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ED.-Good morning, gentlemen. I have considered the finer of which you spoke yesterday, and am willing to go if you choose to run the risk of the experiment. I owever, as I stated, innumerable difficulties in the way
C not the
+ difficulties exist that are at all formidable? Is
the city of New
ole oand publish
half dozen; with the editors, contribu-
placethere is too great a flock of magazines, foreign
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. I. No. I.
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
is wanted, and will bring its price in the market.
with a list of grievances, which made me we,elf in the
ciety was inhed, their valua
reading. He informed me that the Histori solvent, and that, unless timely relief was a ble collection of books connected with th
tinent, must be sold and scattered abistory of this condemy of Arts was also a-begging; and the He said the Ac
rary and Philosophical Society would never
feared the J
volume of their transactions, whereby many ale second
fishes and wild beasts would be unillustrated and unrecorded. As for
domestic works newly published,ed, 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 but 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
a stone at Doctor Secor's new and beautiful wheel of fortune. My informant added, with a groan, that seventeen new Yankee schoolmasters had arrived in the city; and that eighty or ninety young doctors and lawyers were about being let loose on the community. We live indeed in very awful times."
PUB.-All this does not frighten us much-Write up 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? Besides, 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. 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. 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