NEW-found Lands and Countries accrew to the Prince, whose Subject makes the first Discovery; And having retriev’d a World that had been lost, for some thousands of Years, out of the Memory of Man, and the Records of Time, I thought it my Duty to lay it at Your Majesty's Feet. ’Twill not enlarge Your Dominions, ’tis past and gone; nor dare I say it will enlarge Your Thoughts; But I hope it may gratifie Your Princely curiosity to read the Description of it, and see the Fate that attended it.
We have still the broken Materials of that first World, and walk upon its Ruines; while it stood, there was the Seat of Paradise, and the Scenes of the Golden Age; when it fell, it made the Deluge; And this unshapen Earth we now inhabit, is the Form it was found in when the Waters had retir’d, and the dry Land appear’d. These things, Sir, I propose and presume to prove in the following Treatise, which I willingly submit to Your Majesty's judgment and Censure; being very well satisfied, that if I had sought a Patron in all the List of Kings, Your Contemporaries: Or in the Roll of Your Nobles, of either Order: I could not have found a more competent judge in a Speculation of this Nature. Your Majesty's Sagacity, and happy Genius for Natural History, for Observations and Remarks upon the Earth, the Heavens, and the Sea, is a better preparation for Inquiries of this kind, than all the dead Learning of the Schools.
Sir, This Theory, in the full extent of it, is to reach to the last Period of the Earth, and the End of all things; But this first Volume takes in only so much as is already past, from the Origin of the Earth, to this present time and state of Nature. To describe in like manner the Changes and Revolutions of Nature that are to come, and see thorough all succeeding Ages, will require a steddy and attentive Eye, and a retreat from the noise of the World; Especially so to connect the parts, and present them all under one view, that we may see, as in a Mirrour, the several faces of Nature, from First to Last, throughout all the Circle of Successions.
Your Majesty having been pleas’d to give encouragement to this Translation, I humbly present it to Your Gracious Acceptance. And ’tis our Interest, as well as Duty, in Disquisitions of this Nature, to Address our selves to Your Majesty, as the Defender of our Philosophick Liberties; against those that would usurp upon the
[paragraph continues] Fundamental priviledge and Birth-right of Mankind, The Free use of Reason. Your Majesty hath always appear’d the Royal Patron of Learning and the Sciences, and ’tis suitable to the Greatness of a Princely Spirit, to favour and promote whatsoever tends to the enlargement of Humane Knowledge, and the improvement of Humane Nature. To be Good and Gracious, and a Lover of Knowledge, are, methinks, two of the most amiable things in this World; And that Your Majesty may always bear that Character, in present and future Ages, and after a long and prosperous Reign, enjoy a blessed Immortality, is the constant Prayer of
Most Humble and most