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The Life of Dr. LANCELOT
ADDISON, Dean of Litchfield,
Street in the Strand. MDCC XXXIII.
EVERAL of our learned Subfcribers having intimated to us,
that the Life we compiled of the celebrated Mr. Addison would be of service to those who have that Author's Works, 'tis chiefly in compliance with their advice that we publish the present edition of it.
'Tis to the learned and ingenious Mr. Bayle that we owe this method of Biography, in which cast two
Lives only (such excepted as are pubi lished in our General Dictionary) have
appeared in English, viz. those of Hales and Chillingworth (1). But notwithstanding the advantages of this manner of writing, yet some persons object against it, as being unconnected, desultory, and perpetually breaking the. thread of the narration. This objection, however plausible, will not be
(1) Both by Mr. Des Maizeaux.
found of any weight, especially against historical and critical Dictionaries. For 29 author who purposes to give the life at length, in the common way, of a person, how conspicuous soever, is frequently obliged to introduce a great number of particulars, infinitely less curious than those for which the Object of his writing is chiefly distinguished; by which means much of the reader's cime is spent in running over a great number of less considerable incidents.
But che Biographer, who writes in Mr. Bayle's manner, first draws the analysis or outlines, as it were, of the life, and of this he forms his Text, for the use of those whose time may be precious, or who only desire a general account of persons. But then, as so succinct a narrative alone is not satisfactory to a great number of readers, our Biographer selects such
parricular circumstances in the person's life, as are very curious, important, and distinguish him from other men; and omitting all the rest, he throws these into the form of Notes or Remarks,