Life of Samuel Richardson, With Remarks on his Writings - PA Criticism Archive

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Anna Letitia Barbauld

THERE is no period in the history of any country, at all advanced in elegant literature, in which fictitious adventures have not made a large part of the reading men have most delighted in. They have been grafted upon the actions of their heroes, they have been interwoven with their mythology, they have been moulded upon the manners of the age, and, in return, have influenced not a little the manners of the next generation, by the principles they have insinuated, and the sensibilities they have

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exercised. A spirit of adventure, a high sense of honour, of martial glory, refined and romantic passion, sentimental delicacy, or all the melting sensibilities of humanity, have been, in their turns, inspired by this powerful engine, which takes so strong a hold on the fancy and the passions of young readers. Adorned with the embellishments of poetry, they produce the epic; more concentrated in the story, and exchanging narrative for action, they become dramatic; allied with some great moral end, didactic, as in the Telemaque of Fenelon, and the Belisaire of Marmontel. They are often the vehicles of satire, as in the Candide and Babouc of Voltaire, and the Gulliver's Travels of Swift. They take a tincture from the learning and politics of the times, and are often made use of successfully to attack or to recommend the prevailing systems of the day. We have seen liberty and equality recommended from one publication, and French principles exposed in


another. When the range of this kind of writing is so extensive, and its effect so great, it is evident that it ought to hold no mean rank among the productions of genius; and, in truth, there is hardly any department of literature in which we shall meet with more fine writing than in the best productions of this kind. It is not easy therefore to say, why the poet should have so high a place allotted him in the temple of Fame, and the romance-writer so low a one, as, in the general estimation, he is confined to; for his dignity as a writer has by no means been measured by the pleasure he affords to his readers; yet the invention of a story, the choice of proper incidents, the ordonnance of the plan, the exhibition of the character, the gradual development of a plot, occasional beauties of description, and, above all, the power exercised over the reader's heart, by filling it with the successive emotions of love, pity, joy, anguish, transport, or indigna-

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tion, together with the grave impressive moral resulting from the whole, imply talents of the highest order, and ought to command our warmest praise. There is no walk in which taste and genius have more distinguished themselves, or in which virtuous and noble sentiments have come out with greater lustre, than in the splendid fictions, or pathetic tales, with which France, Germany, Switzerland, and our own country, have adorned the annals of their literature. A history of romance writing, under all its various forms, would be an acceptable present to the public, if given by a man of taste and sufficient reading. But there are some periods which make, as it were, a new era in this kind of writing, and those productions are more particularly deserving our attention which stand at the head of a class, and have diverted the taste of the public into some new channel. Of this kind are the writings of Mr. Richardson, whose name, on the


present occasion, is brought anew before the public. He may, in a great measure, be said to be the father of the modern novel of the serious or pathetic kind, and he was also an original in the mode of epistolary writing by which he carried on the story.

If we were to search among the treasures of ancient literature for fictions similar to the modern novel, we should find none more nearly resembling it than Theagenes and Chariclea, the production of Heliodorus, a Christian bishop of Trieca, in Thessaly. Though his romance was unexceptionably pure and virtuous, he was called upon either to burn his book, or resign his bishopric; upon which, with the heroism of an author, he chose the latter.

But, after Europe had sunk into barbarism, a taste was again to be formed; and a taste for the natural, the graceful, and the simple-pathetic, is generally the late result of a long course of civilization.

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Every one knows the character of the romances of chivalry—Amadis de Gaul at their head, with whose merits the English reader has lately been made acquainted in an elegant abridged version. [2]  They were properly historical, but they heightened the traditionary adventures of the heroes of their different countries, with the more wonderful stories of giants, enchantments, and other embellishments of the supernatural kind. But we are not to suppose that even these fictions were considered, as we now consider them, the mere play of the imagination: "le vrai seul est aimable" [3]  was always so far a maxim, that no work of imagination can greatly succeed, which is not founded upon popular belief; but what is le vrai? In those times talismans, and wounds cured by sympathetic powder, and charms of all kinds, were seriously credited.

A great deal of love adventure was intermixed in these narratives, but not always


of the purest or most delicate kind. Poetry was often made the vehicle of them, particularly in Italy: the Orlando Furioso of Ariosto, is a chivalrous romance in verse.

As, however, the spirit of military adventure subsided, these softened, by degrees, into the languishing love romances of the French school—the Clelias and Cassandras, the laboured productions of the Calprenedes and Scuderis. I might indeed have mentioned before these a romance of a peculiar kind, the Astrea of d'Urfé, which all France read with eagerness at the time it was published. It is a pastoral romance, and its celebrity was, in a great measure, owing to its being strongly seasoned with allusions to the amours of the court of Henry the Fourth.

But to return to the Romances de longue haleine. [4]  The principle of these was high honour, impregnable chastity, a constancy unshaken by time or accident, and a species of love so exalted and refined, that it


bore but little resemblance to a natural passion. In the story, however, they were a step nearer to nature; the adventures were marvellous, but not impossible. Their personages were all removed from common life, and taken from ancient history; but without the least resemblance to the heroes whose names they bore. The manners therefore, and the passions, referred to an ideal world, the creation of the writer; but the situations were often striking, and the sentiments always noble. They would have reigned longer, had they been less tedious—there exists no appeal for an author who makes his readers weary. Boilieu ridiculed these, as Cervantes had done the others, and their knell was rung: people were ready to wonder they had ever admired them.

A closer imitation of nature began now to be called for: not but that, from the earliest times, there had been tales and stories imitating real life; a few serious,


but generally comic. The Decamerone of Boccacio, the Cent Nouvelles of the Queen of Navarre, contes and fabliaux without number, may be considered as novels, though of a lighter texture; they abounded with adventure, generally of the humourous, often of the licentious kind, and, indeed, were mostly founded on intrigue, but the nobler passions were seldom touched. The Roman Comique of Scarron is a regular piece of its kind, and possesses great merit in the humourous way; but the Zaide, and the Princesse de Cleves, of Madame de la Fayette, are esteemed to be the first that approach the modern novel of the serious kind, the latter especially; they were written in the reign of Louis XIV. greatly admired, and considered as making a new era in works of invention. Voltaire says of them, that they were "Les premiers Romans où l'on vit les mœurs des honnêtes gens, et des avantures naturelles, décrites avec grace. Avant elle on écrivait d'un stile em-


poulé, des choses peu vrai semblables." [5]  "The first romances in which were seen natural incidents, and the manners of good company, described with elegance. Before her time, improbable adventures were described in a turgid and affected stile." The novels of Madame la Fayette are certainly beautiful, but a step is still wanting; they no longer speak, indeed, of Alexanders and Brutus's, still less of giants and fairies; but the heroes and heroines are princes and princesses—they are not people of our acquaintance. The scene is, perhaps, in Spain, or amongst the Moors; it does not reflect the picture of domestic life, they are not the men and women we see about us every day.

Le Sage, in his Gil Blas, a work of infinite entertainment, though of dubious morality, presented us such people; but his portraits were mostly of the humourous kind, and his work was rather a series of separate adventures than a chain of events


concurring, in one plan, to the production of the catastrophe. There was still wanting a mode of writing which should connect the high passion, and delicacy of sentiment of the old romance, with characters moving in the same sphere of life with ourselves, and brought into action by incidents of daily occurrence.

In the earlier periods of English history, we had our share in the rude literature of the times, and we were familiar, either by translations or stories of our own growth, with the heroes of the chivalrous times, many of whom belonged to our own country. We had also, in common with our neighbours, the monkish legends, a species of romance abounding with the marvellous, and particularly suited to the taste of a superstitious age. Many of these merit attention as a branch, and no small one, of fiction; they have been properly exploded for their falsehood; they should now be preserved for their invention: they


are now harmless; they can no longer excite our indignation, let them be permitted to amuse our fancy.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, we had the once famous romance Sidney's Arcadia, of the pastoral heroic kind, if the expression may be permitted. It is a book that all have heard of, that some few possess, but that nobody reads.

From that period, to the middle of the last reign, we had tales and stories of various kinds, but scarcely one that continues to be read to the present day, and, I believe, not any (the singularly ingenious allegorical fiction of the Pilgrim's Progress [6]  excepted) that was known out of our own country. We had poets, we had philosophers, long before we had attained any excellence in the lighter kinds of prose composition. Harrington's Oceana is political, and will grievously disappoint those who look into it for amusement. The Atalantis of Mrs. Manley lives only in that line


of Pope which seems to promise it immortality,

As long as Atalantis shall be read. [7] 

It was, like Astrea, filled with fashionable scandal. Mrs. Behn's novels were licentious: they are also fallen. Till the middle of the last century, theatrical productions and poetry made a greater part of polite reading than novels, which had not attained either elegance or nice discrimination of characters; some adventure and a love story, were all they aimed at. The Ladies' Library, described in the Spectator, contains "the Grand Cyrus, with a pin stuck in one of the leaves, and Clelia, which opened of itself in the place that describes two lovers in a bower;" [8]  but there does not occur either there, or, I believe, in any other part of the work, the name of one English novel, the Atalantis excepted. Plays are often mentioned as a favourite and dangerous part of ladies' reading. The


first author we had, who distinguished himself by natural painting, was that truly original genius De Foe; and if from any one Richardson caught, in some measure, his peculiar manner of writing, to him it must be traced, whose Robinson Crusoe and Family Instructor (the latter consisting of domestic dialogues,) he must have read in his youth. They were both accurate describers, minute and circumstantial, but with this difference, that the minuteness of De Foe was more employed about things, and that of Richardson about persons and sentiments. No one ever knew like De Foe to give to fiction, by an accumulation of circumstance, and a grave natural way of telling the story, the most serious air of truth; except, indeed, Swift, in his Gulliver's Travels. De Foe wrote also some novels; I cannot speak of them, for I have not seen them: they do not appear to have attained much celebrity. Richardson was the man who was to introduce a new kind


of moral painting; he drew equally from nature and from his own ideas. From the world about him he took the incidents, manners, and general character, of the times in which he lived, and from his own beautiful ideas he copied that sublime of virtue which charms us in his Clarissa, and that sublime of passion which interests us in his Clementina. That kind of fictitious writing of which he has set the example, disclaims all assistance from giants or genii. The moated castle is changed to a modern parlour; the princess and her pages to a lady and her domestics, or even to a simple maiden, without birth or fortune; we are not called on to wonder at improbable events, but to be moved by natural passions, and impressed by salutary maxims. The pathos of the story, and the dignity of the sentiments, interest and charm us; simplicity is warned, vice rebuked, and, from the perusal of a novel, we rise better prepared to meet the ills of


life with firmness, and to perform our respective parts on the great theatre of life. It was the high and just praise given by our great critic, Dr. Johnson, to the author of Clarissa, that "he had enlarged the knowledge of human nature, and taught the passions to move at the command of virtue." [9]  The novelist has, indeed, all the advantage of the preacher in introducing useful maxims and sentiments of virtue; an advantage which Richardson made large use of, and he has besides the power of impressing them upon the heart through the best sensibilities of our nature. Richardson prided himself on being a moral and religious writer; and, as Addison did before him, he professed to take under his particular protection that sex which is supposed to be most open to good or evil impressions; whose inexperience most requires cautionary precepts, and whose sensibilities it is most important to secure against a wrong direction. The


manner of this captivating writer was also new.

There are three modes of carrying on a story: the narrative or epic as it may be called; in this the author relates himself the whole adventure; this is the manner of Cervantes in his Don Quixote, and of Fielding in his Tom Jones. It is the most common way. The author, like the muse, is supposed to know every thing; he can reveal the secret springs of actions, and let us into events in his own time and manner. He can be concise, or diffuse, according as the different parts of his story require it. He can indulge, as Fielding has done, in digressions, and thus deliver sentiments and display knowledge which would not properly belong to any of the characters. But his narration will not be lively, except he frequently drops himself, and runs into dialogue: all good writers therefore have thrown as much as possible of the dramatic into their narrative. Mad.


d'Arblay has done this so successfully, that we have as clear an idea, not only of the sentiments, but the manner of expression of her different personages, as if we took it from the scenes in a play.

Another mode is that of memoirs; where the subject of the adventures relates his own story. Smollet, in his Roderic Random, and Goldsmith, in his Vicar of Wakefield, have adopted this mode; it confines the author's stile, which should be suited, though it is not always, to the supposed talents and capacity of the imaginary narrator. It has the advantage of the warmth and interest a person may be supposed to feel in his own affairs; and he can more gracefully dwell upon minute circumstances which have affected him. It has a greater air of truth, as it seems to account for the communication to the public. The author, it is true, knows every thing, but when the secret recesses of the heart are to be laid open, we can hear no


one with so much pleasure as the person himself. Marivaux, whose productions partly followed, and partly were cotemporary [sic] with those of Richardson, has put the history of Marianne into her own mouth, and we are amused to hear her dwell on little touches which are almost too trivial to be noticed by any body but herself.

But what the hero cannot say, the author cannot tell, nor can it be rendered probable, that a very circumstantial narrative should be given by a person, perhaps at the close of a long life, of conversations that have happened at the beginning of it. The author has all along two characters to support, for he has to consider how his hero felt at the time the events to be related, and how it is natural he should feel them at the time he is relating them; at a period, perhaps, when curiosity is extinguished, passion cooled, and when, at any rate, the suspense which rendered them interesting

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is over. This seems, therefore, the least perfect mode of any.

A third way remains, that of epistolary correspondence, carried on between the characters of the novel. This is the form made use of by Richardson and many others after, none, I believe, before him. He seems to have been led to it by circumstances in his early youth, which will be hereafter related. This method unites, in a good measure, the advantages of the other two; it gives the feelings of the moment as the writers felt them at the moment. It allows a pleasing variety of stile, if the author has sufficient command of pen to assume it. It makes the whole work dramatic, since all the characters speak in their own persons. It accounts for breaks in the story, by the omission or loss of letters. It is incompatible with a rapid stile, but gives room for the graceful introduction of remark and sentiment, or any kind, almost, of digressive matter. But, on the other


hand, it is highly fictitious; it is the most natural and the least probable way of telling a story. That letters should be written at all times, and upon every occasion in life, that those letters should be preserved, and altogether form a connected story, it requires much art to render specious. It introduces the inconvenience so much felt in dramatic writing, for want of a narrator; the necessity of having an insipid confidant to tell the circumstances so that an author cannot relate in any other way. It obliges a man to tell of himself, what perhaps no man would tell; and sometimes to repeat compliments which modesty would lead him to suppress: and when a long conversation is repeated, supposes a memory more exact than is generally found. Artificial as it therefore is, still as it enables an author to assume, in a lively manner, the hopes and fears, and passions, and to imitate the peculiar way of thinking of his characters, it became fashionable, and has

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been adopted by many both at home and abroad, especially by the French writers; their language, perhaps, being particularly suited to the epistolary stile, and Rousseau himself, in his Nouvelle Heloise, has followed the steps of our countryman.

Our author had a most ready pen, indeed it was seldom out of his hand, and this readiness, with the early habit of writing letters, made him take pleasure in an extensive correspondence, with which he filled the interstices of a busy day. Before this correspondence is presented to the reader, it may not be undesirable to preface the collection with all the particulars which can now be collected, relative to him who was the centre of it. The facts are taken either from the letters themselves, or the obliging communications of some of his surviving cotemporaries, [sic] or from printed biographical anecdotes.

Mr. Samuel Richardson, whose name and genius no English readers, and it may be


added, few foreign ones, are unacquainted with, is one instance, among innumerable others, of natural talents making their way to eminence, under the pressure of narrow circumstances, the disadvantage of obscure birth, and the want of a liberal education.

The following is the account he gives of his family, in a letter to Mr. Stinstra.

My father was a very honest man, descended of a family of middling note, in the county of Surry, but which having for several generations a large number of children, the not large possessions were split and divided, so that he and his brothers were put to trades; and the sisters were married to tradesmen. My mother was also a good woman, of a family not ungenteel; but whose father and mother died in her infancy, within half-an-hour of each other, in the London pestilence of 1665.

My father's business was that of a joiner, then more distinct from that of a carpenter than now it is with us. He was

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a good draughtsman, and understood architecture. His skill and ingenuity, and an understanding superior to his business, with his remarkable integrity of heart and manners, made him personally beloved by several persons of rank, among whom were the Duke of Monmouth and the first Earl of Shaftsbury, both so noted in our English history; their known favour for him having, on the Duke's attempt on the crown, subjected him to be looked upon with a jealous eye, notwithstanding he was noted for a quiet and inoffensive man, he thought proper, on the decollation of the first-named unhappy nobleman, to quit his London business, and to retire to Derbyshire, though to his great detriment; and there I, and three other children out of nine, were born.

As it was probably a great disadvantage to Mr. Richardson's father to leave his flourishing business in London, and as it is


not very likely that a man in his way of life should have so companionable an intimacy with the Duke of Monmouth and the Earl of Shaftsbury, as to subject him to danger on that account merely; it is probable that he entered further into their political views, than appears from the foregoing account. [10] Mr. Samuel Richardson was born in the year 1689, in Derbyshire, but in what particular place cannot be traced out. It is said that Richardson, from some motives known only to himself, always avoided mentioning the town which gave him birth. If this concealment arose from a reluctance to bring into view the obscurity and narrow circumstances in which his childhood was involved, the motive was an unworthy one, since they only served to reflect honour on the genius which could break through so thick a cloud. But, in truth, the candour and openness with which he relates the circumstances of his early life, ought to clear him from this imputa-

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tion. He goes on to inform his friend, that his father intended him for the church, a designation perfectly agreeable to his own inclinations, and which indeed his strong sense of religion, and the sobriety of his conduct, gave him an appropriate fitness for. But he adds: "But while I was very young, some heavy losses having disabled him from supporting me as genteely as he wished in an education proper for the function, he left me to choose, at the age of fifteen or sixteen, a business; having been able to give me only common school-learning."

Some of the admirers of Richardson have wished to raise his character by asserting, that he possessed a knowledge of the classics; but his own assertions are frequent in his letters, that he possessed no language but his own, not even French. It is said, indeed, that Dr. Young and he have been heard to quote Horace and other classics in their familiar conversations, and


the letters of the pedant Brand in Clarissa, which are larded with Latin quotations, are adduced as proofs of his scholarship; but, with regard to the latter, it seems probable, as may be seen in the letters, that he was assisted by his friend Mr. Channing; and, as to the former, it is not unlikely that he might be familiar with a few of those Latin phrases which are used, in a manner proverbially, by scholars, as the garniture of their discourse; and that he might also remember something of the rudiments, which he probably learnt at school, neither of which circumstances imply any real knowledge of the language. His deficiencies in this respect he often lamented; and it is certain his style is as far as possible from that of a scholar. It abounds with colloquial vulgarisms, and has neither that precision, nor that tincture of classic elegance, which is generally the result of an early familiarity with the best models.

But, however an ignorance of the learned

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languages might, some centuries ago, have precluded the unlearned Englishman from those treasures of literature which open the faculties and enlarge the understanding, our own tongue now contains productions of every kind sufficient to kindle the flame of genius in a congenial mind. Reading, provided a man seeks rather after good books than new books, still continues to be the cheapest of all amusements; and the boy who has barely learned to read at a village school-dame's, is in possession of a key which will unlock the treasures of Shakespeare and of Milton, of Addison and of Locke. Nor is time generally wanting; the severest labour has its intervals, in which the youth, who is stung with the thirst of knowledge, will steal to the page that gratifies his curiosity, and afterwards brood over the thoughts which have been there kindled, while he is plying the awl, planing the board, or hanging over the loom. To have this desire implanted in the


young mind, does, indeed, require some peculiarly favourable circumstances. These can sometimes be traced, oftener not. In regular education, the various stimuli that produce this effect are subject to our observation, and distinctly marked; in like manner as we know the nature and quality of the seed we sow in gardens and cultured ground; but of those geniuses called self-taught, we usually know no more than we do of the wild flowers that spring up in the fields. We know very well they had a seed, but we are ignorant by what accidental circumstances the seed of one has been conveyed by the winds to some favourable spot, where it has been safely lodged in the bosom of the ground, nor why it germinates there, and springs up in health and vigour, while a thousand others perish. Some observation struck the young sense; some verse, repeated in his hearing, dropt its sweetness on the unfolding ear; some nursery story, told with impressive

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tones and gestures, has laid hold on the kindling imagination, and thus have been formed, in solitude and obscurity, the genius of a Burns or a Shakespeare.

With regard to Richardson, it is not often we possess such particular information as he has given us, in his own words, of his early invention, and powers of affecting the heart.—

I recollect, that I was early noted for having invention. I was not fond of play, as other boys: my school-fellows used to call me Serious and Gravity; and five of them particularly delighted to single me out, either for a walk, or at their father's houses, or at mine, to tell them stories, as they phrased it. Some I told them, from my reading, as true; others from my head, as mere invention; of which they would be most fond, and often were affected by them. One of them particularly, I remember, was for putting me to write a history, as he called it, on the model of Tommy


Pots; I now forget what it was, only that it was of a servant-man preferred by a fine young lady (for his goodness) to a lord, who was a libertine. [11]  All my stories carried with them, I am bold to say, an useful moral.

It is in like manner related of the Abbé Prevôst, one of the most affecting of the French novelists, that, when he was among the Carthusians, into which order he had originally entered, he was accustomed to amuse the good fathers with telling them stories of his invention; and once, it is recorded, they sat up the whole night listening to him. But not only our author's inventive turn, the particular mode in which he exercised it was very early determined. He was fond of two things, which boys have generally an aversion to—letter-writing, and the company of the other sex. An incident, which he relates in the following words, shews how early he had devoted himself to be the Mentor of his female acquaintance:


From my earliest youth, I had a love of letter-writing: I was not eleven years old when I wrote, spontaneously, a letter to a widow of near fifty, who, pretending to a zeal for religion, and being a constant frequenter of church ordinances, was continually fomenting quarrels and disturbances, by backbiting and scandal, among all her acquaintance. I collected from the scripture texts that made against her. Assuming the style and address of a person in years, I exhorted her, I expostulated with her. But my hand-writing was known. I was challenged with it, and owned the boldness; for she complained of it to my mother with tears. My mother chid me for the freedom taken by such a boy with a woman of her years; but knowing that her son was not of a pert or forward nature, but, on the contrary, shy and bashful, she commended my principles, though she censured the liberty taken.


Notwithstanding the ill-will which this freedom might draw upon him from individuals, he was, he tells us, a general favourite with young and old.

As a bashful and not forward boy, I was an early favourite with all the young women of taste and reading in the neighbourhood. Half a dozen of them, when met to work with their needles, used, when they got a book they liked, and thought I should, to borrow me to read to them; their mothers sometimes with them; and both mothers and daughters used to be pleased with the observations they put me upon making.

I was not more than thirteen, when three of these young women, unknown to each other, having an high opinion of my taciturnity, revealed to me their love-secrets, in order to induce me to give them copies to write after, or correct, for answers to their lover's


letters: nor did any one of them ever know that I was the secretary to the others. I have been directed to chide, and even repulse, when an offence was either taken or given, at the very time that the heart of the chider or repulser was open before me, overflowing with esteem and affection; and the fair repulser, dreading to be taken at her word, directing this word, or that expression, to be softened or changed. One highly gratified with her lover's fervour, and vows of everlasting love, has said, when I have asked her direction; I cannot tell you what to write; but, (her heart on her lips) you cannot write too kindly; all her fear was only, that she should incur slight for her kindness.

Human nature is human nature in every class; the hopes and the fears, the perplexities and the struggles, of these lowbred girls in, probably, an obscure village, supplied the future author with those ideas,


which, by their gradual development, produced the characters of a Clarissa and a Clementina; nor was he probably happier, or amused in a more lively manner, when sitting in his grotto, with a circle of the best informed women in England about him, who, in after-times, courted his society, than in reading to these girls in, it may be, a little back-shop, or a mantua-maker's parlour, with a brick-floor. In the mean time, years went on, and the father of Richardson, being disappointed in his views of bringing him up to a profession, it became incumbent on him to chuse a humbler employment, and he fixed upon that of a printer; chiefly, as he informs us, because he thought it would gratify his thirst for reading. He was bound apprentice to Mr. John Wilde, of Stationer's-hall, in the year 1706. He did not, however, find it easy to gratify this thirst, though the stream ran by his lips, "I served," (says he)

a diligent seven years to it; to a


master who grudged every hour to me that tended not to his profit, even of those times of leisure and diversion, which the refractoriness of my fellow-servants obliged him to allow them, and were usually allowed by other masters to their apprentices. I stole from the hours of rest and relaxation, my reading times for improvement of my mind; and, being engaged in a correspondence with a gentleman, greatly my superior in degree, and of ample fortune, who, had he lived, intended high things for me; those were all the opportunities I had in my apprenticeship to carry it on. But this little incident I may mention; I took care that even my candle was of my own purchasing, that I might not, in the most trifling instance, make my master a sufferer (and who used to call me the pillar of his house) and not to disable myself by watching or sitting-up, to perform my duty to him in the



The correspondence with the gentleman just mentioned, must have been of great service to the young apprentice, in gaining that fluency of pen which he was remarkable for, though it appears he was deprived by death of the patronage he expected.

Multitudes of letters passed between this gentleman and me; he wrote well, was a master of the epistolary style. Our subjects were various: but his letters were mostly narrative, giving me an account of his proceedings, and what befel him in the different nations through which he travelled. I could from them, had I been at liberty, and had I at that time thought of writing as I have since done, have drawn great helps: but many years ago, all the letters that passed between us, by a particular desire of his (lest they should ever be published) were committed to the flames.

After the expiration of his appren-


ticeship, our author continued five or six years working as a compositor and corrector of the press to a printing-office, and part of the time as an overseer; and, at length thus working his way upwards into day-light, he took up his freedom, and set up for himself; at first in a court in Fleet-street, from whence, as his business grew more extensive, he removed into Salisbury-court.

Richardson was not one of those who make genius an excuse for idleness. He had been diligent and conscientious as an apprentice, he was assiduous and liberal as a master. Besides the proper work of a printer, he did a good deal of business for the booksellers, in writing for them indexes, prefaces, and, as he stiles them, honest dedications. These humble employments tended to facilitate to him the use and management of the pen. Mr. Richardson's punctuality, and the honour and generosity of his dealings, soon gained


him friends, and his business greatly flourished. He printed, for a while, the True Briton, a periodical paper, published in 1723, under the auspices of the Duke of Wharton, who, at that time, was endeavouring to foment a spirit of opposition in the City; and, to gain popularity, became a member of the Wax-chandler's Company. Richardson, though his principles were very different, was intimate with him, as was also, in early life, Dr. Young. Some of the numbers of the True Briton were prosecuted, but Mr. R. escaped, as his name did not appear. He was engaged some time in printing a newspaper, called The Daily Journal, and afterwards, The Daily Gazetteer. Through the interest of the Speaker, Mr. Onslow, he had the printing of the Journals of the House of Commons, in twenty-six volumes, folio. Mr. Onslow had a great regard for him, and often received him at his house in Ember-court. Polite regards are sometimes more


easily obtained than money from the court end of the town. Mr. R. did not find this branch of his business the one which yielded him the quickest returns. He thus writes to his friend Aaron Hill: "As to my silence, I have been at one time exceedingly busy in getting ready some volumes of Journals, to entitle myself to a payment which yet I never had, no, not to the value of a shilling, though the debt is upwards of three thousand pounds, and though I have pressed for it, and been excessively pressed for the want of it."

He was chosen master of his company, an office, which, in the Stationer's Company, is not only honourable but lucrative, in 1754; on which occasion one of his friends tells him, that though he did not doubt his going very well through every other part of the duty, he feared his habitual abstemiousness would allow him to make but a very poor figure at the city


feasts. His indulgencies were not of the sensual kind—he had, according to the salutary custom of the London citizens, a country residence; first at North-end, near Hammersmith, and afterwards at Parsons's-green, where he spent the time he could spare from business, and seldom without visitors. He loved to encourage diligence and early rising amongst his journeymen, and often hid a half-crown amongst the letters, so that the first who came to work in a morning might find it. At other times he brought, for the same purpose, fruit from his garden.

Mr. R. was twice married, his first wife was Allington Wilde, [12]  his master's daughter, she died in 1731. His second was the sister of Mr. James Leake, bookseller, at Bath, with whom he always maintained a very friendly intercourse: this lady survived him. Of his family, history, and the many wounds his affectionate nature received in the loss of those dear to him,


he thus speaks in a letter to Lady Bradshaw, who had been pleading against a melancholy termination to Clarissa.

Ah! Madam; and do you thus call upon me! Forgive an interrupting sigh, and allow me a short abruption.

I told you, Madam, that I have been married twice; both times happily: you will guess so, as to my first, when I tell you that I cherish the memory of my lost wife to this hour: and as to the second, when I assure you that I can do so without derogating from the merits of, or being disallowed by my present; who speaks of her on all occasions, as respectfully and affectionately as I do myself.

By my first wife I had five sons and one daughter; some of them living, to be delightful prattlers, with all the appearances of sound health, lively in their features, and promising as to their minds; and the death of one of them, I


doubt, accelerating from grief, that of the otherwise laudably afflicted, mother. I have had, by my present wife, five girls and one boy; I have buried of these the promising boy, and one girl: four girls I have living, all at present very good; their mother a true and instructing mother to them.

Thus have I lost six sons (all my sons) and two daughters, every one of which, to answer your question, I parted with with the utmost regret. Other heavy deprivations of friends, very near, and very dear, have I also suffered. I am very susceptible, I will venture to say, of impressions of this nature. A father, an honest, a worthy father, I lost by the accident of a broken thigh, snapped by a sudden jirk, endeavouring to recover a slip passing through his own yard. My father, whom I attended in every stage of his last illness, I long mourned for. Two brothers, very dear to me, I

vol. i. c


lost abroad. A friend, more valuable than most brothers, was taken from me. No less than eleven affecting deaths in two years! My nerves were so affected with these repeated blows, that I have been forced, after trying the whole materia medica, and consulting many physicians, as the only palliative (not a remedy to be expected) to go into a regimen; and, for seven years past have I forborne wine and flesh and fish; and, at this time, I and all my family are in mourning for a good sister, with whom neither I would have parted, could I have had my choice. From these affecting dispensations, will you not allow me, Madam, to remind an unthinking world, immersed in pleasures, what a life this is that they are so fond of, and to arm them against the affecting changes of it?

Severely tried as he was, he had yet great comfort in his family; his daughters


grew up under his tuition, amiable and worthy; they were carefully educated, and engaged his fondest affections. It is remarkable that his daughter Anne, whose early ill-health had often excited his apprehensions, was the last survivor of the family. They were all much employed in writing for him, and transcribing his letters; but, his chief amanuensis was his daughter Martha.

In addition to his other business, Mr. Richardson purchased, in 1760, a moiety of the patent of law printer to his majesty, which department of his business he carried on in partnership with Miss Catherine Lintot. From all these sources he was enabled to make that comfortable provision for a rising family, which patient industry, judiciously directed, will, generally, in this country, enable a man to procure.

But the genius of Richardson was not destined to be for ever employed in ushering into the world the productions of others.

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Neither city feasts and honours, nor printing law books and acts of parliament, nor the cares of a family, and the management of so large a concern of business, could quench the spark that glowed within him, or hinder the lovely ideas that played about his fancy, from being cloathed in words, and produced to captivate the public ear. The printer in Salisbury-court was to create a new species of writing; his name was to be familiar in the mouths of the great, the witty, and the gay, and he was destined to give one motive more to the rest of Europe, to learn the language of his country. The early fondness of Mr. Richardson for epistolary writing has already been mentioned, as also that he employed his pen occasionally for the booksellers. They desired him to give them a volume of Familiar Letters, upon a variety of supposed occasions. He began, but, letter producing letter, like John Bunyan, "as he pulled, it came;" [13]  till, unexpected to himself, the result was


his History of Pamela. His account of it is as follows:—

The writing it, then, was owing to the following occasion:—Two booksellers, my particular friends, entreated me to write for them a little volume of Letters, in a common style, on such subjects as might be of use to those country readers, who were unable to indite for themselves. Will it be any harm, said I, in a piece you want to be written so low, if we should instruct them how they should think and act in common cases, as well as indite? They were the more urgent with me to begin the little volume for this hint. I set about it; and, in the progress of it, writing two or three letters to instruct handsome girls, who were obliged to go out to service, as we phrase it, how to avoid the snares that might be laid against their virtue; the above story recurred to my thought: And hence sprung Pamela. This volume of letters

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is not worthy of your perusal. I laid aside several letters after I had written them for this volume, as too high for the view of my two friends.

This was written, (it was then only in two volumes) in three months. The idea he set out with of writing letters for rather the lower class, probably determined him to the station of his heroine, and the simplicity of her language.

The author's object in Pamela is twofold: to reclaim a libertine by the influence of virtuous affection, and to conduct virtue safe and triumphant through the severest trials, to an honourable reward. For this purpose Pamela, a young girl, born of poor, but pious and worthy parents, taken by a lady of fashion to wait upon her person, and brought up by her with great tenderness and attention to her improvement, is, after the lady's death, at which event the story opens, exposed to the solicitations of her youthful master, the only


son of her benefactress. The story is carried on by letters, chiefly between Pamela and her father and mother. Her youth and innocence render her, for some time, unsuspecting of the passion she has inspired; and, when she can no longer misunderstand the purposes of her master, she prepares to leave his house, but he detains her under various pretences, and attempts liberties with her person, which she resists with firmness, as well as his pecuniary offers; though not disinclined to his person, and though she has no resource, on the supposition of leaving him, but to return to hard country labour. Her behaviour is all the while full of humility and respect to her master, in every instance consistent with the defence of her honour. Her master, who, though young, is a practised libertine, finding her protected by the watchful advice of her parents, and by the care of a virtuous house-keeper, who had belonged to his mother, determines to con-

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vey her to a place where she shall be entirely in his power. Under pretence, therefore, of sending her home to her parents, he has her conveyed to another of his seats, where she is absolutely confined, under the guardianship of an abandoned woman, whose office it has been to minister to his pleasures. The poor Pamela forms many schemes to get away, and endeavours, by means of a young clergyman, to engage some of the families of the neighbourhood in her favour, but without effect. She then endeavours to escape alone, and actually gets through a barred window into the garden, from whence she hopes to escape into the fields, though ignorant of any one who will receive her; but she falls, and bruises herself in attempting to get over the high brick wall. Her sufferings in this attempt are affectingly described. Finding all her schemes abortive, she is greatly tempted to free herself from the danger of dishonour, by throwing herself


into the pond, but considerations of piety at length prevail, and she determines to trust to Providence. Her master at length, after many ineffectual attempts to vanquish her resistance, begins to relent, professes honourable love to her; and, after a severe struggle between his passion and his pride of birth and fortune, offers her his hand in marriage. Pamela acknowledges her love for him, and accepts (almost upon her knees it must be allowed) his proposal. Difficulties remain to be got over with Lady Davers, a proud and termagant woman of quality, sister to Mr. B. but the sweetness and prudence of Pamela overcome her dislike, and the whole concludes with the perfect happiness of the wedded pair.

Such is the outline of this first work of our author, which was published in 1740. It was received with a burst of applause from all ranks of people. The novelty of the plan, the strokes of nature and pathos with which the work abounds, the simpli-

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city of the language, the sentiments of piety and virtue that are brought forward, took at once the taste of the public. Numberless were the compliments Mr. Richardson received upon it, as soon as he was known to be the author, for in the publication he only assumed the character of editor, and that not by name. He had earnestly wished, he said, to be concealed; probably he did, till its reception was known. All that read were his readers. Even at Ranelagh, [14]  those who remember the publication say, that it was usual for ladies to hold up the volumes of Pamela to one another, to shew they had got the book that every one was talking of. The tendency of this novel was held to be so excellent, that it was recommended by Dr. Slocock, even from the pulpit. The friends of the author were lavish, not to say extravagant, in their compliments, and he received spontaneous eulogiums from many of the first authors of the age. Mr. Leake


thus writes of Mr. Allen and Mr. Pope: Mr. Pope says, "it wilt do more good than many volumes of sermons; I have heard them both very high in its praises, and they will not bear any faults to be mentioned in the story; I believe they have read it twice a-piece at least; I believe Mr. Pope will call on you." Mr. Chetwynd [15]  says, "that if all other books were to be burnt, this book, next to the Bible, ought to be preserved." Mr. Lobb talks of bringing-up his son to be virtuous, by giving him Pamela as soon as he could read, a choice of books for a youth which we, at present, should be very much surprised at; and Mr. Lucas, the esteemed author of the Search after Happiness, thus writes: "I am inform'd that the author of Pamela, (the best book ever published, and calculated to do most good) is one Mr. Richardson, Printer. I think it a piece of common justice, to shew my regard to this common be-

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nefactor of mankind, by making him a tender of my best services. Accordingly, being about to publish a volume of sermons, I take the liberty of making him the offer of them." It was immediately translated into French and Dutch.

The fame of this once favourite work is now somewhat tarnished by time, as well as eclipsed by the author's subsequent publications; but the enthusiasm with which it was received, shews incontrovertably, that a novel written on the side of virtue was considered as a new experiment.

Appreciating it at this distance of time, we must acknowledge that the faults are great, but the beauties are genuine. The character of Pamela, so long as her sole object was to resist her master's attempts, is beautifully drawn, with many affecting incidents, and little strokes of nature. Her innocent prattle to Mrs. Jervis, the rustic dress in which she equips herself, when de-


termined to leave her place, her stealing down to the kitchen to try if she could scour the pewter, in order to accustom herself to course [sic] household work—"I see I could do it," says she, "it only blistered my hand in two places;" the sudden spring she gives on seeing her father, by which she overturns the card-table, and the affecting account of her sufferings on attempting to make her escape, are all worthy of a master-hand. There are not many under-characters in this work; the most pleasing, and perhaps the best sustained, of the whole, are those of Goodman Andrews and his wife, Pamela's father and mother. It would not be easy to find a prettier picture of low life, and of true English low life, in its most respectable garb; made respectable by strict honesty, humility, patience of labour, and domestic affection; the whole rendered saintly and venerable by a touching air of piety and resignation, which pervades all their senti-


ments. The behaviour of the old man, when he walks to Mr. B.'s to enquire after his child; and his humble grief, is truly pathetic. The language of the good couple is simple, without being vulgar. It is not the simplicity of Arcadian shepherds: It is such as people in low life, with the delicacy of a virtuous mind, might fall into without any other advantages than a bible education. It is the simplicity of an English cottage. Mrs. Jervis, the virtuous house-keeper, is well-intentioned, grateful, but timid. The other, Mrs. Jewkes, is drawn in coarse but natural colours. The pride and passion of Lady Davers are strongly drawn, some may think, perhaps too strongly, for a lady of her fashion; but we every now and then see instances in which nature will get the better of the decorums of life, and one of Richardson's correspondents tells him he could find him half a dozen Lady Davers's (her wit excepted) amongst his quality acquaintance.


The character of Mr. B. himself is drawn with less address than that of any one in the piece; he is proud, stern, selfish, forbidding, (selfish, that is to say, in his love, for he has generosity enough in money matters) and his ideas of the authority of a husband are so high, that it is not easy to conceive of Pamela's being rewarded by marrying him, unless her regard for external circumstances was greater than the author would wish to have supposed. The moral of this piece is more dubious than, in his life time, the author's friends were willing to allow. So long as Pamela is solely occupied in schemes to escape from her persecutor, her virtuous resistance obtains our unqualified approbation; but from the moment she begins to entertain hopes of marrying him, we admire her guarded prudence, rather than her purity of mind. She has an end in view, an interested end, and we can only consider her as the conscious possessor of a treasure, which


she is wisely resolved not to part with but for its just price. Her staying in his house a moment after she found herself at liberty to leave it, was totally unjustifiable; her repentant lover ought to have followed her to her father's cottage, and to have married her from thence. The familiar footing upon which she condescends to live with the odious Jewkes, shews also, that her fear of offending the man she hoped to make her husband, had got the better of her delicacy and just resentment, and the same fear leads her to give up her correspondence with honest Mr. Williams, who had generously sacrificed his interest with his patron in order to effect her deliverance. In real life we should, at this period, consider Pamela as an interested girl; but the author says, she married Mr. B. because he had won her affection, and we are bound, it may be said, to believe an author's own account of his characters. But again, is it quite natural that a girl, who had such a


genuine love for virtue, should feel her heart attracted to a man who was endeavouring to destroy that virtue? Can a woman value her honour infinitely above her life, and hold in serious detestation every word and look contrary to the nicest purity, and yet be won by those very attempts against her honour to which she expresses so much repugnance? Does not pious love to assimilate with pious, and pure with pure? There is, indeed, a gentle seduction of the affections, from which a virtuous woman might find herself in danger, especially when there existed such a bar to a legitimate union as great disparity of rank and fortune; but this kind of seduction was not what Mr. B. employed. He did not possess, with Sedley,

———— That prevailing gentle art,
Which can, with a resistless force, impart
The loosest wishes to the chasest heart;
Raise such a conflict, kindle such a fire
Between declining virtue and desire,
That the poor vanquished maid dissolves away,
In dreams all night, in sighs and tears all day.  [16] 


His attempts were of the grossest nature, and, previous to, and during those attempts, he endeavoured to intimidate her by sternness. He puts on the master too much to win upon her as the lover. Can affection be kindled by outrage and insult? Surely, if her passions were capable of being awakened in his favour, during such a persecution, the circumstance would be capable of an interpretation very little consistent with that delicacy the author meant to give her. The other alternative is, that she married him for

The gilt coach, and dappled Flanders' mares.  [17] 

Indeed, the excessive humility and gratitude expressed by herself and her parents on her exaltation, shews a regard to rank and riches beyond the just measure of an independent mind. The pious Goodman Andrews should not have thought his virtuous daughter so infinitely beneath her licentious master, who, after all, married her to gratify his own passions.


The indelicate scenes in this novel have been justly found fault with, and are, indeed, totally indefensible. Dr. Watts, to whom he sent the volumes, instead of compliments, writes him word, that he understands the ladies complain they cannot read them without blushing.

Great curiosity was expressed by many, to know whether the story was founded in fact; just as children ask eagerly, when they hear a story that pleases them, "Is it true?" The author received anonymous letters from six ladies, who pressed him to declare, upon his honour, which they were sure he was too much of a gentleman to violate, whether the story was true or false, and they hoped Mrs. B. if there was such a lady, would not be against satisfying a request which redounded so much to her honour; they tell him also, that they have taken an oath to keep the secret, if he will entrust them with it; and that they will never cease writing till he has obliged


them. He tells them, in his answer, that it was never known, since the world began, that a secret was kept which had been entrusted to six ladies, and pretends that he was not at liberty to break the trust; also, that they are very unreasonable in expecting him to give up the name of his heroine to ladies who keep their own names a secret.

The real Pamela was said by some to be the wife of Sir Arthur Hazelrig, who had then lately married his maid; others affirmed, with great confidence, that she was daughter to the gamekeeper of the Earl of Gainsborough, who had rewarded her virtue by exalting her to the rank of Countess. Both these ladies were of exemplary characters; but the author's own account of the matter is given in the following words, in a letter to his friend and great admirer Aaron Hill.


Dear Sir,

I will now write to your question—Whether there was any original groundwork of fact, for the general foundation of Pamela's story.

About twenty-five years ago, a gentleman, with whom I was intimately acquainted (but who, alas! is now no more!) met with such a story as that of Pamela, in one of the summer tours which he used to take for his pleasure, attended with one servant only. At every inn he put up at, it was his way to inquire after curiosities in its neighbourhood, either ancient or modern; and particularly he asked who was the owner of a fine house, as it seemed to him, beautifully situated, which he had passed by (describing it) within a mile or two of the inn.

It was a fine house, the landlord said. The owner was Mr. B. a gentleman of a large estate in more counties than


one. That his and his lady's history engaged the attention of every body who came that way, and put a stop to all other enquiries, though the house and gardens were well worth seeing. The lady, he said, was one of the greatest beauties in England; but the qualities of her mind had no equal: beneficent, prudent, and equally beloved and admired by high and low. That she had been taken at twelve years of age, for the sweetness of her manners and modesty, and for an understanding above her years, by Mr. B—'s mother, a truly worthy lady, to wait on her person. Her parents, ruined by suretiships, were remarkably honest and pious, and had instilled into their daughter's mind the best principles. When their misfortunes happened first, they attempted a little school, in their village, where they were much beloved; he teaching writing and the first rules of arithmetic to boys; his


wife plain needle-works to girls; and to knit and spin; but that it answered not and, when the lady took their child, the industrious man earned his bread by day labour, and the lowest kinds of husbandry.

That the girl, improving daily in beauty, modesty, and genteel and good behaviour, by the time she was fifteen, engaged the attention of her lady's son, a young gentleman of free principles, who, on her lady's death, attempted, by all manner of temptations and devices, to seduce her. That she had recourse to as many innocent stratagems to escape the snares laid for her virtue; once, however, in despair, having been near drowning; that, at last, her noble resistance, watchfulness, and excellent qualities, subdued him, and he thought fit to make her his wife. That she behaved herself with so much dignity, sweetness, and humility, that she made


herself beloved of every body, and even by his relations, who, at first despised her; and now had the blessings both of rich and poor, and the love of her husband.

The gentleman who told me this, added, that he had the curiosity to stay in the neighbourhood from Friday to Sunday, that he might see this happy couple at church, from which they never absented themselves: that, in short, he did see them; that her deportment was all sweetness, ease, and dignity mingled: that he never saw a lovelier woman: that her husband was as fine a man, and seemed even proud of his choice: and that she attracted the respects of the persons of rank present, and had the blessings of the poor.—The relater of the story told me all this with transport.

This, Sir, was the foundation of Pamela's story; but little did I think to


make a story of it for the press. That was owing to this occasion.

Mr. Rivington and Mr. Osborne, whose names are on the title-page, had long been urging me to give them a little book (which, they said, they were often asked after) of familiar letters on the useful concerns in common life; and, at last, I yielded to their importunity, and began to recollect such subjects as I thought would be useful in such a design, and formed several letters accordingly. And, among the rest, I thought of giving one or two as cautions to young folks circumstanced as Pamela was. Little did I think, at first, of making one, much less two volumes of it. But, when I began to recollect what had, so many years before, been told me by my friend, I thought the story, if written in an easy and natural manner, suitably to the simplicity of it, might possibly introduce a new species of

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writing, that might possibly turn young people into a course of reading different from the pomp and parade of romance-writing, and dismissing the improbable and marvellous, with which novels generally abound, might tend to promote the cause of religion and virtue. I therefore gave way to enlargement: and so Pamela became as you see her. But so little did I hope for the approbation of judges, that I had not the courage to send the two volumes to your ladies, until I found the books well received by the public.

While I was writing the two volumes, my worthy-hearted wife, and the young lady who is with us, when I had read them some part of the story, which I had begun without their knowing it, used to come in to my little closet every night, with—'Have you any more of Pamela, Mr. R.? We are come to hear a little more of Pamela,' &c. This encouraged


me to prosecute it, which I did so diligently, through all my other business, that, by a memorandum on my copy, I began it Nov. 10, 1739, and finished it Jan. 10, 1739-40. And I have often, censurable as I might be thought for my vanity for it, and lessening to the taste of my two female friends, had the story of Moliere's Old Woman in my thoughts upon the occasion.

If justly low were my thoughts of this little history, you will wonder how it came by such an asuming and very impudent preface. It was thus:—The approbation of these two female friends, and of two more, who were so kind as to give me prefaces for it, but which were much too long and circumstantial, as I thought, made me resolve myself on writing a preface; I therefore, spirited by the good opinion of these four, and knowing that the judgments of nine parts in ten of readers were but in hang-

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ing-sleeves, struck a bold stroke in the preface you see, having the umbrage of the editor's character [18]  to screen myself behind.—And thus, Sir, all is out.

The success of the work gave occasion to a spurious continuation of it, called Pamela in High Life. The author had, in reality, no reason to be disturbed at this; the continuation would have had the same fate with that of Marianne, afterwards published, which no one ever confounded with the Marianne of Marivaux. However, upon this, the author prepared to give a second part. Pope and Warburton, who heard he was about it, advised him to make it a vehicle for satire upon the fashions and follies of the great world, by representing the light in which they would appear to the rustic Pamela, when she was introduced to them. The plan might have


suited Pope or Swift, but Richardson did not, by any means, possess those light touches of delicate humour which were required in it; and the knowledge of the great world he had yet to acquire. These volumes, two in number, are, like most second parts, greatly inferior to the first. They are superfluous, for the plan was already completed, and they are dull, for instead of incident and passion, they are filled with heavy sentiment, in diction far from elegant. A great part of it aims to palliate, by counter criticism, the faults which had been found in the first part. It is less a continuation than the author's defence of himself. The only incident of consequence is, the adventure at the masquerade, and Mr. B.'s beginning intrigue with a lady there, which gives Pamela an opportunity to shine in so critical a circumstance as a married jealousy; her behaviour under it is very well drawn, with a proper mixture of acute feeling, spirit, and gentleness, and

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is supposed to have the effect of finally and completely reclaiming her repentant husband. Goldoni has written two plays on the story of Pamela; his Pamela Nubile and Pamela Maritata.

It may be worth mentioning, that this novel changed the pronunciation of the name Pamela, which before was pronounced Pamela, as appears from that line of Pope

The gods to curse Pamela with her prayers.  [19] 

Aaron Hill thus writes about it: "I have made" (viz. in some commendatory verses he wrote upon the occasion) "the e short in your Pamĕla; I observe it is so in her own pretty verses at parting. I am for deriving her name from her qualities; only that the Greek παϛ and μελοϛ [20]  allude much too faintly to the all-reaching extent of her sweetness:" and he adds, "that Mr. Pope has taught half the women in England to pronounce it wrong."


It is well known that Fielding, who started in his career of fame soon after Richardson, wrote his Joseph Andrews in ridicule of Pamela. Joseph is supposed to be the brother of Pamela, and Mr. B. is 'Squire Booby. Richardson was exceedingly hurt at this; the more so, as they had been upon good terms, and he was very intimate with Fielding's two sisters. He never appears cordially to have forgiven it, (perhaps it was not in human nature that he should) and he always speaks in his letters with a great deal of asperity of Tom Jones, more indeed than was quite graceful in a rival author. No doubt he himself thought his indignation was solely excited by the loose morality of the work and of its author, but he could tolerate Cibber. Richardson and Fielding possessed very different excellencies.—Fielding had all the ease which Richardson wanted, a genuine flow of humour, and a rich variety of comic character; nor was he wanting in strokes of an amiable

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sensibility, but he could not describe a consistently virtuous character, and in deep pathos he was far excelled by his rival. When we see Fielding parodying Pamela, and Richardson asserting, as he does in his letters, that the run of Tom Jones is over, and that it would be soon completely forgotten: we cannot but smile on seeing the two authors placed on the same shelf, and going quietly down to posterity together. Richardson, encouraged by the applauses, and benefited by the criticisms he had received, soon proceeded to a new work.

But Pamela, captivating as was the publication, shewed only the dawn of our author's genius; and, if he sunk in the second part of it, it was only to rise with new lustre in Clarissa, the first two volumes of which were published eight years after the preceding.

The production upon which the fame of Richardson is principally founded, that


which will transmit his name to posterity, as one of the first geniuses of the age in which he lived, is undoubtedly his Clarissa. Nothing can be more simple than the story,—A young lady, pressed by her parents to marry a man every way disagreeable to her, and placed under the most cruel restraint, leaves her father's house, and throws herself upon the protection of her lover, a man of sense and spirit, but a libertine. When he finds her in his power he artfully declines marriage, and conveys her to a house kept for the worst of purposes. There, after many fruitless attempts to ensnare her virtue, he at length violates her person. She escapes from further outrage: he finds her out in her retreat; offers her marriage, which she rejects. Her friends are obdurate. She retires to solitary lodgings; grief and shame overwhelm her, and she dies broken-hearted: her friends lament their severity when too late. Her violator is transiently stung with remorse, but not

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reformed; he leaves the kingdom in order to dissipate his chagrin, and is killed in a duel by a relation of the lady's.

On this slight foundation, and on a story not very agreeable or promising in its rude outline, has our author founded a most pathetic tale, and raised a noble temple to female virtue. The first volumes are somewhat tedious, from the prolixity incident to letter-writing, and require a persevering reader to get through them: but the circumstantial manner of writing which Richardson practised, has the advantage of making the reader thoroughly acquainted with those in whose fate he is to be interested. In consequence of this, our feelings are not transient, elicited here and there by a pathetic stroke; but we regard his characters as real personages, whom we know and converse with, and whose fate remains to be decided in the course of events. The characters, much more numerous than in Pamela, are all


distinctly drawn and well preserved, and there is a proper contrast and variety in the casting of the parts. The plot, as we have seen, is simple, and no under-plots interfere with the main design. No digressions, no episodes. It is wonderful that without these helps of common writers, he could support a work of such length. With Clarissa it begins,—with Clarissa it ends. We do not come upon unexpected adventures and wonderful recognitions, by quick turns and surprises: we see her fate from afar, as it were through a long avenue, the gradual approach to which, without ever losing sight of the object, has more of simplicity and grandeur than the most cunning labyrinth that can be contrived by art. In the approach to the modern country seat, we are made to catch transiently a side-view of it through an opening of the trees, or to burst upon it from a sudden turning in the road; but the old mansion stood full

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in the eye of the traveller, as he drew near it, contemplating its turrets, which grew larger and more distinct every step that he advanced; and leisurely filling his eye and his imagination with still increasing ideas of its magnificence. As the work advances, the character rises; the distress is deepened; our hearts are torn with pity and indignation; bursts of grief succeed one another, till at length the mind is composed and harmonized with emotions of milder sorrow; we are calmed into resignation, elevated with pious hope, and dismissed glowing with the conscious triumphs of virtue.

The first group which presents itself is that of the Harlowe family. They are sufficiently discriminated, yet preserve a family likeness. The stern father, the passionate and dark-souled brother, the envious and ill-natured sister, the money-loving uncles, the gentle, but weak-spirited mother, are all assimilated by that


stiffness, love of parade, and solemnity, which is thrown over the whole, and by the interested family views in which they all concur. Miss Howe is a young lady of great generosity and ardent feelings, with a high spirit and some love of teazing, which she exercises on her mother, a managing and notable widow lady, and on her humble servant Mr. Hickman, a man deserving of her esteem, but prim and formal in his manner. Miss Howe is a character of strong lights and shades, but her warmest affections are all along directed to her friend, and the correspondence between them is made the great vehicle of Clarissa's narrative of events, as that between Lovelace and his friend Bedford is of his schemes and designs. The character of Clarissa herself is very highly wrought: she has all the grace, and dignity, and delicacy, of a finished model of female excellence. Her duty to her parents is implicit, except in the article of


sacrificing herself to a man utterly disgustful to her; and she bears, with the greatest meekness, the ill usage she receives from the other branches of the family. Duty, indeed, is the great principle of her conduct. Her affections are always compleatly under command; and her going off with Lovelace appears a step she was betrayed, not persuaded, into. His persuasions she had withstood, and it was fear, not love, that at last precipitated her into his protection. If, therefore, the author meant to represent her subsequent misfortunes as a punishment, he has scarcely made her faulty enough. That a young lady has eloped from her father's house with a libertine, sounds, indeed, like a grave offence; but the fault, when it is examined into, is softened, and shaded off by such a variety of circumstances, that it becomes almost evanescent. Who that reads the treatment she experienced, does not wonder at her long-suffering. After


Clarissa finds herself, against her will and intention, in the power of her lover, the story becomes, for a while, a game at chess, in which both parties exert great skill and presence of mind, and quick observation of each others motions. Not a moment of weakness does Clarissa betray, and she only loses the game because she plays fairly, and with integrity, while he is guilty of the basest frauds.

During this part of the story, the generality of readers are perhaps inclined to wish, that Lovelace should give up his wicked intentions, reform, and make Clarissa happy in the marriage state. This was the conclusion which Lady Bradshaw so vehemently and passionately urged the author to adopt. But when the unfeeling character of Lovelace proceeds to deeper and darker wickedness, when his unrelenting cruelty meditates, and actually perpetrates, the last unmanly outrage upon


unprotected innocence and virtue; the heart surely cannot have right feelings that does not cordially detest so black a villain, notwithstanding the agreeable qualities which are thrown into his character, and that woman must have little delicacy, who does not feel that his crime has raised an eternal wall of separation between him and the victim of his treachery, whatever affection she might have previously entertained for him. Yet it is said by some, that the author has made Lovelace too agreeable, and his character has been much the object of criticism. But a little reflection will shew us, that the author had a more difficult part to manage, in drawing his character, than that of any other in the work, and that he could not well have made him different from what he is. If he had drawn a mean-spirited dark villain, without any specious qualities, his Clarissa would have been degraded. Lovelace, as he is to win the affections


of the heroine, is necessarily, in some sort, the hero of the piece, and no one in it must be permitted to outshine him. The author, therefore, gives him wit and spirit, and courage, and generosity, and manly genteel address, and also transient gleams of feeling, and transient stings of remorse; so that we are often led to hope he may follow his better angel, and give up his atrocious designs. This the author has done, and less he could not do, for the man whom Clarissa was inclined to favour. Besides, if it was part of his intention to warn young women against placing their affections upon libertines, it was certainly only against the agreeable ones of that class, that he had any occasion to warn them. He tells us in one of his letters, that finding he had made him too much a favourite, he had thrown in some darker shades to obviate the objection; and surely the shades are dark enough. In one particular, however, the author might per-


haps have improved the moral effect of the work; he might have given more of horror to the last scene of Lovelace's life. When Clarissa and he were finally separated, there was no occasion to keep measures with him; and why should Belton die a death of so much horror, and Lovelace of calm composure and self-possession. Lovelace dies in a duel, admirably well described, in which he behaves with the cool intrepidity of a gentleman and a man of spirit. Colonel Morden could not behave better. Some tender strokes are thrown in on his parting with Belford, and on other occasions, tending to interest the reader in his favour; and his last words, "Let this expiate," are manifestly intended to do away our resentment, and leave a favourable impression on our minds with regard to his future prospects. Something, indeed, is mentioned of impatience, and a desire of life; but Richardson could have drawn a scene which would have made us


turn with horror from the features of the gay, the agreeable seducer, when changed into the agonizing countenance of the despairing self-accuser.

But, if the author might have improved, in this respect, the character of Lovelace, that of Clarissa comes up to all the ideas we can form of female loveliness and dignified suffering. The first scenes with her hard-hearted family, shew the severe struggles she had with herself, before she could withdraw her obedience from her parents. The measure of that obedience, in Richardson's mind, was very high; and, therefore, Clarissa seems all along, rather to lament the cruelty, than to resent the injustice, of imposing a husband upon her without her own consent. It is easy to see she would have thought it her duty to comply, if he had not been quite so disagreeable. The mother is a very mean character; she gives a tacit permission to Clarissa, to correspond with Lovelace, to prevent mischief, and


yet consents to be the tool of the family in persecuting her innocent and generous daughter;—but, this was her duty to her husband!—Yet, distressing as Clarissa's situation is in her father's house, the author has had the address to make the reader feel, the moment she has got out of it, that he would give the world to have her safe back again. Nothing takes place of that pleasure and endearment which might naturally be expected on the meeting of two lovers; we feel that she has been hunted into the toils, and that every avenue is closed against her escape. No young person, on reading Clarissa, even at this period of the story, can think of putting herself into the power of a lover, without annexing to it the strongest sense of degradation and anxiety. A great deal of contrivance is expended by the author, in the various plots set on foot by Lovelace, to keep his victim toterably [sic] easy in her ambiguous situation; and, though some of these


are tedious, it was necessary, for Clarissa's honour, to make the reader sensible that she had an inextricable net wound around her, and that it was not owing to her want of prudence or vigilance, that she did not escape. In the mean time the wit of Lovelace, and the sprightliness of Miss Howe, prevent monotony. In one instance, however, Clarissa certainly sins against the delicacy of her character, that is, in allowing herself to be made a show of to the loose companions of Lovelace:—But, how does her character rise, when we come to the more distressful scenes; the view of her horror, when, deluded by the pretended relations, she re-enters the fatal house, her temporary insanity after the outrage, in which she so affectingly holds up to Lovelace the licence he had procured, and her dignified behaviour when she first sees her ravisher, after the perpetration of his crime. What finer subject could be


presented to the painter, than that in which Clarissa grasps the pen-knife in her hand, her eyes lifted up to heaven, the whites of them only visible, ready to plunge it in her breast, to preserve herself from further outrage: Lovelace, aghast with terror, and speechless, thrown back to the further end of the room? Or, the prison scene, where she is represented kneeling amidst the gloom and horror of the dismal abode; illuminating, as it were, the dark chamber, her face reclined on her crossed arms, her white garments floating round her in the negligence of woe; Belford contemplating her with respectful commiseration; or, the scene of calmer, but heart-piercing sorrow, in the interview Colonel Morden has with her in her dying moments: She is represented fallen into a slumber, in her elbow-chair, leaning on the widow Lovick, whose left arm is around her neck; one faded check resting on the


good woman's bosom, the kindly warmth of which had overspread it with a faintish flush, the other pale and hollow, as if already iced over by death; her hands, the blueness of the veins contrasting their whiteness, hanging lifelessly before her, the widow's tears dropping unfelt upon her face—Colonel Morden, with his arms folded, gazing on her in silence, her coffin just appearing behind a screen. What admiration, what reverence does the author inspire us with for the innocent sufferer, the sufferings too of such a peculiar nature.

There is something in virgin purity, to which the imagination willingly pays homage. In all ages, something saintly has been attached to the idea of unblemished chastity. Hence the dignity of the lady in Comus; hence the interest we take in those whose holy vows have shrowded them from even the wanton glances of an as-


sailer; hence the supposed virtue of prayers

From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate,
—————— To nothing earthly. [21] 

Beauty is a flower which was meant in due time to be gathered, but it attracts the fondest admiration whilst still on the stalk, before it has felt the touch of any rude hand.

Sic virgo, dum intacta manet, dum cara suis est. [22] 

It was reserved for Richardson to overcome all circumstances of dishonour and disgrace, and to throw a splendour round the violated virgin, more radiant than she possessed in her first bloom. He has made the flower, which grew

———— Sweet to sense and lovely to the eye,

throw out a richer fragrance after "the cruel spoiler has cropped the fair rose, and rifled its sweetness." [23]  He has drawn


the triumph of mental chastity; he has drawn it uncontaminated, untarnished, and incapable of mingling with pollution.—The scenes which follow the death of the heroine, exhibit grief in an affecting variety of forms, as it is modified by the characters of different survivors. They run into considerable length, but we have been so deeply interested, that we feel it a relief to have our grief drawn off, as it were, by a variety of sluices, and we are glad not to be dismissed till we have shed tears, even to satiety. We enjoy, besides, the punishment of the Harlowes, in the contemplation of their merited anguish. Sentiments of piety pervade the whole work; but the death-bed of Clarissa, her Christian forgiveness, and her meek resignation, are particularly edifying. Richardson loved to draw death-beds: He seems to have imbibed, from his friend Dr. Young, an opinion of their being a touch-stone of merit or demerit. There are three described in this work, besides that of Love-

vol. i. e


lace; that, it has already been mentioned, would have had a more moral effect, if it had been fuller of horror. Lovelace is made to declare, that he cannot be totally unhappy, whatever be his own lot in a future state, if he is allowed to contemplate the happiness of Clarissa: He exclaims,

Can I be at worst? avert that worst,
O thou Supreme, who only canst avert it!
So much a wretch, so very far abandoned,
But that I must, even in the horrid'st gloom,
Reap intervenient joy; at least, some respite
From pain and anguish in her bliss.

This is a sentiment much too generous for a Lovelace.—The author has shewn himself embarrassed with regard to the duel, by his principles, which forbade duelling. Yet, it was necessary to dispatch Lovelace; for what family could sit down with such an injury unpunished? or which of his readers could be satisfied to see the perpetrator of so much mischief escape vengeance. Colonel Morden was a man of


the world, acted upon the maxims of it, and, therefore, it seemed hardly necessary to make him express regret at having precipitated Lovelace into a future state; Richardson was not then drawing his perfect character, and did not seem called upon to blame a duel, which, in our hearts we cannot, from Colonel Morden, but approve of.

That Clarissa is a highly moral work, has been always allowed; but what is the moral? Is it that a young lady who places her affections upon a libertine, will be deceived and ruined. Though the author, no doubt, intended this as one of the conclusions to be drawn, such a maxim has not dignity or force enough in it, to be the chief moral of this interesting tale. And, it has been already mentioned, that Clarissa can hardly stand as an example of such a choice, as she never fairly made the choice. On the contrary, she is always ready, both before her elopement and after

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it, to resign the moderate, the almost insensible predilection she feels for Lovelace, to the will of her parents; if she might only be permitted to refuse the object of her aversion. Is she, then, exhibited as a rare pattern of chastity? Surely this is an idea very degrading to the sex. Lovelace, indeed, who has a very bad opinion of women, and thinks that hardly any woman can resist him, talks of trying her virtue, and speaks as if he expected her to fail in the trial. But, surely, the virtue of Clarissa could never have been in the smallest danger. The virtue of Pamela was tried, because the pecuniary offers were a temptation which many, in, her station of life, would have yielded to; and, because their different situations in life opposed a bar to their legitimate union, which she might well believe would be insuperable. The virtue of Werter's Charlotte was tried, and the virtue of the wife of Zeleuco [24]  was tried, because the previous marriage of one of the par-


ties made a virtuous union impossible.—But Clarissa! a young lady of birth and fortune, marriage completely in her lover's power—she could have felt nothing but indignation at the first idea which entered her mind, that he meant to degrade her into a mistress. Was it likely that she, who had shewn that her affections were so much under her command, while the object of his addresses appeared to be honourable marriage, should not guard against every freedom with the most cautious vigilance, as soon as she experienced a behaviour in him, which must at once destroy her esteem for him, and be offensive to her just pride, as well as to her modesty? It is absurd, therefore, in Lovelace to speak of trying her chastity; and the author is not free from blame in favouring the idea that such resistance had any thing in it uncommon, or peculiarly meritorious. But the real moral of Clarissa is, that virtue is triumphant in every situation; that in cir-

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cumstances the most painful and degrading, in a prison, in a brothel, in grief, in distraction, in despair, it is still lovely, still commanding, still the object of our veneration, of our fondest affections; that if it is seated on the ground it can still say with Constance,

Here is my throne, kings come and bow to it! [25] 

The Novelist that has produced this effect, has performed his office well, and it is immaterial what particular maxim is selected under the name of a moral, while such are the reader's feelings. If our feelings are in favour of virtue, the novel is virtuous; if of vice, the novel is vicious. The greatness of Clarissa is shewn by her separating herself from her lover, as soon as she perceives his dishonourable views; in her chusing death rather than a repetition of the outrage; in her rejection of those overtures of marriage, which a common mind might have accepted of, as a refuge against worldly dishonour; in her firm indignant carriage


mixed with calm patience and christian resignation, and in the greatness of mind with which she views and enjoys the approaches of death, and her meek forgiveness of her unfeeling relations. In one particular the author has been blamed, and perhaps justly, for encouraging superstition, in representing Clarissa so greatly terrified at the curse laid upon her by her unnatural father. He may be faulty as a moralist, but it has a good dramatic effect: and, I question if Richardson went much beyond his own ideas of the efficacy of a parent's curse on this occasion. The too high colouring of some of the scenes has been objected to, as tending to inflame passions which it was the author's professed aim to regulate. He was led to it, in some measure, by the nature of his story, but he seems to have begun writing with a coarseness of ideas in this respect, which he got rid of by degrees. His Clarissa is far less objectionable than his Pamela; his Grandison not

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at all so. The death of Sinclair is painted with great strength, but excites painful disgust as well as horror; yet, being intended to excite a salutary disgust to the haunts of vice and infamy; perhaps, in that light may be borne with. Its operation is that of a strong medicine, meant to create a nausea. The death of Belton is an admirable piece of painting, and not excelled by any thing in the admired scene of Cardinal Beaufort. [26] 

It is not perfectly delicate that Clarissa should have so many interviews with Lovelace after the catastrophe. Clarissa, indeed, could not help it, but the author could. He should only have exhibited them together in those few striking scenes in which our feelings are wound up to the highest pitch. No long parleys, nothing that can be called trivial should pass between them then. If the reader, on opening casually the book, can doubt of any scene between them, whether it passes before or after the outrage, that scene is one too much.


The character of Lovelace, though laboured with great art, is, perhaps, after all, more of a fancy piece than a real portrait of an English libertine. Where is the libertine who would attempt in England the seduction of young women, guarded by birth and respectable situations in life, and friends jealous of their honour, and an education which would set them far out of the reach of any disgraceful overtures. A love of intrigue, rather than a love of pleasure, characterizes Lovelace; he is a cool systematic seducer, and the glory of conquest is what he principally aims at. Had such a character been placed in France, and his gallantries directed to married women, it would have been more natural, and his epistolary memoirs rendered more probable; but, in England, Lovelace would have been run through the body, long before he had seen the face of Clarissa, or Colonel Morden.

There is an improbability which the

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author could not well avoid, as it resulted from his plan of carrying on the narrative by letters, and that is, the tame acquiescence of Belford in a villainy which he all along so strongly disapproves. It is true, as a man of honour, he might think himself obliged not to betray his friend's secrets, but his disapprobation would certainly have prevented his friend from communicating those secrets. Belford is, in fact, reformed, from the time we first hear of him; and, therefore, those intimate communications could not any longer have subsisted. But Belford is a being, created in order to carry on the story, and must not be made too strictly the object of criticism. A novel writer must violate probability somewhere, and a reader ought to make all handsome and generous allowances for it. We should open a book as we enter into a company, well persuaded that we must not expect perfection. In Belford, too, we have a reformed libertine, one whom the reader


regards with esteem and affection. Richardson mentions in one of his letters, that Mr. More, author of the Foundling, had an intention of bringing the story of Clarissa upon the stage, and that Garrick told him he should with great pleasure be the Lovelace of it. The powers of More were no means equal to such an undertaking; but, if they had been greater, the gaiety and spirit of Lovelace, in the hands of Garrick, would have been too strong for the morality of the piece. We know how great a favourite he was in Ranger. [27] 

The publication of Pamela occasioned the sensation of surprize and pleasure, which a new author, a new style, a new mode of writing, is calculated to inspire; that of Clarissa raised its author at once to the first rank among novelists ; it is even more admired by foreigners than by the English themselves. Rousseau, whose Heloise alone, perhaps, can divide the palm with Clarissa, asserts in a letter to d'Alem-

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bert, that nothing was ever written equal to, or approaching it, in any language. Diderot speaks of Richardson with high applause. Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Rowe, expresses himself in the following forcible language:

The character of Lothario seems to have been expanded by Richardson into that of Lovelace; but he has excelled his original in the moral effect of the fiction. Lothario, with gaiety which cannot be hated, and bravery which cannot be despised, retains too much of the spectator's kindness. It was in the power of Richardson alone, to teach us at once esteem and detestation; to make virtuous resentment overpower all the benevolence which wit, and elegance, and courage, naturally excite; and to lose at last the hero in the villain.

French travellers often shew their admiration of this work, by enquiry after little local circumstances mentioned in it.


The writer of these observations well remembers a Frenchman who paid a visit to Hampstead, for the sole purpose of finding out the house in the flask-walk where Clarissa lodged, and was surprised at the ignorance or indifference of the inhabitants on that subject. The flask-walk was to him as much classic ground as the rocks of Meillerie to the admirers of Rousseau; and, probably, if an English traveller were to make similar enquiries in Switzerland, he would find that the rocks of Meillerie, and the chalets of the Valais, suggested no ideas to the inhabitants, but such as were connected with their dairies and their farms. A constant residence soon destroys all sensibility to objects of local enthusiasm.

The interest which Clarissa excited, was increased by the suspense in which its readers were so long held. In general, the suspense of a reader lasts no longer than the time which is necessary


for him to read the book; and, in the case of a book which is much talked of, very few readers enjoy the full pleasure of the story, as they can scarcely help learning, from some quarter or other, how it is to end. But, in this instance, the interval of several months, which was allowed to pass between the publication of the first four volumes, and the remaining four, wound up its readers to the highest pitch of enthusiasm; and, it is really impossible to conceive greater earnestness in a matter of real life and death, than some of his correspondents expressed in favour of the heroine. One who signs Philaretes, thus expresses himself:—"Since I have heard that you design the end shall be unhappy, I am determined to read no more; I should read the account of her death with as much anguish of mind as I should feel at the loss of my dearest friend." Some entreated, others threatened. The veteran Cibber was quite out-


rageous at the idea of an unhappy termination, and the ladies pleaded—but in vain. To have made a different ending, the author well knew would have spoiled his work; yet, he could not but have been secretly flattered with seeing the strong impression he had made. That a work is canvassed, is criticised, ought to present no disagreeable idea to an author. He alone has to complain of the public, of whose book it says nothing. To the author's supreme talent of moving the passions, every one bore witness. Miss Highmore expresses herself in a pretty and touching manner on this subject:—"What must have been your feelings, at the time you wrote what nobody can read without streaming eyes and heart-breaking sorrow? It has had the same effect on my father and mother as on myself. We could none of us read aloud the affecting scenes we met with, but each read to ourselves, and in separate apartments wept." Miss High-


more was not mistaken in her idea of the feelings the author must have had in writing his work. He bore testimony to the maxim si vis me flere dolendum est primum ipsi tibi, [28]  for, he says, in one of his letters, that Clarissa has cost him as many tears as any of his readers. A number of correspondencies were the consequence of his celebrity; but, certainly the most singular compliment he ever received, though probably not the most acceptable, was from a lady who had herself written a novel, and signs Cleomira; she says, "I am more and more charmed with your Clarissa; it is, indeed, a noble character; but, I fear, no where to be met with except in your letters. What a pity it is you are not a woman, and blest with means of shining as she did; for, a person capable of drawing such a character, would certainly be able to act in the same manner, if in a like situation."


The Abbé Prevost gave a version of Clarissa into French, but rather an abridgment than a translation. It was afterwards rendered more faithfully by Le Tourneur. Prevost says, and truly, that Clarissa required some softening to adapt it to the more delicate taste of the French. It was also translated into Dutch by Mr. Stinstra, and into German under the auspices of the celebrated Dr. Haller.

Our author was now at the zenith of his fame, but his fancy was not exhausted, nor his powers of writing diminished; and, after an interval of between four and five years, he again appeared before the public.

After Mr. Richardson had published two works, in each of which the principal character is a female, he determined to give the world an example of a perfect man. His laudable design was to unite every thing that is graceful and engaging in the man of spirit and the fine gentleman, with every moral virtue, and with the observance


of the strict rules of Christianity—an arduous undertaking!

He was partly stimulated to this design by the attacks of his female disciples, who, in answer to the reproaches he made them of liking Lovelace too well, observed to him, that he had given them nobody else to like:—the virtuous Hickman was too tame and too formal to do justice to his good principles; and, in short, that he had not presented them with one male character, on which the imagination might rest with complacence. If he did not wish they should regard men of pleasure with too favourable an eye, it was his duty to provide some one whom they might like upon principle. Upon this idea he determined to give them A Good Man, the title by which he always speaks of the work while he is writing it, though he afterwards changed it to that of Sir Charles Grandison.

Sir Charles is a man of birth and for-


tune, endowed with every personal advantage, and master of every fashionable accomplishment. He is placed in a variety of situations, calculated to draw forth the virtues and energies of his character, as a son, a brother, a guardian, a friend, and a lover; and his conduct is every where exemplary. He is a man of address, of knowledge of the world, and makes himself to be respected in different countries, and by all sorts of people, bad as well as good. He is generous without profusion; religious without superstition; complaisant without weakness, firm in his purposes, rapid in the execution of them; jealous of his honour, yet always open to a generous reconciliation, feeling (at least as the author would have us believe) the passions of human nature, yet always possessing a perfect command over them.

The conduct of this piece differs from that of Pamela and Clarissa in this respect; that it does not depend upon one great


event, but is intended to open and display this character in a variety of lights. The unity of the work, therefore, consists in the reference which every person, and every incident, bears to him who is the hero of it. Of him the author never loses sight after his first appearance, which he makes as soon as the reader has been prepared by the play of some inferior characters, (who, to use a military phrase, keep the ground for him) in a brilliant action, the rescuing the lady, he is finally to marry, from the hands of a lawless ravisher.

It was necessary for the execution of the plan, and it is so contrived, in fact, that this work should be diversified with a greater variety of characters than his former ones. It has, particularly, many more of the pleasing cast. The author shews in it, that he had improved in the knowledge of life and the genteel world; and there are none of those warm descriptions in it which were justly blamed in its two elder


sisters. He has an enlévement, [29]  a [sic] incident he seems to have been fond of, since it occurs in all the three works; but the object is only marriage, and it is managed with perfect decorum, at the same time that it presents a truly affecting scene. The early part of the novel presents a rich display of incidents and personages. The history of Sir Thomas and Lady Grandison is admirably executed, and highly moral. The behaviour of Sir Charles to his father's mistress, to his sisters, to his uncle Lord W., to the Danbys, is all excellent, and opens his character to the greatest advantage. But the chief intrigue of the piece arises from the double love of Sir Charles to Miss Byron and Clementina. A double love, say the critics in that passion, is no love at all; and they will insist upon it, that Sir Charles is all along actuated by compassion solely for both the ladies.

The character of Miss Byron is meant by the author as a model of true female


excellence; but it is judiciously kept down, not only with relation to Sir Charles, but to the high-wrought portrait of the Italian lady. Miss Byron is gentle, timid, and somewhat passive; her character has no very prominent feature, except her love for Sir Charles. As she was destined to reward the hero, the author has shewn great address in previously interesting his readers in her favour, before we become acquainted with Clementina; so that, notwithstanding our admiration for the latter, and the strong feelings she has called out, we all along consider the Italian family as intruders, and are glad, upon the whole, when Sir Charles is disengaged from them. We adore Clementina, but we come home to Miss Byron.

Richardson had been accused of giving a coldness to his female characters in the article of love. The accusation was ill-founded; for the circumstances of the story in his two former pieces forbade the


display of a very tender sensibility; but he has made ample amends for the imputed omission in his Grandison, where he has entered into the passion with all the minuteness, and delicacy, and warmth, that could be desired, and shewn the female heart to be open to him in all its folds and recesses. In his Olivia, his Harriet, his Emily, his Clementina, he has well exemplified the sentiment of the poet—

Love, various minds does variously inspire;
In gentle bosoms kindles gentle fire,
Like that of incense on the altar laid;
But raging flames tempestuous souls invade,
A fire which every windy passion blows,
With pride it mounts, and with revenge it glows. [30] 

But, as the character of Sir Charles is the most instructive, that of Clementina is the highest effort of genius in this piece. In her, he has drawn a young creature involved in a passion expressed with the utmost innocence and delicacy, yet so strong as to overturn her reason; and af-


terwards, on the recovery of her reason, after a severe struggle, voluntarily sacrificing that very passion at the shrine of religious principle. Clementina is indeed a heroine, and her conduct is truly noble, because, with her articles of faith, the obstacle was, in reality, insurmountable to a well principled mind. Her faith might be erroneous; but her conduct, grounded on that faith, was just and rational. This sentiment is insisted on, because some good protestants have called Clementina a poor narrow-minded bigot. A bigot she certainly was; but it had been strange if she had not believed the religion in which she had been carefully educated, and she only acted consistently with that belief. It were superfluous to any one who has perused this work, to remark the masterly manner in which the madness of Clementina is painted. Dr. Warton speaks thus of it:

I know not whether even the madness


of Lear is wrought up and expressed by so many little strokes of nature and passion. It is absolute pedantry to prefer and compare the madness of Orestes, in Euripides, to this of Clementina. [31] 

There is such a tenderness and innocence in her wanderings, such affecting starts of passion, such a significant woe in her looks and attitudes, such a sanctity of mind, with so much passion, that he who is not moved with it, must resign the pretension of being accessible to fictitious sorrow.

It is the fault of Richardson that he never knew when to have done with a character: that of Clementina would have been dismissed with dignity after her refusal of Sir Charles; instead of which, he resumes her story in the last volumes, brings her to England, a step little consistent with the delicacy of her character, nor necessary to any event; and, finally, leaves the reader to conclude that she will be brought to accept the hand of the Count de Belvedere. How easily and na-

vol. i. f


turally might he have disposed of her in a convent, there to complete the sacrifice she had made of her love to her religion. He probably would have done so, if a desire of making his piece instructive had not, in this instance, warped his judgment, and restrained his genius. He was in the habit of inveighing to his young friends against romantic ideas of love, and particularly the notion that a first passion could not be conquered, and he feared it would have a bad effect if he represented the contrary in his works. [32] 

But though, in real life, a passion, however strong, will generally give way to time, at least so far as to permit the disappointed party to fill her proper station in social life, and fulfil the relative duties of it with calm complacence, if not with delight, we cannot easily figure to ourselves that Clementina, with such a high-toned mind,


and a passion so exalted, a passion that had shaken the very seat of reason in her soul, could, or with so shattered an intellect ought, to turn her thoughts to a second lover. Novels will always be different from real life, and therefore always, perhaps, in some degree, dangerous to the young mind; but they must be consistent with themselves; and if the author chose to describe a passion which unhinged the reason of one lady, and was sinking the other to the grave, a catastrophe which we are led to suppose would have been the effect of Miss Byron's final disappointment, he should not then have been scrupulous of allowing it to have its full effect.

Great debates took place in the author's female senate concerning the point we have been discussing. Some voted for killing Clementina, and very few were satisfied with the termination, as it stands; which, however, is only distantly implied, as, at the conclusion of Le Cid of Corneille, we are led to suppose that Chimene

f 2


will, in due time, give her hand to Don Rodrigue.

The correspondence, in these volumes, is carried on, for the most part, between Miss Byron and her friends and Lady G. Sir Charles's sister, on the one side, and Sir Charles and Dr. Bartlett, (a respectable clergyman) on the other. Lady G.'s character is sprightly and petulant, and her letters have a good deal of wit, though sometimes it degenerates into flippancy. She resembles Miss Howe, but with less of fire and ardour, and more of levity. She behaves to her husband still more provokingly than that lady to Mr. Hickman. Notwithstanding, however, the general resemblance just suggested, and a few others that might be pointed out, there is no man, perhaps, who has written so much, and who has less repeated himself, than Richardson. If we may judge by the variety of characters in this, his last publication, the fertility of his fancy was by no means


exhausted. Of all the under characters, none is more delightful than Emily Jervois, the young ward of Sir Charles, in the beautiful and touching simplicity with which he has invested her. Her unconscious love for her guardian, arising so naturally, as she advances towards womanhood, from her grateful affection and unbounded esteem for him, her ingenuous shame at the bad conduct of her dissolute mother, and her generosity to that mother on the first symptoms of reformation, together with the naiveté which is so happily hit off both in her ideas and her language, render her uncommonly interesting. Mrs. Shirley is a graceful portrait of mild and venerable age. Lady Beauchamp's character gives Sir Charles an opportunity to shew the address and dexterous management of a man of the world; Olivia, his virtuous forbearance; the proud Porretta family, his manly spirit, tempered with presence of mind and a guarded prudence;

f 3


the behaviour of Mr. Lowther, and the French surgeons, shew a knowledge of professional character; and various parts of the work attest the author's improvement in general information, and more enlarged views of life.

There is not, in any of Richardson's works, one of those detached episodes, thrown in like make-weights, to increase the bulk of the volume, which are so common in other works: such is the story of The Man of the Hill, in Tom Jones. If his works are laboured into length, at least his prolixity is all bestowed upon the subject, and increases the effect of the story. Flashes of humour, and transient touches of sensibility, shew, indeed, genius; but patient and persevering labour alone can finish a plan, and make every part bear properly upon the main subject.

Sir Charles Grandison, however, lies open, as what work does not? to criticism. Besides the double love, which has been mentioned, there was another point which


perplexed the author much: Sir Charles, as a Christian, was not to fight a duel, yet he was to be recognised as the finished gentleman, and could not be allowed to want that most essential part of the character, the deportment of a man of honour, courage, and spirit. And, in order to exhibit his spirit and courage, it was necessary to bring them into action by adventures and rencounters. His first appearance is in the rescue of Miss Byron, a meritorious action, but one which must necessarily expose him to a challenge. How must the author untie this knot? He makes him so very good a swordsman, that he is always capable of disarming his adversary without endangering either of their lives. But are a man's principles to depend on the science of his fencing-master? Every one cannot have the skill of Sir Charles; every one cannot be the best swordsman; and the man whose study it is to avoid fighting, is not quite so likely

f 4


as another to be the best. Dr. Young, indeed, complimented the author upon his success in this nice point, in a flourishing epigram, which is thus expressed:

What hast thou done? I'm ravished at the scene;
A sword undrawn, makes mighty Caesars mean. [33] 

But, in fact, it was not undrawn. In the affair with Sir Hargrave, he may be said to have really fought a duel; for, though he refuses the challenge in words, he virtually accepts it, by going into the garden with him, knowing his purpose. In like manner he with Greville retires to a private spot, and there, on his adversary's drawing, which he might be sure he would do, draws, disarms, and gives him his life. But Greville might not have given him his, nor could everyone turn a duel into such harmless play. Can, then, a better expedient be suggested? If not, must we not fairly confess that, in certain cases, the code of the gospel and the code of worldly honour


are irreconcileable [sic], and that a man has only to make his choice which he will give up.

Another fault is, a certain stiffness which, it can hardly be denied, is spread over this admirable character. This results partly from the author's stile, which, where it aims to be elegant, wants ease; partly from the manner in which the hero is proné, as the French say, by all the other characters, and from the abundance of compliments which are paid on all sides; for certainly Sir Charles is de la vieille cour. [34]  In part, too, it arises from the very circumstance of his being so perfect and so successful. Perfection of character, joined to distress, will interest; but prosperous perfection does not greatly engage our sympathy. We are apt to conceive of Sir Charles as having, in reality, no passions; and we do not greatly pity him for the loss of Clementina, when a most amiable lady, who had the other half

f 5


of his heart, was waiting his acceptance on the other side of the water. We are not quite satisfied with the dutiful resignation with which he gives up corresponding with two amiable and beloved sisters, in compliance with the injunctions of a tyrannical father. We are the less surprised, however, as we recognize in it the high notions entertained by the author of parental authority; but we can give no answer to the question, How came so dutiful a son to enter into a treaty of marriage without consulting his father? except, what perhaps is sufficient, that it would have embarrassed the story.

There is one important particular in which this highly-wrought character does not present an example for imitation, and that is his going so far into a matrimonial treaty with a bigotted catholic; with a woman, whose very love for him must expose him to continual distressing importunities to change his religion. Italian ser-


vants, an Italian confessor, a stipulated residence half the year out of his native country, and, above all, the giving up half his children (it might happen to be all) to the errors of a faith which he believed to be erroneous—these are among the sacrifices which a conscientious man will scruple, and a wise man will refuse to make. Horrible must be a union, where the most tender affection can only serve to lacerate the heart, as must be the case, when the object of it is supposed to be under the wrath of God, and doomed to everlasting perdition. This must be the consequence of marrying a bigot to any mode of faith, where the other party is of a different one. Add to this, that the very proposal, made so often by the proud Porretta family to Sir Charles, to change his religion for a wife, and bind himself to live half the year out of his native county, was a high insult to him, considered only as an English gentleman. The author, however, valued himself upon his management of this nice

f 6


negociation; and, in a letter to one of his French translators; dexterously brings it forward, as a proof of his candour and liberality towards the catholic religion. [35] 

The author of Sir Charles often mentions in his letters, that he was importuned by many of his friends, to give them another volume, and the Gottenburg translators sent for the rest of the work, supposing it incomplete: he ought to have received it as a proof that it was too long, and not too short. He had already continued it a whole volume beyond the proper termination, the marriage of his hero, and having done so, he might, without more impropriety, have gone on to the next point of view, and the next, till he had given the history of two or three generations. Clarissa, perhaps, runs out into


too great a length, but bold were the hand that should attempt to shorten it. Sir Charles, on the contrary, would be improved by merely striking out the last volume, and, indeed, a good part of the sixth, where descriptions of dress, and parade, and furniture, after the interest is completely over, like the gaudy colouring of a western sky, gives symptoms of a setting sun. But it is ungrateful to dwell on the faults of genius.

Besides his three great works, Richardson gave to the world a volume of Familiar Letters; A paper in the Rambler; An edition of Æsop's Fables, with Reflections; and he was concerned in a few booksellers publications. The Familiar Letters is the book he laid by to write Pamela, and which he finished as soon as he had done with that work. He did not give his name to it. It is seldom found any where but in the servant's drawer, where it is a favourite book, but when so found, it has not unfrequently detained the eye of the


mistress, wondering all the while by what secret charm she was induced to turn over a book, apparently too low for her perusal; and that charm was—Richardson. This book shews him intent, as he always was, to inculcate the duties of life, and it shews how accurately he had attended to the various circumstances and relations of it. The Rambler he wrote was the ninety-fifth number: [36]  it describes the progress of a virtuous courtship, and pleased the public so much, that it is said to be the only paper which experienced a great demand, while the work was publishing in numbers. Richardson was a sincere friend of Dr. Johnson's, and interested himself much for the success of the Rambler, which, before the papers were collected in volumes, went off but heavily. He also published a large single sheet of the Duties of Wives to Husbands, and a Selection of Maxims and Moral Sentiments, extracted from his three novels, for he always valued himself upon the morality of


his pieces, much more than upon his invention, and had partly persuaded himself, and partly been flattered by others, into the idea, that he was the great reformer of the age. An excellent moral writer he certainly was, because his pathetic powers interested the feelings in the cause of virtue; but as he did not possess that kind of style, either of terseness or dignity, which is necessary to give brilliancy to moral maxims and observations taken separately, it was a vain expectation that his should attract attention, when they were abstracted from all that had rendered them impressive. Yet he certainly did seem to expect, that this little volume would be used by his admirers as a kind of manual of morality.

The style of Richardson, which it remains to take notice of, was not in proportion to his other excellencies of composition. He wrote with facility; expressions, as well as thoughts, flowing readily to his pen; but we do not find in his writ-


ings, either the ease and elegance of good company, or the polished period of a finished author. They are not only overloaded with a redundance of complimentary expression, which gives a stiffness to the dialogue, particularly in his Grandison, where he has most attempted to give a picture of genteel life, but they are blemished with little flippancies of expression, new coined words, and sentences involved and ill-constructed. One of his correspondents, a Mr. Read, after giving him high and just praise, thus expresses himself: "But is there not here and there a nursery phrase, an ill-invented uncouth compound; a parenthesis, which interrupts, not assists, the sense? If I am wrong, impute it to the rudeness of a college-man, who has had too little commerce with the world, to be a judge of its language." If this was considered to be the case when Richardson wrote, it is a still greater impediment to his fame at


present, when we are become more fastidious with regard to style, in proportion as good writing is become more common; that degree, I mean, of good writing, which a habit of the pen will always give. The style of Richardson, however, has the property of setting before the reader, in the most lively manner, every circumstance of what he means to describe. He has the accuracy and finish of a Dutch painter, with the fine ideas of an Italian one. He is content to produce effects by the patient labour of minuteness. Had he turned his thoughts to an observation of rural nature, instead of human manners, he would have been as accurate a describer as Cowper: how circumstantial is the following description of a bird new caught!

Hast thou not observed how, at first, refusing all sustenance, it beats and bruises itself against its wires, till it makes its gay plumage fly about, and overspread its well secured cage. Now it gets out its head,


sticking only at its beautiful shoulders; then, with difficulty, drawing back its head, it gasps for breath, and erectly perched, with meditating eyes, first surveys, and then attempts, its wired canopy. As it gets breath, with renewed rage, it beats and bruises again its pretty head and sides, bites the wires, and pecks at the fingers of its delighted tamer; till, at last, finding its efforts ineffectual, quite tired and breathless, it lays itself down, and pants at the bottom of the cage, seeming to bemoan its cruel fate, and forfeited liberty. And, after a few days, its struggles to escape still diminishing, as it finds it to no purpose to attempt it, its new habitation becomes familiar, and it hops about from perch to perch, and every day sings a song to amuse itself, and reward its keeper. [37] 

An idea prevailed at the time, and has gained credit with many, that Richardson


was assisted in his works, particularly his Grandison, by some of his lady correspondents. It is true that he often complimented them, by asking their advice and assistance, and was so far at least in earnest in the request, that, being very sensible of his deficiencies in his knowledge of fashionable life, he hoped to be benefited by their hints and criticisms. How should he draw a fine gentleman, he often asks, except they would condescend to tell him what sort of a man he must be to please. Lady G.'s letters, in particular, were said to he written by Lady Bradshaigh; but the author's own words, in a letter to that lady, are a sufficient confutation of the report, at the same time that they mention a trifling insertion from another lady; but, it should be observed, a mere insertion, and not at all connected with the story of the novel.

Your ladyship has been forced to aver, you say, to some of your acquaintance, that you had no hand in


the history of Sir Charles. Miss Mulso has suffered from the same imputation: so has that very worthy man Mr. Edwards, the author of the Canons of Criticism. I once wished, that each of the ladies who honoured me with their correspondence, would give me a letter. But they would not favour me so far. Yet one lady, on recollection, shewed me some pretty observations on the education of women, and their attainments. I begged a copy, telling the use I intended to make of it. It appears as good Mrs. Shirley's, in the debate on the inferiority and superiority of the two sexes, at the latter end of vol. v. octavo, vi. duodecimo; you will be pleased with this anecdote.

The works of Richardson bear all the internal marks of having been written by one person. The same sentiments, the same phraseology, the same plan sedulously followed from beginning to end,


proclaim the hand of a single author. It is true, indeed, that when his female friends pressed him to give them another volume of Sir Charles, he told them, that in that case they must each contribute. Whether he had really any serious design in what he said, cannot now be known, but Lady Bradshaigh seems to have been the only one who complied. She wrote one letter, in the character of Lady G. It is executed with a degree of liveliness and spirit, and not unsuitable to the character she had engaged to support, but it is evident from Richardson's answer, that he did not like it well enough to have made use of it, had the intended volume taken place. But where could Richardson have found a pen able to supply his own, except in some detached ornament or trifling appendage? Mrs. Carter's beautiful Ode to Wisdom, [38]  made its first appearance in Clarissa, but indeed, without the author's permission. There is a fragment among


the unprinted correspondence, by the famous Psalmanazer, written for the purpose of being inserted in Pamela, in the second part. It is an account of Pamela's charities to a poor family: but it is coarsely written; attempting to move the heart by a mere representation of squalid misery, (a representation easy to execute) without a spark of the grace and delicacy which is necessary to touch the finer feelings: it was very properly laid aside. The fragment, entitled, the History of Mrs. Beaumont, printed at the end of volume the fifth of this publication, was possibly meant for this additional volume; or, it may be, thrown out of the former ones, as what might be spared without injuring the general effect, for Richardson shortened considerably all his works, voluminous as they are. Clarissa was reduced by two whole volumes after the first draught of it. He had never occasion to solicit his invention, his only care was to rein it in: a strong characte-


ristic of true genius. Clarissa underwent the criticism of Colley Cibber, Dr. Young, and Aaron Hill. The latter undertook to go through it, and write the whole again more briefly: he wrote over again the first seven letters, but he soon found he should take a great deal of pains only to spoil it, and the author found it still sooner than he did.

Dr. Young, sensible of the arduous task his friend would have, to support the reputation he had gained by this work, had advised him to repose upon his laurels: but, when his Grandison was published, he retracted, in the following couplet:

I now applaud, what I presum'd to blame,
After Clarissa you shall rise in fame. [39] 

That he rose in fame by it, is very true; not, however, in the general opinion, by the last surpassing the former, but by the accession it brought to what he had already performed. He himself used to say,


that he looked upon himself as the father of three daughters, all of whom he loved with so much tenderness, that he enjoyed the praises of all equally, and it was indifferent to him, whether the elder or the younger were thought the handsomest. A lady, indeed, told him, that they put her in mind of a story she had heard from her nurse, of a man who had three daughters, the first was the handsomest that ever was, the second was handsomer than she, and the third was the handsomest of all.

His Grandison was published in 1753. While it was in the press, an affair happened which gave him great disgust and vexation, and considerably injured his well-earned property. This was the piracy of the Dublin booksellers. The printing Irish editions from published books, however it might prejudice an author, was not forbid by any law, though it was illegal to vend them in England. But, at least, the author's edition had so much the start


of any other, as made it worth-while for a Dublin bookseller to purchase his concurrence. But these men bribed the servants of Richardson to steal the sheets while they were under the press. They broke open the place where they were kept, as he says, under lock and key; sent over what was prepared for publication, which was about half the work, and came out with a cheap edition of several of the volumes, before the author's English one; and almost all the Dublin booksellers concurred in this atrocious act of robbery. Faulkner, who was the author's agent for his own edition, seems to have acted like the dog in the story, who, being set to defend a basket of meat, his master's property, which was attacked by a number of other dogs, kept them off for some time with great vigilance, but finding that one snatched a piece, and another snatched a piece, abandoned the defence; and, since he could not keep off the depredators, resolved to come in for

vol. i. g


his share. Richardson sent his own edition to be sold there at a reduced price, but they were resolved to undersell him, and for what he did sell he could not get the money. His friends in Dublin expressed great indignation at the behaviour of their countrymen, and endeavoured to serve him in the matter. Many letters passed, but to little purpose. This affair seems to have vexed Richardson to the heart. His reputation was at the highest, the sale of his works sure, and he reasonably expected to reap the profit of it. Notwithstanding, however, those disappointments which people in business are liable to meet with, Mr. Richardson's assiduity and success was gradually encreasing his fortune. In the year 1755 he was engaged in building, both in town and in the country. In the country he removed from North End to Parsons Green, where he fitted up a house. In town, he took a


range of old houses, eight in number, which he pulled down, and built an extensive and commodious range of warehouses and printing-offices. It was still in Salisbury-court, in the north-west corner, and it is at present concealed by other houses from common observation. The dwelling-house, it seems, was neither so large nor so airy as the one he quitted; and, therefore, the reader will not be so ready, probably, as Mr. Richardson seems to have been, in accusing his wife of perverseness, in not liking the new habitation so well as the old. "Every body (he says) is more pleased with what I have done, than my wife." Two years after, he married his daughter Mary (the only one married in his life-time) to Mr. Ditcher, a respectable surgeon at Bath. He now allowed himself some relaxation from business; and only attended from time to time, his printing-offices in London. He often regretted,

vol. i. g 2


that he had only females to whom to transfer his business; however, he had taken in to assist him a nephew, who relieved him from the more burdensome cares of it, and who eventually succeeded him. He now had leisure, had he had health, to enjoy his reputation, his prosperous circumstances, his children, and his friends; but, alas! leisure purchased by severe application, often comes too late to be enjoyed; and, in a worldly, as well as in a religious sense,

———————When we find
The key of life, it opens to the grave.

His nervous disorders increased upon him, and his valuable life was at length terminated by a stroke of an apoplexy, on the 4th of July, 1761, at the age of seventy-two. He was buried, by his own direction, near his first wife, in the middle aisle, near the pulpit of St. Bride's church.

The moral character of Mr. Richardson may be partly gathered from the preceding


sketch of his life. It was most respectable and worthy of his genius. He was sober and temperate, regular and assiduous in business, of high integrity, and undoubted honour. It is no small praise, that in his unfriended youth, and in the midst of those miscellaneous connections which a man who acts in the world unavoidably forms, (and of intercourse with the gay and the dissolute, the Cibbers and Whartons of the time, he had his share) that, so circumstanced, he should have firmness of mind to resist the temptations which offer themselves in a licentious metropolis, and should be able to say thus of himself, "I never was in a bad house, nor, to my knowledge, in company with a licentious woman in my life." This assertion was drawn from him by his friend Mr. Stinstra, who had insinuated, that in order to draw a Lovelace, it was necessary he should have been something of a libertine at one period or other of his life. His admirers, however, are

g 3


constrained to acknowledge, that his imagination was not quite so pure as his conduct. He seems, by some means or other, to have acquired a most formidable idea of the snares to which young women are exposed, and of their incapacity (in general) to resist them. He seemed to think women had a great deal to hide, and though his chief intimacies were with ladies, he sometimes betrays a mean opinion of the sex in general. Perhaps we might find the origin of some of these ideas, if we were in possession of the love letters he wrote for his female companions, in the early period of his life, with their dangers and escapes; but, it is certain his writings rather tend to inspire a certain bashful consciousness, and shrinking reserve, than the noble simplicity of truth and nature, in the intercourse between the sexes. Richardson was a careful, kind father, and a good husband in essentials; but, it must be confessed, there appears to have been a certain for-


mality and stiffness of manner, but ill calculated to invite his children to that familiarity and confidence, which is so lovely when it does take place, but which frequently fails to do so, even where there is real affection, between such relations. Of this he was himself sufficiently sensible, and often laments it. "My girls," says he, "are shy little fools." But manner does not depend on the will. The manner of a bashful, reserved man, is seldom encouraging to others; especially if he stands in a superior relation to them. Besides, he not only had high notions of filial as well as conjugal obedience, but expected all those reverential demonstrations of it in the outward behaviour, which are now, whether wisely or not I will not pretend to determine, so generally laid aside. Lady Bradshaigh writes him a very sensible letter on this subject. She finds fault with the stile of his daughter's letters, as too stiff, with the Honoured Sir, and the ever dutiful, constantly occurring, which, she tells him,

g 4


was not likely to produce the familiarity he wished to invite; and objects, that in his writings, filial awe is too much inculcated. In his answer he acknowledges the too great distance of his own children; but as to the general maxim observes, "I had rather (as too much reverence is not the vice of the age) lay down rules that should stiffen into apparent duty, than make the pert rogues too familiar with characters so reverend;" and adds, "I could wish, from the respectful manner (avoiding formality and stiffness as much as possible) in letters to a parent, let my eye fall on what part of the letter it would, to be able to distinguish it from one directed to a playmate." To young children Richardson was familiarly kind, and they were very fond of him; he generally carried sugar-plumbs in his pocket to make his court to them. It must also be observed, that one lady who knew him personally, imputes the formality of the fa-


mily rather to Mrs. Richardson than to him. She was, by all accounts, a formal woman, but with a very kind heart. "My worthy-hearted wife," her husband generally calls her, and, no doubt, always thought her, though he often affects to speak of her in a different style, and with a degree of petulance between jest and earnest, not unlike the captiousness of his own uncle Selby; [40]  and grievously does he complain of being governed by his meek wife. "What meek woman," says he, "ever gave up a point that she had fixed her heart upon? O the sweet Parthians!" And, in another letter,

My wife, a very good woman, in the main, as I have often said, governs me thus; She lets me bear my testimony against what I dislike. I do it, now-and-then, as I think reason calls, with some vehemence: she hears me out. A day or two after, (if it be a point she has her heart in, or her will, which to a woman is the same thing) with-
g 5


out varying much either lights or shades, she brings the matter once more on the tapis. I have exhausted all my reasonings, cannot bear to repeat what I had said before, and she carries her point; and, what is the worst of it, judging by her success, thinks me convinced, and that she was right at first, and I was wrong; and so prepares to carry the next.

In this kind of half captious pleasantry, his conversation, as well as his letters, abounded. He was a benevolent and kind-hearted, but I do not feel sure that he was a good-humoured, man. For liberality, generosity, and charity, Richardson claims unqualified praise. His generosity knew no bounds, but the necessary attention to the welfare of a growing family. Various incidents in the numerous volumes of his letters, both those which appear, and the far greater part which do not appear, shew how much he was in the habit of obliging. He assisted Aaron Hill with money; he


had the honour to bail Dr. Johnson. He writes to a neighbour, who had suffered from a fire, and with whom he does not appear to have been in habits of intimacy, offering the use of all his first floor for a week, fortnight, month, or as long as he should be unprovided; and the attendance of his servants for himself and family, and an occasional bed at his country residence, and all this he presses upon him with the most generous earnestness. In all these kindnesses his wife concurred with affectionate readiness. Miss Collier, it is evident, was in the habit of receiving pecuniary assistance from him. The unhappy Mrs. Pilkington found a friend in him. When Lady Bradshaigh mentioned the case of the poor penitent girl, for whom she wanted a situation: "Let her come to us," he said, "she shall do just what she can, and stay till she is otherwise provided for." He was a great promoter, if not the first mover, of the Magdalen charity. In short, his purse

g 6


was ever open to any proper call upon it, not to mention the many opportunities a man in business has, of doing essential favours without any actual donation. Besides all this, he had a brother's family thrown, in a great measure, upon his hands. He thus writes of the event in 1750: "It is a brother's death I mourn for; an honest, a good-natured, but a careless man; of late years careless, so that his affairs were embarrassed, and he has left six children, five of them small and helpless." In the affairs of a family difference, in which he was the mediator, his advice seems to have been prudent, conciliating, and judicious. His advice and opinion was greatly valued by all his friends, both literary and others, and his trouble, as a printer, was enhanced by the criticisms and remarks they engaged him to make, on the pieces they entrusted him with.

In the qualities of courtesy and hospitality, Richardson was excelled by no man.


"I think I see you," says one of his correspondents, "sitting at your door like an old patriarch, and inviting all who pass by to come in." Whether sick or well; whether they could entertain him with vivacity and chearfulness, or wanted themselves the soothing and attentions of himself and family, they were always welcome. Two of his friends were nursed at his house in their last illness. In all the intercourses of civility he loved to be the obliger, especially if his friends were of rank and fortune superior to his own. His letters, particularly to Lady Bradshaigh, are full of contests about little presents, which he loved better to give than to receive. In this there was, no doubt, a jealous fear of being treated otherwise than as an equal, and somewhat of a painful consciousness of inferiority of station prompting that fear; for he possessed the dignity of an independent mind. When Lady Echlin expressed her wishes that he might be ac-


quainted with her daughter, Mrs. Palmer, a lady of fashion; "the advances, then," said he, "must come from her. She was the superior in rank, but he knew ladies of the west-end of the town did not wish to pass Temple-bar;" and, sometimes, perhaps, this consciousness made him a little captious with regard to the attentions he expected from ladies of fashion; who, coming to town for a short period, could not devote so much time to him, as, perhaps, the warm affection expressed in their correspondence, might have led him to expect.

It will not be supposed that a man who knew so well how to paint the passion of love, should be inaccessible to its influence. His matrimonial connections were, most probably, those of convenience and calm affection; but he intimates that he once loved with ardour. The passage referred to is in a letter to Lady Bradshaigh, who had been desiring him to write, for his


next publication, the history of his own life.

The fortune of the man you hint at, was very low: his mind, however, was never mean. A bashfulness, next to sheepishness, kept him down: but he always courted independence; and, being contented with a little, preserved a title to it. He found friends, who thought they saw something of merit in him, through the cloud that his sheepishness threw over him, and, knowing how low his fortune was, laid themselves out to raise him; and most of them by proposals of marriage, which, however, had always something impracticable in them. A pretty ideot was once proposed, with very high terms, his circumstances considered: her worthy uncle thought this man would behave compassionately to her.—A violent Roman Catholic lady was another, of a fine fortune, a zealous professor; whose terms were (all


her fortune in her own power—a very apron-string tenure!) two years probation, and her confessor's report in favour of his being a true proselyte at the end of them [41] .—Another, a gay, high-spirited, volatile lady, whose next friend offered to be his friend, in fear of her becoming the prey (at the public places she constantly frequented) of some vile fortune-hunter. Another there was whom his soul loved; but with a reverence—Hush!—Pen, lie thee down!—

A timely check; where, else, might I have ended?—This lady—how hard to forbear the affecting subject!—But I will forbear. This man presumed not—Again going on!—not a word more this night.

This lady, from hints given in other places, and from the information of Mrs. Duncombe, appears to have been the same whose history he has delicately and obscurely shadowed out in that of Mrs. Beau-


mont; and never, she adds, did he appear so animated as when he was insensibly led into a narration of any circumstances in the history or description of that most revered lady.

The author of Clarissa was always fond of female society. He lived in a kind of flower-garden of ladies: they were his inspirers, his critics, his applauders. Connections of business apart, they were his chief correspondents. He had generally a number of young ladies at his house, whom he used to engage in conversation on some subject of sentiment, and provoke, by artful opposition, to display the treasures of intellect they possessed. Miss Mulso, afterwards Mrs. Chapone; Miss Highmore, now Mrs. Duncombe; Miss Talbot, niece to Secker, and author of some much esteemed devotional pieces; Miss Prescott, afterwards Mrs. Mulso; Miss Fieldings; and Miss Colliers, resided occasionally with him. He was accustomed to give the young ladies he esteemed the endearing appellation of


his daughters. He used to write in a little summer-house, or grotto [42] , as it was called, within his garden, before the family were up; and, when they met at breakfast, he communicated the progress of his story, which, by that means, had every day a fresh and lively interest. Then began the criticisms, the pleadings, for Harriet Byron or Clementina; every turn and every incident was eagerly canvassed, and the author enjoyed the benefit of knowing before-hand how his situations would strike. Their own little partialities and entanglements, too, were developed, and became the subject of grave advice, or lively raillery. Mrs. Duncombe thus mentions the agreeable scene, in a letter to Mrs. Mulso.

I shall often, in idea, enjoy again the hours that we have so agreeably spent in the delightful retirement of North End:

For while this pleasing subject I pursue,
The grot, the garden, rush upon my view;


There, in blest union, round the friendly gate,
Instruction, Peace, and chearful Freedom wait;
And there, a choir of list'ning nymphs appears
Oppress'd with wonder, or dissolved in tears;
But on her tender fears when Harriet dwells,
And love's soft symptoms innocently tells,
They all, with conscious smiles, those symptoms view,
And by those conscious smiles confess them true.

Mr. Richardson was a friend to mental improvement in women, though under all those restrictions which modesty and decorum have imposed upon the sex. Indeed, his sentiments seem to have been more favourable to female literature, before than after his intercourse with the fashionable world; for Clarissa has been taught Latin, but Miss Byron is made to say, that she does not even know which are meant by the learned languages, and to declare, that a woman who knows them is an owl among the birds. The prejudice against any appearance of extraordinary cultivation in women, was, at that period, very strong. It will scarcely be believed,


by this generation, that Mrs. Delany, the accomplished Mrs. Delany, objects to the words intellect and ethics, in one of the conversation pieces, in Grandison, as too scholastic to proceed from the mouth of a female. What would some of these critics have said, could they have heard young ladies talking of gases, and nitrous oxyd, and stimuli, and excitability, and all the terms of modern science. The restraint of former times was painful and humiliating; what can be more humiliating than the necessity of affecting ignorance? and yet, perhaps, it is not undesirable that female genius should have something to overcome; so much, as to render it probable, before a woman steps out of the common walks of life, that her acquirements are solid, and her love for literature decided and irresistible. These obstacles did not prevent the Epictetus of Mrs. Carter, nor the volumes of Mrs. Chapone, from being written and given to the world.


The moral qualities of Richardson were crowned with a serious and warm regard for religion; it is conspicuous in all his works; and we shall, probably, not find any writings, of the class of novels, in which virtue and piety are so strongly and uniformly recommended, without any party spirit, or view to recommend a particular system, and it would be doing injustice to the taste of the world not to say that they were highly valued on that account. The house of Richardson was a school of virtuous sentiment and good morals. The following letter, from Mr. Reich, of Leipsic, shews the pleasing impression a visit to him made on the lively feelings of a foreigner.

You know, Sir, I set out for England purely with a view of cultivating a personal acquaintance with so great a man as Mr. Samuel Richardson, who had so long endeared himself to me by his works, and who, afterwards, by the corres-


pondence established between us, granted me his friendship. I arrived at London the eighth of August, and had not much difficulty in finding Mr. Richardson in this great city. He gave me a reception worthy of the author of Pamela, Clarissa, and Grandison; that is, with the same heart which appears throughout his works. His person, his family, and even his domestics, all answer this character. He carried me into his library, and his printing-house, (for he is a printer), in both which I never saw things so well disposed. Sunday following, I was with him at his country-house, (Selby-house) where his family was, with some ladies, acquaintances of his four daughters, who, with his lady, compose his family. It was there I saw beauties without affectation; wit without vanity; and thought myself transported to an inchanted land. After chocolate, Mr. Richardson brought


us into the garden, adjoining to the house. He invited me to partake of its fruits, of which the trees afforded the finest of their kind; and, perceiving that I hesitated, gathered some himself, which he presented to me. Every thing I saw, every thing I tasted, recalled to me the idea of the golden age. Here are to be seen no counterfeits, such as are the offspring of vanity, and the delight of fools. A noble simplicity reigns throughout, and elevates the soul. The harmony of this charming family furnished me with many reflections on the common ill-judged methods of education, whence springs the source either of our happiness or misery. The ladies affected not that stiff preciseness peculiar to coquettes. Trained up by a parent who instructs them, still more by his example than by his works, they strive to imitate him; and, if you feel a tenderness for objects so lovely, you will


surely be sensible of a still greater respect for them.

In the middle of the garden, over against the house, we came to a kind of grotto, where we rested ourselves. It was on this seat, Mr. Le Fevre, (Mr. Richardson's friend) told me, that Pamela, Clarissa, and Grandison, received their birth; I kissed the ink-horn on the side of it. We afterwards proceeded to table, (dinner,) where an opportunity was offered me of reading the letters written to me by Malle. Sack, from Berlin, concerning my voyage, and Mr. Richardson. One might in them discern that wit which is the peculiar characteristic of that lady; and, every one listened with the closest attention to whatever truth obliged me to say concerning her. Whereupon Mr. Richardson observed to me, that the ladies in company were all his adopted daughters: that he should be very proud


to give to them, as well as to his own, so charming a sister; and desired to signify as much to her, and to send her his picture, which he gave me for that purpose. The rest of our discourse turned on the merits of Mr. Gellert, and of some other Germans of distinction. I told him, we had the same reason to glory in our relationship, as countrymen of these worthy gentlemen, as the English had in regard to him. Mr. Richardson's usual modesty dictated his answer. Towards evening he brought me to London, where he made me promise to come and see him as often as I could. On the Sunday following I was with him again at his pleasant country seat. We found there a large company, all people of merit; Mr. Miller, author of the Gardener's Dictionary, (which has been translated at Nurnburg, with such success), and Mr. Highmore, the famous painter,

vol. i. h


were there. This last, two days afterwards, conferred on me a genteel piece of civility, which I shall never forget: he must, indeed, be the accomplished gentleman he appears to be, by obliging with so good a grace. I was extremely concerned on not seeing his only daughter, who was in the country. I have read some of her letters, which excite in me the highest esteem both for her understanding and her heart. In the evening I took my leave of the family, and returned with Mr. Richardson. I saw him several times since, during the eight days I staid in England; but it was necessary, at last, to quit that divine man. I gave him the letter entitled No. I. he embraced me, and a mutual tenderness deprived us of speech. He accompanied me with his eyes as far as he could: I shed tears.

There is one fault of which it will not


be easy to clear our author. It is said that he was vain; he was fed with praise, and, with regard to that diet, it may be truly affirmed, that

———— increase of appetite doth grow
By what it feeds on. [43] 

In the circle of his admirers, his own works occupied, naturally, a large share of conversation; and he had not the will, nor perhaps the variety of knowledge necessary to turn it on other topics. The same subject forms the prominent feature in his correspondencies.—Impartiality, perhaps, requires a biographer to notice the opinion of such a man as Johnson, delivered through the medium of Mr. Boswell's memory, as follows, giving an account of a conversation at Mr. Nairne's, where Dr. Johnson drew the character of Richardson. "I only remember that he expressed a high value for his talents and virtues: But that his perpetual study

h 2


was to ward off petty inconveniences, and to procure petty pleasures; that his love of continual superiority was such, that he took care always to be surrounded by women, who listened to him implicitly, and did not venture to contradict his opinions; and that his desire of distinction was so great, that he used to give large vails to Speaker Onslow's servants, that they might treat him with respect." [44] 

It may be observed upon this, that the ladies he associated with were well able to appreciate his works. They were both his critics and his models, and from their sprightly conversation, and the disquisitions on love and sentiment, which took place, he gathered what was more to his purpose than graver topics would have produced. He was not writing a dictionary, like Johnson, or a history, like Gibbon. He was a novel writer; his business was not only with the human heart, but with the female heart.


No man sought criticism with more diligence, or received it with more candour, than Richardson; he asks it even from some who had little title to give it. The fault of his mind was, rather that he was too much occupied with himself, than that he had too high an opinion of his talents. Praise, however, he certainly loved, and all that remains to be said on this head is, that when a man of genius is humane, benevolent, temperate, and pious, we may allow in him a little shade of vanity, as a tribute to human weakness. As to the vails, it was a disgraceful circumstance, not to Richardson, but to the customs of our country, and to Mr. Onslow, if he could not make his servants pay respect to his guests without it. But it were as candid to account for Richardson's giving more than others, from his known generosity as from his desire of distinction. I cannot pass by in silence, though it is unpleasant to advert to, the contemptuous manner in which

h 3


Lady Wortley Montagu has mentioned our author, in terms as little suited to the decorum of her own rank and character, as to the merit and respectable situation in life of the person she speaks of. "The doors of the great," she says, "were never opened to him." If the doors of the great were never opened to a genius whom every Englishman ought to have been proud of, if they were either tasteless of his merit, or so selfishly appreciated it as to be content to be entertained and instructed by his writings in their closet, and to suffer the man to want that notice and regard which is the proper and deserved reward of distinguished talent,—upon them let the disgrace rest, and not upon Richardson. And, I believe it is true, that in England genius and learning obtain less personal notice than in most other parts of Europe, and that men are classed here more by similiarity of fortune than by any other circumstance. Still, how-


ever, they do attract notice; and the reader must be amply convinced, by the list of Richardson's friends and correspondents, that Lady Wortley's assertions are as untrue as illiberal. It is strange that she, whose talents, not her rank, have transmitted her name to posterity, should not have experienced a more kindly fellow-feeling towards talent: but the public will judge which was most estimable, she whose conduct banished her from those with whom her birth entitled her to associate, or he who, by his merit, raised himself above the class whence he drew his humble origin.

I omitted to mention, in its proper place, that Richardson had a pressing invitation from the Moravians to go to Germany. He was written to, for that purpose, by the secretary of Count Zinzendorf, their head, and solely, it should seem, from their high opinion of the moral tendency of his writings.

h 4


Richardson was, in person, below the middle stature, and inclined to corpulency; of a round, rather than oval, face, with a fair ruddy complexion. His features, says one, who speaks from recollection, bore the stamp of good nature, and were characteristic of his placid and amiable disposition. He was slow in speech, and, to strangers at least, spoke with reserve and deliberation; but, in his manners, was affable, courteous, and engaging, and when surrounded with the social circle he loved to draw around him, his eye sparkled with pleasure, and often expressed that particular spirit of archness which we see in some of his characters, and which gave, at times, a vivacity to his conversation, not expected from his general taciturnity and quiet manners. He has left us a characteristic portrait of himself, in a letter to Lady Bradshaigh, written when he was in his sixtieth year, before they had seen one


another. She was to find him out by it (as she actually did,) as he walked in the Park. "Short, rather plump, about five feet five inches, fair wig, one hand generally in his bosom, the other a cane in it, which he leans upon under the skirts of his coat, that it may imperceptibly serve him as a support, when attacked by sudden tremors or dizziness, of a light brown complexion, teeth not yet failing him." What follows is very descriptive of the struggle in his character between innate bashfulness and a turn for observation. "Looking directly foreright, as passengers would imagine, but observing all that stirs on either hand of him, without moving his short neck; a regular even pace, stealing away ground rather than seeming to rid it; a grey eye, too often overclouded by mistiness from the head, by chance lively, very lively if he sees any he loves; if he approaches a lady, his eye is never fixed

h 5


first on her face, but on her feet, and rears it up by degrees, seeming to set her down as so or so."

The health of Richardson was grievously affected by those disorders which pass under the denomination of nervous, and are the usual consequence of bad air, confinement, sedentary employment, and the wear and tear of the mental faculties. It is astonishing how a man who had to raise his fortune by the slow process of his own industry, to take care of an extensive business, to educate his own family, and to be a father to many of his relations, could find time in the breaks and pauses of his other avocations, for works so considerable in size as well as in merit, "nineteen close printed volumes," as he often mentions, when insisting upon it, in answer to the instances of his correspondents, that he would write more, that he had already written more than enough. Where there exists strong ge-



nius, the bent of the mind is imperious, and will be obeyed: but the body too often sinks under it. "I had originally," (says he) "a good constitution; I hurt it by no intemperance, but that of application."

Richardson scarcely writes a letter without mentioning those nervous or paralytic tremors, which indeed are very observable in those letters written with his own hand, and which obliged him often to employ the hand of another. Yet his writing, to the last, was small, even, and very legible. Though a strong advocate for public worship, he had discontinued, for many years, going to church, on account, as he tells Lady B. of his not being able to bear a crowd. It is probable, however, that he also wanted the relaxation of a Sunday spent in the country. He took tar-water, then very much in vogue, and lived for seven years upon a vegetable diet; but his best remedy was

h 6


probably his country house, and the amusement of Tunbridge, which he was accustomed to frequent in the season. He never could ride, being, as he declares, quite a cockney, but used a chamber horse, one of which he kept at each of his houses. His nervous maladies notwithstanding increased, and for years before his death he could not lift the quantity of a small glass of wine to his mouth, though put into a tumbler, without assistance. He loved to complain, but who that suffers from disorders that affect the very springs of life and happiness, does not? Who does not wish for the friendly soothings of sympathy, under maladies from which more material relief is not to be expected? That sympathy was feelingly expressed by Mrs. Chapone, in her Ode to Health, in the following apostrophe:


Hast thou not left a Richardson unblest?
He woos thee still in vain, relentless maid.
Tho' skill'd in sweetest accents to persuade,
And wake soft Pity in the savage breast;
Him Virtue loves, and brightest Fame is his:
Smile thou too, Goddess, and complete his bliss. [45] 

In the latter part of his life, he was rarely seen among his workmen, some times not twice in a year, and, even when he was in town, gave his directions by little notes. His principal workman was hard of hearing; and Richardson felt a nervous irritation, which made it not easy for him to bear any thing of hurry or personal altercation.

His will shews the same equitable, friendly, and beneficent disposition, which was apparent in his life; legacies to a tribe of relations, to whom, it appears, he had given little pensions during his life; one third of his fortune to his wife, and the rest to be divided equally among his daughters; recommending, however, his daugh-


ter Anne to her mother's peculiar care, from the weak state of her health and spirits. Yet this object of his tender anxiety was the survivor of the whole family. She is said to have possessed "an excellent and cultivated understanding, true piety, sensibility, resignation, and strength of mind."

His daughter Martha was married, in 1762, to Edward Bridgen, Esq. and Sarah to Mr. Crowther, surgeon, of Boswell-court. Mrs. Richardson survived her husband twelve years.

It is with particular pleasure I subjoin to this account of Richardson, the animated and lively description of his character, which has been obligingly communicated to me in a letter from a lady, whose personal knowledge of him gives to her account both authenticity and interest.

I am willing to give you every aid in my power, and contribute my mite of praise to my venerated friend.


My first recollection of him is in his house in the centre of Salisbury-square, or Salisbury-court, as it was then called; and of being admitted, as a playful child, into his study, where I have often seen Dr. Young, and others; and where I was generally caressed, and rewarded with biscuits or bonbons of some kind or other, and sometimes with books, for which he, and some more of my friends, kindly encouraged a taste, even at that early age, which has adhered to me all my life long, and continues to be the solace of many a painful hour. I recollect that he used to drop in at my father's, for we lived nearly opposite, late in the evening, to supper; when, as he would say, he had worked as long as his eyes and nerves would let him, and was come to relax, with a little friendly and domestic chat. I even then used to creep to his knee, and hang upon his words, for my whole family


doated on him; and once, I recollect, that, at one of these evening visits, probably about the year 1753, I was standing by his knee, when my mother's maid came to summon me to bed; upon which, being unwilling to part from him, and manifesting some reluctance, he begged I might be permitted to stay a little longer; and, on my mother's objecting that the servant would be wanted to wait at supper, for, in those days of friendly intercourse and real hospitality, a decent maid-servant was the only attendant at his own, and many creditable tables, where, nevertheless, much company was received, Mr. Richardson said, 'I am sure Miss P. is now so much a woman, that she does not want any one to attend her to bed, but will conduct herself with so much propriety, and put out her own candle so carefully, that she may henceforward be indulged with remaining with us till


supper is served.' This hint, and the confidence it implied, had such a good effect upon me, that, I believe, I never required the attendance of a servant afterwards, while my mother lived; and, by such sort of ingenious and gentle devices, did he use to encourage and draw in young people to do what was right.—I also well remember the happy days I passed at his house at North End; sometimes with my mother, but often, for weeks, without her, domesticated as one of his own children. He used to pass the greatest part of the week in town; but, when he came down, he used to like to have his family flock around him, when we all first asked and received his blessing, together with some small boon from his paternal kindness and attention; for, he seldom met us empty-handed, and was by nature most generous and liberal.

The piety, order, decorum, and strict


regularity, that prevailed in his family, were of infinite use to train the mind to good habits, and to depend upon its own resources. It has been one of the means which, under the blessing of God, has enabled me to dispense with the enjoyment of what the world calls pleasures, such as are found in crowds; and actually to relish and prefer the calm delights of retirement and books. As soon as Mrs. Richardson arose, the beautiful Psalms in Smith's Devotions were read responsively in the nursery, by herself, and daughters, standing in a circle: only the two eldest were allowed to breakfast with her, and whatever company happened to be in the house, for they were seldom without. After breakfast we younger ones read to her in turns the Psalms, and lessons for the day. We were then permitted to pursue our childish sports, or to walk in the garden, which I was allowed


to do at pleasure; for, when my mother hesitated upon granting that privilege, for fear I should help myself to the fruit, Mrs. Richardson said, 'No! I have so much confidence in her, that, if she is put upon honour, I am certain that she will not touch so much as a gooseberry.' A confidence, I dare safely aver, that I never forfeited, and which has given me the power of walking in any garden ever since, without the smallest desire to touch any fruit, and taught me a lesson upon the restraint of appetite, which has been useful to me all my life. We all dined at one table, and generally drank tea and spent the evening in Mrs. Richardson's parlour, where the practice was for one of the young ladies to read, while the rest sat with mute attention, round a large table, and employed themselves in some kind of needle-work. Mr. Richardson generally retired to his study, unless there was particular company.


These are childish and trifling anecdotes, and savour, perhaps you may think, too much of egotism. They certainly can be of no further use to you, than as they mark the extreme benevolence, condescension, and kindness, of this exalted genius, towards young people; for, in general society, I know he has been accused of being of few words, and of a particularly reserved turn. He was, however, all his life-time, the patron and protector of the female sex. Miss M. (afterwards Lady G.) passed many years in his family. She was the bosom friend, and contemporary of my mother; and was so much considered as enfant de famille in Mr. Richardson's house, that her portrait is introduced into a family-piece.

He had many protegées:—A Miss Rosine, from Portugal, was consigned to his care; but of her, being then at school, I never saw much. Most of the ladies


that resided much at his house, acquired a certain degree of fastidiousness and delicate refinement, which, though amiable in itself, rather disqualified them from appearing in general society, to the advantage that might have been expected, and rendered an intercourse with the world uneasy to themselves, giving a peculiar air of shiness and reserve to their whole address, of which habits his own daughters partook, in a degree that has been thought by some, a little to obscure those really valuable qualifications and talents they undoubtedly possessed. Yet, this was supposed to be owing more to Mrs. Richardson than to him; who, though a truly good woman, had high and Harlowean notions of parental authority, and kept the ladies in such order, and at such a distance, that he often lamented, as I have been told by my mother, that they were not more open and conversable with him.


Besides those I have already named, I well remember a Mrs. Donellan, a venerable old lady, with sharp-piercing eyes; Miss Mulso, &c. &c. Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury; Sir Thomas Robinson (Lord Grantham), &c. &c. who were frequent visitors at his house in town and country. The ladies I have named, were often staying at North End, at the period of his highest glory and reputation; and, in their company and conversation, his genius was matured. His benevolence was unbounded, as his manner of diffusing it was delicate and refined.

͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇ ͇

The correspondence of Richardson begins a short time before his first publications, and extends through the remainder of his life. Before the appearance of Pamela, he does not seem to have transcribed


his own letters. After his celebrity was acquired, they probably assumed an importance in his eyes, which they did not possess before. In the decline of life, letter-writing was his favourite employment; It is one which men are apt to have either a fondness for, or an aversion to. He wrote more than he read. "I cannot tell why," he says, "but my nervous disorders will permit me to write with more impunity than to read;" and he often laments, that, through want of time, and ill-health, he was not better acquainted with books. He usually wrote upon a little board, which he held in his hand.

The correspondents of Richardson were either those connected with him by business, by personal friendship, or those attracted by his fame as an author. A large proportion of them are ladies. It has been observed how fond he was of female society. In this he resembled another amiable genius, the author of the Task; both


felt the depressing influence of a bashful sensibility, and both felt their hearts opened by the caressing manners and delicate attentions of female friendship. There was, indeed, this great difference: Cowper's reserve was constitutional. Richardson's, probably, was owing to the want of an early familiarity with genteel life.

The earliest correspondent upon this list is Aaron Hill, a man of some real genius, a warm heart, and a generous disposition. He wrote several plays, was at one time manager of the theatre, several poems, one in praise of Czar Peter, called the Northern Star, yet is better known to most readers of the present day, by the lines Pope bestowed upon him in the Dunciad, than by his own works. Conscious of originality of thought, which he really had, he affected to despise the public taste; and fondly prophesied, that posterity would read his works when Pope's were fallen into oblivion. He did


not so far trust to Posterity, however, as not to retaliate on his satirist in some finished lines, which may bear a comparison with Pope's on Addison.

Hill was a schemer, an unsuccessful one all his life. During the greatest part of this correspondence, he lived retired at Plaistow, an aguish situation, from which the health of himself and his family seem to have suffered much. In this retirement he wrote several poems; the following lines, in which he speaks of himself, are very touching:

Cover'd in Fortune's shade, I rest reclin'd,
My griefs all silent, and my joys resign'd;
With patient eye life's coming gloom survey,
Nor shake th' outhasting sands, nor bid them stay;
Yet, while from life my setting prospects fly,
Fain would my mind's weak offspring shun to die;
Fain would their hope some light thro' time explore,
The name's kind passport, when the man's no more. [46] 

His style, in his letters, is turgid and cloudy, but every now and then illuminated

vol. i. i


with a ray of genius; as, when speaking of his hectic complaints, he says, (alluding to the march of the Israelites) "they are a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night." [47] Hill wanted judgment and temper. He speaks with unmeasured contempt of those he dislikes, and is equally lavish in panegyric. Richardson has written on the back of some of his letters—"Too high praise." Their friendship appears to have been warm and uninterrupted.

Of the author of the Night Thoughts it is unnecessary to give any information. He was in the decline of his genius when he was most connected with Richardson, and seems to have been often benefited by the judgment of the latter in his publications; yet his letters are agreeable; they shew the turn for antithesis, and bold swelling expression, which always distinguished him, and a strong sense of religion, tinctured with gloom.


With Mr. Edwards, of Turrick in Buckinghamshire, author of the Canons of Criticism, and Sonnets, Richardson maintained a cordial, affectionate, and long-continued friendship. His letters are not brilliant; but he seems to have been a very good, pious, and kind-hearted man. I fear, indeed, his charity did not include Bishop Warburton.

Richardson was intimate with the two Miss Colliers, and with Miss Fieldings, sisters to the novel-writer. Miss S. Fielding wrote the Governess, David Simple, and some other pieces, all well received by the public. Miss Jane Collier, in conjunction with Miss Patty Fielding, [48]  wrote the Cry, a novel that had some run. She died poor, and her sister retired to the Isle of Wight, then cheap and little frequented; and her resignation was mixed with the pang inflicted by solitariness and neglect. Richardson's letters to her are soothing, and yet insinuate wholesome advice.

i 2


To speak of Lætitia Pilkington is to speak of a tale of other times; yet the tale may be useful, to shew how low a woman may fall who has parted with her virtue. That the companion of Swift and Delany, adorned with wit and beauty, should be reduced to lie upon straw in a night-cellar, and weep over her daughter's misconduct, without having, as she pathetically expresses it, "the right to find fault with her that another mother would have had, presents a striking lesson. [sic] Her letters are too complimentary, but have an easy flow of expression, and shew, if she was sincere, that she was susceptible of the gratitude to which Richardson's kindness gave him so just a claim.

Cibber's intimacy with Richardson was after the most dissipated part of his life was over; but the sprightly veteran shews, in every line, the man of wit, and the man of the world.


Mrs. Sheridan was an estimable woman: good sense, and calm good humour, are said to have characterised her. She wrote Sidney Bidulph, of which Dr. Johnson said to her—"I know not, Madam, whether you have a right, on moral principles, to make your readers suffer so much." She also wrote the comedy of the Discovery, and other pieces. She died at Blois, whither Mr. Sheridan had retired on account of his affairs. He had been driven from the Dublin theatre (of which he was manager, and which he had brought to a state of order and decorum, from great licentiousness) by an opposition, and, for five years, he supported himself in London by his literary exertions.

Miss Mulso was a favourite correspondent of Richardson; he loved to draw out her reasoning powers, then beginning to unfold themselves. He engaged her in a controversy on the measure of filial obe-

i 3


dience; but her part of it, with the rest of her letters, was withdrawn from the collection after Richardson's death.

With the worthy families of Highmore and Duncombe , afterwards united by the marriage of Miss Highmore to Mr. Duncombe, Junior, author of the Feminead, Richardson was much connected. Mr. Highmore was a painter of eminence,—at a time, indeed, when the arts were at a very low ebb in England, the reigns of George the First and Second . He painted most of Richardson's characters. Clarissa, in a Vandyke dress; the Harlowe family, Clementina, and twelve prints of the history of Pamela, were engraved from his pencil.

Miss Sutton was the daughter of the Countess of Sunderland, by Robert Sutton, Esq.

Mrs. Donnelan, a maiden lady, and Mrs. Delany, were among the most judi-


cious of Richardson's correspondents; they criticised his works with a friendly freedom. Mrs. Dews was sister to Mrs. Delany.

Miss Westcombe's letters shew great sweetness, modesty, and the highest reverence for her adopted father.

Mr. Skelton was a singular character; most singular, perhaps, in his uncommon benevolence. Placed in the wildest part of Ireland, amongst a people who differed more from the brutes around them in the evils to which human wants exposed them, than in any improvements or advantages with which human intellect had supplied them, he devoted his life, (the life of a scholar) and, in a year of scarcity, sacrificed his books, (the treasure of a scholar) for their relief. He was of an athletic make, and had often occasion to exercise his personal courage, as well as his pastoral care, amongst his flock. He used to go out attended by a

i 4


great dog, and a stout labourer, armed, as well as himself, with a huge club, when he made his pastoral visits in the neighbourhood. His connection with Mr. Richardson bore upon two points: his good offices exerted towards his friend in the affair of the piracy, and in getting in his Irish debts (no easy matter to perform) and on the publications he sent to Mr. Richardson's press. He was esteemed a writer of strength and acumen in the controversial line. His letters are frank and hearty; they shew him occasionally subject to the pettishness of low spirits, and it is pleasing to observe with what tenderness, forbearance, and calm reasoning, his friend smooths away the roughness of his disposition. There is a life of Skelton published in Ireland, which is worth reading, as it gives many particulars of an original and eccentric character. He was, at length, transplanted to Dublin; but too late to change his manners from the rustic to the urbane.


Mark Hildesley, bishop of Sodor and Man, was, before his promotion to that see, vicar of Hitchen, in Hertfordshire, and rector of Holwell, in the county of Bedford. He distinguished himself by a most diligent attendance on the duties of his parish, preaching, catechising, and distributing good books. In his bishopric he succeeded Dr. Wilson, who had begun a translation of the bible into the Manks language, which Hildesley completed.

The foreign correspondences of Richardson turn chiefly on the translations of his works; not many, therefore, have been given; but those of Mrs. Klopstock, must interest every reader. She is buried near Hamburgh, and an epitaph, in verse, of twenty lines, composed by her husband, is inscribed on her tomb. Mr. Klopstock never married again till, in his old age, a few years before his death, he had the ceremony performed between himself and a kinswoman, who lived with him, in order

i 5


to entitle her, as his widow, to the pensions he enjoyed from different courts. It is presumed the reader of taste will not wish that Mrs. Klopstock's letters had been put into better English.

Mr. Stinstra, the Dutch minister, who translated Clarissa, is the same who wrote a tract against Count Zinzendorff, and his followers, with extracts from their hymns, and other writings, in which their enthusiasm and indecency is fully exposed. It was translated into English, by Rimius. Stinstra, as a divine, seems to make some scruple of translating a novel; but he satisfied himself by the moral tendency of Richardson's.—Gellert, the author of the Fables; and Clairaut, a celebrated mathematician, were also among Richardson's translators.

But the largest contributor to this correspondence was Lady Bradshaigh, of whose family and connections some account may be acceptable.

She married (after a persevering court-


ship, on his part, of ten years, as she herself informs us) Sir Roger Bradshaigh, of Haigh, near Wigan, in Lancashire, at which place they lived in what was called the true English stile of country gentry, before the villa of the manufacturer had eclipsed, by its ephemeral splendour, the paternal seat of the hereditary landholder.

Haigh is a large old-built mansion; the grounds and gardens are laid out in that style which modern refinement has discarded for one which is generally admitted to be more agreeable to true taste, though, perhaps it may not be calculated to give more pleasure. Sir Roger's estate was in the midst of the mines of that most elegant species of coal called the cannel, or candle coal, which, it is well known, takes a high and beautiful polish. Of this material Lady Bradshaigh built a summer-house. From its colour, like black marble, and its combustible nature, it may be considered as a kind of contrast to the brilliant ice-palace of the Empress of Russia.


Lady Bradshaigh bore the character of a most worthy, pious, and charitable woman. Sir Roger and herself were a very happy couple, as, indeed, sufficiently appears from the letters. She was active and managing, and her large houshold was so regulated as to be a pattern of order and decorum. They had no children. Lady Bradshaigh lived many years at Haigh, as a widow, keeping up the same stile of chearful hospitality as in her husband's life-time. She died at an advanced age, above eighty, with all the sentiments of a piety which had been habitually wrought into the constitution of her mind.

Lady Bradshaigh's mental qualifications seem to have been a good deal of sound native sense, and strong feeling, with a lively impressible imagination. She wrote with ease, and was fond of writing. She had a chearful and generous disposition, as well as great natural vivacity, and in her letters exhibits a flow of expression, which, if the critic will not admit to be wit, must at


least be allowed to rise to an agreeable sprightliness.

Ladies, at that period, were far from enjoying those advantages of education which offer themselves to the present rising generation; at a distance from the metropolis, especially, a reading female was a sort of phenomenon, and the county in which Lady Bradshaigh lived was, by no means, the first to free itself from these symptoms of rusticity. Accordingly, we observe in the correspondence, that Lady Bradshaigh was much disturbed by the fear of being known by her neighbours to correspond with an author, and to escape the imputation, very ingeniously, after Richardson had sent her his portrait, changed his name into Dickenson, that the questions asked her about her distant friend, might not betray her secret. She, indeed, was by no means a literary woman, and Richardson combats the narrowness of her notions on the subject of


female learning; yet she read a great variety of English books, and her remarks upon them are, in general, judicious. In the subjects of controversy between herself and her correspondent, she would oftener have the better of the argument, if Richardson had not laid hold on strong and unguarded expressions to teaze and perplex her, and many topics he insists on evidently for the sake of argument. An excellent heart is shewn by this lady throughout the whole; she seems to have been rather a hearty friend and a clever active woman, than a polished one. She had the highest veneration for Richardson, and for his productions. The eager and passionate interest she took in the story of Clarissa, though carried to almost a whimsical excess, does honour to the powers of the author, and the feelings of the lady. She seems to have considered Clarissa and Lovelace as real beings, whose


fate the writer held in his hands.—"Pray, Sir, make her happy, you can so easily do it! Pray reform him! Will you not save a soul, Sir?" The circumstances in which the correspondence begun and was carried on, under a feigned name, for above a year, bear a romantic cast, and the gradual steps of the discovery cannot fail of amusing the reader. No lover ever expected his mistress with greater ardour than the grave Richardson seems to have felt for his incognita, when he paced so fruitlessly up and down the Mall, gazing with expectation at every lady he met. Indeed, they were very near teasing one another into serious ill-humour on the occasion.—Though Lady Bradshaigh did not give the kind of assistance many imagined to Richardson, he often made use of her remarks and criticisms. To mention a trivial instance, he altered the month of July, in which he had originally made Miss Byron


come up to London, to January, on her representation that July was not the season which would be chosen for a young lady to see the town. Her letters extend from the year 1750 to the death of Richardson, a period of eleven years. They, together with Richardson's answers, would alone make several volumes, I believe as many as the whole of this publication, a proof, by the way, that the bookseller and the editor have had some mercy on the public.

Lady Echlin was the sister of Lady Bradshaigh, and wife to Sir Robert Echlin, nephew, by marriage, to Mr. Tickell, the friend of Addison. With the Tickells, with Lady Lambard, and other worthy people, she was very respectably connected, as also with the good Bishop Hildesley, whose preferment to the Isle of Man she compares to the banishment of St. John to the Island of Patmos. Her country seat, at Villa Rusa, was on the


sea-coast, directly opposite to his residence. Lady Echlin had not the parts and vivacity of her sister; she seems to have been rather a good and pious, than a brilliant woman: but piety and goodness it is always pleasing to contemplate. She appears, indeed, from her favourable mention of the Countess of Huntingdon, and other circumstances, to have been of that class who make piety not only the regulator of their conduct, but the business of their lives. One might suppose novels would form a small part of the reading of such a woman, but the novels of Richardson were received by his admirers as manuals of instruction, and Lady Echlin, in particular, considered the morality of them, not only as the indispensible, but as the only material point. She too was seized with the desire of altering Clarissa, and making up the story to her own mind, which she accordingly executed, and after some hesitation and reluctance communicated to Richardson.—


She had reformed Lovelace by means of a Dr. Christian, and made him die after a lingering illness, occasioned by remorse, though the last outrage is not supposed to be committed. Though Richardson, after he had read her alterations, let her off very gently, one cannot but suspect he must secretly smile at the presumption which had induced so inferior a hand to lay colours upon his canvas. Lady Echlin lived chiefly in England, after she became a widow.

Nothing tends so strongly to place us in the midst of the generations that are past, as a perusal of their correspondence. To have their very letters, their very handwriting before our eyes, gives a more intimate feeling of their existence, than any other memorial of them. To see the heart that is now chilled with age, or cold in the dust, pouring forth its first youthful feelings; to see the hopes and fears, the friendships and animosities, the pains and cares of life, as it passes on, inspires the soul


with a tender melancholy. We see some, now established in fame, who at first advanced timid and doubting of their own powers; others sunk into oblivion, who had the highest confidence in them; we see secret kindnesses brought to light; and where there has been affectation of any kind, we see it did not avail, but that the man is known, and the real motives of his actions, through all the glosses he puts on. We compare the tar-water of one age with the medicated airs of another, and the waters of Tunbridge with the sea-bathing places, and we find both equally inefficacious against the long-rooted malady, and touched with a deep feeling of the vanity of life, we cry out with Thomson

Where now are fled
Those busy bustling days—those gay-spent nights—
Those veering thoughts—those longings after fame?
All now are vanish'd! virtue sole survives.
Immortal, never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. [49] 


It may not be unacceptable to the reader, to conclude this account of Richardson with the following lines, written as an epitaph for him, by Mrs. Carter.

If ever warm benevolence was dear,
If ever wisdom gain'd esteem sincere,
Or genuine fancy deep attention won,
Approach with awe the dust—of Richardson.
What tho' his muse, thro' distant regions known,
Might scorn the tribute of this humble stone;
Yet pleasing to his gentle shade, must prove
The meanest pledge of Friendship, and of Love;
For oft will these, from venal throngs exil'd;
And oft will Innocence, of aspect mild,
And white-rob'd Charity, with streaming eyes,
Frequent the cloister where their patron lies.
This, reader, learn; and learn from one whose woe
Bids her wild verse in artless accents flow:
For, could she frame her numbers to commend
The husband, father, citizen, and friend;
How would her muse display, in equal strain,
The critic's judgment, and the writer's vein!—
Ah, no! expect not from the chissel'd stone
The praises, graven on our hearts alone.
There shall his fame a lasting shrine acquire;
And ever shall his moving page inspire
Pure truth, fixt honour, virtue's pleasing lore;
While taste and science crown this favour'd shore. [50] 


[1] From The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson, author of Pamela, Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison. Selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings, by Anna Letitia Barbauld, 6 Vols. (London: printed for Richard Phillips, no. 71, St. Paul's Church-Yard, Lewis and Roden, Printers, Paternoster-Row, 1804), 1:vii-ccxii. Mary A. Waters edited this essay for The Criticism Archive. BACK

[2] An early-sixteenth century romance by Rodríguez de Montalvo" with versions preceeding it by a century or more. Robert Southey's translation into English appeared in 1803. BACK

[3] "the truth alone is beautiful"; Boileau, Epitre IX (1674) 43. BACK

[4] Literally, the "long-winded novel." Popular in early seventeenth-century France, these episodic, sentimental novels routinely stretched to ten or twelve volumes. A few of the most respected writers in this vein included Calprenède, d'Urfé, and Scudéry. Thanks to my colleague Brigitte Roussel for assistance with this note. BACK

[5] Voltaire, "Ecrivains, dont plusieurs on illustré le siécle," one of a series of catalogs included in Le Siecle de Louis XIV (1751; London: R. Dodsley, 1752) 2:486. Other editions position these catalogs differently. BACK

[6] By John Bunyan. BACK

[7] Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock 3.165. BACK

[8] Spectator No. 37 (Thursday, April 12, 1711). BACK

[9] Rambler 97 (Tuesday, February 19, 1751) BACK

[10] That is, he probably sympathized with the anti-royalist sentiments of the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685, which attempted to overthrow James II. BACK

[11] In a popular ballad, a respectable serving man named Thomas a Pott is preferred by the daughter of Lord Arrndell over the libertine Lord Phenix. BACK

[12] Barbauld appears to be confusing names. Richardson's first wife was named Martha. She had a brother named Allington Wilde, who became Richardson's good friend, and her mother was Martha Allington Wilde. BACK

[13] Bunyan's description of the writing of Pilgrim's Progress (1678) in "The Author's Apology for His Book." BACK

[14] Fashionable pleasure gardens outside London. BACK

[15] Barbauld misremembers the name of Knightley Chetwood, author of this comment. BACK

[16] John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, "An Allusion to Horace, the Tenth Satire of the First Book" (c. 1678) 64-70. The lines reappeared in the Spectator, No. 91 (June 14, 1711). BACK

[17] Alexander Pope, "Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture" (c. 1710) 50. BACK

[18] Under the character of Editor, he gave great commendations to the letters, for which he was blamed by some of his friends [Barbauld's note]. BACK

[19] Alexander Pope, "Epistle to Miss Blount, with the Works of Voiture" (c. 1710) 49. BACK

[20] παϛ μελοϛ- in this case, "all melody," or more likely considering the reference to sweetness, μέλι: "honey." Thanks to my colleague Barbara Witiki for assistance. BACK

[21] Shakespeare, Measure for Measure II.ii.154-5, slightly altered. BACK

[22] "So a virgin, while still untouched, remains dear to her family," Catullus, Poem 62, line 45, trans. Peter Green, The Poems of Catullus: A Bilingual Edition (Berkeley: U of California P, 2005). BACK

[23] This line and the preceding one come from Thomas Otway, The Orphan IV.ii., slightly altered. BACK

[24] Characters in Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther and John Moore's Zeluco, respectively BACK

[25] Shakespeare, King John III.i.24. BACK

[26] Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part II III.iii. Henry Fuseli had recently depicted the scene in his painting The Death of Cardinal Beaufort (1772). BACK

[27] Character in Benjamin Hoadly's The Suspicious Husband (1747). BACK

[28] "If you wish me to weep, you yourself must first feel grief"; Horace, Ars Poetica (c. 18 BCE) 102-3. BACK

[29] Abduction. BACK

[30] John Dryden, Tyrannick Love; or The Royal Martyr (1670), II.i.292-7, altered. BACK

[31] Joseph Warton, An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Pope, 2 Vols. (London: Printed for M. Cooper, 1756) 1:276. BACK

[32] I want to have young people think there is no such mighty business as they are apt to suppose, in conquering a first love.—Letter to Miss Mulso [Barbauld's note, quoting Richardson]. BACK

[33] Unidentified except by secondary anecdote. BACK

[34] "of the old court"; a gentleman in the old-fashioned, courtly style. In context, the adjective proné (above), appears to indicate that the hero is held in high esteem by others, the model of what is best; he is revered as the ultimate reference. BACK

[35] It is said, that an Italian translation of the bible appeared some years since at Naples, in the preface to which the translator warned his readers against English publications; but excepted one, the Clarissa of Richardson [Barbauld's note]. BACK

[36] Rambler No. 95 (Tuesday, February 12, 1751). The essay is signed "Pertinax." BACK

[37] From Clarissa, excerpted from one of Lovelace's letters to Belford. BACK

[38] Carter later published the poem in the Gentleman's Magazine (1747) and Poems on Several Occasions (1762). BACK

[39] Unidentified except in secondary anecdote. BACK

[40] Character in Sir Charles Grandison. BACK

[41] Might not this give the first hint of his Clementina? [Barbauld's note]. BACK

[42] The same of which an engraving is given in the work [Barbauld's note]. BACK

[43] Shakespeare, Hamlet I.ii.143-4. BACK

[44] James Boswell paraphrasing Dr. Johnson. See Boswell's Life of Dr. Johnson, ed. George Birbeck, rev. L.F. Powell. 6 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon P, 1950) 5.395-6. BACK

[45] "To Health" 31-36. After recovering from a bout of illness, Chapone sent the poem to Elizabeth Carter in 1750, and it later appeared in Chapone's Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1775) 130-132. BACK

[46] Aaron Hill, dedication to Merope (1749); slightly altered. BACK

[47] See Exodus 13: 21-22. BACK

[48] Sarah Fielding was Collier's collaborator on The Cry. BACK

[49] James Thomson, The Seasons, "Winter" 1032-41; altered. BACK

[50] London Magazine; Or, Gentleman's Monthly Intelligencer 31 (January 1762): 44. BACK

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