Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV

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Author: John Wesley

To the Reader.

As incredible as it may appear, I must avow, that this Dictionary is not published to get money; but to assist persons of common sense, and no learning, to understand the best English authors; and that with as little expense of either time or money as the nature of the thing will allow.

To this end, it contains, not a heap of Greek and Latin words, just tagged with English terminations; (for no good English writer, none but vain and senseless pedants, give these any place in their writings;) not a scroll of barbarous law expressions, which are neither Greek, Latin, nor good English; not a crowd of technical terms, the meaning whereof is to be sought in books expressly wrote on the subjects to which they belong; not such English words as and, of, but, which stand so gravely in Mr. Baileyí, Pardon’s, and Martin’s Dictionaries; but "most of those hard words which are found in the best English writers." I say most; for I purposely omit, not only all that are not hard, and which are not found in the best writers; not only all law words, and most technical terms; but likewise all the meaning of which may be easily gathered from those of the same derivation. And this I have done, in order to make this Dictionary both as short and cheap as possible.

I should add no more, but that I have so often observed, the only way, according to the modern taste, for any author to procure commendation to his book, is, vehemently to commend it himself. For want of this deference to the public, several excellent tracts, lately printed, but left to commend themselves by their intrinsic worth, are utterly unknown or forgotten: Whereas, if a writer of tolerable sense will but bestow a few violent encomiums on his own world; especially, if they are skillfully ranged in the title-page; it will pass through six editions in a trice: The world being too complaisant to give a gentleman the lie; and taking it for granted, he understands his own performance best.

In compliance, therefore, with the taste of the age, I add, that this little Dictionary is not only the shortest and cheapest, but likewise, by many degrees, the most correct, which is extant at this day. Many are the mistakes in all the other English Dictionaries which I have yet seen: Whereas I can truly say, I know of none in this: And I conceive the reader will believe me; for if I had, I should not have left it there. Use, then, this help, till you find a better. 17

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Chicago: John Wesley, "To the Reader.," Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV, ed. Thomas Jackson in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV (London: Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872), Original Sources, accessed February 29, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=972QTH379DQMRL9.

MLA: Wesley, John. "To the Reader." Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV, edited by Thomas Jackson, in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV, London, Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872, Original Sources. 29 Feb. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=972QTH379DQMRL9.

Harvard: Wesley, J, 'To the Reader.' in Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV, ed. . cited in 1872, Collected Works of John Wesley, Volume XIV, Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, London. Original Sources, retrieved 29 February 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=972QTH379DQMRL9.