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-"I had no idea of the fund of dramatic talent lurking within me; and now console myself, that if the worst comes to the worst, I can turn stroller, and pick up a decent maintenance among the barns in England."
On his return to Paris, he could not settle to any literary work, but meeting with John Howard Payne, he engaged with him in a speculation for adapting French Plays to the English Stage. Irving suggesting and putting in the alteration of songs, choruses, &c., but stipulating that his co-operation should be kept secret.
“ Charles II.” and “Richelieu," were two of the pieces so adapted. About the same time he corrected
‘Salmagundi,” for Galignani. In November, 1823, he received a letter from Murray (who had become his publisher, after the failure of Miller), which seemed to act as a spur, and he set diligently to work to produce two volumes of the «Sketch Book ;” this idea was, however, subsequently abandoned, and the work appeared under the title of “Tales of a Traveller, by Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.” He also arranged with Galignani to edit a collection of British literature. of a Traveller” was published in London, August 25th, 1824, and sold rapidly. It appeared in New York, in four parts, the last of which was not out till the entire work was seven weeks old with the London public; and although, in the opinion of the author and his friends, the work contained some of the best things he had ever written, yet, both in England and in America, some hostile criticism was evoked, which tended
to dishearten and greatly depress its author, and render him averse to further literary effort for a time, but in 1825-6, he was engaged in preparing a series of American essays for the press, but they were never published.
In February, 1826, he arrived in Madrid, having procured from Mr. Everitt, U. S. Minister to the Court of Spain, the appointment of Attaché to the Legation, as a protection to himself in travelling, and a means of forwarding his views. He had hired apartments under the roof of the American Consul, 0. Rich, Esq., whom he describes as one of the most indefatigable bibliographers in Europe.” He had free access to his extensive and curious library, and set vigorously to work on his great work, “ The Life of Columbus,” which was published simultaneously by Murray in London, in four volumes, and by Messrs. Carvill in New York, in three volumes, in 1828. This work was not completed without great research and anxiety, Irving having gained access to many sources of information through the assistance of Mr. Everitt, the U. S. Minister, which were as sealed books to others. While engaged on “The Conquest of Granada,” he received an offer from Murray to edit a magazine; the terms were to have been one thousand guineas yearly, and a liberal payment for any articles he might write for it. This offer he declined, as he states in a letter to his brother Ebenezer, “principally because I will not bind myself to any understaking, however lucrative, that would oblige me to fix my residence out of America."
He also declined an offer from the same source of one hundred guineas for every article he might contribute to the “Quarterly Review.” On this subject, he writes to his brother Peter, “It” (the Review) “has always been so hostile to our country, I cannot draw a pen in its service." In November, 1828, Irving received a letter from his brother Peter, informing him that some person was about to publish an abridgment of his “ Life of Columbus," but as this had been an intention of his own, he determined to forestall the wouldbe pirate, and in nineteen days completed his abridgment, the copyright of which he presented to Mr. Murray, but sold it together with the right to publish a second edition of his larger
works to Messrs. Carvill of New York. In Decem?ber, 1821, Mr. Murray purchased “The Conquest
of Granada,” which was sent in duplicate to America. · The title of this work, as arranged by Irving, was “A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada, by Fray Antonio Agapida,” but Murray substituted the author's real name for the nom de plume. The work was published in New York, April 20th, and in London, May 23rd, 1829.
When Irving was just finishing the Legends of “ The Conquest of Granada,” he received intelligence of his appointment as Secretary of Legation, at London, Mr. McLane being appointed the U.S. Minister; Irving received notice of his appointment while residing in the Alhambra Palace, which he left with much regret, and in company with a young English gentleman, travelled through the Mediterranean Provinces of Spain, and after staying a fortnight in Paris, he arrived in London early in October, 1829. At first he was afraid his diplomatic duties would be a disagreeable interruption to his literary vocation, but found Mr. McLane was desirous to make these duties as little onerous as possible, though they still interfered with the progress of his plans. He was much gratified, too, at receiving, in April, 1830, from the Royal Society of Literature one of the two medals annually placed at their disposal by the King. The other having been awarded to Xallam, author of “The Middle Ages." In June, 1831, he was further honoured by the University of Oxford awarding him the LL.D. Degree. Mr. McLane having received permission to return to America, Irving was appointed Chargé d'Affaires. On the 20th of September, he was able to retire from the Legation, and in the same month he had his last interview with Scott, in London; after which he spent some time with his sister at Birmingham, and in company with Mr. Van Buren, the new U.S. Minister, visited Newstead Abbey, and various celebrated places in the Midland counties. Early in 1832, he edited the poems of W. C. Bryant, and procured their publication in London, by Mr. Andrews. In March, Colburn and Bentley undertook to publish “ Tales of the Alhambra," in two vols., duplicate Manuscripts having been previously sent to America. Irving had long been anxious to return to America, and embarked at Havre, April 11th, arriving in NewYork, May 21st, 1832. His reception was tcost cordial, and the delight with which he renewed his acquaintance with his native country unbounded. About three weeks after his arrival, “Tales of the Alhambra” was published in America, by Messrs. Carey and Lea, Philadelphia, having been previously published in London, and also in France. Irving spent some time in travelling, during which he gathered matter for his "Tour on the Prairies,” which formed the first volume of the “Crayon Miscellany.” The publication in London being about a month previous to its appearance in America. The second volume was published in London, May 1st, 1835, and in America, May 30th of the same year, and contained Abbotsford, and Newstead Abbey. About this time he purchased Woolfert's Roost, then a small, stone, Dutch cottage, afterwards enlarged, and re-named Sunnyside. In addition to this purchase, he made some investments in wild land, but, with the exception of one, they were not very successful; causing him, indeed, some financial embarrassment which, however, only spurred him on to increased literary activity. « Astoria was published in October, 1836, by Bentley, in London, and Carey and Lee, in Philadelphia. This work was undertaken at the request of John Jacob Astor, who had founded the Colony of Astoria, at the mouth of the Columbia river, and who supplied the author with much material for the work, consisting of letters, journals, verbal narratives, &c. It was favourably received on both sides the Atlantic, and was soon after supplemented by another work, entitled “ The