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ISAAC BICKERSTAFF, ESQUIRE.
Ον χρὴ παννύχιον ἔνδειν βεληφόρον άνδρα. Hom..
HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL,
BY ALEX. CHALMERS, F. S. A.
IN FIVE VOLUMES.
Printed by D. & G. Bruce.
PUBLISHED BY E. SARGEANT, AND M. & W. WARD; AND MUNROE, FRANCIS & PARKER, AND
EDWARD COTTON, BOSTON.
TO THE FIRST EDITION OF THE BRITISH
WHEN this edition of the BRITISH ESSAYISTS was undertaken by the proprietors, the office of editor was intended to be confined chiefly to the collation of the several papers with the folio originals, or with the best editions in other forms. The many errors that had crept into the most valuable of these works, and had been copied from edition to edition without discovery and without disturbance, rendered this highly necessary; and it was a task, however laborious, which the editor will remember with pleasure, if it shall be found that his design has been accomplished in any considerable measure. He was led, however, to suggest, what the proprietors readily acceded to, that this edition should be distinguished by some account of the history of each work, and of the lives of such of the writers as were less generally known, in the form of preface. For the plan, therefore, as well as the execution of this, he is solely accountable, and has little to advance in defence of his attempt, or in extenuation of the errors that may be discovered, but the plea, that the times he could spare from the collation of the papers, and
the correction of the press, were short and irregu lar, and that the materials of these prefaces were to be sought in a variety of volumes and records, which it may probably be thought he has not been able to arrange in the happiest manner. A foundation, however, it is presumed, is laid for future investigation; and some articles of literary history have been recovered which are curious and interesting.
In tracing these, the editor begs leave to acknowledge with respect and gratitude many valuable communications from various literary friends, particularly from Mr. NICHOLS, Dr. BURNEY, Rev. G. CAMBRIDGE, Rev. JOHN WARTON, SAMUEL ROSE, Esq. of Chancery Lane, Dr. CHARLES COOTE, Mr. DUPPA, and ISAAC REED, Esq. of Staple Inn, a gentleman who in questions of literary history was never consulted in vain. By such assistance it is hoped something has been done to revive the attention of the public to a species of writing peculiar and highly honourable to the genius of our nation, and which has so eminently contributed to its advancement in refined taste and decorous manhers. A. C:
TO THE PRESENT EDITION.
THE editor has little to add to the advertisement prefixed to the BRITISH ESSAYISTs, published in 1803, unless to acknowledge, on the part of the proprietors, the rapid sale of a work which they are happy to find has been generally considered as a standard in every juvenile library-and on his own part, the liberal notice taken of the Prefaces in the literary journals. These he has now endeavoured to enlarge and improve by information recently collected from various sources.
Although the number of volumes remains the same as in the last edition, by a different arrangement, room has been made for the introduction of THE LOOKER-ON, an ingenious and elegant paper, which was very favourably received by the public, and it is hoped will be accounted no inconsiderable addition to the series of the BRITISH ESSAYISTS.