Page images

bravely, or at least to fight obstinately, who fight for their own houses and farms, for their own wives and children.

A bill was therefore offered for the prevention of any future danger or invasion, or neceflity of mercenary forces, by re-establishing and improving the militia. It was passed by the Commons, but rejected by the Lords. That this bill, the first essay of political confideration as a subject long forgotten, should be liable to objection, cannot be strange; but surely, justice, ? policy, common reason require that we should be trusted with our own defence, and be kept no longer in such a helpless state as at once to dread our enemies and confederates.

By the bill, such as it was formed, sixty thousand men would always be in arms. We have shewn* how they may be upon any exigence easily increased to an hundred and fifty thousand ; and I believe, neither our friends nor enemies will think it proper to insult our coasts when they expect to find upon them an hundred and fifty thousand Englishmen with swords in their hands.

. See Literary Mag. No ii. p. 63;






By William Payne, Teacher of Mathematics *.

IT is natural for a man to think well of the art which

he professes to teach, and I may therefore be expected to have some esteem for the play of Draughts. I would not, however, be thought to over-rate it. Every art is valued in a joint proportion to its difficulty and usefulness. The use of DRAUGHTS is the same with that of any other game of skill, that it may amuse those hours for which more laudable employment is not at hand; and happy is the man whose equability of temper and constancy of perseverance in better things, exempt him from the need of such reliefs.

Whatever may be determined concerning its use, its difficulty is incontestible ; for among the multitudes that practise it, very few understand it. There are indeed not many who by any frequency of playing can attain a

• First published 1756.


moderate degree of skill without examples and instructions. I have therefore here given a collection of the most artful games, the most critical situations, and the most ftriking revolutions, that have fallen within my notice; which are such as may, in fome refpects, fet this game even equal with that of Chess.

There is indeed one secret boasted in the world, which I cannot teach. Some men pretend to an infallible method, by which he that moves first shall win the game; but no such hero has it ever been my fortune to encounter, and no such do I expect to find. Nor can it be proved that the first mover has any considerable advantage over a person equally skilful with himself. In this opinion I have the concurrence of those excellent players Mr. James Randell, Captain John Godfrey, and Mr. William Wolly, my intimate and worthy friends, whose examples have greatly contributed to my skill in the game; but in particular those of the great Randell, of whom it may with probability be asserted, that what he could not attain will never be discovered.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

HAVING been long employed in the study and

cultivation of the English language; I lately published a dictionary like those compiled by the academies of Italy and France, for the use of such as aspire to -çxactness of criticism, or elegance of style.

But it has been since considered, that works of that kind are by no means necessary to the greater number of readers, who, seldom intending to write or presuming to judge, turn over books only to amuse their leisure, and to gain degrees of knowledge suitable to lower characters, or neceffary to the common business of life: these know not any other use of a dictionary than that of adjusting orthography, and explaining terms of science, or words of infrequent occurrence, or remote derivation.

For these purposes many dictionaries have been written by different authors, and with different degrees of skill ; R


but none of them have yet fallen into my hands by which even the lowest expectations could be satisfied. Some of their authors wanted industry, and others literature: some knew not their own defects, and others were too idle to supply them,

For this reason a small dictionary appeared yet to be wanting to common readers; and, as I may without arrogance claim to myself a longer acquaintance with the lexicography of our language than any other writer has had, I shall hope to be considered as having more experience at least than most of my predecessors, and as more likely to accommodate the nation with a vocabulary of daily use. I therefore offer to the public an abstract or epitome of my former work.

In comparing this with other dictionaries of the same kind, it will be found to have several advantages.

I. It contains many words not to be found in any other.

H. Many barbarous terms and phrases, by which other dictionaries may vitiate the style, are rejected from this.

HII. The words are more correctly spelled, partly by attention to their etymology, and partly by observation of the practice of the best authors.

IV. The etymologies and derivations, whether from foreign languages or from native roots, are more diligently traced, and more distinctly noted,

V. The fenses of each word are more copiously enumerated, and more clearly explained.

VI. Many words occurring in the elder authors, such as Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton, which had been 8


« PreviousContinue »