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Care to our coffin adds a nail no doubt,
And ev'ry grin, so merry, draws one out;

I own I like to laugh, and hate to sigh,
And think, that risibility was giv'n
For human happiness, by gracious beav'n,

And that we came not into life to cry;
To wear long faces, just as if our maker,
The God of goodness, was an undertaker,
Well pleas'd to wrap the soul's unlucky mien,
In sorrow's dismal crape or bombasine.
Methinks I hear the lord of nature say,
“ Fools how you plague me! Go, be wise, be gay.
Mirth be your motto-merry be your heart;
Good laughs are pleasant inoffensive things."

Peter PINDAR.

INTRODUCTION.

ALTHOUGH the rambling Memoirs of this fortunate bookseller belong to a class which principally exhibit the importance of the writers to themselves, it is not without interest as a record of the progress of natural sagacity, industry, and frugality, to riches and independence. Neither is the vanity of the author offensive or unamusing, exposing as it does the manner in which a naturally acute but uncultivated mind extends its stock of ideas, and deals with the new lights, both clear and will-o'-the-whispish, which it may be put into a situation to acquire. Some pleasant anecdotes also occasionally relieve the good-humoured egotism of the cheapest bookseller in the world ; and his portraiture of methodism, so singularly qualified and retracted in his subsequent“Confessions,” is at least

Of the latter work, so far as it supplies biographical matter, a due use is made in the Sequel, and as the whole will be contained

very curious.

in a single volume, this eccentric piece of selfdelineation will not assume a bulk disproportionate to its merits. These, although humble, will not be found without their value by the genuine student of human nature. The operation of vague and desultory reading upon native, but altogether undisciplined shrewdness of intellect, was seldom better, because seldom more unconsciously displayed. To conclude, the Life of James Lackington, although a mere etching, has a something special about it, which entitles it to a place amidst a collection of autobiographical portraits, in which originality and variety, rather than high finish and precision, form the leading objects of attraction.

A

TRIPLE DEDICATION.

J. TO THE PUBLIC.

“ In things indiff'rent 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 uni. versal 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 so 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; I 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.

Il. 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.

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