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BIOGRAPHY sets before us the character of a person who has made himself eminent either by his virtues or his vices; shows us how he first came to take a wrong or a right turn; the prospects which invited him to aspire to higher degrees of glory, or the delu. sions which misled him from his virtue and his peace. The character, however, of Sterne, is not easily esti. mated. The intelligent reader, who carefully estimates the beauty of the numerous isolated thoughts and pictures of the writer, will thank the man who so exquisitely pleads the cause of misfortune; and he will pass with compassion from the gross allusions, and view them as weak offences against the author's own genius. As Sterne himself observes :
"A word, a look, which at one time would make no impression, at another time wounds the heart." The celebrity which Sterne enjoyed, was equal to that of any literary man of his age.