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To some, it may appear unreasona

ble to declaim with violence on such a subject, and to attribute evils so vast to. so trivial a cause. There are others," however, who will think differently of this attempt; who will readily admit that I am authorised by abundant provoeation, and that it is hardly possible to say too much in abuse of the particular species of writings now under consideration.

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This is my own unprejudiced opinion, or I should relinquish my task; but I conceive myself pleading the cause of my country; and, though I devoutly wish it had fallen to the share of an

abler advocate, shall proceed to fulfil my original intention; and briefly review some of the most admired and notorious productions of the fictitious kind, both of an old and recent date: and perhaps not altogether unsuccessfully. When the objectionable features are collected into a group, their impurities and absurdities will be more striking than they can be while they lie scattered and designedly distributed amongst the numerous pages of the works in which they are contained.

From the nature of this undertaking, I find myself compelled (and I regret

the necessity) to retrace certain parts, and refer to certain passages, in the authors whose labours are about to be discussed. But my motive will not, I trust, be mistaken. My strictures shall be such, that although they may stamp the characters of infamy and contempt on their object, and inspire the wise and good with a just abhorrence of folly and depravity, shall not offend the eye of purity, nor create any sentiment, except that of indignation or derision, in bosoms not already corrupt.

Upon contemplating the mass of

wickedness and fooleries pointed at, the

emotion of astonishment will, I appre hend, be strongly excited in the minds of my readers. They will naturally wonder how it happens that VICE has been allowed thus to stray at large, and to spread wide its deadly infection, unwhipp'd of Justice;" and also, how a

polite and serious people have been hitherto content to endure not to say admire the grossest violations of the code of urbanity; or how this people, distinguished by the appellation of sensible, amongst the nations of Europe, should permit themselves to be amused, and diverted from salutary and reputa

ble pursuits, by puerilities more glaring than any in the legends of superstition, and often conveyed in language the most uncouth and barbarous,

The tender parent and conscientious guardian will feel surprise, not unmixed with self-reproach, at the reflection of having, through criminal inattention, connived at the perusal of some of those works which I shall specify: or who, through indolence not less criminal, have neglected to inquire how all the hours of their offspring or their pupils were passed; and, by an indifference wholly unpardonable, have allowed

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