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YOUNG MEN'S ASSOCIATION FOR THE PROMOTION OF LITERATURE AND SCIENCE,

WITH THE CONFIDENT HOPE THAT THE HIGHEST INTERESTS OF OUR

YOUNG MEN

Are destined to be extensively promoted through their exertions,

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PREFACE.

OUR interest in the objects which this Periodical is intended to subserve, will not permit us thus to conclude the present volume, without a few words of explanation and comment. Indeed, we feel deeply that an explanation is due to the numerous highly. respectable individuals who have favored us with their subscriptions, on account of the great irregularity with which the several numbers of the volume have been issued.

When the volume was commented, we thought we saw our way clear, having the promise of extensi✨sistance from a private Literary Association, to accomplish our object without devoting any other time to it than what might be obtained aside from that which would be necessarily devoted to our printing department. It proved to be the case, however, that the Association, so far from meeting the expectation of many of its members in its results, soon dwindled away into a mere nominal existence. On account of this circumstance, together with an increase of business which we did not anticipate, it became absolutely necessary to issue the work till the close of the volume in the irregular manner in which it has appeared. We earnestly hope that those who have not been acquainted with our situation, will consider this a sufficient explanation.

The position at present occupied by the Young Men of our community, is in many respects a novel one. In the cause of self-improvement, they have assumed a stand at once decided and honorable. The spirit of culture abroad among them has, thus far, developed itself chiefly in a social form. And, notwithstanding there may be some plausible objections urged against such a principle of action carried so far as it has been of late, it cannot be doubted that, as a popular means, it is the best, if not the only impulse capable of exciting and maintaining, among the mass of young men, a due regard for intellectual and moral elevation.

It is obvious, however, that such a state of things demands peculiar and modifying influences. A Periodical conscientiously devoted to the purpose, is eminently fitted to exert influences of this nature. Its usefulness would be still more extensive, since it would serve as a stimulous to carry forward and a record to preserve the best results of other improving agencies. The beau ideal of such a work has long been familiar and interesting to us, and we yet hope to see it bodied forth. As the testimony of personal experience, we can safely affirm, that an enterprise of this nature carried on among us, would exhibit a degree of talent, utility and interest, of the existence of which the community are as yet quite unaware.

THE ESSAYIST has not, indeed, from circumstances already alluded to, comprehended the objects or met the views, to promote which it was originated. Still, regarding it as a specimen of what may be done in a similar way, we find cause for satisfaction, and feel that it has not lived in vain through a regularly progressive infancy, and an irregular youth, if these are but the precursors of a vigorous manhood.

In justice to our contributors we must say, that among the ESSAYS contained in this work, are several of a superior order, both as regards matter and style, and we believe that the Prose, taken as a whole, will not suffer by comparison with that of any periodical of equal compass we are acquainted with. It displays a comparatively small proportion of light magazine writing, but, on the other hand, presents much which is worth embodying in a more durable shape. It has been a principle with us to insert no ordinary poetry, and one to which, with very few exceptions, we have strictly adhered.

Our time and attention being at present so much engrossed by other objects, we have concluded not to publish another volume of this work. It is our intention, however, so soon as circumstances shall be favorable, to make arrangements, by paying the highest price for articles accepted, for the prompt publication of a Magazine devoted to the interests of young men, which shall rank among the first periodicals of the day.

We present our sincere thanks to all those who have befriended us, trusting we shall hereafter prove to be more worthy of their favorable regafd.

THE ESSAYIST.

VOL. I.

SEPTEMBER, 1831.

No. I.

Entroduction.

WE present our friends and the public with the first number of a work which has been heretofore proposed, in the firm confidence of receiving the encouragement which our humble efforts to please and profit them may deserve. Possibly 'we say it who shouldn't say it,' but our opinion is, at all events, that the course we have marked out for ourselves, will be found neither without interest nor without use to those ho may befriend us. And notwithstanding the vast dignity of the move we have made from our chrysalis state in the Essayist, and the huge importance which attaches to our editorial character in consequence thereof, we shall still be gratified to meet and to greet our acquaintances on all proper and convenient occasions. It will be well to save some trouble, however, by pointing out, the subjects we wish our writers to treat upon, and the manner of treatment we wish them to adopt.

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We do not intend that our magazine shall contain any very long or very elaborate articles. We think it better in most cases to say too little than too much and the remark is particularly applicable to a work like ours. The fact is, that voluminous papers are not very generally read in this country, however lucid or learned, or sound or sensible they may be. We are too busy, hasty, practical a people-those of us especially so, who belong to the operative class, and are obliged to make the most and best use, at least the most expeditious use, of all the little leisure we can get.

In all other circumstances as in this, we are desirous of consulting the particular situation, taste and necessities of those

VOL. I....NO. I.

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whom we must mainly depend upon for support. The matter of the magazine, then, must be practical; and in this view we wish to comprise criticisms and strictures upon the living manners, fashions, literature, prevalent opinions and general tone of the age. Some parts of the Spectator-a work which we are antiquated enough both to admire and recommend-occur to us as coming near enough to a model of what we wish for in this department. Of course, these criticisms and strictures must be founded mostly upon actual observation, manly in their moral aim, and gentlemanly in their style. If they are not all these, they certainly will not be profitable, and very probably will not be even agreeable or admissible. With these provisos, the more spirit and nerve in them the better. Truth and sense and argument, we are sorry to say it, are not alone sufficient to reform the world, and scarcely to inform it. If they were, sermons would do more good, and novels less damage.

As to fictitious composition, we have no great respect for the common run of love-tales, we frankly confess. Nor do we intend to admit, or expect to receive any, which are not made subservient to some higher end than caricaturing human life and human nature under the everlasting mottos of heroes and heroines, bright eyes and poison, love, murder and witchcraft. At the same time, we have no doubt that fiction may sometimes be advantageously made the medium of sound observations upon men and manners, and especially of wholesome satire. Most of these remarks will apply as precisely to poetry. The mere gingle of rhyme is but a poor substitute for sense, spirit or principle. Wherever it is an accompaniment, we shall receive it with pleasure; and of course, in that case the more ornamental the better. The diamond itself, without polish, is but a trifle more precious than granite.

We shall be glad to receive well written Biographical notices, and shall make it a point to prepare or provide them frequently. There are names enough of our own countrymen, to suggest abundant matter both of entertainment and instruction, in this line of literature. Occasional essays upon Composition, with an especial reference to the benefit of young writers; notices of all new works in which we believe that our readers are or should be interested; in a word, any matter which is brief, decorous, practical and spirited, will come within our professed plan.

As to our own principles, we are not of that class who think it an indication of wisdom, to say that they have no settled views.

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