Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Miles Wallingford


This post features Miles Wallingford by James Fenimore Cooper (1844) and a bonus Introductions to Novels by James Fenimore Cooper by his daughter, Susan Fenimore Cooper.

"As a matter of course, the constant and important business with which I was now occupied, had a tendency to dull the edge of my grief, though I can truly say that the image of Grace was never long absent from my mind, even in the midst of my greatest exertions. Nor was Lucy forgotten. She was usually at my sister's side; and it never happened that I remembered the latter, without seeing the beautiful semblance of her living friend, watching over her faded form, with sisterly solicitude. John Wallingford left me, at the end of a week, after seeing me fairly under way as a merchant, as well as ship-owner and ship-master."

'"Farewell, Miles,"' he said, as he shook my hand with a cordiality that appeared to increase the longer he knew me, '"farewell, my dear boy, and may God prosper you in all your lawful and just undertakings. Never forget you are a Wallingford, and the owner of Clawbonny. Should we meet again, you will find a true friend in me; should we never meet, you will have reason to remember me."'

From Introductions by Miss Cooper:

"Topics Covered: The North River sloop and its history and operation; travel from Cooperstown to New York in the old days via Albany and the sloop; description of river trip from Albany to New York..Cooper's indignation at British impressment of American seamen; the Dawn and impressment... ."

A bit of symbolism was found in The Moral Geography of Cooper's Miles Wallingford Novels  by Donald A. Ringe, was found in a Hudson River Valley Organization publication:

"Miles acquires his experience in three sharply contrasted areas: the open sea, the farm at Clawbonny, and the city of New York.  Each exists as an actuality presented in realistic terms, but each takes on as well a symbolic meaning... ". "The farm at Clawbonny is for Miles an island of security in a changing world, the city of New York is a place of social distinctions where he can never be entirely comfortable, and the sea is the questing ground where he can develop qualities of manhood and independence that he could never acquire ashore."

Miles Wallingford was recommended by Theodore Roosevelt for seamen circa War of 1812:

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