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[238] the city. Corlaer's Hook was then something more than a memory, Hell Gate was still a menace to navigation, the Collect was not all filled up, and the tolls levied at Kissing Bridge formed a standing jest. In such an environment the tradition of Steele and Goldsmith culminated not unworthily with Salmagundi, a buoyant series of papers ridiculing the follies of 1807. Thereafter imitation of Addison could no further go. Moreover, in announcing with mock gravity their intention “simply to instruct the young, reform the old, correct the town, and castigate the age” the authors of Salmagundi exposed the prevailing overearnestness of the grim guardians of public virtue and taught their readers to expect entertainment as well as instruction from writers of the essay.

James Kirke Paulding (1779-1860), Washington Irving's chief assistant in this youthful venture, shared with his collaborator a love of English letters, a vivid recollection of the New York of their boyhood, and a keen eye for odd whimwhams and curiosities of character. So closely akin were they in spirit that to identify completely the contributions of either writer would be a hopeless task, but the papers known to have been written wholly or in large measure by Paulding indicate that his part in the undertaking was not inferior to Irving's. Nor was Paulding less a master of a graceful and vivacious style, formed by his boyish reading of The Citizen of the world. It was he who first sketched the characters of the Cockloft family, and in the case of “Mine uncle John” he took the likeness of a real uncle as deftly as Irving portrayed the lively Mrs. Cooper in Sophie sparkle or the fastidious Joseph Dennie in Launcelot Langstaff. Aunt Charity, who “died of a Frenchman,” was apparently a joint production. The two writers might have acquired from Steele and his successors the art of drawing crotchety characters, if not the fondness for detecting them, but the inevitable urban setting of the British essays afforded few models for such studies of nature as the “Autumnal reflections” of the seventeenth Salmagundi paper. There Paulding — who undoubtedly had a hand in it-discovered a happy talent for combining gentle melancholy with landscape description which remained one of the most attractive elements in his varied writings. Almost the only quotable passages in his pretentious poem, The back-

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