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Hus & Majesty'

KING GEORGE IV

The Most generous. Patron

ASTOR

even of the most humble attempts towards the advantage of his Subjects: This Miscellany.

designed to extend useful Knowledge
and elegant Literature,

By placing Works of Standard Merit,
within the attainment of every Class of

Readers.
Is most humbly Inscribed)

BY HIS MAJESTY'S

Dutiful and Devoted Subject.
Archibald Constable
LIBRART

NEW-YORK

1

3

PREFACE.

The change that has gradually taken place during the last thirty or forty years in the numbers and circumstances of the reading public, and the unlimited desire of knowledge that now pervades every class of society, have suggested the present undertaking. Previously to the commencement of the late war, the buyers of books consisted principally of the richer classes of those who were brought up to some of the learned professions, or who had received a liberal education. The saving of a few shillings on the price of a volume was not an object of much importance to such persons, many of whom prized it chiefly for the fineness of its paper, the beauty of its typography, and the amplitude of its mar

gins-qualities which add to the expense of a work, without rendering it in any degree more useful. But now when the more general dif.. fusion ofeducation and of wealth, has occasioned a vast increase in the number of readers, and in the works which daily issue from the Press, a change in the mode of publishing seems to be called for. The strong desire entertained by most of those who are engaged in the various details of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, for the acquisition of useful knowledge and the culture of their minds, is strikingly evinced by the establishment of subscription libraries and scientific institutions, even in the most inconsiderable towns and villages throughout the empire; and by the extensive sale which several very expensive, though by no means valuable works, published in numbers, have met with. Under these circumstances, it occurred to the projector of this Miscellany, that if STANDARD Works not hitherto accessible to the great mass of the Public, intermingled with ORIGINAL TREATISES on subjects of great general importance, and executed by writers of acknowledged talent, were published in a

cheap, convenient, and not inelegant form, they would obtain a most extensive circulation and be productive alike of benefit to the Public and of profit to those concerned in them.

In the selection of Treatises, and in the mode of circulation, the Publishers have adopted that plan which they supposed would be most likely to meet the wishes of the great mass of readers, or of the middle classes. And they are resolved to spare neither trouble nor expense to give effect to their purpose, of making this Miscellany the deposi. tory of a selection of Works on all the most interesting branches of human knowledge, written by the most approved authors, and of rendering it as perfect, as a vehicle both of useful information and of rational entertainment, as it can possibly be made.

The EXALTED PATRONAGE under which this Miscellany is ushered into the world, is of itself a sufficient pledge, that nothing will be admitted into its pages tainted with party politics, or which can be construed as militating, in any way, against any of the principles of religion and morality. The object in

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