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Medici. Nay, fhe will go fo far as to affirm, that the labours of the "New Philofophy" will be remembered by their effects, when the theories of all former schools fhall be forgotten.
It must be very gratifying to a retired old woman, to confider that her productions may fail down this fwelling ftream of fame with thofe of her immortal contemporaries. She confeffes that her ideas differ in fome refpects from theirs ; but as every one profeffes the fame end, namely, the improvement of the univerfe, fhe rejoices that she is permitted, by the liberality of the times, to diffeminate her own peculiar fentiments. If fhe be of opinion, that Morality appeared to better advantage when she was contented to be the handmaid of Piety, than fince fhe has fet up for an independent character; if the be convinced, that the abilities and attainments of man are in this
this life fo limited, that he will never be able to "wield these elements," to endow a machine with intellectual powers, or to array himself with a felf-invefted immortality; if she be perfuaded, that the filial and conjugal ties are no remnants of feudal barbarism, but happy inftitutions, calculated to promote domeftic peace; if she has been taught, that religion is more than fentiment, and female virtue fomething stronger than exterior decorum; if she fhudders at the eloquence which extenuates impiety, terms feduction an amiable frailty, and gaming an elegant amusement condemned by the infane morality of the law: furely she may hope for that celebrity which a bold oppofition to received opinions generally enfures. Nay, fhould fhe even prefer the Gothic ruff and pinner, as better adapted to British wives and mothers than the loofe drapery of Grecian Bacchanals,
Bacchanals, or the more offenfive appearance of uncivilized favages, though recommended by the fanction of Parifian enthufiafts, when, with more than Painfatuation or cannibal infenfibility, gan they meet to commemorate in their feftive dances-not the triumphs of their Gods, nor the death of their enemiesbut the murder of their parents, their husbands, and their children; may she not plead a close attention to the coftume of manners, and reproach the fenfual copyifts of a Cleopatra or an Afpafia with want of energy, who adopt all the characterists of the archetype, of which they exhibit a degrading model?
Her intention in refuming the pen is to enforce her opinions by argument, and to illustrate them by example; and The reveals thofe intentions thus early, that the lover of the wonderful, and the admirer of the horrific, may not comB 3
plain of having been cheated into the perufal of a performance that has not only a plan for its conduct, but also a moral tendency in its defign. Mrs. Prudentia intends to lead her readers through no other labyrinth than the wiles of fyftematic depravity, nor to prefent any object more foul-harrowing than a deceived and entangled, but ultimately penitent heart.
While the confeffes that the groundwork of her story has a remote analogy to fome well-known facts, fhe ftrongly reprobates the idea of perfonality. The incidents are all her own, and it is only in one portrait that she has attempted to sketch a likenefs from nature. She affures the cenforious, that, even in that portrait, fhe has fo adjusted the drapery and varied the colours, that it will be impoffible for the moft curious eye to difcover who fat for the outline.