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the work, and the common objection to mere compilations in some degree removed. To those friends who favoured him with original pieces, the Editor begs to acknowledge his obligations. It has been matter of regret to him, that, from the limited plan of the work, he has been unable to do justice to many of the numerous communications with which he has been honoured.
In regard to its Engravings, the present publication will be found greatly to surpass its predecessor. The Editor may speak with freedom here, as this department of the work was almost entirely left to the care of its junior publisher, Mr John Blackie, Member of the Dilettanti Society, Glasgow, who has evinced much taste and liberality in selecting proper subjects for embellishment, and in securing the assistance of eminent artists. To the kindness of several gentlemen in giving permission to copy from paintings in their possession, the work is indebted for some of its chief attractions. The engraving of • Rotterdam' is from a painting in the possession of Mr Hay of Edinburgh; that of · The Shepherd Boy,' from a painting in the possession of Mr Jenner, Glasgow; that of " The Cobbler,' from a painting in the possession of Mr Hope, Dean of Faculty, Edinburgh ; that of The Moss Trooper,' from a painting in the possession of Mr John Brown, Glasgow; that of The Golden Age, from a painting in the possession of Mr M‘Lellan, Convener of the Trades' House, Glasgow; and that of “ The Love-Sick Maid, from an old and highly valued painting in the
possession of Mr Ewing, present Lord Provost of Glasgow. To the Artists, Messrs Bonar, Williams, Kemp, and Howard, the publishers are also indebted for permission to copy from their several works.
For the rest: although the REPUBLIC OF LETTERS presents itself under the disadvantage of a younger son, having been forestalled by its elder brother, THE CASQUET, in several fair domains in the province of literature, still it is trusted that its own possessions will be found to be neither few nor unattractive. The Editor has, at all events, the consciousness of having spared no exertion in rendering it equal to its predecessor. He is not sanguine enough to hope that his labours will be judged of in the mild spirit recommended by Erasmus; yet he ventures to quote the words of that celebrated scholar, with the view of soothing his own misgivings, and of encouraging the charitable constructions of others.
A reader,” says Erasmus, “should sit down to a book, especially of the miscellaneous kind, as a well-behaved visitor does to a banquet. The master of the feast exerts himself to satisfy all his guests; but if, after all his care and pains, there should still be something or other put on the table that does not suit this or that person's taste, they politely pass it over, without noticing the circumstance, and commend other dishes, that they may not distress their host, or throw a damp on his spirits. For who could tolerate a guest that accepted an invitation to your table with no other purpose but that of finding fault with every thing put
before him; neither eating himself nor suffering others to eat in comfort ? And yet you may fall in with a worse set than even these,—with churls that, in all companies, and without stop or stay, will condemn and pull to pieces a work which they had never read. But this sinks below the business of an informer, yea, though he were a false witness to boot. The man who abuses a thing of which he is utterly ignorant, unites the infamy of both ; and in addition to this, makes himself the pander and sycophant of his own and other men's envy and malignity."
Glasgow, December, 1832.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
THE ORIGINAL PIECES ARE DISTINGUISHED BY A DAGGER.