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I would not willingly neglect the mention. You know, sir, that the annals of typography begin with the Codex, 1457; but there is great reason to believe, that there are latent, in obscure corners, books printed before it. The secular feast, in memory of the invention of printing, is celebrated in the fortieth year of the century; if this tradition, therefore, is right, the art had in 1457 been already exercised nineteen years.
"There prevails among typographical antiquaries a vague opinion, that the Bible had been printed three times before the edition of 1462, which Calmet calls 'La première édition bien averée.' One of these editions has been lately discovered in a convent, and transplanted into the French king's library. Another copy has likewise been found, but I know not whether of the same impression, or another. These discoveries are sufficient to raise hope and instigate inquiry. In the purchase of old books, let me recommend to you to inquire with great caution, whether they are perfect. In the first edition the loss of a leaf is not easily observed. You remember how near we both were to purchasing a mutilated Missal at a high price.
"All this perhaps you know already, and, therefore, my letter may be of no use. I am, however, desirous to show you, that I wish prosperity to your undertaking. One advice more I will give, of more importance than all the rest, of which I, therefore, hope you will have still less need. You are going into a part of the world divided, as it is said, between bigotry and atheism: such representations are always hyperbolical, but there is certainly enough of both to alarm any mind solicitous for piety and truth; let not the contempt of superstition precipitate you into infidelity, or the horror of infidelity ensnare you in superstition. I sincerely wish you successful and happy, for I am, Sir, &c., "SAM. JOHNSON."
END OF VOL. I.
Page 236, note, line 4, for first, read second.
260, note 2, line 5, for 1776, read 1766.
441, in Editor's note, for Mr. Barnard's letter, read The letter to Mr. Barnard.