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ESTABLISHED FOR THE PURPOSE OF FORMING A SUITABLE MEDIUM FOR THE
DELIBERATE DISCUSSION OF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS IN
RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, HISTORY, POLITICS, SOCIAL
“MAGNA EST VERITAS, ET PRÆVALEBIT."
“Read not to contradict, nor to believe, but to weigh and consider. Histories make men wise,
“Opinion is the order of human action; and as an opinion is wise or foolish, vicious or moral, the
PUBLISHED BY HOULSTON AND STONEMAN,
65, PATERNOSTER ROW.
AGAIN we sit down to pen a few introductory lines to another, and that the Fifth, Volume of the British Controversialist. During the past year we have diligently addressed ourselves to the discharge of our literary duties; our Magazine has regularly appeared on the first of each month; and now that the year has drawn to a close the Volume has risen like some goodly edifice before us, and all that remains for us to do is to construct the porchlike Preface, and inscribe a few words on the tabletary Title Page.
The year over which this portion of our labours has extended will not be deemed an unimportant one by the future historian of the nineteenth century. After a lengthened period of peace, during which society made unexampled advances in real civilization and mental and moral elevation, we have, in the present year, been called to witness the fearful outbreak of another great European war. Although this event is, in itself, to be deeply deplored, there is in the circumstances under which it has been brought about much that we must regard as marking progress, and pointing still onward. We, as a nation, did not recklessly plunge into this war; nor did we embark upon it until unusual efforts had been made to obtain our object by other means; and that object, be it remembered, was not national aggrandizement nor mere military glory, but the protection of a weak and insulted people from the bold encroachments of Russian despotism. Now, in whatever light the abstract question of the propriety of this war be regarded, and it is not for us to express our individual opinions upon it, we think that all will consider the facts to which we have alluded as indicating some advance towards that coming time when might shall be allied to right; when reason shall guide, and moral power govern, mankind. We have referred to this subject here, in order to draw encouragement from it for the earnest philanthropist and to check the thought that the year 1854 has been one of retrogression. We would also, in connection with this subject, remind our readers, that while public attention is so much occupied with the events that are transpiring on the theatre of war, it requires additional efforts to direct that attention ever and anon to the peaceful but momentous conflict going on in our midst, in which truth brought into collision with error, indicates its triumphs by destroying the fortresses of ignorance and superstition, and bidding their bondmen go free. It is in this warfare, we need scarcely say, that we are, engaged; and to the acceleration of such conquests as these we have cheerfully consecrated our best efforts.
The questions discussed in our present Volume call not for any special remark; for while in some cases they have been suggested by the topics of the day, in all they bear upon great principies, and possess a permanent value. It will be seen, by comparison, that fewer questions have been taken up in this Volume than in those preceding it; this arises, in part, from the somewhat diminished space devoted to our controversial depart