The history of the Royal-Society of London for the improving of natural knowledge by Tho. Sprat.
Sprat, Thomas, 1635-1713., Cowley, Abraham, 1618-1667. To the Royal Society.
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AN Advertisement to the Reader.

THe Reader is intreated to take notice. That much of this Discours was Written and Printed above two years before the rest: For this cause, in the First and Second Books, he may chance to find some Expressions that by reason of the diffe∣rence of time may seem not well to agree with the last: But those having pass'd the Press so long ago, were out of my power of changing them; and therefore I will refer it to his kindness, to do it for me.

I must also acquaint him, That in the Title of my Book I have taken a liberty, which may be liable to exception: I have call'd it a History of the Royal Society; whereas the First Part wholly Treats of the state of the Ancient Philosophy; and the Third chiefly contains a Defence and Re∣commendation of Experimental Knowledge in Page  [unnumbered] General: So that it is only the Second Book that peculiarly describes their Vndertaking. But for my excuse I may allege the Example of many of the Ancients, who have often from the Principal Part of their Works given Title to all the rest: In their imitation, though this Book does Treat of ma∣ny Subjects that are not Historical, yet I have pre∣sum'd to name the whole a History, because that was the main end of my Design.

The Style perhaps in which it is written, is lar∣ger and more contentious than becomes that purity and shortness which are the chief beauties of Histo∣rical Writings: But the blame of this ought not so much to be laid upon me, as upon the Detractors of so noble an Institution: For their Objections and Cavils against it, did make it necessary for me to write of it, not altogether in the way of a plain History, but somtimes of an Apology.