Jared Sparks, an American historian, born at Willington, Conn., May 10, 1789, died in Cambridge, Mass., March 14, 1866. He graduated at Harvard college in 1815, studied theology at Cambridge, and for two years, 1817-19, was college tutor in mathematics and natural philosophy. He also became one of an association by which the " North American Review" was conducted. In May, 1819, he was ordained as minister of a Unitarian congregation in Baltimore, and the next year published "Letters on the Ministry, Ritual, and Doctrine of the Protestant Episcopal Church" (8vo, Boston). In 1821 he was elected chaplain of the United States house of representatives, and the same year he established "The Unitarian Miscellany and Christian Monitor," which he edited till 1828. In this work he began a series of letters on the " Comparative Moral Tendency of Trinitarian and Unitarian Doctrines" (8vo, 1823). He also edited a "Collection of Essays and Tracts in Theology, from various Authors, with Biographical and Critical Notices" (6 vols. 12mo, 1823-6). His health becoming impaired, he resigned his pastoral charge in 1823, and removing to Boston purchased the "North American Review," of which he was sole proprietor and editor for seven years.
In 1828 he published a "Life of John Ledyard, the American Traveller," chiefly from original materials. After extensive researches in the United States, he made a voyage to Europe in 1828, where he selected and transcribed documents relating to American history in the public offices of London and Paris, and after his return published "The Writings of George Washington, with a Life of the Author, Notes, and Illustrations" (12 vols. 8vo, Boston, 1834-'7). During the preparation of this work he edited and published " The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution" (12 vols. 8vo, 1829-'30), and "The Life of Gouverneur Morris, with Selections from his Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers," etc. (3 vols. 8vo, 1832). "The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge" was founded by Mr. Sparks, who edited the first volume, for 1830. He was also the editor of the "Library of American Biography" (first series, 10 vols. 18mo, 1834-'8; second series, 15 vols., 1844-,8), several of the lives in which were written by him.
In 1840 he completed the publication of " The Works of Benjamin Franklin, with Notes and a Life of the Author " (10 vols. 8vo). He then visited Europe a second time, and discovered in the French archives the famous map with the red line drawn upon it, about which so much was afterward said in the debates upon the Ashburton treaty in congress and parliament. In 1852 two pamphlets were printed by him in defence of his mode of editing the writings of Washington, in reply to the strictures of Lord Mahon and others, and a similar pamphlet the next year, occasioned by a reprint of the original letters from Washington to Joseph Reed. In 1854 he published " Correspondence of the American Revolution, being Letters of eminent Men to George Washington, from the time of his taking command of the Army to the end of his Presidency, edited from the Original Manuscripts" (4 vols. 8vo). Mr. Sparks was McLean professor of history at Harvard college from 1839 to 1849, and president of the college from 1849 to 1853. His life, by G. E. Ellis, was published in 1869. SPARROW, the familiar name of many small birds of the finch family, and the old genus fringilla (Linn.), which has been numerously subdivided by modern ornithologists; the family characters have been given under Finch. Among the many American species may be mentioned three distributed under three different genera.
The white-crowned sparrow (zonotrichia leucophrys, Swains.) is about 7 in. long and 10 in. in alar extent; the body is stout, bill conical, feet robust, the second and third quills longest, and the tail rather long and moderately rounded; the chin, throat, and breast are nearly uniform ashy; the head above black; median and superciliary stripe pure white; a narrow black lino through and behind the eyes; back and wing coverts dark reddish brown with paler margins; quills and tail darker; wings with two white bands; whitish below; bill reddish orange tipped with brown; lower lid white. It is found from the Atlantic to the Rocky mountains and from Labrador to Texas, breeding far to the north; the notes are mellow and cheering, six or seven in number, the first loud and clear, and thence becoming fainter and more plaintive; eggs five or six, in. long, light sea green with brownish mot-tlings at the larger end; the nest is on the ground or among moss, and the eggs are laid in Labrador from the 1st to the end of June. The flight is low, but swift and long protracted; the migrations are performed mostly by day; the food consists of seeds, berries, minute shell fish, and insects. The genus spizella (Bonap.) differs from the last in its smaller size and longer forked tail.
The chipping sparrow ($. socialis, Bonap.), commonly called chip bird, is 5½- in. long and 8½ in. in alar extent; the rump, back of neck, and sides of head and neck are ashy; the back has black streaks with pale rufous edgings; the crown is uniform chestnut, the forehead black with a white median line, a white streak over the eyes and a black one from the bill through and behind the eyes; white below, tinged with ashy on the upper breast; tail and primaries with paler edgings, and two narrow white bands across wing coverts; bill black; in the young the crown has narrow blackish lines, and the upper breast and sides are streaked with brown. It inhabits North America from ocean to ocean, very common everywhere, except in woods, in spring, summer, and autumn, going south in winter; it is very social, is found with almost every other species of sparrow, and is so familiar as to enter yards and even piazzas for food. The nest is never made on the ground; the eggs are four or five, ¾ by ⅝ in., greenish blue, with slight brown spots at the larger end, and rather pointed at the smaller. The notes are six or seven rapidly repeated and loud "cheeps;" the flight is short, irregular, and rather low.
They are the most numerous of the sparrows in New England, but arrive some weeks later than the song sparrow. The genus melospiza (Baird) differs from zonotrichia in the shorter and more graduated tail, longer hind toe, shorter and more rounded wings, longer tertiaries, unspotted under parts, and streaked crown. The song sparrow (M. melodia, Baird) is 6½ in. long and 8½ in. in alar extent; the general tint above is rufous brown, with dark brown streaks and grayish edgings; crown rufous, with superciliary and median stripe of dull gray; white below, breast and sides streaked with dark rufous; no distinct white on wings or tail. It is found from the eastern coast to the high central plains, and is abundant in the south, where it raises three broods, making a new nest for each. Though not so handsome as some other sparrows, its song is much sweeter, prolonged, and heard at all hours of the day; it nests both on the ground and in bushes; the eggs are four to six, broad ovate, light greenish white with specks of dark brown; both sexes incubate.
The flight is short and much undulated; it goes south in winter, and seldom approaches houses nearer than gardens and orchards; it is very active, feeding on insects, seeds, and berries. - The old world sparrows belong to the genus passer (Briss.), in which the wings are moderate, with the second and third quills rather longer than the first, and the moderate tail even or slightly forked. There are about 20 species, residing in cultivated regions, even in the midst of cities; the food consists of buds, seeds, grains, and insects; the nest is in trees or hedges, and the eggs are four or five. The house sparrow (P. domesticus, Linn.) is 6¼ in. long and 9½ in. in alar extent; in the male the upper part of the head is light brownish gray, the sides of the neck grayish white, throat black, back and wings chestnut and black with a white band across the latter, and lower parts light brownish gray; in the female the head is grayish brown above and the lower parts light broAvn-ish gray. They often commit serious depredations in wheat fields; though feeding chiefly on grain, they bring up their young on larvae, and a pair is said to destroy about 4,000 caterpillars weekly in the breeding season; they are generally distributed over northern and central Europe, and are brighter colored in the country than in the cities; they have no song, except a single note, loud and by no means agreeable.
This species has been introduced into the United States, where it thrives well, and does good service in destroying canker worms and other injurious larvae in and around the large cities and towns; they require feeding and houses during the severe winters. They were first brought to New York about 1862, and there have been several later importations; they drive nearly all other birds from places where they abound.
White-Crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys).
House Sparrow (Passer dornesticus).