Gleanings in Europe, England


This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1837 Excerpt: bad enough, certainly, but it is, by no means, the worst feature in the affair. Men, in the condition of gentlemen, have been found among the oppressed, to justify the wrong, for you and I are both old enough, distinctly to remember the time, when England was loudly and openly vindicated by a party, at ...
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Gleanings in Europe, England

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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1837 Excerpt: bad enough, certainly, but it is, by no means, the worst feature in the affair. Men, in the condition of gentlemen, have been found among the oppressed, to justify the wrong, for you and I are both old enough, distinctly to remember the time, when England was loudly and openly vindicated by a party, at home, in a course that set all national honour, and national justice at defiance. It is said, that the world presents nothing new; that all its current incidents are merely new phases of old events; but, really, it sometimes seems to me, that the history of man has never before presented so strong an instance of national abasement, as is to be found in the feelings, language, reasoning, and acts of a very large portion of what are called the better classes of the American people, towards Great Britain. Of all burthens, that of the mental dependance created by colonial subserviency, appears to be the most difficult to remove. It weighs upon us yet, like an incubus, and, apart from matters of gain, in which we have all our eyes about us, and apart from party politics, in which men will " follow their leaders, though it be to the devil," there is not an American, in my opinion, at this moment, of sufficient note fairly to attract foreign comment, who does not hold his reputation at home, entirely at the mercy of Great Britain. We do not see this fact ourselves, but strangers do, and deride us for the weakness. We have, indeed, reason to thank God, that the portion of the nation, which constitutes its bone and muscle, although of no account in its floating opinions, is so purely practical, so stubborn in its nationality, so right-thinking, at least, in the matters that come properly and fairly before it, and so little likely to be influenced to its d...
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Product Details

Meet the Author

James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper is considered by many to be America's first great novelist. His most popular work, The Last of the Mohicans, has remained one of the most widely read novels throughout the world, greatly influencing the way many cultures have viewed both the American Indians and the frontier period of U.S. history.


James Cooper (he added the Fenimore when he was in his 30s) was born September 15, 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey, to William Cooper and Elizabeth Fenimore Cooper. In 1790 the family moved to the frontier country of upstate New York, where William established a village he called Cooperstown. Although cushioned by wealth and William's status as landlord and judge, the Coopers found pioneering to be rugged, and only 7 of the 13 Cooper children survived their early years. All the hardship notwithstanding, according to family reports, the young James loved the wilderness. Years later, he wrote The Pioneers (1823) about Cooperstown in the 1790s, but many of his other books draw deeply on his childhood experiences of the frontier as well.

Cooper was sent to Yale in 1801 but he was expelled in 1805 for setting off an explosion in another student's room. Afterward, as a midshipman in the fledgling U.S. Navy, he made Atlantic passages and served at an isolated post on Lake Ontario. Cooper resigned his commission in 1811 to marry Susan Augusta De Lancey, the daughter of a wealthy New York State family. During the next decade, however, a series of bad investments and legal entanglements reduced his inheritance to the verge of bankruptcy.

Cooper was already 30 years old when, on a dare from his wife, he became a writer. One evening he threw down, in disgust, a novel he was reading aloud to her, saying he could write a better book himself. Susan, who knew that he disliked writing even letters, expressed her doubts. To prove her wrong he wrote Precaution, which was published anonymously in 1820. Encouraged by favorable reviews, Cooper wrote other books in quick succession, and by the time The Last of the Mohicans, his sixth novel, was published in 1827, he was internationally famous as America's first professionally successful novelist. Eventually he published 32 novels, as well as travel books and histories. Cooper invented the genre of nautical fiction, and in the figure of Nathaniel or "Natty" Bumppo (Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans) -- the central character in the five Leatherstocking Tales Cooper published between 1823 and 1841 -- he gave American fiction its first great hero.

Shortly after publishing The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper moved his family to Europe, but in 1833 he returned to America, moving back into his father's restored Mansion House in Cooperstown. He died there on September 14, 1851.

Author biography courtesy of Barnes & Noble Books.

Good To Know

Cooper was expelled from Yale due to his passion for pranks, which included training a donkey to sit in a professor's chair and setting a fellow student's room on fire.

Between 1822 and 1826 Cooper lived in New York City, and was a major player on its intellectual scene. He founded the Bread and Cheese Club, which had many high-profile members, including notable painters of the Hudson River School and writers like William Cullen Bryant.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      September 15, 1789
    2. Place of Birth:
      Burlington, New Jersey
    1. Date of Death:
      September 14, 1851
    2. Place of Death:
      Cooperstown, New York
    1. Education:
      Yale University (expelled in 1805)

Read an Excerpt

FRANCE. LETTER I. To James E. De Kay, Esquire. We have not only had Mr. Canning in Paris, but Sir Walter Scott has suddenly appeared among us. The arrival of the Great Unknown, or, indeed, of any little Unknown from England, would be an event to throw all the reading clubs at home, into a state of high moral and poetical excitement. We are true village lionizers. As the professors of the Catholic religion are notoriously more addicted to yielding faith to miraculous interventions, in the remoter dioceses, than in Rome itself; as loyalty is always more zealous in a colony, than in a court; as fashions are more exaggerated in a province, than in a capital, and men are more prodigious to every one else, than their own valets, so do we throw the ha- VOL. II. 2 loes of a vast .ocean around the honoured heads of the celebrated men of this eastern hemisphere. This, perhaps, is the natural course of things, and is as unavoidable as that the sun shall hold the earth within the influence of its attraction, until matters shall be reversed by the earth's becoming the larger and more glorious orb of the two. Not so in Paris. Here men of every gradation of celebrity, from Napoleon down to the Psalmanazar of the day, are so very common, that one scarcely turns round in the streets, to look at them. Delicate and polite attentions, however, fall as much to the share of reputation, here, as in any other country, and perhaps more so, as respects literary men, though there is so little wonder-mongering. It would be quite impossible that the presence of Sir Walter Scott should not -excite a sensation. He was frequently named in the journals, received a good deal of private, and some public notice, but,on the whole, much less of both,! think, than one would have a right to expect for hi...
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Table of Contents



Historical Introduction


Gleanings in Europe: The Rhine

Explanatory Notes

Appendix A. Bentley's Analytical Table of Contents

Appendix B. Guide to Parallel Passages in Cooper's Journals and the Cooper Edition

Textual Commentary

Textual Notes




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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Why Sir Walter Scott was dangerous for Americans to read in 1828

    In 1826 James Fenimore Cooper was 36 years old. He was married with children. He had just published THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Suddenly he and they set sail for Europe, nominally to take up his duties as U. S. Consul in Lyons, France. He would return home seven years later with five more novels under his belt. He would also be in the midst of producing five epistolary "travel" books about Europe. ***

    Family in tow, Cooper spent three months, February to May, 1828, living in St James Park in London, attending to publishing chores, taking notes and enjoying the social season. This was his fourth visit to England and there would be yet more. Others who encountered him in and around London in those three months remembered Cooper as handsome, intelligent, a bit prickly and standoffish and quick to correct English misimpressions of America. Soon after arrival, the author's wife received the news of her father's death in New York. In mourning, she accompanied her famous husband on none of his social visits to balls, breakfasts, luncheons and evening banquets. ***

    James Fenimore Cooper had been raised to admire everything English. But as he matured, he found Americans too intellectually dependent on their onetime colonial master, especially regarding books and newspapers. Lacking a large literature of their own, Americans overvalued English poets, novelists, historians and politicians. ***

    To Cooper the national government of the 24 States of the American Union, representative of all the people, was superior to Britain's. The UK, before the Reform Act of 1832, was in the hands of a landed aristocracy led by 20 Dukes and 1,000 baronets (such as Sir Walter Scott). The King was a virtual figurehead. Even the House of Commons was dominated by sons of titled families. ***

    Naturally, the writers of the UK reflected the Kingdom's social realities. And none reflected them better than the Scottish baronet-come-lately Sir Walter Scott. Cooper, called by some "the American Scott" had already met the "wizard of the North" in Paris. Socially, their paths crossed a half dozen times during Cooper's stay in London. Most of Cooper's aristocratic friends were the more "democratic" Whigs. Sir Walter Scott was the only Tory to make a social call on Cooper. ***

    Scott was the widest read novelist in the world and, after Lord Byron, the best known living poet. Americans, North and South, drank Scott down ravenously. To Cooper this was dangerous. For Scott was a monarchist to the core. Embedded deep within Scott was "deference to hereditary rank. ... Sir Walter Scott may be right, but if he is right our system is radically wrong..." (Letter XI, p.121). Years later Mark Twain would claim that Scott's aristocratic writings and glorification of lost causes (especially of Scotland) gave a major impulse toward the U. S. Civil War! ***

    The only European for whom Fenimore Cooper expressed unqualified admiration was the Marquis de Lafayette. And that because the great Frenchman was the last living tie to the glorious George Washington. Englishmen thought little of American heroes, starting with the rebellious Washington of 1775. Fenimore Cooper was not slow to let aristocratic British men and women know when he thought them wrong. Cooper judged ENGLAND his best "travel" book. I have not yet read the other four. I hope he was wrong. For ENGLAND does not define 1828 England. -OOO-

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