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HERE was a time when the Gentleman's Magazine fought a single-handed battle with nearly all the second and third rate wits of the town. Those were envious days.
The oldest of the magazines had hopelessly distanced all competitors. Hard blows were given and taken. I call to mind with a smile some of my prefatory thunders when Dr. Johnson used occasionally to read over his manuscript to me at the Mitre. I am glad to think that, despite the Attorney-General's example, it is no longer the fashion to condemn opponents in the exaggerated language of those days when even critics on my own staff denounced opponents as buffoons, knaves, impostors, and fools. As for myself, the wits and critics of both town and country have grown so generous and complimentary towards my veteran publication during these four years of its modern garb that I think the editorial heart has grown a little tender.
Challenged upon the merits of my magazine, I have lost the impulse to strike out on the moment. Accustomed to so much praise, I feel constrained to consider judicially an adverse verdict. A critical rebuff is often useful, both to editor and author.
Ought the Gentleman's Magazine to have changed with the changing times? Some four years ago I spoke to my readers on this subject as I speak to them now, and I was congratulated all round
upon the new aspect and the novel programme of the publication. Ainong the first to hail with welcome this “old friend with a new face” was my young contemporary the Guardian. Why do I refer to this incident? Because by the usage of one hundred and forty years I claim the privilege to be personal in closing up my periodical volumes, and furthermore because within these three months the Guardian has changed his mind and has bewailed the altered