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odd enough, and what he hardly believes; that of Jack being not quite fo obvious as the other two. The fecond inftance to fhew the author's wit is not his own, is Peter's banter (as he calls it in his Alfatia phrase) upon transub. ftantiation, which is taken from the fame Duke's conference with an Irish priest, where a cork is turned into a horse. This the author confeffes to have feen, about ten years after his book was written, and a year or two after it was publifhed. Nay, the answerer overthrows this himself: for he allows the Tale was written in 1697; and I think that pamphlet was not printed in many years after. It was neceffary, that corruption fhould have fome allegory as well as the reft; and the author invented the propereft he could, without inquiring what other people had written; and the commoneft reader will find, there is not the least resemblance between the two stories. The third inftance is in these words: "I have been affured, "that the battle in St. James's library is mutatis mutandis "taken out of a French book, intitled, Combat des livres, "if I mifremember not." In which paffage there are two claufes obfervable: I have been affured; and, if I mifremember not. I defire first to know, whether, if that conjecture proves an utter falfhood, those two claufes will be a fufficient excufe for this worthy critic. The matter is a trifle: but would he venture to pronounce at this rate upon one of greater moment? I know nothing more contemptible in a writer than the character of a plagiary; which he here fixes at a venture, and this not for a paffage, but a whole discourse, taken out from another book, only mutatis mutandis. The author is as much in the dark about this as the answerer; and will imitate him by an affirmation at random, that if there be a word of truth in this reflexion, he is a paultry imitating pedant, and the anfwerer is a person of wit, manners, and truth. He takes his boldnefs, from never having feen any fuch treatise in his life, nor heard of it before; and he is fure it is im- poffible for two writers of different times and countries, to agree in their thoughts after fuch a manner, that two continued difcourfes fhall be the fame, only mutatis mutandis. Neither will he infift upon the mistake in the title. But let the answerer and his friend produce any
book they please, he defies them to fhew one fingle particular, where the judicious reader will affirm he has been obliged for the smallest hint; giving only allowance for the accidental encountering of a fingle thought, which he knows may fometimes happen; though he has never yet found it in that difcourfe, nor has heard it objected by any body else.
So that if ever any defign was unfortunately executed, it must be that of this anfwerer; who when he would have it observed, that the author's wit is none of his own, is able to produce but three inftances, two of them mere trifles, and all three manifeftly falfe. If this be the way thefe gentlemen deal with the world in thofe criticisms, where we have not leifure to defeat them, their readers had need be cautious how they rely upon their credit; and whether this proceeding can be reconciled to humanity or truth, let those who think it worth their while, determine.
It is agreed, this answerer would have fucceeded much better, if he had stuck wholly to his bufinefs as a commentator upon the Tale of a Tub, wherein it cannot be denied, that he hath been of fome service to the public, and hath given very fair conjectures towards clearing up fome difficult paffages; but, it is the frequent error of those men, (otherwise very commendable for their labours) to make excurfions beyond their talent and their office, by pretending to point out the beauties and the faults; which is no part of their trade, which they always fail in, which the world never expected from them, nor gave them any thanks for endeavouring at. The part of Minellius, or Farnaby, would have fallen in with his genius, and might have been ferviceable to many readers, who cannot enter into the abftrufer parts of that difcourfe. But optat ephippia bos piger: the dull, unweildy, ill-fhaped ox would needs put on the furniture of a horfe, not confidering he was born to labour, to plow the ground for the fake of fuperior beings, and that he has neither the fhape, mettle, nor fpeed of that noble animal he would affect to perfonate.
*Low commentators, who wrote notes upon classic authors for the use of schoolboys.
It is another pattern of this anfwerer'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 best 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 difadvantageous character, upon those 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 with, 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 story 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 publishers 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 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 bookfeller 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 trusted to him, he would have made feveral corrections of paffages, againft which nothing hath been ever objected. He would likewise have altered a few of those that seem with any reafon to be excepted againft; but, to deal freely, the greatest number he should have left untouched, as never fufpecting it poffible any wrong interpretations could be made of them. B
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 loose hints, which he once lent a gentleman who had defigned a discourse on somewhat the same subject; he never thought of it afterwards; and it was a fufficient furprize to see it pieced up together, wholly out of the method and fcheme he had intended; for it was the ground-work of a much larger difcourse, and he was forry to observe the materials fo foolishly employed.
THERE is one farther objection made by those who have answered this book, as well as by fome others, that Peter is frequently made to repeat oaths and curfes. Every 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 inftance in the 88th page, as well as in feveral others, 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 those paffages which he thought might require it. But it feems the bookfeller will not hear of any fuch thing, being apprehenfive it might spoil the fale of the book
THE author cannot conclude this apology, without making this one reflexion, that, as wit is the noblest and most useful gift of human nature, fo humour is the most agreeable and where these two enter far into the compofition 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,
dantry, and ill manners, lay themfelves bare to the lafhes 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 firft borrowed from the bullies in White-Friers, then fell among the footmen, and at laft 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, ás they call it, be fo despiseable a thing, whence comes it to pafs they have fuch a perpetual itch towards it themfelves? 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 waggish, to tell us of a cow that pricked up her tail; and in his answer to this difcourfe, he fays, 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 counsel, than to keep out of harm's way, or at leaft not to come till they are fure they are called.
To conclude with thofe 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 tafte; 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 amusement, 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 goodnefs 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 pleasure to find twenty meanings, which never entered into his imagination.