Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.
74
LOWELL, C. R.—LOWELL, J. R.

of Japan (1891), and Occult Japan (1895), but he is best known for his studies of the planet Mars-he wrote Mars (1895), Mars and Its Canals (1907), and Mars, the Abode of Life (1908)-and his contention that the “ canals ” of Mars are a sign of life and civilization on that planet (see MARS). He published The Evolution of Worlds in 1909.


LOWELL, CHARLES RUSSELL (1835-1864), American soldier, was born on the 2nd of January 1835 in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother, Anna Cabot Jackson Lowell (1819-1874), a daughter of Patrick Tracy Jackson, married Charles Russell Lowell, a brother of James Russell Lowell; she wrote Verse and books on education. Her son graduated at Harvard in 1854, worked in an iron mill in Trenton, New Jersey, for a few months in 1855, spent two years abroad, and in 1858-1860 was local treasurer of the Burlington & Missouri river railroad. In 186O he took charge of the Mount Savage Iron Works, in Cumberland, Maryland. He entered the Union army in June 1861 (commission May 14) as captain of the 3rd (afterwards 6th) U.S. cavalry; on the 15th of April 1863 he became colonel of the 2nd Massachusetts cavalry; he was wounded fatally at Cedar Creek on the 19th of October 1864, when he was promoted brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers, and died on the next day at Middletown, Va. Lowell married in October 1863, Josephine Shaw (1843-1905), a sister of Colonel R. G. Shaw. Her home when she was married was on Staten Island, and she became deeply interested in the social problems of New York City. She was a member of the State Charities Aid Society, and from 1877 to 1889 was a member of the New York State Board of Charities, being the first woman appointed to that board. She founded the Charity Organization Society of New York City in 1882, and wrote Public Relief and Private Charity (1884) and Industrial Arbitration and Conciliation (1893).

See Edward E. Emerson (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Russell Lowell (Boston, 1907).


LOWELL, JAMES RUSSELL (1819-1891), American author and diplomatist, was born at Elmwood, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, cn the 22nd of February 1819, the son of Charles Lowell (1782-186r).1 On his mother's side he was descended from the Spences and Traills, who made their home in the Orkney Islands, his great-grandfather, Robert Traill, returning to England on the breaking out of hostilities in 1775. He was brought up in a neighbourhood bordering on the open country, and from his earliest years he found a companion in nature; he was also early initiated into the reading of poetry and romance, hearing Spenser and Scott in childhood, and introduced to old ballads by his mother. He had for schoolmaster an Englishman who held by the traditions of English schools, so that before he entered Harvard College he had a more familiar acquaintance with Latin verse than most of his fellows-a familiarity which showed itself later in his mock-pedantic accompaniment to The Biglow Papers and his macaroni poetry. He was a wide reader, but a somewhat indifferent student, graduating at Harvard without special honours in 1838. During his college course he wrote a number of trivial pieces for a college magazine, and shortly after graduating printed for private circulation the poem which his class asked him to write for their graduation festivities. . V

He was uncertain at first what vocation to choose, and vacillated between business, the ministry, medicine and law. He decided at last to practise law, and after a course at the Harvard law school, was admitted to the bar. While studying for his profession, however, he contributed poems and prose articles to various magazines. He cared little for the law, regarding it simply as a. distasteful means of livelihood, yet his experiments in writing did not encourage him to trust to this for support. An unhappy adventure in love deepened his sense of failure, but he became betrothed to Maria White in the autumn of 1840, and the next twelve years of his life were deeply affected by her influence. She was a poet of delicate power, but also possessed a lofty enthusiasm, a high conception of purity and justice, and a practical temper which led her to concern herself 1 See under LOWELL, joint

in the movements directed against the evils of intemperance and slavery. Lowell was already looked upon by his companions as a man marked by wit and poetic sentiment; Miss White was admired for her beauty, her character and her intellectual gifts, and the two became thus the hero and heroine among a group of ardent young men and women. The first-fruits of this passion was a volume of poems, published in 1841, entitled A I/ear's Life, which was inscribed by Lowell in a veiled dedication to his future wife, and was a record of his new emotions with a backward glance at the preceding period of depression and irresolution. The betrothal, moreover, stimulated Lowell to new efforts towards self-support, and though nominally maintaining his law office, he threw his energy into the establishment, in company with a friend, Robert Carter, of a literary journal, to which the young men gave the name of The Pioneer. It was to open the way to new ideals in literature and art, and the writers to Whom Lowell turned for assistance-Hawthorne, Emerson, Whittier, Poe, Story and Parsons, none of them yet possessed of a wide reputation-indicate the acumen of the editor. Lowell himself had already turned his studies in dramatic and early poetic literature to account in another magazine, and continued the series in The Pioneer, besides contributing poems; but after the issue of three monthly numbers, beginning in January 1843, the magazine came to an end, partly because of a sudden disaster which befell Lowell's eyes, partly through the inexperience of the conductors and unfortunate business Connexions.

The venture confirmed Lowell in his bent towards literature. At the close of 1843 he published a collection of .his poems, and a year later he gathered up certain material which he had printed, sifted and added to it, and produced Conversations on some of the Old Poets. The dialogue form was used merely to secure an undress manner of approach to his subject; there was no attempt at the dramatic. The book refiects curiously Lowell's mind at this time, for the conversations relate only partly to the poets and dramatists of the Elizabethan period; a slight suggestion sends the interlocutors off on the discussion of current reforms in church and state and society. Literature and reform were dividing the author's mind, and continued to do so for the next decade. just as this book appeared Lowell and Miss White were married, and spent the winter and early spring of 1845 in Philadelphia. Here, besides continuing his literary contributions to magazines, Lowell had a regular engagement as an editorial writer on The Pennsylvania Freeman, a fortnightly journal devoted to the Anti-Slavery cause. In the spring of 1845 the Lowells returned to Cambridge and made' their home at Elmwood. On the last day of the year their first child, Blanche, was born, but she lived only fifteen months. A second daughter, Mabel, was born six months after Blanche's death, and lived to survive her father; a third, Rose, died an infant. Lowell's mother meanwhile was living, sometimes at home, sometimes at a neighbouring hospital, with clouded mind, and his wife was in frail health. These troubles and a narrow income conspired to make Lowell almost a recluse in these days, but from the retirement of Elmwood he sent forth writings which show how large an interest he took in affairs. He contributed poems to the daily press, called out by the Slavery question; he was, early in 1846, a correspondent of the London Daily News, and in the spring of 1848 he formed a connexion with the National Anti-Slavery Standard of New York, by which he agreed to furnish weekly either a poem or a prose article. The poems were most frequently works of art, occasionally they were tracts; but the prose was almost exclusively concerned with the public men and questions of the day, and forms a series of incisive, witty and sometimes prophetic diatribes. It was a period with him of great mental activity, and is represented by four of his books which stand as admirable witnesses to the Lowell of 1848, namely, the second series of Poerns, containing among others “ Columbus, ” “ An Indian Summer Reverie, ” “ To the Dandelion, ” “ The Changeling ”; A Fable for Critics, in which, after the manner of Leigh Hunt's The Feast of the Poets, he characterizes iin witty verse and with good-natured satire American