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"Inest sua gratia parvis."
JOHN VAN VOORST, PATERNOSTER ROW.
Tibi res antiquse laudis et artis
The prevailing desire for information on heraldry does not appear to have been encouraged by the production of books in proportion to the interest the subject excites, as, amidst the vast range of modern publications very few indeed are found to relate to heraldry. A sufficient reason may perhaps be found in the fear of encountering its boundlessness without the probability of incurring a serious charge of prolixity, by venturing to grasp at once the whole of this extensive subject; another more obvious cause preventing the attempt from being rashly made, is the number of engravings required for its support and illustration, few publishers being willing to risk the great expense attending this very necessary part of the undertaking. It is not to be denied, that the research which unfolds the progress of heraldry in the days of chivalric enterprise, and supplies the means of tracing its history through the different periods of time, would prove a most attractive and entertaining employment of leisure; but the knowledge of its origin, and of the importance it began to acquire at an early epoch, its improvement, and its perfection, with all the