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American Review
TO OUR SUBSCRIBERS”, from “The Proprietors”, American Review Office, New York, Dec. 1, 1851.

Quarto, printed circular, 2 pages, includes a page of favorable reviews of the magazine by newspapers across the country. Sent to Rev. H. Lyman, Watertown, Mass.

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“The present number will conclude the 14th volume of the American Review…a word of explanation to our friends…The conductors of the Review at the beginning of the present year, differed as to the propriety of a certain manner and tone, and the introduction of certain ideas into it, discussions more especially in reference to the foreign policy of the Government. Not being able in time to reconcile these differences, the party who introduce them resigned his position and it will accordingly be perceived by an examination of the numbers since April last that the old and standard ideas of the party, those on which the Review had heretofore obtained its wide celebrity and circulation, have been resumed...principles of a sound Nationality which in accordance with the Whig interpretation of Constitutional Republicanism…on the eve of a contest that is to establish our present calm and prosperous condition, or throw us again into the political Maelstrom of quack democracy, where the nation has so often been made the victim of theories, generally adopted from foreign politicians or economists, who are… disinterested in the feeding of our Democracy…”

Continues with a plea for financial support from its 5000 subscribers.

Just as the Whig Party was to dissolve during the coming presidential election year, so did the Whig Review disappear after its seven years of distinguished existence, its fame being more literary than political, having had the distinction of publishing the first printing of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”


This rare imprint was apparently unknown to the several historians who have published essays about the rise and fall of the Review. Or perhaps they avoided citing the imprint because its verbiage is so ambiguous.  What was the foreign policy disagreement that caused a shake-up of the editorial staff? Was it the possibility, which the Review seemed to encourage, of American conflict with Great Britain? Or Whig Secretary of State Daniel Webster’s divergence from traditional non-intervention in European affairs by support of Hungarian revolutionary Lajos Kossuth? Or perhaps the editorial explanation was really a smoke-screen to hide violent disagreement about the hot issue of slavery.

In any case, the imprint is very scarce; WorldCat locates only two institutional holdings, though one of these seems to be inexplicably confused with an Abolitionist imprint of seven years later.