Monday, April 30, 2018

Clement C. Moore's Petrosa in the New York Evening Post

"To Petrosa" by Clement C. Moore was collected in Moore's 1844 volume Poems where it appears on pages 92-94. A brief prose heading in the 1844 volume explains that "Petrosa" was
"Suggested by Goldsmith's stanzas which begin, "Say cruel Iris, pretty rake."
"Lines to Petrosa" had appeared previously with other of Moore's poems over the signature "L." in John Duer's A New Translation, with Notes, of the Third Satire of Juvenal (New York, 1806). Here is an even earlier printing (the first, apparently) of "Petrosa," signed "Meliboeus" and published without any title in the New York Evening Post on May 9, 1804. To the Evening Post editor, Moore (still 24 in May 1804) described himself as "A young rhymer." The 1804 and 1806 versions of "Petrosa" both lack the 1844 allusion to Goldsmith's poem The Gift.

· Wed, May 9, 1804 – Page 2 · The Evening Post (New York, New York) ·


A young rhymer submits the following lines to your judgment, and will be flattered if you should think them worthy of a place in your paper.

Thy charms, Petrosa, which inspire
   Unnumber'd swains to chaunt thy praise,
Bid me, too, join the tuneful choir,
   And strive my feeble voice to raise.

And though more lofty songs invite,
   Hear me, for once, an humble swain--
The warbling thrush can oft delight
   More than the sky lark's louder strain.

Thy heav'nly form, thy virtue too,
   In notes of praise ascend the skies;
To opening charms, which strike the view,
   Unceasing aspirations rise.

Yet, in these charms, by all confest,
   Thy hopeless swains one fault declare:
A heart there dwells within that breast
   Which feels no love, which heeds no prayer.

Despondent sighs and notes of pain
   Delight, they say, Petrosa's ear;
To sue for pity, were as vain
   As from the rocks to ask a tear.

Oh, senseless throng! that callous breast
   Proclaims her Nature's favour'd child
While others pine, with love oppress'd,
   Her thoughts are free, her slumbers mild.

And all the softness, which gives grace
   And honor to the female heart,
Though distant from its wonted place,
   She harbours in a nobler part--

For though that heart, to every sound
   Which would compassion move, be dull;
The softness which should there be found,
   Kind Nature granted to--her skull.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Forgotten or well known?

Famously forgotten, perhaps, except by the best informed literati and most discerning readers.
"Mr. Herman Melville, the well known author of popular seafaring stories, died at his home in New York Sunday night."  --Boston Journal, September 29, 1891
New York Tribune - October 3, 1891
via GenealogyBank

"The New-York Times" of yesterday, in an appreciative editorial concerning the late Herman Melville, remarks that only one newspaper (presumably "The Times") contained an obituary account of him, and this was but of three or four lines. Had "The Times" consulted the files of The Tribune, it would have found a much longer obituary of Mr. Melville on the morning after his death, and in Thursday's issue it might have noted a half column review of his life and work. A perusal of this latter article might, perhaps, have prevented the further dissemination of a misleading report that Mr. Melville had been forgotten by the contemporary literary guild. He was invited, among the very first, to join in the founding of the democratic little Authors' Club that flourishes in this city. This occurred in 1882, but Mr. Melville always has been an object of interest among literary people here, who have regretted his extreme self-isolation. --New York Tribune, October 3, 1891.
Here's the obituary of Herman Melville in the New York Tribune, the one printed "on the morning after his death":
New York Tribune - September 29, 1891
And here's the longer funeral notice by Arthur Stedman:

New York Tribune - October 1, 1891
via Library of Congress, Chronicling America

The funeral of the late Herman Melville was held at the family residence in Twenty-eighth-st. yesterday afternoon, the Rev. Theodore C. Williams, of All Souls' Church, delivering a short address. Among the relatives and friends present, beside the widow and daughter of the deceased, were Mrs. Thomas Melville, widow of the late governor of the Sailors' Snug Harbor; the Misses Melville, daughters of the late Allan Melville; Samuel Shaw, of Boston; W. B. Morewood, George Brewster, Mrs. Griggs, Miss Lathers, Dr. Titus Munson Coan, Arthur Stedman and George Dillaway.

The death of Herman Melville, although following a lingering illness, has come as a surprise to even his few acquaintances in the city, for their opportunities of seeing him have been extremely limited in number. Much has been written, particularly in English journals, concerning the alleged neglect and disregard of Mr. Melville by contemporary authors in this country, but it is a well-known fact here that his seclusion has been a matter of personal choice.

This writer gained an international reputation at an earlier date than James Russell Lowell, although born in the same year, 1819. His practical abandonment of literary work some twenty-five years ago, however, has allowed general interest in his books to die out.

Mr. Melville came of patrician blood on both sides of his family, his fraternal and maternal grandfathers figuring prominently in the Revolution, being respectively of Scottish, New-England and Dutch dissent. As in Richard Henry Dana's case, Melville's first literary success was a narrative of his own experience while a common sailor before the mast and in new countries; but unlike Dana, he continued work in the same field, and with credit. In regard to "Typee," Dr. Coan was heard to remark at the service yesterday that his father, the Rev. Titus Coan, of the Hawaiian Islands, had personally visited the Marquesas group, found the Typee Valley, and verified in every detail the romantic descriptions of the gentle but man-devouring islanders. Dr. Coan further said: "Herman Melville was the first man who shared the life of a cannibal community in the South Seas—who had the consummate literary skill to describe it—and who got away alive to write his book. 'Typee' will be read when most of the Concord group are forgotten."  
However this may be, Mr. Melville always has been an interesting figure to New-York literary circles. So far from being forgotten, he was among the very first to be invited to join the Authors' Club at its founding in 1882. His declination of this offer, as well as his general refusal to enter into social life, are said to have been chiefly due to the very adverse critical reception accorded his novel, "Pierre, or the Ambiguities," published in 1852. He was always a great reader, and was much interested in collecting engravings of the old masters, having a large library and a fine assortment of prints, those of Claude's paintings being his favorites.

His tall, stalwart figure, until recently, could be seen almost daily tramping through the Fort George district or Central Park, his roving inclination leading him to obtain as much out-door life as possible. His evenings were spent at home with his books, his pictures and his family, and usually with them alone.

While at Pittsfield, Mass., from 1850 to 1862, he became the intimate friend of Hawthorne, who lived for a while near by at Lenox, and they often exchanged visits. It was at this place that most of Melville's writing was done. The place in the New York Custom House was given up about 1881.

At the beginning of failing health, some three years ago, Mr. Melville wrote and privately circulated a little story entitled "John Marr." It was dedicated to Clark Russell, who was a cordial admirer and correspondent. Last spring, after his final illness set in, he collected and had printed his miscellaneous shorter poems under the title "Timoleon, etc." This volume is dedicated to "My Countryman, Elihu Vedder." Both little books are limited to twenty-five copies. Mr. Melville's later style became somewhat rugged and mystical. His best-known poem was "Sheridan at Cedar Creek," thought by most literary experts to be superior to "Twenty Miles Away," though lacking a popular refrain.

The following poem is from "Timoleon":

The Return of the Sire de Nesle,
A. D. 16——.

My towers at last! These rovings end.
Their thirst is slaked in larger dearth;
The yearning infinite recoils,
       For terrible is earth.

Kaf thrusts his snouted crags through fog;
Araxes swells beyond his span.
And knowledge poured by pilgrimage
       Overflows the banks of man.

But thou, my stay, thy lasting love,
One lonely good, let this but be!
Weary to view the wide world's swarm,
       But blest to fold but thee.
--New York Tribune, October 1, 1891; reprinted without the poem from Timoleon in Melville in His Own Time, edited by Steven Olsen-Smith (University of Iowa Press, 2015), pages 164-166.
Philip Hale may have contributed the obit of Melville published in the Boston Journal on September 29, 1891, part of which is lifted from the end of the 1856 article A Trio of American Sailor-Authors
in The Dublin University Magazine.

Boston Journal - September 29, 1891
via GenealogyBank

Herman Melville.

Mr. Herman Melville, the well known author of popular seafaring stories, died at his home in New York Sunday night. So little has been heard of him, personally, in late years that many people imagined he was dead, yet his literary honors were well won and deserved. In the past 15 years he wrote little for publication. Mr. Melville's early life was full of adventures. He was born of an ancient Scotch family in New York Aug. 1, 1819. In his 18th year he made a voyage from New York to Liverpool and back home before the mast, and liked his marine experience sufficiently to embark in a whaling vessel for the Pacific Jan. 1, 1841. About July of the next year the vessel arrived at Nukaheva, one of the Marquesas Islands, and Melville, with a fellow sailor, who like himself was tired of strait quarters and a tyrannical captain, embraced the opportunity of leaving the ship without waiting for the usual formality of a discharge. Falling into the hands of a warlike race who inhabited Typee Valley, Melville was detained a prisoner for four months, when he was unexpectedly rescued by the crew of a Sydney whaler. After passing several months in the Society and Sandwich Islands, he shipped on board the frigate United States and arrived at Boston in October, 1844, having been absent from home nearly three years. 
Most readers associate Herman Melville only with those adventures which his early life as a sailor made the means of his literature; but besides "Omoo," "Typee," "Mardi" and books of kindred character, he wrote such stories as "The Confidence Man," a volume of poems about the Civil War and two volumes on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The cannibals whom he met were made the subject of his first novel, "Typee," published in 1846. Besides those already mentioned he wrote a philosophical romance, "Redburn," "Plute Jacket; or, The World on a Man-of-War," "Moby Dick," "Pierre," Israel Potter" and "The Prazza Tales." 
It is interesting to recall the fact that the grandfather of Herman Melville, Major Thomas Melville, was a noted Bostonian and a member of the famous tea party. In 1847 Herman Melville married a daughter of Chief Justice Shaw of Boston and resided for some years at Berkshire, Mass. He was undoubtedly an original thinker, and boldly and unreservedly expressed his opinions, often in a way that irresistibly startles and enchains the interest of the reader. He possessed marked powers of expression. He could be terse, copious, eloquent, brilliant, imaginative, poetical, satirical, pathetic, at will. Though never stupid or dull, yet he was often mystical and unintelligible, though not from any inability to express himself. His death removes a noted figure in American literature.  --Boston Journal, September 29, 1891.
Melville was well-remembered in Buffalo and Troy, as shown by obituaries in Buffalo Courier (September 29, 1891) and the Troy Budget (reprinted with cuts in the San Francisco Chronicle on October 18, 1891). Warren Broderick found the original, longer obit in the Troy Northern Budget of October 4, 1891; transcribed in Deceased but Not Forgotten: Obituaries for Herman Melville in the Upstate Press (Leviathan 16. 2, June 2014), pages 58-68 at 66-7.

· Tue, Sep 29, 1891 – 4 · Buffalo Courier (Buffalo, New York) ·

San Francisco Chronicle - October 18, 1891
via GenealogyBank
Below, the memorial essay by Charles Goodrich Whiting in his column "The Literary Wayside," published in the Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican on October 4, 1891:

Springfield Republican - October 4, 1891
via GenealogyBank
· Wed, Oct 28, 1891 – Page 3 · The York Daily (York, Pennsylvania) ·

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hoffman on The New-York Book of Poetry

One known letter from Charles Fenno Hoffman concerns The New-York Book of Poetry, edited by Hoffman and published by George Dearborn in 1837 as a holiday gift book. Hoffman did heroic work to identify and collect poems by natives of New York State. The collection took an amazingly short time to assemble: only two weeks ("a fortnight") according to the prefatory "Advertisement." As originally proposed by Hoffman to Dearborn, the scope of the project would have been limited to poems and poets associated with New York City, "real Knickerbockers solely." Hoffman's proposed title, "The Wreath of St. Nicholas," reflects this narrower, more exclusive focus. But Dearborn enlarged the scope to include New York State writers, as Hoffman reveals in this December 1836 letter to his Albany friend John B. Van Schaick. My transcription below adds punctuation, mostly periods, lacking in the digitized volume of Charles Fenno Hoffman by Homer F. Barnes (New York: Columbia University Press, 1930) that is currently accessible via the Internet Archive.
New York, Dec. 12th, 1836
My dear Van 
I write to you in haste and though it may prove a bore you must try an [sic] answer in equal haste, if possible. The matter in a word is this: four days ago Mr. Dearborn determined to get up a “New York Book" of poetry and have it out in ten days from this—that is, in time for the holidays. Several of his acquaintances were applied to for their commonplace books and together we have raked up some dozen or two names of persons born in this state who have written verses worth collecting and doubtless there are as many more of whom we know nothing. I had but one piece of Bogart's, a drinking song which is already struck off on handsome 8 vo sheets. But I have none of yours. My papers, many of them, having been burnt last summer. Now I want you to send three or four of the best of your “old iron” and moreover to get permission from Miss Dewitt that was and Miss Vanderpool that is, not [sic] to publish “The Wife” and some of their other pieces which you must obtain with their names and you can tell them—or whatever instrument you use to extract poettics [?] from them—that the whole collection consists chiefly of private names for the first time affiixed to pieces that have appeared anonymously. Have you nothing of Henry L. Bogart’s? The Knickerbockers must flare up. If the volume which will consist of 200 pages succeeds, it will be followed by another to whip in the pieces which have lagged behind this. The writers must be natives of New York. The thing was started by my proposing to Dearborn to get up a book representing real Knickerbockers solely—to be called “The Wreath of St. Nicholas." But thinking it could not be filled up well or would not sell he determined to publish a more general affair and call it “The New York Book.” By the by I forgot to tell you that the whole matter is a secret yet which you must betray only so far as it may be necessary. Did you read Verplanck's introduction to “The Fairy Book”? I shall urge him to write just such another for Dearborn’s collection. 
Very cordially yours,
C. F. H.
N. B. Why do you not let me know at my office—I mean that of the Monthly—when you visit N. York? I live three miles out of town and go so little into society that I never hear when my friends from other places are in the city. I called twice on you when I last heard you were here and repeatedly before when hearing of your being here. I have sought you just in time to learn that you were gone. I live such an oozy life now that it is a real pleasure to me to well out to an old friend occasionally.
In footnote 43 on page 78 of Charles Fenno Hoffman, Homer F. Barnes locates the manuscript letter of December 12, 1836 from Hoffman to John B. Van Schaick in the collections of the
"Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Charles Fenno Hoffman--on Francis Parkman, on the first meeting betwen Tuckerman and Poe

C. F. Hoffman
via Library of Congress

In March 1930 Columbia University Press published Charles Fenno Hoffman, a doctoral dissertation on the quintessential Knickerbocker by Homer F. Barnes. Hershel Parker credits Barnes for information on Hoffman's physical appearance and mock correspondence of Zachary Taylor in the first volume of Herman Melville: A Biography (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996; 2005 in paperback). The bogus Old Zack letters by Hoffman are extant and accessible online via The New York Public Library Digital Collections:
Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Hoffman, Charles Fenno (1806-1884)" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1850 - 1868.
Barnes's valuable study is currently available online via the Internet Archive. Herman Melville shows up on pages 104 and 185. At 104 Barnes quotes from the "deeply impressed" Hoffman's "complimentary" review of Typee in the New York Gazette & Times (March 30, 1846). A few pages later Barnes gives Hoffman's letter to Evert A. Duyckinck, recommending publication in The Literary World of fresh western sketches by Francis Parkman.
Office Evening Gazette — Thursday 
My dear Sir, 
Allow me the pleasure of making you acquainted with my friend Mr Francis Parkman of Boston. Mr Parkman has lately returned from the Rocky Mountains whither he went to make some scientific enquiries relative to Indian languages usages etc, with reference to an elaborate work upon these subjects which he contemplates finishing at some distant day.
Meanwhile he has thrown off some easy sketches of his tour to make up a light volume for summer reading. The prevailing interest among all classes about the emigration and routes of emigrants to Oregon must necessarily command a hearing for him with the public. I have therefore my Dear Sir, had no hesitation in commending him to the Editor of "The Literary World" to introduce "The Oregon Trail — or A Summer out of Bounds’’ — to both Publisher & readers. You will find Parkman a clever fellow & a gentleman as well as a traveller & student worth knowing.
Truly yours 
C F Hoffman 
E A Duyckink, Esq 
N B I have just glanced at “the work” —Thank you for Copy — Nothing could look better
Duyckinck must have passed since The Literary World did not publish Parkman's well-recommended travel narrative--doubtless to his later regret, as Barnes observes:
The Literary World did not accept Parkman's "sketches" for publication. They soon appeared, however, in The Knickerbocker, and their popularity must have caused The Literary World to realize that it had missed an unusual opportunity.  --Homer F. Barnes on Charles Fenno Hoffman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1930) page 109.
Digital images of Hoffman's letter to Evert A. Duyckinck in manuscript are accessible online courtesy of the Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Hoffman, Charles Fenno (1806-1884)" The New York Public Library Digital Collections, 1850 - 1868:
Francis Parkman's sketches of his summer travel "out of bounds" were serialized in The Knickerbocker starting in February 1847.

Parkman's magazine sketches appeared in book form as The California and Oregon Trail, afterwards shortened to The Oregon Trail. Melville reviewed the book version for Duyckinck in The Literary World of March 31, 1849. The text of Melville's unsigned review of Parkman's Oregon Trail has been available online since 2012 in the Melvilliana post
Mr. Parkman's Tour
Digital images of Melville's Review of The California and Oregon Trail in manuscript are now also available online courtesy of the Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Review of The California and Oregon trail," The New York Public Library Digital Collections, 1849:
The Melville mention on page 185 of Barnes's 1930 book occurs in the context of Hoffman's struggle with mental illness. Barnes gives only part of the now well-known passage about "Poor Hoffman" from Melville's April 1849 letter to Evert Duyckinck. Adopting the abridged text as presented by Meade Minnigerode in Some Personal Letters of Herman Melville, Barnes omits Melville's more personally revealing remarks:
— I remember the shock I had when I first saw the mention of his madness. — But he was just the man to go mad—imaginative, voluptuously inclined, poor, unemployed, in the race of life distancd by his inferiors, unmarried,—without a port or haven in the universe to make. His present misfortune—rather blessing—is but the sequel to a long experience of morbid habits of thought.  --Herman Melville, Correspondence, ed. Lynn Horth (Northwestern University Press and The Newberry Library, 1993) page 128.
I'm highlighting the word "morbid" as transcribed in The Northwestern-Newberry edition of Melville's Correspondence. As applied by Melville to his friend Hoffman the word morbid does not sound or in manuscript look quite right. Checking, I see the N-N editor calls morbid a "conjectural reading." Some earlier editions make it unwhole as in "unwhole habits of thought." For a different conjectural reading let's try this: "monkish." Long experience of monkish habits of thought? The adjective monkish at least seems to fit with Melville's idea of Hoffman's "unmarried" state as one contributing factor to his emotional distress. In addition to his being imaginative and poor, Hoffman according to Melville was a "voluptuously inclined" bachelor.

As Barnes relates, Hoffman experienced a brief "change for the better." On April 21, 1849 the New York Tribune optimistically stated, "Mr. Hoffman's health is now almost entirely retrieved." In June 1849 he was in Washington, working (too hard, it seems) as a clerk in the State Department. However, by October 1849 he had to be hospitalized in Baltimore. Eventually Hoffman went to the State Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania "where he remained for over thirty years, until his death in 1884."

In the back of his 1930 book, Barnes offers a wonderful trove of Hoffman's letters, uncollected poems, and a bibliography that includes contributions to periodicals and some fugitive pieces.

One of Hoffman's letters to Rufus W. Griswold (now held by the Boston Public Library and accessible online via Digital Commonwealth) makes "a good joke" of the first meeting between Henry T. Tuckerman and Edgar Allen Poe. We don't know exactly when Melville first met Tuckerman, or if Melville ever met Poe in person. But thanks to Charles Fenno Hoffman (and his Columbia University biographer Homer F. Barnes) we do know when Henry met Edgar: the evening of July 10, 1845, in New York City at the Rutgers Female Institute. Both had been invited there to judge compositions by Rutgers students.

Charles Fenno Hoffman, letter to R. W. Griswold, 11 July 1845
Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth
Let me tell you a good joke. Poe & Tuckerman met for the first time last night — & how? They each upon invitation repaired to the Rutgers Institute where they sat alone together as a committee upon young Ladies compositions — Odd isnt it that the women who divide so many should bring these two together! --Hoffman to Griswold, July 11, 1845

via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Presumably the prize-winning writers were honored at Commencement exercises the next day, on July 11, 1845. The distinguished Principal of Rutgers Institute was Charles E. West, Herman Melville's teacher at the Albany Classical School ten years before. In his published Address on retiring in 1851, West recalled early controversies over the aims and methods of public education for women.
Then the objection arose that our studies were of too elevated and difficult a range; that the rights of the colleges were invaded; that logic, metaphysics, and the higher mathematics did not belong as studies to young ladies; that they should be dealt with more gently by the selection of studies on a level with their capacities! Many a boding note was rung in the ear of the speaker, kindly warning him to beware lest the Institution founder upon this fatal rock. As though the domain of thought, and the vast stores of accumulated knowledge, belonged exclusively to man! As though no Somerville had mastered the profound mysteries of mathematical analysis, or no Mitchell could gaze out upon the heavens, and watch the silent movements of yon shining orbs, and discover what had escaped the telescopic gaze of all the Astronomical Observatories of Europe and America — a new comet!  --Charles E. West
Charles Fenno Hoffman's reference to "young Ladies" of Rutgers as "the women who divide so many" alludes I guess to these or similarly sexist objections. Hoffman's letter to Griswold with the anecdote about Poe and Tuckerman is listed with other 1845 items in The Poe Log, edited by Dwight Thomas and David K. Jackson and accessible online courtesy of The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore.

· Mon, Jun 9, 1884 – Page 4 · Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) ·

Related post:

Monday, April 16, 2018

Improbable typos and poetic justice

Returning to the improbable alternative--that "Blitzen" was what Moore had written all along, and "Blixem" the result of scribal or editorial interference... --MacDonald P. Jackson, Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"? page 178.
In another footnote on the very next page, Professor Jackson surely means "Blitzen" instead of "Blitzem." But there you have it, a highly "improbable" typo, fossilized in print:
... This would, of course, imply that Moore's change from "was" to "he had" was a miscorrection, as suspicious as the change from "Blixem" to "Blitzem."  --MacDonald P. Jackson, Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"? page 179.
What are the odds?

Chapter 3 footnote 19 with typographical error "Blitzem" in
Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"? by MacDonald P. Jackson
Related posts:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

1775 letters from Henry Livingston Jr to the Provincial Congress

Two letters are transcribed below, both addressed to Peter Van Brugh Livingston as presiding officer of the first New York Provincial Congress. Neither is listed among Letters of Major Henry Livingston Jr on Mary S. Van Deusen's great Henry Livingston website. The first one, dated August 21, 1775, was written three days after the birth of his and wife Sally's daughter Catharine, and two days after his extant letter to James Clinton of August 19, 1775. As documented in Journals of the Provincial Congress, Major Livingston succeeded in getting Samuel Cooke approved as regimental surgeon.

From American Archives: Fourth Series, Volume 3, ed. Peter Force (Washington, 1840), page 555:
A Letter from Major Henry Livingston, Jun., of the 21st instant, was read and filed, and is in the words following :
“Poughkeepsie, August 21, 1775.

“SIR: I am desired by Colonel Clinton to inform the honourable the Provincial Congress, that drums are wanting for the respective Companies that compose his Regiment. He also desired me to mention our medicine chest; suppose, however, we shall find that and the drums at Albany, With respect to Dr. Samuel Cooke, the gentleman nominated Surgeon to our Regiment, I am authorized to inform your, Sir, that he attended several days in New-York for his examination, but at length by one contingency or other came away without it. He at first applied to Dr. Jones, who would not examine him unless Dr. Bard (who was out of Town) was present. The matter was stated to the Congress, who ordered that one of the members should wait on Dr. Jones, and inform him that an examination by him alone would satisfy them. Dr. Jones, however, declined. After Dr. Bard's return, there was a day appointed for the business, but that day both Dr. Jones and Bard were called to Long-Island. Dr. Cooke, being very unwell at the time, could stay no longer, having attended several days to no purpose.

“Those officers and soldiers who are acquainted with Dr. Cooke and his practice, and good success both as physician and surgeon, are very desirous to have his appointment confirmed, and as we expect to march in two or three days, are exceedingly anxious that he may be acquainted with it, and follow us as soon as possible.

“I am, Sir, your obedient humble servant,

“To the Hon. Peter V. B. Livingston, Esq.”
Another, written eight days later from Albany, New York and also recorded in Journals of the Provincial Congress:
A letter from Henry Livingston, Jr. major of the third regiment, was read and filed, and is in the words following, to wit : 
"Albany, August 29th, 1775. 
"Sir — I am desired by Col. Clinton to inform you that he arrived here last Saturday, and has now with him six companies, encamped about a mile out of town — that there are guns enough to equip about three companies — that there are two companies beside that have arms, but want some repairs ; and as there are not armourers sufficient at Ticonderoga, must wait here 'till they can be repaired. That there is great want of officers' tents, there being here only sufficient for 2 companies, and 1 tent for the lieutenant-colonel. Of soldiers' tents for our regiment there is a sufficiency, (but no more than barely for our 7 companies.) That the soldiers murmur much for want of pav, and are very unwilling to march from here without it. That the medicine chest is not yet arrived, or a surgeon, and that drums and fifes are wanting. However, 3 companies will be equipped with all speed, and sent off immediately. 
"I am, sir, " Your very humble servant, 
"To Hon. Peter Van Brugh Livingston."
In May 1777, a letter to the Council of Safety was received from Henry Livingston, Jr. and two other men, complaining of their inadequate pay as Dutchess county commissioners "for disposing of the personal property of persons gone over to the enemy." On advice from committee, the Council denied their request for extra pay.
The letter from Isaac Shelden, Theodorus Van Wyck and Henry Livingston, Junr. commissioners in Dutchess county for disposing of the personal property of persons gone over to the enemy, and which was committed on the 23d instant, was again read. The said commissioners thereby allege that the allowance made to them while employed in that service is inadequate to their trouble and expense, and request additional pay. The committee to whom the said letter was referred, reported "That it is their opinion that the augmentation of the pay of the said commissioners at this time would be attended with disagreeable consequences, as it would authorize every officer, or set of officers, now in the service of this State, to complain of their pay, and to expect success from a similar application." The same being taken into consideration, Resolved, That this Council doth agree with their committee in the said report.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Still Melvill

Not a typo. In the Pittsfield Sun, ads for Pierre in September and October 1852 all spell Herman Melville's surname the old way, "Melvill":

Pittsfield Sun - September 9, 1852
From the Pittsfield Sun, September 9, 1852:


Roughing it in the Bush, by Mrs. Moody;
Science of Things Familiar;
In Memoriam, by Tennyson,
Pierre, by Melvill.
For sale by           P. ALLEN & SON.
What about Moby-Dick? Same old spelling in Pittsfield, before publication

Pittsfield Sun - June 26, 1851
"We see it stated that HERMAN MELVILL, the author of "Typee," &c., has a new work in press, to appear in a short time."  --Pittsfield Sun, June 26, 1851
and after:

Pittsfield Sun - December 4, 1851


"MOBY DICK, or the Whale, by Herman Melvill...." --Pittsfield Sun, December 4, 1851.
But earlier in 1851, ads for Redburn and White-Jacket spelled the author's name "Melville." 

Passionate shepherds in Poughkeepsie

In 1786, at least four verse pieces attributable to Henry Livingston Jr. appeared in The Country Journal and The Poughkeepsie Advertiser:
· Thu, Jan 19, 1786 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

· Thu, Mar 23, 1786 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

Two of the four 1786 poems, "Invitation to the Country" and "Vine and Oak" appeared anonymously; two are subscribed "R——." Versions of three (all except "Eccleisastes XII") in the handwriting of Henry Livingston, Jr. appear in Livingston's manuscript book of poetry, accessible online via the Henry Livingston website created by Mary S. Van Deusen.

"Invitation to the Country" is early, only the third poem in Livingston's manuscript book. The first, titled "Easter," is dated 1784 and may have appeared in a newspaper that is no longer extant.

On January 24, 1787 The Country Journal and the Poughkeepsie Advertiser published a version of Christopher Marlowe's Passionate Shepherd under the title "The Shepherd's Address to the Milk Maid." The poem appeared without any mention of Marlowe in the regular "Poet's Corner" column, submitted "For the POUGHKEEPSIE ADVERTISER" by "R——." A brief headnote names Shakespeare as the widely accepted author of The Shepherd's Address, and promises to give Walter Ralegh's answering poem "in the next number of this paper." The attribution of "The Shepherd's Address" to Shakespeare follows Warburton, cited for instance by Samuel Johnson in a footnote to The Merry Wives of Windsor (where Shakespeare in Act 3 Scene 1 makes Sir Hugh Evans sing bits from the second and third stanzas of Marlowe's poem). The certainty with which the second poem is scheduled to appear in print, indicates the headnote may have been added by the editor rather than the contributor "R——."

During the previous year the Poughkeepsie newspaper published four poems that appear in Livingston's book of manuscript poetry, two signed "R——." The year before that (October 13, 1785), prose advice To the Farmers, evincing Livingston's style of writing and passion for agriculture, was published over the same signature, "R——." Perhaps not coincidentally, Henry Livingston's interest in poetry and specifically in pastoral love poetry coincides with the latter years of bachelorhood he experienced as a widower, before his second marriage in 1793 to Jane McLean Patterson. The choice of "R" remains unexplained. Nevertheless, in view of demonstrable connections between Livingston's manuscript book and published items from "R" in the years from 1785 to 1790 or so, it seems likely that Henry Livingston, Jr. contributed "Ecclesiastes XII" in March 1786 and, early in 1787, both the "Shepherd's Address" and "Milk Maid's Answer" for the "Poet's Corner" of the Country Journal and the Poughkeepsie Advertiser. Livingston deserves credit for supplying texts reproduced in these early (maybe even the first?) American printings of the "Passionate Shepherd" and "Nymph's Reply."

· Wed, Jan 24, 1787 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

As promised, "The Milk Maid's Answer to the Shepherd's address" aka The Nymphs Reply did in fact appear the following week, also submitted by "R——." In parentheses, somebody--either "R——." or the editor--correctly ascribed the poem to Walter Ralegh, here spelling it Raliegh.

· Wed, Jan 31, 1787 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

Both poems were published together in the "Poetry" column of the Poughkeepsie Journal on December 6, 1803. The titles have been standardized as "The passionate Shepherd to his love" and "The Nymphs reply to the Shepherd," losing the milkmaids referenced in the headnotes to the 1787 versions. But as in 1787, Marlowe's "Passionate Shepherd" is still attributed to Shakespeare.

· Tue, Dec 6, 1803 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

Melville in Alabama

From the Alabama Planter, May 7, 1849:
We are also indebted to Mr. J. Randall, 44 Water street, and Messrs. Carver & Co., 36 Dauphin street, for copies of "Mardi: and a Voyage Thither. By Hermann Melville." Those who have read those charming books "Omoo" and "Typee" by Melville, will require no other recommendation for these well-printed volumes, which issue from the press of the Harpers. The New York Mirror, which is very good authority, speaks thus of Mardi:
"Mardi, with all its fascinations, its unique style, its beautiful language, its genial humor, its original thoughts, its graphic descriptions, its poetic flights, its profound reasonings, its philosophic reflections, its gentle religious teachings, its inimitable whole, stretches before us like a new world, and the mental eye can never weary of gazing upon its strangely beautiful landscape."
Published Mondays in Mobile, the Alabama Planter was owned and edited by Wesley W. McGuire and H. Ballentyne.

· Mon, May 7, 1849 – 2 · Alabama Planter (Mobile, Alabama) ·

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

521 matches

Restricting searches for "Herman Melville" on to the period of his lifetime, and only for items "added in the past month" yields today:

521 matches

added in the past month×
1819 - 1891×
"herman melville"
A great many of the 521 mentions appear in booksellers' ads. Not all though: here's one promoting Melville's lecture on The South Seas, from the Wisconsin State Journal of February 25, 1859:
HERMAN MELVILLE, the celebrated novelist, lectures in Milwaukee, this evening.
· Fri, Feb 25, 1859 – 2 · Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) ·

Many of the recently added archives are British including images from London newspapers
  • The Examiner
  • The Morning Chronicle
  • The Morning Post
  • The Pall Mall Gazette
Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; and 2009 in paperback) has the major British reviews. Not in Contemporary Reviews: the notice of Mardi in Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper on April 1, 1849. The notice in Lloyd's Weekly closely paraphrases the earlier, longer review of Melville's Mardi published in the London Athenaeum on March 24, 1849. The extract from Mardi in Lloyd's Weekly is the same one offered in The Athenaeum.

· Sun, Apr 1, 1849 – 8 · Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, Greater London, England) ·

· Sun, Apr 1, 1849 – 8 · Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper (London, Greater London, England) ·

MARDI: AND A VOYAGE THITHER. By Herman Melville. Bentley, New Burlington-street.--This is a strange book, and it is, to us, impossible to divine the object for which it has been written. It commences like a romance, and the first part of the book teems with well-told adventure; but as for the latter part, it is full of improbability, is outrageous in incident and the forms of language, and invests the reader in a fog that it is impossible to penetrate. The author's purpose, if he have one, is too deep for us to fathom, and it is very doubtful if any but those who are chained to the log of criticism, will ever have sufficient courage to reach the end of the work; so that it will remain a matter of mental darkness. Let us hope that the world will be no loser in consequence. The narrator commences by telling us that he was on board a sperm-whaler in the Pacific, the captain of which protracted the ship's voyage till our rover and a mate of his, becoming totally ocean-weary when a thousand miles from land, resolved to give the Arcturion the slip, and executed their resolution in a manner not very probable but abundantly breathless. Drifting alone on the surface of the mighty waters, the author finds time to pick up materials from numerous pictures of the "under world," over-wrought and extravagant, but sometimes amusing. It is in this portion of the work that anything like quiet and reasonable writing is to be found; and the following extract is really full of power, and excites a wish to learn its termination:--

[ Excerpt from volume 1, chapter 19 of Mardi: And A Voyage Thither from "As we came nearer, it was plain…." to "... superstitious misgivings"; and from "Groping again into the chest...." to ... somewhat different from anything of the [that] kind he had ever heard before."]
The termination of the adventure brings also the termination of the romance; and what follows is a conglomeration of incomprehensible matters. The narrator and his friend engage in a chase of a young female, whom he rescues when about to be offered as a human sacrifice; and while thus employed they pass many islands such as Gulliver might have visited--haunts peopled by folks who are not human creatures, but merely Follies or Widsoms tattooed or feathered, "drinking wild wine" or telling stupid stories, as may be. Swift wrote with a purpose--a purpose that was visible on the surface--when he told us what the Lilliputians and the Brobdignagians did, said, and thought; not so with Mr. Melville, who, after rioting wildly amidst a most chaotic confusion, leaves the reader in a state of glorious mystification as to what he has been perusing.
Below, the publisher's advertisement from the London Examiner on November 1, 1851 presents Melville's The Whale as number three in "Mr Bentley's List of New Books," in between The Ansayrii and Mignet's History of Mary Queen of Scots.

· Sat, Nov 1, 1851 – 16 · The Examiner (London, Greater London, England) ·

Saturday, April 7, 2018

[Postcard] | Pivot to Digital, by Jesse Coburn | Harper's Magazine

2017 Harper's blog post on Tom Tryniski.

Another, more recent profile of Tom Tryniski and his great Fulton History archive is by Alexandria Neason, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review on February 6, 2018:
How Tom Tryniski digitized nearly 50 million pages of newspapers in his living room is an incredibly valuable resource that deserves generous support.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Henry Livingston Jr on hemp

Signed "R——." and printed under the heading "To the Farmers," a letter commending the cultivation of hemp was published in The Country Journal and the Poughkeepsie Advertiser on October 13, 1785.

· Thu, Oct 13, 1785 – Page 3 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·
The writer addresses area farmers with evident knowledge and experience of their concerns. Along with the farmer's perspective, the writer's style also resembles that of Henry Livingston, Jr. as demonstrated in extant letters to family members. For instance, in the first sentence the writer embraces "the duty of every Individual to throw in his mite to the public emolument." The figure of contributing, more specifically throwing one's "mite" occurs in Henry's January 1819 letter to his grandson Sidney Breese:
The day may come when the Breeses & the Livingstons would throw in no inconsiderable mite into the treasury of Occidental population.--Letters of Major Henry Livingston
Transcribed below from the The Country Journal and the Poughkeepsie Advertiser, October 13, 1785; found on

To the Farmers.

As it is the duty of every Individual to throw in his mite to the public emolument, I think I do mine, by most heartily recommending to your attention the cultivation of Hemp. The Legislature of this State have offered the liberal bounty of Eight Shillings for every hundred pounds of merchantable Hemp brought to the Port of New-York, which, with the common price (which is about seven dollars and a half the hundred weight) ought to make the growth of this commodity a matter of serious speculation.--- I had an opportunity not long since, of obtaining much information on the subject from a gentleman of Orange county who has for several years past, raised many thousand pounds.--- He observed that all rich land was proper for the growth of Hemp.---That meadows naturally producing bogs, and however wet, when once sufficiently drained to admit the plow, were equal to any soils whatever for this purpose. That the ground made mellow by two or three plowings, and harrow'd, should be sown at the rate of a bushel and a peck of seed to an acre, and about the same season in which flaxseed is generally sown; and very slightly harrow'd in with a bush, for the seed should never be more than an inch deep. Experience had shown that half an inch was quite deep enough.

That in the neighbourhood where he resided, they do not practice pulling, but cut the standing Hemp with a short scyth, and spread it out immediately to rot on the soil it grew on, turning it when necessary, as practised on flax. After it is sufficiently rotted, they house or stack it; and towards spring break it well with a crackle, and put it up in hanks for sale---swingling is unnecessary. Where a conveniency of breaking it with a machine operated upon by water occurs, the expence of preparation is greatly lessoned. The gentleman noticed that his drained meadows generally yielded about four hundred pounds of saleable hemp, an acre. Any quantity of fresh seed can be had in the vicinity of Goshen & Chester, in Orange county, for eight shillings a bushel. He remarked that he could at much less expence offer a ton of hemp for sale at New-York, than he could a hundred bushels of Wheat.--- The former is now worth sixty-eight pounds, including the bounty---The latter between thirty and forty pounds.

Samuel Johnson on female happiness, plagiarized in Poughkeepsie

From The Rambler No. 128 - June 8, 1751
Rather, unhappiness. A long, only slightly modified excerpt from Samuel Johnson's essay in The Rambler No. 128 (June 8, 1751) was published over the signature "R." in the Poughkeepsie Country Journal and Dutchess and Ulster County Farmer's Register of October 14, 1788. Otherwise uncredited, the item from "R." appeared under the heading "For the Country Journal." The Poughkeepsie contributor omits the general, "universal" application of the moral argument that concluded Johnson's 1751 essay:
"Such is the state of every age, every sex, and every condition: all have their cares, either from nature or from folly: and whoever therefore finds himself inclined to envy another, should remember that he knows not the real condition which he desires to obtain, but is certain that, by indulging a vicious passion, he must lessen that happiness which he thinks already too sparingly bestowed."  --The Rambler No. 128. Anxiety universal

· Tue, Oct 14, 1788 – Page 2 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·

By virtue of the signature "R." this item is listed with other prose writings attributed to Henry Livingston Jr on the Livingston website, there transcribed under the title, Female Happiness. In a footnote to the second chapter of Who Wrote "The Night Before Christmas"? (page 177 note 18), MacDonald P. Jackson quotes Livingston on Catullus without acknowledging the source in Samuel Jonson's Rambler.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Teniers of American poets

David Teniers II - A pastoral landscape with a herdsman playing a pipe near a waterfall

Alfred Billings Street, again. Charles Fenno Hoffman called Albany's forgotten poet Alfred B. Street "the Teniers of American poets" in the short lived Excelsior. In the same vein, reviewing the same 1845 volume The Poems of Alfred B. Street, Henry T. Tuckerman in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review praised his Albany friend as "a true Flemish painter." So then: two friendly critics of Alfred B. Street's 1845 Poems, both of whom would become friends of Melville's, compared Street and his authentic verse descriptions of nature to Flemish painters and their style of genre painting --thirty years before Melville likened Street's poem The Old Garden to
"a flower-and-fruit piece by some mellow old Fleming." --Herman Melville's Correspondence, ed. Lynn Horth (Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern University Press and The Newberrry Library, 1993), page 463.
Carstian Luyckx - Still Life Of A Basket Of Fruit, Flowers In A Gilt Vase, A Nautilus Shell And Other Objects On A Draped Table Near An Open Window

Hewet's Excelsior and New York Illustrated Times was conceived as an American version of the London Illustrated Times. Editor Charles Fenno Hoffman's generous (though qualified) estimation of Street's poetry was reprinted in the March 1846 Knickerbocker:
WE were about to indite a short review of our esteemed friend and correspondent's very beautiful volume, when the following notice of the same work, from the capable pen of Mr. C. F. Hoffman, in 'Excelsior,’ (a most gentlemanly journal, 'too early lost,') met our eye, and we at once decided that we could do nothing half so felicitous as to say 'ditto to Mr. BURKE,' and make the notice 'ours by adoption:'
Mr. STREET is the TENIERS of American poets. Perfect in his limited and peculiar range of art, as is LONGFELLOW in his more extended and higher sphere, STREET is the very daguerreotype of external nature. And yet his portraits are not mere mechanical copies of her features, so much feeling as well as truth is there in his microscopic delineations. He has not indeed the fervid minstrel power of WHITTIER ; the high meditative philosophy of BRYANT; the fine lyric inspiration of HALLECK; the beautiful and luminous sentiment of LONGFELLOW; nor is there the vivid creative power, the sparkling fancy and impassioned grace, which divided among some of our female poets, is as yet blended upon the page of neither sex, in our still nursing literature. Yet that characteristic still remains to him, without which all these others are as nothing; and which, possessed to the full degree in which it fills the soul of Street, makes him a true poet; namely, feeling—an intense feeling and appreciation of his subject; a devotion like that of a lover to his mistress; a love for nature unaffected, enthusiastic, unceasing; a love vigilant as a mother's for her offspring; reverential as that of a child for its parent. He watches her every look and feature, with no end save the tender delight of thus watching; he worships her every expression, with no motive save the gratification of his full feeling of homage. And if the issues of social life chance at times to blend with the accidents of his theme, the flow of inspiration from such sources is wholly subordinate to the natural tides of his song. With the pedantic or superficial reader, Street might still be left as the maker of mere descriptive verses, which had no merit save a kind of Chinese fidelity to purely physical realities; but he who, impelled by the true love of Nature, shall look more curiously into his song, will find STREET's poetry, like the face of the divinity herself, full of suggestiveness. As an instance of this, we may mention that we have before us an illustrated London publication, in which one of his poems (regarded by matter-of-fact people here as characteristically matter-of-fact,) has suggested to a spirited artist two of the most striking sketches that the season has produced."  --The Knickerbocker
Below, contents of the first number of Hewet's Excelsior and New York Illustrated Times, as advertised in the Philadelphia Public Ledger on New Year's Eve, 1845:

· Wed, Dec 31, 1845 – Page 2 · Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) ·

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

T. W. C. Moore and William I. Street, son of Henry Livingston's "good friend" Randall S. Street

In 1862 Livingston cousin T. W. C. Moore wrote a key witness letter attesting to Clement C. Moore's authorship of "A Visit from St Nicholas" aka The Night Before Christmas. T. W.C. Moore testified in writing to Clement C. Moore's authorship of the Christmas poem after a personal "interview" with the author himself. Addressed to the Librarian of the Historical Society, the 1862 letter from T. W. C. Moore accompanied a manuscript copy of "Visit" in Clement C. Moore's distinctive handwriting. T. W. C. Moore's letter was published in The New York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin 2.4 (January 1919) pages 111-115, along with a reproduction of the manuscript copy made by Clement C. Moore.

This T. W. C. or Thomas William Channing Moore was a son of John Moore and Judith Livingston Moore. His mother Judith was a first cousin and former neighbor of Henry Livingston, Jr. of Poughkeepsie. So T. W. C. Moore and Henry Livingston, Jr. were first cousins, once removed.

In addition to the family tie through his mother Judith Livingston Moore, T. W. C. Moore was also connected to Henry Livingston, Jr. through Moore's aunt, Cornelia Livingston (1751-1820)--his mother's sister, another daughter of James Livingston and Judith Newcomb Livingston. T. W. C. Moore's widowed aunt Cornelia Livingston married Andrew Billings, veteran of the Revolutionary War and later a well-regarded jeweler and silversmith in Poughkeepsie.

· Wed, Mar 15, 1797 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·
Esteemed as "a man of genius," Andrew Billings reportedly invented a pair of wings that worked for him but not his father-in-law James Livingston:
Major Billings was no ordinary man: nay more, he was a man of genius. Independent of his talents as a soldier and writer, he possessed great mechanical invention. He constructed a pair of wings, and, being a small man, actually succeeded with them in flying short distances. Relative to this matter a story is told by B. Davis Noxen, Esq., the celebrated lawyer of Syracuse, and formerly a resident of Poughkeepsie. Major Billings gave notice that he intended trying his wings at a certain hour in the market place of the village. The inhabitants assembled; he mounted a low pillar, extended his wings, and, to the amusement of the village, flew to a considerable distance. Sheriff Livingston, thinking to "follow in the footsteps" of his son-in-law, then mounted the pillar, fitted the wings and sprang. Being, however, a heavy man, and not knowing the trick of waving his pinions, he tumbled ingloriously to the dust, amid the laughter of his townsmen.  --Albany Evening Journal, May 25, 1864
Daughter Cornelia Billings married Randall Sanford Street (1780-1839). Remembered in William Hunt's American Biographical Panorama as "an eminent lawyer and accomplished gentleman," Randall S. Street was Henry Livingston's "good friend" and for a while the employer of Livingston's son Edwin.

Edwin George Livingston (1798-1863) studied law with Randall S. Street. In 1821 Edwin was formally admitted as attorney in 1821, as announced in the New York Evening Post on November 7, 1821. In 1824 he began practicing law in Fishkill.

· Wed, May 26, 1824 – Page 4 · Poughkeepsie Journal (Poughkeepsie, New York) ·
After the death of Henry Livingston, Jr. in 1828, Edwin and his brother Sidney were able to serve as executors for the estate. Henry's "good friend" Randall Sanford Street had also been named in the will as one of the executors:
"I name and appoint as executors of this my last Will and Testament my beloved wife, Jane, my 3 sons Charles, Sidney & Edwin and my good friend Randal S. Street Esq."
--Will of Henry Livingston Jr, transcript via Mary S. Van Deusen's Henry Livingston site
T. W. C. Moore stayed in touch with grown children of his cousin Cornelia Billings and Randall S. Street, as revealed in a note Moore wrote about a curious gift he got from one of Cornelia's sons, William Ingraham Street (1807-1863). After Street gave Moore souvenir locks of George Washington's (and Martha's) hair, T. W. C. meticulously recorded the provenance in a written statement made in New York City, dated March 24, 1857:

The locks of hair below is part of that which was sent to Major Billings of Poughkeepsie, inclosed in a letter, of which the following is an exact copy. The original is in possession of the Major's grandson, W. J. Street, counselor at law, of this city, who gave me the hair.
Inveterate antiquarian that he was, T. W. C. Moore also took the trouble to make "an exact copy" of the authenticating letter from George Washington to Andrew Billings, at the time still owned by William I. Street (whose middle initial "I" for Ingraham or Ingram was sometimes misprinted as "J"). Transcribing Moore's 1857 note in The Century Magazine for May 1890, Edith Robertson Cleveland calls it "an odd affidavit of the present of two locks of hair from the heads of Mr. and Mrs. Washington, with the hair itself curiously preserved."

Speaking of Poughkeepsie Streets, William I. Street's brother Alfred became a poet of considerable repute in Herman Melville's time. In the 1840's, Alfred Billings Street had a law office in Albany. Somehow he knew Herman's sisters. Once in Pittsfield, Alfred B. Street felt hurt when Herman did not ask him over to Arrowhead for a social visit. Hershel Parker tells all about it in the second volume of Herman Melville: A Biography (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), page 139. That was in late September 1852. Twenty-five years later Melville highly complemented one of Street's poems, in a letter to his cousin Kate and her husband Abraham Lansing:
... I have just been reading in a copy of Frank Leslie's Illustrated paper "The Old Garden" by Mr Street. How beautiful, and poetically true to nature it is! It is like a flower-and- fruit piece by some mellow old Fleming.  --Herman Melville, August 14, 1877 letter to Catherine Gansevoort Lansing and Abraham Lansing; reprinted in the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Correspondence, pages 459-463.
Melville's comparative view of the poet as painter, "some mellow old Fleming," echoed the tribute by Henry T. Tuckerman thirty years before. In a friendly review of the 1845 volume The Poems of Alfred B. Street, Tuckerman had praised Street as "a true Flemish painter":
We have wandered with him on a summer's afternoon, in the neighborhood of his present residence, and stretched ourselves upon the greensward beneath the leafy trees, and can therefore testify that he observes con amore, the play of shadows, the twinkle of swaying herbage in the sunshine, and all the phenomena that makes the outward world so rich in meaning to the attentive gaze. He is a true Flemish painter, seizing upon objects in all their versimilitude. As we read him, wild flowers peer up from among brown leaves; the łoń. the partridge, the ripple of waters, the flickering of autumn light, the sting of sleety prow, the cry of the panther, the roar of the winds, the melody of birds, and the odor of crushed pine-boughs, are present to our senses. In a foreign land, his poems would transport us at once to home. He is no second-hand limmer, content to furnish insipid copies, but draws from reality. His pictures have the freshness of originals. They are graphic, detailed, never untrue, and often vigorous; he is essentially an American poet. --Unsigned notice of The Poems of Alfred B. Street [by Henry T. Tuckerman] in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review for January 1846.
In this 1901 obituary of Alfred's sister Frances Mary Street, the highest honor the writer could think to bestow on her late brother the poet was to make him "a contemporary and friend of Longfellow."

· Sat, Mar 30, 1901 – 7 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) ·
From the Memoir of Alfred B. Street as published in Bentley's Miscellany (London, 1849):
The Hon. Randall S. Street, father of the author of " Frontenac," was the lineal descendant of these two eminent clergymen. He removed, with his father, in early life, into the State of New York, and this branch of the family has continued to reside there ever since; the other branch continued in Connecticut, and is still represented by Augustus Russell Street, Esq., who resides at Newhaven. Randall S. Street studied law at Poughkeepsie, married Miss Cornelia Billings, and settled there for the succeeding thirty years of his life. Such was his standing at the bar, that whilst still young, he was appointed attorney of the district composed of the counties of Wayne, Ulster, Dutchess, Delaware and Sullivan, under the old organisation of districts, and subsequently he represented the county of Dutchess in Congress. He was an eminent lawyer and accomplished gentleman, and among the recollections of the writer, is one of a day spent more than thirty years ago at the residence of General Street, when it was the home of hospitality and elegance. In 1824, General Street removed to Monticello, Sullivan county, New York, where he died in 1839.

The maternal grandfather of our author was Major Andrew Billings, who married Cornelia, daughter of James Livingston, of the well known family of that name in New York. Cornelia, the daughter by this marriage, who became the wife of General Street, was the mother of the poet....

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