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E E S S A Y S
VULGAR and DecIMAL
REASONS and DEMONSTRATIONS of them ;
With so much of
The Theory, and of universal ARITHMETICK
or ALGEBRA, as are necessary for the better under-
A GENERAL PRE FAC E, including a PANEGYRIC,
on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning.
By BEN JA MIN DONN,
Of Biddeford, Devon,
Nullius in Verba,
L O N D 0 N:
-49 GENERAL PREFACE.
T H E
HE Design of a Preface, in its greatest Extent,
is first to give the History of the Art treated
of, then to shew that it is a useful Science, T and, lafly, to give an Account of the Work.
For the first of these, and the Usefulness of the particular Arts, the Reader is referred to the Preface to the several Essays; it being the In.
tention of this Preface only to say something on the Usefulness of Mathematical and Mathematico-philofophical Learning in general, and give fome Account of the Design of the intended Work.
It being common to hear many Persons, and some who would be thought Men of Learning, demanding the Use of the Mathematics, calling the Study of them a dry Study, and affirming that it serves only for Amusement, it is, not only not improper, but in a Manner necessary, to spend a few Pages, in removing these Objections : In which, we shall endeavour to make evident, (not so much by Obfervations our own, as by * select Passages from esteemed Authors) that the Use of the Mathematics is very great ; and, therefore, the above Affertions groundless, and consequently, founded either on Ignorance, or Malice.
'It is an Observation of + M. Fontenelle's, “ that People very rea« dily call useless what they do not understand. It is a sort of Re. “ venge ; and, as the Mathematics and Natural Philofophy are • known but by few, they are generally looked
upon as useless. 6. This is the Fate of Sciences which are studied and improved but 4 by a few."
In this paregyric, or Eulogium, we shall observe the following Order : 1 To thew the Dignity of those Sciences. 2. Their Ule to all Men in general, in the Improvement of the Mind. 3. The Advantage of those Sciences in some particular Professions. 4. Laftly, to make some general Inferences by Way of Conclusion,
1. Of the Dignity of the Mathematical Sciences.
“ | In all Ages and Countries, where Learning hath prevailed, " the Mathematical Sciences have been looked upon as the most
considerable Branch of it. The very Name Másnois implies * We have chosen this Method, bocause it is natural to suppose, that the Au. thority of great Names will be much more persuasive, than any Affertions barely
+ In his Prefice to the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Parisg. in the Year 1699 ; and translated in Miscellanca Curiosa.
$ Efay on the Usefulness of Mathematical Learning,