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The Crayon Papers

by Washington Irving

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Washington Irving (1783-1859) was an American author of the early nineteenth century. Best known for his short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip van Winkle, he was also a prolific essayist, biographer and historian. He spoke fluent Spanish, which served him well in his writings on that country, and he could read several other languages, including German and Dutch. His first book was A History of New-York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker. He travelled on the Western frontier in the 1830s and recorded his glimpses of Western tribes in A Tour on the Prairies. He spoke against the mishandling of relations with the Native American tribes by Europeans and Americans. He popularized the nickname "Gotham" for New York City, and is credited with inventing the expression "the Almighty dollar".

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On the contrary, I have always admired the degree of magnanimity exhibited by the French on the occupation of their capital by the English. When we consider the military ambition of this nation, its love of glory; the splendid height to which its renown in arms had recently been carried, and with these, the tremendous reverses it had just undergone; its armies shattered, annihilated; its capital captured, garrisoned, and overrun, and that too by its ancient rival, the English, toward whom it had cherished for centuries a jealous and almost religious hostility; could we have wondered if the tiger spirit of this fiery people had broken out in bloody feuds and deadly quarrels.



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