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On none of these Topics is it Our intention to en
Of Our means of information, and of the use which We make of them, our readers will, after a very short trial, be enabled to form their own opinion. And to that trial We confidently commit ourselves : professing, however, at the same time, that if the only advantage which We were desirous of holding out to our Readers, were that of having it in our power to apprize them an hour or a day sooner than those Journals, which are already in their hands, of any event however important, - We should bring to the undertaking much less anxiety for success, and should state our claims on public attention with much less boldness, than We are disposed to do in the consciousness of higher purposes, and more beneficial views.
Novelty indeed We have to announce. For what so new in the present state of the daily and weekly PRESS (We speak generally, though there are undoubtedly exceptions which we may have occasion to point out hereafter) as The TRUTH? To this object alone it is that Our labours are dedicated. It is the constant violation, the disguise, the perversion of the Truth, whether in narrative or in argument, that will form the principal subject of our Weekly EXAMINATION: and it is by a diligent and faithful discharge of this duty;-by detecting falsehood,—and rectifying error,—by correcting misrepresentation, and exposing and chastising malignity, —that We hope to deserve the reception which We solicit, and to obtain not only the approbation of the Country to our attempt, but its thanks for the motives which have given birth to it.
These are strong words. But We are conscious of intending in earnest what they profess. How far the execution of our purpose may correspond with the design, it is for others to determine. It is ours to state that design fairly, and in the spirit in which we conceive
Of the utility of such a purpose, if even tolerably executed, there can be little doubt, among those persons (a very large part of the community) who must have found themselves, during the course of the last few years, perplexed by the multiplicity of contradictory accounts of almost every material event that has occurred in that eventful and tremendous period; and who must anxiously have wished for some public channel of information on which they could confidently rely for forming their
But before We can expect sufficient credit from persons of this description, to enable us to supply such a defect, and to assume an office so important, it is natural that they should require some profession of our principles as well as of our purposes ; in order that they may judge not only of our ability to communicate the information which We promise, but of our intention to inform them aright.
To that freedom from partiality and prejudice, of which We have spoken above, by the profession of which so many of our Contemporaries recommend themselves, We make little pretension,--at least in the sense in which those terms appear now too often to be used.
We have not arrived (to our shame, perhaps, we avow it) at that wild and unshackled freedom of thought, which rejects all habit, all wisdom of former times, all restraints of ancient usage, and of local attachment; and which
judges upon each subject, whether of politics or morals, as it arises, by lights entirely its own, without reference to recognized principle, or established practice.
We confess, whatever disgrace may attend such a confession, that we have not so far gotten the better of the influence of long habits and early education, not so far imbibed that spirit of liberal indifference, of diffused and . comprehensive philanthropy, which distinguishes the candid character of the present age, but that we have our feelings, our preferences, and our affections, attaching on particular places, manners, and institutions, and even on particular portions of the human race. · It may be thought a narrow and illiberal distinction; but We avow ourselves to be partial to the COUNTRY in which we live, notwithstanding the daily panegyricks which we read and hear on the superior virtues and endowments of its rival and hostile neighbours. We are prejudiced in favour of her Establishments, civil and religious ; though without claiming for either that ideal perfection, which modern philosophy professes to discover in the more luminous systems which are arising on all sides of us.
The safety and prosperity of these kingdoms, however unimportant they may seem in abstract contemplation when compared with the more extensive, more beautiful, and more productive parts of the world, do yet excite in our minds a peculiar interest and anxiety; and will probably continue to occupy a share of our attention by no means justified by the proportional consequence which speculative reasoners may think proper to assign to them in the scale of the universe. - .
We should be averse to hazarding the smallest part of the practical happiness of this Country; though the sacri
fice should be recommended as necessary for accomplishing throughout the world an uniform and beautiful system of theoretical liberty: and We should at all times exert our best endeavours for upholding its constitution, even with all the human imperfections which may belong to it, though we were assured that on its ruins might be erected the only pillar that is yet wanting to complete the most glorious fabric which the Integrity and Wisdom of Man bave raised since the Creation.”
If, as Philosopher Monge avers, 'in his eloquent and instructive address to the Directory, “ The Government of England and the French Republic cannot exist together," We do not hesitate in our choice; though well aware that in that choice we may be liable, in the opinion of many critics of the present day, to the imputation of a want of candour or of discernment.
Admirers of military heroism, and dazzled by military success in common with other men, We are yet even bere conscious of some qualification and distinction in our feelings: We acknowledge ourselves apt to look with more complacency on bravery and skill, when displayed in the service of our Country, than when we see them directed against its interests or its safety; and however equal the claims to admiration in either case may be, We feel our hearts grow warmer at the recital of what has been atchieved by Howe, by JERVIS, or by DUNCAN, than at the “ glorious victory of Jemappe,” or “ the immortal battle of the bridge of Lodi.”
In MORALS We are equally old fashioned. We have yet to learn the modern refinement of referring in all considerations upon human conduct, not to any settled and preconceived principles of right and wrong, not to any general and fundamental rules which experience, and
wisdom, and justice, and the common consent of mankind have established, but to the internal admonitions of every man's judgment or conscience in his own particular instance.
We do not dissemble,—that We reverence Law,We acknowledge USAGE,-We look even upon PRESCRIPTION without hatred or horror. And We do not think these, or any of them, less safe guides for the moral actions of men, than that new and liberal system of Ethics, whose operation is not to bind but to loosen the bands of social order; whose doctrine is formed not on a system of reciprocal duties, but on the supposition of individual, independent, and unconnected rights; which teaches that all men are pretty equally honest, but that some have different notions of honesty from others, and that the most received notions are for the greater part. the most faulty.
We do not subscribe to the opinion, that a sincere conviction of the truth of no matter what principle, is a sufficient defence for no matter what action; and that the only business of moral enquiry with human conduct is to ascertain that in each case the principle and the action agree. We have not yet persuaded ourselves to think it a sound, or a safe doctrine, that every man who can divest himself of a moral sense in theory, has a right to be with impunity and without disguise a scoundrel in practice. It is not in our creed, that ATHEISM is as good a faith as CHRISTIANITY, provided it be professed with cqual sincerity; nor could we admit it as an excuse for MURDER, that the murderer was in his own mind conscientiously persuaded that the murdered might for many good reasons be better out of the way. '