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EORGE the Second, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. To all whom thefe Prefents fhall come Greeting: Whereas WILLIAM OWEN, and WILLIAM JOHNSTON, of Our City of London, Bookfellers, have, by their Petition, humbly reprefented unto Us, That, they have, with great Care, Labour and Expence, compleated a Work, entitled, A NEW and GENERAL
The Lives of the moft illuftrious Perfons, who have flourished in all Nations, from the earliest Period to the Present Time,
And have most humbly prayed, That We would grant Them Our Royal Licence, for the fole Vending of their faid Dictionary, for the Term of Fourteen Years, according to the Statute in that Cafe made and provided; We, being willing to give all due Encouragement, to a Work of this Nature, which may be of public Ufe and Benefit, are gracioufly pleafed to condefcend to Their Requeft; And We do, therefore, by these Prefents, (fo far as may be agreeable to the Statute, in that behalf made and provided ;) grant unto Them, the faid WILLIAM OWEN, and WILLIAM JOHNSTON, Their Heirs, Executors, and Affigns, Our Royal Privilege and Licence for the fole printing, publishing, and vending their said Dictionary, for the Term of Fourteen Years; to be computed from the Date hereof, ftrictly forbidding and prohibiting all Our Subjects within Our Kingdoms and Dominions, to reprint, abridge, or tranflate the fame, either in the like or any other Volume or Volumes whatsoever; or, to import, buy, vend, utter, or diftribute any Copies thereof, reprinted, beyond the Seas, during the aforefaid Term of Fourteen Years, without the Confent and Approbation of them, the faid WILLIAM OWEN and WILLIAM JOHNSTON, their Heirs, Executors, or Affigns, by Writing under their Hands and Seal, firft had and obtained, as they and every of them offending herein will answer the contrary at their Peril. Whereof the Commiffioners and other Officers of Our Customs, the Mafter Wardens and Company of Stationers of Our City of London, and all other Our Officers and Ministers whom it may concern, are to take Notice, that due Obedience be rendered to Our Pleasure herein fignified. Givent Our Court at Kenfington the Twenty-third Day of October 1755, in the Twenty-ninth Year of Our Reign.
By His Majefty's Command,
An Historical and Critical) ACCOUNT
LIVES and WRITINGS
Moft Eminent Perfons
In every NATION;
Particularly the BRITISH and IRISH;
From the Earlieft Accounts of Time to the present Period.
Their remarkable ACTIONS or SUFFERINGS,
Printed for T. OSBORNE, J. WHISTON and B. WHITE,
S it is unneceffary to fhew the usefulness
of an accurate hiftorical account of fuch perfons and facts as have been the objects of public attention in all ages and nations, nothing more can be expected in a preface to this work, than an account of the manner in which it is executed, and the reasons why it was not thought to be precluded by any other work of the fame kind that is already
The principal of these works are Bayle's Historical and Critical Dictionary; the General Dictionary; the Biographia Britannica; the Athena Oxonienfes, and Mr. Collier's Hiftorical Dictionary.
Bayle's work is in five large volumes in folio, yet there are many perfons of great eminence both antient and modern, whom Bayle has not
fo much as named, though he has mentioned others of whom nothing is known, but that they were the occafion or the fubject of fome useless controversy, the very terms of which few understand, and the merits of which a fmall part even of those few are disposed to examine. Bayle's Lives are indeed nothing more than a ve¬ hicle for his criticism, and his work feems to have been chiefly the tranfcript of a voluminous common-place book, in which he had inserted his own remarks on the various authors he had read, and gratified his peculiar turn of mind by difcuffing their opinions and correcting their mistakes; it is therefore rather a mifcellany of critical and metaphysical speculations, than a system of Biography.
The General Dictionary, as it includes Bayle, is fo far liable to the fame objections: it is indeed augmented with other articles, but they alfo are written in Bayle's manner, and for that reason the work upon the whole is not much better adapted to general ufe. There are many redundancies, and yet there are many defects; and there is befides an objection of more weight though of another kind, the work confifting of no less than ten volumes in folio, for which the purchaser must pay much more than so many pounds.