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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

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

Page I [i]

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IS  not without fome Concern that I put this Work in the Reader's Hands;
a Work fo
disproportionate to a fingle Perfon's Experience, and which might have employ'd
an Academy.
What adds to my Jealoufy, is the little meafure of Time allow'd for a Performance
to which
a Man's whole Life fcarce feems equal. The bare Vocabulary of the Academy
delta Crufca
was above forty Years in compiling, and the Didionnarv of the French A adm-
-II, ln re -
and yet the prefent Work is as much more extenfive than either of them in
its Nature and
Subje&, as it falls fhort of 'em in number of Years, or of Perfons employ'd.
T H E Reader might be here led to fufpeft fomething of Difingenuity; and
think I firft put a Book upon
him, and then give him Reafons why I fhould not have done it.-----But his
Sufpicions will ceafe, when he is ap-
priz'd of the Advantages under which I engaged; which, in one Senfe, are
fuperior to what had been known
in any former Work of the Kind ; all that had been done in them accruing,
of courfe, to the Benefit of this.
I come like an Heir to a large Patrimony, gradually rais'd by the Induftry,
and Endeavours of a long Race
of Anceftors. What the French Academifts, the Jefuits de Trevoux, Daviler,
Chomel, Savary, Cbauvin, Harris,
Wolfus, and many more have done, has been fubfervient to my Purpofes. To
fay nothing of a numerous Clafs
of particular Diftionaries which contributed their Share; Lexicons on almott
every Subjea, from  Medicine
and Law, down to Heraldry and the Manage.
Yet this is but a Part. I am far from having contented my felf to take what
was ready procured; but have
augmented it with a large Acceffion from other Q2arters. No part of the Commonwealth
of Learning, but
has been traffick'd to on this Occafion. Recourfe has been had to the Originals
themfelves on the feveral Arts;
and, not to mention what fmall Matters could be furnifhed de proprio penu,
the Reader will here have Ex-
traats and Accounts from a great Number of Authors of all Kinds, either overlook'd
by former Diafionarifts,
or not then extant, and a Multitude of Improvements in the feveral Parts,
efpecially of Natural Knowledge,
made in thefe lali Years.  I mhould produce Inftances hereof; but I hope
this would be needlefs, as it is
endlefs ; and that there are few Pages which will not afford feveral.
SUCH     are the Sources from  whence the Materials of the prefent Work were
derived; which, it naft
be allowed, were rich enough not only to afford Plenty, but even Profufion:
So that the chief Difficulcy lay
in the Form,; in the Order, and CEconomy of the Work: To difpofe fuch a Variety
of Materials in fuch
manner, as not to make a confufed Heap of incongruous Parts, but one confiftent
Whole.----And here it muft be
confefs'd there was no Affifltance to be had; but I was forced to ftand wholly
on my own Bottom. Former
Lexicographers have not attempted any thing like Strufure in their Works;
nor feem to have been aware that a
Di6tionary was in fome meafure capable of the Advantages of a continued Difcourfe.
  Accordingly, we fee
nothing  like a Whole in  what they have done: And hence, fuch Materials
as they did afford for the prefent
Work, generally needed further Preparation, ere they became fit for our Purpofe;
which was as different from
theirs, as a Syftem from a Centoi:
T HIS we endeavoured to attain, by' confiidering the feveral Matters not
only absolutely and independently,
as to what they are in themfelves ; but alfo relatively, or as they refpect
each other. They are both treated
as fo many Wholes, and as fo many Parts of fome greater Whole ; their Connexion
with which, is pointed
out by a Reference.  So that by a Courfe of References, from Generals to
Particulars; from   Premifes to
Conclufions; from  Caufe to Effe6t ; and vice veifa, i. e. in one word, from
more to lefs complex, and from
lefs to more: A Communication is opened between the feveral Parts of the
Work; and the feveral Articles
are in fome meafure replaced in their natural Order of Science, out of which
the Technical or Alphabetical
one had remov'd them.
F OR an Inifance-----The Article A N A T 0 M Y is not only confider'd as
a Whole, \4. e. as a particular Com-
bination or Syftem of Ideas; and accordingly divided into its Parts, Humane
and Comparative: and Humane
again Subdivided into the Analyfis of Solids and Fluids, (which are referr'd
to in the feveral Places in the Book,
where they themrfelves being treated of, refer to others 1till lower, and
fo on) but alfo as a Part of M E D 1-
c i N E ; which accordingly it refers to, and which it felf refers to another
higher, &c.-By which means a Chain is
carried on from one End of an Art to the other, i. e. from the firft or fimpleft
Complication of Ideas appropria-
ted to the Art, which we call the Elements or Principles thereof; to the
molt complex or general one, the
Name or Term that denotes the whole Art.
NOR is the Purfuit dropt here: but as the Elements or Data in one Art, are
ordinarily qu.?ita in fome
other fubordinate one, and are furnished thereby ; (as here for Inftance,
the Elements of Anatomy are furnished by
Natural H   lory, Phy/icks, and Mechanicks; and Anatomy may be confidered
as a Datum, or Element fur-
nifhed to Medicine) We carry on the View farther, and refer out of one Art
or Province into the adjoining
ones, and thus lay the whole Land of Knowledge open: It appears indeed with
the Face of a Wildernefs;
but 'tis a Wildernefs thro' which the Reader may purfue his Journey as fecurely,
tho not fo expeditiously and
eafily, as thro' a regular Parterre.                                    
                            .   A
IT may be even faid, that if the Syftem be an Improvement upon the Diaionary;
the Dit-ionary is fome
Advantage to the Syftem ; and that this is perhaps the only Way wherein the
whole Circle or Body of Know-
ledge can be deliver'd. In any other Form, many thoufand Things muft neceffarily
be hid and overlookl'd
All the Pins, the Joints, the binding of the Fabrick mudl be invifible of
courfe ; all the lefler Parts, one mi ht
lty all the Parts whatfoever, muft be in fome meafure Swallowed up in the
Whole. The Imagination, ftret hd
a                                             and
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