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HE French editor has given a full account of the following pieces. I think it needlefs to recommend them: they are the late Archbishop of CAMBRAY's. fome apology however may be expected for my undertaking a tranflation that deferved the finest pen. all I can fay, without the appearance of vanity, is, that I was afraid it should fall into worfe hands. I have more reason to make fome excufe for the unusual liberty I have taken in translating the Dialogues. 'tis what I could not avoid. their ftile is extremely concife; fometimes obfcure. and the Paris-edition, (the standard of the other,) is fo faulty, not only in those places that are mark'd among the unaccurate errata, but throughout the
Dialogues, that either they never had the author's finishing hand; or they must have been publifhed from a very defective copy. in order therefore to do him juftice, I found it neceffary to cloath his thoughts in an English drefs, without confining myself always to a strict tranflation of the French. accordingly I have paraphrafed feveral paffages; tranfpofed a few; and added whatever seemed proper to fet his true fentiments in the fulleft light. I would not have taken so much freedom with any piece that the author published in his lifetime, the Letter to the French Academy, that was published fome years before his death, is far more correct. in tranflating it I have kept as clofe to his ftile as our language would permit. I have not indeed always expreffed myself so fuccinctly as he: nor did I endeavour it. tho' I admire
conciseness, I prefer perfpicuity, when I cannot be both short and clear.
To illustrate and confirm our author's notions I have adorned this translation with many inftructive, beautiful paffacollected from fome of the finest writers both antient, and modern; which are not in the French edition. I have likewise added fome few paffages of another kind. the quotations themselves, and the placing of the marks of reference, clearly point out the view with which each paffage is quoted. if, for this purpose, I had everywhere added introductory notes of my own, the reader would have had reason to complain of my diftrusting his judgment.
Some critics will think I have too often neglected fuch connecting particles as for, but, feeing, &c. there is a peculiar beauty in this omiffion: and Ihould
have left-out many more, if I had closely followed our author's example, or my own judgment. but too much must not be attempted at once.
Throughout the following sheets perhaps there are still too many marks of inaccuracy. I wish they may pass for inftances of that affected negligence our author recommends. his Letter plainly shews that he would not always avoid every little defect: nor ought it to be expected of his tranflator, if he could. an elaborate ftile, and a fcrupulous exactness, are inconfiftent with the familiar ftrain of a dialogue. it were eafy to prove that the free, and feemingly careless manner which might be blameable in other picces, is really beautiful here; as being a juft imitation of nature----but I will not lengthen this advertisement into a preface.