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O prevent any mistakes that might arise,
and in justice to his Readers and himself, the Editor of the following Tract feels himself bound to declare, that he has no farther concern in it, than as being accidentally the channel through which it is conveyed to the Public. Having ordered, a few months ago, * Irish
* It is with concern that the Editor has learnt, that this fpecies of traffic, fo convenient for the Knights Companions of the light purse, is so much at present on the decline, as to threaten (in the language of the Counter) to be Speedily knocked up. The Irifh Editors have imprödently fcrewed up their prices too high: and their Rivals on this fide the water have been, of late, unusually sharp fet in running them down, by the assistance of the Statute Book, and officers of the customs. It was a forry fight to the Editor, last vacation, to see the Royal warehouses at the ports opposite to the Irish coast, crowded with so many choice and famous Authors, languishing in ignoble bonds, and some of them expiring, in defiance of Magna CHARTA, under cruel tortures. Here lay Mrs. C-TH-NE My, just new from the peers and spunge,-“ her « filver ikin laced with her golden blood,”-pointing to
editions of some late publications (an irreglilarity into which the high prices of town-made books, and the low ftate of his own finances, have sometimes betrayed him, to the detriment of copy-HOLD rights, and “ against the " form of the Statute in that case provided ;”) he found the parcel, on its arrival in' his chambers, to be double-fortified with swathes of printed iheets'; resembling, in their general appearance, what is known among the Trade, by the name of Imperfections. This, being quite “ selon les Regles,” excited neither curiofity nor attention ; but approaching, foon after, the parcel to his teeth, for the purpose of undoing the twine, the wrappers were again forced upon bis eye ; when he perceived, by certain cabalistical marks upon the margins and field, and which his printer would laugh at him should he attempt to depict, that what he had taken at first for imperfections, were no other than proof-Sheets, of a work apparently critical, and which he felicitated himself on his chance of feasting on, perhaps before the Public. He fet
her ample gashes, and bellowing for her HABEAS CORPUS. ... There lay the redoubted JUNIUS, his body difmembered by the axe, and his quarters at the King's difposal,----and there the fately G-B-ns, laniatum corpore toto, with the vehicle of his keen elocution bored through with red-hot iron, &c. &c.
Non, mihi fi linguæ cēntum fint, oraque centum,
himself accordingly to examine the sheets with attention ; and found them, not without some surprise, to contain a methodical criticism upon Gray's “ Elegy written in a Country Churchyard;" executed in a manner somewhat outré, and containing Observations on certain other Poems of Gray, together with allusions to cerrain Analyses of them, which were referred to as preceding this particular Criticism, but which were not to be found in these sheets. A sudden chought now entered his head, and one which some will perhaps think he too hastily adopted. Having been lately reading Dr. J-hn-n's Criticism on Gray (a work which afforded him infinite amusement), and the Doctor's manner being then strongly impressed on his mind; he fancied he perceived a resemblance betwixt the style and mode of Criticism difplayed in the Doctor's Strictures on Gray's other Poems, and that adopted in the Criti- cism now before him. The leges judicandi were the same; and the Editor was led to fancy it possible, that the Observations on the Elegy written in a Country Church-yard, were composed by Dr. J-hn-n, printed off for publication, along with the other parts of the Criticisin on Gray, but afterwards withdrawn; from the suspicion that a censure fo free, of one of the most popular productions in the English language, might be ill-received by the Public.
Full of this idea, the Editor formed the reso. lution of restoring to his Fellow-Readers what seemed to him to have been needlessly taken away; and thus to gratify their palates with a dish that one meets not with every day.
What his riper sentiments upon this subject are, the Editor does not chuse to say, The Public are in poffeffion of the evidence, both external and internal; and they are left to judge for themselves. It is, however, but fair to admit, that there are some circumstances which are rather unfavourable to the idea, that this Criticism on Gray's Elegy is the genuine production of Dr. J-hn-n. Although it is not difficult to conceive, that means might have been found to get the * proof-sheets of this work transınicted successively to Ireland (as the proof theets of other works have been) in due course of poft; and although the case of an + Author of
The great number of proprietors (in all thirty-six) whose names, in eight files, marshalled in the form of the Cuneus, defend the title-page of Dr. J-hn-n's amufing work, though calculated to strike terror in after.pirates, may have even contributed to render casy the first trespass. Secrecy and Prudence distributed among thirty-fix men, become little else than nameş. « In the "multitude of counsellors there is safety :” The case is different with copy-holders.
+ It is said to be a vouched anecdote of the Author of “ Eflays and Treatises on several Subjects,” that he revoked and destroyed certain Effays, which he had already got printed off, and in which he found reason to suspect that he had taken his ground rather too hastily.