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N our Third Volume we left the
CARDINAL in a most exalted
Splendor, and in the greatest E-
this we have descended with him, from his Zenith of Glory to his Dismission from Court, where we behold him as much neglected as he was before caressed, and as much vilified as before applauded : Though we have seen no Reason 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 Observation 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 useful Leffons ; the
one, the Vanity of human Greatness ; the other, the Variableness of human Judgments
. As we have had Occasion, in several Places, to mention the Reasons that induced us to undertake the Compiling this History, we shall not here repeat them : But only observe, that, notwithstanding some Errors may have Nipped us, we hope there will not appear any but such as are common; that, we are not conscious to ourselves of any partial Fondnesses for our principal Character, nor of any undue Severities towards his Enemies, either dead or living; that tho’ we have taken more Freedom with Monsieur Rapin, than with
any other Author, our Readers may see we were not the first who did so, if they will but attend the many Pieces that have been published to set 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, especially as there could be no Hopes of Family Gratifications, in vindicating the Character of one who was the first and last Person in his, of any the least Consequence or Distinction.
After having spoke of the many Circumstances relating to his Disgrace, 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 possible.
And we cannot but here hint, that we have been at a much larger Expence about this Collection, than our Subscriptions have hitherto answered; though we are not uneasy on that Account,