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a Duarterly Review
Ethical, Economical, Political, and Ameliorative
“ MELIORA VIDEO PROBOQUE.”
The success of Meliora' renders any preface superfluous. An average circulation of seven thousand copies quarterly during the first year of its existence, and an unprecedented welcome from the press, sufficiently justify the introduction to the advancing intelligence and philanthropy of the British people, a Review of Social Science combining literary excellence with unusual cheapness. The Editors, encouraged by the support they have received, pledge themselves to increased efforts to sustain and improve the Review, and they rely on their numerous readers to aid in extending its circulation.
IN the history of civilisation it is instructive to observe the
oscillations of the social pendulum. In proportion to its progress towards cultivation, refinement, intellectual and political greatness, has been its rebound towards vice and moral degradation. National advancement abroad and civil retrogression at home have followed each other in fatal sequence, until the great empires of antiquity found within themselves the elements of their decay. Occupied with the prosecution of prowess, political extension, commerce, science, and art, nations have been prone to neglect the preservation of their social health and the cure of incipient diseases; and it has not infrequently come to pass that immediately after their acquisition of glory they have been broken into fragments and ruined. As a meteor which pursues for a time a path of brightness in the heavens Butrivalling the steadier light of stars, suddenly bursts by the force of its internal decomposition, and falls upon the earth a calcined mass of blackness, so have the great powers of the world risen, flourished, and fallen. Nor is that nation which was blessed with special revelations and fenced by divine interdicts an exception to the rule. The reign of Solomon was the Augustan age of Israel. Never did their commerce flourish more, or a wider limit bound their territory, or greater reputation command for them the respect of the neighbouring monarchies, or such wealth enrich them. Literature was in its ascending scale. David's harp had just yielded those Hebrew melodies which have made him ever the Psalmist of the Church, and Solomon's fertile genius and extensive research had given three thousand proverbs, and songs a thousand and five; and Natural History from the cedars of the lofty Lebanon to the hyssop which crept up the garden wall, and birds and fowl and creeping things and fishes. At peace with all around, with silver as plenty as the stones in Jerusalem's streets, with a race of men who had newly laid aside their conquering arms, the kingdom of David's son seemed to possess a brilliant prospect of strength, greatness, and continuance. But it had reached its climacteric. The sons of David's hardy and long-tried warriors lacked their fathers' manly virtue ; and amidst the wealth, peace, and luxury of Vol. 1.-No. 1.