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PREFACE.

The original Manuscripts of Mons. PASCAL's Thoughts are deposited in the Royal Library of Paris. They were in the Library of the Abbey of St Germain des Pres, but having been saved from the fire in the year 1794, which consumed that building, they were deposited where they now lie. They are arranged in one large folio volume; and there is with them, a copy made at the time of printing the first edition of the work, most probably by M. Guerrier, a Benedictine Monk, which very materially assists the reading of the original; but even with this aid, the difficulty is not small.

When the MM. de Port Royal published their edition in 1670, they adopted an arrangement of the Thoughts into chapters, which was still very imperfect; and according to this arrangement, many other editions were published both in France and Holland. In the year 1776, Condorcet published an edition with notes, which, though better in the arrangement, was only a selection of about half the original Thoughts, such, in fact, as might answer his nefarious purpose of blunting the edge of Pascal's masterly arguments against infidelity; and by corrupting the text, and exposing it to ridicule in his comments, bringing his authority as a writer on the side of truth, into contempt. With this view, he appended to his edition a series of notes, of the profanity and wickedness of which, there can now be but one opinion. Some of these notes were Voltaire's; but two years afterwards, Voltaire published an edition of his own, with additional notes by himself, equally objectionable. In these editions, many of the Thoughts are mutilated and altered from the original text, to suit the particular purpose of these infidel writers, and almost all of them, on which any remark is made, are attacked by their keen and biting sar

casm.

Up to this period, therefore, no complete edition of the Pensées had appeared; but in the year 1779, an edition of the whole works of Pascal was sent forth, edited by M. Bossut. He had no occasion to leave out those passages, which the earlier editors withheld from fear of the Jesuits; and he had no wish to follow the dishonourable example of the two infidel philosophers. He printed, therefore, every thing which he could find, adding a number of Thoughts from the Histoire de Literature, of the Pere Desmolets, and collating the whole with the original papers. He adopted, in some measure, the order which Condorcet had chosen, but not without some improvements. Since then, two small editions of the Thoughts, with a few additional gleanings, were issued by M. Renouard, in the years 1803, and 1812; and in the year 1819, a very complete edition of the whole works was printed at Paris, the editor of which, professes to have availed himself of every advantage which the labours of his predecessors set before him. From the text of this last edition, the present Translation is made.

The Translator is only aware of two English translations of the Thoughts being in existence. Neither of these is complete. They are both made from copies of the work, earlier than the edition of Bossut. One of them is a very antiquated version; and the other, is little more than a reprint of it, a little modernized in the style of expression, together with a few additional Thoughts. Many of the passages in both these, are so very ill rendered, as to convey no definite meaning whatever.

A fresh and a complete Translation of the whole of the published Thoughts became desirable, that Pascal might be really known in this country to the English reader, according to his real merits. As far as the moral and religious Thoughts extended, this has been now attempted.

To translate Thoughts so inaccurately and imperfectly expressed as many of these are, and to give a close and literal rendering that would, at the same time, convey the sense, which, in the original, is really in some instances enigmatical and questionable, was a task of serious difficulty. The Translator does not profess to have accomplished this. If he has done something towards the ultimate attainment of such a faithful version of this valuable book, he will feel thankful. And in the mean time, he will readily avail himself of the critical remarks of those who may differ from him, as to his conception of the Author's idea in any place, with a view to reconsider the passage, in case the work should ever reach another edition. He has certainly not satisfied himself.

The first three chapters of the original work have been left out, as not being connected immediately with its general object. And the Translator does not hesitate to avow, that he has withheld a few passages, which occur occasionally, on the subject of the peculiar tenets of the Romish Church; because he did not feel warranted, by the mere wish to record faithfully in a translation, all the sentiments of an Author, to circulate what he believes to be dangerous error,

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