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GEORGE CAMPBELL, D. D.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
Printed for W. STRAHAN; and T. CADELL, in the Strand;
HERE are several reasons which have induced the Author of the following fheets, to give the Public fome account of their origin and progress, previously to their coming under its examination. They are a series of Effays closely connected with one another, and written on a fubject, in the examination of which, he has at intervals employed himself for a confiderable part of his life. Confidered feparately, each may juftly be termed a whole, and complete in itself; taken together, they are conftituent parts of one Work. The Author entered on this inquiry as early as the year 1750; and it was then that the two firft Chapters of the first Book were compofed. These he intended as a fort of groundwork to the whole. And the judicious Reader will perceive, that, in raising the fuperftructure, he has entirely conformed to the plan there delineated. That firft outline he fhowed foon after to feveral of his ac
quaintance, fome of whom are ftill living. In the year 1757, it was read to a private literary fociety, of which the Author had the honour to be a member. It was a difference in his fituation at that time, and his connection with the gentlemen of that fociety, fome of whom have fince honourably diftinguished themselves in the republic of letters, that induced him to refume a fubject, which he had fo long laid afide. The three following years all the other chapters of that Book, except the third, the fixth, and the tenth, which have been but lately added (rather as illuftrations and confirmations of fome parts of the work, than as effential to it) were compofed, and fubmitted to the judgment of the fame ingenious friends. All that follows on the fubject of Elocution, hath also undergone the fame review. Nor has there been any material alteration made on thefe, or any addition to them, except in a few inftances of notes, examples, and verbal corrections, fince they were compofed.
Ir is alfo proper to obferve here, that fince tranfcribing the prefent Work for the press, a
manufcript was put into his hands by Doctor Beattie, at the very time that, in order to be favoured with the Doctor's opinion of this Performance, the Author gave him the first Book for his perufal. Doctor Beattie's Tract is called An Effay on Laughter and Ludicrous Writing. Whilft the Author carefully perufed that Effay, it gave him a very agreeable furprise to discover, that on a queftion fo nice and curious, there should, without any previous communication, be fo remarkable a coincidence of sentiments in every thing wherein their subjects coincide. A man must have an uncommon confidence in his own faculties, (I might have faid in his own infallibility) who is not sensibly more satisfied of the juftness of their procedure, especially in abftract matters, when he discovers fuch a concurrence with the ideas and reasoning of writers of difcernment. The fubject of that piece is indeed Laughter in general, with an inquiry into thofe qualities in the object, by which it is excited. The investigation is conducted with the greateft accuracy, and the theory confirmed and illuftrated by such a variety of pertinent examples, as give us accefs to fcrutinize his A 3 doctrine