The prospectus of the Dictionary he addressed to the earl of Chesterfield.
He determined, therefore, to publish his paper in Boston, and, having issued his prospectus, set himself to the task of awakening an interest in the subject by means of lectures in some of the principal cities and towns of the North.
See Diderot's Prospectus (Muvres, iii.) and d'Alembert's Discours (Ouvres,i.) The scheme should be compared with later attempts of the same nature by Ampere, Cournot, Comte and Herbert Spencer.
His name first came before the public in 1683, when a prospectus was published in Edinburgh entitled An Account of the Scottish Atlas, stating that "the Privy Council of Scotland has appointed John Adair, mathematician and skilfull mechanick, to survey the shires."
In 1747 Johnson sent Chesterfield, who was then secretary of state, a prospectus of his Dictionary, which was acknowledged by a subscription of X10.
Shortly afterwards (1860) he sent out the prospectus of a systematic exposition of his Synthetic Philosophy, of which the first volume, First Principles, appeared in 1862.
In 1786, supported also by such scholars as Benjamin Kennicott and Robert Lowth, Geddes published a Prospectus of a new Translation of the Holy Bible, a considerable quarto volume, in which the defects of previous translations were fully pointed out, and the means indicated by which these might be removed.
The prospectus promised to give an account of the chief books published throughout Europe, obituary notices, a review of the progress of science, besides legal and ecclesiastical information and other matters of interest to cultivated persons.
Johnson had, in his prospectus, told the world that he was peculiarly fitted for the task which he had undertaken, because he had, as a lexicographer, been under the necessity of taking a wider view of the English language than any of his predecessors.
The prospectus set forth that the firm would undertake church decoration, carving, stained glass, metal-work, paper-hangings, chintzes and carpets.