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III The shadow of Europe when the first ocean steamers crossed the Atlantic, about 1838, Willis predicted that they would only make American literature more provincial, by bringing Europe so much nearer than before. Yet Emerson showed that there was an influence at work more potent than steamers, and the colonial spirit in our literature began to diminish from his time. In the days of those first ocean voyages, the favorite literary journal of cultivated Americans was the New York Albion, which was conducted expressly for English residents on this continent; and it was considered a piece of American audacity when Horace Greeley called Margaret Fuller to New York, that the Tribune might give to our literature an organ of its own. Later, on the establishment of Putnam's Magazine, in 1853, I remember that one of the most enlightened New York journalists predicted to me the absolute failure of the whole enterprise. Either an American magazine will command no respect, he said, o
VII On literary tonics some minor English critic wrote lately of Dr. Holmes's Life of Emerson: The Boston of his day does not seem to have been a very strong place; we lack performance. This is doubtless to be attributed rather to ignorance
The service of all these men, and its results, give a measure of the tonic afforded in the Boston of that day. Nay, Emerson himself was directly responsible for much of their strength.
To him more than to all other causes together, says Lowell he young fellows who write for its journals; and when these youths visit us, what lightweights they are apt to seem!
Emerson said of our former literary allegiance to England that it was the tax we paid for the priceless gift of English literatu .
The great anti-slavery agitation and the general reformatory mood of half a century ago undoubtedly gave us Channing, Emerson, Whittier, Longfellow, and Lowell; not that they would not have been conspicuous in any case, but that the moral attribu