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It will afford us much pleasure if we can feel assured that since we last addressed our readers our efforts to fulfil the engagements into which we have entered have been attended with their usual success. We are quite aware that we have many rivals for the public favour, and not a year passes without some fresh endeavour made to propitiate it by promises of executing in a better form what had been previously attempted, or of opening a new and wider channel for the circulation of knowledge. But whether these promised advantages are secured or not, we feel little affected by their failure or success; for so great is the increased production of the Press, that we are every day hearing complaints that it is impossible for any ordinary exertion of industry to keep pace with it, and that curiosity literally wants time for its rational gratification. This is a course of things that naturally takes place as society becomes better educated and more refined, and the coarse and vulgar amusements of a former age are superseded by the tranquil pleasures of mental cultivation, of intellectual intercourse, and social improvement. Where a century ago there was one reader, there are now a hundred. The demand and the supply act and re-act upon each other, and the whole field of Literature is thus waving with fresh harvests of knowledge in endless succession. It is here we think that publications like our own will be found useful, and often necessary, sometimes in drawing attention to those particular portions of new works that most deserve it, and sometimes in giving, in a brief and condensed form, an outline of the whole. What we have said of books is equally applicable to all branches of knowledge appearing in any other form; and we have therefore no doubt but that, however numerous Reviews or Magazines and works of a similar nature may be, they will not want success if they shew themselves deserving of it. The Edinburgh Review was not superseded by its rival the Quarterly, nor the Quarterly by others that speedily followed it, for they all moved within their own circles, without interruption or detriment to the rest. We, too, believe that we have some peculiar claims of our own; and that there are certain advantages attached to a plan long considered and widely approved ; and we feel assured that the friendly patronage of the public has been given and continued upon a deliberate approval of our system of conducting the Magazine. It is true that we cannot equal the weekly papers in the rapidity with which they produce their supply of novelties, and emulate each other in quickness, when a fresh publication is submitted to view while it is yet warm from the press; but we have no cause to think that a reasonable delay is disadvantageous to any parties, and, indeed, we write chiefly for those whose time and attention are not entirely absorbed by a craving appetite for novelty, and who can wait without a fretful impatience for a few weeks before another new book shall drive its predecessor from its throne of fashion and usurp its temporary place—“velut unda supervenit undam.”
For the rest, we believe that the other portions and branches of our Magazine are conducted with all our former care; and that, in particular, our Obituary, we may safely say, is unrivalled both for its fulness and copiousness of detail, and for the diligence and impartiality with which it is formed. We are quite aware that it makes an important portion of our monthly volume, and therefore it continues to receive from us that attention which will ensure the maintenance of its popularity as the best contemporary record of those persons, many of whom will hereafter appear, with deserved honour, in their country's history.
S. URBAN. 1848.
E PLURIMUS UNUM.
By SYLVANUS URBAN, Gent.
LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE.-Oxford and Cambridge
Universities, 67 ; Royal Geographical Society-Royal Asiatic Society ....
ANTIQUARIAN RESEARCHES.-Society of Antiquaries, 71; Numismatic
Society, 74 ; The Sussex Archæological Society, 75; Bury and West Suffolk
Archäological Institute, 76; Oak Pulpit at Sudbury .....