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Reed, and, above all, my steady and indefatigable coadjutor Mr. Gough, who many years ago, speaking of a collection of Original Letters which I had communicated to him, says, “I shall stick as many of them as relate to Mr. Bowyer into his “Anecdotes. I most heartily wish you had the inclination to print a second edition, while you have opportunity to improve them by living information. I shall bequeath to you my interleaved copy-if you do not call for it sooner, and enlarge it with a second volume, to be intituled Anecdotes of J. N. and give the world two volumes of utile dulci.” .
Mr. Gough closed his communications with the specific bequest * which he had promised, enriched by his own notes, and filled with the epistolary correspondence of many eminent persons, selected for the illustration of these “Anecdotes."
Previously to the entering seriously on the task of re-publication, I threw out the following request for assistance, in the Gentleman's Magazine. “Mr. URBAN,
Jan. 14, 1802. "As you frequently oblige your Correspondents by inserting their literary enquiries; permit an old Associate to announce, that he is committing to the press, after a consideration of twenty years, a new edition of the “Anecdotes of Mr. Bowyer;" the outlines of which first appeared in your volume XLVIII. pp. 409, 449, 513 ; and which, to say no more, was received by the publick with a flattering indulgence (vol. LII. pp. 348, 582); and had the approbation of Dr. Johnson (vol. LIV. p. 893). --* See vol. VI. p. 330.
The difficulties and the expence attending such a compilation are so well illustrated by your Reviewers in vol. LII. p. 554, that it must be evident pecuniary emolument, in publishing the former volume, was wholly out of sight. If it displayed the Compiler's gratitude to an early and excellent Friend, and added to the stock of useful entertainment, his wishes were fully answered.
“As the intended new edition will of course be considerably augmented, and, it is hoped, proportionably improved; the principal reason of troubling you with this address is, to request your many critical and biographical readers to furnish me with such particulars as may lead to its correction, and extend its utility. Hints in particular of any valuable work, printed by either of the Bowyers, which have escaped my notice, with any authentic anecdotes of the authors, or lists of their writings, will be particularly acceptable; as will also any part of the epistolary correspondence of Mr. Bowyer; which was frequent and valuable; it being my principal desire to render the work, in a considerable degree, a History of the LITERATURE of the EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. Yours, &c. J. NICHOLS."
I had some thoughts of continuing the Work to a later period. “But I hear the Cock's crow proclaiming the dawning day, being now come within the ken of many alive; and when men's memories do arise, it is time for History to haste to bed *."
To enumerate the names of Friends by whom I have been assisted in the present Volumes, would be an endless, though a pleasing task. Yet there
. * Fuller's Worthies, Essex, ed. 1811, vol. I. p. 349.
is one Gentleman to whom I am under so many and peculiar obligations, for intelligence which his matchless collection of scarce books, and his intimate knowledge of the treasures he possesses, have enabled him to communicate, that I could not content myself without inscribing the present Edition to my kind-hearted and respectable Friend Mr. BINDLEY; who, in a green old age, happily retains his bibliomaniacal spirit, and is as ready to impart knowledge, as he is liberal in the purchase of literary curiosities.
I must also particularly acknowledge the variety of information received, on frequent application, from Mr. ALEXANDER CHALMERS.
By the Rev. William BAKER, LL. D. Rector of Lyndon and of South Luffenham in the county of Rutland, I have been favoured with some very important additions to the article of his grandfather, Mr. Henry Baker, one of the earliest Members, and one of the most active in the Institution of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.
Mr. Malone, the Rev. James STANIER CLARKE, the Rey. ROBERT Warts, the Rev. T. F. DIBDIN, Mr. HENRY ELLIS, Mr. H. J. MARKLAND, Mr. D’IsRAELI, Mr. STEPHEN JOnes, and a hundred other Gentlemen, will accept my general acknowledgments.
I cannot, however, deny myself the satisfaction of publicly thanking my only Son, not merely for greatly facilitating the toil of correction, but for not unfrequently having prevented my falling into material mistakes. In addition to similar assistance from my Nephew, Mr. Samuel BENTLEY, it is to him that I am indebted for an accurate and copious Index.
June 11, 1812.
DIRECTIONS for placing the PORTRAITS, &c.
Mr. William Bowyer the Elder....... to face the Title of Vol. I.. Rev. Anthony Blackwall. ..........
......... p. 130 Rev. William Whiston..... Rev. William Cole ...........
............657 Mr. William Bowyer the Younger ... to face the Title of Vol. II. Benjamin Stillingfieet, Esq. ........
........p. 338 Mr. Joseph Jackson.....
............................358 Rev. Joseph Spence............
.........374 Mr. John Nichols................ to face the Title of Vol. III. Rev. Richard Graves ...
.........p. 132 Henry Fielding, Esq. ...............................356 Jeremiah Markland, Esq.......... to face the Title of Vol. IV. Mr. Edward Cave................. to face the Title of Vol. V. Henry Baker, Esq.................. ........p. 272 Mr. George Vertue .............. to face the Title of Vol. VI.
Fac-Simile of one of Mr. Markland's Letters ...... Vol. II. 313 Pedigree of Gale .......
........ Vol. IV. 536 Markland .......
*** The Binder will recollect to place the Additions of
Dr. LORT, &c. ...... at the End of Vol. II.
Mem. In the Sixth VOLUME, a mistake occurs in numbering the
Pages after p. 496 ; but, as the Signatures follow properly, it will be evident that nothing is omitted.