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PRINTED FOR A.STRAHAN AND T.CADELL, LONDON;

AND FOR WILLIAM CREECH, EDINBURGII.

M,DCC,LXXXVIII.

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THE following Work is the substance

1 of various speculations, which occasionally occupied the author, and enlivened his leisure hours. It is not intended for the learned'; they are above it: nor for the vulgar; they are below it. It is intended for those who, free from the corruption of opulence and depression of bodily labour, are fond of useful knowledge ; who, even in the delirium of youth, feel the dawn of patriotism, and who, in riper years, enjoy its meridian warmth. To such men this work is dedicated ; and that they may profit by it, is the author's ardent wilh ; and probably will be while he retains life fufficient to form a wilh.

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May

May not he hope, that this Work, child of his gray hairs, will survive, and bear testimony for him to good men, that even a laborious calling, which left him not many leisure hours, never banished from his mind, that he would little deserve to be of the human species, were he indifferent about his fellow-creatures :

Horno fum : humani nihil a me alienum puto,

Most of the subjects handled in the fol-, lowing sheets, admit but of probable reasoning; and, with respect to such reasonings, it is often difficult to say, what degree of conviction they ought to produce. It is easy to form plausible arguments ; but to form such as can stand the test of time, is not always easy. I could amuse the reader with numerous examples of conjectural arguments, which, fair at a distant view, vanish like a cloud on a near approach. Several examples, not to go farther, are mentioned in the preliminary

discourse,

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