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THE

HISTORY

OF THESE

MEMO IRS.

THE following Memoirs, arid accounts of Anticks arid other curious things; are a Supplement to a work which the author began many years ago for his own amusement, and afterwards endeavored td compleat for the Public i——The Thing was called,.

The antient and present State of Great Britain, and more particular Observations of what is remarkable in Nature, Art, and Antiquity, than have been yet communicated td the Public. '■

The whole interspersed with the Lives and Characters of many eminent Persons j Acr counts of Writers, Books, MSSj Notion* and Conversations j Historys of many extraordinary and uncommon Things and Occurb 2 rences$ rehces; and several Disquisitions, Philosophical, Moral and Political.

This Journal the writer intended to have published some years ago, and to that purpose advertised it two or three times; but by a variety of strange accidents and untoward incidents, he was not permitted to execute his design, nor could he fee at last when it would be in his power to produce the thing. He was visited one day by an unexpected friend, who is learned in antiquities, and in our civil and natural history, beyond most of the Men of his time, and by this gentleman informed, on a perusal of the MS, that the journal appeared to want very great amendments, and to be deficient in various matters, which ought to be brought into a work of the kind. He layed his finger upon a thousand defects. He shewed the author many mistakes. He made him a present of a great number of new and very curious things, by him observed in his rideings, and collected in our books, and rendered it evident to the writer's own understanding, that not only all these corrections and additions must be made, but that it was even necessary, to go over a great Part of the ground again,' and review and re-examine every thing on the spot. Here was a labor. Here was an almost intire new plan, and one as large

again as the original scheme: Many hundred miles to be rejourneyed: A thousand fresh things to be conveyed per intus susceptionem—• to be distributed in a just proportion through the whole mass. The author did not like the thing; but it must be done, or burn all he had written, or print to fill the wastepaper merchant's rooms. Away then he goes. He traverses the land. He reviews. He got a heap of fresh materials by this means, and be layed them by those he had received from his friend. He then fat down to work, and began to strike out and put in. He made all possible dispatch, and resolved to have a first part out this winter, if irresistible obstruction did not come in his way.

The intended volume was an introduction to his design, and contained a summary of his country's story ecclesiastical and civil; an abridged account of its constitution and church $ its laws and monarchs j and the great men in each reign, who were friends to liberty and property, or staves to the tyrants who have oppressed with intolerable servitude this land; a defence of the present happy establishment, and the glorious revolution on which it subsists; with free remarks on all the English historians, from Afferius Menevenfis, and Ingulphus, down to Messeurs Ralph and Salmon and a few thoughts on the relation

b 3 bebetween English sovereigns and English subr jects. A large quarto volume on these sub-jects the author writ, and called it a Preliminary Discourse to a history of antient monuments, works of nature, Art, Sciences, etc. He spared no pains to render it as perfect as he was able.

Thus far all was well, and a day fixed sotfending this book of a guinea price sewed to the press. But there is no certainty in human things. Misfortune entered the author's chamber, and in a few minutes put an end to the design. One night, just after he had Jain down, he took the MS volume into his hand, and continued reading for some time such chapters of it as treated of the deformity of imperial, the beauty of legal power, and, shewed how that miserable princel Charles the First, ceased to be invincible and amiable, by an obstinate departure from the original constitution, and the laws by it instituted j laws which must ever be the strength

and strong hold of an English king ;r .

how this headstrong monarch, commonly called The Martyr, in conjunction with a queen who was another Margaret of Anjou, (a) arbitrary in principles, and a zealot for popery, and With a Romish cabal that had Load and Went•mortb at its head, did endeavor to enslave Eng(4) Wife of Henry VI.

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land, and ruin Britons by foreign politics; to determine the being of parliaments, and alter the jorm of government; these

things the author continued reading, till slumber overpowered him, and his candle thereby set his book on fire; the blaze then seized the curtains of the bed, and by a signal favor of providence, he awaked just time enough to escape with life from the surrounding flames. The book was consumed, and likewise the second volume in MS of the work, which he had placed on the chair to f aise the first. This put an entire stop to his publishing the intended thing. It must also delay it for years, supposing the author should live to compose those volumes over again from his confused note-book, and loose sheets of memorandums.

But notwithstanding this fad affair, to print he was determined, since he had promised & book at this time, and that many had long waited for something or other from his hand. The author had made more antique and natural enquiries than he could possibly, find room for in his work, and had beside become acquainted, in his travels over England and Scotland, with several ingenious and excellent women, who are glorious on account of their virtue and piety, and to be for ever admired for their literary accomplish*, nients. Those illustrious personages, and

b 4 these

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