Thursday, July 5, 2018

Navy Muster Rolls via Fold3

Fold3 Image - 624396008

From The National Archives, Miscellaneous Records of the Navy Department courtesy of Fold3, "Muster Roll / U. S. S. United States / 1823-1844" page 95 with the name of Herman Melville: #572, enlisted as O. S. = Ordinary Seaman for "3 years or Cruize."

As shown here, Melville entered the service at Oahu with Griffith Williams #573 on August 17, 1843. The next name immediately below Griffith Williams is that of William H. Carter who joined October 7th at "Nookahiva." Did Melville even dream of eloping, again, at the Marquesas?

Flipping back a few pages brings us to #513, none other than the "matchless Jack Chase" of Melville's White-Jacket, enlisted here as
"John J. Chase   Capt. Top."
Fold3 Image - John J. Chase

The name "John Chase" first appears on the Muster Roll of the United States in 1809, enlisted April 11th as Ordinary Seaman at the Washington Navy Yard.
First and foremost was Jack Chase, our noble First Captain of the Top. He was a Briton, and a true-blue; tall and well-knit, with a clear open eye, a fine broad brow, and an abounding nut-brown beard. No man ever had a better heart or a bolder. He was loved by the seamen and admired by the officers; and even when the Captain spoke to him, it was with a slight air of respect. Jack was a frank and charming man.  --White-Jacket; Or, The World in a Man-of-War

Friday, June 29, 2018

Liked in Waterloo, loved in Cadiz: Gansevoort Melville's 1844 Jackson Jubilee speech

Another Melvilliana post
gives the complete text of Gansevoort Melville's magnificent 1844 speech at the Jackson Jubilee in New York City. Newspaper reprintings are accessible online, freely via Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress:
In Waterloo, New York, the Seneca Observer (March 27, 1844) liked the literary quality of Gansevoort's oration, commending it as
"a beautiful composition, full of energy and feeling."
The Waterloo notice closes with the climax, Gansevoort's elaborate figure of "the sun of Truth" that overcomes every opposition.

Seneca Observer (Waterloo, New York) - March 27, 1844
via Fulton History
NEW YORK CELEBRATION.-- The celebration of the Jackson Jubilee in New York was truly a splendid affair. Nearly a thousand ladies were present. The oration, by GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, is a production not easily excelled. It is a beautiful composition, full of energy and feeling. We copy its close, and may justly remark, that it contains many passages of equal beauty. Every democrat will respond to these sentiments:
Let us, then, from this moment henceforth, vow to go into this coming Presidential canvass with the stern resolve to do our duty--in the largest and widest sense of the term, and let the consequences take care of themselves. If we do this--if we fight this battle as it should be fought, with honesty, abiding energy, and an enthusiasm tempered by a cool, calm courage, we will triumph. Do this, and even if we fail, we will have no cause for self-accusation. And whatever the result, we have one consolation vouchsafed to us and denied to our opponents; and that is, that the sun of Truth can never set--the mists of prejudice may arise and obscure its rays--the clouds of error intervene and hide its beams--the tempests of faction and party hate shut out its genial and life-bestowing heat; but the mists will arise--the clouds will pass away--the tempest roll on and be forgotten, while the sun, the brighter and dearer for his temporary obscurity, will shine on as he shone of yore--to brighten, to gladden, to vivify and to bless. It is so in the physical world--so in the moral--so in the political.-- Truth can never die. And those political principals which we uphold--in which we live, and for which we are willing to die, will widen and deepen, extend and exist for ever.
Gansevoort's Address made the Demos go crazy in Cadiz. On April 18, 1844 the Cadiz Sentinel printed the whole thing, introduced in terms of truly unqualified praise:


We believe we have never read any thing that pleased us more than the following address, delivered by GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, Esq., in New York, at the great Democratic festival, on the [1]5th ultimo. We publish it in full, because every paragraph is a living stream of glowing eloquence!--Read it--Read it!
In 2017 PBA Galleries (Sale 624 Lot 102 of 253) offered a "rare 1844 political letter" from Herman's older brother Gansevoort Melville to Isaac H. Wright, editor of the Boston Bay State Democrat. Writing on March 9, 1844, Gansevoort declined Wright's invitation to speak at Faneuil Hall, citing his engagement
"to pronounce an address before the Democracy of the city of New York on the 15th inst, the Anniversary of the birthday of Andrew Jackson."

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

If that ain't Moby Dick

"If that ain't Moby Dick may I never live to see Wyndham again, Israel Ponderson said."
Chicago Daily News - June 25, 1887 via GenealogyBank
... Herman Melville makes the superstition connected with "Moby Dick" the basis of one of his wonderful nautical romances; but all heroes have their day, and the famous "white whale," as he was frequently termed, was actually slain a few years ago in the Indian ocean by a captain in the employ of the well-known whaling firm of Williams & Havens of New London, Conn. --"The Burmah Treasure" (chapter 22, The Phantom Island) by Stephen Paul Sheffield, as serialized in the Chicago Daily News, June 25, 1887; found at GenealogyBank.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

1865 Refugee in the New York Evening Express

From the New York Evening Express, March 18, 1865 (the evening edition of the Express, then published at 13 and 15 Park Row by James Brooks and Erastus Brooks). Found at Fulton History.

New York Evening Express - March 18, 1865
This is the title of the last story that Herman Melville wrote. It was originally published in Putnam's Magazine, and is now re-issued in a single graceful volume by Peterson & Brothers, of Philadelphia. It is the story of one of the Revolutionary fathers,--Israel Potter. It is written with a faithfulness to nature not often met with in a purely fictitious narrative. The adventures are real enough to belong to history, yet romantic enough to enchant us as in a fable.
The Refugee is the pirated 1865 edition of Israel Potter (New York: G. P. Putnam & Co., 1855).

New York World - January 28, 1876 via GenealogyBank
Melville disavowed it in a letter to the editor of the New York World, published on January 28, 1876. Zachary Turpin first located Melville's epistolary "Protest" in the New York World, as discussed in his March 2017 Leviathan article, Melville's Letter to the World.

The Google-digitized copy of The Refugee from Harvard is accessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.

Friday, June 22, 2018

James F. Otis aka Gemotice

Some while back I was wondering who covered Shakespeare for the New York Express in May 1849, during the Astor Place riots. As explained in a couple of earlier posts
contemporary reports in the Express, conflated in the 20th century by Percy Hammond, placed--well, may have placed--Herman Melville at Macready's first performance in the company of Henry J. Raymond, Richard Grant White, and Washington Irving.

So, the unnamed "correspondent" in newspaper accounts quoted or paraphrased by Hammond might have been James Frederick Otis (1808-1867), aka "Gemotice" (= Jim Otis). In any event, James F. Otis was definitely the chief music and theater critic for The New York Express c. 1843-1853.

We learn that Mr. James F. Otis, formerly an editor of the Brother Jonathan, and recently a Washington Correspondent of the Commercial Advertiser, is engaged as a musical and dramatic critic in the New-York Express. We hope this gentleman will not fail to favor the public at large with his opinion on two points of considerable interest, viz: the architectural pretensions of the new façade of the Park Theatre and the guilt of Hamlet's mother.  --The New World, September 30, 1843
The Great Metropolis, or, New-York Almanac for 1851 names James F. Otis as "musical and dramatic" editor of The New-York Express, immediately after "Principal Editors, James and Erastus Brooks."
 In the days of Jenny Lind, Parodi, and Catherine Hayes there was a very influential critical trio, who controlled, to a certain extent, the concerts and operas. These were C. B. Burchardt, Jim Otis and Jottic, the music seller and publisher of Broadway. Jim Otis (whose nom de plume was Gemotice) was the musical critic of the Express, and hand in glove with all the writers and bohemians of the press. Their favorite rendezvous was Windust's tavern, on Park Row, or Albert Maretzek's restaurant, in Broadway, just above Grand street. --The Art Collector
Augustin Daly succeeded as
"dramatic reviewer for The Express, a position the late James Otis ("Gemotice") had filled with marked ability for many a year. That position on The Express in which Otis was so honored has always been richer in remote opportunities than in immediate cash...."  --New York Clipper, September 22, 1877
In New York Naked (1850) George G. Foster identifies James F. Otis as a third "principal editor of the Express":
Beside the two Messrs. Brooks, the other principal editor of the Express, is James F. Otis, formerly a poet of considerable distinction, and now an indefatigable, sprightly paragraphist, reporter and general critic. He is one of the most popular out-door editors we have in New York; is always "about " whenever there is anything going on, and for his lively qualities in social life is sought for on all occasions of good companionship. His incessant occupations on the innumerable editions of the journal to which he is attached, renders all serious and continuous effort of his mind hopeless, and he is one of a thousand instances of a fine genius being wasted, frittered, and squandered, for want of time, opportunity, and compensation, to justify its higher exercise. Like the great body of us poor scribblers, he is obliged to eke out his salary by contributions of hasty value to all sorts of papers, and by any kind of temporary literary labor that turns up. But he is always in a good humor, and always apparently contented with himself, the world, and everybody around him.
From a chapter on New York critics in Squints through an Opera Glass (1850):
That rough-looking customer whom we saw to-day at Mercer's, in an immense drab pea-jacket, which he had evidently borrowed of a New Jersey pilot, is "Gemotice," of the Spirit of the Times, and Jim Otis, of the Express. The public know him as James F. Otis, a poet of some standing; but his principal labors have been for some years past devoted to the Express, where he has employed himself alternately in every department of the paper. He is not a musician; but his keen appreciation and long experience as listener and writer, make up in a great measure for the want of professional knowledge, and his judgment on musical matters, is generally just and genial. We miss him this winter from the Express, whose musical notices betray a malicious ignorance as awkwardly manifested as it is harmless. We do not know who is Mr. Otis's successor—nor can we say that we very greatly desire to make that accession to our list of friends.
James F. Otis (born Tristram Coffin Otis in Newburyport, Massachusetts on August 18, 1808) was the son of Elizabeth Coffin and Samuel Allyne Otis, and thus a nephew of Samuel's brother Harrison Gray Otis. James was an early admirer of Whittier, and an abolitionist. Extant letters to William Lloyd Garrison show the enthusiasm Otis had for the anti-slavery cause in the 1830's, as a young lawyer in Portland, Maine. In 1833 Otis published A sketch of the character and defence of the principles of William Lloyd Garrison. Five years later, his disavowal of abolitionism after a trip to Virginia earned Otis a bitter rebuke in the Herald of Freedom, reprinted in The Liberator (September 14, 1838). Circumstances and politics of his public withdrawal from the Abolition Society are criticized in the September 1835 Extra Globe.

As "Gemotice" James F. Otis contributed regularly in the latter 1840's to The Spirit of the Times, edited by his friend William T. Porter.

In 1853 Otis joined the New Orleans Picayune as associate editor. In March 13, 1864 a New York correspondent of the New Orleans Daily True Delta reported that Otis was back in New York City, "flourishing at the 'Express' office." He soon returned to New Orleans though, finally leaving in November 1866 in hopes of restoring his health. Otis died in Boston on the first day of February 1867. The Boston Journal obit of February 2, 1867 remembered him as "a gentleman of kindly feelings and most courteous bearing."

Boston Journal - February 2, 1867

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Battle-Pieces in the New York Evening Express

James Brooks via Library of Congress
The New York Evening Express was edited by James Brooks and Erastus Brooks, brothers originally from Portland, Maine. James Brooks became a notable New York Democrat in the U. S. House of Representatives. Erastus Brooks, a Know-Nothing candidate for governor in 1856, served in the New York State Senate.

The dismissive view of Melville's Civil War poetry seems too crude and ill-informed for old hands like the Brooks brothers. The writer does not know or remember that before the War, The Piazza Tales (1856) and Melville's "Hogarthian" Confidence-Man (1857) had received favorable notices in the Evening Express. Former associate editor James F. Otis aka "Gemotice," a veteran music and drama critic, was then back in New Orleans, in failing health. (More on Gemotice later, in another post.) Apprentice work by the summer help? Whoever wrote it, the following notice of Battle-Pieces appeared on August 25, 1866 with the implied blessing of both Brooks brothers, since the masthead of the New York Evening Express still proclaimed it their paper. Found at Fulton History.

New York Evening Express - August 25, 1866 (1 of 2)
New York Evening Express - August 25, 1866 (2 of 2)
BATTLE PIECES: Harper & Brothers, New York.
This is a volume of pieces upon the late war, in rhyme, written by Herman Mellville, whose strange novels, "Typee," "Omoo," &c., have given him a kind of reputation. War poetry and war histories are afflictions which the late struggle has entailed on an already suffering community, and, like the soldiers' itch, are pretty hard to get rid of. Let us pray for resignation under the affliction! The book is put out in a handsomeness of type and binding beyond its worth, by the Harpers, and its principal "piece" appears to be a versification and attempted idealization of the bulletin board of some daily newspaper office during the Fort Donelson excitement. 
For instance, some of the verses are made to begin thus:-- 
   We learn that General Grant,
Marching from Henry overland,
   And joined by a force up the Cumberland sent,
(Some thirty thousand the command
") etc.
* * * * * *
   Grant's investment is complete,
A semi-circular one.
   Both wings the Cumberland's margin meet,
* * * * * *
And how does this do for a verse in capital "head" lines:
--New York Evening Express, August 25, 1866
 Related posts:

Monday, June 18, 2018

Selling Typee, Revised Edition

Thurlow Weed
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
He has given to truth, all the blandishments of imagination.
Thurlow Weed published this favorable, advance notice of the Revised Edition of Typee in the Albany Evening Journal on August 4, 1846. Accessible online at Fulton History and GenealogyBank.

Albany Evening Journal - August 4, 1846
via GenealogyBank

A New Edition of Typee.

Messrs. WILEY & PUTNAM have announced a new edition of TYPEE, that very charming Book which has attracted so much attention and excited such warm interest in England and America.

Mr. MELVILLE, in preparing the new Edition of his work, has, for the purpose of preserving the charm of the narrative unbroken, thrown out whatever interrupted it. There is nothing, therefore, extraneous or episodical in this Book--a book which is to be read by future, as Gil Blas, Don Quixote and Robinson Crusoe have been by past, generations.

But TYPEE has a merit above the works, we have named. To all that is delightful in these undying Romans, Mr. MELVILLE's work superadds the interest which belongs to history. He has given to truth, all the blandishments of imagination. In his hands a veritable narrative has been rendered strange, more exciting, and more beautiful than the happiest creations of fancy.

The new Edition will derive additional value from the fact that Mr. MELVILLE's ship-mate and fellow-wanderer "TOBY," whom so many believed an imaginary personage, has strangely turned up and furnishes a Sequel! Yes, these friends who met and separated so mysteriously, enjoyed a reunion at Rochester, about two weeks since, where they passed two or three days in comparing recollections, the results of which will be found in the Sequel to the second Edition.  --Albany Evening Journal, August 4, 1846
Despite his initial skepticism about the reality of Toby, Thurlow Weed aided in early promotion of Herman Melville's first book (the uncut edition) by reprinting generous "extracts" and commentary by Evert A. Duyckinck. Selected "extracts from this new book of adventure by Mr. Melville" appeared in The Albany Evening Journal on March 27, 1846--six days after Duyckinck reprinted them in the Morning NewsHerman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews (Cambridge University Press, 1995; 2009 in paperback) gives Duyckinck's notice in the Morning News of March 21, 1846 but not the reprinting in Albany by Thurlow Weed. The Albany version includes Melville's spicy paragraphs describing "A FLOTILLA OF MARQUESAN MERMAIDS" but omits two extracts along with the reviewer's comments (favorable, mostly) on Melville's treatment of missionaries. Weed even copied the introductory paragraph which refers at the start to a promise made previously in the Morning News, not the Albany Evening Journal:
We promised our readers some extracts from this new book of adventure by Mr. Melville. This modern Crusoe, it will be remembered, found his way to the Cannibal valleys of the Marquesas by deserting a whale ship. Here is a sketch of one of the intolerable grievances which led him to this desperate measure....
Albany Evening Journal - March 27, 1846, page 2
via GenealogyBank
Weed's sampling of the first edition ends abruptly on the next page with a transitional sentence, copied from the Morning News notice, after Melville's anecdote of "MRS. PRITCHARD'S DEFENCE OF THE FLAG AT TAHITI." The Albany version lacks the promised "farewell address" to the crew from chapter 6, synopsized in the original chapter headings (and the New York Morning News) as "A Specimen of Nautical Oratory." Also lacking, an extract on "A HOUSEKEEPER IN TYPEE" and two paragraphs of additional remarks by the New York City reviewer.

Albany Evening Journal - March 27, 1846, page 3
via GenealogyBank
The Madison, Wisconsin Democrat on April 18, 1846 reprinted the entire notice "From the New York Morning Express," including all the extracts.

For further reading and comparing, here is the Revised Edition courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library:

Later issues of the Revised Edition by Harper and Brothers are accessible online via Google Books
and the Internet Archive
And here below is the earlier, un-expurgated edition of Typee in Wiley and Putnam's Library of American Books (Sequel included in this 1846 volume), courtesy of the Internet Archive:

Monday, June 11, 2018

1888 letter from Cornelia Griswold Goodrich to Benson J Lossing

Here is another letter from Cornelia Griswold Goodrich to historian Benson J. Lossing with content related to the family legend that Henry Livingston, Jr. wrote "The Night Before Christmas." I am grateful to Nan Card, Curator of Manuscripts with the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museums for expert help with locating this item in the Benson Lossing Collection, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, Fremont, Ohio.
Intervale N. H.
Oct. 18. / 88.

My dear Mr. Lossing

Pardon my delay in answering your very kind letter in the early summer. I was in hopes of sending you a sketch of the old manor house of my G. G. G. Grandpa Henry Livingston but no one seems to possess one, & as I only have a very poor water color of the back view all crumbling to pieces I cannot recall vividly enough the front view from memory & so it must remain un-immortalized by your historic hands!

I wrote to Miss Gertrude Thomas (whose mother Mrs. Jane Livingston, daughter of Henry by second wife) in regard to it.  She says,
"speaking of the old place, I am carried back in spirit to it, where Aunt Eliza (Mrs. Lansing & afterwards Mrs. Smith Thompson) and her brothers & sisters spent their young lives so happily together. "Locust Grove" never had any other name. Grandpa Livingston planted all the trees with his own hand, and named the place accordingly. And right here, in its proper place, let me say that "The Night before Christmas" was written in that same old stone house at Locust Grove. As to the time of its publication in the Poughkeepsie papers, I know nothing & I do not suppose it will be possible to make the discovery, unless one knew the exact date.I have lately visited Sandusky & have talked it over again with cousin Jeannie Hubbard (daughter of Charles Livingston) who showed me the secretary and the very drawer where her father used to keep the old paper containing this poem which his father wrote-- & which, many & many a time, she had seen him take out & read to guests with a good deal of filial pride as the production of his father. She says she has no more doubt of the authorship than she has of her own existence!" G. T.
I am so sorry, my dear Mr. Lossing, that I can give you nothing more definite. We are still in the White Mountains unable to get away on account of my dear Mother's very severe illness. She is better now, & we hope by the 1st of Nov. to be able to move on towards New York.
Remember us most kindly to Mrs. Lossing please, & with kind regards to yourself.
Very sincerely Yours
Cornelia G. Goodrich
 P. S. I have neglected to answer one or two of your questions;
I. The date of those letters enclosed were March 1879. Hudson.
II. place written - Eton College - Hudson N. Y.
III. Mrs. Eliza Thompson - wife of Judge Smith Thompson - daughter of Henry Livingston.
IV. The old stone house at Locust Grove, was built in 1735. & demolished about 15 years ago - [or ab. 1873]
V. -- He was of the Gilbert branch of Livingstons, the youngest-- & [undeciphered word or words] cousin to the Chancellor--
Very sincerely
C. G. G.
--Benson Lossing Collection, Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, Fremont, Ohio.
 Related posts:

Norway woodman

And now, loud above the roar of the sea, was suddenly heard a sharp, splintering sound, as of a Norway woodman felling a pine in the forest. It was brave Jarl, who foremost of all had snatched from its rack against the mainmast, the ax, always there kept.  --Mardi: And a Voyage Thither
In Mardi (1849) Melville's figurative Norway woodman cuts down a tree, successfully, whereas Shelley's Norway woodman stamps out a spark but fails to prevent the forest fire of revolt that it kindles in Lines Written among the Euganean Hills:

As the Norway woodman quells,
In the depth of piny dells,
One light flame among the brakes,
While the boundless forest shakes,
And its mighty trunks are torn
By the fire thus lowly born:
The spark beneath his feet is dead,
He starts to see the flames it fed
Howling through the darken'd sky
With myriad tongues victoriously,
And sinks down in fear: so thou,
O Tyranny, beholdest now
Light around thee, and thou hearest
The loud flames ascend, and fearest:
Grovel on the earth; ay, hide
In the dust thy purple pride!
Generally speaking, a Norway woodman has no very obvious business in the South Pacific or the hills south of Padua. In Mardi, however, Melville's simile is well adapted to Jarl, the narrator's Scandinavian companion, and Jarl's heroic action with the axe (in a gale, he chops at the rigging to bring down the mainmast of the Parki). Jarl as Norway woodman in Mardi inescapably evokes Shelley's Norway woodman--whom Melville might have first encountered the library of the Albany Young Men's Association, in Hazlitt's Select British Poets (London, 1824).

Related post:

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hazlitt's Select British Poets in Albany

British Library
Listed as 
1116 Hazlett's Select British Poets
in the 1837 Catalogue of Books in the Library of the Young Men's Association of the City of Albany (under "H," page 14), this 1824 "Anthology of British Poets," as described online for 21st century readers by the British Library, "brings together past and contemporary poets" including Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Byron, Keats, and Shelley.

"A Critical List of Authors" in the 1824 volume includes "Critical Remarks" (thus labeled on the title page) by William Hazlitt on Wordsworth:

Mr. WORDSWORTH'S characteristic is one, and may be expressed in one word;—a power of raising the smallest things in nature into sublimity by the force of sentiment. He attaches the deepest and loftiest feelings to the meanest and most superficial objects. His peculiarity is his combination of simplicity of subject with profundity and power of execution. He has no fancy, no wit, no humour, little descriptive power, no dramatic power, great occasional elegance, with continual rusticity and baldness of allusion; but he is sublime without the Muse's aid, pathetic in the contemplation of his own and man's nature; add to this, that his style is natural and severe, and his versification sonorous and expressive.  --Select British Poets
On Byron et al:

Lord BYRON'S distinguishing quality is intensity of conception and expression. He wills to be sublime or pathetic. He has great wildness of invention, brilliant and elegant fancy, caustic wit, but no humour. Gray's description of the poetical character—"Thoughts that glow, and words that burn,"—applies to him more than to any of his contemporaries.

THOMAS MOORE is the greatest wit now living. His light, ironical pieces are unrivalled for point and facility of execution. His fancy is delightful and brilliant, and his songs have gone to the heart of a nation.

LEIGH HUNT has shewn great wit in his Feast of the Poets, elegance in his occasional verses, and power of description and pathos in his Story of Rimini. The whole of the third canto of that poem is as chaste as it is classical.

The late Mr. SHELLEY (for he is dead since the commencement of this publication) was chiefly distinguished by a fervour of philosophic speculation, which he clad in the garb of fancy, and in words of Tyrian die. He had spirit and genius, but his eagerness to give effect and produce conviction often defeated his object, and bewildered himself and his readers.  --Hazlitt, Select British Poets
And Keats:

Mr. KEATS is also dead. He gave the greatest promise of genius of any poet of his day. He displayed extreme tenderness, beauty, originality and delicacy of fancy; all he wanted was manly strength and fortitude to reject the temptations of singularity in sentiment and expression. Some of his shorter and later pieces are, however, as free from faults as they are full of beauties. --Hazlitt, Select British Poets
Available in Albany by October 1826, Hazlitt's edition might have given Herman Melville his earliest exposure to works by major Romantic poets including Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats. And thumbnail criticism thereof, in Hazlitt's "Critical Remarks." Melville lived in Albany, New York from October 1830 to May 1838. He joined the Young Men's Association in January 1835 and "managed to keep paying his membership dues for two and a half years," as discussed by Hershel Parker in Melville: The Making of the Poet (Northwestern University Press, 2008), page 39. In September 1827 (three years before Herman had to move there), Albany bookseller Oliver Steele advertised "Hazlitt's select British poets, with critical remarks" and other "LONDON BOOKS" for sale in his shop at 437 South Market Street.

Albany Argus - September 17, 1827
via Fulton History
Oliver Steele definitely had the 1824 edition with contemporary poets, as shown by the reference in his ad to Hazlitt's "critical remarks," a phrase borrowed from the title page. Oliver's father Daniel Steele had offered the same edition the year before, as the specifics of his ad in the Black Rock Gazette (October 5, 1826) more clearly reveal:
Select British Poets, or new elegant extracts, from Chaucer to the present time, with critical remarks, by Wm Hazlett, 1 vol. royal 8 vo.

Thu, Oct 5, 1826 – Page 3 · Black Rock Gazette (Black Rock, New York) ·

Daniel Steele "kept the largest and best assortment of books outside of New York City" according to George Rogers Howell in  the Bi-centennial History of Albany:

Among the earliest booksellers in Albany are William Seymour; D. K. Van Vechten; Obadiah Penniman, who came to Albany under the great printer, Isaiah Thomas; C. R. & G. Webster; E. & E. Horsford, who kept a store at 100 State street, closed about 1828; E. F. Backus, who made a specialty of law books; Daniel Steele & Son, on Broadway, north of Hudson avenue, who kept the largest and best assortment of books outside of New York City. Daniel Steele died in 1828, and was succeeded by his son, Oliver.
In addition to "Hazlett's Select British Poets," the Catalogue of Books in the Library of the Young Men's Association (Albany, 1837) lists two different sets of "British Poets," numbered 1112 (12 vols.) and 1390 (11 vols.). Here is the Google-digitized volume of Hazlitt's 1824 anthology from NYPL, courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

J. C. Squire on Melville's verse

Sir John Collings Squire
Bassano Ltd via National Portrait Gallery
Melville's verse has always been neglected. The historians have commonly dismissed it in a few words; often enough, I daresay, they have been content to repeat each other's comments without reading the verse. --J. C. Squire, London Observer, April 1, 1923.
Sun, Apr 1, 1923 – 4 · The Observer (London, Greater London, England) ·

Books of the Day.


"John Marr and Other Poems." By Herman Melville, with an Introductory Note by Henry Chapin. (Princeton University Press.) 
(By J. C. Squire.)
There is a companion volume to this, a volume including prose pieces by Melville hitherto unprinted. This I may neglect, as not long ago I wrote in this place about Melville's prose. If more were to be said about that prose the desirable thing is that attention should be given, not yet to Melville's scattered writings, but to some of his major books. When his centenary occurred critics devoted themselves almost entirely to "Moby Dick." They had reason. "Moby Dick" has been, except spasmodically neglected; it is certainly Melville's finest book; it is the greatest prose work that has ever come out of America, and one of the greatest prose fictions ever written. Yet a concentration on the glories of that book tended to give the false impression that the rest of Melville's books might safely be neglected. It is not true of any of them, and emphatically, of the earlier ones. "White Jacket," "Omoo," and "Typee" might have given him a considerable reputation had he written nothing else. "Typee" especially is a book to be read over and over again. Long before the Gaugins and the Tusitalas, Melville got into that book all the beauty and romance and brutality of the South Seas. It still remains unequalled as a picture of the islands, a book exquisitely and yet racily written, admirably shaped, full of blue waters and waving trees, foaming waterfalls and graceful brown bodies, sharp fights and long languors. Let us, however, for the moment pass over his prose, on which his claim to fame is based, and regard his verse.
* * * 
Melville's verse has always been neglected. The historians have commonly dismissed it in a few words; often enough, I daresay, they have been content to repeat each other's comments without reading the verse. Nobody has greatly liked it: the American anthologists have thought only one or two pieces worth reprinting; for many years the editions of the poems have been out of print. The principal volume was a sizeable book "Battle Pieces," published by Putnams in 1866; the others were privately printed late in their author's life. Mr. Chapin has now made a selection from them all. He prefaces his selection with the statement that Melville's poetry "taken as a whole, is of an amateurish and uneven quality." He nevertheless thinks it worth while reprinting. He qualifies this statement by others. Melville's personality, he says, is everywhere in evidence. "It is clear that he did not set himself to master the poet's art, yet, through the mask of conventional verse which often falls into doggerel, the voice of a true poet is heard." I think myself that he might have put this far more strongly. Hardly one of Melville's poems is perfect. He refused to be the artist he might have been. There is an air of improvisation about it all. But there is a natural genius, a natural poetic genius, apparent behind all the roughness and awkwardness, and I find it impossible to avoid thinking that there was a great poet buried in the author of "Moby Dick," which is a great prose poem in itself. He did nothing in verse faultlessly. Yet his faulty rhymes not only show undeveloped poetic powers, but very varied poetic powers.
* * * 
Melville's completest achievement in verse is of this narrative kind. "Bridegroom Dick," a long poem, is doggerel, but the most magnificent doggerel ever written. A combination of Captain Marryat and Mr. Masefield may give the idea. An old sailor goes over his reminiscences. It opens with fine preparatory vigour:—
Sunning ourselves in October on a day
Balmy as spring, though the year was in decay,
I lading my pipe, she stirring the [her] tea,
My old woman she says to me,
"Feel ye, old man, how the season mellows?"
And why should I not, blessed heart alive,
Here mellowing myself, past sixty-five,
To think o' the May-time o' pennoned young fellows
This stripped old hulk here for years may survive.
He thinks of all his old comrades, with acutely vivid memories of each, vignettes of battles and carouses, dances and death beds. His catalogue of the dead must surely, rhythm and language, have been the inspiration of the fine end of Mr. Vachel Lindsay's "Bryan, Bryan":—
Where's Commander All-a-Tanto?
Where's Orlop Bob singing up from below?
Where's Rhyming Ned? has he spun his last canto?
Where's Jewsharp Jim? Where's Rigadoon Joe?
Ah, for the music over and done.
The band all dismissed save the droned trombone!
Where's Glenn o' the gun-room, who loved Hot-Scotch—
Glen, prompt and cool in a perilous watch. . .
There are other sea-pieces, more in the "Moby Dick" manner, marked by Melville's extraordinary grip both on physical reality and spiritual forces lying beneath appearance. His mood shifts constantly. He can turn from a contemplation of the infinite to a regret for the passage of the three-decker. This regret appears continually and, a generation before Sir Henry Newbolt, he found a symbol of the process in Turner's "Temeraire."
But Trafalgar is over now,
   The quarter-deck undone;
The carved and castled navies fire
   Their evening-gun.
O, Titan Temeraire,
   Your stern-lights fade away;
Your bulwarks to the years must yield,
   And heart-of-oak decay.
A pigmy steam-tug tows you,
   Gigantic, to the shore—
Dismantled of your guns and spars,
   And sweeping wings of war.
The rivets clinch the ironclads,
   Men learn a deadlier lore;
But Fame has nailed your battle-flags—
   Your ghost it sails before:
O, the navies old and oaken,
   O, the Temeraire no more!
The same lament over the transformation of war into an "operatives" occupation runs through the naval pieces written during the Civil War. But there is much more than that in those war-poems. America produced much civil war verse, but, except Whitman, no poet wrote a series on the war which for beauty and strength can compare with Herman Melville's, fragmentary and rough as they are. His compassion was as great as Whitman's; but the livelier moments appealed to him more than they did to Whitman. He could share in the intoxication of a charge and a cheer and a victory; yet no man was more afflicted by the tragedy of that mutual massacre, no Northerner more greatly admired the heroism of the South, no statesman spoke wiser or more sympathetic words when the period of "Reconstruction" came. "Sheridan at Cedar Creek" and "The College Colonel" are sometimes to be found in anthologies; but "Malvern Hill," "The Conflict of Convictions," and "A Meditation" should go with them. His steadfast judgment is reflected in the lines:—
"The South's the sinner!" Well, so let it be;
But shall the North sin worse, And stand the Pharisee?
* * * 
High spirits like Peacock's are shown in some of the poems from "Mardi," particularly "Pipe Song":—
Care is all stuff:—
       Puff! Puff!
To puff is enough:—
       Puff! Puff!
More musky than snuff
And warm is a puff:—
       Puff! Puff!
Here we sit mid our puffs,
Like old lords in their ruffs,
Snug as bears in their muffs:—
       Puff! Puff!
Then puff, puff, puff,
For care is all stuff,
Puffed off in a puff—
       Puff! Puff!
The more indolent and sensuous songs which might have been expected from the author of "Typee" are few. "Crossing the Tropics" is a beautiful thing; the poem which comes most nearly to the best Polynesian pages is "Marlena":—
Far off in the sea is Marlena,
A land of shades and streams. . . .
'Tis aye afternoon of the full, full moon,
And ever the season of fruit,
And ever the hour of flowers,
And never the time of rains and gales,
All in and about Marlena.
Soft sigh the boughs in the stilly air,
Soft lap the beach the billows there;
And in the woods or by the streams,
You needs must nod in the Land of Dreams.
Melville, unhappily, was never encouraged to write this or any other kind of verse.
* * * 
Mr. Chapin has made his selection well. There are just a few poems which he might have added; the omissions are especially to be regretted, as the American editions (there were no English editions) of Melville's poems are all extremely rare. An extract at least might have been included from "The Armies of the Wilderness," a powerful wide-sweeping poem with brooding commentary:—
The tribes swarm up to war
   As in ages long ago,
Ere the palm of promise leaved
   And the lily of Christ did blow.
There is something to be said for "Battle of Stone River, Tennessee":—
With Tewkesbury and Barnet Heath
   In days to come the field shall blend,
The story dim and date obscure;
   In legend all shall end.
Even now, involved in forest shade
   A Druid-dream the strife appears,
The fray of yesterday assumes
   The haziness of years.
Phrases, perhaps, do not redeem the "Battle for the Mississippi" and "The Fall of Richmond," but there are good phrases in them:—
A city in flags for a city in flames,
Richmond goes Babylon's way.
The first line is very compact; the second could only have been written by a man who saw all life poetically. The Epitaph on Sherman's Men who fell at Kennesaw certainly ought to have been here with the other inscriptions. Glory, romance, chivalry are dead, men say, but:—
Perils the mailed ones never knew
Are lightly braved by the ragged coats of blue,
And gentler hearts are bared to deadlier war.
The last line embodies the whole irony of modern history. Above all, I miss "A Canticle" in which Melville, witnessing the national exaltation at the close of the war compared the State to the fixed waterfall whose rushing waters perpetually change. It begins tumultuously:—
O the precipice Titanic
   Of the congregated Fall,
And the angle oceanic
   Where the deepening thunders call—
          And the Gorge so grim,
          And the Firmamental rim!
Multitudinously thronging,
   The waters all converge,
Then they sweep adown in sloping
   Solidity of surge.
The whole poem seems written in a frenzy; and patently, I think, with the majestic image of Niagara in mind. In the worst of Melville's war poems as in the best, and as in the fine prose supplement he added to them, there are evident both profound wisdom and noble generosity.
Mr. Chapin's edition is very well produced. The printing, which is charming, shows the influence of Mr. Bruce Rogers, one of the soundest printers alive.

More links:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Matthiessen on Melville's poetry

Edited by F. O. Matthiessen for "The Poets of the Year" series (Norfolk, Connecticut: New Directions, 1944), Herman Melville: Selected Poems is a slim but significant collection of Melville's poetry, one of the first after the 1924 Constable edition of Melville's Poems. (Before that there was the 1922 anthology from Princeton University Press titled John Marr and Other Poems.) Not counting the 1922 Princeton and 1924 Constable volumes, the only collection of Melville's poems before Matthiessen's is Selected Poems of Herman Melville (London: The Hogarth Press, 1943) edited by William Plomer. Today more critics know about Matthiessen's unwitting riff in American Renaissance on "soiled fish" (he didn't realize it was only a twentieth-century typo for "coiled fish") than this landmark volume of Melville's poetry. Here is the introductory essay by Francis Otto Matthiessen from his 1944 edition of Selected Poems, now accessible via the Internet Archive:



Throughout the last half of his life, over a span of thirty-five years, Melville, who, in Moby Dick, had reached levels of imaginative writing unsurpassed by any other American, wrote little more prose. When he had finished The Confidence Man in 1856, he had produced ten books in less than a dozen years and had had his bellyful of trying unsuccessfully to gain a comprehending audience and to support himself by his pen. But he had not lost his interest in self-expression, and, turning to verse, he had, by the spring of 1860, a volume ready for publication. This was to find no publisher, and not until the year after the end of the Civil War did he at last make his appearance as a poet. The book then issued was Battle-Pieces, a series of seventy poems that form a running commentary on the course of the war, though most of them were inspired, retrospectively, by the fall of Richmond. The book had slight critical success, and from that time forward Melville, who had failed in various applications for a consular appointment, was employed for twenty years as a customs inspector in New York, and possessed only intermittent time for writing. But he managed to bring to completion Clarel, a narrative poem of several thousand lines, which grew out of the meditative pilgrimage he had made to the Holy Land during the year after the career as a writer of fiction had seemed to him finally unreal. Clarel, as Melville himself noted, was "immensely adapted for unpopularity," and could be printed in 1876 only as the result of a gift f[r]om a Gansevoort uncle. After his release from the customhouse at the end of 1885, Melville felt a resurgence of his creative energies, and made one major return to fiction in Billy Budd. But this story was still in manuscript at his death, and his final efforts to publish were two small volumes of verse, each privately printed in twenty-five copies, John Marr and Other Sailors, 1888, and Timoleon, 1891. One section of the latter, "Fruits of Travel Long Ago," would seem to be at least part of what he had designed as his first book of verse three decades before. Left among his papers at his death were more than seventy further poems, in addition to fragments of varying length. 
All the above poetry, with the exception of a few of the manuscripts, comprises three volumes of Melville's collected works. But since that edition appeared in England twenty years ago, was limited to 750 copies, and is long since out of print, the range of Melville's verse is virtually unavailable for the common reader. The selection here presented tries to take advantage of all the various interests attaching to any part of Melville's work. Some poems have been chosen because they embody the same recurrent symbols that give an absorbing unity to his prose. These symbols appear most often in his reminiscences of the sea: "To Ned" shows that he kept through life the image of Typee, of primitive existence unspoiled by civilization; "The Berg" presents a variant of the terrifying white death of Moby Dick; the "maldive shark" glides also through the lines "Commemorative of a Naval Victory." Other poems serve to light up facets of Melville's mind as it developed in the years after his great creative period: "Greek Architecture" indicates his understanding of a balanced form far different from any he had struggled to master: "Art"— whose lines are scratched out and rewritten with many changes in the manuscript— tells how painfully he understood the tensions of the struggle for the union of opposites. Few of his poems reveal anything like the mastery of organic rhythm to be found in his best prose. He had become an apprentice too late to a new craft. Although he tried his hand at a variety of metrical forms, he seldom progressed beyond an acquired skill. He was capable of such lyric patterns as "Shiloh" or "Monody," but he could often be stiff and clumsy. Yet what he had to convey is very impressive. I have included enough of Battle-Pieces to show the depth of his concern with the problems of war. Whole-hearted in his devotion to the Union's cause, what he urged at the close was forbearance and charity on the part of the North as the chief guide to reconstruction; and he prayed "that the terrible historic tragedy of our time may not have been enacted without instructing our whole beloved country through terror and pity. . . ." 
Clarel took his thought into some of the problems of his society's future and of our present. It falls into the tradition of those poetic debates of the mind which formed so much of the substance of Clough and Arnold and Tennyson. Since its characters voice a bewildering variety of creeds, and since Clarel, the disillusioned young divinity student is about the most shadowy in the group, it is impossible to determine from the poem exactly what Melville believed. The passages selected are among those where he persevered farthest from the beaten tracks of his day, where he doubted the value for the world of the dominance of Anglo-Saxon industrialists, where he foresaw class wars, and where, with the decay of Protestantism, he also foresaw a grim duel between "Rome and the Atheist." To put the gloom of some of these conjectures into its proper context, we should remember his reaction to Thomson's City of Dreadful Night: "As to the pessimism, although neither pessimist nor optimist myself, nevertheless I relish it in the verse, if for nothing else than as a counterpoise to the exorbitant hopefulness, juvenile and shallow, that makes such a bluster in these days." We should also remember that the "Epilogue" to Clarel dwells upon Christian hope, and that "The Lake," the most sustained poem left by Melville in manuscript, celebrates the theme of seasonal death and rebirth. And to counteract his forebodings of the possible degradation of democracy, we should recall his celebration of the heroic possibilities of the common man—one of the most recurrent themes of his fiction, from Jack Chase to Billy Budd. A  reward that awaits the reader who follows these selections on to Melville's collected works is the frequency with which his mediocre poems are illuminated by passages where the poet is in supreme control. That being the case I have not scrupled in three instances beyond Clarel ("Sheridan at Cedar Creek," "On the Slain Collegians," "Commemorative of a Naval Victory") to release such passages from their hampering surroundings. One further such passage, the concluding quatrain to " 'The Coming Storm'," an otherwise undistinguished reaction to a painting by Sandford Gifford, is perhaps the best poetry Melville wrote. Indeed, as I have said elsewhere, these lines constitute one of the most profound recognitions of the value of tragedy ever to have been made: 
No utter surprise can come to him
       Who reaches Shakespeare's core;
That which we seek and shun is there—
            Man's final lore. 
Such lines suggest Melville's master preoccupation, in verse no less than in prose. If it would not have risked confusion, I should have called this selection by the subtitle of Battle-Pieces: Aspects of the War. That would have suggested Melville's continuing concern with the unending struggle, with the tensions between good and evil: within the mind and in the state, political, social, and religious. 
F. O. Matthiessen

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Whiteness of the Winnipeg Jets

Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color, and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows—a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues—every stately or lovely emblazoning—the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substance, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, forever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge—pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Winnipeg Jets were the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt? --Herman Melville, Moby-Dick - chapter 42, The Whiteness of the Whale.

Which John and Henry Livingston were in the Social Club with John Jay

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
As mentioned in a previous post on T. W. C. Moore, his father John Moore (1746-1828) made a list of men who belonged to the elite "Social Club" in New York City before the American Revolution. In the 1919 Yearbook of the Dutchess County Historical Society, William S. Thomas mistakenly identifies "John Livingston and his brother Henry" on Moore's list as the Reformed Dutch minister John Henry Livingston and his younger brother Henry Livingston, Jr. of Poughkeepsie.

On Saturday nights in wintertime members of the Social Club would party at Queen's Head Tavern, operated after 1770 by Samuel Fraunces. In the summer they met at a private clubhouse on Kip's Bay. Rev. John H. Livingston, whose "piety was all-pervading," I'm guessing would have devoted Saturday nights to preparing his sermon for the next day. He definitely hated theaters, and presumably avoided taverns and tavern sins when he could. As a distinguished clergyman, and the husband of Sarah Livingston (daughter of Philip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence), Dr. John H. Livingston did make it onto Mrs. Jay's Dinner and Supper List for 1787 and 1788. As James Grant Wilson remarks,
"The doctor's tall and dignified figure and high breeding would make him a notable addition to any company…."  --The Memorial History of the City of New York
John Henry Livingston belonged to that larger group of notables by virtue of his high status in the Dutch Reformed Church, and marriage to Sarah Livingston his second cousin. According to Walter Stahr,
Sarah's dinner and supper list suggests that they hosted more than two hundred different people in 1787 and 1788.  --John Jay: Founding Father
But William S. Thomas in his 1919 article misrepresents the more exclusive membership list of the Social Club as John Moore recollected it decades later. Moore named loyalists and "disaffected" rebels together on his list of Social Club members.
During his early manhood he was a frequent sojourner in New York City and, with his brother, the Rev. John H. Livingston, pastor of the Middle Dutch Church there, belonged to the Social Club. Their names appear in a list of its members who were dropped by the ruling Loyalist majority at the outbreak of the Revolution. Opposite the names of the Livingston brothers appears the entry, "Disaffected, but of no political importance." A Tory social club was no place for Henry Livingston.... --William S. Thomas on "Henry Livingston," 1919 Yearbook Dutchess County Historical Society; also available on the Henry Livingston by Dr. William S. Thomas page of Mary S. Van Deusen's personal website.
Contrary to the claim by Thomas that patriots like Henry Livingston "were dropped by the ruling Loyalist majority," the whole Social Club had to disband after 1775. Nobody was purged from the Social Club for his politics in the tyrannical manner that Thomas imagines. Their winter meeting-place was well known as "the resort of both Whig and Loyalist." Indeed, Fraunces Tavern served the best Madeira to "some of the most active and distinguished men of the revolution." Those "disaffected" Whigs were the Social Club, which could not exist without them.
As a tavern it was the most noted in New-York, and was the resort of the bloods of that day who formed themselves into social clubs, and among whom were some of the most active and distinguished men of the revolution.... During the troubles which preceded the Revolution, Fraunces' Tavern seems to have been the resort of both Whig and Loyalist, political affairs not having sufficient power to sever the social ties of those whose custom it was to assemble there and discuss his Madeira, a wine, the excellent quality of which Sam's cellar stood proverbial. It must not be presumed that Sam was an idle spectator of the events then passing around him, his sympathies were with the Whigs, and he became one of Washington's most faithful friends and followers. New York Daily Tribune, 20 July 1854.
Henry Livingston, Jr. of Poughkeepsie was a country cousin of the more privileged landowners, merchants, and lawyers in John Jay's Social Club. As a (relatively) humble Poughkeepsie farmer descended from Gilbert Livingston, the youngest and least fortunate son of Robert Livingston, this Henry was never really one of the "bloods" who gathered at Fraunces's Tavern. Thomas helpfully distinguishes his Henry, Major Henry Livingston Jr., from Henry Alexander Livingston (the Major's better-remembered nephew, only child of Dr. John Henry Livingston and Sarah) and Henry Beekman Livingston. But in his eagerness to magnify Henry Jr. of Poughkeepsie and make him author of The Night Before Christmas, William S. Thomas overlooked the lordly Livingstons of Livingston Manor, in particular John and Henry.
via The Livingstons of Livingston Manor
As Cynthia A. Kierner relates in Traders and Gentlefolk: The Livingstons of New York, 1675-1790 (Cornell University Press, 1992), the John and Henry Livingston named as members of the elite Social Club in New York City were in fact sons of Robert Livingston, Jr. the 3rd Lord of upper Livingston Manor:
Another group, the Social Club, gathered many of the city's leading me for evenings of drinking and conversation. In 1751, after he took up residence at the Manor, Robert Livingston, Jr. joined the Social Club so that when he visited New York City he could enjoy "a Gentle Bacchanalion Engagement" with the friends he had left behind there. Later, the Social Club's membership also included Robert's two youngest sons, as well as their Clermont kinsman, Robert R. Livingston, Jr.  --Traders and Gentlefolk
Citing Kierner, John L. Brooke in Columbia Rising also identifies John and Henry of the NYC Social Club as "Upper Manor" Livingstons. Likewise, footnotes in The Selected Papers of John Jay 1760-1779 edited by Elizabeth Miles Nuxoll, Mary A. Y. Gallagher, and Jennifer E. Steenshorne (University of Virginia Press, 2010) explain the entries for "John Livingston and his brother Henry" on Moore's list of Social Club members as references to
"John Livingston (1749-1822), son of Robert Livingston, third proprietor of Livingston Manor."
"Henry Livingston (1752-1823), son of Robert Livingston, third proprietor of Livingston Manor."
The admirably progressive editors of Selected Papers of John Jay say "proprietor of Livingston Manor," preferring not to call any fellow mortal "Lord." Titles aside, they agree here with Richard B. Morris in John Jay: The Making of A Revolutionary (Harper and Row, 1975) who identifies John and Henry as Livingstons of Livingston Manor:
John Livingston (1749-1822) and his brother Hendrick (1752-1823) were sons of Robert Livingston (1708-90), third lord of Livingston Manor.
On the Henry Livingston, Jr website, Mary S. Van Deusen makes Henry Jr. and his brother the Rev. John H. Livingston members of the Social Club, following William S. Thomas and repeating some of his errors:
Besides making Rev. John Henry Livingston and Henry Jr. of Poughkeepsie members of the New York City Social Club, William Sturgis Thomas and Mary S. Van Deusen have Henry Livingston, Jr. of Poughkeepsie serving in October 1774 as co-manager of the New York Dancing Assembly with John Jay and John Watts, Jr.

New-York Gazette and Weekly Mercury - October 24, 1774
via GenealogyBank
Henry Livingston, JUNIOR (whose father Henry Livingston was alive and well, age 60, in Poughkeepsie) was a farmer in 1774, married in May to Sarah "Sally" Welles of Stamford, Connecticut.

The "Henry Livingston" named in 1774 as co-manager of the Dancing Assembly in New York City must have been a different Henry, not the farmer from Poughkeepsie. A more likely Henry is again Henry Livingston of Livingston Manor, ever a bachelor. Or could this Henry Livingston be Princeton grad, teen-aged Henry Brockholst Livingston, before he dropped the "Henry"? This Henry was the brother of Jay's wife Sarah Van Brugh Livingston. Henry Brockholst Livingston went to Spain with his sister and brother-in-law, serving a troublesome stint there as Jay's secretary. In December 1783, Henry Brockholst Livingston joined a controversial effort to revive the Dancing Assembly, meeting with A. V. Cortlandt, Nicholas Fish, and Lewis A. Scott at Cape's City Tavern.

Rivington's New-York Gazette - December 3, 1783
via GenealogyBank
As revealed in one extant letter from John Jay to Egbert Benson, Jay admired Henry Livingston Jr.'s first wife Sarah (Sally) Welles as "an excellent woman" and "rara avis in terra":
Harry Livingston, I imagine, lives in the neighbourhood. His wife is an excellent woman, and in my opinion a rara avis in terra. I believe they both wish me well, and would not refuse to oblige me by taking my son to live with them and treating him as they do their own. In that family he would neither see nor be indulged in immoralities, and he might every day or two spend some hours with his grandfather, and go to school with Harry’s children; or otherwise as you may think proper. At any rate he must not live with his grandfather, to whom he would in that case be as much trouble as satisfaction. This is a point on which I am decided, and therefore write in very express and positive terms. Unless objections strike you that I neither know or think of, be so kind as to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Livingston about it. I will cheerfully pay them whatever you may think proper, and I would rather that you should agree to a generous allowance than a mere adequate compensation.... --John Jay, The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, ed. Henry P. Johnston, A.M. (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890-93). Vol. 2 (1781-1782). 5/14/2018.
From Madrid in 1781 Jay seems to have regarded Harry and Sally of Poughkeepsie as good folks whom he could pay to care for his son Peter while he was serving as ambassador to Spain. Jay fancied his son might attend school with Harry's children. After his wife Sally's death in 1783, Henry Livingston, Jr. boarded his own children elsewhere, according to Day-Book entries in 1784, transcribed by Mary S. Van Deusen on the Henry Livingston website. Jay's father moved from Fishkill to Poughkeepsie before his death in 1782 but
Where the Jays lived while in Poughkeepsie does not transpire. --J. Wilson Poucher, Yearbook of the Dutchess County Historical Society
 Below, the 1823 obituary for Henry Livingston of upper Livingston Manor, the bachelor "General":

 New York National Advocate - June 5, 1823