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THE NATIONAL REVIEW.
On the 30th June, 1855, it is intended to publish the First Number of "THE NATIONAL REVIEW," a new QUARTERLY JOURNAL of GENERAL LITERATURE, Politics, and Social and Religious Philosophy.
In originating such a Periodical the Conductors believe that they will supply a want long recognised, and every day more urgently felt by thousands of their thoughtful countrymen, who are unable to identify themselves with any one of the acknowledged parties in Church or State. It appears to us that there is no party, ecclesiastical or political, that is not manifestly embarrassed rather than sustained by its own watchwords and traditions. The established and conventional formulas of thought are confessedly inadequate to express the actual convictions of the time; and, though often liberally interpreted or questionably stfetched to embrace the new conditions, this very accommodation virtually surrenders their essential life, and confesses the presence of younger energies and aspirations, which claim independent and original expression.
The effects of this have naturally been unfavourable to periodical literature. We are far from denying the excellent tone, taste, and temper, the great information, the high and available literary talent which characterize many of our leading periodicals: but we believe they suffer from the state of the parties of which they are the organs—they are marked by a want of steady adherence to ascertained principle, of coherent and strict deductions, of defined and searching discussion.
On religious subjects especially we think it painfully evident, that there is not at present in this country any adequate organ for
the expression and instruction of the many minds which are trying to combine with a habit of free enquiry, the faithful adherence to realized and definite truth. The very aim at comprehensive principles is not recognised in most quarters; and in others the feeling of reverence, and the real existence of objects for reverence, seem to be altogether disregarded.
The selection of our name is no accident. Having a rooted faith in all indigenous products of thought and feeling, we conceive that too foreign a cast has been imparted to the character of our Christianity by the historical accidents of its introduction into this country. Neither Catholicism nor Protestantism is the growth of English soil; and probably not till Christian truth has shaped itself afresh under the home conditions of affection and character, will the religious malaise of our society cease. The NATIONAL Review will interpret, it is believed, the deliberate faith of most cultivated English laymen, however now scattered among different churches,-a faith that fears no reality, and will permanently endure no fiction. No one who recognises in Historic Christianity God's highest witness and revelation, can suppose that the world and the human mind are, or ever were, abandoned by their Divine and living guide ; and we believe that to ignore or to disown the traces of His agency in the excellence and truth of every age, is not piety, but treason to His spirit. To preserve, in our treatment of philoso. phical or historical theology, the tone of reverence which is due to the earnest convictions of others, will be to us no artificial selfrestraint, but the expression of natural disposition.
With two things only, in this relation, we profess to keep no terms—the conceited Indifferentism, which, as its humour changes, pets or persecutes all faiths alike ; and the insolent Dogmatism which treats eternal truth as a private and exclusive property. Believing that in this country, amid all the clamour of sects, the Religion of widest range and deepest seat is as yet without a voice or name, we aspire, in this department of our work, to help it into adequate expression.
As Englishmen, we place unbounded confidence in the bases of English character,—its moderation and veracity ; its firm hold on reality ; its reverence for law and right; its historical tenacity; its aversion to a priori politics, and to revolutions generated out of speculative data.
We think, however, that even here there is room for a more constant reference to general principle than is now usual in this country. Many of our most influential organs seem to us to wander into discussions of business and detail, which
be useful in the narrow circles of official and merely political society, but are scarcely suited to the perusal of thoughtful and able men in the country at large, whose occupations prevent their following the minutiæ of transitory discussion, but who wish to be guided to general conclusions on important topics, and whose incalculable influence on public opinion makes it most important to give them the means of arriving at just conclusions.
We conceive the office of theory in such matters not to be, as was once thought, the elaborate construction of paper constitutions for all ages and all countries ; but rather to ascertain and clearly define the conditions under which the various national characters and institutions have developed themselves; and to deduce, if possible, with fulness and sequence the rationale of the suitableness of each polity to its appropriate nation. We would neither confine our political sympathies at home, nor carry our political doctrines ruthlessly and indiscriminately abroad. We feel no vocation for any sort of cosmopolitan propagandism, which would merge the distinctions of Race in the common features of Humanity; and would assume that what is good for us must be good for all, without regard to intrinsic character or historic antecedents. But we do acknowledge and will enforce those mutual claims of sympathy and duty between nations which no division of the great human family can guiltlessly evade, believing that the virtue and well-being of States is forfeited, not fostered, by selfish exclusiveness, as surely as the egotist, most studious of his own happiness, finds it soonest waste away. The present exciting crisis may not be the most favourable for the prosecution of internal reforms; but the prospect of European danger, and the appeal to all classes for noble sacrifices, which have done so much to sweep away the dissensions of sect and party, and to make the whole Empire conscious once more of the pulsation of a common heart, have, we think, created a conjuncture pre-eminently favourable to the ripening of national sentiment, and the abatement of artificial divisions; and a survey of our institutions and relations, while the dominant temper is thus genial and generous, may prepare a body of opinion uncorrupted by narrow prejudices or selfish claims.
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Our object in literature will be anzlogos sow zin in puisis. We wish as before to secure a more constant suterens . principle than we think is now comme : . a the same time. shall not try to apply arbitrary cages to 2 writers and I but rather to examine and describe the safetus ÉS literary sations and writers, and explēs the mana i ca. genims and circumstances of eacă have intended the vis de have bequeathed to as.
In txo points, moreover, it will be OET ENVER 1 ano e which have been nach and justiy compiaised in the stands a other Quarterly Organs. We .perpose to study beevity as topies which will not justify length and to give the Tight: departments of Literature that share to which they are a entitled in a periodical which aspires to please sad sad the genera Teader, as well as to interest the stadions contes
Like most other Quarterly Journals, the - Serose RETE will not be able to find room for more than a selection Ezen the works which from time to time appezz. We must endeavor to excel by making that selection judicioas. Te seal, boree, endeavour to give a systematic summary of the new pubbicaties on topics insuff.cientiy noticed by the daily and westly joensis, especially Theology and Mental and Politics Passeper. We shall likewise give a list of the books appearing is esch quarter which seem suitable for reading Societies, and se met Ekely to interest the general reader.
PRICE FIVE SHILLINGS