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INTRODUCTORY TO TIE COMMENCEMENT OF OUR TWENTY. FIRST YEAR.

It happens to every man, we believe, some time or other in the progress of life, to pause, as it were, upon his journey—to take breath-to look around him—to survey the road whereon he has been travelling, as far back as its tortuosities or inequalities will permit him—to look forward with an anxious, curious speculation, as far as it may be given to his short, dim vision to do so. Time, that measures out his periods by oft-recurring seasons, admonishes the wise and the self-communing spirit to this survey with each recurring year. But, at larger intervals, and upon some more eventful turning-point of human life, every one stands still, as though on an eminence, to gaze around him. Then, indeed, does the past spread out before him. He ponders with a pleasurable sadness over young days, young hopes, young friends; he a ks of his own soul to what profit they have been spent, to what extent they have been realised; how many of those friends have been ravished from him, or fallen away, in the weary, constant life-travel ; how many of them still are by his side, faithful and enduring to the end. And, then, gaining strength and knowledge from past trials and past experience, he will shape bis course hopefully for the future, and press firmly forward, as one who has essayed his own strength, and relies upon it.

One of those long-recurring intervals of time—a cycle of no less than twenty years—has now been accomplished in the existence of our periodical; and as we sit musingly in the decline of the old year, and reflect, that with the first morning of the new one we shall enter upon a new period, it occurred to us that it would not be unbecoming towards ourselves, or unacceptable to those for whom we have thus lived and laboured, that we, too, should pause a few moments, and detain them with us, while we take a survey, from the eminence upon which we stand, of the past, the present, and the future.

And, first, of our Past.

Twenty years! What a vast portion of the life of man, and even no inconsiderable space in the existence of a nation.

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Now-a-days, time, whose true philosophic measure is what it can achieve, bas enlarged the limits of human existence. A year is expanded into seven of those which our forefathers lived. The locomotion of body, the progress of knowledge, the advancement in civilisation, the intercommunion of thought take place with a

VOL. XLI.-NO. CCXLI.

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pidity tbat, while it almost annihilates space and jnfinitely accelerates the operations of mankind, is practically bringing us back to that pristine longevity, when man counted “the days of the years of his life" by centuries. Let us, then, look back upon the twenty eventful years which have just passed away, and render, as justly as human infirmity will enable us to do, an account of the use which we have made of them.

We remember, as it were but yesterday, the circumstances under which “The Dublin UNIVERSITY MAGAZINE” was projected, and the day upon which it first saw the light. Ireland possessed then, as indeed we believe it has ever possessed, men eminent for learning in every department of knowledge. Nevertheless, she had no national literature, few names which made themselves known through the world, and of those few the majority were so known through the medium of English or foreign publications. What we wanted was not genius, or wit, or learning, but we wanted that which should collect, intensify, and expound it. We wanted the bond which would bind the scattered rods in a strong fasciculus together—the lens that would catch the diverging rays, and make them confluent in a point of heat and irradiation. We wanted an exponent of our own thoughts, our own aspirations, our own tastes and feelings, in politics, in science, in belles lettres, in poetry, in music. We wanted, in a word, A NATIVE PERIODICAL.

This was no new feeling that had come upon the Irish mind. The craving was old, and had made many an effort to satisfy itself. More than one Irish periodical had arisen, but not one had struggled through its infancy. It would not now be over-profitable to consider the causes of their failure, though, at the period we speak of, they were anxiously investigated by the projectors of our Magazine, that they might be remedied and avoided. Some were too green, in every sense of the word—too provincial in their feelings, too narrow in their views; others were too limited in their objects; others too local in their influ. ences and circulation. Yet were there spirits amongst us—adventurous, as all then admitted, and sagacious and far-seeing, as all will now confess—who felt that while England had her periodical literature, and Scotland her “ Blackwood” and her “ Edinburgh Review," Ireland might reasonably expect, under judicious management, to sustain one periodical.

The period, too, was not unfavourable for a new project. The world—above all, our British world—had got a jog or two that pulled many of her old notions about her cars. In politics the democratic element was increasing in power, and the people had just attained their new charter, " the Reform Act.” The public mind was, in consequence, agitated by hope and fear, and all the intense anxiety which is inseparable from a bold and untried measure. Not long previously, the first of the world's Titanian causeways was laid, and British science and British art had the honour of devising and executing it—we allude to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. And men looked with wonder, and dreamed that they might live to see the day-ay, and they have lived to see it—when these pon. derous and panting giant-coursers would yet outstrip the wing of the pigeon in fleetness, and the foot of the patient camel across the trackless desert.

And so we started upon our course, taking a hint from what we saw around us, determined to enlarge the intellectual franchise of our own people, and to facili

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