foreign correspondent. He is desirous of the acquaintance of some American painter in England, and it has struck me that you might enable him
to make his communications to the Mirror serviceable to the cause of the
Fine Arts in this country.
I am Sir
With the greatest respect and esteem
Your obt. Servt
WILLIAM C. BRYANT
MANUSCRIPT: New York State Library ADDRESS: Thomas Cole Esq.
This is Bryant's earliest known letter to Thomas Cole ( 1801-1848), with whom
he became acquainted soon after moving to New York. Cole had left his native England at eighteen, and after study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and
several years as a wood-engraver and itinerant portrait-painter in Ohio, had come to New York in 1825. A founder of the National Academy in 1826 and a contributor to The Talisman, Cole had become an intimate of Bryant's by the time he left in June
1829 for three years of study in England and Italy. Bryant marked his departure with
a sonnet, "To Cole the Painter on his Departure for Europe," published in The Talisman for 1830. See Poems ( 1876), p. 181. By then Cole was the leading landscape-painter
in what would later become known as the Hudson River School. See Gardner and Feld, American Paintings I, pp. 223-224; Bryant II, "Poetry and Painting," pp. 860- 861, 874-882; Merritt, Thomas Cole, pp. 12-14.
William Cox ( 1805?-1847), like Cole, was an Englishman who had seen much
of America before coming to New York in 1825. In 1827, a printer in Jonathan Seymour's shop on John Street, he set type for the first Talisman volume, meanwhile composing a notice of the gift-book which, when published in the New-York Mirror,
greatly pleased the authors. For several years thereafter Cox's literary and dramatic
criticisms and familiar essays in the Mirror were widely admired. After his return to England he continued to write for that magazine, as well as for several British periodicals and the American Atlantic Club-Book. His Mirror articles were collected in
two volumes as Crayon Sketches ( New York, 1833), and reprinted in London and Edinburgh. From 1840 until his death Cox edited the Bristol Mercury in England. See Prose, I, 413; Taft, Minor Knickerbockers, pp. 266-267; John Paul Pritchard, Literary
Wise Men of Gotham: Criticism in New York, 1815-1860 ([ Baton Rouge] Louisiana
State University Press [ 1963]), pp. 124, 174-175.
220. To Cyrus Bryant
New York Dec 3, 1830.
Not long since I received a letter from you by some unknown hand.
It purported to have been sent to Hartford by Mr. Ford, but who brought
it to the office I was not able to learn, nor where he was to be found.
I presume however it was Mr. Ford, and that he either was going immediately out of town, or did not care to be incommoded by taking back any
1 I had Dr. Meade's books
2 by me for the Cummington Lyceum,
which I should have asked him to carry if I had seen him. I spoke to Verplanck about his books the other day--he said he had no copies--such of