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forget to add to the northern the southern wri- | nutest treatise; not only the reports, precedents, ters, or to adorn their collection with chronicles and readings of our own courts, but even the of Spain, and the conquest of Mexico. laws of our West-Indian colonies, will be exhibited in our catalogue.
Even of those nations with which we have less intercourse, whose customs are less accurately known, and whose history is less distinctly recounted, there are in this library reposited such accounts as the Europeans have been hitherto able to obtain; nor are the Mogul, the Tartar, the Turk, and the Saracen, without their historians.
That persons so inquisitive with regard to the transactions of other nations, should inquire yet more ardently after the history of their own, may be naturally expected; and indeed, this part of the library is no common instance of diligence and accuracy. Here are to be found, with the ancient chronicles, and larger histories of Britain, the narratives of single reigns, and the accounts of remarkable revolutions, the topographical histories of counties, the pedigrees of families, the antiquities of churches and cities, the proceedings of parliaments, the records of monasteries, and the lives of particular men. whether eminent in the church or in the state, or remarkable in private life; whether exemplary for their virtues, or detestable for their crimes; whether persecuted for religion or executed for rebellion.
But neither history nor law have been so far able to engross this library, as to exclude physic, philosophy, or criticism. Those have been thought, with justice, worthy of a place, who have examined the different species of animals, delineated their forms, or described their properties and instincts; or who have penetrated the bowels of the earth, treated on its different strata, and analyzed its metals; or who have amused themselves with less laborious speculations, and planted trees, or cultivated flowers.
But with particular industry have the various writers on the laws of our own country been collected, from the most ancient to the present time, from the bodies of the statutes to the mi
Those that have exalted their thoughts above the minuter parts of the creation, who have observed the motions of the heavenly bodies, and attempted systems of the universe, have not been denied the honour which they deserved by so great an attempt, whatever has been their success. Nor have those mathematicians been rejected, who have applied their science to the common purposes of life; or those that have deviated into the kindred arts of tactics, architecture, and fortification.
That memorable period of the English history, which begins with the reign of king Charles the First, and ends with the Restoration, will almost furnish a library alone, such is the num. ber of volumes, pamphlets, and papers which were published by either party; and such is the care with which they have been preserved.
Even arts of far less importance have found their authors, nor have these authors been despised by the boundless curiosity of the proprietors of the Harleian library. The writers on horsemanship and fencing are more numerous, and more bulky, than could be expected by those who reflect how seldom those excel in either, whom their education has qualified to compose books.
The admirer of Greek and Roman literature Nor is history without the necessary prepa- will meet, in this collection, with editions little ratives and attendants, geography and chrono-known to the most inquisitive critics, and which logy of geography, the best writers and deli- have escaped the observation of those whose neators have been procured, and pomp and ac- great employment has been the collation of curacy have both been regarded the student copies; nor will he find only the most ancient of chronology may here find likewise those editions of Faustus, Jenson, Spira, Sweynheim authors who searched the records of time, and and Pannartz, but the most accurate likewise fixed the periods of history. and beautiful of Colinæus, the Juntæ, Plantin, Aldus, the Stephens, and Elzevir, with the commentaries and observations of the most learned editors.
With the historians and geographers may be ranked the writers of voyages and travels, which may be read here in the Latin, English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Spanish languages.
The laws of different countries, as they are in themselves equally worthy of curiosity with their history, have, in this collection, been justly regarded; and the rules by which the various communities of the world are governed, may be here examined and compared. Here are the ancient editions of the papal decretals, and the commentators on the civil law, the edicts of Spain and the statutes of Venice.
Nor are they accompanied only with the illustrations of those who have confined their attempts to particular writers, but of those likewise who have treated on any part of the Greek or Roman antiquities, their laws, their customs, their dress, their buildings, their wars, their revenues, or the rites and ceremonies of their worship, and those that have endeavoured to explain any of their authors from their statutes or their coins.
Next to the ancients, those writers deserve to be mentioned, who, at the restoration of literature, imitated their language and their style with so great success, or who laboured with so much industry to make them understood: such
were Philelphus and Politian, Scaliger and Buchanan, and the poets of the age of Leo the Tenth; these are likewise to be found in this TO THE CATALOGUE OF THE HARLEIAN LIBRARY, library, together with the Delicia, or collections of all nations.
Painting is so nearly allied to poetry, that it cannot be wondered that those who have so much esteemed the one, have paid an equal regard to the other; and therefore it may be easily imagined, that the collection of prints is numerous in an uncommon degree; but, surely, the expectation of every man will be exceeded, when he is informed that there are more than forty thousand engraven from Raphael, Titian, Guido, the Carraches, and a thousand others, by Nanteuil, Hollar, Collet, Edelinck, and Dorigny, and other engravers of equal reputation.
There is also a great collection of original drawings, of which three seem to deserve a particular mention: the first exhibits a representation of the inside of St. Peter's church at Rome; the second, of that of St. John Lateran; and the third, of the high altar of St. Ignatius: all painted with the utmost accuracy, in their proper colours.
As the value of this great collection may be conceived from this account, however imperfect, as the variety of subjects must engage the curiosity of men of different studies, inclinations, and employments, it may be thought of very little use to mention any slighter advantages, or to dwell on the decorations and embellishments which the generosity of the proprietors has bestowed upon it; yet, since the compiler of the Thuanian catalogue thought not even that species of elegance below his observation, it may not be improper to observe, that the Harleian library, perhaps, excels all others, not more in the number and excellence, than in the splendour, of its volumes.
We may now surely be allowed to hope, that our catalogue will not be thought unworthy of the public curiosity; that it will be purchased as a record of this great collection, and preserved as one of the memorials of learning.
The patrons of literature will forgive the purchaser of this library, if he presumes to assert some claim to their protection and encouragement, as he may have been instrumental in continuing to this nation the advantage of it. The sale of Vossius's collection into a foreign country, is, to this day, regretted by men of letters; and if this effort for the prevention of another loss of the same kind should be disadvantageous to him, no man will hereafter willingly risk his fortune in the cause of learning.
HAVING prefixed to the former volumes of my Catalogue an account of the prodigious collection accumulated in the Harleian library, there would have been no necessity of any introduction to the subsequent volumes, had not some censures which this great undertaking has drawn upon me, made it proper to offer to the public an apology for my conduct.
The price which I have set upon my catalogue, has been represented by the booksellers as an avaricious innovation; and, in a paper published in the Champion, they, or their mercenary, have reasoned so justly, as to allege, that, if I could afford a very large price for the library, I might therefore afford to give away the Catalogue.
I should have imagined that accusations, concerted by such heads as these, would have vanished of themselves, without any answer; but, since I have the mortification to find that they have been in some degree regarded by men of more knowledge than themselves, I shall explain the motives of my procedure.
My original design was, as I have already explained, to publish a methodical and exact Catalogue of this library, upon the plan which has been laid down, as I am informed, by several men of the first rank among the learned. It was intended by those who undertook the work, to make a very exact disposition of all the subjects, and to give an account of the remarkable differences of the editions, and other peculiarities, which make any book eminently valuable and it was imagined, that some improvements might, by pursuing this scheme, be made in literary history.
With this view was the Catalogue begun, when the price was fixed upon it in public advertisements; and it cannot be denied, that such a Catalogue would have been willingly purchased by those who understood its use. But, when a few sheets had been printed, it was discovered that the scheme was impracticable, without more hands than could be procured, or more time than the necessity of a speedy sale would allow the Catalogue was therefore continued without notes, at least in the greatest part; and, though it was still performed better than those which are daily offered to the public, fell much below the original design.
It was then no longer proper to insist upon a price; and therefore, though money was demanded upon delivery of the Catalogue, it was only taken as a pledge that the Catalogue was not, as is very frequent, wantonly called for, by those who never intended to peruse it, and I
therefore promised that it should be taken again in exchange for any book rated at the same value.
It may be still said, that other booksellers give away their catalogues without any such precaution, and that I ought not to make any new or extraordinary demands. But, I hope, it will be considered, at how much greater expense my Catalogue was drawn remembered, that when other booksellers give their catalogues, they give only what will be of no use when their books are sold, and what, if it remained in their hands, they must throw away: whereas I hope that this Catalogue will retain its use, and, consequently, its value, and be sold with the catalogues of the Barberinian and Marckian libraries.
without buying them, and which are therefore published at no expense but my own.
There is one accusation still remaining, by which I am more sensibly affected, and which I am therefore desirous to obviate, before it has too long prevailed. I hear that I am accused of rating my books at too high a price, at a price which no other person would demand. To answer this accusation, it is necessary to inquire what those who urge it mean by a high price. The price of things valuable for their rarity is entirely arbitrary, and depends upon the variable taste of mankind, and the casual fluctuation of the fashion, and can never be ascertained like that of things only estimable according to their use.
If, therefore, I have set a high value upon
However, to comply with the utmost expecta-books: if I have vainly imagined literature to tions of the world, I have now published the be more fashionable than it really is, or idly second part of my Catalogue, upon conditions hoped to revive a taste well nigh extinguished, still more commodious for the purchaser, as I intend, that all those who are pleased to receive them at the same price of five shillings a volume, shall be allowed at any time, within three months after the day of sale, either to return them in exchange for books, or to send them back, and receive their money.
If any excuse was necessary for the addition of these volumes, I have already urged in my defence the strongest plea, no less than absolute necessity, it being impossible to comprise in four volumes, however large, or however closely printed, the titles which yet remain to be mentioned.
know not why I should be persecuted with clamour and invective, since I only shall suffer by my mistake, and be obliged to keep those books which I was in hopes of selling.
If those who charge me with asking a high price, will explain their meaning, it may be possible to give them an answer less general. If they measure the price at which the books are now offered, by that at which they were bought by the late possessor, they will find it diminished at least three parts in four: If they would compare it with the demands of other booksellers, they must find the same books in their hands, and they will be, perhaps, at last reduced to confess, that they mean, by a high price, only a price higher than they are inclined to give.
Since, therefore, I have absolutely debarred myself from receiving any advantage from the sale of the Catalogue, it will be reasonable to Impute it rather to necessity than choice, that I shall continue it to two volumes more, which the number of the single tracts which have been discovered, make indispensably requisite. I need not tell those who are acquainted with affairs of this kind, how much pamphlets swell a catalogue, since the title of the least book may be as long as that of the greatest.
I have, at least, a right to hope, that no genPamphlets have been for many years, in thistleman will receive an account of the price from nation, the canals of controversy, politics, and the booksellers, of whom it may easily be imasacred history, and therefore will, doubtless, gined that they will be willing, since they canfurnish occasion to a very great number of not depreciate the books, to exaggerate the price : curious remarks. And I take this opportunity and I will boldly promise those who have been of proposing to those who are delighted with influenced by malevolent reports, that, if they this kind of study, that, if they will encourage will be pleased, at the day of sale, to examine me, by a reasonable subscription, to employ the prices with their own eyes, they will find men qualified to make the observations for which them lower than they have been represented. this part of the catalogue will furnish occasion, I will procure the whole fifth and sixth volumes to be executed in the same manner with the most laboured part of this, and interspersed with notes of the same kind.
ORIGIN AND IMPORTANCE
WRITTEN FOR THE INTRODUCTION TO THE
But, I suppose, none will blame the multiplication of volumes, to whatever number they
may be continued, which every one may use THOUGH the scheme of the following Miscellany
fs so obvious, that the title alone is sufficient to explain it; and though several collections have been formerly attempted upon plans, as to the method very little, but, as to the capacity and execution, very different from ours; we being possessed of the greatest variety for such a work, hope for a more general reception than those confined schemes had the fortune to meet with; and, therefore, think it not wholly unnecessary to explain our intentions, to display the treasure of materials out of which this Miscellany is to be compiled, and to exhibit a general idea of the pieces which we intend to insert in it.
There is, perhaps, no nation in which it is so necessary, as in our own, to assemble from time to time, the small tracts and fugitive pieces which are occasionally published; for, besides the general subjects of inquiry, which are cultivated by us, in common with every other learned nation, our constitution in church and state naturally gives birth to a multitude of performances which would either not have been written, or could not have been made public in any other place.
The form of our government which gives every man, that has leisure, or curiosity, or vanity, the right of inquiring into the propriety of public measures, and by consequence, obliges those who are intrusted with the administration of national affairs, to give an account of their conduct to almost every man who demands it, may be reasonably imagined to have occasioned innumerable pamphlets, which would never have appeared under arbitrary governments, where every man lulls himself in indolence under calamities, of which he cannot promote the redress, or thinks it prudent to conceal the uneasiness, of which he cannot complain without danger.
The multiplicity of religious sects tolerated among us, of which every one has found opponents and vindicators, is another source of unexhaustible publication, almost peculiar to ourselves; for controversies cannot be long continued, nor frequently revived, where an inquisitor has a right to shut up the disputants in dungeons; or where silence can be imposed on either party by the refusal of a license.
without danger of suffering either ridicule or censure, which every man may enjoy, whose vanity does not incite him too hastily to own his performances, naturally invites those who employ themselves in speculation, to try how their notions will be received by a nation, which ex< empts caution from fear, and modesty from shame; and it is no wonder, that where reputation may be gained, but needs not be lost, multitudes are willing to try their fortune, and thrust their opinions into the light; sometimes with unsuccessful haste, and sometimes with happy temerity.
It is observed, that, among the natives of England, is to be found a greater variety of humour, than in any other country; and doubtless, where every man has a full liberty to propagate his conceptions, variety of humour must produce variety of writers; and, where the number of authors is so great, there cannot but be some worthy of distinction.
Not that it should be inferred from hence, that political or religious controversies are the only products of the liberty of the British press; the mind once let loose to inquiry, and suffered to operate without restraint, necessarily deviates into peculiar opinions, and wanders in new tracts, where she is indeed sometimes lost in a labyrinth, from which though she cannot return, and scarce knows how to proceed; yet, sometimes makes useful discoveries, or finds out nearer paths to knowledge.
The boundless liberty with which every man may write his own thoughts, and the opportunity of conveying new sentiments to the public,
All these, and many other causes, too tedious to be enumerated, have contributed to make pamphlets and small tracts a very important part of an English library; nor are there any pieces, upon which those, who aspire to the reputation of judicious collectors of books, bestow more attention, or greater expense; because many advantages may be expected from the perusal of these small productions, which are scarcely to be found in that of larger works.
If we regard history, it is well known that most political treatises have for a long time appeared in this form, and that the first relations of transactions, while they are yet the subject of conversation, divide the opinions, and employ the conjectures of mankind, are delivered by these petty writers, who have opportunities of collecting the different sentiments of disputants, of inquiring the truth from living witnesses, and of copying their representations from the life; and, therefore, they preserve a multitude of particular incidents, which are forgotten in a short time, or omitted in formal relations, and which are yet to be considered as sparks of truth, which, when united, may afford light in some of the darkest scenes of state, as, we doubt not, will be sufficiently proved in the course of this Miscellany; and which it is, therefore, the interest of the public to preserve unextinguished.
The same observation may be extended to subjects of yet more importance. In controversies that relate to the truths of religion, the first essays of reformation are generally timorous; and those who have opinions to offer, which they expect to be opposed, produce their sentiments by degrees, and, for the most part, in small tracts: by degrees, that they may not shock their readers with too many novelties at once; and in small tracts, that they may be easily dispersed, or privately printed; almost every controversy, therefore, has been, for a
time, carried on in pamphlets, nor has swelled presses were easily overlooked by the clergy, into larger volumes, till the first ardour of the who spared no labour or vigilance for the supdisputants has subsided, and they have recol-pression of heresy. There is, however, reason lected their notions with coolness enough to to suspect, that some attempts were made to digest them into order, consolidate them into sys- carry on the propagation of truth by a secret tems, and fortify them with authorities. press; for one of the first treatises in favour of the reformation, is said, at the end, to be printed at Greenwich, by the permission of the Lord o Hosts.
From pamphlets, consequently, are to be learned the progress of every debate; the various state to which the questions have been changed; the artifices and fallacies which have been used, and the subterfuges by which reason has been eluded; in such writings may be seen how the mind has been opened by degrees, how one truth has led to another, how error has been disentangled, and hints improved to demonstration, which pleasure, and many others, are lost by him that only reads the larger writers, by whom these scattered sentiments are collected, who will see none of the changes of fortune which every opinion has passed through, will have no opportunity of remarking the transient advantages which error may sometimes obtain, by the artifices of its patron, or the successful rallies by which truth regains the day, after a repulse; but will be to him, who traces the dispute through into particular gradations, as he that hears of a victory, to him that sees the battle.
Since the advantages of preserving these small tracts are so numerous, our attempt to unite them in volumes cannot be thought either useless or unseasonable; for there is no other method of securing them from accidents; and they have already been so long neglected that this design cannot be delayed, without hazarding the loss of many pieces, which deserve to be transmitted to another age.
The practice of publishing pamphlets on the most important subjects, has now prevailed more than two centuries among us; and therefore it cannot be doubted, but that, as no large collections have been yet made, many curious tracts must have perished; but it is too late to lament that loss; nor ought we to reflect upon it, with any other view, than that of quickening our endeavours for the preservation of those that yet remain; of which we have now a greater number than was perhaps ever amassed by any one person.
The first appearance of pamphlets among us, is generally thought to be at the new opposition raised against the errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome. Those who were first convinced of the reasonableness of the new learning, as it was then called, propagated their opinions in small pieces, which were cheaply printed; and, what was then of great importance, easily concealed. These treatises were generally printed in foreign countries, and are not, therefore, always very correct. There was not then that opportunity of printing in private; for the number of printers were small, and the
In the time of king Edward the Sixth, the presses were employed in favour of the reformed religion, and small tracts were dispersed over the nation, to reconcile them to the new forms of worship. In this reign, likewise, political pamphlets may be said to have begun, by the addresses of the rebels of Devonshire; all which means of propagating the sentiments of the people so disturbed the court, that no sooner was queen Mary resolved to reduce her subjects to the Romish superstition, but she artfully, by a charter granted to certain freemen of London, in whose fidelity, no doubt, she confided, entirely prohibited all presses, but what should be licensed by them; which charter is that by which the corporation of Stationers in London is at this time incorporated.
Under the reign of queen Elizabeth, when liberty again began to flourish, the practice of writing pamphlets became more general, presses were multiplied, and books were dispersed ; and, I believe, it may properly be said, that the trade of writing began at that time, and that it has ever since gradually increased in the number, though, perhaps, not in the style of those that followed it.
In this reign was erected the first secret press against the church as now established, of which I have found any certain account. It was employed by the Puritans, and conveyed from one part of the nation to another, by them, as they found themselves in danger of discovery. From this press issued most of the pamphlets against Whitgift and his associates in the ecclesiastical government, and, when it was at last seized at Manchester, it was employed upon a pamphlet called More Work for a Cooper.
In the peaceable reign of King James, those minds which might, perhaps, with less disturbance of the world have been engrossed by war, were employed in controversy; and writings of all kinds were multiplied among us. The press, however, was not wholly engaged in polemical performances, for more innocent subjects were sometimes treated; and it deserves to be remarked, because it is not generally known, that
sidering and manifestly perceiving, that several • Which begins thus: " Know ye, that We, conseditious and heretical books or tracts—against the faith and sound catholic doctrine of holy mother, the church," &c.