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On the 2nd of January, 1826, will be published, (to be continued Monthly)
VOL. I. PART I.
ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE, ETC.
ILLUSTRATED WITH 260 ENTIRELY NEW ENGRAVINGS ;
A GENERAL ATLAS OF FORTY ROYAL QUARTO MAPS, AND APPROPRIATA DIAGRAMS.
CONDITIONS OF PUBLICATION. 1. This work will be completed in within three years and a half from the Forty Parts, or half Volumes, royal 8vo. 1st of January, 1826. price 8s. in boards, each part containing 4. The Paper will be of the best fabric as much matter as any part of similar and closest texture, manufactured for this works published at one guinea.
work by Messrs. Longman and Dickinson; 2. A Part, containing, 400 pages and and the Type will be cast by Messrs. seven engravings, will be published on Caslon and Co. the first day of every month, until the 5. To accommodate those persons who whole is completed.
prefer that mode of publication, the work 3. The work is in so forward a state, will also appear in numb, rs, with a due that the Publisher can confidently engage portion of Engravings. Two may be had for its regular and punctual publication ; weekly, price 8d. each. and that the whole will be completed
Subscribers Names for this work are received by all Booksellers in the United Kingdom; and Booksellers who wish to become Agents, are requested to apply by letter to Mr. Pero, No. 73 Cheapside.
Encyclopædists, with other writers of dictionaries, have been placed by high authority among the pioneers of literature,' a species of auxiliaries peculiarly necessary when science is on the advance. It is theirs to remove the obstacles which impede her progress in penetrating unexplored regions; and if they share not in the splendour, they secure the permanence of her victories.
When science in any country becomes stationary, and reposes amongst privileged orders of men, in colleges and cloisters, Encyclopædias either do not exist, or fall into desuetude. It is when the thinking faculty of a nation is roused, and its institutions are favourable to the diffusion of knowledge, that the sphere of such works is created; that their importance to the best interests of society becomes acknowledged; and that, from their adaptedness to meet the intellectual craving thus excited, they are eagerly sought for, and promptly supplied.
The literary history of Great Britain, in a very striking manner, iHustrates the truth of these remarks. The first Cyclopædia that appeared amongst us, though almost resembling the original chaos, and scarcely exhibiting even
“ The baby figure of the giant mass
Of things," marked the commencement of a new æra, and opened to the rapidly increasing numbers of our reading population the richest stores of intellectual wealth. This was followed, at various intervals, by others more erudite and comprehensive ; each professing to offer greater advantages than its predecessor, and asserting a stronger claim to public patronage. In the present day there are no fewer than six principal Encyclopædias, diversified in their specific character and object, and of very different gradations in the scale of merit; yet are they all valuable accessions to our literature. They have united to enlarge the circle of knowledge, and to extend its benefits to great multitudes, who would otherwise have remained in comparative ignorance. The conductors of the LONDON ENCYCLOPÆDIA have no wish to perform the invidious task of decrying the labours of those who have preceded them. It is not for them to point out the contracted plan of one, which excludes from its pages some of the most important branches of knowledge; of another which devotes a disproportionate attention to subjects of comparative insignificance; whose most finished articles are prolix, whose science often misleads, whose theology is sectarian, and which, in its general execution, is as devoid of taste as it is defective in arrangement.
It is equally beyond their province to dwell on the distinguishing excellencies of those Encyclopædias which possess an established and well-merited reputation. This would indeed afford them very sincere delight, and they could with pleasure expatiate on the philosophy that informs, and the learning that enriches, many portions of these invaluable compilations. They could refer with proud satisfaction to one at least, whose object it is, on a philosophical plan, to embrace and arrange
all science and art, and to render them subservient to the noblest interests of
But the duty which especially devolves upon them, and to the performance of which they would strictly confine themselves is, first, to shew that there is ground yet unoccupied, and of very large dimensions, which requires to be cultivated by the introduction of another Encyclopædia.; and secondly, to state the claims of their projected undertaking to supply this public want.
The most unthinking, as well as the most prejudiced, must be struck with the fact, that the period in which we live is extraordinary and momentous. Amongst the great body of the people an unparalleled revolution is at work: they have awoke from that ignorance in which they had slept for ages, and have sprung up in their new character of thinking beings, qualified to enquire and to discuss; and despising both the despotism and the bigotry that would prohibit or impede their improvement. This mighty movement of the general mass is felt even by those in superior classes, who, while they once imagined that learning was their prescriptive right, yet often contented themselves with very inconsiderable portions of it. They feel that they must now go forward, or be trodden down; that to retain their rank and character in public 'estimi sion, their
3 minds must be better cultivated, their sphere of knowledge more widely extended. The intellectual spirit is moving upon the chaos of minds, which ignorance and necessity have thrown into collision and confusion, and the result will be a new creation. Nature (to use the nervous language of an old writer) will be melted down and recoined,' and all will be bright and beautiful.
This is a state of things in which books of every kind will rapidly multiply; bread must be found for this great multitude, and if nutritious aliment be not provided there will be a fearful consumption of what is deleterious and baneful. Amongst the elementary treatises, the dictionaries, and other useful epitomes of knowledge that come into requisition at such a period, Encyclopædias, as combining the principles, the progress, and the latest discoveries of science, with every thing valuable in arts and letters, must of course occupy a conspicuous place. Those which are now publishing, it is fair to presume, will not be able to meet the increasing demand; others, therefore, may enter upon the field of competition without risk to themselves, and without hostility to their contemporaries.
But in every new project of this description, there must be two things kept- especially in view: it must be comprehensive, and it must be cheap. It ought to be in itself, an independent and principal work; those who purchase it should be placed above the necessity of procuring any other. It ought to be in all respects so conducted, as to claim its place in the splendid library of the opulent, and to be at the same time, of price so moderate, and so copious in its information, that the humble mechanic may obtain it, as almost within itself a sufficient library for him.
The work to which this address is intended to invite the attention of the public, has been prepared with a strict regard to both these considerations. It was suggested to the proprietor by the extensive patronage, and rapid sale of the Encyclopædia Perthensis, of the last edition of which he became the purchaser and vender, and which having heen completely disposed of, it was with him a question of business, whether to reprint the original work, or to fill up the vacancy by a new The considerations already offered, with the conviction that the Encyclopædia Perthensis would require such a revision, as would be tantamount to the production of another work, induced him to determine on the latter measure. That which is now therefore intended to supersede it, is formed upon the general outline of the Encyclopædia Perthensis, somewhat extended and modified. While the scientific articles, for instance, will be brought down to the latest discoveries and improvements ; under the generic description of arts, not only the ornamental but the manual, and those of general utility, and of daily practice, combining the callings of the artisan, the mechanic, and the practical tradesman, will be introduced; and instead of a verbatim copy of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, it is intended to make that great work the basis only of the lexicographical department. That the words, though alphabetically arranged, shall be connected in all their principal inflections under general definitions; that the etymologies shall be revised and compared with all later works; that the definitions of Dr. Johnson shall be examined and simplified: the authorities or quotations arranged chronologically; and new authorities, including quotations (when required) from the works of all eminent writers deceased, inserted ; together with accents