The English Spy
By Charles Molloy Westmacott
This is a humor book. After twelve months of agreeable toil, made easy by unprecedented success, the period has at length arrived when your high mightinesses will be able to indulge your voracious appetites by feeding and fattening on the work of death. Already does my prophetic spirit picture to itself the black cloud of cormorants, swelling and puffing in the fulness of their editorial pride, at the huge eccentric volume which has thus thrust itself into extensive circulation without the usual cringings and cravings to the pick fault tribe. Let me have good proof of your greediness to devour my labours, and I will dish up such a meal for you in my next volume, as shall go nigh to produce extermination by surfeit. One favour, alone, I crave—give me abuse enough; let no squeamish pretences of respect for my bookseller, or disguised qualms of apprehension for your own sacred persons, deter the natural inclination of your hearts. The slightest deviation from your usual course to independent writers—or one step towards commendation from your gang, might induce the public to believe I had abandoned my character, and become one of your honourable fraternity-the very suspicion of which would (to me) produce irretrievable ruin.