295
295
Cooper, James Fenimore
Estimate
3,0005,000
LOT SOLD. 2,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
295
Cooper, James Fenimore
Estimate
3,0005,000
LOT SOLD. 2,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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New York

Cooper, James Fenimore

Two fine literary letters, the second with much commentary on the American scene:


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Catalogue Note

Autograph letter in French signed ("J. Fenimore Cooper"), 1 page (6 1/4 x 4 1/8 in.; 159 x 105 mm), no place, no date [but after 1844], to an unnamed correspondent; a few spots on verso. Red half-morocco clamshell box, gilt-stamped title on spine. Cooper is here offering comments and corrections to a review of or essay on his work in French, referring to (without naming) Afloat and Ashore (1844) which bore an epigraph from Shakespeare's Tempest quoting Prospero to Miranda, he corrects his correspondents spelling: "Nowhere did I name the trapper as Nathaniel Bumpho" [which character does not appear in Afloat] and the use of the word "waters" in the plural to describe the tributaries to a larger body of water: "And so I said it gave us (possession of Louisiana) a thousand roads for internal commerce and to the waters of the Pacific Ocean ..."

Autograph letter signed ("J. Fenimore Cooper"), 3 pages (8 1/2 x 6 7/8 in.; 216 x 175 mm), Cooperstown, New York, 23 October 1850, to Charles Augustus Murray; formerly folded. Maroon cloth folding-case, gilt-stamped title label on spine. A fine letter written on behalf of James Henry Hackett (1800–1871) to his old friend Murray (1806–1895) who was at this time consul-general in Egypt. Hackett was a successful character actor on the New York and London stages, who was considered for a part in Cooper's sole and unsuccessful attempt at playwriting, Upside Down. This letter was given to Hackett to present to Murray in London (and is noted by Beard ed., 6:229, n.2 as "unlocated"). After imparting news of Hackett, Cooper reports on the development of the country: "We are 'progressing' as we Americans call it, at a famous rate. New York must have doubled its population, recently, since you saw it, and it has quadrupled its ... really good houses we built and as would be so considered in any town in Europe ... Taking all together I regard New York as the most remarkable town in the world ... Talking of the dust which is so shortly to be my position [Cooper died the next year], one of the most painful of my recollections of my own travels is the great number of the dead among the acquaintances I made. At one time it really seemed as if to know me was to die. ... My eldest daughter, whom you may remember, has ventured to give the world a book called "Rural Hours." In this country it has done very well. ... There is a good deal of rumbling in our body politic, but I think nothing will come of it just now. The South has too much at stake to ... and every day it loses, increases the disparity of the forces. This acquisition of California hems in slavery, which must finally fall by its own weight. What are we to do with the blacks, God knows, but we shall never amalgamate." He goes on to discuss the importance of gold in expanding business "a circulating medium being the great necessity of America" and devotes a paragraph to a paranormal phenomenon which he calls "the knockings": "All attempts at explanation are failures. They are not confined to one family, or one place, but have been heard in fifty places." He closes "Do not ask Hackett about my comedy, premature damnation being best forgotten."

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

|
New York