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As the lectures were delivered from general recollection, though with the author's manuscript at hand, it is possible that those who took notes may find a few passages in the present text slightly varied from what was uttered at the time. Yet he believes that, upon an accurate examination, such discrepancies will be found but few, and of no importance.
The Institution has had its day, but it set in glory, and had the satisfaction of reaping its own reward. Its proprietary shares, like those of every other literary institution in this metropolis, were soon found to have been fixed at too low a price. And, a difficulty having been experienced in obtaining the consent of every proprietor to an adequate additional subscription, it was wisely resolved, almost from the first, to make a yearly encroachment upon the capital, and to maintain the Institution at its zenith of vigour and activity till the whole of such capital should be expended, rather than to let it live through a feeble and inefficient existence, though for a longer period of time, by limiting it to the narrow scale of its annual income alone.
To the crowded and persevering audience by which, from year to year, the author had the gratification of being surrounded, many of whom are yet within the circle of his acquaintance and friendship, he still looks back with gratitude; and can never forget the ardour and punctuality of their attendance. It is a lively recollection, indeed, of the manner in which his labours were received, when delivered, that chiefly induces him to hope for a favourable reception of them in their present form.
The progress of time, and the mental activity with which it has been followed up, have strikingly confirmed various hints and opinions which he ventured to suggest as he proceeded, and have introduced a few novelties into one or two branches of science since the period referred to; but the interval which has hereby occurred has enabled the author to keep pace with the general march of the day, and to pay due attention to such doctrines or discoveries in their respective positions of time and place.