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BOOK III.

I. The low and pitiful behaviour of Heartfree;

and the foolish conduct of his apprentice. 209 II. A soliloquy of Heartfree's, full of low and base ideas, without a syllable of GreatNess 212

III. Wherein our hero proceeds in the road to

GREATNESS 217

IV. In which a young hero of wonderful good

promise makes his first appearance, with many other Great Matters . . . 220 V. More and more Greatness, unparalleled in

history or romance .... 223

VI. The event of Fireblood's adventure, and a treaty of marriage, which might have been concluded either at Smithfield, or St.

James's 228

VII. Matters preliminary to the marriage between

Mr. Jonathan Wild, and the chaste Laetitia 232 VIII. A dialogue matrimonial, which passed between Jonathan Wild, Esquire, and LiETiTiA his wife, on the morning of the day fortnight on which his nuptials were celebrated; which concluded more amicably than those debates generally do . 235 IX. Observations on the foregoing dialogue, together with a base design on our hero, which must be detested by every lover of

GREATNESS 240

X. Mr. Wild, with unprecedented generosity, visits his friend Heartfree, and the ungrateful reception he met with . . 243

THE HISTORY

op

THE LIFE

OP THE LATI

MR. JONATHAN WILD, THE GREAT.

BOOK I.
CHAPTER I.

Shewing the wholesome uses drawn from recording the achievements of those wonderful productions of nature

Called GREAT MEN.

As it is necessary that all great and surprising events, the designs of which are laid, conducted, and brought to perfection by the utmost force of human invention and art, should be produced by great and eminent men, so the lives of such may be justly and properly styled the quintessence of history. In these, when delivered to us by sensible writers, we are not only most agreeably entertained, but most usefully instructed; for besides the attaining hence a consummate knowledge of human nature in general; of its secret springs, various windings, and perplexed mazes; we have here before our eyes lively examples of whatever is amiable or detestable, worthy of admiration or abhorrence, and are consequently taught, in a manner infinitely more effectual than by precept, what we are eagerly to imitate or carefully to avoid.

But besides the two obvious advantages of surveying, as it were in a picture, the true beauty of virtue, and deformity of vice, we may moreover learn from Plutarch, Nepos, Suetonius, and other biographers, this useful lesson, not too hastily, nor in the gross, to bestow either our praise or censure; since we shall often find such a mixture of good and evil in the same character, that it may require a very accurate judgment and a very elaborate inquiry to determine on which side the balance turns: for though we sometimes meet with an Aristides or a Brutus, a Lysander or a Nero, yet far the greater number are of the mixt kind; neither totally good nor bad: their greatest virtues being obscured and allayed by their vices, and those again softened and coloured over by their virtues.

Of this kind was the illustrious person whose history we now undertake; to whom, though nature had given the greatest and most shining endowments, she had not given them absolutely pure and without allay. Though he had much of the admirable in his character, as much perhaps as is usually to be found in a hero, I will not yet venture to affirm that he was entirely free from all defects; or that the sharp eyes of censure could not spy out some little blemishes lurking amongst his many great perfections.

We would not therefore be understood to affect giving the reader a perfect or consummate pattern of human excellence; but rather, by faithfully recording some little imperfections, which shadowed over the lustre of those great qualities which we shall here record, to teach the lesson we have above mentioned; to induce our reader with us to lament the frailty of human nature, and to convince him that no mortal, after a thorough scrutiny, can be a proper object of our adoration.

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