‘Old Mortality’ the other day, I was pleased to find myself still carried away by the author's own grandiloquence, where he describes the approach of Claverhouse
and his men to the castle of Tillietudlem.
‘The train was long and imposing, for there were about two hundred and fifty horse upon the march.’
Two hundred and fifty!
Yet I read it for the moment with as little demur at these trivial statistics as if our own Sheridan
had never ridden out of Winchester
at the head of ten thousand cavalry.
It is the same with all literature: we are asked to take Europe
's own valuation, and then to take America
's valuation also; and whenever we speak of putting an American valuation upon the four quarters of the globe, we are told that this will not do; this is not cosmopolitan.
We are too easily misled, in exhorting American authors to a proper humility, because we forget that the invention of printing has in a manner placed all nations on a level.
Literature is the only art whose choicest works are easily transportable.
Once secure a public library in every town—a condition now in process