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NOTES AND QUERIES* may be called a literary exchange, where "all who know something--have something to ask -or who can solve something," may meet upon common ground.
This excellent idea has in its execution proved of real service to literature, by throwing light on many obscure and debated points, and by bringing out much valuable and pleasant knowledge, which, for want of such a publication, has lain hid in old crypts, in dust-incrusted pigeonholes, and in the dark, unfrequented nooks of libraries, where, but for this work, it might have slumbered for ages, or have been altogether lost.
Southey, in THE DOCTOR, characterizes the Gentleman's Magazine as a “great lumber-room, wherein small ware of all kinds has been laid up higgledy-piggledy, by halfpennyworths or farthingworths at a time, till, like broken
* Notes and Queries, a medium of intercommunication for literary men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc. London, published weekly, November, 1849, December, 1855. 1st series, 12 vols..
glass, rags, or rubbish, it has acquired value by mere accumulation.”
NOTES AND QUERIES with higher aims, has a much greater value. In this "lumber-room," amid the “rubbish " inherent from the very nature of the work, gleam, so to speak, old gems, richly-chased bronzes, rare old china, or other objects of curiosity and interest.
Though occasionally some greedy helluo librorum, some "first cousin of the moth," some enthusiastic explorer who, in perambulating the fields of learning, has stumbled over a mare's nest of extraordinary magnitude and hastens to display his treasure; or two testy knights of the pen run foul of each other on some such subject (so very trying to temper) as Shakspearian emendation--though these may occupy much time and type, yet there is still a great deal in the work entertaining and valuable. This it has been our object to arrange and gather together. It has not been thought necessary to preserve the temporary form of queries and answers. Some additions have been made by the compiler whenever it seemed to him they might illustrate a subject, but they are few and trivial.
Charles I., Execution of....