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but it seems can (for a little dirty money, which you spend as vainly as you get * idly,) invade those of your fellow-subjects, and that knowingly, wilfully, and premeditatedly; I said knowingly, in that you have not received so little copy-money † as to be ignorant of the right and property every bookseller hath to his copies; which you well know to be the same with that a gentleman has to his estate. wilfully and premeditatedly, because, after such knowledge, you still persist in your unjust practices. And, to yet aggravate and enhance your guilt, you have (as it were) ploughed the lands of two poor orphans, who have very little else to subsist on; a fin which will cry aloud for vengeance. These lines, how mean soever they be, are my own; which is more than you can, or dare (if you have any honesty or modesty left) say of “ The Ladies Library;" wherein you have so greatly injured Royston Meredith, servant to where I expect and demand a speedy and satisfactory answer. Sir, before you had collected so many and whole sections out of Bishop Taylor's “ Holy Living and Dying,” (which, be pleased to take notice, is my copy,) you would
* By other men's labour. R. M.
# These letters are exactly the same with those sent to Mr. Steele, except leaving out my master's name and place of abode, which, for some reasons, is thought proper to be omitted. R.M.
have acted very prudently seriously to have perused that of “Restitution,” where you might have read these words: “ Better it is to go beg“ ging to Heaven, than to go to Hell laden “ with the spoils of rapine and injustice.”
To conclude: till, by some means or other, you make compensation for the damage which I have and shall sustain from that book, I must and will write myself, the highly injured
L E T T ER CCCCXXXVIII.
To Mr. MEREDITH.
Oct. 21, 1714.. WILL enquire into what you write about,
and write again about the subject of yours to, Sir, your most humble servant,
O2. 25, 1714. HESE come to claim your promise of an
answer to my former, which, with great impatience, has been expected; but not having yet received any, gives me just reason to con
clude that you have been consulting with the great Mr. Tonfon *, from whom (when I de. manded fatisfaction) this answer was given me : “ How that he paid copy-money, and that I “ must apply myself to the author for redress.” My reply to him was, “ That the law should
then decide it." To which Mr. Tonson had the assurance to say, “It was better to be doing “ than talking;" which words I conceive to imply an open defiance to me, notwithstanding be cannot be ignorant how that the Common Law, the High Court of Chancery, and even a late Act of Parliament, “ For securing the
Right and Property of Booksellers to their
Copies,” will all plead in my behalf. But perhaps Mr. Tonson may imagine, that a poor orphan, and one whom he may (falsely) think destitute of friends, will never be able to cope with so potent an adverfary as himself; but be pleased, Sir, to inform him, that it is my resolution (without ample satisfaction given me) to maintain my right, and have recourse to the law for justice. To these an immediate answer is expected; otherwise the publick shall be ap. prised of the great injustice done to them in general, and in particular to the poor pressed orphan,
* Mr. Steele's bookfeller in ordinary. R. M.
St. James's-street, O&t. 26, 1714. HAVE a second letter from you. The style
of the first was very harsh to one whom you are not at all acquainted with; but there were suggestions in it which might give excuse for being out of humour at one whom you might perhaps think was the occasion of damage to you. You mentioned also an orphan, which word was a defence against any warm reply; but, fince you are pleased to go on in an intemperate way of talk, I shall give myself no more trouble to enquire about what you complain, but rest satisfied in doing all the good offices I can to the Reverend Author's Grandchild, now in town. Thus, leaving you to contend about your title to his writings, and wishing you success, if you have justice on your side, I beg you will give me no more ill language, and you will oblige, Sir, your humble servant,
TATOR having been dedicated to some of the most celebrated persons of the age, I take leave to inscribe this eighth and last to you, as to a gentleman who hath ever been ambitious of appearing in the best company.
You are now wholly retired from the busy part of mankind, and at leisure to reflect upon your paft atchievements; for which reason I look upon you as a person very well qualified for a dedication.
1 may possibly disappoint my readers, and yourself too, if I do not endeavour, on this occafion, to make the world acquainted with your virtues. And here, Sir, I shall not compliment you upon your birth, person, or fortune ; nor any other the like perfections, which you porsess whether you will or no: but shall only touch upon those which are of your own acquiring, and in which every one must allow you have a real merit.
Your janty air and easy motion, the volubility of your discourse, the suddenness of
* This dedication, prefixed to the eighth volume of “The “ Spectator," is suspected to have been written by Eustace Budgell. + Generally supposed to be Col. Cleland. See p. 114.