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in every possible point of view, than another argument of equal importance arrests in its turn the public attention, and the many bright and valuable hints struck out in the course of its predecessor are disregarded ; and, like meteors rather than stars, they cease to exist the moment they cease to shine.
In the metaphor here adopted, we have considered the better sort of those compositions, which, under the appellation of Pamphlets, burst forth upon the public, on every new object of inquiry, as stars ; which, for the purpose of concentrating their rays into a more durable, as well as convenient, focus for observation, we propose to collect and combine together into distinct volumes, like so many constellations, by means of which these guides through the obscurity of transient opinions will be made mutually to reflect their light upon each other, and form a body of splendor not easily to be either dissipated or extinguished. • The general assemblage of these groups ;-the stellar sphere wherein those of any lustre will all find their place as they successively arise on the
horizon of literature, in allusion to their popular denomination, we style
and we claim to ourselves the merit of originality in the production of a system calculated to exalt the erratic luminaries of the day into the consequence of fixed stars; and, without any change of their relative magnitudes, to give them the advantage of permanence. All that we propose is to project them upon a scale of typographical uniformity proportioned to their several longitudes ; and thus to comprize our asterisms within due and nearly equable limits, as well for the symmetry of the arrangement as the convenience of the observer.-We may add that, although circumstances may compel them to describe equal areas in unequal times, the periods of their emersion shall be regularly adjusted to the existing masses of their component phænomena.
Such is the theory which we now offer to the curious and scientific part of the public; and we confidently flatter ourselves that, as we shall spare no
exertions, so we shall neither be found to fail in the practice, nor have reason to lament any deficiency of encouragement.
But, like all other new theories, our's, we are well aware, must expect at its outset to meet with many objections. Its novelty, however, we presume to think indisputable; ils singularity also can hardly, with any propriety, be questioned, as • it resembles none of the periodical productions of the press. From Magazines and Reviews it differs in all its essential features-neither imitating the miscellaneous and chaotic confusion of the first, nor the analytical and judiciary processes of the last. It will present all the most accredited and best written pamphlets upon all subjects, as they are published, but without compression or mutilation ; and it will also open its repository to original compositions (under the exercise of our own judgment as to their merit) where circumstances of economy, or any other consideration, may induce a writer of competent skill to instruct or entertain his contemporaries without incurring the risk of loss on the publication ; and, in this
way, we shall gladly, but not blindly, accommodate the diffident as well as the prudential.
· Every man of information is aware of the avidity with which old libraries are ransacked to furnish an occasional volume of this description : - to instance only the Harleian Miscellanies – What a mine of political and other incidental knowledge is there laid open, which, like ore in the bowels of the earth, lay till then undistinguishable amid the trash and rubbish with which it was blended. But even the discovery of a treasure like this serves only to reproach us with the loss of so much more that is now utterly irrecoverable. It is but a mineral sample for the show-glass compared to the metallic abundance of the hidden matrix that produced it. The omission, however, of some means in former ages, whereby to preserve from oblivious obscurity in a compact and collective shape, the diversified labors of the pen as they severally emerged into light, argues at least for the originality of the proposal with which we now come forward, and, if not allowed to be absolutely new, it must, at any rate, be acknowledged as untried.
Yet, while we venture thus decidedly to plume ourselves both on the novelty and usefulness of our scheme, we would not be thought preposteTously to have blinded our own eyes against the possibility of all objections. We admit there may be many: but such as we have actually heard, we shall here candidly recount, and studiously endeavour to counteract.
It may be said then, that our selection is, perchance, partial or ill-judged ; that the variety of copies, included in a single volume, will distract the attention of the reader, or retard his progress to information on any particular subject ; that, to force upon a purchaser four or five Pamphlets which he does not want, as the sole means of furnishing himself with one he may desire to see, is to levy an unreasonable tax upon his purse through the medium of his curiosity.—To all which we can only reply--that the first objection assumes what may be said of all Reviews and all Collections; the Reader must give us credit for some qualifications for the office we have undertaken; and, in the language of a tradesman, we hope our Customers will have no reason to be