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fly from Curiosity, and as many Enquirers produce many Narratives, whatever engages the public Attention is immediately disguised by the Embellishments of Fiction. We pretend to no peculiar Power of disentangling Contradiction or denuding Forgery, we have no settled Correspondence with the Antipodes, nor maintain any Spies in the Cabinets of Princes. But as we shall always be conscious that our Mistakes are involuntary, we shall watch the gradual Discoveries of Time, and retract what we have hastily and erroneously advanced.
In the Narratives of the daily Writers every Rcader perceives somewhat of Neatness and Purity wanting, which at the first View it seems easy to supply; but it must be considered, that those Passages must be written in Hafte, and that there is often no other Choice, but that they must want either Novelty or Accuracy; and that as Life is very uniform, the Affairs of one Week are so like those of another, that by any Attempt after Variety of Expression, Invention would soon be wearied, and Language exhausted. Some Improvements however we hope to make ; and for the rest we think that when we commit only common Faults, we shall not be excluded from common Indulgence. The Accounts of Prices of Corn and Stocks are to most of our Readers of more Importance than Narratives of greater Sound, and as Exactness is here within the Reach of Diligence, our Readers may justly require it from us.
Memorials of a private and personal Kind, which relate Deaths, Marriages, and Preferments, muft always be imperfect by Omission, and often erroneous by Misinformation ; but even in there there shall not be wanting Care to avoid Mistakes, or to rectify them whenever they shall be found.
That Part of our Work, by which it is diftin guished from all others, is the literary Journal, or
Account of the Labours and Productions of the Learned. This was for a long Time among the Deficiencies of English Literature, but as the Caprice of Man is always starting from too little to too much, we have now amongst other Disturbers of human Quiet, a numerous Body of Reviewers and Remarkers.
Every Art is improved by the Emulation of Competitors ; those who make no Advances towards Excellence, may stand as Warnings against Faults. We shall endeavour to avoid that Petulance which treats with Contempt whatever has hitherto been reputed facred.
We shall repress that Elation of Malignity, which wantons in the Cruelties of Criticism, and not only murders Reputation, but murders it by Torture. Whenever we feel ourselves ignorant we shall at least be modeft. Our Intention is not to pre-occupy Judgment by Praise or Censure, but to gratify Curiosity by early Intelligence, and to tell rather what our Authours have attempted, than what they have performed. The Titles of Books are necessarily Thort, and therefore disclose but imperfectly the Contents ; they are sometimes fraudulent and intended to raise false Expectations. In our account this Brevity will be extended, and these Fraude whenever they are detected will be exposed; for though we write without Intention to injure, we Ahall not suffer ourselves to be made Parties to Den ceit.
If any Authour shall transmit a Summary of his Work, we shall willingly receive it ; if any literary Anecdote, or curious Observation shall be communicated to us, we shall carefully insert it. Many Facts are known and forgotten, many Observations are made and supprefied; and Entertainment and Instruction are frequently lost, for want of a Re
pository in which they may be conveniently preferved.
No Man can modestly promise what he cannot ascertain : we hope for the Praise of Knowledge and Discernment, but we claim only that of Diligence and Candour.
Proceedings of the Committee appointed to
manage the Contributions begun at London, Dec. 18, 1758, for Cloathing French Prifoners of War.
HE Committee intrusted with the Money con
tributed to the Relief of the Subjects of France, now Prisoners in the British Dominions, here lay before the Public an exact Account of all the Sums received and expended, that the Donors may judge how properly their Benefactions have been applied.
Charity would lose its Name, were it influenced by so mean a Motive as human Praise: It is therefore not intended to celebrate by any particular Memorial, the Liberality of single Persons, or distinct Societies ; it is sufficient that their Works praise them,
Yet he who is far from seeking Honour, may very justly obviate Censure. If a good Example has been set, it may lose its Influence by Misrepresentation; and to free Charity from Reproach, is itself a charitable Action.
Against the Relief of the French only one Argument has been brought ; but that one is so popular and specious, that if it were to remain unexamined, it would by many be thought irrefragable. It has been urged that Charity, like other Virtues, may be improperly and unseasonably exerted; that while we are relieving Frenchmen, there remain many Englishmen unrelieved ; that while we lavish Pity on our Enemies, we forget the Misery of our Friends.
Grant Grant this Argument all it can prove, and what is the Conclusion ?- That to relieve the French is a good Action, but that a better may be conceived: This is all the Result, and this All is very little. To do the best can seldom be the Lot of Man ; it is sufficient if, when Opportunities are presented, he is ready to do Good. How little Virtue could be practised, if Beneficence were to wait always for the most proper Objects, and the noblest Occasions ; Occasions that may never happen, and Objects that may never be found ?
It is far from certain, that a fingle Englishman will suffer by the Charity to the French New Scenes of Misery make new Impressions; and much of the Charity which produced these Donations, may be supposed to have been generated by a Species of Calamity never known among us before. Some imagine that the Laws have provided all necessary Relief in common Cases, and remit the Poor to the Care of the Public ; some have been deceived by fictitious Misery, and are afraid of encouraging Imposture; many have observed Want to be the Effect of Vice, and consider casual Almsgivers as Patrons of Idleness. But all these Difficulties vanish in the present Cafe: We know that for the Prisoners of War there is no legal Provision; we see their Distress, and are certain of its Cause; we know that they are poor and naked, and poor and naked without a Crime.
But it is not neceffary to make any Concessions. The Opponents of this Charity must allow it to be good, and will not easily prove it not to be the best. That Charity is best, of which the Consequences are most extensive: The Relief of Enemies has a Tendency to unite Mankind in fraternal Affection ; to soften the Acrimony of adverse Nations, and dispose them to Peace and Amity : In the mean Time, it alleviates Captivity, and takes away something from