Category Archives: Magazine

Item of the Day: Miscellany, for The Port Folio (9 July 1803)

Found In: The Port folio. Enlarged. By Oliver Oldschool. Vol. III., No. 28. Philadelphia, Saturday, July 9, 1803. [p. 219]






As you have, for some time, assumed the office, and rather imperiously exercised the functions of perpetual dictator to the good people of Pennsylvania, it may be proper to indicate to an attention so heedless as yours, that there are certain elements, in which you should be tolerably skilled, before you establish yourself over us, as our political schoolmaster.

As from a long and assiduous survey of your works, I have frequently found you not a little imperfect in orthography, a total stranger to grammar, and wholly averse to all purity of diction and elegance of stile. I strongly recommend to you the perusal of certain little volumes, written for the benefit of children and other Tyros, by Mr. Thomas Dilworth, a philosopher of the sixteenth century.

The next science, in the order of the circle, to which I would direct your blundering steps, is rhetoric, which, you must know, is the art of speaking eloquently, and of investing your thoughts in colours, bright and clear. As I know that you flounder in the muddiness of your mind, and are extremely unhappy, both in the choice and perspicuity of your phrases, I would advise you to borrow a few hours from those which you dedicate to the silencing of Mr. Burr, or the solacing of your wife, and commit to memory, Farnaby’s little system. Moreover, as I am told, you sometimes make an effort to speak in the primary assemblies, vulgarly called town meetings, and that your voice and periods are equally tuneless, perhaps some discipline of this kind may lash you into something, like a similitude of eloquence.

In Logic, you are so lame, that I am positive you are not equal to the management of a syllogism in Bocardo. Consult some of your Low German friends and borrow Burgersdyck, and Professor Schiltenbruch de Quidditate. From the leaden pages of laborious stupidity, your own cannot be encreased, and possibly you may learn in the art of reasoning, that some pains are necessary to establish the verity of your premises, before you suffer your zeal to hurry you to the conclusion. An important truth of which I am sorry to say, you are utterly regardless in all your speeches and writings.

With Metaphysics, I will not disturb a brain, so confused as yours; and in charity to your ignorance and incompetence, I will not lead them into a thorny thicket, where they would be miserably scratched, and instantly lose their way. I therefore pass on to Ethics; and here I am constrained to say that you will enter this region of science, as an utter stranger. You are not more an alien to America, than to your duties, as a man and a citizen; and such is my diffidence of your capacity, I know you must be frequently and severely flogged, before you will get by heart, the first lesson in this branch of your education.

Having thus suggested to you a course of studies, comprehending some of the initial sciences, I will reserve what I have to say to you upon mathematics, natural philosophy and theology, to another occasion. Of my didactics, I give you only a dose at a time, presuming that this is as much as so weak a creature can bear; and having thus prescribed what you will think sufficiently drastic, you have my permission to go “to breakfast with what appetite you may.”



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Filed under 1800's, Culture, Early Republic, Federalists, Magazine, Newspapers, Political Commentary, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: General Gage’s reply to Governor Trumbull’s letter (1775)

Found In: The Gentleman’s Magazine; for June, 1775. [p.262-4]

His Excellency Gen. Gage’s Answer to the foregoing Letter.

Boston, May 3, 1775


I AM to acknoledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th of April last, in behalf of the General Assembly of your colony, relative to the alarming situation of public affairs in this country, and the late transactions in this province. That this situation is greatly alarming, and that these transactions are truly unfortunate, are truths to be regretted by every friend to America, and by every well-wisher for the peace, prosperity, and happiness of this province. The intimate connection and strong ties of friendship between the inhabitants of your colony, and the deluded people of this province, cannot fail of inducing the former to interpose their good offices, to convince the latter of the impropriety of their past conduct, and to persuade them to return to their allegiance, and to seek redress of any supposed grievances in those decent and constitutional methods in which alone they can hope to be successful.

That troops should be employed for the purpose of protecting the magistrates in the execution of their duty, when opposed with violence, is not a new thing in the English or any other government. That any acts of the British parliament are unconstitutional or oppressive, I am not to suppose; if any such there are, in the apprehension of the people of this province, it had been happy for them, if they had fought relief only in the way which the constitution, their reason, and their interest, pointed out.

You cannot wonder at my fortifying the town of Boston, or making any other military preparations, when you are assured, that, previous to my taking these steps, such were the open threats, and such the warlike preparations throughout this province, as rendered it my indispensable duty to take every precaution in my power, for the protection of his Majesty’s troops under my command, against all hostile attempts. The intelligence you seem to have received, relative to the late excursion of a body of troops into the country, is altogether injurious and contrary to the true state of facts; the troops disclaim, with indignation, the barbarous outrages of which they are accused, so contrary to their known humanity. I have taken the greatest pains to discover if any were committed, and have found examples of their tenderness both to the young and the old, but no vestige of cruelty or barbarity. It is very possible, that, in firing into houses from whence they were fired upon, old people, women or children, may have suffered; but if any such thing has happened, it was in their defence, and undesigned. I have no command to ravage and desolate the country, and, were it my intention, I have had pretence to begin it upon the sea-ports, who are at the mercy of the fleet. For your better information, in inclose you a narrative of that affair, taken from gentlemen who were eye-witnesess of all the transactions of that day. The leaders here have taken pains to prevent any account of this affair getting abroad, but such as they have thought proper to publish themselves; and to that end the poll has been stopped, the mails broke open, and letters taken out; and inflammatory accounts have been spread throughout the continent, which has served to deceive and inflame the minds of the people.

When the resolves of the Provincial Congress breathed nothing but war; when those two great and essential prerogatives of the King, the levying of toops, and disposing of public monies, were wrested from him and when magazines were forming by an assembly of men, unknown to the constitutions, for the declared purpose of levying war against the King; you must acknoledge it was my duty, as it was the dictate of humanity, to prevent, if possible, the calamities of civil war, by destroying such magazines. This, and this alone, I attempted. You ask, Why is the town of Boston now shut up? I can only refer you, for an answer, to those bodies of armed men who now surround the town, and prevent all access to it. The hostile preparations you mention, are such as the conduct of the people of this province has rendered it prudent to make, for the defence of those under my command.

You assure me the people of you colony abhor the idea of taking arms against the troops of their sovereign. I wish the people of this province, for their own sakes, could make the same declaration. You enquire, Is there no way to prevent this unhappy dispute from coming to extremities? Is there no alternative, but absolute submission, or the desolations of war? I answer, I hope there is; the King and parliament seem to hold out terms of reconciliation, consistent with the honour and interest of Great Britain, and the right and privileges of the colonies; they have mutually declared their readiness to attend to any real grievances of the colonies, and to afford them every just and reasonable indulgence, which shall, in a dutiful and constitutional manner, be laid before them; and his Majesty adds, it is his ardent wish that this disposition may have a happy effect on the temper and conduct of his subjects in America. I must add, likewise, the resolution of the 27th of February, on the grand dispute of taxation and revenue, leaving it to the colonies to tax themselves, under certain conditions. Here is, surely, a foundation for an accommodations, to people who wish a reconciliation, rather than a destructive war, between countries so nearly connected by the ties of blood and interest; but I fear that the leaders of this province have been, and still are, intent only on shedding blood. . . .


(See also Item of the Day: Jonathan Trumbull’s Letter to General Gage )


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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Colonial America, Great Britain, History, Magazine, Massachusetts, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: Jonathan Trumbull’s Letter to General Gage (1775)

Found In: The Gentleman’s Magazine; for June, 1775. [p.262]


Copy of a Letter to his Excellency Gen. GAGE from the Hon. JONATHAN TRUMBULL, Esq; governor of his Majesty’s Colony of Connecticut, in behalf of the General Assembly of said Colony.

Hartford, April 28, 1775.


THE alarming situation of public affairs in this country, and the late unfortunate transactions in the province of the Massachusetts-Bay, have induced the General Assembly of this colony, now sitting in this place, to appoint a committee of their body to wait upon your Excellency, and to desire me, in their name, to write to you relative to these very interesting matters.

The inhabitants of this colony are intimately connected with the people of your province, and esteem themselves bound, by the strongest ties of friendship, as well as of common interest, to regard with attention whatever concerns them. You will not, therefore, be surprised, that your first arrival at Boston, with a body of his Majesty’s troops, for the declared purpose of carrying into execution certain acts of parliament, which, in their apprehension were unconstitutional and oppressive, should have given the good people of this colony a very just and general alarm; your subsequent proceedings, in fortifying the town of Boston, and other military preparations, greatly encreased their apprehensions for the safety of their friends and brethren. They could not be unconcerned spectators of their sufferings in that which they esteemed the common cause of this country: but the late hostile and secret inroads of some of the troops under your command, into the heart of the country, and the violences they have committed, have driven them almost into a state of desperation. They fear now, not only for their friends, but for themselves, and their dearest interests and connections. We wish not to exaggerate; we are not sure of every part of our information; but, by the best intelligence that we have yet been able to obtain, the late transaction was a most unprovoked attack upon the lives and property of his Majesty’s subjects; and it is represented to us, that such outrages have been committed, as would disgrace even barbarians, and much more Britons, so highly famed for humanity as well as bravery. It is feared, therefore, that we are devoted to destruction, and that you have it in command and intention to ravage and desolate the country. If this is not the case, permit us to ask, Why have these outrages been committed? Why is the town of Boston now shut up? and To what end are all the hostile preparations that are daily making? and Why do we continually hear of fresh destinations of troops for this country. The people of this colony, you may rely upon it, abhor the idea of taking arms against the troops of their Sovereign, and dread nothing so much as the horrors of civil war; but, at the same time, we beg leave to assure your Excellency, that, as they apprehend themselves justified by the principle of self-defence, so they are most firmly resolved to defend their rights and privileges to the last extremeity; nor will they be restrained from giving aid to their brethren, if any unjustifiable attack is made upon them. Be so good, therefore, as to explain yourself upon this most important subject, as far as is consistent with your duty to our common Sovereign. —Is there no way to prevent this unhappy dispute from coming to extremities? Is there no alternative but absolute submission, or the desolations of war? By that humanity, which constitutes so amiable a part of your character, for the honour of our Sovereign, and by the glory of the British empire, we entreat you to prevent it, if it be possible. Surely, it is to be hoped that the temperate wisdom of the empire might, even yet, find expedients to restore peace, that so all parts of the empire may enjoy their particular rights, honours, and immunities. Certainly, this is an event most devoutly to be wished for; and will it not be consistent with your duty, to suspend operations of war on you part, and enable us on ours to quiet the minds of the people, at least till the result of some futher deliberations may be known? The importance of the occasion will, we doubt not, sufficiently apologize for the earnestness with which we address you, and any seeming impropriety which may attend it, as well as induce you to give us the most explicit and favourable answer in your power.

I am, &c, &c,


(See also Item of the Day: General Gage’s reply to Governor Trumbull’s Letter)


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Item of the Day: “On the Probability of a Return of the Dark Ages (1810)

Found In: The Harvard Lyceum. Vol. I., No. 3. Cambridge, August 11, 1810. [pp. 64-66]



WHEN we recollect tht the glorious days of Grecian and Roman refinement were succeeded by the gloomy reign of ignorance and superstition; that after the wide diffusion and long enjoyment of the blessings of the arts and scineces, they were, in the course of a few years, neglected, abolished, and forgotten; with what anxiety must the philanthropick mind look forward to future ages, and tremble for the fate of posterity? Shall the period again return, when folly and fanaticism shall triumph over learning and wisdom; when the dominon of chaos and night shall be reestablished, and posterity relaps into ignorance and barbarism?

This inquiry must excite solicitude in every ingenuous mind. Next to that of ourselves, the fate of our descendants becomes interesting. In order to discover upon what depends the stability of modern refinement and learning, it will be necessary to take a view of their progress in ancient days.

After a lapse of many ages, during which the old world remained ignorant and uncivilized, and man unconscious of his dignity, the arts and sciences began to appear in ancient Greece. They had, at different times, visited various nations of the earth; but cramped by a barbarous reception, or deterred by tyrants, they had withdrawn before their benign influence had been felt, and at last retired to Greece, where they found dispositions more congenial to their nature, and mind more ready to give them a cordial reception.

In Greece, the principles of liberty were imbibed with the sciences; at the appearance of philosophy slavery fled, and Sparta and Athens became a society of refined and learned republicans. The Grecian patriot was brave, independent, a friend of learning and the arts, and a lover of virtue. The progress of science in Italy was similar, if not equally extensive. And though philosophy could not soften the haughty temper of the Roman soldier, yet its influence was felt in their laws and government, and finally produced its invariable effects. At length the arts and sciences were so successfully cultivated, and their good tendency, in meliorating the condition of man, had so long been acknowledged, that though they were confined principally to Greece and Rome, human foresight could never have prognosticated their fall. But, by the decrees of fate, they were once more to suffer exile; the birth places of Socrates and Plato, of Cato and Cicero, were to be polluted by the vile touch of savages and fanaticks, and the peaceful walks of science, to become the theatre of war and bloodshed.

Learning and the arts, at length, disappeared, leaving the world to darkness, horrour, and despair; and mankind, sunk to the lowest degree of human debasement by ignorance, superstition, and slavery, slept the long sleep of thirteen hundred years. But the happy period at length arrived, when they should re-appear. They rose where they last set, and man, now weary of domination, and desirous of shaking off that yoke, which had no support but folly and vice, hailed their appearance with exultation and joy. Their renovating influence soon spread from the happy shores of Italy, and at last reached our mother country. (to be resumed.)

[Continued In: The Harvard Lyceum. Vol. I., No. 4. Cambridge, August 25, 1810. (pp. 73-78)]


THE revival of letters was gradual, and produced by intelligible causes. After a struggle of centuriss between barbarism and refinement, superstition and philosophy, we again see the empire of letters established. Man is no longer a slave to folly and vice. He has become a reasoning, self-directed being; too enlightened to be the obsequious tool of wicked priestcraft, he has shaken off the fetters of superstition, and clothed himself in the armour of independence. Though a great part of the world is yet in darkness, we have the satisfaction of seeing mumerous nations enlightened by science, and polished by arts. Roused by the barefaced impositions of priests, they have revolted from that mental bondage, and forced those nefarious instruments of papal tyranny, to seek a retreat in the solitude of the cloister.

It is the favourite hypothesis of some, that learning has arrived at its acme; that it has, like the ocean, its regular ebbs and flows; that at one time man will be exalted to the highest pitch of mental refinement, and thence precipitated to the lowest point of degradation. This supposition is conceived to correspond best with the general course of nature. Animals and plants are limited in magnitude and time of existence; they have not a constant increase; and these are erroneously taken as completely analogous to the human mind. Every thing except the mind, which is susceptible of infinite improvement, may, perhaps, be considered, as having boundaries, which are impassable.

The changes in the character of nations do not arise from causes, which lie beyond the reach of human understanding. Because the world was once enlightened and afterwards relapsed into ignorance, we cannot determine this to be the necessary result. To say this, would be to say, that different ages possesed different degrees of genius; that after a course of years when men are blessed with minds capable of receiving instruction, then the leaden age must return, and literature again necessarily lie neglected. But if we allow these changes in the literary character of a country to arise from political situation, then this notion of regular and unavoidable ebbs and flows is done away; the arts and sciences may flourish while any remain to cultivate them. No need, then, of waiting the propitious moment; great geniuses will appear, whenever suffcient excitements are exhibited to call forth their exertions. This can be proved by resorting to history. To every reader of the Roman history it must be evident, that the decline and final extinction of the Roman empire and Roman literature must be attributed to the same causes. In Greece and Rome, superstition, war, and tyranny, were the destroyers of learning. When those countries were subdued by tryants, genius had no excitements, it was overawed and kept in subjection, as the mortal enemy of despotism and the firm friend of liberty. When they had been exhausted by the luxury and profusion of their rulers; when they had been depopulated by the cruelty of tyrants, and disheartened by oppression; when tribute could no longer buy off those enemies, which they wanted courage to repel; then hosts of barbarians, allured by the mildness of the climate, or a hope of plunder and love of war, poured down upon all sides, and overwhelmed them like a torrent. The rude hand of the hardy warriors, already taught to despise the conquered, spared not the monuments of literature nor the venerable retreats of philosophy. The nations thus ravaged, the learned and undlearned rooted out, were kept from rising from this state of the earth, from the unnatural mixture of heathen mythology and true religion. These are the evident causes of the extinction of ancient learning. Let it then be our concern to grow wise from the expereince of past ages. The same causes will, in like circumstances, produce similar effect. Let us examine what shall secure the vast literary fabrick of the present day from the like dilapidation. . . .




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Filed under 1810's, Culture, Early Republic, History, Magazine, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: The Busy-Body. — No. II. (1728-9)

Found In: The Works of Benjamin Franklin; Containing Several Political and Historical Tracts not Included in any Former Edition, and Many Letters Official and Private not Hitherto Published; with Notes and A Life of the Author. By Jared Sparks. Vol. II. Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company, 1836.


TUESDA, FEBRUARY 11, 1728-9.

All fools have still an itching to deride,

and fain would be upon the laughing side. (Pope)


Monsieur de la Rochefoucault  tells us somewhere in his Memoirs, that the Prince of Conde delighted much in ridicule, and used frequently to shut himself up for half a day together in his chamber, with a gentleman that was his favorite, purposely to divert himself with examining what was the foible or ridiculous side of every noted person in the court. That gentleman said afterwards in some company, that he thought nothing was more ridiculous in anybody, than this same humor in the Prince; and I am somewhat inclined to be of this opinion. The general tendency there is among us to this embellishment, which I fear has too often grossly imposed upon my loving countrymen instead of wit, and the applause it meets with from a rising generation, fill me with fearful apprehensions for the future reputation of my country. A young man of modesty (which is the most certain indication of large capacities) is hereby discouraged from attempting to make any figure in life; his apprehensions of being out-laughed will force him to continue in a restless obscurity, without having an opportunity of knowing his own merit himself or discovering it to the world, rather than venture to oppose himself in a place where a pun or a sneer shall pass for wit, noise for reason, and the strength of the argument be judged by that of the lungs.

Among these witty gentlemen let us take a view of Ridentius. What a contemptible figure does he make with his train of paltry admirers! This wight shall give himself an hour’s diversion with the cook of a man’s hat, the heels of his shoes, an unguarded expression in his discourse, or even some personal defect; and the height of his low ambition is to put some one of the company to the blush, who perhaps must pay an equal share of the reckoning with himself. If such a fellow makes laughing the sole end and purpose of his life, if it is necessary to his constitution, or if he has a great desire of growing suddenly fat, let him eat; let him give public notice where any dull stupid rogues may get a quart of four-penny for being laughed at; but it is barbarously unhandsome, when friends meet for the benefit of conversation and proper relaxation from business, that one should be the butt of the company, and four men made merry at the cost of the fifty.

How different from this character is that of the good-natured, gay Eugenius, who never spoke yet but with a design to divert and please, and who was never yet baulked in his intention. Eugenius takes more delight in applying the wit of his friends, than in being admired himself; and if any one of the company is so unfortunate as to be touched a little too nearly, he will make use of some ingenious artifice to turn the edge of ridicule another way, choosing rather to make himself a public jest, than be at the pain of seeing his friend in confusion.

Among the tribe of laughers, I reckon the petty gentlemen that write satires, and carry them about in their pockets, reading them themselves in all company they happen into; taking an advantage of the ill taste of the town to make themselves famous for a pack of paltry, low nonsense, for which they deserve to be kicked rather than admired, by all who have the least tincture of politeness. These I take to be the most incorrigible of all my readers; nay, I expect they will be squibbing at the Busy-Body himself. However, the only favor he begs of them is this, that if they cannot control their overbearing itch of scribbling, let him be attacked in downright biting lyrics; for there is no satire he dreads half so much as an attempt towards a panegyric.


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Filed under 1720's, Franklin, Magazine, Newspapers, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: New-York Magazine (1794)

Full Title: The New-York Magazine; or, Literary Repository: For October, 1794. Number X — Vol. V. Containing: Receipt for the Whooping Cough, Letters from a Father to his Son, It will do for the Present, Any other Time will do as well, An extraordinary Character, Story of Choang and Hansi, Memoirs of the Count de Benyowisky, Imitations of Sterne, Rewards of Avarice, Sentimental Fragment, Observations on Burying the Dead, Refections on Time, Arrest of the Commissioners of the Convention by Dumourier, The Nun, The Amrican Muse. ORIGINAL. The Cestus of Venus, To War, To George Washington, To Anna Matilda, Sonnet, SELECTED. Hymns on Content, Official Account of General Wayne’s Defeat of the Indians, Monthly Register. Foreign Department, Domestic Occurrences, Marriages, Deaths, With a map, exhibiting a Sketch of the Ground at the Rapids of the Miami of the Lake, shewing the Position of General Wayne’s Army previous to and after the Action of the 20th of August, 1794. New-York: Printed and published by T. and J. Swords, No. 167, William-street, 1794.



MUCH has been said and written on the pernicious tendencies of burying the dead in cities, particularly in vaults; notwithstanding, the least reformation has not taken place. So difficult is it to persuade men of any innovation in customs, which have become habitual, however improper they may be. Governments and laws have been materially altered with less impunity than altering a road, abolishing the practice of wearing long beards, or reforming the mode of dress; —Attention is intended to be arrested by these observations to a reconsideration of this interesting subject.

The practice of interring the dead in vaults may be traced to the ancient Egyptians. A superstitious opinion prevailed among that people, that the soul or spirit remained by the body, and would continue to do so for three thousand years, providing that it continued free from putrefaction, and that at the expiration of this period, reanimation , would take place; but if the body became noxious, the soul would take a disgust and depart. This gave origin to the custom of embalming or imbuing the flesh with fine essential oils. The body being thus preserved from the action of septic powers, it was necessary that it should be placed in a situation to secure it from the injuries of time and chance, till the period of resuscitation arrived. This gave rise to the erection of sepulchres [sic], which were magnificent and durable according to the abilities of the persons for whom they were constructed. The pyramids and labyrinth of Egypt were no doubt built for this purpose by the kings of that country. Travellers give an account of their having found in them chambers very difficult of access, made in the most curious and lasting manner, in which were contained marble coffins and broken vases. One use of the celebrated Spinx [sic] was that of a sepulchre. Whole plains of mummies have been found inclosed in tombs of stones. It is probable that the Jews obtained their mode of interment from the Egyptians. The Greeks and Romans had their mausoleums, monuments, tombs, and cenotaphs, which were erected for princes, and those who have been called the grandees of the earth. This practice was imitated by the inferior classes of society upon the small scale; they had their columellae, labella, arcae, &c. When the custom of burning the bodies of the dead was introduced, it gave rise to the construction of urnae, ampulae, cupae, phialae, thecae, ollae, dolia, lamina, and other vessels for containing the bones or ashes of the dead. —A revolution in the opinion respecting the soul has caused the practice of embalming to be neglected; but pride and superstition have perpetuated the mode of interring. The practice of the primitive nations was no so pernicious as the one followed in this civilized country; they either embalmed, burned, or used some other means with the body to prevent it from becoming noxious. Is it not time that the vanity of individuals should be sacrificed to the public good? Do we boast of advanced civilization, and of having acquired the experience of ages? In this, as in many other respects, principle and practice maintain perpetual war. Men progress in iopinions, but in practice remain the same.

Why will poor mortals, the insects of a day, desire to rot in state? does distinction exist in the grave? Does property make the body more valuable after death? Will it alter the composition of a bone, or cause the blood to yield different principles on analysis? No; the worm shall glut itself on the pampered flesh of luxury as well as on that of poverty; it shall return to its original elements, and go to perpetuate the existence of other beings. Matter is doomed to go its round. Man feeds on other organized beings; at death he returns to airs, water and earth, which are absorbed by the roots and leaves of vegetables; the inferior animals are supported by these, and man again maintains his existence by preying on those. Pride and caprice may retard these change, and frustrate nature for a while, but happily for the succeeding inhabitants of this earth, they cannot eventually prevent them.

Death, in our world, is rendered necessary on account of the rapid increase of beings, and is, according to the establishment of the present system a blessing. If every creature was to continue on this stage of existence, the world would soon be overstocked; the means of subsistence would be wanting; even the elements themselves would be exhausted. Generations rise out of the ruins of those which preceded, and give way to make room for succeeding ones. All animated nature is supported by the successive decompositions and renovations of its parts. Stupendous system! where beings originate, progress and finally die to prepare the world for others, where ignorance and vice are made useful after death. . . .


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Filed under 1790's, Burial rites, Culture, Magazine, New York, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: The Gentleman’s Magazine [1749]

Full Title: The Gentleman’s Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. Volume XIX. For the Year M.DCC.XLIX. By Sylvanus Urban, Gent. London: Printed for Edw. Cave, at St. John’s Gate.

February, 1749.

From the General Evening Post, February 2.


As the war is at an end, and we are going, I hope, to enjoy the blessings of peace, you will have leisure, gentlemen, to consult with your representatives on the means necessary to prevent the present most insolent method of the common people in destroying the game of this kingdom, and carriers and higlers carrying it about without any fear of punishment. It may be thought by some a thing of very small consequence; but if gentlemen can’t be diverted in the country, they will leave their houses, and retire to the communities; and then the whole nation will soon be sensible of the mischiefs of the high price of game, and that the multitude of dogs which are kept is a great cause of the evil. Those gentlemen that now endeavour to preserve their game, do it at the risque of their servants lives; for I know one this winter that was forced to send out six servants in the night who were attacked by many poachers; and he was obliged afterwards to send out ten; so that a single servant, that is, a gamekeeper, is become of almost no use, for if he tells any of them they threaten to kill him. This enormous evil merits, gentlemen, your consideration soon; for when the game is all gone, men bred up in night-work must go on in their wicked courses, and so will serve you at last as the smugglers do now, break into your houses, rob them, and destroy you, if they don’t like your faces.

I am, Gentlemen,

A well-wisher to my country,


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Filed under 1740's, England, Magazine, Posted by Caroline Fuchs

Item of the Day: The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure [1777]

Full Title: The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure: Containing News, Letters, Debates, Poetry, Musick, Biography, History, Geography, Voyages, Criticism, Translations, Philosophy, Mathematicks, Husbandy, Gardening, Cookery, Chemistry, Mechanicks, Trade, Navigation Architecture and Other Arts and Sciences, which may render it Instructive and Entertaining to Gentry, Merchants, Farmers, and Tradesmen: to which occasionally will be added An Impartial Account of Books in several Languages and of the Store of Learning in Europe Also of the Stage, New Operas Plays and Oratorios. Vol. LXI. Published Monthly according to Act of Parliament, by John Hinton, at the King’s Arms in Paternoster Row, near Warwick-Lane, London. [1777]

August, 1777.

ANECDOTE of Robert, the Norman.

The following curious anecdote may serve both as a proof and illustration of the wit, politeness, and generosity of the Normans. When Robert, Duke of Normandy, father of William the Conqueror,was at Constantinople, in his way to the Holy Land, he lived in uncommon splendor, and was greatly celebrated for his wit, his offability, his liberality, and other virtues. Of these, many remarkable examples were related to the Emperor, who resolved to put the reality of them to a trial. With this view, he invited the Duke, and all his nobles, to a feast, in the great hall of the imperial palace, but took care to have all the tables and seats filled with guests, before the arrival of the Normans, of whom he commanded to take no notice. When the Duke, followed by his nobles in their richest dresses, entered the hall, observing that all the seats were filled with guests, and that none of them returned his civilities, or offered him any accommodation, he walked without the least appearance of surprise or discomposure, to an empty space, at one end of the room, took off his cloak, folded it very carefully, laid it open upon the floor, and sat down upon it; in all which he was imitated by his followers. In this posture they dined, on such dishes as were set before them, with every appearance of the most perfect satisfaction with their entertainment. When the feast was ended, the Duke and his nobles arose, took leave of the company in the most grateful manner, and walked of the hall in their doublets, leaving their cloaks, which were of great value, behind them, on the floor. The Emperor, who had admired their whole behaviour, was quite surprised at this last part of it; and sent one of his Courtiers to intreat the Duke and his followers to put on their cloaks: “go, (said the Duke) and tell your master, that it is not the custom of the Normans to carry about with them the seats which they use at an entertainment.” –Could any thing be more delicate than this refusal, or more noble, polite, and manly, than this deportment.

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Filed under 1770's, Culture, Great Britain, Magazine, Posted by Caroline Fuchs