« ПретходнаНастави »
THE idea of this compilation was suggested
1 by the great value that has frequently been set upon collections of scraps cut out of newspapers the title by that of a French book*, of a nature somewhat similar.
In making the selection, recourse has seldom been had to publications of earlier date than the year 1793;, e period when the col. lision of political parties, and the momentous incidents of the war, and of the French revolution, began to elicit stronger fiashes of wit, and satire, from the mind of genius, than had been produced for a long time before.
By far the greater part of the Essays and Jeux d'Esprit thus rescued from oblivion, are
of an antiministerial tendency; but this is not the consequence of any partiality. It was equally the wish and interest of the Editor to gratify all parties; and that he might do so, he waded through a great number of files of ministerial papers, till he was woefully convinced of the truth of Mr. Burke's observation, that “the balance of intellect is entirely on the side of the Jacobins.” The wit and hu. mour of the adverse faction, as far at least as he could judge from the evidence of the Public Journals, may be compared to “two grains of wbeat bid in two busbels of chaff; you shall seek .. all day ere you find them, and when you bave them, they are not worth the searcb*.” · The just application of the foregoing words, will, indeed, be manifest to the reader himself, when he sees.: the feriority of the few ministerial articles that have been introduced, one or two excepted: They are, however, the best, as has already been intimated, that could be obtained, after long and laborious researches. · The opportunity that better liesure may afford, of extending those researches in future years, may probably diminish a dispro
portion, of which the friends to the present administration will doubtless complain, in spite of the best reasons that can be assigned.
Upon the whole, however, the Editor flatters himself, that he shall be allowed the merit of having extracted from sources, to people in general, perfectly unattainable, and from an enormous mass of chaotic matter, a treat highly gratifying to all, who have any relish for wit or humour. Many of the Essays contained in this volume, are, perhaps, little, if at all, inferior to the best papers in the Spectator; and they have been drawn from publications, of which the purchase would amount to a very: considerable sum.
Of the few Notes, and Anecdotes interspersed, he will only say, that he thought the former.
necessary, and believes the latter true. . Though it might be sufficient praise to have
assumed the office of the industrious bee, by collecting sweets from all quarters, the Editor wishes it to be understood, that he had also some share in the original composition. He is the author of a number of the articles, which he will not point out, but which, he confesses, are not likely to be classèd with those of superior merit,
ADVERTISEMENT. It is intended that a similar volume shall appear at the commencement of every year. As there will be more time for its production, the plan will receive every improvement of which it is susceptible; the Notes and Anecdotes will be more copious; and the selection will be made with still greater care.
N. B. In ascribing the articles to the various publications wbence they have been taken, the Editor is aware, that several errors may have been made. In some cases he was forced to depend upon memory. In others, he has probably mistaken borrowed articles for originals.