Page:A Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Human Liberty (Foote).djvu/6

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Editor’s Preface.

indeed, M. Fonsegrive admits, for he observes that Collins’s “work is interesting to study, as it resumes all the determinist arguments which obtained among enlightened Freethinkers.”

This edition has been reprinted verbatim—Latin and all—from the original, with the following exceptions. A few corrections have been made from the “errata” and the “supplement to the errata,” and the list of “contents” has been omitted, while the marginal summaries have been turned into headings after the fashion of Dr. Priestley’s reprint. The original punctuation has not always been adhered to, nor has the old printer been followed in his lavish use of italics.

A few footnotes have been supplied where I thought they would assist the ordinary reader, or put him on his guard. Some of the writers referred to in the text were familiar enough to eighteenth-century readers, but they are now fallen dim; and Collins, writing as a Deist, and naturally anxious to repel the then terrible suspicion of Atheism, as well perhaps as to enmesh the “theologers” in their own net, rather overpressed his advantages from the free-will tendency of ancient “atheists” and the necessitarian tendency of Stoic philosophers and Christian divines. Other reasons for giving the present-day reader a little help will appear in the footnotes themselves. I have only to add that such footnotes are marked with my initials.

Should this reprint meet with a reasonable success, it will be followed by other reprints of valuable works of the older Freethinkers. In any case I cannot lose the satisfaction of having put Collins’s masterpiece within the reach of liberal readers, some of whom will prize it and thank me for my pains.


April 20th, 1890.