The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors 1741-1850

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Philadelphia Magazines






A. B., Johns Hopkins University,
Professor of English Literature in the Philadelphia High School;
Member of the American Philosophical Society.

Robert M. Lindsay


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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[Pg 6] 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.

Albert H. Smyth.

Philadelphia, 5 February, 1892,
126, South Twenty-second Street.
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"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.
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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,[Pg 10] 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[Pg 11] 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."
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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 indig[Pg 13]nantly 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 re[Pg 14]sisted 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[Pg 15] 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[Pg 16] 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[Pg 17] 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[Pg 18] 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 archæology—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 writ[Pg 19]ers 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[Pg 20] 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[Pg 21] 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 an[Pg 22]cient 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.[Pg 23]


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[Pg 24] 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[Pg 25] 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[Pg 26] 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[Pg 27] 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,[Pg 28] 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[Pg 29] 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[Pg 30] 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: Prævalebit æquior, and the title-page the further legend: Veritatis cultores, Fraudis inimici.[Pg 31]

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[Pg 32] 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[Pg 33] 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[Pg 34] 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,
[Pg 35]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]

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, Mary[Pg 36]land. "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]

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 Philadel[Pg 37]phian 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:[Pg 38]

"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[Pg 39] 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!
[Pg 40]

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[Pg 41] 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 in[Pg 42]vention, 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]

"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"[Pg 43] 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."
[Pg 44]

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]

Thomas Coombe, assistant minister of Christ Church, translated some of Beveridge's Latin poems, and was himself the author of "The[Pg 45] 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, Hymenæus Phiz and the like.

Galt, in his life of Benjamin West (p. 77),[Pg 46] 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[Pg 47] 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.[Pg 48]

"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 £25, currency, a year. In his preface to the first number, January 24, 1775, Paine wrote: "We presume it is unnecessary to inform our[Pg 49] 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:[Pg 50] 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 sec[Pg 51]ond 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[Pg 52] 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]

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[Pg 53] 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[Pg 54] 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]

"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[Pg 55] 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[Pg 56] 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 Hum[Pg 57]ble 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 per[Pg 58]formance, 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[Pg 59] 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[Pg 60] 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 Bury[Pg 61]ing 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[Pg 62] 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' "Cyclopædia" and Wilson's "Ornithology" entered upon. The monthly expense of printing the Columbian was said to be £100, 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"[Pg 63] (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[Pg 64] 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 Philadel[Pg 65]phia 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[Pg 66] 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.

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[Pg 67] 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[Pg 68] 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."

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 ac[Pg 69]quainted 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[Pg 70] 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[Pg 71] 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 Duché, 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.—Duché's Description of Philadelphia.

P. 263.—Insurrection in New Hampshire.

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

P. 295.—Impartial Chronicle, by W. Livingstone.[Pg 72]

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[Pg 73] 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[Pg 74] 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[Pg 75] 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[Pg 76] 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.[Pg 77]

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,[Pg 78] 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[Pg 79] 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 Encyclopædia 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[Pg 80] 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[Pg 81] 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[Pg 82] 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[Pg 83] 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.[Pg 84]

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

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.[Pg 85]

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.[Pg 86]



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[Pg 87] 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[Pg 88] 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 Philosoph[Pg 89]ical 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 Linnæus 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[Pg 90] 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[Pg 91] 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.

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[Pg 92] 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]

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[Pg 93] 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 ambrosianæ of the[Pg 94] 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 ele[Pg 95]gant 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 Mæcenas.... Authors far elevated above the mire of low avarice have thought it debasement to make literature common and cheap."

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 coun[Pg 96]try. 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:

"To gratify the malignancy of fanatics he will not asperse the Government or the Church, the laws or the literature of England. Remembering that we are at peace with that[Pg 97] power—that the most wholesome portions of our polity are modelled from hers—that we kneel at shrines and speak a language common to both, he will not flagitiously and foolishly advert to ancient animosities, nor with rash hand attempt to hurl the brand of discord between the nations." In the same connection he attacks Gallic philosophy and the equality of man, the latter of which he styles an "execrable delusion of hair-brained philosophy." Others might speak of "the Republic of letters;" with Dennie it was the Monarchy of letters. Several articles ran through the Port Folio of 1801 on the sentiment and style of the Declaration of Independence, characterizing that famous document as a "false and flatulent and foolish paper." In the same volume (page 215) Dennie, offended by the introduction of some new Americanism into politics, writes:

"Unsatisfied with acting like fools, men begin to enlarge their scheme and talk and write from the vocabulary of folly. All this, however, quadrates with the character of a good republican; as he hates England, why not murder English?" In April, 1803,[Pg 98] Dennie denounced Democratic Government, and prophesied that of it would come "civil war, desolation and anarchy." His pranks had now become too broad to bear with, and on the Fourth of July this latest publication of his was condemned as "an inflammatory and seditious libel," and a bill of indictment was found. The case was tried in November, 1805, Ingersoll and Hopkinson appearing for the defence. The verdict reached was "not guilty," and Mr. Joseph Dennie had the triumphant pleasure the next week in his report of the case to define democracy for the benefit of his enemies as "a fiend more horrible than any that the imagination of the classical poets ever conjured up from the vasty deep of their Pagan Hell."

When Dennie learned that a certain Noah Webster was to publish "A Columbian Dictionary" containing "American corrections of the English language," he had a few suggestions to offer. The Columbian language he understood to be an elegant dialect of the English, but, he went on, "there is one remark which I would wish with deference to submit to our great lexicographer before I[Pg 99] finish this paper. As his dictionary, I understand, is to be the dictionary of the vulgar tongue in New England, would it not be better to prefix to it the epithet Cabotian instead of Columbian? Sebastian Cabot first discovered these Eastern States, and ought not to be robbed of the honor of giving his name to them. I would, therefore, propose calling New England Cabotia, the other States America, and the Southern continent Columbia." He then proposed, in irony, a list of a few "Cabotian words"—happify, gunning, belittle, quiddle, composuist, sot, etc. Lengthy he stigmatizes as "a foolish, flat, unauthorized, unmusical Indian word."[12] In conclusion (Port Folio, I, page 370), "let then the projected volume of foul and unclean things bear his own Christian name and be called Noah's Ark!"

We meet the first notice of Benjamin West, as a boy of 19 years, in Bradford's second American Magazine. In the first volume of the Port Folio we find the first of a long series of[Pg 100] sketches in praise of West's genius and generosity. "It is a melancholy and miraculous circumstance," the satirical writer begins, "that this American artist, after experiencing the good fortune to be born and educated in Pennsylvania, should sullenly retreat to England and exchange the glorious privileges of our happy, tranquil and rising Republic for the smoke and servility of the city of London. It is perfectly inexplicable that he should barter citizenship for knighthood, that he should receive a king's money, and, more provoking still, be soothed by regal praise. What are titles, honours and gold to an independent Republican who, remaining at home, might have had the noblest and amplest opportunities of giving away as many pictures as he pleased."

It is a singular history, that of the boy from Chester County, whom Byron called—

The dotard West,
Europe's worst daub, and poor England's best.

The Archbishop of York, for whom he had painted his "Agrippina landing with the Ashes of Germanicus," presented the young[Pg 101] American to George III. "The Departure of Regulus from Rome" won for him the royal favor. In 1768 he was one of the founders of the Royal Academy, and in 1792 he succeeded Sir Joshua Reynolds as President of that institution.

The Port Folio is full of accounts of "Christ Healing the Sick," West's generous gift to the Pennsylvania Hospital, and of his "Death on the Pale Horse," and his "Paul and Barnabas" in the Pennsylvania Academy.

In a letter from West to Charles Willson Peale, dated November 3, 1809, and published in the Port Folio of the following year, reference is made to a young gentleman, studying under his directions, "whose talents only want time to mature them to excellence," and West desires his friends in Philadelphia to procure for the young man the means of studying another year. That rising artist, who had early felt the generous assistance of Benjamin West, was Thomas Sully, who had the honor, in 1837-8, of painting the scene of Queen Victoria's coronation, and his daughter, to save her Majesty fatigue, stood for her, wearing the royal robes.[Pg 102]

John Trumbull, son of "Brother Jonathan" the patriot, who painted the famous "Declaration of Independence," was imprisoned for treason in London, and was only released by Benjamin West, to whom he had been introduced by Franklin, becoming his surety. Gilbert Stuart, greatest of American portrait painters, who has graven the face of Washington upon our memories, learned his art and received his earliest encouragement in the English home of Benjamin West. It is a matter of interesting and singular memory that a Boston boy, John Singleton Copley, sent anonymously to West, in 1760, a portrait which at once attracted attention. It was "The Boy and the Flying Squirrel," the boy representing Copley's half-brother, Henry Pelham. Through West's influence the picture was exhibited at Somerset House. Through West again, Copley was elected a fellow of the Society of Artists of Great Britain. When he crossed the ocean to make his home near West, he took with him his Boston-born son, John Singleton, Jr., who became in 1827, the year that the Port Folio suspended, Lord Chancellor of England, and was raised to the peerage as Baron Lynd[Pg 103]hurst. To Lyndhurst, as the greatest of orators, Lord Lytton dedicated his St. Stephen's.

The leading article of the Port Folio of May 28, 1803, is devoted to young Leigh Hunt, and treats him as an American poet, and assures the public that he "is a deserving object of patronage." Again, in June 11, 1803, some sonnets and odes are quoted from Hunt's Juvenilia, Hunt being then a lad of 19 years, and the author is said to be a "blossom from our own garden." Although the editor lays claim to Leigh Hunt as a Philadelphian and to his works as American, he is advised to abide in London: "Let him remain in London, 'the metropolis of the civilized world,' and remember with the judicious Sancho that St. Peter is very well at Rome.... It affords the editor the purest pleasure to have it in his power to advance the claims of a child of genius, a nephew of Sir Benjamin West, an honor to that country from which he is descended and to that which protects him."

Isaac Hunt, the father of the author of "The Story of Rimini," and Benjamin West married[Pg 104] sisters, daughters of Stephen Shewell, merchant, in Philadelphia. Leigh Hunt, in 1810, writing in the Monthly Mirror, gave an eloquent and tender description of his mother, Mary Shewell, which was reprinted in the Analectic Magazine of Philadelphia, in 1814. "Here, indeed," he exclaimed, "I could enlarge both seriously and proudly; for if any one circumstance of my life could give me cause for boasting, it would be that of having had such a mother. She was indeed a mother in every exalted sense of the word, in piety, in sound teaching, in patient care, in spotless example." The father, Isaac Hunt, came to Philadelphia from the Barbadoes, was graduated at the College of Philadelphia, read law in the city, and was admitted to the bar in 1765. He was an uncompromising Tory. It is said that on one occasion he pointed out to a bookseller a volume of reports of trials for high treason as a proper book for John Adams to read. Alexander Graydon, one of the faithful contributors to the Port Folio, in his "Memoirs of a Life Chiefly Passed in Pennsylvania," relates the following incident which, no doubt, led to the accident of Leigh Hunt's birth in Eng[Pg 105]land, and to the loss of "Abou ben Adhem" to America: "A few days after the carting of Mr. Kearsley, Mr. Isaac Hunt, the attorney, was treated in the same manner, but he managed the matter much better than his precursor. Instead of braving his conductors, like the Doctor, Mr. Hunt was a pattern of meekness and humility; and at every halt that was made he rose and expressed his acknowledgments to the crowd for their forbearance and civility. After a parade of an hour or two, he was set down at his own door, as uninjured in body as in mind. He soon after removed to one of the islands, if I mistake not, to Barbadoes, where, it is understood, he took orders."

Leigh Hunt was not the only English poet of far-shining fame who was of American origin. Percy Bysshe Shelley was the grandson of a quack doctor in Newark, N. J., who, according to a local tradition, married the widow of a New York miller. Fitz-Greene Halleck lived and died in an old house in Guilford, Connecticut, built upon ground that had belonged to Bysshe Shelley, before he went to England and became master of Castle Goring. Many[Pg 106] another great life in England was bound with strands of intimate connection to the history of America. John Keats's brother George made his home in Kentucky, and his descendants are still residents of Philadelphia. Tench Francis, the merchant, who was for many years the agent for the Penns in their domain, and who was the first cashier of the Bank of North America, was a cousin of Sir Philip Francis, the reputed author of the "Junius" letters. Sir Philip wrote to Tench's brother, Turbott, whom he called, familiarly, "Tubby:" "At present I am bound to the Ganges, but who knows whether I may not end my days on the banks of the Ohio? It gives me great comfort to reflect that I have relatives, who are honest fellows, in almost every part of the world. In America the name of Francis flourishes. I don't like to think of the quantity of salt water between us. If it were claret I would drink my way to America." The name of Francis certainly flourishes in Philadelphia. The intricate little settlement of Francisville, within the city, perpetuates the name of the family.

It has always been asserted and believed[Pg 107] that Gulian Crommelin Verplanck, of New York, was the first American editor of Shakespeare. A few jottings from the Port Folio will show that he has too rashly been placed upon the pinnacle, and that the honor justly belongs to Joseph Dennie.

The Port Folio of February 11, 1804 (p. 46) advertises "the first complete edition of Shakespeare in this country, from the text of the best editors of Shakespeare. To be published by Hugh Maxwell and Thomas S. Manning." No editor's name is mentioned, but in the following month (March 10, 1804) Dennie tells the whole story: "The editor, having, at the request of his publisher, undertaken to superintend a new edition of the Plays of Shakespeare, is particularly desirous of inspecting the first folio edition. This is probably very scarce, and may be found only in the cabinet of some distant virtuoso. But the owner of this rare book will be very gratefully thanked if the editor can have permission to consult it for a short season." Later on (April 14, p. 119) Dennie confesses some further "wants:" "During some weeks in which the editor has been engaged in re[Pg 108]searches respecting the text of Shakespeare he has had frequent occasion to acknowledge the kindness of many literary gentlemen who have directed his attention to many books auxiliary to his labors. But notwithstanding his own inquisitiveness and the aid of others, he still has not had the good fortune to find the following, for the whole or any one of which he will be particularly obliged:—'Remarks on Shakespeare's Tempest,' 'An Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff, by Mr. Maurice Morgan, 8 vo, 1777,'" etc., etc.

After this there can be no doubt that the useful notes to the 1807 edition, signed "J. D.," are from the pen of Joseph Dennie. Although he edited but one volume, he is the first American editor, and the honors are transferred from New York to Philadelphia.

Charles Brockden Brown was the first man in America to cultivate literature as a profession; Dennie was the second. When inaugurating the Port Folio he wrote of himself: "He has long been urged by a sober wish, or, if the sneering reader will have it so, he has long been deluded by the visionary whim, of[Pg 109] making literature the handmaid of fortune, or at least of securing something like independence, by exertion, as a man of letters."

Of course Dennie and his colleagues who drew their poetry from Pope and their prose from Addison had no sympathy with the new romantic poetry that at the time of the birth of the Port Folio was issuing from the English Lakes. "William Wordsworth" said the Port Folio of 1809 "stands among the foremost of those English bards who have mistaken silliness for simplicity, and, with a false and affected taste, filled their papers with the language of children and clowns" (P. F., Vol. VII, p. 256).

The first American edition of Wordsworth was published in Philadelphia in 1802. It is exceedingly rare, and bears the following imprint:

LYRICAL BALLADS, | with | other poems: | In Two Volumes. | By W. WORDSWORTH. | [Motto] Quam nihil ad genium, papiniane, tuum! | Vol. I. | From the London Second Edition. | Philadelphia: | Printed and sold by James Humphreys,—At the N. W. Corner of Walnut and Dock street,[Pg 110] 1802. 2 vols. 120. VOL. I, pp. xxii-159. VOL. II, pp. 172.

The earliest notice of John Howard Payne is in the Port Folio, new series, Vol. I, p. 101 (1806). Payne was then a lad of fourteen years, and already editor of the Thespian Mirror in New York.

The Port Folio, new series, Vol. II, p. 421, contains an account of the first dramatic performance composed in North Carolina, "Nolens Volens; or, The Biter Bit," written by Everard Hall, a gentleman of North Carolina.

Dennie died January 7, 1812, and was buried in St. Peter's churchyard. A monument was erected to him, and the inscription carved upon it, which errs only in the place of his nativity, was written by his friend, John Quincy Adams:

Joseph Dennie,
Born at Lexington, Massachusetts,
August 30, 1768;
Died at Philadelphia, January 7, 1812;
Endowed with talents and qualified by education
To adorn the senate and the bar;
But following the impulse of a genius
[Pg 111]Formed for converse with the muses
He devoted his life to the literature of his country.
As author of "The Lay Preacher,"
And as first editor of the Port Folio,
He contributed to chasten the morals, and to
Refine the taste of this nation.
To an imagination lively, not licentious,
A wit sportive, not wanton,
And a heart without guile, he
United a deep sensibility, which endeared
Him to his friends, and an ardent piety,
Which we humbly trust recommended him
to his God.
Those friends have erected this tribute of their
Affection to his memory;
To the mercies of that God is their resort
For themselves and for him.

John Quincy Adams, who wrote the lines upon the monument, was an old and valued friend of Dennie's, and one of the earliest contributors to the Port Folio.

His "Tour Through Silesia," afterward reprinted in London in two octavo volumes, first appeared in the Port Folio in 1801. He also contributed to the first number of the magazine a version of the thirteenth satire of Juvenal, and intended to continue the translation of Juvenal, but abandoned the project when Gifford's work was announced. A[Pg 112] brother of John Quincy Adams, who was a resident of Philadelphia, had been a fellow-student with Dennie at Harvard.

The obituary notice of Dennie in the Port Folio of February, 1812, did not satisfy his friends. His life was related at greater length, accompanied by a silhouette, in May, 1816 (Port Folio, page 361). This time the affection and admiration for the man found right expression. It was said that Dennie had "erected the first temple to the muses on his natal shore;" and "when the Muse of History shall hereafter narrate the story of our rapid progress from ignorance, poverty and feebleness, to knowledge, splendor and strength, the name of Dennie will be inscribed among the most worthy of those who laboured to procure these invaluable blessings" (page 170).

A complete list of the contributors to the Port Folio would be the history of literature in Philadelphia for the first quarter of this century. The articles were almost never signed, and while the thin disguises of assumed names are in most cases easily penetrable, some that occur infrequently are only identified with much difficulty.[Pg 113]

The last editor of the Port Folio, Mr. John E. Hall, published in 1826 "The Philadelphia Souvenir, a collection of fugitive pieces from the Philadelphia press, with biographical and explanatory notes." The book was intended to be "a sort of cairn to the memory of the circle of friends which Mr. Moore has commemorated in his immortal poems." The commemoration to which Mr. Hall refers is found in Moore's "eighth epistle," addressed "To the Honourable W. R. Spencer:"

Yet, yet forgive me, oh you sacred few,
Whom late by Delaware's green banks I knew;
Whom, known and lov'd through many a social eve,
'Twas bliss to live with, and 'twas pain to leave.
Not with more joy the lonely exile scann'd
The writing traced upon the desert sand,
Where his lone breast but little hop'd to find
One trace of life, one stamp of human kind,
Than did I hail the pure, th' enlightened zeal,
The strength to reason and the warmth to feel,
The manly polish and the illumin'd taste,
Which,—'mid the melancholy, heartless waste
My foot has travers'd,—oh you sacred few!
I found by Delaware's green banks with you.

The only pleasant memories of America that Thomas Moore carried back with him to England were of the "nights of mirth and[Pg 114] mind" spent "where Schuylkill winds his way through banks of flowers." He was in Philadelphia in the autumn of 1804, and was lionized by the Port Folio; the eighth epistle in the "Poems Relating to America," from which the lines above are quoted, was written at Buffalo, and it was from Buffalo also that Moore sent to Dennie the manuscript of the beautiful "Lines on Leaving Philadelphia," which was published in the Port Folio of August 31, 1805 (Vol. V, p. 271), and reprinted in Brockden Brown's Literary Magazine, January, 1806 (Vol. III, p. 27).


Alone by the Schuylkill a wanderer rov'd,
And bright were its flowery banks to his eye;
But far, very far were the friends that he lov'd,
And he gazed on its flowery banks with a sigh.

O Nature, though blessed and bright are thy rays,
O'er the brow of creation enchantingly thrown,
Yet faint are they all to the lustre that plays
In a smile from the heart that is fondly our own!

Nor long did the soul of the stranger remain
Unblest by the smile that he languished to meet;
Though scarce did he hope it would soothe him again,
[Pg 115]Till the threshold of home had been prest by his feet.

But the lays of his boyhood had stol'n to their ear,
And they lov'd what they knew of so humble a name;
And they told him, with flattery welcome and dear,
That they found in his heart something better than fame.

Nor did woman—O woman! whose form and whose soul
Are the spell and the light of each path we pursue;
Whether sunn'd in the tropics or chill'd at the pole,
If a woman be there, there is happiness too.

Nor did she her enamouring magic deny,—
That magic his heart had relinquished so long,—
Like eyes he had loved was her eloquent eye,
Like them did it soften and weep at his song.

Oh, blest be the tear, and in memory oft
May its sparkle be shed o'er the wanderer's dream;
Thrice blest be that eye, and may passion as soft,
As free from a pang, ever mellow its beam!

The stranger is gone—but he will not forget,
When at home he shall talk of the toils he has known,
To tell with a sigh what endearments he met,
As he stray'd by the wave of the Schuylkill alone.

It is interesting to remember that the woman in the poem,

Like eyes he had loved was her eloquent eye,

was the wife of Joseph Hopkinson, the author of "Hail Columbia," whose house at Fourth and Chestnut Streets was the resort of Dennie and the wits.[Pg 116]

Moore also contributed to the Port Folio "When Time who steals our Hearts Away," "Dear, in Pity do not Speak," "Good-night, Good-night, and is it so?" "When the Heart's Feeling," "Loud sung the Wind," and "The Sorrow long has worn my Heart."

Among the Port Folio gentlemen who may have met "Anacreon" Moore, and who were Dennie's faithful coadjutors, were John Blair Linn, John Shaw, Francis Cope, Robert H. Rose, Thomas I. Wharton, Charles J. Ingersoll and his brother Edward, Condy Raguet, Robert Walsh, John Sanderson, John Syng Dorsey, Royall Tyler, Robert Hare, Dr. Nathaniel Chapman, Alexander Graydon, Josiah Quincy, John Leeds Bozman, William B. Wood, General Thomas Cadwalader, Philip Hamilton, Richard Rush, Richard Peters, Gouverneur Morris, Joseph Hopkinson, Horace Binney, Alexander Wilson, Charles Brockden Brown and Samuel Ewing. To this list must be added the bright names of Sarah Hall, Mrs. Elizabeth Ferguson and Harriet Fenno.

The editors and editorial helpers of the Port Folio from the death of Dennie until[Pg 117] 1827, when the magazine finally ceased, were Paul Allen, Nicholas Biddle, Dr. Charles Caldwell, Thomas Cooper, Judge Workman, John Elihu Hall, and his three brothers James, Thomas Mifflin, and Harrison.

John Blair Linn (1777-1804), the author of the "Powers of Genius" (1801), a popular work which was splendidly reprinted in London,[13] was the son of Dr. William Linn, of Shippensburg, who presided successively over the destinies of three colleges—Washington, Rutgers and Union—and was for many years a regent of a fourth—the University of the State of New York. John Blair was graduated from Columbia, read law with Alexander Hamilton, wrote an unsuccessful drama, "Bourville Castle," and on June 13, 1799, was installed as joint-pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia. He engaged in controversy with Joseph Priestley, but his best achievements were "Valerian," a narrative poem, and "The Death of Washington"[Pg 118] (1800). John Blair Linn was a brother-in-law of Charles Brockden Brown. A biographical sketch of him was written for the Port Folio in 1809 (page 21), and again in 1811 (89-97). Brown also published a review of his life and work in the Literary Magazine, Vol. II, page 554.

John Shaw (1778-1809) was born in Annapolis, May 4, 1778, and lost at sea January 10, 1809. He studied medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, and visited Algiers as a ship-surgeon in 1798. He died on a voyage to the Bahama Islands.

The best poem that he contributed to the Port Folio was:

Who has robbed the ocean cave,
To tinge thy lips with coral hue?
Who from India's distant wave
For thee those pearly treasures drew?
Who, from yonder Orient sky,
Stole the morning of thine eye?

Thousand charms thy form to deck,
From sea, and earth, and air are born;
Roses bloom upon thy cheek,
On thy breath their fragrance borne.
Guard thy bosom from the day,
[Pg 119]Lest thy snows should melt away.

But one charm remains behind,
Which mute earth can ne'er impart;
Nor in ocean wilt thou find,
Nor in the circling air, a heart.
Fairest! wouldst thou perfect be,
Take, oh take that heart from me.

All his offerings to the Port Folio were signed "Ithacus." His poems were collected and published in 1810, together with a memoir and extracts from his foreign correspondence.

Francis Cope contributed essays to the Port Folio in 1812. He was an occasional writer for several years, signing his papers with the initials "C. F."

Robert H. Rose is the author of the "Sketches in Verse," published in 1810, nearly all of which had previously appeared in the Port Folio, where the "Sketches" were termed "a kind of chalk drawings." One of them, "To a Market Street Gutter," was a parody of the "Ode to the Raritan," and was the cause of John Davis writing the "Pursuits of Philadelphia Literature."[14]

The Port Folio of May, 1816 (page 361), has a frontispiece engraving of "Silver Lake," the seat of Robert Rose, in Susquehanna County, on the New York line.


A Specimen of Local Description.

O sweetest Gutter! though a clown,
I love to see thee running down;
Or mark thee stop awhile, then free
From ice, jog on again, like me;
Or like the lasses whom I meet,
Who, sauntering, stray along the street,
As if they had nowhere to go!
At times, so rapid is thy flow,
That did the cits not wish in vain
Thou wouldst be in the pumps again,
But like a pig, whose fates deny
To find again his wonted sty,
You turn, and stop, and run, and turn,
Yet ne'er shall find your "native urn."
How oft has rolled down thy stream
Things which in song not well would seem,
Ere scavengers their scrapers plied
To drag manure from out thy tide,
Or hydrants bade thy scanty rill
Desert its banks and cellars fill.
Last Thursday morn, so very cold,
A morn not better felt than told,
Then first in all its bright array,
[Pg 121]Did I thy "frozen form" survey;
And, goodness! what a great big steeple!
What sights of houses! and such people!!
And then I thought, did I not stutter,
But verse could, like some poets, utter,
How much I'd praise thee, sweetest Gutter!

After the publication of this parody John Davis printed "The Philadelphia Pursuits of Literature. By Juvenal Junius of New Jersey. Phila.: John Davis, 1805."

"Then Muses aid me! and I'll fain review
The Philadelphia lounging scribbling crew."

Davis had met the gentlemen of the Port Folio and had all the information necessary for stinging satire of the Mutual Admiration Society that met at Meredith's and Hopkinson's or at Dennie's office. In his "Travels" (p. 203), he writes: "At Philadelphia I found Mr. Brown (C. B.), who felt no remission of his literary diligence by a change of abode (from New York). He was ingratiating himself into the favor of the ladies by writing a new novel, and rivalling Lopez de Vega by the multitude of his works. Mr. Brown introduced me to Mr. (Asbury) Dickins, and Mr. Dickins to Mr. Dennie; Mr. Dennie presented me to Mr. Wilkins, and Mr. Wilkins[Pg 122] to the Rev. Mr. Abercrombie; a constellation of American geniuses, in whose blaze I was almost consumed.... Rev. Mr. Abercrombie was impatient of every conversation that did not relate to Dr. Johnson, of whom he could detail every anecdote from the time he trod on a duck till he purchased an oak-stick to repulse Macpherson."[15]

In the "Philadelphia Pursuits" Davis wrote of Dennie:

"There's no clown from Walpole to Hell-Gate,
But ribaldry from him has learned to prate."

And again:

"Such is our Dennie! high exalted name,
Eager alike for dollars and for fame."

Two Philadelphians only escaped the sting of the adder:

"With Clifton, Nature's poet, who shall vie?
Though low he lies, his works shall never die.
And Linn, distinguish'd for his moral lays,
Shall, by his strain, Columbia's triumph raise."

"The Sketches in Verse" was magnifi[Pg 123]cently printed for C. and A. Conrad by Smith and Maxwell in 1810.

To "a pastoral love-ditty" that began—

"Where Schuylkill o'er his rocky bed
Roars, like a bull in battle"—

Rose appended the note:

"Our American names, although some of them are truly savage, are not much worse than many of those with which we might be furnished by other nations in abundance; and Schuylkill would not have offended the ears of Boileau more than the Whal and the Leck, the Issel and the Zuiderzee."

Thomas I. Wharton (1791-1856), a distinguished Philadelphia lawyer, was a frequent contributor, and for a time was editor of the Analectic Magazine.

Charles J. Ingersoll, the author of "Inchiquin the Jesuit's Letters on American Literature and Politics," was born in Philadelphia, October 3, 1782, and died there May 14, 1862. His first boyish composition is in the Port Folio of October 24, 1801. It is entitled "Chiomara," and is introduced by the editor as the work of a "youth ambitious of the fame of Chatterton." Chiomara is a Gaul, who kills a Roman in defence of her honor.[Pg 124]

Edward Ingersoll, a younger brother of Charles, wrote poems for the Port Folio on the events of the times, and named them "Horace in Philadelphia." All his poems, of whatever nature, were signed "Horace."

Condy Raguet (1784-1842) published in the Port Folio some interesting letters on the "Massacre of St. Domingo." He had gone as supercargo to Hayti, and lived there during the exciting scenes of the Revolution. He also contributed numerous papers to the Port Folio upon "Free Trade."

John Sanderson (1783-1844) was professor of Greek and Latin in the Philadelphia Central High School. He wrote, at the suggestion of Theodore Hook, a capital volume of Parisian sketches, called the "American in Paris," which Jules Janin translated into French. Portions of his "American in London" appeared in the Knickerbocker Magazine. He successfully opposed, in a pamphlet signed "Riberjot," the plan of excluding the classical languages from Girard College. He was an intimate friend of John E. Hall, and contributed to the Port Folio.

John Syng Dorsey (1783-1818) succeeded[Pg 125] Dr. Wistar as professor of anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania. He published an edition of Cooper's "Surgery," and "Elements of Surgery," the latter of which was adopted as the text-book in Edinburgh.

Royall Tyler was born in Boston, near Faneuil Hall, July 18, 1757. He studied law under John Adams, was made a judge of the Supreme Court in 1794, and, in 1800, became chief justice. He was one of the closest friends of Joseph Dennie, and when the latter became editor of the Farmer's Weekly Museum he wrote for him a medley of verse and social and political skits under the general title "From the Shop of Messrs. Colon and Spondee."

These papers he continued to write for the Port Folio. They "are divided between Federal politics, attacks on French democracy, the Della Cruscan literature, and the fashionable frivolities of the day." He also wrote for the Port Folio, in 1801, a series of similarly varied articles, richly reminiscent, entitled "An Author's Evenings."

Robert Hare (1781-1858), father of Judge J. I. C. Hare, who was professor of chemistry[Pg 126] and natural philosophy in William and Mary College, and, later, professor of chemistry in the University of Pennsylvania, published a number of moral essays in the Port Folio under the pen-name of "Eldred Grayson."

Dr. Nathaniel Chapman (1783-1850) used the pen-name of "Falkland."

Alexander Graydon (1752-1818), a man of elegant manners and author of a useful and entertaining volume of "Memoirs of a Life chiefly passed in Pennsylvania within the last Sixty Years," published, in the Port Folio, in 1813-14, a series of chatty paragraphs styled "Notes of a Desultory Reader." He lived in the "Slate-Roof House," at Second Street and Norris' Alley, where he had an opportunity of meeting men of rank and fame.

Josiah Quincy (1772-1864), whose opinion of the Port Folio has been already quoted, contributed to it a series of articles, beginning January 28, 1804, in the style of Swift, and signed "Climenole."[16]

John Leeds Bozman (1757-1823) studied at the University of Pennsylvania, and read[Pg 127] law in the Middle Temple, London. He contributed both prose and verse to the Port Folio.

General Thomas Cadwalader (1779-1841) furnished the magazine with translations of Horace.

Richard Rush (1780-1859) was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1800, and successfully defended William Duane, of the Aurora, on a charge of libelling Gov. Thomas McKean. He occasionally contributed official and personal anecdotes to the Port Folio.

Richard Peters (1744-1828), the witty judge of Belmont, extended princely hospitality at his country seat. His association with the most distinguished men of Europe and America stored his memory with the choicest bits of political and personal history. These odd old ends, stolen out of the secret chronicles of the time, and decked with his rare wit, were given upon irregular occasions to the Port Folio.

Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) contributed political satires in both prose and verse to Dennie and his confrères.

Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842), whose[Pg 128] authorship of "Hail Columbia" has been already referred to, wrote the articles upon Shakespeare that appeared in the Port Folio between 1801 and 1806. His house at Fourth and Chestnut Streets was a favorite meeting-place for Dennie and the wits.

Horace Binney (1780-1875), one of the most distinguished lawyers at a time when a Philadelphia lawyer was a synonym for skill and cleverness, wrote in moments, snatched from a busy and almost breathless profession, some of the clearest and most careful sketches of classical literature, as well as the shrewdest of political satires to be found in the early volumes of the Port Folio.

Harriet Fenno, daughter of John Ward Fenno, founder and editor of the United States Gazette, signed her verses "Violetta."

Mrs. Elizabeth Ferguson was the woman who carried to Washington the letter written by Dr. Duché urging concessions to the British as the only means of saving the country from spoliation and ruin. She was a daughter of Dr. Thomas Graeme, a Scottish physician, and granddaughter of Sir William Keith. Father and daughter lived for a time in the Slate-Roof House,[Pg 129] then in the Carpenter mansion at Sixth and Chestnut, and finally at Graeme Hall in Montgomery County. Her life was written in the Port Folio of 1809 (Page 524). Letters from her appear in various numbers of that magazine, always signed "Laura." Nathaniel Evans wooed Miss Graeme as "Laura" in true Petrarchan fashion. The Philadelphia Library possesses the MS. of a translation of Fénelon by Mrs. Ferguson.

She visited Europe in company with Dr. Richard Peters, of Philadelphia, and everywhere her brilliant conversation and refined manners won her recognition and applause in literary society. Laurence Sterne was fascinated by her. "She took a seat upon the same stage with him at the York races. While bets were making upon different horses, she selected a small horse that was in the rear of the coursers as the subject of a trifling wager. Upon being asked the reason for doing so, she said 'the race was not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong.' Mr. Sterne, who stood near to her, was struck with this reply, and turning hastily toward her begged for the honor of her acquaintance. They soon be[Pg 130]came sociable, and a good deal of pleasant conversation took place between them to the great entertainment of the surrounding company" (Knapp, "Female Biography," page 217).

She wrote a parody upon Pope which was printed with Nathaniel Evans' poems (1772):

How happy is the country parson's lot!
Forgetting bishops, as by them forgot;
Tranquil of spirit, with an easy mind,
To all his vestry's votes he sits resigned.
Of manners gentle and of temper even,
He jogs his flocks, with easy pace, to heaven.
In Greek and Latin pious books he keeps,
And, while his clerk sings psalms, he—soundly sleeps.
His garden fronts the sun's sweet orient beams,
And fat church-wardens prompt his golden dreams.
The earliest fruit in his fair orchard blooms,
And cleanly pipes pour out tobacco fumes.
From rustic bridegroom oft he takes the ring,
And hears the milkmaid plaintive ballads sing.
Back-gammon cheats whole winter nights away,
And Pilgrim's Progress helps a rainy day.

Alexander Wilson was born in Paisley, Scotland, July 6, 1766, and died in Philadelphia, August 23, 1813. "The Poems and Literary Prose of Alexander Wilson" was edited by A. B. Grosart, and published at[Pg 131] Paisley in 1876. "With the exception of Allen Ramsay, Ferguson and Burns, none of our Scottish vernacular poets have been so continuously kept in print as Alexander Wilson" (Grosart). Seven biographies of him attest the lively interest felt in his personality and his work. In Scotland he was apprenticed to a weaver, and, after serving his time, he continued to work at the loom for four years more. He published "Watty and Meg" in 1792, an anonymous poem, the authorship of which was commonly ascribed to Robert Burns. He came to America in 1794, worked for a year at his trade, and subsequently taught at various schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1802 he settled at Kingsessing, now in the city of Philadelphia, close by the home of Bartram, the botanist. Here he taught the "Union" School. It was in a picturesque spot. Before its doors were cedars and "stripling poplars planted in a row, and old gray white oaks."

But birds were more attractive to him than boys. They commanded him, as the nightingale did the gypsy steward, and he followed them into untrodden wildernesses. Thomas[Pg 132] Bradford undertook to publish Wilson's colossal "Ornithology." It was to be distinctly an "American" work. It was to be printed on American paper; and Amies, the paper-maker, even declared that he would use only "American" rags in making it. Seven volumes appeared during the author's life, or between 1808 and 1813.

Wilson published the "Rural Walk" in Brown's Literary Magazine of August, 1804, and the "Solitary Tutor" in the same publication, October, 1804. The former poem was reprinted in the Port Folio of April 27, 1805. Dennie was charmed with the poem, and explained that he reprinted it because the author "delights in pictures of American scenery and landscape, and wisely therefore leaves to European poets their nightingales and skylarks, and their dingles and dells. He makes no mention of yews and myrtles, nor echoes a single note of either bullfinch or chaffinch, but faithfully describes American objects, though not entirely in the American idiom." The following four stanzas from the "Rural Walk" may give a conception of Wilson's close observation and nice fidelity to nature.[Pg 133]

"Down to the left was seen afar
The whitened spire of sacred name,[17]
And ars'nal, where the god of war
Has hung his spears of bloody fame.

"There upward where it (Schuylkill) gently bends,
And Say's red fortress tow'rs in view,[18]
The floating bridge its length extends—
A lively scene forever new.

"There market-maids in lively rows,
With wallets white, were riding home,
And thundering gigs, with powdered beaux,
Through Gray's green festive shades to roam.

"Sweet flows the Schuylkill's winding tide
By Bartram's green emblossom'd bowers,
Where nature sports in all her pride
Of choicest plants and fruits and flowers."

Wilson, in 1804, undertook a journey to Niagara. The adventures by the way and the sight of the stupendous cataract supply the theme of his longest and most ambitious poem, "The Foresters." It was published with illustrations in successive numbers of the Port Folio of 1809, Volumes I, II and III. The entire poem contained 2,000 lines. The[Pg 134] Literary Magazine contains a part of the poem. This appearance, I believe, has never been noted. It is to be found in Volume IV, page 155. The lines were written August 12, 1805, and were published in the same month. In the literary intelligence of the same month the future publication of "The Foresters" is glanced at.

A prose letter and a poem, "The Pilgrim," by Wilson, are in the Port Folio, June, 1809, page 499. Alexander Wilson and John James Audubon met in Louisville, Ky., whither the latter had gone after disposing of his farm upon the Perkiomen Creek, near Philadelphia. Wilson conceived a dislike for Audubon, and wrote to the Port Folio concerning Louisville, "Science or literature has not one friend in this place." Audubon, into whose mind no thought of publishing his own fine drawings had yet come, refused out of jealousy to add his name to the subscription list for Wilson's "American Ornithology." Robert Buchanan wrote, "If Audubon had one marked fault it was vanity; he was a queer compound of Actæon and Narcissus—having a gun in one hand and flourishing a looking-glass in the[Pg 135] other." Grosart is much too severe when he styles Audubon "a great dilettante impostor."

After Wilson's death three supplementary volumes to his "Ornithology" were added by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, and it was Lucien Bonaparte's son, Prince Canino, who first suggested to Audubon the publication of his collections.

One of Wilson's most intimate friends was the engraver Alexander Lawson, with whom he became acquainted through William Bartram, and from whom he learned to draw. Lawson was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, December 19, 1772. He came to Philadelphia in 1792, engraved four plates for Thomson's "Seasons" for Thomas Dobson, and died in 1846. His daughter, Mary Lockhart, was a contributor to Graham's Magazine.

It was Wilson's wish that he should be buried "in some rural spot where the birds might sing over his grave." His wish was fulfilled, and his body was laid away in the quiet old-world burial ground of old Swedes' Church.

Samuel Ewing was born in Philadelphia August 16, 1776. He was placed in the counting house of John Swanwick. Upon[Pg 136] the failure of his employer, Ewing studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1800. He was a contributor to the Port Folio from the first. He wrote for it a series of articles, entitled "Reflections in Solitude." All his contributions were signed "Jacques."

In 1809 he founded The Select Reviews and Spirit of the Foreign Magazines, which he edited for three years, until it was sold to Mr. Thomas and the title changed to the Analectic, when the editorship passed into the hands of Washington Irving. Samuel Ewing helped to establish the Athenæum in Philadelphia, and was for a time vice-president of that institution. He died in Philadelphia, February 8, 1825. Samuel Ewing's father was the Rev. Dr. John Ewing, Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, whose contributions have been noted in the earlier magazines. A short account of his life is prefixed to his lectures on natural philosophy, "A Plain Elementary and Practical System of Natural Experimental Philosophy. By the late Rev. John Ewing. Philadelphia, 1809. Revised by Robert Patterson." John Ewing was born June 22, 1732, in Nottingham, Cecil County, Maryland;[Pg 137] was graduated from Princeton 1752; received the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh; enjoyed the friendship of Robertson, the historian, and died in Philadelphia, September 8, 1802. An interesting anecdote is related in the life of Dr. Ewing (page 16). In 1773 he dined at Dilly's with Dr. Johnson. He remembered the silence that fell when Johnson entered the room. "He attended to nothing but his plate; ... having eaten voraciously, he raised his head slowly, and looking round the table surveyed the guests for the first time." The conversation turning upon America, Ewing defended the colonies. "What do you know, sir, on the subject?" Johnson demanded. Ewing had been cautioned to avoid contradiction, but the warning was forgotten. "Sir, what do you know in America; you never read; you have no books there," thundered on the "great cham." "Pardon me, sir," blandly replied the Philadelphian, "we have read the 'Rambler.'" This civility instantly pacified him.

This anecdote reminds us that the Americans did not always fall their crests when in the presence of Dr. Johnson. It is a familiar[Pg 138] story that when Johnson demanded of Gilbert Stuart, "Sir, where did you learn English?" the ready-witted young artist replied, "Out of your dictionary, sir." Bishop William White, first Bishop of Pennsylvania, has left, in a letter to Bishop Hobart, his memory of an interview with "that giant of genius and literature, Dr. Samuel Johnson." "Having dined in company with him in Kensington, at the house of Mr. Elphinstone, well known to scholars of that day, and returning in the stage-coach with the doctor, I mentioned to him there being a Philadelphia edition of his 'Prince of Abyssinia.' He expressed a wish to see it. I promised to send him a copy on my return to Philadelphia, and did so. He returned a polite answer, which I printed in Mr. Boswell's second edition of his 'Life of the Doctor.'" Richard Rush relates in the Port Folio that when his father, Dr. Benjamin Rush, attended a meeting of "The Club" in London, Goldsmith asked him a question about the North American Indians, when Johnson remarked that there was not an Indian in North America foolish enough to ask such a question. Whereupon Goldsmith[Pg 139] retorted, "There is not a savage in America, sir, rude enough to make such a speech to a gentleman."

Dr. Ewing's daughter, Sarah, born in Philadelphia October 30, 1761, married John Hall, of Baltimore, the son of a Maryland planter. In January, 1824, she contributed to the Port Folio "A Picture of Philadelphia as it is." In a letter to a Scotchwoman (1821) she wrote: "Your flattering inquiry about my literary career may be answered in a word. Literature has no career in America. It is like wine, which we are told must cross the ocean to make it good." Sarah Hall died in Philadelphia April 8, 1830.

Her eldest son, John Elihu Hall, was born in Philadelphia December 27, 1783; studied law, and edited the American Law Journal 1808-1817. He was for a time professor of rhetoric in the University of Maryland. In the Port Folio of March, 1806, encouraged by Thomas Moore, he commenced the publication of the "Memoirs of Anacreon," but suspended the work after a few instalments had appeared. In 1820 (Vol. IX, p. 401), he resumed the articles. Most of the Anacreontic[Pg 140] odes occur, and the "biographical tissue" gave the papers a resemblance to Hardwicke's "Athenian Letters" and to the "Anacharsis" of Abbé Barthelemy. "Sedley" was the signature used by J. E. Hall in his Port Folio papers. In 1812 he published serially in that magazine his literary miscellany, entitled "Adversaria."

His brother, James, born in Philadelphia August 19, 1793, died near Cincinnati, July 15, 1868, published in the Port Folio of 1821 his "Letters from the West," afterward published in book form by John Elihu. Another brother, Thomas Mifflin Hall (1798-1828), wrote several poems for the magazine. Harrison Hall (1785-1866), a third brother, published the Port Folio and wrote a book on "Distillation," which went through several editions here, and was reprinted in England.

John Elihu Hall became editor of the Port Folio in February, 1816. Its history up to that time may be briefly stated. It was at first a weekly quarto, printed by H. Maxwell and sold by William Fry, opposite Christ Church. In 1806 the quarto size was changed to octavo. In 1809 the magazine appeared monthly instead of weekly, and con[Pg 141]tinued from that time to be a monthly publication. In the prospectus issued at the time of this change the magazine was said to be "edited by Oliver Oldschool, assisted by a confederacy of men of letters." In its new dress it "cherished the hope that it might bear a comparison with any of the foreign journals." In 1804 the price had been raised to six dollars. The issue of July 21, 1804, was in deep black lines, in mourning for Alexander Hamilton. The issue of July 23, 1808, was a memorial number to Fisher Ames. The "Oliver Oldschool" figurehead was abandoned in January, 1811, and "conducted by Jos. Dennie, Esq.," took its place; for, the editor explained, "Since the magazine is no longer political, the appellation of Oliver Oldschool is no longer expedient or necessary." During Dennie's last illness his place in the editorial chair was taken by Paul Allen (1775-1826), who wrote poems, and prepared the "Travels of Lewis and Clarke" for the press, and who must not be confounded with another eccentric Bohemian, James Allen, brother to the Sheriff of Suffolk, who wrote under the inspiration of the West Indian muses—sugar, rum and[Pg 142] lemon-juice—who "wore ruffles—and they hung in tatters about his knuckles."

January, 1812, told of Dennie's death and "that the confederacy of scholars disbanded almost as soon as it was formed." At this time the Port Folio was the oldest literary journal in America.

Nicholas Biddle became the next editor. He supplied the magazine with a number of articles upon paintings, old and new, and resigned his charge early in 1812. Dr. Charles Caldwell was requested to succeed him. "I accepted the proposal," he says, in his "Autobiography," "in less than a minute, and in less than one hour began to prepare for the performance of the duty it enjoined" (Autobiography, page 322). Caldwell entered upon his task under an engagement to furnish ninety-eight pages of matter for each number, and this matter would have to be to a great extent original. In six months Caldwell increased the number of subscribers twenty-five per cent. The war naturally became the theme of greatest interest. General Brown declared that "he reported himself, and ordered his officers to report themselves in their[Pg 143] connection with all interesting events of the army, as regularly to the editor of the Port Folio as they did to him, or as he did to the Secretary of War." In this way the magazine obtained some interesting and valuable biographical notes of military and naval officers. Dr. Caldwell employed as assistant editor the famous and versatile Thomas Cooper. Cooper was an Englishman, who was born in London in 1759, and had been a member of the National Assembly of France. He quarrelled with Robespierre, and challenged him to a duel. Robespierre swore revenge, and Cooper, knowing that flight alone could save him from the Jacobin Club, returned to England. He was censured by Burke, and replied in a bitter and abusive pamphlet. He followed his intimate friend, Mr. Priestley, to America and lived with him at Northumberland, where Coleridge and Southey dreamed of establishing an Eden of Pantisocracy. When Cooper came to Philadelphia, Washington and Jefferson and Jay and Madison were there. Cooper lent his pen to Jefferson and the Democrats, and was paid by them. He was appointed to a judgeship, but soon re[Pg 144]moved. He was elected professor of chemistry and moral philosophy in Dickinson College, and from there he went to the chair of chemistry in Columbia College, South Carolina. He left Philadelphia in 1819, and died in the South in 1840.

Judge Workman was a second assistant writer. The most extensive contributions that Dr. Caldwell made to the magazine were his reviews of "An Essay on the Causes of the Variety of Complexion and Figure of the Human Species," by Samuel Stanhope Smith, President of Princeton College. The reviews covered ninety pages and dealt with a philosophical and experimental examination of the strange case of Henry Moss, a Maryland negro, whose name, as Dr. Caldwell says, is as well known to the readers of periodicals as was that of John Adams or Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. Moss was a full-blooded African, whose skin, save in a few spots, turned white. Caldwell's critiques appeared in the Port Folio, 1814, pp. 8 and 457, and also in the American Review, II, 128, 166.

Dr. Caldwell at this time edited Delaplaine's Repository, and Smith had his revenge in a[Pg 145] telling criticism of that work in the Analectic Magazine, to which Caldwell replied in 1816. To finish the story, there is to be found in the Port Folio of 1820, page 153, an article on S. S. Smith, with portrait, which is as ample in praise of the essay as Caldwell was liberal in detraction. Caldwell resigned his editorship in 1816. In the next month Oliver Oldschool the Fourth made his appearance in the person of John Elihu Hall.

The magazine was still well manned and well maintained. Philadelphia still kept her leadership in culture and literary production. In 1814 only twenty new books were annually put forth in America, and yet in April of that year the Port Folio declared, "From facts within our own knowledge, we fearlessly assert that Philadelphia contains scholars not a few whom Europe herself would be proud to acknowledge." In 1817 the London Monthly Magazine began to copy from the Port Folio.

But about 1820 the prestige of Philadelphia begins to fade and her ancient influences to hang about her "like a giant's robe upon a dwarfish thief." In this year (Port Folio, page[Pg 146] 463) is heard the first note of alarm. New England is gaining; "with such rivalry Philadelphia must yield the proud title which she has borne, or rouse from the withering lethargy in which she slumbers." New York jealousy is increasing. In 1820 Salmagundi says that "one of the editors of the Port Folio was discharged—for writing common-sense." These trifles indicate a shifting of the balance of power. Three years more, and the cry of discontent and peevish querulousness reaches its height.

"With the exception of some scores of verses 'tempered with lovers' sighs' and oozing from the brains of 'lunatics, lovers and poets,' the last volume contains very few communications from any friend to us and our cause. In the days of our first predecessors such was the number and zeal of contributors that the editor was obliged to exchange the labor of composition for that of selection, and he often expatiated with gratitude upon the learning, the liberality and the industry of his voluntary assistants. Although they wore their visors up before the public, most of them[Pg 147] are now known to us, and we can recognize many of them at home and abroad, pushing their fortunes at the bar, in the desk or the academy, or serving their country in high and honorable stations. They were all quickened with the fervid spirit of enterprise and adventure. They combined learning and wit and genius with industry, perseverance and ambition. They laid the foundation of a work which has outlived all its rivals and contemporaries; but they have left few to inherit and emulate their disinterested devotion to the cause of letters.... England, that detestable country where everyone has been starving for the last century, where everyone has been crushed by the load of taxes, and everyone has been flying from home to avoid the oppressions of the Ministry, prints several thousand copies of a magazine, and the whole edition is sold and paid for in twenty-four hours. These matters are ordered differently here. Instead of purchasing our newspapers and magazines we subscribe for them."

Alack-a-day! the world went very well in the consulship of Plancus! No doubt even[Pg 148] in the best and soundest of their times the magazines did suffer by the subscription plan. The remaining stock of the Analectic Magazine was sold for seven cents a volume in sheets, and the stock of the Literary Gazette, its successor, brought but six and a quarter cents per pound.

Hall took the opportunity presented by the publication of "The Lives of the Signers," by his friend and contributor, John Sanderson, to trouble the deaf public again with his bootless cries:

"Oh! that we could boast a reading public; and that we could say, with truth, that any other books than a few novels and poems and, generally, an elegant folio Bible, kept for ornament and family dignity, were to be found in half the splendid mansions of Philadelphia. But 'we can procure the book at the Philadelphia Library.' Yes, and the author of an excellent work must be left to beg and starve, and his wife and children must be doomed to penury because their natural protector was a literary man and an author, who conferred honour on his species. Burn the Philadelphia[Pg 149] Library, we say. Aye! burn it! if this must be its influence, to deprive meritorious authors and enterprising artists of their sustenance and of the means of continuing their labours. Let those who cannot afford to purchase valuable works, who wish to peruse scarce tomes, the work of former generations, resort to the library; but let our rich merchants, our thrifty lawyers and the elegantly neat Quaker proprietors of the soil of this city, who have sons and daughters to be educated for usefulness and happiness, be ashamed to creep into the repository of rare, ancient and learned volumes, and ask in a soft voice of the librarian, 'Is Sanderson's Biography in?' and to add, 'My daughters wish to see it.'"

In 1822 the Port Folio was reduced to making selections from the literary and political journals of Europe after the manner of The Select Reviews which Ewing had edited.

The final suspension of the Port Folio was preceded by an international quarrel. John Neal was in England in 1834, and his offer to write for Blackwood's Magazine in that year a series of sketches of "American writers"[Pg 150] was accepted, and the first instalment appeared in Blackwood's of September, 1824, page 305. The author could name only three writers "who would not pass just as readily for an English writer as for an American." The trio consisted of Paulding, Neal and Brown. The article was signed "X. Y. Z." and was written in the favorite Blackwood's "bludgeon" style. Neal says of himself, "He is undeniably the most original writer that America has produced—thinks himself the cleverest fellow in America, and does not scruple to say so—he is in Europe now." When he approached the date of the Port Folio, Neal paid his compliments, displaying unmistakable malice, to John E. Hall. "Hall had the misfortune, some years ago, to fall acquainted with Mr. Thomas Moore, the poet, while Mr. Moore was 'trampoosing' over America. It spoilt poor Hall—turned his brain. He has done little or nothing since but make-believe about criticism, talk dawdle-poetry with a lisp, write irresistible verses under the name of 'Sedley' in his own magazine, twitter sentimentally about 'little Moore,' his 'dear little Moore'—puffing[Pg 151] himself all the time anonymously in the newspaper, while he is damning himself, with unmistakable sincerity, twelve times a year in his own magazine. We do not think very highly of the mutton-headed Athenians at Philadelphia; but we do think, nevertheless, that Mr. John E. Hall is a little too much of a blockhead even for their meridian."

Hall published a scathing review in the Port Folio, December, 1824, of the author of "Logan" and "Randolph," the Baltimorean who was writing for Blackwood's. In volume 19 (1825, p. 78) this "nauseous reptile" is still further reviewed. Neal is quoted as saying, "Dennie is dead, John E. Hall is alive; Dennie was a gentleman, John E. Hall is a blackguard;" and Hall retorts that Neal is a "liar of the first magnitude," who prefers "English guineas to Baltimore horsewhips."

The Port Folio was now making a desperate struggle for life. Its publication was suspended from January to July, 1826, and again from January to July, 1827. Its budget was finally closed in December, 1827.[Pg 152]


The Ladies' Museum was commenced in February, 1800, and made five numbers.

The Philadelphia Repository and Weekly Register was commenced in 1801. It was edited and published by David Hogan, and later by John W. Scott. It was popular and original.

The first magazine published in America for children appeared in Philadelphia in 1802—the Juvenile Magazine, or Miscellaneous Repository of Useful Information, Phila., 1802, printed for Benjamin Johnson and Jacob Johnston.

It was followed by the Juvenile Olio in the same year. This magazine was edited by "Amyntor" a citizen of Philadelphia, and was published by David Hogan.

Charles Brockden Brown, the most important of Philadelphia writers, the first professional man-of-letters in America, and the predecessor of all cis-Atlantic novelists, was born in Philadelphia, January 17, 1771, and in that city he founded, in 1803-4, the Literary Magazine and American Register.[Pg 153]

Brown had been educated until his sixteenth year in the school of Robert Proud, the historian of Pennsylvania. He then studied law with Alexander Wilcox, of Philadelphia. His health, which had been ever poor, suffered still further from enthusiastic attention to the needs of a belles-lettres club of nine members, and to the law society of his native city. The Columbian Magazine of August, 1789, contained his first published article. It was entitled "The Rhapsodist," and was continued through several numbers of the magazine.

A close friendship sprang up between Brown and Elihu Hubbard Smith, and Brown made his home in New York, where Smith introduced him to "The Friendly Club." After the plague visited New York and Smith died of the fever, Brown returned to Philadelphia to spend the remainder of his life.

The first number of the Literary Magazine and American Register was published by John Conrad, who had made a liberal arrangement with the editor, on Saturday, October 1, 1803. Brown's prospectus, which filled the first three[Pg 154] pages, is so characteristic of the author, and so interesting as a contemporary comment upon magazines and their purposes, as to admit of complete quotation.

The Editor's Address to the Public:

"It is usual for one who presents the public with a periodical work like the present, to introduce himself to the notice of his readers by some sort of preface or address. I take up the pen in conformity to this custom, but am quite at loss for topics suitable to so interesting an occasion. I cannot expatiate on the variety of my knowledge, the brilliancy of my wit, the versatility of my talents. To none of these do I lay any claim, and though this variety, brilliancy of solidity, are necessary ingredients in a work of this kind, I trust merely to the zeal and liberality of my friends to supply me with them. I have them not myself, but doubt not of the good offices of those who possess them, and shall think myself entitled to no small praise if I am able to collect into one focal spot the rays of a great number of luminaries. They also may[Pg 155] be very unequal to each other in lustre, and some of them may be little better than twinkling and feeble stars of the hundredth magnitude; but what is wanting in individual splendour will be made up by the union of all their beams into one. My province shall be to hold the mirror up so as to assemble all their influence within its verge, and reflect them on the public in such manner as to warm and enlighten.

"As I possess nothing but zeal I can promise to exert nothing else; but my consolation is, that aided by that powerful spirit, many have accomplished things much more arduous than that which I propose to myself.

"Many are the works of this kind which have risen and fallen in America, and many of them have enjoyed but a brief existence. This circumstance has always at first sight given me some uneasiness, but when I come more soberly to meditate upon it my courage revives, and I discover no reason for my doubts. Many works have actually been reared and sustained by the curiosity and favour of the public. They have ultimately[Pg 156] declined or fallen, it is true; but why? From no abatement of the public curiosity, but from causes which publishers or editors only are accountable. Those who managed the publication have commonly either changed their principles, remitted their zeal, or voluntarily relinquished their trade, or last of all, and like other men, have died. Such works have flourished for a time, and they ceased to flourish, by the fault or misfortune of the proprietors. The public is always eager to encourage one who devotes himself to their rational amusement, and when he ceases to demand or to deserve their favour they feel more regret than anger in withdrawing it.

"The world—by which I mean the few hundred persons who concern themselves about this work—will naturally inquire who it is that thus addresses them. 'This is somewhat more than a point of idle curiosity,' my reader will say, 'for from my knowledge of the man must I infer how far he will be able or willing to fulfil his promises. Besides, it is great importance to know whether his sentiments on certain subjects be agreeable or[Pg 157] not to my own. In politics, for example, he may be a malcontent; in religion an heretic. He may be an ardent advocate for all that I abhor, or he may be a celebrated champion of my favourite opinions. It is evident that these particulars must dictate the treatment you receive from me, and make me either your friend or enemy: your patron or your persecutor. Besides, I am anxious for some personal knowledge of you that I may judge of your literary merits. You may possibly be one of these, who came hither from the old world to seek your fortune; who have handled the pen as others handle the awl or needle; that is, for the sake of a livelihood, and who, therefore, are willing to work on any kind of cloth or leather, and to any model that may be in demand. You may, in the course of your trade, have accommodated yourself to twenty different fashions, and have served twenty classes of customers; have copied at one time a Parisian, at another a London fashion, and have truckled to the humours, now of a precise enthusiast, and now of a smart free-thinker.

"''Tis of no manner of importance what[Pg 158] creed you may publicly profess on this occasion, or on what side, religious or political, you may declare yourself enlisted. To judge of the value or sincerity of these professions, to form some notion how far you will faithfully or skilfully perform your part, I must know your character. By that knowledge, I shall regulate myself with more certainty than by any anonymous declaration you may think proper to make.'

"I bow to the reasonableness of these observations, and shall therefore take no pains to conceal my name. Anybody may know it who chooses to ask me or my publisher. I shall not, however, put it at the bottom of this address. My diffidence, as my friends would call it, and my discretion, as my enemies, if I have any, would term it, hinders me from calling out my name in a crowd. It has heretofore hindered me from making my appearance there, when impelled by the strongest of human considerations, and produces, at this time, an insuperable aversion to naming myself to my readers. The mere act of calling out my own name, on this occasion, is of no moment, since an author or editor who takes[Pg 159] no pains to conceal himself, cannot fail of being known to as many as desire to know him. And whether my notoriety make for me or against me, I shall use no means to prevent it.

"I am far from wishing, however, that my readers should judge of my exertions by my former ones. I have written much, but take much blame to myself for something which I have written, and take no praise for anything. I should enjoy a larger share of my own respect, at the present moment, if nothing had ever flowed from my pen, the production of which could be traced to me. A variety of causes induces me to form such a wish, but I am principally influenced by the consideration that time can scarcely fail of enlarging and refining the powers of a man, while the world is sure to judge of his capacities and principles at fifty, from what he has written at fifteen.

"Meanwhile, I deem it reasonable to explain the motives of the present publication, and must rely for credit on the good nature of my readers. The project is not a mercenary one. Nobody relies for subsistence on its success,[Pg 160] nor does the editor put anything but his reputation at stake. At the same time, he cannot but be desirous of an ample subscription, not merely because pecuniary profit is acceptable, but because this is the best proof which he can receive that his endeavours to amuse and instruct have not been unsuccessful.

"Useful information and rational amusement being his objects, he will not scruple to collect materials from all quarters. He will ransack the newest foreign publications, and extract from them whatever can serve his purpose. He will not forget that a work, which solicits the attention of many readers, must build its claim on the variety as well as copiousness of its contents.

"As to domestic publications, besides extracting from them anything serviceable to the public, he will give a critical account of them, and, in this respect, make his work an American Review, in which the history of our native literature shall be carefully detailed.

"He will pay particular attention to the history of passing events. He will carefully compile the news, foreign and domestic, of the current month, and give, in a precise and[Pg 161] systematic order, that intelligence which the common newspapers communicate in a vague and indiscriminate way. His work shall likewise be a repository of all those signal incidents in private life, which mark the character of the age, and excite the liveliest curiosity.

"This is an imperfect sketch of his work, and to accomplish these ends, he is secure of the liberal aid of many most respectable persons in this city and New York. He regrets the necessity he is under of concealing these names, since they would furnish the public with irresistible inducements to read what, when they had read, they would find sufficiently recommended by its own merits.

"In an age like this, when the foundations of religion and morality have been so boldly attacked, it seems necessary, in announcing a work of this nature, to be particularly explicit as to the path which the editor means to pursue. He, therefore, avows himself to be, without equivocation or reserve, the ardent friend and the willing champion of the Christian religion. Christian piety he reveres as the highest excellence of human beings, and the amplest reward he can seek for his labour[Pg 162] is the consciousness of having, in some degree, however inconsiderable, contributed to recommend the practice of religious duties.

"As, in the conduct of this work, a supreme regard will be paid to the interests of religion and morality, he will scrupulously guard against all that dishonours or impairs that principle. Everything that savors of indelicacy or licentiousness will be rigorously proscribed. His poetical pieces may be dull, but they shall, at least, be free from voluptuousness or sensuality, and his prose, whether seconded or not by genius and knowledge, shall scrupulously aim at the promotion of public and private virtue.

"As a political annalist, he will speculate freely on foreign transactions; but in his detail of domestic events he will confine himself as strictly as possible to the limits of a mere historian. There is nothing for which he has a deeper abhorrence than the intemperance of party, and his fundamental rule shall be to exclude from his pages all personal altercation and abuse.

"He will conclude by reminding the public that there is not, at present, any other monthly[Pg 163] publication in America; and that a plan of this kind, if well conducted, cannot fail of being highly conducive to amusement and instruction. There are many, therefore, it is hoped, who, when such a herald as this knocks at their door, will open it without reluctance, and admit a visitant who calls only once a month; who talks upon every topic; whose company may be dismissed or resumed, and who may be made to prate or hold his tongue at pleasure; a companion he will be, possessing one companionable property in the highest degree—that is to say, a desire to please.—Sep. 1, 1803."

The contents of the magazine corresponded with the contents of the Port Folio; there were the same abuse of Wordsworth, criticisms of Milton and Shakespeare, and articles upon "literary resemblances." In November, 1803, Brown began to publish in the magazine his "Memoirs of Carwin, the Biloquist." The following poem, written during the prevalence of the yellow fever, in 1797, appeared in the Literary Magazine for September, 1806.[Pg 164]


Written during the prevalence of the Yellow Fever in 1797.

Imperial daughter of the West,
Why thus in widow'd weeds recline?
With every gift of nature blest,
The empire of a world was thine.

Late brighter than the star that beams
When the soft morning carol flows:
Now mournful as the maniac's dreams,
When melancholy veils his woes.

What foe, with more than Gallic ire,
Has thinned thy city's thronging way,
Bade the sweet breath of youth expire,
And manhood's powerful pulse decay?

No Gallic foe's ferocious band,
Fearful as fate, as death severe,
But the destroying angel's hand,
With hotter rage, with fiercer fear.

I saw thee in thy prime of days,
In glory rich, in beauty fair,
When many a patriot shar'd thy praise,
And nurs'd thee with maternal care.

Columbia's genius, veil thy brow,
Guardian of freedom, hither bend:
The prayer of mercy meets thee now,
With healing energy descend.

Chase far the fiend whose burning tread
Consumes the fairest flower that blows;
Bends the sweet lily's bashful head,
[Pg 165]And fades the blushes of the rose.

E'en now ill-omened birds of prey
Through the unpeopled mansions rove:
Quench'd is that eye's inspiring ray,
And lost the breezy lip of love.

Yet guard the Friend, who wandering near
Haunts which the loitering Schuylkill laves,
Bestows the tributary tear,
Or fans with sighs the drowsy waves.

And while his mercy-dealing hand
Feeds many a famished child of care,
Wave round his brow thy saving wand,
And breathe thy sweetness through the air;

'Till borne on Health's elastic wing,
Aloft the rapid whirlwind flies;
The coldest gale of Zembla bring,
And brace with frost the dripping skies.

Yet bring the naiads, bring their urns,
Haste, and the marble fount unclose,
Through streets where Syrian summer burns,
'Till all the cool libation flows

Cool as the brook that bathes the heath
When noon unfolds his silent hours,
Refreshing as the morning's breath
Adown the cleansing streamlet pours.

Imperial daughter of the West,
No rival wins thy wreath away;
In all the wealth of nature drest,
[Pg 166]Again thy sovereign charms display;

See all thy setting glories rise,
Again thy thronging streets appear;
Thy mart a hundred ports supplies,
Thy harvests feed thy circling year.

The magazine lived five years and made eight volumes octavo.

In 1806 Brown began to edit and John Conrad to publish the American Register. It contained abstracts of laws and public proceedings, reviews of literature and of foreign and domestic scientific intelligence, American and foreign State papers, etc. After five volumes had been published, Charles Brockden Brown died in his house at Eleventh and George Streets, on the 19th of February, 1810. It was in this house, which was not upon the east side of Eleventh Street, as Neal asserted in Blackwood's Magazine, nor was it "a low, squalid, two-story house," that Thomas Sully saw him, and said: "I saw him a little before his death. I had never known him—never heard of him—never read any of his works. He was in a deep decline. It was in the month of November—our Indian summer, when the air is full of smoke. Passing a window one day, I was caught by[Pg 167] the sight of a man with a remarkable physiognomy, writing at a table in a dark room. The sun shone directly upon his head. I never shall forget it. The dead leaves were falling then—it was Charles Brockden Brown."

Of the obscure ground in which the body of this literary pioneer was laid George Lippard wrote in the Nineteenth Century (p. 27):

"The time has come when the authors of America, the men who view with pride the growth of a pure and elevated National literature, should go to the Quaker graveyard and bear the bones of Brockden Brown to that Laurel Hill which he loved in his boyhood; yes, let the remains of the martyr author sleep beneath the shadow of some dark pine, whose evergreen boughs, swaying to the winter wind, bend over the rugged cliff and sweep the waters of the Schuylkill as it rolls on amid its hilly shores, like an image of the rest which awaits the blessed in a better world. Then a solitary column of white marble, rising like a form of snow among the green boughs, shall record the neglect and woe and glory of the author's life, in a single name—Charles Brockden Brown."[Pg 168]

"Wieland," the most powerful of Brown's novels, was published in Philadelphia in 1798. It was followed by "Ormond, or the Secret Witness" (1799), "Arthur Mervyn" (1799), "Edgar Huntley, or the Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker" (1801), "Clara Howard" and "Jane Talbot" (1801). All these romances dealt with sombre and mysterious or terrible subjects. "Wieland" was a story of monstrous crime occasioned through the agency of ventriloquism. "Arthur Mervyn" contained vivid descriptions of the yellow fever pestilence in Philadelphia in 1793. "Edgar Huntley" followed the fortunes of a somnambulist in the mountain fastnesses of Western Pennsylvania.

When Brown began to write "the churchyard romance" was in fashion, and novelists revelled in tales of horror and of terror, dwelling long and painfully upon the most loathsome details of some ghastly bit of fancy. It was the time of Lewis's "Tales of Terror," of Walpole's "Castle of Otranto," of Beckford's "Vathek," and of Mrs. Radcliffe's "Mysteries of Udolpho" and Mrs. Shelley's "Frankenstein." William Godwin, too, wrote[Pg 169] ghostly stories of crime and supernatural agencies, and from Godwin, Charles Brockden Brown caught his style. The influence of Godwin is noticeable in Brown's first work, "Alcuin, a Dialogue on the Rights of Women" (1797). Godwin's "Falkland" and "Caleb Williams" are the models of "Wieland" and "Ormond."

It is interesting to find young Percy Bysshe Shelley confessing his obligations to the Philadelphia novelist, and saying that Brown's novels had influenced him beyond any other books. Traces of "Wieland" are to be found deeply stamped upon "Zastrozzi" and "St. Irvyne." It is a singular chapter of literary history that records the progress of William Godwin's social theories and tales of horror across the Atlantic to an obscure house in Philadelphia and their return in a new literary form into the hands of William Godwin's son-in-law, Percy Bysshe Shelley, himself a poet of American descent.

The British magazines of 1804 contain flattering notices of Brown, and his novels were reprinted and read with interest and critical approval in England. At home he has fallen[Pg 170] into undeserved oblivion, and the attempts in 1857 and 1887 to revive the interest in his works proved fruitless. His style had in it no elements of permanent life, but he was the first to discover the capabilities of romance in America, and used in all his books American characters and scenery.

Sir Walter Scott so greatly admired the works of the American novelist that he named the hero of Guy Mannering after him and gave to another of the characters of the same story the familiar name of "Arthur Mervyn."

Benjamin Smith Barton (1766-1815), a nephew of David Rittenhouse, and the successor of Benjamin Rush as professor of the theory and practice of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, edited the Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal from November 1, 1804, to May, 1807. It was published irregularly by J. Conrad and Co.

The Evening Fireside, or Literary Miscellany, Philadelphia, 1805-1806, was established by a literary club, and published by Joseph Rakestraw. The second volume, which began January 4, 1806, completed the work.[Pg 171]


Notes on the stage and criticism of the drama had frequently been given place in the Port Folio, and Brown's Literary Magazine had published a farcical account of a "Theatrical Campaign" by Dick Buckram (Vol. I, p. 222), but the first magazine in America that attempted to take the theatre for its province was the Theatrical Censor, By a Citizen, first published in Philadelphia, December 9, 1805, and continued until November 17, 1806.

It was succeeded by the Theatrical Censor and Critical Miscellany, by Gregory Gryphon, Esq., Philadelphia, Saturday, October 11, 1806. Both these periodicals were issued during the theatrical season only, and the latter one was published in the interest of the theatres of Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Charleston. It was published on Saturdays, and made sixteen pages octavo.

The second Theatrical Censor was followed by the Thespian Mirror, in New York, edited by John Howard Payne, then a youth of fourteen years. Still later came the Boston Magazine and the Polyanthus.[Pg 172]

Matthew Carey introduced the third theatrical journal to the Philadelphians. It was the Thespian Monitor and Dramatick Miscellany, by Barnaby Bangbar, Esq. (1809). It was begun Saturday, November 25, 1809. There is but a single issue of this publication in the British Museum, and its contents are almost entirely biographical. This copy was the property of John Howard Payne.

In 1810 Samuel T. Bradford was the most enterprising publisher in Philadelphia. With his partner, Inskeep, he printed in 1812 the Port Folio. With the same partner he issued in January, 1810, the Mirror of Taste and Dramatic Censor. The editor was Stephen Cullen Carpenter, an Irishman, who had entered the East India service, where he remained fourteen years, retired with the rank of major, and returned to England. He wrote political pamphlets at the commencement of the French Revolution, and was made reporter of Debates in Commons by Edmund Burke. He reported the trial of Hastings, and came to America about 1800, and edited a magazine in South Carolina until he was engaged by Bradford and Inskeep to conduct the Mirror of Taste.[Pg 173]

The magazine was of small octavo size, each number contained about one hundred pages, and was illustrated with a fine portrait of an actor or actress. The regular performances at the theatres were criticised with a good deal of pungency and acumen. It is said in the preface that "London boasts several periodical publications founded on the Drama alone. In America there has not yet been one of that description." In January, 1811, the magazine changed hands, and was published by Thomas Barton Zantzinger & Co., in the Shakespeare Buildings at Sixth and Chestnut Streets.

At the close of the first year of the magazine a dramatic event occurred that caused unusual excitement in Philadelphia, and led to important consequences. The great tragedian, George Frederick Cooke, whom Edmund Kean pronounced "the greatest of all actors, Garrick alone excepted," arrived in New York and appeared on 21st October, 1810, as Richard III before two thousand spectators in the Park Theatre.

It was then that he requested the great audience to stand while "God Save the King"[Pg 174] should be played, and during the storm that followed calmly took snuff until the audience acceded to his demand.

From New York he proceeded to Philadelphia. No such acting had been seen in America. The excitement among play-going people was extraordinary. "He was to play Richard on a Monday night, and on Sunday evening the steps of the theatre were covered with groups of porters, and other men of the lower orders, prepared to spend the night there, that they might have the first chance of taking places in the boxes. I saw some take their hats off and put on night-caps. At ten o'clock the next morning the door was opened to them, and at that time the street in front of the theatre was impassable. When the rush took place, I saw a man spring up and catch hold of the iron which supported a lamp on one side of the door, by which he raised himself so as to run over the heads of the crowd into the theatre. Some of these fellows were hired by gentlemen to secure places, and others took boxes on speculation, sure of selling them at double or treble the regular prices. When the time came for opening the doors in[Pg 175] the evening, the crowd was so tumultuous that it was evident there was little certainty that the holders of box tickets would obtain their places, and for ladies the attempt would be dangerous. A placard was therefore displayed, stating that all persons who had tickets would be admitted at the stage door before the front doors were opened. This notice soon drew such a crowd to the back of the theatre that when Cooke arrived he could not get in. He was on foot with Dunlap, one of the New York managers, and he was obliged to make himself known before he could be got through the press. 'I am like the man going to be hanged,' he said, 'who told the crowd they would have no fun unless they made way for him.'"

The writer of these lines was Charles Robert Leslie, who, on the night in question, occupied a place in the flies, and from that aerial station "first saw George Frederick Cooke, the best Richard since Garrick, and who has not been surpassed even by Edmund Kean" (Autobiography of C. R. Leslie, p. 18). Soon after this memorable night Leslie made a likeness of Cooke which attracted Bradford's[Pg 176] attention, and a fund was speedily raised by subscription to enable the young artist to study painting two years in Europe. Armed with letters to English artists, Leslie sailed from New York on the 11th of November, 1811, in company with Mr. Inskeep. So slight a circumstance gained for him an introduction into the great world of West and Allston, and Landseer and Fuseli, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and gave to England and the world the treasures of the Vernon and the Sheepshank's collections.

In the preface to the Mirror of Taste (Vol. IV) the editors recognize the importance to them of the visit of Cooke. The magazine "rose into estimation just at that singular crisis when a great theatrical character unexpectedly visiting this country held a new light to the stage, and, pointing out the true dramatic representation, opened to our people a new train of thought, gave to the public mind a new spring, and imparted an impulse before unfelt, with a just and elegant direction to the general taste, roused the feelings and perceptions from listlessness and sloth, and infused into the best bosoms of the nation a[Pg 177] generous spirit, which gave new life to the arts, quickened them into action and effect, called forth the infant genius of a Leslie to the public view, and bade breathing portraits start from the canvas of a Sully."[19]

The father of Charles Robert Leslie was Robert Leslie, who had been a watchmaker at Elktown, Md., and had removed to Philadelphia in 1786. He was a member of the American Philosophical Society and a friend of Rush and Barton and Wistar and Physick. It was while residing in London that Charles Robert was born, October 19, 1794. An elder sister, Eliza, was born in 1787 in Philadelphia. She won a prize for a story, "Mrs. Washington Potts," in Godey's Lady's Book, and afterwards edited the Gift, an annual, and Miss Leslie's Magazine, a monthly publication (1843).

Blackwood's Magazine in 1824 congratulated America on C. R. Leslie's success. He never lost his profound respect and affection for Samuel Bradford, and named his second son after him. In the second year (1813) of[Pg 178] Leslie's residence in London, Washington Allston's health became seriously affected, and he resolved to visit Bristol. Coleridge, who was affectionately attached to Allston, followed him thither. "The house was so full," writes Leslie, in his autobiographical recollections, "that the poet was obliged to share a double-bedded room with me. We were kept up late in consequence of the critical condition of Allston, and when we retired Coleridge, seeing a copy of Knickerbocker's History of New York which I had brought with me, lying on the table, took it up and began reading. I went to bed, and think he must have sat up the greater part of the night, for the next day he had nearly got through Knickerbocker. This was many years before it was published in England, and the work was, of course, entirely new to him. He was delighted with it" (p. 23).

The Analectic.—Washington Irving, who had met Allston in Rome in 1804, and who was for a time almost swerved from his literary purpose by his desire to become a painter, and with whose first literary triumph Coleridge thus became familiar, was also a[Pg 179] Philadelphia editor. In 1809 E. Bronson and others began to print upon their Lorenzo press The Select Reviews and Spirit of the Foreign Magazines, edited by Samuel Ewing. The magazine was bought by Moses Thomas, in 1812, who changed its name to the Analectic. Irving was its editor in 1813-14. He contributed to it some of the essays of the "Sketch Book," "Traits of Indian Character," and "Philip of Pokanoket." He reviewed Robert Treat Paine, E. C. Holland, Paulding and Lord Byron, and wrote for it biographies of Lawrence, Burrows, Perry and Porter.[20]

Paulding and Verplanck wrote for the magazine, signing their articles "P." and "V."[Pg 180]

William Darlington (1782-1863), Pennsylvanian, after whom was named the Darlingtonica California (a species of pitcher-plant), went to India as ship's surgeon in 1806, and published in the Analectic Magazine a sketch of his voyage called "Letters from Calcutta."

The Analectic contains a number of valuable portraits. The first lithograph ever made in America is in this magazine for July 1819. It represents a woodland scene—a flowing stream and a single house upon the bank. It was made by Bass Otis, who followed the suggestions of Judge Cooper and Dr. Brown, of Alabama. The drawing was made upon a stone from Munich, presented to the American Philosophical Society by Mr. Thomas Dobson, of Philadelphia. The Analectic Magazine was finally converted into the Literary Gazette and died one year later (December, 1821).[21]


The Tickler was edited by George Helmbold, and was first issued, September 16, 1807, under the pen-name of "Toby Scratch 'Em." It had for its motto:

"Curst be the verse, how well soe'er it flow,
That tends to make one worthy man my foe,
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear,
Or from the soft-eyed virgin steal a tear."—Pope.

It was to be issued every Wednesday morning, at the price of four dollars per annum, from 131 South Front Street. The first volume of fifty-two numbers was not completed until February 8, 1809. Helmbold enlisted in the army and was promoted to a lieutenancy at Lundy's Lane. After the war he kept the Minerva Tavern at Sixth and Sansom Streets. He afterward edited the Independent Balance.

The Trangram, or Fashionable Trifler, by "Christopher Crag, Esq., his Grandmother and Uncle," was published in Philadelphia by George E. Blake in 1809. It foreshadowed its wit and its satire in its introductory parody of Macbeth:[Pg 182]

"How now, ye cunning, sharp and secret wags,
What is't ye do?
A deed with a double name."

In the first number was an address by "The Publisher to the Purchaser.... The conductors of this paper, being a kind of whimsical and negligent gentry of easy habits and inconstant disposition, its continuation will not so much depend upon the patronage that may be given to it as upon their own humours and caprices. It is, as Johnson says of its title—'Trangram—an odd, intricately-contrived thing,' and, therefore, in its appearance will be as irregular in its size or proportions as unequal, and in its pecuniary value as unstated, though always as reasonable, as any other oddly-contrived thing ever was, or is, or ought to be." The publisher, George Blake, was a Yorkshireman and a music dealer in South Fifth Street. He told William Duane that the editors were Mordecai M. Noah, Alexander F. Coxe, a son of Tench Coxe, and in 1814 a member of the bar, and a third person "whose name he seemed unwilling to mention" (Duane). Only three numbers were printed, the triple team quarrelled, and the publication ceased.[Pg 183]

Mordecai Noah was born in Philadelphia, July 14, 1785. After his removal to New York, about 1816, he became the owner or editor of a number of magazines and newspapers.

The Trangram is full of local gossip and scandal cleverly concealed. Andrew Hamilton figures in it as "Dapper Dumpling." J. N. Barker, the author of "Superstition," is "Billy Mushroom." Joseph Dennie is nicknamed "Oliver Crank." William Warren is dubbed "the tun-bellied manager."

The account of a walk through the city streets ends with "the description of the defence of his friend would doubtless have continued until we reached the end of our journey had we not by this time arrived, where mathematicians never could arrive, at the Square Circle,"—that is, at Centre Square, Broad and Market Streets.

The third number, February 1, 1810, contains accounts of "Jeremy Corsica" (Jerome Bonaparte) and his visit to Philadelphia, and to "Bangilore" (Baltimore), and his acquaintance with Miss "Cornelia Pattypan," or Patterson.[Pg 184]

The Beacon, erected and supported by Lucidantus and his Thirteen Friends, was published by W. Brown, and began its course Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1811. It aimed to surpass The Spirit of the Reviews, the Dramatic Censor and the Port Folio, but it is believed to have made only two numbers. The purpose of the magazine was defined in the second number, December 11, 1811: "We propose to develop to our readers the machinery and composition of our Philadelphia Society."

The Luncheon was a monthly satirical paper "boiled for people about six feet high by Simon Pure." Its first appearance was in July, 1815. The second number contained an abusive article upon William McCorkle. In January, 1816, Lewis P. Franks, the editor of the Luncheon, confessed himself the author of the libel and declared that the alleged biography of McCorkle was false, and that the journal would be discontinued.

The Independent Balance was published weekly by "Democritus the Younger, a lineal descendant of the Laughing Philosopher." It was established, March 20, 1817, by George Helmbold, the first editor of the Tickler and late of the United States Army.[Pg 185]

The second volume had a vignette of a sportsman shooting a bird, with the motto:

"Whene'er we court the tuneful nine,
Or plainer prose suits our design,
Then fools may sneer and critics frown
At every corner of the town,—
Condemn our paper or commend;
One aim is ours, our chiefest end:
With well-poised gun and surest eyes
To shoot at Folly as it flies."

Helmbold died in Philadelphia, December 28, 1821. The magazine, after passing through several hands, finally became the property of L.P. Franks, who published it at "No. 1 Paradise Alley, back of 171 Market Street, between Fourth and Fifth Streets." At this time it was edited by "Simon Spunkey, Esq., duly commissioned and sworn regulator, weigh-master and Inspector General." Its motto proclaimed its purpose to anatomize the wise man's folly as plain as way to parish church:

"I claim as large a charter as the wind
To blow on whom I please."

The Critic, by Geoffrey Juvenile, Esq., No. 1, January 29, 1820.[Pg 186]

Every number of the Critic contains some quip or satire at the expense of James Kirke Paulding, and his "Backwoodsman" is particularly levelled at. Paulding is dubbed "The Cabbage Bard," and the caustic reviewer proceeds to write: "We had a Dennie and a Clifton, yet the classical elegance of the one has not availed to preserve his countrymen from being intoxicated by the quaintness and affectation of the Salmagundi school, and the purity and wit of the other have as little proved powerful to save his work from being deserted for the bathos and silliness of the 'Backwoodsman.' I remember them both. In private life they united qualities which are seldom found together, brilliancy of conversation and modesty of deportment. In their writings they were chaste without being tame, and elevated without being extravagant. Alas! I little thought to have lived until their light should be hidden by a cloud of delirious bats who had left their native obscurity and madly rushed to uncongenial day, vermin which are likely to be of direful omen to our country unless the land be speedily cleansed of them."[Pg 187]

The greatness of Philadelphia is the inspiration and the pride of the Critic. "Having often heard Philadelphia called the 'Athens of the United States,' 'the birthplace of American literature,' I was naturally delighted at the prospect of a visit to so celebrated a city" (p. 14). And again: "Philadelphia with all its faults and follies is, in a literary and scientific point of view, the first city of the Empire" (p. 20). The Critic fired its last arrow May 10, 1820.

Dennie's Port Folio continued to be the admiration and the despair of contemporary editors and authors. In 1821 appeared the Post-Chaise Companion or Magazine of Wit. By Carlo Convivio Socio, Junior Fellow of the Royal Academy of Humorists. It was begun in January, 1821, and was issued from 15 North Front Street. In its first "leader" it deprecated comparison with the favorites of the hour: "With the venerable Mr. Oldschool, who for almost twenty years has delighted or instructed the 'mind of desultory man,' I would not presume to enter into a competition, still less should it be provoked with the profound labours of the editor of the Analectic Magazine[Pg 188] and his host of 'the most eminent literary men' who promised to eclipse the dissertations of the famous Northern lights" (p. 3).

The little paper contains a long article on Mr. Kean's acting (pages 37-51).

The Philadelphia Medical Museum was conducted by John Redman Coxe for five years, from 1805 to 1810, and was published by A. Bartram.

The Eye, by Obadiah Optic, was published every Thursday by John W. Scott, from January to December, 1808, at three dollars a year. It was filled with odd, historical and alliterative articles.

The Philadelphia Repertory, a weekly literary journal, was published in 1810 by Dennis Hart.

The Eclectic Repertory and Analytic Review, Medical and Philosophical, was commenced in October, 1811, and continued until October, 1820. It was published quarterly, and edited by an association of physicians, and published by T. Dobson and Son.

It was continued in January, 1821, as the Journal of Foreign Medical Science and Literature, conducted by S. Emlen, Jr., and Wil[Pg 189]liam Price, and published by Eliakim Littell. It finally ceased October, 1824.

The Freemason's Magazine and General Miscellany was published from 1810-1812 (?). It was edited by George Richards, a school-master and clergyman of the Revolution. He was the author of "An Historical Discourse on the Death of General Washington" (Portsmouth, 1800), and of a number of patriotic poems of the Revolution.

Robert Walsh began, in 1811, the publication of the first quarterly that was issued in the United States. It was the American Review of History, of Politics, and General Repository of Literature and State Papers, and was published for two years, in four volumes, by Farrand and Nichols.

Walsh was born in Baltimore in 1784. He was educated in Catholic schools in Baltimore, and at the Jesuit College at Georgetown. While at college, in 1796, he delivered a political address before General Washington. He began the practice of law in Philadelphia. In 1817-18 he edited the American Register.

The National Gazette, a daily newspaper,[Pg 190] was established by him in Philadelphia in 1819, and his connection with it did not cease until he sold it, in 1836, to William Fry.

The Philadelphia Register had been a weekly paper, the title of which was changed, in 1819, to the National Recorder. It was founded in 1818 by E. Littell and S. Norris Henry. In July, 1821, it changed its name for the second time, and became the Saturday Magazine. De Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" and the essays of Charles Lamb were published for the first time in America in the pages of the Saturday Magazine. In the following year (1822) the magazine became a monthly publication, and was called the Museum of Foreign Literature and Science. In this year (1822) it was edited by Robert Walsh. Toward the close of 1823 the proprietor gave notice that Mr. Walsh was no longer connected with the Museum. It was then conducted by Eliakim and Squier Littell. In 1843 the publication office was removed to New York, and the magazine was called the Eclectic Museum of Foreign Literature and Science. Littell had no connection with the magazine in this phase of its history. He[Pg 191] went to Boston, and in 1844 established Littell's Living Age, of which he remained the proprietor until his death, May 17, 1870.

After retiring from the editorial chair of the Museum, Walsh successfully resuscitated the American Quarterly Review, which he published from March, 1827, to 1837.

The Review was published by Carey, Lea and Carey. It appeared in March, June, September and December. Each number contained two hundred and fifty pages, and the subscription price was five dollars per annum. Some of Walsh's original works had met with approval in England. His "Letter on the Genius and Disposition of the French Government" passed through four editions in England, and was commended by Lord Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review (Vol. XVI, p. 1). The American Quarterly Review did not share the same happy fate. The Monthly Review said of it, "It is as dull a work of the kind as any that we know of. It is heavier even than the Westminster when burthened by the lucubrations of Jeremy Bentham." Neal, in Blackwood's (XVI, 634), sarcastically styled Walsh "The Jupiter of the American Olympus."[Pg 192]

Walsh was United States Consul at Paris from 1845-1851, and remained in France until his death, February 7, 1859.

Joseph Delaplaine, in April, 1812, respectfully solicited the patronage of the public to the Emporium of Arts and Sciences, "conducted by John Redman Coxe, M.D., professor of chemistry in the University of Pennsylvania." The magazine was published monthly, beginning in May, 1812. It made three volumes, but two volumes only were published in Philadelphia. The second volume was conducted by Thomas Cooper, who, in 1813, removed the magazine to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where it was printed by Kimber and Richardson.

The Religious Remembrancer was begun by John Welwood Scott on the 4th of September, 1813. It was the first religious weekly published in the United States, and was three years in advance of Willis's Boston Recorder.

Two children's papers publishing about this time were: the Juvenile Magazine—Religious, Moral, and Entertaining Pieces in Prose and Verse, "compiled by Arthur Donaldson," Philadelphia, 1811, published monthly, twelve[Pg 193] and a half cents per number. The Juvenile Port Folio, a weekly miscellany, was published by Thomas G. Condie, Jr., 22 Carter's Alley, in 1813.

A French weekly was started in 1815, L'Abeille Americaine, Journal Historique, Politique, et Litteraire a Philadelphie, A. J. Blocquerst, 130 South Fifth Street. Matthew Carey took subscriptions for the work, which continued several years.

The Parterre: by a Trio (Cora and Charles Chandler), 1816, printed by Probasco and Justice, 350 North Second Street. This worthless little weekly was begun June 15, 1816, and ended June 28, 1817.

The American Register, or Summary Review of History, Politics and Literature—Phila.: Thos. Dobson, 1817-1818—made two volumes.

The American Medical Recorder appeared in 1818, supported by a number of physicians. It was a quarterly publication. The title was changed in 1824 to the Medical Recorder of Original Papers and Intelligence on Medicine and Surgery. It was merged in 1829 into the American Journal of the American Sciences.

The Ladies' and Gentlemen's Weekly Literary[Pg 194] Museum and Musical Magazine was a weekly publication begun, January 1, 1819, by H. C. Lewis, No. 164 South Eleventh Street.

Washington Irving's first literary adventure was the publication of Salmagundi. It was begun in New York, January 14, 1807, by Irving and James Kirke Paulding. The origin of the venture is not quite clear, but it was an outcome of the alert and gay society in New York, of which Brevoort and Paulding and the Irvings were conspicuous members.

Mr. Paulding said of the enterprise, "It was when fairly initiated into the mysteries of the town that Washington Irving and myself commenced the publication of Salmagundi, an irregular issue, the object of which was to ridicule the follies and foibles of the fashionable world. Though we had not anticipated anything beyond a local circulation, the work soon took a wider sphere; gradually extended throughout the United States, and acquired great popularity. It was, I believe, the first of its kind in this country; produced numerous similar publications, none of which, however, extended beyond a few numbers and[Pg 195] formed somewhat of an era in our literature. It reached two volumes, and we could easily have continued it indefinitely, but the publisher, with that liberality so characteristic of these modern Mæcenases, declined to concede to us a share of the profits, which had become considerable, and the work was abruptly discontinued. It was one of those productions of youth that wise men—or those who think themselves wise—are very apt to be ashamed of when they grow old."

In 1819 Paulding attempted to revive Salmagundi, and a "second series" was published fortnightly in Philadelphia, 108 Chestnut Street, by Moses Thomas, from May 30, 1819, to August 19, 1820. Evert A. Duyckinck, in his preface to the latest issue of the first series, writes, "Some ten years or more after the conclusion of Salmagundi, Paulding ventured alone upon a second series. Washington Irving was in Europe, and the muse of Pindar Cockloft was silent. It was a dangerous undertaking, for the very essence of a Salmagundi is the combination of choice ingredients—a product of many minds.... Yet it contains many delightful pages."[Pg 196]

The publication is referred to by Paulding in a letter to Washington Irving, January 20, 1820: "I must now make two or three explanations concerning myself and proceedings. Hearing last winter from William Irving that you had finally declined coming home, and finding my leisure time a little heavy, I set to work and prepared several numbers of a continuation of our old joint production. At that time and subsequently, until Gouverneur Kemble brought your first number [of the Sketch Book] down to Washington with him, I was entirely ignorant that you contemplated anything of the kind. But for an accidental delay my first number would have got the start of yours. As it happened, however, it had the appearance of taking the field against you, a thing which neither my head nor heart will sanction. I believe my work has not done you any harm in the way of rivalship, for it has been soundly abused by many persons and compared with the first part with many degrading expressions. It has sold tolerably, but I shall discontinue it shortly, as I begin to grow tired, and I believe the public has got the start of me. It was owing to[Pg 197] Moses that I did not commence an entire new work."

The reputation of the periodical in Fashion's choicest circle is hinted at in Halleck's "Fanny:"

"And though by no means a bas bleu, she had
For literature a most becoming passion;
Had skimm'd the latest novels, good and bad,
And read the Croakers, when they were in fashion;
And Dr. Chalmers' Sermons, of a Sunday;
And Wordsworth's Cabinet, and the new Salmagundi."

In closing his introduction to the new series, Paulding alluded gracefully and affectionately to his tried and generous friend and former fellow-worker, Washington Irving. "The reader will not fail of hearing, in good time, all about the worthy Cockloft family; the learned Jeremy, and the young ladies who are still young in spite of the lapse of ten years and more. Above a dozen years are past since we first introduced these excellent souls to our readers, and in that time many a gentle tie has been broken, and many friends separated, some of them forever. Among those we most loved and admired, we have to regret the long absence of one who was aye[Pg 198] the delight of his friends, and who, if he were with us, would add such charms of wit and gayety to this little work that the young and the aged would pore over it with equal delight."

The Protestant Episcopal Church established the Episcopal Magazine in January, 1820. It was conducted by Rev. C. H. Wharton and Rev. George Boyd. The former editor, Charles Henry Wharton, was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland, June 5, 1748. Notley Hall, the family estate, was presented to the family by Lord Baltimore. Wharton was educated in Jesuit schools and ordained a deacon and a priest of the Roman Catholic Church. In the last years of the Revolution he was chaplain to the Roman Catholics in Worcester, England, to whom, in 1784, after joining the Church of England, he addressed his celebrated "Letter." He was a member of the American Philosophical Society, and for a short time President of Columbia College. In 1813-14 he was co-editor with Dr. Abercrombie of the Quarterly Theological Magazine and Religious Repository.

The Episcopal Magazine was published by S. Potter & Co. and printed by J. Maxwell.[Pg 199]

The Rural Magazine and Literary Evening Fireside, a monthly publication by Richards and Caleb Johnson, was begun in January, 1820. Its purpose was to give correct views of the science of agriculture. It also contained articles on slavery, a sketch of Benezet, etc. But the farmers were not inclined to write out their ideas of agriculture, and the bucolic journal, after binding its monthly sheaves into a single volume, asked its own congé.

Nathaniel Chapman was the only begetter of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, which, in its seventy years of history, has known the touch of so many skilful editorial hands. Chapman issued it as a quarterly from the publishing house of M. Carey and Son. It was then called the Philadelphia Journal of the Medical Sciences.

In 1825 Dr. Williams P. Dewees and John D. Godman were associated with Dr. Chapman in the editorship. Dr. Isaac Hays was added to the staff in February, 1827, and in November the name of the magazine was changed to the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, and Dr. Isaac Hays became sole editor, to be in turn succeeded by his son, Dr.[Pg 200] I. Minis Hays. The history of its changes and extension would take us far beyond the chronological boundary of this book. Nearly every physician of note in America has contributed at some time to its pages, and nearly every notable triumph of American medicine has found fitting record somewhere in its multitudinous numbers.

The Reformer was a monthly religious and ethical publication issued in 1820.

Robert S. Coffin, who had written popular verses under the name of the "Boston Bard" while a compositor in the office of the Village Record, at West Chester, Pa., came to Philadelphia in 1821 and began a literary paper, which he called the Bee. Not more than two hundred subscribers were secured, and Coffin sold the unsuccessful paper to Charles Alexander, who had formerly been employed upon Poulson's Daily Advertiser. On the 4th of August, 1821, Atkinson and Alexander, in the office once occupied by Benjamin Franklin, back of No. 53 Market Street, began the publication of the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post. T. Cottrell Clarke was appointed editor. He retired in 1826 and founded the Ladies'[Pg 201] Album, a weekly literary paper, which ultimately merged into the Pennsylvania Inquirer. Morton McMichael succeeded Clarke in the editorial chair of the Post, and, when he too resigned, became the first editor of the Saturday Courier. Other editors of the Post at various times were Benjamin Mathias, founder of the Saturday Chronicle, Charles J. Peterson, Rufus W. Griswold, H. Hastings Weld and Henry Peterson. The Post had few important rivals among the family newspapers and it absorbed a number of the young literary journals. The Saturday News, the Saturday Bulletin and the Saturday Chronicle were merged into the Post. Mrs. Henry Wood's early novels, written in her obscure days before the time of "East Lynne," were published in it.

The Episcopal Recorder, established in 1822, and edited by Rev. B. B. Smith, Bishop of the P. E. Church in the United States, has always admitted into its pages articles by leading clergymen of whatever sect or creed.

The Erin, a weekly paper containing Irish news, was published in August, 1822, by Hart & Co., No. 117 South Fifth Street.[Pg 202]

Rev. G. T. Bedell, who had established the Episcopal Recorder, was also the editor of the Philadelphia Recorder (1823), likewise a religious weekly published in the interest of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

The Arcadian, a literary periodical, of the year 1823, was published by A. Potter and Co.

The American Monthly Magazine, January, 1824, to June, 1824, was edited by James McHenry and published by Job Palmer.

The Medical Review and Analectic Journal was edited by Dr. John Eberle and Dr. George McClellan and published quarterly between June, 1824, and August, 1826.

The Æsculapian Register was published from June 17, 1824, to December 8, 1834. Several physicians united in its editorship, and R. Desilver, of 110 Walnut Street, was its publisher; its motto: "Ars longa, vita brevis."

The American Sunday School Magazine (1824-1831) was the first Sunday-school-teacher's journal issued in America.

La Corbeille, a weekly journal published in 1824. The editor was a gallant Cavalier, who warns the ladies in the first number that novel[Pg 203] reading "induces a sickly diathesis of the mind, or mental marasmus."

In June, 1824, there were published in Philadelphia the Port Folio, the Museum, the American Monthly and nine other magazines, four religious, three medical and two political. It was in this year that Blackwood's Magazine congratulated America on Charles Robert Leslie's success in art.

The Reformer, published in 1824, by Theophilus R. Gates, aimed to "expose the clerical schemes and pompous undertakings of the present day under the pretence of religion, and to show that they are irreconcilable with the spirit and principle of the Gospel."

The Christian was a weekly paper of 1824.

The Philadelphian, a large folio sheet, containing religious articles, was founded in May, 1825, by S. B. Ludlow, and published weekly at No. 59 Locust Street. William F. Geddes and Dr. Ezra Styles Ely were among its editors.

The North American Medical and Surgical Journal, January, 1826, to October, 1831, was published quarterly.

The Album and Ladies Weekly Gazette, be[Pg 204]gun June 7, 1826, by T. C. Clarke, changed its name to the Philadelphia Album and Ladies' Literary Port Folio, and was edited by Robert Morris after consolidation with the Ladies' Literary Port Folio.

The Casket, Flowers of Literature, Wit and Sentiment was a magazine published in newspaper form. It was made out of the Saturday Evening Post, and was first issued by Samuel Coate Atkinson, at No. 36 Carter's Alley, January 1, 1827. Elizabeth Margaret Chandler (1807-1834) won a prize for the "Slave Ship" offered by the proprietor of the Casket.

Charles Alexander, the well-known publisher, solicited William E. Burton to establish a literary journal in Philadelphia, and Burton, who was sympathetic yet dogmatic, possessed of excellent literary taste, but never more positive than when in error, founded in July, 1837, the Gentleman's Magazine. The fifth and sixth volumes, 1839, were conducted by Burton and by Poe. The seventh volume, 1840, was conducted by George R. Graham. The poetry of Burton's was painfully bad, redeemed only in the faintest degree by the[Pg 205] verses of J. H. Ingraham and C. West Thomson.

Elwood Walter began and Edmund Morris continued the Ariel, a fortnightly literary journal, first issued from No. 71 Market Street, May 5, 1827.

The Philadelphia Monthly Journal of Medicine and Surgery was published by R. H. Small and edited by Dr. N. R. Smith from June, 1827, until February, 1828.

The Friend, a weekly periodical begun October 13, 1827, was published in the interest of the Orthodox Quakers.

The Philadelphia Monthly Magazine, October, 1827-September, 1829; published by J. Dobson, 108 Chestnut Street. The magazine was projected by Dr. Isaac Clarkson Snowden. It was to give information on the fine arts, sciences and literature, and contained frequent articles on American literature. Snowden was born at Princeton, 31st of December, 1791. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, and lived in Bucks County in ill-health. He conceived the plan of the magazine in the spring of 1827. At his death the magazine passed into the hands of B. R.[Pg 206] Evans and was enlarged eight pages. A series of good articles began November, 1828, and ran through five numbers, on the History of Literature in Pennsylvania, by R. P. S. (Richard Penn Smith).

The Ladies' Literary Port Folio was begun December 10, 1828. It was published in quarto form by Thomas C. Clarke, No. 67 Arcade.

An association of physicians published every fortnight after September 9, 1829, the Journal of Health. Henry H. Porter, at No. 108 Chestnut Street, was the publisher of this sixteen page magazine, whose motto was "Health—the poor man's riches, the rich man's bliss."

The Banner of the Constitution was a weekly journal of New York City, from December, 1829, to May, 1831. In the latter month it was transferred to Philadelphia, because, as the editor explained, "As Pennsylvania is without a single paper bold enough to speak out the language of truth in the strong terms befitting the actual crisis of affairs, we have resolved to transfer our establishment to Philadelphia and to resume our old position on the field of battle."[Pg 207]

The Protestant Episcopalian and Church Register was "devoted to the interests of religion in the Protestant Episcopal Church." It was begun in January, 1830, became the property of John S. Littell in 1838, and on January 5, 1839, appeared in a fresh guise as the Banner of the Cross.

Godey's Lady's Book was the chief financial success among the Philadelphia magazines, and, after the Port Folio, enlisted the services of the greatest number of the best writers. The circulation, largely due to its popular colored fashion plates, increased to 150,000 a month. It was begun in July, 1830, by Louis A. Godey, who continued to direct his continuously prosperous journal until 1877. Some of the earliest compositions of Longfellow, Holmes, Poe, Bayard Taylor, Lydia H. Sigourney, Frances Osgood and Harriet Beecher Stowe appeared in this magazine.

For many years the Lady's Book was edited by Sarah Josepha Hale. She was born in Newport, New Hampshire, 24th October, 1788, and died in Philadelphia 30th April, 1879. From 1828 to 1837 she edited, in[Pg 208] Boston, the Ladies' Magazine. When that magazine was united in 1837 with Godey's Lady's Book, Mrs. Hale became editor of the latter periodical, and made her home in Philadelphia in 1841. She was the originator of the Seamen's Aid Society. She organized the fair whereby the fund for the completion of the Bunker Hill monument was raised. It was through her zealous insistence that Thanksgiving Day was made a national holiday. She published many books in prose and verse, and some fugitive poems, "Mary's Lamb," "It Snows," and "The Light of Home," that were everywhere known.

Another ladies' magazine was the Ladies' Garland, published by John Libby, April 15, 1837-June, 1838.

The Herald of Truth, a liberal religious weekly, was published by M. T. C. Gould, No. 6 North Eighth Street, for a short time after January, 1831.

The Presbyterian was begun February 16, 1831.

The Lutheran Observer was also commenced in 1831. It was a continuation of the Lutheran Intelligencer, founded in March, 1826, which[Pg 209] was the first Lutheran periodical issued in America.

The Philadelphia Liberalist, edited by Rev. Zelotes Fuller, was issued weekly after June 9, 1832.

The Atlantic Journal and Friend of Knowledge was edited in Philadelphia in 1832 by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque. The editor was a celebrated botanist, who was born in Constantinople in 1784, and died in Philadelphia, September 14, 1842. His father had been a Philadelphia merchant. Rafinesque became professor of botany in Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. Eight numbers only of the Atlantic Journal appeared.

The Cholera Gazette, July 11, 1832-November 21, 1832, a weekly paper, was published by Carey, Lea and Blanchard. It was edited by George Washington Dickson, a popular negro minstrel, who published in New York, in 1839, another weekly called the Polyanthus.

The North American Quarterly Magazine was begun in Philadelphia, in 1833, by Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, the author of "The Cities of the Plain." Fairfield was born in Warwick, Mass., June 25, 1803. The sad[Pg 210] story of his life of sickness and distress was told by his wife (Jane Frazee) in 1846. She collected the money that made the existence of the magazine possible, and her pertinacity and courage kept the magazine alive for five years. Concerning the origin of the enterprise she writes:

"I returned to my home after having obtained the number of eight signatures, amounting to forty dollars. My husband took little notice of my success for a time. I paid the house rent and secured the comforts of a home. Each day I set apart for my visits five or six hours. In this way I soon laid aside the means sufficient to issue the first number of the North American Quarterly Magazine. When I had accumulated the sum of seven hundred dollars I gave it into the hands of Mr. Fairfield. He seemed amazed at my success. He found a dwelling to rent on Tenth, near Chestnut Street. To this pleasant abode we immediately repaired. In a very short time the work was out, and once more my heart rejoiced" (Autobiography of Jane Fairfield, p. 97).

Fairfield always contended that Bulwer[Pg 211] stole from him the plot of his "Last Days of Pompeii." The story as told by Mrs. Fairfield is as follows: "His great poem, 'The Last Night of Pompeii,' was finished in 1830, and soon after its publication my husband sent copies to England, to Bulwer. He also wrote him a very long letter, but never received either an acknowledgment of the poem or the letter. Bulwer's novel of a similar title appeared about two years afterward, and, it is only justice to the poet to say, was in every respect an entire and most flagrant plagiarism. The Argument, the Introduction of the Two Lovers, Converted Christians, Forebodings of the Destruction, The Picture of Pompeii in Ruins, The Forum of Pompeii, The Manners and Morals of Campania Portrayed, Diomede, the Praetor, The Night Storm, Vesuvius Threatening, Dialogue of the Christians—the scenes of the whole plot, even the names of characters, were all taken from this most grand and sublime poem" (Autobiography of Jane Fairfield, p. 90).

The North American Quarterly Magazine ceased in 1838.

Waldie's Select Circulating Library, furnish[Pg 212]ing the best popular literature, price five dollars for fifty-two numbers, containing matter equal to fifty London duodecimo volumes; printed and published weekly by Adam Waldie, No. 6 North Eighth Street, Philadelphia. It was begun January 15, 1833, and was edited by John Jay Smith (1798-1881). Smith had been the editor of the Saturday Bulletin, 1830-32, Littell's Museum, Walsh's National Gazette and the Daily Express. The magazine reprinted standard works and published original reviews and literary notes.

The American Lancet, edited by F. S. Beattie, began February 23, 1833, and was published fortnightly by Turner and Son.

The Spy in Philadelphia and Spirit of the Age, a weekly journal advocating purity in politics, censured the vices of the time for a few weeks after July 6, 1833.

The Advocate of Science and Annals of Natural History was conducted by W. P. Gibbons, 1834-5.

The Gentleman's Vade-Mecum, or the Sporting and Dramatic Companion, January 1, 1835-June 25, 1836, contained original dramas and musical compositions, fast heats and pictures[Pg 213] of celebrated racers. Charles Alexander, its publisher, sold it to Louis A. Godey, Joseph C. Neal and Morton McMichael, who made out of it the Saturday News and Literary Gazette, which began its course July 2, 1836, and ultimately became a part of the Saturday Evening Post. The editor of both publications was Joseph Clay Neal (1807-1847), who also edited the Pennsylvanian, a Democratic daily newspaper, from 1831 to 1844, succeeding James Gordon Bennett in the editorial chair. At the time of his death he owned the Saturday Gazette, which he and Morton McMichael had established. His "Charcoal Sketches" (Philadelphia, 1837), which Charles Dickens republished in London, were originally contributed to the Pennsylvanian under the title, "City Worthies." His wife, Alice Bradley Haven (1828-1863), contributed, while a school-girl, several sketches under the name of Alice G. Lee to the Saturday Gazette. She was generally known as "Cousin Alice," and under this name assumed editorial charge of the Gazette after her husband's death.

The Radical Reformer and Workingman's Advocate was published weekly after June 13,[Pg 214] 1835, by Thomas Bro., at No. 124 South Front Street. In October it was issued fortnightly.

The Botanic Sentinel and Literary Gazette (August 12, 1835-June 15, 1840), published weekly by J. Coates.

The Independent Weekly Press, "upholding the right of free discussion, given to us by our God and guarded by the laws of our country," was published December 5, 1835. It hoped and intended to be a literary paper, but the quality of its literature is inferior even to that of its infantile contemporaries.

Every Bodie's Album was a monthly miscellany of "humorous tales, essays, anecdotes and facetiæ," and the other symptoms of albuminous fever. It was begun July 1, 1836. It was a large magazine, containing a number of absurd engravings. Charles Alexander, the publisher of the Vade-Mecum, issued this magazine also.

The Eclectic Journal of Medicine (November, 1836-October, 1840) was published monthly by Barrington and Haswell, and edited by John Bell.

Saturday Chronicle was published weekly[Pg 215] by Matthias and Taylor, Number 84 South Second Street, from 1836 until 1840.

The Weekly Messenger was published from 1836 to 1848.

Adam Waldie built up a lumbering weekly journal, January 6, 1837, which he called Waldie's Literary Omnibus. This carry-all was devoted to "news, books entire, sketches, reviews, tales, and miscellaneous intelligence."

The Philadelphia Visitor and Parlor Companion, a fortnightly journal, published from March, 1837, by W. B. Rogers, Number 49 Chestnut Street, and edited by H. N. Moore, was filled with toys of fashion and shreds of social folly.

The American Journal of Homœopathy, a bi-monthly publication, was begun August, 1838, by W. L. J. Kiderlen & Co.

The United States Magazine and Democratic Review was started some time in 1838 and published until 1840.


"My name has figured, I assure you, on the covers of Graham and Godey, making as respectable an appearance, for aught I[Pg 216] could see, as any of the canonized bead-roll with which it was associated."

So Holgrave tells Miss Phœbe Pyncheon in the "House of Seven Gables," and voices Hawthorne's and New England's appreciation of the merit and supremacy of the two Philadelphia magazines which in the middle of this century engaged the services and elicited the abilities of the best American writers.

Mr. George R. Graham, whose name was once known wherever books were read in America, and whose intimate relations with American literature seemed "too intrinse t'unloose," has quite outlived the memories of his countrymen. Few are aware that the generous and able publisher who gave employment to young James Russell Lowell, who awarded the prize for the "Gold-Bug" to Edgar Allan Poe, and who was almost the first to pay American authors for their work, is still living in Orange, New Jersey. He has outlived health and fortune as well as fame. And now, rich only in memory, and the precious store of reminiscences of nearly four-score years, he lies in the Memorial Hospital at Orange contentedly awaiting the end, neither anxious to go nor eager to remain.[Pg 217]

His few personal wants and the necessary comforts of his age are fully provided by Mr. George W. Childs, whose liberal hand, prompted by his generous heart, never wearies in doing deeds of generosity.

Mr. Graham has told me in detail the story of his magazine. He was the owner and editor of Atkinson's Casket, when, in 1841, William E. Burton, the actor, came to him with the request that he should buy the Gentleman's Magazine, of which Burton had been the proprietor for four years. Burton explained that money was needed for his new theatre, that the magazine must be sold, that it numbered thirty-five hundred subscribers, and that it would be sold outright for thirty-five hundred dollars. Graham, who at that time had fifteen hundred subscribers to his own magazine, accepted the offer, and the Gentleman's Magazine was transferred to him. "There is one thing more," said Burton, "I want you to take care of my young editor." That "young editor," who in this manner entered the employ of George Graham, was Edgar Allan Poe. Mr. Graham bears clear and willing testimony to the efficient service[Pg 218] rendered by Poe to the new magazine, which, now combined with the Casket, took the name of its new owner. He found little in Poe's conduct to reprove, nor does he remember any cause beyond envy and malice for Griswold's truculent slanders. A quarrel of an hour led to Poe's dismissal, but the friendly relations between the wayward poet and his former employer remained unsevered. From New York, Poe sent Graham the manuscript of a story for which he asked and received fifty dollars. The story remained unpublished for a year, when Poe again appeared in the editorial room and begged for the return of the manuscript, that he might try with it for the prize of one hundred dollars offered for the best prose tale. Graham showed his "love and friending" for the author by surrendering the story, and the judges awarded to Edgar Poe the prize for the "Gold-Bug."

After the dismissal of Poe, the magazine, still under Graham's management, was edited by Ann Stephens and Charles J. Peterson, until Rufus Wilmot Griswold sat in the responsible chair. James Russell Lowell was a subordinate editor of the magazine as early as 1843,[Pg 219] and in April of that year communicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne the desire of the editor, Edgar Allan Poe, that he too should become a contributor. In 1845 Lowell was married and continued to reside with his wife in Philadelphia. The following letter was the first written by Mrs. Lowell from Philadelphia to her friend Mrs. Hawthorne:

Philadelphia, Jan. 16, 1845.

My Dear Sophia:—I wished to write to you before I left home, but in the hurry of those last hours I had no time, and instead of delicate sentiments could only send you gross plum-cake, which I must hope you received. We are most delightfully situated here in every respect, surrounded with kind and sympathizing friends, yet allowed by them to be as quiet and retired as we choose; but it is always a pleasure to know you can have society if you wish for it, by walking a few steps beyond your own door.

We live in a little chamber on the third story, quite low enough to be an attic, so that we feel classical in our environment; and we have one of the sweetest and most motherly of Quaker women to anticipate all our wants, and[Pg 220] make us comfortable outwardly as we are blest inwardly. James's prospects are as good as an author's ought to be, and I begin to fear we shall not have the satisfaction of being so very poor after all. But we are, in spite of this disappointment of our expectations, the happiest of mortals or spirits, and cling to the skirts of every passing hour, although we know the next will bring us still more joy.

Your most happy and affectionate

Maria Lowell.

"Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife," Vol. I, p. 283.

The house so happily described, and in which Lowell so pleasantly lived while he wrote for Graham's and won a high place on its "canonized bead-roll," was the old house, still standing at the northeast corner of Fourth and Arch Streets, which had been built for the residence of William Smith, editor of the American Magazine (1757-8).

Griswold introduced James Fenimore Cooper to Mr. Graham in the editorial sanctum, and Graham bought from him his lives of the naval commanders, and engaged him to write a serial story. Cooper wrote "The[Pg 221] Isles of the Gulf," afterward known as "Jack Tier," and received eighteen hundred dollars for it; "though," says Graham, "the money might as well have been thrown into the sea, for it never brought me a new subscriber."

Longfellow's "Spanish Student" appeared for the first time in Graham's Magazine, and Longfellow also contributed "Nuremberg" (June, 1844), "The Arsenal at Springfield" (May, 1844), "Dante's Divina Commedia" (June, 1850), "Childhood" (March, 1844), "Belfry of Bruges" (Vol. 22).

Poe published here "The Murders of the Rue Morgue," three chapters on Autography (Nov., Dec., 1841-Jan., 1842), a review of Horne's "Orion" (March, 1844), "Dreamland" (June, 1844), "To Helen," "Israfel," "A Few Words about Brainard," "Life in Death," "The Mask of the Red Death" (May, 1842), numerous reviews of new books, and "The Conqueror Worm" (Vol. 22).

After Griswold left the Magazine Mr. Graham assumed more of the literary management, and engaged E. P. Whipple to write the editorial reviews of the more important books, which he continued to do until 1854.[Pg 222]

Nathaniel Hawthorne included many of his early contributions to this magazine in his "Twice-Told Tales." "The Earth's Holocaust" appeared in May, 1844.

George D. Prentice wrote verses. "Fanny Forester" (Mrs. Judson) sent some brilliant sketches, and Phœbe and Alice Cary, and Grace Greenwood were faithful correspondents. From the South came verses and prose tales by William Gilmore Simms. Other captain jewels in Graham's carcanet were the gifts of Miss Sedgwick, Frances S. Osgood, N. P. Willis ("it was very comfortable that there should have been a Willis"), James K. Paulding, Park Benjamin, W. W. Story, Geo. W. Bethune, Mary Lockhart Lawson, Charles Fenno Hoffman, Alfred B. Street and Albert Pike.

Among the Philadelphians who rendered frequent aid to the editor were Joseph C. Neal, Richard Penn Smith, Dr. J. K. Mitchell, Robert Morris and Thomas Dunn English, the author of "Ben Bolt," who would seem to have tasted the fountain of eternal youth, and has gone to Congress in 1890 a jolly, thriving candidate.[Pg 223]

William Henry Herbert (Frank Forester) furnished a number of sporting sketches and other articles.

The circulation of Graham's Magazine when at the top of popularity was thirty-five or thirty-seven thousand. Mr. Graham sold out in 1848, but bought back the property in 1849. He finally parted with it in 1854.

Washington Irving alone, among the far-shining men of letters in the country, had no connection with Graham's. The Knickerbocker Magazine of New York found place for all that the facility of his pen could create, and guarded jealously the productions of their "crack writer."

Graham's Magazine began with volume eighteen, being the addition of the ten volumes of Atkinson's Casket, and the seven volumes of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. This first volume, 1841, contained Poe's "Descent into a Maelstrom" and his "Murders in the Rue Morgue."

The twenty-first volume, 1842, presents the name of Rufus W. Griswold upon the cover. The thirtieth volume was edited by Graham alone; the thirty-second by Graham and Rob[Pg 224]ert T. Conrad; the thirty-fifth by Graham, Joseph R. Chandler and Bayard Taylor; the fiftieth by Charles Godfrey Leland. On the first of January, 1859, Graham's Magazine became the American Monthly.

On March 15, 1838, John Greenleaf Whittier became editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman, published at 31 North Fifth Street. He was successor to Benjamin Lundy.

Graham's particular patent of nobility is the fact that he was the first of American publishers to pay fair prices to American authors.

The Lady's Amaranth was another venture of 1838, and was issued from No. 274 Market Street.

Adam Waldie was the publisher of the American Phrenological Journal and Miscellany, begun in November, 1838.

The Philadelphia Reporter was called into being in 1838, at No. 45 North Sixth Street, but no physic could prolong its sickly days, and it was discontinued in a few months' time.

The Christian Observer was a weekly Presbyterian journal commenced in 1838, and was for many years published from No. 134 Chestnut Street.[Pg 225]

The Baptist Record was a religious publication continued from 1838 to 1857.

The American Phrenological Journal was issued from No. 46 Carpenter Street from 1838 to 1841.

The Farmer's Cabinet, devoted to agriculture, was published from 1838 to 1850.

The Ladies' Companion was published by Orrin Rodgers for two years following 1838.

Rodgers also published the Medico-Chirurgical Review, about 1838. Its life, however, was short.

Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine.—It was George R. Graham who first suggested to his friend, Charles J. Peterson, then editor of the Saturday Evening Post, the publication of a fashion journal, patterned upon the popular French periodicals. Peterson's Magazine is now (1891) in its fiftieth year, and is still the best and most popular publication of its class. Its circulation has been as high as one hundred and sixty-five thousand. It is to-day a stock company, of which Mrs. C. J. Peterson is President. The same glittering row of writers who contributed to Graham's helped also in the making of Peterson's.[Pg 226]

Frances Hodgson Burnett published her first story, "Ethel's Sir Lancelot," in Peterson's for November, 1868. The story filled five pages. Mrs. Frank Leslie thinks that Mrs. Burnett's first literary work was for Frank Leslie in 1867 or 1868, and that she received her first check in payment for an article in Frank Leslie's Magazine. Mrs. Leslie says that Mrs. Burnett was then living in Knoxville with her brother who was a civil engineer.

Mr. Peterson died March 4, 1887. The following editorial note appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer of Monday, March 7, 1887:


"No man was ever more beloved by his friends—and among them were those who were great and good in all that constitutes intellectual greatness and moral goodness—than Charles J. Peterson, whose death occurred on Friday night last. He was one of that group of men who half a century ago began to make Philadelphia famous as the literary centre of the country. Liberally educated, trained to the law, he turned naturally to literature, to[Pg 227] which his brilliant mind, his ripe scholarship, his fervid imagination, his refined taste directed and impelled him. He survived nearly all of those who had but a brief while before or after him entered upon the world of letters in this city. At that time the best literary thought of the nation was expressed through the medium of Graham's Magazine, of which Mr. Peterson was the editor. Among his learned and brilliant associates were James Russell Lowell, Edgar Allan Poe, Dr. Rufus Griswold, Dr. Bird, Richard Penn Smith, Professor J. K. Mitchell, Judge Conrad, Morton McMichael and Louis A. Godey. Of all these men with whom Mr. Peterson worked and lived upon the most intimate terms of literary companionship Mr. Lowell now alone survives. Fifty years ago they were the names which gave to American literature distinction, and made Philadelphia the most prominent centre of genius and talent. Among his contemporaries Mr. Peterson held distinguished rank, and had he continued his literary career there can be no doubt that he would have continued to hold it even in the army of writers who in recent years have become so famous.[Pg 228]

"But Mr. Peterson put aside writing to become a publisher, in which he achieved remarkable and deserved success, and subsequently he wrote but infrequently, and then only brief brochures intended solely for private circulation among his friends, but which showed the fertility of his mind, his rare fancy, fine taste and ripe judgment.

"But while Mr. Peterson was commonly known as an author, editor and publisher, he was best known by those who enjoyed the happiness and privilege of his acquaintanceship, friendship or more affectionate relations, as a man of the noblest character, the tenderest sensibilities, the most refined and gentle qualities. Advancing age, a great and sorrowful loss, that of an only son by sudden death, induced him to withdraw from the society that had always welcomed his presence, but in his seclusion he did not grow misanthropical or morbid. His faith in God and men seemed to grow stronger and greater the nearer he approached the end, and in dying he was close to both. His nature was most generous and affectionate; and age, which so often dulls and hardens the finest characters,[Pg 229] left his brilliant and gentle to the end. He was a man of large benevolence, giving largely to those who in his wise judgment were worthy, and his bounty to authors and old associates who had struggled and fallen by the way was measured only by their needs. He was a good citizen and a good man; those who knew him best loved him best. We can speak of him only as he was in that part of his daily life with which all who happily knew him were familiar. His life within his own home, which was his own, and into which we would not intrude, was noblest of all, full of refinement, love and chivalric devotion. His loss will most be felt there, though there is no friend who shared his friendship upon whom it will not fall heavily and sorrowfully."

The Botanic Medical Reformer and Home Physician was published monthly by H. Hollemback and Co., and edited by Dr. Thomas Cooke. It was begun May 7, 1840.

The Philadelphia Repository (1840-1852) was begun by William Henry Gilder (1812-1864) father of Richard Watson Gilder, editor of the Century Magazine. The first William Henry, grandfather of Richard Watson, laid[Pg 230] the corner-stone of Girard College. William Henry the second continued to edit the Repository about one year; he subsequently published in Philadelphia the Literary Register, a quarterly review.

The Literalist was published from 1840 to 1842 at No. 67 South Second Street. James Rees edited the Dramatic Mirror and Literary Companion, August 14, 1841, at No. 15 North Sixth Street.

The Young People's Book (September, 1841-August, 1842) was published at No. 101 Chestnut Street, and was edited by John Frost, professor of history in the Central High School.

It was the Dollar Magazine, commenced January 25, 1843, that offered the prize in June, 1843, for the best story, and, as already related, Edgar Allan Poe entered the lists of fame, and drew the prize in the lottery with the "Gold-Bug." Hawthorne published here, in 1851, "The Unpardonable Sin." The publishers of the Dollar Newspaper were the publishers of the Ledger. When Mr. George W. Childs purchased the Ledger he bought also the Dollar Magazine, and changed its name to the Home Weekly and Household Newspaper.[Pg 231]

The Occident and American Jewish Advocate was published monthly by Isaac Leeser from No. 118 South Fourth Street, and was continued from 1843 to 1847.

The Legal Intelligencer began December 2, 1843, and, published weekly from that time to the present, is the oldest law journal in the United States. It was founded by Henry E. Wallace, and has been edited by J. Hubley Ashton, Dallas Sanders and Henry C. Titus.

Miss Eliza Leslie, sister to Charles Robert Leslie, after winning her first literary distinction with her story, "Mrs. Washington Potts," in Godey's Lady's Book, began, with the aid of T. S. Arthur, the publication in January, 1843, of Miss Leslie's Magazine. In the address of "The Publisher to the Public" the new venture is thus introduced and commended: "Miss Leslie's Magazine! There is something in the very name that foretokens a prosperous career. It is a name associated with the pleasantest passages of our current American literature—with the most brilliant triumphs of our most brilliant periodicals. Who does not remember 'Mrs. Washington Potts' and that exquisite tease, 'Old Aunt Quinby,' and[Pg 232] the 'Miss Vanlears,' and their pseudo-French gallant; and 'Mrs. Woodbridge,' and her economical mamma, and the thousand other creations of Miss Leslie's admirable pencil; and remembering these, who would not venture to predict that her magazine must be eminently successful? We know that it will be." The first number contained contributions by T. S. Arthur, Mrs. Anna Bache, N. P. Willis, Virginia Murray, John Bouvier, Mrs. L. H. Sigourney, Morton McMichael and Mrs. S. C. Hall.

Again, in February, the publisher advanced before the public with a modest little speech: "We foresaw that our magazine would create a sensation, but we had no idea that it would produce such a commotion as it has done. Everybody is in rapture with it, and the whole town has been crowding to get a peep at it—for, to say the truth, such has been the demand that we could not possibly keep pace with it.... We have already received a larger number of actual subscriptions than were ever before obtained for any periodical in the same period; and we do not hazard anything in predicting that before the expira[Pg 233]tion of our first year we shall have a greater circulation than any other monthly publication.... And then our contributors are all persons of genuine merit—men and women who write understandingly, and who know how to mingle entertainment with profit. No mawkish sentimentality—no diluted commonplaces—no pompous parade of swollen words—no tumid prosiness can find admission into our columns, for we shall avoid alike the hackneyed author whose reputation takes the place of ability, and the unfledged scribbler whose crudities are utter abominations. We care nothing for mere names, though a good deed is none the worse for coming from a good hand; but the small fry of literature—the lackadaisical geniuses—Heaven bless the mark—who, scum-like, float upon the surface, soiling what they touch and disturbing by their presence what, but for them, might be free from offence—we hold in utter abhorrence."

In Miss Leslie's Magazine for April, 1843, appeared the first specimen of lithotinting that had been attempted in America. It was the work of an artist named Richards, who[Pg 234] had seen several productions of Mr. Hullmandel, of London, who had been experimenting in this style.

The first illustrated comic paper on an original plan published in America was the John Donkey. The editors of the paper were G. G. (Gaslight) Foster and Thomas Dunn English. Foster was a reporter on the North American who had written sketches of New York, notably the account of the illuminated clock of the Seward House, and who had been brought to Philadelphia by Morton McMichael. English was born in Philadelphia, June 29, 1819, and in his seventeenth year was a contributor to Philadelphia newspapers. He was graduated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in 1839, and after studying law was admitted to the bar in 1842. His famous song, "Ben Bolt" first appeared in the New York Mirror in 1843.

The first illustrated comic paper in America, the Lantern, was started by John Brougham. "This paper," said Foster and English, "professes to be funny. Let us make a paper that professes to be stupid"—and the John Donkey was published monthly by G. B. Zieber at[Pg 235] Third and Chestnut Streets, and Zieber and Foster and English shared regularly in the profits. Nearly all the articles were written by English. The artist of the magazine was Felix O. C. Darley; Henry L. Stephens designed many of the prints, and Hinckley was the engraver of the magazine. Barnet Phillips, the author of the Struggle, a journalist born in Philadelphia, November 9, 1828, helped in the composition of the John Donkey. The circulation rose to twelve thousand, when Zieber failed, and Foster went out, and the circulation dropped to three thousand. The first volume was completed in June, 1848, and only a few numbers of the second volume were issued.

Metcalfe's Miscellany was begun in March, 1841, and edited by Dr. Thomas Dunn English. The contents were "entirely original," both stories and verse. The subscription price, one dollar per year, in advance. English was invited to edit the magazine by Metcalfe, who had been a printer in the office of Poulson's Daily Advertiser, and who knew that English wrote editorials for that paper. J. Ross Browne, author of the California Sketches, wrote Oriental sketches for Metcalfe's.[Pg 236]

The Nineteenth Century was begun in January, 1848. It was published by G. B. Zieber and Co., and edited by C. Chauncey Burr. The first volume was embellished with a steel engraving of Horace Greeley, and the second volume with an engraving of John Sartain. The motto upon the title-page was Goethe's famous "Light, more light still."

The first number was dedicated to Douglas Jerrold. "The Heart Broken," a story of Brockden Brown's life, death and burial, was contributed by George Lippard: "He became an—author! Yes, a miserable penster, a scribbler, a fellow who spills ink for bread! For a career like this he forsook the brilliant prospects of the bar. Yes, he set himself down in the prime of his young manhood to make his bread by his pen. At that time the cow with seven horns, or the calf with two heads and five legs, exhibited in some mountebank's show, was not half so rare a curiosity as—an American author!"

Among the contributors to the magazine were Mrs. Sigourney, T. B. Read, Bayard Taylor and Dr. Furness.

The Friends' Review was the creation of the[Pg 237] Orthodox Friends, in 1847. Its first editor was the mathematician, Enoch Lewis, who continued to direct it until his death, in 1856. A remarkable literary incident is associated with the issue of January, 1848. In that month Elizabeth Lloyd (Howell), widow of Robert Howell, of Philadelphia, contributed anonymously to the Review a poem, entitled "Milton's Prayer for Patience," in which the Miltonic manner was so deftly imitated, that even the very elect in criticism were deceived by it, and the poem was actually printed in the Oxford edition of Milton as Milton's own lament for his loss of sight.

Most of the Philadelphia magazines of the last fifty years have been enriched by the busy hand of Mr. John Sartain, and two of the most interesting of the city's periodicals were owned and edited by him. Mr. Sartain, who has won the highest place in the history of American engraving, was born in London, England, October 24, 1808. He came to America in 1830, and settled in Philadelphia at the persuasion of Thomas Sully. No living engraver has accomplished as much work as this untiring and skilful artist. But[Pg 238] it is not as an artist or an interpreter of art alone that he has won high honor; his literary labors, though less conspicuous and less splendid, are significant and interesting.

Campbell's Foreign Monthly Magazine began September 1, 1843. It was published monthly for one year by James M. Campbell, of 98 Chestnut Street, when it was bought outright by Mr. John Sartain, who changed the title to Campbell's Foreign Semi-Monthly, or Select Miscellany of European Literature and Art (September, 1843, to September, 1844). Sartain engraved a plate for each number, and compiled a laborious miscellany of the latest intelligence in art, science and letters. Many famous bits of literature appeared for the first time in America in this magazine. "The Bridge of Sighs," "The Song of the Shirt" (Vol. V, p. 211), "The Haunted House" (Hood), "The Pauper's Funeral" and "The Drop of Gin" (Vol. V, p. 138) were first published in these pages.

In 1848 Mr. Sartain purchased the Union Magazine of Literature and Art, edited in New York by Caroline Matilda Kirkland, the American Miss Mitford. The name of the[Pg 239] magazine was changed, and Sartain's Union Magazine appeared in January, 1849, edited by Mrs. Kirkland and Professor John S. Hart, of the Central High School. For a few months Dr. Reynell Coates acted as editor, but in the third year of its history Mr. Sartain assumed complete charge of his magazine. In 1852 it again returned to New York, when it was merged into the National Magazine.

Longfellow contributed frequently to the magazine. His translation of "The Blind Girl of Castèl Cuillè" appeared here in January, 1850. Poe contributed "The Bells" (November, 1849) and his "Poetic Principle" (October, 1850). Harriet Martineau wrote for Sartain's her "Year at Ambleside," which ran through the year 1850, and T. Buchanan Read, George Henry Boker and Frederika Bremer were frequently in the pages of the magazine.[Pg 240]


Since the final revision of these pages I have learned that Samuel Stearns was the editor of the second volume (1789) of the Philadelphia Magazine. He was a physician and astronomer, born in Bolton, Mass., in 1747, and died in Brattleborough, Vt., in 1819. He made the calculations for the first nautical almanac in this country, which he published in New York, December 20, 1782. Twenty-eight years of his life were spent upon a "Medical Dispensatory," which he left unfinished at his death.

Of one publication of the eighteenth century, the Philadelphia Nimrod (1798), I have made no mention. Although for a long time a hot questrist after it, I have not been fortunate enough to come by a copy, and of its history I am mainly ignorant.

My list of the medical, theological and scientific periodicals of the present century is by no means complete, but it may be serviceable for future correction and extension.[Pg 241]

There was a publication in Philadelphia, in 1811, entitled the Cynic, "by Growler Gruff, Esquire, aided by a Confederacy of Lettered Dogs." It wore the motto:

We'll snarl, and bite, and play the dog,
For dogs are honest.

It was published weekly from September 21 to December 12. The principal purpose of the little paper was to censure and abuse the theatrical managers of the city for abolishing the old theatre boxes.

A dramatic review which has a station in the file, and not i' the worst rank either, is the Whim, published by John Bioren, No. 88 Chestnut Street, at twenty cents a number. It was a small paper issued during the theatrical season and for sale at the Falstaff tavern. The editor, James Fennell, was born in London in 1766, and died in Philadelphia, June 14, 1816. He came to America in 1793 and made his first appearance in Philadelphia. He published "The Wheel of Truth," a comedy; "Picture of Paris;" "Linden and Clara," a comedy; and "Apology for My Life," Philadelphia, 1814. The first number of the Whim appeared Saturday, May 14, 1814. The ar[Pg 242]gument for the publication was founded upon the pre-eminence of Philadelphia among the cities of the nation, "The city of Philadelphia professedly and avowedly declaring itself the Athens of the United States" (p. 8). The journal ceased, I believe, with the tenth number, dated July 16, 1814.

It has been no part of my task to discover and describe the early magazines of the State, though that had been an attractive piece of literary exposition—to the expounder, at least. In conclusion, however, it may not be amiss to recite a few of the earlier examples of provincial editing.

The first magazine west of the mountains was the Huntingdon Literary Museum and Monthly Miscellany. It was edited by William Rudolph Smith, a grandson of Dr. William Smith, of the American Magazine (1757-8), and Moses Canan. It was printed by John McCahan and published in 1810. Its editors defined it to be "the first asylum for the varieties of literature that ever had been published west of the Susquehannah" (p. 576). The magazine ceased in December, 1810, with the complaint that "with the exception of[Pg 243] some pieces of poetry from several gentlemen in Philadelphia, and an essay on the early 'Poetick Writers,' the editors have received no original matter."

A still earlier periodical was the Gleaner, "a monthly magazine, containing original and selected essays in prose and verse," Stacy Potts, Jr., editor, Lancaster, 1808-9.

Carlisle possessed two religious magazines of early date—the Religious Instructor, "under ministers of the Presbyterian Church, Carlisle, 1810;" and the Magazine of the German Reformed Church, edited by Rev. L. Mayer, and continued by Rev. Daniel Young, begun in 1828, and making three volumes.

Another semi-religious periodical was the Literary and Evangelical Register, "containing scientifical, evangelical, statistical and political essays and facts, together with missionary intelligence and miscellaneous articles, interspersed with poetry." This magazine was edited by Eugenio Kincaid and published at Milton, Pennsylvania. It was begun in July, 1826, and continued until June, 1827.

The Village Museum, "conducted by an association of young men" (Vol. I, 1819-20), was[Pg 244] published by Gemmill and Lewis at York, Pennsylvania. It bore for its motto:

Along the cool-sequestered vale of life
We keep the noiseless tenor of our way.

The magazine is full of the neighborhood and gay with local color. It ceased in July, 1820.[Pg 245]



[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.

[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."

[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.

[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).

[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).

[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.

[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.

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

[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!"

[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.

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

[12] "Lengthy" is the American for long. It is frequently used by the classical writers of the New World.—(John Davis' "Travels in the United States," page 126.)

[13] The Powers of Genius, a poem in three parts, by John Blair Linn, A.M. Albion Press. Printed by J. Cundee, Ivy Lane, for F. Williams, Stationers' Court, and T. Hurst, Paternoster Row, 1804.

[14] There is no mention of Robert Rose in Duyckinck, or Allibone, in Appleton's Encyclopædia of American Biography, or in the admirable Stedman-Hutchinson Library of American Literature.[Pg 120]

[15] Abercrombie's prospectus for a new edition of Johnson's Works—"to be comprised in fourteen octavo volumes, with new designs and plates. Phila.: 1811"—is contained in the Port Folio, Vol. VI, p. 98.

[16] The name of the flappers, employed by the inhabitants of Laputa to arouse them from their scientific reveries.

[17] Christ Church.

[18] Dr. Benjamin Say's house at Gray's Ferry.

[19] Sully's painting of Cooke as Richard III in the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts.

[20] It is not a little remarkable that the list of Washington Irving's contributions to the Analectic Magazine should have come to me in an Athenian newspaper.

Τὡ 1813 Ἑρβινγ ἁνελαβε την σὑνταξιν του περιοδικου Ανακλἑτικ ,ικδιδομἑνου κατα μηνα ἑν Φιλαδελφεἱα. Ἑν αὑνω ἑγραψϛ πολλας Βιογραφἱας τὡν περιφανεστἑρων ανδρ ν, ν αι κυριὡτεραι εἱσἱν αἱ των Ἁμερικανον Πωρτερ και Μπὁρρωϛ καἱ των Ἁγγλων ποιητων Βὑρωνος, Μουαρ και Καμπἑλλου."--ΕΒΛΟΜΑΣ December 1, 1890.

[21] "I observe," said a gentleman at the Athenæum, "that the form of the Analectic Magazine was changed on the first of this month." "No," replied his friend, "it has been weakly for some time past."[Pg 181]