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We call our periodical a Magazine. How curious the pedigree of names ! When the wandering sons of Ishmael, more than three thousand years ago, spoke of their Gazana, or repository for the preservation of their provisions, or the scanty implements and treasures, which they carried about in their nomadic or gipsy style of living, no sagacious augur among them ever divined that the homely and familiar term would be transported to the Western World, and constitute the common appellation for the periodical literature of Christian nations; yet so it is. The word Magazine is of Arabic origin. The verb Gazana means to deposit, or lay up for preservation; and the Shemitic prefix M forms the word into the noun, Magazana, denoting the means, the instrument, or the agency through which the action of the verb is performed. This, then, is the etymological derivation of the word Magazine, with which our eyes and our ears are now so familiar. The French, however, were before us, it seems, in the importation of this term, which, by a slight modification in its orthography, they changed into Mugasin; and, finding it an expressive term, they used it as the general name for a warehouse, a store, or any other repository, where collections of provision, ammunition, or articles of fancy and utility were kept. On the importation of this word into our own language, we kept somewhat nearer to its original pronunciation, Magazine, and, for a time, we confined its application chiefly to strong and secure places used for containing ammunition and warlike stores.
Thus the word, when imported into modern tongues, retained much of its original idea--that of depositing something for preservation, or laying up something in store; and hence, by an easy transition, it was afterwards applied to a periodical, or repository of miscellaneous literature. This application first took place in the year 1731, when “The Gentleman's Magazine” was published by Edward Cave; which publication, we find, is continued even to the present day. Soon after the first issue of “The Gentleman's Magazine," a multitude of similar serials were started, bearing the same general cognomen, and rivalling each other in their pretensions and their claims ; so much so, indeed, that in an old volume of “The Christian Magazine, published in 1760, the editor says, in his preface, " The overflowing tide of periodical performances, under the title of Magazines, has almost rendered that title ridiculous." Yet the title was not ridiculous, but appropriate and expressive, for this same writer, while complaining of the use of the title by others, scruples not to apply it to his own periodical, because, as he says, “it conveyed distinctly his purpose and design."
The issue of Magazines in 1731 began a new era in literature. The