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quote nothing which I learnt in the character of a visitor, not of a spectator. There are two American writers, however, of whom I would say one word in passing, and they are Mr. Lowell, the author of the “Biglow Papers," and Mr. Holmes, the creator of “Elsie Venner.” When America has completed her great mission of settling the New World, I cannot doubt that the wonderful energy and power of her people will produce a characteristic national literature worthy of herself, and, I say it without boasting, of the mother country also. In the works of these two gentlemen, I think you can discover the first commencement of a distinct era of American literature. The first has created a new school of poetry—the poetry of common Yankee life; the second has opened out a new vein of romance in the relations of physiology to the development of character. Both these writers have at least so I fancy—a greater career before them than they have yet accomplished.
Let me say also, in concluding these scattered remarks on the literary men of Boston, that what struck me most about them collectively was the degree of intimacy and cordiality on which they lived with one another. To any one who knows anything of the literary world in England, it will seem a remarkable fact that all men of intellectual note in Boston should meet regularly once a month, of their own free' will and pleasure, to dine with each other; and still more so, that they should meet as friends, not as rivals. No doubt, this absence of jealousy is due, in great measure, to the literary field of America being so little occupied, that there is nothing like the same competition between authors as there is with us; but it is due, I think, chiefly to that general kindliness and good-nature which appear to me characteristic, socially, of the American people.
NEW ENGLAND AND THE WAR.
My sojourn in New England enabled me to appreciate the truth of an observation I have heard made by many intelligent Americans, that the effect of this civil war will be to consolidate the country. If it were not for the common interest in the war, it would have been hard to realize that Boston formed part of the same country as Chicago, and St. Louis, and Nashville. There, as elsewhere, the war seemed to me the chief bond of union and identity between the different States of the North. Nowhere indeed, in my own observation, was the ardour for the war greater than in Massachusetts. It had come home, perhaps, to those New England States more closely than to any other which were not actually the scene of the war. Wherever I went, I stumbled on traces of the great war, in which the nation was pouring out the life-blood of its children without stint or measure. Day after day, whilst sitting on the lawn of a friend's house on the Mount Auburn Road, I used to see the funerals of soldiers, who had died in the campaign, passing by on their way to the cemetery. Nobody, I noticed, paid any heed to the occurrence. A servant-girl or so went to the gate to look at the procession, but no excitement was created by the sight. How, indeed, could it be otherwise ? The spectacle, melancholy to me, had grown such every-day work in Boston-it was only one death the more out of so very many. In one house, I recollect, I found the family in distress, because a report had just been received that the regiment in which the eldest son of the house was serving had been under fire, and had suffered heavily. In another, the parents were uneasy, because their only son, a mere boy, wanted to be off to the war. In a third, a photograph lay upon the table of a gallant manly lad, proud of his new uniform. I asked who he was, and was told, as if it were an every-day matter, that it was the likeness of a near and dear relative who had fallen in the war—and so on. I could mention scores of such incidents. I have only picked out these, because they occurred to me at the houses of men whose names are well known in England. I went by hazard into a village church, and there I heard thanks offered up for an exchanged prisoner, who had that day been restored to his home after months of captivity. I suppose there is scarce a household in Massachusetts, which the war has not associated with some hope, or fear, or sorrow of its own.
There is much, too, left in Massachusetts of the Puritan, or rather of the race to which the Puritan gave birth. Life itself is a hard and laborious matter in that stony, barren country. There is about the New Englander a strong marked individuality, a religious zeal bordering on intolerance, a steady attachment to his own State, a passion for land, and a love of labourqualities which have been handed down, with little change, from the Pilgrim Fathers. Amongst a people, with such characteristics, it is not strange that there should be an earnestness, possibly a ferocity, about the war one hardly comes across in the more modern States. In the West, it is probable that if you could suade the inhabitants that Secession was advantageous to their interest, the Union feeling would die away in great measure. In New England, the sense of personal interest has little, if anything, to do with the passion for the war. These causes operate to create a very different kind of public sentiment in the East from that which prevails in the West. The name of compromise is hateful to the New Englander; and, to the Puritan mind, there is but one issue to this conflict, possible or permissible, and that is, the victory of the Union. I have spoken already of the status of the Abolitionist party in New England. As I have there shown, the popular mind was not prepared for a raid on the property and the institutions of other States. The reverence for the Constitution, the respect for law, and