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A

HISTORY

OF

INVENTIONS AND DISCOVERIES.

BY JOHN BECKMANN,

PUBLIC PROFESSOR OF ECONOMY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF
GOTTINGEN.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN,

BY WILLIAM JOHNSTON.

THIRD EDITION,

CAREFULLY CORRECTED, AND ENLARGED BY THE ADDITION OF SEVERAL

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PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, Hurst, reES, ORME, AND BROWN;
BALDWIN, CRADOCK, AND JOY; R. PRIESTLEY; R.SCHOLEY;
T. HAMILTON; W. OTRIDGE; J. WALKER; R. FENNER; J.
BELL; J. BOOKER; E. EDWARDS; AND J. HARDING.

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General Index to the most remarkable things men-

tioned in the First Volume

531

TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

THAT the arts had their rise in the East, and that they were conveyed thence to the Greeks, and from them to the Romans, is universally admitted. Respecting the inventions and discoveries however of the early ages, nothing certain is known. Many of those most useful in common life must have been the production of periods when men were little acquainted with letters, or any sure mode of transmitting an account of their improvements to succeeding generations. The taste which then prevailed of giving to every thing a divine origin, rendered traditional accounts fabulous; and the exaggeration of poets tended more and more to make such authorities less worthy of credit. A variety of works also, which might have supplied us with information on this subject, have been lost; and the relations of some of those preserved are so corrupted and obscure, that the best commentators have not been able to illustrate them. This in particular is the case with many passages in Pliny, an author who appears to have collected with the utmost diligence whatever he thought useful or curious, and whose desire of communicating knowledge seems to have been equal to his thirst for acquiring it.

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