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abate, his spirits may gradually regain their wonted tone, and his publication perhaps assume a little more of that energy it ought to possess. At any rate, he will submit with a becoming deference to the public decision in this case. And, after thanking his numerous and respectable subscribers for the countenance they have given him, he will only add, that it shall be his invariable study to discharge those obligations he has come under to them, and to the public, with the utmost fidelity in his power : indeed he could not give a stronger proof of his determined resolu. tion to do so, than by publishing, while in the state of depression of mind he feels himself, these present sheets :-for nothing but a positive en. gagement could have induced him to do so: but a positive engagement to him is always an irre vocable deed ; which nothing but an absolute impossibility can apnul. Kind reader, farewell.
The editor of this work has frequently had occasion to remark, in the course of reading, that numerous facts, and important observations, have been published many years, without having ever come to the knowledge of those classes of men who are engaged in the active pursuits of business, though it is, for the most part, by such men only, that practical improvements can be applied to useful purposes in life. From this cause it happens, that the discoveries made by literary men, too often serve rather to amuse the speculative than to awaken the ingenuity of men of business, or to stimulate the industry of the operative part of the community, who have no opportunity of ever hearing of the numerous volumes in which these scattered facts are recorded.
He has likewise observed, that among those who are engaged in arts, agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, there are many individuals of great ingenuity and conspicuous talents, who, from experience and obfervation, have made important discoveries in their respective employments; but that these men being at present in a great measure excluded from the circle of literary intelligence, have neither an oppora tunity, nor any inducement to communicate their discoveries to others. Thus is ufeful knowledge confined to a few individuals only, at whose death it is irrecoverably lost, instead of being universally diffused, as it of right ought to be, among all men, at least of their own profeffion; and the progress of the nation towards perfection in useful ata tainments is much retarded.
He has also often remarked, with extreme regret, that clergymen *, and others in remote parts of the country, whose minds in their early youth have been delighted with the charms of scientific pursuits, must in the present state of things, unless they be poflessed of affluence, reluctantly forego the pleasures that result from a familiar intercourse with the republic of letters, and suffer themselves to link into a sort of men, tal ánnihilation. To such men the poet may be supposed aptly to allude in these beautiful lines :
“ Full many a gem of purest ray serene
“ The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
GRAY. Alike unknown indeed, and useless to the world, are the mental tream sures which thus are buried in obfcurity, as the inanimate objects here described; but not alike are the effects of neglect on the ani. mate and the inanimate objects themselves. The gem loses none of its valuable qualities, though it should remain for ages hid in the bosom of the dark abyss; the bursting rose bud also, covered with the dews of heaven, unfolds its opening charms with equal beauty in the tan
* This observation chiefly applies to clergymen in Scotland.
gled glade, and diffuses its balmy fragrance with the same profusion in the lonely desert, as in the polished garden, where it ministers to the delight of admiring princes. Not so the man. His soul, formed with a relish for the fuperior enjoyments of society, if suffered to pine in neglected obscurity, loses its vivifying principle : its ardent brillianty fades; and it is soon deprived of all those valuable qualities which might render it either agreeable or beneficial to mankind. Whatever, therefore, shall have a tendency to remove this evil, and to open a ready intercourse between these valuable characters and congenial minds, will confer a very important blessing on mankind.
Such was the general train of reasoning that suggested the idea of the present work : Nor does the editor scruple to own, that the pleasure he has felt in anticipating the happiness he may thus eventually be the means of procuring to many deserving persons who are now loft in obscurity, and in contemplating the benefits that will probably result to the community at large from the revivification of so much genius, which now lies dormant and useless, have tended greatly to incite him to attempt the present arduous undertaking; and have influenced him in adopting the particular form of this work, the mode of its public cation, and the price at which it is offered to the public, as being better adapted than any other he could think of, for removing the inconveniences pointed out, and for diffusing knowledge very universally among those classes of men who are at present excluded from the li. terary circle. Its form is such as will easily admit of its being kept clean and entire till it can be bound up for preservation : The time that will intervene between the publication of each number will be fo short, as not to allow the subjects treated in one to be lost sight of before another appears : answers to queries may be quickly obtained; and contested discussions will thus acquire an interest and a vivacity that cannot be felt in publications that are longer delayed : Nor will those even in the busiest scenes of life find any difficulty in glancing over the whole at leisure hours; and the price is so exceedingly moderate as to bring it within the reach of even the most economical members of the community. Thus, he hopes that this performance will become an interesting recreation and an useful instructor to the man of bufiness, and an agreeable amusement during a vacant hour to those of higher rank.
Nor does the editor confine his views to Britain alone. The world at large he confiders as the proper theatre for literary improvements, and the whole human race, as constituting but one great fociety, whose general advancement in knowledge must tend to augment the prosperity of all its parts. He wishes, therefore, to break down those little distinctions which accident has produced to set nations at variance, and which ignorance has laid hold of to disunite and to render hoflile to each other such a large proportion of the human race. Commerce hath naturally paved the way to an attempt, which literature alone could not perhaps have hoped to achieve. British traders are now to be found in all nations on the globe; and the English language begins to be studied as highly useful in every country. By means of the universal intercourse which that trade occasions, and the general utility of this language, he
hopes to be able to establish a mutual interchange of knowledge, and to effect a friendly literary intercourse among all nations; by which man shall come gradually to know, to esteem, to aid, and to benefit his fellow creatures wherever he finds them. The human heart is
piety, beneficence and generosity among all people, if errors that too often pervert the understanding were eradicated. The proper business of philosophy is to eradicate those errors which estrange mankind from each other, and to extend the sphere of beneficence among men wider and wider still, till it shall comprehend every individual of the human race. Should the editor of this work be enabled to establish the foundation of this system of universal civilizacion, he would reckon himself fingularly fortunate indeed, and think that he had accomplished one of the most glorious achievements that can fall to the lot of man to perform. Animated with this hope, his exertions have been great; and he trufts they will not in future be unworthy of the object he has in view. He is happy in being able to say, that he has been more fortunate in forming connections with men of eminence in the literary world than he had any reason to expect; and were he here to mention the names of those who are to honour him with their correspondence, it is hard to say whether it would most expose him to be censured as vain, or bring his veracity in question. Suffice it therefore at present only to say, that there is scarcely a civilized nation on the globe in which he has not a reasonable assurance of having fomonfidential correspondents, on whose knowledge and zeal in the cause or science he can fully rely. It is indeed to that ardour for knowledge among them that he is solely indebted for the favourable countenance he has obtained. Into all nations, therefore, where the En lich language is in any way known, this work will probably find its way; and of course it may be expected that the useful discoveries, or literary essays of ingenious men, will have a better chance of being generally read, and the writers of them made known among men of letters, if inserted in it, than perhaps in any other publication. To give this work, therefore, the full value of which it is susceptible, the cditor warmly solicits communications from ingenious men of all na
spect to arts, accuracy and the most scrupulous fidelity in regard to exa periments, nature and truth in the delineation of real life, and elegance in polite literature and the belles lettres, are what he chiefly wishes to obtain. Though utility shall ever be his chief aim, he is well aware, that to be able to accomplish this aim, it is necessary that the work should be as agreeable as poffible. Dry and intricate details, therefore, it shall be his study to avoid. To polish the manners and to humanize the heart, he believes to be the first steps required in an attempt to inspire a tafte for literary excellence, and to excite exertions for attaining the highest perfection in arts. This he hopes to be able to effect, by a careful selection of elegant differtations, characteristical anecdotes, entertaining tales, and lively fallies of wit and humour, that shall be naturally calculated to awaken the attention of youth, and to