
Maine, although not very generally known as a poet beyond his immediate
neighborhood, (or et least our of the Eastern States,) has given to the
world numerous compositions which prove him to be possessed of the true
fire. He is, moreover, a fine scholar, and a prose writer of
His chirography is very similar to
that of Count
Tasistro, and the two gentlemen resemble each other very peculiarly in
their literary character.
David Paul Brown
DAVID PAUL BROWN is scarcely more
his legal capacity than by his literary compositions. As a dramatic
he has met with much success His "Sertorius" has been particularly well
received both upon the stage and in the closet. His fugitive
both in prose and verse, have also been numerous, diversified, and
His chirography has no doubt been
by the circumstances of his position. No one can expect a lawyer in
practice to give in his MS. any true indication of his intellect or
E. C. Stedman
Mrs. E. CLEMENTINE STEDMAN has lately
attention by the delicacy and grace of her poetical compositions, as
as by the piquancy and spirit of her prose. For some months past we
been proud to rank her among the best of the contributors to " Graham's
Her chirography differs as materially
her sex in general as does her literary manner from the usual
of our blue-stockings. It is, indeed, a beautiful MS., very closely
that of Professor Longfellow, but somewhat more diminutive, and far
full of grace.
John G. Whittier
J. GREENLEAF WHITTIER is placed by
admirers in the very front rank of American poets. We are not disposed,
however, to agree with their decision in every respect. Mr. Whittier is
a fine versifier, so fir as strength is regarded independently of
His subjects, too, are usually chosen with the view of affording scope
to a certain vivida vis of expression which seems to be his
but in taste, and especially in imagination, which Coleridge
justly styled the soul of all poetry, he is ever remarkably
His themes are never to our liking.
His chirography is an ordinary
little indication of character.
Ann S. Stephens
Mrs. ANN S. STEPHENS was at one
period the editor
of the "Portland Magazine," a periodical of which we have not heard for
some time, and which, we presume, has been discontinued. More lately
name has been placed upon the title-page of " The Lady's Companion " of
New York, as one of the conductors of that journal — to which she has
many articles of merit and popularity. She has also written much and
for various other periodicals, and will, hereafter, enrich this
with her compositions, and act as one of its editors.
Her MS. is a very excellent one, and
that of her sex in general, by an air of more than usual force and