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metropolis, continually widening her sphere of splendor, distinguished by the possession of the best libraries in the United States, memorable for the liberality of her institutions, and the grandeur of her views, must be the genuine Alma Mater, the foster nurse of the rising generation of the Genius of America.
Independently of this consideration Philadelphia is by no means destitute of the votaries both of the graver and the lighter Muse. A very large number of the Gentlemen of the Bar are eminently distinguished for their literary power and their liberal spirit. Most of our accomplished Physicians, while with every healing art they mitigate corporeal pain, can contribute largely to the stock of mental pleasure. The curious eye of many a dignified Clergyman ranges excursively beyond the verge of his Church, Our Mer. chants and Manufacturers, the adventurous heroes of enterprise, are continually projecting something, which may contribute, cither to the benefit of individuals, or the welfare of the community. Our catalogue of scientific scholars is copious; and those pacific and gentle Friends, who have given Philadelphia its name, and constitute so important a section of its population and interests, are prompt to aid the labours of those who are zealous to INCREASE THE POWER OF USEFUL INFORMATION.
As it was exemplified, at the commencement of the Gentleman's Magazine, and the Monthly Review in England, a Literary Journal, though it may appear uncouth to the million, and irksomely task an Editor, yet, at least, it may prove the Herald of Merit, and advance the reputation of others, though it procure but little for itself. If the conductor of such a miscellany be persevering, like Cave, he may possibly, at length, obtain aid like Johnson's, and a patronage, liberal as its plan, and wide as its currency. If such a work cannot instantly boast of the inspiration of Genius, or the rewards of Munificence, or the breath of Fame, still the triple force of Enterprise, Assiduity, and Perseverance may, at length, obtain the boon of Fortune and Popularity.
Hitherto the success of The Port Folio has been of no brilliant complexion. Commenced at a sinister epoch, and pushed through all the thorns of perplexity, exposed to the cavils of Party, though pure of any but honest purposes, and neglected, in consequence of the bad health and misfortunes of the Editor, ill supported, and worse paid, still he made it a point of Honour never to abandon it ingloriously. When a crazy vehicle is to be driven over rugged
roads, and jolted at every turning, Good Nature, perhaps, may commend that Charioteer, who keeps his seat, and holds the reins.
After an irksome experience of many years of solicitude, it was plainly perceived by the Editor that no individual, however endowed with the gifts of Nature, or of Fortune, might presumptuously hope to conduct, without assistance, a work whose essence consists in endless variety. Sorrow may depress, Sickness invade, or Misfortune overwhelm any man. In any of these situations, however enterprising, laborious, and gallant, at other times, he resembles the Knight of ancient Chivalry, under the subduing spell of the Enchanter, and is compelled to leave the adventure unfinished. On the other hand, as it has been justly observed, an alliance of men of Genius, Industry, and Property, is a perfect pledge for the merit, the resources, the durability, and fair character of a periodical publication. Such a union, has for more than seventy years maintained with unabating spirit The Monthly Review, which now shines with superior lustre in the metropolis of Britain. Such a union gives all its wisdom and all its wit to the best Critical Journal in Scotland. Such a union began and continued The Gentleman's Magazine. Such a union, and nothing but such a union, stamps value upon The Monthly Magazine of Phillips, and The Athenæum of Aikin. If Edward Cave had been the lone Editor of his Magazine, it never would have reached its twelfth number. This inevitable consequence did not escape the sagacity of that prudent Printer. Though conscious of his strength, he was conscious that it was but the vigour of one. In a just balance he weighed himself and he weighed others, and then wisely leaned on the SOLID COLUMN OF LITERATURE. He was in confederacy with all the men of letters in the metropolis, and with both Universities; and hence a degree of success, unparalleled in the annals of Learning. During the Augustan age of French Genius, MarMONTEL undertook the management of The Mercury,t a Miscellany which gain
† As we have remarked, on another occasion, this was a paper, which, under his judicious direction, combined with the powerful aid of a numerous tribe of wits, attained a degree of celebrity, little short of that of the Tatler or Spectator. Indeed, it is believed that there never was a Journal of such variety of contents, and upon a plan so liberal and comprehensive, conducted with more address and abilitv. The proprietor, who was eminently endowed
ed the countenance of the Court, and the contributions of the Literati. This ingenious man, perhaps the most accomplished Editor of his time, blessed with all the glorious gifts of Genius, endowed with that happy versatility of talent so indispensable to the character, polished by a liberal intercourse with the Court, the Learned, and the Fair, guided by a mind most powerful and wise, and memorable for his untiring industry, avows, with all the frankness of a Frenchman, that alone he was wholly incompetent to the task.
Beyond all controversy, the basis of our contemplated establishment is the best and broadest, which can be adopted. There never was a periodical work conducted to universal satisfaction by a single mind. Eren in England, where readers are numerous and Curiosity keen, and at a period so auspicious to Genius and Learning, as the year 1752, The Rambler itself, supported by the strength of Johnson, failed to interest the public curiosity, and
with all the talents requisite for a work so arduous, so boundless, and so versatile, had the rare good fortune to form a league with many of the finest scholars of France, and this combination, which undoubtedly contributed essentially to the success of the work, was never broken by the malignant machinations of the envious or the petty pretensions of the vain. Nothing can be more chat. mbing than his description of the alacrity, with wbich men of Gonius and Learning embarked in his cause, and nothing more conclusive can be offered with respect to the effects produced by such an harmonious concert of the disci. ples of Literature. It was a favourite opinion of Pope, Swift, and Arburthnot, that such an alliance among a few men of acknowledged ability, would be potent enough not only to form the taste, but to chastise all the knavery and folly of a nation. We believe implicitly in the truth of this sentiment, and, indeed, it has been remarkably verified both in England and France. The satyrists above alluded to, together with Steele, Addison, and others, represa sed the dunces of the age, quelled the spirit of false criticism, formed the taste of the town, excited a general passion for elegant letters, and effected a complete revolution in the national character. A band of literary brothers of the finest genius and the soundest principles, gloriously accomplished what no single mind could perform, no, not BURKE, nor JOHNSON, nor ADD180 N, nor Chancellor Bacon himself.
Thus Marmontel and his compeers diffused elegant and instructive litera. ture among the remotest provinces of the French monarchy, soothed trembling Merit with all the blandishments of candid criticism, promoted the interests both of the Fine and the Useful Arts, assisted the cause of science, successfully conducted Thalia and Melpomene to the stage, and above all, Rou. SED AND FOSTERED INFANT GENIUS IN THE CRADLE.
to enhance the bookseller's profits. Men complained, and not without reason, of the unvaried gloom of his thoughts, and the equability of his expression.
But without authorities, and without argument, the Public will soon perceive, with the perspicacity of the Royal Preacher, that A THREE-FOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROREN;t that He who calls in the aid of an equal understanding, doubles his own, and that He'll who profits of a superior understanding, raises his pow. ers to a level with the height of the superior understanding he unites with
On these principles, an alliance of literary characters has been recently formed in Phila telphia. Gentlemen of various talents, but all to be directed to objects both splendid and useful, have banded iogether, and pledged themselves to support the spirit, and increase the power of The Port Folio. An extensive correspondence will be maintained with Men of Genius and Science thronghout, the United States. Nor is the Editor unwarranted in asserting that he cherishes no visionary hope of assistance from abroad. If he obtain the aid now contemplated, he has a right to declare that it will be of the first impression.
As it is resolved that no papers shall be admitted into The Port Folio, but those of a Scientific, a Literary, an Amusing, or a Fashionable character, it follows, that, without offence, it may be perused by the most clashing parties. The squabbles in the State, and polemical brawls in the Church will be habitually shunned, by all the prudence of a pacific policy. Herce we may hope for readers among the orthodox high, and the lukewarm low; among the English, Scotch, and Irish; among Whigs and Tories, Sectaries and Churchmen. As we affect neither the stooping gait of plebeians, nor the lofty step of the aristocratical buskin, all may greet us as a party of Gentlemen, studious to please according to the laws of urbanity.
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
We cannot resist the temptation to cite a pertinent passage from one of the wisest of mankind. The opinion of King Solomon is not only per. fectly just, but his fortification of it is impregnable : “Two are better than one, BECAUSE THEY HAVE A GOOD REWARD FOR THEIR LABOUR. For if they fall, the one will lift up bis fellow : but wo to him, that is alone, when he fallech; for he hath not another to help him up. Ecclesiastes.
Whatever may be the public reception of our Miscellany, its plan is equally laudable and liberal. Our work is inscribed to the Gentleman, the Scholar, the Philosopher, the Merchant, the Ma. nufacturer, and the Man of the World.
It is proposed to preserve in The Port Folio Sketches of Original Character, Narratives of Memorable Events, and of every thing remarkable, occurring in the vicissitudes of the times. To these crude materials our accomplished associates, disdaining the vulgar track, can give both a body and a soul. They can display not only industry and accuracy, but genius and taste. In a style of elegance, they can show all the adroitness of abridgment, and perfect skill in the classing, grouping, and tinting of objects, which inferior artists might despair even to sketch.
A department of The Port Folio will exhibit a Gallery of the Portraits of Great Men. Ihan Biography, nothing is more fascinating, nothing more instructive, nothing that is perused with greater avidily, or that excites a stronger interest. The lives of the illustrious in our own country, and the mighty mass of foreign Biography, will always furnish excellent entertainment to the most fastidious reader.
Characters, well portrayed, would challenge a fixed attention; and America, as well as Europe, contains a multitude of arie ginals.
Remarkable Trials, Law Reports, and Pleadings of a peculiarly entertaining, interesting, and eloquent character, would not only edify the Gentlemen of the Bar, but may be selected with so much taste and judgment as to amuse the mere miscellaneous reader.
The Epistolary Correspondence of men of literary eminence may form a very agreeable article.
The Drama will, sometimes, attract our attention.
Papers on topics of Moral and Physical Science, Rural Economy, Useful Projects, Miscellaneous Essays, Romantic Adventures, Tours and Travels, Foreign and Domestic Literature, Criticism and Poetry, Levity, Merriment, Wit and Humour, will variegate this Journal.
To please the Ladies, we shall take care to arrange occasionally The Toilet of Fashion,