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I. TO MR. MAYNWARING *.
THE state of conversation and business in this town having been long perplexed with Pretenders in both kinds; in order to open mens eyes against such abuses, it appeared no unprofitable undertaking to publish a Paper, which should observe upon the manners of the pleasurable, as well as the busy part of mankind. To make this generally read, it seemed the most proper method to form it by way of a Letter of Intelligence, consisting of such parts as might gratify the curiosity of persons of all conditions, and of each sex. But a work of this nature requiring time to grow into the notice of the world, it happened very luckily, that, a little before I had resolved upon this design, a gentleman had written predictions, and two or three other pieces in my name, which rendered it famous through all parts of Europe; and, by an inimitable * Arthur Maynwaring, Esq.
spirit and humour, raised it to as high a pitch of reputation as it cold possibly arrive at.
By this good fortune the name of Isane Bickerstaff gained an audience of all who had any taste of wit; and the addition of the ordinary occurrences of common Journals of News brought in a multitude of other readers. I could not, I confess, long keep up the opinion of the town, that these Lucubrations were written by the same hand with the first works which were published under my name; but, before I lost the participation of that author's fame, I had already found the advantage of his authority, to which I owe the sudden acceptance which my la bours met with in the world,
The general purpose of this Paper is to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behaviour. No man has a better judgment for the discovery, or a nobler spirit for the contempt of all imposture, than yourself; which qualities render you the most proper patron for the author of these Essays In the general, the design, however executed, has met with so great success, that there is hardly a name now eminent among us for power, wit, beauty, valour, or wisdom, which is not subscribed for the encouragement of these volumes. This is, indeed, an honour, for which it is impos-sible to express a suitable gratitude, and there is nothing could be an addition to the pleasure I take in it but the reflection, that it gives me the most conspicuous occasion I can ever have, of subser.bing myself, Sir,
Your most obliged, most obedient,
II. TO EDWARD WORTLEY MONTAGUE*, Esq.
WHEN I send you this volume, I am rather to make you a request than a Dedication. I must desire, that if you think fit to throw away any moments on it, you would not do it after reading those excellent pieces with which you are usually conversant. The images which you will meet with here, will be very faint, after the perusal of the Greeks and Romans, who are your ordinary companions. I must confess I am obliged to you for the taste of many of their excellences, which I had not observed until you pointed them to me. I am very proud that there are some things in these Papers which I know you pardon†; and it is no small pleasure to have one's labours suffered by the judgment of a man, who so well understands the true charms of eloquence and poesy. But I direct this address to you; not that I think I can entertain you with my writings, but to thank you for the new delight I have, from your conversation, in those of other men.
May you enjoy a long continuance of the true relish of the happiness Heaven has bestowed upon you! I know not how to say a more affectionate thing to you, than to wish that you may be always what you are; and that you may ever think, as I know you now do, that you have a much larger fortune an you want. I am, Sir,
Your most obedient, and most humble servant,
* Second son of the Hon. Lady Worthy Montague, and grandson of Edward Montague, the first Earl of Sandwich.
This feems to amount to a declaration, that E. Wortley Montague, eq. was himself a writer in these papers.
III. TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
WILLIAM, LORD COWPER,
BARON OF WINGHAM.
AFTER having long celebrated the superior graces and excellences, among men, in an imaginary character, I do myself the honour to show my veneration for transcendent merit under my own name, in this address to your Lordship. The just application of those high accomplishments of which you are master, has been an advantage to all your fellow-subjects; and it is from the common obligation you have laid upon all the world, that I, though a private man, can pretend to be affected with, or take the liberty to acknowledge, your great talents and public virtues.
It gives a pleasing prospect to your friends, that is to say, to the friends of your country, that yon have passed through the highest offices, at an age when others usually do but form to themselves the hopes of them. They may expect to see you in the House of Lords as many years as you were ascending to it. It is our common good, that your admirable eloquence can now no longer be employed, but in the expression of your own sentiments and judg ment. The skilful pleader is now for ever changed into the just judge; which latter character your Lordship exerts with so prevailing an impartiality, that you win the approbation even of those who dissent from you, and you always obtain favour, because you are never moved by it.