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IT has long been a practice amongst men of letters, to collect and record the apothegms of distinguished persons. The laconic apothegms, and apothegms of kings, princes, &c. of Plutarch were the most admired by the ancients of all the works of that amiable author. Sparta, indeed, was the native land of fine rapartee, pleasant recounter, and the real salt of jocularity; and the value of publications of this kind is still sufficiently proved by their number. It is in these we enliven our solitary hours, or find relaxation from fatiguing studies. They prepare us for society, by storing our minds with interesting conversation; and by sharpening the useful but difficult talent of raillery. They are pleasant companions in our travels. They make us acquainted with the characters they mention, in as much as each particular anecdote is a kind of inirror, reflecting some mental qualification of the person it describes.
The present volume has certain claims, however, above the common works of this nature. Its
materials have been drawn from a great variety of respectable sources; and much caution has been e used not to introduce anecdotes common to every collection, or otherwise grown vulgar by repetition.