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ther, a much more humble one, which' indeed gave Birth to this; and that is to acquaint the Publick with what Labor, Injury to Health, and Loss of Eyes I have finished the following History. Indeed, courteous Reader, I have spent the" major Part of a long Life in this Study, and I have inverted, as it were, the very Form of my Body in your Service; which was once plumpish, and inclining to fat upwards, but by my Sedentariness is now fallen downwards, to the no small Increase of my Legs. When I first engaged, I had Eyes of my own, but now I cannot fee, even with the Assistance of Art: I have gone from Spectacles of the first Sight (i.e.) the least Magnifiers, to the third and greatest Magnifiers: The Chevalier 'Taylor gives my Eyes over, and my Optician writes me word he can grind no higher for me. Thus in endeavouring, according to my Motto, to bring to light the hidden Things of Darkness, 1 have lost my Sight; for which I hope you will settle a» small Pension of your Candor upon me.
I will say nothing of the Usefulness of these Discoveries, because I must, at the same Time, publish my own Importance, and Services to the Publick.; but was I not restrained by this
consequential. consequential Mdde of Modesty, I should make no Scruple to assert, that Researches of this fort tend more to the illustrating History, and ascertaining the Dates, Progress, Settlements and Customs of our Ancestors, than all the Rapins, the Echafds, and the Cartes put together 5 for they appear to me not to hava dug up their Materials themselves, and not to have been very choice of whom they had them: An Indolence and Indifference always fatal to History; for when dig we cannot, and beg txre are a/Banted, much depends upon the Abilities of the Antiquity-maker from whom we steal.
The particular Motives that induced me, at this Time, to publish the following Work, were really no other, than to establish the World in their present Belief of Antiquities, which I greatly suspect some ill-designing Men, both at Home, and Abroad, are now endeavouring to subvert: The Foundation of these my Fears is, partly, the uncommon Application of Men to Novel-writing; for though these Books come out under the Pretence of Diversions and Amusements, I am very apprehensive some latent Malevolence at Antiquity lies" couched under it; (an Artifice very G a common common in the World) and partly, the seeming Humanity of the Swedish Physician, who recommends Iron, instead of Brass Implements in Cookery •, for though in a Patriot-view we may think him promoting the Iron Mines of his Country, or in a benevolent one, the Life and Health of his Fellow-creatures, yet I wish his main Design be not levelled at Brass and Copper, in order to discredit those noble Monuments of Antiquity, such as Coins, now remaining in these Metals; and particularly as he lays the greatest Stress upon the Unwholesomeness of the Rust and Verdegrease Suffusions, which make these Coins so very valuable. I should be glad to find these Apprehensions of mine groundless; but the fame indirect: Attack (invisible indeed to common Eyes) we are told, has been made upon Protestantism by Father Hardouin, and upon Christianity itself by Dr. Middleton.
But to give a more explicit Account of myself, and this Work, in the Words of a great Antiquary of the present Aage.
"It being my Lot to be fixed in the Villa "of WHEATFIELD; and finding that it "abounds with many curious Materials, which,
5'if tl if digested, might be of Use to present and "future Generations, I thought I could not "better employ my leisure Hours, than in "compiling this Book, which I now offer to "the Reader."
"It mig'it have been more compleat, if the M Records of the Parish had been carefully "kept."
"In this laborious and toilsome Work," [I cannot lament that alas ! ] " the Greatest En"couragements I have received, have been "[only] repeated Acts of Beneficence, and good "Preferment -," [for in Truth I have not been favoured even with such Trifles.] "Nor in "other Respects can I boast of much Encou"ragement; for I have not [one] Subscriber; "and the Expence of this Book, even allow"ing nothing for my Time and Pains, every "understanding Person may judge."
** This Want of due Encouragement hath "retarded for some time the Publication of "this Book, (while I was hesitating whether I "should commit it to the Press or the Flames) "but the World is no Loser by that Delay; "since it has afforded me full Leisure, and G 3 "Opportunity «* Opportunity to perfect this Work to the *' utmost of my Power •" [because such Hesitations naturally promote uncommon Diligence and Application to perfect a Book, equally poised, between the Fire, and the Press.]
"By the Advice of Friends I have chosen "to.print it in" Quarto, * " as the most com"modious Form; and though it be but thin, "it contains as much as might have been run "out into a more bulky Offavo •" [because one forth of a Sheet contains two eighths, and one fold more of the Paper would have made the Bulk just double.] f
Si de quincunte remota est
Unci-a, quid supereft—triens.—
redit uncia, quid fit?
* This Tract was first printed in Qnarto.
t See the Preface to the History, &c, «£ Ctkhifler, by P. M. Printed at London 1748.