The Southern Literary Messenger, 1834-1864/Fifth Volume

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The fifth volume, of 852 pages, commences with "renewed thanks to our subscribers, contributors, and the public generally, including the corps editorial, for their generous support and indulgence for the last four years." It says that "the Messenger ought to be considered as still an experiment" and appeals for more of "that powerful metallic spring, which puts all human machinery into motion." Then, as early as page two, is the advent of the renowned Matthew Fontaine Maury, a second lieutenant in the U. S. Navy and only 33 years of age; but he grew and attained until he became about the most complete and best rounded of our great men. A special map was engraved to make more effective his great "Scheme for Re-building Southern Commerce." Even then he foresaw what part steam was to play in navigation.

Among the other new contributors, many of them in both prose and verse, to this fine volume are Dr. Harvey Lindsly; Landon C. Garland; Wm. J. Duane; Jane Taylor Lomax; E. A. Stockton; C. F. Hoffman; Park Benjamin; Eugene Vail, private secretary to Hon. W. H. Crawford when he was U. S. Minister to France; Wm. C. Bryant; (copied), Hugh M. Garland, Jr.; Maria G. Milward; J. N. Reynolds; Longfellow; Seba Smith; S. M. Janny; W. Wallace; W. B. Fairchild; Rev. E. H. Chapin; Gen. Lewis Cass, who sent his MSS. from Paris, whilst he was U. S. Minister, and Dr. John L. Martin.

There are a good many re-publications, one of which is a course of lectures on Phrenology, by Dr. George Combe. The Messenger under Mr. Poe espoused Phrenology. Now, we also have the two lectures of Dr. Thomas Sewall against it.

That very strong man, Judge Abel P. Upshur, was to have been the anniversary orator of the Virginia Historical Society; but serious sickness prevented and he sends to their organ what he would have said to them, on "Domestic Slavery." He bore a very prominent part in the administration of President Tyler, until his career was ended by the explosion of the large gun, the "Peacemaker," which was under exhibition, on the Potomac. Two other eminent Virginians, Gov. Gilmer and Commodore Kennon, shared his fate.

Dr. Henry Myers, of Richmond, won the prize offered for the best address upon the opening of the Avon Theatre, in Norfolk, Va. A competitor was also from Richmond and both poems appear, in the December number, side by side.

Rev. Dr. Henry Ruffner, after occupying four numbers with "Notes of a Tour from Virginia to Tennessee," takes everybody by surprise with his admirable story, "Judith Bensaddi," and before the interest in that had subsided brought forth its worthy sequel, "Seclusaval."

Among the addresses are those of John Tyler, Geo. E. Dabney, Z. Collins Lee and E. H. Chapin. Besides Judge Tucker, William and Mary is represented by her Professors, Saunders and Millington. There are good essays, tales, reviews and notices of living American poets, and a wish is felt to know their authors,— especially of those of the Bridgewater Treatises and "The Character of Medea," from Chapel Hill. Notice is again taken of the "Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence" and of "New Views of the Solar System." There are versions in five languages of Morris' "Woodman, Spare that Tree," under the title of "Delphian Amusements." N. C. Brooks writes those in Latin and Greek; Rev. H. Scheib, the one in German; Prof. I. A. Pizarro, that in Spanish. The one in Greek is also printed in English type. In his early contributions, Mr. Poe quoted some Greek, which was put in English type; but it was not long before Mr. White procured a font of Greek type and the Messenger printed Greek, whenever it was required. Unless Mr. Simms wrote (as he probably did) "International Law of Copyright," he has nothing in this volume until we come to eight of his "Early Lays," in December. There is still a paucity of bibliographical matter. A friendly notice of the Collegian, which had been started by James P. Holcombe and others at the University of Virginia, closes the year 1839. A future editor of the Messenger was a contributor to the Collegian.

One fact becomes striking: from how many States, not Southern, the contents of the Messenger were furnished.