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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES, LORD CLIFFORD OF LANESBOROUGH, etc. My Lord,—It is with a great deal of pleasure that I lay hold on this first occasion which the accidents of my life have given me of writing to your lordship: for since at the same time I write to all the world, it will be a means of publishing (what I would have everybody know) the respect and duty which I owe and pay to you.  I have so much inclination to be yours... more...

TO THERIGHT HONOURABLE CHARLES MONTAGUE,ONE OF THE LORDS OF THE TREASURY. Sir,—I heartily wish this play were as perfect as I intended it, that it might be more worthy your acceptance, and that my dedication of it to you might be more becoming that honour and esteem which I, with everybody who is so fortunate as to know you, have for you.  It had your countenance when yet unknown; and now it is made public, it wants your protection.... more...

For one may apprehend the whole truth to be somewhat thus.  Satiric comedy, or comedy of manners, is the art of making ludicrous in dramatic form some phase of life.  The writers of our old comedy thought that certain vices—gambling, adultery, and the like—formed a phase of life which for divers reasons, essential and accidental, lent itself best to their purpose.  They may, or may not, have thought they were doing... more...

Reader, Some Authors are so fond of a Preface, that they will write one tho’ there be nothing more in it than an Apology for its self.  But to show thee that I am not one of those, I will make no Apology for this, but do tell thee that I think it necessary to be prefix’d to this Trifle, to prevent thy overlooking some little pains which I have taken in the Composition of the following Story.  Romances are generally composed... more...

INTRODUCTION When William Congreve died in 1729 he left a collection of books which his old friend and publisher, Jacob Tonson, described (in a letter preserved at the Bodleian) as “genteel & well chosen.” Tonson thought so well of the collection that he urged his nephew, then his agent in London, to purchase Congreve’s books. But Congreve had willed them to Henrietta, the young Duchess of Marlborough, who was much... more...