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the middle classes, and the greater condescension and willing co-operation of the elevated circles in every laudable enterprise, abundantly prove that these means of improvement are not extended in vain.
Among these means, the formation of literary and philosophical societies, and the increase of useful and improving publications, hold a prominent rank: the former address themselves to man as a social creature, the latter as a reflecting being; the former call forth his dormant powers, the latter prepare them for exercise; these nourish and enrich his mind, those bring his resources into action, and deliver him from the reproach of merely living to himself.
The Philomathic Institution cultivates literary composition as well as oral discussion; and the Directors, during the last year, yielded to the wishes of its Members in commencing this periodical, that a greater degree of permanency might be given to their contributions; that the domestic circle might more fully participate in the mental repast; and that, in some degree, the engagements of the members might contribute to the general stock of knowledge, and universal intellectual advancement.
They have now completed their second volume, and are happy in the assurance that they have not disappointed the expectations of their friends. While they have reason to be gratified by the review of the past, they feel encouraged by the anticipation of the future.
The Editors consider this Journal a miscellany, which, while it in some respects resembles contemporary publications, possesses characteristics peculiar to itself. It is not the vehicle of the interested few. The Institution, abstaining from political and theological controversy, admits to its body individuals respectable for their moral and intellectual worth, apart from these considerations; hence, com
plete uniformity of opinion is not to be expected, nor in the search for truth, which none can boast of exclusively possessing, is it to be desired: still the directors, who are warm friends to piety, irrespective of sect, and to social order separate from party, admit not of lectures, essays, nor discussions, tending to promote any contrary cause.
One feature, in this publication, is a condensed report of the principal discussions, affording peculiar advantages to the sincere inquirer, as it presents him with arguments and illustrations on either side of an important question, by which he can calmly compare contending opinions, thereby re-examining, enlarging, and confirming his own views, or yielding them to the greater force of opposing argument.
Another characteristic of this Journal, although we will not call it a peculiarity, is, that its contents will not be confined to the popular topics of the day, or to considerations of minor importance, but comprehend series of papers on subjects of permanent interest: of this class are the lectures on the History of Ethics, and those on the structure of the English Language; the poems of Astrea, and the Siege of Constantinople, which, when completed, will be followed by others of a like character.
It will, at the same time, as it has hitherto done, comprise papers of a miscellaneous description. In short, as the Members continually increase, the Journal, which is the informal report of the transactions of the Institution, cannot fail to increase in the variety and importance of its future contents.
In reference to the Review Department, the Editors have only to add, that they expect to augment its interest without abating its impartiality. They hope to be instrumental in fostering rising talent, and in encouraging acknowledged ability; in recommending useful discovery, and promoting
real improvement; and, at the same time, in discouraging the effusions of youthful vanity, and checking the reveries of pedantic assurance; in exposing the boasts of empirical pretence, and detecting the delusions of mere interested experiment.
March 31, 1825.