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Yet still shall I, those sweets inhale,
Which scent the ambient air for me;
Which gave their balmy breath to thee.
The tendrils of my native bow'r;
Shall be my parlour-window flow'r.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
THE TRANSIT OF THE EXOTIC-1809.
Stern winter reigns; the willows green
The tendrils from the vine are cleft:
Yet, as the winged moments flew,
But, Fate's dark omen broke the spell,
TO READERS AND CORRESPONDENTS.
To the liberal Public we now present the first number of our Miscellany. When it is remembered by Friendship and Candour that our final plan of arrangement was not settled until nearly the close of February, those generous Powers, to whom we have appealed, will promptly pardon the minor blemishes of what must be justly considered as a hasty composition. Our foreign correspondence is not yet fully arranged. Our domestic friends are not completely rouzed. In short, “ The scambling and unquiet Time” has precluded the power of accomplishing anything like a complete miscellany. But this apology is merely occasional, and will not be repeated. At the entrance of the visto of success, we are, for a moment, in partial darkness and obscurity. But we see radiance as we advance, and enough of enchantment in the distance to tempt the perseverance of any adventurer. To change the metaphor, nothing is more common among men of refined taste in the pleasures of the table than to refuse their opinion of the character of the Port or Burgundy, they happen to be drinking, until they have swallowed at least six glasses. Among experienced Epicures it would argue a notable want of connoisseurship, to pronounce upon the merits or demerits of vine juice, after tasting only a thimble full. We hope the crusty critic will emulate the patience of the very honest and jovial Gentlemen, we have just described. After perusing six numbers of The Port Folio, and finding all of them either crude or mawkish, he will then have a
right to pronounce the whole vile trash, and refuse both his sanction and custom.
We recommend to the Gentlemen immediately concerned in furnishing papers for the Literary department, to attach to each essay certain cabalistical characters by which the property can be known and identified. The advantages of this practice must be obvious. The suum cuique, the generous maxim of the liberal Romans will be then appropriately ascribed, and more care will probably be employed upon a composition, than if this rule were rejected. In the Tatler, the Spectator, the Connoisseur, the World, and in many other periodical papers of celebrity, this is a settled custom.
We hope too, our occasional and foreign correspondents, will likewise adopt a system of appropriate signatures, in which Reason, Modesty, and Simplicity, should always have a place. Fantastic appellations, to flimsy essays, are equally injudicious and common. Not only our newspapers, but works of a more durable character, are often covered with such a strange set of uncouth figures, that we scarcely recognize our company. We have seen TIMOLEON, in the guise of a cobbler, and TULLIA, assuming the character of a vestal virgin. PIIRYNE has vindicated the doctrines of Chastity, and Pym has defended the Church of England. AnaCŘEON has written Odes more obscure and prolix, than those of Pindar, and PINDAR, not to be deficient in propriety, has indited little songs, shorter and simpler than those of SHENSTONE.
All these absurdities should be avoided, by those, who aspire to correctness of thought, or felicity of expression. We hope this suggestion will have a salutary effect. It is likewise wished that one correspondent would never trespass upon the rights, by assuming the signature of another. This inevitably leads to inextricable confusion, and is, moreover, in the issue, injurious to both parties.
Those Gentlemen, who assist us with Scientific or Literary papers, are apprized distinctly of the absolute necessity of addressing them seasonably to our Publishers. It is expect:
ed of each Member of the confederacy, that at least he should furnish one paper for each number of The Port Folio. This exaction, though it may seem onerous to the half-shut eye of Indolence, will, to the optics of a more active and generous Power, appear but a reasonable service.
For the sake of system, uniformity, expedition, and elegance, for the sake of relieving the Editor and the Publishers from all the perplexities of procrastination, it is hoped that every correspondent will send us his communication, at least 20 days before he anticipates its appearance in this Journal. Very remote residents, must address to us their letters on a still earlier day; and our friends in Philadelphia and its vicinity, will greatly oblige us by particularly attending to our limitation of time.
In the making up of their literary despatches, Gentlemen will please to address us in legible penmanship, carefully punctuated, and with the orthography modelled according to the standard of Dr. Johnson.
For the accommodation of city correspondents, and for those, whose modesty shrinks from an interview with the Proprietors, a letter-box is opened at No. 4, South Third Street. In this repository designed for the most useful purposes, we hope that no papers will be left, but such as will redound to the honour of the writers, and the benefit of the community.
Elegant Poetry, in all its delightful varieties, Essays in the manner either of Addison, Johnson, or Goldsmith, Sketches of American Biography, Instructive Narratives, whether in the class of fact, or fiction, Original Anecdotes, and Pieces of Humour, together with Shrewd and Sensible Criticism, will always be examined with the utmost avidity.
We look to the enlightened Agriculturist for Essays on topics of Rural Economy; to the Painter, Sculptor and Architect, for information respecting the advancement of the Fine Arts; to the ingenious Mechanist for a history of the progress of the Useful; to some of the literary box-lobby loungers for notices of the Drama. To the Gentlemen of
the Bar, for reports of their Speeches, and to the Classical Scholars for illustrations of the fine authors of antiquity.
The History of any improvement in Liberal Art, or Useful Science, will be highly interesting to our friends and the public.
Accurate descriptions of the public edifices of Philadelphia, particularly of those, devoted to the most liberal and benevolent purposes, will not only contribute to the glory of the one, but essentially subserve the interests of the other. It is both for the Honour and Interest of the friends of every public Institution, to give the Editors all possible assistance in this behalf. This is not the first time this sort of service has been courteously sought. We hope it will be refused na longer.
In the cabinets of the curious, we know to a certainty many original letters of great value are reposited. We hope we shall be able to bring some of these treasures to light.
We trust it will not be unreasonably imagined by any of the most exacting subscribers, that a work upon such an extensive plan as The Port Folio, shall be entirely original. The character, situation, and habits of the country absolutely forbid the accomplishment of such a design. But in consequence of our connexion with the Publishers of this Journal, we have liberal access not only to a vast collection of standard authors, but to every new production of merit, published at home or abroad. So judicious are the arrangements of Messrs. Bradford and Inskeep, that we have long been in the habit, a habit, which is now fully confirmed, of perusing many of the most valuable periodical publications, nearly as soon as they are printed in France or England. Moreover, by the constant courtesy of the Librarian and Directors of the Philadelphia Library, a collection unrivalled in America, both for use and splendour, we have free permission, upon the most benignant terms, to consult invaluable volumes, either in the Loganian, the Prestonian, or the Miscellaneous alcoves. From these copious fountains of knowledge,