To his Grace, John Duke of Argyll and Greenwich, &c.
Lord Steward of His Majesty’s Household.
The Subject of the following Treatise seems of Importance enough to claim Your Grace’s Patronage; and the Use enough to deserve it. It made it’s first Appearance under that of his Highness the Duke of Orleans: and, to render it’s second equally Magnificent, craves now to be introduced under that of Your Grace. Indeed, as the first Design of it’s appearing in English was laid on Your Grace’s Family; and as it was carried on and finished in the same, it seems to have some Title to Your Grace’s Countenance: It naturally seeks Protection where it found it’s Birth, and lays claim to the Privileges of a Native of your Family as well as those of a Domestick. What I have said of my Book, holds almost equally good of myself. I have been, the greatest part of my Live, an humble Retainer to Your Grace. In Your Family it was, I first caught an Affection for Mathematicks; and it was under Your Countenance, that I took occasion to Cultivate them. Your Grace therefore has a kind of Property in all I do of this kind, and it would be an Injustice to lay it at any other feet.
Another Person would have here taken Occasion to expatiate on Your Grace’s Character: Dedicators, Your Grace very well knows, are great Dealers in that Way; and look on it as one of the Privileges of their Place, to praise their Patrons without Offence. Accordingly, Your Grace’s Lineage would have been traced up to the earliest Times, and the Virtues of Your Noble Ancestors drawn out to View. Your Grace’s Your Grace’s personal Merit, mining and conspicuous as it is, would have been set off in it’s full Light, and Your Heroick and Virtuous Atchievements painted in all their Colours. Flanders, Bavaria, Spain, and Scotland, would have been called in, as Witnesses of Your Glory; of Your Prudence, as a General; and Your Bravery, as a Soldier: Nor would Your Integrity, as a Minister; Your Magnificence, as a Nobleman; or Your Love of Liberty and Your Country, as a Patriot, have been omitted. For myself, My Lord, it is my Business rather to admire than applaud You: Panegyrick is a thing out of my Province; and Your Grace would be a sufferer by the best Things I could say. Were I allowed to touch on any Thing, it should be Your Private rather than Your Popular Character, rather as you are a Gentleman, than as a General, or a Hero. If You have every thing Great and Heroick in the latter; You have all that is Beautiful and Amiable in the former. To enumerate every thing of this Kind visible in your Grace, would be to give a detail of a whole System of Virtues; and to draw your Picture at full, would be little less than to collect into one Piece what is Great and Good in a thousand: A Work fitter for a Volume than a Dedication.
My Zeal for Your Grace had like to have driven me beyond either my Duty or Design. It was my Resolution not to say any thing that might look like Praise; but I find one cannot do common Justice to Your Grace, without running into the Appearance of it. I am sensible there is no Topick less inoffensive to You, than that of Your own Merit: but the Misfortune is, there is none so engaging or so copious. ’Tis pity You should value Praise so little; when You deserve it so much: For hence, a Person, who would not be Ungrateful, is under a Necessity of becoming Troublesome. I have reason to fear Your Grace’s Resentments, for having said thus much; and yet apprehend those of the Publick for having said no more. If I am Delinquent on either Side, Your Grace will do me the Justice, to believe it entirely owing to that Excess of Devotion wherewith I am,
Your Grac’s most Humble,
and most Obedient Servant,
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