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DUYCKINCK, EVERT AUGUSTUS, an American critic and essayist, born in New York City, November 23, 1816; died there August 13, 1878. He was the son of Evert Duyckinck, a publisher. He was educated at Columbia College, studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1837. After travelling for a year in Europe, he returned to New York, and in 1840, in conjunction with Cornelius Mathews, he established a monthly period. ical entitled Arcturus, a Journal of Books and Opinion, which was continued for two years. In 1847 he became the editor of The Literary World, which with an interval of about a year was carried on by him and his brother, George L. Duyckinck, until the close of 1853. They now began a Cyclopedia of American Literature, which was published in 1856. Ten years later a supplement was added by E. A. Duyckinck, who besides contributing to periodicals, also published The Wit and Wisdom of Sydney Smith, with a memoir (1855); Memorials of John Allen (1864); Poems Relating to the American Revolution, with memoirs (1865); History of the War for the Union (1861–65); National Portrait Gallery of Eminent Americans (1866); History of the World (1870); and Memorials of Francis L. Hawks (1871).
GEORGE LONG DUYCKINCK, brother of Evert, born in New York City, October 17, 1823; died there, March 30, 1863. He was educated at Geneva College, N. Y., and at the University of the City of New York. He was associated with his brother in the editorship of the Literary World and in the preparation of the valuable Cyclopædia of American Literature (1856). He was also the author of biographies of George Herbert and Bishops Kerr, Latimer, and Jeremy Taylor.
"Here," says his brother Evert in a Supplement to the Cyclopædia of American Literature, “here I must pause, with a brother's testimony to the manly sincerity of his character and the great worth of his example; the lesson of his life in the discharge, with rare self-devotion, of every private, social, and Christian duty. I owe much, more than I can express, to his constant affection, his principles, and his active virtues."
THE DEATH OF JOSEPH WARREN. It was understood that on the eighteenth of the month, Gage would take possession of Charlestown, the peninsula to the north of Boston, on which stood Bunker's and Breed's Hill. The latter, nearest to the town, was the scene of the great conflict, though its more inland neighbor has carried off the honor of the name. On the fifteenth, the Committee of Safety resolved to establish a position on Bunker Hill. William Prescott, the grandfather of the historian, was placed in command of a thousand men, and the next night, that of the sixteenth, marched, as he conceived the instructions, to Breed's Hill. A redoubt was marked out, and an entrenchment raised by the extraordinary energy of the band, between midnight and dawn, when the work was first discovered by the British. How well that earthwork and its adjoining fence matted with hay were defended through the sultry noon by the body of unrefreshed, night-worn farmers, with what death to the invaders, is matter of history. As the news spread
of the actual engagement, as the fires of Copp's Hill and the vessels of war in the harbor sped against the devoted work, as the smoke of burning Charlestown darkened the bright day, one and another came to the aid of the gallant Prescott, who awaited the attack in his redoubt. Stark brought his levies to the defence of the hill ; Pomeroy and Warren came alone. The last arrived in the afternoon, shortly before the first assault of Howe and his forces. He had been with the Provincial Congress, of which he was president, the day before, had passed the night in Watertown, and reached Cambridge indisposed in the morning. The news of the British attack shook off his headache ; he consulted with the Committee of Safety, and hurried to that “gory bed" of honor, the redoubt on Breed's Hill. He was met by Putnam on the field, who requested his orders. He had none to give, only to ask, “Where he could be most useful.” Putnam pointed to the redoubt, with an intimation that he would be covered. “I come not," was his reply, "for a place of safety, but where the onset will be most furious.” Putnam still pointed to the redoubt as the main point of attack. Here Prescott tendered him the command ; his answer again was in the same spirit: “I came as a volunteer, to learn from a soldier of experience.” He encountered the full perils of that gallant defence, marked by its fearful anxiety in the failure of the scanty ammunition. He was the last, we are told, in the trenches, and at the very outset of the retreat fell, mortally struck by a ball in the forehead. So ended this gallant life, on the height at Breed's Hill, on that memorable June 17, 1775.-National Portrait Gallery.
The personal qualities of Trumbull were rarely adapted to serve the cause in which his life was passed. The participant in three great wars, the experience of Nestor was added to a natural prudence and moderation which were seldom at fault. His simplicity of character was the secret of its greatness. He early fixed the principles of his life, and steadily adhered to them to the end. So honors came to him, and were heaped upon him--the steady, persistent, useful devout citizen of Lebanon. There was his home, there was his armor, and he appears seldom to have travelled much beyond its rural precincts; but his influence knew no bounds, it was seen and felt in every vein of the public life, in the court, in the camp--we may almost say in the pulpit, for divinity never entirely lost, amidst the cares of business and of state, her early pupil. Connecticut may well honor his memory, and, in times of doubt and peril, think how her Revolutionary governor, Trumbull, would have thought and acted. If it be true that the origin of the term, “ Brother Jonathan,” familiarly applied to the nation, originated, as is sometimes said, with an expression of General Washington, in an emergency of the public service : “We must consult brother Jonathan on the subject," we may find a happy memorial of his fame in a phrase which bids fair to be more lasting than many a monument of stone or marble.--National Portrait Gellery.
WASHINGTON IRVING. He was thrown upon authorship apparently by accident, a lucky shipwreck of his fortunes, as it proved, for the world. In this faculty, which he possessed better than anybody else in America, the most important ingredient was humor-a kindly perception of life, not unconscious of its weakness, tolerant of its frailties, capable of throwing a beam of sunshine into the dark ness of its misfortunes. He loved literature, but not at the expense of society. Though his writings were fed by many secret rills, flowing from the elder worthies, the best source of his inspiration was daily life. He was always true to its commonest, most real emotions. In all his personal intercourse with others, in every relation of life, Mr. Irving, in an eminent degree, exhibited the qualities of the gentleman. They were principles of thought and action, in the old definition of Sir Philip Sydney, “seated in a heart of courtesy." His manners, while they were characterized by the highest refinement, were simple to a degree. His habits of living were plain, though not homely : everything about him displayed good taste, and an expense not below the standard of his fortunes, but there was no ostentation. In public affairs, though unfitted for the duties of the working politician, his course was independent and patriotic. No heart beat warmer in love of country and the Union, and the honor of his nation's flag. This is worth mentioning in his case, for his tastes and studies led him to retirement; but he did not suffer it to be an inglorious ease, to which higher ends should be sacrificed.-- From the Portrait Gallery of Eminent Men and Women.
Second to its main quality of truthfulness, saying no more than the writer was ready to abide by, is its amenity and considerate courtesy. Washington had, at different times, many unpleasant truths to tell; but he could always convey them in the language of a gentleman. He wrote like a man of large and clear views. His position, which was on an eminence, obliterated minor niceties and shades which might have given a charm to his writings in other walks of life. This should always be remembered, that Washington lived in the eye of the public, and thought, wrote, and spoke under the responsibility of the empire. Let his writings be compared with those of other rulers and commanders, he will be found to hold his rank nobly, as well intellectually as politically. There will be found, too, a variety in his treatment of different topics and occasions. He can compliment a friend in playful, happy terms on his marriage, as well as thunder his demands for a proper attention to the interests of the country at the doors of Congress. Never vulgar, he frequently uses colloquial phrases with effect, and, unsuspected of being a poet, is fond of figurative expressions. In fine,
, a critical examination of the writings of Washington will show that the man here, as in other lights, will suffer nothing by a minute inspection.-From a Contribution of GEORGE LONG DUYCKINCK to the Cyclopædia of American Literature.