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AUTHOR TO BE L E T.

.

BEING

A PROPOSAL humbly addreffed to the Confidera

tion of the Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, and other worshipful and weighty Members of the solid and ancient

SOCIETY OF THE BATHOS.

By their Affuciate and Well-wisher,

ISCARIQT HACKNE Y.*

Evil be thou my Good.

SATAN.

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GENTLEMEN,
AM glad to find you meddle with the dirty Work

of your Brother Journalists. To be inoffensive is a puritannical Spirit, and will never succeed in a free-thinking Age. What is Gold itself (says the Philosopher) but Dirt? It is dug out of dirty Mines; and, as a Proof it retains its Nature, we come at it easieft through dirty Means. Be assured, a Scavenger of Wit is a more gainful Occupation than that of a delicate, moral Writer.

By this I mean to let you see my Ability, and to proffer my Service. You must know when my Mo

* Richard Savage was the Author of this Pamphlet, which was publifhed about the Year 1730. It is much commended by Dr. Sanxel Johnson in his Life of that Gentleman.

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ther was pregnant of me, she once dream'd she was delivered of a Monster. It was observed also, at the Time of my Birth, that a Weezle was heard to shriek; and a Bat (though at Noon-Day) flew into the Room, and settled upon the Midwife's Wrift, just as the received me. While in the Cradle I was very froward. Early at School I discovered a promising Genius for Mischief. I carried Tales from one Boy to another to set them a fighting, and afterwards to the Master, to have them whipped. I had al. ways Cunning enough, when I committed a Fault, to lay the Blame upon another, and laugh’d to fee him fuffer for it. (A sure Prognostick of my future Judgment in Politicks !) I was fond of tearing away the Legs and Wings of Flies, of picking out the Eyes of some little Bird, or laming some favourite Lap-Dog, meerly by way of Amusement. This was only a Sign, that one Time or other I should have IH-nature enough for a great Wit. Now I understand to be a great Wit, is to take a Pleasure in giving every body Pain, and to shew no Mercy to a Reputation, which is dearer to some Fools than perhaps a Limb, or an Eye. I was also given to pilfer whatever lay in my Way; a Proof only that I would never scruple being a Plagiary, should I turn Author. I was expert at almost every thing except learning my Book; but neither Encouragement nor Correction could bring me to any Sense of Duty. I was always very fullen after being corrected; and if my Master forgave, and admonished me in a friendly Manner, I all the while ridiculed the old Put (as I then called him) by making Mouths or Horns over his Shoulder. This shewed I had always Wit enough to laugh at the common Notion of Gratitude. "I hooted at any unfortunate, ill-dress’d Person in the Street, if he looked like a Gentleman, and never failed to mock the Infirmities of old Age. When at a Sermon, I was very full of Play myself, and fond

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of interrupting the Devotion of others; so that (I thank my Stars!) in my Youth I had a fashionable Contempt for Religion. I came young into the World, with little Education, less Money, and no visible way of living : However I qualified myself (though of mean Birth) for a Gentleman of Wit and Humour about Town. I have naturally a Sourness of Temper, a droll Solemnity of Countenance, and a dry Manner of joking upon such Accidents, as Fools who value themselves upon Humanity, would be apt to compassionate. I have also a Propensity to sneer upon all Mankind, and particularly upon those who fancy they can oblige me. These elegant Qualities recommended me early to the Friendship of Dick Morley, Author of Mother Wiseborn. We met frequently at a little snug Gam-. ing House, never yet discovered by informing Conftables. A Similitude of Circumstances and Sympathy of Souls endeared us to each other; and to him I owe the Improvements of my afore-mentioned Faculties. These he cultivated, and many others implanted in me of the like Nature.

We commenced Authors together. At my first setting out I was hired by a reverend Prebend to libel Dean Swift for Infidelity. Soon after I was employed by Curll to write a merry Tale, the Wit of which was its Ob'cenity. This we agreed to palm upon the World for a posthumous Piece of Mr. Prior. However, a certain Lady, celebrated for certain Liberties, had a Curiosity to see the real Author. Curll, on my Promise that if I had a Present, he should go Snacks, sent me to her. I was admitted while her Ladyship was shifting; and on my Admittance, Mrs. Abigail was ordered to withdraw. What passed between us, a Point of Gallantry obliges me to conceal; but after some extraordinary Civilities, I was dismissed with a Purse of Guineas, and a Command to write a Sequel to my

Tale.

Tale. Upon this I turned out smart in Dress, bit Curll of his Share, and run out most of the Money in printing-my Works at my own Cost. But some Years after (just at the Time of his starving poor Pattison) the Varlet was revenged. He arrested me for several Months 'Board, brought me back to my Garret, and made me drudge on in my old dirty Work. Twas in his Service that I wrote Obscenity and Profaneness, under the Names of Pope and Swift. Sometimes I was Mr Joseph Gay, and at others Theory Burnett or Addison. I abridg'd Histories and Travels, translated from the French what they never wrote, and was expert at finding out new Titles for old Books. When a notorious Thief was hanged, I was the Plutarch to preserve his Memory; and when a great Man died, mine were his Remains, and mine the Account of his last Will and Testament. Had Mr. Oldmixon and Mr, Curll agreed, my Assistance had probably been invited into Father Bohour's Logick, and the critical History of England.

But before all this happened, a young Nobleinan gratified me for letting some Verses of mine be handed about at Court in Manuscript under his Name. This was the first Time that I ever heard my Writings generally commended. But alas! how short-lived the Applause ? They unfortunate. ly stole into print, loft their Reputation at once, and I am now ashamed to write any more, as a Person of Quality.

I am a great Joker, and deal in Clenches, Puns, Quibbles, Gibes, Conudrums, and Carry-which-its. Many a good Time have I lashed the whole Body of Clergy, and crack'd many a smart Joke upon the Trinity. One of my Books had the Honour of being presented for a Libel by the Grand-Jury, and another was made a Burnt-Offering by the Hands of the Common Hangman. 'If an Author writes a Piece that has

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Success in his own Character, I abuse him; but if in a fictitious one, I endeavour to personate him, and write a second part to his work. I am very deeply read in all Pieces of Scandal, Obscenity, and Profaneness, particularly in the Writings of Mrs. Haywood, Henley, Welsted, Morley, Foxton, Cooke, Foe, Norton, Woolfton, Dennis, Ned Ward, Concanen, Journalist-Pit, and the Author of the Rival Modés. From these I propose to compile a very grand Work, which shall not be inferior to Utopia, Carimania, Gulliverania, Art of Flogging, Daily Journal, Epigrams on the Dunciad, or Oratory Transactions; and, as this is designed for the Use of young Templers, it is hoped they will promote my Sub{cription. Since private Vices have been proved to be publick Benefits, I would venture to call it, An Useful Body of IMMORALITY, and print it in a broad, pompous Folio ; but such a one as may very well be bound up with Dean Smedley's intended Body of Divinity.

By the Help of Indexes, and technical Dictionaries, I work on every Branch of Learning. I pore often over the Volumes of State Tracts, whence I collect Paragraghs, which I mix with Remarks of my own, and range under several Heads. Those against a discarded Minifter I send to the London Journal, or Goncanen's Daily, or Weekly Papers. * Concanen is a precious Fellow! I once loved him for his Ingratitude to Dean Swift: I now adore him for his dull Humour, and malevolunt blendering Billingsgate against my Lord Bolingbroke. Other Paragraphs more virulent against a Prime Minister (for I naturally hate my Superiors) are for my very good Friend the Craftsman. How long have I

* In thy felonious Heart, tho’ Malice lice, It does bas touch thy liijh Pen, and dies,

DRYDEN.

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