Category Archives: 1820’s

Item of the Day: Memoirs of the Public and Private Life of John Howard (1823)

Full Title: Memoirs of the Public and Private Life of John Howard, the Philanthropist; Compiled from his own Diary, in the Possession of his Family, his Confidential Letters; the Communications of his Surviving Relatives and Friends; and Other Authentic Sources of Information. By James Baldwin Brown, Esq. LL.D of the Inner Temple, Barrister at Law. Second Edition. London: Printed for Thomas and George Underwood, 32, Fleet Street; Thomas Tegg, Cheapside; and F. Westley, Stationers’ Court, 1823.



IT has been a source of deep regret to the bipgrapher, that the events of the earlier years of men, distinguished for the splendour of their talents, or the greatness of their actions, have often been involved in doubt and obscurity. It may, however, reasonably be questioned, whether, could the blank in the page of their history be accurately filled up, the information obtained would not rather tend to gratify our curiosity, than be productive of any practical good? For, after all that can be said, on the influence of education, and the force of early habit, in forming the future character of the man — there are springs of human action — there are burst of energy in the human mind — which set at defiance all the cool, calculating rules that philosophy has devised for estimating the regular gradation of causes, in producing one grand and unlooked-for effect. Hence, it has not unfrequently happened, that the dull or the idle school-boy, the thoughtless and dissipated young man, and even the listless saunterer of maturer life, when roused to action by some sudden and unexpected impetus, have called forth latent talents to adorn the period in which they lived, and to please, and to instruct, in ages then unborn. And might we not even point to those men of yet superior mould, whose splendid achievements, or whose public virtues, have excited the admiration of the world, and ask, whether the most exact detail of every occurrence of their earlier years, would afford us equal instruction or delight, with that which we should derive from a similar history of many of their associates, the vices, the follies, or the utter uselessness of whose manhood, belied the opening virtues, and blasted the fairest promise of their youth? Such at least, there is every reason to conclude, was the case with one of the brightest characters that ever attracted the admiration, or merited the esteem of his fellow men. For so noiseless and so even was the tenor of his way, until he had reached, or even passed the meridian of his days, that of the man, who, by the common consent of the civilized world, is distinguished by an appelation more honourable than sage ever assumed, or hero ever won, — neither the place, nor the year of his birth, can now be acertained with any certainty.

John Howard, empahtically and deservedly styled The Philanthopist, appears, from the best information that can be obtained upon the subject, to have been born about the year 1727, at Clapton, in the parish of Hackney, a populous village immediately adjoining to London. To this place his father seems to have removed, but a short time before, from a somewhat more distant retreat at Enfield, to which he had retired from the pursuit of his business, as an upholsterer and carpet warehouseman, in Long Lane, Smithfield, where he had acquired a considerable fortune. The house in which he then resided, and where his son was born, is described, in a sketch of that son’s life written some years since, as being his own freehold, “a venerable mansion, situated on the western side of the street, but now much decayed, and lately disfigured.” Soon after his birth he was sent to Cardington, near Beford, to be nursed by a cottager residing there upon a small farm, which was all the property his father ever possessed in that village, afterwards so celebrated as the favourite residence of the son, when, by large purchases, he had considerably increased this little patrimonial inheritance, in a county, which from the tradition, now reduced to a certainty, of his having spent some of the earliest, as he undoubtedly passed some of the happiest years of his life there, has, though very erroneously, been supposed to have been the place of his birth. . . .



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Filed under 1820's, Biography, Culture, Eighteenth century, England, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Reform

Item of the Day: Walpole on Politics, Satire, etc. (1820)

Full Title: Private Correspondence of Horace Walpole, Earl or Orford. Now First Collected. In Four Volumes. Vol. III. 1735-1756. London: Printed for Rodwell and Martin, Bond-Street; and Colburn and Co., Conduit-Street. 1820.

To George Montagu, Esq.

Strawberry-hill, May 26, 1765.

If one of the one hundred events, and one hundredth part of the one hundred thousand reports that have passed, and been spread in this last month, have reached your solitary hill, you must be surprised at not a single word from me during that period. The number of events is my excuse. Though mine is the pen of a pretty ready writer, I could not keep pace with the revolutions of each day, each hour. I had not time to begin the narrative, much less to finish it: no, I must keep the whole to tell you at once, or to read it to you, for I think I shall write the history, which, let me tell you, Buckinger himself could not have crowded into a nut-shell.

For your part, you will be content, though the house of Montagu has not made an advantageous figure in this political warfare, yet it is crowded with victory, and laurels you know compensate for every scar. You went out of town fightened out of your sense at the giant prerogative: alack! he is grown so tame, that, as you said of our earthquake, you may stroke him. The regency bill, not quite calculated with that intent, has produced four regents, king Bedford, king Grenville, king Halifax, and king Twitcher. Lord Holland is turned out, and Stuart Mackenzie. Charles Townshend is paymaster, and lord Bute annihilated; and all done without the help of the Whigs. You love to guess what one is going to say; now you may guess what I am going to say. Your newspapers perhaps have given you a long roll of opposition names, who were coming into place, and so all the world thought; but the wind turned quite round, and left them on the strand, and just where they were, except in opposition, which is declared to be at an end. Enigma as all this may sound, the key would open it all to you in the twinkling of an administration. In the mean time, we have family reconciliations without end. The king and the duke of Cumberland have been shut up together day and night; lord Temple and George Grenville are sworn brothers; well, but Mr. Pitt, where is he? In the clouds, for aught I know, in one of which he may descend like the kings of Bantam, and take quiet possession of the throne again.

As a thorough-bass to these squabbles, we have had an insurrection, and a siege. Bedford-house, though garrisoned by horse and foot-guards, was on the point of being taken. The besieged are in their turn triumphant; and if any body now was to publish Droit le Duc, I do not think the House of Lords would censure his book. Indeed the regents may do what they please, and turn out whom they will; I see nothing to resist them. Lord Bute will not easily be tempted to rebel when the last struggle has cost him so dear.

I am sorry for some of my friends, to whom I wished more fortune. For myself, I am but just where I should have been, had they succeeded. It is satisfaction enough to me to be delivered from politics, which you know I have long detested. When I was tranquil enough to write Castles of Otranto, in the midst of grave nonsense, and foolish councils of war, I am not likely to distub myself with the diversions of the court, where I am connected with a soul. As it has proved to be the interest of the present ministers, however contrary to their former views, to lower the crown, they will scarce be in a hurry to aggrandize it again. That will satisfy you, and I you know am satisfied if I have any thing to laugh at–’tis a lucky age for a man who is so easily contented.    

The poor Chute has had another relapse, but is out of bed again. I am thinking of my journey to France, but as Mr. Conway has a mind I should wait for him, I don’t know whether it will take place before the autumn. I will by no means release you from your promise of making me a visit here before I go.

Poor Mr. Bentley, I doubt, is under the greatest difficulties of any body. His poem, which he modestly delivered over to immortality, must be cut and turned, for lord Halifax and lord Bute cannot sit in the same canto together; then the horns and hoofs, that he had bestowed on lord Temple, must be pared away, and beams of glory distributed over his whole person. ‘Tis a dangerous thing to write political panegyrics or satires; it draws the unhappy bard into a thousand scrapes and contradictions. The edifices and inscriptions at Stowe should be a lesson not to erect monuments to the living. I will not place an ossuarium in my garden for my cat, before her bones are ready to be placed in it. I hold contradictions to be as essential to the definition of a political man, as any visible or featherless quality can be to man in general. Good night.

Yours ever.

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Filed under 1760's, 1820's, Letters, Political Commentary, Posted by Matthew Williams, Satire

Item of the Day: The Cambridge and Saybrook Platforms of Church Discipline (1829)

Full Title:  The Cambridge and Saybrook Platforms of Church Discipline, With the Confession of Faith of the New England Churches, Adopted in 1680; and the Heads of Agreement Assented to by the Presbyterians and Congregationalists in England in 1690.  Illustrated with Historical Prefaces and Notes.  Boston: T.R. Marvin, Printer, 32 Congress Street. 1829. 


.  . . On the 15th of august, 1648, the synod again met according to adjournment.  At the opening of the session, the Rev. Mr. Allen, first minister of Dedham, preached.  “The synod now went on comfortably,” and completed the work assigned them “in less than fourteen days.”  As to a confession of faith, instead of framing one themselves, “they wholly agreed with that which had then lately been set forth” by the assembly of divines at Westminster.  The Platform of Discipline they drew, says Gov. Winthrop, “according to the general practice of the churches.” . . .

From writers who have flourished since the synod of 1680, numerous quotations might be given, expressing their high estimation of the Cambridge Platform.  Near the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Rev. Mr. Wise of Ipswich, published a work, the professed object of which was to vindicate the Platform, and urge its observance.  the Rev. Cotton Mather, speaking of the Platform, says, “the churches have cheerfully embraced it, practiced it, and been prospered in it, unto this very day.”

The following quotation is from a joint letter of Rev. John Higginson and Rev. William Hubbard, written by them at a very advanced period of life, in which they tell us that the had seen “the persons who from four famous colonies assembled in the synod, that agreed on our Platform of church Discipline.”

“We do earnestly testify,” says they, “that if any who are given to change do rise up to unhinge the well established churches in this land, it will be the duty and interest of the churches to examine whether the men of this trespass are more prayerful, more watchful, more zealous, more patient, more heavenly, more universally conscientious, and harder students, and better scholars, and more willing to be informed and advised than those great and good men who left unto the churches what they now enjoy; if they be not so, it will be wisdom for the children to forbear pulling down with their own hands the houses of God, which were built by their wiser fathers, until they have better satisfaction.

“It is not yet forgot by some surviving ear-witnesses of it, that when the synod had finished the Platform of Church discipline, they did with an extraordinary elevation of soul and voice then sing together the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, in the fifteenth chapter of the Revelation:  God forbid, that in the loss of that holy discipline, there should be hereafter occasion to sing about breaking down the carved work of the houses of God with axes and hammers; or take up the eightieth Psalm for our lamentations. . . .

It is too observable that the power of godliness is exceedingly decaying and expiring in this country; and one great point in the decay of the power of godliness, is men’s growing weary of the congregational church discipline, which is evidently calculated to maintain it.

If that church discipline were more thoroughly and vigorously kept alive, even by those that make profession of it, it might be hoped, that the Lord would sanctify it, for the revival of all godliness in the land.

But if this church discipline come to be given up, we think it our duty to leave this warning with the churches, that probably the apostacy will not stop there; for the same spirit that will dispose the next generation to change their way in one point, will dispose them to more and more changes (even in doctrine and worship as well as in manners) until it may be feared, the candlestick will quickly be removed out of its place.”

The Cambridge Platform never has been superseded or formally annulled in Massachusetts; though by the gradual introduction of laws and usages, in a period of almost two hundred years, several of its requisitions have come to be no longer observed.  Still, in many of its parts, it is of distinguished excellence and of high authority; it is an instrument to which reference is often made; and as a monument of the ecclesiastical order of our venerated fathers, it is exceedingly valuable.

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Filed under 1650's, 1810's, 1820's, Colonial America, Posted by Rebecca Dresser, Religion

Item of the Day: The New-York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette (1829)

Full Title:  The New-York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette. Volume VII. Number 13. New-York, Saturday, October 3, 1829.   Edited by George P. Morris, Volume VII. New York.  Printed and Published at the corner of Nassau and Ann Streets.

Eighteenth-Century Heart Pendant

Happy Valentine’s Day




Why am I doom’d the pangs to prove

Of absence, from my Anna far?

What bars me from those lips of love

whose colour rivals cinnabar?



A rival’s sin, a bar.



Is she still faithful to the vow

She made at parting, breathed in sighs?

Loves she with equal fervour now?

Would I her heart could analyze!



Anna lies.



I’d breathe my thoughts in amorous lay,

But, ah! I know not what to write;

For how can words those charms portray

Which might inflame an anchorite?



In flame and anger write.



I’ve praised her oft in tuneful feet,

Iambic, dactyl, and the rest;

but she, with smile and accent sweet,

Approved the lively anapest.



You proved the lively Ann a pest.



O will she soon be join’d to me,Whom she has fixed affection’s eye on,

And I, like an engrafted tree,

Nourish the young and tender scion?



Young and tender, sigh on.



O did she watch the rising moon,

Like me, with love and hope elated,

While listening to the cricket’s tune,

Last Sunday evening animated?



Last Sunday evening Anna mated.



I’ve brought a ring with sparkling gem,

Emblem of love that ne’er can falter,

To grace her slender finger, when

Her vows are plighted by the altar.



Her vows are plighted — buy the halter!


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Filed under 1820's, Poetry, Posted by Rebecca Dresser, Women

Item of the Day: Richard Randall’s Travel Diary. (1822-1823)

Full Title: Manuscript travel diary of Richard Randall, leaving New York in 1822 on a voyage bound for Gibraltar, Malta and Sicily. 1822-1823.

[Richard Randall’s description of the Jews, Moors and Spaniards in Gibraltar, transcribed from his manuscript travel diary in which he recorded his impressions of his voyage to the Mediterranean in 1822 and 1823.]

As our stay was calculated to be short at this place [Gibraltar], our time was apportioned to viewing the different curiosities of the place – The first thing which strikes the attention is the great variety of Inhabitants which are composed of almost every nation and kindred under Heaven & speaking all the different languages which were distributed at the tower of Babel, and many of which were never made or thought of – The chattering in the Streets, to an American, formed a complete confusion & jargon & nothing is to be understood except occasionally the voice of an Englishman, or of some foreigner who has learned sufficient of the language to make himself intelligible — Among the most busy and industrious of this medley of humanity, are the Barbary Jews, who are Merchants, Pedlars [sic], Porters and of every other occupation by which they can obtain “the monies” – Their dress consists of a kind of loose coat, many of them having the appearance of having formerly belonged to some more respectable person, being richly trimd. With silk cord, &c. and after being sufficiently worn out, disposed of to these shavers of humanity—around these they wear a sash, rich according to the circumstances of the wearer; on their heads a small black cap about the size of a fruit-bowl, their heads and some of their beards being closely shaved, their small clothes, or as they may more properly be call’d their large clothes are after the Turkish fashion, their stockings of the most durable kind and such as nature make them, and their slippers such as we use after taking off our Boots – Such is the dress of the Jews or at least of the most of them, and to complete the whole, I never saw one who had on a clean dress, —The Moors, particularly those who are wealthy, dress very splendidly, and appear more like human beings – Their beards are suffered to grow to a great length, but they are kept very nice, and are very nice in their general appearance – But the most miserable human beings are the poor Spaniards who dress in real Don Quixote style, with their round hats Etc. which place them in appearance at least two centuries behind civilized humanity – They are, out of Gibraltar, the most miserable, wretched, indigent, and degraded of Beings; a lot of Beggars, who are scarcely entitled to the name of human, as they had rather beg and live in dirt, & filth, than to obtain a living by any superior exertions. – This however is only applicable to the common people & the wealthy among them, appearing with as much importance as their inferior do with servility – The Spanish Ladies are remarkable for the dignity of their deportments particularly where they make their appearance in the streets – Their dress, which like the snails, is all that many of them can boast of, is rich, being either crepe or silk, reaching down to an equal distance between the garters & slippers, in order to show off their pretty ancles [sic] and silk stockings – I have not seen one of them with a hat on of any description; but instead thereof, a lace veil thrown over their heads, which adds to the richness of their dress – and let the weather be cold or warm, wet or dry, they have always a fan in their hands; many little evolutions of which, serve as signals to convey their ideas to those who are sufficiently acquainted with the gallantry of the Spanish Ladies to understand them –

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Filed under 1820's, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel

Item of the Day: Richard Randall’s Travel Diary (1822-1823)

Full Title: Manuscript travel diary of Richard Randall, leaving New York in 1822 on a voyage bound for Gibraltar, Malta and Sicily. 1822-1823.

[The following is an excerpt taken from the beginning of Richard Randall’s 87 page handwritten travel diary. Randall left the port at New York in December of 1822 to embark on a voyage to Gibraltar, Malta, Sicily and the Mediterranean coast. Almost immediately after leaving the harbor in New York, the ship encountered rough seas. The diary also contains two hand drawn sketches of Gibraltar and one of Turkey. It begins with a hand drawn and hand colored map of the Mediterranean.]

New York Sunday eveg. 8th Dec 1822Went on board the Brig Shephardess Capt. Peter Stevens of New Haven, bound an a voyage to Gibraltar, and the Islands of Malta & Sicily, in the Mediteranean [sic] Our passengers consisted of the Rev. William Goodell, and Isaac Bird & their Ladies, Mr. Andrew Meliss of New York, Mr. Paul Paulding of Germany, Mr. Balch of Vermont, Mr. Hotchkiss of New Haven, , owner & super cargo of the Sherphardess & myself – The missionaries were attended on board by their friends at New York accompanied by Mr. Everett of Boston, Secretary to the board of foreign missions – After singing and a prayer by the Secretary, an affectionate and affecting leave was taken of the missionary family, who were never again expected to revisit their native shore –

The Ladies were very composed, appearing to have prepared their feelings for the occasion, and nothing more was discoverable in their appearance than if they were returning to their friends in New England – Our pilot came on board early on Monday morning the 9th and we proceeded from the wharf with a gentle breeze which wafted us gradually down the bay and harbor, and brought us to Sandy Hook at 12 o’clock, noon at which time our pilot left us – A fresh breeze now springing up which gradually increased to a gale, soon drove us from the sight of our native land, excepting the highlands of Never-Sink in the State of New-Jersey which was visible during the remainder of the afternoon, and which caused many a “lingering look behind” – The sea now becoming very rough our passengers began to be visited with some unpleasant sensations, which deprived them of their supper, and laid them away in no very dignified retirements—we were occasionally however saluted with an ‘oh dear,’ echoed from our German (who was not troubled with sickness ‘what can the matter be’, and some other very significant sounds, and expressions, which served to show that all were, at least, alive – As for myself I took possession of my birth [sic], when I lay like a rat who has effected a lodgment in a blue nosed New England chaise, now and then peeping out to see the poor dear creatures who had crawled out, and who had scarce sufficient strength and spirits to support themselves – This state of things however was not lengthy, as the unremitted attentions of Mr. Hotchkiss through the week, restored most of us to a situation, in which we were able to make our appearance on the quarter deck in tolerable condition – The musical disposition of our German passenger, served in a great measure, to dissipate the gloom which otherwise would have prevailed, for not being sick himself – the mischievous genius had only to torment and laugh at those who were – Another misfortune now attended us – After having been deprived of eating for a week, by sickness, the tempestuous ocean now pushed our little Brig about in such a manner, that it required all our exertion to support ourselves in our seats in the cabin, without attending to the delicacies of the table – as necessity is the mother of invention—we gave up the cabin and retired to the quarter deck, where our worthy and attentive friend Mr. Hotchkiss like an old hen surrounded by a family of chickens administered to us our tea & coffee etc., which we managed to dispose of something in the Turkish style, by seating ourselves, not squat on cushions, but on the more substantial deck of our vessel, in which situation, with a sail for a table cloth and our seats for a table—we made several very ludicrous and very comfortable meals. –

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Filed under 1820's, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel

Item of the Day: Memoirs of A Captivity Among Indians of North America (1824)

Full Title:

Memoirs of A Captivity Among Indians of North America, From Childhood to the Age of Nineteen: With Anecdotes Descriptive of Their Manners and Customs, To Which Is Added, Some Account of the Soil, Climate, and Vegetable Productions of the Territory westward of the Mississippi.

Written by John Dunn Hunter. Printed in London by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1824.

From “Memoirs.”

Of the place of my nativity, and the circumstances of my parentage, I am altogether ignorant, and fear that I shall for ever remain so; as I have assiduously explored every avenue through which I could expect information, both while I was with the Indians, and since my residence in the United States. . . . This part of my history, together with most of the incidents of early life, which generally, in works of this kind, form an interesting portion, will, in all probability, for ever remain unknown. Nevertheless, some features in this period were so strongly marked as to leave indelible impressions on my mind; while others not so strikingly characterized, like the imperfect recollection of a dream, cross my memory, but fix on it no decided and satisfactory images.

. . .

I was taken prisoner at a very early period of my life by a party of Indians, who from the train of events that followed, belonged to, or were in alliance with, the Kickapoo nation. At the same time, two other white children, a boy and a small girl, were also made prisoners.

I have too imperfect a recollection of the circumstances connected with this capture, to attempt any account of them; although I have reflected on the subject so often, and with so great interest and intensity, under the knowledge I have since acquired of the Indian modes of warfare, as nearly to establish at times a conviction of my mind of a perfect remembrance. There are moments when I see the rush of the Indians, hear their war-whoops and terrific yells, and witness the massacre of my parents and connections, the pillage of their property, and the incendious destruction of their dwellings. But the first incident that made an actual and prominent impression on me happened while the party were somewhere encamped, no doubt shortly after my capture; it was as follows: The little girl whom I before mentioned, beginning to cry, was immediately despatched with the blow of a tomahawk from one of the warriors: the circumstance terrified me very much, more particularly as it was followed with very menacing motions of the same instrument, directed to me, and then pointed to the slaughtered infant, by the same warrior, which I then interpreted to signify, that if I cried, he would serve me in the same manner. From this period till the apprehension of personal danger had subsided, I recollect many of the occurrences which took place.

Soon after the above transaction, we proceeded on our journey till a party separated from the main body, and took the boy before noticed with them, which was the last I saw or heard of him.

The Indians generally separate their white prisoners. The practice no doubt originated more with a view to hasten a reconciliation to their change, and a nationalization of feelings, than with any intention of wanton cruelty.

The Indians who retained me continued their march, chiefly through woods, for several successive days; a circumstance well remembered by me, because the fear of being left behind called forth all my efforts to keep up with them, whenever from fatigue or any other cause they compelled me to walk, which was often the case.

After a long march and much fatigue, we reached their camps, which were situated on a considerable stream of water; but in what particular part of section of country, I am wholly unable to say. Just before our arrival, however, we were met by a great number of old men, women, and children, among whom was a white woman attired in the Indian costume: she was the wife of a principal chief; was a great friend to the Indians; and joined with, an I believe surpassed, the squaws in the extravagancy of her exultations and rejoicings on account of the safe return of the warriors with prisoners, scalps, and other trophies obtained from their vanquished foes.

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Filed under 1820's, American Indians, Posted by Rebecca Dresser, Travel

Item of the Day: Webster’s Dictionary (1828)

Full Title:

An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. The origin, affinities and primary signification of English words, as far as they have been ascertained. II. The genuine orthography and pronunciation of words, according to general usage, or to just principles of analogy. III. Accurate and discriminating definitions, with numerous authorities and illustrations. To which are Prefixed, An Introductory Dissertation on the Origin, History, and Connection of the Languages of Western Asia and of Europe, and a Concise Grammar of the English Lanugage, By Noah Webster, LL.D. In Two Volumes. “He that wishes to be counted among the benefactors of posterity, must add, by his own toil, to the acquisitions of his ancestors.”—Rambler.

By Noah Webster, LL.D. In two volumes. Published in New York by S. Converse. Printed by Hezekiah Howe, New Haven, 1828.

From the Introduction:

The United States commenced their existence under circumstances wholly novel and unexampled in the history of nations. They commenced with civilization, with learning, with science, with constitutions of free government, and with that best gift of God to man, the christian religion. Their population is now equal to that of England; in arts and sciences, our citizens are very little behind the most enlightened people on earth; in some respects, they have no superiors; and our language, within two centuries, will be spoken by more people in this country, than any other language on earth, except the Chinese, in Asia, and even that may not be an exception.

It has been my aim in this work, now offered to my fellow citizens, to ascertain the true principles of the language, in its orthography and structure; to purify it from some palpable errors, and reduce the number of its anomalies, thus giving it more regularity and consistency in its forms, both of words and sentences; and in this manner, to furnish a standard of our vernacular tongue, which we shall not be ashamed to bequeath to three hundred millions of people, who are destined to occupy, and I hope, to adorn the vast territory within our jurisdiction.

If the language can be improved in regularity, so as to be more easily acquired by our own citizens, and by foreigners, and thus be rendered a more useful instrument for the propagation of science, arts, civilization and christianity; if it can be rescued from the mischievous influence of sciolists and that dabbling spirit of innovation which is perpetually disturbing its settled usages and filling it with anomalies; if, in short, our vernacular language can be redeemed from corruptions, and our philology and literature from degradation; it would be a source of great satisfaction to me to be one among the instruments of promoting these valuable objects. If this object cannot be effected, and my wishes and hopes are to be frustrated, my labor will be lost, and this work must sink into oblivion.

This Dictionary, like all others of the kind, must be left, in some degree, imperfect; for what individual is competent to trace their source, and define in all their various applications, popular, scientific and technical, sixty or seventy thousand words! It satisfies my mind that I have done all that my health, my talents and my pecuniary means would enable me to accomplish. I present it to my fellow citizens, not with frigid indifference, but with my ardent wishes for their improvement and their happiness; and for the continued increase of the wealth, the learning, the moral and religious elevation of character, and the glory of my country.

To that great and benevolent Being, who, during the preparation of this work, has sustained a feeble constitution, amidst obstacles and toils, disappointments, infirmities and depression; who has twice borne me and my manuscripts in safety across the Atlantic, and given me strength and resolution to bring the work to a close, I would present the tribute of my most grateful acknowledgments. And if the talent which he entrusted to my care, has not been put to the most profitable use in his service, I hope it has not been “kept laid up in a napkin,” and that any misapplication of it may be graciously forgiven.

New Haven, 1828. N. WEBSTER.

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Filed under 1820's, Dictionaries, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt

Items of the Day: Legal Documents

(Click on statement to enlarge.)An Albany court statement, 1766.

(Click on warrant to enlarge.)A New-York warrant, 1784.

(Click on passport to enlarge.)

This passport was written for Richard Randall at the Consulate of the U.S. of America at Malta, and signed by Consul Joseph Pulis in 1823.

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Filed under 1760's, 1780's, 1820's, Legal, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Travel