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fly from Curiofity, 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 difentangling Contradiction or denuding Forgery, we have no fettled Correfpondence 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 Difcoveries of Time, and retract what we have haftily and erroneously advanced.
In the Narratives of the daily Writers every Reader perceives fomewhat of Neatness and Purity wanting, which at the firft View it feems eafy to fupply; but it must be confidered, that thofe Paffages muft 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 fo like those of another, that by any Attempt after Variety of Expreffion, Invention would foon be wearied, and Language exhaufted. Some Improvements however we hope to make; and for the reft we think that when we commit only common Faults, we fhall 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 perfonal Kind, which relate Deaths, Marriages, and Preferments, muft always be imperfect by Omission, and often erroneous by Mifinformation; but even in these there fhall 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 diftinguished 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; thofe who make no Advances towards Excellence, may ftand as Warnings against Faults. We fhall endeavour to avoid that Petulance which treats with Contempt whatever has hitherto been reputed facred.
We shall reprefs that Elation of Malignity, which wantons in the Cruelties of Criticifm, and not only murders Reputation, but murders it by Torture. Whenever we feel ourselves ignorant we fhall at least be modeft. Our Intention is not to pre-occupy Judgment by Praise or Cenfure, but to gratify Curiofity by early Intelligence, and to tell rather what our Authours have attempted, than what they have performed. The Titles of Books are neceffarily hort, and therefore disclose but imperfectly the Contents; they are fometimes fraudulent and intended to raise falfe Expectations. In our account this Brevity will be extended, and thefe Frauds whenever they are detected will be expofed; for though we write without Intention to injure, we hall not fuffer ourselves to be made Parties to Deceit.
If any Authour fhall tranfmit a Summary of his Work, we fhall willingly receive it; if any literary Anecdote, or curious Obfervation fhall be communicated to us, we fhall carefully infert it. Many Facts are known and forgotten, many Obfervations are made and fuppreffed; and Entertainment and Inftruction are frequently loft, for want of a Repofitory
pofitory in which they may be conveniently pre
No Man can modeftly promise what he cannot afcertain we hope for the Praise of Knowledge and Difcernment, 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 intrufted with the Money contributed 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 lofe its Name, were it influenced by fo mean a Motive as human Praise: It is therefore not intended to celebrate by any particular Memorial, the Liberality of fingle Perfons, or diftinct Societies; it is fufficient that their Works praise them.
Yet he who is far from feeking Honour, may very juftly obviate Cenfure. If a good Example has been fet, it may lofe its Influence by Mifreprefentation; and to free Charity from Reproach, is itfelf a charitable Action.
Against the Relief of the French only one Argument has been brought; but that one is fo popular and fpecious, 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 unfeasonably exerted; that while we are relieving Frenchmen, there remain many Englishmen unrelieved; that while we lavish Pity on our Enemies, we forget the Mifery of our Friends.
Grant this Argument all it can prove, and what is the Conclufion?-That to relieve the French is a good Action, but that a better may be conceived. This is all the Refult, and this All is very little. To do the best can seldom be the Lot of Man; it is fufficient if, when Opportunities are prefented, he is ready to do Good. How little Virtue could be practised, if Beneficence were to wait always for the moft proper Objects, and the nobleft Occasions Occafions that may never happen, and Objects that may never be found?
It is far from certain, that a fingle Englishman will fuffer by the Charity to the French. New Scenes of Mifery make new Impreffions; and much of the Charity which produced these Donations, be fuppofed to have been generated by a Species of Calamity never known among us before. Some imagine that the Laws have provided all neceffary Relief in common Cafes, and remit the Poor to the Care of the Public; fome have been deceived by fictitious Mifery, and are afraid of encouraging Impofture; many have obferved Want to be the Effect of Vice, and confider cafual Almfgivers as Patrons of Idleness. But all these Difficulties vanish in the prefent Cafe: We know that for the Prisoners of War there is no legal Provifion; we fee their Diftrefs, and are certain of its Caufe; we know that they are poor and naked, and poor and naked without a Crime.
But it is not neceffary to make any Conceffions. The Opponents of this Charity muft allow it to be good, and will not eafily prove it not to be the best. That Charity is beft, of which the Confequences are most extenfive: The Relief of Enemies has Tendency to unite Mankind in fraternal Affection; to foften the Acrimony of adverse Nations, and difpofe them to Peace and Amity: In the mean Time, it alleviates Captivity, and takes away fomething from