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TO THE RIGHT HON. HENRY FOX.
Dresden, 27 Sept. N. S. 1747.
Being the other night at an assembly where go to get information and pick up intelligence, I met a privy-councillor there, whom I accosted, by asking him if he had any news?-he said none but what was very bad. In these critical times you may be sure such an answer alarmed me, and excited my curiosity; and upon my showing a desire to know what this news might be, he told me that the prince of Meinungen still continued obstinate, and that all his country was still left open to the ravages of the troops of Saxe Gotha. I had never heard in all my life that there was such a prince in being as the prince of Meinungen, and was totally ignorant that at this instant there was any war carried on in the heart of the empire; but to act
the minister a little, and not to seem quite uninformed, I told him that hitherto, I had had but a very imperfect account of that affair, and should be much obliged to him if he would inform me of its whole rise and progress, which he did in a very long discourse, the substance of which I thought might divert you; and, therefore, when I came home, I wrote down every particular that my memory retained, and now send it to you in the most faithful manner. You have often thought some of my strange stories exaggerated, which, however, upon inquiry have proved strictly true. The following one may possibly surprise you; but I assure you it is actually matter of fact.
The authors of Romance always endeavour to make their stories approach as near as possible to truth. May not the author of a true event take the same liberty (still adhering closely to facts) and write in such a manner as to resemble Romance as much as style will permit! I will try, and I wish it may be with the