Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

CONTROVERSIALIST,

AND

LITERARY MAGAZINE:

DEVOTED TO THE IMPARTIAL AND DELIBERATE DISCUSSION OF

IMPORTANT QUESTIONS IN

RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, POLITICS,

SOCIAL ECONOMY, ETC.,

AND TO THE PROMOTION OF SELF-CULTURE AND GENERAL

EDUCATION.

* MAGNA EST VERITAS, ET PREVALEBIT."

LONDON:
HOULSTON AND WRIGHT,

65, PATERNOSTER ROW,

MDCCCLXIII.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

PREFACE.

The issues of time are manifold, and the fashions of the world change. Few things were so much decried, little more than a dozen years ago, as Controversy. It was the order of the day then to represent faith and reason as antagonists, and to confound the advocates of free discussion with the abettors of scepticism and the leaders in political agitations. Much of this is given up as untenable. Controversy has now almost incorporated itself with our daily life, and the search for truth has been solemnly declared to be a human duty. Parliaments, pulpits, platforms, periodicals, and pamphlets, almost unanimously concur in regarding every topic as "a question." Newspapers discuss, conventions debate, conferences argue, and public meetings consider; while all assert their desire to discover a reasonable solution of the matters which engage their attention.

This Magazine first systematically brought controversy into true relationship with the active thought of the age, and undertook, not only to educate the reason in its operations, but to substantiate experimentally the far-seeing maxim of Edmund Barke_" He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper." Our faith in the excellency of controversy as a means of setting forth truth in a clear, strong light has never faltered, never wavered; and we have seen it grow-since the time when we took up our editorial pen--from the great weakness of a shunned activity to the great power of a popular method of treating the gravest interests, and of stirring the greatest thoughts. Experience has confirmed our early faith. This Magazine was originated with a fixed purpose, and to that its conductors bave adhered with rigid honesty, viz., that every important question should receive, so far as their ability or that of their contributors could reach, "impartial discussion."

The manner in which the various debates contained in our successive volumes have been carried on amply proves that taste, temper, and judgment may co-exist with keen, incisive, and trenchant controversy, and that wrangling and offensive speech are not the necessary concomitants of a vigorously contested debate. The present volume, we think, demonstrates more emphatically than ever the utility of controversy in causing the inward forces of man to exert themselves in an intenser form, and in giving a livelier impression of the truth from its close juxtaposition with error. The topics discussed, and the manner in which the fresh and living convictions of the writers have been expressed in these pages, ought to commend this volume to all lovers of reasoned thought; while the position which our Magazine occapies in the history of human thought, as the first and, as yet, the only organ for “the free and open encounter" of opinion, entitles it to the good wishes and

« PreviousContinue »