The Female Prose Writers of America: With Portraits, Biographical Notices, and Specimens of their Writings/Mary E. Hewitt

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MARY E. HEWITT.


Mrs. Hewitt’s maiden name was Mary Elizabeth Moore. She was born in Malden, Massachusetts. Her father, an independent New England farmer, a man of good education, and fine personal appearance, died when Mary was but three years of age, leaving a young wife and four children. The family removed the following year to Boston, where the subject of this sketch remained until her marriage with Mr. James L. Hewitt, an extensive publisher of music in New York city. In this latter place Mrs. Hewitt has resided ever since.

By her maternal grandfather she is descended from an old family by the name of Collins, in Kent, England. “Thomas Collins, lord of the manor,—son of John, son of Alexander, son of Alexander,” was first permitted to bear a coat of arms, and to figure in heraldry with “gules,” and “griffins,” and “martelets azure.” By her maternal grandmother, however, she had a descent still more honourable, being a lineal descendant of the good old puritan, Roger Williams.

As a writer, Mrs. Hewitt is known almost exclusively by her poetry. A volume of her poems published in Boston in 1846, called “The Songs of our Land,” was very well received, both in England and America. Edgar A. Poe published three separate critiques on these poems. After a very learned show of “trochees” and “iambuses,” he declares that “they are generally, rather than particularly, commendable—abounding in forcible passages,” and that “many of them would do credit to any poet in the land.” He pronounces the “Hercules and Omphale” to be “worthy of all praise,” and “that rara avis in our literature, a well-constructed sonnet.”

Mrs. Hewitt’s prose writings, though not numerous, have been such as to justify the expectation raised by her poems. She has contributed several excellent stories to the “Memorial,” the “Odd Fellows’ Offering,” and the “Gem of the Western World,” and some sketches for the “Southern Literary Messenger.” She is at present engaged upon a prose volume, to be entitled “The Heroines of History.”

The following extract is from an Irish legend, the events of which are supposed to have occurred during the times of the Druidical superstition.