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left the army upon the continent without life or
Such are the contents of the packet of Wolfe's vigor: this defeat at Ticonderoga seemed to stupefy letters. Fragmentary though they be, they are us that were at Louisbourg; if we had taken the valuable; for so little is known of his personal first hint of that repulse, and sent early and power-history, that even a slight accession is interesting, ful succors, things would have taken perhaps a
different turn in those parts before the end of Oc- and worthy of preservation. These letters open tober. I expect every day to hear that some fresh up glimpses of his character, and exhibit the tone attempts have been made at Ticonderoga, and I can't and bent of his mind, through a medium very faflatter myself that they have succeeded; not from vorable for enabling us to judge. Written frankly any high idea of the Marquis de Montcalm's abili- and unreservedly, to one he sincerely esteemed, we ties, but from the very poor opinion of our own. gain access to his inmost thoughts and opinions on You have obliged me much with this little sketch of that important spot: till now I have been but subjects both of public and private interest; while ill-acquainted with it. we cannot fail to admire the warm and disinterested friendship evinced throughout-the proofs of a generous heart; and we rise from the perusal with renewed regret for the early fall, and increased respect for the memory, of one in all respects so estimable and so worthy of the renown inseparable from his name.
Broadstreet's coup was masterly. He is a very extraordinary man; and if such an excellent officer as the late Lord Howe had the use of Broadstreet's uncommon diligence and activity, and unparalleled batoe knowledge, it would turn to a good public account. When I went from hence, Lord Ligonier told me that I was to return at the end of the campaign; but I have learned, since I came home, that an order is gone to keep me there; and I have this day signified to Mr. Pitt that he may dispose of my slight carcass as he pleases, and that I am ready for any undertaking within the reach and compass of my skill and cunning. I am in a very bad condition, both with the gravel and rheumatism, but I had much rather die than decline any kind of service that offers; if I followed my own taste, it would lead me into Germany, and if my poor talent was consulted, they should place me to the cavalry, because nature has given me good eyes, and a warmth of temper to follow the first impressions. However, it is not our part to choose, but to obey. My opinion is, that I shall join the army in America, where, if fortune favors our force and best endeavors, we may hope to triumph.
I have said more than enough of myself; it is time to turn a little to your affairs; nothing more unjust than the great rank lately thrown away upon little men, and the good servants of the state neglected. Not content with frequent solicitations in your behalf, I writ a letter just before I embarked, putting my Lord George Sackville in mind of you, and requesting his protection; his great business, or greater partialities, has made him overlook your just pretensions.
If you come to town in January, I shall be there, and will do you all the service I am able, but Lord Ligonier seems particularly determined not to lay the weight of any one obligation on me; so you may hold my good inclination in higher value than my power to assist. You have my best wishes, and 1 am, truly,
My dear friend, your faithful and ob't servant,
Salisbury, 1st December, 1758.
Barré was in such favor with General Amherst that he took him to the continent, and he very well deserves his esteem.
*This refers to the surprise and capture of the important French Fort, Frontinac, on the north, or French side of the St. Lawrence, where it issues from Lake Ontario, by Lieut.-Colonel Broadstreet, who had been sent against it by General Abercrombie, with a detachment of 3,000 Provincials. This able officer destroyed the fort, with 60 pieces of cannon, 16 mortars, an immense depot of provisions for the French army; took all the enemy's shipping on the Lake, consisting of nine vessels, some of them mounting 18 guns, and rejoined Abercrombie, all without the loss of a man. Wolfe's compliment to him was well merited.
It may be interesting to say a few words, in conclusion, respecting the officer to whom Wolfe wrote these letters-namely, Colonel William Rickson. In early life they had served together in the Continental War, and there contracted for each other that intimate and lasting friendship of which we have Wolfe's repeated expressions. Rickson survived the lamented general eleven years, and died at Edinburgh. He was interred in Restalrig church-yard; and, on the tomb erected over his remains, the following inscription may still be seen, recording the worth of him whom Wolfe honored with so large a portion of his confidence, and who shared so much of that brave man's sincere regard :
"Here lies the body of Lieutenant-Colonel
Peace to the ashes of the brave.
BY C. D. STEWART.
THOU rollest on, O! deep, unmeasured sea,
Pass on, nor leave a footstep, nor a sound.
Thy caverns yawn, and Nature finds her tomb
Memoirs of the Life of William Wirt. By JOHN which subsequently enabled him to attain disP. KENNEDY. In Two Volumes. Philadel phia Lea & Blanchard.
It is rarely that a more splendid theme is offered to the biographer than the life and character of the eminent person whose history is recorded in these admirable volumes. The peculiar temperament of Mr. Wirt, which interfered with the attainment of the highest objects of his ambition, and placed him in a subordinate rank to many who were greatly his inferiors in harmony, versatility, and general luxuriance of native endowments, gave a charm to his personal manifestations which is attached, in a similar degree, to the character of very few of our conspicuous public men. During his life he was the great object of attraction to every circle in which he moved; he was loved by all who enjoyed the happiness of his friendship with a depth and fervor that a man of less naturalness and joyous freedom of spirit could not have commanded: and even among comparative strangers he won an admiring enthusiasm, of which few persons, however gifted or gracious, have ever been the subject.
A little incident, in illustration of this, took place in Boston, during a professional visit to that city, a few years before his death, which Mr. Wirt naïvely relates in a letter to a Virginian friend :
In a large and promiscuous assemblage of ladies, who formed, for several days, a portion of the auditory in the court-room, I was struck with the beauty and intelligence of one who sat immediately before me. She conversed occasionally with a gentleman near her, and her movements were as graceful as her eyes were intelligent. A few days afterward, I found myself in company with her at dinner. Her conversation confirmed and even surpassed my prepossessions. She reminded me continually of M. M. in her best days; the same graceful manners, the same spirit and piquancy in her remarks. The last evening I spent in company in Boston, was at her house. She had a little circle around her, of which she was the soul, and 'the hours flew on angel's wings." When we were about to retire, I asked her to permit me to take leave of her in our Virginia fashion, by a shake of the hand. She gave me her hand with great animation; it had a glove on. When I had reached the door she came briskly to me again, saying: "We did not shake hands in the right way, Mr. Wirt-I had my glove upon my hand." And she offered me the same hand again, ungloved, and snow-white; and so-I took it and kissed it, with all the devotion proper to fifty years. My friend B., who accompanied me, who is about my age, but with the disadvantage of being a single man, said: "Now, madam, you must shake hands with me. And he offered to take the hand which had been proffered to me. "Not that, Mr. B-," said she, presenting him the other with its glove. Is not that M. M. over again—and Virginia, beside? You should have seen the gayety, grace, and sensibility which accompanied the action, and which threw such a charm over it.
Mr. Wirt was born in Bladensburg, of humble parentage, but at an early period of life gave indications of the intellectual activity and vigor
tinguished eminence in his public and professional career. Some extracts from an unfinished autobiography, which he wrote for the amusement of his children, are given by Mr. Kennedy, and form not the least interesting portion of the work. scrupulous taste of the author has led him to withhold a considerable part of this fragment, but he would have been justified by every reader in presenting more copious selections from a narrative so characteristic of the sunny temper and the transparent intellect of its subject. We cannot refrain from copying the agreeable idyl in which he describes some recollections of his school-boy days in Maryland :
From Georgetown I was transferred to a classical
When Sloven saw the duke his master,
Beside my singing, I danced to the astonishment witty. Altogether," he adds, "he was a most of the natives, and, altogether, had the reputation fascinating companion, and to those of his own age, of a genius. Thus admired, flattered and feasted irresistibly and universally winning."* with milk and cream, Roslin Castle and Clarissa Harlowe, &c., what more could a child of my age want to make him happy? The very negroes used to be pleased to contribute to my amusement. Old Moll carried me to the cowpen, where she permitted me, with a clean, broad splinter, prepared for the purpose, to whip the rich froth from the milk-pail; and her son George, after a hard day's work in the field, came home at night and played the horse for me, by going on all fours, in the green yard, with me mounted upon his back—he going through the feats of an imaginary fox hunt, sounding the horn and leaping over imaginary fences, gates, &c.-all of which was life and joy To crown all, I had a sweetheart; one of the prettiest cherubs that ever was born. The only thing I ever thanked Nancy Love for, was giving me the occasion of becoming acquainted with this beautiful girl. She took me with her once on a visit to her aunt Reeder. Mr. Thomas Reeder lived on the banks of the Potomac, just above Laidlowe's and opposite to Hooe's Ferry. In those days there was a ferry from Reeder's to Hooe's. The house was of brick, situated on a high airy bank, giving a beautiful view of the Potomac, which is there four miles wide. Peggy Reeder was the only child of her parents-about my own age, rather younger, and as beautiful as it is possible for a child to be. We fell most exceed ingly in love with each other. She was accustomed to make long visits to her aunt Love, and no two lovers, however romantic, were ever more happy than we. On my part it was a serious passion. No lover was ever more disconsolate in the absence of his mistress, nor more enraptured at meeting her. I do not know whether it is held that the affections keep pace with the intellect in their development; but I do know that there is nothing in the sentiment of happy love, which I did not experience for that girl, in the course of the two years when 1 resided at Mrs. Love's. When I left there we were firmly engaged to be married at the following Easter. I felt proud and happy, not in the least doubting the fulfilment of the engagement at the time appointed.
We pass over the fascinating description of Mr. Wirt's boyhood and entrance upon professional life, to make room for the following passage, which, while it presents a graphic picture of the manners of the Virginia Bar in "olden time," throws an important light on the vague rumors that have often been circulated with regard to Mr. Wirt's alleged habits of injurious self-indulgence in early life:
Wirt was now twenty-five years of age. He was companionable, warm-hearted and trustful. His mind was quick, and imbued with a strong relish for wit and humor. An old friend, who knew him well in that day, says of him: "He had never met with any man so highly engaging and prepossessing. His figure was strikingly elegant and commanding, with a face of the first order of masculine beauty, animated, and expressing high intellect. His manners took the tone of his heart: they were frank, open and cordial, and his conversation, to which his reading and early pursuits had given a classic tinge, was very polished, gay and
Such a character we may suppose to be but too susceptible to the influences of good fellowship, which, in the jollity of youthful association, not unfrequently take the discretion of the votary by surprise and disarm its sentinels. The fashion of that time increased this peril. An unbounded hospitality among the gentlemen of the country opened every door to the indulgence of convivial habits. The means of enjoyment were not more constantly present than the solicitations to use them. Every dinner party was a revel; every ordinary visit was a temptation. The gentlemen of the bar, especially, indulged in a license of free living, which habitually approached the confines of excess, and often overstepped them. The riding of the circuit, which always brought several into company, and the adventures of the wayside, gave to the bar a sportive and light-hearted tone of association, which greatly fostered the opportunity and the inclination for convivial pleasures. A day spent upon the road on horseback, the customary visits made to friends by the way, the jest and the song, the unchecked vivacity inspired by this grouping together of kindred spirits-all had their share in imparting to the brotherhood that facility of temper and recklessness of the more severe and sober comment of the world, which, it will be acknowledged, is dangerous to youth in proportion to the enjoyment it affords. Then, the contests of the bar which followed in the forum, the occasions they afforded for the display of wit and eloquence, and the congratulation of friends, were so many additional provocatives to that indulgence which found free scope when evening brought all together, under one roof, to rehearse their pleasant adventures, and to set flowing the currents of mirth and good humor-" to make a night of it," as the phrase is, kept merry by the stimulants of good cheer. The bar yet retains some of these characteristics; but the present generation may but feebly conceive the pervading and careless joyousness with which, in that early time, the members of their mirthful craft pursued their business through a country side. I mean no disparagement to the learned and gay profession, but, on the contrary, some commendation of the kindly spirit of its brotherhood, when I say that in these incidents of its character and association, there was manifested something of the light-heartedness and improvidence of the old-fashioned strolling theatrical companies. The present generation will bear witness to many an ancient green-room joke of the circuit, which yet floats abroad in Virginia, with a currency scarcely less notable than when it was first cast off.
William Wirt was well known in these associations of Albemarle and the surrounding counties. an admired object in the court-house during the day, a leading spirit in the evening coterie; eloquent on the field of justice, sustaining his client's cause with a shrewd and sometimes brilliant skill; not less eloquent at the table or the mess-room: where his faculties were allowed to expatiate through another range, and where he gave reins to the wit and mirth which shook the roof-tree. We may not wonder that, in the symposia of these days, the graver maxims of caution were forgotten, and that the enemy of human happiness, always
* Cruse's Memoir.
lying at lurch to make prey of the young, should sometimes steal upon his guard and make his virtue prisoner.
clustered upon his front, and gave an agreeable effect to the outline of his head and face.
good proportion to his frame; the features of his face strongly defined. A large nose, thin and accurately-formed lips, a chin whose breadth gave to The too frequent recurrence of these misadven- his countenance an approximation to the square tures in that day have furnished food for much rather than the oval outline; clear, dark-blue eyes gross calumny in regard to him, and have led to looking out beneath brows of widest compass, and the fabrication of coarse and disgusting charges the whole surmounted by an expanded and majes of vulgar excess, which I am persuaded are utterly tic, forehead, imparted dignity and intellectual groundless. The friends of Mr. Wirt have seen, prominence to a physiognomy which the sculptor with regret, that the most offensive of these inven- delighted to study. A curled, crisp and vigorous tions have sometimes been used, with many fanci-growth of hair-in his latter days almost whiteful and absurd additions of circumstance, by indiscreet zealots in the cause of temperance, who have seemed to think it quite excusable to repeat and aggravate the most improbable of these falsehoods, for the sake of the profit which they suppose may accrue to the world from the use of a distinguished name to point the moral of the story. While not seeking to extenuate the irregularities to which I have alluded, beyond what they may fairly claim from the circumstances in which they were indulged, and, indeed, recurring to them only with a profound regret, I could not allow the occasion now before me to pass by without this open and distinct denunciation of the libels I have seen, and of the terms of wanton and malicious exaggeration in which they have been repeated.
Toward the close of his life, severe study and the infirmities of his constitution had made a visible trace upon his exterior. He lost somewhat of his firm and perpendicular port; his complexion became sallow; his eye faded into a lighter blue, though it grew even kindlier in expression.
His letters sufficiently indicate the character of his manners. They were gentle, courteous, and winning. His voice was clear and sweet, and variously modulated by an ear of the finest musical perception. His laugh, never boisterous, was sly, short, and full of the gayety of his temper. Few men ever had a keener insight of the ludicrous. It never escaped him, however little he might be on the watch for it. Sterne, for this reason, amused him; Tristram Shandy, and those exquisite drol
most familiar recollections of his reading. Many of them may be found covertly lurking through his
His conversation was exceedingly attractive. It seldom fell into discourse, but played with all kinds of amusing topics. It was suggestive, provoking thought in others, and fortifying them with opportunity to contribute somewhat to the purpose, from their own reflection or memory. No man was more free from that odious habit of endeavoring say smart things," which sometimes misleads even persons of good repute for social talent.
The history of Mr. Wirt is closely interwoven with the political history of the United States.-leries which lie in ambush in every page, were the He was by native inclination, no less than by his habitual pursuits, averse to the strife of party politics. In his predilections and convictions he was an old-fashioned republican of the school of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe; but he maintained a wide and intimate intercourse with leading public men of all parties, and never allowed political differences to occasion personal coolness or estrangeThe duty of his biographer has led him to touch upon many delicate points connected with the politics of the country; and he invariably handles them in an excellent spirit of moderation and impartiality. He has thus enriched his work with a generous fund of historical reminiscences, which will always make it a favorite with the general reader, in addition to the singular intrinsic interest of the biography."
Wirt's playfulness was contagious. It made his friends forget the time which was running by, and even the good cheer of a convivial meeting. An amusing evidence of this occurred in Baltimore, before he became a resident of that city. He was returning one night, about ten o'clock, to his lodgings from a visit, when his friend Meredith met him in the street, and invited him to join a little family party, at his house, at supper. Wirt, either doubtful whether his friend was in earnest-for the character of the intercourse between them often rendered this a difficult point to deterinine-or
We have left ourselves no room to speak of the manner in which Mr. Kennedy has accomplished the responsible task which he has assumed. We can only express our satisfaction that the work has fallen into the hands of one who, by his admi-struck with the incrongruity of his challenge to a rable taste, genuine and thorough cultivation, vigorous powers of description, wide experience of affairs, and genial sympathy with his subject, is so singularly qualified to do justice to one of the loveliest and most elevated characters which have adorned public life in this country.
supper when he was about retiring to his bed, answered Meredith's invitation in a jocular way, saying: "Yes, I'll come and give you enough of it." On Meredith's return home he found there Dr. Pattison, who was then a resident of Baltimore, now a distinguished physician of Philadelphia, and detained him to supper. Wirt had not come when We are tempted to make one more extract, the party sat down to table, and Meredith had ceased to expect him, when, near the conclusion of which gives a pleasing specimen of Mr. Kennedy's facile and polished style, and describes an interest-supper, he made his appearance. He took his seat,
ing phase of the character of his subject :
moderately, and drank less. The supper was removed, and Wirt gave an intimation to the ladies who were present, that, as it was bed-time, In the prime of his life Mr. Wirt was remarked they had better retire. They obeyed, and Meredith, for his personal beauty. With a tall figure, ample the Doctor and Wirt, found themselves sitting at chest and erect carriage, there was no great appear-the table alone. The cloth was drawn, and a small ance of muscular strength, but a conspicuous ease residuum of a decanter of Scotch whiskey, perhaps, and grace of motion. His head was large and in was the only drinkable before them. That re
mained untouched, and was finally taken away. A snuff-box was placed on the table, and the party, as Meredith and Dr. Pattison supposed, was about to break up, it being after midnight. But Wirt was in excellent mood for conversation, and gave full play to all his resources. He took snuff freely, told stories of a lively cast, mooted questions of science of the gravest as well as the lightest import, provoked jocular discussions, and, in short, raised his comrades to a key of enjoyment as high as his own. No one thought of the hour. They were eventually aroused to a consideration of the time they had spent over their solitary snuff-box, by the entrance of the servant and the opening of the shutters, which disclosed to them the broad daylight. Wirt had premeditated this adventure, and was greatly amused at his success, when he found his companions expressing their amazement at this unconscious lapse of the night.
The work is issued in the best manner of the Philadelphia press. A life-like engraving of Mr. Wirt's noble, intellectual, Goethean face forms an appropriate and beautiful frontispiece to the first
From the National Era.
Greenwood Leaves; a Collection of Sketches and
fresh earth is about her; and that, like Macgregor's, her foot is firmest on her native turf."
The volume before us consists of a collection of Prose Sketches and Letters. Among the first, we need not say to the readers of the Era, in which it originally appeared, that the "Rosewreathed Cross" is a simple, touching, and beautiful story, reminding one of Mackenzie's La Roche. The Irish Daughter" is full of the pathos of truth in its delineation of the sorrows and loves of a simple emigrant family. The humorous burlesque of "International Copyright," in which some half-score of our American authors appear as complainants against the licensed piracy of publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, is the best thing of the kind we have seen since Horace Smith's "Rejected Addresses." A good caricature is necessarily a recognizable likeness, as it is the exaggeration of well-known peculiarities, and these imitations, so far as manner and language are concerned, are so ludicrously life-like that the friends of the victims cannot fail to "know them at first sight." Longfellow translates from the German of an unpronounceable name, a poem in which the old authors of renown are represented as wailing and wandering on the wrong side of the Styx, and in full view of Elysium, unable to
As into solemn silence sinks
Their deep, despairing cry,
Is brushed from Charon's eye!
He fills his boat with bardic shades,
senting the god in reduced circumstances, emigrating to the New World, and undertaking the business of author-a poem which would anywhere pass for genuine. It has the ring of sterling
SOME three or four years ago, several exceed-pay Charon for their passage over the river: ingly spirited lyrics appeared in a Western Pennsylvania newspaper. They were not finished productions; they seemed not so much the offspring of deliberate reflection, as of sudden improvisation. There was nothing commonplace about them. They were noticeable for their energy, enthusiasm, beauty, abandonment to the emotions by which they were prompted, and the evidently spontaneous Dr. Holmes gives us " Apollo in America," repreadaptation of language and rhythm to their subjects. Soon after, a series of letters, brilliant, witty, and piquant, appeared in Willis' New York Mirror, under the signature of Grace Greenwood; and we were certainly somewhat surprised to learn that the authorship of these letters, and of the poems which had first attracted our notice, could be traced to one and the same person-to a young lady, whose home was on the western slope of the Alleghanies. To the letters succeeded a series of tales from the same pen, which have appeared in different periodicals. These last have been widely copied and admired, but, in our view, are by no means the most creditable productions of their writer. Many of them are witty and amusing, but they lack simplicity; there are too many foreign phrases-a trifle too much of good things in the way of love-makings—and the heroes and heroines of some of them are not such as have fallen in the way of our experience, or within the range of our conjectures of the possibilities of what is called fashionable society. The truth is, the writer is not at home in such delineations for which, let her be devoutly thankful! Let her count it no matter of regret that, to use her own words, she is "not of the ore of which fine ladies aro formed; that the atmosphere of the woods and 12 VOL. XXIV.
The "Letters" constitute the best part of the book. In them, the writer's freedom, freshness, and strong individuality, are fully developed. All the moods of a versatile and buoyant nature have free play. She has keen perceptions of the ludicrous, and quick and earnest sympathies. Humor deepens into pathos; merriment, too hearty, perhaps, for the primness of conventional propriety, alternates with profoundest sorrow over the wrongs and sufferings of humanity. Here is a specimen of her humor, from a playful ideal journey, in which she puts a girdle round the earth."
I would fain linger on the shores of the Dead Sea, to search out that record of feminine folly, that memorable warning to woman-kind, that shining mark of man's reproach, the unfortunate helpmeet of the Patriarch, once a good wife, undoubtedly, but now chiefly distinguished for her saline qualities. Perhaps it is a weakness in me, but I have always had great charity for that woman of the olden time. Let us reflect how hard it must have gone with her to leave, with so little warning, all her old gossips 2.