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THE 20 June 1744
N our Third Volume we left the CARDINAL in a moft exalted Sphere of ministerial Action, and Splendor, and in the greatest Esteem with his Royal Master. In this we have defcended with him, from his Zenith of Glory to his Difmiffion from Court, where we behold him as much neglected as he was before careffed, and as much vilified as before applauded: Though we have seen no Reafon for that mighty Indignation, which caused this extream Change; but are fully convinced, that, when the Glory given to him was removed, his Integrity had not departed from him, and that he was in himself as meritorious as ever.
The Obfervation in the following Line,
Regis ad exemplum, totus componitur orbis,
was too fatally verified in the undeserved Fall and Treatment this great Man met with: We learn, however, from hence two ufeful Leffons; the
one, the Vanity of human Greatness; the other, the Variableness of human Judgments.
As we have had Occafion, in feveral Places, to mention the Reasons that induced us to undertake the Compiling this Hiftory, we shall not here repeat them: But only obferve, that, notwithstanding fome Errors may have flipped us, we hope there will not appear any but fuch as are common; that, we are not confcious to ourselves of any partial Fondneffes for our principal Character, nor of any undue Severities towards his Enemies, either dead or living; that tho' we have taken more Freedom with Monfieur Rapin, than with any other Author, our Readers may fee we were not the first who did fo, if they will but attend the many Pieces that have been published to fet forth his Mistakes; and that we do not conceive even the most Cenforious can bring against us the Charge of undertaking this Publication with a mercenary View, efpecially as there could be no Hopes of Family Gratifications, in vindicating the Character of one who was the firft and laft Perfon in his, of any the leaft Confequence or Distinction.
After having spoke of the many Circumstances relating to his Difgrace, and attended him both in his Retirement from the World, and his final Departure out of it, we were brought to the MEMOIRS with which this Volume and this Work is concluded, and dispatched them with as much Conciseness as poffible.
And we cannot but here hint, that we have been at a much larger Expence about this Collection, than our Subfcriptions have hitherto answered; though we are not uneafy on that Account,