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10 May 1765

Defending the truth of Mozart’s age

The Public Advertiser, no. 9323, Fri, 10 May 1765, [2]

    To the Printer of the Public Advertiser.
      S I R,
EMULATION among People endowed with
particular Talents, while it is contained
within the Bounds of Decency and Good-man-
ners, is not less rational than advantageous to
the Parties concerned; but when by Success of
peculiar Merit it degenerates into Envy, there
cannot be a more abhorred Principle.
    I have been led into this Remark by the un-
generous Proceedings of some People, who
have not been ashamed to attempt every thing
to the Prejudice of one, whose Excellency in
the Knowledge of his Art, is not more won-
derful than the early Time of Life he has at-
tained to it. I mean the little German Boy
Wolfgang Mozart, whose great Abilities, both
as a Performer on the Harpsichord and as a
Composer, are now so well known to the Pub-
lic, that the utmost Malice of his Defamers
cannot deny them. Therefore what they can-
not deduce from Matter of Fact, they labour
to depreciate by positive Falsehood; and while
they reluctantly allow the Merit of his Per-
formance, they assert it is not the Performance
of a Child—a Child Eight Years of Age, but
of a Man—a Man reduced by some Defect of
Nature to an Insignificancy of Person, which
conceals from the careless Observer his more
advanced Age.—That he is now in his fifteenth,
his twentieth or his thirtieth Year, according
as the Spirit of his Opponents think fit to place
him.
    It would be natural to imagine the Absurd-
ity of these malevolent Remarks would carry
with it such strong and evident Confutation,
that nothing more need be said to enforce it.
Those who have seen the Child and honoured
him with their unprejudiced Attention, require
no Arguments to clear away the Falsehood; but
to prevent the Propagation of this Calumny,
the Father, as an honest Man and in Vindi-
cation of his injured Offspring, thinks it his
Duty to declare he can produce such ample
Testimony of the Child’s Nativity as would
convince the most doubting, and at the same
time acquit him of any Intention of exhibiting
to the Public the Fallacies of an Impostor.
                                       Yours, &c.
                                   RECTO RECTIOR.