« PreviousContinue »
of? How few will read or purchase forty-four large volumes of the Transactions of the Royal Society, which, in abridgement, are generally read, to the great improvement of philofophy ?
27. How must general systems of sciences be written, which are nothing more than epitomes of those authors who have written on particular branches, and whose works are made less necessary by such collections? Can he that destroys the profit of many copies be less criminal than he that leffens the sale of one?
28. Even to confute an erroneous book will become more difficult, since it has always been a custom to abridge the author whose assertions are examined, and sometimes to transcribe all the essential parts of his book. Must an enquirer after truth be debarred from the benefit of such confutations, unless he purchases the book, however useless, that gave occasion to the answer?
29. Having thus endeavoured to prove the legality of abridgements from custom, and the necessity of continuing that custom from reason, it remains only, that we shew that we have not printed the complainant's copy, but abridged it.
30. This will need no proof, since it will appear, upon comparing the two books, that we have reduced thirtyseven pages to thirteen of the fame print.
31. Our design is, to give our readers a short view of the present controversy; and we require that one of these two positions be proved, either that we have no right to exhibit such a view, or that we can exhibit it without epitomizing the writers of each party.
The following passages, introductory to the Lives
of Sir THOMAS Browne and ROGER ASCHAM, being omitted by Sir JOHN HAWKINS, are here restored.
SIR THOMAS BROWN E.
THOUGH the writer of the following Essays seems to have had the fortune common among men of letters, of raising little curiosity after his private life, and has, therefore, few memorials preserved of his fel cities or misfortunes; yet, because an edition of a posthumous work appears imperfect and neglected, without some account of the author, it was thought necessary to attempt the gratification of that curiosity which naturally inquires by what peculiarities of nature or fortune eminent men have been distinguished, how uncommon attainments have been gained, and what in Auence learning had on its poffeffors, or virtue on its teachers.
ROGER ASCHA M.
IT often happens to writers, that they are known only by their works; the incidents of a literary life are feldom obferved, and therefore seldom recounted; but Ascham has escaped the common fate by the friendship of Edward Grount, the learned master of Westminster
* Entitled “ Christian Morals," published not as Sir John Hawkins affcrts in 1752, but 1756.
school, who devoted an oration to his memory, and has marked the various vicissitudes of his fortune. Graunt either avoided the labour of minute inquiry, or thought domestic occurrences unworthy of his notice; or preferring the character of an orator to that of an hirtorian, selected only such particulars as he could best express, or most happily embellish. His narrative is therefore scanty, and I know not by what materials it can now be amplified.
Dedication to Dr. J A M E s's MEDICAL DICTIONARY, 3
vols. folio, 1743.
To Dr. ME A D.
THAT the Medicinal Dictionary is dedicated to you, is to be imputed only to your reputation for fuperior skill in thofe sciences which I have endeavoured to explain and facilitate; and you are therefore to consider this address, if it be agreeable to you, as one of the rewards of merit ; and if otherwise, as one of the inconveniences of eminence. However
shall receive it, my design cannot be disappointed; because this public appeal to your judgment will shew that I do not found my hopes of approbation upon the ignorance of my readers; and that I fear his censure least whose knowledge is most extensive,
I am, SIR,
Dedication to the FEMALE QUIXOT E. By
Mrs. Lennox. Published 1752.
To the Right Hon. the EARL of MIDDLESEX.
My LORD, SUCH is the power of interest over almost every mind, that no one is long without arguments to prove any position which is ardently wished to be true, or to justify any measures which are dictated by inclination.
By this subtil sophistry of desire, I have been perfuaded to hope that this book may, without impropriety, be inscribed to your lordship; but am not certain that my reasons will have the same force upon other understandings.
The dread which a writer feels of the public cenfure; the still greater dread of neglect; and the eager wish for support and protection, which is impreffed by the consciousness of imbecillity, are unknown to those who have never adventured into the world; and I am afraid, my lord, equally unknown to those who have always found the world ready to applaud them.
'Tis therefore not unlikely that the design of this address may be mistaken, and the effects of my fear imputed to my vanity. They who see your lordship's name prefixed to my performance will rather condemn my presumption than compassionate my anxiety.
But, whatever be supposed my motive, the praise of judgment cannot be denied rne; for, to whom can timidity so properly fly for shelter, as to him who has been so long distinguished for candour and humanity ?
How can vanity be so compleatly gratified as by the allowed patronage of him, whose judgment has so long given a standard to the national taste? Or by what other means could I so powerfully suppress all opposition, but that of envy, as by declaring myself,
Dedication to SHAKESPEAR illustrated; or,
the Novels and Histories on which the Plays of Shakespear are founded, collected and translated from the original Authors. With criti. cal remarks. By the Author of the Female Quixote, 1753.
To the Right Hon. John Earl of ORRERY,
I HAVE no other pretence to the honour of a patronage, so illustrious as that of your lordship, than the merit of attempting what has by some unaccountable neglect been hitherto omitted, though absolutely necessary to a perfect knowledge of the abilities of Shakespear.
Among the powers that must conduce to constitute poet, the first and most valuable is invention, the highest