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Reviews of The Token for 1831

The Euterpiad, October 1, 1830

The Ariel, October 30, 1830

The Euterpiad, November 15, 1830

Ladies’ Magazine, December 1830

The Euterpiad, December 15, 1830

Unusually, The Token for 1831 sparked controversy, with a generic review in The Euterpiad inspiring a heated display of numbers. (Both participants pretty much ignored the quality of the work in the annuals mentioned.) Meanwhile, yet another review in the same periodical gave an interesting look at what the editor considered fruitful subjects for American writers; somehow he overlooked two American pieces by a writer who would become more important than others published in this volume—Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Sights from a Steeple” and “The Haunted Quack”—and John Neal’s “The Adventurer,” a satire on the controversial John Dunn Hunter. The reviewer for The Ariel made up for the first omission by briefly praising “The Haunted Quack.” He gave the same attention to a poem by Samuel Goodrich—a much rarer occurrence.

Review of The Token, for 1831, by “A.” & the editor of The Euterpiad (from The Euterpiad, October 1, 1830; p. 111)

The Annuals for 1831 are already making their appearance. We have seen the Token, and admire it; not only for the beautiful style with which it is got up, but also for the original matter which it contains. In works of this class, which are so well calculated to show the progress of the fine arts from year to year, it should be an indispensable rule to make them as original as possible, or, in other words, to emanate entirely from the genius of our country, and thereby enable us to form an estimate of the talent she possesses. This has no doubt been in part the object of the publisher, and we congratulate him upon his success.

We wish we could say the same of the Atlantic Souvenir, but unfortunately we cannot; and although a pretty piece of typography, and all that, yet on the whole must be considered as a disgrace to the country. It however contains a very beautiful engraving by Mr. Hatch, from a painting by Doughty. But with the exception of this, all the rest are copies from the works of English engravers. The publishers have not acknowledged them borrowed, but on the contrary have endeavoured to hide the —— by altering the names of the prints, thereby taking to themselves a privilege which, as gentlemen, they had no right to assume. Indeed, a generous and patriotic public cannot and will not countenance so gross an outrage upon their honour. If indeed the publishers have imagined themselves catering for a people ignorant and without principle, they have been widely mistaken; and we can only say, “may they meet their just reward.”

As to the engravers, we cannot but say they shine; but, with the exception of Mr. Hatch, alas! in borrowed plumes.

We do not employ all the exact words of our correspondent in the foregoing; but his meaning, for the purpose of asserting the reputation of the arts and of the country, is sufficiently obvious.—Ed. new series Euterp.

Review of The Atlantic Souvenir and of The Token, for 1831 (from The Ariel, October 30, 1830; p. 108)

From the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser.

The Annuals.—Winter has its inconveniences, but like drowning, it has its pleasures too; cheerful firesides, and long, social evenings, and sleigh-rides, and the Annuals. Of these last, we have already announced the receipt of The Atlantic Souvenir, and a large portion of The Token, for 1831. As yet, we have had leisure only to read them “with the thumb,” as Napoleon used to say, and to bestow just three-quarters of a minute upon each of the engravings; for which reason, we shall not at present undertake to criticise minutely, and forewarn our readers that we shall not hold ourselves bound, by any thing we may say on this occasion, but take leave to advance any opinion hereafter, however opposite, if, on a more careful examination, we shall discover any reason for a change of sentiment. To begin, then, with the Atlantic Souvenir, as being the first that came into our possession: and firstly, of the engravings. These are twelve in number, and are generally creditable to the artists whose burins have been engaged upon them. The best among them are “The Shipwreck,” engraved by Ellis, from an English print[;] “Infancy,” by Kelly, from a picture of Sir Thomas Lawrence; “The Marchioness of Carmarthen,” by Illman and Pilbrow; and “Morning among the Hills,” engraved by Hatch, from a painting by Doughty. In the first of these prints we think Mr. Ellis has done himself justice—the lights and shades are skilfully managed, and the lining is more bold and free than is usual with him. “Infancy” is copied from an English print, but an exceedingly good one—the attitude of the laughing child is full of grace and spirit, and the foreshortening of the leg is admirable. It strikes us, however, that there is something deficient in the face, as indeed is almost universally the case with small American prints. In this particular, the English artists far surpass ours. The portrait of the Marchioness of Carmarthen is the only mezzotint in the volume, and does great credit to the artists—the expression and likeness are well preserved, and the only fault that we have to find is, that the whole picture is too dark, which may, however, be the fault of the printer. “Morning among the Hills” is a sweetly engraved print, and is worthy of the reputation and skill of Hatch.

Among the prose contributions, we have been particularly pleased with Giles Heatherby, the Free Trader; a Tale of the Chesapeake, by Godfrey Wallace; The Eve of St. Andrew, by J. K. Paulding; and the First-born, by Richard Penn Smith. There is also much very respectable poetry; as a fair specimen of which, we copy the hymn of the Cherokee Indian, by I. McLellan, junr.


Like the shadows in the stream,

Like the evanescent gleam

Of twilight’s falling blaze,

Like the fleeting years and days,

Like the things that soon decay,

Pass the Indian tribes away.

Indian son, and Indian sire!

Lo! the embers of your fire,

On the wigwam hearth burn low,

Never to revive its glow;

And the Indian’s heart is ailing,

And the Indian’s blood is failing.

Now the hunter’s bow’s unbent,

And his arrows all are spent!

Like a very little child,

Is the red man of the wild;

To his day they’ll dawn no morrow,

Therefore is he full of sorrow.

From his hills the stag is fled,

And the fallow dear are dead,

And the wild beasts of the chase

Are a lost and perish’d race,

And the birds have left the mountain,

And the fishes, the clear fountain.

Indian woman! to thy breast

Closer let thy babe be prest,

For thy garb is thin and old,

And the winter wind is cold,

On thy homeless head it dashes,

Round thee the grim lightning flashes.

We, the rightful lords of yore,

Are the rightful lords no more,

Like the silver mist we fail,

Like the red leaves in the gale,

Fail like shadows, when the dawning

Waves the bright flag of the morning.

By the river’s lonely marge,

Rotting is the Indian’s barge;

And his hut is ruin’d now,

On the rocky mountain brow;

The father’s bones are all neglected

And the children’s hearts dejected.

Therefore, Indian people, flee

To the farthest western sea;

Let us yield our pleasant land

To the stranger’s stronger hand;

Red men, and their realms must sever,

They forsake them, and for ever!

The number of plates in the Token is, we believe, intended to be the same as those of the Souvenir, but the specimen that we have received, being imperfect, contains only eight—of these the best are 1st, “Just Seventeen,” engraved by Cheney, from a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence—a beautiful picture, and excellently well engraved, except the hand and neck, the former of which is out of drawing, and the latter scratches. 2nd, “American Scenery,” by Ellis, from a picture of Cole’s; this is very good, except the foreground, which is hard and indistinct; and 3rd, “Isabel,” by Danforth, painted by Newton—admirable, equal to any English print. Among the stories of the Token, we have read with great pleasure the Haunted Quack, by Joseph Nichalson—The Village Musician, by James Hall, and The Adventurer, by John Neal—all these stories are distinguished for clearness and purity of style, and for a playful and delicate humor, which is highly amusing. The latter conveys a sharp satire withal, and we strongly suspect the lash is not undeserved. From the poetry, we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of selecting the following beautiful lines by the Editor of the Token.


“Father of Lakes!” thy waters bend

Beyond the eagle’s utmost view,

When throned in heaven, he sees thee send

Back to the sky its world of blue.

Boundless and deep the forests weave

Their twilight shade thy borders o’er,

And threatening cliffs, like giants, heave

Their rugged forms along thy shore.

Pale Silence, mid thy hollow caves,

With listening ear in sadness broods,

Or startled Echo, o’er thy waves

Sends the hoarse wolf-notes of thy woods.

Nor can the light canoes that glide

Across thy breast, like things of air,

Chase from thy lone and level tide,

The spell of stillness, reigning there.

Yet round this waste of wood and wave,

Unheard, unseen, a spirit lives,

That, breathing o’er each rock and cave,

To all a wild, strange aspect gives.

The thunder-riven oak, that flings

Its grisly arms athwart the sky;

A studden, startling image brings

To the lone traveller’s kindled eye.

The gnarled and braided boughs, that show

Their dim forms in the forest shade,

Like wrestling serpents seem, and throw

Fantastic horrors through the glade.

The very echoes round this shore

Have caught a strange and gibbering tone,

For they have told the war-whoop o’er,

Till the wild chorus is their own.

Wave of the Wilderness, adieu!

Adieu ye Rock, ye Wilds and Woods!

Roll on, thou Element of Blue,

And fill these awful solitudes!

Thou hast no tale to tell of Man,

God is thy theme. Ye sounding caves,

Whisper of Him, whose mighty plan

Deems as a bubble all thy waves!

We have attempted but in vain to bring our mind to some conclusion as to the relative merits of the two volumes. Indeed, it is scarcely possible that there should be any great difference between them, as the contributors to both are for the most part the same persons—the same names meet us at almost every page, and we know that equal care and pains are lavished in the getting up of both. No expense of time or money is spared—and the production of two charming volumes, both beautiful, both well worth having, and both honorable to the taste, skill, and enterprise of their Editors and publishers.

Review of The Token, for 1831, by “V.” and the editor of The Euterpiad (from The Euterpiad, November 15, 1830; p. 132)

One of your correspondents, in noticing the Token and Atlantic Souvenir, has acted, I think, in a singularly uncandid manner. He gives great credit to the Token for originality, while he stigmatizes the Souvenir as a disgrace to the country, for want of it. Possessing both works, and having been much pleased with the Souvenir, I have taken the trouble to compare them, and submit the result to your readers, that they may judge of the candour of your correspondent.

The Token contains nine plates; three from pictures of Americans, six from European prints, eight of them engraved in this country, and one engraved in London by an American artist. The Souvenir contains twelve plates; one from a picture by Mr. Doughty, two from Leslie, an American resident in London, one from a foreign picture in this country, and the remainder from European prints; all of them engraved in this country.

It thus appears that three of the plates of the Token are from pictures by Americans, and one of them was engraved by an American resident in Europe, and three of the plates of the Atlantic Souvenir are from designs by Americans, the author of two of them residing in Europe, but all engraved in this country. Yet the Token is praised for its originality, and the Souvenir condemned for want of it, and the publishers censured in no measured terms for using the works of foreign artists, and charged with impropriety in changing the names in one or two cases. In their preface they lay no claims to merit for originality, as regards the illustrations, while such a claim is made in the Token.

I feel confident that if any of your readers, who now will understand the facts, will examine the books, he will say that a more unfair attack has hardly ever been made; and I am confident you will regret having admitted it into your paper.

In admitting the communication of A. on the Souvenir, we did nothing more than literally adhere to our prospectus of No. 13, new series. A. showed in his communication “a feasible object,” which was, the assertion of the reputation of the arts in this country. V. has not been denied the opportunity of defending the Souvenir—consequently has not the shadow of pretension to impugn our editorial course.—Editor.

Review of The Token, for 1831 (from Ladies’ Magazine, December 1830; pp. 571-573)


The Token; Boston: S. G. Goodrich.
Atlantic Souvenir; Philadelphia: Carey & Lea.
The Pearl. Philadelphia: Thomas T. Ash.
Lexington, and other Fugitive Poems; New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill.

The merit of literary productions should be estimated by their effects on the character of the community; and the time will come, when the tendency they exert on individual and social happiness, will be marked as the standard of excellence. This will not discard fancy or taste. Good sense refines and exalts all the faculties of the mind in due proportion, and to be rational, need not mean to be dull, or commonplace. Man’s spirit demands variety, and the developmenet and cultivation of all its powers, furnishes a never-to-be-exhausted field of intellectual labor, and which, nobly performed, will always win the highest rewards and honors.

The domain of Romance has not been exhausted by the prodigal imagination of Scott; nor has Byron fathomed the awful depths and mysteries of passion; nor did even the genius of Shakspeare explore all the recesses of the human heart, much less did he display all the combinations and shades that circumstance mingles in the life of the varied man.

We believe that our own country has her share of unappropriated literary renown, yet in the treasurey of Time; and that there will be no lack of original themes, when original minds shall appear. The oracles of civil and religious liberty, cannot surely have been entrusted to a people incapable of appreciating all the pure refinements of knowledge and taste, that exalt intellectual and moral beings. Every effort, therefore, that awakens public attention to the importance of our own literature, and the probability of cultivating it successfully, we regard with pride and pleasure. And it is to these considerations that the Annuals, now so fashionable, owe their chief value. They have

p. 572

competed, creditably for American writers and artists, with European works of the same class, and thus prevented, in a great degree, the importion of the expensive English Annuals.

The Token is “strictly national;” Mr. Goodrich has determined “to depend entirely upon the resources of our country, for the engravings and the literary contents of the work.” Such efforts deserve encouragement, and will recieve it. It is a beautiful book, and American ladies will look with peculiar favor upon this fair specimen of genius and taste to which female talent has contributed its full share of excellence and interest.

The Atlantic Souvenir, and Pearl, are also tastefully executed, and do credit to the city of Penn. By the way, is not the name of its founder indicative of its literary pre-eminence? The pen is to be the sceptre of the nations.

We should like to give many extracts from these works, and commendations of individual writers. There is much to praise; but Christmas and New Year are approaching, when the books will doubtless be in the possession of all our fair young readers, and they can select the beautiful passages for their own amusement with the delight which original researches and discoveries impart. Therefore we will not intrude our opinion.

The present year has been a propitious one to our poets, judging by the number of octavos they have scattered, almost as plentifully as the flowers of summer, on our path. Amont these the volume of Mr. Wetmore, deserves honorable mention. “Lexington” is a beautiful and spirited poem, breathig fervently of the feelings we are confident American poets must cherish to be successful. Patriotism must be the muse of a republican, if he would seek the sinpiration of pure and generous and lofty thought. But he need not therefore express himself in the ‘king Cambyses’ vein.’ Simplicity is perfectly compatible with deep and elevated feeling.

“The rough bur-thistle spreading wide,

Among the bearded bear,

I turned my weeding hook aside,

And spared the symbol dear.”—

Says Burns, when describing the love of country he cherished at the early age of fourteen. The spirit of all that is amiable and noble in the patriot is expressed in that simple verse; and there too is the germ of the pathetic and sublime in the heart of the poet.

A young bard of our country has expressed the sentiment of patriotism in the following beautiful lines. Their introduction is not to be sure relevant to the volume of Mr. Wetmore, we were noticing, but the spirit of poetry rather than its artificial characteristics is always our theme. We deem it of little consequence to scan syllables and construct rhymes though ever so elegant and harmonious, till our poets are convinced that the “spirit” must move on

p. 573

the face of the waters, and mould and warm the creations they produce. Mr. Whittier, the writer of this invocation, is one of our best poets, and will, we doubt not, find his reward if he devotes his fine talents to “his whole country.”

Land of my fathers!—if my name,

Now humble, and unwed to fame,

Hereafter burn upon the lip,

As one of those which may not die,

Linked in eternal fellowship,

With visions pure and strong and high—

If the wild dreams which quicken now

The throbbing pulse of heart and brow,

Hereafter take a real form

Like spectres changed to being warm;

And over temples wan and gray

The star-like crown of glory shine!

Thine be the bard’s undying lay,

The murmur of his praise be thine!

Some other time we intend to state more particularly, our own ideas of poetry, and the sources from which its chief beauty, sublimity and interest must be derived. Now, we can only recommend the volume containing “Lexington” to our readers. Many of the minor poems are fine; though the subjects are not, in all cases, such as we could wish the genius of Mr. Wetmore had been employed upon. But the following is the most touching and terrific sketch of the Deluge, we recollect ever to have read. It reminds one of Byron’s “Sennacharib.”

“A doom to the fallen! The earth where they trod

Shall be laden no longer with scoffers of God;

He speaks! and his banner of wrath is unfurled,

And the avalanche-doings comes down on the world.

A doom to the fallen! It rides on the wind—

They look back in terror, the wave is behind,

While onward, and onward, in anguish they flee,

Still darkly sweeps onward the dash of the sea.

They trust not the valleys—hope perishes there—

But they rush to the hills with the strength of despair;

The palm-trees are bended by myriads of forms,

As forests are bowed by the spirit of storms.

There’s a hush of the weak, and a cry from the stronger—

And the rock, and the tree are a refuge no longer;

The waters have closed in a midnight of gloom,

And sullenly roll o’er a world-peopled tomb!”

Review of The Token, for 1831 (from The Euterpiad, December 15, 1830; p. 155)

Promises made to the public must not be lightly treated; for, to compare small things with great, we are before the same tribunal which turned Charles the Xth from his paradise. We promised to review the Token, and must somehow try to redeem the pledge. It has over and over again been inisted upon, and yet up to this day it is never sufficiently co[ns]idered by the caterers for these works, that their forte, their battle ground, lies in this country. On American subjects (purely,) they are without rivalry: the interest which is felt for such kind of matter, in Europe, is great, and certain, and remains unsatisfied. When the writers of this country leave the Indian warrior tales—their description of the manners of their foresters—the adventures of Tyger Cat and Panther hunters—the biography of their boatmen of the Mississippi—the stories connected with the Revolutionary War—or the peculiar quaintness of their old puritanical biography,—they are like the inhabitants of a mountainous country, who suffer themselves to be enticed to go down into the plain and fight battles with cavalry. Every library in Europe abounds in an infinite variety of antique lore, adapted to the purposes of tale writing—Legends, Chronicles, Black Letter Biblicals, MSS. are in abundance. In all countries, where the feudal system has prevailed, whenever the plain was overrun by war, the archives were carefully conveyed to castles, and there have been piled up for ages. Sir Walter Scott, in many of his tales, has little more than transcribed. He has had the whole legendary lore of Scotland, (always a shrewd and conservative people) to back him,—and he has done what distillers do: what was dispersed over a wide surface, he has brought into a small compoass; his has been, in all such cases, the work of concentration, in which, it cannot but be confessed, he has been very happy. This is ground, upon which the American writers, when they cope with those of Europe, have no chance of success; and such American European tales are lightly received in England, as will be the case with “Lord Vapourcourt,” of the Token, while the legend of “Mary Dyre,” will be read by countless thousands. This is a thought certainly worthy of notice, at least, by the getters up of such works; in this respect, the Souvenir has certainly the advantage of the Token: A day in New-York, Giles Heatherby, and the story of Shay’s War, make up a considerable part of the contents of the volume: The Adventurer, Mary Dyre, and the New-England Village, are the counterbalancing American tales of the Token.

Of The Adventurer, we can scarcely bring our minds to speak. If what is there aimed at, we suppose, a living character, be true, the individual should be banished from society, if living; and if dead, execrated; if, on the other hand, some deadly enemy have put this yarn together, for the sake of mischief, no punishment inflicted could be too severe for such a wretch.

Of the Ode to Music, in the Token, it falls to our province particularly to speak. A question respecting originality cannot be raised about it, unlike Collins’ Ode to the Passions can be proved a subsequent production; let any one who doubts upon this subject, read either attentively; but it makes no pretensions to the chief excellencies of that master-piece of lyric poetry; it has no personification, or, at best, only a feeble attempt at such. The animus, the pathos, of its original, is wanting, and the words are no echo to the sense. It is wordy and lengthy. There is a want of taste and euphony manifest, in some of the lines, as follows:

He heard it on the air,

When all the winds were out,

And clouds against the sun did bear;

And to the breezy music fast,

Went trampling on their route.

The trampling of clouds can scarcely be realized by the wildest imagination. The following combination of words, revolts the ear of even common-place organization:

His linked fancies wild.

and we cannot altogether award much musical taste to him who would prefer a conch shell, or a tolling bell, to the music of the organ. For want of room, we have not copied this Poem into the Euterpeiad. We have much more to say of the Token, but must leave it unsaid until another opportunity.

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