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PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM Y. BIRCH 85’ ABRAHAM SMALL,

No. 37, souTH secon D STREET.

pr1 NTED BY ROBERT CARR.

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PREFACE,

I NOW discharge my promise, and complete my design, of writing the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, both in the West and the East. The whose period extends from the age of Trajan and the Antonines, to the taking of Constantinople by Mahomet the second; and includes a review of the Crusades and the state of Rome during the middle ages

It was my first intention to have collected under one view, the numerous authors, of every age and language, from whom * I have derived the materials of this history; and I am still convinced that the apparent ostentation would be more than compensated by real use. If I have renounced this idea; if I have declined an undertaking which had obtained the approbation of a master-artist,” my excuse may be found in the extreme difficulty of assigning a proper measure to such a catalogue. A naked list of names and editions would not be satisfactory either to myself or my readers: the characters of the principal Authors of the Roman and Byzantine History, have been occasionally connected with the events which they describe; a more copious and critical enquiry might indeed deserve, but it would demand, an elaborate volume, which might swell by degrees into a general library of historical writers. For the present I shall content myself with renewing my serious protestation, that I have always endeavoured to draw from the fountain-head; that my curiosity, as well as a sense of duty, has always urged me to study the originals; and that, if they have sometimes eluded my search, I have carefully marked the secondary evidence, on whose faith a passage or a fact were reduced to depend.

I shall embrace this opportunity of introducing two verbal remarks, which have not conveniently offered themselves to

* See Dr. Robertson's Preface to his History of America.

VOL. W. A

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