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by [?]

Dr. James’s Medicinal Dictionary, 3 vols. folio. 1743.

To Dr. Mead.


That the Medicinal Dictionary is dedicated to you, is to be imputed only to your reputation for superiour skill in those sciences, which I have endeavoured to explain and facilitate; and you are, therefore, to consider this address, if it be agreeable to you, as one of the rewards of merit; and, if otherwise, as one of the inconveniencies of eminence.

However you shall receive it, my design cannot be disappointed; because this publick appeal to your judgment will show, that I do not found my hopes of approbation upon the ignorance of my readers, and that I fear his censure least, whose knowledge is most extensive.

I am, Sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,

The Female Quixote. By Mrs. Lennox. 1752.

To the right hon. the earl of Middlesex.


Such is the power of interest over almost every mind, that no one is long without arguments to prove any position which is ardently wished to be true, or to justify any measures which are dictated by inclination.

By this subtile sophistry of desire, I have been persuaded to hope that this book may, without impropriety, be inscribed to your lordship; but am not certain, that my reasons will have the same force upon other understandings.

The dread which a writer feels of the publick censure; the still greater dread of neglect; and the eager wish for support and protection, which is impressed by the consciousness of imbecility, are unknown to those who have never adventured into the world; and, I am afraid, my lord, equally unknown to those who have always found the world ready to applaud them.

It is, therefore, not unlikely that the design of this address may be mistaken, and the effects of my fear imputed to my vanity. They, who see your lordship’s name prefixed to my performance, will rather condemn my presumption than compassionate my anxiety.

But, whatever be supposed my motive, the praise of judgment cannot be denied me; for, to whom can timidity so properly fly for shelter, as to him who has been so long distinguished for candour and humanity? How can vanity be so completely gratified, as by the allowed patronage of him, whose judgment has so long given a standard to the national taste! Or by what other means could I so powerfully suppress all opposition, but that of envy, as by declaring myself,

My lord,

Your lordship’s obliged and
most obedient servant,


Shakespeare Illustrated; or, the Novels and Histories on which the plays of Shakespeare are founded; collected and translated from the original authors. With Critical Remarks. By the author of the Female Quixote. 1753.

To the right hon. John, earl of Orrery.


I have no other pretence to the honour of a patronage so illustrious as that of your lordship, than the merit of attempting what has, by some unaccountable neglect, been hitherto omitted, though absolutely necessary to a perfect knowledge of the abilities of Shakespeare.

Among the powers that most conduce to constitute a poet, the first and most valuable is invention; the highest seems to be that which is able to produce a series of events. It is easy, when the thread of a story is once drawn, to diversify it with variety of colours; and when a train of action is presented to the mind, a little acquaintance with life will supply circumstances and reflections, and a little knowledge of books furnish parallels and illustrations. To tell over again a story that has been told already, and to tell it better than the first author, is no rare qualification: but to strike out the first hints of a new fable; hence, to introduce a set of characters so diversified in their several passions and interests, that from the clashing of this variety may result many necessary incidents; to make these incidents surprising, and yet natural, so as to delight the imagination, without shocking the judgment of a reader; and, finally, to wind up the whole in a pleasing catastrophe, produced by those very means which seem most likely to oppose and prevent it, is the utmost effort of the human mind.