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IN FOUR VOLUMES.
RESEARCHES, HISTORICAL AND ANTIQUARIAN,
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN, PATER:
NOSTER-ROW; AND MUNDAY AND SLATTER, OXFORD.
It will be generally allowed, that a small and judicious Selection from a very voluminous and miscellaneous work*, cannot be made without some labour and difficulty. The Editor, while he endeavours to gratify the various tastes of his readers, must occasionally feel a considerable degree of embarrassment, and in his moments of hesitation will be ready to exclaim,
Quid dem ? quid non dem ? renuis quod tu, jubet alter.
It was thought proper to confine the Selection to a moderate size. This necessarily obliged the Editor to take those articles only, which, to his judgment, appeared, on the whole, to be the most useful, curious, and interesting.
* The Gentleman's Magazine commenced in January, 1731. In the beginning of 1783 it was considerably enlarged; and from that time each voļume has been divided into two parts.
All matters of a temporary nature are omitted. The Editor has found it necessary to use great caution with respect to the articles in BIOGRAPHY and topoGRAPHY, for many of the former are written in a hasty manner, and though curious as detached notices and memoranda while remaining in their original state, are scarcely worth reprinting : many of the latter, to say
the least of them, are of very doubtful authority. These observations are applicable to the omission of many of those on other subjects.
The articles are classed under their appropriate heads; a method which the Editor conceived would be more convenient and pleasant to the reader, than if they had been presented to him in an indigested mass, in no other order than according to their priority of publication in the original work. The date of the Magazine from which each article is taken, is noticed at the end of it, by which means the reader, should he think proper, will be enabled, without trouble, to refer to the original; which will always retain its value, and which cannot be superseded by any selection or abridgment. For the greater facility of finding any particular article, or any subject noticed in any article, there is given a Table of Contents at the beginning, and a full Index at the end of each volume.
Those who are conversant in the Gentleman's Magazine will recollect that a work of a similar nature to that now presented to the public, was suggested, some years ago, hy the author of the sc History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” to Mr. Nichols*, who was prevented from undertaking it by other and more important avocations; a circumstance which must be considered as an apology for its being arranged and sent into the world by the present Editor.
J. W. New College, OXFORD,
* Extract of a Letter from Mr. Gibbon to Mr. Nichols, dated Lausanne, February 24, 1792, which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for January, 1794.
“ I am tempted to embrace this opportunity of suggesting to you the idea of a work, which must be surely well received by the public, and would rather tend to benefit than to injure the Proprietors of the Gentle. man's Magazine. That voluminous series of more than threescore years now contains a great number of literary, historical, and miscellaneous articles of real value: they are at present buried in a heap of temporary rubbish; but if properly chosen and classed, they might revive to great advantage in a new publication of a moderate size. Should this idea be adopted, few men are better qualified than yourself to execute it with taste and judgment.”