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As the Editor of a Magazine maintains a constant monthly communication with the kind encouragers of that work which he superintends, the formality of an annual appeal to them may be considered as unnecessary; but, as the omission of such an address might be imputed to disrespect, or to that barrenness of intellect or that want of talent which so distinguished a personage would be ashamed and unwilling to acknowlege, something must be said ; the opportunity of a renewal of friendly intercourse must not be neglected; thanks may be repeated, and plausible promises may be lavished.
That period in which literature was more widely diffused than at any former æra, was the Augustan age, when the Romans were masters of the whole civilised world, and flourished both in arts and in arms. They imbibed from the Greeks a taste for the refinements of life, and became more devoted to the pleasures of study than even their illustrious instructors. The general fondness for reading tended to multiply the race of writers to an extraordinary and excessive amount.
We all (says Horace), whether learned or unlearned, write poems;" and the remark, we may presume, was meant to extend to every species of literary productions. This passion for authorship gradually declined amidst the decay of the
empire, and nearly ceased on the irruptions of the barmed barians. A long night succeeded, which was illumined
only at intervals by partial and fitful irradiations; and
ages of darkness kept the human mind in a state of deXplorable weakness. At length, however, the revival of
polite learning and taste, consequent on the arrival of et many learned and ingenious Greeks in Italy, after the
subjection of their empire to Turkish tyranny, changed the scene in the fifteenth century; and the invention of the art of printing, by a rapid multiplication and extension of the products of the mind, threw over the world those rays of light which, we trust, will never be extinguished.
The present may justly be denominated a literary age, both readers and writers being far more numerous than ever. Instead of checking that progress which some affect to lament, it is our wish to promote it by regular encouragement; and, while we embody in our miscellany the substance of the literature of the year, we may
be said to assist in the illumination of the public mind. By a mixture of original articles with (we hope) judicious selections, by critical notices and remarks, by surveys of the arts, by occasional illustrations of science, and by every variety of production, we endeavour both to please and instruct our fair readers and the public in general; and, by uniting graphic displays with literary effusions, we widely extend the circle of gratification. Finding our labors rewarded by continued patronage, we cordially thank our friends for their indulgence, and promise a zealous prosecution of that career which they have so long supported by their liberal approbation.
January 31, 1829.