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HE complaint of Johnson regarding the hopelessness of fame which attended his lexicographical labours, has hitherto been common to the Industrious Obscure who busy themselves in the compilation of Tourist's Guides,
eerages, School-Books, and Almanacks. Such publications are usually anonymous, and the purchaser thinks no more of the unknown author than he thinks of the man who made his hat or tanned the leather of his shoes. Even when they bear an author's name, no distinct idea is attached to the words-Philips perhaps, or Carey, or Goldsmith, or Debrett-any more than to the maker's name on the blade of a table-knife, or the still more hopeless initials so carefully impressed upon his work by the goldsmith.
An attempt is here made to elevate a topographical work into the superior region of the belles lettres. It has been forced upon the notice of the present author
by the success of several similar but less comprehensive works, that an interest may attach to localities, of such a sort as to excite and bring into play many of the higher order of sentiments which pervade our common nature. Cities are more than mere collections of houses and men ; hills are not merely accidental eminences of the earth ; rivers, fortuitous confluences of running waters; stones, mere blocks. Such they might be when the primeval savage first set his foot amongst them ; but such they are not now, after so long a connexion with the fortunes and feelings of civilized man.
What is it that gives the sculptured stones of Greece a superior value to the unquarried marble over which they have risen? It is because, though both are alike as old as the creation, the former have received attentions at the hands of men a hundred ages ago, have been looked upon with veneration by millions of human beings, and yet remain monuments of their early power and ingenuity. A house may thus be more than a domicile, a hill more than an eminence, a river more than a stream of flowing water; and thus it is that, in the words of one who must have been perfectly acquainted with this occult philosophy, we may find Tongues in the trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
Under these impressions, I have, in this work, endeavoured to avoid, as much as the design of my publisher would allow, the statistical information which has hitherto been considered indispensable in topographical works ; certain that that department of the subject has already been so sufficiently illustrated as to preclude the hope of originality, while it is equally im