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The Initial Prospectus of The Fortnightly Review.

It has often been regretted that England has no journal similar to the ‘Revue des Deux Mondes,’ treating of subjects which interest cultivated and thoughtful readers, and published at intervals which are neither too distant for influence on the passing questions, nor too brief for deliberation.

THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW will be established to meet this demand. It will address the cultivated readers of all classes by its treatment of topics specially interesting to each; and it is hoped that the latitude which will be given to the expression of individual opinion will render it acceptable to a very various public. As one means of securing the best aid of the best writers on LITERATURE, ART, SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY, FINANCE, and POLITICS generally, we propose to remove all those restrictions of party and of editorial ‘consistency’ which in other journals hamper the full and free expression of opinion, and we shall ask each writer to express his own views and sentiments with all the force of sincerity. He will never be required to express the views of an Editor or of a Party. He will not be asked to repress opinions or sentiments because they are distasteful to an Editor, or inconsistent with what may have formerly appeared in the REVIEW. He will be asked to say what he really thinks and really feels; to say it on his own responsibility, and to leave its appreciation to the public.

In discussing questions which have an agitating influence, and admit diversity of aspects—questions upon which men feel deeply and think variously—two courses are open to an effective journal: either to become the organ of a Party, and to maintain a vigilant consistency which will secure the intensive force gained by limitation; or to withdraw itself from all such limitations, and rely on the extensive force to be gained from a wide and liberal range. The latter course will be ours. Every Party has its organ. THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW will seek its public amid all parties.

It must not be understood from this that the REVIEW is without its purpose, or without a consistency of its own; but the consistency will be one of tendency, not of doctrine; and the purpose will be that of aiding Progress in all directions. The REVIEW will be liberal, and its liberalism so thorough as to include great diversity of individual opinion within its catholic unity of purpose. This is avowedly an experiment. National culture and public improvement really take place through very various means, and under very different guidance. Men never altogether think alike, even when they act in unison. In the FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW we shall endeavor to further the cause of Progress by illumination from many minds. We shall encourage, rather than repress, diversity of opinion, satisfied if we can secure the highest unanimity which results from the constant presence of sincerity and talent.

We do not disguise from ourselves the difficulties of our task. Even with the best aid from contributors, we shall at first have to contend against the impatience of readers at the advocacy of opinions which they disapprove. Some will complain that our liberalism is too lax; other that it is too stringent. And indeed to adjust the limits beyond which even our desire for the free expression of opinion will not permit our contributors to pass, will be a serious difficulty. We must rely on the tact and sympathy of our contributors, and on the candid construction of our readers. The ‘Revue des Deux Mondes’ has proved with what admirable success a Journal may admit the utmost diversity of opinion. Nor can we doubt that an English public would be tolerant of equal diversity justified by equal talent.

THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW will be published on the 1st and 15th of every month. Price Two Shillings.”


Office: 193 Piccadilly

Saturday Review, March 25, 1865. [The Prospectus also appeared in The Athenæum on the same day.]



On May 15 will appear No. 1 of

The Fortnightly Review

Edited by George Henry Lewes.

The object of THE FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW is to become the organ of the unbiassed expression of many and various minds on topics of general interest in Politics, Literature, Philosophy, Science, and Art. Each contribution will have the gravity of an avowed responsibility. Each contributor, in giving his name, will not only give an earnest of his sincerity, but will claim the privilege of perfect freedom of opinion, unbiassed by the opinions of the Editor or of fellow contributors. The first number will open with a new story by Mr. Anthony Trollope, which will be continued through the first sixteen numbers of the REVIEW.”

Saturday Review, May 13, 1865.