« AnteriorContinuar »
TO ASSIST THE INQUIRING, ANIMATE THE struggling, AND SYMPATHIZE WITH All.
FROM WEDNESDAY APRIL 2, TO TUESDAY DECEMBER 30, 1834.
CHARLES KNIGHT, LUDGATE STREET;
AND HENRY HOOPER, PALL-MALL EAST.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 1834.
TO ASSIST THE ENQUIRING, ANIMATE THE struggling, AND SYMPATHIZE WITH ALL.
THE object of this Publication, which is devoted entirely to subjects of miscellaneous interest, unconnected with politics, is to supply the lovers of knowledge with an English Weekly Paper, similar in point of size and variety, to Chambers's, Edinburgh Journal, but with a character a little more southern and literary. The acuteness and industry of the writers of the Edinburgh Journal are understood to have obtained a very large demand for their work; the illustrated information of the Penny Magazine, with its admirable wood-cuts, has obtained for it one still more stupendous; and though we may not be able to compete with either of these phenomena, and, indeed, are prepared to be content with a sale of reasonable enormity, yet there still remain gaps in the supplies of public intellect, which its consumers would willingly see filled up; and one of these we propose to accommodate. It may briefly be described as consisting in a want of something more connected with the ornamental part of utility,-with the art of extracting pleasurable ideas from the commonest objects, and the participations of a scholarly experience. In the metropolis there are thousands of improving and enquiring minds, capable of all the elegancies of intellectual enjoyment, who, for want of educations worthy of them, are deprived of a world of pleasures, in which they might have instructed others. We hope to be read by these. In every country town there is always a knot of spirits of this kind, generally young men, who are known, above others, for their love of books, for the liberality of their sentiments, and their desire to be acquainted with all that is going forward in connection with the graces of poetry and the fine arts. We hope to have these for our readers. Finally, almost every village has its cottagers of a similar tendency, who, notwithstanding their inferior opportunities, have caught from stray pieces of poetry and fiction, a sense of what their nature requires, in order to elevate its enjoyments or to console its struggles; and we trust we shall become the friends of these. In a word, (withou meaning to disparage our excellent contemporaries, whose plans are of another sort, and have been most triumphantly borne out by success), as the Edinburgh Journal gives the world the benefit of its knowledge of business, and the Penny Magazine that of its authorities and its pictures, so the London Journal proposes to furnish ingenuous minds of all classes, with such helps as it possesses towards a share in the pleasures of taste and scholarship. For, to leave no class unspecified, it is not without the hope of obtaining the good-will of the highest of the well-educated, who love the very talk on such subjects, as they do that of a loving friend, apart from any want of his information, and who have been rendered too wise by their knowledge not to wish well to speculations which tend to do justice to all men, and to accompany the "March of Intellect" with the music of kind thoughts.
It is proposed, as the general plan of the Journal, but not without the power of change or modification, as circumstances may suggest, that it should consist of One Original Paper or Essay every week, from the pen of the Editor; of matter combining entertainment with information, selected by him in the course of his reading, both old and new; of a weekly Abstract of some popular or otherwise interesting book, the spirit of which will be given entire, after the fashion of the excellent abridgments in Johnstone's Edinburgh Magazine; and, lastly, of a brief current notice of the Existing State of Poetry, Painting, and Music, and a general sprinkle of Notes, Verses, Miscellaneous Paragraphs, and other helps to pleasant and companionable perusal.
FURTHER REMARKS ON THE DESIGN OF THIS JOURNAL. POOR RICH MEN AND RICH POOR MEN. A WORD OR TWO ON THE PERIODICAL WRITINGS OF THE EDITOR
PLEASURE is the business of this Journal: we own it: we love to begin it with the word: it is like commencing the day (as we are now commencing it) with sunshine in the room. Pleasure for all who can receive pleasure; consolation and encouragement for the rest: this is our device. But then it is pleasure like that implied by our simile, innocent, kindly, we dare to add, instructive and elevating. Nor shall the gravest aspects of it be wanting. As the sunshine floods the sky and the ocean, and yet nurses the baby buds of the roses on the wall, so we would fain open the largest and the very least sources of pleasure, the noblest that expands above us into the heavens, and the most familiar that catches our glance in the homestead. We would break open the surfaces of habit and indifference, of objects that are supposed to contain nothing but so much brute matter or common-place utility, and show what treasures they conceal. Man has not yet learnt to enjoy the world he lives in; no, not the hundredthousand-millionth part of it; and we would fain help him to render it productive of still greater joy, and to delight or comfort himself in his task as he proceeds. We would make adversity hopeful, prosperity sympa thetic, all kinder, richer, and happier. And we have some right to assist in the endeavour, for there is scarcely a single joy or sorrow within the experience of our fellow-creatures, which we have not tasted; and the belief in the good and beautiful has never forsaken It has been medicine to us in sickness, riches in poverty, and the best part of all that ever delighted us in health and success.
There is not a man living perhaps in the present state of society, certainly not among those who have a surfeit of goods, any more than those who want a sufficiency, that has not some pain which he would diminish, and some pleasure, or capability of it, that he would increase. We would say to him, let him be sure he can diminish that pain and increase that pleasure. He will find out the secret, by knowing more, and by knowing that there is more to love. "Pleasures lie about our feet." We would extract some for the unthinking rich man out of his very carpet, (though he thinks he has already got as much as it can yield); and for the unthinking or unhoping poor one, out of his bare floor.
Can you put a loaf on my table?" the poor man may ask. No. but we can shew him how to get it in the best manner, and comfort him while he is getting it. If he can get it not at all, we do not profess to have even the right of being listened to by him. We can only do what we can, as his fellow-creatures, and by other means, towards hastening the termination of so frightful an exception to the common lot.
"Can you rid me of my gout, or my disrelish of all things?" the rich man may ask. No: nor perhaps even diminish it, unless you are a very daring or a very sensible man; and if you are very rich indeed, and old, neither of these predicaments is very likely. Yet we would try. We are inextinguishable friends of endeavour.
If you had the gout, however, and were Lord Holland, you would smile and say, "Talk on." You would suspend the book, or the pen, or the kindly thought you were engaged in, and indulgently wait to see what recipes or amusing fancies we could add to your stock. Nay, if you were a kind of starving Dr. Johnson, who wrote a letter one day to the editor of the magazine to
Price Three HalPPENCE.
which he contributed, signing himself "Dinneress,*" you would listen to us, even without a loaf on your table, and see how far we could bear out the reputation of the Lydians, who are said to have invented play as a resource against hunger. But Dr. Johnson knew he had his remedy in his wits. The wants of the poor in knowledge are not so easily postponed. With deep reverence and sympathy would we be understood as speaking of them. A smile, however closely it may border upon a grave thought, is not to be held a levi in us, any more than sun betwixt rain. One and the same sympathy with all things, fetches it out.
But to all but the famished we should say, with the noble text, "Man does not live by bread alone." "A man," says Bacon, in words not unworthy to go by the side of the others, 'is but what he knoweth." "I think said Descartes; "therefore I am." A man has no proof of his existence but in his consciousness of it, and the return of that consciousness after sleep. He is therefore, in amount of existence, only so much as his consciousness, his thoughts, and his feelings amount
The more he knows, the more he exists; and the pleasanter his knowledge, the happier his existence. One man, in this sense of things, and it is a sense proved beyond doubt, (except with those merry philosophers of antiquity who doubted their very consciousness, nay, doubted doubt itself), is infinitely little compared with another man. If we could see his mind, we should see a pigmy; and it would be stuck perhaps into a pint of beer, or a scent-bottle, or a bottle of wine; as the monkey stuck Gulliver into the marrow-bone. Another man's mind would shew larger; another larger still; till at length we should see minds of all shapes and sizes, from a miscroscopic body to that of a giant or a demi-god, or a spirit that filled the visible world. Milton's would be like that of his own archangel. "His stature reached the sky." Shakspeare's would stretch from the midst of us into the regions of "airy nothing," and bring us new creatures of his own making. Bacon's would be lost into the next ages. Many a "great man's" would become invisible; and many a little one suddenly astonish us with the overshadowing of his greatness.
Men sometimes, by the magic of their knowledge, partake of a great many things which they do not possess: others possess much which is lost upon them. It is recorded of an exquisite, in one of the admirable exhibitions of Mr. Matthews, that being told, with a grave face, of a mine of silver which had been discovered in one of the London suburbs, he exclaimed, in his jargon, "A mine of sil-vau! Good Gaud! You dont tell me so ! A mine of sil-vau! Good Gaud! I've often seen the little boys playing about, but I had no idea that there was a mine of sil-vau.".
This gentleman, whom we are to understand as repeating these words out of pure ignorance and absurdity, and not from any power to receive information, would be in possession, while he was expressing his astonishment at a thing unheard of and ridiculous, of a hundred real things round about him, of which he knew nothing. Shakspeare speaks of a man who was "incapable of his own distress;" that is to say, who had not the feelings of other men, and was insensible to what would have distressed every body else. This dandy would be incapable of his own wealth, of his own furniture, of his own health, friends, books, gardens; nay, of his very hat and coat, except inasmuch as they contributed to give him one single idea; to wit, that of
Impransus. It might mean simply, that he had not dined; but there is too much reason to believe otherwise. And yet how much good and entertainment did not the very necessities of such a man help to produce us!
[SPARROW AND CO. CRANE COURT,