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N.B.–The Chapel of St. BLAIZE is in the Poets' Corner. GOLDSMITH'S
A WORK of this kind needs no apology. Let it suffice to say, that men of the greatest learning have employed their time usefully, in collecting from such remains of antiquity as are here preserved, historical facts, that were no otherwise to be obtained ; and for want of which, persons have been frequently connected with actions they had no relation to, events have been misplaced, and the true order of things confounded. The little regard the latter historians of our own nation have paid to these memorials, is perhaps one reason why their labours appear imperfect, and why the authors themselves, for the most part, outlive the reputation of their works.
Indeed, it is a tedious, a difficult, and often an impossible task, to have recourse to those marble records that are everywhere to be found diffused through this great kingdom; but when all that are worthy of notice in so considerable a repository as Westminster Abbey are collected together in one small book, it will be an unpardonable neglect not to make a proper use of it.
If it shall appear, upon comparison of these few sheets, that persons who have had the most considerable share in the transactions of the times in which they lived, have been but just named by our historians, while others of less note have been magnified beyond their true merit ; that actions have been ascribed to one that were performed by another; and that many things are reported in general, which ought to have been attributed to particular persons or families, the utility of the work will then be apparent, and a road pointed out, by which the errors of our historians may be corrected, their defects supplied, and justice done to the memories of many who have eminently distinguished themselves in the service of their country.
But not to dwell on this advantage only, when there are others of no small importance resulting from it, strangers who visit Westminster Abbey will find their account in the perusal of this book. The little time they are allowed in surveying the enclosed Chapels, may be more usefully employed by means of it, and their pains rewarded by the recollection of things worthy to be remembered ; the unlearned will be enabled by it to converse with the monuments of the dead, with the same pleasure as the learned ; and those who have never seen, nor are ever likely to see, this stately edifice, may conceive some idea of its former magnificence, and furniture, by the account here given of it. The guides use their best endeavours to communicate most fully to their respec