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H E T O R I C.




Bac. De Augm. Sclent. 1. c 3-


Printed for W. Stfahan; and T. Cadell, in the Strand;
. and V. Creech ac Edinburgh.


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THERE are several reasons which have induced the Author of the following sheets, to give the Public some account of their origin and progress, previously to their coming under its examination. They are a series of Essays closely connected with one another, and written on a subject, in the examination of which, he has at intervals employed himself for a considerable part of his life. Considered separately, each may justly be termed a whole, and complete in itself; taken together, they are constituent parts of one Work. The Author entered on this inquiry as early as the year 1750; and it was then that the two first Chapters of the first Book were composed. These he intended as a fort of groundwork to the whole. And the judicious Reader will perceive, that, in raising the superstructure, he has entirely conformed to the plan there delineated. That first outline he sliowed soon after to several of his acA 2 quaintance, quaintance, some of whom are still living. In the year 1757, it was read to a private li^ terary society, of which the Author had the honour to be a member. It was a difference in his situation at that time, and his connection with the gentlemen of that society, some of whom have since honourably distinguished themselves in the republic of letters, that induced him to resume a subject, which he had so long laid aside. The three following years all the other chapters of that Book, except the third, the sixth, and the tenth, which have been but lately added (rather as illustrations and confirmations of some parts of the work, than as essential to it) were composed, and submitted to the judgment of the same ingenious friends. All that follows on the subject of Elocution, hath also undergone the same review. Nor has there been any material alteration made on these, or any addition to them, except in a few instances of notes, examples, and verbal corrections, since they were composed.


It is also proper to observe here, that since transcribing the present Work for the press, a

manumanuscript was put into his hands by Doctor Beattie, at the very time that, in order to be favoured with the Doctor's opinion of this Performance, the Author gave him the first Book for his perusal. Doctor Beattie's Tract is called An EJsay on Laughter and Ludicrous Writing. Whilst the Author carefully perused that Essay, it gave him a very agreeable surprise to discover, that on a question so nice and curious, there should, without any previous communication, be so remarkable a coincidence of sentiments in every thing wherein their subjects coincide. A man must have an uncommon confidence in his own faculties, (I might have said in his own infallibility) who is not sensibly more satisfied of the justness of their procedure, especially in abstract matters, when he discovers such a concurrence with the ideas and reasoning of writers of discernment. The subject of that piece is indeed Laughter in general, with an inquiry into those qualities in the object, by which it is excited. The investigation is conducted with the greatest accuracy, and the theory confirmed and illustrated by such a variety of pertinent examples, as give us access to scrutinize his A 3 doctrine

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