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the historian informs us, that, in with. being prejudicial to the mental faculties, drawing our allention from the inci- is actually tavourable to their further dents of real life to those, wnich never developement. For reflection, as Maddid, and never can occur, we are weak- aine de Srael has well observed, finds ening the mind, and misleading the much more to discover in the details of judginent; whilst the moralist asserts, society, than in any general idea, which that, as we only live to read, instead of you may throw out regarding it; and reading how to live, we are perpetually nothing is so well calculated to excite developing those passions, of which the reflection, especially in the minds of influence, as it is most dangerous, the young, as the fictitious narratives, ought to be kept under the severest of which we are speaking. For to control. What other charges may be thein such works serve as living picdenounced against us, we are at a loss tures of mangers as they rise, and by to discover ; if there be any, in all exbibiting, in strong and vivid colours, probability they will be of a similar the imbecilities and follies of mankind, mature, and may therefore, for the pres- impart the first rudiments of that knowl. ent, remain unnoticed. Before the edge of the human beart, which is so conclusion of this article, we will ex- necessary to insure our happiness, and amine the grounds on which all such ac- which is so difficult, and so dangerous, cusations rest; because, by so doing, and so tedious to acquire, if it is to be we shall make it evident to all our gleaned from the great book of nature. readers, that the perusul of a good novel Thus affording wbat is said to be the is neither a misapplication of time, nor result of age alone, experience, they a study calculated to warp the under- make youth acquainted with the vices standing, or foster an improper por- and profligacies of the world, at the tion of enthusiastic feeling.
same tiine that they withdraw it from Previously to taking up the gauntlet the sphere of their contamination. Nor in defence of novel-readers, it may be are these advantages confined only to necessary to state explicitly, that we are the younger branches of the communinot desirous of recoininending to any ty ; they extend also to the more adperson, in any station of life, an iodis- vapred in lile : for to them they recall criminate perusal of every novel or ro- (and the recollection, whether in the inance, which emanates from the Mi- noon or evening of existence, is and nerva or Apollo press, and which is owght to be pleasant,) the pursuits, dis. therefore pre doomed to occupy a place tresses, and enjoyments of their earlier on the shelves of our circulating libra- years : they rekindle in their bo‘oms ries. We are as well aware, as indi. those milder and gentler feelings of our viduals can be, that notbing exceeds nature, which time and toil, and vexathe trash, which defiles the pages of tion and anguish, are perpetually tendsome of these productions : but there ing to extinguish in us all: and though are others, in which the great truths of much stress may not be placed upon morality and religion are advocated in the observation, they often supply those such powerful and impressive language, useful hints for the conduct of iodividas would not disgrace the austerest uals in society, and for the internal resphilosopher. Like the charaeter, which ulation of famiiies, which are not like. Martial gave to his own epigrams, some ly to be found in the multifarious vo!are good, some bad, and the majority umes, wbich learned divines have put moderate. From a collection of this forth for the amendment of the age, nature, where the different particles are nor in any of those ingenious discourses known to us, more or less, through the on morality, which philosophers have mediuin of cominon conversation, a indited for its edification from the judicious selection may be easily made: combined love of fame, money, and and the reading of such works, in this manlod. . department of literature, as have met It has been thought proper to mark will general approbation, so far from out thus distinctly the limits, within
which we defend novel-reading, in or- their work to a dissertation on one of der that we may be released from the the moral virtues, is more calculated necessity of combatting those objec- than any other to counteract the effect tions, which apply only to such works which they are so desirous of producof this description, as are in themselves ing. A novel never can succeed, in indecent and improper. We shall now which the table merely serves a3 a veproceed, after making this limitation, to hicle tor tedious disquisitions on theostate bow far, and under what circum- retical ethics, or still more tedious ebulstances, we advocate the cause of novele litions of mawkish sentimentality. writers. As long then as they are con- Thege essays, considered as essays, tented with merely not transgressiug may be very good, but unfortunately the boundaries of morality and decency, they are not at all entertaining : and and with merely shewing an external novel-readers insist on being amused, compliance with the established forms in the first place, and merely submit to and iastitutions of society, as long as be instructed in the second. They they think, that their duty is fully per- will be satisfied with publications of formed, if they do not throw a gorgeous this sort, if in their perusal they expeveil over the deformities of vice, and do rience delight without reapiog benefit, pot apply their talents to defend an er- but not, it they are to reap benefit roneous system of philosophy, so long without experiencing delight. The they are oply entitled to ihe faint and moral must therefore be the invisible negative praise of doing no harm. Be- power, which directs the events of the fore they aspire to a higher ineed, they story, because, if it becomes the actuat. must zealously inculcate the precepts ing and visible power, it destroys the and the practice of virtue: and, so far dramatic effect, and consequently, the from being satisfied with standing on illusion of the fiction. In such a case, the defensive, when morality is attack, as the author has two objects in view, ed, they must be ever ready to run all to make us feel a moral truth, and to hazards in behalf of its ordinances, charm by the recital, which is to prove No sarcasm, therefore, however poign- it, he generally loses one of them in the ant, do witticism, however brilliant, necessity which he feels of obtaining nust tempt them to admit into their the other. He either represents the writings the shadow of a syllable, de- abstract idea vaguely, in order to prea rogatory to natural or revealed religion. serve the probability and connection of They must shew as well by argument his incidents, or he sacrifices truth and as by example, that if the very first in- nature, to be mathematically precise in roads of vice be not strenuously resiste his philosophical speculations. In ed, transgression will so produce trans- either case be is unfortunate : in the gression, that the difficulty of reforma- first, he cannot amuse, because every tion will increase with each succeeding sentiment which he utters, and every minute : and that the momentary situation which he describes, is considgratification of any illegal passion, ered as merely figuring towards the whether it be revenge, ambition, ava- ethical result, and of little importance rice, lust, or any other improper appe- to the denouement of the tale: in the tite of the mind, will be followed by latter, he cannot instruct, because the many a long year of tribulation and language of the passions will sometimes anguish.
glance across the coldness and spoil the Not that in order to promote this wisdom of metaphysical exactness. laudable purpose, an author should Each chapter is thus a kind of allegory, pursue the plan, which is adopted by in which the events can never be lookMrs. West, Miss Hannah More, or ed upon in any other light than so matheir imitators ;-far froin it. The ny different emblems of the liule pithy system which these ladies unfortunately adage, which is to be placed at their follow, the system of dedicating a cer- conclusion: and the whole narrative tain number of pages in each chapter of creates that species of dixgust and disC ATBEN BUM. Vol. 4
belief, often experienced by the instruc- ardson, the amiable Richardson, aftors of youth, who fail to convince fords a very strong instance of the potheir pupils, because they refer every sition we are advancing. The virtuous thing that happens to prove the maxim personages of his drama moralize so which they may be incelcating at the regularly, so gloomily, so tediously, and time. A fiction so constituited, to bor- so pedantically, that they are not balf row an observation of Madame de Stael, so attractive as his vicious ones, who will, "like allegory, always march thus engage on their side those affecbetween two rocks: if its end be mark- tions of the mind, which should belong ed out too clearly, it tires; if it be con- to virtuous characters, and to virtuous cealed, it is forgotten ; and if it en- characters alone. This, bevond a deavours to divide the attention, it no doubt, was not his intention ; but there longer excites interest."
is not a single individual, who has peIf these arguments shall not appear rused his works, that does not at the convincing to the novel-writer, there is bottom of his heart prefer a Lovelace a fact which proves more than a thou- to a Grandison, though, perbaps, he sand volumes, how satisfactory they will not openly acknowledge such a are to the novel-reader. This method predilection. The novels of Voltaire, of foisting morality on his attention, Rousseau, and Marmontel, shew also very soon becomes evident to him, very strongly that there is not a more however negligent a peruser he may sure and certain way of spreading infibe; a certain tact informs him, where delity and immorality, than through this sermonizing begins, and he will novels filled with moral speculations : very soon find out, where it is to con- and yet their moral speculations were, clude ; it will, therefore, be omitted, as perhaps, all in themselves correct, regularly as it occurs, and what is worse, though the tendency of the actions be treated with contempt and derision, founded upon them was quite the reas an unseasonable interruption of the verse. To every rule of right they story, and a superlinous introduction of found exceptions : and on these they piety and virtue. We should almost fixed the public attention, by adorning be ashamed to acknowledge how fre- them with all the splendid decorations quently this has been our own practice, of eloquence, so that the rule was desif we were not aware that there are pised or forgotten, and the exception many others equally averse to such triumphantly established in its stead. works of supererogation, and who, like They put extreme cases, as Miss Edgeourselves, leave these realıns of prosing worth has well observed, in which virunexplored, and proceed onwards to tue became vice, and vice virtue : they the first passage where the narrative is exhibited criminal passions in constant resumed. Not that either they, or we, connection with the most exalted and think that the morality of a publication most amiable virtues; and making use is of trilling import, but that it is too of the best feelings of human nature for much to have a long strain of philo- the worst purposes, they engaged pity sophical observations, which are after- and admiration perpetually on the side wards to be reduced into one terse and ot guilt. It was thus, whilst they were emphatic sentence, thrust into our no- talking eternally of philosophy and tice upon every transaction and occur. philanthropy, terms, which they only rence in life. We know that such borrowed to perplex the ignorant and things do not occur in the world that seduce the imaginative, that they prothey are not natural and they there- duced a catastrophe so tremendous, as fore Occasion either our anger or our not merely to involve themselves and conteinpt. Sæpe jocum, sæpe bilem their deluded followers in ruin, but to movent.
convulse the whole world to its inner. Besides, too often the moral effect, most centre. It was not by attacking a very different thing from the moral openly the strong fortifications of reaof a work, is overlooked by the author: son and religion, but by sa pping and on account of this consideration, Rich- underinining them in this insidious
manner, that the doctrines, which they which, by some sad misnomer, are advocated, obtained their extensive cir- more generally known by the title of culation. Unfortunately, too, for suf- Marmontel's morul Tales. In readfering bumanity, they were all gilted ing this story, which is but a short one, with the highest literary talents and ac- not a word is said professedly against complishments ; there was no species marriage ; on the contrary, the highest of writing which they did not attempt, commendations are passed upon it ; and none which they attempted, that and yet, paradoxical as it may appear, they did not adorn : equally versed in the conclusion of the tale shews distinctall the refinements of metaphysical sub- ly, that its whole object is to decry that tilty and all the meretricious eloquence most sacred and necessary iostitution. of sentiment and passion, they moved Still, we must confess, that from the bein those rugged regions of science, which ginning of the narrative to its close, the are placed far above the ken of ordinary thoughts, the expressions, the descripmortals, with the same grace and facil- tions, are all limpid purity. There is ity as they did in the pleasing fields of im- not a single sentence in it, which, when agination, when in pursuit of the fleet- taken unconnectediy, can be convicted ing colours of transient emotion. Thug of immorality, nay, so considered, every enabled to oppose intellect to principle, sentence is undoubtedly of excellent they employed every artifice which in- tendency ; it is the manner in which tellect could afford them, to carry into they are blended together, that excites execution their nefarious projects, our disgust, and demands oor reprehenKnowing that the first point of art is to sion. It is not any deduction, which conceal art, and that insinuations and the writer himself makes, which is prosurmises are much more difficult to ductive of danger; it is the deduction, encounter than assertions and argu- which is uinmaue, which is leit to be meots, they never brought forward in made by the reader's understanding, express dissertations their abominable which, like the dew of the poison tree, sophisms, which, so produced, would is secretly, and silently, and unobservhave been easy to combat, and not dif- edly, instilled into his heart, and into cult to overcome. They endeavoured his brain, that is so highly detrimental to convince mankind, by a sort of ex- in its future consequences. An error emplification of their system, that, by insinuated in this manner into the reacting on certain priociples, which tho' cesses of the mind, is infinitely more erroneous, were tricked out in all the difficult to eradicale, than an error livery of virtue, their objects would he which owes its birth to their ignorance, acquired with greater ease, and retained or fraud, or violent prejudice. Jgnor. with less difficulty, than under the pre- ance may be enlightened; fraud may sent institutions of society; and that, if be deteried; prejudice may be remov. resolution could once be mustered to ed : but an impression, thus created, break from the trammeis in which cuse will be found reason-proof, because it ton had enchained them, they would will appear to every individual as an possess a more perlect happiness, aud a important truth which he has himself more unbroken series of enjoyments discovered, and not as a specious falsethan had ever yet befallen the homan hood “invented by the enemy." He species. The consequence was, that will thus make a point of honour not their respect and reverence for all esta- to be disabused, and will rather fail blished regulations gradually diminish- into a hundred fresh mistakes than ed, till at last nothing remained but the confess this one. desire of overturning them. If we From there observations, some people were called upon 10 point out one story may imagine that we take iway frogi more than another in wbich the most the writers os fiction all power of being sacred ordinances are thus dangerously, useful as moral instructors. But this and, as it were, covertly, attacked, we is by no means the fact; we only wistt. should instance the story of Lubin and to regulate the use of it. Against the Annette, in Marmontel's immoral Tales, greater rices, it is useless to declaim
from either the pulpit or the press, be- that we look upon Miss Edgeworth as cause no man commits them ignorantly, having done more good in her age and or is vaacquainted with their conse- generation, than all the superannuated quences : but against those smaller governors and governesses, who have vices, wbich make up the profligacies ever written to improve and amend it. of an individual, and the corruption of Sne attacks with udicule, and not with a people, the novellist may direct bis reprobation, and with all the amenity attacks with the fairest prospects of of Horaie makes you smile at your ultimate success. But it will not be faults, before she imposes on you the by magnifying petty delinquencies into task of correcting them. Without enormities, or by making appeals in ex- selecting any particular maxim under press dissertations to a inan's conscience the name of a moral, she perpetually against practices which are sanctioned keeps the reader's feelings excited in by all around him, that such prospects behalf of virtue, by painting it in every will be fulfilled, and such purposes situation lovely, commanding, and accomplished. An attempt of such a triumphant. A writer, who thus blends Dature would be considered as ascetic amusement with instruction, is entitled cant and hypocrisy, or else, as we have to the very highest applause and admibelore stated, a stupid preachment pro- ration; while no less severe and unceeding from despicable ignorance of bounded reprehension ought to be the world. The true method is so to awarded to those literatuli and philosointerweave the moral with the story, phists, who apply the talents wbich God that any endeavour to separate them, has granted them, and which education would tear to pieces the contexture of has improved, to the propagation of the whole, and if not entirely destroy, doctrines, execrable when merely convery much depreciate the value of the sidered as opinions, and doubly execraparts. No portion of the narrative ble when reduced to practice, as they which is necessary to the one must be operate inost prejudicially in ordinary unnecessary to the other : if the moral life loth lo individuals and to commuever is seen, it must come, like a flying nities. Thanks be to Providence, the cloud, to throw a shadow over the race of such beings seems at present current, not, like a miry infusion, to extinct; they never were the natural sully its clearness. Pursuing this sys- growth of our soil, and are now distem, you will have a chance of being carded as an unnatural and monstrous heard with attention : and when that progeny by every other country. If point is once gained, you have only to however there be any miscreants, so mix up your reasons and your ridicule depraved as to take plea-ure either in in just proportions, to make your in- the reading or writing of such infamous stances rapid and amusing, and to compositions, we envy them not their concentrate your proofs into striking grovelling and unholy delights, we conand interesting groupes, in order to sign them to their ownguilty imaginings, produce the most salutary effect upon and leave them to enjoy in tranquility, all those who are worth reformiog. It if enjoy they can, their own detested is by having fully executed this plan, and detestable Pandæmonium.
Conclusion in our next.
THE HERMIT IN LONDON.
SKETCHES OZ PASUTONABLE MANXERS.
SKETCHES OZ PASHTONABLE MANNERS. out as many insects, from the butterfly No. II.
of fashion down to the grub-worin from HYDE PARK ON SUNDAY. some court leading out of Bishopsgate“ I WISH that there was not such a Without or Bishopsgate-Within, as a
thing as a Sunday in the whole hot sun and a shower of rain can proyear,” said my volatile friend, Lady duce in the middle of June. The plebs Mary Movish: “A fine Sunday draws flock so that you can scarcely get into