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Chambers, Ephraim, 1680 (ca.)-1740 / Cyclopædia, or, An universal dictionary of arts and sciences : containing the definitions of the terms, and accounts of the things signify'd thereby, in the several arts, both liberal and mechanical, and the several sciences, human and divine : the figures, kinds, properties, productions, preparations, and uses, of things natural and artificial : the rise, progress, and state of things ecclesiastical, civil, military, and commercial : with the several systems, sects, opinions, &c : among philosophers, divines, mathematicians, physicians, antiquaries, criticks, &c : the whole intended as a course of antient and modern learning
(1728)

The preface,   pp. I [i]-xxx PDF (27.2 MB)


Page xxix


PF ~~.d_ C A        ~xxi1x-
mtull it be tfogot, that I pretend to'lhave carried the Diflionary-Way to
a pitch hitherto little thought of: 'So
that, if.1 have fallen- fort of the Mark on one fide; it may be fomne Atonement
that I have gone b-eyond it in
another.  I am fenfible, however, there is no Point I have been more delinquent
in than this one of Method ~
-and, that I am at every turn forgetting my own View, The References, and
neceffary Connexions between
the Parts, which ffiould fhiew their Relation, and help the Imagination to
put 'em, together, are but too
~frequently dropt, and 'the Reader left without his Clue.
IAS to, Jejunenefv, and Crudity; no doubt there mutft be a deal of that kind,
confidering, the Tinie fo great
a Load of Fruit had to hang and ripen.    Much of it was gathered ere it
could poffibly be matured ; fo
that '1tis no wonder it now and then taftes of the Wood. But fetting -fide
this ; if a Man may not be allow'd
to fay a good number of indifferent things, in the Cornpafs of five hundred
Sheets, I know not who would be
an Author.
L A ST LY, as to there being little in it new, and of my own growth ; I muff
here change my Style;4
and from Confeffion, turn to Vindication ------ The Work is, what it ought
to be, a Colleflion ; not the Produce
of a fingle Brain, for, that would go but a little way ; but of a whole Commonwealth.
If any Perfon will un-
*dertake to write a Diafionary, even of fomne one particular Art, from his
own Fund, alone ; a Man may fafely
undertake to prove it good for nothing. I do not pretend to entertain my
Guefis at this rate, with jutt what
my own fca'nty Barns afford : The whole Country- is ranfack'd to make 'em
tihe fuller Banquet. Call me what
you will ; a Daw, and fay I am fluck over with other Peoples Feathers : with
all my Heart ; but it would be
altogether as juft to compare me to the Bee, the Symbol of Induifry, as that
of Pride. For tho I pick up my
Matters in a thoufand Places; 'tis not to look gay my felf, but to furnifh
you with Honey. I have rifled
a thoufand Flowers ; prickly ones many of 'em, to load your Hive. No body
that fell in my way, has been
bpared ; Antient nor Modern, Foreign nor Domeftick, Chriftian, nor Jew, nor
Heathenr : Philofophers, Di-
vines, Mathematicians, Critics, Cafuifos, Grammarians, Phyficians, Antiquaries,
Mechanics, all are ferved alike.
The Book is not mine, 'tis every body's; the mix'd Iffue of a thoufand Loins.
The Prince of modern Au-
thors, is pillaged to fomve purpofe; and what Quarter then can any body elfe
expeft ? If ever you wrote
any thing your felf; 'tis poffible there is fonaething in it of yours fo
that you will at leaft allow fomethit
in it good.
NO NE of our Predecefors can blame us for the ufe we have made of them ;
fince it is their own Prac-
tice. It is a kind of Privilege attached to the Office of Lexicographer,
if not by any formal Grant, yet by
Connivance at leafit. We have already affumed the Bee for our Device; and
who ever brought an Ay ion of Tro-
ver or Trefpafs againt that avowed Free-booter ? If any body blames us, 'twill
ten to one be fome of thofe
very Drones, who are fuff-ained by our means.
'TIS idle to pretend any thing oflPrp erty in things of this Nature.  To
offer a thing to the Publick,
and-yet pretend a Right referved therein to one's feWo, if it be not abfurd,
yet it is fordid. The Words we
fpeak ; nay, the Breath we eouid are not more vague and common than our Thoughts,
when divulged in
'print. You may as well prohibit People to ufe the Light that frmines in
their Eyes, becaufe it comes from
your Candle : E'en clap it in a dark Lanthorn, and let us not be amufed,
and dazzled by it ; if we may not
be the better for good things, let's not be the worfe for the ill and indifferent
ones mix'd with 'em.
WE fee the fame Thought, which was irfit flatted in one Author under a world
of Crudity, borrow'd by
,pnother become farther improv'd and ripen'd ; and at length tranfmitted
to a third , yield Fruit in abundance.
All Plants will not thrive in all Soils that will produce y emb ; fomne languih
in their Mother-Beds:e whence the
g;ardner is under a frequent neceffity of Replanting, Enrfig ?c.
TO do juftice to a Colleflion, I mean a general and promifcuous one ; it
has its Advantages. Where num-
bers of things are thrown precarioufly together, we Sometimes difcover Relations
among 'em, we fhould never
have thought of looking for: As, the Painter's and Sculptor's Fancy, is frequently
led on to the bohleft and mobt
maerly Defigns, nby omething they fpy in'the fortuitous Sketches of Chance,
or Nature: infomuch that a cele-
brThed Autkor * makes no fcruple to lay this down as the firf Origin and
Occafion of all thefe Arts. 'Tis cer-
tain moft of our Knowledge is empirical, the Refult of Accidenta Ocafion,
and cafual Experimentv : 'Tis but
very little we owe to Dogmatizing and Method; which, as already, obferv'd,
are pofyerior Matters and only
come in play after the Game is falated. 'Twas, in all probability, the hand
of Chance that fistf threw SulPra
thur, Charcoal, and Salt-petre together; and what furprizing Effe&s have
not arofe from it; what Handle
as it iven to Art and Contrivance, to dire& and apply this fortuitous
Produ6tionc
T If indeed furprizing to confider, what flender Experiments, and ObfeanationsamansofwtheecapitaleDoerines
have arofe from: The Blows of a Smith's Hammer on his Anvil,'flrurk out the
Principles of Mufic; which
Guido, a poor Friar, perfened by what he obferved in conning over his Beads.
The Inventions of Printing, of
Glays, of the Dipping Needle, of Ptofphorus, -of Telefcopes, of itfbe   of
antim   is  ar e p oedt he
fpeak,~ ~ ~ ~   ~   ~   ~   ~~~. nay, th         aahw  mt  rentmr  au  and
Aom n timony our  aruh wen divulged to inv
arofe in the like manner; as the Reader may find under their proper Articles:
And how many more we know
not, by reafon the great Obfcurity of their firit Rife, ere they attain'd
a degree of Ufefuinefs and Perfewion fuffi-
Went to be taken notice of, has buried the pa rtiar Circuniances thereof.
If we will hear the antient PhCni-
Mians, and Egyptians, amongft whom molt of the Arts are fuppofed to arofe;
they allcame frtom cafual Obferva-
tions : nGeometry from the Inundations of the Nile ; the Flight of the Crane,
gave occaion to the Invention of
the Rudder ; the Iis taught to adminifler a Clyfter, &c. In effed, a
new Obfervation in fo.e Peoples Minds
prepared for it, is like a Spark in a heap of Gun-pouder, which may blow
ae whole Mine.
Wh   A hoT Advantages may not Philofophy derive from fuch a Colleotion, or
Farrago of Artsh; when 'tis con-
fiderled i, that everh        hy Circu anceevery Article of an Art, ought
to be look'd upon as a Datum, a hatnamele-
or Experiment in Philofophy ; and that the leaft of 'em  may pofiibly be
the Foundation of a new Syftem r-
To confider only the Tanning, or Currying of Leather: what is the whole Procefs,
but a Series of phyfical
vffeys, arifing from new applications of Body to Body ? And how many Leuares
will the Philofopher have
from Paininng, Gardening, Agriculture, &c. touching Planting, Engrabtin,
Pruning, Exof Chanc e fion, Warls &c.
phur,~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~   ~   ~  ~   ~~~~~~g Chrolpn atptetgte;ad  htfrrzn  fet
 aentaofue, fxrom it;  whallsndle
which might never have come in his way, but by fuch a chance?  hen a thing
is once farted, it may be applied
infinite ways, and no body knows where it will flop.
T H    R 0'o UT  the Whole, we have had am particular regard, both in the
Choice of the feveral
Heads, and in dwelling or amplifying upon h em ; to the extending our Vieas,
dilating our Knowledge, open-
ing new Tracks, new &pn ents, new Viftas. We have endeavour'd not only
to furnifh the Mind; but to inlarve
it, and make it in fome meafure co-extend with the Dimenfions of all Minds,
in all Ages and Places, and ue'n-
der all Situations and Circuriftancesi: as Language, in fomee meafure, makes
our Senfes do. With which view,
iet have given the Sentiments, Notions, Manners, Cuftoms &   hereof.
mo f People thea the anything Pnew
tians,~~~~~~~ and Egptas,...s wo  m      of thmrsaeSpoe  oaoft eope they
all   have from ca ng nbew,
unufpeal, or hardy in 'em.
S U Cf ie  Variety of Views, Principles, and Manners of thinking, is a fure
Remedy againft being too vio-
lently attached to any one;  and is the befl way of preventing the making
ofoPedants, Bigots, &c. of any
infoiit wayit Anobodynw dwlla Stai.a.
THRO'OUT~~~                ~~~~ th  hlw  av                             
         in atcua  ead  ot  nteCoceo  h  ee
h
kind


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