Sunday, February 19, 2012

New York


TO HENRY BREVOORT

MY DEAR SIR,-I beg you to accept my best thanks for the uncommon degree of entertainment which I have received from the most excellently jocose history of New York. I am sensible that as a stranger to American parties and politics I must lose much of the conceald satire of the piece but I must own that looking at the simple and obvious meaning only I have never read anything so closely resembling the stile of Dean Swift as the annals of Diedrich Knickerbocker. I have been employed these few evenings in reading them aloud to Mrs. S. and two ladies who are our guests and our sides have been absolutely tense with laughing. I think too, there are passages which indicate that the author possesses powers of a different kind & has some touches which remind me much of Sterne. I beg you will have the kindness to let me know when Mr. Irvine takes pen in hand again for assuredly I shall expect a very great treat which I may chance never to hear of but through your kindness. Believe me Dear Sir Your obliged humble Svn.

WALTER SCOTT

ABBOTSFORD 23 April 1813

Walter Scott is very appreciative of Washington Irving’s “Knickerbocker’s History of New York”, as he wrote to NY book dealer Henry Brevoort.  Irving’s book would have to have been different, if the Treaty of Westminster had not been signed when it was, on February 19th, 1674.  Under terms of the treaty, the Dutch colony New Amsterdam was ceded to England, and renamed New York.

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