AS the following pages contain an account of my life, I know not to whom I can with more propriety inscribe them, than to Lady Cowper; whose goodness, I am proud to acknowledge, has been the preserver of it. Publicly to confess we have received favours from illustrious personages, is a public innuendo that they know something of us; thus, Madam, we have an opportunity to show our pride and gratitude at the same time.
I flatter myself, Madam, that no part of a book, thus honoured with the sanction of your Ladyship's name, will occasion your being a penitent to your own virtues, or regretting the good offices your humanity has led you to do for a little family, whose greatest crime has been their distresses; which, indeed to some minds, appear an accumulation of all human faults.
Your Ladyship was kind enough, not only to befriend the writer, but to pity the man; not only to subscribe to him as an author, but to administer to his necessities: whether the world may praise or condemn this conduct in your Ladyship, you have at least the consciousness of a generous intention, and the prayers and praises of an unfeignedly grateful heart. I have the honour to be,
and most obedient,
JOHN CARTERET PILKINGTON.
August 12, 1758.