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by [?]

From flattery, my lord, either of the dead or the living, I wish to be clear, and have, therefore, solicited the countenance of a patron, whom, if I knew how to praise him, I could praise with truth, and have the world on my side; whose candour and humanity are universally acknowledged, and whose judgment, perhaps, was then first to be doubted, when he condescended to admit this address from,

My lord,
Your lordship’s most obliged,
and most obedient, humble servant,

[1] See preface to Shakespeare.

Payne’s Introduction to the Game of Draughts. 1756.

To the right hon. William Henry, earl of Rochford, etc.


WHEN I take the liberty of addressing to your lordship a treatise on the game of draughts, I easily foresee, that I shall be in danger of suffering ridicule on one part, while I am gaining honour on the other; and that many, who may envy me the distinction of approaching you, will deride the present I presume to offer.

Had I considered this little volume, as having no purpose beyond that of teaching a game, I should, indeed, have left it to take its fate without a patron. Triflers may find or make any thing a trifle; but, since it is the great characteristick of a wise man to see events in their causes, to obviate consequences, and ascertain contingencies, your lordship will think nothing a trifle, by which the mind is inured to caution, foresight, and circumspection. The same skill, and often the same degree of skill, is exerted in great and little things; and your lordship may, sometimes, exercise, on a harmless game[1], those abilities which have been so happily employed in the service of your country.
I am, my lord,
Your lordship’s most obliged, most obedient,
and most humble servant,


[1] The game of draughts, we know, is peculiarly calculated to fix the attention, without straining it. There is a composure and gravity in draughts, which insensibly tranquillises the mind; and, accordingly, the Dutch are fond of it, as they are of smoking, of the sedative influence of which, though he himself (Dr. Johnson) never smoked, he had a high opinion.–Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides. 3rd edit. p. 48.

The Evangelical History of Jesus Christ harmonized, explained and illustrated[1]. 2 vols. 8vo. 1758.

To the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in parliament assembled.

That we are fallen upon an age in which corruption is barely not universal, is universally confessed. Venality sculks no longer in the dark, but snatches the bribe in publick; and prostitution issues forth without shame, glittering with the ornaments of successful wickedness. Rapine preys on the publick without opposition, and perjury betrays it without inquiry. Irreligion is not only avowed, but boasted; and the pestilence that used to walk in darkness, is now destroying at noonday.

Shall this be the state of the English nation; and shall her lawgivers behold it without regard? Must the torrent continue to roll on, till it shall sweep us into the gulf of perdition? Surely there will come a time, when the careless shall be frighted, and the sluggish shall be roused; when every passion shall be put upon the guard by the dread of general depravity; when he who laughs at wickedness in his companion, shall start from it in his child; when the man who fears not for his soul, shall tremble for his possessions; when it shall be discovered that religion only can secure the rich from robbery, and the poor from oppression; can defend the state from treachery, and the throne from assassination.

If this time be ever to come, let it come quickly: a few years longer, and, perhaps, all endeavours will be vain: we may be swallowed by an earthquake; we may be delivered to our enemies, or abandoned to that discord, which must inevitably prevail among men that have lost all sense of divine superintendence, and have no higher motive of action or forbearance, than present opinion of present interest.