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PREFACE - Lewis Amherst Selby-Bigge, British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, vol. 1 
British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, edited with an Introduction and analytical Index by L.A. Shelby-Bigge in two volumes (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897). Vol. 1.
Part of: British Moralists, being Selections from Writers principally of the Eighteenth Century, 2 vols.
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HENRY FROWDE, M.A.
A book of selections is never quite satisfactory, and suggests apology on several grounds. Even if it is wanted, its execution may easily be found fault with. When all is irrevocably in print, one feels how much better it might have been done—how niggardly one has been to one author, how stupidly indulgent to another, how badly proportioned is the whole, and how awkwardly arranged. In the present case it may be pleaded that no particular principle has been violated, for I soon came to the conclusion that to adopt one or even two principles only as the basis of such a selection was impossible, and would not be very profitable. I abandoned myself therefore to the guidance of the principle of utility in its vaguest form, and simply tried to make a book which would be useful, and fairly representative of the British moral philosophy of the eighteenth century. In making it the limits of space have been more troublesome than those of time. At the outset I found it necessary to exclude the deistical and free will controversies (with an exception in favour of Locke), though an interesting volume might be made out of those alone. I have had also to exclude many interesting and important passages in authors admitted to the selection, and it certainly would not be fair to pronounce judgement on the authors without regard to what has been left out. In some cases diffuseness, the bane of an easy style, was the disqualification; in others they did not bear closely enough upon the questions principally discussed in my period, though they had plenty of interest in themselves. In the first volume are printed in large type the three principal texts of the sentimental school—Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, and Butler, followed by Adam Smith and Bentham. In the Appendix, in smaller type, are given additional extracts from Hutcheson's other writings. In the second volume are printed at length S. Clarke, Balguy, and Price, with extracts from Cudworth and Wollaston, and additional extracts from Balguy in the Appendix, as representatives of the intellectual school. In the Appendix to this volume appear also extracts from the 'theological utilitarians,' Brown, J. Clarke, and Yaley. Kames and Gay are included as more or less independent critics. Of Mandeville I have only given a specimen. Hobbes and Locke have really no business in the book except for convenience of reference. Cudworth belongs to the period because his ethical work was not published till 1731.
In the second volume I print a bibliographical note, from which those who take pleasure in making lists of 'the best books' may easily compile a rival selection. The Index is on the same plan as the Indices to the Clarendon Press edition of Hume's Treatise and Inquiries, to which edition reference is always made in the Introduction. The Introduction only pretends to be what it is called.