Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Melville in Cleveland, 1858

Herman Melville gave his lecture on Roman Statuary in Cleveland, Ohio on January 11, 1858. Melville sounded pleasantly intoxicating if not in fact intoxicated to one listener who noted his "boozy elocution" in a review published the following week in The Ohio Farmer. As for the substance of the talk on Statues in Rome, this remarkably perceptive Ohio reviewer liked what Melville said about art, but deplored his criticism of Christianity.

According to the masthead, Ohio Farmer was owned and edited by Thomas Brown. After his death in 1867, Brown was remembered as "a writer of no ordinary ability" in Appleton's Annual Cyclopaedia.

The Ohio Farmer - January 23, 1858
via GenealogyBank


This gentleman, already well known to the readers of light literature, as the author of "Typee," "Omoo," "Moby Dick," &c., lectured before the Library Association last week, on "Roman Statuary."

The lecture, in point of style, was very good; superior, in that respect, to nine-tenths of the lectures usually delivered. There is a dreamy beauty about the utterances of the author, suggestive of the balmy atmosphere of the South Pacific. If we are not mistaken, there is a kind of hazy-lazy air common to both; at all events, as we sat and listened to the boozy elocution of the speaker, an intoxication, as of opium or profuse odors, "lapped us in Elysean pleasures."

We think the lecturer would have it so. It seemed to us as if the writer had never forgotten his imprisonment among the Pacific cannibals, and half regretted his extradition from that physical paradise. We would venture a bet that Mr. Melville, with all his admiration for the Medicean Venus, thinks Fayaway worth a score of cold unhabited marbles.

It seemed to us as if the writer had never recovered from his captivity. His affection for heathenism is profound and sincere. He speaks of the heathenism of Rome as if the world were little indebted to christianity; indeed, as if it had introduced in the place of the old Roman heroism, a sort of trusting pusillanimity.

This under-current of regret, or sorrow, or malice, at the introduction of christianity, seemed to pervade the whole lecture, and marred one's enjoyment of the fine observation and the deep sympathy manifest in every part of the performance. His beautiful sentiments, felicitous diction, and exquisite choice of terms were merely so many chaplets to adorn a corpse. Hung about heathen manners and heathen morals, they flung their beauty and fragrance over death and corruption.

So far as the lecture was confined to the limits of the title, it was masterly and without offense. The portraiture of character was very fine. We could have sat for hours witnessing this skillful and appreciative master of ceremonies taking the robes from the pictured pages of Tacitus and putting them upon the lifeless marbles of the Vatican, and there breathing into them the breath of life, till Rome became living Rome again; but we can not reverse the proverb and believe that a dead dog is better than a living lion. The carrion-feeding eagle is not nobler than the lion of the tribe of Judah.

In Melville as Lecturer (Harvard University Press, 1957), Merton M. Sealts, Jr. credits David Mead with the earliest mention of the Ohio Farmer review, citing Mead's Yankee Eloquence in the Middle West: The Ohio Lyceum, 1850-1870 (Michigan State College Press, 1951), pages 75-6 and 256. Mead quoted the Ohio Farmer on Melville's reportedly "boozy elocution," a phrase that Sealts omits in summarizing. George Kummer's 1936 article "Herman Melville and the Ohio Press" is available online courtesy of Ohio History Connection.

Reconstructed texts of "Statues in Rome" and Melville's other lectures are available in the Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839-1860.

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Devil to pay, and no pitch hot

Love. Or an exquisite at his devotions
1825 by Alfred Crowquill via The British Museum
In his great speech at the 1844 Jackson Jubilee, Gansevoort Melville recycled a joke from two years before about the "fashionable" way of restating the common expression, "There's the devil to pay and no pitch hot." Here's one 1842 version of the joke, from the Elmira Gazette, March 10, 1842:

Elmira Gazette - March 10, 1842 via Fulton History
It is not customary at the present day to say--"There's the devil to pay and no pitch hot;" the fashionable phrase being--"There is a certain liability due to the 'old gentleman,' and no bituminous matter of the proper temperature to liquidate the obligation."
In 1844 Gansevoort ascribed the "fashionable" phraseology to Whigs whom he portrayed as anti-democratic Broadway dandies or "exquisites":
Now, my fair countrywomen, with your permission, a word with you. I grant ye that the whigs have the advantage of us plain-spoken democrats in scented hair, diamond rings, and white kid gloves—[roars of laughter]—in the language of compliment and the affectation of manner, and most particularly, in their style of dressing. If one of these exquisites wished to express the idea contained in the home-spun adage, “There is the devil to pay and no pitch hot,” he would say, “There is a pecuniary liability due to the old gentleman, and no bituminous matter, of the proper temperature, wherewith to liquidate the obligation.” [Uproarious laughter and applause, in which the ladies joined.]
The term Broadway exquisite was a stereotype of affectation and elitism that the Louisville Courier Journal (July 19, 1845) later applied to Gansevoort himself, after his appointment as Secretary of Legation in London. In New York City, the Morning Courier and Enquirer questioned Gansevoort's understanding of the word pay in "the devil to pay."

A General Dictionary of Provincialisms
(London, 1840)
Criticizing Gansevoort's flourishes, the Whig newspaper pointed out the nautical meaning of pay as tar or "pitch" used to caulk the seams of a ship. As further explained on the Official Website of the United States Navy along with other instances of Navy Terminology,
The "devil" was the wooden ship's longest seam in the hull. Caulking was done with "pay" or pitch (a kind of tar). The task of "paying the devil" (caulking the longest seam) by squatting in the bilges was despised by every seaman.
Gansevoort's Whig critic seems to have realized, eventually, that the misunderstanding of the nautical metaphor could also be regarded as part of the joke, attributable to the clueless dandy being described. From the Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer, March 22, 1844; found at Fulton History:
Mr. Gansevoort Melville, who seems to be aiming at a rivalry with Anacharsis Cloots for the honor of being considered "Orator of the Human Race," emptied his last bag of blarney into the laps of the ladies and gentlemen who assembled the other night at the Tabernacle to celebrate the seventy-seventh birthday of Gen. Jackson. The whole oration appears to have been a budget of beauties, a congeries of "unstrung pearls," with now and then a boquet of blossoms, fragrant as a poppy bud and redolent of odours from a newly blown swamp cabbage. The following figure, however, is a "metaphor of another smell," and shows a versatility of conception, and stretchiness of imagination worthy of Orator Henley himself. Mr. Melville, addressing himself to the ladies with one of his archest and blandest smiles, said,
"Now, my fair countrywomen, with your permission, a word with you. I grant ye that the Whigs have the advantage of us plain spoken Democrats in scented hair, diamond rings, and white kid gloves—(roars of laughter)—in the language of compliment and the affectation of manner, and most particularly, in the style of dressing. If one of these exquisites wished to express the idea contained in the home-spun adage, 'There is the devil to pay, and no pitch hot,' he would say, 'There is a pecuniary liability due to the old gentleman, and no bituminous matter of the proper temperature, wherewith to liquidate the obligation.'"
This is peculiarly beautiful we acknowledge, and the euphuism put into the mouth of the modern "poodle dog of society" would have charmed Sir Piercie Shafton; but it strikes us that a nautical critic would be apt to accuse Mr. Melville of having no knowledge of his own metaphor. It is not generally understood that the phrase implies any pecuniary obligation to the old rascal from Sulphurdom. When a sailor says there is "the devil to pay and no pitch hot," he simply means that his seams are to be caulked and payed over, and there is no hot tar to do it with. However, we repeat that the figure is decidedly pretty and poetical, and we dare say appropriate to the occasion and the audience ———, or Mr. M. would not have used it.
Portrait of John Henley via The British Museum
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Friday, November 17, 2017

Mrs. Herman Melville and daughters on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, 1878

For one thing, the item below shows that in the summer of 1878, Herman Melville's wife and daughters made it to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. "Romeo" saw them, or saw their names in the register of visitors to the Tip-Top House, and counted them in his catalog of notable New Yorkers at Mount Washington:
Among the New Yorkers who have recently visited the Tip Top House, may be mentioned the following: ... Mrs. Herman Melville and Misses Fannie and Bessie Melville.  --New York Evening Express, September 25, 1878
New York Evening Express - September 25, 1878
via Fulton History
Herman also had been expected in New Hampshire that summer, according to family letters that Hershel Parker references in the second volume of Herman Melville: A Biography (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), on page 835. Herman Melville was then still a Custom House inspector. Possibly he made one "flying visit," as wealthier gentlemen did more frequently. Writing the year before from the Profile House, Franconia Notch, "Romeo" explained:
Many New York gentlemen send their families here, and make them a flying visit every week or ten days. Distance offers no obstacle to this, and the New Yorker may breakfast in his own house in the morning and sup at the Profile House in the heart of the White Mountains. The trains leave New York at 8 o'clock A. M. and arrive here about the same hour P. M. It is a feat of railroad enterprise for which the public are indebted to the Boston, Concord and Montreal Company.  --New York Evening Express, letter from "Romeo" dated July 31, 1877.
The New York Evening Express featured the correspondence of "Romeo" from the White Mountains and other popular resorts or "Watering Places" for many years. "Notes of Summer Travel / Letter from Cloud Land" signed "Romeo" and dated July 24, 1866 from Tip Top House, Mount Washington, appeared in the New York Evening Express on July 26, 1866.

I'm reminded now the of the earlier post on "Melville" at Lake Memphremagog, about the puzzling mention of "Melville" by a correspondent of the New Orleans Times-Picayune named "Romeo."

via Library of Congress
Could this "Romeo" who named Mrs. Melville with Bessie and Fannie as 1878 visitors to the Tip Top House be the same "Romeo" who quoted "Melville" on the superior view from Owl's Head Mountain, back in 1859?


Looking further into the online archive of Historical Newspaper Pages at Fulton History, I see that "Romeo" was indeed corresponding in the summer of 1859 with the New York Evening Express from Owls Head Mountain House, Lake Memphremagog.

New York Evening Express - July 29, 1859
"Romeo" in 1859 called himself a New Yorker, and traveled with New Yorkers to Lake Memphremagog, "the American Switzerland." Besides reporting to major southern newspapers in Virginia and Louisiana, as learned in the earlier post, he also corresponded with the New York Evening Express. As late as 1878, still writing for the Evening Express, Romeo thought to mention Herman Melville's wife and children among notable visitors to Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

When "Romeo" quoted or paraphrased "Melville" back in 1859, maybe he did mean Herman Melville. Who else? At any rate, some Melville according to Romeo expressed this very Melvillean view of "the prospect" from atop Owl's Head Mountain:
"... the prospect from the summit is even more pleasing than that from the summit of Mount Washington, or the Franconia Mountains." --Letter from "Romeo" dated August 22, 1859 from Owl's Head Mountain House, Lake Memphremagog, Vermont; published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on September 1, 1859.
As observed in the earlier post on Romeo's Melville, it sounds like something Herman Melville might have written down in a register for hotel guests or tourists.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

More Melville notices in the Rochester Daily Democrat

Items transcribed below were all found online in the archives of Historical Newspaper Pages at Fulton History.

September 1844 (Gansevoort Melville)
"THE DYING DOUGLASS."-- It is said that Mr. Melville, in his speech which he made at Nashville, referred to the battle of Otterburne, between the English and Scotch, where the gallant Douglass was slain, and while dying said:
"I am dying. There is a tradition in our family that a dead Douglass shall win a field; and I trust that it may this day be accomplished. Advance my standard--shout my war cry and avenge my fall."
Mr. Melville likens Van Buren to Douglass, and puts the latter's language into Van Buren's mouth. The query naturally arises, by whom was Van Buren prostrated, and upon whom does he wish his vengeance to fall? The Whigs did not slay him. They wounded him in 1840; but he survived that wound. He was slaughtered by the Texas chivalry, and POLK was made the instrument of that slaughter. Now, if Van Buren's dying words were--"shout my war cry and avenge my fall"--the northern loco focos must make havoc with Polk and Texas! The conclusion seems inevitable. --Rochester Daily Democrat, September 19, 1844.
October 1844

Mr. Editor--I had the great pleasure of listening to the milk and water speech of which the far famed GANSEVOORT MELVILLE delivered himself, at the "skunk pea," last Thursday evening.-- His speech was about two and a half hours in length, and consisted principally of wind, prophecies, naked assertions, false statements, equivocations, worn out rye stories, vulgarisms, consummate egotism, a redundancy of unmeaning words and youthful expressions,--and the last speech of General JACKSON, made expressly for his individual ear. He made frequent use of the perpendicular pronoun, and used the words "old democrats" and "the democracy" at about every other breath. And, by way of encouragement, he gave the audience some cheering news of recent gains in Tennessee, which he gathered while attending the great Nashville Convention--at which he, "for the want of a better man," had the honor of representing the Empire State.

He considered the opinion of eminent statesmen--such as JEFFERSON, BENTON, CALHOUN, JOHNSON, and others, as worthless, and vainly set up his own opinion as the better authority.

JEFFERSON, in his letter to Mr. BRECKENRIDGE, speaking of the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory, says: "The Constitution has made no provision for our holding foreign territory, still less for our incorporating foreign nations into our Union. The Executive, in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so much advances the good of their country, have done an act beyond the Constitution." Yet Mr. Melville had the cheek to say, that the admission of Texas into our Union was not unconstitutional. He knew it was not, "just as well as well could be." He charged the Whigs with crying "Disunion! disunion!" but forgot to mention that it was but the echo of Tom BENTON's democratic voice, disclaiming the Texas plot, "which has for its object ultimate disunion" to the American people.

He then gave it as his opinion, that the Annexation of Texas would not increase the number of Slaves at the South. Yet statistics show, that by the admission of the Louisiana Territory, we actually added one million of Slaves to this Republic. Col. Johnson says: "We want Texas, to form new Slave States, to balance the coming in of the free States of Wisconsin and Iowa." Mr. Melville says, that Texas will make more Free than Slave States; and that it will induce the Northern Slave States to provide a way for the gradual emancipation of their Slaves. Mr. Calhoun, the great exponent of Southern principles, says--"We want Texas to prevent the ultimate overthrow of Slavery." Mr. Melville says, its admission will affect the institution of slavery injuriously, and pave the way for its speedy downfall. Again: Mr. Calhoun says, in his letter to Mr. Pakenham, April 11, 1841-- "That which is called Slavery, is in reality a political institution, essential to the safety and prosperity of those States of the Union in which it exists." Mr. M. declared, in substance, that Mr. Calhoun, and nearly all the advocates of the measure, are ignorant of the effect it will have, or they are traitors and peace-breakers, and are knowingly and willfully striving to overthrow an institution which they consider essential to the peace, safety, and prosperity of those States in which it exists.

Now, who should be considered the best judges as to the effect the annexation of Texas would have upon that institution--those who started the project, who are its avowed advocates, and from whom it receives its most vigorous support, and who are the most interested in its success--or Mr. Melville? Judge ye.

Such political sagacity as he exhibited throughout his whole speech, must have caused old Solomon's bones to rattle with transport in the tomb. His impudence alone excited admiration.

A LISTENER.  --Rochester Daily Democrat, October 14, 1844.
May 1845
Gansevoort Melville is again at Washington, looking after the Marshalship, it is presumed. His competitor is the Capt. of the Empire Club!
July 1845
Speaking of Gansevoort Melville's appointment, the New York Evening Post says:
We think this a bad appointment. The person elected is scarcely qualified for the office, either by his abilities or his character.
This, says the Journal, is backing one's friend with a vengeance! Here is an impeachment both of the "ability" and the "character" of a distinguished Polk and Texas Orator! --Rochester Daily Democrat, July 14, 1845.
June 1846
"Miss Melville, sister of the late Gansevoort Melville, returned home on the steamer Great Western." --Rochester Daily Democrat, Friday morning, June 19, 1846; reprinted verbatim from the Albany Evening Journal, Tuesday evening, June 16, 1846. [A case of mistaken identity: the person identified among Great Western passengers as "Miss C. Mellville" in the New York Tribune (June 16, 1846) was not Catherine Melville (1825-1905) but "C. M. Melville," then 26 years old, a "Lady" from Scotland bound with 3 trunks for Canada.]
Rochester Daily Democrat (Rochester, New York) - May 12, 1847
May 1847
"OMOO."-- The long looked for work of HERMAN MELVILLE, author of "Typee," a work which had an immense sale, has appeared from the press of the HARPERS. It contains an exciting narrative of the author's adventures in the South Seas. Mr. Melville has a felicitous style of description, and his narratives are exceedingly interesting. The work may be considered a sequel to Typee, and is free from many of the objections that were urged against that work. It is chiefly interesting from the observations the author made on the manners and customs of the Polynesians, the effect of their intercourse with foreigners, and the influence which the missionary system has had upon their morals and manners. For sale at DEWEY'S.  --Rochester Daily Democrat, May 12, 1847; found at Fulton History.
August 1847
"TYPEE."-- The Eastern Journals announce that the second edition of Mr. MELVILLE's "Typee" is in preparation, considerably improved, and many objectionable passages expunged. The religious press has been very severe upon the work, on account of its strictures upon the Missionaries, which appear to have been the result of prejudice or ignorance. If Mr. Melville has expunged that portion of his book, it is free from its most objectionable features. --Rochester Daily Democrat, August 7, 1846.
November 1849

New Publications.

REDBURN, his first voyage: Being the sailor-boy confessions and reminiscences of the son-of-a-gentleman in the merchant service. By HERMAN MELVILLE. Harper & Bros.

This is a handsome volume of nearly 400 pages, in uniform style with Mr. Melville's "Typee," &c. There is a fascination in the style of this author's writings which commends them to the general reader. His fame was established by his first and second productions, as a descriptive writer of the first class. MARDI, which succeeded, was a book of another kind, but still not without the distinctive features of its author's peculiar, brilliant and dashing style. REDBURN is also a romance, woven out of personal adventures of no ordinary character, and throughout marked by the happy genius of its author. It is destined to a rapid sale. To be had at DARROW's enlarged Bookstore. --Rochester Daily Democrat, November 23, 1849; found at Fulton History.
 March 1850

New Publications.

WHITE JACKET: or the World in a Man-of-War. By HERMAN WENDELL [!]. New York: Harper & Brothers.

It was unnecessary for the author of "Typee," "Omoo," &c., to detain the public by a long preface, and he simply informs the reader in a brief note that he shipped in 1843, as an ordinary seaman, on board of a United States frigate then lying in a Pacific harbor. This book is a record of a year's observations on board of a man-of-war; and if all the world is not here painted, there is certainly more of it than is often found between the covers of an ordinary sized volume, and enough to repay an inspection of all the features so graphically delineated. The liveliness of style, mingled with the weight of reflection, which characterizes the author's previous volumes, are equally prominent in White Jacket. It is a perfect portrait gallery, and all who read it, as thousands will, will agree that it is rightly named "The World in a man-of-war."  --Rochester Daily Democrat, March 27, 1850; found at Fulton History.
 April 1850
"A Man-of-War Race"
Excerpt "From Melville's 'White-Jacket.' Reprints chapter 65 of White-Jacket.
--Rochester Daily Democrat, April 12, 1850.
 November 1850
HERMANN MELVILLE, the popular young author has purchased a farm in Birkshire county, Mass., about thirty miles from Albany.  --Rochester Daily Democrat, November 22, 1850.
October 1851
The Whale," is the name of Mr. Melville's new work, and it is likely that the critics will harpoon, lance, and cut up the said fish. --Rochester Daily Democrat, October 24, 1851.
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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Early notice of Moby-Dick in the Rochester Daily Democrat

One favorable notice of Moby-Dick appeared in the Rochester Daily Democrat on January 21, 1852, as previously reported on Melvilliana:
Visiting Fulton History this morning I ran across an earlier notice of Melville's big sixth book in the Rochester Daily Democrat of November 20, 1851.

New Publications.

MOBY DICK, or the WHALE. By Herman Melville, author of "Type[e]," &c. Harper & Bros.

The author of several delightful narratives of experience in out-of-the-way regions, and among strange and unknown people, has given another "yarn" of the sea. In this line he is almost equally happy and successful as in his descriptions of savage life in the islands of the sea. The experiences of the whaler are full of novel and exciting incident, which have become known only in fragmentary publications, giving but a glimpse of the real life of those who pursue leviathan upon the deep. This book of Mr. Melville's gives us a good insight into the habits of the monster himself, as well as of the modes of pursuit and capture. It is given in a style partaking much of that in which romances are presented, perhaps partaking somewhat of the author's imaginative characteristics. As an agreeable fire-side book, which may not be read unprofitably, we commend it. For sale by Messrs. SAGE & BRO. and D. M. DEWEY.
The Rochester Daily Democrat was edited by Henry Cook and Samuel P. Allen, according to the Semi-centennial History of the City of Rochester. Henry Cook died on June 26, 1850 ("Fifty Years' Retrospect," Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, September 14, 1884), leaving Samuel P. Allen as sole editor of the Rochester Daily Democrat when it favorably noticed Moby-Dick, twice.

Rochester Daily Democrat (Rochester, New York) - November 20, 1851
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Monday, November 13, 2017

Gansevoort Melville, "that over-grown school boy"

"Take up the accounts of any recent Locofoco meeting--it is the burden of their speeches and resolutions--the rallying cry--Texas must be annexed. It is the offering of tribute to the Moloch of Southern Slavery….The very mob that stood ready to hurrah for Mr. Van Buren and his views against the annexation, soon found themselves hurrahing for Texas, and that over-grown schoolboy, Melville."
 --"The Locofoco Texas Party / Concluded," signed "X." Geneva Courier, July 30, 1844 via NYS Historic Newspapers
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gansevoort Melville on Repeal, reported in the New York Freeman's Journal

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
During the Repeal Year 1843, while Herman Melville was away in Tahiti and the Hawaiian Islands (after a month in the Marquesas, the year before), his older brother Gansevoort developed a reputation for exhilarating oratory in speeches on behalf of the Irish Repeal movement. A few fiery Repeal speeches by Gansevoort Melville are already available on Melvilliana, transcribed from reports in the New York Evening Post and other contemporary newspapers.
More words spoken by Gansevoort Melville may be found in pages of the New-York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register, now accessible in digital archives of Historical Newspapers at GenealogyBank.

Gansevoort Melville's efforts in support of Daniel O'Connell and his movement to repeal the Act of Union with Great Britain actually began in May 1842, the year before the "Repeal Year." On May 23, 1842, Gansevoort spoke before a Monday-evening meeting of the "Young Men's Repeal Association," held at Washington Hall, corner of Broadway and Reade Street in New York City.

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
According to the report in the New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register (June 4, 1842), "The assemblage was one of the very largest and most enthusiastic we have yet witnessed, while the attendance of a number of Ladies on the front seats added brilliancy and interest to the scene."
Gansevoort Melville, Esq. then came forward and addressed the meeting. He made a very happy speech, and was loudly cheered throughout. He related several anecdotes, one of the celebrated John Philpot Curran, who, on being near the Post-office, soon after the vote of the Irish Parliament that betrayed the country into the hands of England, was spoken to by an Irish lord, who had lent a helping hand to the dishonor, as follows:-- "What, Mr. Curran," said his lordship, "do they intend to do with that old house, (pointing to the Parliament House on College green)--for my part, I can't bear to look at it!" "You are in the right, my lord," replied the caustic wit, "for I never yet knew a murderer who was not afraid of a ghost" (cheers.) --Freeman's Journal, 4 June 1843
On December 30, 1842, Gansevoort spoke before the "Great Repeal Meeting" held at the Tabernacle (on Broadway at Fourth Street), following remarks by the meeting's organizer, Charles O'Conor.

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
From the New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register, January 7, 1843:
GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, Esq., an American gentleman was next introduced to the meeting.

An engine, formerly without influence, has in modern times gained its just force, and now begins to be felt even by despots. Public opinion, the judgment of the intelligent and educated portion of mankind, is now, even in Britain of mighty force. The government with all its gold to corrupt, and its steel to subdue, still finds in public opinion a foe which threatens its existence, and paralyses half its powers, and will for the working of iniquity. I say this to the honor of Englishmen, for the enlightened and educated Briton is not less honest than the enlightened and educated of other nations. We live in an age of light and improvement. The tree of liberty has produced this fruit;--that tree beneath whose broad branches we all sit down in peace, in safety, in the enjoyment of every blessing allowed to man here below. Its young roots were fertilized by the blood of the French, the Polish, and the Irish patriot. It is making grateful return to their native climes. It is fostering those principles which require but a small capital to begin and they inevitably spread (applause.) Here, in this home of mental as well as physical freedom, where relieved from the necessity of watching the encroachments of any domestic tyrant, we may safely employ the sympathies of a noble nature in procuring similar blessings for less favored nations; here let us friends of Ireland plant the Auxiliary standard of Repeal, let us unite public opinion, let us generously contribute the sinews of war--and believe me it scarcely enters into the heart of the most sanguine to conceive how much may be accomplished for Ireland. (Great cheering.)

The United States of America is the only free nation; to us all eyes are turned. 'Tis we who guide public opinion. The old world may hesitate, doubt, may disbelieve; but it cannot counteract, and at last sullenly follows, our lead. Set this engine properly at work for Ireland, and O'Connell will do the rest. By uniting the confidence of all Ireland he achieved religious liberty; give him as an auxiliary the vast moral force of your co-operation and political emancipation is the sure result. If there was not one drop of Irish blood in this assemblage, gratitude and justice would demand our co-operation in the good cause. America owes at least her voice and the aid of her purse to Ireland; for Irish blood shed in our defence has dyed our whole frontier. (Applause.)

Let us then dissolve the sections and form the phalanx; let it be done to-night. He who loves truth and justice, especially if the warm blood of Erin courses through his veins, never stop upon the threshold of action to count the cost. Persuade his heart or convince his judgment and the battle is won if he be truly Irish. (Cheers.)

If any personal dissensions have existed, we will bury them at once. Let us have no one hereafter complaining that he has suffered wrong; if there be one who has any grievances let him endure them in silence. (Vehement cheers.) Let him bear them, if he will, for the good of the cause, and the friends of the cause will do him justice. I am therefore for an union for Ireland. We will lay its corner stone to-night; by our next meeting its whole basis will be formed and time will mature a glorious superstructure. We will invite our brethren throughout the country to unite with us, and if these counsels prevail, effects more extensive than any hitherto ever attempted, will be brought about.

We can procure the co-operation of friends of Ireland to a prodigious extent. There is Irish blood or sympathy for Ireland in almost every village in America; and whereever two or three can be found to sustain each other, they will unite at our call in the name of Liberty and Old Ireland. (Loud cheers.) They will give their aid and countenance. I would also suggest a general convention of delegates, or proxies from the society once a year steadily henceforward until the Union is repealed. If our first convention meets at Boston, the next year here, and so on southward--beginning at Boston, the cradle of American liberty; believe me, Ireland will be emancipated from colonial vassalage before a Convention shall have sat at New-Orleans, the field where British power was stricken down by the son of an Irish exile. (Tremendous cheering.)

He said--that he came there as one who took a deep interest in the success of that cause, which had brought them together united as one man. He was aware that the enemies of Repeal ask one continuous question, "What right have Americans to interfere in the concerns of a foreign and friendly power." This was the question and he was determined to give it an answer publicly (cheers.) An American citizen being a freeman has a right to do whatever he pleases, provided it is not wrong (cheers and laughter,) and until they can prove it to be wrong to extend our sympathies to the oppressed of all nations, they must admit our right to give all the assistance in our power to unhappy Ireland, which is in the grasp of the same tyrant from whom they had providentially escaped (loud cheers.) When we cast our eyes over the wide waste of waters, we behold a country whose climate is the most salubrious, and the fertility of whose soil has gained for her the name of "Green Erin." So far it is the work of God; but when we come to see what man has done for her, we recoil from the spectacle with horror. We find nine millions of a proverbially contented people in a state of ferment bordering upon distraction. A French writer of some eminence in describing the people of the united kingdoms of Great Britain says--that the English, fat, smooth, and well clothed, will quarrel about the manner in which their muffins are toasted; the Scotch will fret about their road to another world if they have nothing else to fret about, but the Irish were satisfied if they had enough of the poorest fare and that the cold winds of winter did not find too many ways of entrance through their worn garments. If this character be anything bordering upon the reality, what sort of evils must oppress them when they are all discontented (hear, hear.) We will assist them to shake off these evils, and by our aid and encouragement they will tame the British Lion, as we ourselves have done (cheers.) There are men who put on a stereotyped smile when asked to give their assistance in the cause of Ireland, and say in the mincing accents of a Broadway dandy, 'it is a bad job but we cannot help it.' (The speaker's tone and manner during this passage excited roars of laughter.)

Such men have no common sympathy with mankind and we should at once draw a line between us; nay, we should seek an earthquake to open the chasm between us, so that human ingenuity could not bring them among us again (cheers.) After assuring the meeting that the cause of Ireland had taken deep hold upon the minds of the American people from whom they would at all times receive sympathy and support, he retired amid loud and continued cheering.  --Freeman's Journal, 7 January 1843.
Gansevoort Melville made another speech during the first week of June 1843, dubbed "Repeal Week." Meetings during "Repeal Week" took place at Washington Hall, where Gansevoort spoke on Tuesday, June 6, 1843.
"Long before the hour appointed for the meeting, every avenue to the Room was crowded, and in about half an hour after the meeting was organized, it was next to impossible to effect an entrance; a thing never before known in Washington Hall."
The fullest account of Gansevoort Melville's Repeal speech at Washington Hall on Tuesday, June 6, 1843 appeared in the New-York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register (June 10, 1843).  Other versions such as the one reprinted in the Sydney Morning Chronicle on November 29, 1843 (transcribed in the earlier Melvilliana post on another Repeal Speech by Gansevoort Melville) did not mention, for instance, that Gansevoort quoted from The Vicar of Wakefield. For another instance, only the Freeman's Journal reported Gansevoort Melville's allusion to British occupation of the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands:
"Paper proclamations will do very well among her tens of millions of East Indian slaves. They'll do to bully the Chinese--or to rob a defenceless king like him of the Sandwich Islands of his hereditary dominions. [A tremendous shout of indignation burst from the meeting at this allusion to the recent infamous violation of the rights of a simple and defenceless people.] They'll do to cow the weak--to deceive the credulous. They may do every where else--but thank God they will not do in Ireland"
Gansevoort appealed to shared outrage in the U. S. over the actions of Lord George Paulet in effecting the "provisional cession" which lasted five months. Gansevoort's brother Herman Melville, who was just then living and working in Honolulu (and writing letters home--received, but now lost), would strongly defend Paulet in the Appendix to Typee. From the New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register of Saturday, June 10, 1843:
During a pause in the contributions, GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, Esq. Master in Chancery, addressed the meeting. The tumultuous welcome which hailed him when he rose having subsided, he commenced by alluding to the unanimity which now reigned among the repealers, old and young, of this great city. Glancing at the great Union meeting at the Tabernacle in December last at which the venerable Thomas O'Conor presided, and speaking of the O'Conors, father and son, in terms of well deserved praise, he drew a cheering augury from the stern and unalterable determination which now actuates the repealers of New York to bear their part in that sublime moral struggle which now attracts the gaze of the civilized world to Ireland. (Cheering.) Mr. M. proceeded to contrast, rapidly, the strong difference between the condition of the Repeal cause but 6 or 8 months ago, and its present glorious prospects--and after speaking of the late inspiring news from old Erin he referred to the contempt, abuse and ridicule which have been lavished upon all the prominent advocates of the cause, and especially upon its acknowledged leader, DANIEL O'CONNELL. (Loud cheering.) Here warming with the subject, he declared that the Irish Liberator heeded the calumnies which had been rained upon his devoted head no more than the stout traveller, intent upon reaching the end of his day's journey, does the hissing of so many geese or the cowardly yelpings of
"Mongrel, puppy, whelp and hound,
And cur of low degree."
(Laughter and cheers.) They hissed and howled and he persevered. He swerved not one moment from his line of duty, but strait as the arrow to its mark--as the eagle to his eyrie--as the soul of the saint to heaven--with virtuous resolve, concentrated energy and iron purpose he toiled and struggled on. He agitated--he agonized--and what is the result?

Our limits forbid us to follow the speaker here as he traced step by step the forward progress of the Repealers--the union and harmony and indomitable energy that characterize their every effort--the hitherto contemptuous indifference with which the English government have regarded Irish affairs, and their present talk of coercion. Wellington, Stanley and Peel passed successively under the speaker's scathing review, and the malignity of their opposition was vividly portrayed. An illustrative anecdote followed, which was received with roars of laughter and shouts of approval, and Mr. Melville proceeded to examine the question how the government of England are to redeem their promise of putting down Repeal. The speaker concluded his powerful remarks very nearly in the following language:

"How are the Tory government in England to put down Repeal? Is it by corruption and bribery? The wealth of the Indies could not buy their leader. "The queen of England is too poor to buy him." (Continued cheering.) Is it by paper proclamations? The idea is too absurd to deserve serious confutation. Paper proclamations will do very well among her tens of millions of East Indian slaves. They'll do to bully the Chinese--or to rob a defenceless king like him of the Sandwich Islands of his hereditary dominions. [A tremendous shout of indignation burst from the meeting at this allusion to the recent infamous violation of the rights of a simple and defenceless people.] They'll do to cow the weak--to deceive the credulous. They may do every where else--but thank God they will not do in Ireland. [Tremendous cheering.] How then are the Repealers to be put down? How is their onward progress to be stayed? As we have seen it cannot be done by bribery, by proclamations and by bullying--but it can be done and done only by giving to the Repealers all they ask--the absolute repeal of the accursed legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland. It can be done by yielding with a grace while there is yet time to yield gracefully. It can be done by granting to Ireland, the justice--the naked justice--that she asks--but this the Tory Ministry and the House of Lords say they cannot think of doing. They never will consent to what they facetiously term "the dismemberment of the British Empire." They will not stoop so far, they will not do so strange a thing as to accord Justice. They will not condescend to conciliate --and as the Dublin Nation says,--"THEY CANNOT CRUSH." (Immense cheering.) What then will Sir Robert Peel do? He has but one other resource and that is force--and this he dare not try. As honest Tom Steele said on the Dublin Corn Exchange, "Sir Robert Peel talks of civil war--let him try it if he dare." (Terrific cheering, waving of hats, handkerchiefs, &c.) If force be not used--the Repealers must triumph. If force be used it will add but another and an apt illustration of the old adage
"Quos deus vult perdere prius dementat."
Force!--Force! physical force! to put down a peaceful, sublime, moral, movement like this on the part of an arisen, awakened and united people for the recovery of their inherent and inalienable rights. The very heavens would cry out shame upon such conduct. But if England wills it--on her be the guilt. Let but one drop of Repealer's blood be shed by a British bayonet--and the accumulated and reiterated wrongs of seven hundred years will bring upon their authors a fitting, a self-induced and a righteous retribution.-- The volcano would burst--and the Saxon be swept from the face of the land. (Most vehement cheering.) The Repealers will rally under the standard of the green,--
"For the green--oh the green--is the color of the true
And we'll back it 'gainst the orange--(terrific shouts)
And we'll back it 'gainst the orange, and we'll raise it o'er the blue--
The color of our fatherland, alone should here be seen--
'Tis the color of our martyred dead, our own immortal green." (Prolonged cheering.)
If the Irish do rally, it will be because England forced them to do it. If England unsheaths her weapon to strike--the sword of Ireland must be drawn to defend. (Cheers.) Our ancestors here in America did not wait to be smitten. They saw the blow impending and in the language of a great orator, "Our forefathers went to war against a preamble. They drew their swords against the recital of an act of parliament." The sword of Ireland has slumbered long and peacefully. It has not seen the light since Limerick and Fontenoy--but it has not rusted. It is as keen, as bright and as true as ever--and if Ireland be compelled in self-defence to draw it--she'll throw away the scabbard--and the blade will leap into the free light and air of God--to blaze meteor-like in the van of a people's death-struggle for Freedom--never to be laid aside till IRELAND BE A NATION." Here, in the language of a daily paper, "the enthusiasm beggared description--the whole audience rose to their feet and the cheering for several minutes was perfectly astounding!"
On Wednesday, June 14, 1843, Gansevoort Melville addressed the "Mass Meeting in the Park" sponsored by the United Irish Repeal Association of New York. Back then "the Park" meant City Hall Park.
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Previous speakers that day were John McKeon, Auguste Davezac, and Thomas N. Carr. From the New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register, June 17, 1843:
GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, Esq., Master in Chancery, now rose, and was received with an enthusiastic applause which plainly evinced how welcome he was to that vast assemblage. He commenced by saying that it was nearly dark and quite late, and after the able efforts of the distinguished gentlemen who had preceded him, he thought the most sensible thing that he could do would be to move an adjournment. (Loud cries of no! no! from the whole meeting.) Shall I go on? (yes! yes!) or shall I not? (Vehement cries of go on! go on! go on!) Then I will go on. (Great cheering.) It is a most gratifying, a most heart cheering sight to behold so vast a multitude congregated together upon such an occasion, and for such an object. The occasion is important and the object elevated. The occasion is important, because this meeting embodies the public sentiment of this great city--the metropolis of the Western World--the pulsating artery of a continent (loud shouts of applause), and must convince the most sceptical that the voting masses here are Repealers, heart and hand. (Tremendous cheers, followed by three rounds of applause.) The object is elevated, for it is no less than the political emancipation of a people (cheers), the restoration of their rights to 8,000,000 of men--8,000,000 with whom we are connected by the closest and the dearest ties--(prodigious cheering)--ties that were cemented by blood upon the battle fields of our own Revolution. (Renewed cheering.) Aye, the bones of Irishmen who fell in our cause lie on every battle field from Bunker Hill to New Orleans, [quoting Daniel Webster:] "and there they will lie forever" (most enthusiastic cheering); and those ties thus formed and cemented have since become dearer and stronger with each succeeding year. (Loud cries of they have! they have!) Who was it that, when he affixed his signature to the noblest state paper that ever emanated from the human brain--the immortal Declaration of Independence--(vehement cheering) evinced his sincerity by putting in hazard a private fortune which was in itself a principality--causing a bystander to say, "There goes a million." It was the Irish signer--Charles Carroll of Carrollton. (A perfect whirlwind of applause.) Who was it that fell--gloriously fell--fell like a hero of the olden time, before the death-dealing battlements of Quebec? It was Montgomery--(terrific cheers)--and Montgomery was an Irishman. (Renewed cheering.) And yonder is his tomb--(here the speaker pointed to St. Paul's church)--and a proud one it is--proud not from its sculptured tablets and its storied marbles--but proud from its associations and ennobled by the heroic spirit whose name it bears. (A burst of applause.)
Such shrines as his are pilgrim shrines--
Shrines to no clime or creed confined;
The Delphian vales, the Palestines,
The Meccas of the mind. (Cheers.)
If Montgomery slept any other sleep than the sleep of death, the hoarse, ocean-like murmur of this mighty multitude would rouse him from his slumbers--would speak to his ear with the tone of an Archangel's trump, summoning him back to life (thunders of applause); and he would be here in our midst--and why? Because this mighty mass of humanity is assembled here to further the cause of Liberty in that green island from whence he was driven by oppression. (Reiterated cheers.) It is held upon the soil for which he poured out his heart's blood, and composed in part of the sons of those with whom he fought and for whom he bled and died. (Vehement and prolonged cheering.) Montgomery was a martyr on American soil to the great cause of human liberty (loud cheers), and remembering this and calling to mind similar instances--WE tell Sir Robert Peel, and we tell him in tones that will reach him, that if he carries into execution his threat of coercion and kindles the fires of civil war in Ireland--that America has gold to lavish--and blood to shed--and martyrs to offer up for the cause of human freedom there." (Universal bursts of applause, mingled with terrific shouts; the whole assemblage was aroused, and the sensation produced defies description.) We regret that want of space and time to write out our notes, will not permit us to follow the speaker as he proceeded from topic to topic, and point to point. We must content ourselves with his closing remarks, which we will give as literally as we can. He said in conclusion--That the cause of Ireland is one and identical with the cause of Freedom throughout the world. (Loud cheers.) And most emphatically is her cause OUR CAUSE. (Enthusiastic and prolonged cheering--cries of "that's the talk!") NOW WE--Irish Repealers and Friends of Ireland here assembled, under a full sense of the responsibility we incur, impelled by a love of right and unutterable scorn of wrong, and sustained by our moral convictions--here pledge ourselves, in the sight of both God and man--each to the other--all to each--and each to all--that come what may--darkness, defeat, despair or desolation--the sun-burst or the cloud--that we will never falter in the support we give her. (Here the speaker was broken in upon with one continuous, thundering shout, which was echoed and re-echoed again and again.) We will aid her, if need be, with our all. We will uphold her to the last. (Shouts of acclamation and waving of hats by the whole multitude.) We will be to old Ireland as true as the hilt to the blade--"as the dial to the sun." (Reiterated cheers.) Our position is taken, and we'll maintain it. Our determination is fixed, and we'll not abandon it. Our cause is glorious, and we'll not disgrace it. (Thunders of applause.) Justice to Ireland is our gathering cry--Justice to Ireland is our object--and Justice to Ireland WE MUST HAVE! Then let all
"Friends of Freedom close your ranks,
Foes of Freedom, FAUGH A BALLAGH!"
The cheering here was such as is seldom heard--overwhelming--terrific--the hearts of the whole immense multitude were in it--and it was long before it died away.

… GANSEVOORT MELVILLE, Esq., sprung to the stand and said--"Mr. Chairman, before you put the question allow me to propose nine cheers for IRELAND, O'CONNELL AND REPEAL;" scarcely were the words uttered when nine such cheers as only such a meeting could give, rent the air like so many thunder claps. As they rolled away through the Park, it seemed as if the stout old trees shook their sturdy branches to them as they passed.-- Certain are we that they never before hearkened to such a deafening acclamation, as that which full ten thousand throats sent up with stunning force for IRELAND, O'CONNELL AND REPEAL….
New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register - June 17, 1843
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New York Freeman's Journal and Catholic Register - June 17, 1843
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The New York Tribune gave a substantial account of the same Repeal gathering on June 14, 1843, without reporting a word that Gansevoort Melville said:
"The meeting was then briefly addressed by G. MELVILLE, Esq. and by Mr.BARBER, who spoke upon the general subject...."  --New York Tribune, June 15, 1843

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Moby-Dick in The Church Review

MOBY DICK; OR THE WHALE. By HERMAN MELVILLE, Author of "Typee," "Omoo," "Redburn," "Mardi," "White-Jacket." New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851. 12mo. pp.635. New Haven: S. Babcock.

Those persons who believe in laughing, not the ceaseless school-girl titter, but the right-hearty, side-splitting explosion of genuine mirth, may be referred to "Moby-Dick." For certain complaints of the azure kind, and especially for a cold, north-easterly, sleety day, like that in which we write, this book and a plenty of anthracite may be prescribed. "Moby-Dick" is not an imaginary hero of the seas, by a great deal. Ask any old "Jack-tar," and he will meet you with as pitiable or indignant stare, as an old soldier would hear questioned the valor of the raw troops at Lexington. We remember, years ago, to have started the subject of "Mocha-Dick," (for that was the name then,) with an old "Whale-man," and at once the old soldier "shouldered his crutch to show how fields were won." Moby-Dick," dear reader, is not a whale, by a great sight. He is the Whale, the very Napoleon of Whales. Indeed, Melville goes so far in this volume, as to discuss the question, not only of his ubiquity, but his immortality; and says it is reported that "though groves of spears should be planted in his flanks, he would still swim away unharmed." We submit to the Author, whether the diversity in the name to which we have alluded, does not bear upon this point, like the variety in spelling the name of Shakespeare, or the contention for the birthplace of Homer? On such a theme, Melville is in his element. His whole soul is rapt in his subject. In the true idolatry of a lover, the very mole upon his lady love's cheek is beautiful; and Melville writes a whole chapter upon Moby-Dick's tail. That Melville has genius, wit, mirth, a vigorous, imaginative style, great command of language, and uncommon power of description, is unquestionable. The book is not exactly a narrative. It abounds in episodes and marvels, of which Capt, Ahab is the great hero; whose enmity to Moby-Dick was a raging passion and cost him his life. Even some Whales of lesser note appear in the background of the picture, as "Timor Tom," and "New Zealand Jack;" great in their day, but small fish enough along side of "Moby-Dick." He is the presiding genius of the story; to whom the Author's pen turns as steadily as the needle to the pole.— We have heard Melville's orthodoxy questioned; and he is at times shockingly irreverent—without any great proof of wit—and repelling thereby some, whom he might, else, amuse. He is at least a believer in "Moby-Dick."

Reprinted in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews (pages 409-410), this unsigned review of Moby-Dick in The Church Review for January 1852 shows remarkable sympathy for the grandeur of Melville's project along with a fine appreciation of his "genius, wit, mirth, a vigorous, imaginative style, great command of language, and uncommon power of description." The reviewer especially likes the humor in Moby-Dick, commending it as a cure for the blues.

Arthur Cleveland Coxe
Arthur Cleveland Coxe

Frank Luther Mott in A History of American Magazines, 1850-1865 named Arthur Cleveland Coxe and Clement C. Moore as "leading contributors of literary criticism" in The Church Review. I don't dare suppose the author of George Castriot (1850) read Melville and wrote this notice of Moby-Dick after his retirement as Professor of Oriental and Greek Literature in the General Theological Seminary. But it would be nice to know who did.

Notice of Moore's Poems in The Church Review

From the July 1849 issue of The Church Review and Ecclesiastical Register:
POEMS. By Clement C. Moore, LL. D. New York: Bartlett & Welford, 1844. 12mo. pp. 216.

We hope to be pardoned by the venerable author of these poems in speaking of them editorially, though his modest and retiring nature has given us no such permission. There is a rich vein of humor and naturalness characterizing his muse, which has given to some of his effusions a wide circulation. His "Visit from St. Nicholas" is familiar to all our readers. We cannot do better than quote the following lines from Philip Hone, Esq., of New York, sent to Prof. Moore, in return for a bunch of flowers and a charming little sonnet:
"Filled as thou art with attic fire,
   And skilled in classic lore divine,
Not yet content, would'st thou aspire
   In Flora's gorgeous wreath to shine?
Would'st thou in language of the rose
   Lessons of wisdom seek t' impart,
Or in the violet's breath disclose
   The feelings of a generous heart?
Come as thou wilt, my warm regard
   And welcome, shall thy steps attend;
Scholar, musician, florist, bard—
   More dear to me than all, as friend,
Bring flow'rs and poesy, a goodly store,
Like Dicken's Oliver, I ask for Moore."

Related posts:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Buffalo Morning Express endorses G. W. Peck on Melville's "immoral" Omoo; ten years later dismisses The Confidence-Man as "a queer medley"

Mr. Richelieu, New York - NARA - 526743
William Erigena Robinson
Mathew Brady, via Wikimedia Commons
The long and severe (though in places appreciative and unusually perceptive, too) review of Omoo by George Washington Peck appeared in the July 1847 issue of The American Whig Review. Comments on Peck's notably negative review may be found in newspaper notices of the Whig monthly, often  called "The American Review." In the New York Evening Mirror (July 21, 1847), Jedediah B. Auld castigated Peck's elaborate treatment as "disgusting and spiteful," without actually naming the critic. The New York Morning Courier, on the other hand, gave Peck's name and praised his "uncommon critical acumen." Peck's original review and these two published notices of it are reprinted in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). Here is another approving mention of Peck's review of Omoo, from the notice of the "American Review" in the Buffalo Morning Express of July 13, 1847:
Some of the literary articles of the Review are exceedingly well done. The criticism of Melville's Omoo, is written in a healthy moral tone, and displays much intellectual acumen. Melville's works have acquired a good deal of popularity, but most undeservedly, as we apprehend. Their tendency is immoral, in the highest degree, and we are glad that this fact has been demonstrated by the Review.

There is neither truth, earnestness, nor heart, in any thing he has ever published. Pleasant reading enough, both Typee and Omoo, if we could be rid of the idea that the writer was sneering, false and vicious—a mere sensualist, boasting all the time, by intimations of his uninterrupted successes with the savage maidens. We are not disposed to believe him so profligate as he represents himself. Such a combination as a licentious man, vaunting his triumphs over female purity, whether savage or civilised, rarely occurs. The wretches in society who destroy female reputation, are not the wretches to do any other mischief.
Found on Newspapers.com

Who edited the Morning Express in Buffalo, New York?
"Published every morning by A. M. Clapp & Co."
That would be Almon Mason Clapp, the man who founded the Buffalo Express in 1846. According to the section on "The Newspaper Press" in A History of Buffalo, the first editor of the Buffalo Morning Express was James McKay. But Mckay was
"succeeded in the fall of '46 by W. E. Robinson, formerly of the New York Tribune; so that the Express was referred to by some of its contemporaries as ‘‘a branch of the New York Tribune.  --The Periodical Press of Buffalo - Publications of the Buffalo Historical Society
William Erigena Robinson, aka "Richelieu," had been Greeley's editorial assistant and Washington correspondent.

Greeley associate and new editor of the Buffalo Morning Express William E. Robinson might be the writer who favorably noticed Peck's unfavorable review of Omoo. The dim view of Omoo echoes influential comments Greeley himself had made in a hit piece that was published in the Weekly Tribune on June 26, 1847. Those bad notices by Greeley and Peck revealed, as Hershel Parker shows in a gem of reception history, that:
"Typee had made Melville the first American author to become a sex symbol."
--Herman Melville: A Biography, Volume 1 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 530.
In 1852 A. M. Clapp "took the editorial direction of the paper on himself," again according to the History of Buffalo. So then, Almon Mason Clapp could be the Buffalo editor who looked into The Confidence-Man ten years later, and did not like it:

The Confidence Man; His Masquerade. By HERMAN MELVILLE. New York—DIX, EDWARDS & CO.
Those charming romantic books, of the Marquesas, by HERMAN MELLVILLE, created a sensation, and gained him a reputation upon which he has subsisted ever since.— Omnoo and Typee were indeed readable books, but from "Moby Dick" to this last, "The Confidence Man," we think he has sensibly declined in matter and manner. We confess to have not read but fifty pages of this book consecutively, although we have glanced at different portions of it; and regret to record our opinion that it is a queer medley, without force, but with much glibness and without interest.
 For sale by L. DANFORTH.  --Buffalo Morning Express, April 8, 1857.