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your Letters: he openly promises encourager ment, or even pecuniary rewards, to those who will help him to any; and engages to insert whatever they shall send. Any scandal is sure of a reception, and any enemy who sends it screened from a discovery. Any domestic or fervant, who can snatch a letter from your pocket or cabinet, is encouraged to that vile practice. If the quantity falls short of a volume, any thing else shall be joined with it (more especially scandal) which the collector can think for his interest, all recommended under your Name: you have not only Theft to fear, but Forgery. Any Bookseller, tho' conscious in what manner they were obtained, not caring what may be the consequence to your Fame or Quiet, will sell and disperse them in town and country. The better your Reputation is, the more your Name will cause them to be demanded, and consequently the more you will be injured. The injury is of such a nature, as the Law (which does not punish for Inten.' tions) cannot prevent; and when done, may punish, but not redress. You are therefore reduced, either to enter into a personal treaty with such a man (which tho' the readiest, is the meanest of all methods) or to take such other measures to suppress them, as are contrary to your Inclination, or to publish them,
as are contrary to your Modesty. Otherwise your Fame and your Property fuffer alike ; you are at once exposed and plundered. As an Author, you are deprived of that Power, which above all others constitutes a good one, the power of rejecting, and the right of judging for yourself, what pieces it inay be most useful, entertaining, or reputable to publish, at the time and in the manner you think beft. As a Man, you are deprived of the right even over your own Sentiments, of the privilege of every human creature to divulge or conceal them; of the advantage of your second thoughts; and of all the benefit of your Prudence, your Candour, or your Modesty. As a Member of Society, you are yet more injured; your private conduct, your domestic concerns, your family fecrets, your pafsions, your tendernesses, your weaknesses, are exposed to the Misconstruction or Refentment of some, to the Cenfure or Impertinence of the whole world. The printing private letters in such a manner, is the worst fort of betraying Conversation, as it has evidently the most extensive, and the most lasting, ill consequences. It is the highest Offence against Society, as it renders the most dear and intimate intercourse of friend with friend, and the most necessary commerce of man with man, unsafe, and to be dreaded. To open letters is esteemed the great
est breach of honour : even to look into them
Contents of the Seventh Volume.
LETTERS to and from Mr. WYCHERLEY.
From the Year 1704 to 1710. P. 3
bim: the temper of critics.
XXII. From Mr. Wyckerley. His defire of bis
company ; and request to proceed in cor-
recting his papers.
account of the state of his papers.
them into select Maxims and Refle£tions,
which Mr. Wycherley' agreed to, and