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DEVOTED TO THE IMPARTIAL AND DELIBERATE DISCUSSION OF
RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, POLITICS,
AND TO THE PROMOTION OF SELF-CULTURE AND GENERAL
CONTROVERSY cannot cease. Inquiry is natural to man. Inquiry implies the possibility of affirming or denying. "If," says Whately, "it were asked what is to be regarded as the most appropriate intellectual occupation of man, as man, what would be the answer? The Statesman is engaged with political affairs; the Soldier with military; the Mathematician with the properties of numbers and magnitudes; the Merchant with commercial concerns, &c.; but in what are all and each of these employed ?-employed, I mean, as men; for there are many modes of exercise of the faculties, mental as well as bodily, which are in great measure common to us with the lower animals. They are all occupied in deducing, well or ill, conclusions from premises; each is evidently engaged in reasoning concerning the subject of his own particular business." Now the greater part of reasoning is discursive. Thought does not go on always in a straight and linear path. We are constantly coming to bifurcations in our way, and at least a twofold possibility of progress opens before us. If there is any systematic way of deciding on the right path, it must be by some sort of controversial proceeding-some balancing of reason against reason, until that has been discovered which is of greatest weight and efficacy. Truth and falsehood lie before man always, act upon his mind continually, ply hira on every side with saggestions and limitations. In this conflict of thought controver37 is our only resource. After the fight peace may come; before it even compromise will be ineffectual. The way to truth
is through controversy.
For upwards of fourteen years now, the conductors of this periodical have been engaged in the labour of popularizing controversy as an educative agent-as a beneficial training for the great business of life and thought. They have not regarded controversy as in itself an ultimate good, but as a means to an end, and that end the attainment of truth, relative, if not absolute. Yet even as an energy of mind, controversy has charms for man, whose position in this life is so much that assigned to him by Plato—a hunter of truth,—
"Hunter of shadows, though himself a shade."
Nor is controversy all vain toil and fruitless expenditure of ingenuity. inutiles," says Bacon, "scientiæ existimandæ sunt quarum in se nullus est usus, si ingenia acuant et ordinent" (Intellectual pursuits which have no attainable end of their own are not to be thought useless, if they sharpen and regulate the intellect). Controversy is the best gymnastic of the mind, and by the culture of