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BIBLIOTHECA AMERICANA

VOLUME I

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F with your pleasing occupation of

looking for books, you possess the love of reading them, you may somewhere have met with the quaint old comparison, that, as geography and

chronology are the eye and the ear, so Bibliography is both the hands of History; and, as these two poor hands are the slaves of the eye and the ear, so Bibliography without distinction or reward, ministers to the wants of History. He who catalogues beetles or star-fish, in a language that never lived, is by common consent a savant, and may walk, with his brows above his temples, unrebuked in the paths of science, while he who diligently ransacks the remotest nooks, clears away literary rubbish, sorts, calendars, and elaborately describes the dry and isolated materials of history; arranges, indexes, describes, and catalogues books and manuscripts, must content himself with the unappreciated airs of the bibliographer, mindful of the fate of the bad speller, whose blunders are open to censure, while his merits are without praise. The highest incentive, then, that actuates the maker of catalogues is the fear of disgrace for a bad one, while he knows that a good one will bring him no applause.

The day may come, however, when the varied

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