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LONDON: J. B. NICHOLS AND SON, PRINTERS, 25, PARLIAMENT STREET.

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PREFACE.

THE last six months which have elapsed since we addressed our readers have not, so far as we know, been distinguished by any remarkable event in the history or progress of literature or art, demanding a separate and specific mention ; but the general march of knowledge has proceeded, without interruption, in its accustomed manner, leaving with us as it passes treasures of more or less value, and occasionally finding new outlets for its abundant stores. A distinguishing and praiseworthy mark in the literary

. mind of the present age is the desire of gaining more accurate information on points in which our predecessors were satisfied with that which was casually and easily obtained. History, which should be a jealous and authentic repository of facts, will be little better than a romance or tale of fiction, unless it is supplied with materials by the past ; and the culpable negligence or fortuitous casualties of former times have left so much to perish, that it is doubly incumbent on us to guard with vigilance, and use with industry, that which still remains: it is therefore with pleasure that we see a growing disposition to make public historic documents of various kinds our guides in future researches; and we have particular pleasure in mentioning the third series of Letters lately published by Sir Henry Ellis, with his usual care, learning, and ability. Sir Harris Nicolas is just bringing to a conclusion his excellent Life of Nelson, formed in its biographical facts upon the original correspondence, and presenting an authentic portrait of one whose glory is as imperishable as that of the country he preserved, and whose heroic deeds were based on the solid foundation of patriotic feeling. In Poetry, we are pleased to see the admirable edition of our great dramatists, Beaumont and Fletcher, by Mr. Dyce, now all but concluded, and we only await the appearance of the last volume to bring it before the attention of our readers. A new and more correct edition of Chaucer, the

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