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design was always (as its title imports) knowledge, and therefore disposed to to present to the public a complete bestow upon the attainnsent of it the body of useful knowledge in the most requisite measure of attention and excomprehensive sense of that expres- ertion. They have accordingly es
an Encyclopedia, in short, chewed all nauseating puerility of which should embrace not only sci- phrase and ultra-simplification of ence, strictly so called, but whatever statement, which would have answerelse of real and solid learning adinit- ed no purpose whatever, except to ted of being distributed under distinct give an air of prosing to their explaheads and methodically exhibited. nations that would have been perfectAnd really, looking to the manner in ly ludicrous ; but remembering that which these treatises are accommoda- they were writing, not for infants, but ted to the conveniences and the wants for men, have expressed themselves of all sorts of purchasers, and all in a manly and healthy style, only sorts of students, we do not wonder studying upon every occasion the at the wide diffusion they have attain- utmost exactness and clearness of ed, unprecedented as it is, and greatly language ; and, above all, taking care beyond, we believe, even the most to assume nothing to be known by the sanguine expectations of those who reader in relation to the subject hanfirst suggested the work. In the first dled, or the other departments of sciplace, we have certainly nothing so ence or learning, connected with it, cheap in the whole compass of our except what has been expressly comliterature. Every one of these six- municated to him in a previous part penny pamphlets—thrown off as it is of the treatise, or in some other prein the first style of typography and viously published one to which he is embellishment-contains as much let- referred. This last mentioned princiter-press as an octavo volume, printed ple, indeed, is almost the only one in the ordinary manner, of a hundred that, in the composition of every part pages. Then each may be purchased of such a work as the present, ought separately-so that no person need never to be lost sight of. If it he give his money for information he constantly kept in view, the writer does not want ; and the student of can hardly fail to attain his object, one subject or class of subjects, may and to make himself perfectly underconfine his purchases to his own de- stood by all those of his readers who partment. But a still more important are really anxious to understand himn. peculiarity of these treatises than even It is altogether a delusion to suppose their cheapness, is their especial suit. that even the very lowest orders reableness for those who come to the quire, in order to be made to apprestudy of the subjects treated of with- hend what is said to them, to be adout any previous acquaintance with dressed only in monosyllables, and them, and are anxious to master their sentences not above an inch and a half difficulties by their own efforts. Not long. Their understandings are of far that there is in the style, or manner greater stretch than they are someof statement, of the writers, any af- times believed to be ; and we say fected adaptation to tender or imbe- again, as we have done before, that cile capacities, as if they had felt we are firmly convinced no greater or themselves to be writing merely for more fatal mistake could be coinmitchildren, or persons altogether inca- ted in any attempt to interest them in pable of any intellectual exertion. the pursuit of knowledge, than by We should have been sorry to have speaking to them in the language of seen the work disfigured by any vain the nursery. Of the meaning of the and pernicious attempt of this kind. technical terms employed in the difThe authors have rightly felt that it ferent sciences, they must of course was their business to address them- be presumed to be altogether ignorant; selves as to men anxious to acquire and these, therefore, must either be
laid aside, or its import clearly ex more regular occupation to employ his plained whenever any one of them is time and strength than any other man introduced ; but we really know no in the kingdom, finds yet more leisure other rule of style for didactic trea- than any other for every incidental tises intended for the perusal of pea- call of benevolence and patriotism, sants and mechanics, that would not and is not only the active and efficient be equally good and apposite for auxiliary in all endeavors that are works of the same nature, addressed made for the promotion of literature, to the most cultivated ranks of the liberty, and general civilization, but community. Undoubtedly it would of many of them the very foremost be a great error in either case, to de- supporter, and of others the patron viate into any imitation of the lisp and and founder, and suggester, without babble of infancy.
whom they never would have been in But we must now turn to the new operation or existence at all; the series of publications commenced by claims upon the affection and rererthe Society—The Library of Enter- ence of his countrymen are far too taining Knowledge, the first volume conspicuous to stand in need of any of which lies on our table. We re- advocacy of ours. Without the name joice, in the first place, to find that and place of a minister, Mr. Brougham the committee of the Society do not has secured for himself an influence contemplate limiting their operations far more extensive and powersul than to the superintendence of any single that of any minister ; and his, unwork ; but that, availing themselves doubtedly, is at this moment the of the advantage which their number voice wbich of all others would most gives them, they do not shrink from effectually rally the intellect, and committing themselves to a more ex- heart, and moral strength of the countensive field of occupation and useful- try, around any cause in the support
This is to give their services of which it might be heard. To be in good earnest to the cause they have thus one of the chief guides of public taken by the hand ; to show to the opinion throughout a mighty cominupublic that it is not merely the sanc- nity, is to possess a far truer and more tion of their distinguished names enviable greatness than the highest ofwhich they are disposed to lend it, fice under the crown could buy with but that they are really anxious to all its patronage. It is to wield, if devote their personal exertions in not the resources of the state, yet the large measure to its support and fur- noblest energies of the people. therance. We cannot attempt to give But to return to our subject. We expression to the gratitude and admi- hail the publication of the Library of ration which we feel to be due to Entertaining Knowledge as affording them for all the sacrifices they have us a gratifying assurance that the Soso ungrudgingly made in the prosecu- ciety take a sound and liberal view of tion of their truly philanthropic enter- what a popular literature should be, in prise ; but when we reflect that near- order to answer all the purposes which ly all of them are actively engaged it might be made to serve.
It would besides in professional pursuits, and have been most unfortunate, we think, that some of them rank among the had they confined their scheme to the very busiest of the public men of the diffusion among the people of merely day, it is impossible for us not to ac scientific information—thereby, as it knowledge how deep a debt we owe were, inculcating the notion that nothem for this disinterested dedication thing was really important as a matter of so much of their time and labor to of knowledge or reflection, except the an object recommended to them only cold palpabilities and literalities that by its importance to the happiness of admit of being measured by the rules of their fellow-men. Of their illustrious geometry and arithmetic. By extendchairman in particular, who, with ing their plan so as to make it embrace
the philosophy of mind as well as reading, -a mere stray fragment, as it of matter, and resolving, while they were, of the subject, thus catching presented to one class of readers their their fancy and setting them a thinktreatises on the truths of mathematics ing, before they had ever dreamed of and the phenomena of the physical encountering any complete or systeinworld, to offer, at the same time, to atic exhibition of it. Now if this forthe same class, or to another, accounts tunate result has occasionally been of whatever was most interesting and produced by works not at all written instructive in biography, history, and with a view to the bringing about of other kindred departments, they dou- such effects, it may be reasonably exble, in our opinion, the value of the pected that the imaginations of readservices they undertook to perform, ers will be much more frequently exas the providers of useful knowledge cited in the manner alluded to by the for the people. But even in this way perusal of publications expressly inthey could still have failed to supply tended to win them to the love of all the excitement that might be safely knowledge by an attractive display of administered to the popular intellect, the rich entertainment it has in store and even all the reasonable gratifica- for them, and composed throughout tion which a reading people would be with an especial reference to that obentitled to demand, had they not also ject. The volume before us cannot, determined upon laying before the we are sure, be inspected without enpublic a body of such knowledge (of couraging the most sanguine expectawhich there is abundance) as is capa- tions as to the extent to which the ble of interesting the mind, even in its series it so auspiciously commences, most relaxed moods, by the direct and promises to operate in diffusing among immediate entertainment it affords; the people, in this manner, a taste and is therefore calculated, besides for even the most strictly useful and its other uses, to form the most se erudite branches of literature and ductive temptation that can be enn- science. ployed to lead an uninformed under We rejoice, however, to observe standing to the love and the habit of that the Society for the Diffusion of more regular and elaborate study. Useful Knowledge are not to be alSuch is exactly the end and character lowed to monopolize the office of supof the Library of Entertaining Know- plying us with a cheap popular literaledge, the publication of which has ture, but that other parties are alreabeen now commenced.
dy appearing in the field as their riIndeed as, on the one hand, it is vals, or rather fellow-laborers in this quite evident that the exercise of good work. We must mention in mind which we may more properly particular two other publications, one call study, cannot be pursued at all which has been for some time in exwithout frequent intermissions, and is istence, and another which is just by nothing so much aided and sustain- commencing. The first is Constable's ed as hy occasional relaxations of its Miscellany, of which we have now intensity ; so on the other it right, before us the 38th volume, containing we believe, be very easily shown that a Personal Narrative of a Journey many of the most ardent and success- through Norway, part of Sweden, and ful laborers in the most abstruse de- the Islands and states of Denmark,” partments of science and literature by a writer who takes the name of have had their attention first directed Derwent Conway, and is already to those branches of learning in the known to the public as the author of investigation of which they subse- a work entitled “ Solitary Walks quently distinguished themselves, by through many Lands.” The present some accidental reference to them narrative is elegantly written and full which they met with in the course of of interest ; and relating as it does to their lighter and more miscellaneous scenes and manners which have been
comparatively but seldom described, everywhere spreading among us for will be received, we doubt not, as a the elegant and humanizing enjoywelcome present by the reading pub- ments of literature. Coming especiallic. There is a great deal of amusing ly from the quarter in which it has oriand instructive reading in the different ginated, the present publication may volumes of this Miscellany ; and we be taken as a confession both that the are indebted to its conductors not love of knowledge is rapidly diffusing only for various new works of very itself, and that that diffusion is a blessconsiderable merit, but for cheap and ing, on the part of those who have commodious reprints of several of our hitherto most pertinaciously lamented old favorites.
the one truth and denied the other. The other publication to which we We do not speak this in uukindness refer, is Mr. Murray's “ Family Li- or by way of reproach ; for we have brary,” which has been for some time really no feeling on the subject but announced, and the first Number, or one of delight, that many men of high Monthly Part, of which has just ap- worth and talent and genius, who peared, containing the commencement were wont to be against us, are now of a History of Napoleon Buonaparte, with us in this great and good cause. to be completed in two such volumes. The friends of liberal opinions—those From the form and price of this work, who were long the friends and supas well as from the description of sub- porters of such opinions in their state jects to which it seems to be chiefly of depression and exclusion-have, in confined, it is intended, we presume, late times, had much whereon to conto circulate principally among the gratulate themselves, and to triumph wealthier classes, and to offer to if they were disposed to take any tone them a series of neatly got up, rather of triumph, in the conversion of old than of very cheap volumes, of light opponents into zealous allies, and the and amusing literature. It is elegant- elevation to undisputed supremacy of ly embellished with engravings both many of the principles which they on wood and steel, and the price of alone had advocated while they were each volume is Five Shillings, although everywhere else the theme of dethe matter it contains does not exceed nouncement and reprobation. But of by much more than a fourth part that all the conversions it has been our of one of the Two Shilling Volumes happy lot to witness, there is none in of the Library of Entertaining Know- which we rejoice more cordially than ledge. The appearance of the work in this conversion of the enemies of is still, however, a most gratifying popular education into its professed, symptom of the intellectual progress and, we doubt not, its unfeigned and of the times, and of the taste that is zealous friends.
The Rector's departure from Sea Vale ters, for chimeras dire of portly canons was at length fixed for the second week and their dignified spouses-solemn in September; but when the final ar- dinners, silent whist-tables, and all rangements were made, Lady Octavia the dull ceremonial of an ecclesiastifound herself condemned to accompa- cal court circle. ny her uncle during his month's resi During the last fortnight of Dr. Hardence at Exeter, instead of immediate. top's stay at the Rectory, the family ly joining the gay autuinn party at party had been augmented by the arFalkland Court. A short time back, rival of a brother of Lady Octavia's, such a contre-temps would have se the Reverend Arthur Falkland, who verely tried her ladyship’s philosophy, came down to Sea Vale for the united but within the last fortnight Vernon's advantages of shooting and sea-bathing, premature return to his old colors had and Millicent readily accepted Verpiqued her into a determination, coute non's apology for stealing from her a qui coute, to bring him back to hers, few of those hours that he would more if but for a week, before she gave him willingly have devoted entirely to her, his final discharge ; and a scheme in order to show due attention and was now shaping itself in her crea- courtesy to his Rector's guest and netive imagination, which promised, not phew. No day passed, however, withonly to effect that purpose in the most out his visiting the cottage-few during satisfactory manner, but to wile away which he did not look in more than some of the horrors of her stay at once or twice on its lonely mistress ; Exeter-horrors infinitely greater, in and if his visits were each time shorter, her estimation, than those of rural and his manner more unequal and preretirement; and she hailed as quite occupied, she assured herself that, cirprovidential certain waking visions, 'cumstanced as he then was, nothing which substituted the handsome cu- could be more natural or excusable. rate and his flute, moonlight mu
" And it will only be for a few days sic and moonlight walks with him longer, Milly,” said he. “ Thank God! in old bay windows and echoing clois- only three days longer; for this is
* Concluded from page 218. 32 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.