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is rich in eighteenth-century classics, and its owner has read and duly appreciated the best writers in English literature : Shakespeare, Dryden, Addison, Gray, Goldsmith, Gibbon, Scott, Wordsworth, or even Thackeray; but beside these he has too often put some local scribbler or “poetess,” whose patriotism, or localism, was better than the literary product. The Southern critic has made too much of the idea of State pride, and has favored the sectional when he ought to have encouraged the universal.
These conditions, which have hitherto handicapped the literature of the Southern States, have become modified since the war. The South now has a considerable and increasing share in the making of American (not Southern) literature ; and her writers of the higher class are able and willing to rest their claims for fame upon their works, rather than upon their place of birth or residence. Mr. Cable, the first Southern writer since the war, and the one whose books gain most from their source and scene, would be the last to claim any attention because he is a “ Southerner” or Louisianian. The future literature of the South will be abundantly able to take care of itself, whatever Northern critics or Southern adulators may say. With the removal of slavery and the development of education, inventive genius appears, factories and schools and libraries rise side by side, and literature begins to share in the strength once monopolized by law and politics.* The environment remains as it was, in physical characteristics, now lovely, now enervating ; but the stimulus to literary production is keener. Larger Southern cities, with libraries and literary centres ; Southern schools and universities (Johns Hopkins University belongs to the South); and best of all the consolidation of the nation since the war, and the spirit of industry which has risen since the abolition of slavery, will work out a wholesome result. Other States than Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina will have a considerable literary product,--a quickening such as has already been seen in Louisiana and Tennessee.
*"Webster is ours as well as Clay; Everett and Sumner are ours as truly as Randolph and Calhoun. Is not Irving ours, and Prescott, and Halleck, no less than Poe? The honored Hawthorne is ours, Emerson is ours, Longfellow is ours.
The South should no longer dream of a he turns away from present good, while he strives for future gain ; he cares less for home, church, school, literaseparate literature. While treating home subjects, let it be done for the whole nation ; and you shall put your own State, not the less, but the more, in your debt ; earn a double portion of her gratitude and love ; add to these the general thanks of a vast country; and give the sisterhood of States a new interest in that sister whom you delight to call your mother and who will be proud to call you her son.
Looking at the American nation as a whole, with special reference to its capacities for literary production, the general conclusion must be a favorable one. In the United States work is too often hurried, and Literature in workers do not seem to know what rest and the United States. recuperation are. Money-getting is a prevalent mania, and when a man dies his success is sometimes measured by his fortune, not his intellectual achievement. A certain type of American neglects æsthetics while he pursues mammon;
We want to purge ourselves of provincialism, and stop speaking of the new South ’;—what we have in view is the 'no South.'”—George W. CABLE, Commencement Address at the University of Mississippi, 1882.
ture, than for a "successful life,” in the narrowest sense. He overworks and dies too soon, and after a dreary and material existence he enriches his family or endows a theological seminary, or very likely leaves a bankrupt's memory. To him the hotel has been more than the library, the stock-exchange better than the poem. He has benefited literature indirectly, if at all, and has got from it no good save the remote memory of school-day“ reading-books,” and the mixed instruction afforded by the daily newspaper. Such Americans have been depicted in novels a thousand times, duly described by Herbert Spencer, and delicately satirized by Matthew Arnold. They have existed, and they now exist. Missing the true meaning of life, they do not create or develop that literature which springs only from large and true life. Again, America has a criminal class, a great body of ignorant voters, a fashion of irreverence, a fondness for display, a subservient and title-hunting tendency strangely at variance with its better spirit of liberty. Fifty million people, in a republic based upon the most liberal plan of suffrage, must include the vicious, the ignorant, the extravagant, the plutocrat, the demagogue and his following. But when we take the larger view, when we study the general spirit and the average result, when we estimate in the severest way the state-craft, social economy, scientific product, education, and books of the nation, the whole, to say the least, compares favorably with the presentation made by any other land in the same period. American literature is the literature of a cultured
and genuine Democracy, a sort of Saxon-Greek renaissance in the New World ; a liberty that is as far removed from anarchy as it is from despotism. If such a literature cannot exist and be true and grow great, then all the predictions of wise men from Plato to Milton, from Cicero to Victor Hugo, have been at fault.
CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH was born in Willoughby by Alford, Lincolnshire, England, in January, 1579 (O. S.), having been baptized on the ninth day of that month. He was not a university graduate, and evi- John Smith, dently had little education of the academic 1579-1631. kind. By nature and by early choice he was a wanderer, pioneer, fighter, egotist. He served in the French army at the age of seventeen ; fought in the Dutch army
in the Netherlands ; was shipwrecked when twenty-one ; travelled extensively on the Continent; was a soldier under Sigismund Bathori against the Turks in Transylvania, where, he claimed, he killed three Turks in single-combat ; was, according to his own story, caught and enslaved in Constantinople ; returned to England by way
of Africa ; and could call himself a battle-scarred veteran and an experienced traveller at twenty-five. The mania for colonization and enrichment in America was prevalent in London ; Smith made the acquaintance of Bartholomew Gosnold, caught Gosnold's enthusiasm, and set sail with the adventurers and intending settlers who left London in three ships on December 19, 1606. On the voyage