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By A. J. Valpy, Tooke's Court, Chancery Lane.
Where Communications are requested to be sent, post paid.
HOULD the writers of the Augustan Review succeed in blending, in literary matters, pertinent observations free from asperity, with occasional instruction void of dogmatism; and, in political affairs, the just delineation of important measures and events, with the censure provoked by faction, or the reverence due to patriotism, they will consider themselves sufficiently fortunate.
The season chosen for the commencement of their work is, to it at least, not inauspicious : for while a passion for letters becomes more general, Europe is threatened with a convulsion, the progress and effects of which all who can read will, from time to time, desire to see described. Will the war now virtually begun, be a protracted one ? And will this humble undertaking of ours outlive a conflict that may witness the rise and fall of thrones ? To insinuate that the one will, might be deemed a species of political impiety of which we shall not be guilty; and, little skilled in augury, we presume not to pronounce as to the other.
It was, perhaps, necessary for the authors of the Edinburgh Review, who, adopting the arrangement of their predecessors, yet purposed to give to the world something strikingly new, to mould it into a volume, to present it to the public seldom, and sometimes to make it treat largely on the subjects of books which had not been consulted : and, on the part of the writers of the Quarterly Review, a work destined to serve as a countervailing power, an imitation of their conduct, in some particulars, was almost unavoidable. We imitate neither. We take the field as declared opponents to no redoubted foe. We aim not at
We aim not at any glaring singularity; but are content that the size of our Journal, its price, and the periods of its publication, be nearly those to which readers have long been accustomed. In the arrangement of its parts there is, however, some novelty: and it is our intention to render it, as soon as we can put matters into a proper train, far more miscellaneous than any other publication bearing the name of Review, by keeping open for writers of genius and taste, who may choose to favor us with their sentiments, the department called the Miscellanea.
Sketches for this department must be short, because variety will constitute its leading feature.
As to a political creed, we really have not yet composed one. But this circumstance is unimportant, as the ingenuity of our readers will always make it easy for them to infer our belief from our doctrines. Wholly inimical to the principles of no class of good and honorable men, we entertain some hope of being able to demean ourselves becomingly in the sight of all. Such, indeed, is our impartiality, that we care but little to what party our correspondents are attached. Yet to some party they are likely to be attached, since they must have remarked that, of all passive virtues, those of a political nature are the most insignificant: the ancients ranked such virtues with the vices. We beg to add, that as we are to admit the speculations of both whigs and turies, and that as those writers who take the most lively interest in the success of a favorite system, will usually express themselves in a manner the most forcible and persuasive, our impartiality may sometimes be mistaken and belied. If so, and if any of our readers tell us, that he thinks he sees us inclining with excess to the opinions of some party ecclesiastical or civil, we must desire him to consider, whether that inclination be not, in reality, an homage done to the sanctity of religion, the majesty of the laws, or the imperial dignity of the realm.
For the guidance of our friendly contributors we observe, that there are two great questions, on which we trust they will always write in a measured manner---those of the Catholic Claims, and of the alteration now and then proposed in the mode of parliamentary representation.
Sincere as our wishes are to have religious toleration universally established, we are not at all prepared to approve of those acts of the Catholic Boards, which even their own advocates have held it requisite to discountenance and condemn: and anxious as we are to see the representatives of the people freed from the abuse of inveterate schemers, we will not so much as stretch out the least of our fingers to assist them in taking the House of Commons to pieces and reforming it, in opposition to the recommendations of statesmen estimable alike for the enlargement of their views and the soundness of their wisdom. To every suggestion, in short, in favor of what they call emancipation and reform, we will not try to give effect; at the same time that we shall at all times reprobate that policy (if any such can exist in England) that would stifle every inquiry, and check all discussion of measures so greatly interesting. If to ask every thing, in cases of doubtful expediency, be allied to presumption, surely to refuse every thing must partake of imprudence.