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and the faults; which is no part of their trade, which they always fail in, which the world never expected from them, nor give them any thanks. for endeavouring at. The part of Minellius, or Farnaby *, would have fallen in with his genius, and might have been serviceable to many readers, who cannot enter into the abftrufer parts of that difcourfe. But optat ephippia bos piger: The dull, unwieldy, ill-fhaped ox, would needs put on the furniture of a horfe, not confidering he was born to labour, to plough the ground for the fake of fuperior beings; and that he has neither the shape, mettle, nor speed of that noble animal he would affect to perfonate.
It is another pattern of this answerer's fair dealing, to give us hints that the author is dead, and yet to lay the fufpicion upon fome-body, I know not who, in the country. To which can only be returned, that he is abfolutely mistaken in all his conjectures; and furely conjectures are, at belt, too light a pretence to allow a man to affign a name in public. He condemns a book, and confequently the author, of whom he is utterly ignorant; yet at the fame time fixes, in print, what he thinks a disadvantageous character upon thofe who never deferved it. A man who receives a buffet in the dark, may be allowed to be vexed; but it is an odd kind of revenge, to go to cuffs in broad day with the first he meets, and lay the last night's injury at his door. And thus much for this difcreet, candid, pious, and ingenious anfwerer.
How the author came to be without his ftory not proper to be told, and of very little ufe, being a private fact, of which the reader would believe as little, or as much, as he thought good. He had however a blotted copy by him, which he intended to have written over with many alterations; and this the publithers were well aware of, having put it into the bookfeller's preface, that they apprehended a furreptitious copy which was to be altered, &c. This, though not regarded by readers, was a real truth; only the furreptitious copy
* Low commentators, who wrote notes upon claffic authors. for the use of school boys. Hawkef.
was rather that which was printed; and they made all the hafte they could; which indeed was needlefs, the author not being at all prepared. But he has been told, the book feller was in much pain, having given a good fum of money for the copy.
In the author's original copy there were not fo many chafms as appear in the book; and why fome of them were left, he knows not. Had the publication been trufted to him, he would have made feveral corrections of paffages against which nothing hath been ever objected. He would likewife have altered a few of those that feem with any reafon to be excepted against; but, to deal freely, the greatest number he fhould have left untouched, as never fufpecting it poffible any wrong interpretations could be made of them.
The author obferves, at the end of the book there is a difcourfe, called, A fragment; which he more wondered to fee in print, than all the reft; having been a most imperfect sketch, with the addition of a few loofe hints, which he once lent a gentleman, who had defigned a difcourfe on fomewhat the fame fubject. He never thought of it afterwards; and it was a fufficient furprise to see it pieced up together, wholly out of the method and scheme he had intended; for it was the ground-work of a much larger difcourfe, and he was forry to obferve the materials fo foolishly employed.
There is one farther objection made by those who have anfwered this book, as well as by fome others, That Peter is frequently made to repeat oaths and curfes very reader obferves, it was neceffary to know that Peter did fwear and curfe. The oaths are not printed out, but only fuppofed; and the idea of an oath is not immoral, like the idea of a profane or immodeft fpeech. A man may laugh at the Popish folly of curfing people to hell, and imagine them fwearing, without any crime; but lewd words, or dangerous opinions, though printed by halves, fill the reader's mind with ill ideas : and of these the author cannot be accufed. For the judicious reader will find, that the feverest strokes of fatire, in his book, are levelled against the modern cuftom of employing wit upon thofe topics; of which there is a remarkable instance in fect. 7. parag. 7. p. 97. as well as in feveral others, though.
though perhaps once or twice expreffed in too free a manner, excufable only for the reasons already alledged. Some overtures have been made, by a third hand, to the bookfeller, for the author's altering thofe paffages which he thought might require it. But it feems the bookfeller will not hear of any fuch thing, being apprehensive it might fpoil the fale of the book.
The author cannot conclude this apology, without making this one reflection, That as wit is the nobleft and most useful gift of human nature, so humour is the most agreeable; and where thefe two enter far into the compofition of any work, they will render it always acceptable to the world. Now, the great part of thofe who have no share or taste of either, but by their pride, pedantry, and ill manners, lay themselves bare to the Jafhes of both, think the blow is weak, because they are infenfible; and where wit hath any mixture of raillery, it is but calling it banter, and the work is done. This polite word of theirs was first borrowed from the bullies in White-Friers, then fell among the footmen, and at last retired to the pedants; by whom it is applied as properly to the productions of wit, as if I fhould apply it to Sir Ifaac Newton's mathematics. But if this bantering, as they call it, be fo defpifable a thing, whence comes it to pafs, they have fuch a perpetual itch towards it themselves? To inftance only in the anfwerer already mentioned: It is grievous to fee him, in fome of his writings, at every turn going out of his way to be waggifh, to tell us of a cow that pricked up her tail; and in his answer to this difcourfe, he says, It is all a farce and a ladle; with other paffages equally fhining. One may fay of thefe impedimenta literarum, that wit owes them a fhame; and they cannot take wifer counfel, than to keep out of harm's way, or at least not to come till they are fure they are called.
To conclude: With those allowances above required, this book should be read; after which, the author conceives, few things will remain, which may not be excufed in a young writer. He wrote only to the men of wit and and taffe; and he thinks he is not mistaken in his accounts, when he fays they have been all of his fide, enough to give him the vanity of telling his name;
wherein the world, with all its wife conjectures, is yet very much in the dark which circumftance is no difagreeable amufement either to the public or himself.
The author is informed, that the bookfeller has prevailed on feveral gentlemen to write fome explanatory notes; for the goodness of which he is not to answer, having never seen any of them, nor intending it till they appear in print; when it is not unlikely he may have the pleafure to find twenty meanings, which never entered into his imagination.
June 3, 1709.
INCE the writing of this, which was about a year Ngo, a bookfeller hath published a paper, under the name of Notes on the Tale of a Tub, with fame account of the author; and with an infolence, which I fuppofe is punishable by law, hath prefumed to affign certain names. It will be enough for the author to affure the world, that the writer of that paper is utterly wrong in all his conjectures upon that affair.
thor farther afferts, that the whole work is entirely of one hand; which every reader of judgment will eafily difcover: the gentleman who gave the copy to the bookfeller, being a friend of the author, and using no other liberties, befides that of expunging certain paffages, where now the chafms appear under the name of defiderata. But if any perfon will prove his claim to three lines in the whole book, let him ftep forth, and tell his name and titles; upon which, the book feller fhall have orders to prefix them to the next edition, and the claimant fhall from henceforward be acknowledged the undif-puted author.
Treatifes written by the fame author, most of them mentioned in the following difcourfes; which will be speedily published.
Character of the prefent fet of wits in this ifland.
A panegyrical effay upon the number THREE.
A differtation upon the principal productions of Grub Atreet.
Lectures upon a diffection of human nature.
A panegyric upon the world.
An analytical difcourfe upon zeal, hiftori-thec-phyfi-lo gically confidered.
A general history of ears.
A modeft defence of the proceedings of the rabble in all ages.
A description of the kingdom of abfurdities.
A voyage into England, by a perfon of quality in Terra auftralis incognita, tranflated from the original.
A critical effay upon the art of canting, philofophi cally, phyfically, and mufically confidered."