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IN offering to the Patronage of their countrymen an agreeable and useful compila. tan, the editors will seize the occasion to say a few words, explanatory of their views.
It is gratifying to remark that the periods of national annals, on which the historian delights to dwell
, are those in which the field of literature has attained its highest degree of cultivation ; for, it is then that a state has reached a point of glory and splendour, where it may indeed long repose, but which it is never destined to pass. The student loves to linger on those scenes of tranquil refinement, when the profession of arms has yielded to the study of letters, and the rough features of war have been softened by the milder influence of the imagination. It is more pleasant to dwell pon the lessons of Aristotle, than on the conquests of Alexander ; upon the eloquence of Pericles, and the history of Thucydides, than on the battles which they fought, or the vietories which they gained. The Augustan age of Rome has obscured the conquests of ber Scipios, and among her descendants the names of her heroes are forgotten, while the literary splendour of the house of Medici still illumines the world. The <artial fame of Essex is heard of no more ; but the glory of Spencer and Shakspeare
is brighter than ever. The ambitious plans of Louis XIV. are remembered as a dream ; his Condes and Turennes are forgotten, while his Corneille, his Racine and his ad only Moliere, continue the pride of France. Marlborough and Blenheim are names sounded only at intervals ; but those of Dryden, and Addison, and Pope, will be for ever repeated with increasing delight.
dette be It sooths the observing mind to reflect on the gradual and general cultivation of the cre. letters, which has marked the progress of the United States, since the adoption of the federal constitution. Our men of learning were then rare ; our booksellers few de pistest and poor ; and our students were contented with the scanty doles of literature which Miquines chance or charity threw in their way. The volumes which we imported from Europe Tes hope, were found only in the libraries of a few men of wealth, and but one or two native rich, và periodical publications disseminated a few gleams of literature among the middlingavil en classes of society. . A great alteration has occurred within a short period. The miksi son wealth which the troubles in Europe threw upon our shores, secured by the care of sepse an established government, has been fortunately not exclusively confined to the pur. ir e for chase of the luxuries of commerce. A considerable portion of it has been appropria. ide do ted to the cultivation of letters, and it is now rare to find a village without a circulating library, or a native American who has not been taught to read and to write.
We have not yet, however, attained that extent of population which is sufficient to supply us with our own writers. Our means of subsistence are of such easy acquisition, that the professed literary character, who lives by his pen, is scarcely known.There are, indeed, a few honourable individuals, whose exertions have been chiefly directed to the establishment of periodical journals. But they are unaided by that phalanx of literary combatants, which is indispensable to success, and whatever may have been their patronage from the purses of the publick, they have painfully experienced the want of literary contributions.
Journals, Magazines, and Reviews, have been established in Europe, and particularly in Great Britain, with the design of presenting a general and condensed view of the state of literature, and of directing the researches of those who have not leisure to be students. They have been conducted by associations of men of genius, who have found in their ranks Addison and Steele, Goldsmith and Johnson, Marmontel and Burke ; and under the care of such men, publick journals have deservedly taken a high station in the republick of letters. Their successours are among the first literary characters of the age. They now stand as sentinels at all the avenues to literary fame ; and although some of them are faithless to their duty and level their wea. pons against those who have really the countersign of genius, while traitors are permitted to pass unnoticed, it is yet easy to collect from their reports the real state of the field of letters. They abound with the speculations of men of genius, which deserve to be separated from the wretched effusions which disgrace their pages.
The patronage which is afforded to the publick journals of Europe is evident from the numbers which now exist, and are incessantly multiplying. They have increased
until themselves would almost furnish a library, and until their importation into the United States can be made only by the man of wealth or by publick institutions. In addition to their expense, they have the misfortune of aiding the circulation of mang unsound speculations, which corrupt the morals of youth, and many false criticisms which pervert the publick taste, and which can be prevented only by a careful revi. sion and impartial selection by those, who, relying on the patronage of Americans, deem it worthy of their care.
The editors of the present compilation propose to extract from all foreign and American Journals, Magazines, and Reviews, such articles as, in their judgment, merit preservation. They hope, by such means, to present to their countrymen, a mass of sound literature, which, while it will aid the man of science in his researches, and the student in his closet, will enable the desultory reader to place in his parlour window a book that will cheat life of some of its cares. The middling class of society is, at present, almost wholly deprived of this pleasant and instructive kind of reading : for the price of any one foreign journal exceeds the price at which the present compilation will be offered. It is important that this class should possess the means of information ; for their habits and their opinions stamp a permanent and controlling feature on the national character of a state, and eventually direct it to the fever of anarchas, the palsy of despotism, or the cheerful health of civil liberty.
The editors have made arrangements to carry their plan into execution. They is the patronage of the publick. They promise to repay it by impartiality of selec, tem, by diligence, and by labour, and they now offer the following
1 The work will be handsomely printed at the Lorenzo Press, on superfine woven.
paper, and published in monthly numbers, each to contain seventy-two closely printed octavo pages, and will be delivered to subscribers in the city on the first day of every month, and forwarded to country subscribers without delay.
IL The price to be five dollars a year, to be paid on the delivery of the sixth num.
ber of every year.
NI. The numbers will be so arranged as to form two volumes in each year, and a
title page and index will be given with each volume.
IV. No subscription to be discontinued except at the end of a volume, and on pay.
ment of what may then be due.
V. Those persons who may procure ten subscribers, and become accountable for the
payment, will be entitled to one copy gratis.
The usual allowance will be made to booksellers.
N. B. Booksellers throughout the U. States are invited to communicate to E. Bronson, Philadelphia, post paid, the titles of such books as have been Jately published by them, and such as they are about to publish, in which case an early opportunity will be taken to insert the best reviews of those yorks, together with a notice of the persons by whom they are publihsed.
PHILADELPHIA, SEPT. 1808.
FOR JANUARY, 1809.
FROM AIKIN'S ANNUAL REVIEW. Struggles through Life; exemplified in the various Travels and Adventures in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, of Lieutenant JOHN HARRIOTT, formerly of Rochefort, in Esses; now Resident Magistrate of the Thames Police. 2 vols. 12mo. pp. 375 and 347. London—This work is now in the press of James Humphreys, Philadel. phi, and will speedily be published in two vols. 12 mo. price to subscribers $2 bound and lettered.
THERE is anecdote and adventure enough in these volumes to satisfy the keenest avidity ; but many of them are related in so rough and vulgar 2 manner that we cannot venture to recommend them to ladies or gentlemen of very refined sensibilities or very delicate ears. Be it known, however, that ladies and gentlemen who can read Peregrine Pickle and Roderick Random, and who like to hear a sailor tell his story in bis own way, may venture to accompany Mr. Harriott in his “ Struggles through Life.”
Mr. H. “ took his first bias for travelling or going to sea, from reading Robinson Crusoe.” At the age of thirteen he sailed as a midshipman on board a ship of war for New York, and whilst lying there performed an act of humanity which did credit to his feelings. A poor girl, whose mother kept a tavern at St. Jolin's Newfoundland, had been seduced by an officer, who brought her to England, and then deserted her. She passed over to Ireland, where she had some relations, but determined to return to America, and went in a brig filled with redemptioners; that is to say, .persons who redeem the price of their passage by the sale of their services for a certain term of years. This poor girl came to market for sale when Mr. Harriott was there, and relating her unhappy tale, he purchased her of the captain, and sent her in a schooner to Newfoundland, where he afterwards went himself and was welcomed with tears of gratitude by the mother and the daughter.
His captain had now orders to sail for Gibraltar. After a smart engage. ment he captured a French frigate, and cruised up the Mediterranean At Leghorn our hero falls in love, and gives a whimsical account of his fair inamorata's prudence in the suppression of her passion.
On his return home, the vessel was wrecked within three miles of the Mewstone Rock, off Plymouth Sound, and as it had caught the plague a twelvemonth before, when cruising in the Levant, it was with great difficulty that any assistance was to be procured.
Mr. Harriott, however, is at last safely landed, and receives a very good offer of business from one of his relations ; but the sedentary and monotonous routine of a counting house ill suits his rambling genius. He goes to sea again ; is present at the attack of the Havanna, and at the re-taking of Newfoundland from the French. At the ensuing peace he is once more cast adrift on the world; gets employment in sundry merchant ships, but is so disgusted with the service that he retires from it. Having nothing else to do, Mr. Harriott now pays a visit to the savages in North America. He had made a promise of this sort to some Indian chiefs a twelve month before, and now fulfilled it. After a residence of four months among them, kiss.