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the petty writers of that time, but sometimes mixed with ungenerous reflections on their birth, their circumstances, or those of their relations; nor can it be denied, that some passages are such as Iscariot Hackney might himself have produced.
He was accused likewise of living in an appearance of friendship with some whom he. satirised, and of making use of the confidence which he gained by a seeming kindness to discover failings and expose them: it must be confessed, that Mr. Savage's esteem was no very certain poffeffion, and that he would lampoon at one time those whom he had praised at another.
It may be alleged, that the same man may change his principles, and that, he who was once deservedly commended, may be afterwards satirised with equal justice, or that the poet was dazzled with the appearance of virtue, and found the man whom he had celebrated, when he had an opportunity of examining him more narrowly, unworthy of the panegyric which he had too hastily bestowed; and that, as a false fatire ought to be
recanted, for the sake of him whose reputation
may be injured, false praise ought likewise to be obviated, left the distinction between vice and virtue should be lost, left a bad man should be trusted upon the credit of his encomiaft, or left others should endeavour to obtain the like praises by the fame means.
But though these excuses may be often plausible, and sometimes juft, they are very seldom fatisfactory to mankind; and the writer, who is not constant to his subject, quickly finks into contempt, his fatire loses its force, and his panegyric its value, and he is only considered at one time as a flatterer, and as a calumniator at another.
To avoid these imputations, it is only necessary to follow the rules of virtue, and to preserve an unvaried regard to truth. For though it is undoubtedly possible, that a man, however cautious, may be sometimes deceived by an artful appearance of virtue, or by false evidences of guilt, such errors will not be frequent; and it will be allowed, that the name of an author would never have been made contemptible, had no man ever said
of subordination in their writings, and who themselves their superiors, as they were emi
what he did nct think, or misled others but when he was himself deceived.
If The Author to be let was firit published in a single pamphlet, and afterwards inserted in a collection of pieces relating to the Dunciad, which were' addressed by Mr. Savage to the Earl of Middlesex, in a * dedication which he was prevailed upon to sign, though he did not write it, and in which there are some positions, that the true author would perhaps not have published under his own náme, and on which Mr. Savage afterwards reflected with no great fatisfa&tion; the enumeration of the bad effects of the uncontroled freedom of the press, and the assertion that the “ liberties taken by the " writers of Journals with their fuperiors “ were exorbitant and unjustifiable," very ill became men, who have themselves not altays shewn the exactest regard to the laws ħave often satirised those that at least thought nent for their hereditary rank, and employed
• See his Works, vol. II. p. 233.
in the highest offices of the kingdom, But this is only an instance of that partiality which almost every man indulges with regard to himself; the liberty of the press is a blessing when we are inclined to write against others, and a calamity when we find ourselves overborne by the multitude of our assailants; as the power of the..crown is always thought too great by those who suffer by its influence, and too little by those in whose favour it is exerfed; and a standing army is generally.accounted necessary by those who command, and dangerous and oppressive by those who fupport it.
Mr. Savage was likewise very far from bex lieving, that the letters, annexed to each fpecies of bad poets in the Bathos, were, as he was directed to assert, “ fet down at ran“ dom;" for when he was charged by one of his friends with putting his name to fuch as improbability, he had no other answer to make, than that he did not think of it;' and his friend had too much tenderness to reply, that next to the crime of writing contrary to what he thought, was that of writing without thinking,
After having remarked what is false in this dedication, it is proper that I observe the impartiality which I recommend, by declaring what Savage asserted, that the account of the circumstances which attended the publication of the Dunciad, however strange and improbable, was exactly true.
The publication of this piece at this time raised Mr. Savage a great number of enemies among those that were attacked by Mr. Pope, with whom he was considered as a kind of confederate, and whom he was suspected of supplying with private intelligence and secret incidents : so that the ignominy of an informer was added to the terror of a satirist.
That he was not altogether free from literary hypocrisy, and that he sometimes spoke one thing, and wrote another, cannot be denied; because he himself confessed, that, when he lived in great familiarity with Dennis, he wrote an epigram * against him.
• This epigram was, I believe, never published. Should Dennis publish you had stabb'd your brother, , Lampoon'd your monarch, or debauch'd your mother;