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PUBLISHED BY FIELDING LUCAS, JUN.
Printed by J. Robinsom
DISTRICT OF MARYL AND, 88.
in the thirty-fifth year of the Independence of the ********eting United States of America, Fielding Lucas, jun. of the
SEAL said District, hath deposited in this office, the Title of a ********* Book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the
words and figures following, to wit. “ The letters of the British Spy. Fourth edition, with the last corrections of the Author.”
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, Entitled," an act for the encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietorg of such copies, during the times therein mentioned," and also to the Act, entitled, * An Act supplementary to the Act, entitled, An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing, the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned, and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of Designing, Engraving, and Eiching historical and other prints.”
Clerk of the District of Maryland.
The publisher having become possessed of a copy of “ The British Spy,” which has passed through the hands of the author, eagerly embraces an opportunity of submitting a correct edition of that work to the patronage of the publick. These letters were originally inserted in a daily journal; and they appeared with all the imperfections to which such a mode of publication is unavoidably liable. In the present edition, a variety of errours have been corrected ; and nothing has been spared which it was supposed could add to its value.
Of the literary merit of a work which has passed the ordeal of criticism with honour, not only to the author but to his country, it
would be impertinent to speak. Common fame has decided it to be the fruit of an American pen; and classical taste has pronounced it to be the offspring of genius. To those who would inculcate the degrading doctrine, that this is the country
“Where Genius sickens, and where Fancy dies,”
we would offer the letters of the British Spy as an unquestionable evidence that America is entitled to a high rank in the republick of letters; and that the empyreal flame may be respired under any region.
The manuscript, from which the following letters are extracted, was found in the bedchamber of a boarding house in a seaport town of Virginia. The gentleman, who had previously occupied that chamber, is represented by the mistress of the house to have been a meek and harmless young man, who meddled very little with the affairs of others, and concerning whom no one appeared sufficiently interested to make any inquiry. As it seems from the manuscript that the name by which he passed was not his real name, and as, moreover, she knew nothing of his residence, so that she was totally ignorant to whom and whither to direct it, she considered the manuscript as lawful prize and