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such is likely to be the sentence passed upon our tastes by posterity; because I hope that our existence, as a nation, is not at an end; and am sure that our

continuance will depend upon

growing wiser and better.


The time, I trust, is to come, when the virtuous, the religious, the witty, and the learned, will wonder equally at the profligacy and the weakness of us their forefathers; and will consign our novels to dust and darkness, as we have done by the monstrous effusions of Behn, and Etheridge, and Suckling; and when "Tom Jones," and "Roderick Ran

dom," and Mr. Cumberland's "Henry," and "The Sorrows of Werter," and

"Anna St. Ives," and the myriads which resemble these, will either not be found at all, or only in the cabinets of the curious and the reprobate.

Having reason to think that some of the well-known works to which the above titles are prefixed will answer our purpose as fully as any others; and as it is more or less the prevailing fashion to read, and quote, and praise the firstnamed in particular, viz. Mr. Fielding's

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There are few persons in these countries, I believe, of any age, sex, or condition, amongst those who can read, to whom the adventures of Tom Jones are not familiar. Something like a sense of shame would accompany the acknowledgment of never having read Tom Jones: though I do not despair of showing, that it would be more becoming in such mothers, wives, and daughters as have, to blush at the confession.

It is commonly the first book laid hold of by the youth of both sexes; and if as yet not all intelligible to them, is still very entertaining, when compared

with the long-drawn narrative of the historian, or the abstruse lucubrations of the philosopher and the moralist.

What is read too with most delight, is always best remembered; thus there are, I suspect, in our seminaries of education, many young persons who know more of the site of Mr. Allworthy's house, and its environs, than they do of Athens or Rome; are better acquainted with Mazzard Hill than they are with the Tarpeian Rock; and though ignorant of the meaning of lustres and laticlaves, know correctly what a natural child signifies; and are intimate with every


corner in Molly Seagrim's bed-chamber, and with the cut of Sophia Western's riding-habit; while the Capitol and the Portico are forgotten; while in vain for them shines the shield of Achilles, and the bark of Cleopatra glides along unheeded!

Is it not lamentable that the divine pages of Cicero or Addison should be cast aside in favour of the vulgar trumpery of Fielding and his school? That the illustrious of the old and modern world, who at the cost of repose, and even of life, have toiled for real fame, and devoted their existence to the glo

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