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are in general very useless, not to fay very unacceptable things; and I believe many a reader enters on, and perhaps pursues his book through, without ever looking at it. Yet to readers of a fuperior class they are known to be useful and proper things; when properly managed at least, and not, as is too common, in fecret and artful recommendation of the author's ownfelf; who, however, is then generally disappointed, fince in the operations of cunning the defenfive part is feldom behind-hand with the attacking.
But why all this? for, thank God, as matters have been managed, I have, instead of a great deal more than I liked, not a great many words to offer my reader, and those, it is already seen, not much aiming at oratory to fet them forth, but only at information.
First then, I hope, I may be allowed to fay for myself, that, however paradoxical it may at firft fight appear, it is scarcely
poffible for any one to be more averfe to publication (has it not however been fomewhat proved?) than myself; who that self is, must have been fo very foon known, it will, it is hoped, be feen not to have been neceffary to point him out, or the authorship he once, and so very long ago, did happen to fall into, and when little knowing what authorship was, and ftill less what critics. To its fort or degree of fuccefs in the world, he might poffibly, at this time of day, and after his own fo complete and long filence, either in public or private, and whether from exultation of his approvers, or lamentation at his disapprovers, and still more in the putting in contraft the personages of the two fets: Yes, after this filence both ways, which certainly not a man now in the world (any more than could those gone out of it) can contradict; he might perhaps be excused in saying something as to either or both; nay, and added to this, may he not be allowed to refer to many of his own rank of life now remaining in it, whether in his meetings with any of his lively remarkers, (whose critiques, as Mr. SHERIDAN'S Critic obferves, you have generally fome d-n'd good-natured friend to tell you of) he ever once fhewed pique or refentment to any; most particularly this of two amiable and worthy men of the world he has often eaten and drank with since; one particularly, whom he fat with tête à tête, at White's, 'till three o'clock in the morning, on the very subject of the
new work, and whom he may now perhaps be indulged in saying he went home from in his chair, (after having the critical cat compleatly let out of its bag) so free from difcontent, as to have been set a laughing (in turn) all the way home. Every dog has his day; and mine, if I have it, can hardly be called one forcedly premature. But it may be called poffibly a little eccentric; be it fo; for if a defect, it is what I am not a little prone to. Nay, the entire work here offered to my reader, both verse and profe, is fo; that former one was and is fo; and I, now to be fure, fhall never be otherwise.
But however, in a strain more ufual, I would remark, that I am not quite without example or precedent for this both colloquial and perfonal writing; and I particularly mean it in both VOLTAIRE'S and DRYDEN's prefaces, which are often full of personalities, and with them, what shall not be found here, of pique and refent-ment: though I know little of DRYDEN'S, VOLTAIRE's attacks, and fore complaints of the old ROUSSEAU, and more modern FRERON, among numbers of others, who has not feen? This too, I might add, is even congenial with, and might almost be called a part of my very fubject; which, though not now, before the work, will be feen perhaps, after it, to be fo; as appertaining to the general biflory of man, and particularly of his character and event anecdote,
anecdote, of which hiftory furely all this might not fo improperly be called a part, even in regard to either of the two works which will be feen to be as it were incorporated together, and consequently, then not quite unfit, so far, for the inspection of the prefent age, while fo totally unknowing of what paft in a former one; and fo let me have done with it, for it has led me far enough to contradict my affertion, that I had very few prefatory, words for my reader.
I have however, I think, not a great many more, and they are these, viz. That what I chiefly wished to say was this, that I had, for fome time back, thought a good deal about re-publishing my quondam work before I died; and after the footing it seemed fixed upon, to leave it behind me as complete as I could; and fince that I have been rather the more induced to it from its being pretty ftrongly recommended to me by a literary acquaintance or two, readers of the work, and by no means bad judges in literature.
This then, in explanation of that paradox, has been the chief if not immediate cause of this publication. And, I hope, even to those who may be as averse to authorship, or even more so, than myself, it will not appear a very unnatural thing. And have I not now a back hand or two of gentlemen authors, not
only of my rank,