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Reviews of The Token for 1833

Boston Literary Magazine, November 1832

New England Magazine, November 1832

Cincinnati Mirror, November 10, 1832

North American Review, January 1833

Reviews of The Token for 1833 were the usual mixture of delightful and oblivious. Delightful (and largely accurate) is the phrase the reviewer in The Cincinnati Mirror coined for the quality of the poetry: “excessively newspaperish, and country newspaperish at that.” (He made an exception for a longish poem by Hannah F. Gould, which he could fill space by reprinting.) Oblivious included the reviewer for the North American Review, who rhapsodized about the importance of American gift annuals in the development of printing, literature, and engraving—and pretty much ignored the contents of what he said he was reviewing. And it included the reviewer of the Boston Literary Magazine, who singled out several prose pieces for special mention and reprinted a fairly long story by an anonymous writer—and completely failed to notice three stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Review of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, for 1833 (from the Boston Literary Magazine, November 1832; pp. 341-343)

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir. A Christmas and New Year’s Present. Boston: published by Gray & Bowen. 1833.

We have been very politely favored with a view of the forthcoming number of the Token for 1833.

We observe that the Philadelphia Souvenir and Boston Token have this season been united. They are both comprised in this beautiful volume, which seems to possess, in a concentrated form, the beauties and merits of both. The same genius and mechanical skill that were exerted in perfecting the two, have this year been exhausted upon this alone. The plates are of the most exquisite workmanship, and inferior to those of no English annual of this class, if we except the Keepsake. Many of the literary performances are superior to those even of this noted work.

Among the periodical trash and rubbish with which the world is inundated at the present time, it is refreshing to meet occasionally with a volume like the one before us. We read and re-read it with untiring delight. Every page is sparkling with the impress of genius. At each successive perusal we feel renewed pleasure and behold new beauties. Our minds are here charmed with the most brilliant and glowing conceptions, clothed in the richest language. The public have but justly to appreciate the merits of this performance, and it must meet with an ample patronage.

Literary productions, like gems, should be estimated by their quality, and not by their magnitude. In this case the public would place a high value upon this performance. Its contents are the most finished productions of some of our most finished writers. It is not a volume to be read and then thrown by and consigned to oblivion, but to be cherished as a valuable treasure—as an unexhausted fund of refined amusement and instruction. Its contents are a rich intellectual banquet, to which we may return at intervals with renewed delight, and from which we may retire invigorated and refreshed.

We have given our readers a foretaste of the rich treat prepared for them by the publishers of this work, by making an extract at the commencement of this number.

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As the publishers of the Token have this year spared no pains or expense to cater for the refined taste of the literary community, it is sincerely hoped and believed that the tasteful and wealthy will in return duly appreciate and reward these exertions in their behalf. By so doing, the work may be continued in future years. It is no small credit to Boston as well as New England, that a work of this kind can thus tastefully be got up and meet with sufficient patronage to sustain it. It argues well for the taste of the community.

Seven numbers of the Souvenir, and five of the Token, have already appeared.

The ‘Talisman,’ of New York, all the poetry of which we believe was furnished by Bryant, was discontinued in 1830. It reached only its third number.

The English work entitled the ‘Keepsake,’ was got up for the benefit of the English gentry and nobility. No expense was spared to render it perfect in its kind. Indeed, nearly all its writers are persons of the highest rank in the British nation. It is no small praise of the Token of 1833, therefore, to say that it nearly equals the Keepsake.

The ‘Forget-me-not,’ ‘Friendship’s Offering,’ ‘Winter’s Wreath,’ ‘Literary Souvenir,’ ‘Bijou,’ ‘Iris,’ and other British Annuals, will hardly compare with the Token of this year. The ‘Landscape Annual,’ by the celebrated Mr. Roscoe, and Heath’s ‘Picturesque Annual,’ are very different works from the preceding.

Among the list of writers for the Token this year, are the names of Pierpont, Flint, Gray, Mellen, Thomson, Sherry, Thatcher, Holmes, Cushing, Grey, Vane, Manners, Vere, Mrs. Sigourney, Miss Gould, and Miss Sedgwick. There are likewise several anonymous pieces, and pieces by ‘authors of’ certain productions, the names of whom we have not the pleasure of knowing. The contents of the volume are—

To ——; The Storm; The Shipwrecked Coaster; The Rescue; Autumnal Musings, by John Pierpont; Passage of the Beresina, by Mrs. Sigourney; Dancing Days; Song, by Edward Vere; The Seven Vagabonds, by the Author of ‘The Gentle Boy’; Lines on seeing a Soldier of the Revolution surrounded by his Family; Guardian Angels; The Bald Eagle; The Artist; A Cure for Dyspepsia; Delhi, a Tale of the East, by the Authro of ‘The Affianced One’; Sir William Pepperell, by the Author of ‘Sights from a Steeple’; Italian Peasant’s Song, by Thomas Gray, Jun.; Reflief of Orleans; To a Wild Deer, by Charles West Thomson; Gibraltar, by the late J. O. Rockwell; The Hypochondriac’s Good Night; Visit of Poor Relations; An Evening in Autumn; The Canterbury Pilgrims; The Bridesmaid, by H. F. Gould; Fall of Missolonghi, by B. B. Thatcher; Parisian Milliners and the Fishes, by Mrs. Sigourney; Life; Joan of Arc; The Shipwreck, by B. B. Thatcher; Sketches of Conversation; Belshazzar’s Feast, by Thomas

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Gray, Jun.; The Bridal Ring, by Miss Sedgwick; Dirge of a Young Poetess; Touchstone and Audrey; Blind Grandfather, by T. Flint; The Quaker, by H. F. Gould; A Night Thought, by Grenville Mellen; Rural Amusement; The Stormy Night; On a Noisy Politican, by C. Sherry; To a Lady, by Lawrence Manners; Song, by George Grey; The Stolen Match, by Caleb Cushing; The Fountain of Love; What is it?; The Wasp and the Hornet, by Oliver Wendell Holmes; The Philosopher to his Love; My Native Land, by H. Vane; Mazeppa; The Capture; To a Fragment of Silk, by Mrs. Sigourney; A Portrait; Trout Fishing; The Fur Cloak; Philip of Mount Hope; A Spanish Scene.

Though all the pieces are beautiful, those entitled ‘Guardian Angels,’ by B. B. Thatcher—‘The Twilight Hour,’ by Thomas Gray, jr.—‘Parisian Milliners and the Fishes,’ by Mrs. Sigourney—‘A Night Thought,’ by Grenville Mellen—the ‘Address to a Wild Deer,’ by Charles West Thomson—and ‘An Evening in Autumn,’ by H. W. L., are among the poetic pieces with which we were most delighted. As regards the prose, ‘The Fall of Missolonghi,’ by B. B. Thatcher—‘The Stolen Match,’ by Caleb Cushing—‘Autumnal Musings,’ by John Pierpont—‘The Bridal Ring,’ by Miss Sedgwick—‘Visit of Poor Relations,’ by F. E. I., and ‘The Capture,’ by T. G., appear to us to possess peculiar merit. ‘The Fall of Missolonghi’ begins very prettily—‘The Stolen Match’ abounds with glowing and sublime imagery and deep pathos—the ‘Autumnal Musings’ breathe the spirit of purity and devotion, and the other pieces possess marks of much literary talent. We remarked one fault in the mechanical execution of this work. The punctuation in many instances is very bad.

Speaking of the work generally, as a whole, we may say that it is superior to any American Annual of preceding years.

Review of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, for 1833 (from the New England Magazine, November 1832; pp. 425-426)

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir. A Christmas and New Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. 1833.

The union of the Atlantic Souvenir with the Token will be gratifying to at least one class of persons—namely, all editors of Periodicals whatsoever—since it will oblige us to read one book and write one paragraph less. Not that we have any objection to seeing and reading such beautiful books, but, in this book-making age, our labor is “never ending, still beginning,” and any thing is gratifying which lessens our toils.

The Token for 1833, viewing it externally, is as handsome a volume as we have seen for many a day. The binding is elegant, substantial, and tasteful. The paper and print are good, but apparently not better than those of the numbers of preceding years. Some of the engravings are good, and some are quite indifferent, though on this point, we speak with some diffidence, judging merely from what pleases us, and without any knowledge of the art. “Touchstone and Audrey” is capital. We never met with an illustration of Shakspeare so worthy of the text. The faces of the two originals are perfect gems—things to be remembered and dreamed of months after we have seen them. We are also much pleased with “Delhi,” the “Visit of the Poor Relations,” the “Shipwreck,” and “Italian Peasants.” Of “Dancing” we do not particularly admire either the design or the engraving. There is something affected and ungraceful in the attitude; and, besides, we want the whole length of a dancing figure, and not one cut off at the knees like Witherington in the old ballad. The “Bridemaid” is a good engraving, but the lady abuses the privilege we all have, of being ugly. “Belshazzar’s Feast” we are sorry to see. It has a blotching, unfinished appearance—it is quite impossible to crowd so large a scene into so small a space with good effect; and, above all, it provokes a comparison with Martin’s own magnificent engraving, which it is no more like, than a Camera Obscura view of a landscape is like the living glory of the earth, with its woods and fields and many-sounding streams. “Mazeppa” is a good engraving of a powerful picture in the energique style of the French school; but it is a painful object to look at. A “Portrait” is a very good engraving of a very common-place face, and we cannot help admiring the ingenuity with which our friend Holmes gets over a subject which must have given him very little inspiration. In the “Spanish Scene,” the gentleman looks as if he was sitting for his picture, and the lady is a thought too Amazonian, and, besides, she should be reminded that it is only a handsome leg that should be so liberally displayed.

With regard to the literary portion it does not seem to be quite equal to what we have a right to expect, considering that there is a concentration, upon one volume, of the talent that was formerly divided between two. The poetry is of that unmarked character which almost any well-educated person might have written, and which the eye glides over without our having any impressions conveyed to the mind. There is none of it so bad as to be laughed at, nor so

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good as to awaken strong admiration. We have found nothing better than the following, which is really very good:—


Dearest, a look is but a ray

Reflected in a certain way;

A word, whatever tone it wear,

Is but a trembling wave of air,

A touch, obedience to a clause

In nature’s pure material laws.

The very flowers that bend and meet,

In sweetening others grow mroe sweet;

The clouds by day, the stars by night,

Inweave their floating locks of light;

The rainbow, Heaven’s own forehead’s braid,

Is but the embrace of sun and shade.

How few that love us have we found!

How wide the world that girds them round!

Like mountain streams we meet and part,

Each living in the other’s heart,

Our course unknown, our hope to be

Yet mingled in the distant sea!

But ocean coils and heaves in vain,

Bound in the woven moonbeam’s chain;

And love and hope are but the play

Of some capricious planet’s ray,

To light, to lead, to rouse, to charm,

Till death shall hush in icy calm.

Alas! one narrow line is drawn,

That links the sunset to the dawn,

In mist and shade life’s morning rose,

And clouds are round it at its close;

But ah, no twilight beam ascends,

To whisper where the evening ends.

Oh, in the hour when I shall feel

Those shadows round my senses steal—

When gentle eyes are weeping o’er

The clay that feels their tears no more—

Then let thy spirit with me be,

Or some sweet angel likest thee!      O. W. H.

The prose, as is generally the case, is better than the poetry. There is a beautiful story, by Miss Sedgwick, which has all her purity of taste and delicacy of feeling. The “Seven Vagabonds” is good, and so is the “Canterbury Pilgrims.” The “Capture” and the “Cure for the Dyspepsia,” are also very fair. There are some excellent things in the “Bald Eagle;” but there is too much of caricature, and one gets pretty well tired before the end comes. There is much beauty in Mr. Pierpont’s “Autumnal Musings.” The “Stolen Match” is much too long. “Joan of Arc,” and “Sir William Pepperll,” seem to have been put in merely for the space they occupy.

To almost all the articles it may be urged in the way of criticism, that there is too much description,—too many words. Every feature in the face, every garment that is worn, every appearance in the earth, and every change in the sky, is described at the most wearisome length. We cannot help feeling that the articles were written with a view to the “consideration,” and so made to cover as many pages as possible.

Review of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, for 1833 (from the Cincinnati Mirror, November 10, 1832; p. 31)


These two rival annuals have been united, and the work is in future to hail from Boston, the birth-place of beautiful women and talented men. The volume for 1833, like most of its predecessors, is a splendid specimen of typography and book-binding. The engravings for the most part please us: we have not been so fortunate in discovering faults in them as some of our cotemporaries have, notwithstanding that we looked through the volume with an amateur in such matters at our elbow. Several of them have great animation, and some of them softness and delicacy sufficient to make up for the coarseness of others. We could not desire anything more spirited than “Mazeppa” and “The Storm;” and an old sailor who has been wrecked several times

“On the stormy and billowy ocean,”

believes that the “Shipwreck” would look very natural, did not the lighthouse occupy so conspicuous a place in the picture. The engravings are twenty in number. We do not think that the literary contents of this volume can be boasted of. There are a number of articles, how ever, such as the “Blind Grandfather,” by Timothy Flint, “Autumnal Musings”,” by John Pierpont, “The Bald Eagle,” the “Canterbury Pilgrims” and the “Seven Vagabonds,” which are very fine.

A major part of the poetry in this volume is excessively newspaperish, and country newspaperish at that. The best pieces, (with one exception,) are “Gibraltar,” by the late J. O. Rockwell, “To a Wild Deer,” by C. W. Thompson, “An Evening in Autumn,” and “Philip of Mount Hope.” But the best thing in the volume, or we are greatly mistaken, is “The Quaker,” by Hannah F. Gould. It is subjoined. We beg the reader to observe the beautifully picturesque passage which we have caused to be italicised. It should have been made the subject for an engraving, for it would have formed a better one than any in the volume, “Mazeppa” perhaps excepted.


The Quaker stood under his smooth broad brin,

In the plain drab suit, that, simple and trim,

Was better than royal robes to him,

Who looked to the inward part,

Foregoing the wealth and honors of earth;

And emptied his breast of the praise of birth,

To seek the treasures of matchless worth

Reserved for the pure in heart.

And he heaved a sigh at the lofty look

Of the mitred head o’er the gilded book;

And a view of the costly drapery took

With a meek and pitying eye.

‘Alas!’ said he, as he turned away

From the splendid temple, the grand display,

‘What honor to worldly pomp they pay,

In the name of the King Most High!’

Then he looked around on his own proud land,

Where those of his faith were a suffering band,

Enchained in the conscience, and under the hand

Of merciless power oppressed.

‘I’ll seek,’ said the Quaker, ‘a happier shore,

Where I and my people may kneel before

The shrine we erect to the God we adore;

And none shall our rites molest!’

And sick of the sounding of empty things,

Of beggarly strife in the land of kings,

His dove-like spirit unfurled her wings,

For a bold and venturous sweep.

She wafted him off, o’er billow and spray,

’Twixt the sea and the sky, on a pathless way,

To a beautiful sylvan scene that lay

Far over the boiling deep.

And when he came down, unruffled and staid,

Where along the skirt of the peaceful shade,

The Schuylkill and Delaware rolled, and made

Their friendly waters unite,

The Indian sprang from his light canoe,

The bird to the topmost bough withdrew,

And the deer skipped up on the cliff, to view

The new and unseemly sight.

But the tomahawk dropped from the red man’s hand,

When he saw the Quaker advance, and stand

Presenting his purse, but to share the land

He had come to possess with him.

And scanning his bland and noble pace, [sic]

Where goodness was all that his eye could trace,

He haughtily smiled at its hiding place,

Far under the hat’s broad brim.

’Thou’lt find,’ said the Quaker, ‘in me, and in mine,

But friends and brothers to thee, and to thine,

Who abuse no power, and admit no line,

Twixt the red man and the white,

Save the cords of love, as a sacred tie;

For our one great Father, who dwells on high,

Regards the child with an angry eye,

Who robs from his brother’s right!’

The Indian passed—and the Quaker stood,

The righteous lord of the shadowy wood,

Like the genius of thought in his solitude,

Till his spirit, the inner man,

Bec[a]me too mighty to be repressed,

Beneath the drab on his simple breast,

Had moved—and with neatness and plainly dressed,

Came forth, as his lips began began. [sic]

‘I may not swear, but I’ll prophesy—

This lofty forest that towers so high,

Must bow—and its stately head will lie

On the lap of its mother earth!’

When the stroke of the axe shall its pride subdue,

And its branching honors the ground shall strew,

Then some of its parts, may be reared anew,

To shelter the peaceful hearth!

Where now the poor Indian scatters the sod

With offerings burnt to an unknown god,

By gospel light, shall the path be trod

To the courts of the Prince of Peace.

And here will commerce appoint her mart;

The marble will yield to the hand of art;

From the sun of science the rays will dart,

And the darkness of nature cease!’

And thus did the vision of prophecy

Expand and blaze to the prophet’s eye,

Till it grew so vast and arose so high,

That the gentle words that hung

Like a string of pearls from his cautious lip,

On their silver thread, he was fain to clip,

Lest something more than the truth might slip,

For once, from a Quaker’s tongue.

But the trees quaked too, at the things he spoke;

For they knew that the ‘knee of the knotted oak’

Must bend, ere the vow of the Quaker broke;

And they bowed and kissed the ground.

The hammer and axe had abjured repose;

And the mountains rang with their distant blows,

As the forest fell, and the city rose,

And her glory beamed around.

Her laws were as righteous, pure and plain,

As the warm in heart, and the cool in brain,

To bind the strong in a silken chain,

Could in wisdom and love devise.

The tongue needed not the bond of a vow,

And man to his fellow worm did not bow,

Nor doff the screen o’er his open brow,

To any beneath the skies.

The Quaker passed on from land to land,

With the lowly heart, and the open hand

Of one who felt where he soon must stand,

And his final account give in.

For long had he made up his sober mind,

That he could not depart, to leave mankind,

With the ample field of the earth behind,

No better than he had been.

And bright was the spot where the Quaker came

To leave it his hat, his drab and his name,

That will sweetly sound from the trump of Fame

Till its final blast shall die.

The city he reared from the sylvan shade,

His beautiful monument now is made;

And long have the rivers their pride displayed

In the scenes they are rolling by.

As a whole, we think this volume equal to any of its predecessors that we have seen. It may be obtained at the Bookstore of HUBBARD & EDMANDS, on Pearl Street.

Review of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, for 1833 (from North American Review, January 1833; pp. 276-279)

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir. A Christmas and New Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich Boston, 1833.

We remember to have seen an amusing tale, which represented Cicero, who had in some unexplained way returned to earth, as lost in wonder at the various inventions and improvement of the Germans; and if the perturbed spirit of the venerable ancestor of Mr. Oldbuck, the rival of the fame of Faust and Caxton, could be made visible to us, he would be scarcely less astonished, on learning what advances have been made in his own important art. This art has not unjustly been regarded as the mother of all subsequent reform; but its charity has not been forgetful of its own claims; and it is itself perhaps the best example of the general superiority of modern arts over those of former times. All this is well; it is fortunate that typography can thus adapt itself to the demands of luxury; for there are many at the present day who would hardly be induced to read at all, excepting by the magic of a beautiful edition: and if Mr. Irving’s Sketch-book had been printed in black letter, with illustrations similar to those which formerly adorned the primer, it would have found but a cold welcome in the fashionable world. The author of Waverley intimates a doubt, whether such appliances are proper in order to induce people by their attractions to do, what they would not do from a sense of duty; but it is certainly better, that duty should be done from an inferior motive, than not performed at all. Men ay be allured to the study of natural history by beautiful forms and golden plumage, rather than the deep things of comparative anatomy; but it is well if in any way, they can become conversant with nature. The beautiful fictions of Sir Walter Scott have attracted many to the study of history, who, but for them, would have cared very little for the past.

In this point of view, independently of other merit, the annuals of the last few years are not without their value; but there is another, in which they assume a character of more importance. The fine arts are not apt to flourish in a young and prosperous community: like many other luxuries, if they

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have not the transparent atmosphere and brilliant sun to bring them to perfection, they must be quickened into life by the artifical heat of the conservatory. Painters and sculptors find no enouragement to fix their residence on the Arkansas or the Yellow Stone; and even near the Hudson and the Charles, the ordinary demands of the publisher would by no means animate the engraver to the highest efforts of his art. No one doubts the importance of these arts in giving a grace and ornament to life; it is even believed that they aid society in its progress to liberality of feeling and refinement, by making men familiar with the beautiful. Whatever tends to introduce them where they might not otherwise have appeared, at least so early; whatever aids their progress to perfection, ought certainly to be regarded with an eye of public favor.

It would be difficult to enumerate the modes of industry, exhibited in works like these: the reason why so few have yet been published, is probably the difficulty of combining those modes with the requisite degree of skill. A publisher must first be found, who is willing to risk large sums on the doubtful venture of the public taste; an editor, apt to perceive the shiftings of the fashionable gale, and skilful to trim his sail, so as to float gallantly before it. The brilliant creations of the painter must not be wanting, nor the laborious talent of the engraver, with his flow and patient toil; and when to these we add the separate tasks of the printer, the binder, and a host of others, each endeavoring in his own vocation to surpass all those who have gone before him, we shallhave an illustration of the division of labor, superior to those of Say and Adam Smith.

The art of the engraver,in particular, required in this country some such encouragement as this. Before the publication of these annuals was begun, a marvellous change had been accomplished, as any one who remembers the finest prints of forty years ago will readily perceive; but, owing to the extemporaneous manner in which most works are of necessity issued from the press, and the importance of rendering them as cheap as possible, there were no means of urging the engraver to the highest efforts of his art, or of recompensing him for making them. His calling is not that of a copyist merely; it combines some of the highest qualities of that of the painter; and the difficulty of succeeding in it is apparent from the smallness of the number of engravers, who have risen to

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distinguished eminence. The work before us has been the means of encouraging the efforts of a promising young artist, Cheney, whose beautiful prints have ornamented its successive volumes, and who is now pursuing his studies abroad. Various other deserving artists have been incited to excel by the liberal compensation, which the publisher of works like these is able to offer. If no other benefit be derived from them, this, at least, may be justly mentioned to their praise.

The literary character of these annuals is very various, in other countries as well as here; and whoever is disposed to speak with harshness of our own in this respect, will do well to remember, that it is no extravagant compliment to say, that those of England are not at all before them. The object of publishers has too often been, to adorn their table of contents with distinguished names; when, in nine cases out of ten, the articles attached to them are poor enough. In works, consisting of so many articles by many different hands, there must of necessity be much diversity in point of merit; but so far as we have observed, the Token has had no undue proportion of bad ones, and a fair proportion of the good. As far as names of literary distinction go, it has probably been richer than any other in the country; or if the Atlantic Souvenir has formed an exception to the remark, it could probably claim no superiority.

It was, however, principally with a view to the ornamental part of the execution of these annuals, that we have been induced at this time to refer to them; and certainly in this respect they have been very creditable to the country, notwithstanding some great disadvantages under which the publishers have labored. Several of them have, in fact, been discontinued in consequence of these disadvantages; among others, the Talisman, which acquired much reputation in New York, the Western Souvenir, published a few years since in the city of Cincinnati, whose site was forty years ago a desert, and another, which was issued in the Territory of Michigan. The Atlantic Souvenir and Token are the only very prominent ones which yet survive, and they have been at length united. The extent of public patronage will not probably admit of so liberal expenditures in the preparation of these ornamental publications here, as in England: there is not the same privilege of selecting engravers, or the finest subjects for engraving, nor is there the same facility in executing the finest specimens of typography: but, with all these circumstances of dis-

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couragement, these works have been executed with uncommon skill and beauty. Those who praise the superiority of foreign ones to ours may recollect, that if they would encourage the latter as liberally as they do the former, the distinction would soon be removed. In point of beauty of typography, and of bidning, the difference is very slight; as respects the prints, there are some in the work before us which foreign artists cannot easily excel: we refer particularly to those entitled ‘Guardian Angels,’ and the ‘Portrait.’ It is not unreasonable to suppose that it has been enabled to retain that place in the public favor, which others have lost, by the superiority of its execution, and the labor which has been devoted to it, in order to render it generally acceptable.

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