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SAMUEL JOHNSON

The sequence of these selected extracts is, as far as possible, chronological, except that all relating to the Dictionary has been gathered together.

THE PLAN OF AN ENGLISH DICTIONARY (1747)

To the Right Honourable Philip Dormer, Earl of Chesterfield, one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State

MY LORD,

WHEN first I undertook to write an English Dictionary I had no expectation of any higher patronage than that of the proprietors of the copy, nor prospect of any other advantage than the price of my labour. I knew that the work in which I engaged is generally considered as drudgery for the blind, as the proper toil of artless industry; a task that requires neither the light of learning, nor the activity of genius, but may be successfully performed without any higher quality than that of bearing burdens with dull patience,B