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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
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 discourse. But optat ephippia bos pi. ger : The dull, unwieldy, ill-fhaped ox, would needs put on the furniture of a horse, not considering he was born to labour, to plough the ground for the sake of su. perior beings; and that he has neither the shape, met. tle, nor speed of that noble animal be would affect to personate.
It is another pattern of this answerer's fair dealing; to give us hints that the author is dead, and yet to lay the Tufpicion upon some-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 assign a name in public. He condemns a book, and consequently the author, of whom he is utterly ignorant ; yet at the same time fixes, in print, what he thinks a disadvantageous character upon those who never deserved 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 papers, is a ftory not proper to be told, and of very little ufé, 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 publishers were well aware of, having put it into the book.. feller'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 classic authors. for the use of school-boys. Hawkef:
was rather that which was printed ; and they made all the halte they could; which indeed was needless, the author not being at all prepared. But he has been told, the bookseller was in much pain, having given a good sum of money for the copy.
In the author's original copy there were not so many chasms as appear in the book; and why some of them were left, he knows not. Had the publication been trusted to him, he would have made several corrections of paffages against which nothing hath been ever objected. He would likewise have altered a few of those that seem with any reason to be excepted against; but, to deal freely, the greatest number he should have left untouched, as never suspecting it pollible any wrong interpretations could be made of them.
The author observes, at the end of the book there is a discourse, called, A fragment; which he more wondered to see in print, than all the relt; having been a most imperfect sketch, with the addition of a few loose hints, which he once lent a gentleman, who had designed a discourse on somewhat the same subject. He never thought of it afterwards ; and it was a fufficient surprise 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 discourse, and he was sorry to observe the materials fo foolishly employed.
There is one farther objection made by those who have answered this book, as well as by some others, That Peter is frequently made to repeat oaths and curses E. very reader observes, it was necessary to know that Peter did swear and curse. The oaths are not printed out, but only supposed ; and the idea of an oath not immoral, like the idea of a profane or immodest speech. A man may laugh at the Popish folly of curling people to hell, and imagine them swearing, 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 accused. For the judicious reader will find, that the severest strokes of satire, in his book, are levelled against the modern custom of employing wit upon those topics ; of which there is a remarkable instance in sect. 7. parag. 7. p. 97. as well as in several others,
though perhaps once or twice expressed 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 those passages which he thought might require it.' But it seems the bookseller will not hear of any such thing, being apprehensive it might fpoil the sale of the book.
The author cannot conclade this apology, without making this one reflection, Thrat as wit is the nobleft and most useful gift of human nature, fo humour is the most agreeable ; and where these two enter far into the composition of any work, they will render it always acceptable to the world. Now, the great part of those who have no share or taste of either, but by their pride, pedantry, and ill manners, lay themselves bare to the lashes of both, think the blow is weak, because they are infensible; 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 should apply it to Sir Isaac Newton's mathematics. But if this bantering, as they call it, be so despisable a thing, whence comes it to pass, they have such a perpetual itch towards it themselves? To instance only in the answerer already mentioned : It is grievous to see him, in some of his writings, at every turn going out of his way to be wag. gish, to tell us of a cow that pricked up her tail; and in his answer to this discourse, he says, It is all a farce and a ladle; with other passages equally shining. One may fay of these impedimenta literarun, that wit owes them a shame; and they cannot take wiser counsel, than to keep out of harm's way, or at least not to come till they are sure 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 excused in a young writer. He wrote only to the men of wit and and taste; and he thinks he is not mistaken in his accounts, when he says they have been all of his side, enough to give him the vanity of telling his name;
wherein the world, with all its wise conjectures, is yet very much in the dark : which circumstance is no disagreeable amusement either to the public or himself.
The author is informed, that the bookseller has prevailed on several gentlemen to write some 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 nevér entered into his imagination.
June 3, 1709.
P O S T SCRIPT.
NINCE the writing of this, wbich was about a year
ago, a prostitute bookseller hath published a foolish paper, under the name of Notes on the Tale of a Tub, with fome account of the author ; and with an insolence, which I suppose is punishable by law, hath presumed to allign 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. The author farther asserts, that the whole work is entirely of one hand; which every reader of judgment will easily discover : the gentleman who gave the copy to the bookfeller, being a friend of the author, and using no other liberties, besides that of expunging certain passages, where now the chasms appear under the nanie of -desiderata. But if any perfon will prove bis claim to three lines in the whole book, let him step forth, and tell his name and titles ; upon which, the bookseller hall have orders to prefix them to the next edition, and the claimant shall from henceforward be acknowledged the undis. puted author.
Treatifes written by the fame author, most of them menti'ne
ed in the following discourses; which will be speedily published
Character of the present set of wits in this island.
A panegyrical essay upon the number Three.
A differtation upon the principal productions of Grubu ftreet.
Lectures upon a dissection of human nature.
A panegyric upon the world.
An analytical discourse upon zeal, histori-thec-physi-lo. gically conlidered.
A general history of ears.
A modeft defence of the proceedings of the rabble in
A description of the kingdom of absurdities.
A voyage into England, by a person of quality in Terra australis incognita, translated from the original.
A critical essay upon the art of canting, philosophi. cally, physically, and musically considered.