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AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A LIVING WRITER-
IV.-Reign of the Saints
ROYAL SOCIETY OF ENGLAND
CYCLE OF NATURE-
Late Alteration of the Debtor Laws
OURSELVES AND PROSPECTS.
At the completion of our first volume, we must address a few words to our friends and supporters. We do this more willingly, because it affords us an opportunity of thanking them for the success which has attended our labours, through their kind patronage. When we commenced the Review, we did so with the firm conviction that all the periodicals of the day were either exclusively commercial, sectarian, or tied up by political partisanship, and that the portion not engaged in these subjects, but dealing in lighter literature, had become effete in youth,' by being overlaid by a host of annuitant novel writers and romancists, claiming for themselves the exclusive privilege of catering for the public. We have seen nothing to induce us to alter our opinion,—much to confirm it; and the monthly changes which occur in periodical publications are a strong evidence that the public and the publishers do not approve of the thraldrom in which they have been kept.
We promised our readers able reviews and original mattera review amalgamating with it the more entertaining literary relaxation of a magazine, equal in value to the high-priced monthlies and quarterlies, superior in liberality and independence, and at less than half the price of our contemporaries. The tools of no party, literary or political ;-adverse to party warfare struggling for place ;-determined not to espouse the quarrels of any party for party purposes—we have most unflinchingly exposed abuses-indulged in commentaries on passing events,—and, without being needlessly offensive, have put forth our criticism with a frankness and openness, and we trust ability, which has secured for us the public favour and esteem.
Such has been our past career. A few words as to our future prospects. We have now had time to look around us, and see what accession of literary talent there was available ; and we are happy to inform our friends, that we have made arrangements with several of the first writers of the day, which we are sure will prove satisfactory to all parties. We, therefore, intend for the future to be more diversified in our contents; and, whilst we devote a considerable space to literature, science, and the fine arts, to lighten our pages with tales, poetry, and the drama, and articles of interest and utility, which will be acceptable to the general reader. We anticipate a brilliant success ;—we do more-we intend to deserve it.
Critical Journal and Magazine.
ADVANCES SINCE THE PEACE.
'If I shall live much longer I shall see an end of all that is worth living for in this world ; '—the valedictory fore-shadowing of Edmund Burke*-a statesman of extraordinary prescience, vast attainments, knowledge, and experience of mankind; uttered, it must be owned, when there was much ground for discouragement and dismal foreboding-when England was in an agony from unparalleled difficulties—when the monarchy of a neighbouring state, with its appendant branches, had been torn from its bed—when chivalry had not not only disappeared, but, what was more important, the chief guiding principles of Right and Justice were in danger of being confounded; the crimes of Cabinets having been consummated by the perfidious dismemberment of an ancient kingdom of noble associations, and
those of a great people by the long dominance of a blind and bloody anarchy, in which all the ties that bind society together-Authority, Institutions, Morals, and Religion-seemed loosened, if not lost, as objects of respect and subordination.
Chaos, if not come again, seemed impending. Yet these ominous signs proved illusive, the gloomy anticipations of the dying orator fallacious, and after the lapse of half a century
* Letter to Mrs. Crewe, dated May 21, 1797. VOL. 1.-NO. I.
there are few who will not agree that much survives worth living for. It may be even doubted whether Mr. Burke, with all his aids to reflection, was so fortunate in his clairvoyance as the venerable Scotch lady, who prejudging the future from the past, assisted only by natural sagacity, declared that she
had lived lang enough to see the end of ghosts and fairies; and, continued she, ' if I live much longer I varrily believe I shall see the end of the de'il himsel.'
Standing at the base of the Nelson Column we are often filled with astonishment at the moving panorama beneath, to witness the rolling flood of existence in the vicinity of Charing-cross; to see the confluence of streams—the men, and horses, and carriages—from all parts of the metropolis, which pour into that Mediterranean sea, and without accident or collision pass and repass, cross and thread their labyrinthine ways. How is this ?—what is it that preserves order through the promiscuous throng ? No mechanician could arrange such a scene—could enable such a host of independent bodies, without detriment or disorder, to perform their endless commingling gyrations. To us the main reason seems to consist in the universal but separate diffusion of intelligence. Although without concert, a common aim and understanding are diffused, that each individual shall take care of himself and avoid hurt to others; by which all perform their locomotive evolutions, free from jostling, confusion, and almost contact.
The action of similar principles, we apprehend, contributes to the general beauty and stability of Nature, and we never despair of the world's power of self-regeneration under its most depressing and revolutionary aspects. Everywhere is diffused a corrective intelligence, which, acting conformably to unerring laws, tends to right that which is wrong, and restore and maintain universal order.
Dropping from this wide sphere to fix upon a more limited topic, but one not less fertile in proof of the general tendency to the perpendicular, we shall now solicit attention to the advances of our own dear native land. It cannot be denied that England has fairly outgrown her chief difficulties since the Peace; that she is no longer the spent and disordered community the war left her. Not that she was not then a prodigious power, but it was a factitious power, the result of desperation and unnatural stimulus. Had the war continued, she could not possibly have continued the tremendous sacrifices she made to bring it to a triumphant conclusion. Had the last tremendous blow she aimed at the French colossus, and for which she collected her utmost force, failed to bring the monster to the earth, she could not have repeated it. The struggle might have been