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PREFACE TO VOL. I.
The Indexes now published complete the design of The Register And Magazine Of Biography. For it is not ephemeral amusement at which we aim, nor mere matters of transient interest; but our object is to be permanently useful, and to furnish an historical record of domestic history, of which all persons, in the time to come, will be glad to avail themselves. Such, it is allowed on all hands, have been the former merits of the Gentleman's Magazine, which have placed the series of that work high in value and estimation, whilst most of its short-lived rivals have been neglected and forgotten. To a publication undertaking to continue that public service, the importance of which we asserted in our original Advertisement, a cordial welcome has been already given by a wide circle of discerning friends, who will gradually, it may be hoped, convince the general public of the utility of the present work. At any event, we are assured that a place will not be refused to it in any well-furnished library.
Henceforth the Register And Magazine Op Biography will be published by Mr. Hardwicke, at 192, Piccadilly, W.
In the course of human life no events either in their individual or social relations arc of greater or more obvious importance than Births, Marriages, and Deaths. The circumstances of birth will more or less influence the destinies of all. It may be of still greater consequence to a man's rising fortunes whether he marry well or ill. But it is most of all worthy of commemoration if he dies after having fulfilled a career of usefulness to his fellows, and fought a good fight in the battle of life.
Subordinate to these grand epochs in the history of every individual are the innumerable incidents and accidents by which men succeed in their several vocations, are preferred to public service, or promoted to well-earned honours.
All these events, immediately important to the persons concerned, affect also in many respects the interests of their kinsmen, their neighbours, and the community at large. All the rights of succession to property depend on the legitimacy of Birth, the validity of Marriage, and the certain proof of Death. These arc the data upon which Genealogies are framed, and upon which the Lawyer and Herald rely. These are the events which used to be faithfully recorded by the monk in his martiloge or cartulary, and which our Protestant forefathers fondly entered in the family bible. They arc those for which a system of Parochial Registration was provided in this country more* than three centuries ago; and which have repeatedly been objects of legislative care, in order to obviate the ill effects of local supinencss and inattention.
From an early period of our News literature such events have been made public by announcements in the flying sheet; and for the last century and a half they have been more permanently recorded in the pages of the monthly Magazines.
At the present time however this public service, as it may justly be termed, is inefficiently performed. The magazines have entered on a new phase, and arc devoted almost entirely to transient entertainment or discussion, while the daily and weekly papers are, when once laid aside, exceedingly difficult of access and reference.