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Ir has been suggested that a short History of Croydon might be acceptable to the Public---and, indeed, when it is considered to what a degree of notoriety this Town has attained, what it was, and what it is, it may be reasonably hoped that an account of it may be interesting.
CROYDON, in respect to its antiquity, is a subject worthy of record--as it has been the seat in which many venerable Primates have sought retirement from the fatigue attendant upon their temporal engagements, and in which they have also pursued their pious and learned labours, it is entitled to more than a casual notice. Its charitable Institutions, of dates remote from our times, command our respect for the past, and excite our best feelings as to the present. In this respect, a History of Croydon it is thought, may be gratifying to the Inhabitants of its vicinity; and in addition to this, the amenity of the surrounding Landscape appears to recommend it to the particular attention of the Traveller.
Since Topography has of late become so much an object of amusement, of interest, and of research, the Author has
employed very considerable pains in preparing the following sheets; with regard to the plan of the work, the Author's great care has been, in relating every thing which he conceived relevant to make it entertaining without being prolix. For this purpose, he has selected from Dr. DUCAREL'S Account of the Town, Church, and Archiepiscopal Palace of Croydon, the substance of all that he thought useful or amusing and here, perhaps, it may be expected that he should offer some apology for presenting to public view a History of Croydon, while the work of the learned Ducarel is still extant. The Author begs humbly to state, in the first place, that though Dr. Ducarel's "Account" is still in print, it is very rarely to be found; Secondly, that notwithstanding its great merit for learning and research, it is not a work of a nature likely to satisfy the purpose for which the present undertaking is designed---the stile of Dr. Ducarel, good and expressive, is not, perhaps, what the notions of modern taste would require; much of his matter also, deep and recondite, would probably weary the traveller, and afford but a scanty gratification to the Reader in his Closet, when perhaps far absent from the scene to which the Book relates. Besides Ducarel's work, no History of Croydon has ever been published.
For useful and interesting information, the Author has diligently consulted the most eminent Historical Writers, he has compared them one with another, and has drawn from them such matter. as he thought most likely to answer the purpose of instruction or amusement,
The Author begs leave to take this public opportunity of offering his profound acknowledgments to the several Gentlemen of Croydon from whom he has received very important assistance in the progress of the work.
In order to gratify the mere English Reader, whatever pieces of Latin have occurred, whether in Verse or Prose, have been, with some exceptions, translated. The numerous Epitaphs in the Church and Church-yard, have been carefully transcribed, and of the Latin ones, the Author has given the best versions he was able to produce; with respect to some of them, he hopes that allowance will be made, when the obscurity of their originals, and the difference in the genius of the two Languages shall be duly considered.
To become acquainted with all that principally relates to any considerable place through which he may pass, must appear to the intelligent Traveller not only desirable, but incumbent upon him. Such information will enliven his intercourse with his companion upon his Journey, and will plentifully supply him with interesting reflections when alone---to know the History of aged Structures, of ancient Institutions, of local Customs and Appointments---to trace the scenes where Piety and Learning have rejoiced to dwell, where genius has flourished, where upon all, perhaps, the evening of mortality has closed--to learn every thing respecting a place, frequented by venerable sages, accustomed by precept and example, to instruct and delight the world---to know what can be known of those shades which have seen a WHITGIFT
and a SHELDON consecrated in the tomb---is to render the journey at once pleasing and profitable, is to make the departure from the enjoyments of home reasonable, is to prove that the object of the excursion is not a mere transition from one place to another, but that it is, what it ought to be, the acquisition of improvement, combined with blameless recreation.
If the perusal of the present work shall be followed by these effects, the Author's gratification will be sincere; or if it should only occupy an hour which might have been less innocently employed, the attention he has bestowed upon it will not have been ill directed. While he offers these pages to the Public, he implores its indulgence; conscious of some imperfections, he cannot but apprehend how many more may be discovered---He presumes, however, to hope, that if his Book is to be considered worthy of Criticism, the judges will demean themselves in such a manner as to render him both able and willing to improve it.