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In the winter of 1799 a subscription edition of the Works of Chatterton was publicly proposed for his Sister's benefit. Those works had hitherto been published only for the emolument of strangers, who procured them by gift or purchase from the author himself, or pilfered them from his family. From the interest which these circumstances, and the whole of Chatterton's history had excited, more success was expected than has been found. At the end of two years the Subscription would not have defrayed the costs of publication.
An arrangement was then made with Messrs. Longman and Rees, who have published the work at their own expence, and allowed Mrs. Newton a handsome number of copies, with a reversionary interest in any future edition.
The particulars and result of this transaction shall be made known as soon as possible.
The Editors, (for so much of the business has devolved on Mr. Cottle, that the plural term is necessary), the Editors have to acknowledge their obligations to those gentlemen who have liberally assisted them. The Life is the well known work of Dr. Gregory, who has permitted it to be reprinted on the present occasion. From Mr. G. Catcott they have procured many original communications. Dr. Halifax favoured them with the Extract from Kew Gardens. Through the medium of Mr. Hill they obtained the second poem on the death of Phillips, with some other valuable pieces. To Mr. Haslewood they are obliged for the list of publications prefixed to the third volume, as well as for the use of his extensive collection of books and pamphlets relating to Chatterton. The Odes from Horace were obtained from Mr. Gardner. Mr. King has permitted us to reprint the Revenge. The Catch, by Chatterton's father, was received from Edward Williams, the Welch Bard ; a man who, for his genius and learning and
worth, is here mentioned with respect and
That the Rowley-poems are thus printed as the Works of Chatterton, will not surprize the public, though it may perhaps renew a controversy in which much talent has been misemployed. The merit of these poems has been long acknowledged. Whatever be the value of the others, the Editors hope they have performed an acceptable, as they know it to be a useful labour, in thus collecting, so far as they have been able, all the productions of the most extraord nary young man that ever appeared in this country. They have felt peculiar pleasure, as natives of the same city, in performing this act of justice to his fame and to the interests of his family.