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issue. These are the bonds of our civil dity : bnt your Royal Highness has laid is under others, yet more sacred and engaging; I mean those of religion. You are not only the brightest ornament, but the patroness and defender of our holy faith.
Noris it Britain alone, but the world, but the present and all succeeding ages, who shall bless your royal name, for the greatest example that can be given of a disinterested piety, and unshaken constancy.
This is what we may certainly reckon amongst the benefits your Royal Highness has conferred upon us. Though, at the same time, how partial soever we may be to ourselves, we onght not to believe you declined the first crown of Europe, in regard to Britain only. No, Madam, it is in justice to your Royal Highness that we must confess, you had more excellent mo. tives forso great an action as that was, since you did it in obedience to the dictates of reason and conscience, for the sake of true religion, and for the honour of God. All things that are great have been offered to you; and all things that are good and happy, as well in this world as a better, shall becomc the reward of such cčalied virtile and piely. The blessings of our nation, the prayers of our church, with the faithful service of all good men, shall wait upon your Royal Highness as long as you live; and whenever, for the punishment of this land, you shall be taken from us,
your sacred name shall be dear to remembrance, and Almighty God, who alone is able, shall bestow on you the fulness of recompence.
Amongst the several offerings of duty which are made to you here, be graciously pleased to accept of this unworthy trifle, which is, with the greatest respect and lowest submission, presented to your Royal Highness,
Your Royal Highness's
Though I have very little inclination to write prefaces before works of this nature; yet, upon this particular occasion, I can. not but think myself obliged to give some account of this Play, as well in justice to myself, as to a very learned and ingenious gentleman, my friend, who is dead. The person I mean, was Mr. Smith, of Christ Church, Oxon: one, whose character I could, with great pleasure, enter into, if it was not already very well known to the world. As I had the happiness to be intimately acquainted with him, he often told me, that he designed writing a Tragedy upon the story of Lady Jane Gray; and if he had lived, I should never have thought of meddling with it myself : but as he died without doing it, in the beginning of last summer, I resolved to undertake it. And, indeed, the hopes I had of receiving some considerable assistances from the papers he left behind him, were one of the principal motives that induced me to go about it. These papers were in the hands of Mr. Ducket, to whom my friend, Mr. Thomas Burnet, was so kind as to write, and procure them for me.
The least return I can make to those gentlemen, is this public acknowledgment of their great civility on this occasion. I must confess, before those papers came to my hand, I had entirely formed the design, or fable, of my own piay; and when I came to look them over, I found it was different from that which Mr. Smith intended; the plan of his being drawn after that which is in print of Mr. Banks; at least I thought so, by what I could pick out of his papers. To say the truth, I was a good deal surprised and disappointed at the sight of them. I hoped to have met with great part of the play written to my hand ; or, at least, the whole of
the design regularly drawn out. Instead of that, I found the quantity of about two quires of paper written over in odd pieces, blotted, interlined, and confused. What was contained in them, in general, was loose hints of sentiinents, and short obscure sketches of scenes. But how they were to be applied, or in what order they were to be ranged, I could liot, by any diligenee of mine (and I looked them very carefully over more than once), come to understand. One scene there was, and one only, that seemed pretty near perfect, in which Lord Guilford singly persuades Lady Jane to take the crown. From that I borrowed all that I could, and inserted it in my own third act. But indeed the manner and turn of his fable was so different from mine, that I could not take above five-and-twenty, or thirty lines at the most; and even in those I was obliged to make some altera. tion. I should have been very glad to have come into a parte nership of reputation with so fine a writer as Mr. Smith was; but in truth, his hints were so short and dark (many of them marked even in short-hand), that they were of little use or service to me. They might have served as indexes to his own memory, and he might have formed a play out of them; but I dare say nobody else could. In one part of his design, he seems to differ from Mr. Banks, whose tale he generally designed to follow ; since I observed in many of those short sketches of scenes, he had introduced queen Mary. He seemed to intend her character pitiful, and inclining to mercy; but urged on to cruelty by the rage and bloody dispositions of Bonner and Gardiner. This hint I had likewise taken from the late Bishop of Salisbury's History of the Reformation ; who lays, and, I believe, very justly, the horrible cruelties that were acted at that time, rather to the charge of that persecuting spirit by which the clergy were then animated, than to the queen's own Natural disposition.
Many people believed, or, at least said, that Mr. Smith left a play very near entire behind him. All that I am sorry for is, that it was not so in fact; I should have made no scruple of taking three, four, or even the whole five acts from him ; but then I hope I should have had the honesty to let the world know they were his, and not take another man's reputation to myself.
This is what I thought necessary to say, as well on my own account, as in regard to the memory of
For the play, such as it is, I leave it to prosper as it can; I have resolved never to trouble the world with any public apologies for my writings of this kind, as inuch as I have been provoked to it. I shall turn this, my youngest child, out into the world, with no other provision than a saying which I remember to have seen lefore one of Mrs. Beho's:
Vu! mon énfant, prend la fortune.