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The Library of the Royal Institution has been founded by the liberality of a few Noblemen and Gentlemen, for the immediate use of the Subscribers to that Establishment, and, it may be said, for that of the Public at large; as any person, on the recommendation of one of the Patrons, may always have access to it.
The Library, in its present state, will be found as useful as many more splendid establishments, supported by Royal or National munificence. It contains the best and most useful Edition of every Greek and Roman Classic Author, with the best translations in English, and some in other modern languages. The Class of Mathematical Science in all its branches, is very full, with the best Scientific Journals and Transactions of learned and philosophical Societies. The Historical Class, particularly the English, in its various divisions and subdivisions, will be found
very interesting: the Managers having, at the formation of the Library, procured the entire collection of the late Thomas Astle, Esq. author of The Origin and Progress of Writing: which Library was chiefly collected by the Rev. Philip Morant, author of the History of the County of Essex. Many of the Books are enriched with his Manuscript Notes; particularly those relating to Biography
The usual Classification has been generally followed, with a few exceptions in some of the Classes. It has also been thought advisable to keep the Greek and Roman Classics in two distinct alphabetical Classes, rather than distribute them under their respective heads of Historians, Poets, Orators, &c.
In the alphabetical Index will be found, not only the names of Authors of entire Works, but also of those in the different Classical Collections of Stephens, Grotius, Maittaire, Reiske, Brunck, Jacobs, and Wernsdorf, and likewise the Writers in the great Historical Collections of Gronovius, Grævius, Burmann, Sallengre, &c.; nor is it less complete in the contents of the collections of our English Historians, by Camden, Twysden, Fulman, and Gale.
This Catalogue will be found very useful in all Libraries ; as, under cach head, not only all the best Authors are to be found, but also every particular Treatise contained in the Miscellaneous Collections of their Works; such as those of Bacon, Newton, Leibnitz, Boyle, and Locke; for instance, at page 64, among the Books on Money and Coin, will be found Locke on Money and Coin, with a reference that it is in the 2d volume of his Works: also, under the Class of Geography, Voyages and Travels, every distinct Voyage contained in the Collections of Ramusio, Churchill, Harris, &c. is arranged under the respective Island or Country therein described.
The same method is followed in all the different Classes of Science and History; and by referring to the Synoptical Table of Contents, the Reader will find a list of the best Writers on every branch of knowledge. In order to render the Lists more
complete, several Books are inserted, marked with a t, which are not at present in the Library, but are intended to be placed there when the funds of the Institution will permit them to be purchased.
Among the English Antiquities there is a frequent reference to Antiquary Tracts, in 5 vol. 4to.: this is a miscellaneous collection made by Mr. Astle, therefore cannot be found in the same order in other Libraries. It is also necessary to remark, to avoid the charge of inaccuracy, that allowance must always be made for the difference of Editions, as in the case of the Universal History, the reference being to the second Edition in Octavo, which varies in a volume or two from the first Edition of that work.
SINCE the first Edition of this Catalogue was published, many of the articles marked therein as wanting have been purchased, and many of the modern Publications and Continuations of the foreign and domestic Journals have been added to the Library : it has also received several valuable donations from the Authors
of various Works.-The late Rev. Louis Dutens bequeathed by will, Eighty-nine Volumes of Miscellaneous Tracts, the principal of which are specified in the Catalogue under their respective Classes, with a reference to the volume in which they are bound. Lady Banks presented a portion of the Library of her late sister-in-law Mrs. S. S. Banks; John Guillemard, Esq. F. R. S. One Hundred and Sixty Volumes relating to America; and the British and Foreign Bible Society, Forty-four Volumes of Bibles and parts of the New Testament, in Foreign Languages.
In the Classes of Scriptores Ecclesiastici, (page 12) and Auctores Classici, (page 103) will still be found many articles marked with a dagger (+), as not being in the Library at present; but it is hoped the encreasing prosperity of the InstiTU TION will soon enable the Patrons to place them there. The advantage of such a List of Greek and Latin Authors to Scholars cannot fail to be properly appreciated, when it is known to be printed from the Manuscript of the late Rev. Dr. Charles Burney, one of the Honorary Librarians, who intended it should have been inserted in the former Edition, as will be seen by the following letter to the Editor :
“ To Mr. Harris, Royal Institution.
“ Dr. Charles Burney acquaints Mr. Harris, that he drew up the Classical Catalogue with a view to its being printed, whole and entire. As there is no List of Greek Books so ample, he still thinks that its publication might be of service to the sale of the R. I. Catalogue; but readily submits the matter to the decision of the Patrons.
“ Greenwich, March 3, 1809."