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SOME of the Learned have been very
severe upon such works as we now lay before the Public. Their severity would have been just, if such works had been recommended, or used to the exclusion of more important studies. Those who aspire to a solid erudition, must undoubtedly take other methods to acquire it: they have their labour and their merit. But there are readers of another order, who must not be left wholly unprovided: for such readers it is cur province to collect matters of a lighter nature, but pleasing even by their levity, by their variety, and their aptitude to enter into common conversation. Things of this sort often gradually and imperceptibly insinuate a taste of knowledge, and in some A 2
measure gratify that taste; they steal some moments from the round of dissipation and pleasure; they relieve the minds of men of business, who cannot pass from severe labour to severe study, with an elegant relaxation ; they preserve the strenuous idleness of many from a worse employment.
These pretensions we have in common with all the other periodical compilers; and the same apology serves us all. But it will be expected, that in offering a new performance to the Public, we should mention some new and peculiar advantage which we pretend to have over our fellow-labourers. Some such advantages we flatter ourselves we possess ; partly arising from our scheme of an annual rather than a monthly publication, partly from our own attention and industry.
Not confined to a monthly publication, we have an opportunity of examining with care the products of the year, and of select