From Salmagundi, No. I.-Saturday, January 24, 1807

03.31.2006 | Trad Anon | Literature, Partisan Reader | 1 Comment

s everybody knows, or ought to know, what a Salmagundi is, we shall spare ourselves the trouble of an explanation—besides, we despise trouble as we do everything that is low and mean; and hold the man who would incur it unnecessarily, as an object worthy our highest pity and contempt. Neither will we puzzle our heads to give an account of ourselves, for two reasons; first, because it is nobody’s business; secondly, because if it were, we do not hold ourselves bound to attend to anybody’s business but our own; and even that we take the liberty of neglecting when it suits our inclination. To these we might add a third, that very few men can give a tolerable account of themselves, let them try ever so hard; but this reason, we candidly avow, would not hold good with ourselves.

There are, however, two or three pieces of information which we bestow gratis on the public, chiefly because it suits our own pleasure and convenience that they should be known, and partly because we do not wish that there should be any ill will between us at the commencement of our acquaintance.

Our intention is simply to instruct the young, reform the old, correct the town, and castigate the age; this is an arduous task, and therefore, we undertake it with confidence. We intend for this purpose to present a striking picture of the town; and as every body is anxious to see his own phiz on canvas, however stupid or ugly it may be, we have no doubt but the whole town will flock to our exhibition. Our picture will necessarily include a vast variety of figures: and should any gentleman or lady be displeased with the inveterate truth of their likenesses, they may ease their spleen by laughing at those of their neighbours – this being what we understand by poetical justice.

Like all true and able editors, we consider ourselves infallible, and, therefore, with the customary diffidence of our brethren of the quill, we shall take the liberty of interfering in all matters either of a public or private nature. We are critics, amateurs, dilletanti, and cognoscenti; and as we know “by the pricking of our thumbs,” that every opinion which we may advance in either of those characters will be correct, we are determined though it may be questioned, contradicted, or even controverted, yet it shall never be revoked.

We beg the public particularly to understand that we solicit no patronage. We are determined, on the contrary, that the patronage shall be entirely on our side. We have nothing to do with the pecuniary concerns of the paper; its success will yield us neither pride nor profit-nor will its failure occasion to us either loss or mortification. We advise the public, therefore, to purchase our numbers merely for their own sakes: -if they do not, let them settle the affair with their consciences and posterity.

To conclude, we invite all editors of newspapers and literary journals to praise us heartily in advance as we assure them that we intend to deserve their praises. To our next-door neighbour “Town,” we hold out a hand of amity, declaring to him that, after ours, his paper will stand the best chance for immortality. We proffer an exchange of civilities; he shall furnish us with notices of epic poems and tobacco: -and we in return will enrich him with original speculations on all manner of subjects…

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12.16.2010 | Yaya D. Craig

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