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Reality, the basis of the Ideal,
Recollections of Quodville,
Sketch of New A-
Sunset in Amherst,
Thunder Storm in the Connecticut Valley,
Vindication of the Legal Profession
A Vision, and a certain conversation held therein concerning
148, 178, 207, 246
In presenting to the public the first number of this our INDICATOR, some few words, by way of preface, will naturally be expected of those to whom its management has been committed,-stating at least the motives in which it has had its origin, and the plan upon which it is proposed to conduct it.
We are aware that a general distrust of periodical literature is fast gaining ground in this country; and it must be confessed that this sentiment is too well supported by the character of much of the trash with which the press daily, weekly, or monthly teems.
The country is indeed flooded with reviews and magazines of all kinds they form the distinguishing feature of our literature-and among them there are doubtless some of positively pernicious tendency, and very many of no moral or literary value. Yet even if these formed, as some rashly assert, a majority of the whole, it would be no good reason for condemning that department of literature as universally worthless or corrupting. There are at least some few on which we may safely rely to prove the contrary. If indeed we expect reviews and magazines, even when best conducted, to form for us without other aid, scholars, and statesmen, and distinguished proficients in any department, we shall be at once and deservedly disappointed. Such is not their office. For service like this we must seek more imposing volumes, that require hard and persevering toil to master them. We willingly acknowledge that not all the periodicals. of the country would ever make one accurate scholar or profound thinker. But it is in the highest degree unjust, to infer from this, as many do, that they are only a waste of time. They have their own
duty to perform; and when well managed they do perform it, as fittingly as more ponderous tomes do theirs. Some aim only to present an agreeable relaxation from studies; and who will deny that even this is an important and useful office? Others are filled with the records of progress daily made in the various departments of science and the arts. Others still assume the responsible task of sitting in judgment upon the multifarious offspring of the modern press. All make it their especial business to show
"The very age and body of the time,
Upon their pages we find the first tidings of those constant advances of our race, which are hereafter to be digested into more permanent forms, and become part and parcel of the concrete wisdom of the Past.
Works of this nature have another important advantage, in giving Science, Literature, and even Religion, access to many places which they would never reach in less popular forms. "Worthless as an old newspaper" has almost become a proverb. Perhaps the words are just but they who use them as a reproach too often forget the real good, a hundred fold its original cost, that same worthless paper has already done. This dingy sheet has detained some poor laborer from the village tavern-that torn magazine once did its part to divert the village girl from the frivolities of dress and gossip-an article of no extraordinary merit in yonder old Review first bent the mind of some eminent man to the path he is now so honorably pursuing.
But it is not our business to write a formal defence of periodical literature. Others will be found to do this at once more ably and appropriately than we. The Magazine we offer to the public differs widely, both in origin and character, from all those of which we have spoken. Strictly local in its design and conduct, it seeks for support only within its own narrow circle. Our only promise is to indicate the literary taste, spirit, and acquirements, of the undergraduates of Amherst College ::-our chief aim to raise these to the highest attainable standard: so far as the other objects of such a periodical are consistent with this, we shall of course pursue them; but this will ever remain of paramount importance.
The advantages of such a magazine in this respect are too obvious to need more than a passing notice. It has long been felt impossible to acquire by any of our college exercises that habit of close analysis