SINCE British letters overflowed the barriers of insularity with the dawn of the seventeenth century they have maintained a notable variety and individuality, the wonder and envy of other communities, which, whatever their pretensions to a cosmopolitan view, have certainly nothing so spacious or comprehensive to display on their national bookshelves. We have more than “one,” indeed many, to show “to whom all scenes of Europe homage owe,” we have, perhaps, distributed larger patches of Brittanic red on the world's map in the literary sense than in the political. “Wider still and wider,” grow the bounds of our empire of books. It is the same as regards the much greater atlases of mind and imagination, almost every known isle and province of which has found its pioneers of the British pen.
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