To Col. HUNTER.
AT the same time that I solicit your protection of Agnes de Courci, I acknowledge myself to be impell’d thereto, by the two grand motives, which the world have long been pleased to ascribe to Dedicators in general, notwithstanding a vast deal of fine writing to prove the contrary; namely, vanity, and self-interest: but to these I beg leave to add a third, more pre-dominant, even in a female breast, than either; which is Gratitude.
My vanity Sir, as an author, could not recieve a higher gratification, than the compliment you paid the Welch Heiress. To be told, that a man of understanding, who is also a very good judge of mankind; had patiently gone through the four volumes of Anna, and had not regretted the time so bestowed; was more than enough, to overturn my small stock of humility: but you Sir, do nothing by halves—benevolence, politeness, and good-humour are the leading traits in your character; you resolved to render me the vainest of novel writers; Anna, you said had, beguiled you of your tears; she must therefore in some degree or other, have exhibited sentiments, or feelings congenial to your own; and in that confidence I am indeed vain. May Agnes be equally fortunate, may she be honored by the same involuntary mark of approbation, and my vanity will be proudly gratified.
Self-interest could not have selected a Patron for my Heroine, whose influence is more generally regarded, whose example is more respectfully followed. Your name Sir, is a recommendation I am anxious not to discredit; no person who has the pleasure to know Col. Hunter, will believe there is in existence a being so hardy, as to prefix it to a work, which has not, at least, the merit of a right intention, to offer in attonement for defects; in apology for temerity.
I have endeavoured Sir, to render the females of my novel worthy your acquaintance; and the males, such as a Gentleman, and a Soldier will not blush to assort with. The story is a combination of real, and fictitious events; and the moral, notwithstanding the catastrophe, I hope I may say, has nothing in it offensive to the nicest delicacy. Such as she is, if Agnes should—not unpleasingly amuse one of those tedious hours, which in ill health confine you to your apartment; she will find her way from thence, into some of the respectable circles where Colonel Hunter is always a welcome visitant.—And thus Sir, I have proved my vanity, and pleaded guilty to the charge of self-interest.
But how shall I describe the grateful sensations I feel, in addressing you, on a subject dearer to my heart, than the vital stream which animates it?
Where shall a mother, whose existence is in her children, who fancies she sees in them every perfection, whose anxious solicitude for their welfare is the business of her life? where shall she find a language? how put into words her thankful gratitude to the invaluable friend; whose open heart, and supporting hand, was extended to her beloved child! whose goodness and penetration, removed the veil, which humility had cast over a timid young female; who encouraged, and upheld her; who by a noble perseverance, and steady kindness, called forth those sparks of genius, which but for him, would have shrunk, like the delicate sensative, from the rude touch of envy, and oppression; and who, when emulative pride had rendered her more worthy, procured for her, the first of all protections; that of—women of virtue! and men of honor!
When I have said Sir you are that friend and I am that mother, does it not comprise more of goodness on your part, and gratitude on mine than language can express?
May the benevolent kindness you have so happily in your power, and still more happily in your will, to communicate to others; be a perpetual source of peace, and tranquility to yourself. And may every being for whom you are interested, flourish like HARRIET ESTEN, under the genial warmth of your protecting friendship; and like her also; ever remember, to whom they are ultimately indebted, for the success, which the sanction, and good wishes of so worthy a man must ensure.
And may you Sir, never meet less gratitude for your kindness, or less respect for your character, than that which glows in the heart of her who has the honor to subscribe herself,
Your gratefully devoted