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SHORT time after the publication of the first edition of this work, a very worthy and
shrewd Bibliomaniac, accidentally meeting me, exclaimed that “the book would do, but that there was not gall enough in it.' As he was himself a Book-Auction-loving Bib
liomaniac, I was resolved, in a future edi- . tion, 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
dryness of a didactic style by the introduction of Dramatis Personæ.
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 publication, the 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
cuted form; and if my own emoluments are less, I honestly hope the reader's advantage is greater.
The Engraved Ornaments of Portraits, Vignettes, and Borders, were introduced, as well to gratify the eyes of tasteful Bibliomaniacs, as to impress, upon the minds of readers in general, a more vivid recollection of some of those truly illustrious characters by whom the HisTORY OF British LITERATURE has been preserved.
It remains only to add, that the present work was undertaken to relieve, in a great measure, the anguish of mind which arose from a severe domestic affiction; and if the voice of those whom we tenderly loved, whether parent or child, could be heard from the grave, I trust it would convey the sound of approbation for thus having filled up a part of the measure of that time, which, every hour, brings us nearer to those from whom we are separated.