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THE

ADVERTISEMEN T.

IF
F Mr. Malone, in his zeal for detecting the Miscellaneous

Papers, which were exhibited as Shakspeare's; and which, with little help from others, had already detected themselves, had written, instead of his INQUIRY, a pamphlet in plain prose; stating his objections, without irony, and submitting his documents, without scoffs ; thereby impugn-, ing fraud, without asserting fiction, and convincing opponents, without rousing adversaries; no one would have answered what few would have read; since a cheat exploded is a cheat no more.

But, in his high-blown pride, he was little solicitous to dissemble his free contempt for those, who, for a time, thought differently from him on disputable points; while they were influenced by reasonings, which will not soon be confuted. He was, by those motives, induced to scatter his wilful abuse, with a ready pen, throughout his Inquiry, against those, whom he terms “ partizans of fraud,” 4 singleaders of impofition," “ hardened offenders ;” thus, turning his pens to lances; and, by a scornful rhime, endeavouring to make their names fixed figures for the time of fcorn, to point his now unmoving finger at. Amidst this tempest of provocation, he sent them a roisting challenge to defend, or retract, their opinions; thinking, doubtless, to strike amazement to their drowsy spirits.

The Believers, indeed, felt, that extremity is the trier of {pirits. Nevertheless; as men attacked, they merely act on

the

the defensive, in making this Apology; as Englismen, who had received many a blow, they, in their desperate turn, barely send back his arrows, but without their venom; and as scholars, antiquaries, and heralds, they only act agreeably to their charter, and their customary rights, when they resist the tyranny of a Dictator in the republic of letters ; without vindicating the Miscellaneous Papers, which they acknowledge to be spurious: yet ; they do not admit Mr. Malone's principle, that our whole Archæology may be misrepresented, for the purpose of detecting a literary fraud; nor, do they allow, that the said republic ought to be invaded in its limits, or disturbed in its quiet, by his discharge of this inundation of mistempered humour, for the gratification of an indiscreet zeal.

They will only add what Johnson remarked of Hanmer: Bur, I MAY, WITHOUT INDECENCY, OBSERVE, THAT NO MAN SHOULD ATTEMPT TO TEACH WHAT

HE HAS

NEVER LEARNED HIMSELF.

[MACBETH. MDCCXLV.]

PostSCRIPT:

The stamp in the Title-page shows to the curious eye the arms of the Revels : and, the Tail-piece exhibits to the inquisitive dramatist the seal of the office of the Revels, during the reigns of five sovereigns, under the KilliGREWS.

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I

HAVE the honour to appear at the bar

of this critical (a) court; in order to shew cause, why an information shall not be filed, by the public accuser, against the believers of the papers, which have been attributed to Shakspeare, for having committed the aggravated crimes of being “ the credulous " partizans of folly and (b) imposture ;” of thinking for themselves ; and judging from

(a) See the Seffion of the Poets, in the State Poems, 1703, vol. i. p. 206.

Apollo, concern’d to see the transgressions,

That our paultry scribblers daily commit,
Gave orders once mcre to summon a seifions,

Severely to punish the abuses of wit. (6) Mal. Inquiry, 366.

B

evidence.

evidence. I am not, however, instructed by those believers, who certified, under their hands, the genuineness of those Shakspeariana: Nor, am I instructed by those believers, who retain their original belief to the present day. Such being the parties ; I will proceed, if this court will grant me its indulgent attention, and favour me with its accustomed patience, to show cause why an information should not be filed against those believers, who, claiming the right of fair discussion, and of free exemption from the authority of a dictator, within the republic of letters, are ambitious of appearing in this enlightened presence, without being deemed “ some untua " tor'd youths, unskilful in the world's false " forgeries.”

- $ 1.

THE GENERAL ARGUMENT.

OF SHAKSPEARE, it cannot be asserted, as of conquerors, in

every period, that be left a name, at which the world grew pale. Shakfpeare was the delight of his own time ; and became the admiration of after-ages. He was born on the 23d of April 1564, a day, propitious to genius, fortunate for our iland, and 7

happy

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happy for mankind. He was produced in the gay season of nature, during a resplendent reign of genius and talents. Nor, did Shakspeare contest the palm of poetry with “puny

powers :" He rose to the highest eminence, after a strenuous competition with some of the greatest poets, which any clime had produced, in any age. The nation, at length, claimed him as her own. And, Englishmen, when they travelled amongst the lettered inhabitants of the Continent, valued themselves, and were valued by others, as the countrymen of Shakspeare. Whoever, then, offers a purposed dishonour to Shakspeare, commits a national offence. And he, who designedly publishes spurious papers, as the real productions of Shakspeare, does him real dishopour. I am, therefore, ready to admit, that the partizans of such“ folly and imposture,” if such there be, ought to be proceeded against, in this court, as

against feats, « So crimeful, and so capital in nature. Yet, he, who assumes the character of a public accuser, ought not to commit crimeful feats himself. From him, fairness of proceeding, 'whilft detecting foulness, and candour of representation, whilst prosecuting imposi

B 2

tion,

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