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to himself, and probably less acceptable to the generality of his readers. His aim has been to speak the truth-to speak it in general with independence, and on many occasions, with seriousness.
After the manuscript was written; a copy of the Stranger's Letters was sent by the Author of the following pages to a friend, of whose judgment he entertained a very high opinion, with an intimation of his intention of publishing strictures on the work ; from whom the following remarks were received :-“ Really, the pamphlet, which I have scarcely skimmed, is a production which may point oụt some abuses and appropriate correctives, but is at the same time such a sinner against style, fact, and principle, that nothing but its local influence seems to justify the honour you intend it. Such works must perish. As for reasoning with such a writer, it can be of little use; for he proves himself (pp. 155—160.) to be an infidel of the very basest sort. Paragraphs so meanly impious are seldom scribbled. You judge, however, I presume, that you
may convince his comrades that they ought to blush for him; and you may think that the people he so wilfully misrepresents, have a right to be heard in their own defence, and that the defence may be serviceable to
The Author afterwards sent this friend part of his manuscript, on which he was pleased to pass an opinion concluding with the following words :-“I only regret that your pamphlet cannot circulate without reminding the Public that this living body drags a dead one after it; without tending, in short, to make buoyant, a little longer, one of the most miserable performances that Lethe ever received,"
June 5, 1819.
I HAVE read your book entitled The Stranger in Reading, in which there are some things true, many exaggerated, more extremely incorrect, and not a few in a very high degree inimical to the best interests of your readers. You have undoubtedly noticed subjects which, in the opinion of every well-wisher to this highly respectable borough, call for reform, and some of which may properly fall under the cognizance of an anonymous censor. I hope, Sir, that the parties who are more particularly concerned in your animadversions, will profit by your hints, and that you will have the pleasing gratification you desire, of seeing the good effects of your remarks, in the correction of those causes of complaint which require reformation. But, Sir, while your publication contains some things which are deserving commendation, it has others of a very opposite aspect, which must necessarily incur the disapprobation, and
excite the regret, of every man who has any real regard for the interests of the inhabitants of this town in particular, or for the welfare of others into whose hands your Letters may happen to fall. You have professed that, in making your observations on Reading and its inhabitants, you would “ nothing extenuate, nor aught set down in malice.” After perusing your pages, those of who are at all acquainted with the subjects of your animadversions, will see that though you have nothing extenuated, yet many things you have exaggerated and misrepresented. How far you have attended to the latter part of this profession, in not setting down “aught in malice, I leave to the decision of your own conscience, and to the judgment of our readers, after they shall have perused our pages.
You have likewise declared that you would make
observations with that regard for truth, which you are always anxious to observe. But, Sir, as your book contains so many things which stand in direct opposition to this déclaration ; as it abounds in the figure which rhetoricians call Irony, in which the passage is to be understood in a sense directly contrary to the literal meaning; and as you always mark these rhetorical figures in Italics, as you have the words “Regard for truth,” your readers, like myself, will probably be at a loss to know whether they are to understand your assertion as a serious or as an ironical declaration. At