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The Olden Time Series, Vol. 6: Literary Curiosities Gleanings Chiefly from Old Newspapers of Boston and Salem, Massachusetts

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The following humorous lines well describe the difficulty that editors find in pleasing the public. They are expected to know everything, and to be able to satisfy all tastes and capacities. No imperfections can be excused in conductors of newspapers; they are not even allowed to be unfortunate.


That editor who wills to please,Must humbly crawl upon his knees,And kiss the hand that beats him;Or, if he dare attempt to walk,Must toe the mark that others chalk,And cringe to all that meet him. Says one, Your subjects are too grave,Too much morality you have,—Too much about religion;Give me some witch and wizard talesOf slip-shod ghosts with fins and scales,Of feathers like a pigeon. I love to read, another cries,Those monstrous, fashionable lies,—In other words, those novels,Composed of kings and queens and lords,Of border wars, and gothic hordesThat used to live in hovels. No, no, cries one, we've had enoughOf such confounded love-sick stuff,To craze the fair creation;Give us some recent foreign newsOf Russians, Turks, the Greeks, or Jews,Or any other nation. The man of dull scholastic loreWould like to see a little moreIn scraps of Greek or Latin;The merchants rather have the priceOf southern indigo and rice,Of India silks, or satin. Another cries, I want more fun,A witty anecdote or pun,A rebus or a riddle;Some long for missionary news,And some, of worldly, carnal views,Would rather hear a fiddle. The critic, too, of classic skill,Must dip in gall his gander quill,And scrall against the paper:Of all the literary foolsBred in our colleges and schools,He cuts the greatest caper. Another cries, I want to seeA jumbled-up variety,Variety in all things,—A miscellaneous, hodge-pod print,Composed (I only give the hint)Of multifarious small things. I want some marriage news, says miss:It constitutes my highest blissTo hear of weddings plenty;For in a time of general rainNone suffer from a drought, 'tis plain,—At least, not one in twenty. I want to hear of deaths, says one,Of people totally undoneBy losses, fire, or fever:Another answers full as wise,I'd rather have a fall and riseOf raccoon skins and beaver. Some signify a secret wishFor now and then a favorite dishOf politics to suit them.But here we rest at perfect ease,For should they swear the moon was cheese,We never should dispute them. Or grave or humorous, wild or tame,Lofty or low, 'tis all the same,Too haughty or too humble;And every editorial wightHas nought to do but what is right,And let the grumblers grumble.

From a Salem paper of 1828; author not stated.

"All are needed by each one,Nothing is fair and good alone."


In "old times" almost all the young ladies upon their marriage were "amiable" and "agreeable"; at least they are so represented in most of the announcements. The "maiden aunt" could not speak plainer in writing for the "Boston Sunday Gazette." We copy some specimens from Boston and Salem papers.

On ThurГ…Вїday laГ…Вїt, in the Forenoon, was married Mr. Benjamin Davis of this Town, Merchant, to Mrs. Anstess Greenleaf, Г…Вїecond Daughter of Stephen Greenleaf EГ…Вїq; High Sheriff of the County of Suffolk.

The Г…Вїame Evening Mr. Oliver Wendell, of this Town, Merchant, was alГ…Вїo Married to Mrs. Mary Jackson, only Daughter of the late Mr. Edward Jackson; both young Ladies of great Merit.

Sept. 13, 1762.

On ThurГ…Вїday Evening laГ…Вїt Mr. Phillip DumareГ…Вїq, Merchant, was Married to Mrs....