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S A L E-RO O M.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 1817.)
A Periodical Paper, published weekly at No. 4, Hanover-Street, Edinburgh.
An architect of great skill and experience gularity of manners, are in our day, as was wont to say, that he found less difficulty in Congreve's, set down among the Lord in giving the plan of a gentleman's seat than Froths and Mr Brisks, the solemn or lively in devising a lodge for the termination of his coxcombs of society. But here the metaayenue. We are much mistaken if a similar phor no longer holds; for, in this department difficulty has not been felt by most periodi. of literature, mediocrity, however void of cal essayists. The first appearance before affectation, or even if marked by elegance, is the public is like the entrance of a bashful insufficient to produce any impression on person into a ceremonious company; and the public. It is expected of us, not only that in both cases the French proverb applies, we should be eloquent, but that we should Ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute. And be new ; not only that we should be cor, how often have we seen such a person, qua. rect, but that we should be striking i and lified both to enjoy and to entertain society, that our lucubrations should promise to suffering during a whole evening under the combine originality with the humour of too acute feeling of some awkwardness or in- Addison, the learning of Cumberland, and advertent solecism, which he supposes him the pathos of the Map of Feeling. Aware of self to have committed on his first entrance, the difficulty, not indeed of making such But the case of the essayist is still harder, promises, but of giving the public any
The utmost that can be expected from a sound reason to think that it was in our member of fashionable society is, that he power to keep them, we were somewhat shall present himself with the ordinary ease tempted to elude the task of announand grace of men of good-breeding ; and cing our pretensions in an opening Num. those who affect peculiarity, or marked sin ber; and, like the worthy Irishman, who, on finding the second month of attend- milar occasions. We might indeed be saance at the fencing-school was rated at a tisfied with referring to the place of publower fee than that which preceded it, re- lication, as sufficiently warranting our titlequested to take the said second month first, page ; but we may add, that it will also be we had half-resolved to publish No. II. of vindicated by the miscellaneous nature of THE SALE-Room before No, I.
the materials which we have collected and We conceived that we might be the more arranged, with the hope of meriting a share easily justified in the omission of all preli- of public favour and patronage. Our design minary matter, (the concoction of which is is, to collect in our hebdomadal reservoir attended with such difficulties,) since it is such scattered rills of literature as are not not our intention to introduce any dramatis already diverted into channels of greater persone, or even to assume any marked or
consequence ; and were we as sure of escapeculiar personage as the supposed author ping the exception as we are desirous to of our essays.
We are not ignorant of the extend our plan to what is unexcepted, we charm which the reader receives from the would willingly adopt the maxim of Vol. congruity between the moral sentiments or taire, tout genre est permis hors le genre enopinions delivered in such lucubrations, and nuyeux. Therefore, as the Salesman's rooms the character and habits of the supposed au- contain articles the most inconsistent with thor; and we feel what weight precepts of each other, and yet arranged side by side, conduct derive from the authority of Nestor and all designed for the use of the public, Ironside, or observations on manners from qur papers will, on the same principle, boast that of the philosophical Spectator, who, ne- an equal variety; and as a Dutch grotesque ver mingling in society or conversation, was may happen to be hung next to a scripturesolely occupied in marking and recording piece, or a Chinese joss placed by the side what was worthy of notice. But that spring of an Etruscan vase, we shall not hesitate of interest has been so often successfully to blend the ludicrous with the serious, or employed that its force is now weakened, relieve historical dissertation by the more and whatever character we could with pro- whimsical researches of the local antiquary. priety produce as our representative and Like the Sale-Room in another respect, alprolocutor, would inevitably remind the though it may seldom or never be our lot reader of some original portrait, designed to present to the public pictures of firstwith greater spirit, or finished with more rate value by Claude and Raphael, yet we elegant accuracy. Our Essays will, then, be trust there may remain between that unatimpersonal in the diction, unless when we tainable point of perfection, and the oppoare favoured with communications from site extreme of productions deservedly concorrespondents, who will, of course, speak temptible, various points of excellence that in their own real or assumed characters. may be reached, some by the patient labour
Relieved, therefore, from the necessity which supplies by power of finishing the of announcing a supposed editor, it did not lack of creative genius, and some by the seem of greater importance to us 'to, en. hasty efforts of those who possess the talent, large upon our reasons for assuming a title without the time or patience, necessary to so' different from those adopted upon-si- make pictures out of their rough sketches.
We shall not, therefore, deem any thing lighter literature, from the epic to the draforeign to our pages which comes within ma, lie before us as before our predeces. the circle of general literature; 'a compass sors, with the privilege of varying them by which we assume, not as pretending to moral fiction, or inoffensive pleasantry. How write de omni scibili, but in order, by ex- far the supporters of the present publica;
tending our plan so widely, to facilitate the tion may be found qualified to avail them• supply of respectable materials.
selves of these boundless materials is a difA range, however, so ample, cannot be ferent question. By making the trial they without its limitations. There are some plainly intimate some confidence in their provinces of the essayist into which it is
own powers, and it would be absurd affec. our intention rarely to intrude, and there tation to disclaim hopes of pleasing the are other purposes to which such lucubra public when addressing them in order to tions have been applied, which we desire bespeak their favour. They may, however, altogether to avoid.
state without any misplaced modesty, that We have no intention to assume the they are aware that very considerable talents thorny sceptre of criticism, so far as our have been employed in this kind of writing contemporaries are concerned,--a restric- without producing that powerful effect on tion, however, which must be understood the public mind, or obtaining that general as not limiting us in our remarks on the reception, which is the mostobvious proof of taste and manners, of the age, which, of success. But still the same text which tells course, are frequently to be judged by the us, that “ the race is not to the swift, or the works which they reject or receive with ap- battle to the strong," promises the benefit probation.
of that time and chance which happen unIn like manner, it is our intention to to all men, and entitles us to eke out the avoid all political discussion by which
half confidence which we repose in our tizans on either side can justly be offended, powers of entertaining the public, with a. although we reserve to ourselves the free- half hope that it may be our good fortune dom of touching occasionally (should' we to find the public in a humour to be enfind our power competent to the task) up. tertained. To this confidence in good for. on the great principles of legislation, as es- tune, which all possess, though it can only sential to the stability of government and in some instances be justified by success, we the happiness of the governed. But con- owe recruits to our army and navy, for to it troversy on any subject, and satire of any belong the marshals' batons, and admirals' sort, by which private characters may suf. flags, and stars, and ribbands, which dazzle fer, it is our purpose to avoid, as the most th
the imagination of young midshipmen and dangerous quicksand on which our little ensigns; the bar would be thinned, were all vessel could be grounded.
the young counsellors struck off, before the Within these restrictions there remains eyes of whose fancy silk gowns and purple an ample and inexhaustible harvest for the and crimson robes are glancing; and, last periodical essayist, were the labourer strong not least, our national perplexity would be in proportion to its extent. Men and man- sorely increased by the whole lottery-tickets ners, past and present, the whole range of of the most unparalleled plan ever arran