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The Biographia Britannica, is indeed much more an historical work than Bayle's, but is written upon a much less extensive plan; it contains the Lives of those eminent persons only who were born in Great Britain and Ireland, and of these the chief alone are selected, though many others have a degree of eminence sufficient to render them objects of general curiosity.

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The Athena Oxonienses is written upon a plan still more contracted, for it contains an account of such authors only, as received their academic education at the University of Oxford.

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Mr. Collier's Great Historical, Geographical, Genealogical, Poetical Dictionary may possibly seem, by the pretended universality of its plan, to have answered every purpose, which can be proposed from any new work: but this Dictionary is, as its title shews, filled with Geographical and Poetical descriptions, which are no part of our design, and with tedious uninteresting Genealogies which have neither use nor entertainment in them. It is exceedingly defective both as to the number of the lives, and the fullness of the accounts: that is, its accounts of men are too general, too superficial, and indeed too short to give fatisfaction. We would not have the reader to conclude from this, that it is any part of our

intention to be more than ordinarily nice and cris tical : on the contrary, we have for the most part purposely avoided mere criticism, minute enquiries and discussions, and all those trifling

points, which constitute the dry part of Bio• graphy ; but then we have endeavoured to be at

least so particular and fo accurate in our accounts, as to convey a sufficient knowledge of the persons we have recorded; which certainly can by no means be said of Mr. Collier. So that upon the whole, neither any nor all of these performances, however voluminous and expensives contain what ought to be found in an Universal Biographical Dictionary; and such is the work which we now offer to the publick,

This contains some account of every life that has been sufficiently distinguished to be recorded; not indeed a list of all the Names that are to be found in chronological and regal tables, for of many nominal rulers both of the Church and State it can only be said that they lived and died; but a judicious narrative of the actions or writings, the honours and disgraces of all those whose Virtues, Parts, Learning, or even Vices, have preserved them from oblivion in any records, of whatever age, and in whatever language.

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This work will therefore naturally include a
history of the most remarkable and interesting
transactions, an historical account of the pro-
'gress of learning, and an abstract of all opi-
nions and principles by which the world has
been influenced in all its extent and duration.
We have been particularly careful to do justice
to the learned and ingenious of our own coun-
try, whose works are justly held in the highest
esteem; and we have also been attentive to
the instruction and 'amusement of the ladies,
not only by decorating our work with the
Names of those who have done honour to the
fex, but by making our account of others fuf-
ficiently particular to excite and gratify curio-
fity; and, where the subject would admit, to
interest the passions, without wearying atten-
tion, by minute prolixity or idle speculations.
· In the execution of this plan we have not had
recourse merely to dictionaries, nor contented
ourfelves with supplying the defects of one
dictionary from another, and cutting off the
redundancies of all, but we have collected from
every performance in every language that had
any relation to our Design. For the lives of
authors, we have had recourse to their works;
and for the lives of others, to the best memoirs
that are extant concerning them. We shall, how-

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ever, notwithstanding the extent of our undertaking, and the labour and expence necessary to the execution of it, comprize this work within Twelve volumes in octavo, and fell them for Six shillings a volume; so that the price of the whole will be no more than Three pounds twelve shillings when bound.

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In a work so various, the materials of which are so numerous, diffused and diffimilar, we have endeavoured to select in every instance, what was in itself most eligible; we hope therefore that when our Readers consider what we have done, they will not withhold their approbation, upon a mere supposition that we might have done more. Those who are acquainted with the pains and attention requisite for the compiling of great works, will readily excuse any small defects that may have escaped us. The authors hope for success from the candid and judicious only, whose recommendation of this, it is their utmost ambition to obtain, as it has been their earnest endeavours to merit.

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ARON, high priest of the Jews, and brother to
Moses, was by the father's fide great grandfon,
and by the mother's grandson of Levi. Řy God's

command, he met Moses at the foot of Mount
Horeb, 'and they went together into Egypt to deliver the
children of Israel: he had a great share in all that Moses did
for their deliverance; the scripture calls him the prophet of
Moses, and he acted in that capacity after the Israelites
had passed over the Red Sea. He ascended Mount Sinai with
two of his sons, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of the
people ; but neither he nor they went higher than half way,
from whence they saw the glory of God; only Moses and
Joshua went to the top, where they stay'd forty days. During
their absence, Aaron, overcome by the people's eager entrea-
ties, set up the golden calf, which the Israelites worshipped
by his consent. This calf has given rise to various fictions
and conjectures. Rabbi Solomon imagines that it became a Corn. à Lapia
living animal, and that Aaron, having seen it walk and eat de in
like other calves, was struck with astonishment, and erected!
an altar in its honour. Some Rabbies maintain that he did
not make the golden calf, but only threw the gold into the
fire, to get rid of the importunities of the people, and that
certain magicians, who mingled with the Israelites at their
departure from Egypt, cast this gold into the figure of a calf.
Others are of opinion, that Aaron did not make a whole
VOL. I.

B:

calf,

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