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Of the Publisher of the Surreptitious Edition, 1735.
E prefume we want no apology to the reader for this publication, but fome may be thought needful to Mr. Pope however he cannot think our of fence fo great as theirs, who first feparately published what we have here but collected in a better form and order. As for the letters we have procured to be added, they ferve but to complete, explain, and sometimes fet in a true light, thofe others, which it was not in the writer's, or our power to recall.
This collection hath been owing to feveral cabinets: fome drawn from thence by accidents, and others (even of thofe to ladies) voluntarily given. It is to one of that fex we are beholden for the whole correfpondence with H. C. efq. which letters being lent her by that gentleman, he took the liberty to print; as appears by the following, which we shall give at length, both as it is fomething curious, and as it may ferve for an apology for our felves.
To HENRY CROMWELL, Efq.
June 27, 1727.
FTER fo long a filence as the many and great oppreffions I have fighed under have occafioned, one is at a lofs how to begin a letter to so kind a friend as yourfelf. But as it was always my refolution, if I muft fink, to do it as decently (that is, as filently) as I could; fo when I found myself 1 plunged into unforeseen, and unavoidable ruin, I retreated from the world, and in a manner buried myself in a dismal place, where I knew none, and none knew me. In this dull unthinking way, I have protracted a lingring death (for life it cannot be called) ever fince you faw me, fequeftred from company, deprived of my books, and nothing left to converse with, but the letters of my dead or abfent friends; among which latter I always placed yours, and Mr. Pope's in the firft rank. 1 lent fome of them indeed to an ingenious perfon, who was fo delighted with the fpecimen, that he importuned me for a fight of the reft, which having obtained, he conveyed them to the prefs, I muft not fay altogether with my confent, nor wholly without it. I thought them too good to be loft in oblivion, and had no cause to apprehend the difobliging of any. The public, viz. all perfons of tafte and judgment, would be pleased with fo agreeable an amufement; Mr. Cromwell could not be angry, fince it was but juftice to his merit, to publish the folemn and private profeffions of love, gratitude, -and veneration, made him by fo celebrated an author; and fincerely Mr Pope ought not to refent the publication, fince the early pregnancy of his genius was no difhonour to his character. And yet had either of you been asked, common modely
would have obliged you to refufe, what you would not be displeased with, if done without your knowledge. And befides, to end all difpute, you had been pleased to make me a free gift of them, to do what I pleased with them; and every one knows, that the perfon to whom a letter is addreffed, has the fame right to difpofe of it, as he has of goods purchafed with his money. I doubt not but your ge nerofity and honour will do me the right, of owning by a line that I came honeftly by them. I flatter myself, in a few months I fhall again be vifible to the world; and whenever thro' good providence that turn fhall happen, I fhall joyfully acquaint you with it, there being none more truly your obliged fervant, than, Sir,
P. S. A Letter, Sir, directed to Mrs. Thomas, to be left at my houfe, will be fafely tranfmitted to her, by,
Epfom, July 6, 1727. HEN thefe letters were firft printed, I
WHEN wondered how Curll could come by them,
and could not but laugh at the pompous title; fince whatever you wrote to me was humour, and familiar raillery. As foon as I came from Epfom, I Heard you had been to see me, and I writ you a fhort letter from Will's, that I longed to fee you. Mr.
Ds, about that time charged me with giving them to a mistress, which I pofitively denied: not in the least, at that time, thinking of it; but some time after, finding in the News papers Letters from Lady Packington, Lady Chudleigh, and Mr. Norris to the fame Sappho or E. T. I began to fear that I was guilty. I have never feen thefe Letters of Curll's, nor would go to his fhop about them; I have not feen this Sappho alias E. T. thefe feven years. Her writing, That I gave her 'em, to do what I would with 'em, is ftraining the point too far.. I thought not of it, nor do think the did then ; but fevere neceffity which catches hold of a twig, has produced all this; which has lain hid, and forgot, by me fo many years. Curll fent me a letter laft week, defiring a pofitive answer about this matter, but finding I would give him none, he went to E. T. and writ a postscript in her long romantick letter, to direct my answer to his houfe; but they not expec ing an answer, fent a young man to me, whe name, it seems, is Pattifon. I told him I fho ild not write any thing, but I believed it might be foas she writ in her letter. I am extremely concern that my former indifcretion in putting them into the hands of this Pretieufe, fhould have given you much disturbance; for the laft thing I fhould do would be to difoblige you, for whom I have ever preferved the greatest esteem, and shall ever be, Si O MARIOT
Your faithful Friend, and
moft humble Servant,
To Mr. POPE.
Auguft 1, 1727.
HO' I writ my long narrative from Epfom till I was tired, yet was I not fatisfied; left any, doubt should reft upon your mind. I could not make proteftations of my innocence of a grievous crime; but I was impatient till I came to town, that I might fend you thofe Letters, as a clear evidencethat I was a perfect ftranger to all their proceeding. Should I have protested against it, after the printing, it might have been taken for an attempt to decry his purchase; and as the little exception you have taken has ferved him to play his game upon us for these two years, a new incident from me might enable him to play it on for two more.-The great value fhe expreffes for all you write, and her paffion for having them, I believe, was what prevailed upon me to let her keep them. By the interval of twelve years at least, from her poffeffion to the time of printing them, 'tis manifeft, that I had not the leaft ground to apprehend fuch a defign: but as people in great ftraits, bring forth their hoards of old gold and most valued jewels; fo Sappho had recourse to her hid treasure of Letters, and played off not only your's to me, but all those to herself (as the lady's last stake) into the prefs.-As for me, I hope, when you fhall cooly confider the many thousand inftances of our being deluded by the females, since that great Original of Adam by Éve, you will have a more favourable thought of the undefigning error of
Your faithful Friend,
and humble Servant,