Imágenes de páginas






Νομίζω δίκαιον εἶναι τοὺς ὄντας τῇ ἀληθείᾳ ἐποικεῖς, καὶ πράτοντας

τοιαῦτα, τυγχάνειν δόξης τῆς προσηκούσης.






Printed by Law and Gilbert, St. John's Square, Clerkenwell.




E now addrefs our Friends for the thirty-fourth

time, and we do it with the fame feeling that we had at firft: with an earnest defire to conciliate, but still more to deferve their approbation; and a firm determination to bring forward nothing but what may tend to the best purposes ;-to diffuse good, and refift bad principles; and, in fubordination to those objects, to correct imperfect and instill good taste.

This period of feventeen years has produced great Revolutions. We were threatened with one at home, at the commencement of our labours, from the fraternization of congenial fpirits, with the amiable revolutionists of France; but by the energy of wife, and the timely co-operation of good men, under the bleffing of Providence, it was happily prevented; and we truft that fimilar refources will always remain, however appearances may threaten, to fave a country and a conftitution fo eminently worth preferving,

Within the fame period, many changes, if they cannot be called revolutions, have happened in the literary world. We have feen the death of fome Reviews*, and the birth of others; fome of which

• The English and the Analytical. The Critical died, we believe, for a short time, but revived again.

[blocks in formation]

feem likely enough to follow their predeceffors. In a few inftances we ourfelves have had to regret the lofs of able and even illuftrious coadjutors; particularly in the inftance of that ornament of his time, the bold, original, and profoundly learned BISHOP HORSLEY; the acute and fingular, but always truly Chriftian JOHN WHITAKER; and most recently, the modeft, and fagacious inveftigator of Nature, TIBERIUS CAVALLO. Thefe loffes which are thofe of the nation as well as our own, we cannot ceafe to deplore; yet we could now produce a lift, were not fecrecy our duty to the living, which would fhow that we ftill depend not on the exertions of a few, nor thofe inconfiderable individuals. Since alfo our caufe is connected, as closely as at the firft, with that of found Religion, good learning, and conftitutional politics, we feel confident that we fhall ftill be able continually to attract to us thofe perfons, of diftinguifhed knowledge and abilities, who think with us that, in times of fuch difficulty, every thing muft depend, under Providence, upon the active exertions, in every poffible way, of all who feel attached to our excellent conftitution in Church and State. Its enemies are unceasingly at work, under every oftenfible form, and every fecret disguise; if then its friends become remifs, they make themselves little better than the allies of the affailants. A fpirited and timely affociation once completely baffled thofe enemies, but time feems to be repairing their ftrength; and though we may not yet be called upon for public affociation, to preferve our rights, liberty, and property from the attacks of Republicans and Levellers, we are at least imperiously required to renew the efforts of the pen, and to ftand like men upon the watch, for fomething new which may exercife their courage or their wisdom.

In the memorable autumn of 1792, about fix months before the BRITISH CRITIC arofe, on the foundation of the fame prin ciples, and to ferve the fame caufe.


Into the forms of critical publications, changes have also been introduced; but we have determined to adhere to that which we at firft took up. When we began to write, what the public expected from Reviewers, and they in general undertook to give, was, as near as might be, a general view of the publications of the time; expatiating moderately on works of fome importance, and difmiffing, in a brief form of decifion, those which feemed to require no more particular notice but omitting defignedly few, if any, of the productions of the prefs; though compelled perhaps by their number to lag a little behind, and to make, in the end, a lift rather lefs perfect than might be wifhed. Long fince that time, the public has been fo irrefiftibly attracted by the very great abilities difplayed in one or two works, which profeffedly notice only a few publications, felected from the general mafs, and made the fubject rather of original differtations than of critical reports, that the old method has become a little lefs fafhionable. Such works. we are far from denying, when written with ability and truth, deferve to fell as books; but they are not, in our apprehenfion, Reviews. More than fifty fuch publications, could not give that view of the general ftate of Letters, which was comprifed in an old fashioned Review; and if those fifty were to exift, what affiduity of reading could ever exhauft their contents?

Another difference has arifen. The works above alluded to were, for the most part, acute and powerful pleadings against the authors reviewed; often fupported by irrefiftible powers of ridicule. The public delighted with the wit, and we fear alfo with the feverity, triumphed without mercy over the poor authors who were thus facrificed to their entertainment; and began to lofe their relifh for criticifm lefs highly seasoned. But in the name of humanity, must not justice be done, because the public has acquired a

A 3


« AnteriorContinuar »