It is usual with all authors to write prefaces, either to beg the applause of the public, or else
by way of filling
to raise their volume's price, a shilling.
As a most eminent poet is said to have done.
I own, if the merit of any writer is to be judged by the number of sheets they have written, I have very little pretence to favour: but as multum in parvo is an expression of an ancient poet, I hope my readers will excuse me, as I would rather have them rise from table with an appetite, than glut them; a rule of temperance equally conducive to the health of our minds as of our bodies.
I once had the misfortune of writing for a printer, who never examined the merits of the work, but used to measure it, and tell me it would not do at all except I could send half a dozen yards more of the same stuff: and, as Dr. Young remarks, on large folios, well gilt and bound, very proper to adorn a library, whether the owner of it can read or write, or not:
So Tonson, turned upholsterer, sends home
The gilded leather to adorn the room.
If I am obliged to send my work in a blue paper covering, let them look upon the insight which I flatter myself will at least amuse them.
As I wrote these memoirs in England, the describing particular places or customs peculiar to Ireland, in order to make the work intelligible to the English readers, will, I hope, be excused; all countries vary from each other in many points.
So neither servilely fearing censure, nor vainly hoping applause, I refer my readers to the ensuing pages.