The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors 1741-1850
by Albert Smyth
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A. B., Johns Hopkins University,

Professor of English Literature in the Philadelphia High School; Member of the American Philosophical Society.






This study in the history of the Philadelphia magazines was undertaken at the request of Professor H. B. Adams, and the results were first read at a joint-meeting of the Historical and English Seminaries of the Johns Hopkins University. At a later date they were again read before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The subject has been found so rich, and the materials so interesting, that, in spite of my best efforts to be brief, the article has grown into a book. It has been with no little distrust that I have made this wide excursion from my chosen studies, but the generous aid and encouragement of friends, who are learned in our local lore, have given me heart to complete and to publish the results of these researches.

A complete list of the Philadelphia magazines is impossible. Many of them have disappeared and left not a rack behind. The special student of Pennsylvania history will detect some omissions in these pages, for all that has here been done has been done at first hand, and where a magazine was inaccessible to me, I have not attempted to see it through the eyes of a more fortunate investigator. I have done my best to make the story, dull and dreary as it surely is at times, not unworthy of its subject, or of the city that it describes, and of which I grow fonder year by year.

My grateful thanks are due to my friends, Professor H. B. Adams, Dr. James W. Bright, Mr. Charles R. Hildeburn, Professor John Bach McMaster, Hon. S. W. Pennypacker and Mr. F. D. Stone, for thoughtful suggestions and valuable information.

I am deeply indebted to Mr. George W. Childs for his unfailing interest and assistance. To Mr. George R. Graham, Dr. Thomas Dunn English, Mr. John Sartain and Mr. Frank Lee Benedict I owe some of the most important facts in this little volume.


Philadelphia, 5 February, 1892, 126, South Twenty-second Street.

"Sweet Philadelphia! lov'liest of the lawn," Where rising greatness opes its pleasing dawn, Where daring commerce spreads th' advent'rous sail, Cleaves thro' the wave, and drives before the gale, Where genius yields her kind conducting lore, And learning spreads its inexhausted store:— Kind seat of industry, where art may see Its labours foster'd to its due degree, Where merit meets the due regard it claims, Tho' envy dictates and tho' malice blames:— Thou fairest daughter of Columbia's train, The great emporium of the western plain;— Best seat of science, friend to ev'ry art, That mends, improves, or dignifies the heart.

The Philadelphiad, Vol. I, p. 6, 1784.


To relate the history of the Philadelphia magazines is to tell the story of Philadelphia literature. The story is not a stately nor a splendid one, but it is exceedingly instructive. It helps to exhibit the process of American literature as an evolution, and it illustrates perilous and important chapters in American history. For a hundred years Pennsylvania was the seat of the ripest culture in America. The best libraries were to be found here, and the earliest and choicest reprints of Latin and English classics were made here. James Logan, a man of gentle nature and a scholar of rare attainments, had gathered at Stenton a library that comprehended books "so scarce that neither price nor prayers could purchase them." John Davis, the satirical English traveller, who said of Princeton that it was "a place more famous for its college than its learning," did justice, despite of his own nature, to Logan and to Philadelphia when he wrote: "The Greek and Roman authors, forgotten on their native banks of the Ilissus and Tiber, delight by the kindness of a Logan the votaries to learning on those of the Delaware." The eagerness of Philadelphia social circles for each new thing in literature enabled booksellers to import large supplies from England and to undertake splendid editions of notable books. Dr. Johnson was made to feel amiable for a moment toward America on being presented with a copy of Rasselas bearing a Philadelphia imprint.

The first American editions of Shakespeare and of Milton, of "Pamela" and of "The Vicar of Wakefield" were printed in Philadelphia. In the same city, in 1805, Aristotle's "Ethics" and "Politics" were published for the first time in America. A little later came the costly "Columbiad" and the great volumes of Alexander Wilson. Robert Aitken, at the Pope's Head, issued the first English Bible in America in 1782, and his daughter, Jane, printed Charles Thomson's translation of the Septuagint in four superb volumes in 1808. Robert Bell successfully compiled Blackstone's Commentaries in 1772, "a stupendous enterprise." Bell did much by his good taste and untiring industry to advance the literary culture of the city. "The more books are sold," he declared in one of his broadsides, "the more will be sold, is an established Truth well known to every liberal reader, and to every bookseller of experience. For the sale of one book propagateth the sale of another with as much certainty as the possession of one guinea helpeth to the possession of another."

"The Philadelphiad" (1784) gives us a glimpse of the motley society that loitered in Bell's Third Street shop.

"Just by St. Paul's, where dry divines rehearse, Bell keeps his store for vending prose and verse, And books that's neither—for no age nor clime, Lame, languid prose, begot on hobb'ling ryme. Here authors meet who ne'er a sprig have got, The poet, player, doctor, wit and sot; Smart politicians wrangling here are seen Condemning Jeffries or indulging spleen, Reproving Congress or amending laws, Still fond to find out blemishes and flaws; Here harmless sentimental-mongers join To praise some author or his wit refine, Or treat the mental appetite with lore From Plato's, Pope's, and Shakespeare's endless store; Young blushing writers, eager for the bays, Try here the merit of their new-born lays, Seek for a patron, follow fleeting fame, And beg the slut may raise their hidden name."

The Philadelphia magazines, from Franklin's to Graham's, furnished ample opportunities for "young blushing writers eager for the bays." Their articles, it is true, were often a kind of yeasty collection of fond and winnowed opinions, but among these shallow fopperies there would at times be heard a strain of higher mood. Nor is the story of these magazines altogether without its pathos. American writers, after the Revolution which lost England her colonies, felt themselves to be under the opprobrium of the literary world. They felt keenly the sneers of English men-of-letters, and winced under injustice and invective that they were not strong enough to resent. The insolence of British travellers was especially provoking. J. N. Williams, a Philadelphian, stung by some offensive criticism by a wandering Englishman, wrote, "America looked not for a spy upon the sanctity of her household gods in the stranger that sat within her gates; she scarce supposed that the hand of a clumsy servant like the claws of the harpies could utterly mar and defile the feast which honest hospitality had provided."

The Port Folio, in 1810, was moved indignantly to declare that foreign critics grounded their strictures "upon the tales of some miserable reptiles who, after having abused the hospitality and patience of this country, levy a tax from their own by disseminating a vile mass of falsehood and nonsense under the denomination of Travels through the United States."

Sydney Smith waved American literature contemptuously aside in the Edinburgh Review. The Quarterly was brutal in its attacks upon timid transatlantic books. William Godwin reproached American ignorance, and proceeded to locate Philadelphia upon the Chesapeake Bay. No wonder that the Port Folio exclaimed in 1810, "The fastidious arrogance with which the reviewers and magazine makers of Great Britain treat the genius and intellect of this country is equalled by nothing but their profound ignorance of its situation."

The insolence of Great Britain affected American writers in two ways. Some it stung into violent hatred or sullen antagonism, others it coerced into timid imitation and servility. Upon Dennie and his associates it had the latter effect, and the Port Folio vigorously resisted all "Americanisms" in politics and in letters, and sought to conciliate England and to win the coveted stamp of English approbation by unlimited adulation of the favorites of the hour. "To study with a view of becoming an author by profession in America," wrote Dennie, "is a prospect of no less flattering promise than to publish among the Esquimaux an essay on delicacy of taste, or to found an academy of sciences in Lapland."

Upon Brackenridge and Paine the truculent criticisms of England acted as a lively stimulus, and they went profanely to work "to resent the British scoff that when separated from England the colonies would become mere illiterate ourang-outangs."

Thomas Green Fessenden, one of the contributors to the Farmers' Weekly Museum, and to Dennie's Port Folio, wrote in the preface to his "Original Poems" (Philadelphia, 1806), "Although the war, which terminated in a separation of the two nations, inflicted wounds which, it is to be feared, still rankle, yet the more considerate of both countries have long desired (if I may be allowed a transatlantic simile) that the hatchet of animosity might be buried in the grave of oblivion" (page 6). A little further on he confesses his timidity, when, speaking of the political leaders at home, he says, "I could have enlarged on the demerits of these political impostors, but I feared I might disgust the English reader by such exhibitions of human depravity" (p. 7).

A serener voice is that of John Blair Linn, brother-in-law of Charles Brockden Brown, who was not out of love with his nativity, nor accustomed to disable the benefits of his country. In his "Powers of Genius," which was beautifully reprinted in England, we read:

"I shall not attempt to conceal the enthusiasm which I feel for meritorious performances of native Americans. Nor can I repress my indignation at the unjust manner in which they are treated by the reviewers of England. America, notwithstanding their aspersions, has attained an eminence in literature, which is, at least, respectable. Like Hercules in his cradle, she has manifested a gigantic grasp, and discovered that she will be great. The wisdom, penetration and eloquence of her statesmen are undoubted—they are known and acknowledged throughout Europe. The gentlemen of the law, who fill her benches of justice, and who are heard at the bar, are eminently distinguished by the powers of reason, and by plausibility of address.... Our historians have not been numerous. Some, however, who have unrolled our records of truth claim a considerable portion of praise.... The prospect before us is now brightening. Histories have been promised from pens which have raised our expectations. The death of our great Washington has left a subject for the American historian which has never been surpassed in dignity.... From the poems and fictions of the Columbian Muse, several works might be selected, which deserve high and distinguishing praise. The poetry of our country has not yet, I hope, assumed its most elevated and elegant form. Beneath our skies, fancy neither sickens nor dies. The fire of poetry is kindled by our storms. Amid our plains, on the banks of our waters, and on our mountains, dwells the spirit of inventive enthusiasm.

"These regions are not formed only to echo the voice of Europe, but from them shall yet sound a lyre which shall be the admiration of the world.

"From the exhibition of American talent I indulge the warmest expectations. I behold, in imagination, the Newtons, the Miltons and the Robertsons of this new world, and I behold the sun of genius pouring on our land his meridian beams.

"In order to concentrate the force of her literature, the genius of America points to a National University, so warmly recommended, and remembered in his will, by our deceased friend and father. Such an establishment, far more than a pyramid that reached the clouds, would honor the name of Washington" (p. 81).

The Philadelphia writers had their own little thrills, and their own little ambitions, and amid the poverty of their intellectual surroundings they refreshed themselves with visions of the giant things to come at large. James Hall, in his "Letters from the West," wrote: "The vicinity of Pittsburg may one day wake the lyre of the Pennsylvanian bard to strains as martial and as sweet as Scott; ... believe me, I should tread with as much reverence over the mausoleum of a Shawanee chief, as among the catacombs of Egypt, and would speculate with as much delight upon the site of an Indian village as in the gardens of Tivoli, or the ruins of Herculaneum."

American critics soon caught the contagion of sneering censure, and caused the Port Folio to say, in 1811: "American critics seem, in almost all cases, to have entered into a confederacy to exterminate American poetry. If an individual has the temerity to jingle a couplet, and to avow himself descended from Americans, the offence is absolutely unpardonable." When Fenimore Cooper published his first novel, he suppressed his name and wrote instead, "PRECAUTION, by an Englishman."

Still, a notable feature of the American magazines was a general insistence upon or, perhaps, a preference for subjects out of American history, or articles dealing with what might be called American archaeology—sketches of the life and character of "the ancients of these lands"—or, at least, contributions that were tricked out in some local garb or color. The minds of young American writers turned with alacrity to the subjects that lay nearest to them and which were intimately connected with the life of the country. A national literature was never altogether absent from their thoughts, however the fear of English censure or ridicule may have checked the aspiration. John Webbe, in his prospectus to the first American magazine, said that the new venture would be "an attempt to erect on neutral principles a publick theatre in the centre of the British Empire in America" (Amer. Weekly Mercury, October 30, 1740).

A discussion of the Philadelphia magazines takes us back to a time when Philadelphia led all the cities of the country in culture, in commerce, in statecraft and in authorship. Every new experiment in literature was first tried in Philadelphia. Her's was the first monthly magazine (January, 1741), and her's, too, the first daily newspaper (Amer. Daily Advertiser, December 21, 1784). The first religious magazine was Sauer's Geistliches Magazien (1764)—for which Christopher Sauer cast his own type, the first made in America—and the first religious weekly was The Religious Remembrancer (September 4, 1813). Philadelphia led off with the first penny paper (The Cent) in 1830; and the first mathematical journal (The Annulus), and the first Juvenile Magazine (1802), and the first illustrated comical paper on an original plan, The John Donkey, in 1848, were all Philadelphia adventures.

There is scarcely a notable name in the literature of America that is not in some way connected with the Philadelphia magazines. Dennie and Brown, the first professional men-of-letters on this continent, were Philadelphia editors. Washington Irving edited the Analectic Magazine. James Russell Lowell, Edgar Allan Poe and Bayard Taylor were editorial writers on Graham's Magazine, and John Greenleaf Whittier edited The Pennsylvania Freeman.

Bryant and Cooper and Longfellow and Hawthorne and a hundred lesser men were constant contributors to the Philadelphia journals.

A striking difference between the older magazines and the recent ones is the conspicuous absence from the journal of a century ago of what is commonly called "light literature." Magazines were then conducted by scholars for scholars. "Popular" essays and silly novels had not yet depraved the taste of readers who could relish Somerville and Shenstone, Savage and Johnson. Articles appeared monthly in the Port Folio that could not by any chance win recognition from an editor of these days. One of the favorite amusements of the Port Folio gentlemen was the translation of Mother Goose melodies and alliterative nursery rhymes into Latin, and especially into Greek. These curious translations, in which the object was to preserve in the Greek, as far as possible, the verbal eccentricities of "butter blue beans" and other intricate verses of infantile memory, are scattered up and down the pages of the Port Folio, together with fresh versions of Horace and dissertations upon classical rhetoric.

But the curtain has fallen on all this scholastic bravery. The dust of a dry antiquity has settled upon the laborious pages of these ragged tomes, undisturbed save by some "local grubber," or by some "illustrator" in search of portraits for a rich man's library.

Magazines increase and fill the demand of the public, but they are not cut upon the ancient pattern. The gradual accumulation of books about books, of criticisms on both, of reviews of the critics, of newspaper accounts of the reviews, of weekly summaries of the newspapers, seems to be carrying us ever further from the face of reality into a mere commerce of ideas on which no healthy soul can live.


The type of the monthly periodical was fixed when Edward Cave, in 1731, founded in London The Gentleman's Magazine. Ten years later, and at the very time that Samuel Johnson, at St. John's Gate, was preparing for "Sylvanus Urban, Esq.," the reports of the parliamentary debates, Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Bradford issued in Philadelphia the first monthly magazines in America.

These two magazines appear to have been conceived in jealousy and brought forth in anger. In the Philadelphia Weekly Mercury of October 30, 1740, is the announcement of a prospective magazine to be edited by John Webbe and printed by Andrew Bradford, to be issued monthly, to contain four sheets, and to cost twelve shillings Pennsylvania money a year. The magazine, it was promised, should contain speeches of governors, addresses and answers of assemblies, their resolutions and debates, extracts of laws, with the reasons on which they were founded and the grievances intended to be remedied by them; accounts of the climate, soil, productions, trade and manufactures of all the British plantations, the constitutions of the several colonies with their respective views and interests; of remarkable trials, civil and criminal; of the course of exchange and the proportion between sterling and the several paper currencies, and the price of goods in the principal trading marts of the plantations. One thing only the new magazine should not contain: its pages should never be smeared by falsehood, nor sullied by defamatory libelling.

In the Pennsylvania Gazette of November 13, 1740, Franklin announced a monthly magazine to be called The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America. The price was to be nine-pence Pennsylvania money, with considerable allowance to shopmen who should take quantities. The brevity of Franklin's advertisement is in strong contrast to the learned length of Webbe's pedantic prospectus. He claims that the idea of the magazine had long been in his mind, and that Webbe had stolen his plans. Before he had divulged the scheme to Webbe he had proceeded so far in the matter as to choose his writers and to buy his small type.

Webbe wrote a wrathful reply in the Mercury of November 13, and continued it under the title of "The Detection" through three numbers. He admitted that Franklin did communicate to him his desire to print a magazine, and asked him to compose it. But this did not restrain him from publishing at any other press without Mr. Franklin's leave. In the third number of "The Detection," Webbe accused Franklin of using his place of Postmaster to shut the Mercury out of the post, and of refusing to allow the riders to carry it. Up to this point Franklin had made no reply to Webbe's abuse, but upon this new attack he dropped the advertisement of the magazine and put a letter in its stead in the Gazette of December 11. He acknowledged it to be true that the riders did not carry Bradford's Mercury, but explained that the Postmaster-General, Colonel Spotswood, had forbidden it because Mr. Bradford had refused to settle his accounts as late Postmaster at Philadelphia.

Webbe had the last word in the controversy in a reply to this letter (Mercury, December 18), in which he showed that Franklin had not complied with the order of Colonel Spotswood until the personal letters appeared in the Mercury.

In January of the following year Andrew Bradford published The American Magazine; or a Monthly View of the Political State of the British Colonies.

Three days later Franklin issued The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America.

Three numbers only of Bradford's periodical appeared, and only one copy is known to exist. It is lodged in the New York Historical Society.

Franklin's magazine contained parliamentary proceedings, extracts from sermons, a bit of verse of more than Franklinian foulness, rhymes eulogizing Gilbert Tennent, and a manual of arms. The title-page wore the coronet and plumes of the Prince of Wales. Franklin ridiculed his rival's magazine in doggerel verse; his own he made no mention of in his autobiography. Its publication ceased in June, 1741.

The General Magazine had given accounts of the excited discussion that followed the visits paid to the colonies by George Whitefield. Tens of thousands listened to the impressive sermons of the eloquent divine, delivered from the balcony of the courthouse, which stood then on High Street, in the centre of the city. There Franklin and Shippen and Lawrence and Maddox might daily be seen, and there Benjamin Chew and Tench Francis and John Ross might daily be heard. From that balcony John Penn, freshly arrived from England, "showed himself to his anxious and expectant people." One block east of the ancient courthouse was the London Coffee-house, and there, too, were the publishing houses of those days. Directly opposite to the Coffee-house, on the north side of High Street, was the shop of the famous bookseller from London, James Rivington, whose father in 1741 published Richardson's "Pamela," and supplied six editions of it in a twelvemonth. Immediately to the west was Robert Aitken, who published the Pennsylvania Magazine and the first English Bible in America. And hither, to the old Coffee-house, in 1754, William Bradford removed his famous hereditary press, and three years later printed the third Philadelphia magazine.

The first William Bradford arrived in Philadelphia in 1685, and brought with him the second printing press that was set up in British North America. Upon it, in the following year, he printed the first Middle Colony publication, the "Kalendarium Pennsilvaniense." His son, Andrew Sowle, named after a London printer of Friends' books, to whom the father had been apprenticed, continued the business, and from 1712 to 1723 was the only printer in Pennsylvania. From his press, at the sign of the Bible, issued the first American magazine. Andrew's nephew, William Bradford, grandson of the first William, transferred the business to the London Coffee-house, and in October, 1757, published the first number of "The American Magazine and Monthly Chronicle for the British Colonies. By a Society of Gentlemen. Printed and sold by William Bradford." The policy of the new magazine was to support the cause of the crown against France, and the Penns against Franklin and the Friends.

The French and Indian war brought the magazine into existence. "That war," says the editor in his preface, "has rendered this country at length the object of a very general attention, and it seems now become as much the mode among those who would be useful or conspicuous in the state, to seek an acquaintance with the affairs of these colonies, their constitutions, interests and commerce, as it had been before, to look upon such matters as things of inferior or secondary consideration." The editor further relates the origin of the enterprise: "It was proposed by some booksellers and others in London, soon after the commencement of the present war, to some persons in this city who were thought to have abilities and leisure for the work, to undertake a monthly magazine for the colonies, offering at the same time to procure considerable encouragement for it in all parts of Great Britain and Ireland.

"The persons to whom the proposal was made, approved of the design, but gave for answer, that if it was to be a work of general use for all the British colonies, and not confined to the affairs of a few particular ones, it could not be carried on without establishing an extensive correspondence with men of leisure and learning in all parts of America, which would require some time and a considerable expense. This, however, has at length been happily effected, and proper persons are now engaged in the design, not only in all the different governments on this continent, but likewise in most of the West India Islands."

At the head of each issue of the magazine is a vignette in which the French and English treatment of the Indian are contrasted. In the middle of the picture an Indian leans upon his gun; on the left is a Briton reading from the Bible, beneath his arm is a roll of cloth, symbolizing the dress and manufactures of civilized life; on the right is a Frenchman, extravagantly dressed, offering to the savage a tomahawk and purse of gold. The vignette has the inferior motto: Praevalebit aequior, and the title-page the further legend: Veritatis cultores, Fraudis inimici.

The first number (October, 1757) gave a variety of pleasing and extraordinary information to curious readers: Indians, "broods of French savages;" earthquakes, St. Helmo's fire, phosphorescence, aurora borealis, mermen and mermaids, sea-snakes, krakens, etc., were jostled together in charming confusion.

The editor of the new magazine was the Rev. William Smith, first provost of the College of Philadelphia. He was born near Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1727, and was invited to take charge of the Seminary of Philadelphia in 1752. His personality made the magazine a very fair representative of the culture and refinement of Philadelphia society, when already through the influence of the college and library the city was becoming "the Athens of America," as, at a later date, it was frequently called.

Smith published in eight successive numbers of the magazine a series of papers called "The Hermit," and signed "Theodore." He desired these contributions to be considered in the nature of a monthly sermon.... "In composing these occasional lectures, I shall be animated with the thoughts that they are not to be delivered to a single auditory, and in the presence of persons among whom there might be many of my enemies, but to this whole continent, and in a manner that can never create prejudices against my person or performances, as I am to be forever concealed" (Vol. I, p. 43).

The earliest reference to the genius of Benjamin West is in the American Magazine, p. 237, where of the 19-year-old Chester County boy it is said, "We are glad of this opportunity of making known to the world the name of so extraordinary a genius as Mr. West. He was born in Chester County, in this province, and, without the assistance of any master, has acquired such a delicacy and correctness of expression in his paintings, joined to such a laudable thirst of improvement, that we are persuaded, when he shall have obtained more experience and proper opportunities of viewing the productions of able masters, he will become truly eminent in his profession." This note accompanies a poem upon one of Mr. West's portraits which, the editor remarks, "We communicate with particular pleasure, when we consider that the lady who sat, the painter who guided the pencil, and the poet who so well describes the whole, are all natives of this place, and very young."

The poet so happily applauded for his skill did indeed turn his verse and his compliment gracefully.

"Yet sure his flattering pencil's unsincere, His fancy takes the place of bashful truth; And warm imagination pictures here The pride of beauty and the bloom of youth.

Thus had I said, and thus, deluded, thought, Had lovely Stella still remained unseen, Whose grace and beauty to perfection brought Make every imitative art look mean."

The poem was dated Philadelphia, February 15, 1758, and signed "Lovelace."

R. W. Griswold, "Poets and Poetry of America" (p. 24) gives Joseph Shippen (1732-1810) the credit of the lines, and Moses Coit Tyler assigns them to the same source (History of American Literature, II, 240). Another poem by Shippen, "On the Glorious Victory near Newmark in Silesia," was contributed to the magazine in March, over the signature "Annandius."

Hearty appreciation of earnestness and ability in the young is a characteristic of this American Magazine and of its editor, who, with the true teacher's instinct, freely awarded superb and splendid praise to the humble and obscure for good work done. Among the young men who received recognition was Francis Hopkinson, whose first poem appeared in the first number (p. 44), "Ode on Music, written at Philadelphia, by a young gentleman of seventeen, on his beginning to learn the harpsichord." In the following month Hopkinson contributed two poems in imitation of Milton, "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," the first dedicated to B. C—w, Esq. (Benjamin Chew), under whom the author studied law, and the latter a tribute of affection to William Smith.

"And thou, O S—th! my more than friend, To whom these artless lines I send, Once more thy wonted candor bring, And hear the muse you taught to sing; The muse that strives to win your ear, By themes your soul delights to hear, And loves like you, in sober mood, To meditate of just and good.

Exalted themes! divinest maid! Sweet Melancholy, raise thy head; With languid look, oh quickly come, And lead me to thy Hermit home.

Then let my frequent feet be seen On yonder steep romantic green, Along whose yellow gravelly side, Schuylkill sweeps his gentle tide.

Rude, rough and rugged rocks surrounding, And clash of broken waves resounding, Where waters fall with loud'ning roar Rebellowing down the hilly shore."[1]

[1] Alluding to William Smith's home at Falls of Schuylkill. There is a further description in prose of Smith's summer home upon page 123 of the magazine.

The other poems by Hopkinson in the American Magazine are, "Ode on the Morning" (page 187), "On the taking of Cape Breton" (page 552) and "Verses inscribed to Mr. Wollaston" (the portrait painter).

The most remarkable poem in the magazine appeared in March, 1758. It occupied seven octavo pages, and drew in its wake three closely-printed pages of learned notes. It set forth its subject "On the Invention of Letters and the Art of Printing. Addrest to Mr. Richardson, in London, the Author and Printer of Sir Charles Grandison and other works for the promotion of Religion, Virtue and Polite Manners, in a corrupted age." The anonymous author lived in Kent County, Maryland. "His intimacy with Mr. Pope," he says, "obliged him to tell that great Poet, above twenty years ago, that it was peculiarly ungrateful in him not to celebrate such a subject as the INVENTION OF LETTERS, or to suffer it to be disgraced by a meaner hand."

It may not be amiss to note that the author credits Koster with the glory of the invention of printing.

"Ah! let not Faustus rob great Koster's name Like him, who since usurp'd Columbus' fame. Pierian laurels flourish round his tomb; And ever-living roses breathe your bloom!"[2]

[2] Which reminds us of Sandys's translation of a fifteenth century epitaph:

"Let Koster's fame live ever in our hearts Unshar'd; whose art preserves all other arts."

Many wild conjectures have been made as to the identity of the Kentish man who contributed this long, careful and learned poem to American literature, but the author has hitherto remained unknown. In the summer of 1891, while reading in the British Museum, I found a copy of the American Magazine, annotated throughout in a contemporary hand, and apparently the gift of a Philadelphian to an Englishman who had visited the colonies. This would seem to be evident from the character of the notes, which read sometimes like the following:

"This poem was written by Francis Hopkinson, whom you will remember in Philadelphia." Unfortunately, many of the historical notes have been cut away in the binding of the book. In this volume the author of the poem in question is named and clearly defined. To James Sterling, the author of "The Parricides" and "The Rival Generals," must be given whatever credit this poem, written in Maryland, can confer upon its author.

Among Sterling's other poetic contributions is to be noted "A Pastoral—To his Excellency George Thomas, Esq., formerly Governor of Pennsylvania, and now General of the Leeward Islands." This poem was written in 1744, on the occasion of the death of Alexander Pope, by "one of the first encouragers of this magazine." The Governor saw the manuscript and gave permission for its publication. It is an invitation to the muses to visit these lands:

"Haste lovely nymphs, and quickly come away, Our sylvan gods lament your long delay; The stately oaks that dwell on Delaware Rear their tall heads to view you from afar. The Naiads summon all their sealy crew And at Henlopen anxious wait for you.

* * * * *

But hark, they come! The Dryads crowd the shore, The waters rise, I hear the billows roar! Hoarse Delaware the joyful tidings brings, And all his swans, transported, clap their wings."

The author's apologetic introduction of these enthusiastic verses to the editor is worth preserving:

"As this poetical brat was conceived in North America, you may, if you please, suffer it to give its first squeak in the world through the channel of the American Magazine. But if it should appear of a monstrous nature, stifle the wretch by all means in the birth, and throw it into the river Delaware, from whence, you will observe, it originally sprung. The parent, I can assure you, will shed no tears at the funeral. If Saturn presided at its formation instead of Apollo, it will want no lead to make it sink, but fall quickly to the bottom by its own natural heaviness, as I doubt not many other modern productions, both in prose and verse,

('Sinking from thought to thought—a vast profound')

would have done, had they been put to the trial."

The last of Sterling's contributions to the American Magazine was an "Epitaph on the late Lord Howe:"

Patriots and chiefs! Britannia's mighty dead, Whose wisdom counsel'd, and whose valor bled, With gratulations, 'midst your radiant host, Receive to glory Howe's heroic ghost; Who self severe, in Honor's cause expir'd, By native worth and your example fir'd, In foreign fields, like Sidney, young and brave, Doom'd to an early not untimely grave. Death flew commission'd by celestial love, And, scourging earth, improv'd the joys above.

Impassive to low pleasure's baneful charm, Inur'd to gen'rous toils, and nerv'd for arms, He saw, indignant, our worst foes advance With strides gigantic—Luxury and France! A martial spirit emulous to raise, He fought, as soldiers fought, in Marlbro's days. His country call'd—the noble talents given, 'Twas his t'exert—success belonged to heaven! High o'er his standard and the crimson shore Plum'd victory hover'd, till he breathed no more. 'Midst piles of slaughter'd foes—"French slaves, he cry'd," "My Britons will revenge"—then smil'd and dy'd!

The unknown annotator of the British Museum copy writes against these lines, "I cannot yet learn who was the author of this noble epitaph." But it is clearly by Sterling. In the letter that accompanies the poem he writes: "Please to know that the grandfather of the late Lord Howe, when in a high employment in the reign of Queen Anne, was a generous patron to the father of the author of these lines, by presenting to her Majesty a memorial of his long services in the wars of Ireland, Spain and Flanders, and by farther promoting his pretensions to an honourable post in the army, of which he would have been deprived by a court-interest in favour of a younger and unexperienced officer." This letter is written from Maryland. It corresponds with all that we know of Sterling's life. His gratitude was unfailing to those who had helped the advancement of his father. In his dedication of "The Rival Generals" (London, 1722), Sterling, addressing himself to William Conolly, Lord Justice of Ireland, wrote: "Nor can I omit this occasion of testifying my gratitude to your Excellency, who so generously contributed, in the First Session of this Parliament, to do my Father that Justice in his Pretensions which was deny'd him in a late reign."

In July, 1758, The American Magazine published James Logan's letters to Edmund Halley establishing Thomas Godfrey's claim to the invention of "Hadley's quadrant." Thomas Godfrey, a glazier by trade, was one of the original members of Franklin's "Junto," and boarded in Franklin's house on High Street. He was born in Bristol, Pa., in 1704. While working for James Logan, at Stenton, he accidentally discovered the principle upon which he constructed his improvement upon Davis's quadrant. The new instrument was first used in Delaware Bay by Joshua Fisher, of Lewes. "Mr. Godfrey then sent the instrument to be tried at sea by an acquaintance of his, an ingenious navigator, in a voyage to Jamaica, who showed it to a captain of a ship there just going for England, by which means it came to the knowledge of Mr. Hadley" (American Magazine, p. 476). The Royal Society of England, after hearing James Logan's communication, decided that both Godfrey and Hadley were entitled to the honor of the invention, and sent to Godfrey household goods to the value of two hundred dollars.

In spite of the clearest facts and undoubted dates, the quadrant is still persistently miscalled by the name of its English appropriator.[3]

[3] The remains of Thomas Godfrey were removed by John Watson from the neglected spot where they were laid to Laurel Hill Cemetery, and in 1843 a monument was erected over them by the Mercantile Library Company of Philadelphia. Near by, and close to the river, is the grave of Charles Thomson, "the man of truth," the Sam. Adams, of Philadelphia, marked by an Egyptian obelisk of granite.

"Junius" is the signature to a neat poem called "The Invitation" in the American Magazine for January, 1758, and appended to it is the following editorial note: "This little poem was sent to us by an unknown hand, and seems dated as an original. If it be so, we think it does honor to our city; but of this we are not certain. All we can say is that we do not recollect to have seen it before." This poem, which William Smith thought to be an honor to Philadelphia, was the composition of Thomas Godfrey the younger, then a youth of twenty-one years. Editorial encouragement won from him an "Ode on Friendship" in August, and an "Ode on Wine" in September. Young Godfrey was apprenticed to a watchmaker, but through the friendly influence of the Provost of the College he obtained a lieutenant's commission in the provincial forces raised against Fort Du Quesne. He died of fever when only twenty-seven years of age, and his poems, with an "account of T. Godfrey," were published by Nathaniel Evans in 1767.

Nathaniel Evans knits together, in a manner, this American Magazine and the Port Folio, as he was the biographer of Godfrey, who was a contributor to the former, and the Petrarch-lover of Elizabeth Graeme or Mrs. Ferguson, a helper of the latter. That he was hopeful of his city's future is evident from the following prophecy, which makes a part of his "Ode on the Prospect of Peace," 1761:

"To such may Delaware, majestic flood, Lend from his flow'ry banks a ravish'd ear, Such notes as may delight the wise and good, Or saints celestial may induce to hear! For if the Muse can aught of time descry Such notes shall sound thy crystal waves along, Thy cities fair with glorious Athens rise, Nor pure Ilissus boast a nobler song."

Godfrey's chief claim to recognition in the history of American literature is his authorship of the "Prince of Parthia," the first dramatic work produced in America. It was written in 1758, and acted at the new theatre in Southwark, Philadelphia, April 24, 1767.

Several of the contributors to the magazine were members of the faculty of the college. Ebenezer Kinnersley, chief master of the English School, summarized the month's progress in philosophy; John Beveridge supplied the readers of the magazine with Latin poems, which were too lightly timbered for the loud praise of William Smith, who pronounced them of equal merit with the choicest Latinity of Buchanan, Erasmus and Addison.[4]

[4] "The Trustees of the College of this city, who have never spared either pains or expense to supply every vacancy in the institution with able masters and professors, having been informed of Mr. Beveridge's capacity, experience and fidelity, were pleased at a full meeting, on the 13th of this month (June, 1758), unanimously to appoint him Professor of Languages and Master of the Latin School, in the room of Mr. Paul Jackson" (American Magazine, p. 437).

Thomas Coombe, assistant minister of Christ Church, translated some of Beveridge's Latin poems, and was himself the author of "The Peasant of Auburn; or, the Emigrant," published in 1775, and intended as a continuation of "The Deserted Village."

A collection of poems came from distant Virginia from the pen of Mr. Samuel Davies (1724-1761), the dissenting minister in Hanover County, Virginia, who made use of the pseudonym "Virginianus Hanoverensis."

Davies accompanied Gilbert Tennent to England in 1753, and successfully solicited funds for the College of New Jersey. He at first declined to succeed Jonathan Edwards as President of Princeton College, but on the invitation being repeated he accepted, and presided over the college for eighteen months. In a note to one of his sermons occurs the following: "That heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to his country."

The magazine also contained the usual number of miscellaneous articles signed with the alliterative and indicative names that were then in vogue—Timothy Timbertoe, Richard Dimple, Hymenaeus Phiz and the like.

Galt, in his life of Benjamin West (p. 77), says that "Dr. Smith largely contributed to elevate the taste, the sentiment and topics of conversation in Philadelphia." He certainly conducted the American Magazine to a considerable literary and financial success; and the magazine came abruptly to an end on the completion of its first year in consequence of Dr. Smith's visit to England, where his worth was recognized and rewarded with honorary degrees from Oxford, Aberdeen and Dublin.

On the 2d of January, 1769, the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in America, was formed by merging into one organization the "American Philosophical Society" and the "American Society held at Philadelphia for promoting useful knowledge." Benjamin Franklin was chosen president. In this month and year, January, 1769, a new magazine appeared in Philadelphia, printed at the press of the Bradfords, as we learn from Hall and Sellers' Pennsylvania Gazette of January 12, 1769, which continued the title of The American Magazine. The editor and proprietor, Mr. Lewis Nicola, was a member of the American Philosophical Society, having been elected to membership April 8, 1768, and held the office of curator for 1769.

In a certain sense his magazine became the voice of the Society; for each number, except the first, contained an appendix of sixteen pages made up of the Society's publications. Nicola was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1717. He served in the English army, but in 1766 resigned his commission, emigrated to America, and settled in Philadelphia.

He was town-major of Philadelphia during the Revolution, wrote several military works, but is chiefly remembered for his letter to General Washington in May, 1783, asking him to accept the title of King of the United States.

The magazine contained various practical articles and sketches of American occurrences. In the February number was a large and curious engraving, the only one in all the issues of the magazine, representing the manner of fowling in Norway. The engraver is unknown.

The price of the magazine was 13 shillings, Pennsylvania currency. It was suspended in September, 1769.

"The Pennsylvania Magazine, or American Monthly Museum, Vol. I, 1775, Philadelphia, printed and sold by R. Aitken, printer and bookseller, opposite the London Coffee-house, Front Street," was published amidst preparations for war. The publisher apologized for lack of variety in the year's work, by saying that we in America "are deprived of one considerable fund of entertainment which contributes largely to the embellishment of the magazines in Europe, viz., discoveries of curious remains of antiquity.... We can look no further back than to the rude manners and customs of the savage aborigines of North America ... but the principal difficulty in our way is the present importunate situation of public affairs ... every heart and hand seems to be engaged in the interesting struggle for American Liberty."

Thomas Paine arrived in Philadelphia in 1775, with letters from Franklin, and was immediately employed by Aitken as editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, with a salary of L25, currency, a year. In his preface to the first number, January 24, 1775, Paine wrote: "We presume it is unnecessary to inform our friends that we encounter all the inconveniences which a magazine can possibly start with. Unassisted by imported materials we are destined to create what our predecessors in this walk had only to compile; and the present perplexities of affairs have rendered it somewhat difficult for us to procure the necessary aids. Thus encompassed with difficulties, the first number of the Pennsylvania Magazine entreats a favorable reception; of which we shall only say, like the early snowdrop, it comes forth in a barren season, and contents itself with modestly foretelling that choicer flowers are preparing to appear."

The vignette of the Pennsylvania Magazine represents the Goddess of Liberty, with a pole and a liberty-cap, holding a shield with the Pennsylvania arms. On the right of the figure is a mortar inscribed "The Congress." In the foreground is a plan of fortifications with cannon balls. In the background are cannon with battle-axes and pikes. A gorget with "Liberty" upon it is hanging on a tree, and beneath it the motto

"Juvat in Sylvis habitare."

The magazine had numerous illustrations: a portrait of Goldsmith, plans of a threshing machine, an electrical machine, Donaldson's dredging machine, etc., etc.

Francis Hopkinson and Witherspoon were among the earliest contributors. William Smith and Provost Ewing assisted in later numbers. Benjamin Rush and Sergeant and Hutchinson imparted to Paine, in their walks in State House yard the suggestions of "Common Sense," the pamphlet which "had a greater run than any other ever published in our country," and which, as Elkanah Watson said, "passed through the continent like an electric spark. It everywhere flashed conviction, and aroused a determined spirit, which resulted in the Declaration of Independence, upon the 4th of July ensuing. The name of Paine was precious to every Whig heart, and had resounded throughout Europe."

A department of the Pennsylvania Magazine, called "Monthly Intelligence," reported the progress of the war, and furnished engravings of the battles, and of General Gage's lines. It was the first illustrated magazine published in the city. It was also the first that made more than one volume. The second volume began in January, 1776, and ended in July, 1776. The last number contained the Declaration of Independence.

Phillis Wheatley, negro servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston, and daughter of an African slave, published her only volume of poems, dedicated to the Countess of Huntingdon, in 1773. The best, if the word may be applied to such performances, of her occasional poems, published after 1773, and which have never been collected into a volume, was a poem "To his Excellency Gen. Washington," in the Pennsylvania Magazine of April, 1776:

"Celestial choir! enthron'd in realms of light, Columbia's scenes of glorious toils I write."

The poem was dated October 26, 1775, and sent with a letter to Washington, who replied (Feb. 2, 1776):

"However undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyric, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetical talents; in honor of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the poem had I not been apprehensive that while I only meant to give the world this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of vanity. This, and nothing less, determined me not to give it place in the public prints."

Another President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, with less urbanity, but more acumen, said of these verses that they were beneath criticism.[5]

[5] "It is true that Mr. Jefferson has pronounced the poems of Phillis Wheatley below the dignity of criticism, and it is seldom safe to differ in judgment from the author of 'Notes on Virginia,' but her conceptions are often lofty, and her versification often surprises with unexpected refinement. Ladd, the Carolina poet, in enumerating the laurels of his country, dwells with encomium on 'Wheatley's polished verse;' nor is his praise undeserved, for often it will be found to glide in the stream of melody. Her lines on imagination have been quoted with rapture by Imlay, of Kentucky, and Steadman, the Guiana traveller, but I have ever thought her happiest production the 'Goliah of Gath'" (John Davis, p. 87).

Paine himself printed some virile verses in the magazine, notably the lines "On the Death of Wolfe" (though not published for the first time), signed "Atlanticus," "Reflections on the Death of Clive," and "The Liberty Tree."

Bradford's magazines had failed because of the imperfect communication between the colonies. Aitken's magazine, throughout its life of eighteen months, is overshadowed by the war, and the grave news successively reported from both sides of the ocean.

The next Philadelphia editor was the eccentric social wit, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, the author of the capital political satire, "Modern Chivalry" (1792), the first satirical novel written in America. He was a native of Scotland, born in 1748, but was only five years of age when his father settled in York County, Pennsylvania. He was graduated from Princeton College in 1771, in the same class with Philip Freneau, in conjunction with whom he delivered, at the commencement, a poem in dialogue upon "The Rising Glory of America," which was published by Robert Aitken in 1772.

Francis Bailey was the publisher who had the courage to undertake another monthly magazine in the midst of the war, and with Brackenridge as editor, which insured some pungent writing, he issued in January, 1779, the first number of "The United States Magazine; a Repository of History, Politics and Literature." "Our attempt," said the editor, "is to paint the graces on the front of war, and invite the muses to our country." This, it will be noticed, is the second express invitation to the Maids of Parnassus to "migrate from Greece and Ionia," and to "cross out those immensely overpaid accounts." The first was extended during the French and Indian war, and the second in the very aim and flash of the Revolution. That the muses did not immediately accept the invitation, and "placard 'Removed' and 'To Let' on the rocks of their snowy Parnassus," we are reminded by the opening lines of the "Epistle to W. Gifford," written by another Philadelphia poet, William Cliffton, at the very close of the century.[6]

[6] William Cliffton (1772-1799) was the son of a blacksmith in Southwark. His poem "The Group" (1793) was written in ridicule of the Commissioners of Southwark.

"In these cold shades, beneath these shifting skies, Where fancy sickens, and where genius dies; Where few and feeble are the muse's strains, And no fine frenzy riots in the veins."

The editor, in his preface to the reader, asks the very pertinent question, "For what is man without taste, and the acquirements of genius? An ourang-outang with the human shape and the soul of a beast." His excuse for the magazine is that it is started to refute the British scoff, that when separated from England, the colonies would become mere "illiterate ourang-outangs," and proceeds to the axioms that "We are able to cultivate the belles-lettres, even disconnected with Great Britain;" and that "Liberty is of so noble and energetic a quality, as even from the bosom of a war to call forth the powers of human genius in every course of literary fame and improvement."

The vignette for the magazine was made by Pierre E. Du Simitiere (P. E. D.), who also made the one that adorned the Pennsylvania Magazine. It represented a triumphal arch with a corridor of thirteen columns, the arch decorated with thirteen stars, symbolizing the States, Pennsylvania being the Keystone. Under the arch is the figure of Fame, with cap of liberty and trumpet.

The artist was a native of Switzerland, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1766. His collection of curiosities he opened to the public under the name of "The American Museum."

The first number of this magazine contained certain verses in explanation of the emblematic vignette:

"The arch high bending doth convey, In a hieroglyphic way, What in noble style like this Our united empire is! The pillars, which support the weight, Are, each of them, a mighty State; Thirteen and more the vista shows, As to vaster length it grows; For new States shall added be, To the great confederacy, And the mighty arch shall rise From the cold Canadian skies, And shall bend through heaven's broad way To the noble Mexic Bay! In the lofty arch are seen Stars of lucid ray—thirteen! When other States shall rise, Other stars shall deck these skies, There, in wakeful light to burn O'er the hemisphere of morn."

As might be expected from Brackenridge's management, the magazine was full of wit and scurrility. The January (1779) number contained Witherspoon's delightful satire upon James Rivington, the Royal Printer, of New York. It was a parody of Rivington's "Petition to Congress," and was called "The Humble Representation and Earnest Supplication of J. R., Printer and Bookseller in New York—To his Excellency Henry Laurens, Esq." And Dr. Witherspoon, who was President of Princeton College when Brackenridge was a student there, supplied his former pupil during his year's editorship with many a sly sarcasm and bit of grave philosophy.

"The Cornwalliad, an Heroic Comic Poem," was begun in March, 1779, and was continued through several numbers. It described various incidents in the British retreat to New York after the battles of Trenton and Princeton.

In the January number was begun a series of articles under the title of "The Cave of Vanhest," concerning which the following letter was written October 2, 1779, by Mrs. Sarah Bache to Benjamin Franklin: "The publisher of The United States Magazine wrote to you some time ago to desire you would send him some newspapers, and sent you some of his first numbers. I suppose you never received them. I now send six, not that I think you will find much entertainment in them, but you may have heard that there was such a performance, and may like to see what it is; besides, its want of entertainment may induce you to send something that may make the poor man's magazine more useful and pleasing. Tell Temple 'The Cave of Vanhest' is a very romantic description of Mr. and Mrs. Blair's house and family; the young ladies that the traveller describes and is in love with are children, one seven months younger than our Benjamin, and the Venus just turned of five."

The most amusing episode in the history of the magazine was the quarrel that arose between its editor and General Charles Lee. Brackenridge published in full, in Vol. I, p. 141, a letter written by "an officer of high rank in the American service to Miss F——s (Franks), a young lady of this city." The letter contained a humorous challenge growing out of a merry war in which Miss F. had said that "he wore green breeches patched with leather," and the writer declared that he wore "true sherry vallies," that is, trousers reaching to the ankle with strips of leather on the inside of the thigh. Lee immediately published in the Pennsylvania Advertiser an angry letter upon "the impertinence and stupidity of the compiler of that wretched performance with the pompous title of the magazine of the United States." In reply, Brackenridge compared Lee, as usual, to his favorite ourang-outang, and added: "You are neither Christian, Jew, Turk nor Infidel, but a metempsychosist! You have been heard to say that you expect when you die to transmigrate to a Siberian fox-hound, and to be messmate to Spado." Upon this Lee, in a rage, called at the office with the intention of assaulting the editor. Brackenridge's son cleverly relates what followed. General Lee "knocked at the door, while Mr. Brackenridge, looking out of the upper-story window, inquired what was wanting. 'Come down,' said he, 'and I'll give you as good a horse-whipping as any rascal ever received.' 'Excuse me, General,' said the other, 'I would not go down for two such favors.'"

Besides the publication of the State Constitution and a windy war over female head-dress and hard money, there is little else to say of The United States Magazine. But near the close of the volume the appearance of an imitation of Psalm 137, with the foot-note, "by a young gentleman to whom, in the course of this work, we are greatly indebted," brings for the first time into notice, if not into prominence, a writer destined to display the finest sense of poetic form and the nicest delicacy of poetic sentiment to be found among his contemporaries in America, and who, through his opposition to Hamilton and the Federalists, should win from Washington the epithet of "that rascal FRENEAU."

Philip Freneau was born in New York in 1752; he had been a classmate at Princeton of James Madison and Brackenridge, and on his return from the Bermudas in 1779, he assisted the latter in his editorial work in Philadelphia. The first edition of his poems was prepared in Philadelphia by Francis Bailey, the publisher of The United States Magazine, in 1786.

Freneau was one of the first American poets to be read and appreciated in England. At the time when Byron was making merry with the notion of an American poet bearing the name of Timothy (Dwight), Campbell was appropriating a line, "The hunter and the deer—a shade" from Freneau's "Indian Burying Ground," and knitting it into "O'Connor's Child," and Sir Walter Scott in "Marmion," by altering a single word, was transparently concealing his theft from "The Heroes of Eutaw."

In December, 1779, the suspension of the magazine was announced, the editor declaring in explanation that the publication was "undertaken at a time when it was hoped the war would be of short continuance, and the money, which had continued to depreciate, would become of proper value. But these evils having continued to exist through the whole year, it has been greatly difficult to carry on the publication; and we shall now be under the necessity of suspending it for some time—until an established peace and a fixed value of the money shall render it convenient or possible to take it up again."

For seven years no one attempted another magazine, and then in September, 1786, by a combination of publishers, The Columbian Magazine, or Monthly Miscellany, modelled upon the Gentleman's Magazine and the London Magazine, began its career. It was the most ambitious enterprise of the kind that had yet been undertaken in America. The printing facilities were still very limited, and the subscription lists for all publications small. In 1786 there was one daily paper printed in Philadelphia, and but three or four weekly ones. In the same year four printers after much deliberation agreed to print a small edition of the New Testament. "Before the Revolution a spelling-book, impressed upon brown paper, with the interesting figure of Master Dilworth as a frontispiece, was the extent of American skill in printing and engraving." Improvements came very rapidly, and before the end of the first decade of the nineteenth century Barlow's Columbiad was magnificently printed in Philadelphia, and the great undertakings of Rees' "Cyclopaedia" and Wilson's "Ornithology" entered upon. The monthly expense of printing the Columbian was said to be L100, which was paid to mechanics and manufacturers of the United States. The magazine was inaugurated by Matthew Carey, T. Siddons, C. Talbot, W. Spotswood and J. Trenchard.

Carey published, in the first number, "The Life of General Greene," whose portrait was the first in the volume. He also contributed "The Shipwreck," "A Philosophical Dream" (a vision of 1850), and "Hard Times." In the "Philosophical Dream" Carey made the first suggestion of a canal to unite the waters of the Delaware and Ohio. He withdrew from the Columbian Magazine in December, 1786, finding that the quintuple team could not work well together.

Charles Cist, another of the combination, was born at St. Petersburg, August 15, 1738, was graduated at Halle, and, upon coming to Philadelphia in 1773, entered into partnership with Melchior Steiner, with whom he published Paine's "Crisis"—"These are the times that try men's souls." He died in Philadelphia, December 2, 1805.

John Trenchard became sole proprietor of the publication in January, 1789. He was an engraver by profession, having studied under James Smithers, and engraved most of the plates for the magazine. His son, Edward Trenchard, entered the navy, visited England and induced Gilbert Fox, then a 'graver's apprentice, to return with him to America. In this country Fox became an actor, and for him Joseph Hopkinson wrote "Hail Columbia."

"The Foresters, an American Tale," was written for the Columbian by Jeremy Belknap, who sought to portray humorously in it the history of the country and the formation of the Constitution.

The Columbian of May, 1789, gave an elaborate account of Washington's progress to New York, with the notable receptions at Gray's Ferry and at Trenton.

In July, 1790, the name of the magazine was changed to "The Universal Asylum and Columbian Magazine, by a Society of Gentlemen." Benjamin Rush was one of its most faithful contributors. A number of the engravings and several of the articles illustrated the agricultural improvements of the times. John Penington contributed in 1790 "Chemical and Economical Essays to Illustrate the Connection between Chemistry and the Arts." The editor of the Columbian Magazine for nearly three years was Alexander James Dallas, a sketch of whose life is to be found in a later magazine, the Port Folio, of March, 1817. Dallas was born in Jamaica, but received his earliest education near London from James Elphinstone, through whom he became acquainted with Dr. Johnson and Dr. Franklin. He became a citizen of Philadelphia in 1785, studied law, edited the Columbian, held various offices of trust in the State, and became successively Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of War for the United States. Robert Charles Dallas, brother of the editor, author of the "History of the Maroons" and a score of other works, is best known as the friend and counsellor of Lord Byron. His last work was his "Recollections of the Life of Lord Byron from 1808 to 1814." It was at his request that Byron published "Childe Harold," and to him Byron gave the profits arising from that and four other of his poems. Dallas was related to Lord Byron through the marriage of his sister with the poet's uncle. George Mifflin Dallas, son of the editor of the Columbian, became Vice-President of the United States under President Polk. His commencement oration at Princeton, in 1809, on the "Moral Influence of Memory," is printed in the Port Folio of that year (Vol. II, p. 396[7]). Two members of the family, Rev. A. R. C. Dallas, son of Robert Charles, and his cousin, Rev. Charles Dallas, served at Waterloo, and were afterward prominent in philanthropic work.

[7] John Quincy Adams' commencement oration "On the Importance and Necessity of Public Faith to the Well-being of a Government," was inserted in the Columbian Magazine (1787) by Jeremy Belknap.

A. J. Dallas reported for the Herald and for the Columbian the debates of the State Convention until the Federalists, annoyed by the publications, withdrew their subscriptions from the Columbian, which led Benjamin Rush to write to Noah Webster (February 13, 1788): "From the impudent conduct of Mr. Dallas in misrepresenting the proceedings and speeches in the Pennsylvania Convention, as well as from his deficiency of matter, the Columbian Magazine, of which he is editor, is in the decline."

Nevertheless the Columbian continued to prosper. The circulation at times made necessary a second edition, which was reset at considerable expense, and often contained additional articles.

The final number appeared in December, 1792. The principal motive for the suspension, the editors declared, "is to be found in the present law respecting the establishment of the post-office, which totally prohibits the circulation of monthly publications through that channel on any other terms than that of paying the highest postage on private letters or packages." A futile attempt was made to continue the magazine in January, 1793, under the title, "The Columbian Museum, or Universal Asylum: John Parker, Phila." The only number that I have seen contains sixty pages.

In January, 1787, or one month after withdrawing from the management of The Columbian Magazine, Matthew Carey published the first number of The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, etc., Prose and Poetical, which proved to be the first really successful literary undertaking of the kind in America. General Washington said of it in a letter dated June 25, 1788: "No more useful literary plan has ever been undertaken in America." John Dickinson in the same year also commended it. Governor Wm. Livingstone wrote: "It far exceeds in my opinion every attempt of the kind which from any other American press ever came into my hands." Among others who swelled the chorus of praise were Governor Randolph of Virginia, Ezra Stiles of Yale, Timothy Dwight, Francis Hopkinson and Provost Ewing. "Citizen" Brissot, in his "New Travels in the United States" (1788), considered Carey's Museum to be "equal to the best periodical published in Europe." The first number attracted great attention; Franklin furnished the first article, "Consolation for America;" Benjamin Rush followed with an "Address to the People of the United States",[8] the burden of which was that the "Revolution is not over;" already the cry was going up for civil service reform to deliver the country from the oppression of politics. The edition—one thousand copies—was soon exhausted. "I had not means," said Carey, "to reprint it. This was a very serious injury, many persons who intended to subscribe declining because I could not furnish them the whole of the numbers."

[8] Benjamin Rush's papers in the Museum and in the Columbian were printed in book form, "Essays—Literary, Moral and Philosophical," 1798.

The work of editorship was no novelty to Matthew Carey. He had had full and fiery experience in both Ireland and America. He was born in Ireland in 1760, and became acquainted with Dr. Franklin in Paris while living there to avoid prosecution at home. He was imprisoned for the publication of the Volunteer's Journal in Dublin. He arrived in Philadelphia, November 15, 1784, and in the following January began to publish the Pennsylvania Evening Herald, the first newspaper in the United States to furnish accurate reports of legislative debates. He was wretchedly poor, but Lafayette laid the foundation of his fortune by a generous gift of four hundred dollars in notes of the Bank of North America. The first pamphlet that Carey published in Ireland was a treatise on duelling. Soon after his arrival in America he gave a practical illustration of the text by engaging in a duel with Colonel Oswald, in which he received a wound that stayed him at home for more than a year.

The American Museum was the first magazine in Philadelphia to reflect faithfully the internal state of America. Bradford's magazines, intensely loyal, looked across the ocean and saw little at home worthy of record. Paine and Brackenridge expended their erratic genius in abusive satire upon the Tories; the Columbian Magazine avoided the serious political problems of the times, and granted much of its space to agricultural improvements and the beginnings of manufactures.

In almost every page, however, of the Museum the reader catches glimpses of the anxieties and disorders of the critical years of party strife that attended the making and adoption of the Constitution. The social order was weak, there was a general revolt against taxation. "I am uneasy and apprehensive, more so than during the war," wrote Jay to Washington, June 27, 1786. David Humphreys, one of the "Hartford Wits," who came into prominence at the close of the war, and who at this time (1786) was engaged in the composition of the Anarchiad and other satirical verse, aimed at the disorder of the time, contributed to The Museum his poem on the "Happiness of America." Francis Hopkinson's gentle prose satires and his poems of revolutionary incidents reappeared in its pages. Anthony Benezet uttered his oft-repeated protest against the iniquity of slavery. Philip Freneau's odes found place almost monthly in the poet's corner. Through several numbers ran a series of articles, though not for the first time published, "On the Character of Philadelphians," signed Tamoc Caspipina, the pseudonym of the Rev. Jacob Duche, brother-in-law of Francis Hopkinson, and derived from the initial letters of his title as "the assistant minister of Christ's Church and St. Peter's in Philadelphia, in North America."

I cull from volume five a few specimen articles to illustrate the wealth of local and national history embedded in this popular periodical:

VOL. V, p. 185.—Report on the petition of Hallam and Henry to license a theatre in Philadelphia.

P. 197.—Account of the battle of Bunker Hill.

P. 220.—Letters of "James Littlejohn"—i.e., Timothy Dwight.

P. 233.—Franklin on food.

P. 235.—Duche's Description of Philadelphia.

P. 263.—Insurrection in New Hampshire.

P. 293.—Dr. Franklin's Prussian Edict.

P. 295.—Impartial Chronicle, by W. Livingstone.

P. 300.—Poetical address to Washington, by Governor Livingstone.

P. 363.—Earthquake in New England.

P. 400.—Battle of Long Island.

P. 473.—Franklin's idea of an English school.

P. 488.—"How to Conduct a Newspaper,"—Dr. Rush.

The same cause that led to the suspension of the Columbian Magazine put a period also to the American Museum, and in the same month. On December 31, 1792, Matthew Carey, in bidding farewell to the public that had supported his undertaking, ascribed its failure to "the construction, whether right or wrong, of the late Post-Office law, by which the postmaster here has absolutely refused to receive the Museum into the Post-Office on any terms." Although the circulation of the magazine had been large for those days, the publisher had derived small profit from his venture. The subscription price, $2.40 per annum for two volumes, making together more than one thousand pages, was too low; and during the six years, between 1786 and 1792, Carey was always poor, and in his Autobiography declares that during those years he was never at any one time the possessor of four hundred dollars. But in those years of personal penury and public turmoil, Matthew Carey laid the foundation of the American system of social science.

Six years after the suspension of the magazine, Carey attempted to re-animate it, and published The American Museum, or Annual Register of Fugitive Pieces, Ancient and Modern, for the year 1798, printed for Matthew Carey. Philadelphia: W. & R. Dickson, Lancaster. Matthew Carey, whose introduction was dated June 20, 1799, wrote of the renascent publication, "If this coup d'essai be favorably received, I shall publish a continuation of it yearly." No other volume was ever issued.

The Medical Examiner was published in 1787, and made one volume octavo of 424 pages. It was edited by J. B. Biddle.

The Philadelphia Magazine, the first that ever bore the name of the city, made two volumes. The first volume extended from February to December, 1788, and contained 448 pages. The second volume began in January, 1789, and closed in November of the same year (416 pages). The magazine is said to have been edited by Elhanan Winchester. His "Lectures on Prophecies" are bound up with the second volume of the periodical. The lectures were originally issued in each volume.

The Arminian Magazine, Vol. I, 1789, pp. 600; Vol. II, 1790, pp. 620, was published by Prichard and Hall, in Market Street, and was edited by John Dickins, the scholarly pastor of the church that he named the "Methodist Episcopal."

In magazines addressed to women, Philadelphia has always been fertile and successful. "The first attempt of the kind made in this country" was "The Lady's Magazine and Repository of Entertaining Knowledge, Vol. I, for 1792. By a Literary Society. Philadelphia: W. Gibbons, North Third Street, No. 144."

The motto chosen by the editors was "the mind t'improve and yet amuse;" and the fair sex, who are supposed to have received the proposals for the work with "extraordinary marks of applause," are assured that "the greatest deference shall be paid to their literary communications," and they are promised month by month offerings of "the most lively prose and pathetic verse."

The magazine contains anecdotes, poems, female correspondence, similitude between the Egyptians and Abyssinians, manners and customs of the Egyptians, schemes for increasing the power of the fair sex, essays on ladies' feet, etc., etc. It began June, 1792, and lived until May, 1793.

The Philadelphia Minerva was filled with old and new fugitive pieces. It was published weekly by W. T. Palmer, at No. 18 North Third Street, beginning in 1795 and ceasing in July, 1798.

The Pennsylvania Magazine, of the very slightest significance, was issued in 1795, and made one volume.

The American Monthly Review or Literary Journal. Jan.-Aug., 1795. Phila.: S.[amuel] H.[arrison] Smith.

The American Annual Register, or Historical Memoirs of the United States, made one volume in 1796.

The Literary Museum, or Monthly Magazine. Jan.-June, 1797. "Printed by Derrick and Sharples, and sold by the principal booksellers in Phila. Price, one quarter of a dollar."

The Methodist Magazine was founded by John Dickins in January, 1797, and was edited by him until his death, in 1798 (September 27). It was printed by Henry Tuckness. It was chiefly made up of sermons.

The American Universal Magazine consisted chiefly of selections from other periodicals. The first volume began Monday, January 2, 1797, and was completed March 20, 1797. It was embellished with Du Simitiere's portrait of William Penn. It was "printed by S.[amuel] H.[arrison] Smith for Richard Lee, No. 131 Chestnut Street." It was commenced as a weekly journal, but after January 23 it was published biweekly. After February 6 it was printed by Budd and Bartram, and contained frequent articles favoring the abolition of slavery. It was taken in hand by new printers on March 6, and sent out by Snowden and McCorkle.

The second volume ran from April 3 to June 13, and was printed by the proprietor, Richard Lee, at No. 4 Chestnut Street.

The third volume, July 10, to November 15, 1797, informed the patrons of the publication that the editor "would be assisted by a gentleman whose literary abilities have been frequently sanctioned by public approbation." It was printed by "Samuel H. Smith and Thomas Smith."

The fourth volume, with which the publication ended, lived from December 5, 1797, to March 7, 1798.

Philadelphia, in 1793, had been visited by the terrible scourge of yellow fever. In 1798 the pestilence returned, and repeated in Philadelphia the horrors recorded of London in the previous century.

During this year certain magazines were published in the city that may almost be called journals of the plague.

The Philadelphia Monthly Magazine, or Universal Repository of Knowledge and Entertainment, was begun in January, 1798, and printed for Thomas Condie, stationer in Carter's Alley (No. 20). It lasted through the year, and made two volumes. The publishers appended to the second volume "A History of the Pestilence, commonly called Yellow Fever, which almost desolated Philadelphia in the months of August, September and October, 1798. By Thomas Condie and Richard Folwell." The history contains 108 pages, an appendix of 31 pages, and a list of all the names of those who died of the fever—3,521 in all. In the month of September alone 2,004 persons died of the plague, being one in every twenty-five of the total population.

This magazine contained the first long biographical sketch of Washington. The "Memoirs of George Washington, Esq., Late President of the U. S.," ran through the months of January, February, March, May and June, 1798.

It is in this magazine that we find the earliest notice of Mrs. Merry, who was the first eminent actress that crossed the ocean. "Biographical Anecdotes of Mrs. Merry of the theatre, Philadelphia, by Thomas Condie," April, 1798 (Vol. I, p. 187). With a reputation in England second only to Mrs. Siddons, this brilliant actress was added to the American stage by Mr. Wignal, of the Philadelphia Theatre, who had gone abroad in 1796 to recruit his company and, if possible, to engage some first-rate actors in London. Mrs. Merry arrived at New York in October, 1796, and made her first appearance in the Western World in December in the character of Juliet. She was the daughter of John Brunton, of the Norwich Theatre, and the wife of "Della Crusca" Merry, the well-known playwright and author.

The Weekly Magazine of Original Essays, Fugitive Pieces and Interesting Intelligence, was begun February 3, 1798. It was conducted by James Watters, of Willing's Alley, a young man who was the manager for Dobson's American edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. The first article in the periodical introduces us to the first professional man of letters in America. It is "The Man at Home," by Charles Brockden Brown. Although unsigned, no one familiar with Brown's style could read a page without discerning him in the short snap-shot sentences of the story. On page 228 of the first volume three pages of the "Sky-Walk" are "extracted from Brown's MSS." The singular title of this unfinished story, which was afterward woven into the web of "Edgar Huntley," seems to have been as puzzling to readers then as now, and it is explained in a stray note on page 318 of the magazine as "a popular corruption of Ski-Wakkee, or Big Spring, the name given by the Lenni Lennaffee (sic) or Delaware Indians to the district where the principal scenes of this novel are transacted." "The Man at Home" ran through thirteen numbers of the first volume, which closed on April 28.

In the second volume (page 193) Brown commenced the publication of his first important novel, "Arthur Mervyn, or Memoirs of the Year 1793," the first chapter of which appeared June 16, 1798. It contained vivid descriptions of the scenes during the pestilence of 1793-8. Brown's genius naturally dealt with weird and sombre subjects and extraordinary passions and experiences. While occupied with this romantic narrative of the horrors of the plague, his intimate friend, Elihu Hubbard Smith, who had introduced him to the "Friendly Club," in New York, died of the fever, and his own life was for a time in danger by it.

The third volume of the magazine (August 4, 1798-April 6, 1799) was printed by Ezekiel Forman, the young and gifted editor, James Watters, having died of the fever. A commemorative note of the stricken editor is to be found in the number bearing date February 2, 1799 (page 129).

In consequence of Watters' death, no number of the magazine was published between August 25, 1798, and February 9, 1799. The property was then bought from the late editor's mother, and was continued until June 1, 1799, when it came abruptly to an end, leaving the fourth volume unfinished and with only 256 pages.

The Weekly Magazine had carried upon its covers in 1798 a proposal to publish the novel, "Sky Walk, or the Man Unknown to Himself," a few pages of which had been given in the magazine. The manuscript was known to be with James Watters, but its fate is unknown; it probably was destroyed with the rest of the unfortunate editor's papers.

One other Philadelphia publication was terminated in consequence of the plague, which, although properly classified as a newspaper, is yet of so much literary and historical interest that it would seem to deserve a place in this narrative. Porcupine's Gazette and United States Daily Advertiser was published by William Cobbett on Second Street, opposite Christ Church. It was first issued on Saturday evening, March 4, 1797. Up to that time no such cut and thrust weapon had been seen in America, and no such truculent foul-mouthed editor had plucked a pen out of his pilcher by the ears on this side of the Atlantic. We had known editors who were learned in profanity and gifted in vulgarity, but none that had just such a bitter trick of invective as William Cobbett, or "Peter Porcupine," as he was pleased to call himself. He was born at Farnham, in Surrey, in 1762, within a stone's throw of Sir William Temple's Moor Park, where lived for ten years the greatest master of virile and virulent English in all the long annals of our literature. It is a curious coincidence that the first book that fell into the well-nigh penniless hands of Cobbett was "The Tale of a Tub," and in it he discovered and appropriated the secret of Jonathan Swift's burning English.

In Philadelphia, Cobbett advocated the extremest Tory principles, and requested the contributors to his paper, "whether they write on their business or mine, to pay the postage, and place it to my account. This is a regulation I have been obliged to adopt to disappoint certain Democratic blackguards, who, to gratify their impotent malice and put me to expense, send me loving epistles full of curses and bawdry."

During the prevalence of the plague, Cobbett ejected his venomous superfluity upon Dr. Benjamin Rush, comparing him to Doctor Sangrado, in Gil Blas, because he advocated blood-letting as a remedy for the fever. Rush, stung into retaliation, sued Cobbett, and recovered from him five thousand dollars. This, together with an additional three thousand dollars, the cost of the suit, ruined Cobbett, and he removed to Bustleton, August 29, 1799, where he continued for a short time to publish his "Gazette," weekly. The last barbed arrow, quivering with scorn, was fired from Bustleton, January 13, 1800, and the author returned to England.

Cobbett also published, in Philadelphia, The Political Censor, or Monthly Review, which lasted from March, 1796, to March, 1797.

A German magazine was published in Philadelphia, in 1798: Philadelphisches Magazin fuer die deutschen in Amerika. Philadelphia: H. and J. R. Kaemmerer.

The Dessert to the True American measures a year from July, 1798 to July, 1799.

The last magazine published in Philadelphia in the eighteenth century was the Philadelphia Magazine and Review, or Monthly Repository of Information and Amusement. It was begun in January, 1799, and printed for Benjamin Davies, 68 High Street. In announcing this work, the editor alluded to the unsuccess that had attended all efforts to establish magazines in Philadelphia, and he believed the cause to be the spurious patriotism that led the editors to reject whatever was not of native production. The magazine was strongly "anti-Gallican" in character. It closed its career with its first volume.

I have made no mention in this necessarily incomplete enumeration of the eighteenth century magazines of an early religious publication, The Royal Spiritual Magazine, by Joseph Crukshank, 8vo, 1771. A few stray numbers exist, but I have never seen a copy of it. How long it was published I do not know.

Christopher Sauer printed, at irregular intervals, in 1764, the Geistliches Magazien. There are fifty numbers in the first volume. Sauer cast his own type, and this magazine is therefore printed, as he himself says on page 136 of the second volume, with the first type made in America.



At the beginning of this century Philadelphia was the most attractive city in America to a young man of brains and ambition. It was the seat of an active social, political and literary life. Poet George Webbe noticed in 1728 the leadership of Philadelphia in all matters pertaining to the higher life of the country, and prophesied:

Rome shall lament her ancient fame declined, And Philadelphia be the Athens of mankind.

General Lee might petulantly exclaim in 1779, "Philadelphia is not an Athens," and Neal might write in Blackwood's Magazine that the Philadelphians were "mutton-headed Athenians," but the name became a favorite one with which to characterize the thriving Pennsylvania town which exercised such sovereign sway and masterdom over its sister cities. Benjamin West, in a letter to Charles Willson Peale (September 19, 1809), predicts that Philadelphia will in time "become the seat of refinement in all accomplishments ... the Athens of the Western Empire." Harrison Hall and the gentlemen who published and maintained the Port Folio always styled Philadelphia the "Athens of America."

As the capital of the government it was the centre of wealth and fashion. Fine old mansions and gardens adorned Chestnut and High Streets; Judge Tilghman in the Carpenter Mansion, Israel Pemberton in Clarke Hall, Thomas Willing, the merchant prince, at Third and Walnut, and his partner, Robert Morris, at Sixth and High Streets, Edward Shippen at Fourth and Walnut, the Norris family in their home upon the site of the U. S. Bank and Custom House, and in their great mansion at Fair Hill, the Hamiltons at Bush Hill and the Woodlands, dispensed lavish hospitality.

William Bingham, father-in-law of the eminent banker Alexander Baring, who was afterwards Lord Ashburton, entertained in grand style. General Washington drove out from the Morris mansion along the unpaved streets south of Chestnut Street in a coach drawn by six horses and attended by two footmen. In his stables on Minor Street was a stud of twelve or fourteen horses. General John Cadwallader, father-in-law of the second Lord Erskine, in his great house at Second and Spruce, made liberal use of his immense fortune.

In the first year of this century the University of Pennsylvania, which had played so great a part in the Revolution, and to which Louis XVI had, in 1786, made so generous a donation, was removed to its new home in the spacious buildings erected for the executive mansion. The Philadelphia Library, which had been Franklin's first scheme for public improvement, and which had been enriched by the generous gifts of James Logan, was furnishing such opportunities for literary work as were unknown elsewhere. John Quincy Adams sought in vain to cultivate in Boston the "Wistar parties" that Caspar Wistar had made so famous in Philadelphia. One hundred years ago there was only one scientific foundation within this Republic that was not in Philadelphia, and that was the American Academy in Boston. The American Philosophical Society in its venerable hall in State House Yard numbered Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Adams among its members. The best scholars of Europe and America read its "Transactions" or contributed to its "Proceedings." From his private observatory David Rittenhouse made the earliest astronomical observations in this country, and rested his transit instrument upon the ancient stanchions that still maintain their place in the Philosophical Society window looking out upon the fine old trees planted by the father of John Vaughan, secretary and librarian of the society. The only Natural History Museum in this country was opened in 1802 at Third and Lombard by Charles Willson Peale; and far out on the Schuylkill at Gray's Ferry, John Bartram, whom Linnaeus called "the greatest natural botanist of the world," had planted the first botanic garden.

The number of foreign exiles who at this time were moving in Philadelphia society gave a cosmopolitan character to the city, and lent to it the air of foreign capitals. Talleyrand, Beaumais, Vicomte de Noailles and his brother-in-law Lafayette, Volney, the Duc de Liancourt, and General Moreau, and at a later date Joseph Bonaparte and Murat, were but a few of the distinguished members of the "French colony."

JOSEPH DENNIE, the most interesting figure among American editors, came to Philadelphia in 1799 as clerk to Timothy Pickering, who was then Secretary of State, and his brilliant social qualities soon won him recognition in the city. "The American Addison" he was called then, a title he had won by the easy grace and pleasing melody of his style.[9] He was born in Boston, August 30, 1768, and was sent to Harvard College, where he proved a jibbing pupil, and was rusticated for a term of six months. He industriously read all the books that were proscribed by the Faculty, and ignored those studies that were recommended to him. His was a brilliant but undisciplined mind, strongly independent, impetuous, fond of contradiction, full of surprises, "studious of change and fond of novelty," as he often defined himself. Soon after beginning the study of law, Dennie wrote, "In the infancy of a profession 'tis chimerical to talk of undeviating integrity. Let hair-brained enthusiasts prate in their closets as loudly as they please to the contrary, a young adventurer in any walk of life must take advantage of the events and weaknesses of his fellow-mortals, or be content to munch turnip in a cell amidst want and obscurity." Of course, all this is very outrageous, but altogether what we should expect from such "unimproved mettle, hot and full." He abandoned the law, and was among the first men in America to devote himself to literature.

[9] When British reviewers styled Dennie "the American Addison," the Aurora Gazette broke forth into the following horse-laugh: "Exult, ye white hills of New Hampshire, redoubtable Monadnock and Tuckaway! Laugh, ye waters of the Winiseopee and Umbagog Lakes! Flow smooth in heroic verse, ye streams of Amorioosack and Androscoggin, Cockhoko and Coritocook! And you, merry Merrimack, be now more merry!"

His first experience in journalism was as editor of the Tablet in Boston, May 19, 1795. The paper lived just thirteen weeks.

Dennie next tried his Bohemian fortunes in Walpole, N. H., and contributed to the Farmer's Weekly Museum, a good and popular journal that had been founded in 1790, the papers entitled "The Lay Preacher," upon which rests his literary fame. Of this magazine he became editor in 1796, and at once gathered about him a number of noble swelling spirits who contributed racy and original reading to the "Farmer's" subscribers.[10]

[10] Dennie always remained faithful to his New England friends. T. G. Fessenden had been one of the contributors to the Farmer's Museum; when his "Terrible Tractoration" appeared, Dennie wrote to the Port Folio, "To Connecticut men studious either of Hudibrastic or solemn poetry, we look with eager eyes for the most successful specimens of the inspiration of the Muse." Fessenden was the last to maintain the fame of the "Hartford Wits;" and the glory of "McFingal," and "The Conquest of Canaan" and the "Anarchiad," and the "Political Green house" and "The Echo" faded with the failing of the Farmer's Museum.

The publisher became bankrupt in 1798, and Dennie pilgrimaged to Philadelphia, without fortune and without a patron. His service under Pickering was of short duration.

In connection with Asbury Dickins, a son of John Dickins of the Methodist Magazine, he began, January 3, 1801, the publication of the Port Folio, by Oliver Oldschool, Esq., the best of Philadelphia magazines, which he continued to edit until his death, in 1812. Dennie's strong personality and engaging qualities of mind and heart attracted attention, and made him many friends. With genuine editorial tact and skill he drew to himself all the literary ability of the city, which was then "the largest and most literary and most intellectually accomplished city in the Union," to quote the words of a later editor of the Port Folio, Dr. Charles Caldwell. There was scarcely a more picturesque figure in Philadelphia in the first decade of this century than that presented by the editor of the Port Folio. It would be necessary to go to London and to Oliver Goldsmith to find another to outshine this Oliver Oldschool as Buckingham saw him slipping along Chestnut Street to his office "in a pea-green coat, white vest, nankeen small-clothes, white silk stockings and pumps, fastened with silver buckles which covered at least half the foot from the instep to the toe." Dennie was but 44 years of age when he died; Buckingham says he was "a premature victim to social indulgence." Those were the days of hard drinking and of high thinking. Nothing so frugal as a cup of Madeira and a cold capon's leg would satisfy Dennie's epicurean soul. He was a social creature, and those noctes ambrosianae of the Tuesday Club when Tom Moore, who celebrated the club in his eighth epistle, or some other lover of Anacreon was the guest, were often kept up until it was too late to go to bed. Wine songs and Martial-like epigrams of pointed indecencies are correspondingly brisk and plentiful in the pages of the Port Folio.

In the introduction to the magazine Dennie stated that the word Port Folio was not to be found in Johnson's Dictionary, and proceeded to define it as "a portable repository for fugitive papers." "Editors," he continued, slyly satirizing his contemporaries, "ambitious of sonorous or brilliant titles, frequently select a name not intimately connected with the nature of their work. We hear of the Mirror and the Aurora; but what relation has a literary essay with a polished plane of glass, or what has politics to do with the morning?[11]" The editor began with a "lilliputian page" because he was warned by "the waywardness of the time." "A waywardness which," he explains, "alludes to our indifference to elegant letters, the acrimony of our party bickerings, and to the universal eagerness for political texts and their commentary.... Amid such 'wild uproar' the gentle voice of the Muse is scarcely audible." In these early years of the century literature was wretchedly paid. John Davis, the vivacious English writer of travels, offered, in 1801, two novels to any bookseller in the country who would publish them, on the condition of receiving fifty copies. The booksellers of New York could not, he said, undertake them, for they were dead of the fever. It is interesting to find Dennie writing in his introduction, "Literary industry, usefully employed, has a sort of draught upon the bank of opulence, and has the right of entry into the mansion of every Maecenas.... Authors far elevated above the mire of low avarice have thought it debasement to make literature common and cheap."

[11] The editor of the Aurora retorted in kind, and dubbed the Port Folio "Portable Foolery."

The Port Folio at once sprang into popular favor. In the life of Josiah Quincy, by his son, we read, "The Port Folio was very far superior in literary ability to any magazine or periodical ever before attempted in this country. Indeed, it was no whit behind the best English magazines of that day, and would bear no unfavorable comparison with those of the present time on either side of the water. Its influence was greatly beneficial in raising the standard of literary taste in this country, and in creating a demand for a higher order of periodical literature and for more exact and careful editorship."

Dennie was a daring and devoted lover of England. He had no patience with American innovations that, as it seemed to him, were certain to lose history by being severed from the traditions of England. When the doctrine of social equality was flaunted before him, or the glittering clauses of the Declaration of Independence were quoted to him, his indignation forgot all discretion. He was soon bandying hot words with the Aurora, and marking with his scorn every new phase of Americanism. Speaking in his editorial person he declared:

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