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P R E F A с Е,
AM happy that in presenting the following letters to the public, I am not exhibiting scenes, or communicating opinions, that can wound delicacy, or pervert sentiment. And though I too well know, that to avoid licentious description, and to reject fashionable ideas, is to wander far from the road that leads to wealth and fame in the literary
world, yet I am not willing to acquire either one or the other at the
of der's happiness. If amusement only is to be found in the Letters of Charlotte, it will at least be innocent amusement. If opinions are advanced which may appear uncommon, they will not be found to militate against the precepts of religion. If the mind of the reader is not expanded by additional knowledge, it will not be contracted by the subtleties of scepticism.
Whether these negative recommendations will carry any weight, I know not; but I am sorry to find any book published, in favour of which even these cannot be advanced ; and I am still more sorry that a book so universally read as the Sorrows of Werter, should fall under this predicament; a book which is not simply an apology for
P R E F A C E.
the horrible crime of Suicide, but in which, as far as the author's abilities would
it is justified and recommended !
But the author, not satisfied with recommending a specific crime, has aimed a violent blow at all religion. In the language of those men who, if they would, cannot, avoid venerating revelation, he says: “I revere our religion; you know I do: I am sensible that it often gives strength to the feeble, and comfort to the afflicted.-But has it,” he continues 66 should it have this effect on all men equally ? consider this vast universe, and you will find millions for whom it never has existed; and millions, whether it is preached to them or not, for whom it never will exist.” This is meant as a pretext for totally rejecting it. Upon the same principle, we might reject almost