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E fhould charge ourfelves with ingratitude to the Public, did we fuffer another Volume to clofe, without expreffing our warmest acknowledgments for a degree of fupport furpaffing our most fanguine expectations, and, we believe, unprecedented in the history of periodical publications To have attained, within the course of three years, a SALE confiderably fuperior to that of any other work of the fame defignation, and equal to that of any literary journal in this country, is fuch a teftimony of the approbation of our Readers, as we cannot contemplate without a degree of exultation. We will venture alfo to obferve, that—confidering the principles upon which our work has been conducted, those which were formerly thought characteristic of a country, which boasts of its civil and religious freedom-the fuccefs it has met with is a pleasing proof, that the cause of liberty is not in fo deferted a state as fome of its defponding friends have imagined; and that, whatever may be the change in the fentiments of the higher claffes, and the ignorant apathy of the lowest, the middle ranks, in whom the great mass of information, and of public and private virtue refides, are, by no means, disposed to resign the advantages of liberal difcuffion, and extenfive enquiry. We do not, by this obfervation, intend to represent our work as properly a political one; but, we know, it could not be relished by those who think, that the best way of preventing the dangers of innovation, is to check allfpirit of improvement, to stifle all research, and to preclude all information concerning foreign inftitutions which might poffibly fuggeft unfavourable comparifons with our own. It is, on the contrary, our peculiar pride to have contributed to a more extenfive acquaintance with the proceedings, civil and literary, of other countries, than has been usually obtainable from English publications. To continue to merit a diftinction of this kind, fhall ever be a leading object with us. We fhall spare no pains to effect it; and we are happy to announce, that, by means of fome new literary connexions in AMERICA, we shall poffefs peculiar advantages in prefenting to our Readers, accounts of the most interefting circumftances belonging to the United States.
Though we confider the general plan of our work as now fully fettled, yet we shall never be backward in making fuch alterations or additions as may fee n to be real improvements. A monthly article of COMMERCIAL INTELLIGENCE has appeared to us to be of this kind: we have lately adopted it, and hope to be favoured with the affiftance of our correfpondents in fupporting it. We confider as another important improvement, the enlargement of our Retrospect of British Literature, and its extenfion on the fame plan, to German, Spanish, and French Literature; in a future Supplement it will be alfo extended to the North of Europe, Italy, and America.
We cannot too often repeat, that the communications we most value, are those which convey new and authentic information respecting matters of fact, important to the progrefs of useful knowledge, and tending to ameliorate the condition of mankind. Were all that is partially known, freely thrown into the general stock by reciprocal disclosure, we are convinced that more immediate good would refult, than by purfuing the most promifing vein of discovery. We prefume to fay, that the extensive circulation of our Mifcellany renders it a peculiarly fit vehicle for this purpose; and we shall take care, by an early infertion of fuch matter, to forward the views of our correspondents. respect to the literary articles neceffary to make a pleasing variety in a work of this kind, as we hope we have not hitherto been deficient in attempts to gratify our Readers, fo we fhall continue, with the aid of our kind contributors, to make the best provifion in our power. We acknowledge, with gratitude, the copious fupply of papers of this kind with which we have conftantly been favoured. It has made a felection neceffary, which we have always impartially conducted according to our best judgment; our only aim in this, as in other parts of our duty, being to deserve the approbation of liberal and enlightened Readers.
July 11, 1798.