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The Author's Apology.
THE Tale approved of by a great majority among the men of taste. Some treatises written expressly against it; but not one syllable in its defence. The greatest part of it finished in 1696, eight years before, it was published. The author's intention when he began it. No irreligious or immoral opinion can fairly be deduced from the book. The clergy have no reason to dislike it. The author's intention not having met with a candid interpretation, he declined engaging in a task he had proposed to himself, of examining some publications, that were intended against all religion. Unfair to fix a name upon an author, who had so industriously concealed himself. The Letter on Enthusiasm, * ascribed by several to the same author. If the abuses in law or physic · had been the subject of this treatise, the learned professors in either faculty would have been more
* This celebrated Letter, which was generally supposed to have been written by Dr Swift; and by him, with as little foun. dation, ascribed to his friend colonel Hunter ; was the produce tion of the noble author of the “ Characteristics ;” in which collection it holds the foremost rank. It bears date in September, 1707 ; and was written with a view to the French prophets, whose enthusiastic extravagances were then at the greatest height.
liberal than the clergy. The passages, which appear most liable to objection are parodies. The author entirely innocent of any intention of glancing at those tenets of religion, which he has by some prejudiced or ignorant readers been supposed to mean. This particularly the case in the passage about the three wooden machines. An irony runs through the whole book. Not necessary to take notice of treatises written against it. The usual fate of common answerers to books of merit, is to sink into waste paper and oblivion.
The case very different, when a great genius exposes a foolish piece. Reflections occasioned by Dr King's Remarks on the Tale of a Tub; others, by Mr. Wotton. The manner in which the Tale was first published accounted for. The Fragment not printed in the way the author intended; being the ground-work of a much larger discourse. * The oaths of Peter why introduced.The severest strokes of satire in the treatise are levelled against the custom of employing wit in profaneness or immodesty. Wit the noblest and most useful gift of human nature ; and humour the most agreeable. Those who have no share of either, think the blow weak, because they are themselves insensible.
P. S. The author of the Key wrong in all his conjectures. The whole work entirely by one hand; the author defying any one to claim three lines in the book.
The Bookseller's Dedication to Lord Somers. How he finds out that lord to be the patron intended by his author. Dedicators ridiculous, who
* In several parts of the apology, the author dwells much on the circumstances of the buok having been published, while his original papers were out of his own possession. Three editions were printed in the year 170+; a fourth, corrected, in 1705.
04; a fou possessipublished, much on