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44. Esculapius in Love with Hebe--Sale of
I. TO MR. MAYNWARING.*
THE state of conversation and business in this town having been long perplexed with Pretenders in both kinds; in order to open men's eyes against such abuses, it appeared no unprofitable undertaking to publish a Paper, which should observe upon the manners of the pleasurable as well as the busy part of mankind. To make this generally read, it seemed the most proper method to form it by way of a Letter of Intelligence, consisting of such parts as might gratify the curiosity of persons of all conditions, and of each sex. But a work of this nature requiring time to grow into the notice of the world, it happened, very luckily, that, a little before I had resolved upon this design, a gentleman had written predictions, and two or three other pieces in my name, which rendered it famous through all parts of Europe; and, by an
* Arthur Maynwaring, Esq
inimitable spirit and humour, raised it to as high a pitch of reputation as it could possibly arrive at.
By this good fortune the name of Isaac Bickerstaff gained an audience of all who had any taste of wit; and the addition of the ordinary occurrences of common Journals of News brought in a multitude of other readers. I could not, I confess, long keep up the opinion of the town, that these Lucubrations were written by the same hand with the first works which were published under my name; but, before I lost the participation of that author's fame, I had already found the advantage of his authority, to which I owe the sudden acceptance which my labours met with in the world.
The general purpose of this Paper is to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behaviour. No man has a better judgment for the discovery, or a nobler spirit for the contempt of all imposture, than yourself; which qualities render you the most proper patron for the author of these Essays. In the general, the design, however executed, has met with so great success, that there is hardly a name now eminent among us for power, wit, beauty, valour, or wisdom, which is not subscribed for the encouragement of these volumes. This is, indeed, an honour, for which it is impossible to express a suitable gratitude; and there is nothing could be an addition to the pleasure I take in it, but the reflection, that it gives me the most conspicuous occasion I can ever have of subscribing myself, Sir,
Your most obliged, most obedient,
and most humble servant,
II. TO EDWARD WORTLEY MONTAGUE*, Esq.
WHEN I send you this volume, I am rather to make you a request than a Dedication. I must desire, that if you think fit to throw away any moments on it, you would not do it after reading those excellent pieces with which you are usually conversant. The images which you will meet with here, will be very faint, after the perusal of the Greeks and Romans, who are your ordinary companions. I must confess I am obliged to you for the taste of many of their excellencies, which I had not observed until you pointed them to me. I am very proud that there are some things in these Papers which I know you pardont; and it is no small pleasure to have one's labours suffered by the judgment of a man, who so well understands the true charms of eloquence and poesy. But I direct this address to you; not that I think I can entertain you with my writings, but to thank you for the new delight I have, from your conversation, in those of other men.
May you enjoy a long continuance of the true relish of the happiness Heaven has bestowed upon you! I know not how to say a more affectionate thing to you, than to wish that you may be always what you are; and that you may ever think, as I know you now do, that you have a much larger fortune than you want. I am, Sir,
Your most obedient, and most humble servant,
*Second son of Hon. Lady Wortley Montague, and grandson of Edward Montague, the first Earl of Sandwich.
+ This seems to amount to a declaration, that E. Wortley Montague, Esq. was himself a writer in these papers.