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Freeman lc.

Thomas Futter STS

Mat 53, 1661.

Published by Longman I (April 1811.

THE

H I S T O R Y

OF THE

WORTHIES OF ENGLAND:

ENDEAVOURED BY

THOMAS FULLER, D.D.

FIRST PRINTED IN 1662.

A New Coition,

WITH A FEW EXPLANATORY NOTES,

BY

JOHN NICHOLS, F.A.S. LOND. EDINB. & PERTH.

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PRINTED FOR F. C. AND. J. RIVINGTON; T. PAYNE; WILKIE AND ROBINSON;
LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN; CADELL AND DAVIES;

K. M. EVANS; J. MAWMAN ; J. MURRAY; AND R. BALDWIN.

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PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.

In compliance with customary form, it

may

be
necessary

to state some reasons for the present re-publication. Of these the most important are, that the original Edition had become scarce, and that the Work possesses considerable merit. Of the Author it has with great truth been said, “ that he was eminent as a Divine ; but more eminent as a Biographer and Historian. His imagination was lively, his reading extensive, and his memory tenacious of what it read.” These are the remarks of Mr. Granger; who adds, that his “ History of the Worthies is the most estimable of his Works ;” and not less judiciously observes, that Dr. Fuller “ was unhappy in having a vein of wit, as he has taken uncommon pains to write up to the bad taste of his age, which was much fonder of conceit than sentiment.”

Whatever errors may be found in the.“ History of the Worthies,” fand errors must be expected in every work of a similar nature); the Characters, or Memorials, which are here assembled, will always make it a book not only necessary, but pleasant to be consulted. Even Bishop Nicolson, fastidious as in this instance he is, admits that the Work at least

pretends to give an account of the Native Commodities, Manufactures, Buildings, Proverbs, &c. of all the Counties of England and Wales, as well as of the Great Men in Church and State, though the latter looks like the principal design, and makes up the greatest part of the volume. The best things in it are the Catalogues of the Sheriffs and the Lists of the Gentry, as they were returned from the several Counties in the twelfth year of Henry the Sixth.” But the learned Bishop seems to have forgotten that the WORTHIES are professedly the main Subject of the Book.

Much might be said, if it were necessary, in vindication of the language of Dr. FULLER, and even in palliation of occasional mistakes. In his early years, quaintness was the characteristick of almost every Writer of eminence; and if he has followed their example, he has certainly refined upon it, and rarely, if ever, degenerates into vulgarity. The style which he had acquired in the Reign of the Pedant James was not likely to be improved amidst the horrors of Civil Commotion; and he did not long enough survive the Restoration, to correct the erroneous taste in which he had so long indulged.

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With respect to errors, let the candid Reader consider and make allowance for the novel and the arduous task in which our Author was engaged; the difficulty of which can only be appreciated by those who have devoted themselves to similar researches. The present Editor knows, by long experience, that the supplying of a single date will not unfrequently lead to the turning over many a volume, and occupy no inconsiderable portion of time and labour; and that, after all, one wrong date is more readily observed, than an hundred that have been corrected with the severest toil.

From the circumstance of its extreme peculiarity, it has been considered most advisable to preserve the text of Dr. Fuller pure and unmixed; retaining his orthography, however loose, unless in an instance here and there when an erroneous spelling would occasion ambiguity; and silently supplying, without the parade of pointing them out, several dates which had been at first left blank. These slight Corrections, with the addition of a few explanatory Notes and a general Index, are all the merit that the present Editor can claim yet, even in this humble department of Literature, he has to boast of having met with very liberal and useful assistance, from Mr. Bindley, Mr. Malone, Mr. Alexander Chalmers, Mr. Henry Ellis, Mr. Philip Bliss, and several other literary friends.

A Continuation of The WORTHIES of the United Empire would be a most desirable object; but this is a task which the present Editor has neither leisure nor inclination to attempt. He is happy, however, to have been enabled, in the Additions to the County of Kent by Sir Egerton Brydges, to exhibit a specimen of the requisites necessary for so laudable an undertaking.

The few Notes on Wiltshire, by Mr. John Britton, are particularly appropriate; and it is only to be regretted that they are not more numerous.

As it is natural to inquire into the personal history of an Author, some brief Memoirs of Dr. Fuller shall be subjoined; which, as there is little new to be said on the subject, I have borrowed principally from an article originally compiled by the Reverend Dr. Ralph Heathcote ; and to this will be annexed an Analysis and Vindication of the “ Worthies,” first published in the “ Biographia Britannica."

June 24, 1811.

J. N.

MEMOIRS

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