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PUBLISHER OF THE SURREPTITIOUS EDITION,
presume we want no apology to the reader for this publication, but some may be thought needful to Mr. Pope: however, he cannot think our offence so great as theirs, whojirst separately published what we have here but collected in a better form and order. As for the Letters we have procured to be added, they serve but to complete, explain, and sometimes set in a true light, those others, which it was not in the writer's or our power to recall.
This collection hath been owing to several cabinets: some drawn from thence by accidents, and others (even of those to Ladies) voluntarily given. It is to one of that sejcwe are beholden for the whole correspondence between H. C. Esq. which Letters being lent her by that Gentleman, she took the liberty to print; as appears by the following, which we shall give at length, both as it is something curious, and as it may serve for an apology for ourselves.
VOL. VII. B
TO HENRY CROMWELL, ESQ.
After so long a silence as the many and great oppressions I have sighed under have occasioned, one is at a loss how to begin a letter to so kind a friend as yourself. But as it was always my resolution, if I must sink, to do it as decently (that is, as silently) as I could; so when I found myself 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 lingering death (for life it cannot be called) ever since you saw me, sequestered from company, deprived of my books, and nothing left to converse with, but the letters of my dead or absent friends; among which latter I always placed yours and Mr. Pope's in the first rank. I lent some of them indeed to an ingenious person, who was so delighted with the specimen, that he importuned me for a sight of the rest, which having obtained, he conveyed them to the press, I must not say altogether with my consent, nor wholly without it. I thought them too good to be lost in oblivion, and had no cause to apprehend the disobliging of any. The Public, viz. all persons of taste and judgment, would be pleased with so agreeable an amusement; Mr. Cromwell could not be angry, since it was but justice to his merit, to publish the solemn and private professions of love, gratitude, and veneration, made him by so celebrated an author; and sincerely Mr. Pope ought not to resent the publication, since the early pregnancy of his genius was no dishonour to his character. And yet, had either of you been asked, common modesty would have obliged you to refuse, what you would not be displeased with, if done without your knowledge. And besides, to end all dispute, 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 person to whom a letter is addressed, has the same right to dispose of it, as he has of goods purchased with his money. I doubt not but your generosity and honour will do me the right, of owning by a line that I came honestly by them. I flatter myself, in a few months I shall again be visible to the world; and whenever through good providence that turn shall happen, I shall joyfully acquaint you with it, there being none more truly your obliged servant, than, Sir,