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THE Author's Preface
THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE.
Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem
HAVE observed, that a Reader seldom peruses a Book with Pleasure, until he knows whether the Writer of it be a black or a fair Man, of a mild or cholerick Disposition, Married or a Bachelor, with other Particulars of the like Nature, that conduce very much to the right Understanding of an Author. To gratify this Curiosity, which is so natural to a Reader, I design this Paper and my next as Prefatory Discourses to my following Writings, and shall give some Account in them of the several Persons that are engaged in this Work. As the chief Trouble of Compiling, Digesting, and Correcting, will fall to my Share, I must do myself the Justice to open the Work with my own History.
I was born to a small Hereditary Estate, which, according to the Tradition of the Village where it lies, was bounded by the same Hedges and Ditches
in William the Conqueror's Time that it is at present, and has been delivered down from Father to Son whole and entire, without the Loss or Acquisition of a single Field or Meadow, during the Space of six hundred Years. There runs a Story in the Family, that my Mother dreamt that she had brought forth a Judge: Whether this might proceed from a LawSuit which was then depending in the Family, or my Father's being a Justice of the Peace, I cannot determine; for I am not so vain as to think it presaged any Dignity that I should arrive at in my future Life, though that was the Interpretation which the
Neighbourhood put upon it. The Gravity of my Behaviour at my very first Appearance in the World, seemed to favour my Mother's Dream: For, as she has often told me, I threw away my Rattle before I was two Months old, and would not make use of my Coral until they had taken away the Bells from it.
As for the rest of my Infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I shall pass it over in Silence. I find, that, during my Nonage, I had the Reputation of a very sullen Youth, but was always a Favourite of my Schoolmaster, who used to say, that my Parts were solid, and would wear well. I had not been long at the University, before I distinguished myself