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THE EDITOR,* to whom the various manuscripts which produced this volume were entrusted, hereby respectfully informs its readers in general, and those in particular who are restlessly curious about anonymous and folly-flogging Satyrists, that all enquiry concerning the names, situations, characters, and conditions of the authors (for it is written by several) will be fruitless, “ frivolous, and vexatious." These terms are not em. ployed or applied in the same vague sense, as when used by a Committee of the House of Commons: for they are hereby meant to assert, that all frivolous queries will be fruitless in the result, and completely vexatious to the enquirer. Please to remember, good Mr. Inquisitor, that you have never ascer
* The Reader is referred to the end for a COPIOUS
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
tained the writer of Junius's letters, and that the author of the " Pursuits of Literature" is still snugly incog; and I must now apprize you, that such a singular mode has been adopted in composing, mixing and arranging the following materials, that neither the printer, nor the Devil (we mean his Devil) knows by whom any particular part, or parts were written; and, in many instances, even the author of a particular page or pages will not be able to ascertain, or assert positively, how much of any dissertation was written by himself. Thus guarded and enveloped, the Editor deprecates all attempts at identification ; and sincerely recommends those who fancy themselves aggrieved, to be silent and tranquil; for the opposite conduct will not only demonstrate their delin. quency, but will render them obnoxious to personal reprobation. The Editor is direct. ed by the Committee of “the London Literary Society of Lusorists” to make these remarks, because he is assured, that some blockheads will be tantalizingly querulous and inqusitive; and will also very sapiently implicate themselves, by adapting and ap
plying some particular passages to their own important persons.
To these he observes, that the satyrical game-keeper, on the manors of Ignorance, Impudence, and Vice, will find ample employ for his fowling piece, in
« Shooting Folly as it flies."
And though he cannot hope to destroy all the coveys
and flocks of that numerous spe. cies of game, yet, if he can frighten them • into cover, or keep them in a proper state of
fearful subjection, he fully discharges his duty.
The ignorant dolt and impudent knave are generally troubled with very sore and irritable consciences; and, like the “ thief who fancies each bush an officer,” so these are apt to consider that satire as personally applied to them, which equally attaches, and was generally directed, to their whole tribe. Should any restlessly unfortunate mortal of this description adapt either of the following fools-caps to his own silly noddle, he certainly has full privilege to wear it: but should he jingle the bells in society so as to annoy
the writer of this, or any members of the London Literary Society of Lusorists, he may expect to have a larger cap made for him hereafter, which will be adorned with more attractive colours, and a greater number of tell-tale bells.
HUMOUR, WIT, AND SATIRE.
There is no species of writing so much a victim to the reader's caprice, as that which contains, or professes to contain, one or all of the above ingredients. The standard seems so mutuable, and the dispositions and partialities of mankind are so infinitely various, that the writer and reader are left without any other criterion than their own fan . cies : and hence arise the endless disputes about the essential requisites to constitute either humorous, witty, or satyrical writing. History, science, antiquities, voyages, and many other subjects of literary composi. tion, are addressed to a certain class of readers; and these generally come to the banquet predisposed to be pleased and instruct