Extract of a Letter from Mr. Smith to Dr. Brett

Scope and Content

Manuscript item bound in a volume of printed pamphlets.

The transcript is in the hand of Thomas Bowdler (1661-1738) and should probably be dated to about 1732, the date of the work in which it is inserted. Incipit of letter: 'I am hartily vex'd with myself, that I did not take more care about that passage which you justly blame'. Explicit of letter: 'I assure you I have the same value for your reputation as I have for my own, & I would be the last man that would knowingly & deliberately cast any blemish upon it'.

The letter is inserted between pages 14 and 15 of: Two discourses wherein it is prov'd that the Church of England blesseth and offereth the Eucharistick elements(by George Smith, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1732).

Summary: 'Mr. Smith' [i.e. George Smith, (1693-1756)], the author of the 'Two discourses', writes to Thomas Brett expressing his vexation that he failed to correct a passage in his book which Brett himself had originally communicated to him, with instructions to alter the part in which he seemed 'to favour Transubstantiation'. He quotes the offending passage underlining the words which he thought Brett wished him to remove and states that he thought that he must have left the passage out of the copy of his manuscript he sent to Brett. He should have seen it through the press more carefully but once the papers 'were sent to Newcastle' he 'never saw them more', leaving 'Mr. Fothergill to take care of ye presse'. He can do nothing more 'at the press' but gives Brett his 'free leave' to tell everybody who has the book that he retracts the statement. 'G. Bedford' is 'to inform our friends in town that I retract it'. He will make any further amends Brett sees fit to suggest. In sending a dozen copies of his book to Bishop Lumsden of Edinburgh he will 'past a piece of paper over that passage, so that they will not be able to read it'. He closes with further appeals to Brett to excuse his error.