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The two next papers contain the heads of two essays intended to have been written upon the “ Different conditions of Life and Fortune,” and upon “Conversation.” I have directed they should be printed among the rest, because I believe there are few who will not be content to see even the first draught of any thing from the author's hand.

At the end I have added a few translations from Virgil, Horace, and Tibullus, or rather imitations, done by the author above thirty years ago; whereof the first was printed, among other Eclogues of Virgil, in the year 1679, but without any mention of the author. They were indeed not intended to have been made public, till I was informed of several copies that were got abroad, and those very imperfect and corrupt. Therefore the reader finds them here, only to prevent him from finding them in other places very faulty, and perhaps accompanied with many spurious additions.


being ignorant of a passage which made so great a noise in the commonwealth of learning. At this time, however, the doctor (being generally suspected of being the author of “ The Tale of a Tub,” which came abroad some time before, and which he did, not think fit to own) might fancy that, by his disclaiming the knowledge of the occasion on which sir William wrote above Essay, he should weaken the suspicion of his having written “ The Tale of a Tub," which last is a subsidiary defence of sir William Temple. D. S.






1703. *

The following papers are the last of this, or indeed of any kind, about which the author ever gave me his particular commands. They were corrected by himself, and fairly transcribed in his lifetime. I have in all things followed his directions as strictly as I could; but accidents unforeseen having since intervened, I have thought convenient to lessen the bulk of this volume. To which end, I have omitted several letters addressed to persons with whom this author corresponded without any particular confidence, farther than upon account of their posts : because great numbers of such letters, procured out of the office, or by other means(how justifiable I shall notexamine), have been already printed: but, running wholly upon long dry subjects of business, have met no other reception than merely what the reputation of the author would give them. If I could have foreseen an end of this trade, I should, upon some considerations, have longer forborn sending these into the world. But I daily hear, that new discoveries of original letters are hasting to the press : to stop the current of which, I am forced to an earlier publication than I designed. And therefore I take this occasion to inform the reader, that these letters, ending with the author's revocation from his employments abroad (which in less than two years was followed by his retirement from all public business), are the last he ever intended for the press; having been selected by himself from great numbers yet lying among his papers.

* This was a separate publication, intended to complete the series of Temple's political correspondence,

If I could have been prevailed with by the rhetorick of booksellers, or any other little regards, I might easily, instead of retrenching, have made very considerable additions : and by that means have perhaps taken the surest course to prevent the interloping of others. But, if the press must needs be loaded, I would rather it should not be by my means.

And therefore I may hope to be allowed one word in the style of a publisher (an office liable to much censure without the least pretensions to merit or to praise) that if I have not been much deceived in others and myself, the reader will hardly find one Letter in this collection unworthy of the author, or which does not contain something either of entertainment or of use.










Et ille quidem plenus annis obiit, plenus honoribus, illis etiam quos recusavit.

Plin. EPIST. ii. 1.

It was perfectly in compliance to some persons for whose opinion I have great deference, that I so long withheld the publication of the following papers. They seemed to think, that the freedom of some passages in these memoirs might give offence to several who were still alive; and whose part in those affairs which are here related, could not be transmitted to posterity with any advantage to their reputation. But whether this objection be in itself of much weight, may perhaps be disputed; at least it should have little with me, who am under no restraint in that particular; since I am not of an age to remember those transactions, nor had any acquaintance with those persons whose counsels or proceedings are condemned, and who are all of them now dead.

* The Third Part of sir William Temple's Memoirs, he himself declared to be “ written for the satisfaction of my friends hereafter, upon the grounds of my retirement, and resolution never to meddle again with any public affairs, from this present February, 1680-1."

As they embraced the latter part of the reign of Charles II., they contained many particulars affecting the character of the statesmen who occupied the stage during that busta ling and intriguing period, Several of sir William Temple's friends, and in particular his sister Lady Gifford, judged the Memoirs on this account unfit for publication. But, although Swift deferred his intention at their request, he afterwards resumed it, and printed the work with the following preface ; at which Lady Gifford was so much incensed, as to publish an advertisement against him; nor does there at any time afterwards appear to have been a reconciliation. The price received by Swift for the Memoirs, appears from a document published by Mr Nichols, to have been forty pounds.

But, as this author is very free in exposing the weakness and corruptions of ill ministers, so he is as ready to commend the abilities and virtue of others, as may be observed from several passages of these memoirs ; particularly of the late earl of Sunderland, with whom the author continued in the most intimate friendship to his death ; and who was father of that most learned and excellent lord, now secretary of state : as likewise, of the present earl of Rochester; and the earl of Godolphin, now lord treasurer, represented by this impartial author as a person at that time deservedly entrusted with so great a part in the prime ministry; an office he now executes again with such universal applause, so much to the queen's honour and his own, and to the advantage of his country, as well as of the whole confederacy.

There are two objections I have sometimes heard to have been offered against those memoirs that were printed in the author's life-time, and which these now published may perhaps be equally liable to. First, as to the matter; that the author speaks too much of himself: next, as to

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