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The forms of literature are subject to the fluctuations of fashion, as well as manners and dress. The practice of writing prefaces is now almost obsolete, and new works are ushered into the world, either without this appendage, or with one extremely brief, in which the writer usually informs his readers, that he merely indulges in a short procemium in compliance with long-established usage.
We, however, think there is considerabłe utility in the ancient practice, and should be sorry to see it fall into desuetude. A book without a preface, is like a person admitted into society without an introduction. We are naturally suspicious of those of whom we have no previous knowledge:-a preface at once opens to us an acquaintance with an author, explains the motives in which his work originated, and affords us an insight into the spirit, manner, and bearing in which it has been executed.
In the present instance, our business is rather to write a retrospect than a preface, and point out the prominent features in a work, with the contents of which the public is already familiar. The CIRCULATOR is, as was originally intended, a Miscellany of Literature and Science, Useful Knowledge, Amusement, and General Information. In our Reviews we have endeavoured to notice the more important works that have appeared since the commencement of the year :after giving a general idea of their character and contents, we have made such selections from them, as appeared most interesting and instructive
Our embellishments, which are numerous, and many of them possessing considerable merit, have been chiefly introduced in illustration of subjects of Topography, and the ancient Sports and Pastimes of the people.
The Lectures on Political Economy by Mr. M‘Culloch, and of which we present our readers with the whole course, form a valuable and peculiar feature in the present volume. The gentleman who delivered these interesting discourses, is of the first eminence in economical science; and, though they form but an outline of the admirable originals from which they are abridged, yet we will venture to say, that they comprise a complete, though condensed, summary of the present state of the science of public economy, and the principal facts and arguments on which it is founded.
The Diary of OCCURRENCES comprises a record of the more interesting incidents and events in the last half-year; and the WEEKLY CALENDAR contains an account of Customs, Festivals, Remarkable Days, and other useful memoranda, for the same period of time. To these are added a variety of original Sketches and Essays, notices of the Drama and Fine Arts, select Anecdotes, with an account of the progress of Literary and Scientific Institutions, and of new inventions and discoveries in Science and the Arts.
The readers of our Scientific Articles will, we are assured, be much gratified to learn, that, with the beginning of July, our present Publisher will commence a work wholly devoted to the various and interesting pursuits of science, under the title of " The Scientific Gazette ; or, Library of Mechanical Philosophy, Chemistry, and Discovery:" it will be published in quarto, and the first number will be embellished, by permission, with a fine Portrait of Sir Humphrey Davy, President of the Royal Society. The work will be edited at the London Institution, by Mr. Partington; and connected, as it will be, with many gentlemen in the first rank of intellect and talent, there is little doubt that a focus may be formed where the rays of science may concentrate, and a work produced, worthy of the patronage of the scientific world, even in its present enlightened and enlightening state.
ORIGINAL ESSAYS AND SKETCHES.
Condition of Labouring Classes from Mottos ..
Progress of Labouring Classes from A Grievance
Parochial Psalmody in the Me- The Eton Montem
Lecture on Eyes
Reminiscences of Bond-street 138 Posthumous Fame
Mollien's Travels in Columbia..
Napoleon Buonaparte, &c.
1823, by M. Baillie..
Attempt to Reach Repulse Bay