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Announcements of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, are inserted gratuitously when forwarded by regular subscribers, but we cannot be answerable for misprints of names when they are not legibly written.
The commencement of a New SERIES of the Asiatic JOURNAL, in a reduced shape, renders it necessary, if it were not desirable, that an explanation should be given of the motives which have suggested, or rather dictated, the change. The explanation shall be frank and explicit.
When it was determined to consult the convenience of the public by separating the work into two, and issuing that portion denominated the Register, as a newspaper, immediately upon the arrival of each overland mail, the experiment was made in the expectation that, by adapting the literary contents of the JOURNAL more to the taste of general readers, a compensation might be found in its increased circulation amongst that class for the loss of those subscribers who desired only the Register. This experiment has not succeeded, the circulation of the JOURNAL having gradually fallen off.
It is impossible for this state of things to continue. A monthly magazine can pretend to the support of the public so long only as it deserves it, and to make it worthy of such support, the services of able writers must be secured, by a liberal scale of pecuniary remuneration ; but the sale of the work has fallen to a point at which such expenditure inflicts a loss upon the Proprietors.
The change introduced in the work, at the commencement of the Third Series, by detaching from it the other portion, was no doubt the primary cause of the diminution of its circulation ; but other causes have co-operated. The attempt to conciliate general readers, by imparting to its papers a more popular and amusing character, has withdrawn from the Asiatic JOURNAL the patronage of Oriental scholars at home and abroad, without recommending it to such a number of the lovers of “light reading” as would counterbalance the loss of that influential class of supporters. An interest in Eastern topics has not yet diffused itself so widely amongst the British public as to sustain an expensive periodical work exclusively devoted to such topics.
The choice left, therefore, is between discontinuing altogether a work which has subsisted for nearly thirty years; or, as a further experiment, continuing it in a less expensive form, retaining such portions only as are most likely to be generally approved, and have been found to give most satisfaction. The latter alternative has Asiat.Journ.N.S.Vol.I.No.1.
been adopted. The Asiatic JOURNAL will in future consist of the “Historical and Critical Review ;" Correspondence upon Matters connected with Eastern Topics; copious Critical Notices of Books, Foreign and British; the Transactions of Literary Societies; Biographical Memoirs, and a Chronicle of all Home Occurrences. In this form it will be a useful historical record, as well as a guide to those who desire to have a correct understanding of Eastern transactions.
The politics and political transactions of British India being of a peculiar character, connected as they are with the manners and institutions, yet but partially known, of nations totally dissimilar from our own, and the affairs of that part of the empire being administered by means of a machinery distinct from the general Government of this country, notwithstanding their vast importance, they can seldom be subjected to the salutary influence of public observation, except when a discussion arises in Parliament on some isolated topic, or at the moment when the contents of the overland mail are published in the newspapers. The Asiatic JOURNAL will, in its present form, continue to be a publication having “specially in view the affairs of the East, familiar with the interests and the exigencies of our magnificent empire in Asia, entirely unconnected with, and perfectly independent of, any political party, any private or local interest, and having no other object whatever than the mutual good of India and of England.”*
It is intended to enlarge the “Historical and Critical Review," which will embrace not merely foreign but home transactions bearing upon Eastern politics. The same scrupulous fidelity and impartiality, which have hitherto guided the JOURNAL, will still preside over its political criticisms. There is, indeed, little temptation to sway such a work to a partial judgment. The system of administration provided for British India, by means of the East-India Company, interposes a barrier against the infusion of English partyfeelings into the Indian councils, and the Court of Directors has not, and never had, any influence over the AsiatIC JOURNAL. That the work has, generally speaking (for there are important exceptions), been the advocate of the Company and the Court; that it has stood prominently forward in their defence, in the season of their peril, when almost every other respectable work shrunk from so unpopular a course; that it has thereby suffered temporarily in its reputation as well as in its circulation ;-all this is most true; but it is equally true that such advocacy has been perfectly sincere, and perfectly disinterested.
“Exposition of Views and Principles."--Asiat. Journ. for May 1843.