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[Among Dr. Birch's papers in the British Museum, is the following Letter of Bishop Warburton, on Mallet's publishing the Works of Bolingbroke. It is addressed to Mr. Andrew Millar, the bookseller. Together with some Fragments relating to a former quarrel betwixt the Bishop and Mallet.]
Sir, Gloucester, March 20, 1757.
I Find by the newspapers, accusations to stir up the public resentment against the Editor of Lord Bolingbroke's Works. This I think ridiculous and unfair; he is not accountable to any particulars in what concerns his own conscience only: and it is perfectly ridiculous to suppose that Lord Bolingbroke left him the property of his writings with design they should be suppressed. The very contrary purpose is evident to the common sense of mankind. But there is a contradiction between this and the declaration in the prefatory letter to Mr. Pope. Why? His whole book is full of contradictions, as well as weak reasonings, and pernicious principles. I perhaps may have occasion, in due time, to shew all this. - But what is this to the Editor? Let the Author answer for it; and he will have a hundred writers, I make no doubt, to call him to account. But if the Editor grows jealous (as he did in the case of the Patriot King) of one who neither thought nor said a word of him, but addressed all he had to say to Lord Bolingbroke, and yet was villanously abused by somebody or other on that account, he will find himself business. The worst I wish him is the best his friends can wish; that if he hath not published these Works with a perfectly satisfied conscience, he may make his peace, not with particulars or the public, which are nothing, but with him only who can heal a wounded conscience, or enlighten an erroneous one.
"With regard to Mr. Mallet's declaration, there is only one way to convince me, he is not the Author of that infamous libel, which is, by taking an opportunity of disowning it publicly. I think my honour is concerned, that it be publicly known I had no hand in the letter to Lord Bolingbroke, merely on account of the Apollo story, and I shall do it on the first occasion. If Mr. Mallet does not do the same with regard to this libel, I shall consider him as the Author of it, and act in consequence of that belief. This I desire you would let Millar know, and if he chooses, let him have a transcript of what I here say."