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FROM JULY TO DECEMBER, 1826.
(BEING THE NINETEENTH OF A NEW SERIES.)
PRODESSE & DELECTARE.
PART THE SECOND.
E PLURIBUS UNUM.
PRINTED BY JOHN NICHOLS AND SON, 25, PARLIAMENT-STREET;
AND SOLD BY JOHN HARRIS,
AT THE CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD, LUDGATE STREET;
AND BY PERTHES AND BESSER, HAMBURGH.
Still URBAN blooms with every verdure gay,
Behold the realms brave Cortes won for Spain-
Beneath the fervid heat of Afric's beam
The Burmese War proclaims Britannia's fame,
Yet was proud Ava's King constrain'd to yield,
Heard ye, alas! the solemn knell of death?
Still in the circle of the recent year,
Teversal Rectory, Dec. 30.
* Denham, Clapperton, &c.
ON closing the Ninety-sixth annual Volume of the Gentleman's Magazine, the Editors have to address their Readers with commingled feelings of gratitude and sorrow,-gratitude for the liberal patronage they continue to receive, and sorrow for the irretrievable loss of their late venerable coadjutor, Mr. Nichols. It is with reluctance they obtrude their private sympathies and regards on the public notice; but when it is considered that the object of them has been the master-spirit of this Miscellany for the space of nearly half a century, a sufficient apology may exist for that apparent obtrusion. His editorial labours have raised a tablet to his memory, more durable than brass or sculptured marble; these, corroded by the ravages of time, will perish; but his pages (ære perennius) will survive the revolutions of distant ages. His talents have there reared a monument that will transmit his honoured name to posterity; and his virtues will long remain embalmed in the grateful recollections of the literary world. His intellectual energies communicated a vivifying principle to the circle in which he moved; and the amiable qualities of his soul endeared him to his more immediate and social connexions. In the evening of his lengthened days, he might be compared to the setting sun;-though he dazzled less, the mild radiance of his social virtues pleased the more.
The merits of the venerable Mr. Nichols have been recorded by a Biographer, who has proved himself as willing as he was able to do justice to the subject; and it is with honest pride that the present Editors refer generally to the Memoir of their esteemed friend in the Number for December last. But there is one part of it so highly honourable to Mr. Nichols's conduct as Editor of this Magazine, and so apposite to the present Address, that they trust their Readers will excuse its repetition :
"In noticing the Gentleman's Magazine, while under Mr. Nichols' care, the present writer will not attempt that which Mr. Nichols would have disdained, any comparison between it and its rivals. This indeed becomes the less necessary, as they have all dropt into oblivion, with the exception of a few of recent date, in which no rivalship seems intended. It may be added, however, that his plan was calculated for permanence. It depended on none of the frivolous fashions of the age. Its general character was usefulness combined with rational entertainment. Its supporters were men of learning, who found in its pages an easy mode of communicating their doubts and their inquiries, with a certainty that their doubts would be resolved, and their inquiries answered by men equal to the task. The Miscellany was particularly recommended by the impartiality of the Editor, who admitted controversialists to the most equal welcome, and never interfered but when, out of respect to his numerous readers, it became his duty to check the rudeness of personal reflection. In the course of such controversies, he must not be suspected of acceding to every proposition advanced either in warmth or in calmness, and much was no doubt admitted of which he could not approve. But his own principles remained unshaken, principles early adopted, and favourable to piety and political happiness; and such he preserved and supported amidst the most alarming storms to which his country had ever been exposed. Whatever anomalies may be occasionally perceived in the effusions of some of his Correspondents, if the whole of his administration be examined, it will be found that the main object and tendency of the Magazine was to support our excellent Constitution in Church and State, especially when in some latter years both were in danger from violence without, and treachery within."
Fortunate will the present Editors consider themselves, if they can succeed in following strictly the steps of so excellent an Exemplar; and to be found worthy, at the end of their career, of such an honest Chronicler of their endeavours for the public good. The character they are anxious the Magazine should still maintain, is "usefulness combined with rational entertainment." They rely with confidence on their numerous Correspondents and Contributors; and, thus powerfully supported, they doubt not of the continued success of their Publication.
Before concluding this part of their Address, they have to acknowledge, with the deepest gratitude, the sympathy of their Correspondents on the loss of the late Editor; and to apologize to some of their Poetical friends for the non-insertion of Tributes to his Memory ;-had these all been printed, the circumstance might have appeared to some as a display of ostentatious vanity; but they cannot resist the temptation of here inserting the following elegiac stanzas, by G. D. of Islington:
Sovereign Parent! holy Earth!
To thy bosom we commend Nichols, full of years and worth, Johnson's last surviving friend! He was of that glorious time,
Of that bright, transcendant age, When immortal Truth sublime
Dropp'd like manna from the Sage. Call'd to fill that honour'd chair
Johnson once so nobly grac'd, He essay'd with pious care
Still to guide the public tasteAttic wit, and sense profouud,
'Mid the Muse's bumble lay, Truth divine, with Science crown'd, All their various powers display. Many a name, to Learning dear, Bears his faithful, fond record
Greet his mem'ry with a tear!
Give his name the like reward!
Rich in antiquarian lore,
Pageants quaint, and deeds of arms;
Drew its most romantic charms.
Years beheld his fame increase-
Friendship, competence, and peace!
His religion was from Heaven;
What to him was freely given.
The struggle of the Papists for political power, and for the abolition of the Tests which have hitherto happily protected our invaluable Constitution in Church and State, together with their zeal for making converts to their insidious and dangerous doctrines, have induced us to devote no small portion of the present Volume to their exposure. Let it always be remembered, however, that it is with the errors of Popery we contend, and not with individuals, many of whom we respect in private life, and doubt not their honourable feelings in being attached to that faith which was delivered to them from their ancestors.
Liberal politics can only flourish pre-eminently in a Protestant Land; and we most sincerely wish success to the present struggle for Constitutional Principles in the Peninsula. Under the guidance of the highlygifted Statesman, now at the helm of our Foreign affairs, we doubt not that this Country, as the strong palladium of rational liberty, will prove herself the able Protector of her antient Ally; and long may the Queen of the Ocean remain the exalted head of the civilized world!
Dec. 31, 1826.