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HARVARD
COLLEGE
LIBRARY

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by

J. B. LIPPINCOTT & Co., In the Ofice of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

PREFACE

THE
THE following “Notice,” prefixed to the first volume of the original Edition

of CHAMBERS's ExcYCLOPÆDIA, conveys with admirable clearness the design of the projectors of the work and the methods adopted for its execution. A “Concluding Notice,” containing a somewhat elaborate exposition of the labors of the distinguished Editors, will also be found prefixed to the last volume

NOTICE OF THE ORIGINAL EDITION.

IT

is now considerably more than a hundred years since EPHRAIM CHAMBERS gave

to the world his Cyclopædia, or Universal Dictionary of Knowledgethe prototype, as it proved to be, of a number of similar works in Britain as well as in other countries, which must have contributed in no small measure to increase the sum of general intelligence. In nearly all these works there has been a tendency to depart from the plan of their celebrated original, as concerns some of the great departments of science, literature, and history; these being usually presented, not under a variety of specific heads, as they commonly occur to our minds when information is required, but aggregated in large and formal treatises, such as would in themselves form books of considerable bulk. By such a course it is manifest that the serviceableness of an Encyclopædia as a dictionary for reference is greatly impaired, whatever may be the advantages which on other points are gained.

With a view to bring back the Encyclopædia to its original purpose of a Dictionary of Knowledge, even down to matters of familiar conversation, the Germans formed the plan of their Conversations-Lexicon, a work which, extending to a long series of volumes, has passed through ten editions, and obtained a world-wide celeb.ity. Believing that a translation of the latest edition of that well-conceived and laboriously executed work would be generally acceptable, the Editors made an arrangement for that purpose with the proprietor, Mr. Brockhaus of Leipsic. After some time, however, had been spent in translating, the task of adapting the infor. mation to English requirements was found so difficult, that the resolution was taken to bring out a substantially new work, following in its construction the admirable pfan of the Conversations-Lexicon, but making use of its valuable matter, only so far as it might be found suitable.

CHAMBERS'S ENCYCLOPÆDIA, therefore, although constructed on the basis of the latest edition of the Conversations-Lexicon, is, in no part, a mere translation of that work. All that specially relates to Great Britain and her colonies, as well as to the states of North and South America, is collected from new and more direct sources: The articles also on the physical sciences and practical arts receive greater promi.

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