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THE AUTHOR'S DEDICATION.
TO HER ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE PRINCESS OF WALES.*
A Princess of the same royal blood to which you are so closely and so happily allied, presumes to throw herself out the feet of your Royal Highness for protection. The character of that excellent lady, as it is delivered down to us in history, is very near the same with the picture I have endeavoured to draw of her: and if, in the poetical colouring, I have aim'd at heightening and improving some of the features, it was only to make her more worthy of those illustrious hands to which I always intended to present her.
As the British nation in general is infinitely indebted to your Royal Highness: so every particular person amongst us ought to contribute, according to their several capacities and abilities, towards the discharging that public obligation.
* Afterwards QUEEN CAROLINE. Carolina Wilhelmina Dorothea, daughter of John Frederic, Marquis of Brandenburgh Anspach, was born March 1, 1683. The fame of her beauty reaching the Court of Spain, Charles the third solicited her hand in marriage. Her family were anxious that she should accept the alliance, which the difference of Religious sentiments alone seemed likely to obstruct; hut it was in vain that they endeavoured to persoade her to change her opinions, and embrace her proposed husband's faith. The firmness of her conduct exeited the admiration of the elector of Hanover, who solicited her hand for his son, the prince of Wales: and upon the death of king George the first, in 1727, she was crowned queen of England with king George the second. Tindal (in his continuation of Rapin's History of England) says, that "No princess lived more “ in the love and esteem of all who knew her, than queen Caroline “ did; her conjugal fidelity was exemplary, and her parental at" teation, proved by the pumerous virtues wbich adorned her u the age.'
We are your debtors, Madum, for the preference you gave us, in chusing to wear the British, rather than the imperial crown; for giving the best daughter to our king, and the best wife to our prince. It is to your Royal Highness we owe the security that shall be delivered down to our children's children, by a most hopeful and beautiful, as well as a numerous royal issue. These are the bonds of our civil duty: but your Royal Highness has laid us under others, yet more sacred and engaging; I mean those of religion. You are not only the brightest ornament, but the patroness and defender of our holy faith.
Nor is it Brituin alone, but the world, but the present and all succeeding ages, who shall bless your royal name, for the greatest example that can be given of a disinterested piety, and unshaken constancy.
This is what we muy certainly reckon amongst the
“ offspriog; but she was not distinguished for private virtues alone ; “ ber royal consort, in her, always found a wise and faithful cond“ sellor; her natural sagacity and talents were improved by readiog, “ and conversing with the most eminent philosophers and authors of
The short limits of a Note will not allow me to dilate on the character of this excellent princess; but I cannot forbear to refer such of my readers as have an opportunity of consalting them, to the dedication of Saurin's fifth volume of Sermons, 'in 1725, to this Princess, an extract from which may be seen in the Memoirs of that divine prefixed to a small volume of The Beauties of Saurin, pube Jished by Lee and Hurst in Pater-noster Row, and also to the Dedication To the Queen 10 the first edition of Cruden's Concordance, published early in November 1737. She died the 20th of the same montb.
benefits your Royal Highness has conferred upon us. Tho' at the same time, how partial soever we may be to ourselves, we ought not to believe you declined the first crown of Europe, in regard to Britain only. No, Madam, it is in justice to your Royal Ilighness that we must confess, you had more excellent motives for 80 greut an action as that was, since you did it in obe:lience to the dictates of reason and conscience, for the sake of true religion, and for the honour of God. All things that are great have been offered to you; and all things that are good and happy, as well in this world as a better, will, we trust, become the reward of such exalted virtue and piety. The blessings of our nation, the prayers of our church, with the faithful service of all good men, will wait upon your Royal Highness as long as you live: and whenever, for the punishment of this land, you shall be taken from us, your name shalb be dear to remembrance, and Almighty God, who alone is able, will, we trust, bestow on you the fulness of recompence. .
Amongst the several offerings of duty which are made to you here, be graciously pleased to accept of this unworthy trifle, which is, with the greatest respect and lowest submission, presented to your Royal Highness, by,
THE AUTHOR'S PREFACE.
HOUGH I have very little inclination to write prea faces before works of this nature; yet, upon this particular occasion, I cannot but think myself obliged to give some account of this play, as well in justice to myself, as to a very learned and ingenious gentleman, my friend, who is dead. The person I mean, was Mr. Smith* of Christ church, Oxon: one, whose character I could, with great pleasure, enter into, if it was not already very well known to the world. As I had the happiness to be intimately acquainted with him, he often told me, that he designed writing a tragedy upon the story of the Lady Jane Gray; and if he had lived, I should never have thought of meddling with it myself: but as he died without doing it, in the beginning of last summer I resolved to undertake it. And, indeed, the hopes I had of receiving some considerable assistances from the papers he left behind him, were one of the principal motives that induced me to go about it. These papers were in the hands of Mr. Ducket,+ to whom my friend, Mr. Thomas Burnet, I was so kind as to write,
* EDMUND SMITH was the son of Mr. Neale, who had secretly married a daughter of the famous Baron Lechemere. His father dying when he was very young, he was left under the care of a near relation whose name was Smith, and who had married Mr. Neale's sister: his name he always bore. He was born in the year 1668, was educated at Westminster School, and at Christ Church Oxford, and died in the month of July in the year 1710. He was author of A Traged v on the story of Phadra and Hippolitus, and translated Longinus's Treatise on the sublime. His life was published with his works in 1 vol. 12mo, in 1714, hy Mr. Oldisworth, which may he seen with some farther particulars in Dr. Johnson's Lives of the Poets. E.
+ GEORGE DUCKET, Esq; of Hartham in Wiltshire, at whose house Smith died, and where he was buried in the parish church. E.
# Aulbor of a book on The Theory of the Earth, &c. E.
and procure them for me. The least return I can make to those gentlemen, is this public acknowledgment of their great' civility on this occasion. I must confess, before those papers came to my hand, I had entirely formed the design, or fable, of my own play; and when I came to look them over, I found it was different from that which Mr. Smith intended; the plan of his being drawn after that which is in print of Mr. Banks;* at least I thought so, by what I could pick out of his papers. To say the truth, I was a good deal surprised and disappointed at the sight of them. I hoped to have met with great part of the play written to my hand; or, at least, the whole of the design regularly drawn out. Instead of that, I found the quantity of about two quires of paper written over in odd pieces, blotted, interlined, and confused. What was contained in them in general, was loose hints of sentiments, and short obscure sketches of scenes. But how they were to be applied, or in what order they were to be ranged, I could not, by any diligence of mine, (and I looked them very carefully over more than once) come to understand. One scene there was, and one only, that seemed pretty near perfect, in which Lord Guilford singly persuades Lady Jane to take the crown. From that I borrowed all that I could, and inserted it in my own third act. But indeed the manner and turn of his fable was so different from mine, that I could not take above five and twenty, or thirty lines at the most; and even in those I was obliged to make some alteration. I should have been very glad to have come into a partnership of reputation with so fine a writer as Mr. Smith was; but in truth, his hints were so short and dark, (many of them marked even in short hand) that they were of little use or service to me. They might have served as indexes to his own memory, and he might have formed a play out of them;
* The Innocent (surper; or 7'he Death of the Lady Jane Gray. This is a far inferior play to Rowe's. Though the plan is in some respects more conformable to History, yet the language is so overstrained, and even ridiculous, and in other respects so objectionable, that we are obliged to Rowe for superseding, by a far superior play, what might bave otherwise attracted notice from the subject. E.