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THE great utility of Chronological Records has been so universally allowed, that we shall content ourselves by making a few brief comments on the subject, and then proceed to acquaint the reader with the leading features of the present undertaking.
Chronology, History, and Geography, should uniformly unite their efforts to guide us through the vast ocean of ages; whensoever it occurs that History records an act, her two sisters should uniformly present themselves to certify its exactitude and confirm its identity.
As in the remote and earlier periods of history an incessant recapitulation of dates and names only tends to fatigue the most persevering mind, it has been conceived, that, in order to banish such distaste and ennui, recourse might be had to blending a variety of historical facts; while curiosity being awakened by interesting recitals, the attention might thus become enchained by the combined fascinations of amusement and instruction. Such was the aim of Monsieur Joseph Martin, in his Chronological and Geographical Elements of General History, which forms the basis of the present undertaking.
If we proceed to investigate the full extent of the terrestrial globe, in surveying its annals, from the earliest period of creation, History, as it were, armed with the enchanter's wand, animates every thing with which it comes in contact. At the sound of its puissant voice, the streets of Zion no longer send forth lamentations or appear desert; they are crowded by the Faithful, who
repair to assist at the solemn rites of the Church; the Temple of the Most High rises from its melancholy ruins, and its majestic domes are filled with clouds of odoriferous incense. The rich and magnificent remains of the city of Palms are again seen amidst the desert, and Tadmor announces to the travellers of the East and West the wisdom and foresight of Solomon. The strait of Bocca di Lupo is no longer mute and tenebrious, being illumined by the glory of Leonidas ; the numerous caverns of Thermopylæ resound with his name, and their prolonged echoes announce to Sparta, that her warriors died in defending the laws and liberties of their country. Such are the services rendered by History to the studious and inquiring mind.
In the progress of his work, Monsieur Martin has followed the chronological system of the Abbe Barbeau de la Bruyere, having thereby profited from the researches of numerous learned modern writers * who had preceded him in his career, and in particular by those of the famous Bossuet.
The great body of M. Martin's General Elements of History is naturally divided into two grand epochs; one comprising the centuries that transpired from the creation of the universe to the birth of Christ, the other those ages which have rolled away in the tide of time since the birth of the Redeemer. In the former, the centuries are made to retrograde, while, in the latter, they advance; they follow, as it were, annually, and at the close of every hundred years, lists are inserted of the celebrated writers and renowned artists who illustrated those several periods.
In order to apply such historical information in a useful manner to the general purposes of Geography, details sufficiently copious are given of the several famous expeditions which took place, from the earliest period to the commencement of the eighteenth century.
Such are the leading features of Monsieur Martin's production, which are executed in a style so comprehensive and masterly, as to have claimed the suffrages of the various learned bodies of France, through whose recommendation the government of that
* 'Usher, Vignier, Marstram, Briet, Simson, Petau, Vossius, Tournemine, Prideaux, D. Calmet, Langlet, Dufresnoy, Vignoles, Pagi, &c.
country has adopted the Chronological and Geographical Elements of General History in the various public institutions and seminaries throughout that kingdom.
Recommendation of a nature so unequivocal is a sufficient apology, we presume, for having made that work a leading feature of the present undertaking; and haying thus offered every meed of praise which is justly due to the labours of M. Martin, we now deem it necessary to dwell upon those points that are wholly unconnected with the work in question,
Every historian, however impartial his aim may have been on commencing his narrative, is, nevertheless, found to be more or less biassed in the detail of records connected with his own country; which circumstance originates from two causes, namely, his being more intimately acquainted with the annals of his native land, and that amor patriæ which is the predominant characteristic of the human mind. On the subject, therefore, of British History, M. Martin displays a paucity of information, either owing to negligence, or a want of requisite research, which the editor has endeavoured to rectify by infinite labour and unwearied assiduity. In the progress of ancient history, the same care has been taken in consulting the best authorities, from whence have resulted considerable augmentations as regard the historical statements relating to every period and country. Such literary toil, however, was trifling, when compared with the arduous task that necessarily devolved upon the editor in having to fill up the chasm from the year 1789, at which period M. Martin terminates his Elements of General History, to the close of 1825, a lapse of thirty-six years, a period as momentous, perhaps, as any prior stage of history, and to which time the present undertaking extends.
The French Revolution, so fertile in events, so extensive in its ramifications, and extraordinary in its results, necessarily forms a very leading feature of the Universal Chronologist; and we believe we may, without vanity, affirm, that a more correct, concise, and comprehensive view of that extraordinary political convulsion has never before been presented to the public. In compiling this part of our work, recourse has been had to the
most impartial productions of the foreign press, as party spirit predominated too much in this country to afford a correct medium, to guide us in recapitulating the several prominent historical facts.
From the 1st of January, 1700, we have abandoned the style · of narrative, to adopt a chronological diary, as events became so
multiplied, that it was utterly impossible to render the same correct and perspicuous, if treated in general terms; while, for the purpose of condensing as much matter as possible, that portion of our work is printed in a smaller type, and in double columns. In the detail of occurrences, due care has been taken to insert every event deserving attention, while circumstances of a trifling nature have been omitted ; thus avoiding the fault to be found in a work, otherwise valuable, entitled The British Chronologist, which has long been out of print, wherein are recapitulated such inconsequential statements as the removal of petty-officers, and multifarious occurrences wholly unconnected with the dignity of history, and consequently unworthy of being handed down to posterity.
That errors should occur in affixing the dates to very remote records, is by no means surprising, as the works of the few writers who existed at those periods are, for the major part, lost; while the historians themselves frequently wrote some centuries after the occurrence of the deeds narrated. In such cases, we cannot, for a certainty, lay more claim to correctness than our predecessors ; all we dare assert is, that the best authorities extant have been duly considered, and such inferences drawn as appeared to us most conclusive, and consonant with veracity. But on consulting Chronologies, and referring to periods that are still in the recollection of persons living, when the most glaring discrepancies are found, we cannot withhold our astonishment; one or two instances of which will suffice, to point out the variety of such occurrences in former works of this description. In one Chronology for the Reign of George the Third, it is stated, that the execution of Doctor Dodd occurred on the 29th of June; whereas that unfortunate divine suffered on the 27th of May: and, in another Chronology, from 1770 to 1920, Marshal Ney