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THOMAS COUTTS, Esa
Piccadilly, Stratton Street.
AMIDST the scenes of important business that attract your attention, the following Work, of a colour so different from your pursuits, will seem to be obtruded upon you with a degree of impropriety. That impropriety will appear still more glaring, when it is added, that this Address has not the sanction of your previous knowledge or permission. The fact is, it occurred to me that,
if I applied for leave, I should not have succeeded. A mind like yours, that loves to do good by stealth, I was sure, would blush to find it fame. But, permit me to say, you will have no reason to be alarmed: I inscribe THE LIFE OF GARRICK to you, but not in the usual stile of DEDICATIONS. To that language I have ever been a stranger; and even now, however fair the opportunity, I do not mean to trouble you with a panegyric on the virtues, which you are known to possess. The attempt, I know, would offend your Delicacy.
Luckily, I am called another way; I have now before me the elegant Letter
which you did me the honour to write to me several months since, on the subject of the following fheets. The Taste and Judgement which appeared in the stile of yours, awakened my attention to the points you recommended. I was not then to learn, that you ever were, even in the hurry of great concerns, a distinguished Lover of polite Literature, and of Dramatic Poetry in particular. I knew that you had made a just estimate of the genius of GARRICK, and was, at the same time, a warm admirer of the wonderful powers of BARRY. I hope, Sir, you will find that I have done some degree of justice to the last, most excellent performer, who cer
tainly was, in some parts, a formidable rival, if not superior even to GarRICK. In the progress of my Undertaking, I often regretted that BARRY did not come more frequently in my way he was absent in Dublin for more than twelve years, and to follow him thither would have been a digression from the plan in which I was engaged.
I find myself in danger of running into length: I cannot, however, lay down my pen, without avowing a truth, which I have for a long time felt warm at my heart. Gratitude extorts it from me: I must, therefore, take the liberty to say, that the favours