Page images




[ocr errors]

yet that being addressed to a prince, whom I am never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person, besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded, or thought on by any of our present writers; and being wholly free from that slavery which booksellers wsually lie under to the caprices of authors; I think it a wise piece of presumption, to inscribe these papers to your Lordship, and to implore your Lordship's protection of them. God and your Lord'hip know their faults, and their merits : for, as to my own particular, I am altogether a stranger to the matter; and though every body else should be equally ignorant, I do not fear the sale of the book, at all the worse, upon that -score. Your Lordship's name on the front, in capital letters, will at any time get off one edition : neither avould I desire any other help to grow an alderman, than a patent for the sole privilege of dedicating to your Lordlip.

I should now, in right of a dedicator, give your Lordship a list of your own virtues, and at the same

time be very unwilling to offend your modesty; but, chiefly, I should celebrate your liberality towards men of great parts and finall fortunes, and give you broad hints, that I mean myself. And I was just going on, in the usual method, to peruse a hundred or two of dedications, and transcribe an abstract, to be applied to your Lordship.; but I was diverted by a certain accident. For, upon the covers of these papers, I casually observed, written in large letters, the two following words, DE TUR DIGNISSIMO; which, for aught I knew, might contain some important meaning. But it unluckily fell out, that none of the authors I employ understood Latin ; (though I have them often in pay, to translate out of that language.) I-was-therefore compelled to have recourse to the curate of our


parith, who Englifhed it thus, Let it be given to the worthieft. And his comment was, that the author meant his works should be dedicated to the sublimelt genius of the age, for wit, learning, judgment, eloquence, and wiltom.

I called at a poet's chamber, (who works for my shop) in an alley. hard by, shewed him the translation, and desired his opinion, who it wass that the author could mean, He told me, after some confideration, that vanity was a thing he abhorred; but, by the description, he thought himself to be the person aimed at; and, at the sanje time, he very kindly offered his own alistance gratis towards penning a dedication to himself. I desired him, however, to give a second guess.. Why then, said he, it must be 1, or my Lord Sommers. From thence I went to several other wits of my acquaintance, with no small hazard and weariness to my person, from a prodigious number of dark, winding stairs; but found them all in the same story, both of your Lordship and themselves. Now, your Lordship is to understand, that this proceeding was not of my own invention; .for I have some where heard, it is a maxim, That those to whom every body allows the second place, have an undoubted title to the first. This infallibly convinced me, that your Lordship was

; the person intended by the author. But, being very unacquainted in the style and form of dedications, I employed those wits aforesaid, to furnish me with hints and materials towards a panegyric upon your Lordship's virtues.

In two days they brought me ten sheets of up on every side. They swore to me, that they had ransacked whatever could be found in the characters of Socrates, Aristides, Epaminondas, Cato, Tully, Atticus, and other hard names, which I cannot now recol. lect. However, I have reason to believe, they imposed upon my ignorance; because, when I came to read over their collections, there was not a fyllable there, but what I and a

- every body else knew as well as themselves, Therefore I grievously suspect a cheat ; and that these authors of mine stole and transcribed every word from the universal report of mankind. So that I look upon myself, as fifty shillings out of pocket to no manner of purpose.

B 2


paper, filled

If, by altering the title, I could make the same mate. rials serve for another dedication, (as my betters have done), it would help to make up my loss; but I have made several persons dip here and there in those papers ; and before they read three lines, they have all allured me plainly, that they cannot poflibiy be applied to any perfon besides your Lordship.

I expected, indeed, to have heard of your Lordship’s bravery at the head of an army; of your undaunted courage, in mounting a breach, or scaling a wall; or to have had your pedigree traced in a lineal descent from the house of Austria ; or of your wonderful talent at dress and dancing; or your profound knowledge in algebra, metaphysics, and the oriental tongues. But to ply the world with an old beaten story of your wit, and eloquence, and learning, and wisdoin, and justice, and politeness, and candor, and evenness of temper in all scenes of life; of that great discernment in discovering, and readiness in favouring deserving men; with forty other common topics; confess, I have neither conscience, nor countenance to do it: because there is no virtue, either of a public or private life, which fome circumstances of your own have not often produced upon the 1tage of the world; and those few, which, for want of occasions to exert them, might otherwise have passed ún. feen or unobserved by your friends, your enemies have at length brought to light.

It is true, I should be very loth, the bright example of your Lordship’s virtucs should be lost to after ages, both for their fake and your own; but chiefly, because they will be so very neceffary to adorn the history of a late reign t : and that is another reason why I would forbear to make a recital of them here; becaufe I have been told by wise men, that, as dedications have run

[ocr errors]

* In 1701, Lord Soinmers was impeached by the Commons, who cither finding their proofs defe&tive, or for other reasons, delayed coming to a trial; and the Lords thereupon proceeded to the trial without them, and acquitted him. Hawkes.

+ K. William's; whose memory he defended in the house of Lords, against some invidious reficctions of the Earl of Nottingham. Hawkes.


[ocr errors][merged small]

for some years past, a good historian will not be apt to have recourse thither, in search of characters.

There is one point, wherein I think we dedicators would do well to change our measures ;


instead of running on so far upon the praise of our patrons libera, lity, to spend a word or two in admiring their patience. I can put no greater compliment on your Lordship’s, than by giving you so ample an occasion to exercise it at prefent. Though perhaps I shall not be apt to reckon much merit to your Lordship upon that score, who having been formerly used to tedious harangues *, and sometimes to as little purpose, will be the readier to pardon this; especially when it is offered by one, who is, with all respect and veneration,

[ocr errors]


Your Lordship's most obedient;

and most faithful servant,

The Bookfeller,

* Sir John Sommers was Attorney-General; then made Lord } Keeper of the Seals in 1692, and Lord High Chancellor and i Barun of Evelham, in April 1697. Hawkefi

[blocks in formation]

The BookSELLER to the READER.

[ocr errors]


"T is now six years * since these papers came first to

my hand, which seems to have been about a twelvemonth after they were written : for the author tells us in his preface to the first treatise, that he hath calculated it for the year 1697: and in several passages of that difcourse, as well as the second, it appears they were written about that time.

As to the author, I can give no manner of satisfaction. However, I am credibly informed, that this publication is without his knowledge; for he concludes the copy is loft, having lent it to a person, since dead, and being never in possession of it after : so that whether the work received his last hand, or whether he intended to fill up the defective places, is like to remain a secret.

If I should go about to tell the reader, by what acci. dent I became master of these papers, it would, in this unbelieving age, pass for little more than the cant or jargon of the trade. I therefore gladly spare both him and myself so unnecessary a trouble. There yet remains a difficult question, Why I published them no sooner? I forbore upon two accounts: first, because I thought I had better work upon my hands; and secondly, because I was not without some hope of hearing from the author, and receiving his directions. But I have been lately alarmed with intelligence of a furreptitious copy t, which a certain great wit had new polished and refined; or, as our present writers express themselves, fitted to the humour of the age; as they have already done, with great felicity, to Don Quixote, Boccalini, La Bruyere, and other authors. However, I thought it fairer dealing to offer the whole work in its naturals. If any gentleman will please to furnisht me with a key, in order to explain the more difficult parts, I shall very gratefully acknowledge the favour, and print it by itself. * The Tale of a Tu' was first published in 1704. Hawkes. See the Apology, p. 11.


« PreviousContinue »