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I NOW discharge my promise, and complete my design of writing the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, both in the West and the East. The whole period extends from the age of Trajan and the Antonines, to the taking of Constantinople by Mahomet the second; and includes a review of the Crusades and the state of Rome during the middle ages. Since the publication of the first “volume, twelve years have elapsed; twelve years, according to my wish, “ of health, of leisure, and of perse“verance.” I may now congratulate my deliverance from a long and laborious service, and my satisfaction will be pure and perfect if the public favour should be extended to the conclusion of my work.
* Alluding to the Quarto Edition, in which size the Work was originally published.
It was my first'intéâtibi to have collečted under one vić. the humerous authors, of every aggagdlängiggišfrom whom I have derived the platerials of this history ; and I ańolnáed thotho-apparent ostentation would be more than compensated by real use. If I have renounced this idea; if I have declined an undertaking which had obtained the approbation of a master-artist”, my excuse may be found in the extreme difficulty of assigning a proper measure to such acatalogue. A naked list of names and editions would not be satisfactory either to myself or my readers; the charaćters of the principal Authors of the Roman and Byzantine History have been occasionally conneéted with the events which they describe; a more copious and critical enquiry might indeed deserve, but it would demand, an elaborate volume, which might swell by degrees into a general library of historical writers. For the present I shall content myself with renewing my serious protestation, that I have always endeavoured to draw from the fountain-head; that my curio
I shall soon revisit the banks of the lake of Lausanne, a country which I have known and loved from my early youth. Under a mild government, amidst a beauteous landskip, in a life of leisure and independence, and among a people of easy and elegant manners, I have enjoyed, and may again hope to enjoy, the varied pleasures of retirement and society. But I shall ever glory in the name and cha
birth in a free and enlightened country; and the approbation of that country is the best and most honourable reward of my labours. Were I ambitious of any other patron than the Public, I would inscribe this work to a Statesman, who, in a long, a stormy, and at length an unfortunate administration, had many political opponents, almost without a personal enemy : who has retained, in his fall from power, many faithful and disinterested friends;
mity, enjoys the lively vigour of his mind, and the felicity of his incomparable temper. LoRD North will permit me to express the feelings of friendship in the language of truth: but even truth and friendship should be
In a remote solitude, vanity may still whisper in my ear, that my readers, perhaps, may