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TRIPLE DEDICATION.

I. TO THE PUBLIC.

“ In things indifforent reason bids us chuse,
“ Whether the whim's a monkey or a muse.'

CHURCHILL. WORTHY PATRONS, Were I to address you in the accustomed declamatory strain which has long been adopted as the universal language of dedications, viz. flattery, I should not only merit your contempt, for thus endeavouring to impose upon your understandings, but also render myself ridiculously conspicuous, by a feeble attempt to perform that, for which, as well by nature as long established habit, I am totally disqualified.

On the other hand, I should esteem myself equally meriting your censure, as being guilty of a flagrant species of ingratitude, were I to omit availing myself of 60 favourable an opportunity as now presents itself of expressing the respect and veneration I entertain for you, resulting from the very extensive and ample encouragement with which you have crowned my indefatigable exertions to obtain your patronage, by largely contributing to the diffusion of science and rational entertainment, on such moderate terms, as were heretofore unknown.

Permit me to indulge the pleasing hope, that when I assert my mind is deeply impressed with the most

grateful sense of the obligation, I shall be honoured with credit. If this opinion be well founded, to enlarge on the subject were superfluous—if otherwise, the strongest arguments the most splendid and forcible language could convey, would not ensure conviction; † therefore desist, fully persuaded that the most satisfactory demonstration I can possibly exhibit of the sincerity of this declaration, will be an inviolable adherence to that uniform line of conduct which has already secured your approbation to a degree eminent as unprecedented, and which is indeed daily rendered more evident, by a progressive increase in the number and extent of your commands; trusting, that so long as you find my practice invariably correspondent to those professions so frequently exhibited to your notice (from which to deviate would render me unworthy your protection) you will, in defiance of all malignant opposition, firmly persevere in the liberal support of him whose primary ambition it is, and during life shall be, to distinguish himself as,

Worthy patrons,

Your much obliged,
Ever grateful, and devoted humble servant,

James LACKINGTON.
Chiswell street,
October 1791.

II. To that part of the numerous body of BOOK

SELLERS of Great Britain and Ireland, whose conduct JuSTLY claims the additional title of

RESPECTABLE ; Whose candour and liberality he has in numerous instances experienced, and feels a sensible pleasure in thus publicly acknowledging.

And lastly (though not least in fume)

III. To those sordid and malevolent BOOKSEL.

LERS, whether they resplendent dwell in stately mansions, or in wretched huts of dark and grovelling obscurity;

-"I'll give every one a smart lash in my way.” To whose assiduous and unwearied labours to injure his reputation with their brethren and the public, he is in a considerable degree indebted for the confidence reposed in him, and the success he has been honoured with, productive of his present prosperity,

THESE MEMOIRS are, with all due discrimination of the respective merits of each,

Inscribed by

THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

"To print or not to print?—this is the question :
Whether 'tis better in a trunk to bury
The quirks and crotchets of outrageous fancy,
Or send a well wrote copy to the press,
And, by disclosing, end them ?---
For who would bear th’ impatient thirst of fame,
The pride of conscious merit, and 'bove all,
The tedious importunity of friends

To groan and sweat under a load of wit ?

'Tis critics that make cowards of us all."

Jago

Custom, it has been repeatedly observed by many of my worthy (and some perhaps unworthy) predecessors in authorship, has rendered a preface almost indispensably necessary; while others again have as frequently remarked, that “custom is the law of fools.” Those considerations induced me to hesitate whether I should usher my performance into the world with a preface, and thus hazard being classed with the adherents to that law, or by omitting it, escape the opprobrium, for “who shall decide when doctors disagree?” Now, though I would not take upon me to decide in every point in which doctors disagree, yet after giving the present subject that mature consideration which so important a concern required, I thought myself fully competent to decide, if not to general satisfaction, at least so as fully to satisfy one,

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