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ÍN SIX VOLUMES ;
THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OF TRISTRAM SHANDY, GENT...A
A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR:
WRITTEN HY AIMSELF :' .
C Stebbins, Printer, Boston.
The Works of Mr. Sterne, after contending with the prejudices of some, and the ignorance of others, have at length obtained that general approbation which they are entitled to by their various, original, and intrinsick merits. No writer of the present times can lay claim to so many unborrowed excellencies. In none have wit, humour, fancy, pathos, an unbounded knowledge of mankind, and a correct and elegant style, been so happily united. These properties, which render him the delight of every reader of taste, have surmounted all opposition :-even envy, prudery, and hypocrisy are silent.
Time, which allots to each author his due portion of fame, and admits a free discussion of his beauties and faults, without favour and without partiality, hath done ample justice to the superior genius of Mr. Sterne. It hatl; fized his reputation as one of the first writers in žhe English Language, on the firmest basis, and advanced him to the rank of a classick. As such, it becomes a debt of gratitude to collect his scattered performances into a complete edition, with those embellishments usually bestowed on our most distinguished authors.
This hath been attempted in the present edition, which comprehends all the works of Mr. Sterne cither made publick in his life-time or since his
death. They are printed from the best and most correct copies, with no other alterations than what became necessary from the correction of literal errors. The letters are arranged according to their. several dates, as far as they can be discovered ; and a few illustrations added, to explain some temporary circumstances mentioned or alluded to in them. Those which are confessedly spurious, are rejected; and, that no credit may be given to such as are of doubtful authority, it will be proper to observe, that the Letters numbered 129, 130, 131, have not those proofs of authenticity which the others possess. They cannot however be pronounced forgeries with so much confidence as some* which are discarded from the present edition may be, and therefore are retained in it.
That no part of the genuine works of Mr. Sterne might be omitted, his own account of himself and family is inserted without variation. But as this appears to have been a hasty composition, intended only for the information of his daughter,ma small number of facts and dates; by way of notes, are added to it. These, it is presumed, will not be considered as improper: ådakions.
It would be trespasširig on the reader's patience, to detain him-ary fong'er from the pleasure which these volumes will afford, by bespeaking his favour either for the author or his works :-the former is out of the reach of censure or praise ; and the reputation of the latter is too well established to be either supported or shook by panegyrick or criticism. To the taste, therefore, the feelings, the good sense,
* See the preface to a work published in 1779, intituled, “ Letters supposed to have been written by Yorick to Eliza."