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“ For Friends, although your lordship be scant, yet I hope you are not altogether destitute; if you be, do but look upon good books : they are true friends, that will neither flatter nor dissemble: be you but true to yourself, applying that which they teach unto the party grieved, and you shall need no other comfort nor counsel. To them and to God's holy Spirit, directing you in the reading of them, I commend your lordship.”-BACON to Chief Justice Coke.
TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.
KF you are troubled with a pride of ac
curacy, and would have it completely taken out of you, print a catalogue.
There is at present in the United States a great rage for splendid private libraries. To appease this I have had, of late, many calls upon my time, from my book-loving countrymen to assist them in making their purchases. Hence it occurred to me that I might save myself much labour, and at the same time, render an important service to American book collectors generally, by preparing a Catalogue to be put into their hands, comprising a few thousand volumes of the best editions of the principal standard English Authors. Accordingly I have endeavoured to make such a selection from the multitude of poets, dramatists, historians, philosophers, metaphysicians, essayists, etc. from the earliest to the present time, as may form the basis of a good miscellaneous library. How well I have succeeded you will see by casting your quick eye over the following pages. First let me tell you that it was intended not to exceed four thousand volumes, and the list was designed merely to assist in the selection of an American Gentle
man's private library. I find however that I have considerably exceeded my limits, and have so far enlarged my plan, during the progress of the work, that the Catalogue may now possibly be serviceable to the numerous College, Athenæum, Lyceum, Mercantile, State, Town, Village, and other libraries, more or less public, that are now so rapidly springing up in every part of the United States. To render it something more than a dry Catalogue I have added the contents of the several volumes of the chief polygraphic works, and the dates of birth and death of most of the deceased authors. Hence it may perhaps be of some use as a convenient book of reference to librarians, editors, professors, students, critics and other literary persons who do not possess the books themselves. At least it would be so were it better done, but notwithstanding considerable painstaking, I am aware, Christian Reader, that my Catalogue is as full of errors, both of omission and commission, as you acknowledge your own heart to be ; I therefore have the courage to print but few copies of this first impression, and those only for private distribution among friends and correspondents in America, who are desirous of adorning themselves and their houses with choice English Books. By interleaving and ticking off, it will answer not only as a Catalogue of one's books, but in part as a list of one's desi. derata.
Libraries are an index of a nation's, as well as an individual's wealth, taste, and character. A very large number of my countrymen have now not only the money but the ambition to possess the best that can be had. As a general rule, therefore, I have