previous next

[239] woodsman,1 have to do with wild and romantic scenery, and when in 1819 he revived the name, though not the sparkle of Salmagundi, the serious admonitory air of his continuation was sometimes freshened by vignettes of the Hudson valley or the frontier. After the second series of “Old Sal,” Paulding wrote few essays except the unremarkable Odds and ends contributed in his old age to The literary world, but in his Letters from the South, in his tales and novels,2 and even in his prose satires he found opportunities to manifest his delight in American scenes. Unlike Irving, he never travelled, and the beauties of his native land remained in his eyes unrivalled.

While the author of Bracebridge Hall and the Alhambra was cultivating his cosmopolitan fancy in many lands, Paulding grew more and more intensely local. In accepting the cares of a family and of official position-he was eventually Secretary of the Navy under Van Buren-he lessened his opportunities to develop his literary talent, and at the same time increased his desire to exalt the glory of American letters. Unusually sensitive to the faults of his fellow-countrymen, he too often went out of his way to rail at primogeniture, lotteries, French fashions, paper money, and the charities of “those venerable married ladies, and thrice venerable spinsters, who go about our cities like roaring lions, doing good.” When in such works as in Merry tales of the three Wise men of Gotham (1826), and the New Mirror for travellers (1828), he undertook to quiz political or fashionable failings, his irony was not infrequently more severe than just. The same objection may be applied with double force to the acrimonious squibs which he hurled at British critics who dared sneer at American innovations.3 Like many of his contemporaries Paulding could not refrain from using his stylus as a dagger whenever patriotically aroused, and he lost no opportunity to flaunt the merits of republican institutions before the “crowned heads” of Europe. He may best be remembered as an author whose faults and virtues combined to make him exclusively and eminently national.

Salmagundi was but one of a number of hopeful productions issued by two or three young men in combination or even by literary clubs after the traditional fashion of periodical essays.

1 See also Book II, Chap. v.

2 See also Book II, Chap. VII.

3 See also Book II, Chap. I.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New York (New York, United States) (1)
Europe (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Kirke Paulding (3)
John Wise (1)
Washington Irving (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1828 AD (1)
1826 AD (1)
1819 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: