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HE present Work appears with Confidence in the
Kingdom that gave Birth to it: and will be well satisfied with its Fortune, if it meets with as favourable a Reception as has been indulg’d to all the other Compositions of its Author. The high Esteem which Mr. de Voltaire has always discover'd for the Eng
m, is a Proof how ambitious he is of their Approbation. 'Tis now grown familiar to him, but then he is not tir'd with it; and indeed
one wou'd be apt to think that this Circumstance is pleasing to the Nation, from the strong Defire they have to peruse whatever is publish'd under his Name.
Without pretending therefore to any great Penetration, we may venture to assure him that his Letters will meet with all the Success that cou'd be wish’d. Mr. de Voltaire is the Author of them, they were written in London, and relate particularly to the English Nation; three Circumstances which must necessarily recommend them. The great Freedom with which Mr. de Voltaire delivers himself in his various Observations, cannot give him any Apprehensions of their being less favourably receiv'd upon that Account, by a judicious People who abhor Flattery. The English are pleas’d to have their Faults pointed out to them, because this
shews at the same Time, that the Writer is able to distinguish their Merit.
We must however confess, that these Letters were not design’d for the Public. They are the Result of the Author's Complacency and Friendship for Mr. Thiriot, who had desir'd him, during his Stay in England, to favour him with such Remarks as he might make on the Manners and Customs of the British Nation. 'Tis well known that in a Correspondence of this kind, the most just and regular Writer does not propose to observe any Method. Mr. de Voltaire in all Probability follow'd no other Rule in the Choice of his Subjects than his particular Taste, or perhaps the Queries of his Friend. Be this as it will, 'twas thought that the most natural Order in which they cou'd be plac'd,
would be that of their respective Dates. Several Particulars which are mention'd in them make it necessary for us to observe, that they were written between the latter End of 1728, and about 1731, The only Thing that can be regretted on this Occasion is, that fo agreeable a Correspondence should have continued no longer.
The Reader will no doubt observe, that the Circumstances in eve ry
Letter which had not an immediate relation to the Title of it, have been omitted. This was done on purpose ;' for Letters written with the Confidence and Simplicity of personal Friendship, generally include certain Things which are not proper for the Press
. The Public indeed thereby often lose à great many agreeable Particulars; but why should they complain, if the want of them is compensated by a