[Great Barrington, c September 15, 1821]
I lately met with the second number of the Idle Man, published in New-York. I was not prepared to expect much from it, as most of the attempts of our countrymen in that way of writing, have been decided failures. Although my curiosity induced me to look into it, I had made up my mind, resolutely, that I would not like it. --I therefore dipped into it--read a page or two--liked it--read farther to find something wrong--and at length became so delighted with it, that I could not lay it down until I had finished the perusal. I immediately bought the first number, which I found equally interesting with the other. I owe this public testimony to the merits of a writer from whom I have received at once so much pleasure and improvement. If choice and elegant diction, and a quick and deep sensibility to all that is beautiful in nature, or high and holy in feeling, are any recommendation to a work, I am sure the public will give the Idle Man their warmest patronage. The tender and delicate tone of sentiment, that runs through the article entitled "Domestic Life", the deep pathos of "The Son", the wit of "The Hypocondriack", the contemplative and gentle beauty of the lines "Written in Spring", are enough to fix the character of the author, as one who must do honor to our literature. It is upon works like these--the fruits of original, but mature and cultivated talent, that our country must rely to disprove the scandals circulated among foreigners, concerning the state of letters in this country. I have seldom met with any writer who employs a style so unaffected and unambitious, and at the same time so strikingly elegant, as the author of the Idle Man. There is no confusion of Metaphor, no vague and indeterminate phraseology, no false brilliancy; but every word adds to the meaning; his conceptions are brought out in all their force and freshness, nothing is chilled, nothing is obscured, all lies before the mind with the distinctness and vividness of a landscape in a clear pure atmosphere, and under a bright morning sun.
Since I read the Idle Man, I have seen favorable notices of it in the newspapers in different parts of the Union, but not one in those of the city of New-York. I am surprised that the inhabitants of this polished metropolis should be so insensible to the merit of native genius among themselves, and that they alone should withhold their patronage from a work which does them so much honor. For my part, I hope that the writer will meet with such encouragement, that he will long continue to entertain me and my friends with his beautiful speculations on life and manners.