Domestic Encyclopædia (1802)/Almanack

ALMANACK, a term derived from two Arabic words, al and manack, a diary; and is, as its name imports, a tabie or register containing a calendar of days and months, the rising and setting of the sun, the age of the moon, and the eclipses of these luminaries. It is also used to foretel the change of seasons, the state of the weather, the ebb and flow of the tide, &c.

Almanacks are much esteemed by the superstitious Arabians, who never sow, reap, plant, travel, or, in short, undertake any enterprize, without consulting them. Since their introduction into Europe, about the middle of the fifteenth century, they have also been adopted in this country, where they generally are interspersed with a number of astrological rules and regulations. To these have been added, various astronomical, meteorological, chronological, political, and economical articles, but they are seldom selected with critical discernment, or adapted to moral and physical improvement.

A great number of such diaries are annually printed in Britain; and we understand, that of the celebrated Moore's Almanack, notwithstanding all the superstitious notions perpetuated in this popular book, not less than 400,000 copies are, every year, ushered into public notice.—It is, therefore, sincerely to be wished, that such publications as are addressed immediately to the bulk of the people, may in future be rendered the vehicles of more useful information. Hence we presume to remark, that an annual publication, conducted upon the plan of Poor Richard's Almanack, in Pennsylvania, would be attended with great advantages, both to the husbandsman and mechanic, in this country. The great Franklin, who is said to have edited that popular work for many years, furnished it with various sentences and proverbs, principally relating to subjects of industry, domestic economy, and frugality.