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The Epithet Royal.
Anecdotes of Alexander I.
IT is usual for one who presents the public with a periodical work like the present, to introduce himself to the notice of his readers by some sort of preface or address. I take up the pen in conformity to this custom, but am quite at a loss for topics suitable to so interesting an occasion. I cannot expatiate on the variety of my knowledge, the brilliancy of my wit, the versatility of my talents. To none of these do I lay any claim, and though this variety, brilliancy of solidity, are necessary ingredients in a work of this kind, I trust merely to the zeal and liberality of my friends to supply me with them. I have them not my self, but doubt not of the good offices of those who possess them, and shall think myself entitled to no small praise, if I am able to collect into one focal spot the rays of a great number of luminaries. They also may be very unequal to each other in lustre, and some of them may be little better than twinkling and feeble stars, of the hundredth magnitude; but what is wanting in indivi
dual splendor, will be made up by the union of all their beams into one. My province shall be to hold the mirror up so as to assemble all their influence within its verge, and reflect them on the public in such manner as to warm and enlighten.
As I possess nothing but zeal, I can promise to exert nothing else; but my consolation is, that, aided by that powerful spirit, many have accomplished things much more arduous than that which I propose to myself.
Many are the works of this kind which have risen and fallen in America, and many of them have enjoyed but a brief existence. This circumstance has always at first sight, given me some uneasiness; but when I come more soberly to meditate upon it, my courage revives, and I discover no reason for my doubts. Many works have actually been reared and sustained by the curiosity and favour of the public. They have ultimately declined or fallen, it is true; but why? From no abatement of the public curiosity,
but from causes which publishers or editors only are accountable. Those who managed the publication, have commonly either changed theirprinciples, remitted their zeal, or voluntarily relinquished their trade, or, last of all, and like other men. have died. Such works have flou rished for a time, and they ceased to flourish, by the fault or misfortune of the proprietors. The pub. lic is always eager to encourage one who devotes himself to their rational amusement, and when he ceases to demand or to deserve their favour, they feel more regret than anger in withdrawing it.
The world, by which I mean the few hundred persons, who concern themselves about this work, will naturally inquire who it is who thus addresses them. "This is somewhat more than a point of idle curiosity," my reader will say, "for, from my knowledge of the man must I infer how far he will be able or willing to fulfill his promises. Besides, it is great importance to know, whether his sentiments on certain sucjects, be agreeable or not to my own. In politics, for example, he may be a maie-content: in religion an heretic. He may be an ardent advocate for all that I abhor, or he may be a celebrated champion of my favourite opinions. It is evident that these particulars must dictate the treatment you receive from me, and make me either your friend or enemy: your patron or your persecutor. Besides, I am anxious for some personal knowledge of you, that I may judge of your literary merits. You may, possibly, be one of these, who came hither from the old world to seek your fortune; who have handled the pen as others handle the awl or the needle: that is, for the sake of a livelihood: and who, therefore, are willing to work on any kind of cloth or leather, and to any model that may be in demand. You may, in the course of your trade, have accommodated yourself to twenty different fashions, and have served twenty classes of customers;
have copied at one time, a Parisian; at another, a London fashion: and have truckled to the humours, now of a precise enthusiast, and now of a smart freethinker.
"'Tis of no manner of importance on this occasion, or on what side, what creed you may publicly profess religious or political, you may declare yourself enlisted. To judge of the value or sincerity of these professions: to form some notion how far you will faithfully or skilfully perform your part, I must know your character. By that knowledge, I shall regulate myself with mous declaration you may think promore certainty than by any anonyper to make."
these observations, and shall thereI bow to the reasonableness of fore take no pains to conceal my chuses to ask me or my publisher. name. Any body may know it who I shall not, however, put it at the bottom of this address. My diffidence, as my friends would call it; and my discretion, as my enemies, ders me from calling out my name if I have any, would term it, hinin a crowd. It has heretofore hindered me from making my appearstrongest of human considerations, ance there, when impelled by the and produces, at this time, an insuperable aversion to naming myself to my readers. The mere act of calling out my own name, on this occasion, is of no moment, since an author or editor who takes no pains to conceal himself, cannot fail of being known to as many as desire to know him. And whether my notoriety make for me or against me, I shall use no means to prevent it.
that my readers should judge of my I am far from wishing, however, exertions by my former ones. have written much, but take much I blame to myself for something which I have written, and take no praise for any thing. I should enjoy a larger share of my own respect, at the present moment, if nothing had ever flowed from my pen, the production of which could be traced to me.