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PUTNAM'S MONTHLY.

A Magazine of Literature, Science, and Art.

VOL. I.—JANUARY 1853.—NO. I.

INTRODUCTORY.

A

perpetually taking form—that the regions of space are but a celestial dairy, in which the milky way is for ever churned into stars. Nor do the new stars extinguish the old; for, as the thirteenth man in the omnibus always says—there is room for one more. It will not, therefore, surprise the public to see a new Magazine. The reader, like the astronomer cognizant of infinite star-dust, knows very well that in the rapid life of this country there is a constant scintillation of talent, which needs only a nucleus to be combined into beams of light and heat.

Taking the reader, therefore, by the hand, or rather by the eye, here at the portal, we invite a moment's conversation before he passes within.

A man buys a Magazine to be amused-to be instructed, if you please, but the lesson must be made amusing. He buys it to read in the cars, in his leisure hours at home in the hotel, at all chance moments. It makes very little difference to him whether the article date from Greece or Guinea, if it only interest him. He does not read upon principle, and troubles himself little about copyright and justice to authors. If a man goes to Timbuctoo and describes his visit picturesquely and well, the reader devours the story, and is not at all concerned because the publisher may have broken the author's head or heart, to obtain the manuscript. A popular Magazine must amuse, interest and instruct, or the public will pass by upon the other side. Nor will it be persuaded to "come over and help us” by any consideration of abstract right. It says. very justly. “ if you had no legs, why did you try to walk ?”

It is because wc are confident that neither Greece nor Guinea can offer the American reader a richer variety of instruction and amusement in every kind, than the country whose pulses throb with his, and whose every interest is his own, that this Magazine presents itself to-day. The genius of the old world is affluent; we owe much to it, and we hope to owe more. But we have no less faith in the opulence of our own resources. Not alone in the discussion of those graver contemporary interests of every kind, which is the peculiar province of the foreign Quarterly Review, but in the treatment of minor matters of daily experience, which makes so much of the distinctive charm of a Magazine, we hold to the conviction that our genius is as good as it is in practical affairs. To an American eye, life in New-York, for instance. offers more, and more interesting, aspects, than life in London or Paris. Or, again, life

VOL. 1.-1

in London and Paris is more interesting and intelligible to an American when reported by an American, than by the man of any other country. America practically goes to Europe with every American. We do not mean, of course, with every man whose birth chanced to fall in America, and to whom Europe is Paris, and Paris a Jardin Mabille, or a Magasin des Modes, but with every man who sees through “ American spectacles," as a late anonymous author expresses it. We all understand his impressions and estimates, because they are made by a standard common to ourselves. And if we add to this, the essential freshness of feeling and true poetic sense of the American, we find some reason for the opinion that not only does an American know how to travel, but he knows how to tell his travels well. Hence, in a popular Magazine, which is a running commentary upon the countless phenomena of the times as they rise-not, as in a newspaper, in the form of direct criticism, but in the more permanently interesting shapes of story, essay, poem and sketch-this local reality is a point of the utmost importance. If there are as sharp-eyed and cunning-handed men in New-York or Cincinnati, or New Orleans, for instance, who can walk into the markets, and search all the mysteries of characteristic life in those cities, and then with emphasis and skill, make all of us see as they saw, why is it not as interesting as the same thing done in London ?

This is true in other spheres—of thought, as well as life. We trust to show not only the various aspects of life, but to hint at their significance. In what paper or periodical do you now look to find the criticism of American thought upon the times ? We hope to answer that question, too, by heaping upon our pages the results of the acutest observations, and the most trenchant thought, illustrated by whatever wealth of erudition, of imagination and of experience, they may chance to possess.

A Magazine, like a poet, we know must be born and not made. That is, it must be founded upon fact. No theory of what a good Magazine should be, will make a Magazine good, if it be not genuine in itself and genuinely related to the time. And it has been already announced in our prospectus, that we have no desire to try an ex periment.

Are we then so sure ? Has not the long and dreary history of Magazines opened our eyes? Is there some siren seduction in theatres and periodicals that for ever woos managers and publishers to a certain destruction ? Why do we propose another twelve-month voyage in pea-green covers, toward obscurity and the chaos of failures ?

These are fair and friendly questions, while we stand chatting at the portal. With the obstinacy of Columbus, --if you please—we incredulously hear you, and still bolieve in the West. No alchemist, after long centuries of labor, ever discovered the philosopher's stone, nor found that any thing but genius and thrift would turn plaster and paper into gold. But, if even he had withstood his consuming desire, he would have perished at first of despair, as he did, at last, of disappointment.

So our Magazine is a foregone conclusion. Columbus believed in his Cathay of the West—and discovered it.

We pray the reader to enter, and pardon this delay at the door. Within he will find poets, wits, philosophers, critics, artists, travellers, men of erudition and science, all strictly masked, as becomes worshippers of that invisible Truth which all our ef forts and aims will seek to serve. And as he turns from us to accost those masks we remind the reader of the young worshipper of Isis. For in her temple at Säis, upon the Nile, stood her image, for ever veiled. And when an ardent neophyte passionately besought that he might see her, and would take no refusal, his prayer was granted. The veil was lifted, and the exceeding splendor of that beauty dazzled him to death. Let it content you, ardent reader, to know that behind these masks are those whom you much delight to honor—those whose names, like the fame of Isis, have gone into other lands.

Finally, our Magazine shall say for itself what was said in the person of a young enthusiast born into the world and determined to reform it: “Now, though I am very peaceable, and on my private account could well enough die, since it appears there was some mistake in my creation, and that I have been missent to this earth, where all the seats were already taken,-yet I feel called upon in behalf of rational nature, which I represent, to declare to you my opinion, that, if the earth is yours, so also is it mine. My genius leads me to build a different manner of life from any of yours.”

This, says Putnam's Monthly, to its contemporaries who have already taken front seats in this prosperous world.

CUBA

FREEDOM of discussion on every sub ers think only of the oppressed Hunga

ject, whether foreign or domestic, is a rians, while others, still, are pitying the right claimed by the citizens of this re unconscious French, orlamenting over public. And it is exercised. We are the condition of the injured Irish, or the at peace with France : she was our ally wretched operatives of Great Britain. in our struggle for independence. We The serf of Russia, the poor Indian of have with her existing reciprocating trea America, the unfortunate Pole, have also ties. But this does not prevent the friends and honest "sympathizers” among freest and most forcible expressions of us. We do more than sympathize. We opinion on the subject of her late revolu express our sympathy freely, boldly, withtions. Some of our most respectable out the slightest regard to those whom journals can scarcely find language suffi we consider tyrants and despots. ciently strong to express their disgusto na ya down-trodden nation found an ample the apathy of the French nation, and their indignation against Louis Napoleon, response in the hearts of Americans, and who is denounced as a perjured traitor, the great Magyar was received by us murderer, and assassin. To be sure, this with the most enthusiastic appreciation. is a business with which the French 'have Throughout the and breadth of rather more to do than we, but we claim the land there was one grand ovation to the right to express our opinions for all Kossuth, with express reference to the that. Indeed, notwithstanding our na position he had assumed toward Austria. tional policy not to mix or embroil our More than that, our Government received selves with the affairs of the Old World, him on our shores with discharges of ordwe do daily discuss them with the greatest nance, and gave him an official welcome freedom. And this is right. The field of to the Capitol. The reanimated leader man's action and contemplation is the announced that he was ready to receive WORLD. We cannot, if we would, re lawful contributions in money and arms, main indifferent to what is passing in any and both were freely contributed. Yet of the civilized states. One great ef Austria and the United States were at fect of freedom is to fill the heart with peace, and treaties and diplomatic relaan earnest desire that every living being tions existed between them. A short should participate in its privileges. It is time before, when Ireland seemed about this which makes us feel a lively sympa to arouse from her state of degradation thy for the oppressed everywhere. But and oppression, subscriptions were most oppressions are various. There are dif generously raised here to aid her chiefs in ferent aspects of the picture. One indi their efforts, and highly respectable parvidual cannot be expected to regard them ties-from among our own citizens-acted all. Some among us are engrossed with as a committee to take charge of the fund attempts to benefit the heathen in dis thus created. Yet Great Britain and the tant lands; others feel a profound inter United States were at peace; the most est in the enslaved negro, at home; oth- friendly relations subsisted between them,

and no one dreamed of their being disturbed by these manifestations of individual sympathy or outbursts of individual opinion. Farther back, how strongly did we manifest our sympathy for the Greeks, in their struggle for liberty ; how generously was our individual aid extended to them; and who does not rememher the stirring eloquence of Henry Clay in their behalf, when, in his zeal for the generous cause, he forgot for the time even the constitutional objection against granting to Greece national aid.

Such instances are not confined to our own experience. England enjoys constitutional freedom, and she exercises to the largest extent the rights of free discussion. She too has something to say about Louis Napoleon. She too made a hero of Kossuth, and not content with that, some of her sturdy brewers taking the affair into their own hands, took certainly undue liberties with the person of Haynau. Doubtless they did wrong; they broke the laws of the realm ; they committed a breach of the peace; but there was a sound and wholesome indignation at the bottom, which, if it does not excuse, goes far to palliate the outrage. Further than this, Great Britain has expressed her sympathy loudly and energetically on the side of the African; she compelled Spain to enter into a treaty by which the slave-trade should be suppressed; and she now endeavors to enforce that treaty by her armed vessels of

and gentle race the island was only held by Spain as a convenient military and naval station on the way to the mines of Mexico. Nothwithstanding this, we notice in the laws and municipal rights of Cuba the same independent and liberal spirit which prevailed in all the settlements of that nation, among the Moors or elsewhere, so far as the Spanish settlers or their descendants were concerned. Even in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries public assemblies of citizens were held to elect the members of the corporations ; free and bold charges were made and sustained against governors; and no taxation was permitted which was not sustained by these bodies.

In 1812 the constitution was proclaimed in Spain ; the whole people of the colonies were assimilated to the inhabitants of the mother country with respect to representation ; and Cuba sent her representatives to the Spanish Chamber of Deputies. In 1818 Señor Arango, the deputy from Havana, obtained a royal ordinance for the abolition of restrictions on Cuban commerce. From this period we may date the prosperity of the island. Before she had been a burthen to the home treasury. Now she began to remit large sums annually to the government; an army of 25,000 men, sent from Spain in a miserable plight, was maintained by her, and in a few years was entirely equipped, clothed and disciplined in the best manner, without expense to the mother country. Indeed, since 1830, in every embarrassment of her government, Spain has been supplied with means from the treasury of Cuba, and it has been a reserved fund for her every pressing emergency. When the civil list failed Queen Christina, Cuba furnished resources for defraying the profuse expenditure of the palace. The contributions wrung from the island formed no small portion of the riches bequeathed by Ferdinand Seventh to his rapacious widow and to his reputed daughters. From Cuba also were derived the means of setting on foot the luckless expeditioni of Barrados for the reconquest of Mexico; and from 1832 to 1841 it had exchanged thirty-six millions of dollars against an equal amount of government paper. At length, so much importance was attached to the revenues of this island, that they served as ample guarantees for loans, foreign and domestic. The wealth, the beauty, the fertility of Cuba proved her ruin. By degrees, she came to be regarded only as a machine for raising money; and to carry out the purposes of the home administration to the fullest extent, it was necessary to destroy the privileges and

war.

So for nearly all the oppressed on the earth, there are ready sympathizers, here and elsewhere : for the Frenchman, the Hungarian, the Pole, the Sclavic serf, the English operative, the Irishman, the African, the Indian; and, now that Russia is casting her malign shadow castward, for the Turk also.

But there is almost within sight of our own shores a province of one of the monarchies of the old world whose inhabitants are suffering under greater and more oppressive burthens, and are governed by a sway more absolute and tyrannical, than has ever been exercised against Sclave, Magyar, Pole or Indian. It is the Island of Cuba. We propose to present its history briefly, so as to show its actual condition, before taking up the subject of our relations with Spain, or canvassing the various collateral questions which are now daily presented.

Previous to the eighteenth century, the history of Cuba is principally occupied with accounts of the settlements commenced by the first governor, Diego Velasquez. Its advance was extremely slow, and, having exhausted the native Indian population—who were a docile

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