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Critical Remarks on Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, and Pamela (1754)
Author: Anonymous
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Here, Sir, I put a period to my general remarks on your compositions; I cannot say they are thrown altogether into a regular order, but they may do well enough in a loose essay, as this is intended to be. It would require a bulky volume to contain remarks on all the passages which deserve it, whether it were to point out innumerable faults, or some few shining beauties. I am not equal to the task, and, though I were, should not undertake it. Had you wrote nothing else, Pamela would have been consigned, long before now, to utter neglect and oblivion. Such soon will be the fate of Grandison, admired and sought after as it is at present. People must some time or other tire of conning over such quantities of flimzy stuff. I wonder at their present patience and perseverance, and can never sufficiently admire the contexture of that brain which can weave with unwearied toil such immense webs of idle tittle-tattle, and gossipping nonsense. Clarissa perhaps deserves a better fate.

Great are its faults, but glorious is its flame, may not improperly be said of it, as has been said of Shakespear's Othello.

It must be owned, you have fallen upon a manner of writing, in a series of Letters, which is very affecting, and capable of great improvements. It preserves a great probability in the narration, and makes every thing appear animated and impassioned. It is to be regretted, that you have trifled so egregiously as you have done; you are one of those who, having an exuberant genius, and little judgment, never know when they have said enough. The manner in which you have published your pieces is a proof of this; Pamela came out first in two volumes, and was then compleat, however two more were afterwards added; Clarissa made her first appearance in seven volumes, and there are now eight; and Grandison, I suppose, will in a short time be improved in the same manner. This conduct, Sir, may at first encrease the profits of authorship, but in the end will always destroy the credit of the author. There never was a good writer yet, who blotted not out ten lines for one that he added. It has been said of Virgil, that when composing, he used to dictate a great many lines in the morning, and employ the rest of the day in reducing them to a small number. It was said in commendation of Shakespear, that he never blotted a line; Ben Johnson replied, he wished he had blotted a thousand, in which I believe every body now concurs with him. Homer alone seems to be an exception to this rule, in all his writings there are so much ease and nature, that I can hardly think he either blotted or corrected, his verses appear to have been wholly dictated by the inspired Muse herself. But you, Sir, are not a Homer, and are besides totally ignorant of that art, without the frequent exercise of which no other authors have ever attained to a great and lasting reputation, I mean the art of blotting judiciously, and lopping off superfluities and excrescences, without tenderness or remorse. Instead of adding one volume to Clarissa, as originally printed, had you taken three away, it might have been made a valuable performance. The best, perhaps, the only way to correct Grandison and Pamela, would be to make them pass thro' the fire.

To conclude, I think your writings have corrupted our language and our taste; that the composition of them all, except Clarissa, is bad; and that they all, particularly that, have a manifest tendency to corrupt our morals. I have likewise shewn that your principal characters are all, except Clarissa's, faulty, ridiculous, or unmeaning. Grandison is an inconsistent angel, Lovelace is an absolute devil, and Booby is a perfect ass; Pamela is a little pert minx, whom any man of common sense or address might have had on his own terms in a week or a fortnight, Harriet appears to be every thing, and yet may be nothing, except a ready scribe, a verbose letter-writer; and as to Clarissa, I believe you will own yourself, that I have done you ample justice. I now leave you seriously to contemplate the merit of your performances, and shall only add, that I hope you will have the candour not to impute these animadversions to any spiteful envy conceived at your great reputation and extraordinary success; yet, this I will say, that some expressions might perhaps have been pointed with less severity, had I not observed that your constant endeavours are to render a certain set of men amongst us, the objects of public hatred and detestation; for any thing you know to the contrary they may be in the right, and you in the wrong, at least, as I told you before, you are no proper judge in the controversy, whether they are or not. At any rate this conduct of yours must proceed either from a weakness of the head, or a badness of the heart. A weakness in the head, that your understanding still continues blinded with all those prejudices, in their full strength, which you imbibed in the years of your childhood, from the old women in the nursery. A badness of the heart, that makes you imagine any difference in opinions, merely speculative, ever can give just occasion to an unfavourable distinction among members of the same society, partakers of the same human nature, and children of one common indulgent Parent, the almighty and beneficent Creator of all things.

I am, &c.



POSTSCRIPT.

After having animadverted warmly, yet, I hope, justly, upon one author, a worthy and virtuous man, as I believe, for shewing an indiscreet zeal in behalf of a religion, in the profession of which he is undoubtedly sincere; it would be an unpardonable neglect, to take no notice of another author, a daily journalist too, whose sincerity at the best is dubious, but whose zeal, whether real or pretended, flames out beyond all the bounds of order or decency. The zeal of Richardson, when weigh'd against the zeal, or rather the fury of Hill, would be found wanting, and as dust in the balance. The Inspectors which have given occasion to this postscript, are those of Saturday the 9th, and Wednesday the 13th of this present month of February; neither of which had made its appearance before the foregoing remarks were compleated and sent to the press. In these the journalist has done his utmost, not only to prejudice weak minds against Lord Bolingbroke's posthumous works, and the Essays on Crucifixion, Fainting Fits, Resurrections and Miracles, proposals for printing which by subscription have been lately published; but to raise the furies of religious rage and persecution against the editor of the one, and the author of the other. He tells the first, that were he a robber and a murderer, he would be less criminal, less worthy capital punishment and the Detestation of all Mankind. He declares he shall do all a private man can do to bring him to punishment. Of the last he says, that not the religious alone, but all who have wisdom, and a sense of decency, join to say, that no punishment can be too severe for him: And, after having given some charitable hints, drawn from the death of Socrates, and the practice of the Heathens, he thus apostrophizes. Will Christians suffer what they could not bear? It cannot be: It is not possible. Laws will be put in execution, and the histories of the whole world cannot produce a greater criminal.

The bare recital of these distempered ravings is a sufficient confutation of them, is sufficient to inspire all men of sense and common humanity with a detestation for them, and a contempt for their author. This is not the language of a protestant writer, but of a furious blood-thirsty popish inquisitor. That he would be gladly invested with such a character, and that he would act most furiously and bloodily in it, is evident from his journals; but that he is only a private man, and even as such his influence small, is surely a happy circumstance for our native country.

Should it be enquired, what has given occasion to this flaming manifestation of popish zeal, the candid reader would undoubtedly be surprized, should he be told, that one article is, a random and incredible report, concerning Lord Bolingbroke's expected posthumous works, that their design is to prove, there is no human soul, no deity, no spirit, and nothing but matter in the universe. Whoever is acquainted with his lordship's writings, which have already been published; whoever knows that Mr. Pope was indebted to him for the plan of the noblest poem extant in any language, I mean his Essay on Man, must at once be convinced, from ocular demonstration, of the infamous falshood of this assertion. That his lordship was a theist, and a disbeliever in miracles and revelations, cannot and need not be denied. But that he was no atheist, no materialist, his acknowledged good sense is, alone, a sufficient proof. I do think scepticism the best and truest philosophy; and I scruple not to own, I have called in question, one time or other, the truth of most things which cannot be demonstrated. But the existence of spirit and deity was never one of those things. Of this I am certain, from consciousness, from reason, from demonstration. But I have often doubted the real existence of matter; for this I have not even the testimony of my senses, only prejudice and instinct. It is only such a philosopher as our inspector, who believes animals are mere machines, who can be an atheist and a materialist.

The other article which has given an opportunity to our Jesuitical journalist to flame forth with the true spirit of a popish inquisitor, is, the publication of proposals for printing by subscription, Essays on Crucifixion; Syncopes, or Fainting-Fits; the uncertainty of the signs of Death, and the real nature and frequency of those Accidents which have been called Resurrections from the Dead; and on Miracles, their Nature, and the Evidence for them. There is surely nothing, either in this title or the proposals themselves, which appears to have a pernicious tendency against any religious establishment whatsoever; and he, surely, must be endued with a wonderful penetration, who can discover any thing like it in them. They seem only to promise medical and philosophical enquiries into medical and philosophical subjects. Why may not an essay on Crucifixion be as harmless as a dissertation on Tar-Water? and what destructive consequences can attend a treatise on Fainting-Fits and counterfeited Death, more than a treatise on broken heads or bloody noses? They are all physical subjects, and fall within the province of a medical writer, which it is to be supposed the author of the proposals is, otherwise he cannot be equal to the task he has undertaken. But our admirable and sagacious inspector thus addresses the public, 'Tis palpable, 'tis evident, says he, that this man means to tell you, the Saviour of the world did not die upon the cross; that he did not rise from the dead; that he did not work miracles. I shall only observe, that the words Jesus, Christianity, or even Religion, are not so much as once mentioned in these proposals, and probably may not be found in the work itself, when it appears. Hence we may reasonably infer, that the world is indebted for these discoveries to the wonderful acuteness of the Inspectorial nostrils, which can smell out irreligion and infidelity, where no such things are intended, or even dreamt of. If such, indeed, are the intentions of this proposer, he is, doubtless, greatly obliged to his good friend, the Inspector, or rather the would-be inquisitor, for discovering to the public what it seems he himself either would not, or durst not, so much as hint at. But 'tis malice, 'tis fiction all, and 'tis most probable, the author himself never had any such things in his thoughts.

But to be serious, for the subject requires it; too much detestation, too much abhorrence, can never be shewn for the principles and practices of this journalist, and they can never be sufficiently exposed and exploded. If he is not sincere, if he makes religion only a stalking horse, to gratify his passions, his pride, his vanity, his ambition, or his interest, there never was a character more infamous, more detestable. If he is sincere, his principles are equally destructive, equally pernicious, to all the most valuable interests of civil government and social life. I would incline to the more favourable interpretation; but, without any breach of charity, it may be said, that his dirty interest is one of his great motives for such a conduct. In a late famous letter of his, where, in so many words, he affirms, that no other, unless he be conjured from the dead, is qualified to be Keeper of Sir Hans Sloane's Museum, except himself, he thus addresses the Chancellor: My Lord, I shall conclude with saying that, to his grace of Canterbury, I hope that respect I have, in all my writings, shewn to the religion of my country, will prove some recommendation. Here the cloven foot manifestly appears; and, do doubt, he greedily laid hold of these proposals, to display, at this seasonable juncture, that recommending respect to the religion of his country, which he imagined, though perhaps erroneously, was intended to be attacked.

FINIS.

* * * * * * * * *

The Editors of THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

are pleased to announce that

THE WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY

of The University of California, Los Angeles

will become the publisher of the Augustan Reprints in May, 1949. The editorial policy of the Society will continue unchanged. As in the past, the editors will strive to furnish members inexpensive reprints of rare seventeenth and eighteenth century works.

All correspondence concerning subscriptions in the United States and Canada should be addressed to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 2205 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles 7, California. Correspondence concerning editorial matters may be addressed to any of the general editors. Membership fee continues $2.50 per year ($2.75 in Great Britain and the continent). British and European subscribers should address B. H. Blackwell, Broad Street, Oxford, England.

Publications for the fourth year (1949-1950)

(At least six items will be printed in the main from the following list)

SERIES IV: MEN, MANNERS, AND CRITICS

John Dryden, His Majesties Declaration Defended (1681) [15074]

Daniel Defoe (?), Vindication of the Press (1718) [14084 (year 5)]

Critical Remarks on Sir Charles Grandison, Clarissa, and Pamela (1754) [present text]

SERIES V: DRAMA

Thomas Southerne, Oroonoko (1696) [not published]

Mrs. Centlivre, The Busie Body (1709) [16740]

Charles Johnson, Caelia (1733) [not published]

Charles Macklin, Man of the World (1781) [14463 (year 5)]

SERIES VI: POETRY AND LANGUAGE

Andre Dacier, Essay on Lyric Poetry [not published]

Poems by Thomas Sprat [not published]

Poems by the Earl of Dorset [not published]

Samuel Johnson, Vanity of Human Wishes (1749), and one of the 1750 Rambler papers. [13350]

EXTRA SERIES:

Lewis Theobald, Preface to Shakespeare's Works (1733) [16346]

A few copies of the early publications of the Society are still available at the original rate.

GENERAL EDITORS

H. RICHARD ARCHER, Clark Memorial Library RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles H. T. SWEDENBERG JR., University of California, Los Angeles

——————————————————————————————

TO THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY William Andrews Clark Memorial Library 2205 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles 7, California

AS MEMBERSHIP FEE I enclose for:

Name

_Address_ _______

{ The fourth year $2.50 { The third and fourth year 5.00 { The second, third and fourth year 7.50 { The first, second, third, and fourth year 10.00 { [Add $.25 for each year if ordering from Great Britain { or the continent]

Make check or money order payable to THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA.

Note: All income of the Society is devoted to defraying cost of printing and mailing.



PUBLICATIONS OF THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

First Year (1946-1947)

1. Richard Blackmore's Essay upon Wit (1716), and Addison's Freehold No. 45 (1716). (I, 1) [13484]

2. Samuel Cobb's Of Poetry and Discourse on Criticism (1707). (II, 1) [14937]

3. Letter to A. H. Esq.; concerning the Stage (1698), and Richard Willis' Occasional Paper No. IX (1698). (III, 1) [14047]

4. Essay on Wit (1748), together with Characters by Flecknoe, and Joseph Warton's Adventurer Nos. 127 and 133. (I, 2) [14528]

5. Samuel Wesley's Epistle to a Friend Concerning Poetry (1700) and Essay on Heroic Poetry (1693). (II, 2) [16506]

6. Representation of the Impiety and Immorality of the Stage (1704) and Some Thoughts Concerning the Stage (1704). (III, 2) [15656]

Second Year (1947-1948)

7. John Gay's The Present State of Wit (1711); and a section on Wit from The English Theophrastus (1702). (I, 3) [14800]

8. Rapin's De Carmine Pastorali, translated by Creech (1684). (II, 3) [14495]

9. T. Hanmer's (?) Some Remarks on the Tragedy of Hamlet (1736). (III, 3) [14899]

10. Corbyn Morris' Essay towards Fixing the True Standards of Wit, etc. (1744). (I, 4) [16233]

11. Thomas Purney's Discourse on the Pastoral (1717). (II, 4) [15313]

12. Essays on the Stage, selected, with an Introduction by Joseph Wood Krutch. (III, 4) [16335]

Third Year (1948-1949)

13. Sir John Falstaff (pseud.), The Theatre (1720). (IV, 1) [15999]

14. Edward Moore's The Gamester (1753). (V, 1) [16267]

15. John Oldmixon's Reflections on Dr. Swift's Letter to Harley (1712); and Arthur Mainwaring's The British Academy (1712). (VI, 1) [25091]

16. Nevil Payne's Fatal Jealousy (1673). (V, 2) [16916]

17. Nicholas Rowe's Some Account of the Life of Mr. William Shakespear (1709). (Extra Series, I) [16275]

18. Aaron Hill's Preface to The Creation; and Thomas Brereton's Preface to Esther. (IV, 2) [15870]

* * * * * * * * *

Errors and Inconsistencies

In the body text, variable spellings such as "villany" : "villainy" and "intire" : "entire" are unchanged. Unless otherwise noted, all spelling, punctuation and capitalization are as printed.

Introduction:

"... an ordinary Share of Virtue" (p. 24) [(p.24)]

Critical Remarks:

there never can be any thing but a perpetual jarring discord [pertpeual] limited state of the human understanding [understandng] according to his particular temper or circumstances [cricumstances] How to reconcile to probability [printed "proba-/bability" at line break] But as these precepts and examples are now applied ["a" in "and" printed upside-down] and by the serpent, lust or pleasure. This allegory [pleasure,] just as she was setting out [just us] paint a Chloe or a Sachurissa [unchanged: error for "Sacharissa"?] Ben Johnson replied, he wished [spelling unchanged] any difference in opinions, merely speculative [opinions.] the Detestation of all Mankind [first "l" in "all" invisible]

THE END

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