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In presenting the ensuing volume, the Author conceives it almost unnecessary to remark, that a work like the present can hardly be expected either to possess much originality of observation, or to exhibit much depth of research. To select and arrange the materials already furnished to his hands, so as best to suit the design of a popular compendium, has been his principal object; and to render the account of scientific inventions as simple and intelligible as their nature would admit, and to invest them with a character, if possible, inviting to the general reader, has been his main endeavour. He is anxious to acknowledge the sources from whence he has most largely derived assistance: -“ The Dissertation on the Progress of Mathematical and Physical Science,” by Professor Playfair ; the “ Histoire de Physique,” by M. Libes ; “ The History of Astronomy," in “ The Library of Useful Knowledge;" “ The Lives of Kepler and Galileo,” by Mr. Drinkwater; and that of Newton, translated from M. Biot, in the same collection; and the life of the same philosopher, by Sir D. Brewster.
The Author also conceives it necessary to add (what indeed he has expressed at the beginning of his last section), his confession that the work is not completed as he had from the first intended it should be. He found, too late, that he had transgressed the necessary limits, when it was impracticable to modify the earlier portion of the history: the last, and most important, period of it is, therefore, unfortunately curtailed to a very meagre sketch.