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searches of that Institution, innmediately took it to his employers, and was rewarded handsomely for his trouble. Such a treasury of secrets was worth a whole host of informers; and accordingly, like the Cupids of the poet (if I may use so profane a simile) who “fell at odds about the sweet-bag of a bee,'' * those venerable Suppressors almost fought with each other for the honour and delight of first ransacking the Post-Bag. Unluckily, however, it turned out, upon examination, that the discoveries of profligacy which it enabled them to make lay chiefly in those upper regions of society which their well-bred regulations forbid them to molest or meddle with.-In consequence, they gained but very few victims by their prize, and, after lying for a week or two under Mr. Hatchard's counter, the Bag, with its violated contents, was sold for a trifle to a friend of mine.

It happened that I had been just then seized with an ambition (having never tried the strength of my wing but in a Newspaper) to publish something or other in the shape of a Book ; and it occurred to me that, the present being such a letter-writing era, a few of these Twopenny-Post Epistles, turned into easy verse, would be as light and popular a task as I could possibly select for a commencement. I did not, however, think it prudent to give too many Letters at first, and accordingly have been obliged (in order to eke out a sufficient number of pages) to reprint some of those trifles which had already appeared in the public journals. As, in the battles of ancient times, the shades of the departed were sometimes seen among the combatants, so I thought I might manage to remedy the thinness of my ranks by conjuring up a few dead and forgotten ephemerons to fill them.

Such are the motives and accidents that led to the present publication ; and as this is the first time my Muse has ever ventured out of the go-cart of a Newspaper, though I feel all a parent's delight at seeing little Miss go alone, I am also not without a parent's anxiety lest an unlucky fall should be the consequence of the experimant; and I need not point out how many living instances might be found of Muses that have suffered very severely in their heads from taking rather too early and rashly to their feet. Be. sides, a Book is so very different a thing from a Newspaper !-in the former, your doggerel, without either company or shelter, must stand shivering in the middle of a bleak page by itself; whereas, in the latter, it is comfortably backed by advertisements, and has sometimes even a Speech of Mr. Stephen's, or something equally warm, for a chauffe-pie-so that, in general, the very reverse of “laudatur et alget” is its destiny.

Ambition, however, must run some risks, and I shall be very well satisfied if the reception of these few Letters should have the effect of sending me to the Post-Bag for more.

* Herrick.

PREFACE
TO THE FOURTEENTH EDITION.

BY A FRIEND OF THE AUTHOR.
In the absence of Mr. Brown, who is at present on a tour through

I feel myself called upon, as his friend, to notice certain misconceptions and misrepresentations to which this little volume of Trifles has given rise.

In the first place, it is not true that Mr. Brown has had any accomplices in the work. A note, indeed, which has hitherto accompanied his Preface, may very naturally have been the origin of such a supposition; but that note, which was merely the coquetry of an author, I have, in the present edition, taken upon myself to remove, and Mr. Brown must therefore be considered (like the mother of that unique production, the Centaur, mova kac povov *) as alone responsible for the whole contents of the volume.

In the next place it has been said that, in consequence of this graceless little book, a certain distinguished Personage prevailed upon another distinguished Personage to withdraw from the author that notice and kindness with which he had so long and so liberally honoured him. In this story there is not one syllable of truth. For the magnanimity of the former of these persons I would, indeed, in no case answer too rashly: but of the conduct of the latter towards my friend, I have a proud gratification in declaring that it has never ceased to be such as he must remember with indelible gratitude;-a gratitude the more cheerfully and warmly paid from its not being a debt incurred solely on his own account, but for kindness shared with those nearest and dearest to him.

To the charge of being an Irishman, poor Mr. Brown pleads guilty; and I believe it must also be acknowledged that he comes of a Roman Catholic family: an avowal which I am aware is decisive of his utter reprobation, in the eyes of those exclusive patentees of Christianity, so worthy to have been the followers of a certain enlightened Bishop, Donatus,+ who held “that God is in Africa and not elsewhere.” But from all this it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Brown is a Papist; and, indeed, I have the strongest reasons for suspecting that they who say so are somewhat mistaken. Not that I presume to have ascertained his opinions upon such subjects. All I profess to know of his orthodoxy is that he has a Protestant wife and two or three little Protestant children, and that he has been seen at church every Sunday, for a whole year together, listening to the sermons of his truly reverend and amiable friend, Dr. - and behaving there as well and as orderly as most people.

There are yet a few other mistakes and falsehoods about Mr. Brown, to which I had intended, with all becoming gravity, to advert; but I begin to think the task is quite as useless as it is tiresome. Misrepresentations and calumnies of this sort are, like

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the arguments and statements of Dr. Duigenan,—not at all the less vivacious or less serviceable to their fabricators, for having been refuted and disproved a thousand times over. They are brought forward again, as good as new, whenever malice or stupidity may be in want of them; and are quite as useful as the old broken lantern, in Fielding's Amelia, which the watchman always keeps ready by him, to produce, in proof of riotous conduct, against his victims. I shall therefore give up the fruitless toil of vindication, and would even draw my pen over what I have already written, had I not promised to furnish my publisher with a Preface, and know not how else I could contrive to eke it out.

I have added two or three more trifles to this edition, which I found in the Morning Chronicle, and knew to be from the pen of my friend. The rest of the volume remains * in its original state.

April 20, 1814.

LETTER I.
FROM THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE OF WALES TO THE LADY BARBARA ASHLEY. |

My dear Lady Bab, you'll be shocked, I'm afraid,
When you hear the sad rumpus your Ponies have made;
Since the time of horse-consuls (now long out of date),
No nags ever made such a stir in the State!
Lord Eldon first heard—and as instantly prayed he
To God and his King—that a Popish young lady
(For though you've bright eyes and twelve thousand a year,
It is still but too true you're a Papist, my dear)
Had insidiously sent, by a tall Irish groom,
Two priest-ridden Ponies, just landed from Rome,
And so full, little rogues, of pontifical tricks,
That the dome of St. Paul's was scarce safe from their kicks.

Off at once to Papa, in a flurry, he flies~
For Papa always does what these statesmen advise,
On condition that they'll be, in turn, so polite
As, in no case whate'er, to advise him too right-
“Pretty doings are here, sir,” he angrily cries,
While by dint of dark eyebrows he strives to look wise,
“ 'Tis a scheme of the Romanists, so help me God !
To ride over your most Royal Highness rough-shod-
Excuse, sir, my tears—they're from loyalty's source-
Bad enough 'twas for Troy to be sacked by a Horse,
But for us to be ruined by Ponies still worse!”

* A new reading has been suggested in the original of the Ode of Horace, freely translated by Lord Eldon, page 570. In the line “Sive per Syrteis iter æstuosas," it is proposed, by a very trifling alteration, to read "Surtees,” instead of “Syrteis," which brings the Ode, it is said, more home to the noble translator, and gives a peculiar force and aptness to the epithet “æstuosas." I merely throw out this emendation for the learned, being unable myself to decide upon its merits.

† This young lady, who is a Roman CathoMc, has lately made a present of some beautiful Ponies to the Princess

Quick a Council is called—the whole Cabinet sits-
The Archbishops declare, frightened out of their wits,
That if vile Popish Ponies should eat at my manger,
From that awful moment the Church is in danger!
As, give them but stabling, and shortly no stalls
Will suit their proud stomachs but those at St. Paul's.
The Doctor and he, the devout Man of Leather,
Vansittart, now laying their Saint-heads together,
Declare that these skittish young a-bominations
Are clearly foretold in Chap. vi. Revelations-
Nay, they verily think they could point out the one
Which the Doctor's friend Death was to canter upon !
Lord Harrowby, hoping that no one imputes
To the Court any fancy to persecute brutes,
Protests, on the word of himself and his cronies,
That had these said creatures been Asses, not Ponies,
The Court would have started no sort of objection,
As Asses were, there, always sure of protection.
“If the Princess will keep them,” says Lord Castlereagh,
“To make them quite harmless the only true way
Is (as certain Chief Justices do with their wives)
To flog them within half an inch of their lives-
If they've any bad Irish blood lurking about,
This (he knew by experience) would soon draw it out."
Or—if this be thought cruel -- his Lordship proposes
“The new Veto snaffle to bind down their noses-
A pretty contrivance, made out of old chains,
Which appears to indulge, while it doubly restrains;
Which, however high-mettled, their gamesomeness checks,”
Adds his Lordship, humanely, “or else break their necks!”
This proposal received pretty general applause
From the Statesmen around—and the neck-breaking clause
Had a vigour about it, which soon reconciled
Even Eldon himself to a measure so mild.
So the snaffles, my dear, were agreed to, nem. con.
And my Lord Castlereagh, having so often shone
In the fettering line, is to buckle them on.
I shall drive to your door in these Vetos some day;
But, at present, adieu !-I must hurry away
To go see my Mamma, as I'm suffered to meet her
For just half an hour by the Queen's best repeater.

CHARLOTTE.

LETTER II.
FROM COLONEL MʻMAHON TO G. FRANCIS LECKIE, ESQ.
DEAR sir, I've just had time to look
Into your very learned book,
* See the last number of the Edinburgh Review.

Wherein-as plain as man can speak
Whose English is half-modern Greek-
You prove that we can ne'er intrench
Our happy isles against the French,
Till Royalty in England's made
A much more independent trade-
In short, until the House of Guelph
Lays Lords and Commons on the shelf,
And boldly sets up for itself!

All that can well be understood
In this said book is vastly good ;
And, as to what's incomprehensible,
I dare be sworn 'tis full as sensible.
But- to your work's immortal credit-
The Prince, good sir, the Prince has read it;
(The only book, himself remarks,
Which he has read since Mrs. Clarke's.)
Last Levee-morn he looked it through,
During that awful hour or two
Of grave tonsorial preparation,
Which, to a fond, admiring nation,
Sends forth, announced by trump and drum,
The best-wigged Prince in Christendom!
He thinks with you, the imagination
Of partnership in legislation
Could only enter in the noddles
Of dull and ledger-keeping twaddles,
Whose heads on firms are running so
They e'en must have a King and Co.;
And hence, too, eloquently show forth
On checks and balances, and so forth.
But now, he trusts, we're coming near a
Better and more royal era ;
When England's monarch need but say,
“Whip me those scoundrels, Castlereagh!”
Or—“Hang me up those Papists, Eldon!”
And 'twill be done-aye, faith, and well done.
With view to which I've his command
To beg, sir, from your travelled hand
(Round which the foreign graces swarm)
A plan of radical Reform ;
Compiled and chosen, as best you can,
In Turkey or at Ispahan,
And quité upturning, branch and root,
Lords, Commons, and Burdett to boot!
But, pray, whate'er you may impart, write
Somewhat more brief than Major Cartwright.

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