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The Imperial Magazine
Religious, Philosophical, Historical, Biographical, Topographical and General Knowledge


PREFACE to the 1831 edition

In thus writing a Preface to each Volume of the Imperial Magazine, the Editor rather complies with the dictates of custom, than follows the impulses of necessity. An undeviating adherence to permanent principle places this periodical beyond the influence of fluctuating opinion; and therefore leaves little to elucidate, little for which to offer any apology, and nothing to awaken emotions of conscientious remorse.

Essentially a moral, religious, and ethical publication, without espousing the dogmas of any party, or being amenable to any sectarian tribunal, the Imperial Magazine, during the thirteen years of its existence, has never suffered its pages to be encumbered with the ample but ephemeral harvests, which may be constantly reaped in the great fields of politics, and the transient occurrences of the day.

With an eye, indeed, to the moral and religious issues involved in the commotions which agitate the world, a quarterly notice has been taken of European phenomena. It is to these points that our retrospect has been exclusively directed, and it is only in this light that the views of the writer can be justly appreciated.

Indeed, so dark, so luminous, and so tumultuous have been the clouds recently hovering round our political horizon, that they seem to resemble the surges which alternately frown, and smile, and burst upon our shores. These, for a season, have engrossed no small share of public attention; but an overruling providence has thus far averted the evils which we dread, and encouraged us, with strong indications of success, to pursue and cherish the great objects of our solicitude and hope.

But while the agitations of politics, and the menaces of a pestilential disease, have so very generally pervaded the public mind, they have not been permitted to extinguish, in the virtuous and thoughtful part of our vast population, their strong attachment to religion, morals, and useful knowledge. Of these,. the numbers not only remain undiminished, but an appeal to the following fact assures us that they are considerably increased.

At the commencement of the present year, a New Series of the Imperial Magazine was announced. This, however, did not imply any change either in its principles or its character. The plan was adopted because many of the earlier numbers were out of print; and also to furnish new subscribers with an opportunity of falling in with what might be termed a second beginning of the Work. In its exterior, this new series is distinguished by a more modern appearance; and in its interior, by a new arrangement of its biographical sketches, and of such other articles as have an immediate reference to the Engravings, and also in the enumeration of pages instead of columns.

Nor were the calculations made, in the above respects, founded on erroneous conjecture. Several hundreds of new subscribers rallied round the standard of its independence, and sanctioned its principles with this most unequivocal testimony of approbation. It is by such noble, enlightened, and disinterested spirits, that this Magazine has been hitherto sustained ; it is to such as these that it looks for future support; and from such as these that it derives a considerable portion of the articles which both enliven and enrich its pages.

The same spirit still prevails among the sober and enlightened portion of the community; and if the increase of subscribers during the year 1831 may be assumed as a fair criterion for analogical calculation, an additional augmentation may be reasonably expected to distinguish the year 1832.

To evince, by an unremitting attention to the duties of his office, gratitude for this proof of public confidence, will be the constant aim of the Editor; and he has the assurance of the Proprietors, that no expense shall be spared in any department, to render the future Numbers of the Imperial Magazine in some degree deserving of that extended patronage which it has the honour to enjoy, to solicit, and to anticipate.

On the Engravings which embellish the Imperial Magazine, it will be needless to make any observations. Thirteen years have exposed them to public inspection, and on all occasions they are ready to speak for themselves. We are happy to learn, that, during recent years, by not confining ourselves exclusively to portraits, most of our subscribers have been highly gratified. We beg to assure them, that in fixture we shall be careful to give variety in our graphic decorations.

To our kind and intelligent correspondents we once more return our sincerest thanks, for their valuable communications. Our highly respectable and numerous subscribers, have also an imperious claim on our gratitude, which we thus publicly solicit them to accept. The Proprietors and Editor finally conclude, by assuring all, that no exertions on their parts shall be wanting, to meet the wishes of those to whom they are laid under such lasting obligations.

Download the 1831 edition here in pdf format


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