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In the preface prefixed to the first edition of these letters, which appeared in the year 1775, and were then dedicated to lord Apsley (the present earl Bathurst) the editor remarks, that he purposely waves all proofs which might be drawn concerning their authentici= ty, from the character of the gentleman who had the perusal of the originals, and, with Eliza's permission, faithfully copied them at Bombay in the East-Indies; 'from the testi= mony of many reputable families in London, who knew and loved Eliza, caressed and ad= mired Mr. Sterne, and were well acquainted with the tender friendship between them; and from many curious anecdotes in the letters themselves, any one of which were fully suf= ficient to authenticate them.

He then proceeds to observe, that as the publick is unquestionably entitled to every kind of information concerning the charac= ters contained in these letters which consists with the duties of humanity and a good citi=

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zen; that is, a minute acquaintance with those of whom honourable mention is made, or the editor is furnished with authorities to vindi= cate from Mr. Sterne's censures, which, as a man of warm temper and lively imagination, he was perhaps sometimes hurried into with= out due reflection; he persuades himself that no party concerned will or can be offended with this publication, especially if it is consi= dered that without such information it would be cold and unentertaining; that by publishing their merits he cannot be understood to intend them any injury, and without it, he would in himself fail in his duty to the pu= .blick.

Eliza, (the editor continues) the lady to whom these Letters are addressed, is Mrs. Elizabeth Draper, wife of Daniel Draper, es= quire, counsellor at Bombay, and at present chief of the English factory at Surat; a gentle= man very much respected in that quarter of the globe. She is by birth an East-Indian; but the circumstance of being born in the country not proving sufficient to defend her delicate frame against the heats of that burning climate, she came to England for the recovery



of her health, when by accident she became acquainted with Mr. Sterne. He immediately discovered in her a mind so congenial with his own, so enlightened, so refined, and so tender, that their mutual attraction presently joined them in the closest union that purity could possibly admit of. He loved her as his friend, and prided in her as his pupil. All her concerns became presently his; her health, her circumstances, her reputation, her child= ren, were his; his fortune, his time, his coun= try, were at her disposal, so far as the sacri= fice of all or any of these might, in his opi= nion, contribute to her real happiness.

It is very much to be lamented, that Eliza's modesty was invincible to all the editor's en= deavours to obtain her answers to these Let= ters her wit, penetration and judgement, her happiness in the epistolary style, so rapturous= ly commended by Mr. Sterne, could not fail to furnish a rich entertainment for the pu= blick. He could not help telling her, that he wished to God she was really possessed of that vanity with which she was charged; to which she replied, that she was so far from acquitting herself of vanity, that she suspect=

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