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To Mr HENRY DAVIS, Bookfeller in London..
Abergavenny, Aug. 4.
HAVE received your esteemed favour of the 13th ultimo, whereby it appeareth, that you have perufed thofe fame letters, the which were delivered unto you by my friend the reverend Mr Hugo Bhen; and I am pleafed to find you think they may be printed with a good prospect of fuccefs; in as much as the objections you mention, I humbly conceive, are fuch as may be redargued, if not entirely removed.-And, firfi, in the first place, as touching what profecutions may arife from printing the private correfpondence of perfons fill living, give me leave, with all due fubmiffion, to obferve, that the Letters in queftion were not written and fent under the feal of fecrefy; that they have no tendency to the mala fama or prejudice of any perfon whatsoever; but rather to the information and edification of mankind: So that it becometh a fort of duty to promulgate them in ufum publicum. Befides, I have confulted Mr Davy Higgins, an eminent attorney of this place, who, after due infpection and confideration, declareth, that he doth not think the faid Letters contain any matter which will be held actionable in the eye of the law. Finally, if you and I fhould come to a right understanding, I do declare in verbo facerdotis, that, in cafe of any fuch profecution, I will take the whole upon my own fhoulders, even quoad fine and imprisonment, though I must confefs I fhould not care to undergo flagellation: Tam ad turpitudinem, quam ad amaritudinem pœna fpectans.-Secondly, concerning the perfonal refentment of Mr Juftice Lifmahago, I may fay non flocci facio-I would not willingly vilipend any Chriftian, if peradventure he deferveth that epithet: Albeit I am much furprised that more care is not taken to exclude from the commiffion all fuch vagrant foreigners as may be juftly fufpected of difaffection to our happy conftitution in church and ftate.-God forbid that I should be fo uncharitable, as to affirm pofitively that the faid Lifmahago is no better than a fefuit in difguife; but this I will affert and maintain to
tis viribus, that, from the day he qualified, he has never been once feen intra templi parietes, that is to fay, within the parish church.
Thirdly, with respect to what paffed at Mr Kendal's table, when the faid Lifmahago was fo brutal in his reprehenfions, I muft inform you, my good Sir, that I was obliged to retire, not by fear arifing from his minatory reproaches, which, as I faid above, I value not a rush'; but from the fudden effect produced by a barbel's row, which I had eaten at dinner, not knowing that the faid row is at certain feafons violently cathartic, as Galen obferveth in his chapter περι ιχθυς.
Fourthly, and lastly, with reference to the manner in which I got poffeffion of the Letters, it is a circumftance which concerns my own confcience only: Sufficeth it to fay, I have fully satisfied the parties in whofe cuftody they were; and, by this time, I hope I have alfo fatisfied you in fuch ways, that the laft hand may be put to our agreement, and the work proceed with all convenient expedition: In which hope I reft,
Your very humble fervant,
P.S. I propofe, Deo volente, to have the pleasure of feeing you in the great city, towards All-hallow-tide, when I fhall be glad to treat with you concerning a parcel of MS. fermons of a certain clergyman deceased; a cake of the right leaven for the prefent tafte of the public. Verbum fapienti, &c.
To the Reverend Mr JONATHAN DUSTWICH,
[RECEIVED your's in courfe of poft, and fall be glad to treat with you for the MS. which I have delivered to your friend Mr Bhen; but can by no means comply with the terms propofed. Thofe things are fo uncertain-Writing is all a lottery-I have been a lofer by the works of the greatest men of the age-I could mention particulars, and name names; but don't chufe it-The taste of the town is fo changeable. Then there have been fo many letters upon travels lately published-What between Smollet's, Sharp's, Derrick's, Thickness's, Baltimore's, and Baretti's, together with Shandy's Sentimental Travels, the public feems to be cloyed with that kind of entertainment-Nevertheless, I will, if you pleafe, run the risk of printing and publishing, and you shall have half the profits of the impreffion.-You need not take the trouble to bring up your fermons on my account-No body reads fermons but Methodists and Diffenters -Befides, for my own part, I am quite a ftranger to that fort of reading; and the two perfons, whofe judgment I depended upon in these matters, are out of the way; one is gone abroad, carpenter of a man of war; and the other has been filly enough to abfcond, in order to avoid a profecution for blafphemy-I'm a great lofer by his going off-He has left a manual of devotion half finished on my hands, after having received money for the whole copy-He was the foundest divine, and had the most orthodox pen of all my people; and I never knew his judgment fail, but in flying from his bread and butter on this occafion.
By owning you was not put in bodily fear by Lifmahago, you preclude yourself from the benefit of a good plea, over and above the advantage of binding him over. In the late war, I inferted in my evening paper, a paragraph that came by the poft, reflecting upon the behaviour of a certain regiment in battle. An officer of faid regiment came to my shop, and, in the prefence of my wife and journeyman,
threatened to cut off my ears-As I exhibited marks of bodily fear, more ways than one, to the conviction of the byfanders, I bound him over; my action lay, and I recovered. As for flagellation, you have nothing to fear, and nothing to hope, on that head-There has been but one printer flogged at the cart-tail thefe thirty years, that was Charles Watfon; and be affured me it was no more than a fleabite. C S has been threatened feveral times by the Houfe of L; but it came to nothing. If an information fhould be moved for, and granted against you, as the editor of thefe letters, I hope you will have honesty and
it enough to appear and take your trial-If you fhould be fentenced to the pillory, your fortune is made-As times go, that's a fure fiep to honour and preferment. I fall think myfelf happy if I can lend you a lift; and am, very fineerely,
London, Aug. 10.
Please my kind fervice to your neighbour, my coufin Madoc. -I have fent an almanack and court-kalendar, directed for him at Mr Sutton's, bookfeller in Gloucefter, carriage paid, which he will pleafe to accept as a small token of my regard. My wife, who is very fond of toasted cheese, prefents her compliments to him, and begs to know if there's any of that kind which he was fo good as to fend us laft Christmas, to be fold in London.