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The Biographia Britannica, is indeed much more an hiftorical work than Bayle's, but is written upon a much less extenfive plan; it contains the Lives of thofe eminent perfons only who were born in Great Britain and Ireland, and of these the chief alone are felected, though many others have a degree of eminence fufficient to render them objects of general curiofity.

The Athenæ Oxonienfes is written upon a plan still more contracted, for it contains an account of such authors only, as received their academic education at the University of Oxford.

Mr. Collier's Great Historical, Geographical, Genealogical, Poetical Dictionary may poffibly seem, by the pretended univerfality of its plan, to have answered every purpose, which can be proposed from any new work: but this Dictionary is, as its title fhews, filled with Geographical and Poetical descriptions, which are no part of our design, and with tedious uninteresting Genealogies which have neither use nor entertainment in them. It is exceedingly defective both as to the number of the lives, and the fullness of the accounts: that is, its accounts of men are too general, too fuperficial, and indeed too short to give fatisfaction. We would not have the reader to conclude from this, that it is any part of our

intention to be more than ordinarily nice and cri tical: on the contrary, we have for the most part purposely avoided mere criticism, minute enquiries and difcuffions, and all those trifling points, which conftitute the dry part of Biography; but then we have endeavoured to be at least so particular and fo accurate in our accounts, as to convey a fufficient knowledge of the perfons we have recorded; which certainly can by no means be faid of Mr. Collier. So that upon the whole, neither any nor all of these performances, however voluminous and expenfive, contain what ought to be found in an Univerfal Biographical Dictionary; and fuch is the work which we now offer to the publick.

This contains fome account of every life that has been fufficiently distinguished to be recorded; not indeed a list of all the Names that are to be found in chronological and regal tables, for of many nominal rulers both of the Church and State it can only be said that they lived and died; but a judicious narrative of the actions or writings, the honours and difgraces of all those whose Virtues, Parts, Learning, or even Vices, have preserved them from oblivion in any records, of whatever age, and in whatever language.



This work will therefore naturally include a hiftory of the most remarkable and interesting transactions, an historical account of the progrefs of learning, and an abstract of all opinions and principles by which the world has been influenced in all its extent and duration. We have been particularly careful to do justice to the learned and ingenious of our own country, whofe works are juftly held in the highest efteem; and we have alfo been attentive to the instruction and 'amufement of the ladies, not only by decorating our work with the Names of those who have done honour to the fex, but by making our account of others fufficiently particular to excite and gratify curiofity; and, where the fubject would admit, to intereft the paffions, without wearying attention, by minute prolixity or idle fpeculations."

In the execution of this plan we have not had recourfe merely to dictionaries, nor contented ourfelves with supplying the defects of one dictionary from another, and cutting off the redundancies of all, but we have collected from every performance in every language that had any relation to our Defign. For the lives of authors, we have had recourfe to their works; and for the lives of others, to the best memoirs that are extant concerning them. We shall, how

ever, notwithstanding the extent of our undertaking, and the labour and expence neceffary to the execution of it, comprize this work within Twelve volumes in octavo, and fell them for Six fhillings a volume; fo that the price of the whole will be no more than Three pounds twelve fhillings when bound.

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In a work fo various, the materials of which are so numerous, diffused and diffimilar, we have endeavoured to felect in every inftance, what was in itself moft eligible; we hope therefore that when our Readers confider what we have done, they will not withhold their approbation, upon a mere fuppofition that we might have done more. Those who are acquainted with the pains and attention requifite for the compiling of great works, will readily excufe any fmall defects that may have escaped us. The authors hope for fuccefs from the candid and judicious only, whose recommendation of this, it is their utmost ambition to obtain, as it has been their earnest endeavours to merit.


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Univerfal, Hiftorical and Literary



ARON, high prieft of the Jews, and brother to Mofes, was by the father's fide great grandfon, and by the mother's grandfon of Levi. By God's command, he met Mofes at the foot of Mount Horeb, and they went together into Egypt to deliver the children of Ifrael: he had a great share in all that Mofes did for their deliverance; the fcripture calls him the prophet of Mofes, and he acted in that capacity after the Ifraelites had passed over the Red Sea. He afcended Mount Sinai with two of his fons, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of the people; but neither he nor they went higher than half way, from whence they faw the glory of God; only Mofes and Joshua went to the top, where they ftay'd forty days. During their abfence, Aaron, overcome by the people's eager entreaties, fet up the golden calf, which the Ifraelites worshipped by his confent. This calf has given rife to various fictions and conjectures. Rabbi Solomon imagines that it became a Corn à Lapi living animal, and that Aaron, having feen it walk and eat de in Exod.. like other calves, was ftruck with aftonishment, and erected pag. 605.

an altar in its honour. Some Rabbies maintain that he did not make the golden calf, but only threw the gold into the fire, to get rid of the importunities of the people, and that certain magicians, who mingled with the Ifraelites at their departure from Egypt, caft this gold into the figure of a calf. Others are of opinion, that Aaron did not make a whole




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