Thursday, July 11, 2019

For lovers of the wild and wonderful

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 15, 1851
From the Philadelphia Inquirer of November 15, 1851; found at GenealogyBank with items added "within 1 month":
Mr. W. B. Zieber has just received "Moby-Dick, or the Whale," a novel by Herman Melville, the author of Typee. It occupies a volume of upwards of six hundred pages, and abounds with thrilling incidents, hair-breadth escapes, and remarkable adventures. it is especially suited for the lovers of the wild and wonderful.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Literature on the Ohio

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "“Hawthorne and his mosses”"
The New York Public Library Digital Collections
. 1850.
As reviewed in our last, Herman Melville either initiated or acquiesced to the un-naming of Mr. Cutlets, just a friend in the 1856 book version of Bartleby. Such changes are treated as dubious and occasionally dispensable "instances of toning down" in the 1987 Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Piazza Tales. More examples occur in the extant manuscript of "Hawthorne and His Mosses (copied by Melville's wife Elizabeth). Here is the unfiltered version of Melville's patriotic take-down of bardolatry as fundamentally un-American:
You must believe in Shakespeare or quit the country. But what sort of a belief is this for an American, a man who is bound to carry republican progressiveness into Literature, as well as into Life? Believe me, my friends, that Shakespeares are this day being born on the banks of the Ohio. And the day will come, when you shall say who reads a book by an Englishman?
The Northwestern-Newberry text keeps one instance of toning down in Melville's added qualifier, "that is a modern." Specifying "modern" makes the assertion more reasonable (since well-educated world-citizens must always read Chaucer and Milton, for example) but softens the parody of Sydney Smith's query, "who reads an American book?" The rawest version of the passage would omit three qualifying clauses--all added in revision, all printed in the Literary World on August 17, 1850.
  • "Shakespeare's inapproachability" instead of Shakespeare
  • "men not very much inferior to Shakesepare" instead of Shakespeare
  • "that is a modern" qualifying "Englishman"

Hawthorne and His Mosses
Literary World - August 17, 1850

... men, not very much inferior to Shakespeare, are this day being born on the banks of the Ohio.
Shakespeares are this day being born on the banks of the Ohio.
Cincinnati in 1841 via NYPL Digital Collections
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Cincinnati in 1841." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1841.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Un-named in revision

 Bartleby, this is a friend....
The 1856 book version of Bartleby makes a nameless "friend" of the "broad meat-like" grub-man, whom Melville originally called "Mr. Cutlets" in the December 1853 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine. In the magazine version, the narrator introduced the grub-man by name:
 "Bartleby, this is Mr. Cutlets; you will find him very useful to you."

After revision, Mr. Cutlets is just "a friend."
"Bartleby, this is a friend; you will find him very useful to you." --The Piazza Tales

Also deleted in revision, the invitation to dine privately with both Cutlets, Mr. and Mrs.
"May Mrs. Cutlets and I have the pleasure of your company to dinner, sir, in Mrs. Cutlets' private room?"
The un-naming of Mr. Cutlets and deletion of his dinner invitation have been noted before, of course. Dismissing the Cutlets business as "inappropriate slap-stick," Egbert S. Oliver in the 1948 Hendricks House edition of The Piazza Tales (page 230) gives its judicious "removal" as "one of the principal revisions that Melville made in this story in preparing it for book publication." The Cutlets are back in the text of the 1987 Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839-1860. As discussed there in the notes (page 579), the N-N editors reject this and other revisions as suspiciously inartful and un-Melvillean "instances of toning down."

For further study:

Friday, July 5, 2019

Incurably irreligious

Found via EBSCO in the American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection, specialized database of Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed Church Periodicals, 1803-1902. Transcriptions are mine.

From The Presbyterian, November 29, 1851. Published in Philadelphia by William Stockton Martien.
MOBY-DICK, or the Whale. By Herman Melville, author of "Typee," "Omoo," "White Jacket," &C. New York, 1851, Harper & Brothers. 12mo, pp. 634,

We are sorry to say that Mr. Melville has not improved in the religious features of his works. With a power of description almost unequalled, with a ready inventive faculty not often surpassed, he is incurably irreligious, and even seems to seek occasions to make things sacred the subjects of his irreligious wit. There is very much in this volume which is amusing and instructive, but we are so often repelled by his improper and indelicate allusions, that we can no more commend this book than we could Typee and Omoo.
“MOBY-DICK, or the Whale.” Presbyterian (Philadelphia, PA 1831-1874, 1876), vol. 21, no. 48, Nov. 1851, p. 192. EBSCOhost,
From The Presbyterian, March 24, 1855:
ISRAEL POTTER; his fifty years of Exile. By Herman Melville, author of "Typee," "Omoo," &c. New York, G. P. Putnam & Co. 12mo, pp. 276.
The general irreligious tendency of Melville's writings have been a great off-set in the minds of many to their undoubted merits as works of genius. We observe less of this bad quality in the present, than appeared in some of his former books. The author undertakes, in this volume, to give the history of a rough New England hero, who made his bow to the public about the time of the battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington, was taken prisoner to the old world, and went through a series of most marvellous adventures. Melville's pen does full justice to the fruitful theme. 
“ISRAEL POTTER; His Fifty Years of Exile.” Presbyterian (Philadelphia, PA 1831-1874, 1876), vol. 25, no. 12, Mar. 1855, p. 48. EBSCOhost,
Related post:

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Tryphon on Mardi in the Boston Investigator

Here is one freethinking reader's favorable response to Mardi, transcribed from the Boston Investigator of June 13, 1849 (Elizabeth Shaw Melville's 27th birthday). Founded by Abner Kneeland, the self-proclaimed "Infidel Paper--Devoted to the Promotion of Universal Mental Liberty" was then published by Josiah P. Mendum and edited by Horace Seaver.

"Tryphon" had already contributed a series of provocative articles on Reason (April 18, 1849), Atheism (April 25, 1849), Theism (May 2, 1849); Internal Evidence (May 16, 1849); Paley's Evidences (May 23, 1849), and Bishop Wilson (May 30, 1849), answered by a Jersey City "Atheist" and "Anti-Superstition," among other correspondents. "Tryphon's reply" to critics appeared in the Boston Investigator on June 6, 1849, one week before the appreciative review of Mardi.

Mardi and a Voyage Thither--By Herman Melville.

I have not read Typee, nor have I read Omoo, and it was by mere chance that I commenced the perusal of Mardi, so recently issued from the press. A work of fiction, it was my intention to read it as is my wont with most books; to glance at its pages, as I turn the leaves, reading a few words here, and a paragraph there, as the fortune-hunter in the newly discovered El Dorado stops not to wash each foot of soil. Contrary to my usual custom, I commenced with the first sentence; and I had read some 30 or 30 pages before I discovered that I was devouring every word as eagerly as if the loss of a syllable would break the spell. Two volumes, containing 750 pages, were before me; but it was too late for retreat. I had left the "Arcturion," and was in for the voyage; but I had no cause for regret. I do not know how others may like the book, but I was not so imprisoned by Macaulay or by Lamartine.

Mardi is an archipelago of small islands, unconnected with the rest of the world, neir the Friendly Islands, apparently, but not laid down upon the maps. Of the voyage thither, I will only say here, that I was almost sorry when it was concluded and the fabled land was reached. But I had hardly commenced, with Zaji [Taji] and his companions, the tour of the islands, before I was forcibly reminded of Volney's Ruins, and yet I could hardly explain the reason. Babbalanja reminded me of the Genius and the legislators; yet the style of the two works is widely dissimilar. Mardi is not merely an imaginary group of islands, reflecting the follies of Christendom; it is impossible not to recognise in Franko, Bello, Vivenza, and other islands, the nations of France, Great Britain, and America. Nay, even personal allusions can hardly fail to be recognised. The warlike speech of Alanno, of Hishio [Hio-Hio] and the "steel gray hair and wondrous eye" of Nulli, mark the Boanerges of the Senate, and the Nullifier of the South, too strongly to be mistaken. I will not attempt to carry the explanation further. A reperusal alone will satisfy my own mind, and, reader, you can do the same.

I intended to mention a few examples of decided hits; but really, I fear I shall encroach upon your columns, if I begin to quote. The "rich store of reliable information" furnished to Donjalolo; the "canonised derelictions" of the ancients of Ohonoo; the teachings of the blind guide up the mountain of Ofo, with the faith of his followers therein; the story of the nine blind men searching for the true trunk of a banian tree, all confident in having discovered it, clinging to their several branches, and each in leaving his post for a moment to abuse the others for a different faith, returning to a different branch, but still confident that he is and has been right from the first, because it is acknowledged by all that there is but one tree and one trunk in the place; the discovery of a book among the rubbish of an antiquary, wonderful because written by a heathen who had never heard of Alma the son of Oro himself; and the general meditations of Babbalanja, though "possessed of a devil," are too forcible not to be regarded, and at the same time so veiled in the change of names, and so humorously recited, that they cannot offend.

But I cannot refrain from copying a few detached sentences, though I am perfectly conscious that they will convey no more idea of the book, than the brick which the Grecian fool carried, of the house he had to sell.

"As for the possible hereafter of the whales; a creature eighty feet long without stockings, and thirty feet round the waist before dinner, is not inconsiderately to be consigned to annihilation."

"I do not so much quote Bardianna, as Bardianna quoted me, though he flourished before me; and no vanity but honesty to say so."

"My lord, at bottom, men wear no bonds that other men can strike off; and have no immunities of which other men can deprive them. Tell a good man that he is free to commit murder,--will he murder? Tell a murderer that at the peril of his soul he indulges in murderous thoughts,--will that make him a saint?"

"I could weep that Comparative Anatomists are not so numerous now as hereafter they assuredly must become; when their services shall be in greater request; when, at the last, last day of all, millions of noble and ignoble spirits will loudly clamor for lost skeletons; when contending claimants shall start up for one poor, carious spine; and dog-like we shall quarrel over our own bones."

After giving the "celebrated Sandwich system" of creation, our philosopher concludes:--

"Thus fared the old diluvians; arrant gormandisers and beef-bolters. We Mardians famish on the superficial strata of deposits; cracking our jaws on walnuts, filberts, cocoanuts, and clams. My lord, I've done."

"And bravely done it is. Mohi tells us that Mardi was made in six days; but you, Babbalanja, have built it up from the bottom in less than six minutes."

"Nothing for us geologists, my lord. At a word we turn you out whole systems; suns, satellites, and asteroids included. Why, my good lord, my friend Annonimo is laying out a new Milky Way, to intersect with the old one, and facilitate cross-cuts among the comets."

And so saying, Babbalanja turned aside.

 "Communications." Boston Investigator, 13 June 1849. Nineteenth Century U.S. Newspapers, Accessed 29 June 2019.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Melville's comic-Nautical-Sinbadic style

"Moby-Dick; or, the Whale. By Herman Melville, author of 'Typee,' 'Omoo,' &c. 1 vol, 12mo, 635 pages. Harper and Brothers."

We think Mr. Melville has almost surpassed himself in this last fish story of his. Certainly a better yarn was never spun; nor one the reader is so anxious to find the end of: when found his next regret is that it comes so soon. Melville has the romance of Defoe, the "tarriness" of Marryatt, the vigor of Bulwer, and in one word produces the pleasantest fictions of the day in his style, which may be termed the comic-Nautical-Sinbadic-style. Long may he write, for he will never lack readers, while imagination and humor are appreciated.
Accessible online courtesy of Hathi Trust Digital Library. This Google-digitized volume from the University of Minnesota has Volume 15 ( July-December 1851) bound in with Volume 14.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Typee in Cassius M. Clay's True American

Cassius M. Clay via New York Public Library Digital Collections

This item is from the True American for April 22, 1846, the anti-slavery newspaper owned and edited by Cassius Marcellus Clay and then printed in Cincinnati. Found on GenealogyBank among items "added within 1 month":

Christian Slave-holders Abroad.

We give the following extracts from Herman Melville's work upon Polynesian Life. The reason why it is not necessary to send the bible to the South, is, they are already enslaved.

The foreign business is more profitable! Girls, where are your Sewing Societies? Your foreign "keepers of the poor" need horse-covers! [Excerpt from Typee chapter 26:]
"Look at Honolulu, the metropolis of the Sandwich Islands!—a community of disinterested merchants, and devoted, self-exiled heralds of the Cross, located on the very spot that twenty years ago was defiled by the presence of idolatry. What a subject for an eloquent Bible-meeting orator! Nor has such an opportunity for a display of missionary rhetoric been allowed to pass by unimproved! But when these philanthropists send us such glowing accounts of one half of their labors, why does their modesty restrain them from publishing the other half of the good they have wrought?—Not until I visited Honolulu was I aware of the fact that the small remnant of the natives had been civilized into draught horses, and evangelized into beasts of burden. But so it is. They have been literally broken into the traces, and are harnessed to the vehicles of their spiritual instructors like so many dumb brutes! 
"Among a multitude of similar exhibitions that I saw, I shall never forget a robust, red-faced, and very lady-like personage, a missionary's spouse, who day after day for months together took her regular airings in a little go-cart drawn by two of the islanders, one an old grey-headed man, and the other a rogueish stripling, both being, with the exception of the fig-leaf, as naked as when they were born. Over a level piece of ground this pair of draught bipeds would go with a shambling, unsightly trot, the youngster hanging back all the time like a knowing horse, while the old hack plodded on and did all the work.

"Rattling along through the streets of the town in this stylish equipage, the lady looks about her as magnificently as any queen driven in state to her coronation. A sudden elevation, and a sandy road, however, soon disturb her serenity. The small wheels become embedded in the loose soil,—the old stager stands tugging and sweating, while the young one frisks about and does nothing; not an inch does the chariot budge. Will the tenderhearted lady, who has left friends and home for the good of the souls of the poor heathen, will she think a little about their bodies and get out, and ease the wretched old man until the ascent is mounted? Not she; she could not dream of it. To be sure, she used to think nothing of driving the cows to pasture on the old farm in New England; but times have changed since then. So she retains her seat and bawls out, 'Hookee! hookee!' (pull, pull.) The old gentleman, frightened at the sound, labors away harder than ever; and the younger one makes a great show of straining himself, but takes care to keep one eye on his mistress, in order to know when to dodge out of harm’s way. At last the good lady loses all patience; 'Hookee! hookee' and rap goes the heavy handle of her huge fan over the naked skull of the old savage; while the young one shies to one side and keeps beyond its range. 'Hookee! hookee!' again she cries— 'Hookee tata kannaka!’' (pull strong, men,) — but all in vain, and she is obliged in the end to dismount and, sad necessity, actually to walk to the top of the hill.

"At the town where this paragon of humility resides, is a spacious and elegant American chapel, where divine service is regularly performed. Twice every Sabbath, towards the close of the exercises, may be seen a score or two of little wagons ranged along the railing in front of the edifice, with two squalid native footmen in the livery of nakedness, standing by each, and waiting for the dismissal of the congregation to draw their superiors home."
Lexington, KY True American - April 22, 1846
via GenealogyBank
American Portrait Gallery by Abner Dumont Jones (New York, 1869)
 From George W. Ranck's History of Lexington, Kentucky (Cincinnati, 1872), page 351:
On the 18th of August, 1845, at a great meeting, in Lexington, of the best citizens of Central Kentucky, irrespective of party, it was resolved that the press and materials of the "True American," an anti-slavery newspaper conducted in Lexington by Mr. Cassius M. Clay, should be sent beyond the confines of the state. A committee was accordingly appointed, which proceeded immediately to safely box up the articles, and ship them to Cincinnati, after which, Mr. Clay was notified of the address of the house to which they had been sent, subject to his order, with all charges and expenses paid. Mr. Clay subsequently obtained a judgment for $2,500 against two of the committee, which amount was paid by citizens of Fayette and adjoining counties. The office of the "True American" was located on Mill street, in the rear part of the building now known as Whitney's drug store.

Cassius Marcellus Clay is a son of General Green Clay, and was born in Madison county, Kentucky, October 19, 1810. He was a student at Transylvania University, but graduated at Yale College, in 1832. He has represented Madison and Fayette each in the legislature. In 1839 he removed to Lexington, and on June 3,1845, issued the first copy of the "True American," devoted to the overthrow of slavery in Kentucky. He commanded the "Old Infantry" in the Mexican War, was captured at Encarnacion, and was a prisoner for some time. On his return home, he was presented with a sword. Subsequently, Mr. Clay was minister to Russia. Mr. Clay is dauntless and unfaltering in whatever he believes is right. He resides at present in Madison county, Kentucky. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Clement Clarke Moore and Daughter

The collection of Nathaniel Fish Moore Photographs in the Columbia University Libraries Online Exhibition includes this unique image of Clement C. Moore, at chess with one of his daughters.

Moore, Nathaniel Fish, 1782-1872, “Clement Clarke Moore and Daughter,” Columbia University Libraries Online Exhibitions, accessed June 4, 2019,
In the December 1963 issue of American Heritage, Richard M. Ketchum introduced a holiday profile of Moore with this description of the photograph shown above:
The image is all but gone from the glass plate; what remains is a faded shadow of the man and his daughter, frozen forever in the interrupted moment of their chess game. When this picture was taken, Clement Clarke Moore was past middle age, with most of his achievements behind him, with the way of life he had known in rural Manhattan disappearing. Born midway through the Revolution, he would die seven days after the Battle of Gettysburg, his eighty-four years spanning the birth and breakup of the Union....
--Faces from the Past
The daughter must be Mary Clarke Ogden or one of Moore's unmarried daughters, either Katharine or Maria Theresa.

Children of Clement C. Moore (1779-1863) and Catherine Elizabeth Taylor Moore (1795-1830):
  • Margaret Elliott Moore (Ogden) 1815–1845 
  • Charity Elizabeth Moore 1816–1830 
  • Benjamin Moore 1818–1886
  • Mary Clarke Ogden 1819–1893
  • Clement Moore 1821–1889
  • Emily Moore 1822–1828
  • William Taylor Moore 1823–1897 
  • Katharine Van Cortlandt Moore 1826–1890 
  • Maria Theresa Barrington Moore 1826–1900

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Charles F Deems on Typee

Charles F. Deems via Greensboro College
... it seems to read itself without any effort on the part of the reader.
Notice of Typee, the revised edition (Harper & Brothers, 1849) in the Southern Methodist Pulpit Vol. 3 (1850), page 246:
(2.) Harper & Brothers. "Typee; a Peep at Polynesian Life; during a Residence of Four Months in a Valley of the Marquesas. By Herman Melville." This book produced quite a sensation upon its first appearance. The present is a revised edition. We have not read it all, for the simple reason that we have found it so pleasant that we have concluded to leave enough for one day's stage reading on a long journey. It is the book for that exactly. All the author need demand is that the first four pages be read. The reader will be in for it then. We were. We took the book to the sofa where our siesta is usually enjoyed, and the result was that we lost an afternoon by the operation. The pictures in this volume have a Robinson Crusoe life-likeness about them which makes the whole story very attractive. The style is so perfectly easy that it seems to read itself without any effort on the part of the reader. The description of tropical richness of climate and productions and of Polynesian life are very fascinating. We shall thank our friends, the publishers, if in their next package to us they will send Omoo and whatever other Melville books they publish.
Edited by Charles Force Deems (1820-1893), then President of Greensboro Female College. After the Civil War, Deems went to New York where he edited Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine for three years, 1876-1879. One of his sons, Edward Mark Deems, served as chaplain of Sailors' Snug Harbor from 1913 to 1927.


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Author of Typee and Moby-Dick, 1858 mention in the Brooklyn Daily Times

From the Brooklyn Daily Times, September 21, 1858; found at among items "Added in the past 1 month":
LITERARY.-- We see it announced that Herman Melville is to deliver a lecture descriptive of his South Sea experiences. There are few men who could do it better. Besides, the personale of the author of "Typee" and "Moby Dick" is so remarkable; and yet so little known, even among the literati, that the announcement of a lecture from him would be a sure card.
A Brooklyn journalist thinks Melville a "remarkable" looking person, and along with Typee (1846) remembers Moby-Dick (1851) instead of a more recent work like Israel Potter (1855) or The Piazza Tales (1856) or The Confidence-Man (1857).

Here the italicized word personale refers I guess to personal appearance and manner, to bodily attributes expressive of one's individual personality. So New York literati might know a great deal about Melville's literary personae (Tommo and Ishmael, for example), without having seen the writer himself, up close and in person.

The association of Melville with Moby-Dick, and the focus on his physical appearance apart from his reputation among the literati, are original and distinctive elements, added to the received announcement of Melville's determination to lecture on his South Sea adventures. The Brooklyn journalist (Call him Walt?) was commenting on some version of this item:

Troy Daily Times (Troy, NY) - September 21, 1858 via Fulton History
"Herman Melville has prepared a lecture descriptive of his adventures in the South Sea, which he intends to deliver this winter."
The Brooklyn Daily Times was then published by owner and founder George C. Bennett. I don't know if Walt Whitman wrote the 1858 Melville notice, but it coincides nicely with the period in which Whitman
"returned to full-time editing in 1857 for the Brooklyn Daily Times, after an interim of nine years." --Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J. R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (Routledge, 1998), page 81.
Tenure confirmed by Douglas A. Noverr in "Journalism," A Companion to Walt Whitman, ed. Donald D. Kummings (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), page 36:
"Whitman's last significant connection with a Brooklyn newspaper was with the Daily Times in the period of early 1857 until the spring of 1859." 
The phrase "sure card" appears in Brooklyniana, No. 8, unsigned but attributed to Walt Whitman:
"These circus exhibitions, by the way, have always been a sure card in Brooklyn."
Whitman, Walt [unsigned]. "Brooklyniana, No. 8." Brooklyn Standard, 25 January 1862. The Walt Whitman Archive. Gen. ed. Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price. Accessed 25 May 2019. <>.
Leaves of Grass - Boston, 1860
To a Pupil.

1.   IS reform needed? Is it through you?
The greater the reform needed, the greater the PER-
you need to accomplish it.

2.   You! do you not see how it would serve to have eyes,
blood, complexion, clean and sweet?
Do you not see how it would serve to have such a
body and Soul, that when you enter the crowd,
an atmosphere of desire and command enters
with you, and every one is impressed with your

3.   O the magnet! the flesh over and over!
Go, mon cher! if need be, give up all else, and com-
mence to-day to inure yourself to pluck, reality,
self-esteem, definiteness, elevatedness,
Rest not, till you rivet and publish yourself of your
own personality. 
Whitman, Walt. "To a Pupil." Leaves of Grass. 1860. The Walt Whitman Archive. Gen. ed. Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price. Accessed 25 May 2019. <>

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne and the mislaid Moby-Dick

Sophia Hawthorne autograph letter signed to Annie Adams Fields, [March 1863]
This March 1863 item is from the extensive Sophia Hawthorne correspondence with James and Annie Fields, 1851-1904 (MS C.1.11), held by the Boston Public Library and now accessible online via Digital Commonwealth:
Writing from Concord, Sophia Hawthorne wants Annie Fields to express mail some blue braid and black ribbon from Boston. While she's at it, perhaps Annie would check at Ticknor & Fields ("the establishment on the corner of School & Washington Streets") for a mislaid copy of Moby-Dick, one that Nathaniel Hawthorne's sister had tried to send them care of Nathaniel's Boston publishers.

My dearest Annie

I was very glad of your note and of the carte blanche it gives me about the visit. I am just now in a great haste as my workman is to take this to the mail and so I cannot say any thing in proper reply to your spring song. But I am going to ask you to buy something from me, as the walking is now good.
I want very much two pieces of blue worsted braid, such as is plaited upon dresses. It comes, I think, about three quarters of an inch wide on pieces of twelve yards length. Then I want some black velvet ribbon of about the same width. I must have a whole piece of the velvet. I believe it is eighteen yards in length.
I am scribbling on my knee with velocity. Will the angelic Michael take them (if you can buy them) to Adams' Express, dear Annie.

As to "Moby Dick," Miss Hawthorne, the sister of Mr Hawthorne, says she sent it months ago to the establishment on the corner of School & Washington Streets directed to us. I thought it might be among laid aside packages. 
If I trouble you too much, do not heed my note. 
Ever your loving friend, 
S. Hawthorne.
Without mentioning Melville or Moby-Dick, Randall Stewart gives the context of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne's 1863 reference in The Hawthornes at the Wayside, 1860-1864 in The Bulletin of the Boston Public Library (September 1944), page 278:
The generous friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Fields for the Hawthornes was shown not only in their hospitality but in their gifts and the performance of commissions in Boston. Among the gifts acknowledged with due thankfulness in the letters under review were "an exquisite looking book," "your very kind present of bananas," a "rich package," "Mr. Hawthorne's works beautifully bound," and oysters and ale. Many errands were requested of Mrs. Fields or her husband. Among the articles procured through their good offices were "braid or sewing silk of the color I enclose," "the cloth for our Saques," "brocatelle," "two pieces of blue worsted braid," "some black velvet ribbon," two pieces of vellum for Julian, a hat with "a quite moderate crown" for Rose, and "a first rate Silver Hunter's watch" and "a black iron short chain" for Julian. Altogether, the gifts and the errands — the latter especially — attest strongly to an extraordinary devotion.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's sister Maria Louisa died in 1852, so "Miss Hawthorne" who mailed Moby-Dick (after borrowing it, presumably--and reading, or re-reading?) to the Hawthornes care of Ticknor & Fields must be his older sister "Ebe," the brilliant and "enigmatic" Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne (1802-1883).

The range of Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne's reading in the early 1860's is partly revealed in letters published by Cecile Anne de Rocher in Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne: A Life in Letters (University of Alabama Press, 2006). Specific works mentioned there include Elsie Venner by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Romola by George Eliot, John Halifax, Gentleman by Dinah Maria Mulock, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens along with serialized fiction by Reade, Trollope, and Thackeray. Referenced works of nonfiction include volumes by Ruskin, Napier's History of the War in the Peninsula; and Olmsted's Journey in the Seaboard Slave States.

Looking further I see in de Rocher's Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne: The Complete Letters (PhD Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2001) that Elizabeth does mention Moby-Dick in a letter to Una Hawthorne from Salem on December 5, 1862:
I know that Moby Dick was on the list of books which your Mamma has; but the list was of the books which I selected. I took most of them home with me in a basket, in which I also returned them; but a good deal of space was occupied by the "Literary World," a periodical about the size of the Athenaeum, so that all the books would not go in, and some were sent to me, but several of those on the list were not sent. I ought at the time, to have taken down the names of those I did not receive. I cannot now remember what they were. But I will endeavor to get "Moby Dick." Mrs. Dike has some books that can perhaps be exchanged for it when we can send to Boston. I have enquired for it in the bookstores here, but could not get it. (175)
[UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library, Hawthorne Family Papers (BANC MSS 72/236 z). Papers of Julian Hawthorne, Ctn 2, Folder 14, include the transcription of Elizabeth's December 5, 1862 letter to Una with "Copies of letters to Una Hawthorne from her aunt, Elizabeth M. Hawthorne, Dec. 9, 1861-Jan. 2, 1870 (also available on microfilm (BANC FILM 72/236, reel 4)."]

I'm not sure how to read the December 1862 reference by Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne, without Una Hawthorne's side of the correspondence. It sounds like Una (eighteen years old in 1862) either recommended Moby-Dick or asked for it back. Now Una's aunt Elizabeth can't find it, and half suspects she never received it. Ironically, one or more volumes of The Literary World had crowded out Moby-Dick in Elizabeth's basket of borrowed books. Nevertheless, since Una asked about it (for whatever reason), Elizabeth promises: "I will endeavor to get "Moby Dick." By March 1863, Sophia Hawthorne thinks Elizabeth somehow found and "directed" it to the Hawthornes, care of Ticknor and Fields.

On Friday, November 7, 1862, still in Pittsfield, Herman Melville was seriously injured after being thrown from his wagon. While Melville recovered, and progressed with the sale of Arrowhead, Nathaniel Hawthorne's daughter, sister, and wife were looking for Moby-Dick and having some trouble finding it.

Thu, Nov 13, 1862 – 2 · The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) ·

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Redburn in Richards' Weekly Gazette

Here is another Melville review in Richards' Weekly Gazette, published and edited in Athens, GA by William Carey Richards. Found in the great online archive of Georgia Historic Newspapers.

Richards' Weekly Gazette - January 5, 1850
via Georgia Historic Newspapers
REDBURN; his first Voyage. Being the Sailor-Boy Confessions and Reminiscences of the Son of a Gentleman in the Merchant Service. By Herman Melville. In 2 vols. 12mo. New-York: Harper & Brothers 
“Redburn” is, to us, the most attractive of all Mr. Melville's books, not excepting even “Typee.” We have read it thoroughly, with a very pleasant impression, and have no hesitation in recommending others to read it. Its charm consists in its absolute naturalness, and its striking veri-similitude. The reader is willing to believe that every thing happened to “Redburn” just as the author narrates it. We say every tiling; perhaps, we should except the mysterious night in London, which is a little too fanciful for the harmony of the narrative. Very charming, indeed, is the simplicity of our hero, and very commendable the good humor and tact with which he demeans himself, under the many annoyances of his position, on board the Highlander. The book is not wanting in incident; affording opportunity for the display of Mr. Melville's descriptive powers. There are many vivid passages; and among them, the death of Jackson, a sort of human-devil, the spontaneous combustion of a dead body, shipped as a drunken sailor! the hero’s first essay at “going aloft,” will strike the reader. 
Mr. Melville's wit is admirably displayed in this work, and sparkles gracefully upon the surface of an under-current of strong feeling. The book deserves to have a wide popularity. --Richards' Weekly Gazette, January 5, 1850.

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Charleston reprinting of "Hawthorne and His Mosses"

As previously announced on Melvilliana, one early extract from Melville's Hawthorne and His Mosses appeared in the New York Evening Post for August 21, 1850. Here another reprinting, this one with the complete text of the first part as originally published in The Literary World on August 17, 1850. (The second part of Melville's now famous review-essay appeared one week later in The Literary World on August 24, 1850.)

Southern Literary Gazette - August 31, 1850
On August 31, 1850 the Southern Literary Gazette gave Part I of  Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses" from The Literary World of August 17, 1850. Melville's pseudonymous review appears in the Gazette under the editorial heading, "The Essayist." As in the Literary World,  Melville's contribution in the Gazette reprint is credited only to "A Virginian Spending July in Vermont." Part II of Melville's "Mosses" essay does not appear in the next issue of the Gazette and evidently was never reprinted there.

Then published in Charleston, South Carolina, the Southern Literary Gazette was edited by William Carey Richards, a native Brit and "ardent Baptist" per Gertrude Gilmer in A Critique of Certain Georgia Ante Bellum Literary Magazines, Georgia Historical Quarterly 18.4 (December,1934), page 300.

Southern Literary Gazette with reprint of Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses" [Part I]
via Georgia Historic Newspapers
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Friday, May 17, 2019

Pierre in Columbus Georgia

From The Southern Sentinel, September 16, 1852; found in Georgia Historic Newspapers. The Southern Sentinel was then published and edited in Columbus, Georgia by Tennant Lomax.

Columbus, Georgia Southern Sentinel - September 16, 1852


1. Pierre; or the Ambiguities —by Herman Melville. New York: Harpers. 
Transcendentalism must possess a strangely infectious power. For here is the author of “Typee” transformed into as absurd a dreamer as now rejoices in the patronymic of Young America. Lennox, with its learned neighborhood, certainly does not suit the voyager of “Mardi.” He had better take to the sea again.
Eugene Sue never spun a story of more impossible plot; Alexander Dumas never depicted more unreal characters; nor did George Sand ever send into the world a book of as questionable morality. The style, moreover, abounds in affectations and barbarisms; the efforts to be funny, are ludicrous only from their failure; and the attempted eloquence degenerates into merest rodomontade. His heroic announcement that he writes not in conformity with the rules of art —and he might have added, of nature—to him may seem very grand, but to us sounds snobbish. 
Whatever the “ambiguities” of the volume, one thing is indubitable—namely, that a more perfect abortion in literature than Pierre, has not been sent into the world for some time.
Number 2 is Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, praised by the Georgia reviewer as "the most finished and exquisite of Mr. Hawthorne's works."
... This famous analyst and painter of human nature, captivates you by the skill and nicety of his procedure. The superficial man of the world, changed into a cringing shadow; the earnest, half noble, half deluded woman, spurning the restrictions of her sex; the confiding, womanly heart, that wins the strong man’s love; the calm student of human life, and the herculean philanthropist, absorbed in the cure of others, until he himself is diseased beyond recovery—are all delineated, as none but Hawthorne could draw them. The moral of Hollingsworth’s character constitutes, we should say, just the study for many New Englanders. He is the exact type of the sincere abolitionist, affording all such, who will take it, a profoundly true view of their own condition and danger. The whole story preaches, with strongest emphasis, the inefficiency of all reforms, where egotism is not excluded—in which the benign soul of the Gospel is not incarnated.... --The Southern Sentinel (Columbus, GA), September 16, 1852.

William Carey Richards on Mardi. And Pierre?

From Richards' Weekly Gazette, May 12, 1849, published in Athens, GA and edited by William Carey Richards. Accessible online via Georgia Historic Newspapers; also Fulton History.

Richards' Weekly Gazette (Athens, Georgia)
May 12, 1849

Our Book Table.

[Publishers and Authors who desire to have their Books noticed in this Gazette, are requested to send copies to the Editor through Stringer & Townsend, New-York, or Carey & Hart, Phil.
MARDI, AND A VOYAGE THITHER. By Herman Melville. In two vols., 12mo., pp. 365-387. New York. Harper & Brothers. 1849. 
Verily, this book is a literary phenomenon. "Typee” and “ Omoo” are completely thrown into the shade by this latest effort of Mr. Melville's peculiar talent. The ostensible difference between Mardi and its predecessors is, that while they claimed to be fact, and were universally regarded as fiction, this is boldly set forth as a fiction, which the author thinks may possibly be received as a verity. If he has any hopes of this kind, he may as well dismiss them— for certainly a wilder or more incongruous mass of fiction was never brought forth, with christian rites, than is contained in these two volumes. To analyze them, is beyond our purpose. The story is not altogether unlike “ Typee” and “ Omoo," but, being a sublimation of their extravagances, the reader may judge to what extent his common sense will be taxed in its perusal. To do Mr. Melville justice, we must acknowledge at once his singular inventive faculty, and his rhetorical facility. There is a sparkle, a charm, a certain wild grace about his style, that would be quite irresistible, were it not for his decided and oppressive mannerisms, which almost everywhere disfigure it. 
With Mr. Melville’s description of the South Seas, and of their icthyological wonders — as also of the exquisite island scenery therein encountered—we should be stoics not to be charmed.
His escape from the ‘Arcturion,’ and the subsequent adventures of himself and his companion,“Old Jarl”— a poor substitute, by the way, for Toby of “Typee,” though not without his good points—for many days over the wonder-teeming waters of the Southern Seas, are very graphically narrated. 
Yillah, the heroine of the book, is a beautiful creation of the author's fancy; but we cannot help thinking that he might have managed his story better than to make her a phantom, vanishing from his very arms one night, and going no one knew whither. This trick of Mr. Melville’s, by the way, of creating such exquisite beings as Fayaway, of Typee memory, and Yillah, of Mardi, for his own especial and unlicensed enjoyment, is a striking commentary upon the morality of the book.  
The Island of “Mardi” is another “Typee,” where our author passes himself off under the name of Taji, a demi-god, and a visitor from the sun. He becomes the guest of Media, King of Odo, and, after Yillah so mysteriously disappears, he resolves to go in search of her; and Media, who is a very jolly, sociable and clever fellow, decides to accompany him. 
And now commences a series of travels and adventures almost unparalleled in romance. Feasts and frolics are plenty as blackberries; and so plenty are Kings, that five and twenty of them sit down to dinner together, “and a royal time they have.” 
In the further development of the story, the machinery of magic is employed, and we have an enchantress Hautia, with her singing maidens as heralds; and, at the very close of the book, Taji becomes a victim of Hautia, who reveals to him his lost Yillah, lying dead in a sea-cavern! Romantic enough, in all conscience. 
We liked “Typee” vastly well. It was fresh, racy and delightful, despite its somewhat sensuality. “ Omoo” tired us with its attenuation of the fine thread of the former work, and disgusted us with the author’s evident latitudinarianism in both morals and religion. In “Mardi,” we have a still further wire-drawing process, and, perhaps, even less disguised immorality and infidelity. These are hard words, but they must be uttered in justice to our position as a journalist. 
Without questioning Mr. Melville’s very clever talent at romancing, we must conscientiously condemn his too thinly veiled lasciviousness, and, moreover, deny his right to work an idea to death, as he has evidently done in Mardi.  We will not take leave of the book, without affording our readers as fair a specimen of the descriptive powers of our author as a single brief paragraph can present. It is a description of Yillah, at first sight. 
"Before me crouched a beautiful girl. Her hands were drooping. And, like a saint from a shrine, she looked sadly out from her fair, long hair. A low wail issued from her lips, and she trembled like a sound. There were tears on her cheek, and a rose-colored pearl on her bosom. Did I dream? A snow-white skin: blue firmament eyes: Golconda locks. For an instant, spell-bound I stood, while with a slow apprehensive movement, and still gazing fixedly, the captive gathered more closely about her a gauze-like robe.” 
In Antebellum Athens and Clarke County, Georgia (University of Georgia Press, 1974; paperback 2009), Earnest C. Hynds devotes a good part of chapter 6 to the southern literary career and influence of William Carey Richards. Richards' Weekly Gazette started out in Athens as Southern Literary Gazette.
"Richards moved the publication to Charleston in 1850 and sold one-half interest in it to Joseph Walker of that city. The name was changed back to Southern Literary Gazette, and it evidently retained that title after 1852 when Richards sold his interest in the publication and moved to New York."  --Antebellum Athens, page 98.
On December 8, 1849, Richards' Weekly Gazette reprinted "CAPT. RIGA IN PORT," explicitly crediting "Melville's 'Redburn: His First Voyage.'" The review of Redburn in the New York Literary World on November 17, 1849 had featured the same excerpt from chapter 3 of Melville's fourth book.

On August 31, 1850 Richards' Southern Literary Gazette reprinted the first part of  Melville's "Hawthorne and His Mosses" from The Literary World of August 17, 1850. As in the Literary World,  Melville's essay in the Gazette reprint is credited only to "A Virginian Spending July in Vermont."

"The Death of a Whale" excerpt from Moby-Dick chapter 61 was reprinted in the Southern Literary Gazette on January 3, 1852 (pages 5-6).

Richards published his Valedictory to readers of the Southern Literary Gazette on December 18, 1852. One week later, on December 25, 1852, the Gazette reprinted all of one section (vi) in Book VI of Pierre; Or, The Ambiguities, given as a specimen of the author's presumed insanity:
"From this romance we copy the following extraordinary description of the simple music of the guitar. Melville has cer[t]ainly gone crazy, and is, we presume, by this time in some lunatic asylum. Think of seeing sounds in the shape of icicles! Think of hearing lightning! What ridiculousness and senselessness and unintelligibleness!" --Southern Literary Gazette, December 25, 1852.
Richards the "Ex-Editor" openly acknowledged authorship of magazine reviews for the Christmas Day issue. So Richards was still contributing editorial matter at the close of 1852. In his December 18, 1852 "Valedictory," Richards named assistant editor Paul Hamilton Hayne as his replacement. But Richards also indicated in the published farewell that Hayne was then out of town. It's hard to say which editor to credit with the excerpt from and comment on Melville's Pierre. The long extract and short notice might have been among Richards' last contributions as ex-editor of the Southern Literary Gazette, or Hayne's first as chief editor. Something to look for in the Paul Hamilton Hayne papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Southern Literary Gazette - December 25, 1852 via Georgia Historic Newspapers
Links to bios of William Carey Richards:
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Typee in New London Connecticut

New London Democrat (New London, Connecticut) - March 21, 1846
From the New London Democrat (March 21, 1846), published every Saturday in New London, Connecticut by proprietor and editor James M. Scofield. Found at GenealogyBank among items added "within 1 month."
By Herman Melville, Jr., in two parts.
Such is the title of a work just published, of no ordinary interest. A rapid perusal however, has convinced us that they are books to be read rather than described. They are written in an easy yet graphic style; and abound with pasages and incidents of thrilling interest.
Besides the information they impart of the character, manners, and customs of the savage dwellers in the Islands of the sea, the reader will be abundantly compensated for a perusal, by the interest which is imparted to the mind by the "hair breadth secapes" [escapes or 'scapes] of the narrator, from perils incident to a dweller among Cannibals.
Go at once to KINGSLEY'S and buy the work, and be led through a series of voyage, adventure, incident and scenery, on ship board, and on shore, among the civilized and savage, which will make you for the time-being forget all but the absorbing interest by which you are spell-bound. Remember, KINGSLEY has not only this work, but lots of readable and interesting matter. 


This complaint by Herman Melville's mother Maria Gansevoort Melville won early recognition in Melville scholarship as a gem of maternal indignation, and a glimpse at Melville's mood while creatively engaged. In this case, preoccupied with the writing of Moby-Dick. James C. Wilson quotes it and other newfound items from the Augusta Melville papers in "Melville at Arrowhead," ESQ 30.4 (1984): 232-44 at 241; reprinted in The Hawthorne and Melville Friendship (McFarland, 1991), pages 208-209. (Wilson reads "train" where other transcriptions have "time.") Recounted also in Historical Notes for the 1984 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade; the 1988 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Moby-Dick, or The Whale; and Hershel Parker's Herman Melville: A Biography Vol. 1, 1819-1851 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), page 820. Parker voices the unstated contrast between Herman and his dead brother Gansevoort, the gallant one. Laurie Robertson-Lorant cites part of it in Melville: A Biography (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996), page 266. Andrew Delbanco opens with it in Melville's Fever, reviewing two editions of Pierre for The New York Review of Books (April 4, 1996). Also quoted in Delbanco's New York Times essay Melville Has Never Looked Better (October 28, 2001); and Melville: His World and Work (Random House, 2006). Clare L. Spark has it in Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (Kent State University Press, 2001; Second Edition 2006), page 9.

Now you can read about Herman Melville's "ungallant" conduct at the Pittsfield Depot in the handwriting of his mother. Written from New York City, Maria's letter of March 10, 1851 to Herman's sister Augusta in Pittsfield is available online in the digitized Augusta Melville papers, courtesy of The New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Detail, letter from Maria Gansevoort Melville to Augusta Melville - March 10, 1851
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Herman I hope returned home safe after dumping me & my trunks out so unceremoniously at the Depot. Altho we were there more than an hour before the time, he hurried off as if his life had depended upon his speed, a more ungallant man it would be difficult to find. I hope to hear from Herman, & Helen tomorrow.
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Melville, Maria Gansevoort" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1834 - 1863.
As pointed out in the 1993 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Correspondence (ed. Lynn Horth), this epistolary grievance exemplifies "the device of the indirect message," being addressed to Augusta but "clearly intended" by Maria G. Melville "to reach her recalcitrant son" (page 784).

It looks like Herman got the message. Early in Melville's next book after Moby-Dick, the hero is what the author was not that day at the Pittsfield Depot, ultra-attentive to his mother. Pierre acts like a lady-in-waiting to help his royal "Duchess" get dressed, affectionately calls her "sister," physically bows and kneels before her, and makes a show of escorting her to breakfast "with a humorous gallantry":
The haughtily happy mother rose to her feet and as she stood before the mirror to criticize her son’s adornings, Pierre, noticing the straggling tie of her slipper, knelt down and secured it. “And now for the run,” he cried, “Madam!” and with a humorous gallantry, offering his arm to his mother, the pair descended to breakfast. --Pierre; Or, The Ambiguities (1852).

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hendricks House editions

Here are links to some Hendricks House editions of books by Herman Melville that are Google-digitized and accessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.

MOBY-DICK (1851)
  • Moby-Dick; or, The Whale 1952, ed. Howard P. Vincent and Luther S. Mansfield.
PIERRE (1852)
CLAREL (1876)

Hendricks House Pierre

The Hendricks House edition of Melville's Pierre; or, The Ambiguities is Google-digitized and accessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library. Here below, one of three University of Michigan volumes, all reprints, currently available there.

Another copy of the 1949 Hendricks House Pierre (also a reprint, 1957) is accessible via the great Internet Archive:

Monday, May 13, 2019

Clams, boats, and footnotes in Pierre

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
"Come, Isabel, come, Lucy; we have not had a single walk together yet. It is cold, but clear; and once out of the city, we shall find it sunny. Come: get ready now, and away for a stroll down to the wharf, and then for some of the steamers on the bay. No doubt, Lucy, you will find in the bay scenery some hints for that secret sketch you are so busily occupied with—ere real living sitters do come—and which you so devotedly work at, all alone and behind closed doors."  --Pierre, Book 26
The passage quoted above occurs near the start of the last "Book" (XXVI) of Herman Melville's Pierre; or, The Ambiguities. In a footnote to this passage, the editors of the 2017 Norton Critical Edition of Pierre inform their target audience of undergraduate readers that Melville's word steamers means "Clams" (page 344).

Clams or boats? Does it matter? Sometimes I think nobody really gives a flip about footnotes except me and one or two librarians in the basement annex. Not to alarm my fellow sub-subs, but it has occurred to me before now that scholarly footnotes--especially the short informative kind, as distinct from more luxurious interpretive and argumentative varieties--may already be obsolete in the era of smartphones, like print yellow pages and street-maps.

City of New York by Charles Parsons, 1856
via Library of Congress
Consider the merits of Melville's alternative title: The Ambiguities. On reflection, I wish Pierre had treated his dear companions Lucy and Isabel to a bucket of steamed clams, after their walk to the wharf. If only they had stopped to eat some delicious "steamers" instead of boarding one on the bay. Lunch over, the ill-starred trio might have returned sooner to their rooms in the "Church of the Apostles." With proper nourishment, Pierre could finally have finished his "vile" Inferno of a novel. Who knows, Lucy might soon have found customers for her portrait sketches; Isabel guitar students. In this half-baked alternative scenario, perhaps the killing of Pierre's cousin Glen and the awful tragic ending might have been averted.

Cape Cod Steamers via
Steamer clams or "steamers" are "a specialty of New England," as Elise Bauer informs in How to Cook and Eat Steamer Clams on Simply Recipes. Here on the prairie, "steamers" conjure pleasant thoughts of Cape Cod and Chesapeake Bay. But Edible Long Island will tell you that New York clamologists know plenty about soft shell clams (aka piss clams, longnecks or Ipswich clams) too.

Indeed, Eater NY has a whole article on
Commenters there dispute the notion that steamers are "more of a Boston thing." In the category of "Oddities," Sietsema mentions that
 Off the Hook in Astoria, Queens, presents pots of steamed softshell clams, known as "steamers," and so does London Lennie’s in Woodhaven, Queens.
In chapter 15 of Moby-Dick, Ishmael and Queequeg enjoyed two kinds of chowder at the Try Pots on Nantucket island, one with clams. New York connoisseurs rave about the steamer clams at Pearl Oyster Bar, located at 18 Cornelia Street in Manhattan's West Village. Steamers on Cornelia get us to the right place, after all, since the unnamed "city" in Melville's Pierre is modeled on Manhattan.

Right place but wrong century I guess for steamers to mean clams. Melville's "steamers on the bay" are vessels in New York Harbor, ferry boats and ocean steamers. For context, here's a relevant description from 1853 by Cyrus Redding, writing for the London New Monthly Magazine under the pseudonym "J. W. Hengiston":

The waters are covered by their small ferry steamers, running in all directions—over to Jersey on one side, or over to Long Island on the other —while the larger ones up the Hudson, or East River, dash through the water like floating palaces, and at a speed beyond all others in the world; while to and from the Atlantic, the great ocean steamers, along their own shores or to Europe, join all the best qualities of sea-going ships to increased size and beauty of form; but it is their numbers which are still more astonishing. The waters and the wharves are alive with them; and the stir, the crowds, the cargoes, and loads, and stacks of merchandise for ever piled on the slips, loading and unloading by thousands of carts and drays, which are darting in every direction, which gives one so overwhelming an idea of the magnitude of the commerce and riches of the States—even our city, and our wharves, and our docks, are sleep and idle in the comparison. This swarming scene borders the city, on both sides, for two miles; on the East River side lie all the fine sailing ships by hundreds; on the Hudson side the steamers most; but both sides are crammed and jammed in by both sorts at every slip, so full, that the schooners, sloops, smacks, fishing-boats, &c., can often hardly find room to poke their noses in. The slips on both sides, towards the Battery, are reserved for passage steamers, and ferry ditto, canal boats, and coasting craft. It is curious to see the tug-steamers start up the Hudson with a flock of canal-boats fast to her, like a hen and chickens, for Albany, where they take the Erie canal.  --J. W. Hengiston [Cyrus Redding] on "New York—Its Hotels, Waterworks, and Things in General" in The New Monthly Magazine Vol. 97 (London, 1853) page 87
Back in Book 26 of Pierre, a detour brings Pierre, Isabel, and Lucy to an upstairs art gallery. Unfortunately, nobody mentions stopping for clams afterward. Instead, they get on a ferry boat quite like those encountered at "slips on both sides, towards the Battery" by Redding/Hengiston.
In the midst of all these mental confusions they arrived at the wharf; and selecting the most inviting of the various boats which lay about them in three or four adjacent ferry-slips, and one which was bound for a half-hour's sail across the wide beauty of that glorious bay; they soon found themselves afloat and in swift gliding motion.
As Henry A. Murray observed seventy years ago in one of the "Explanatory Notes" for the 1949 Hendricks House Pierre:
"It seems that Pierre and his companions are at the Battery, New York City, and have selected a Staten Island ferry boat for a ride across the harbor."