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THE publication of THE FAMILY MAGAZINE was first commenced on Saturday, April 20th, 1833. From that period, through the first volume and up to No. 12 of the second volume, it was published in weekly sheets. The second volume was commenced on the 19th of April 1834, and was issued under the auspices of the former conductor until September 1834, when the editorial department fell into the charge of the present Editor.
The precise period at which the FAMILY MAGAZINE was first originated, seemed to be a new era in periodical literature. It was marked by the adoption of a plan for the diffusion of useful knowledge, adapted to the present state of Society, and coequal and coextensive, if possible, with the newly acquired facilities and extraordinary improvements in the mechanick arts. The first operations under the new plan, had their origin in the British "Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge," of which Lord Brougham is chairman. They consisted in the publication of useful works, in a comprehensive form, and at such a cheap rate, as to render them attainable by the poor, while at the same time they were worthy of the rich and the wise. Among others of their first publications was the Penny Magazine, a work that soon gained an unprecedented circulation. Induced by the example of this excellent society, others of a similar character and for similar objects were formed in various parts of the kingdom. Among other works originating with them, were the Saturday Magazine and the Dublin Penny Journal. Multitudes of similar papers afterwards teemed from the British press in every part of the kingdom. The impulse was felt in France, and it immediately gave birth to numerous similar periodicals there, among the most prominent of which are the "Magazin Pittoresque," and "La France Pittoresque," both of which enjoy an enormous patronage. Our own country too, began to feel the necessity of the new facilities. The FAMILY MAGAZINE was originated, and it progressed notwithstanding it was deemed the most extraordinary and presumptuous literary undertaking ever devised in the country. Two small but popular Magazines were also commenced in Boston, and the New York and Philadelphia press were soon teeming with numerous cheap publications under the names of "Libraries," "Galleries," and many other equally comprehensive titles. The poor man was thus furnished with books at a price proportioned to the cost of the farthing light by which he read them. In the zeal of competition, however, many stale and useless works were imprudently admitted into some of the publications, and the smallness of the type and bad quality of the paper, rendered many of them unsatisfactory and almost worthless. Many of the cheap Magazines, also, became satisfied with making up their pages with the fragments of ephemeral news, rather than with substantial Knowledge, alleviating their dulness by introducing here and there a worthless tale, and only taking care to impose the trash upon the world with the catchpenny glare of engravings. The remark however is not general, nor is it made invidiously But in the belief that more valuable and important information would at least be moje beneficial if indeed not more acceptable to the publick taste, and that it could be more easily diffused through a periodical of a style similarly attractive and popular, but under an arrangement differing from those before mentioned, the FAMILY MAGAZINE was continued, with that specifick purpose of remedying some of the existing defects, and supplying some of the existing wants. But it recommended itself chiefly on the score of the useful knowledge it contained, the adoption of METHOD AND SYSTEM, and its unparalleled cheapress. The plan, we are warranted to say by the issue, has been favourably received, and our periodical has thus progressed to the conclusion of the second volume, which is now presented to the publick. It will, it is trusted, be found to contain much information that will always be valuable, by reason of the intrinsick importance of the subjects treated of, the convenient arrangement under which they are presented, and being accompanied with many engravings which will be useful in facilitating the mind in comprehending them and in forming complete ideas.
New York, April, 1835.
DESCRIPTION OF THE FRONTISPIECE.
Ah, little thought the strong and brave,
Or the young wife, that weeping gare
That the pale race, who waste us now,
Among their bones should guide the plough.
The beautiful original picture that graces this volume as a Frontispiece, was designed and drawn by Weir, and engraved by Mr. Linton Thorn. The suggestion was furnished by the above lines from Bryant's Poem, on "An Indian at the Burying-place of his fathers." The design is no less beautiful than the execution is alike excellent and honourable to the artists.
In order to appreciate fully the lasting interest and beauty of the picture, it is necessary that the mind should recur to those primitive days, when, upon the very ground where we have built our homes, the "red ruler of the shade"
"Walk'd forth, amid his reign, to dare
The simple Indian is the "forest hero" of this western world, and the white man has but just set his foot upon its unsubdued shores. At an opening in the border of the forest, for
they laid their dead
an Indian and his young and tender wife are observed weeping over the grave of their first-born that they have just yielded to the earth.
A low green hillock, two small gray stones,
The swarthy Indian has sat himself down beside a rude rock, and leans upon it, hiding his face in sorrow. Long raven hair veils the face of the young wife, as she droops in the fulness of grief upon her protector's knee. In the rudeness and simplicity of nature, they wear but the wampum blanket to shield their bodies, and the ornamented leathern moccasin to protect their feet. The only guaranty of a livelihood for the morrow, the sorrowing Indian grasps in his right hand, his bow. At their side lies the swathing board, that but recently bore the young innocent, whose lifeless body the 'green hillock' has too prematurely covered. Close at hand sits their faithful companion, the dog, not altogether lacking sympathy, gazing listlessly into the trees. As if to soothe the loneliness of grief, nature has arrested her elements, and a vast solemn" stillness seems to reign around. While, on one side, the huge trunk of a mighty oak ascends spreading its branches high over the scene, the aspiring saplings upon the other seem striving to reach with their topmost boughs the nethermost limbs of that Father of the forest. The affections of the wife have intertwined themselves with those of her hardy companion and protector, upon whom she reclines with confidence; fit emblem of the tender relation of that gentler portion of the Indian pair, a vine has entwined itself around the oak, and acquiring assurance in the enduring strength of its supporter has extended itself in the branches.
A little beyond the group, a ploughed field extends itself, whence the white man,
-"hewed he dark old woods away, And gave the virgin fields to the day."
Carrying the view still further in the distance, and over various cultivated fields, undulating, and studded here and there with clumps of trees, the eye meets a beautiful river, which, after threading its way among Its rocky hills and beetling cliffs, and along overshadowing forests, debouches peacefully into the sea. quiet bosom, however, bears a busy squadron of the white man's ships, that have come to burden themselves with the riches of this new treasure land. Full of new zeal, the white man has set his encroaching foot upon the Indian's shore, and elated with his glories and successes, he has reared up a city there, a monument of his bold enterprise, and easily acquired wealth. The landscape lessens among the hills, and the distance is lost among the far-retiring mountains on one side, and the ocean which confuses its bounds with the horizon on the other.
TO THE PUBLIC.
IN commencing the second volume of THE FAMILY MAGAZINE, a few general remarks by way of introduction may not be misplaced, and may be neces
First, then, we would impress on the minds of all concerned, the idea of the object of the Magazine, that they may understand what the work is for which they subscribe, and thus be satisfied with it afterwards.
The principal object of the Family Magazine is, to collect, condense, and systematize the great mass of general knowledge contained in myriads of volumes, and lying altogether beyond the reach of the great body of the community; and thus collected, condensed, and systematized, to place it, by its cheapness and comprehensiveness, within the reach of all, thereby diffusing general information universally, and annihilating the monopoly of knowledge by the favoured few who have leisure to devote their days to letters. This being our primary object, it will not be expected of us to fill our paper with original matter. We shall fill it principally with what is already known to the literary in order to make others literary also. We expect no one, therefore, who understands our object" in this respect, to tell us he has seen certain articles before. Nevertheless, we hope to furnish every reader with something new, as we shall not entirely overlook originality, and shall likewise endeavour to keep pace with the age in improvement. In a word, it will be our aim, to a certain extent, to bring forth from the treasury of knowledge things both new and old. And we would have it kept constantly in mind, that new subjects will be introduced as fast as old ones can be completed.
Undertaking, as we do, to furnish a system of general knowledge, we can on no account consent to dispense with any leading branch of it, how little relish soever some may have for particular subjects. Such individuals should recollect the plan on which our paper is established. They should recollect that the particular branches under consideration are indispensable to the system; that they are useful in their place; and that there are others who will duly appreciate them, and who have a right to expect their insertion in a work like ours. They should recollect that our object is utility, and not the gratification of a vitiated taste, which prefers the fugitive amusement of a tale, to sound classic knowledge.
much more of the kind as may be necessary to render them complete. It is this principle of systematizing which is a leading characteristic of this work, and which we conceive to be a decided improvement on the various periodicals of the kind.
One consideration more, and we will close.
Every country has its peculiarities and localities; and it is therefore impossible in the nature of things, that a periodical adapted to one country can be adapted to another. There are passing localities which a foreign journal cannot notice in season; and there are localities which ought not to be noticed in such a journal at all, but which, notwithstanding, should receive attention in a domestic one. Good, therefore, as a periodical may be at home, it cannot be what is desirable abroad. Indeed, the better adapted it is to one country, the worse is it fitted to another. No matter how excellent a work may be in itself; it cannot be suited to contrary conditions. An American periodical, detailing our local concerns, and re-publishing from European works what is already common in Europe, would not be remarkably edifying to Europeans: so, on the other hand, a European periodical, imbued with the monarchical spirit, describing its dilapidated old castles and gorgeous palaces," and extolling its aristocratic and Church and State institutions, however it may suit the taste of those for whom it is designed, can never be very edifying to American Republicans; especially when it is considered, that long before its general circulation among us, whatever it contains that is excellent has perchance been extracted, and given to the American community in their own periodicals. To be plain, we must say that the re-publication of foreign periodicals in this country, augurs ill for our intelligence and enterprise. It is a virtual acknowledgment, that there are not among us the means of furnishing ourselves with common information! Are we then semi-barbarians, thus to need illumination from the scattering rays of intellectual light dispensed from foreign climes? We speak not thus froin interested motives. Our own publication is now established on a permanent foundation. is circulating rapidly and extensively, and can be increased in circulation to any desirable extent. Let us have fifty more domestic Magazines, if necessary: so far as we are concerned, we care not how many. But never let it be said, to our everlasting disgrace, that to supply ourselves with information on common subjects, we are under the necessity of importing old stereotype plates from beyond the Atlantic, and of republishing matter which had been circulated among the peasantry of Europe years before! For the honour of the Republic, we do most fervently hope, that there will be American periodicals started in sufficient num ber to supply our own market. The appearance of every good work of this description, we shall hail with sincere pleasure, as an honour to the literary enterprise of our country.
The great advantages of a systematic course, in a work devoted to general knowledge, cannot fail to be realized by every reader, and to be duly appreciated by a discriminating community. In perusing a desultory work, how excellent soever its various articles may be, a thirst for knowledge is excited, without being gratified. The reader, by the scattering fragments served up to him, is made to realize that there is a plenitude in store, which he nevertheless feels at a loss to know how to attain. He perceives that there is a fund of knowledge somewhere; but he has no conception of its amount, and he feels that he is not in the way to obtain it. Now, the object of this work is to remedy this defect. It is to furnish the reader with a train of knowledge; to give those articles in their place which are generally scattered at random; and to superadd as VOL. II.