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portant and highly-refponfible office by exerting the influence which learning and wit give them over the public taste in recommending works injurious to public morals, fhe ftill recollects, that found fenfe, accurate difcrimination, and correct judgment, form a part of that public by which her merits must be tried; and he cannot but feel anxious that the rectitude of her intention fhould be admitted by fuch a tribunal.
If her apprehenfion of the dangerous tendency of fome popular productions should be deemed ill-founded, the real friends of morality and religion will ftill fay, "God fpeed!" to the enthufiaftic champion who fallies forth to refift even the delving mole that exerts its puny powers to undermine the facred edifice. Nor will her acrimonious cenfure of thofe falfe lights which lead the
unwary aftray, induce the reflecting reader to fufpect that he is hoftile to the cause of real candour, true philofophy, and judicious liberality. In common with every well-wisher to the happiness and improvement of the world, The deeply mourns the irreparable injuries which they have received from the blafphemous pretenfions of those hypocritical furies who have ufurped their hallowed characters.
She feels it neceffary to add an apo logy to the lovers of propriety and decorum, for her frequent allufions to religious fubjects, and her intermixture of serious truths with fictitious events. It is not from any vain defire of throwing her feeble gage in the crowded fields of controversy, much less from a want of heartfelt reverence for facred themes, that the adventured to make these digreffions; but as the moft fashionable,
and perhaps moft fuccessful, way of vending pernicious fentiments has been through the medium of books of entertainment, fhe conceives it not only allowable, but neceffary, to repel the enemy's infidious attacks with fimilar weapons.
One of the misfortunes under which literature now labours is, that the title of a work no longer announces its intention: books of travels are converted into vehicles of politics and fyftems of legiflation. Female letter writers teach us the arcana of government, and obliquely vinaicate, or even recommend, manners and actions at which female delicacy fhould blufh, and female tenderness mourn. Traits on education fubvert every principle of filial reverence Writers on morality lay the axe to the root of domeftic harmony: Compilers of natural hiftory debafe their pages
pages with descriptions which modesty cannot perufe Philologifts difpute the revealed will of God: Philofophers and Antiquarians deny its hiftorical credibility and Mathematicians define the nonentity of Him in whom we live, and move, and have our being. The Mufe chants the yell of difcord, and, under the pretence of univerfal citizenship, founds the dirge of that amor patria which her claffic predeceffor fought to infpire. And laft, though not least in its effect, the novel, calculated, by its infinuating narrative and interesting defcription to fascinate the imagination without roufing the ftronger energies of the mind, is converted into an offenfive weapon, directed againit our religion, our morals, or our government, as the humour of the writer may determine his particular warfare. The egotism of infidelity, which guides the wandering pen,