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vii

dryness of a didactic style by the introduction of Dramatis Personæ.

TO THE READER.

The worthy Gentlemen, by whom the @ Drama is conducted, may be called by some, merely wooden machines or pegs to hang notes upon; but I shall not be disposed to quarrel with any criticism which may be passed upon their acting, so long as the greater part of the information, to which their dialogue gives rise, may be thought serviceable to the real interests of Literature and Bibliography.

If I had chosen to assume a more imposing air with the public, by spinning out the contents of this closely-printed book into two or more volumes-which might have been done without violating the customary mode of publicationthe expenses of the purchaser, and the profits of the author, would have equally increased: but I was resolved to bring forward, as much matter as I could impart, in a convenient and not inelegantly exe

liomaniac, I was resolved, in a future edition, to gratify him and similar Collectors by writing PART III. of the present impression: the motto of which may probably meet their approbation.

It will be evident, on a slight inspection of the present edition, that it is so much altered and enlarged, as to assume the character of a new work. This has not been done without mature reflection; and a long-cherished hope of making it permanently useful to a large class of General Readers, as well as to Book-Collectors and Bibliographers.

It appeared to me, that notices of such truly valuable, and oftentimes curious and rare, books, as the ensuing pages describe; but more especially a Personal History of Literature, in the characters of Collectors of Books; had long been a desideratum even with classical students: and in adopting the present form of publication, my chief object was, to relieve the

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