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The miscellaneous scraps are articles with which I used to relax from the fatigues of business, and which I furnished to the Port Folio, the Emporium, &c. On passing a cursory glance over them at present, I find that some of them are too trite and trifling, and ought not to have found a place in the volume. These I resign to their merited condemnation.
Some of the various projects I have formed (I have been a great projector) for the public benefit, are introduced, although they have proved abortions—in the hope that some fortunate person may, perhaps when I am in the grave, attempt them under more favourable auspices. One, on the success of which I counted largely, and which would have been highly beneficial, is the plan for the republication, and distribution gratuitously, of English pamphlets (and of some American ones of too limited circulation) calculated to advance the best interests of society, and promote human happiness. (See page 401.) English pamphlets, whatever may be their merit, are scarcely ever-I might almost say never-republished in this country, because pamphlets rarely defray their expenses. And booksellers are mere traders, who cannot in justice be expected to republish articles by which the chances of loss are as a hundred to one. I flattered myself I could find twenty persons in Boston, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, who would patronize this plan. I was grievously mistaken. I found but four! It would excite the most profound astonishment and regret, were I to mention the names of several gentlemen of the first rank in society, in point of wealth, acquired and acquiring—reputationand influence, to whom the project was submitted, and by whom it was rejected, although the subscription was limited to twenty-five dollars per annum, and obligatory only for one year, if the parties disapproved its execution or results. Some of the pamphlets contemplated would be infinitely beneficial to the country, and I think I might say worth their weight in gold. Works on religious controversy, politics, and political economy, were to have been entirely excluded.
The failure of the plan of the Annals of Benevolence (page 399) is more extraordinary. This required no money from the parties addressed. They were published gratuitously, so far as they went, wholly at my expense, and would have been so continued, had I been furnished with materials, which I sought in vain from persons who could and ought to have supplied them copiously. And in an age, when-it is unhappily but too true—“the besetting sin" of the times is a thirst for wealth, the dissemination of illustrious instances of charity, generosity, liberality, and magnanimity, (of which, spite of the opposite current, numerous cases occur) could not fail to have a salutary effect by way of example. I have published three series, each of three numbers, in 1823, 1826, and 1829, and for the whole have not received as much matter as would fill three pages—and not a line for the last. I have had to depend almost altogether on the newspapers, which, although they abound in instances of turpitude and atrocity-murders, rapes, and arsons-collected with industry, at home and abroad, and every where republished, forming a pestilential moral atmosphere-are too barren in cases calculated for the purpose of the Annals of Benevolence.
The failure of the plan urged on the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, of republishing old and rare pamphlets and books respecting the antiquities of this country, (see page 246) which could have been accomplished without expense or risque to the Society, is, I think, to be regretted. Those important articles are becoming yearly more and more rare, and effectual means ought to be taken, as early as possible, for their preservation.
I regret, likewise, the failure of the plan for preventing the spread of fires, (see page 289) which has three as strong recommendations as any plan ever had—it is simple, perfectly practicable, and would be completely effectual.
Philadelphia, November 13, 1830. N.B. Politics and political economy are wholly excluded from this volume, except two or three pages on the latter subject.
year 1793, containing a full account of its rise, progress, and
tem of reducing the Amount of Bills Discounted
XXXVII. Reminiscences on the Subject of Intemperance
into the United States
Valuable English Pamphlets
Immediate Repeal of the Whole Penal Code against the Ro.
man Catholics. Dublin, 1779
Imprisonment for Debt
English Literature, the Arts, &c.
LIGHT READING-MISCELLANEOUS SCRAPS.
22. Savage Barbarity
23. Refined Amusement
24. Free and Easy
25. A Free Translation
26. Too much and too little Reading
27. Epigram from the French