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therefore had recourse to other sources of information; and chiefly to the Classics themselves. To enumerate the various authors he has consulted, would be tedious and useless. It is sufficient to say, that he has borrowed with freedom, from all hands, whatever he judged fit for his purpose. He has been chiefly indebted to Manutius, Brissonius, and Middleton, on the senate; to Pignorius, on slaves; to Sigonius and Grucchius, Manutius, Huber, Gravina, Merula, and Heineccius, on the assemblies of the people, the rights of citizens, the laws and judicial proceedings; to Lipsius, on the magistrates, the art of war, shows of the circus and gladiators; to Sheffer, on naval affairs and carriages; to Ferrarius, on the Roman dress; to Kirchmannus, on funerals; to Arbuthnot, on coins; to Dickson, on agriculture; to Donatus, on the city; to Turnebus, Abrahamus, Rosinus, Salmasius, Hottomomannus, Grævius, and Gronovius, Montfaucon, Pitiscus, Ernesti, and particularly to Gesner, in different parts of the work.
After making considerable progress in this undertaking, the Compiler found the execution so difficult, that he would have willingly dropt it, could he have found any thing on the subject to answer his views. Accordingly, when Mr. Lempriere did him the favour to communicate his design of publishing that useful work, the Classical Dictionary, he used the freedom to suggest to him the propriety of intermingling with his plan a description of Roman antiquities. But being informed by that gentleman, that this was impracticable, and meeting with no book which joined the explanation of words and things together, he resolved to execute his original intention. It is now above three years since he began printing. This delay has been occasioned partly by the difficulty of the work, and making various alterations and additions; partly also by a solicitude to receive the remarks of some gentlemen of learning and taste, on whose judgment he could rely, who have been so obliging as to read over, with critical attention, the sheets as they were printed.
After finishing what relates to the laws and judicial proceedings, the Compiler proposed publishing that part by itself
, with a kind of syllabus of the other parts subjoined ; that he might have leisure to reprint, with improvements, a Summary of Geography and History, which he composed a few years ago, for the use of his scholars. But after giving an account of the deities and religious rites in his cursory manner, and without quoting authorities, he was induced, by the advice of friends, to relinquish that design, and to postpone other objects, till he should bring the present performance to a conclusion. Although he has all along studied brevity, as much as a regard to perspicuity would admit, the book has swelled to a much greater size than at first he imagined.
The labour he has undergone, can be conceived by those only who have been conversant in such studies. But he will think his pains well bestowed, if his work answer the end intended, to facilitate the acquisition of classical learning. He has done every thing in his power to render it useful. He has endeavoured to give a just view of the constitution of the Roman government, and to point out the principal causes of the various changes which it underwent. This part, it is hoped, will be found calculated to impress on the minds of youth just sentiments of government in general, by showing on the one hand the pernicious effects of aristocratic domination; and on the other, the still more hurtful consequences of democratical licentiousness, and oligarchic tyranny.
But it is needless to point out what has been attempted in particular parts; as it has been the Compiler's great aim throughout the whole to convey as much useful information as possible within the limits he has prescribed to himself. Although very few things are advanced without classical authority, yet in so extensive a field, and amidst such diversity of opinions, he no doubt may have fallen into mistakes. These he shall esteem it the highest favour to have pointed out. to him; and he earnestly entreats the assistance of the encouragers of learning, to enable him to render his work more useful. He has submitted his plan to the best judges, and it has uniformly met with their approbation.
It may perhaps be thought, that in some places he has quoted too many authorities. But he is confident no one will think so, who takes the trouble to examine them. This he esteems the most valuable part of the book. It has at least been the most laborious. A work of this kind, he imagines, if properly executed, might be made to serve as a key to all the classics, and in some degree supersede the use of large annotations and commentaries on the different authors; which, when the same customs are alluded to, will generally be found to contain little else but a repetition of the same things.
As the work is not divided into books and chapters, the table of Contents, it is hoped, will supply that deficiency.
The Compiler has now in a great measure completed, what above twenty years ago he conceived to be wanting in the common plan of education in this country. His first attempt was to connect the study of Latin grammar with that of the English; which was approved of by some of the first literary characters then in the kingdom. It is sufficient to mention Mr. Harris and Dr. Lowth. He has since contrived, by a new but natural arrangement, to include in the same book a vocabulary, not only of the simple and primitive words in the Latin tongue, but also of the most common derivatives and compounds, with an explanation of phrases and tropes. His next attempt was to join the knowledge of ancient and modern geography, and the principles of history, with the study of the classics. And now he has endeavoured to explain difficult words and phrases in the Roman authors, from the customs to which they refer. How far he has succeeded in the execution, he must leave others to judge. He can only say, that what he has written has proceeded from the
purest desire to promote the improvement of youth;
THE Compiler has felt much satisfaction from the favourable
reception his performance has met with. He has, in particular, been highly gratified by the approbation of several of the masters of the great schools in England, and of the professors in the universities of both kingdoms. The obliging communications he has received from them, and from other gentlemen of the first character for classical learning, he will ever remember with gratitude. Stimulated by such encouragement, he has exerted his utmost industry to improve this edition. The numerous facts and authorities he has added will show the pains he has bestowed. The Index of Latin words and phrases is considerably enlarged; and an Index of proper names and things is subjoined; for sug. gesting the utility of which, he is indebted to the authors of the Analytical Review.
There are several branches of his subject which still remain to be discussed; and in those he has treated of, he has been obliged to suppress many particulars, for fear of swelling his book to too great a size. It has therefore been suggested to him, that to render this work more generally useful, it ought to be printed in two different forms, in a smaller size, for the use of schools, and in a larger form, with additional observations and plates, for the use of more advanced students. This, if he find it agreeable to the public, he shall endeavour to execute to the best of his ability : but it must be a work of time, and he is now obliged to direct his attention to other objects, which he considers of no less importance.
As several of the Classics, both Greek and Latin, are differently divided by different editors, it will be proper to mention what editions of these have been followed in the quotations : Cæsar by Clarke, or in usum Delphini; Pliny, by Brotier; Quinctilian and the writers on husbandry, by Gesner; Petronius Arbiter, by Burmannus ; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, by Reiske ; Plutarch's Morals, by Xylander; and Dio Cassius, by Reimarus. It is needless to mention the editions of such authors as are always divided in the same manner.
Those not divided into chapters, as Appian, Strabo, Plutarch's Lives, &c. are quoted by books and pages.
Edinburgh, May 21st, 1792.