« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
"We lay, exulting, as the fruits refine,
IN the form of an Advertisement of extensive circulation, the Proprietors, Assistants, and Editor of The Port Folio, have announced that work, as on the point of publication, in a new dress, and upon an improved plan. On the first vernal month, a Phænix Port Folio rises from the ashes of its predecessor. A light and imperfect sheet is changed into a copious pamphlet, an ample repository for the truths of Science, the blossoms of Genius,* and the fruits of Industry. Rigidly excluding party poli. tics and the intractable topics of Theology, all the Gentlemen, who are interested in the work, are resolved that it shall vindicate
The bloom of life, the flowers of heaven that blow,
the literary reputation of America. A rational hope is cherished that whether the exterior, or the interior of The Port Folio be curiously scanned, it may bear a comparison with any of the foreign Journals. Philosophy and Poetry, the Inventor and the Critic, the Classical Scholar, and the volatile Lounger, within the Literary Circle we have drawn, may meet in that charming concert where all the instruments are in perfect unison.t
As the objects of this liberal undertaking are equally numerous and valuable, so the beneficial results will be manifold. Ifably conducted, The Port Folio may contribute to the interest of individuals, to the power of Philadelphia, and the aggrandizement of our empire. The place of publication is unquestionably auspicious to all the projects of Genius, Science, and Art. A magnificent
The subsequent passage from a fascinating writer is not only eloquent but just. The poetry is an honest tribute to our literary friends. The prose, may be profitably perused by the public.
Orare assemblage! rich amount of mind!
Great talents, when directed to improve and adorn society, can never be too highly esteemed, nor too conspicuously distinguished. Men of Genius are seldom mercenary: as the qualities which characterize them, are above all price, so money alone, however necessary to their wants, can never be considered the adequate reward of their exertions.
They require and deserve a nobler recompense: the homage of Widsom and Virtue ; the respect of their own times, and the regard of posterity.
There is no other description of persons from which a state can derive so much reputation, at so little expense. They are the pillars of its present dignity, and the foundations of its future fame. The acts of heroes live only in the enterprises of mind, and Cæsar's pen has done more to immortalize him than his sword.
Men of Genius are luminous points on the great disk of society, which shine even after the sun of power and prosperity has withdrawn its beams, and rescue the nations they adorn from total darkness in the long eclipse of time.
Commerce may make a people rich, and Power may render them formidable: in the one case, they excite envy without admiration; in the other, fear without respect. But exploits of intellect only, can secure that gre ine estimation, that grateful homage of the heart, which it is almost as honourable to pay as to receive. The powers of Genins consecrate the claims of Great-. ness, and invest Wealth with Dignity.
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 Merchants and Manufacturers, the adventurous heroes of enterprise, are continually projecting something, which may contribute, either 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 inteTests, 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
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 ad. venture 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 be. gan 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 conse. quence 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,f 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 ability. 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. Even 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 Fersatile, had the rare good fortune to form a league with many of the finest scholars of France, and this combination, which undoubtedly contributed essenti. ally 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 charming than his description of the alacrity, with which men of Genius 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 disciples 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, repres. 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 Addison, nor Chancellor Bacon himself.
Thus Marmontel and his compeers diffused elegant and instructive literature among the remotest provinces of the French monarchy, soothed trem. bling Merit with all the blandishments of candid criticism, promoted the inter. ests both of the Fine and the Useful Arts, assisted the cause of science, suc. cessfully conducted Thalia and Melpomene to the stage, and above all, nou. D'AND FOSTERED INFANT GENIUS IN THE CRADLE.