Text: Edgar Allan Poe, Critical Notices, Southern Literary Messenger, Vol. II, no. 3, March 1836, 2:287 and 292


[page 287, column 1, continued:]


Mahmoud. New — York. Published by Harper and Brothers.

Of this book — its parentage or birth-place — we know nothing beyond the scanty and equivocal information derivable from the title-page, and from the brief Advertisement prefixed to the narrative itself. From the title-page we learn, or rather we do not learn that Harper and Brothers are the publishers — for although we are informed, in so many direct words that such is the fact, still we are taught by experience that, in the bookselling vocabulary of the day, the word published has too expansive, too variable, and altogether too convenient a meaning to be worthy of very serious attention. The volumes before us are, we imagine, (although really without any good reason for so imagining,) a reprint from a London publication. It is quite possible, however, that the work is by an American writer, and now, as it professes to be, for the first time actually published. From tile Advertisement we understand that the book is a combination of facts derived from private sources; or from personal observation. We are told that “with the exception of a few of the inferior characters, and the trifling accessories necessary to blend the materials, and impart a unity to the rather complex web of the narrative, the whole may be relied upon as perfectly true.”

Be this as it may, we should have read “Mahmoud” with far greater pleasure had we never seen the Anastasius of Mr. Hope. That most excellent and vivid, (although somewhat immoral) series of Turkish paintings is still nearly as fresh within our memory as in the days of perusal. The work left nothing farther to be expected, or even to be desired, in rich, bold, vigorous, and accurate delineation of the scenery, characters, manners, and peculiarities of the region to which its pages were devoted. Nothing less than the consciousness of superior power could have justified any one in treading in the steps of Mr. Hope. And, certainly, nothing at all, under any circumstances whatsoever, could have justified a direct and palpable copy of Anastasius. Yet Mahmoud is no better.

[page 292, column 2, continued:]


Traits of the Tea Party: Published by Harper. Brothers.

This is a neat little duodecimo of 265 pages, including an Appendix, and is full of rich interest over and above what the subject of the volume is capable of exciting. In Boston it is very natural that the veteran Hewes should be regarded with the highest sentiments of veneration and affection. He is too intimately and conspicuously connected with that city's chivalric records not to be esteemed a hero — and such indeed he is — a veritable hero. Of the Tea Party he is the oldest-but not the only survivor. From the book before us we learn the names of nine others, still living, who bore a part in the drama. They are as follows — Henry Purkitt, Peter Slater, Isaac Simpson, Jonathan Hunnewell, John Hooton, William Pierce, —— McIntosh, Samuel Sprague, and John Prince.

Reminiscences such as the present cannot be too frequently laid before the public. More than any thing else do they illustrate that which can be properly called the History of our Revolution — and in so doing how vastly important do they appear to the entire cause of civil liberty? As the worthies of those great days are sinking, one by one, from among us, the value of what is known about them, and especially of what may be known through their memories, is increasing in a rapidly augmenting ratio. Let us treasure up while we may, the recollections which are so valuable now, and which will be more than invaluable hereafter.





[S:0 - SLM, 1836] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - Criticial Notices (March 1836)