This is precisely the situation in which I meant to place myself— precisely the pledge which I meant to give. The Letters are exactly what they profess to be; the production of a Lady’s pen, and written in the very situations which they describe.—The public can have no grounds for suspecting my veracity on a point in which I can have no possible interest in deceiving them; and those who know me will do me the justice to acknowledge, that I have a mind superior to the arts of deception, and that I am incapable of sanctioning an imposition, for any purpose, or from any motives whatever. Thus much I deemed it necessary to say, as well from a regard for my own character, and from a due attention to the public, as from a wish to prevent the circulation of the work from being subjected to the impediments arising from the prevalence of a groundless suspicion.
I naturally expected, that some of the preceding remarks would excite the resentment and draw down the vengeance of those persons to whom they evidently applied. The contents of every publication are certainly a fair subject for criticism; and to the fair comments of real critics, however repugnant to the sentiments I entertain, or the doctrine I seek to inculcate, I shall ever submit without murmur or reproach. But, when men, assuming that respectable office, openly violate all the duties attached to it, and, sinking the critic in the partizan, make a wanton attack on my veracity, it becomes proper to repel the injurious imputation; and the same spirit which dictates submission to the candid award of an impartial judge, prescribes indignation and scorn at the cowardly attacks of a secret assassin.
April 14, 1797.
To The right Hon. Edmund Burke.
It is with extreme diffidence that I offer the following pages to Your notice; yet as they describe circumstances which more than justify Your own prophetic reflections, and are submitted to the public eye from no other motive than a love of truth and my country, I may, perhaps, be excused for presuming them to be not altogether unworthy of such a distinction.
While Your puny opponents, if opponents they may be called, are either sunk into oblivion, or remembered only as associated with the degrading cause they attempted to support, every true friend of mankind, anticipating the judgement of posterity, views with esteem and veneration the unvarying Moralist, the profound Politician, the indefatigable Servant of the Public, and the warm Promoter of his country’s happiness.
To this universal testimony of the great and good, permit me, Sir, to join my humble tribute; being, with the utmost respect, sir,
Your obedient Servant, the author. Sept. 12, 1796.