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ART. VII.-Homeward Bound, or the Chase. A Tale of the Sea. By the Author of the Pilot, the Spy, etc. Philadelphia: 1838. Carey, Lea, and Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo. 2. Home as Found. By the Author of Homeward Bound, the Pioneers, etc. Philadelphia: 1838. Lea and Blanchard. 2 vols. 12mo.

THE author of Homeward Bound, and Home as Found, has of late been so frequently at the bar of public criticism, either as accused or accuser, that our readers would doubtless pardon us, were we in the present number of our journal to pass him over in silence; and this we should do, did we not regard him as filling too important a place in the republic of letters, and exercising too great an influence upon opinions at home and abroad, to justify the omission. He holds not merely the pen of a ready writer, but one which often evinces talent of a high order, and which has sometimes flowed with the inspirations of real genius, and traced his name too deeply on the pediment of our national pantheon, to be ever obliterated. It must however be confessed, that several of his later productions have threatened it with an expunging mark. They contain little that is worthy of his previously high and well-earned reputation, and much that is alike unworthy of his head and heart; of this class, none are more prominent than the two now selected for remark.

Homeward Bound, according to its preface, is a response to the cry of "more ship." An opportunity being thus given him to appear anew on that element, which seems to have been assigned to him for his dominion in the distribution of intellectual power, it was reasonable to expect that we should see him himself again. But whether it is, that the merchant service is not congenial to one of his lofty bearing, or that his taste has become too fastidious, by the refinements of Europe, for a faithful narrator of nautical adventures, it is unnecessary to decide: whatever may be the cause, the result is certain- the trident has fallen from his hand, and the spirit of the ocean no longer acknowledges his sway.

Taking as the groundwork of his story the return passage of a "London liner," he has framed his incidents mainly with a



view to depict the characters of Captain Truck, her commander, Steadfast Dodge, a cabin passenger, who calls himself an editor of a village newspaper, and the family of the Effinghams, also passengers, but of a superior order, who occupy an "exclusive extra cabin." As the latter are not brought forward in all their importance until we reach the sequel of the story, we shall reserve our remarks upon them for their proper place, and here begin with the two personages first named. It should, however, be premised, that the whole story, if story it can be called, proceeds upon an adventure which could never have taken place - no packet of the regular line would have set at defiance officers acting under the authority of the government in whose port she traded, nor would voluntarily have so far deviated from her course, as to expose herself to be driven by a gale far south along the coast of Africa. But this is an error of little consequence; a far graver charge against the author is, the injustice done in these volumes to two classes of his fellow citizens, by the caricatures which he has drawn to represent them. It is the privilege of fiction to give being to new creations, but it is a manifest violation of truth when it assigns false qualities to actual characters, and a gross libel when it presents a caricatured individual as the specimen of a class. In this light we regard Mr. Cooper's pictures of the captain of the Mohawk, and the editor of the Active Enquirer. We know that invention is not one of his strong talents, and may therefore presume that the portraits were drawn from life, however unlike they may be to life; but lack of invention does not imply inability to exaggerate and embellish, and there it is that he has exercised his art, and in so doing he has found the worst his own, for all such ill devised and ill executed caricatures excite a laugh far more at the expense of the artist than of the object of his satire. The portrait of Captain Truck, whether true to nature or not, is the portrait of an individual only, without one trait of resemblance to the family in which it is placed; some skipper of a fishing smack may have sat for it; it is no delineation of a commander of a London, or Liverpool, or Havre liner. The commercial metropolis of the United States may boldly challenge a comparison with that of any in the world on the subject of its packets, and it would be difficult to say of which she should be most proud, her ships or their commanders. Nor is it only in the great essentials of a first rate captain-skill in navigation, good seamanship, and exact discipline that our packet service may claim its superiority; it makes gentlemanly deport

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ment and courteousness of manners almost as indispensable requisites in its appointments; and every one who has crossed the ocean knows how much the comfort and enjoyment of shipboard depend on these qualities in the commanding officer. One of the most striking influences effected by the American packet service, generally, is, the great elevation it has given to the character of its captains, and through them to that of all other maritime commanders; rough manners and coarse language are no longer regarded either as a mark or a test of a skilful navigator, and the security and regularity with which they now traverse the ocean, and transport so many thousands from shore to shore, furnish a conclusive proof that seamanship has lost nothing by the improved education and greater refinement of those to whom it is entrusted. This can be better known to no one than to Mr. Cooper; hence we have the more reason to marvel at his misrepresentation, and, as he would naturally be regarded as high authority on this subject, we feel ourselves more imperatively called upon to protest against the acknowledgment of Captain Truck, and his vulgar familiarity, as a true prototype of that most respectable, and valuable, and important class of men which he is made to represent. That he is a favorite with Mr. Cooper, makes no difference in the judgment we have expressed. This only does the more discredit to him.

Prejudice, ill-humor, and personal feeling, have still further perverted the judgment of our author in his other generic description, in the purpose of which, there is obviously more of malice prepense. With every disposition to think well of Mr. Cooper's motives, and to speak of him in the spirit of candid criticism, we cannot but consider his sketch of Steadfast Dodge, as an evidence of extreme disingenuousness on his part, and of his habit of viewing every man and every class of men through the sole medium of self. We are not aware that the newspaper press, upon which, in the person of Steadfast Dodge, its caricatured representative, he has endeavored to throw so much obloquy, was ever made the subject of his ridicule, until it presumed. to suggest, that it was possible even for him sometimes to nod. This circumstance, in connexion with his singling out as another victim of his vengeance, the foreign journal, that commented severely and somewhat uncourteously upon one of his books, in which he had taken the same liberty with every person and thing he had seen; and above all, his venomous and almost rabid attack upon Sir Walter Scott, who chanced to have recorded in

his diary a harmless remark, possibly a little wounding to the self-love of an imagined arbiter elegantiæ; all, we think, imply a strong determination to tarnish with the breath of calumny, every mirror which does not reflect the object of his own admiration, as comely as it appears to himself. The newspaper press in this country-in which category we include only the regularly established journals, we have nothing to say of the penny sheets professedly devoted to slanders-is far from being invulnerable; it has more than a heel exposed to attack, and our opinions on the subject have not been concealed, as may be seen by referring to our last number - still the press has nothing to fear from the shafts sped from our author's bow, so long as they are aimed at such a man of straw as he has here shot at. And while we acknowledge that it is censurable on many accounts, and far less elevated in its moral tone and standard than it should be, we entirely deny that it deserves the indignation and contempt which would surely await it if Steadfast Dodge were a fair representative of its conductors. When it is considered, that it is almost as free as thought, that it looks for its patronage to its favor with the public, and is consequently obliged to consult the various interests of the community, and steer its way through a most perilous navigation, beset on every side by the conflicting sentiments of parties in politics, religion, and matters of minor consequence, in our country vastly more numerous than elsewhere; when all these things are considered, we ought rather to rejoice that it is no worse, than to denounce it as unqualifiedly corrupt. Thus far it may be defended in its absolute character; relatively, the case is still stronger in its favor. It is, morally, higher here than in foreign countries, or rather than in England and France, where alone it is free enough to be called a press. Lord Brougham has exposed its venality and its abuses in the former country, on the one side, in politics; and a like scrutiny applied to it on the other, it is fair to presume, would expose it in the same unfavorable light. Nor will any one who is conversant with it on the other side of the channel, and knows what an infinity of prosecutions it brings upon itself, and what scurrilous language it uses, claim for it a more immaculate character there; in fact, were this a proper occasion, we could show conclusively, that it is both more abusive and less decent in the two great European metropolises referred to, than in any of our own. And if the comparison be extended to the ability with which it is conducted, there and here, the circumstances of the respective countries being taken into consideration, the supposed

inferiority on our side will nearly disappear. In the transatlantic cities, editorial talent is more richly rewarded; the personal influence and weight in society, of an editor of high character, aregreater; and in Paris, especially, there is not only a larger reading public, but one also which stimulates the conductors of the press to higher intellectual exertion. Journalism is certainly the most powerful medium through which mind now acts upon masses; but in this country, we can have no idea of the extent of its influence; we have not at every corner, as in Paris, cabinets de lecture, into which the people are pouring by thousands at all hours of the day, especially toward its close, to enjoy the intellectual feast which the press provides for them. It is in this way, there, that the mighty power of the press is manifested in all its sublimity—the streams of thought, which at sun-setting on one day, have not yet begun to flow, have enriched the minds and influenced the opinions of hundreds of thousands, before the next night is veiled in darkness. This gives but a faint idea of the activity of the Paris press, but it may serve to show how powerfully it is excited by the mode of circulation there adopted, and the demand it must create for talent to direct and sustain it. It gives to their leading journals a circulation seven or eight times as great as that of ours, and when we add that their subscription price is nearly double, and the cost of the material employed in them much less, the immense advantage they enjoy is made evident, in the more liberal remuneration it leaves to their editors, and the power it gives them of offering tempting prices to all the eloquent writers in the country. They are, moreover, for the most part, owned in commandite, in numerous shares, with a capital sufficient for any emergency, which not only facilitates their business operations, but also effectually secures their intellectual strength. From two to three thousand dollars a year are paid by the higher class of journalists, to their best contributors, for a single weekly contribution, not exceeding a column in our average sized papers; and we hazard nothing in predicting, that whenever public patronage shall be so extended to our leading journals as to warrant their proprietors in conducting them on this plan, we shall see them every way as able and as elevated as the highest of the European. It might not be right to say as much in support of the topics with which our papers are filled, and yet whatever may be the fault in this respect, it is not chargeable upon the editors; they are mere purveyors to the public, and must be governed by its taste. If that demands only politics,

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