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an undertaking, as the endeavour to banish fraud and cozenage from the presence and conversation of gentlemen.
But what I find is the least excusable part of all this work is, that I have, in some places in it, touched upon matters which concern both church and state. All I shall say for this is, that the points 1 alluded to, are such as concerned every Christian and freeholder in England ; and I could not be cold enough to conceal my opinion on subjects which related to either of those characters. But politics apart.
I must confess it has been a most exquisite pleasure to me to frame characters of domestic life, and put those parts of it which are least observed into an agreeable view; to inquire into the seeds of vanity and affectation, to lay before the readers the emptiness of anıbition: in a word, to trace human life through all its mazes and recesses, and shows much shorter methods than men ordinarily practise, to be happy, agreeable, and great.
But to inquire into men's faults and weaknesses has something in it so unwelcome, that I have often seen people in pain to act before me, whose modesty only niakes them think themselves liable to censure. This, and a thousand other nameless things, have made it an irksome task to me to personate Mr. Bickerstaff any longer; and I believe does not often happen that the reader is delighted where the author is displeased.
All I can now do for the further gratification of the town, is to give them a faithful explication of passages and allusions, and sometimes of persons intended in the several scaltered parts of the work. At the same time, I shall discover which of the whole have been written by me, and which by
others, and by whom, as far as I am able, or permitted *.
Thus I have voluntarily done, what I think all authors should do when called upon. I have published my name to my writings, and given myself up to the mercy of the town, as Shakespeare expresses
“ with all my imperfections on my head.” The indulgent reader's most obliged, most obedient, bumble servant,
* This is done in the original preface to the fourth volume of the Tatler ; printed at the beginning of the first volume of the present edition.
END OF THE FIFTH VOLUME.
Prinied by J. D. Dewick,