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It is our wish, by examining and comparing the different relations that have been given, to reconcile apparent contradictions, and exhibit facts in a new and fairer light; and thus to elucidate what was dark, explain what was uncertain, and render more impressive and instructing what was already explicit and clear.
We are, also, desirous of ascertaining dates, and settling some points in CHRONOLOGY, on which the opinions of the learned have been divided.
Dissertations on the MYTHOLOGY, CUSTOMS, MANNERS, and ANTIQUITIES of Nations will be occasionally inserted. HEBREW and ORIENTAL LITERATURE is to share our attention, and impart its venerable dignity to our pages.
We intend to offer some criticisms on the GREEK AND ROMAN CLASSICS; to illustrate obscure passages, and to point out prominent excellencies and beauties; with a desire to assist studious youth in acquiring a correct taste, and laying the foundation of solid learning, through an intimate acquaintance with those writings, in which are preserved some of the noblest productions of human genius.
We shall be obliged to our Literary friends for assistance in this department; and shall be glad to receive elegant translations, in prose or poetry, of fine passages, particularly from those Authors, which have not been rendered into Eng
The Shield of Hercules by HESIOD, and the Hymn to Ceres by HOMER, the exquisitely beautiful Epigrams in the ANTHOLOGIA, some admirable extracts preserved in STOBEUs, and the Ciris and Fragments of VIRGIL would be a pleasant exercise for the younger members in our Universities. and Colleges; and we feel a pride in declaring that to encourage the exertions, and employ the talents of the sons of Genius and Science is a favorite object in the publication, we have commenced.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF EMINENT MEN, particularly of those, who were born, or flourished in our own Country, must hold a conspicuous place in this work. We hope to
rescue from the recitals of tradition some interesting particulars and anecdotes of those,
"Qui sui memores alios fecêre merendo."
It would be particularly gratifying to the Conductors of this work to receive sketches of the lives of any on the Catalogue of College Graduates, or others, who have been distinguished for their talents, their patriotism, and their virtue.
Essays on the elementary principles of ETHICS and JURISPRUDENCE, on the deductions of NATURAL RELIGION, and on the evidences and doctrines of the CHRISTIAN REVELATION We shall consider as important contributions; and we shall always respect and encourage those disquisitions, which profess" to form the morals and to mend the heart," to fit man for the discharge of his social duties, or assist him in perfecting his religious character.
We hope that Gentlemen of leisure and ability will furnish us with solutions of difficult problems in MATHEMATIcs, and memoirs upon any topic in NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, ASTRONOMY, CHEMISTRY, and NATURAL HISTORY.
We shall be glad to collect and preserve the hints and discoveries of the observing and ingenious in those particulars, which will be useful to the Mechanic, or improving to the Artist.
Notices of rare, curious, and valuable articles in the regions of nature, art, or science, will be received with thankfulness.
We call upon men of talents for dissertations and essays upon all subjects of POLITE LITERATURE, SCIENCE, and TASTE; and wish our publication to be considered a repository for the lucubrations of the Scholar, the speculations of the Philosopher, and the lectures of the Divine. The favorites of the Muses are solicited to supply us with POETICAL EFFUSIONS, and to decorate this vestibule of Literature with flowers cropt on the borders of Helicon, or chaplets twined on the brows of Parnassus.
Finally, as we propose a REVIEW OF PUBLICATIONS ANCIENT AND MODERN, we shall hope to receive from gentlemen of discernment, from discriminating readers, a critical
analysis and character of instructive, entertaining, and im◄ portant books in all languages; those especially, which may be published in our own country.
THE LITERARY MISCELLANY is intended to comprise these various departments; but to supply them, the aid of the intelligent and the communicative is needed and solicited. Already favored with some assistance, and encouraging themselves with the hope of more, the Conductors of this work will use their best exertions to render it deserving the notice, the approbation, and the patronage of the Public.
"We shall assiduously attempt, at least,
O may each GRACE and every MUSE unite
At once to instruct and please a lettered age.”
ON LITERARY AND BENEVOLENT
THE social principle is natural to the human breast,
and leads man to form those connexions, which are the foundation of all that is noble in the human character, or endearing in the human condition.
Political union began in motives of self defence, was strengthened by convenience and intercourse, and confirmed by the attachments of sympathy and affection. What commenced through necessity soon ripened into profit, and suggested establishments for improvements in useful and ornamental knowledge, in arts, refinement, and elegance. Men of leisure and of thought began to reflect on the objects around them, and to examine that vast mansion, in which they found themselves existing. A principle of sociability induced them to communicate their knowledge by convers ing upon matters of speculation and science. The habit of doing this led those of similar dispositions and pursuits to associate together. The academy of the Rhetorician, the school and the porch of the Philosopher, were erected. These nurseries of science and of morals produced, while they flourished, some of the greatest men, that ever existed, in philosophy, government, and arms; men, whose improvements have dignified the period, in which they lived, by the name of the Golden and the Augustan age. 'That knowledge and virtue, that elegance in manners and taste, that delicacy in poetry, and energy in eloquence, which we admire in the ancients, were the streams which issued from these fountains.
As the current, however, flowed through
succeeding periods, its course was bent, and its waters unhappily received a tincture from the various corruptions, through which they passed. The streams of Helicon, like the waters of Marah, were changed into bitterness, by the ignorance, which would not be taught, the cruelty and Just of dominion, which would not be tamed, the luxury, which would not be bounded, and the licentiousness, which could not be checked. Such alterations in notions and manners must needs have brought on a change in character. Greece and Rome, those two great theatres of human glory, lost that boldness and that majesty, which they had displayed on so many occasions. To learning and civility succeeded ignorance, superstition and cruelty; and the conquest of the sword was substituted for that of reason. Remembrance sickens at the thought; and we hasten from a scene, which is shocking to every tender and honorable sentiment of the heart; a scene, whose detail would only discover the monuments of degradation and depravity.
The invention of paper in the fourteenth century, and of printing about the middle of the fifteenth, enabled those, who were emerging from the ignorance of the dark ages, to pursue their enquiries with more facility, by obtaining copies of valuable books, and gave them also an opportunity of diffusing more generally the knowledge, they had acquired, The family of Medici, and some of the sovereigns of Europe became the promoters and patrons of science. They assembled around them all, who were distinguished for their genius, their talents, or their learning. Hence arose those Literary associations, which completed the restoration of the sciences and the arts.
In the year 1658, by the enlightened zeal of Sir Robert Boyle, Bishop Wilkins, and some other learned men, THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LONDON was founded. Five years after, THE ACADEMY OF INSCRIPTIONS AND BELLES LETTRES AT PARIS, and, in three years from that, THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES, were instituded. In short, so