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PUBLIC LIBRARY

55415A

OR. LENOX AND
POUNDATIONS

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EDINBURGH: PRINTED BY JOHN GREIG AND SON, LAWNMARKET.

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PREFACE.

N these days of joint-stock speculation, it will not excite surprise that a literary work should be got up on a principle somewhat

similar. We see no reason why authors may not invest their wits, as merchants do their wealth, in a common capital, nor why a good book may not be produced by a judicious combination of scrip and division of labour. The only feature of the present undertaking which seems to require explanation, is the limited dimensions of the ground selected for our operations. We must confess that it has been barely sufficient to afford room for five of us, and that we have been in danger occasionally of jostling and tripping each other in the course of our proceedings. But it would ill have become us to quarrel with this, when we reflected how very different our confinement

has been from that of the unhappy prisoners formerly doomed to languish on this barren rock, more especially when we were not only allowed, what they were often denied, "the liberty of the whole island," but invited to extend our researches as far back as the time when rocks and islands in general came into existence. Nor is the narrowness of the spot, which may be regarded as the terminus of our diverging lines, altogether without its advantages. A larger field, embracing other castles formerly devoted to the same purposes with the Bass, might, no doubt, have furnished ampler materials for illustration; but by confining ourselves to one, we secure unity of design, and what the scene lacks in point of grandeur, it gains in point of interest -on the same principle that Sterne "took his single captive, and having first shut him up in his dungeon, looked at him through the twilight of his grated door, to take his picture."

The volume opens with the Civil and Ecclesiastic History of the Bass,-a precedence which this portion owes to its partaking, more than any of the other parts, of an introductory character. Here the reader may be reminded, perhaps, of the clergyman that was compelled to preach a sermon on a single short word as a text; he will therefore make some allowance, should he find a superfluous display of knowledge where little can be known, and a good deal of talking where little can be told. The writer claims no more than the humble merit of stringing together the few facts scattered over

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