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common with another. When you have bought two collections, you will find that you have bought many books twice over, and many in each which you have left at home, and, therefore, did not want; and when you have selected a small number, you will have the rest to sell at a great loss, or to transport hither at perhaps a greater. It will generally be more commodious to buy the few that you want, at a price somewhat advanced, than to encumber yourself with useless books. But libraries collected for particular studies will be very valuable acquisitions. The collection of an eminent civilian, feudist, or mathematician, will perhaps have very few superfluities. Topography or local history prevails much in many parts of the continent. I have been told that scarcely a village of Italy wants its historian. These books may be generally neglected, but some will deserve attention by the celebrity of the place, the eminence of the authors, or the beauty of the sculptures. Sculpture has always been more cultivated among other nations than among us. The old art of cutting on wood, which decorated the books of ancient impression, was never carried here to any excellence; and the practice of engraving on copper, which succeeded, has never been much employed among us in adorning books. The old books with wooden cuts are to be diligently sought; the designs were often made by great masters, and the prints are such as cannot be made by any artist now living. It will be of great use to collect in every place maps of the adjacent country, and plans of towns, buildings, and gardens. By this care you will form a more valuable body of geography than can otherwise be had. Many countries have been very exactly surveyed, but it must not be expected that the exactness of actual mensuration will be preserved, when the maps are reduced by a contracted scale, and incorporated into a general system.
"The king of Sardinia's Italian dominions are not large, yet the maps made of them in the reign of Victor fill two Atlantic folios. This part of your design will deserve particular regard, because, in this, your success will always be proportioned to your diligence. You are too well acquainted with literary history not to know that many books derive their value from the reputation of the printers. Of the celebrated printers you do not need to be informed, and if you did, might consult Baillet, "Jugemens des Savans." The productions of Aldus are enumerated in the Bibliotheca Græca, so that you may know when you have them all; which is always of use, as it prevents needless search. The great ornaments of a library, furnished for magnificence as well as use, are the first editions, of which, therefore,
I would not willingly neglect the mention. You know, sir, that the annals of typography begin with the Codex, 1457; but there is great reason to believe, that there are latent, in obscure corners, books printed before it. The secular feast, in memory of the invention of printing, is celebrated in the fortieth year of the century; if this tradition, therefore, is right, the art had in 1457 been already exercised nineteen years.
"There prevails among typographical antiquaries a vague opinion, that the Bible had been printed three times before the edition of 1462, which Calmet calls 'La première édition bien averée.' One of these editions has been lately discovered in a convent, and transplanted into the French king's library. Another copy has likewise been found, but I know not whether of the same impression, or another. These discoveries are sufficient to raise hope and instigate inquiry. In the purchase of old books, let me recommend to you to inquire with great caution, whether they are perfect. In the first edition the loss of a leaf is not easily observed. You remember how near we both were to purchasing a mutilated Missal at a high price.
"All this perhaps you know already, and, therefore, my letter may be of no use. I am, however, desirous to show you, that I wish prosperity to your undertaking. One advice more I will give, of more importance than all the rest, of which I, therefore, hope you will have still less need. You are going into a part of the world divided, as it is said, between bigotry and atheism: such representations are always hyperbolical, but there is certainly enough of both to alarm any mind solicitous for piety and truth; let not the contempt of superstition precipitate you into infidelity, or the horror of infidelity ensnare you in superstition.—I sincerely wish you successful and happy, for I am, Sir, &c., "SAM. JOHNSON."
END OF VOL. I.
Page 236, note, line 4, for first, read second.
260, note 2, line 5, for 1776, read 1766.
441, in Editor's note, for Mr. Barnard's letter, read The letter to Mr. Barnard.