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DOCTOR JOHNSON, in his Life of Cave, thus speaks of the Gentleman's Magazine. "It has now (1781) subsisted fifty years, and still continues to enjoy the favour of the world: it is one of the most successful Pamphlets which literary history has upon record, and therefore deserves, in this narrative, particular notice." That a work should continue in the public favour for the long period of half a century, was justly deemed by the writer, no inconclusive proof of its merits; but another sixty years have since passed, and the proprietors of the Magazine can look with no ordinary feelings of satisfaction, at a work, which has now lasted for a longer period than any other periodical of the kind in this country or perhaps in others; which possesses the same unimpaired resources, and enjoys the same public favour, that it formerly had; notwithstanding the numerous rivals that have been formed on its design; and the great increase of literature that has circulated among the community.
If then, since the commencement of its execution, we have seen a multitude of other magazines, arising, and perishing; and only a few, that have been supported by a powerful association, exempted from the general fate; surely we have a right to presume that the permanence of our reputation in the public favour, is owing to the judiciousness of our original plan, and the carefulness of our continued execution. What therefore has so long been our support, we may now look forward to maintain; and hope that by constancy of diligence, we may ensure the public confidence, and offer to those ingenious persons who seek an easy channel for the communication of their thoughts, one in which they will not be lost, either from the obscurity of the publication, or in the multiplicity of various and unconnected subjects. We proceed on a long established unity of design, which is the history and improvement of literature and art; a field wide enough for the most active in
quiry, and leading, if properly treated, to the most useful and satisfactory results. The art of criticism, we consider to be one of high rank and rare excellence; and it is with pleasure that we see more than one person among our present communicants, gifted with it, and using it in such a manner as to impart fresh lustre to its value, and to please while they instruct. We thank them for the favours they have already conferred; and we hope to receive additional freights of their learned stores, which have been formed by them in retirement, and which we may have the satisfaction of imparting to the world. Thus we trust that the successive numbers of our Magazine will never be wanting in the supply of matter at once agreeable and profound, and that we may say of them in the language of the poet,
** Those marked thus are Vignettes, printed with the letter-press.
View of the Hindoo Temple at Melchet Park near Salisbury
Representation of a Roman Capital at Silchester; Architectural Portions of
Representation of the Fleetwood Cabinet
Boreham Church, Essex; and a ruined Font at Barkby, co. Leicester 353
View of an Ancient Mansion at Preston near Yeovil
*Representation of a Leaden Impression of a Coin of Alfred
*Representation of a Stone Coffin Lid found in St. Paul's Churchyard