Page:Fasti ecclesiae Anglicanae Vol.1 body of work.djvu/30

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xxvi

PREFACE TO

extract of the dates therein given, and to compare them with what other accounts I could procure. And for my greater encouragement, their lordships were pleased to promise to revise and correct myy account of each cathedral in MS. with their own notes, that the work might be rendered as complete as possible.

On these encouragements I resolved to obey their lordships' commands, and accordingly set myself to work; and had not gone far before my good fortune outstripped my very hopes, by bringing me into the favour of a very reverend dean of this Church[1], who at once laid open to my view an immense treasure in that way, the elaborate collection of more years than I have yet lived, and who (on my first request) most generously gave me free leave to extract whatever I pleased for the public service.

I now found myself so strongly qualified for such an undertaking, that I thought it might not be unacceptable to the public to add the succession of the deans, and other principal dignitaries in each cathedral.

In the prosecution of the work, I have likewise met with very great assistance from several other persons, my obligations to whom I have endeavoured to acknowledge in their proper places; and therefore shall only beg leave once for all to observe, that when so vast a treasure has been amassed together by the curious observation of so nice a searcher into the almost obliterated monuments of antiquity, I hope my readers will give me leave (without imputation of flattery) on all occasions humbly to express my gratitude for being so fortunate as to prove the channel, through which those most valuable collections are laid open to the public use, and, I hope, (I use the words of a learned prelate,) to the national service.

As to my own part or share in this work, I hope I can satisfy my conscience, that I have used my utmost endeavour to do justice to those valuable collections of which I have had the advantage; and if those gentlemen who have so generously assisted me will but believe so, and at the same time pardon

  1. Dr.White Kennett, dean of Peterborough.