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From the Herald and Sentinel. WASHINGTON IRVING. The world is familiar with this great name, and richly is she awarding the meed of her homage to his high attainments and elevated character. But though every body is familiar with our distinguished countryman, few indeed, comparatively speaking, are probably acquainted with the origin and powers of the first prose writer of the age. In the last number of the American Museum is an interesting memoir, which we avail ourselves of in preparing the brief outline that follows.
Washington Irving's father was a Scottish merchant of our sis. ter city, New York. Washington was born in that city, in 1782. He was the youngest son, and his worthy parent having died while he was in tender years, his fond mother and excellent brothers bestoyed upon him the kindest attention. His brothers were men of cultivated minds, and early encouraged the love of composition in their youngest brother. Dr. P. Irving was the editor of a paper called “The Morning Chronicle," and at - the age of seventeen, Washington brought forth essays in his columns, entitled the “Letters of Jonathan Old Style," which display, “in opening beauty, some of the peculiarities of the matured author in his subsequent works.”
He was at length entered at Columbia College, and his callegiate course was distinguished by close application; though abroad he was regarded as one of the most sportive students of bis Alma Mater.
Subsequently he commenced the study of the law, which proving uncongenial to the feelings and prejudicial to his health, he embarked for Europe in 1805, “to gratify his anxious desire to visit foreign countries, and landed on the coast of Sicily, near the city of Agrigentum." He passed two years examining whatever might attract the notice of the scholar and antiquarian, and returned horne to resume and complete his legal studies, but his diffidence caused his abandonment of a profession uncongenial to all the feelings of his nature. During this period it was that he joined Paulding, Verplanck, and others, in producing the “Salmagundi," a satire of the times, which all readers of racy wit are undoubtedly familiar with. Three years afterwards, ingenious advertisements stimulated the public mind to look with anxiety for a veritable history of Gotham, developing the peculiarities of the man, manners, and habits of the ancient settlers. Many commenced the reading of “Diedrich” under that belies, which the solemnity of the introduction was well calculated to encourage. It was the best exhibition of the varied satirical powers of the author, “from the grave ironical to piquant caustic-the delicate witty, and the broad ludicrous," suggested it is believed by the pompous annunciation of an astute member of
the Historical Society that he was compiling a history of New York.
About this period he was admitted into the commercial house of his brother, and when the war of Great Britain interrupted the operations of the house, he was received into the army as a member of the governor's staff; but after the war, resuming his mercantile connexion, he went to reside at Birmingham as the foreign correspondent of the house. The commercial embarrassments which followed the war, caused a prostration of the house, and he was once more thrown upon his mental efforts.
The “Sketch Book” was the result of the study which he made during his residence abroad of the scenery, places, men, manners, literaiure, history--in a word, a most graphic work of a masterspirit, recording whatever would strike an observant eye and a most enthusiastic and lucid mind. It won the most unbounded ad. miration in both England and America, and we may say made the fortune of our great countryman abroad, for from that time his writings were sought with a greater avidity there than they were in "his own native land.”
“The Tales of a Traveller” and “Bracebridge Hall,” followed during the next four years; but the next work was entirely different, the basis of which was suggested by Alexander Everett, who was in 1825, Minister Plenipotentiary at the Court of Madrid. It was his great work. “The History of Columbus," an original history of the life and voyage of the great mariner. The Conquest of Grenada” followed in 1828, the materials for which were obtained when he made his investigations for the life of Columbus. In 1831-2, “The Adventures of the Companions of Columbus,” and “The Alhambra," succeeded as rich in historical interest. “The Tour of the Prairies," after a personal excursion of the author through the wilds of the West, came forth in 1835, and the same year were produced “Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey," and "A legend of the Conquest of Spain.”
In 1836, “Astoria” was published, "being a description of the settlement of that name," commenced by Mr. Astor, “at the mouth of the Columbia river, and the surrounding transmontane regions in all their freshness and wilderness of beauty.”
The "Rocky Mountains,” last year given to the world, completes the list of our author's works-a book, which like "Astoria” and “The Tour of the Prairies,” gives the most vivid sketches of the legends and peculiarities of the untutored men of the forest, and of the “grand features of nature in that picturesque region."
It is unnecessary to say in conclusion to this very hasty synopsis, that Washington Irving, both at home and abroad, is justly regarded as the most popular prose writer of America, and we think we may not be thought singular in our opinion, if we say he will be ultimately looked upon as the most clear, sententious, and pleasing writer-take him all in all that the world has ever had.
From the New York S. M. News.
THE GIFT OF THE NAIAD. Morning was stealing with a soft and rosy blush over the darkness that veiled a sleeping world, when Selim rose from his restless couch, and wandered, with an embittered and repining spirit, toward the distant river which pours its tributary waters into the bosom of the deep-swelling Euphrates. Wrapt in his own gloomy thoughts, he listened not to the hymns of the sweet woodland choristers, already ascending from every bush and tree, making the air vocal, nor heard the gentle murmuring of the bright stream, as it kissed its verdant banks and glided away rejoicing on its peaceful course. Nature spread her thousand varied charms in vain before him, and the fragrant perfume of the modest flowers that clustered in his path gave no pleasure to his senses.--Insensible to all outward impressions, and utterly absorbed in the dark conflict raging within he continued to hurry along the road he had unconsciously chosen with an irregular and uncertain step, heedless whither it might lead. Fatigue at last compelled him to throw himself under the branches of a wide-spreading tree thatovershadowed the river. He had lain there some time, when his attention was suddenly roused by the sound of a low, sweet voice beside him.
“Why art thou sad, oh mortal," it said—“why art thou so sad, when all around thee smiles with happiness?"
Surprised at being thus addressed, Selim looked up: and lo! a bright aerial being, beautiful as the houris, or the far-famed daughters of Gannistan, stood gazing upon him with eyes more lustrous than the stars. The richest bloom of health was on her cheek, and her brow rivalled in whiteness the Parian marble or the purest alabaster. A coronet of pearls was on her head, confining the dark hair that fell in graceful ringlets to her shoulders, and a golden zone, richly studded with brilliants, circled her waist.-And Selim knew that it was the Najad of the Stream; for, although he had never before seen her with his mortal eyes, he had oftimes seen her in dream and vision, in the deep stillness of the midnight hour, when the chaste
their radiant thrones in heaven.
"Arise!” said the spirit, as he bowed himself reverently before her—"tell me the cause of thy afiliction, and if thou art deserving I will aid thee."
There was a rich melody in her voice, such as Selim had never heard before, and its tones sank deep into his heart and became familiar with his memory.
“Alas!” he replied bltterly—“fortune frowns upon me, and the hand of evil destiny crushes me to the earth, blighting my fairest and proudest hopes. Heaven has endowed me with talenis, and I have made myself familiar with knowledge seeking to unravel the mysteries of nature, and all the wondrous phenomena pertaining to an omniscient and over-ruling Providence. My days have been devoted to science, and in the vigils of the silent night have I breathed my spirit into words for the benefit of my race: but the world scoffs at my presumption, and only rewards my labor with con. tunely and neglect. The ignorant insult me with my poverty, and the wealtay shun me as one afflicted with the plague, although my spirit has never bowed itself io ask a favor at their hands. I have sought for fame, and it flies from me. Lonely aud friendless have I lived, lonely and friendless shall I die, and leave no trace behind mo."
“Thou art yet but a youth,” responded the Najad, soothingly; “it is not wise for thee to permit despair so soon to usurp the throne of hope. Does not the sun rise at last on the darkest nighi, and does not his light break forth with a more dazzling glory when envious clouds have bidden his earlier beams? May it not prove so with thee? May not the gloom of thy morning be as a veil, concealing the lustre of thy noon? Cast from thee thy despair, and press forward on thy chosen path with manly energy, remembering that whoso plants must await the harvesting to gather his reward. Take this talisman; wear it constantly in thy bosom, and when thy spirit yields to despondency, peruse the inscription engraven upon it. Put faith in what it tells thee, and be assured the triumph will at last be thine. · Selim took the talisman from her hand, and would have thanked her for the gift, but plunging into the river, she disappeared imme. diately from his sight. The water, which parted to receive her, closed again without a rising bubble to betay the violence done to it.
With a brighter and more hopeful heart, Selim returned to the city. The gloom of the past faded from his memory, giving place to bright anticipations of the future. And he toiled night and day as before unceasingly: and when the unthinking scoffed and his spirit grew weary of the struggle it was engaged in, he thought upon the command of the Naiad, and drew the talisman from his bosom and read the inscription upon it: and when he had done so, he seemed like one newly quaffed at the fountain of life, for the weariness departed from his spirit, and hope came back more buoyant than ever, enabling him to return with renovated vigor to his work. Men looked on, and wondered at his steadiness. At first they sneered, and said "It is but a sudden energy that will soon fail:" but after a long period, when they saw that his ardor remained unabated, they began to praise and to admire. And their murmurs woke Fame from her sleep, and she listened, and took her trumpet and sounded through it the name of Seliin to the world. And the world caught the name and echoed it.
From that day Selim rose rapidly to fortune. Beauty smiled upon him, and men bowed themselves in willing homage to his genius, feeling no envy at his prosperity, for they saw that it was deserved.
Many years after, when his celebrity was established and age had shed its snows upon his head, he returned to the place where he had received the gift of the Naiad, and built a monument there, engraving upon it in letters of gold, that all might read and be instructed, the inscription of the talisman
"SUCCESS IS THE REWARD OF PERSEVERANCE.”
For the Delaware Register.
A LEGISLATOR. Nature has made strange creatures in her time, and some of them have been as strangely promoted to high stations in this enlightened republic, for which they were never intended, by nature or education. The truth of which position was remarkably verified in the case of Jonathan Goforth, whilom a representative to the General Assembly in my native State.
Jivnathan was of a respectable family, and was himself a man of high stundirg; for he stood more than six feet in his stockings, and was withal, big and brawny, and always ready and able to enforce conviction on the minds of such as doubted the infalibility of his doctries, by a loud voice and strong arm. By which means he acquired a kind of popularity among those with whom he associated, at husking and quilting frolics; and they determined to send him to represent them in the Legislature. Such things are easily managed; for all that is necessary, is to appear in sufficient numbers, at the nomination meetings of the party, to secure committee. men favorable to your views, and your man is placed upon the ticket, and elected by the mere force of party, whether qualified or pot for the trust. In this way, Jonathan Goforth, Esquire, was nominated and returned as one of the law givers of the land. But he very nearly lost his election through the silent influence of the balJot-box, for many, not having the fear of personal chastisement befire their eyes, secretly "expunged” his name from their tickets,
rity of several hundred.
If this result abstracted any thing from Jonathan's pride, it ad. ded as much to his independence, for he contended that being elected by one vote, he elected himself, and therefore had no constitus: ents and owed no responsibility to any one; and upon this principle he acted when he took his seat in the house. Every member of a legislative body is generally ambitious to do someibing, by which his name may be handed down to posterity, through the journals of