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From Salmagundi, a series of satirical pamphlets written by Washington Irving, his brothers and friends in New York City from January 1807 to January 1808.

The following excerpt is from the editors to readers in the first issue, dated Saturday, January 24, 1807.


“Our intention is simply to instruct the young, reform the old, correct the town, and castigate the age; this is an arduous task, and therefore we undertake it with confidence. We intend for this purpose to present a striking picture of the town; and as everybody is anxious to see his own phiz [face] on canvas, however stupid or ugly it may be, we have no doubt but the whole town will flock to our exhibition. Our picture will necessarily include a vast variety of figures; and should any gentleman or lady be displeased with the inveterate truth of their likenesses, they may ease their spleen by laughing at those of their neighbors – this being what we understand by poetical justice.

“Like all true and able editors, we consider ourselves infallible; and therefore, with the customary diffidence of our brethren of the quill, we shall take the liberty of interfering in all matters either of a public or a private nature. We are critics, amateurs, dilettanti, and cognoscenti; and as we know “by the pricking of our thumbs,” that every opinion which we may advance in either those characters will be correct, we are determined though it may be questioned, contradicted, or even controverted, yet it shall never be revoked.”

[In case you look it up, the full name of the publication was Salmagundi; or The Whim-whams and Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq. & Others.]

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