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HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL

PREFACE

TO

THE TATLER.

I HE commencement of the Eighteenth Century was distinguished by the appearance of a class of writers so eminent for wit, elegance, and taste, that the period in which they fourished has, almost by universal consent, been recorded as the Augustan age of English literature; criticism, however, has since endeavoured to explode a term which, while it consigned the past to oblivion, might check the hope of future improvement: yet if we fairly estimate the writings of the principal ornaments of that time, we must at least allow that they formed a combination which has not often graced the annals of literature, and that they have bestowed upon the world labours whose intrinsic worth must be great, since they have outlived many revolutions of taste, and have attained

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