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PRINTED FOR J. NICHOLS AND SON ; F. C. AND J. RIVINGTON; T. PAYNE ;
WILKIE AND ROBINSON; J. WALKER ; R. LEA ; W. LOWNDES ; WHITE, COCHRANE, AND CO. ; J. DEIGHTON; T. EGERTON ; LACKINGTON, ALLEN, AND CO.; LONGMAN, HURST, RERS, ORME, AND BROWN ; CADELL AND DAVies; c. LAW; 1. BOOKER ; CLARKE AND SONS; J. AND A. ARCH ; J. HARRIS; BLACK, PARRY, AND CO.; J. BOOTH ; J. MAWMAN; GALE AND CURTIS ; R. H. EVANS; J. WATCHARD ; J. HARDING ; J. JOHNSON AND CO. ; 2. BENTLEY; AND J, FAULDER,
In presenting a new Edition of the BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY, more voluminous than any of the former, it
be necessary to premise a general sketch of the additions and improvements to be introduced. It
appears to have been the original plan of this Dictionary to comprise an account of persons of all nations, eminent for genius, learning, public spirit, and virtue, with a preference, as to extent of narrative, to those of our own country. And this plan it is intended to follow in all its parts, with the exception of some articles confessedly improper for a work of this kind, but with the addition of many more, collected from various sources, foreign and domestic.
Many of the years which have elapsed since the publication of the last edition, have been employed in collecting materials for the improved state in which, it is hoped, the Work will now appear; and much pains have been taken to remove the objections, whether of redundancy or defect, which have been made to all the preceding editions, During the same space, a very great accession has been made to our biographical stock, not only by the demise of many eminent characters in the literary world, but by the additional ardour given to the spirit of literary curiosity. It is to this that we owe many valuable memoirs of authors and writings unjustly consigned to oblivion, but recovered by the industry of those who, without being insensible to the merit of their own times, are impartial enough to do justice to the talents of remote ages.
Of the lives retained from the last edition, besides an attempt to restore uniformity of style, there are very few which are not, either in whole or in
part, re-written, or to which it has not been found necessary to make very important additions. Nor ought this to be construed into a reflection on preceding Editors. Biography was of later growth in this country than in any other ; and every new work, if performed with equal industry and accuracy, must excel the past in utility and copiousness.
As from works of this description a superior degree of judgment is expected, which at the same time is acknowledged to be rarely found, it becomes necessary to advert to the insurmountable difficulty of making such a selection as shall give universal satisfaction. The rule to admit important and reject insignificant lives, would be useful, were it practicable. But no individual, or considerable number of individuals, can be supposed capable of determining on the various merits that are allotted in biographical collections ; and even where we have recourse to those in which