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DDRESSES of this Nature have been long the customary Tribute of Letters to fuperior Merit: And tho' Flattery may have thrown them into Disrepute, yet this concludes no more against the Continuance of honest Praise, than HyA 2

VOL. I.

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pocrify does against the Practice of Religion. But Adulation no fooner began to belye its Subject, than it perverted the very Purpose of its Application; while, amongst its many artful traverses, it would now beg Protection for the Book; and, now again, constitute the Patron the fovereign Judge of its

Merit.

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In this Light, Madam, you might reasonably wonder to fee a Collection of Plays dedicated to one who reads few Books befides thofe of Piety and Moral; and will think, the Addrefs might have been made with fomewhat less Impropriety even to a Bishop. This is true: but, as I faid, this literary Connexion is not, of right, between the Patron and the Work; but between him and the Author. Who, to carry on his Commerce with a good Conscience, muft therefore fearch narrowly for a Subject which will not dishonour Letters,

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Letters, while he is giving that to Merit, which only Letters can beftow. But I need not be asham'd to say, that the Knowledge of you, has, at the fame time, abridged my Labour, and rewarded the Integrity of my Purpose. For if Friendship, Generosity, and the Benevolence of Charity, added to every female Virtue that moft adorns your Sex, demand this Acknowledgment, it would be hard to find where it should be earlier paid, or to whom, in fuller Measure, returned.

If any now should affect to ask, What Stranger this is, of whom fo much is faid? Let him know, that this his Ignorance is your fupreme Praise; whose Matron-modesty of Virtue declines all Notice, but where the Influence of your domestic Character extends. If, haply, you have any further Ambition, it is only this, the being known to conftitute the domestic Happiness of a Man A 3

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who does Honour to human Nature. The mention of whofe Relation to you, reminds me of my own Happiness; who enjoy fo equal and fo perfect a Share in both your Friendships. This too is my Fame and Reputation, as well as Happiness; for Ambition would lofe its Aim, were I to wish that any thing of me, or mine, should last longer than the Memory of that Friendship. I am,

MADAM,

Your most obliged

and most faithful Servant,

W. WARBURTON.

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