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THE Proprietors of this edition of Roliln's Ancient HisTORY beg leave to inform the public, that it was published by the author at different times, and, as he himself acknowledges, upon no certain plan of execution. This rendered it necessary for him to emit a particular preface or introduction to each publication ; but the whole being now completed, the editors have combined all his introductions into one and have omitted such passages as were either superfluous or redundant.
Upon a most careful perusal of the author's general preface, they were in some doubt whether the same might not be entirely suppressed without any detriment to the work. The reputation of the author, the piety of his sentiments, which clash with no profession, even of Protestant Christianity, and the benevolence of his intention, determined them to give it to the public with but a very few alterations, which they dare to say Mr. ROLLIN would have approved of had he been now alive and in this country.
From the desultory manner in which the original was first published, as already mentioned, the editors found it expedient to give the author's introductory observations and discourses a new but regular arrangement, the propriety of which they humbly hope must be obvious to every reader, especially as they have preserved all the original ideas, observations, and criticisms of the excellent
• To a neat London edition, published in 1804.
Written by the Right Reverend DR. FRANCIS ATTERBURY, late Lord Bishop of Rochester, to Mr. Rollin, in commendation of this work.
REVERENDE ATQUE ERUDITISSIME VIR,
CUM, monente amico quodam, qui juxta ædes tuas habitat, scirem te Parisios revertisse ; statui salutatum te ire, ut primum per valetudinem liceret. Id officii, ex pedum infirmitate aliquandiu dilatum, cum tandem me impleturum sperarem, frustra fui ; domi non eras. Restat, ut quod coramex equi non potui, scriptis saltem literis præstem ; tibique ob ea omnia, quibus a te auctus sum, beneficia, grates agam, quas habeo certe, et semper habiturus sum, maximas.
Revera munera illa librorum muperis a te annis editorum egregia ac perhonorifica mihi visa sunt. Multi enim facio, et te, vir præstantissime, et tua omnia quæcunque in isto literarum genere perpolita sunt ; in quo quidem te cæteris omnibus ejusmodi scriptoribus facile antecellere, atque esse eundem et dicendi et sentiendi magistrum optimum, prorsus existimo : cumque in excolendis his studiis aliquantulum ipse et operæ et temporis posuerim, libere tamen profiteor me, tua cum legam ac relegam, ea edoctum esse a te, non solum quæ nesciebam prorsus, sed etiam quæ antea didicisse mihi visus sum. Modeste itaque nimium de opere tuo sentis, cum juventuti tantum instituendæ elaboratum id esse contendis. Ea certe scribis, quæ a viris istiusmodi rerum haud imperitis, cum voluptate et fructu legi possunt. Vetera quidem et satis cognita revocas in memoriam ; sed ita revocas, ut illustres, ut ornes ; ut aliquid vetustis adjicias quod novum sit, alienis quod omnino tuum : bonasque picturas bona in luce collocando efficis, ut
etiam iis, a quibus sæpissime conspectæ sunt, elegantiores tamen solito appareant, et placeant magis.
Certe, dum Xenophontem sæpius versas, ab illo et ea quæ a te plurimis in locis narrantur, et ipsum ubique narrandi modum videris traxisse, stylique Xenophontei nitorem ac venustam simplicitatem non imitari tantum, sed plane assequi : ita ut si Gallice scisset Xenophon, non aliis illum, in eo argumento quod tractas, verbis usurum, non alio prorsus more scripturum judicem.
Hæc ego, haud assentandi causa (quod vitium procul a me abest) sed vere ex animi sententia dico. Cum enim pulchris a te donis ditatus sim, quibus in eodem, aut in alio quopiam doctrinæ genere referendis imparem me sentio, volui tamen propensi erga te animi gratique testimonium proferre, et te aliquo saltem munusculo, etsi perquam dissimili, remunerari.
Perge, vir docte admodum et venerande, de bonis literis, quæ nunc neglectæ passim et spretæ jacent, bene mereri : perge juventutem Gallicam (quando illi solummodo te utilem esse vis) optimis et præceptis et exemplis informare.
Quod ut facias, annis ætatis tuæ elapsis multos adjiciat Deus ! iisque decurrentibus sanum te pæstet atque incolu
Hoc ex animo optat ac vovet
FRANCISCUS ROFFENSIS. .
Pransurum te mecum post festa dixit mihi amicus ille noster qui tibi vicinus est. Cum statueris tecum quo die adfuturus es, id illi significabis. Me certe annis malisque debilitatum, quandocunque veneris, domi invenies.
6° KAL. JAN. 1731.
REVEREND AND MOST LEARNED SIR,
WHEN I was informed by a friend who lives near you, that you were returned to Paris, 1 resolved to wait on you as soon as my health would admit. After having been prevented by the gout for some time, I was in hopes at length of paying my respects to you at your house, and went thither, but you were not at home. It is incumbent on me, therefore, to do that in writing which I could not in person, and to return you my acknowledgments for all the favours you have been pleased to confer upon me, of which I beg you will be assured that I shall always retain the most grateful
And indeed I esteem the books you have lately published, as presents of exceeding value, and such as do me very great honour. For I have the highest regard, most excellent Sir, both for you, and for every thing that comes from so masterly a hand as your's, in the kind of learning you treat ; in which I must believe that you not only excel all other writers, but are at the same time the best master of speaking and thinking well ; and I freely confess, that though I applied some time and pains in cultivating these studies, when I read your volumes over and over again, I was instructed in things by you of which I was not only entirely ignorant, but seemed to myself to have learned before. You have, therefore, too modest an opinion of your work, when you declare it composed solely for the instruction of youth. What you write may undoubtedly be read with pleasure and improvement by persons not unacquainted in learning of the same kind. For whilst you call to mind ancient facts and things sufficiently known, you do it in such a manner, that you illustrate, you embellish them; still adding something new to the old, something entirely your own to the labours of others : by placing good pictures in a good light, you make them appear with unusual elegance and more exalted beauties, even to those who have seen and studied them most.
In your frequent correspondence with Xenophon, you have certainly extracted from him, both what you relate in many places, and every where his very manner of relating; you seem not only to have imitated, but attained the shining elegance and beautiful simplicity of that author's style : so that had Xenophon excelled in the French language, in my judgment, he would have used no other words, nor written in any other methodupon the subject you treat, than you have done.
I do not say this out of flattery, which is far from being my vice, but from my real sense and opinion. As you have enriched me with
presents, which I know how incapable I am of repaying either in the same or in any other kind of learning, I was willing to testify my gratitude and affection for you, and at least to make you some small, though exceedingly unequal return.
Go on, most learned and venerable Sir, to deserve well of sound literature, which now lies universally neglected and despised. Go on, informing the youth of France, since you will have their utility to be your sole view, upon the best precepts and examples.
Which that you may effect, may it please God to add many years to your life, and, during the course of them, to preserve you in health and safety. This is the earnest wish and prayer of
Your most obedient servant,
P. S. Our friend, your neighbour, tells me you intend to dine with me after the holidays. When you have fixed upon the day, be pleased to let him know it. Whenever you come, you will certainly find one, so weak with age and ills as I am, at home.
DECEMBER 26, 1731.