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“ As this book is intended to correspond with all dispositions, and to afford entertainment for minds of different powers, it is necessarily to contain treatises on different subjects. As it is designed for schools, though for the higher classes, it is confined wholly to such parts of knowledge as young minds may comprehend : and as it is drawn up for readers vet unexperienced in life, and unable to distinguish the useful from the ostentatious or unnecessary parts of science, it is requisite that a nice distinc- tion should be made, that nothing unprofitable should be admitted for the sake of pleasure, nor any arts of attraction neglected that might êx the aitention upon more important studies.
“In the following pages it must not be expected that a complete circle of the sciences should be fuund: the object of the compilation is not to enrich the mind with affluence, or to deck it with ornaments, but to supply it with necessaries. The alqur; therefore was not what degrees and kinds of knowledge are desirable, but what are in most stations of life indispensably requisité; and the choice was determined mot by the splendor of any part of literature, but by the extent of its use and
the inconvenience which its neglect was likely to produce.”
Such were the statements with which, now sixty years ago, The PRECEPTOR published by Robert Dodsley was ushered into the world: a work the production of various eminent hands, which has long and deservedly maintained a high reputation as an elementary system of general instruction.
In affixing to the following pages the modified title of THE MODERN PRECEPTOR, it has been the compiler's purpose to represent his work as in general an imitation of a valuable original, but at the same time to warn his readers, that the various treatises introduced have been altered in a way to include the numerous improvements which, in a lapse of sixty years, have by modern ingenuity been discovered and adopted. These treatises have been not only adapted to the present state of knowledge falling within the scope of each, but arranged in an order more natural than that chosen by the editors of the old Preceptor: the student, therefore, by tracing the connection between the preceding and following chapters, as they stand in this book, will find the course of his studies more engaging, and consequently his progress greatly facilitated.
The table of contents shows the nature and dis-
London, Ist Jan, 1510.