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[From Mr. W. H. Prescott.]

LYNN, MASS., August 7, 1857.


I have just closed the fourth volume of your "Life of Washington." I have not hurried myself, as you see; and, in truth, a man who travels through books with the ear, instead of the eye, cannot hurry. I don't know whether you care about remarks on your books from friends, though they be brothers of the craft; but it always seems to me that, when one has derived great pleasure from reading an author, to make no acknowledgment is as uncourteous as for a gourmand, after he has crammed himself with a good dinner, to go away without a civil word to his host.

My wife, who has been my reader, and myself, have indeed read with the greatest interest this your last work- an interest which went on crescendo from the beginning, and which did not reach its climax till the last pages. I have never before fully comprehended the character of Washington; nor did I know what capabilities it would afford to his biographer. Hitherto we have only seen him as a sort of marble Colossus, full of moral greatness, but without the touch of humanity that would give him interest. You have known how to give the marble flesh color, that brings it to the resemblance of life. This you have done throughout; but it is more especially observable in the first volume and in the last. No one-at least, I am sure, no American-could read the last without finding pretty often a blur upon the page. Yet, I see, like your predecessors, you are not willing to mar the beautiful picture, by giving Washington the infirmity of temper which common report assigns to him. Perhaps you are not satisfied with the foundations of such a report.

I had feared from your manner of talking, that you would never set about the great work in earnest. Happy for the country that it has been at last accomplished by your pen !

It is long since I had the pleasure of seeing you, though I often get particulars about you. How gratified should I be, for one of many, if you would pay a visit to our northern latitudes! I so rarely go to New York, that, when I go, the memory of friends like Brevoort, Wain

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wright, and a few others, rises to my mind, and fills it with a melancholy feeling.

Adieu, my dear Mr. Irving. Long may it be before you are called away, and before you cease to give pleasure and instruction to the world by your writings.

Always, very sincerely, your friend,


[J. Lothrop Motley to Washington Irving.]

BOSTON, August 7, 1857.


You must permit me to address you a single line of thanks for the kind note you did me the honor of sending me several days since.

To receive such warm and generous commendation from so venerated a hand, is sufficient reward for literary labor, although it were far more severe and more successful than mine has been.

Having been, from youth upward, among the warmest and most enthusiastic admirers of your genius, I appreciate entirely the generosity with which you extend to me the hand of fellowship and sympathy.

It is your great good fortune to command not only the respect and admiration of your innumerable readers, but their affection also. A feeling of personal obligation-almost of personal friendship-mingles itself, in their minds, with the colder sentiments which are often entertained toward even a successful author.

I will not proceed in this vein, lest I should say more than you would think becoming, as addressed directly to yourself. I will only say, that when the book of which you have been pleased to speak so indulgently first appeared, I wished very much to depart, in a single instance, from the rule which I had laid down-not to send, namely, a copy to any one who was not an old personal acquaintance. I did wish very much to send you one, as a testimony of gratitude and respect from one who had been long most familiar with you, although utterly unknown to you. I refrained, however, until recently, and I am rejoiced to find that you did not consider my sending the book an intrusion.

VOL. III.-20

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I need not tell you how bitterly disappointed I was at missing the promised pleasure of meeting you at dinner at President King's. It is just possible that you may not know the nature of the contretemps. Mr. King was so kind, upon my expressing a strong desire to see you, as to invite me to New York upon a certain day, when he hoped also to have the pleasure of your company. Subsequently, by letter, he countermanded this arrangement, thinking you absent from home. Neverthe less, on the day before the appointed one, I was ready, with my trunk packed, to take the afternoon boat for New York, and went to the postoffice, hoping for a summons. There was nothing there, so I remained. Five days after the dinner, I received from Mr. King a telegraphic dispatch via Nahant (where I had not been for several days), notifying me that you were to dine with him "to-morrow "-that to-morrow having already crept, with its stealthy pace, into the regions of eternal yesterday. Alas! I must say, in the bitterness of my spirit,—

"The best laid schemes of mice and men

Gang aft a-gley,

And leave us nought but grief and pain
For promised joy;"

for the pleasure which I anticipated has been turned into a perpetual "grief and pain." I indulge the hope of meeting you, however, after my return.

I leave this country on the 12th of this month. If I can be of any service to you in England or France during my residence there, I need not say how much it will gratify me to be of use to you. My address is, "Care of Baring Brothers & Co."

Meantime, with sentiments of the most sincere respect and regard, I remain your obliged friend and servant.


The following brief correspondence between Mr. Irving and S. Austin Allibone, of Philadelphia, author of the "Dictionary of Authors," is not without interest :

[To Washington Irving.]

PHILADELPHIA, October 28, 1857.


Last night, or rather this morning-for it was after midnight-I was deeply engrossed with your graphic picture of your own residence in the Alhambra in the spring of 1829.

It occurs to me to send you the descriptive title of Owen Jones's illustrations of the Alhambra. May I venture to ask, whether the thrilling sketch of your midnight "night-walking" through the halls of the Alhambra is an account of a real ramble, or whether it is partly a fancy picture, founded on fact? It is certainly one of your best passages, and that is saying a great deal.

I am, dear sir, very truly yours,


[To S. Austin Allibone.]

SUNNYSIDE, November 2, 1857.


We have in the Astor Library a copy of Owen Jones's work illustrative of the Alhambra. I have lately seen a number of photographs of various parts of the Alhambra, which I believe are intended for publication. They will give a perfectly truthful idea of the old pile.

The account of my midnight rambles about the old palace is literally true, yet gives but a feeble idea of my feelings and impressions, and of the singular haunts I was exploring.

Everything in the work relating to myself, and to the actual inhabitants of the Alhambra, is unexaggerated fact.

It was only in the legends that I indulged in romancing; and these were founded on materials picked up about the place.

With great regard, my dear sir, yours very truly,





HE year 1857 had been a calamitous year for persons engaged in trade; and Mr. Irving, who had been in suspense in regard to his publisher's affairs, found it necessary to make a settlement with Mr. Putnam, and continue his connection with him on a different footing. Their connection, thus far, had been most advantageous to both; but other enterprises swept from the upright and liberal publisher the profits realized from the sale of Irving's works. On preparing for Mr. Irving, in December, 1857, a summary of his sales and receipts from July, 1848--when he made his first agreement with Mr. Putnam for the publication of a new edition of his already published works, to June 30th, 1857, a period of nine years, I found there had been sold about three hundred and fifty thousand volumes, and that he had realized about eighty thousand dollars; that is, his receipts had averaged about nine thousand dollars a

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