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THE BOOKSELLER'S ADVERTISEMENT.
THE following Discourse came into my hands perfect and entire; but there being several things in it which the present age would not very well bear, I kept it by me some years, resolving it should never see the light. At length, by the advice and assistance of a judicious friend, I retrenched those parts that might give most offence, and have now ventured to publish the remainder. Concerning the author I am wholly ignorant; neither can I conjecture whether it be the same with that of the two foregoing pieces, the original having been sent me at a different time, and in a different hand. The learned reader will better determine, to whose judgment I entirely submit it.
A DISCOURSE, &c.
For T. H., Esquire,* at his Chambers in the Academy of the Beaux Esprits in New England.
T is now a good while since I have had in my head something, not only very material, but absolutely necessary to my health, that the world should be informed in; for, to tell you a secret, I am able to contain it no longer. However, I have been perplexed, for some time, to resolve what would be the most proper form to send it abroad in. To which end I have been three days coursing through Westminster-hall, and St. Paul's Churchyard, and Fleet-street, to peruse titles; and I do not find any which holds so general a vogue, as that of a Letter to a Friend: nothing is more com
* Supposed to be Col. Hunter, for some time believed to be the author of the Letter of Enthusiasm, mentioned in the Apology for the Tale of a Tub.
This Discourse is not altogether equal to the former, the best parts of it being omitted; whether the bookseller's account be true, that he durst not print the rest, I know not; nor indeed is it easy to determine, whether he may be relied on in anything he says of this or the former treatises, only as to the time they were writ in; which, however, appears more from the discourses themselves than his relation.-H.
mon than to meet with long epistles, addressed to persons and places, where, at first thinking, one would be apt to imagine it not altogether so necessary or convenient: such as, a neighbour at next door, a mortal enemy, a perfect stranger, or a person of quality in the clouds; and these upon subjects, in appearance, the least proper for conveyance by the post; as long schemes in philosophy; dark and wonderful mysteries of state; laborious dissertations in criticism and philosophy; advice to parliaments, and the like.
Now, sir, to proceed after the method in present wear for let me say what I will to the contrary, I am afraid you will publish this letter, as soon as ever it comes to your hand. I desire you will be my witness to the world how careless and sudden. a scribble it has been; that it was but yesterday when you and I began accidentally to fall into discourse on this matter; that I was not very well when we parted; that the post is in such haste, I have had no manner of time to digest it into order, or correct the style; and if any other modern excuses for haste and negligence shall occur to you. in reading, I beg you to insert them, faithfully promising they shall be thankfully acknowledged.
Pray, sir, in your next letter to the Iroquois virtuosi, do me the favour to present my humble service to that illustrious body, and assure them I shall send an account of those phenomena, as soon as we can determine them at Gresham.
I have not had a line from the literati of Topinambou these three last ordinaries.
And now, sir, having dispatched what I had to say of form, or of business, let me entreat you will suffer me to proceed upon my subject; and to pardon me, if I make no farther use of the epistolary style till I come to conclude.