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ANCIENT AND MODERN LITERATURE,
CRITICISM, AND PHILOLOGY.
İ. Ôn the Acta Diurna of the Old Romanis.
Sine ullis ornamentis monumenta solum temporum, hominum,
locorum, gestarumque rerum reliquerunt; dum intelligatur, quid dicant, unam dicendi laudem putant esse brevitatem; non erornatores rérum, sed tantummodo narratores fuerunt.
Cic. de Orat. Lib. 2. C. 12. As we are apt to look, either with an eye of contempt or surprize on the customs of other nations, which differ from our own, so we cannot help being pleased with any, which bear some degree of resemblance to those of our country. The pleasure seems to be stronger, the further we carry our views back into ancient times, and observe this analogy of fashions; whether the veneration usually paid to antiquity itself, heightens the satisfaction; or whether we regard it as the voice of nature pronouncing such a custom rational and useful by the consent of distant ages. To apply this general remark to a particular instance; every body must allow that our newspapers, and the other collections of intelligence periodically published, by the materials they afford for discourse and speculation, contribute very much to the emolument of society; their cheapness brings them into universal use; their variety adapts them to every one's taste: the scholar instructs himself with advice from the literary world; the soldier makes a campaign in safety, and censures the conduct of Generals without fear of being punished for mutiny; the politician, inspired by the fumes of the coffee pot, unravels the knotty intrigues of ministers; the industrious merchant observes the course of trade and navigation; and the honest shopkeeper nods over the account of a robbery and the prices of goods till his pipe is out. One may easily imagine, that the use and amusement resulting from these diurnal histories render it a custom, not likely to be confined to one part of the globe, or one period of time. The relations of China mention a gazette published