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Pub. + difficulties exist that are at all formidable? Is not the field unable to support a Monthly Journal ?
the city of New. tf dozen; with the editors, contribuwill Ed.-Certain
*ple and publists to boot, rt the people were willing. But, in the first place here is too great a flock of magazines, foreign
Ed.—Good morning, gentlemen. I have considered the finer of which you spoke yesterday, and am willing to go into
if you choose to run the risk of the experiment. I Oj wever, as I stated, innumerable difficulties in the way ess.
cupied, and the time favourable? And is not
halt and domesti about, like tlieof all sizes, and corrurs, and materials, flying “ with all their truesiastics in limbo,--red, blue, and green,
The numbe." of past abortions, and rickety, short-lived prodtentions, has put the “pensive” subscribing public on its guard; and the fondness for la; 'wspapers is too great and too general. These ephemeral articles seem alone destined for eternal duration. Their editors may be fined, take the benefit of the act, get abused, kicked, cutted hd strappadoed, run away, be burnt in effigy, or sent to the legislature: but on all these things they flourish and fatten; and newspapers will continue to be read and patronised ; leaving their readers neither taste to appreciate, nor time to peruse, nor money to pay for literary publications.
Pub. These are no alarming impediments to our success. Our plan differs materially from that of any other cotemporary domestic journal; and your contributors must correct the public appetite for reading advertisements, by furnishing them more Vol. l. No. 1.
fine arts in this city. With tears in his eyes, y.ted me with a list of grievances, which made me welf in the reading. He informed me that the Historiciety was insolvent, and that, unless timely relief was ied, their valuatinent, must be sold and scattered abroalistory of this condemy of Arts was also a-begging; and that feared the ' rary and Philosophical Society would never st out thyd
instructive or amusing matter. What farther obstacles do you perceive?
Ed.- I am afraid the season is not so favourable as you suppose, for a new attempt of this kind. Every body is thinking and talking of the presidential question, and the electoral law, and the steam-boat decision, and the new tariff, &c. &c. Then, too, the rage for subscriptions has prevailed all winter, to a much more terrifying extent than the varioloid. We have subscribed for the people that were burnt out in Maine, for the Greeks, for the house of refuge, for new colleges, churches, missionary and bible societies, and benevolent institutions; until it is to be feared that the fever has past away, and that we shall find the public in a most unpropitious ague.
Pub.-We do not put ourselves in the situation of those who ask alms. We offer a fair quid pro quo. Domestic rature is wanted, and will bring its price in the market.
Ed.—Having been for a long time out of the weive ters I applied to a gentleman of great general infor me a summary account of the present state of ljå
388 ble collection of books connected with th
le second volume of their transactions, whereby many swange fishes and wild beasts would be unillustrated and unrecorded. As for domestic works newly published, be stated that in poetry, Mr. Clarke alone had wooed his muse, a lady who seemed to belong to the peripatetic school of Broadway; that in fiction, there was nothing bat a “Winter in Washington;" and
' in the way
of biography and history, seventeen rival pamphlets, containing assages of the life, death, and partial resurrection of John Johnson, lately hanged and galvanised. The taste for oratory, he said, seemed also to be on the wane-Mr. Cummings having discontinued his lectures, and the gentlemen of the Forum being obliged to petition the corporation to come and hear them. Literary merit is totally unpatronized. The discoverer of the true Grecian wreath of victory got nothing for his pains but a ragged copy of the work of Mr. Pascalius. The fine arts are also scurvily treated. The illustrations of the Spy are much neglected; and some improper person threw
He said the Art
a stone at Doctor Secor's new and beautiful wheel of fortune.
the distrest societies; and write down the Yankee schoolmasters. Have you any more objections ?
Ed.-Any more? Good Lord! I have scarcely began. Pray what is all that pile of rubbish ?
Pub.-Imitations of Mr. Cooper's novels, sent to us for publication ; with a modest demand of a large price for the manuscript, and half the profits. Because these works have been exceedingly popular, all these writers have thought they might be equally successful, with the help of the backwoods, an Indian, a panther and a squatter.
Ed.-Ah! that brings us to the cardinal difficulty. We can find contributors enough, if they are paid ; but where can we get the right sort? How make atonement to those volunteers, whose lucubrations we cannot insert? And how pay a decent compensation for the labours of those whom we find worthy ?
Pub.---By giving a compensation, we certainly reserve the right of making our own choice. Those who are able and willing to assist us, must accept their honorarium for the principle of the thing, until their exertions will permit us to make it respectable. And as to false delicacy, we will obviate its scruples, by forwarding every contributor's dues to any address given in his communication.
Ed.—Lucri bonus est odor ex re quâlibet. I do not think any body will be deterred from sending us a communication, by the fear of being tendered a pecuniary reward. But most of those gentlemen on whom we might rely for regular and interesting papers, are engaged in professional pursuits. We can only expect the occasional effusion of a leisure hour, or the hasty and incondite product of often interrupted efforts. The calls of business and the cares of the world cannot be forgotten in a moment, and the mind left free to expatiate in the unclouded regions of pure intellect. And without this, where shall we find the vivacity, the playfulness, the wit, the vigour, or the fulness of knowledge which are essential to our success? Be. sides, there is a vulgar Dutch notion, very prevalent in this metropolis, that no person who has a fondness for literature can be competent to discharge the duties of his profession. This is a very gross superstition, but has great currency, and deters
many from exercising their wits in any way at all, notwithstanding the illustrious examples in all ages and countries that confute this absurd theory.
Pub-We must dissipate the smoke of error and ignorance, by enlisting in the ranks of our contributors as many young men as possible, who have not yet bowed the knee to prejudice, and lost, in the school of worldly wisdom, the liveliness and the freshness of thought. Many such undoubtedly may be found, besides those whom you mentioned in our conversation yesterday.
Ed.- I suppose, then, we can find readers and writers. I see another small difficulty. What are we to write about, as we intend that the work shall be altogether original ?
Pub.-Why, write reviews.
Ed.-Not I, for one—if you mean in the old vein. The North American occupies ground, on which we can rarely trench ; and as for the other American burlesques on the worst style of Scotch and English reviewing, I trust we have had enough of them. Deriving their only vitality from spleen, and their only amusement from the display of second-hand, and generally misapplied information, they furnished food for the diseased appetites of minds prone to prefer scurrility and sarcasm to truth and candour. Such of them as are not quite forgotten, with a few respectable exceptions, are good for nothing but text books for small beer literati,—for squibbers and quack compounders of worn-out common place, - boys and men, who rummage dictionaries, compends, vocabularies, and collections of quotations,--and then come out in a blaze of information ; very much like the man on the slack rope,
with bundles of crackers tied to his extremities, whirling and whirling for the amusement of the groundlings. Nothing can be more essentially ridiculous than the self-complacent style in which some of these gentry have reviewed, after their fashion, the first writers of the age, and predicted speedy neglect and oblivion to the highest efforts of cotemporary genius. It is to be feared, however, that this miserable kind of stuff, deluding, by its facility and apparent smartness, both writers and readers, has done serious injury to the intellectual character of our countrymen. People have acquired a fondness for this cheap and expeditious mode of obtaining a few vague ideas about current literature. They can talk more learnedly and dogmatically about an author's merits, on the strength of the slang they have picked up from some twopenny scribbler, than if they had been compelled to wade through the whole original work: by doing