Back to Article List

Printable view

[M1] “The Philadelphia Press,” The Citizen Soldier, Jan. 19, 1843

The Philadelphia Press.

            We shall at some convenient opportunity, exhibit to our readers, as well as we are able, the actual condition of our city press.  We shall analyse the excellencies and deficiencies of this all-powerful engine, and endeavour, in a spirit of candour and truth, to examine into the claims of some of these public organs to impartiality, independence, and how far they may justly claim a share of public confidence.  In doing this we shall act independently, and however much we may err in judgment, we are certain of bring actuated by honesty of purpose.

Printable view

[M2] “Reviews, Books, Authors,” The Citizen Soldier, Jan. 19, 1843

Reviews, Books, Authors.

            In noticing the new publications of the day, whether of American or foreign production, we shall be guided by the spirit of truth, justice and impartiality—we shall neither puff extravagantly, nor condemn unceremoniously, but critically and honestly examine every production which shall come within the sphere of our notice.  Good works, on whose pages we find truth, science, and intellect, will receive that approbation which we may think they merit, and, on the contrary, the namby pamby emanations of that host of scribes who are afflicted by that horrible malady the "cacoethes scribendi," will be dissected without mercy, and no quarter shown to those vain, hollow, pretending authors, who are more distinguished for their imbecility, affection, and disgusting pretensions, than for good sense, good manners, or any thing else which is good, excepting for the love of good eating, good drinking, and an insatiable desire for a good deal of good praise.

Printable view

[M3] “Our Politics,” The Citizen Soldier, Jan. 19, 1843

Our Politics

We have been asked for our political opinions, whether we are democrats, conservatives, or whigs; but as it would be inconvenient for us at this moment to express any preference for the political parties of the day, we shall hold in silence altogether, so far as this paper is concerned, our sentiments on the subject.  There is one party, however, which we shall at all times support,which we shall advocate with zeal, and whose advancement we shall urge zealously, devotedly, and fearlessly—a party which is too much neglected every where—a party which has, and always will have, paramount claims to our notice—a party which the scoundrelly time-serving politicians take no notice of—a party which, in all ages, is the peculiar care of Heaven—a party which has been often robbed of its rights by the tyrants and despots of the earth—a party whose sighs, tears and groanings have made the angels of mercy weep—a party which is to be found every where, and that party, is the Party of Human Nature!  This party is opposed in sentiment, feelings, and practice, to all kinds of despotism in every form, and rises indignant at every species of tyranny.  This is the party which we shall strenuously adhere to, and we trust that our friends will not be displeased with our choice.

Printable view

[M4] “Spirit of the Times,” The Citizen Soldier, Jan. 19, 1843:

Spirit of the Times.

If the Editor will inform us which puns are his own, really and truly, and those which he appropriates to his own use from the N. O. Picayune, we will at all times give him credit.  At present we are at a loss—pray explain, do!

Printable view

[M5] “The Legend of the Coffee Bags,” The Citizen Soldier, June 7, 1843

Original Tales.

Written for the Citizen Soldier.

The Legend of the Coffee Bags.

An Episode in the Life of a Bookworm.



“Pah! This twaddle of Mr. Bogton or Mr. Frogton, may be very funny, very amusing, still it is not literature.”—E. A. Poe on Charles O’Malley, etc.


The Students, their characters and their history.

“I tell you, Francis, I am sick of life—sick to the heart’s core!”

“And I tell you, Charles, that I am not sick of life—by no means; nor will I be while wine, women, and fun endure!”

“Francis, you trifle.  Just for a moment look at my circumstances.  Three months ago, I bore off the honors at Harvard College, and life opened before me like a pleasant landscape.  Now look at the dreary change—”

“Change is never dreary, Charles.  Change at all times will procure Champaigne, oysters, and fun.  Always excepting Relief notes, however.—Don’t speak against change, Charles.”

“I returned home, to the pleasant valley, where is fixed the mansion of my patron—I returned home to the pleasant valley of Beechwood, county of Chester, and found the friend of my youth cold hearted, and the object of my first and warmest passion, faithless.”

“And did I not find that same friend of your youth, that is my respected father, in no very agreeable mood with myself—that is I, Mr. Francis Warner?  Did not the old gentleman talk learnedly of the evils of dissipation at college?  Did he not discuss on oyster suppers at Harvard?  Was he not familiar with every little country drive I had taken, every little peccadillo I had committed, every small “dash out” that I had made?  Pah!  Charles! away with those folded arms, that measured step and that frowning brow!  ‘Care killed a cat,’ ‘and I’ll have none of it.’  Here we are in our own chamber, located in an old fashioned house in the good city of Philadelphia.  Our hostess is a queer sort of an old woman, as ancient in manners as her furniture is antique in appearance; our companions are ourselves; and our resources are—”

“A paltry sum which we managed to save out of our college allowance.  Ods! life, Francis, I’m sick of this life!”

With that the grave student walked to the window, and his merry companion whistled the Cracovienne, interspersing this musical entertainment with various effective illustrations of the poetry of motion.

As Charles stands gazing out the window into the narrow street, we will take a peep at his personal appearance.  About the middle height in stature, his figure was well proportioned, his hands were delicate, his feet small, his shoulders bent over with a slight stoop, and he was attired in a frock coat of deep black, buttoned up to the throat, with the ends of a black kerchief that enveloped his neck, disposed in a very neat tie, and permitting small spaces of white shirt collar fresh from the hands of the laundress, to fall in a very careless manner over the dark collar of his coat.  His face was pale in hue, with massive intellectual features, dark and brilliant eyes, forehead high and pale, Roman nose, prominent chin and determined mouth.  His jet black hair fell in thick, and massive curls down on either side of his face, and relieved his pale countenance, with their dark and waving outline.  He was altogether a very student-like person in appearance; his whole manner was embued with the little eccentricities peculiar to the authorial craft, and his character partook largely of the strange mixture of reflection and prejudice, thought and petulance, not unfrequently visible in the demeanour of that class who term themselves men of genius, but who are designated by the world under the general name of scribblers.

His companion, Francis Warner, was a very handsome young fellow, with regard to the advantages of personal beauty.  His well moulded figure was attired in a very finished claret-colored coat, a bulging vest of ‘dusky’ exterior, dark unmentionables varied by innumerable stripes, and his feet were inclosed within fashionable boots of the Lilliputian order.  A wide shirt collar of the Byronic mode, gave free sweep to the motions of his neck, and was very prettily relieved by a blue scarf varied by golden flowers, which was arrayed in voluptuous folds around his neck and over his prominent chest.

Francis Warner was one of your jolly good fellows who sing a good song at a wine party, dance ‘stag’dances in a ball-room, beat the watch-men when returning homeward during the prevalence of the small hours, twist door-bells from their sockets, transpose the shingles from professional shutters, and manage to make a night of it in a general way.  At college, legendary narrative still tells, how Frank Warner gave offense to the faculty, by transferring a haystack from the centre of a green meadow to the middle aisle of the collegiate chapel during the silent hours of the night; how he was wont to disturb the naps of the erudite by unearthly imitations of the quadruped renowned for his firmness and consistency; how he very industriously oiled the bannisters of the chapel stairway, with a compound at once unctuous and odorous, thereby essentially damaging the hands of the Professors; and there is a certain vague legend still extant at Harvard, of the prevalence of a ghost, dressed in white, with eyes of flame and hair of fire, among the cloisters of the college at very unseasonable hours, causing considerable alarm to the faculty, affrighting the students, and turning books, papers, and things in general, upside down, in a manner not at all sanctioned by precedent or supported by learned authority.

The room allotted for the use of the students for the weekly stipend of one dollar, through the kindness of the Widow Smith, was an old fashioned place, with an arching ceiling, heavy with smoky ornaments of wood, a spacious fire-place, surmounted by a massive mantel-piece, grinning with unearthly satyrs and fabulous dragons, all nicely ‘done in wood;’ the uncarpeted floor, was polished to a snowy whiteness, the bed in the corner was arrayed in all the glories of clean coverlid and downy pillow; the huge backed chairs, looking as straight and formal as though they were discussing the merits of the Tariff, seemed made for any other use than for the repose of the most sensitive portion of the human frame; the light was admitted into the chamber, by two extensive windows reaching from the ceiling, nearly down to the floor, with very deep frames, ornamented with carved work; very dingy glasses, set in massive old sashes, and they gave to the vision of the students a very pleasant view of an exceedingly narrow alley, where the cold winter wind was raising a considerable dust, while children were playing, dogs barking, women screaming, all through one another, in a confusion at once picturesque and indiscriminate.

In the centre of the room stood a circular table covered with books and papers, and with an armchair on either side.  Blotted manuscript, half-opened volumes, superannuated pens and a massive inkstand, ornamented with numerous incrustations, varied the appearance of the oil cloth that covered the table, and gave the place quite a literary air, which plainly indicated that a son of the pen prevailed in the immediate vicinity.

“Francis, take a seat, and we’ll discuss the prospect that opens before us.  There now—you know how your father, Mr. Warner, of Chester county, adopted me, when I was quite a lad; you know he gave the orphan a home, how he educated me, how he supported me while at Harvard—”

“Oh, certainly, I know all that,” Francis replied, rolling himself about on the chair.  “And I am also aware of the small bit of love, that was in existence between you and my sister Norah—the black-eyed minx!  How she did rate me for my follies at Harvard!  Need I recall the moment when returning home with me, to my father’s house, you thought proper to be attacked with an exceedingly violent spasm of jealousy, because forsooth, you saw your lady love, my pretty sister, walking arm in arm with a city beau, through the lonely arcades of Beechwood!  And from that moment, the story is as plain, as the scenery around Philadelphia.  You forswear love and women, and hied hither to Phialdelphia—this good city, with the very praiseworthy intention of making your bread by your goose-quill.  My case was exactly opposite—I would not forswear love and women, I would not forswear Champaigne, and so my respected papa, forswore me, gave me the bag to hold, sacked me and turned me out of doors, banished, exiled, outlawed me—that’s all!  Here I am, and what d’ye intend to do, Charley my boy?”

“I am now engaged in the composition of an original work, which I hope shall bring me fame and—”

“Pewter!” suggested Francis, with a grave expression of countenance, quite peculiar.

“Fame and money.  While I am engaged in this work, I hope my good star shall favor me with one blessing—the entire absence of all women and children from this domicile, or any place within a mile.  The old lady, Mrs. Smith, I can bear with, but, as for young women—pah! they are the very essence of insipidity, boiled down to a Compound Extract.  You converse with them and they talk of—matrimony, forsooth!  You jest with them—and they deal in pretty little pieces of wit, descriptive of the various beauties of that drivelling species of insanity termed—love!  Pah!  Francis I would to heaven that I might never look upon one of the sex again!”

“Still, black eye, velvet cheek, and cherry lips, have their charms—” suggested Francis in his meditative way.

“And then to think what I have suffered, during two weeks residence in this city from women and children!  When we first arrived in town, I instituted inquiries for a nice, quiet domestic family, where we might live in uninterrupted felicity.  We obtained such a place—and, good Saint Benedict! d’ye recollect, the first morning we breakfasted in this nice, quiet family?  There was the amiable mamma, grasping with one arm, a big, frowsy baby, its chubby cheeks smeared with molasses, neatly varied by divers crumbs of bread; while the other hand brandished the coffee pot.  Pah! d’ye remember the amiable papa, how fondly he looked upon the budding hope of the family?  How like a heap of galvanized dough he looked?  Pah!  d’ye remember?  Hey! hey!  Hah-ha-ha?  Zounds but it makes me mad—such an annoyance!  Pah, pah!”

“Well, Charles, you are quite a woman-hater!” suggested the mercurial Francis, rolling himself about in the spacious armed-chair.  “What a minx sister Norah was—eh! Charlie?   Those lonely walks, Charlie, those confessions of reciprocal passion—that’s the word—and all before you went to college—oh! changeable Charles!”

“Ods fish!” muttered the literary student as he arose from his chair, for his perusal of the old dramatists, had given him a habit of swearing after their select number of pretty oaths.  “Ods fish, Francis, you vex meI  I hate the very sight of a woman or child!”


The Beautiful Period.  The Mysterious Nurse.  The Fearful Reality.

“That’s a beautiful period!  Ah! Superb! My work entitled, ‘an Inquiry into the theory of Witchcraft, and the unrealities of the spiritual world, together with some disquisitions on the probabilities of Animal Magnetism, &c. &c.’, will bring me fame and money.  Ha-ha!  I shall conquer all difficulties.  A beautiful period!”

Charles leaned back in his armed-chair, and gazed complacently at the scrawled and blotted sheets of his unfinished work.  He had been busily employed on this essay for nearly a week, his “Inquiry” approached completion, and he felt pleased with himself and the world in general.

“What’s all that about?” cried Francis, who stood arranging his cravat at the only mirror in the room.  “Let’s hear that beautiful period as you call it—pro-ceed Charles.”

“Here it is, Francis.  ‘There is, in every human heart, a secret disposition to entertain and believe the relations of supernatural appearances.  We all dream of a bright world beyond the present—we dream of a fairy race, who people the air around us with forms of light, and fill the dome of heaven with mysterious song—we all desire that these visions might be realized; that these dreams might assume a tangible form, and were the very dead to arise from their graves, clad in the cerements of death, clad in all the’—‘Sdeath! Francis, what’s that!”

Had the very dead walked into the room, clad in the cerements of the grave, and robed in shadowy terrors, the student would not have started more hurriedly to his feet, than he did at this moment, when a certain mysterious noise arose in the entry without, and re-echoed through the spacious chambers of the old-fashioned mansion.

Charles rushed to the door, as a fearful suspicion broke upon his mind, he rushed to the door, opened it very slightly, and gazed with an intense expression of mingled fear, alarm and curiosity out into the entry.  One glance sufficed him, he slammed the door shut, walked hurriedly over the floor, and approaching the side of Francis, he looked into his face with an expression of the most overwhelming solemnity.


“My stars!  Charles, what is the matter?”

“Francis! there’s a live child in this house!  A live child and its mother, Francis!  Ha-ha—I shall go mad!”

“Why Charles?  What is the matter?  I see nothing extraordinary in ‘a live child and its mother’—if it had two mothers you might talk.”

“You see nothing in a live child and its mother?  Don’t ye?  He-he—you don’t, don’t you?  I shall commit suicide—hang—drown myself—cut my throat!  oh!  Heaven!  That child will be spanked over every floor in the house—its mother will cry after it in a woman’s voice—the north wind whistling down the chimney will be nothing to it!  My peace of mind is gone—a young woman and a child lodging in the same house with me!  Ods, life, s’death—pah!”

“Stop, Charlie, stop!  ha!  ha!  ha!  You’ll kill me with laughter!  Oh, that grave face—that expression of woe—that despair!  Do take me out and bury me decently, somebody!  Ha-ha-ha!  Ho-ho-ho!”

“Gentle-men,” said a shrill, sharp voice—“seein’ as your door was jist on the jar, I made bold to walk in.  Hope I see you well to-day, gentle-men—” continued the voice, and the portly form of the landlady, with her small, good-humored face, and bright sparkling grey eyes, stood in the doorway—“I can’t help tellin’ you the good news!  I’ve just got sich a nice widder lady for a lodger—she’s took the front room up stairs, jist over head!  sich a nice young lady, just lost her husband a month or two since, reduced to moderate circumstances and so on—and oh! gentle-men—” continued Mrs. Smith, with an air of the keenest exhileration, as though she was about to add increased zest to her news—“and oh! gentlemen, she’s got three sich nice children, two boys and a little girl; the little gal with blue eyes and curly yaller hair; one of the little boys—such a che-rub! with black hair and charcoal eyes, and ‘tother squints a little and had a red head!  Oh, deary me, sich a nice widder and three such ducky dears of children!”

Charles sank down in his chair.  The iron had entered his soul.  His peace of mind was gone.  Visions of spanked children, with a mamma screaming after them, all over the house, floated before his eyes, and Charles resigned himself to his fate, with all the desperation of a martyred woman-hater, a sacrificed child-despiser.


The Interesting Trio of Innocents—Their Delightful Playfulness—The Widow—“Love at First Sight.”

The next day the trials of Charles began in good earnest.  At first a faint cry was heard overhead, then a prolonged yell, then a general chorus of discordant sounds, and then the voice of an Irish nurse, engaged in spanking the “Widow Lady’s” children, resounded through the mansion.  The uproar was terrible.  Francis was dying with laughter at the strange mixture of sounds, yells, spanks and screams, all jumbled up together, and Charles sat down to write with his teeth on an edge, with low-muttered anathemas.

“I’ll finish my ‘Inquiry’ and not mind the widow, the Irish nurse, and the three babies.  I’ll finish my ‘Inquiry’—I’ll—oh! horror, there it is again!”

However, he sat down to write, and was earnestly engaged in tracing the mysteries of animal magnetism, when he heard the sound of juvenile footsteps on the stairway.  The truth broke upon him—he had left the door ajar!  Ere he could move a hand, or breathe a whisper, the sound of footsteps grew louder, the door was pushed wide open, and a dear little red-head, with a pair of squinting eyes, and a pretty little figure, dressed in a short petticoat, toddled into the room, and approached the chair of the meditative student.

“I say, you man, won’t you draw me a pictur’!” lisped the little dear, suspending its operation on a piece of bread and molasses, which it held in its tiny hand.  “Draw me a pictur’, you man!”

“Oh!  Saray Ann, what a purty book!” cried another infantile voice.  “Now, you Jack, let me see it—you ugly feller!” cried a third cherub, and Charles turned from the red-headed infant and gazed around the room.  It was no dream; but, on the contrary, it was a most fearful reality.

A black-haired boy, in very tight trowsers, was engaged in pulling a miniature edition of Scott’s Poetical works from the table, and a dear little girl with blue eyes and golden hair, was amiably struggling for the prize with her interesting brother, while her tender little hands were neatly gloved in a coating of bread and molasses.

The scene was peculiar.

There was Charles gazing around him with a face lengthened by an expression of blank amazement, there was the delicate red-headed dear, fumbling in his pockets for gingerbread, and there was the black-headed dear, and the golden-headed dear, torturing the miniature edition of Scott; while the back ground of the scene was occupied by Master Francis, whose cheeks were very red, and whose eyes were filled with tears, as he applied a hand to either side of his person.  He was evidently in great pain, was Master Francis.

“Now, you Sarey Ann, gim me that are book—”

“Now, you, Jack, let me a—be—”

“I say, you man draw me a pictur’—”

“Come, my dear little children,” exclaimed Charles, in a voice as sweet as that of a dying convict blessing the hangman, “Just walk this way.  There—there—good little dears,” he continued, in a very ambiguous voice, as he placed one hand to the back of red-haired Peter, and propelled him gently to the door; while the other hand performed a similar office for the interesting John, and his right knee urged the engaging “Sarey Ann” to move forward, with a gentle persuasion, that seemed very beautiful in the eyes of Master Francis, who grew quite crimson in the face.

As Charles led the little innocents from the room, the evil spirit tempted him to make a second Bethlehem of the chamber, and transform himself into another Herod for the time being, but he mastered the temptation, and, reaching the door, he merely applied his thumb and fore finger to the ear of the red-haired “sweet,” in a peculiar way, when he started at the sound of a female footstep.

“I am afraid my children are troublesome, sir,” said a soft, musical voice, and Charles looked up and beheld a very beautiful female figure standing before him, robed in black, with two dark eyes shooting their fascinating glance through the folds of a sable veil, which, gathered to the crown of her head by a silver comb, fell with a graceful sweep over her face and down her neck, involving her face and features in a mysterious darkness that was quite bewitching.  Charles drank in the glance of those beaming black eyes as they gleamed through the veil,—and the children were safe!  He marked the delicious outline of the widow’s bust, he glanced at her tapering waist, he was enchanted by the fair hand and the delicate foot, and all his self-possession forsook him.

“I am afraid my childen are troublesome,” repeated the widow, in the same soft, silvery whisper.  “I am very sorry—”

“Oh! not at all, ma’am,” exclaimed Charles, bowing, and growing very much like a new brick house in the face.  “Not at all, ma’am,—quite a pleasure—sweet childr—not at all, quite on the contrary—in fact, ma’am—delighted—”

All further apologies were prevented by one slight circumstance.  The widow had disappeared, and taken the interesting trio with her.  As Charles closed the door, and approached the table, he observed Master Francis laid along a chair, in a curious position, laboring under a violent attack of spasmodic laughter.

“Ha—ha—ha!  I say, Charles, how’s your heart?  Did the mysterious widow make a conquest of you?  Ha—ha—ha!”

“Francis, you are an ass!” exclaimed the sober student, as, with a solemn sternness and imposing gravity, he resumed his pen.  And he wrote very hard, and very diligently all that day, but every ten minutes a pair of black eyes would glide between Charles and his manuscript, and a budding form, attired in a sable robe, would float before his mental vision, and these annoyances were repeated so often, that before night had sunk upon the city, the young student was earnestly engaged in connecting the phenomenon of “Love at first sight” with some of the mysterious influence of animal magnetism, which he developed at great length in his all engrossing essay. 

“She is very beautiful,” muttered Charles, as he tossed his head on his pillow, late that night; “very beautiful.  How bright are those beaming black orbs!  Tush!  Had Norah been faithful to our early love, I had been saved this temptation!  The widow is certainly beautiful, but—the children!  Ugh!”


The Increase of the Evil—The Mysterious Request—The Conclusion.

From that eventful day forward, for the space of one week, Charles Hamilton knew no peace, and his essay, to use a peculiar phrase, seemed to make a point of advancing backwards.  He might set down to write, and in an instant he was surrounded by the whole detachment of children, golden-haired, red-haired, black-haired, and all.—He might lock his door, but this merely increased the evil.  The dear little innocents would make a matter of duty of pummeling the panels of the door, with a musical taste, and an eccentric collection of ingenious variations, that would have drawn sympathy from the most callous heart.  In utter desperation, Charles would rush from his seat, throw open the door, raise his hand to punish the interesting sweets, when lo! the vision of the beautiful widow suddenly appeared before him, and he was dumb.  The most mysterious feature of the whole affair was, that Mr. Francis Warner viewed the depredations of the children without a murmur, listened to the muttered imprecations of his friend Charles with a quiet smile, and gave himself not the least imaginable particle of trouble, concerning the widow, the three children, or the squalling Irish nurse.  He seemed to view the affair as a philosopher.  Children—he observed with sententious gravity—would be mischievous, widows would be at once interesting and troublesome—Irish nurses would scream at times, and even swear, in ancient Gaelic or Erse, upon occasions.

One morning Francis observed a singular frown upon the brow of his friend, which seemed to evince some fearful and mysterious determination.  Ere he had time to enquire the meaning of this wonderful solemnity, Charles called him aside, and addressed him in a tone of momentous gravity.

“Francis, do you walk out this morning?”

“I do, Charles.  What’s the fraction?”

“Do you walk near Simpkins’ the grocer?”

“I do, Charles.  Whose crockery’s broke?”

“Francis, as you value my happiness, I charge you to buy me three strong, stout, and well-conditioned coffee-bags, at Simpkins’, the grocer.  Buy me as many spikes—large, substantial spikes, Francis—”

“Oh! yes, Charles.  That’s easily done.  I’ll be back in ten minutes, with coffee-bags and spikes.”

“Now, I’ll—I’ll remedy the evil!” exclaimed Charles, as Francis disappeared.  “I’ll teach the beautiful children to shake the walls of my room with their squalling.  I’ll learn them to tear my papers, to soil my books—the delicate dears!”

In a short time Francis returned with the spikes and coffee-bags, which he handed to his friend, with an anxious enquiry with regard to the purpose for which they were intended to be used.  Charles replied with the words, “Nothing, nothing, Francis—merely a whim of mine,” and his fellow student became tired of waiting to see the issue of the matter, and walked forth to take a stroll along Chestnut street.

Some three hours elapsed, when the landlady, Mrs. Smith, the widow, and the Irish nurse, were all startled by the most curious combination of sounds that ever saluted mortal ears.  The noise shook the whole fabric, resounded along the street, alarmed the inhabitants for the better part of a square, and excited universal attention and inquiry.

“Now the blessed Hivens be our bed,” screamed the Irish nurse, “but the n’ise is all in the book-larnin’ man’s room, jest below us!”

“Oh! laws help me, the house is a-fire!” screamed the landlady.

“Sure, it’s the childer!” continued the nurse, following her mistress, the widow, down the stairs.  “Somebody’s a murderin’ the childer!”

The widow said nothing, but drawing her veil closely over her face, tapped at the student’s door.  In an instant it was opened, and as the mysterious sounds became terrifically loud, the face of Mr. Charles Hamilton appeared through the aperture of the door.

“Excuse me, sir,” said the widow, in her soft, persuasive voice.  “Excuse me, sir, but did you see anything of the children?”

“See anything of the children?” replied Charles, while a hollow laugh came from his lips.  “He—he—he—see anything of the children?  He—he—there, madam, there!”

He threw the door wide open, and quick as a thunder-flash a sight was disclosed that caused the widow to start backward, with a quick nervous start, while the Irish nurse shrieked—“Glory be to the Lard!” and Mrs. Smith desired somebody to hold her directly, or else she would certainly faint.

There, suspended to the wall of the chamber, on three of its several sides, were three coffee-bags, fastened to spikes driven into the plastering, and from the aperture of each coffee-bag appeared a round, red face, with a mouth opened to extreme expansion, with eyes starting from their sockets, and with an expression of the utmost terror and alarm visible on each face, while the apartment echoed and re-echoed with the unanimous yell of the confined infants, who did not at all seem to relish their suspension between heaven and earth, in this pecucliar way.

“Now glory be to the Lord!” exclaimed the Irish nurse, “but he’s hung up my childer, like dried beef, in the coffee-bags!”

“Your children!” shouted Charles.  “Your children?  Hey, hey?  What’s that?”

A laugh, wild and musical, burst from the folds of the dark veil that encircled the widow’s features.  Charles started, as if a sky-rocket had burst at his foot.  The veil was thrown back, and he beheld the laughing face and dark eyes of his old-time sweetheart, Miss Norah Warner.

“Good Heaven!” shouted the student, starting back, “what do I see?  And you are not a widow, then, with three children?”

Miss Norah glanced at the coffee-bags and their screaming occupants, and replied by another burst of laughter.

“I’m all amazement!” continued Charles—“I’m thunder-struck—”

“And so you should be, you young scoundrel,” interrupted a bluff, good humored voice.  “How dare you run off from your home, you vagabond?  Hey?  Answer me that?  Hey?”

Charles looked around, and beheld standing in the doorway the portly form of his early patron, whose good-humored smile and hearty laugh belied the severity of his words.  At the same instant that Charles beheld the form of his patron, and ere he had time to vent his amazement in words, Master Francis bounced into the room, making the walls re-echo with repeated bursts of laughter.

“Look here, Master Charlie—(ha, ha! those coffee-bags; that’s right, my good Irish woman, take your children down, or I shall die a-laughing!)  Don’t look so thunder-struck, Master Charles.  It’s all my doings.  Ha—ha—ha!—Them coffee-bags!  I met sister Norah walking in Chestnut street with father, there, about a week ago—couldn’t withstand his daughter’s entreaties—forgave me, received the prodigal son to his arms, and all that.  The next point was to win you back to Beechwood again.  I managed the whole affair—proposed that Norah, there, should act the widow—lodge in Mrs. Smith’s house—torture your life out of you with the good woman’s children, there—(do remove the delicate dears,)—and finally force you into matrimony, and with a widow, too!  Ha—ha—ha!  D’ye take, Charlie?  That’s right, Charlie—embrace the dear girl!—Norah, what’s the use of blushing so?  Whoop!  It’s quite a scene—ain’t it, father?  Ha—ha—ha!—them coffee-bags!”

And so ends our Episode in the life of Mr. Charles Hamilton.

Printable view

[M6] “How to Provide Oneself with a Chum,” The Citizen Soldier, June 14, 1843




Not a hundred years ago, the gossips of W———, a collegiate town in one of the New England states, found a rich matter of discussion in the contemplation of the peculiar manners and characteristic habits of Mr. Charles Tripps, a divinity student in the college of that place.

Mr. Charles Tripps, notwithstanding his matter-of-fact name, was a very handsome young man, with a tall slender figure; a face, characterised by dark, brilliant eyes, Grecian nose, small mouth with delicate lips, a well turned chin, and a high and pallid forehead, shaded by rich masses of luxuriant dark brown hair, falling in glossy locks down to his very shoulders.  His manner was sedate, and his face was imbued with a general solemnity of expression, and scholar-like thoughtfulness of appearance, that went far to win for Mr. Charles Tripps the good opinion of the sober people of W———, and the kind consideration and affection of the President of the college.  It was the wont of the good President to speak of Charles in the highest terms, and in the choicest phrases of paternal kindness.  He was ever holding him up to the students of the University, as a pattern for their imitation, an exemplar worthy of the most delicate copying, and a general model of moral and religious worth, in every way fitted for the Gospel ministry, whose robes of office he was shortly to assume.

The praise of the old ladies of the town, the admiration of the young misses, the envy of the classmates, and the never-failing topic of the venerable President, the young  divinity student pursued the careful tenor of his way, through the various scholastic ranks, until he stood among the first in the senior class, and but a vacation interposed between Mr. Charles Tripps and his degree.

One evening, during the summer vacation, the venerable figure of the President was observed issuing from the college buildings, and presently he took his way toward the small tenement of the Widow Wilson, a good quiet soul, with a fat round face, an extensive corpulency of form, and a considerable volubility of tongue.

Charles Tripps was quartered in the best room of the Widow Wilson’s cottage, while in town, by particular favor of the President, who gave the young student permission to lodge without the bounds of the college, where he might pursue his studies undisturbed by the noises and rattle of the crowd of scholars, and uninterrupted by the presence of that curious animal yclept a chum.

Entering the cottage door, the President discovered the Widow Wilson, who “did up linen for the stew-dents,” engaged in the mysteries of the ironing table, with a great pile of damp linen at one elbow, and a pyramid of clean “shams, dickies, and so-forth,” rising from the other end of the table.

The compliments of the evening were passed, the President took a seat, and glancing around the small and neatly furnished apartment, he announced the object of his visit.

“The summer was well nigh passed—” he said in his quiet way—“and the commencement day of the next term drew nigh.  He was afraid that he would have to uncommode the widow with another lodger,—in fact he proposed to quarter an additional student in the same room with Charles, whose arrival in town he observed might shortly be expected, and he wished Mrs. Wilson to be pleased to make arrangements for the reception of the student afore mentioned, and further he—”

At this point he was interrupted by a loud ahem! from the widow, who had suddenly grown very red in the face, while a curious expression was visible at the corners of her mouth, and several very peculiar wrinkles varied her countenance in the vicinity of the eyes, and she was altogether in a state of indefinable emotion, proceeding from some cause unknown to the President.

“Surely, sister Wilson,” began the President, who, by the way, was of the sect who “brother” and “sister” one another on all occasions,—“Surely, sister Wilson, had I known that this proposition would have been disagreeable to you, I certainly would not have submitted it.”

“Nothing o’ the kind, nothing o’ the kind, brother F—, I assure you,” replied the widow, in a very hurried manner, “only I kinder thought you know’d that brother Tripps had arriv’ in town this arternoon?”

The President, calm and collected as was his usual demeanor, started on his feet with the nervous movement of surprise.  “You don’t say so, sister!” he exclaimed.  “Why not tell me of this sooner?  I will go and see brother Tripps instantly,” he continued, placing his hand on the latch of the door that concealed the stairway leading to the young student’s room.

“Oh, la! don’t put yourself to the trouble,” cried Dame Wilson, interposing between the President and the half-opened door.  “Jist sit down and take a seat for a minit’, and I’ll call brother Tripps.”

Call brother Tripps she did; and in a minute a footstep was heard descending the stairway, and another minute had elapsed, when the graceful figure of brother Tripps entered the room, and the President welcomed his favorite student back to the cloisters of M——— University.

“You had a pleasant jaunt through the country, brother Tripps?  Had you?” remarked the venerable President.

“Very pleasant,” rejoined the student.  “Indeed, I might say extremely pleasant.”  And with that Mr. Charles grew very red in the face, and Mrs. Wilson was troubled with a flea in her nose, or at all events something seemed to strike her, for she rubbed that feature of her face with peculiar intensity.

“You procured a school, Charles?” inquired the President, as his manner assumed a paternal familiarity.

“I did, brother F—,” replied Charles.  “I procured a school in the eastern part of the state of New York, near the village of R—, along the Hudson.  I am happy to say that my school proved exceedingly lucrative.  The profits will enable me to finish my studies with every regard to ease and worldly comfort.”

“Ah! indeed!” exclaimed the President; “and so your school was near the village of R—?  The family of the Raimers reside near the village—they have been considerable benefactors to our University.  Although, to be sure, the head of the family, old Mr. Raimer, is rather profane and worldly in his course and conduct.  Did you make any acquaintances, Charles?”

“I—I—contracted some very—very—interesting friendships,” replied Charles, with a deep blush.

“Might I be so bold as to inquire,” asked the widow Wilson, with a curious smile, “Might I be so bold as to inquire, brother F—, how many years a preacher of our ‘siety must travel afore he can git married?”*

“Sister Wilson, I am rather astonished at such a question from one of your information.  The rules of our conference are plain upon that point—no married person can be admitted as a regular minister of our body, and no preacher is at liberty to marry until he has been in the service of the Lord, preaching the gospel, for the space of four years.”

The widow dropped something upon the floor, and stooped to pick it up.  Charles grew very red in the face, and seemed to be engaged in contemplating a dead fly in a spider’s web, in one corner of the room.

“Why, brother F—, the p’int is hardly plain to me yet,” observed Mrs. Wilson, as she again raised her head.  “Indeed—”

“Suppose I illusrate the case,” replied the President, with a slight expression of surprise at the pertinacity with which the widow pursued the subject.  “Now here is Charles; the case is perfectly in point.  He will be licensed to preach next January, the Lord willing.  Suppose in the interim he should marry—why it needs no prophet to tell you that such an occurrence would ruin all his prospects of usefulness as a gospel minister.  He would never be admitted to the ministry in that case—the matter is perfectly plain, sister Wilson.”

The matter may have been perfectly plain, but a distant object appeared to strike the vision of Mr. Charles, and he walked to the window, while Mrs. Wilson was seized with a violent fit a coughing.

“However, to resume the object of my errand hither,” exclaimed the President, “brother Charles, I purpose to burden you with a chum, this term.”

“A chum!” muttered Charles, in an absent manner, as he resumed his seat.  “A chum, brother F—?  Oh—ah!  a chum,” he continued, shifting his position in his chair, crossing one leg over the other, and then again starting up from his seat, he walked hurriedly to the window.—Widow Wilson appeared to share his emotion.  Her round, fat cheeks were puffed out to bursting, her lips were firmly compressed, and a number of small wrinkles gathered around her eye-lids.

“Yes, brother Charles, a ‘chum’,” rejoined the President.  “The companion, I purpose for you, is a very fine intelligent young man from the south.  He is very modest, and well-disposed, and exceedingly quiet in his demeanor.  All the other boarding houses in town are full, or else I should not make this request of you.  Indeed, Charles, I am astonished at you—your reluctance,” continued brother F—, glancing at the young student, whose face was exceedingly red, while he had an odd way of glancing hither and thither around the apartment, with a peculiarly restless glance, and a nervous change of position, very remarkable indeed.

“I—I have no reluctance to—to receive a—a chum”—said the young student hesitatingly, “but—but—”

“Then you will receive this young man as your companion?” interrupted the President.

“But—but—President, I—I have a chum already!” exclaimed Mr. Charles, with ground teeth, and the air of a desperate man, who gets rid of some fearful disclosure with a violent effort.

“’A chum already’!” echoed the President—“Surely Charles, surely—”

“La’s bless me!” screamed the widow with a fit of laughter, “there the cat’s out o’ the bag!  Ha—ha—ho!  Ho—ha—ha!”

“President—brother F—, this way—this way!” exclaimed Charles, and he led the worthy Divine toward the stairway.

“Brother, please walk up into my room.  My chum’s there—my chum’s—I’ll—I’ll introduce you!”

The wondering President felt his hand grasped by that of his young friend, who led him up the narrow stairway.

The landing was gained, and the blaze of a lamp streamed thro’ an opened door out upon the passage.

“This way, brother F—, this way!” exclaimed Charles, leading his preceptor into the room from whence emerged the light.  “There, brother F—, there’s my chum!”

The President presented a curious picture of surprise, painted in a great hurry.  He stood in the middle of the student’s chamber, still as a statue, not a limb moved, not a muscle stirred; his very breath was hushed.  His eyes, distended with an expression of utter surprise, were fixed upon the object of wonder and that was—what?

A lamp, standing upon a small circular table, cast a brilliant light around the chamber, and its beams fell upon the figure of a young and beautiful girl, whose eyes were downcast upon the pages of a book which she was perusing, while a warm flush, the very bloom of loveliness, mantled over her cheek; her full and pouting lips were slightly apart, and her free and budding bosom, with all its virgin beauty, beamed into the light from the folds of the flowing robe that encircled her youthful form.

The young lady started on her feet at the presence of the worthy Divine, and glancing from one to the other of the intruders, she seemed to await an explanation of the singular astonishment of Brother F—.

“Charles!  Charles!” cried the President, as words came to his relief—“Oh—Charles, I little thought—I—”

“President F—,” cried Charles, advancing—“allow me to introduce you to Mrs. Tripps, (late Miss Raimer,) my wife.  My dear President F—!”

A new light seemed to break upon the astonished President.

“Miss Raimer, Miss Raimer!” exclaimed the President—“What! Do I see the daughter of Mr. Raimer!—Mr. Raimer of R—?”

“The same,” replied Mr. Charles Tripps, as the laughter-loving face of Dame Wilson appeared in the doorway—“Take a seat my dear—sit down, President.  I’ll tell you the story.”

And he did tell the story.  How he had lighted upon the beautiful little hamlet of R—, on the banks of the Hudson; how he was wont to take solitary walks along the river shore, how a fair form intruded upon his vision in one of those solitary walks, and then came the story of the first acquaintance—their mutual love—the opposition of the wealthy father to their union—the contest in the mind of the daughter between love and duty—the triumph of love—the elopement—and the consequent marriage.

“I have done wrong, President, I have done wrong, and I know it, but—but—”

“You were wofully tempted!” interrupted the President, as a meaning smile crossed his venerable countenance, while he gazed upon the beaming eyes and glowing cheeks of the beautiful girl.  “You were wofully tempted, Charles.  But I can’t blame you for it.  Kneel—my children, kneel that I may bless you!”

And the fair bride and the handsome bridegroom sunk kneeling at the feet of the venerable man, who with hands uplifted, and eyes upraised invoked a blessing upon their union.

The gossips of M— still entertain the students of the University with the story of “young Charles Tripps’ runaway match.”  They descant upon the anger of the bride’s father, they describe in vivid colours what a sensation the match created in the town, they tell how Mr. Charles Tripps debarred from entering the ministry, turned his genius to the law, how he emigrated west, rose in his profession, and last, and greatest of all incidents, they inform you of the death of the relentless father, who bequeathed to use the eloquent words of the Widow Wilson, “sich lots o’ money to that nice young man, Mr. Charles Tripps, and that sweet young woman, Mrs. Charles Tripps, Mr. Charles Tripps’ beautiful wife!”

* The preachers of the religious sect alluded to, are not stationed at any particular place for more than two years at a time. They are called itinerating or travelling preachers.

Printable view

[M7] “American Literature,” The Citizen Soldier, June 21, 1843


Mediocrity is the order of the day.  We have mediocre novels, mediocre tales, mediocre poetry, mediocre essays, and mediocre wit.  Large crowds linger round the half-way house of Literature—none dwell in the temple at the summit.

There is nothing striking in the Literature of the times.  Nothing new, nothing good, nothing sublime.  Old ideas are sent forth in new clothing, and that none of the best.  Charlatans infest the walks of Poetry, and the solitudes of Science are broken by the din of loud-tongued pretenders.

The glory of American Literature is past.—Brockden Brown wrote, starved, and is forgotten.  Brockden Brown, the grand anatomist of the human heart, the analyst, the romancer of the good, the beautiful and the true; inferior in tremendous power of intellect to Godwin alone.  Brockden Brown, the author of Edgar Huntly and Arthur Mervyn, is dead and forgotten.

Cooper was more successful; he has not starved.  He managed matters somewhat better.  He wrote in the days of his early prime, and by the might of his original genius, commanded an unknown sway over the hearts of his countrymen.  But Cooper suited not the whims of the herd—he knew not “the infallibility of the press.”  The hounds attacked the stag—he turned on them.—He engaged in a hand to hand fight with the press—its outcasts and its bravoes.

How has he been rewarded?  By public condemnation.  The public know no reason why the lion shouldn’t be polluted with the filth of a vile animal of the forest.  But they think it undignified for the King of the Woods to turn and fight the noxious reptile.

And the public are right.  A scavenger may pelt a gentleman with mud—is there no means of redress, but by descending in the ditch and flinging back to the scavenger his own filth?

Brockden Brown has passed away; the glory of Cooper is rather of the by-gone than the present; Irving has walked “Spanish;” Dana has fallen into comparative obscurity, and the literary platform is left for the occupancy of new aspirants.

In the present literary world there is no striking scenery—no elevations.  All plain, level, pretty and dull.  Here a mud-puddle, there a canal; here a bog, and yonder a swamp.  Plenty of mosquitoes hover over this marsh, frogs croak in this fen, vile crawling things, lizards and mud-turtles, wriggle about in this filth.

But the eagle has sought the mountain top; the lion has fled to the wood—all that is noble or great has departed from the Literary World of the present, and insects fill the air, and reptiles swarm in the flood.

This may be rather figurative.  Is it desirable to be more minute?  Shall we particularize?  Individualize?  Shall we give life to the abstraction?

Shall we step forth boldly, and call this Magazine Charlatan by name—this Weekly Newspaper humbug by his proper designation?  Shall we unravel the secrets of their traffic?  Do they wish it?  Shall we tell them what they are?  How they crawled into their present elevation?  When did plain truth become wholesome?

We will avoid personalities.  A Yankee preacher may edit one of our Magazines, and be the “author” of our “poets,” but we will not whisper a word of his former Bedouin career.  A cast-off lawyer, may issue his Blue Book, tinctured with mingled imbecility, pseudo-morality, and pregnant with positive trash, but we will not “pillory” him for the “general eye.”

Let them pass, the herd of pretenders.  But in the name of common sense, as men filled with a just appreciation of what our literature should be; as members of a thinking community, having an indisputable right to rebuke charlatanism, literary pretensions, and little-minded arrogance,

W E   D O   P R O T E S T

Against the humbug of imbecile periodicals, with Guide Book plates, fashion plate outlines a year old, with Bedouin editors, lacking brains, but fine fellows for shameless theft, low abuse and small trickery.

We do protest against the glaring absurdity of calling these periodicals American Literature.

We do protest against the array of names, without corresponding talent, monthly blazoned forth on their covers, yellow and blue, being denominated “American authors.”

We do protest against the emasculated productions with the names of men attached to them, which monthly fill these magazines.  We do protest against the prevalence of the petticoat in every magazine of the day.  We do protest against the small criticism of these magazines, their littleness of mind, their narrow views, their small malice to all who will not clique with them.  We protest against these hermaphroditical pamphlets in every light, in every point of view, and we do protest against the underlings of the self-complacent proprietors, being yclept “the Philadelphia Literati.”

One word as to personalities.  A personal remark blunts the shaft and destroys the sting of a well aimed arrow.  We shall not deal in personalities.  But the mirror shall be held up before the very eyes of our friends, and if their literary proportions are diminutive, deformed, or monstrous, we cannot help it.  They shall see for themselves.

Printable view

[M8] “Parties—The Military,” The Citizen Soldier, June 28, 1843

PARTIES—THE MILITARY.—Some of our readers may be of the opinion that it does not behoove us, as conductors of a military paper, to be meddling with matters which belong exclusively to the members of party, and which is considered hallowed ground, that should not be trespassed upon by any distinct and separate portion of our fellow citizens, no matter what claim they may have to recommend themselves to those who claim the prerogative of guiding the leading strings of this or that party, or no matter what great interest they may have at stake, in the great game that is to be played off in October next.  This principle of sacrificing every sacred right, every constitutional privilege, every wish, desire, object and interest under the wheels of the great Juggernaut of party, will, we are fearful, if carried to a much greater extent, or even persisted in to as great an extent as it has been within the last few years, will be the means of offering upon this same polluted altar, the liberties of our country, and of striking a death blow at the freedom of our institutions.  We do not discountenance parties or partizans, for with a proper degree of moderation in the one, and self-respect in the other, they are the very foundation, aye, the corner-stone upon which the pillars of our government rest, but when we see a monument, although the foundations be as solid as the rock of adamant itself, whose top far exceeds itn circumference its base, both human nature, and common sense teach us that it must fall, and that great will be the fall thereof.

How far this figure will apply to parties of the present day, we will leave to others to determine, merely observing, by way of taking leave of this portion of our subject, that the bursting point, the crowning act may be hid far, far, in the mysterious depths of the future, or it may be the first scene that will present itself to the startled and terrified gaze of the American public at the lifting of the curtain.  God grant the first may be the case, and that no free-born son of our land, may ever have his eyes dimmed by the spectacle of the mad spirit of party, riding triumphant upon the wings of destruction, and trampling beneath its feet the liberties, freedom and happiness of this great, glorious and independent people.

We present ourselves, therefore, to the people of this State, and of the United States, as the advocates of no party, but as the humble organ of every man who is proud of, and delights in the name of SOLDIER, of every man who looks upon each foot of soil as consecrated ground, who would re-hallow it with his blood, rather than it should be polluted; of every man who not only delights in the appellation of freeman, but who desires to remain so by being always prepared to defend his name and country from disgrace; we say, we present ourselves before the people of this state backed by thirty-five thousand of her citizens, and we respectfully ask, nay we demand, that we shall have something to do in the coming contest, we are not anxious to enter the lists blindfolded as heretofore, we wish to know our foes from our friends, and we therefore order our trumpeter to proclaim this, our solemn summons, to all members of Congress, or the Legislature, and to all applicants for the same; that we, the military of this State, (and we solicit the co-operation of the volunteers and militia of the Union,) will support no man for either office, who comes into the field masked, but on the contrary, will give our sole and undivided support to those who will pledge themselves to faithfully adhere to, and well and truly use every fair and honourable means in their power, towards the advancement and encouragement of the volunteer and militia system.  This is the only means fellow soldiers by which we may ever hope to succeed in the glorious undertaking so favorably begun, of placing the system upon the broad, conspicuous and liberal platform, erected for it by the wise and patriotic framers of our constitution.  We have the material, let us also show the members of all parties that we have the power to insist upon our rights.  Unless some decisive step is taken, we may tarry at Jericho until our beards grow.  The militia law not only of our own state, but of the United States, requires a thorough revision, and to ensure this desirable, and much to be wished for consummation, is our only object in thus calling upon the volunteers and militia to be up and doing, and to lose no time in making known their objects and intentions with regard to this heretofore too much neglected portion of the laws that are intended for their exclusive guidance and protection.

Printable view

[M9] “The Dollar Newspaper,” The Citizen Soldier, June 28, 1843

THE DOLLAR NEWSPAPER.—A capital sheet.  The “Gold-bug, a Prize Story,” by Edgar A. Poe, Esq., is written in the most popular style of the gifted author, characterised by thrilling interest and graphic though sketchy power of description.  It is one of the best stories that Poe ever wrote.  And with regard to the matter of the “Prize,” it is a humbug—a transparent, gauze-lace, cobweb-tissue humbug.  The public well know that name and not merit, constitute the criterion of the board of secret critics.  Were William Shakspeare to write a “Prize Story,” under an anonymous signature, in a disguised hand; were Walter Scott to enter into competititon for the “cool hundred,” hand and name also disguised; were Bulwer to send one of his first productions, nameless and “unmarked for the secret eye of the board,” Shakspeare, Scott and Bulwer, would vanish, we trow, before T. S. Arthur, or some other amiable young man, whose name has been stereotyped by the magazine puffs of the day.  We believe the whole “Prize system,” take it as you will, to be a fraud on the public.  The idea that the board of judges do not know the hand writing of all literary men of celebrity, is—with respect we say it—all fudge.  In such a system, the man of notoriety has all the chances—the man of genius none.  However, with regard to Mr. Poe, we can have but one opinion.  This story is worth the “Prize money,” ten times told.  It is not against the men we war, but against the transparent fraud of this contemptible “Prize Story” humbug.

Printable view

[M10] “Our neighbor, ‘the Times,’” The Citizen Soldier, June 28, 1843

Our neighbor, “the Times,” comes to us this week dressed out in the tip of the fashion, but it appears to us entirely derelict of that saucy, independent, fearless, devil-may-care air that used to characterize him.  We think, however, we may be in error, that it will not enhance his interests to the amount of a penny, for his character was established, and the reader in looking at him realized the truth of the old proverb, that “good goods always come in small packages.”

Printable view

[M11] “What is the Citizen Soldier?,” The Citizen Soldier, July 19, 1843

WHAT IS THE CITIZEN SOLDIER?—You mistake the character of our paper.  You think that because the “Citizen Soldier” is a military paper, no literary matter can find a place in its columns, no general news can give variety to its pages, no piquant satire can spice its paragraphs.

All a mistake.  Our paper is a military paper.  Its grand object is the cause of our citizen soldiery, the elevation of the military character of our yeomanry, the reformation of all military abuses, and the thorough and entire re-organization of our militia system.

How shall we accomplish this object?  By making our sheet a dull, dry, tasteless combination of cast-off military lore, worn-out statistics, and long-winded pieces of declamation, called “leading articles?”

No.  That is not our plan.  We wish our paper to go into the heart of the family circle, to be a dweller in the sanctity of the household, a welcome messenger to the country fireside; in short, a journal of polite literature, piquant satire, and military lore.

We wish to make our paper a favorite with the ladies.  Their influence in society is secret and silent, but effectual when devoted to good purposes, terrible when misdirected for the accomplishment of evil.  Our first page is devoted to the ladies.  We have been at some pains to adorn this part of our paper with select and original revolutionary stories, from the pens of our best writers, as well as tales of a more domestic and quiet character.

The literary matter of our paper challenges comparison with any journal in the land.  The inside of the paper is occupied by military matter, in defence and in explanation of our principles, and now and then we season this part of the paper with a little spice of satire, intended for the cloud of literary humbugs who swarm in the corrupt atmosphere of Philadelphia literature.

We have made these gentry feel uncomfortable already—we intend to expose their plagiarisms, picture their silly pretensions to the character of “American literati,” while we pray God to save us from the deadly sin of making a mock of innate imbecility.

Our success has been almost unprecedented.  The citizen soldier is noticed from north to south, and although, unlike certain literary abortions of this city, it does not give utterance to the paltry untruth of “100,000 subscribers,” yet it still commands a large circulation, and is eagerly and extensively read.

Its circulation is increasing.  A few disappointed and chagrined advocates of the “eye-sore” of West Point, have, it is true, sent us an indignant “stop my paper;” true it is, a man way off in Tioga county has discontinued the “Soldier,” because we didn’t like grey uniform for volunteer costume, and whereas his company, yclept the Jenkinsville Topknots, are arrayed in sober grey; true it is, that here and there some pompous general whose military lore is confined to a knowledge of the price of a first-rate pair of epaulettes, or the component parts of a good apple-toddy, has, in great wrath and anger, refused to “lift the Soldier,” yet still we live and flourish, and intend to do so, while the Lord spares us strength to wield a pen, or scratch a syllable.

Printable view

[M12] “Pickings of a Plagiarist,” The Citizen Soldier, July 19, 1843

“PICKINGS OF A PLAGIARIST.”—Some time since, Graham published in his Magazine, certain stories entitled “Leaves from a Lawyer’s Portfolio,” which attracted some attention throughout the country, and were generally confessed to possess some sparks of merit.  We have been at some pains to analyze these “Leaves.”  “Sheets from Select Authors,” or “Pickings of a Plagiarist,” would have been much prettier titles for these papers.  Last Saturday, being in a dozing mood, we picked up the volume (loaned to us by a commisserating friend,) containing ”the Avenger.”  Do you remember Pelham?  D’ye remember Reginald Glanville, and his untiring pursuit of the wretch and seducer, Sir John Tyrrel?  Here you have the same thing, over again, beautifully cut and carved, we grant you, but still retaining the plot and incidents of that thrilling episode of “Pelham.”  Did you ever read “the Diary of a Late London Physician?”  D’ye remember the story of “the Duel?”  Well, turn to Graham for 1841, and in the tale of “the Avenger,” that same “Duel,” or a twin-sister, forms the denouement.  Stealing bodily is in bad taste; but stealing artfully, and as one might say, dove-tailedly, is almost as good as originality, for it requires a vast fund of cunning, and a fair share of industry, leaving the labor of the scissors out of the case.  We must look over these “Leaves,” and make some further investigations with regard to their paternity—Graham is a good fellow; he has been shamefully imposed upon in this matter.

Printable view

[M13] “To all our friends of the Press,” The Citizen Soldier, July 19, 1843

* Never had a paper more reason to appreciate the gentlemanly kindness and courtesy of the editorial corps throughout the Union, than has the Citizen Soldier.  To all our friends of the Press we tender our sincere thanks, gratified to discover that although the “Citizen Soldier” is published in the very heart of this wide city, where a corrupt and imbecile literature has its birth and existence, yet it is noticed by the discriminate as a faithful exponent of military science, and an unflinching antagonist of literary charlatanism and magazine humbug.