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The London Spy: To the reader

PRefaces are now become so Common to every little Treatise, that I wonder there is not one to the Horn-Book; and indeed oftentimes, like Womens Faces, are found the most Promising and Inviting part of the whole Piece. But when a thing is U­sual, tho’ never so Ridiculous in the Eye of Reason, yet a Man, like him that spoiles his Stomach with a mess of Porridge before Dinner, may plead Custom to excuse his Error. I therefore hope it will be no Offence to Conform with others, and show my self a Fool in Fashion.

Some Authors are meer Beaus in Wri­ting, and Dress up each Maggotty Flirt that creeps from their Mouldy Fancy, with a fine Dedication, tho’ to John-a-Nokes; and a long Preface to a little Matter, like an Aldermans Grace to a Scholar’s Commons, thinking their Pigmy Products look as Naked without these Ornaments, as a PuritanDescribing a person, group, or ideal, that believed in the need to continue reform of the Church of England and rid it of remaining traces of Catholicism. without his Band, or a Whore without her Patches.

For my part I only use this PreambleAn introduction. as a Sow Gelder does his Horn, that as by Hearing of the latter, you may give a shrewd guess at his Business; so by Rea­ding of the former, you may rightly understand my Design, which I assure you in the first place, is not to Affront or Expose any Body; for all that I propose is, to Scourge Vice and Villany, without leveling Characters at any Person in par­ticular. But if any unhappy Sinner, thro’ the Guilt of his own Conscience, shall prove himself such an Ass, to take that Burthen upon his own Shoulders, which Hundreds in the Town have as much Right to bear as himself, he has no Reason to be Angry with me, but may thank himself, or his Destiny, for making his tender Back so fit for the Pack-Saddle.