* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This eBook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the eBook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the eBook. If either of these conditions applies, please check with an FP administrator before proceeding.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. If the book is under copyright in your country, do not download or redistribute this file.

Title: The Scribbler 1821-06-28 Volume 1, Issue 01

Date of first publication: 1821

Author: Samuel Hull Wilcocke 1766-1833 (Editor)

Date first posted: Aug. 28, 2014

Date last updated: Aug. 28, 2014

Faded Page eBook #20140892

This eBook was produced by: Marcia Brooks & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net


[Pg 1]

Montreal. Thursday,28th June 1821. No. I.
Scribimus docti, indoctique.Horace.
Both for the learned and the unlearned we write.

Easy as scribbling is to every ready penman; readily as a fit of cacoethes scribendi finds a vent through the medium of those handy materials, pen, ink and paper; it is a matter of no little difficulty to take up a new task of this kind. To begin a work, which may either sink into insignificance within the first fortnight and die the death of many more worthy predecessors, an oblation to the household gods, by grocers and pastry-cooks; a burnt offering to Bacchus, by the smokers of tobacco, or a sacrifice of incense at the shrine of the fragrant goddess; or which, on the contrary, may increase and multiply into volumes and editions, for the instruction and amusement of future ages; requires more consideration than I had supposed necessary to give it, when it came into my grey-haired head to make the attempt. Whether to follow the precept of the French schoolmaster to his pupil, “mon fils commencez par le commencement,” or to rush into the middle of things, and begin with a battle or a tempest, like Homer or Virgil: whether to commence with a ceremonious introduction of myself to my patrons, or to leave them to discover by degrees, and by the almost imperceptible traits purposely woven by chance into the work, the birth, parentage[Pg 2] and education of Lewis Luke Macculloh, Esquire: whether to lay down a systematic plan by which to scribble, or, like Sterne, say, I do not govern my pen, but my pen governs me: whether to become instantly as familiar with my readers, as the flippancy of French manners, or the loquacity of Yankee curiosity, can make casual acquaintance; or to continue as shy and distant as the gloomy taciturnity of an Englishman, or the wary habits of a Scotchman, generally make fellow-travellers:—these are the questions. Probably in this, as in most cases, a medium course will be best; and, as authors, especially periodical essayists, and their readers, have been very commonly, and very aptly, likened to fellow-passengers in the same vehicle; we will, with your leave, gentle readers, like stage coach companions, after a short introduction, similar to the observations usually made by travellers as to the route they are going together, and the probability of fine or bad weather during the journey, accompanied by a nod, or a squeeze to sit closer, an offer of the best seat, or those glances of intelligence which are a kind of short-hand introduction, jog on quietly together, and let the occurrences on the road, the prospects as we go along, and the reflections and anecdotes they may call forth, furnish the means of our becoming better acquainted, and enjoying an intellectual treat together; hoping only that we may not break down or be overturned, that we may not be runaway with by unruly or headstrong horses, alias passions and prejudices; and above all that we may not become tiresome to each other, and fall asleep for want of——being able to keep awake, which is, twenty times out of a score, the physical cause of nodding over a book, or closing one's eyes at church, however much blame may be laid on the soporific quality[Pg 3] of a heavy page, or the composing effect of a drowsy sermon.

To produce a weekly paper, assuming the form of essays, light, desultory and amusing, intended also to be instructive and profitable, with now and then a lash at the follies, the inconsistencies, and the abuses of the times, of fashions, and of manners; a paper, occasionally directed to literary enquiries, sometimes to matters of public utility, and domestic economy; sometimes also to local matters of praise or of reprehension, but never deviating into personality; and avoiding, as much as possible, all intermixture of party-politics, and of religious controversy, those fatal rocks on which the amenities and comforts of social life have too often split; forms the plan of the Scribbler. The sex emphatically and by excellence The Sex, who are so far above all praise for excelling charms, and virtues unequalled, that it is almost degrading to designate them as the fair, or as the softer sex, will, as has been the bounden duty of all periodical essayists, attract no inconsiderable portion of attention; and, as amidst the moral essays, elegant criticisms, and higher pursuits of Addison and Steele, it was not beneath their aim to animadvert on the structure of a fan, the placing of a patch, or the form and furbelow of a petticoat, so will the dress, the appearance, the habits, the amusements, and the tea table talk of the ladies, afford topics for scribbling till—till the best tempered quill is worn down to a stump.

One object I propose to myself, is, shortly and impartially to review any literary publications that may appear in Canada, or that may particularly relate to this country, or be considered as interesting to its inhabitants. Literature, however, being as yet but at a low ebb here, this department is not likely soon to occupy a laborious portion of[Pg 4] my time, or much space in my pages; though even such a review is intended to be retrospective, and to take in such books of the above description, as have lately appeared. It is intended also to fill the quarter or half pages that might otherwise remain vacant in these weekly papers, with short advertisements relative to literature and the arts, to public amusements, or public instruction; of books published or in the press; of portrait painters and exhibitions; of theatrical performances, and of schools and academies.—Communications of this kind, addressed to the Scribbler, at the printer's, will, at the discretion of the author, and, curtailed or modified, as the subject, or the disposable space may require, be inserted gratis.

Not alone, however, on the resources of one mind, and the labours of one pen, will these weekly papers depend for their argument and contents. Ancient and modern authors will be occasionally laid under contribution to supply amusement or instruction; and when invention flags, subjects fail, or the scribbling intermits, the labours of others may be availed of; and extracts, translations or epitomes from scarce, valuable, or voluminous books that are not accessible to the generality of readers may be considered as eligible succedanea for original composition; and, possessing more merit, may be fully acceptable, in the production of a companion at the breakfast table, and in the parlour-window. Moreover, courteous friends,

“My very worthy and approved good masters,”

and mistresses too I should add, ye who are, or will be, at the same time my patrons and my pupils, I trust likewise that I shall from time to[Pg 5] time, be favoured with your correspondence, and that many a stout pen from the wing of a goose, and many a slender and delicate crow quill, in the hand of a fair lady, may be flourished, in addressing a billet to the Scribbler; and selections from such communications I flatter myself will make one of the most interesting features of my hebdomadal appearance.

Variegated with occasional pieces of poetry, selections, translations, or originals, I hope to make my miscellany a kind of parterre to gratify the taste of beauty and the eye of science. Having been in my youth a dabbler in the Aonian rill, I shall rummage my old stores, and with the help of the lively, the sentimental, the satiric, and the pathetic part of my correspondents, I expect to have now and then a poet's corner as well as other scribblers.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, without any more preparatory conversation, we will set out on our journey.

'Tis an early and bright morning in June. A haze growing out of the short twilight we have in these latitudes still hangs on the horizon, and is the harbinger of a cloudless and sultry day. Observe now the glorious rising of the sun, the majesty of his broad orb of fire breaking from behind the distant range that extends its blue outline to the eastward of Chambly mountain, dispelling the mists and awakening all nature to renovated life and joy. Ah! little do those who waste so many hours in the baleful indulgence of sleeping late, know the happiness, the hilarity and the elasticity that attends a habit of early rising. Once accustomed to the practice, the pleasures and advantages derived from it will endear it to every reflecting mind, will make the gay and thoughtless more blithe and bounding, and cause it to be[Pg 6] cherished even by the sensualist. That it is, in the highest degree, conducive to the preservation of health, has never been doubted or denied; that it adds at least an eighth part to the absolute duration of conscious existence, the slightest arithmetical calculation of the hours it rescues from oblivion, will prove. To the man of contemplative mind, to the lover of literary pursuits, it affords better opportunities for reflection, developes more clearly the ideas, and embodies the ratiocinations of the soul more vividly and tangibly than all the evening studies, the watching and the wasting of midnight lamps, that erudition boasts of, and that have been generally, but falsely, considered as essential habits of the studious. To the observer of nature, the adorer of Divine goodness, it affords the fittest season for pouring forth the soul in admiration and extacy. To the man of business it is a precious portion of the day, and to him no time can be more adapted for arranging his plans and concerns against the bustle of the coming day, than a few hours early in the morning. Even the mere lounger, the idler, if he rises early, will enjoy his morning walk along the riverside or through the mazes of the wood, with something like zest when opposed to the vapidness and languor of a mid-day stroll. The ladies ought to be both advocates for, and practicers of, this embellishing and healthful habit. It is the best cosmetic in the world, gives animation, playfulness, and an expression of delighted feeling that no revels of the night, no loo or cassino table, nay that no country-dance, waltz or cotillion can bestow. Not that I am an enemy to these amusements; on the contrary, in due moderation and at seasonable intervals, they are not only to be approved, but, if injunction were necessary in such matters, to the young, to the gay, and to the charming,[Pg 7] I would enjoin the occasional enjoyment of them to all my female friends.

To those who can not muster resolution to shake off the fetters of sleep, who, maugre their best intentions, feel a kind of bodily preponderating inclination, a heavy wish that they can not shake off; for “yet a little more sleep, yet a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” I would propose an effectual, and, as they will find, not an unpleasing, method of curing this lethargy of habit. Premising that regular and rather early hours over night, for

“Early to bed, and early to rise,
Is the way to be healthy, wealthy and wise;”

are requisite to ensure the efficacy of my prescription, let them cause themselves to be awakened at first one half hour before the time they have been accustomed to rise, and a glare of light to be thrown into the apartment. The result will be that, if not on the first morning, they will, on the second, be up rather before their usual time, without feeling any inconvenience. Then let each successive morning, the time be anticipated by half an hour, or if they are very far gone in the disease of “lye-abeds,” then every other morning, by a quarter of an hour, and in a very short period they will get gradually accustomed to the exertion, and will afterwards find as much difficulty in sleeping away the finest hours of the day, as they before had in rousing themselves to enjoy them. To change a habit of this kind at once is certainly impracticable with any degree of comfort, and the sensations experienced by a person accustomed to lie late, when forced to be up hours before the usual time, tend much to create disgust towards the practice. A feeling of sickness and qualmy lassitude, is almost invariably[Pg 8] a consequence of a sudden change in this respect, but can never occur, if the alteration be gradually made as here recommended.

I am happy, however, to bear testimony that lying late is much less a habit in this country than in the more dissipated circles of European society. Much business is done both in the counting-house and in the ware-house before breakfast; and the white arm and diamond decked hand of many a domestic lady, may be seen employed in the laudable and no less pleasing pursuit of examining the fattest poultry, and the finest fruits, destined for the tables of their families, whilst the sun yet darts its rays horizontally upon our markets. This is a custom which can never be too much commended. The virtues of housewifery are not incompatible with the accomplishments of elegance and fashion, and the lustre of one reflects grace upon the comforts derived from the other.

As I have now fairly got you all up and broad awake, I shall make my bow, with “au plaisir”—and valete et plaudite.



No. 1.



Intended as a miscellany of literature, amusement, criticism, satire and poetry; excluding news, party politics, religious controversy, and personal scandal.

Printed and published by James Lane, price 6d. per No. or to permanent subscribers, 6s. per quarter, 11s. 6d. for six months, or 22s. per annum.

Subscriptions received by the printer, and communications for the Scribbler to be addressed to him.

Transcriber's Note: Obvious printer errors, including punctuation, have been corrected, with the exception of those listed below. All other inconsistencies have been left as they were in the original.

[The end of The Scribbler 1821-06-28 Volume 1, Issue 01 by Samuel Hull Wilcocke]