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united academies, and long successions of learned compilers. I cannot hope, in the warmest moments, to preserve so much caution through so long a work, as not often to sink into negligence, or to obtain so much knowledge of all its parts as not frequently to fail by ignorance. I expect that sometimes the desire of accuracy will urge me to super- fluities, and sometimes the fear of prolixity betray me to omissions : that in the extent of such variety, I shall be often bewildered ; and in the mazes of such intricacy, be fre- quently entangled; that in one part refine- ment will be subtilized beyond exactness, and evidence dilated in another beyond perspicuity. Yet I do not despair of approbation from those who, knowing the uncertainty of con- jecture, the scantiness of knowledge, the falli- bility of memory, and the unsteadiness of attention, can compare the causes of error with the means of avoiding it, and the extent of art with the capacity of man ; and whatever be the event of my endeavours, I shall not easily regret an attempt which has procured me the honour of appearing thus publicly,

My Lord,

Your Lordship's most obedient and most humble servant,

SAM. JOHNSON.

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