Melville on Cooper

"On James Fenimore Cooper I never had the honor of knowing, or even seeing, Mr Cooper personally; so that, through my past ignorance of his person, the man, though dead, is still as living to me as ever. And this is very much; for his works are among the earliest I remember, as in my boyhood producing a vivid, and awakening power upon my mind It has always much pained me, that for any reason, in his latter years, his fame at home should have apparently received a slight, temporary clouding, from some very paltry accidents, incident, more or less, to the general career of letters. But whatever possible things in Mr Cooper may have seemed, to have, in some degree, provoked the occasional treatment he received, it is certain, that he possessed no slightest weaknesses, but those, which are only noticeable as the almost infallible indices of pervading greatness. He was a great, robust-souled man, all whose merits are not even yet fully appreciated. But a grateful posterity will take the best of care of Fennimore Cooper."
--excerpted from Letter to Rufus Wilmot Griswold (December 19, 1851)

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