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To that most enlightened Phalanx, the Reviewers
of Great Britain, greeting.
Unlike the herd of venal writers, who prostitute their wits in order to ensure those panegyrics which are not their due, I thus present myself before ye, fully determined to advance nothing but the naked truth; for what class of literary men exists so immaculate as yourselves? Were I to place the smallest reliance upon those acrimonious and vilifying epithets which are incessantly bestowed upon you, I should then deem it necessary to cast the sop to Cerberus, by forwarding a copy of this production gratis to every scribe among you. But feeling conscious that the perfectibility of your judgments can only be equalled by the disinterestedness of your monthly criticisms, I shall fearlessly commit myself to the ordeal of such uniform gentleness, candour, and undeviating honour, a string of terms in every respect synonymous with your inquisitorial avocations.
Gentlemen, with all becoming deference, your most obediently devoted,
and very humble servant,
APOLOGY FOR A PREFACE.
Sampson slew his thousands with the jawbone of an ass: then wherefore should not I perform similar exploits with the quill of a goose? The beast, in propria persona, is no more terrific than the bird, and the bone was as harmless as the feather, till wielded in the grasp of that redoubted champion of the Israelites. Philistines, therefore, (I would say scribes), it is at ye I point the lance unbated by the poison of envy, nor barbed with the thorn of individual malice; for, believe me, I am as inimical to the premeditated cruelty of the one as superior
to the dastardly meanness of the other.
I am well aware that the contents of the following pages will not prove palatable to many readers; and, perhaps, there are but few writers who would