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· Weconceive the importance of any attempt that tends to clear the source of any doctrine practised and believed by a large portion of society, as deserving to be acknowledged ; particularly if a considerable part of that society be composed of a sex, who, while scattering roses in our path, more acutely feel the disappointments, the sorrows, and the sufferings of life. In fact, whatever doctrine the smallest part of a community sanctions and gives credence to, will gradually extend its circumference; and the more it is involved in obscurity, or, what is worse, in error, of the more general consequence it must become; the crime (or to soften it, say folly), therefore, in men of ability is, not in any attempt to enlighten and to purify, but in their contemptuous silence. Will it not be allowed that the most sublime human capacity has its boundary affixed ? Who is there, then, seeing “ through every link of nature's chain,” her omnipotent Maker has created a predisposing cause for each effect, that can, with reason entirely on his side, utterly condemn and disbelieve a science, the whole intention of which is to explore those
causes. Besides, it brings down to us from the earliest periods, the names of men known to be fully as great in the knowledge of other arts ; whose writings, though in some parts superstitious and uncouth as the times in which they appeared, evince minds equally capacious with any now existing ; that is, allowing for the progress of society in refinement and experience.
If we are not now justified, we really know not how to strengthen our argument. If we have failed to convince our best friends, those whose good opinions are dear to us, we can make no appeal to their feelings. Let them be assured that we attempt nothing, but in the most firm consciousness of the rectitude of our intentions : instead then of silent and deploring censure, let them contribute their parts cheerfully to assist an undertaking begun on such a basis ; which in the various field of science, thus hum. bly opened, may be easily done; and if the gratitude of hearts whose faith and affection have long been tried can increase the glow of mind arising from having contributed to make
society wiser and better, ours will be offered fully and freely.
Should our undertaking experience the disapprobation of one scientific and real patriotic mind, we hope his opinion will be conveyed with candour; for the reprehension of the wise is ever salutary, and will be received with becoming reverence. It is the silence only of such we fear, as in that case the impression that our pages are beneath their writings would hurt and humble us. The sneers and the rail. ing of insolence and folly we do not dread; and while we shall deem it our duty to admit the queries, to enlighten the understandings, and to do all in our power to alleviate the sorrows of those who really seek for knowledge and relief; we shall repel all applications arising from curiosity, unless they should carry marks of ability sufficient to entitle them to consideration.
IF in an age, though rude, and unrefin'd,
What wonder then that we a science scan,