SIXTY-THREE years ago, before a single American writer had an established reputation, William Tudor founded the "North American Review." During its first years the Review, notwithstanding the fact that it gave nothing for its contributions, barely paid expenses; and never before the present year has it been a paying investment. But, however unsuccessful from a business point of view the Review may have been, its pages have ever exhibited the highest scholarship this country possessed, and its list of contributors includes the name of almost every American writer who has attained any enduring distinction.
The Review shows the progress of our country, not in literature alone, but in science, art, and politics, and there is scarcely a subject falling under any one of these heads on which the Review has not published one or more articles that are well worth reading. Hitherto the difficulty has been in getting at the articles wanted, - a thing possible only after a long search. In short, the Review was sadly in need of a thorough index. Such an index has been prepared by Mr. William Cushing, of our Library, although whether it ever sees the light will depend on the subscriptions he receives for the work.
The difficulty of such an undertaking becomes apparent when we remember that the articles in the first seventy-seven volumes were published anonymously, and that it was owing entirely to the diligence of Mr. Cutter, Mr. Sibley, and Mr. Bowen, that the volumes in our Library alone contain a list of the writers who appeared in the early pages of the Review.
The catalogue prepared by Mr. Cushing is brought down to 1878, and is both a subject and an author's catalogue. A glance over the list of contributors reveals some interesting facts in regard to the authorship of the Review articles. The Adams family are well represented; John Adams has two articles; Charles Francis Adams, sixteen; Charles Francis Adams, Jr., thirteen; and Henry Adams, eighteen. John Quincy Adams appears to have written nothing for the Review. The one who contributed the greatest number of articles was Edward Everett, who wrote no less than one hundred and sixteen. This number becomes more astonishing when we reflect that during Mr. Everett's first editorship, he was just entering on his duties as professor, and during his second he was a member of Congress. Notwithstanding these other duties, Mr. Everett once took lessons in Spanish for three weeks, in order to review Dean Funes' History of Paraguay.
Professor Bowen, who has written just one hundred articles, stands second on the list, and he is followed by Dr. Peabody, whose contributions amount to seventy-seven. Those who have contributed more than fifty articles are Presidents Felton and Sparks, A. H. Everett, and W. B. O. Peabody. Caleb Cushing, William Tudor, and J. G. Palfrey stand among the thirties; and Professors Norton and Lowell, and W. H. Prescott, among the twenties. Of the members of the present Faculty, H. W. Torrey has seven; John Fiske and Asa Gray, six each; A. S. Hill and C. F. Dunbar five each; H. C. Lodge and F. H. Hedge two each; and J. B. Greenough, J. P. Cooke, Jr., and N. S. Shaler, one each. Among the other contributors are Bancroft, Bryant, Lewis Cass, Daniel Webster, Emerson, Nathan Hale, Longfellow, and Howells.
From the above array of names one can see both how rich a mine of literary wealth the Review really is, and how great is the service which Mr. Cushing has done in giving us a ready access to it. A canvass of the College will be made before long, and it is desirable that two hundred copies should be subscribed for among the students of the University. The book will be bound in cloth, and the maximum price will be two dollars and a half.