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v V.96 To SYLVANUS URBAN, GENT. 1826. p72
Still URBAN blooms with every verdure gay,
Behold the realms brave Cortes won for Spain -
Beneath the fervid heat of Afric's beam
The Burmese War proclaims Britannia's fame,
Heard ye, alas! the solemn knell of death?
Still in the circle of the recent year,
Teversal Rectòny, Dec. 30. WILLIAM RAWLINS.
ON closing the Ninety-sixth annual Volume of the Gentleman's Magazine, the Editors have to address their Readers with commingled feelings of gratitude and sorrow,-gratitude for the liberal patronage they continue to receive, and sorrow for the irretrievable loss of their late venerable coadjutor, Mr. Nichols. It is with reluctance they obtrude their private sympathies and regards on the public notice; but when it is considered that the object of them has been the master-spirit of this Miscellany for the space of nearly half a century, a sufficient apology may exist for that apparent obtrusion. His editorial labours have raised a tablet to his memory, more durable than brass or sculptured marble; these, corroded by the ravages of time, will perish; but his pages (ære perennius) will survive the revolutions of distant ages. His talents have there reared a monument that will transmit his honoured name to posterity; and his virtues will long remain embalmed in the grateful recollections of the literary world. His intellectual energies communicated a vivifying principle to the circle in which he moved ; and the amiable qualities of his soul endeared him to his more immediate and social connexions. In the evening of his lengthened days, he might be compared to the setting sun ;-though he dazzled less, the mild radiance of his social virtues pleased the more.
The merits of the venerable Mr. Nichols have been recorded by a Biographer, who has proved himself as willing as he was able to do justice to the subject; and it is with honest pride that the present Editors refer generally to the Memoir of their esteemed friend in the Number for December last. But there is one part of it so highly honourable to Mr. Nichols's conduct as Editor of this Magazine, and so apposite to the present Address, that they trust their Readers will excuse its repetition ;
“ In noticing the Gentleman's Magazine, while under Mr. Nichols' care, the present writer will not attempt that which Mr. Nichols would have disdained, any comparison between it and its rivals. This indeed becomes the less necessary, as they have all dropt into oblivion, with the exception of a few of recent date, in which no rivalship seems intended. It may be added, however, that his plan was calculated for permanence. It depended on none of the frivolous fashions of the age. Its general character was usefulness combined with rational entertainment. Its supporters were men of learning, who found in its pages an easy mode of communicating their doubts and their inquiries, with a certainty that their doubts would be resolved, and their inquiries answered by men equal to the task. The Miscellany was particularly recommended by the impartiality of the Editor, who admitted controversialists to the most equal welcome, and never interfered but when, out of respect to his numerous readers, it became his duty to check the rudeness of personal reflection. In the course of such controversies, he must not be suspected of acceding to every proposition advanced either in warmth or in calmness, and much was no doubt admitted of which he could not approve. But his own principles remained unshaken, principles early adopted, and favourable to piety and political happiness ;) and such be preserved and supported amidst the most alarming storms to which his country had ever been exposed. Whatever anomalies may be occasionally perceived in the effusions of some of his Correspondents, if the whole of his administration be examined, it will be found that the main object and tendency of the Magazine was to support our excellent Constitution in Church and State, especially when in some latter years both were in danger from violence without, and treachery within."