[To “Voices from 19th-Century America”]

Reviews of The Token for 1838

Gentleman’s Magazine, October 1837

Knickerbocker, November 1837

American Monthly, November 1837



Reviewers of The Token for 1838 tended to focus more on the illustrations than to the writings; the reviewer for The Knickerbocker had some sharp remarks for several engravings, but praise for almost all the poetry and prose. The reviewer for the American Magazine, however, did his usual lauding of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s five pieces in this annual.



Review of The Token, for 1838 (from Gentleman’s Magazine, October 1837; pp. 278-281)

THE AMERICAN ANNUALS.

We have received copies of the Token, The Literary Souvenir, and the Christian Keepsake, comprising, we believe, the entire list of Annuals which the booksellers intend to publish during these times of pressure. We have sufficient evidence before us, to convince the sneerers at the progress of the Fine Arts in America, that we are at least able to compete with the old world in the production of these elegancies of literature; the above named volumes may enter the lists with any of the choicest European works of the same quality; and we believe, that if sale could be insured for our American annuals equal to the number of copies of the fancy works disposed of in England, that the enterprise of our booksellers would soon leave the Londoners far behind in the race. The manufacture of an American annual costs twice as much as the production of a similar work in England; and yet the selling price of the one is not more than the charge of the other, while the English bookseller sells ten copies to the American’s one.

We love the Annuals. There is something sacred in the destination of these beautiful compounds that endears them to our recollection—we do not look upon them merely as splendid picture books, or illustrated galleries of literature, but as a connecting link in the great chain of human love that ought to bind the bibed [sic] race in pleasant unity. Can the hand of affection present a more fitting thing to the object of his choice than a Souvenir or Forget-Me-Not? a more sensible evidence of esteem than a gilt bauble or a glittering stone. Can a father give a more acceptable Token to his children than one of these enticing gems? or can we evince our opinion of acquaintances in a better way than by the presentation of a Gift, or a Friendship’s Offering? The dissemination of Annuals softens the asperities of life, and assists the cultivation of the humanities—thousands of persons connect pleasant remembrances with the books upon their parlor tables, and agreeable thoughts rush upon their minds whenever the handsome volumes glad their eyes.

——

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, a Christmas and New Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. Boston. American Stationer’s Company, 1838.

Our friends, who have not seen the current number of this splendid Annual, must not injure it by any recollection of the apperance of last year’s Token. The work has fallen into the hands of fresh proprietors, and with commendable spirit they have increased the size of the volume, and the beauty of the pictorial embellish-

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ments. Ten engravings, of superior excellence, illustrate the writings of several authors more or less known to fame; and as the pictures are generally the most attractive points in the formation of the annuals, we shall pay some extra attention to the embellishments of this beautiful work. The presentation vignette is a wood engraving of remarkable softness—it is executed by J. A. Adams, of New York, an artist who, in his peculiar line, far excels all cotemporaries; indeed, we defy the most celebrated engraver in England to equal this effort of Adams’ genius—and we are thought to know something of the subject we are dictating upon. Adams has not yet achieved the fame that he deserves; he is unknown to his countrymen—one tithe of his merit has made the fortune of many artists—but wood engraving is not sufficiently encouraged in America, although we believe that the sight of the admirable print in question will materially assist its progress. It possesses all the chasteness and delicate tinting of the softest steel engraving, and is calculated to deceive the eyes of experienced lovers of the art. The merit of the design belongs to Chapman, who has painted the subjects of five of the best plates. The frontispiece, “The Expected Canoe,” is beautifully engraved, and forms a delightful picture, but there is an awkwardness in the position of the squaw’s left arm that gives her a constrained apperance, and sadly militates against the general effect. The vignette in the title page, of “Cupids carving Mementoes upon a Pumpkin,” is one of the most delightful specimen of engraving, and redounds nobly to the credit of Gallaudet. “The Only Daughter” is a good picture, painted by Newton after the manner of the old Dutch masters, and well engraved by Andrews. “The Token” is Chapman’s best picture—an Indian maiden is playing with a belt of wampum on the banks of a romantic waterfall. It is engraved as a vignette by Charles Jewett, who has done full justice to the painter’s design. The next plate is Chingford Church, in England, and is, undoubtedly, the gem of the volume—it is a perfect picture—a good specimen of the richness of English landscape, materially aided by the ivy-covered tower of the old church and the sun-lit eddies of the little stream that skirts the humble resting place of the village dead. This beautiful picture is from the pencil of Brown and the burin of Smillie—they may both be honestly proud of their work. We do not like Healy’s “Young American on the Alps.” There is nothing characteristic in the figure or the face of the New England youth, and the back ground gives but a poor idea of Alpine scenery. Cushman’s engraving deserves the highest praise. “The Last of His Tribe,” is the poorest picture in the book, both in design and execution. There is an evident straining after effect in the position of the dying chief and the scathed tree that resolves itself into positive failure; and although the illustrating poetry says something abuot the moon and stars, it is impossible to define the nature of the light from the plate; the clouds are woolly, and the arrangement of shade is extremely unnatural, whether it be as Falstaff says, “By day or night, or any kind of light.” “The Fairies in America” is another of Chapman’s beautiful vignettes, exquisitely engraved by Smillie; the elfin flight over the waters of the quiet lake, “the moon-touched crags,” and the red man startled in pursuit of his prey, are equally well defined and delicately touched. The editor of the forthcoming “Writings of Washington,” has favored the proprietors of the Token with impressions from one of his plates, “Martha Washington,” painted by Woollaston and engraved by Cheney from the original in possession of G. W. P. Custis, of Arlington House. It is a splendid print, and augurs well for the nature of the illustrations of the above named national work.

Of the literary portion of the work, we must be brief in our notice, but shall, most likely, revert to it again. Miss Sedgwick has a tale in her best manner—the author of “Twice told Tales” has several articles, one of which we copy at the conclusion of our remarks. “Jacques le Laid” is a pleasant sketch, and Pierpoint has achieved a spirited essay upon “The Wonders of the Deep.” The author of “The Blind Boy” has “A Tale of Humble Life”—it is a thrilling narrative, well told. Grenville Mellen and Hastings Weld have both illustrated Chapman’s picture of “The Fairies” in nervous verse; and Mrs. Hale, the accomplished editress of The Lady’s Book, contributes a pretty and affecting story, called “The Love Marriage,” with some delightful verses upon “A Dead Oak Tree.” It is impossible to enumerate the rest of the articles, nearly fifty in number; but next month we may find room to mete a fuller justice to this creditable and pleasing work.

THE SHAKER BRIDAL.

One day, in the sick chamber of Father Ephraim, who had been forty years the presiding elder over the Shaker settlement at Goshen, there was an assemblage of several of the chief men of the sect. Individuals had come from the rich establishment at Lebanon, from Canterbury, Harvard, and Alfred, and from all the other localities, where this strange people have fertilized the rugged hills of New England by their systematic industry. An elder was likewise there, who had made a pilgrimage of a thousand miles from a village of the faithful in Kentucky, to visit his spiritual kindred, the children of the sainted mother Ann. He had partaken of the homely abundance of their tables, had quaffed the far-famed Shaker cider, and had joined in the sacred dance, every step of which is believed to alienate the enthusiast from earth, and bear him onward to heavenly purity and bliss. His brethren of the north had now courteously invited him to be present on an occasion when the concurrence of every eminent member of their community was peculiarly desirable.

The venerable Father Ephraim sat in his easy chair, not only hoary-headed and infirm with age, but worn down by a lingering disease, which, it was evident, would very soon transfer his patriarchal staff to other hands. At his footstool stood a man and woman, both clad in the Shaker garb.

“My brethren,” said Father Ephraim to the surrounding elders, feebly exerting himself to utter these few words, “here are the son and daughter to whom I would commit the trust, of which Providence is about to lighten my weary shoulders. Read their faces, I pray you, and say whether the inward movement of the spirit hath guided my choice aright.”

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Accordingly, each elder looked at the two candidates with a most scrutinizing gaze. The man, whose name was Adam Colburn, had a face sunburnt with labor in the fields, yet intelligent, thoughtful, and traced with cares enough for a whole lifetime, though he had barely reached middle age. There was something severe in his aspect, and a rigidity throughout his person, characteristics that caused him generally to be taken for a school-master; which vocation, in fact, he had formerly exercised for several years. The woman, Martha Pierson, was somewhat above thirty, thin and pale, as a Shaker sister almost invariably is, and not entirely free from that corpse-like appearance, which the garb of the sisterhood is so well calculated to impart.

“This pair are still in the summer of their years,” observed the elder from Harvard, a shrewd old man. “I would like better to see the hoar frost of autumn on their heads. Methinks, also, they will be exposed to peculiar temptations, on account of the carnal desires which have heretofore subsisted between them.”

“Nay, brother,” said the elder from Canterbury, “the hoar frost and the black frost, hath done its work on Brother Adam and Sister Martha, even as we sometimes discern its traces in our cornfields, while they are yet green. And why should we question the wisdom of our venerable Father’s purpose, although this pair, in their early youth, have loved one another as the world’s people love? Are there not many brethren and sisters among us, who have lived long together in wedlock, yet, adopting our faith, find their hearts purified from all but spiritual affection?”

Whether or no the early loves of Adam and Martha had rendered it inexpedient that they should now preside together over a Shaker village, it was certainly most singular that such should be the final result of many warm and tender hopes. Children of neighboring families, their affection was older even than their school-days; it seemed an innate principle, interfused among all their sentiments and feelings, and not so much a distinct remembrance, as connected with their whole volume of remembrances. But, just as they reached a proper age for their union, misfortunes had fallen heavily on both, and made it necessary that they should resort to personal labor for a bare subsistence. Even under these circumstances, Martha Pierson would probably have consented to unite her fate with Adam Colburn’s, and, secure of the bliss of mutual love, would patiently have awaited the less important gifts of fortune. But Adam, being of a calm and cautious character, was loath to relinquish the advantages which a single man possesses for raising himself in the world. Year after year, therefore, their marriage had been deferred. Adam Colburn had followed many vocations, had travelled far, and seen much of the world and of life. Martha had earned her bread sometimes as a sempstress, sometimes as help to a farmer’s wife, sometimes as schoolmistress of the village children, sometimes as a nurse or watcher of the sick, thus acquiring a varied experience, the ultimate use of which she little anticipated. But nothing had gone prosperously with either of the lovers; at no subsequent moment would matrimony have been so prudent a measure, as when they had first parted, in the opening bloom of life, to seek a better fortune. Still they had held fast their mutual faith. Martha might have been the wife of a man, who sat among the senators of his native state, and Adam could have won the hand, as he had unintentionally won the heart, of a rich and comely widow. But neither of them desired good fortune, save to share it with the other.

At length that calm despair, which occurs only in a strong and somewhat stubborn character, and yields to no second spring of hope, settled down on the spirit of Adam Colburn. He sought an interview with Martha, and proposed that they should join the Society of Shakers. The converts of this sect are oftener driven within its hospitable gates by worldly misfortune, than drawn thither by fanaticism, and are received without inquisition as to their motives. Martha, faithful still, had placed her hand in that of her lover, and accompanied him to the Shaker village. Here the natural capacity of each, cultivated and strengthened by the difficulties of their previous lives, had soon gained them an important rank in the Society, whose members are generally below the ordinary standard of intelligence. Their faith and feelings had, in some degree, become assimilated to those of their fellow-worshippers. Adam Colburn gradually acquired reputation, not only in the management of the temporal affairs of the Society, but as a clear and efficient preacher of their doctrines. Martha was not less distinguished in the duties proper to her sex. Finally, when the infirmities of Father Ephraim had admonished him to seek a successor in his patriarchal office, he thought of Adam and Martha, and proposed to renew, in their persons, the primitive form of Shaker government, as established by Mother Ann. They were to be the Father and Mother of the village. The simple ceremony, which would constitute them such, was now to be performed.

“Son Adam, and daughter Martha,” said the venerable Father Ephraim, fixing his aged eyes piercingly upon them, “if ye can conscientiously undertake this charge, speak, that the brethren may not doubt of your fitness.”

“Father,” replied Adam, speaking with the calmness of his character, “I came to your village a disappointed man, weary of the world, worn out with continual trouble, seeking only a security against evil fortune, as I had no hope of good. Even my wishes of worldly success were almost dead within me. I came hither as a man might come to a tomb, willing to lie down in its gloom and coldness, for the sake of its peace and quiet. There was but one earthly affection in my breast, and it had grown calmer since my youth; so that I was satisfied to bring Martha to be my sister, in our new abode. We are brother and sister; nor would I have it otherwise. And in this peaceful village I have found all that I hoped for,—all that I desire. I will strive, with my best strength, for the spiritual and temporal good of our community. My conscience is not doubtful in this matter. I am ready to receive the trust.”

“Thou hast spoken well, son Adam,” said the Father. “God will bless thee in the office which I am about to resign.”

“But our sister!” observed the elder from Harvard; “hath she not likewise a gift to declare her sentiments?”

Martha started, and moved her lips, as if she would have made a formal reply to this appeal. But, had she attempted it, perhaps the old recollections, the long-repressed feelings of childhood, youth, and womanhood, might have gushed from her heart, in words that it would have been profanation to utter there.

“Adam has spoken,” said she, hurriedly; “his sentiments are likewise mine.”

But, while speaking these few words, Martha grew so pale, that she looked fitter to be laid in her coffin, than to stand in the presence of Father Ephraim and the elders; she shuddered, also, as if there were something awful or horrible in her situation and destiny. It required, indeed, a more than feminine strength of nerve, to sustain the fixed observance of men so exalted and famous throughout the sect, as these were. They had overcome their natural sympathy with human frailties and affections. One, when he joined the Society,

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had brought with him his wife and children, but never, from that hour, had spoken a fond word to the former, or taken his best-loved child upon his knee. Another, whose family refused to follow him, had been enabled,—such was his gift of holy fortitude,—to leave them to the mercy of the world. The youngest of the elders, a man of about fifty, had been bred from infancy in a Shaker village, and was said never to have clasped a woman’s hand in his own, and to have no conception of a closer tie than the cold fraternal one of the sect. Old Father Ephraim was the most awful character of all. In his youth he had been a dissolute libertine, but was converted by Mother Ann herself, and had partaken of the wild fanaticism of the early Shakers. Tradition whispered, at the firesides of the village, that Mother Ann had been compelled to sear his heart of flesh with a red-hot iron, before it could be purified from earthly passions.

However that might be, poor Martha had a woman’s heart, and a tender one, and it quailed within her as she looked round at those strange old men, and from them to the calm features of Adam Colburn. But, perceiving that the elders eyed her doubtfully, she gasped for breath, and again spoke.

“With what strength is left me by my many troubles,” said she, “I am ready to undertake this charge, and to do my best in it.”

“My children, join your hands,” said Father Ephraim.

They did so. The elders stood up around, and the Father feebly raised himself to a more erect position, but continued sitting in his great chair.

“I have bidden you to join your hands,” said he, “not in earthly affection, for ye have cast off its chains forever; but as brother and sister in spiritual love, and helpers of one another in your allotted task. Teach unto others the faith which ye have received. Open wide your gates,—I deliver you the keys thereof,—open them wide to all who will give up the iniquities of the world, and come hither to lead lives of purity and peace. Receive the weary ones, who have known the vanity of earth,—receive the little children, that they may never learn that miserable lesson. And a blessing be upon your labors; so that the time may hasten on, when the mission of Mother Ann shall have wrought its full effect,—when children shall no more be born and die, and the last survivor of mortal race, some old and weary man like me, shall see the sun go down, nevermore to rise on a world of sin and sorrow!”

The aged Father sank back exhausted, and the surrounding elders deemed, with good reason, that the hour was come, when the new heads of the village must enter on their patriarchal duties. In their attention to Father Ephraim, their eyes were turned from Martha Pierson, who grew paler and paler, unnoticed even by Adam Colburn. He, indeed, had withdrawn his hand from hers, and folded his arms with a sense of satisfied ambition. But paler and paler grew Martha by his side, till, like a corpse in its burial clothes, she sank down at the feet of her early lover; for, after many trials firmly borne, her heart could endure the weight of its desolate agony no longer.


Review of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, for 1838 (from Knickerbocker, November 1837; pp. 447-449)

The Token and Atlantic Souvenir. A Christmas and New Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. pp. 312. Boston: American Stationers’ Company. New-York: Wiley and Putnam.

Talent of a high order has been employed to enrich both the pictorial and literary departments of the ‘Token’ for the coming year; and, in our judgment, the work greatly exceeds in merit, as it certainly does in size, any of its predecessors. Let us first take a running glance at the embellishments. The presentation-plate, from a tasteful design by Chapman, is engraved on wood by Adams; and in so masteryly a manner is it executed, that it seems more like a fine steel engraving, than a cutting upon wood. The succeeding picture, ‘The Expected Canoe,’ painted by Chapman, and engraved by Andrews and Jewett, is very spirited in its conception, and finished in execution. The rising storm, the lightning, the anxious countenance of the Indian maiden, and the ease and grace of her position, are worthy of especial praise. There is something quite yankeeish in Chapman’s design of the frontispiece—a cupid leaning over a huge pumpkin to see another carve a ‘token’ upon the rind. We can say little for ‘The Only Daughter,’ although engraved by Andrews, from a painting by Newton. The subject is harsh and unpleasing. There is Chapman’s old fault in the ‘Indian Maiden at her Toilet,’ or ‘The Token.’ There is not an Indian feature, nor a semblance of one, in the face of the girl. Otherwise, the picture is well conceived. One of the richest plates in the volume is ‘English Scenery,’ engraved by Smillie, from a painting by Brown. It is mellow and soft, in the ensemble, yet distinct in minute detail, and there is about it an almost living atmosphere. A very clever picture, too, is Healey’s ‘Young American on the Alps,’ and it has received ample justice at the hands of the engraver, G. H. Cushman ‘The Last of the Tribe,’ painted by Brown, and engraved by Ellis, should have been called ‘A Mountain Scene,’ and the Indian figure omitted. He lacks the proper physiognomy, sadly. The scenery is well imagined. ‘The Fairies in America,’ like all attempts at depicting such nondescript creatures of air, strikes us as a failure. Leaving out all the figures, both the painting and engraving reflect credit upon the artists, Chapman and Smillie. ‘Martha Washington,’ engraved Cheney and Kellogg, is a good engraving of a far more beautiful female than we have been accustomed to consider the original, from the portraits we have hitherto seen. She is here depicted in her young and rosy years, ‘plump as a partridge,’ and most delectable to look upon. Thus much for the plates; and now a few words touching the literary contents.

‘The Wonders of the Deep,’ by Pierpont, well deserves the place of honor which it occupies. It is a poem, without the form of verse; and its poetry is of a high order. We ask attention to the annexed paragraphs:

“What a wonder is the sea itself! How wide does it stretch out its arms, clasping islands and continents in its embrace! How mysterious are its depths!—still more mysterious its hoarded and hidden treasures! With what weight do its watery masses

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roll onward to the shore, when not a breath of wind is moving over its surface! How wonderfully fearful is it, when its waves, in mid ocean, are foaming and tossing their heads in anger under the lash of the tempest! How wonderfully beautiful, when, like a melted and ever-moving mirror, it reflects the setting sun, or the crimson clouds, or the saffron heavens after the sun has set; or when its ‘watery floor’ breaks into myriads of fragments the image of the quiet moon that falls upon it from the skies!

“Wonderful, too, are those hills of ice that break off, in thunder, from the frozen barriers of the pole, and float toward the sun, their bristling pinnacles glistening in his beams, and slowly wasting away under his power, an object at once of wonder and of dread to the mariner, till they are lost in the embrace of more genial deeps. And that current is a wonder, which moves for ever onward from the southern seas, to the colder latitudes, bearing in its waters the influence of a tropical sun, and saying to the icebergs from the pole, ‘Hitherto may ye come, but no farther.’ And, if possible, still more wonderful are those springs of fresh water which, among the Indian Isles, gush up from the depths of a salt ocean, a source of refreshment and life to the seaman who is parching with thirst ‘beneath a burning sky.’ And is it not as wonderful, when, not a spring of fresh water, but a column of volcanic fire shoots up from ‘the dark unfathomed caves of ocean,’ and throws its red glare far over the astonished waves, that heave and tremble with the heaving and trembling earth below them! wonderful, when that pillar of fire vanishes, leaving a smoking volcano in its place! and wonderful, when that volcano, in its turn, sinks back, and is lost in the depths whence it rose!

“Then there are other wonders in the living creatures of the deep, from the animalcule, that ‘no eye can see,’ and that scarcely ‘glass can reach,’ up to ‘that Leviathan which God hath made to play therein.’ In ‘this great and wide sea are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.’ Yet He, who hath made them all, even there openeth his hand and satisfieth the desires of all. Wonderful is it, that, of these ‘creatures innumerable,’ each one finds its food in some other, and in its turn, serves some other for food; and that this great work of destruction and reproduction goes on in an unbroken circle from age to age, in the deep silence of those still deeper waters where the power of man is neither felt nor feared!

“What a wonder, too, is that line of phosphoric light, which, in the darkest night, streams along ‘the way of a ship in the midst of the sea!’ What is it that gives out this fire, which, like that of love, ‘many waters cannot quench, neither can the floods drown it?’ Theorists may speculate, naturalists may examine, chemists may analyze; but none of them can explain; and all agree in this, that it is a wonder, a mystery, a marvel. A light that only motion kindles! a fire that burns nothing! a fire, too, seen, not in a bush on Horeb, which is not burned, but in the deep waters of the ocean that cannot be! Is not this a wonder?

“And, if that path of light is a wonder, which streams back from the rudder of a ship, is not that ship itself a wonder? That a fabric so gigantic as a first rate ship, of traffic or of war, framed of ponderous timbers, compacted with bolts and bands of still more ponderous iron, holding in its bosom masses of merchandise, under whose weight strong cars have groaned, and paved streets trembled, or bearing on its decks hosts of armed men, with the thundering armament of a nation—that a fabric thus framed and thus freighted, should float in a fluid, into which, if a man fall, he sinks and is lost, is in itself a wonder. But that such a fabric should traverse oceans, struggling on amid the strife of seas and storms, that it should hold on its way like ‘a thing of life,’ nay, like a thing of intellect, a being endured with courage, and stimulated by a high purpose, a traveller that has seen the end of his voyage from the beginning, that goes forth upon it without fear, and completes it as with the feeling of a triumph, is, as it seems to me, a greater wonder still. Let me ask you to stand, as you perhaps have stood, upon the deck of such a ship,

‘In the dead waist and middle of the night,’

now in the strong light of the moon, as it looks down upon you between the swelling sails, or now in the deep shadow that the sails throw over you. Hear the majestic thing that bears you, breasting and breaking through the waves that oppose themselves to her march! She is moving on alone, on the top of the world, and through the dread solitude of the sea. Nothing is heard, save, perhaps, the falling back of a wave, that has been showing its white crest to the moon, or, as your ship is plowing her way, the rushing of the water along her sides. Yet she seems to care for all that she contains, and to watch, while they sleep as sweetly in her bosom as in their own beds at home: and, though she sees no convoy to guard her, and no torch-bearer to guide her, she seems as conscious that she is safe, as she is confident that she is going right. Is not all this a wonder?”

‘Peter Goldthwait’s Treasure’ is from the pen, and in the peculiar vein, of the author of ‘Twice-Told Tales,’ whose writings are well known, in every sense, to our readers. We think we are not in error in attributing the spirited sketch, ‘Endicott and the Red Cross,’ to the same source. ‘The Shaker Bridal,’ may be traced to a

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kindred paternity not less unerringly by the table of contents, than by a certain style, which, although sui generis, partakes nevertheless of many of the simple graces of the fine old English prose writers. Of the merits of ‘Our Village Post-Office,’ by Miss Sedgwick, our readers are enabled to judge; and our opinion of it is expressed ‘where they may turn the leaf to read it.’ There are pleasant love-stories for the ladies, and young lovers of both sexes, as ‘The Love Marriage,’ by Mrs. Hale, ‘Sylph Etherege,’ ‘Xeri, or A Day in Batavia,’ translated from the German, by Nathaniel Greene, Esq., ‘Jaques De Laid,’ etc. We could almost forgive the author of ‘A Tale of Humble Life’ for drawing so revolting, and we must add unnatural a portrait, as that of George Cavendish, in consideration of the following graphic description of the advent of a New-England festival:

“It was the night before Thanksgiving; that season whose very name speaks of happiness; when the prosperous are called upon to remember whence their blessings come, and the wretched to observe that there is no such thing as unmitigated misery; the most forlorn having something in their lot for which they may thank God. Abundance walked with her cornucopia through the land, leaving no virtuous poor, starving amid unrewarded toils; the ties of kindred brought merry groups round many a blazing hearth, and friendship or hospitality threw open the domestic sanctuary, and admitted into the kindly circle those whom the chances of life had separated from their own homes and kindred.

“The lover of Jane had been compelled, by the death of his father in Vermont, to take a long journey at the approach of this festival; and business was to detain him yet a few days longer. It was not for him therefore that she sat listening in the corner of the roaring chimney, turning her head eagerly as the merry sleighs dashed jingling by. Half a dozen noisy youngsters about her threatened demolition to the old flag-bottomed chairs in a game of blind-man’s buff, while one rosy urchin sat in her lap, struggling against sleep, and whining in reply to her whispered admonitions, ‘I do n’t want to go to bed till cousin George comes.’ At last a sleigh stopped at the door; the blindfold hero of the game tore the bandage from his eyes, the drowsy boy in the corner jumped up wide awake, and clapped his hands, and a young man, muffled in a cloak and seal-skin cap, sprung into the room, as one sure of a welcome. In an instant, the arms of Jane were round her only brother, and the redoubled clamors of the children brought the matron from the pantry, redolent of fresh-baked pies, and the old man from the celler [sic], laden with a basket of apples worthy of the Hesperides. All was noise and confusion, and the young stranger was loudest and gayest of the throng.”

‘Night Sketches beneath an Umbrella,’ and ‘Martha Washington,’ the latter by Mrs. Sigourney, are the only prose articles which we have not named, and they are in all respects worthy the excellent company they keep.

The poetry is rather above than below the general ‘annual’ standard. Among the contributors to this department, ar Miss H. F. Gould, O. W. Holmes, Grenville Mellen, H. Hastings Weld, Rev. J. H. Clinch, and others not unknown to fame; but our space obliges us to confine ourselves to these brief comments, and to forego extracts. And we must here conclude, by recommending the ‘Token’ to American readers, as a work every way worthy of general patronage.


Review of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, for 1838 (from American Monthly, November 1837; pp. 486-488)

The Token, and Atlantic Souvenir; a Christmas and New-Year’s Present. Edited by S. G. Goodrich. Boston: American Stationers’ Company. 1838.

We would not have our readers imagine that we have “jumped the months to come,” and that we are really launched into that year of the Christian era which will be one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight. By no means; we are there only by a literary fiction of the publishers of Annuals, including Registers, Almanacks, and that class of pretty books distinguished par excellence as Souvenirs. We shall step over the unworn threshold of the new year soon enough in reality, heaven knows! We shall have other tokens of our progress than this “Token,” and less agreeable ones too. The head that is getting bald will be still balder; the eye that is waxing dim, will be still dimmer; the hair that is turning gray, will be still grayer; whatever change is going on, will go a little further; and the great river of human life will have rolled a space furhter onward toward the all-concealing ocean of the future. It is a pleasant thing to get the start of Time, if but for a few weeks or months; and, imagining that we are no older next year than we are this, comfort our weary hearts with the reflection that the real will be just like the apparent, that the glass of Truth will give back the image which now smiles upon us from the mirror of Fancy. We are not disposed, then, to quarrel with this antedating of Book presents; we are young as we are in spite of it; and we chuckle over the conviction that we should still be as young, though, by a mistake of the printer, the date had been set down fifty years a-head! Thus doth the title-page of our annual convey a happy impression. Its other pages are not a whit behind hand. They are covered with types that are lovely to the eye, and expressive of thought delightful to the understanding. Truly the Token for 1838 is a most acceptable offering. We like it for more reasons than one. We like it because it contains stories and verses soothing to the rough and chafing soreness of these hard-money-discussing days; and because it is adorned with tasteful engravings, beautiful to look upon, and indicative of a hoped-for improvement in this branch of the Fine Arts in America; and because it presents to us the opportunity, which we have been long waiting for, of praising with a good conscience any work produced under the auspices of the incensed author of the “Outcast and other Poems.”

A green leaf in the fantastic and somewhat withered laurel that encircles the

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brows of its editor, is this Token for 1838. It is a sufficient evidence that Mr. S. G. Goodrich is a man of a refined taste; and that, although no producer of good things himself, he is abundantly capable of appreciating good things in others. No piece, with the exception of a few verses, appears to be out of place in this volume. The reader is regaled with an agreeable variety of beautiful reflections, tales and poetry. They are contributed by approved and capable authors. Let us look over them in company, gentle reader, and we will tell you briefly of those which impressed and interested us.

“The Wonders of the Deep,” by J. Pierpont, is a little in the sermonizing style—set off by repetitions, which are better heard than read, and instinct with thoughts, which, though beautiful, are not particularly original.

The author of “Twice-Told Tales” has contributed as copiously to this as to the last volume. He must be a mine of wealth to the editor. His pieces appear sometimes with and sometimes without a signature.

We may be out in our guessing, but our Yankee ingenuity must be strangely at fault if “Sylph Etherege” be not the production of the author of “Peter Goldthwait’s Treasure;” and if “Endicott and the Red Cross,” and “Night Sketches beneath an Umbrella,” proceeded not from the same graceful and graphic pen which indited “The Shaker Bridal.”

We have on another occasion expressed our admiration of the genius Nathaniel Hawthorne. His modesty is equal to his genius. He has thrown off story after story, and sketch after sketch, as regardlessly as if they were “unconsidered trifles,” and not the most charming things of the kind ever produced in this country. We may be a little extravagant in our praises, but they will do no harm to the subject of them. It is not the least merit of true excellence that its possessor is superior to flattery. We formerly admised the collection into a volume of this author’s random productions. “Twice-told Tales” was, as we flatter ourselves, the result of this advice; and the public has reason to be somewhat grateful to us for the pleasure which that delightful volume imparted. The Editor of “The Token,” however, deserves the high encomium of having primarily brought forward and liberally encouraged the talents of an author, who, were his self-esteem not entirely disproportionate to his ideality, would have made for himself a reputation greater than that which he is now acquiring in spite of his too unpretending disposition.

Among the other tales in the Token, we are much pleased with “Our Village Post Office,” by Miss Sedgwick; politicians may derive a quiet moral from it, which will sweeten the bitterness of partizan feeling; and we should also be pleased with the fine transition, by Mr. Nathaniel Green, of an interesting German story, if we were not of opinion that the author might have done himself superior credit in an original sketch.

Passing from the prose to the poetry, we apply the same remark to Mr. John O. Sargent’s elegant and spirited version of a scene from Victor Hugo’s “Hernani.” We perceive that Mr. Sargent still chooses to call himself “Charles Sherry” when he descends into verse from that height of political discussion, on which, as one of the editors of the Courier and Enquirer, he is now distinguishing himself. There is more good policy than good taste, however, in this avoidance of a belles lettres reputation. When in future he deserts the arena of party strife to dally awhile in the bower of the Muses, we trust that he will not do it “by stealth,” and “blush to find it fame.” We regret to read such verses as “The Only Daughter,” under the name of “O. W. Holmes.” Their obscurity is unrelieved by those flashes, which, in the author’s former pieces, coruscate amid the gloom in which his thoughts and expressions are sometimes involved. Perspicuity of style should not be sacrificed even to a bold, novel, concise, and senten-

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tious manner. The Sonnet to S**** D***, by E. S., is very melodious; but as Mr. Samuel Weller would sagaciously observe, we “can’t go” the “Phidian shape.” Phidias sculptured one statue of Minerva out of ivory and gold, which was thirty-nine feet high. His statue of Jupiter was, if any thing, as a Boston exquisite once observed when comparing his figure with a cast of the Apollo Belvidere, “a trifle taller.” To be Phidian in her shape, S. D. must be an uncommonly large young woman.

Several beautiful pieces of verse have been communicated by Miss Gould, Grenville Mellen, R. C. Waterston, J. H. Clinch, and Epes Sargent, Jr. We have space for the following, from the always charming pen of Mr. Sargent.

“THE TOKEN.

“Brave son of a Chieftain! beloved Cherokee!

This token of wampum is woven for thee;

A token to flutter and shine on thy breast,—

My bravest and brightest, my wisest and best!

“ ’Tis woven with coral, with beads, and with shells;

It shall be on thy breast the most potent of spells,

To save thee from ambush, to shield thee from harm,

To quicken thy sight, and give strength to thine arm.

“Rejoicer in battle! what forest or stream

Sees thy heron-plume wave, and thy tomahawk gleam?

Does the Father of Waters sweep on thy sharp prow?

Sure threader of dark woods! Oh, where art thou now?

“Dost hunt the fierce bison, or shoot the fleet deer?

O’er the prairie’s wide level dost bend thy career?

Or, worn with the heat and the toil of the chase,

Does the mist of the cataract moisten thy face?

“While thus spake the maiden, an eagle, who beat

The clouds with his pinions, fell dead at her feet!

And the arrow, which reached him, while mounting so free,

Was sped from the bow of the young Cherokee.”

The engravings are few, but well selected, and all exquisitely executed with the exception of “The Only Daughter,” who appears to be quite a homely little girl. The Presentation wood-cut is as fine and delicate as other of Adams’s elegant works. “The Expected Canoe” is beautiful—but why will our artists always paint Indian women nearly in the primitive state? Mr. Catlin says that he never, in all his peregrinations, saw a naked squaw; but that, on the contrary, the Indian females wear as much, if not more clothing than one may see on the fashionably-dressed belles of a ball-room. We will not specify the other engravings—they are all “beautiful exceedingly;” they confer great credit upon both painters and engravers—they are proof positive that the Fine Arts are not, as has been gracelessly charged upon us, suffered to languish in this country.

Thus have we taken pains to express our complete approbation of the Token for 1838. It is better than the favorite English anuals of past years. We commend it to all lovers, and husbands, and maiden aunts, who have money enough left out of “the Pressure” to devote to the purchase of a tasteful literary present.

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