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Title: Clarissa: Preface, Hints of Prefaces, and Postscript
Author: Richardson, Samuel, 1689-1761
Language: English
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  Preface, Hints of Prefaces,
  and Postscript.




  Richard C. Boys, _University of Michigan_
  Earl R. Miner, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  Maximillian E. Novak, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  Lawrence Clark Powell, _Wm. Andrews Clark Memorial Library_


  John Butt, _University of Edinburgh_
  James L. Clifford, _Columbia University_
  Ralph Cohen, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  Vinton A. Dearing, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  Arthur Friedman, _University of Chicago_
  Louis A. Landa, _Princeton University_
  Samuel H. Monk, _University of Minnesota_
  Everett T. Moore, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  James Sutherland, _University College, London_
  H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., _University of California, Los Angeles_


Edna C. Davis, _Clark Memorial Library_


The seven volumes of the first edition of _Clarissa_ were published in
three instalments during the twelve months from December 1747 to
December 1748. Richardson wrote a Preface for Volume I and a Postscript
for Volume VII, and William Warburton supplied an additional Preface for
Volume III (or IV).[1] A second edition, consisting merely of a reprint
of Volumes I-IV was brought out in 1749. In 1751 a third edition of
eight volumes in duodecimo and a fourth edition of seven volumes in
octavo were published simultaneously.

For the third and fourth editions the author revised the text of the
novel, rewrote his own Preface and Postscript, substantially expanding
the latter, and dropped the Preface written by Warburton. The additions
to the Postscript, like the letters and passages 'restored' to the novel
itself, are distinguished in the new editions by points in the margin.

The revised Preface and Postscript, which in the following pages are
reproduced from the fourth edition, constitute the most extensive and
fully elaborated statement of a theory of fiction ever published by
Richardson. The Preface and concluding Note to _Sir Charles Grandison_
are, by comparison, brief and restricted in their application; while the
introductory material in _Pamela_ is, so far as critical theory is
concerned, slight and incoherent.

The _Hints of Prefaces for Clarissa_, a transcript of which is also
included in this publication, is an equally important and in some ways
an even more interesting document. It appears to have been put together
by Richardson while he was revising the Preface and Postscript to the
first edition. Certain sections of it are preliminary drafts of some of
the new material incorporated in the revised Postscript. Large portions
of _Hints of Prefaces_, however, were not used then and have never
previously appeared in print. Among these are two critical assessments
of the novel by Philip Skelton and Joseph Spence; and a number of
observations--some merely jottings--by Richardson himself on the
structure of the novel and the virtues of the epistolary style. The
statements of Skelton and Spence are unusual amongst contemporary
discussions of _Clarissa_ for their brevity, lucidity, and sustained
critical relevance. Richardson's own comments, though disorganized and
fragmentary, show that he was attempting to develop a theory of the
epistolary novel as essentially dramatic, psychologically realistic, and
inherently superior to 'the dry Narrative',[2] particularly as
exemplified in the novels of Henry Fielding.

It is impossible to determine how much of _Hints of Prefaces_ or of the
published Preface and Postscript is Richardson's own work. All were to
some extent the result of collaborative effort, and Richardson did not
always distinguish clearly between what he had written and what had been
supplied by other people.[3] The concluding paragraph of the Postscript,
for example, appears in the first edition to be the work of Richardson
himself, although in the revised version he indicates that it was
composed by someone else. In this instance due acknowledgment may have
been easy; but in many other places it may have been extraordinarily
difficult for the author/editor to disentangle his own words and ideas
from those of his friends.

In preparing the Preface and Postscript Richardson was faced with a
genuine problem. He realised that his achievement in _Clarissa_ was of
sufficient magnitude and novelty to demand some theoretical defence and
explanation. But he realised also that he was himself inadequate to the
task. 'The very great Advantage of an Academical Education, I have
wanted,'[4] he confessed to Mr. D. Graham of King's College. He lacked
that familiarity with literature and with the conventions of literary
criticism which would have made it easy for him to produce the analysis
of his novel which he felt was needed. No wonder he told Graham that 'of
all the Species of Writing, I love not Preface-Writing;'[5] and it is
not surprising that, both before and after the publication of
_Clarissa_, he should have besieged his friends with requests for their
opinions of the novel.

In making these requests he was not simply seeking flattery. What he
needed were sympathetic critics who could clothe in acceptable language
statements which he would recognise as expressing the truth about his
masterpiece. _Hints of Prefaces_, especially if read in the context of
the numerous replies Richardson received, reveals very plainly the
extent to which he was aware of what he wanted from his correspondents.
Most, unfortunately, were sadly incapable of producing a _critical_
account of the novel. In this company Skelton and Spence were brilliant
exceptions; and Richardson's adoption of their statements, apparently to
the exclusion of all others, indicates the soundness of his own critical
intuitions. Equally interesting is his treatment of Warburton's Preface.
Although he did not reprint this in the third and fourth editions, one
paragraph from it is preserved in _Hints of Prefaces_.[6] Significantly,
it is the only paragraph in Warburton's essay which has something to say
about the distinctive qualities of _Clarissa_.

In formulating all these critical statements Richardson is concerned
less with developing a theory of fiction for its own sake than with
justifying his action in writing a novel. His main defence, of course,
is that _Clarissa_ is morally valuable. The reader who expects it to be
a 'mere _Novel_ or _Romance_'[7] will be disappointed; and, as 'in all
Works of This, and of the Dramatic Kind, STORY, or AMUSEMENT, should be
considered as little more than the _Vehicle_ to the more necessary
INSTRUCTION'[8]--a dictum that Fielding was to quote with approval.[9]

The argument, though valid, is excessively laboured. In the Postscript,
especially, Richardson is so preoccupied with demonstrating that
_Clarissa_ is a Christian tragedy that he neglects to develop in any
detail the other claims he makes for it. Yet _Hints of Prefaces_ shows
that he had given considerable thought to what might be called the
purely fictive qualities of his novel, and that at one stage he intended
to present a much fuller account of them than he finally did. It is also
clear that he realized that his didactic purposes could be achieved only
if the novel succeeded first at the level of imaginative realism.

From the beginning Richardson claimed to be a realist: _Pamela_, it is
announced on the title page, is a 'Narrative which has its Foundation in
TRUTH and NATURE;' and the main purpose of the Postscript to _Clarissa_
is to demonstrate that the story and the manner in which it is told are
consonant both with the high artistic standards set by the Greek
dramatists and with the facts of everyday life. The decision not to
conclude the story with the reformation of Lovelace and his marriage to
the heroine is defended on the grounds that 'the Author ... always
thought, that _sudden Conversions_ ... had neither _Art_, nor _Nature_,
nor even _Probability_, in them;'[10] and in the passage in _Hints of
Prefaces_[11] of which this is a condensation, he attempts to make out a
case for the second part of _Pamela_ as a realistic study of married
life. _Clarissa_ is stated to be superior to pagan tragedies because it
dispenses with the old ideas of poetic justice and takes into account
the continuance of life after death. (Richardson has his cake while
eating it, however, for he points out that 'the notion of _Poetical
Justice_ founded on the _modern rules_'[12] is strictly observed in

The claim that _Clarissa_ presents a generally truthful rendering of
life is given its clearest expression by Skelton and Spence. Both
emphasize that it is different from conventional romances and novels:
'it is another kind of Work, or rather a new Species of Novel,'[13] we
have 'a Work of a new kind among us'.[14] _Clarissa_ is concerned with
'the Workings of private and domestic Passions', says Skelton, and
'[not] those of Kings, Heroes, Heroines ... it comes home to the Heart,
and to common Life, in every Line.'[15] The author, says Spence, has not
followed the example of the writers of romances, but 'has attempted to
give a plain and natural Account of an Affair that happened in a private
Family, just in the manner that it did happen.'[16]

Richardson's decision not to include these two essays in the Postscript
was perhaps influenced by the fact that he was able to use a similar
testimonial which had the added virtue of being patently unsolicited.
This is the 'Critique on the History of CLARISSA, written in French, and
published at Amsterdam',[17] an English translation of which had been
printed in the _Gentleman's Magazine_ of June and August, 1749.
Published anonymously, but written by Albrecht von Haller,[18] this
review must have been particularly attractive also to Richardson because
of the singular praise it accords his Epistolary method'. It had already
been asserted by de Freval, in the first of the introductory letters to
_Pamela_, that with this way of writing 'the several Passions of the
Mind must ... be more affectingly described, and Nature may be traced in
her undisguised Inclinations with much more Propriety and Exactness,
than can possibly be found in a Detail of Actions long past;'[19] and
von Haller carries the charge even further by claiming not only that it
allows the author a greater degree of psychological veracity but also
that the convention itself is inherently more realistic than ordinary
narrative: 'Romances in general ... are wholly improbable; because they
suppose the History to be written after the series of events is closed
by the catastrophe: A circumstance which implies a strength of memory
beyond all example and probability in the persons concerned.'[20]

Richardson also believed that the epistolary method was superior to the
narrative because it was essentially dramatic. Aaron Hill, in one of the
introductory letters to _Pamela_, had maintained that 'one of the
best-judg'd Peculiars of the Plan' was that the moral instruction was
conveyed 'as in a kind of Dramatical Representation';[21] while in the
Postscript to _Clarissa_ Richardson describes it as a 'History (or
rather Dramatic Narrative)'.[22] The parallels which he draws between
_Clarissa_ and Greek tragedy are directed mainly to illuminating the
tragic rather than the specifically dramatic qualities of the novel. But
it is clear that he regarded his work as being closer in every way to
the drama than to the epic.

The basic distinction between drama and epic (or any other form of
narrative) had been drawn by Aristotle:

     The poet, imitating the same object ... may do it either in
     narration--and that, again, either by personating other characters,
     as Homer does, or in his own person throughout ... --or he may
     imitate by representing all his characters as real, and employed in
     the action itself.[23]

Le Bossu, in his _Treatise of the Epick Poem_, gives his own restatement
of this, and amplifies it by pointing to the particular virtues of the
drama: by presenting characters directly to the spectators drama 'has no
parts exempt from the Action,' and is thus 'entire and perfect'.
Fielding was familiar with the _Treatise_, and it is possible that
Richardson had also looked at Le Bossu to prepare himself for dealing
with the epic theory of his rival.[24]

There were also precedents for placing the novel in the dramatic rather
than the epic tradition. Congreve, when he wrote _Incognita_ (1692),
took the drama as his model. 'Since all Traditions must indisputably
give place to the _Drama_,' he wrote in the Preface, 'and since there is
no possibility of giving that life to the Writing or Repetition of a
Story which it has in the Action, I resolved ... to imitate _Dramatick_
Writing ... in the Design, Contexture, and Result of the Plot. I have
not observed it before in a Novel.'[25] The analogy with drama had also
been drawn by Henry Gally in his _Critical Essay on
Characteristic-Writings_ (1725), who, after maintaining that 'the
essential Parts of the Characters, in the _Drama_, and in
_Characteristic-Writings_ are the same,' goes on to praise the _Tatler_
and the _Spectator_ for the 'excellent Specimens in the
Characteristic-Way' that they offered their readers.[26] Such
acknowledgments of the dramatic potentialities in prose fiction were,
however, unusual. The romances were modelled on the epic (Fielding, in
fact, describes _Joseph Andrews_ in his Preface as a 'comic Romance');
and the picaresque mode in which Smollett wrote had no obviously
dramatic qualities. Richardson's advocacy of the novel in which action
is presented rather than retailed seems, indeed, curiously modern: it is
something Henry James would certainly have understood and approved.

In formulating his own theory of fiction Richardson had Fielding very
much in mind. It would be surprising if he had not: the rivalry between
the two novelists was open and recognised, although by the time
_Clarissa_ was published it had assumed the appearance of friendliness.
Sarah Fielding's association with Richardson probably had something to
do with this; but the reconciliation was largely her brother's own work.
His just and generous praise of _Clarissa_--publicly in the _Jacobite's
Journal_ and privately in a letter to the author--[27] makes full and
honourable amends for his mockery of Richardson in _Shamela_ and _Joseph
Andrews_. If he had not published _Tom Jones_ all might have been well.
But Richardson could not forgive his old enemy for achieving a triumph
in his chosen field so soon after the publication of his own
masterpiece. He abused Fielding covertly in letters to his friends; and
his revisions of the Preface and Postscript were designed in part to
counter the claims for the comic prose epic advanced in _Tom Jones_ and
elsewhere. _Hints of Prefaces_ reveals this more clearly than the
published versions of the Preface and Postscript: Richardson
unfortunately lacked the courage and confidence to press home the

_Hints of Prefaces_ bears no date, but there is evidence that it was
assembled after the first edition of _Clarissa_ had appeared and, in
part at least, after the publication of _Tom Jones_. Richardson refers
directly at one point to 'this Second Publication',[28] and several
sections in it are printed (either in full or in a condensed form) only
in the revised Postscript. _Hints of Prefaces_ therefore cannot be a
discarded draft of the Preface and Postscript to the first edition. The
final volumes of this first edition came out in December 1748, and _Tom
Jones_ was published in the following February. A letter from Skelton,
dated June 10th, 1749,[29] which mentions an 'inclosed Paper' on
_Clarissa_, indicates that his essay did not reach Richardson until
after this date; and in the letter to Graham, from which I have already
quoted, we find him in the May of 1750 still seeking assistance in the
preparation of his Preface.

Apart from such evidence it is obvious that one section of _Hints of
Prefaces_ is directed specifically at Fielding. In pages [12] and [13]
of the manuscript Richardson seems to be answering, consciously and in
sequence, arguments brought forward in the Preface to _Joseph Andrews_;
the Prefaces contributed by Fielding to the second edition of _The
Adventures of David Simple_ (1744), by his sister, Sarah, and its
sequel, _Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David
Simple_ (1747); and, of course, the introductory chapters in _Tom
Jones_. Richardson begins this part of _Hints of Prefaces_ with a
discussion of the three kinds of romance: those that offer us
'_Ridicule_; or _Serious Adventure_; or, lastly, a _Mixture of both_'.
He admits 'that there are some Works under the First of these Heads,
which have their Excellencies,' but doubts 'whether _Ridicule_ is a
proper basis ... whereon to build instruction.'[30] The reference here
seems clearly to be to the Preface to _Joseph Andrews_ where Fielding
presents his theory of the comic romance and the ridiculous. Richardson
then proceeds to defend his epistolary method--a convention which
Fielding had singled out for attack in his Preface to _Familiar
Letters_, remarking that 'no one will contend, that the epistolary Style
is in general the most proper to a Novelist, or that it hath been used
by the best Writers of this Kind.'[31] Even if Richardson had not been a
subscriber to Miss Fielding's small volume, he could scarcely have
overlooked a challenge so unequivocal as this. In _Clarissa_ he knew
that the challenge had been answered triumphantly: among other things it
is a complete vindication of the epistolary technique:

     We need not insist on the evident Superiority of this Method to the
     dry Narrative; where the _Novelist_ moves on, his own dull Pace, to
     the End of his Chapter and Book, interweaving impertinent Digressions,
     for fear the Reader's Patience should be exhausted...[32]

_Tom Jones_, with its books, chapters, critical interpolations, and
ironical apologies to the reader, is the target here; and Richardson
clearly longed to inflict a defeat on its author in the realm of theory
as resounding as the one he believed he had achieved over him in
practice. His nerve failed him, however, and his defence of the
epistolary method as it finally appears in the revised Postscript is
cursory and deceptively restrained: 'The author ... perhaps mistrusted
his talents for the narrative kind of writing. He had the good fortune
to succeed in the Epistolary way once before.'[33]

After completing _Clarissa_ Richardson had a clear and conscious
apprehension of the scope and unique qualities of his achievement. His
ability to give an account of these things, however, was limited, though
not so limited as he feared: for his theory of the novel to be fully
understood, the final versions of his Preface and Postscript need to be
read in conjunction with the hitherto unpublished _Hints of Prefaces for

  R. F. Brissenden
  Australian National University


[1] See _Samuel Richardson: a bibliographical Record of his literary
Career_, by William Merritt Sale (New Haven, 1936), pp. 49-50.

[2] _Hints of Prefaces for Clarissa_, p. [13], 13.

[3] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 370.

[4] Forster MSS., XV, f 84, May 3, 1750.

[5] Ibid., f 85.

[6] [6], ... Warburton's Preface is reproduced in _Prefaces to Fiction_,
With an Introduction by Benjamin Boyce, Augustan Reprint Society
Publication Number 32 (Los Angeles, 1952).

[7] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 367.

[8] Preface (first edition) Vol. I, vi.

[9] '_Pleasantry_, (as the ingenious Author of Clarissa says of a Story)
_should be made only the Vehicle of Instruction_. _The Covent-Garden
Journal_, Number 10, 4th February, 1752. 'If entertainment, as Mr.
Richardson observes, be but a secondary consideration in a romance ...
it may well be so considered in a work founded, like this, on truth.'
_Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon_ (London, 1755), The Preface, pp.

[10] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 349.

[11] _Hints of Prefaces_, p. [2], 2.

[12] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 359.

[13] _Hints of Prefaces_, p. [8], 7.

[14] Ibid., p. [9], 8.

[15] Ibid., p. [8], 7.

[16] Ibid., p. [9], 8.

[17] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 366, footnote (a).

[18] See Lawrence Marsden Price, 'On The Reception of Richardson in
Germany', _JEGP_, XXV (1926), 7-33.

[19] _Pamela_ (London, 1741), Vol. I, vii. See _Samuel Richardson's
Introduction to Pamela_, edited by Sheridan W. Baker, Jr., Augustan
Reprint Society Publication Number 48 (Los Angeles, 1954).

[20] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 366.

[21] _Pamela_ (London, 1741), second edition, Vol. I, xviii.

[22] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 351.

[23] _The Poetics_, I, iv, in _Aristotle's Poetics and Rhetoric_
(Everyman's Library) (London, 1953), p. 8.

[24] _Monsieur Bossu's Treatise of the Epick Poem_ (London, 1695), p.
114. Le Bossu's _Treatise_ was first published in France in 1675.
Compare, for example, Richardson's use of the term 'episodes' (_Hints of
Prefaces_, p. [4], 4) with the _Treatise_, Book II, chapters II-VI.

[25] Op. cit. The Preface to the Reader (unpaginated).

[26] _The Moral Characters of Theophrastus ... To which is prefix'd A
Critical Essay on Characteristic-Writings_ (London, 1725), pp. 98-99.
Reproduced, with an Introduction by Alexander H. Chorney, as Augustan
Reprint Society Publication Number 33 (Los Angeles, 1952).

[27] _The Jacobite's Journal_, January 2, 1747 [in mistake for 1748].
Number 5. 'Such Simplicity, such Manners, such deep Penetration into
Nature; such Power to raise and alarm the Passions, few Writers, either
ancient or modern, have been possessed of ... Sure this Mr. _Richardson_
is Master of all that Art which Horace compares to Witchcraft ...' Also,
March 5, 1748, Number 14. The letter, dated October 15, 1748, is
reprinted in 'A New Letter from Fielding', by E. L. McAdam, Jr., _Yale
Review_ (NS), XXXVIII (1948-49), 300-310.

[28] _Hints of Prefaces_, p. [12], 11.

[29] Forster MSS., Vol. XV, f 47.

[30] _Hints of Prefaces_, p. [12], 11.

[31] _Familiar Letters between the Principal Characters in David Simple_
(London, 1747), Vol. I, ix.

[32] _Hints of Prefaces_, p. [13], 13.

[33] Postscript (fourth edition), p. 365.


_APPENDIX: Philip Skelton and Joseph Spence_

Philip Skelton (1707-1787) was an Irish divine who could well have
served as a model for Parson Adams, for in his life he exhibited a
vigorous combination of good humour, physical bravery, quixotic
gallantry and practical Christianity. The article in the DNB records
that 'he studied physic and prescribed for the poor, argued successfully
with profligates and sectaries, persuaded lunatics out of their
delusions, fought and trounced a company of profane travelling tinkers,
and chastised a military officer who persisted in swearing.' During
famine he gave liberally to sustain his poor parishioners, on one
occasion selling his library to help them. _The Life of Philip Skelton_,
by Samuel Burdy, first published in 1792, still makes entertaining and
interesting reading. Richardson met Skelton when he visited London in
1748 to publish _Ophiomaches, or Deism Revealed_. On David Hume's
recommendation Andrew Millar published the work; and Richardson also
seems to have played some part in getting the book accepted (Forster
MSS, XV, f 34).

The author of Spence's _Anecdotes_ needs no special introduction,
although some aspects of his relationship with Richardson are of
interest. He apparently first met the novelist late in 1747 or early in
1748. Richardson sought his opinion on _Clarissa_ before the final
volumes of the first edition had appeared: his letter discussing the
novel [_The Correspondence of Samuel Richardson_, edited by Anna
Laetitia Barbauld (London, 1804), Vol. II, 319-327], which emphasizes
Richardson's truth to 'Nature' and lack of 'Art', makes an interesting
contrast with the more considered verdict delivered in his contribution
to _Hints of Prefaces_. Before writing this he had almost certainly read
_Tom Jones_. In a letter, dated April 15, 1749, he says: 'Tom Jones is
my old acquaintance, now; for I read it, before it was publisht: & read
it with such rapidity, that I began & ended with in the compass of four
days; tho' I took a Journey to St. Albans, in ye same time. He is to me
extreamly entertaining....' He seems to have contemplated writing a
memoir of Richardson after the novelist's death in 1760.

[See Austin Wright, _Joseph Spence: a critical Biography_ (Chicago,
1950), 120-123, 232 n.]


p. 368, 1. 31--p. 369, 1. 10:

This passage is part of Richardson's new material for his revised
Postscript. What he wrote in this paragraph, however, was not reproduced
completely or accurately in either the third or the fourth editions, in
each of which it appears in different but equally incorrect versions.
W.M. Sale has offered a convincing explanation of how the mistakes in
printing came about, and suggests that the passage should read as

     She was very early happy in the conversation-visits of her learned
     and worthy Dr. Lewen, and in her correspondencies, not with him
     only, but with other Divines mentioned in her last Will. Her Mother
     was, upon the whole, a good woman, who did credit to her birth and
     her fortune; and was able to instruct her in her early youth: Her
     Father was not a free-living, or free-principled man; and _both_
     delighted in her for those improvements and attainments, which gave
     her, _and them in her_, a distinction that caused it to be said,
     that when she was out of the family, it was considered but as a
     common family.

[_Samuel Richardson: a bibliographical Record of his Literary Career_
(New Haven, 1936), 59-61].


The Preface to the first edition is reproduced from a copy at the
Huntington Library, the Postscript to the fourth edition of _Clarissa_
from a copy in the Rare Books Room of the Library of the University of
North Carolina. _Hints of Prefaces for Clarissa_ is a transcript of a
manuscript in the Forster Collection (Vol. XV, ff 49-58) in the Victoria
and Albert Museum. (Single underlinings have been rendered in italics,
double underlinings in boldface.) Thanks is extended to these
institutions for their kind permission for the reproduction of this

  OF A
  _The most_ Important Concerns _of_ Private LIFE,
  And particularly shewing,
  The DISTRESSES that may attend the Misconduct
  In Relation to MARRIAGE.

  _Published by the_ EDITOR _of_ PAMELA.

  VOL. I.

  Printed for S. Richardson:
  And Sold by A. MILLAR, over-against _Catharine-street_ in the _Strand_:
  J. and JA. RIVINGTON, in _St. Paul's Church-yard_:
  JOHN OSBORN, in _Pater-noster Row_;
  And by J. LEAKE, at _Bath_.



The following History is given in a Series of Letters, written
principally in a double, yet separate, Correspondence;

Between Two young Ladies of Virtue and Honour, bearing an inviolable
Friendship for each other, and writing upon the most interesting
Subjects: And

Between Two Gentlemen of free Lives; one of them glorying in his Talents
for Stratagem and Invention, and communicating to the other, in
Confidence, all the secret Purposes of an intriguing Head, and resolute

But it is not amiss to premise, for the sake of such as may apprehend
Hurt to the Morals of Youth from the more freely-written Letters, That
the Gentlemen, tho' professed Libertines as to the Fair Sex, and making
it one of their wicked Maxims, to keep no Faith with any of the
Individuals of it who throw themselves into their Power, are not,
however, either Infidels or Scoffers: Nor yet such as think themselves
freed from the Observance of those other moral Obligations, which bind
Man to Man.

On the contrary, it will be found, in the Progress of the Collection,
that they very often make such Reflections upon each other, and each
upon himself, and upon his Actions, as reasonable Beings, who disbelieve
not a future State of Rewards and Punishments (and who one day propose
to reform) must sometimes make:--One of them actually reforming, and
antidoting the Poison which some might otherwise apprehend would be
spread by the gayer Pen, and lighter Heart, of the other.

And yet that other, [altho' in unbosoming himself to a _select Friend_,
he discover Wickedness enough to intitle him to general Hatred]
preserves a Decency, as well in his Images, as in his Language, which is
not always to be found in the Works of some of the most celebrated
modern Writers, whose Subjects and Characters have less warranted the
Liberties they have taken.

Length will be naturally expected, not only from what has been said,
but from the following Considerations:

That the Letters on both Sides are written while the Hearts of the
Writers must be supposed to be wholly engaged in their Subjects: The
Events at the Time generally dubious:--So that they abound, not only
with critical Situations; but with what may be called _instantaneous_
Descriptions and Reflections; which may be brought home to the Breast of
the youthful Reader:--As also, with affecting Conversations; many of
them written in the Dialogue or Dramatic Way.

To which may be added, that the Collection contains not only the History
of the excellent Person whose Name it bears, but includes The Lives,
Characters, and Catastrophes, of several others, either principally or
incidentally concerned in the Story.

But yet the Editor [to whom it was referred to publish the Whole in such
a Way as he should think would be most acceptable to the Public] was so
diffident in relation to this Article of _Length_, that he thought
proper to submit the Letters to the Perusal of several judicious
Friends; whose Opinion he desired of what might be best spared.

One Gentleman, in particular, of whose Knowlege, Judgment, and
Experience, as well as Candor, the Editor has the highest Opinion,
advised him to give a Narrative Turn to the Letters; and to publish only
what concerned the principal Heroine;--striking off the collateral
Incidents, and all that related to the Second Characters; tho' he
allowed the Parts which would have been by this means excluded, to be
both instructive and entertaining. But being extremely fond of the
affecting Story, he was desirous to have every-thing parted with, which
he thought retarded its Progress.

This Advice was not relished by other Gentlemen. They insisted, that the
Story could not be reduced to a Dramatic Unity, nor thrown into the
Narrative Way, without divesting it of its Warmth; and of a great Part
of its Efficacy; as very few of the Reflections and Observations, which
they looked upon as the most useful Part of the Collection, would, then,
find a Place.

They were of Opinion, That in all Works of This, and of the Dramatic
Kind, STORY, or AMUSEMENT, should be considered as little more than the
_Vehicle_ to the more necessary INSTRUCTION: That many of the Scenes
would be render'd languid, were they to be made less busy: And that the
Whole would be thereby deprived of that Variety, which is deemed the
Soul of a Feast, whether _mensal_ or _mental_.

They were also of Opinion, That the Parts and Characters, which must be
omitted, if this Advice were followed, were some of the most natural in
the whole Collection: And no less instructive; especially to _Youth_.
Which might be a Consideration perhaps overlooked by a Gentleman of the
Adviser's great Knowlege and Experience: For, as they observed, there is
a Period in human Life, in which, youthful Activity ceasing, and Hope
contenting itself to peep out of its own domestic Wicket upon bounded
Prospects, the half-tired Mind aims at little more than
_Amusement_.--And, with Reason; for what, in the _instructive_ Way, can
appear either _new_ or _needful_ to one who has happily got over those
dangerous Situations which call for Advice and Cautions, and who has
fill'd up his Measures of Knowlege to the Top?

Others, likewise gave _their_ Opinions. But no Two being of the same
Mind, as to the Parts which could be omitted, it was resolved to present
to the World, the Two First Volumes, by way of Specimen: and to be
determined with regard to the rest by the Reception those should meet

If that be favourable, Two others may soon follow; the whole Collection
being ready for the Press: That is to say, If it be not found necessary
to abstract or omit some of the Letters, in order to reduce the Bulk of
the Whole.

Thus much in general. But it may not be amiss to add, in particular,
that in the great Variety of Subjects which this Collection contains it
is one of the principal Views of the Publication,

     To caution Parents against the _undue_ Exertion of their natural
     Authority over their Children, in the great Article of Marriage:

     And Children against preferring a Man of Pleasure to a Man of
     Probity, upon that dangerous, but too commonly received Notion,
     _That a Reformed Rake makes the best Husband_.

But as the Characters will not all appear in the Two First Volumes, it
has been thought advisable, in order to give the Reader some further
Idea of Them, and of the Work, to prefix




Prefatical Hints. Partly taken from Letters to the Warrington Lady,
Letter VI.

As Religion is too often wounded thro' the sides of its Professors,
whether all good Men or not; so is Virtue, where Women are thought too
meanly of, and depretiated. The Author of the following Work, being
convinced of the Truth of this Observation, has endeavoured in it to
exalt the Sex. He has made his Heroine pass thro' many Persecutions from
her Friends, and ardent Trials from her Lover; yet in the first to keep
her Duty in her Eye, and in the latter to be proof against the most
insidious Arts, Devices, and Machinations of a Man, who holds, as Parts
of the Rake's Credenda, these two Libertine Maxims; That no Woman can
resist _Opportunity_ and _Importunity_, especially when attacked by a
Man she loves; and, That, _when once subdued, she is always subdued_;
and who sets out with a Presumption, that in the Conquest of such a Lady
he shall triumph over the whole Sex, against which he had vowed Revenge
for having been used ill, as he thought, by one of it.

The Lady's Sufferings and Distresses are unequalled. Like pure Gold,
tried by the Fire of Affliction, she is found pure. She preserves her
Will inviolate, her Sincerity unimpeachable, her Duty to those who do
not theirs by her, intire--Is patient, serene, resigned; and, from the
best Motives, aspires to a World more worthy of her, than that she longs
to quit.

The Christian System, in short, is endeavoured in her Conduct to be
recommended and enforced. This Life she looks upon as a Life of
Probation only. She prepares for a better. Her Preparation is
exemplarily set forth, and expatiated upon. She has her perfidious Lover
for her Vindicator. He engages all his own Relations, who adore her
(while hers, influenced by wicked Reports, persecute her) to plead for
him; and that she will accept of him upon her own Terms.

Here is her Triumph. Yet not glorying in it herself; but, on reasonable
and just Motives, rejecting him; Motives, that every virtuous Heart must
approve of. Yet believing that she shall not long live, in the true
Christian Spirit of Forgiveness, wishes and prays for his Reformation.
She as nobly forgives, and prays for, and endeavours to give posthumous
Comfort to, her persecuting Relations; wounding all of them deeper by
the Generosity of her Forgiveness, than if they were to suffer the most
cruel Deaths.

While it is one of the latent Morals of this Work, that Women, in
chusing Companions for Life, should chuse companiable Men; should chuse
for Men whose Hearts would probably be all their own, rather than to
share with Scores perhaps the volatile mischievous one of a Libertine:
In short, that they should chuse for _Mind_ and not for _Person_; and
not make a Jest of a good Man, in favour of a bad, who would make a Jest
of them, and of their whole Sex. / /


"May my Story," says our Heroine, Vol. ____ p. ____ "be a Warning to all
my Sex, how they perfer a Libertine to a Man of true Honour; and how
they permit themselves, where they mean the best) [sic] to be misled by
the specious, but foolish Hope of subduing _rivetted Habits_, and, as I
may say, of _altering Natures_. The more foolish, as Experience might
convince us, that there is hardly one in ten, of even tolerably happy
Marriages, in which the Wife keeps the Hold in the Husband's Affections,
which she had in the Lover's. What Influence then can she hope to have
upon the Morals of an avowed Libertine, who marries perhaps for
Conveniency; who despises the Tie; and whom it is too probable that
nothing but Age or Sickness, or Disease (the Consequence of ruinous
Riot), can reclaim." There cannot be a more pernicious Notion, than that
which is so commonly received, That a reformed Rake makes the best
Husband. This Notion it was the Intent of the Author of Clarissa to

The Authors of Novels and Romances, who always make their Heroes and
Heroines contend with great Distresses (the more romantic, with them,
the better) seem to think they have done every-thing, when they have
joined the Lovers Hands; and this is called a _happy Ending_ of the
Story. But, alas! it is then, too generally, that the Lovers have the
greatest Difficulties to encounter with, as they then see each other in
nearer and truer Lights.

And I have moreover always thought, that these sudden Conversions have
neither Art, nor Nature, nor Probability in them; and that they are,
besides, of very bad Example. To have a Libertine, for a Series of
Years, glory in his Wickedness, and to think he had nothing to do, but,
as an Act of Grace and Favour, to hold out his Hand to receive that of
the best of Women, whenever he pleased, and that Marriage would be a
sufficient Amends for his Villainies, I could not bear that, nor wished
I, that the World should think it Amends.

I had given in the Story of Pamela what is called a happy Issue. It was,
however, owing to her implicit Submission to a lordly and imperious
Husband, who hardly deserved her, that she was happy; a Submission which
every Woman could not have shewn. And yet she had a too well grounded
Jealousy to contend with afterwards; which, for the time, tore her Heart
in pieces. Nor was Mr. B's Reformation secured, till religious
Considerations obtained place, on seeing the Precipice he was dancing
upon with the Countess. _For we must observe_, that Reformation is not
to be secured by a fine Face, by a Passion that has Sense for its
Object; nor by the Goodness of a Wife's Heart, if the Husband have not a
good one of his own; and that properly touched by the divine Finger.

The Author of this Piece was willing to try to do something in this way,
that never before had been done. The Tragic Poets have seldom made their
Heroes _true_ Objects of Pity; and very seldom have made them in their
Deaths look forward to a better Hope. And thus, when they die, they seem
_totally_ to perish. Death in _such_ Instances must be terrible. It must
be considered as the greatest Evil. But why is Death set in such
shocking Lights, when it is the common Lot? / /

       *       *       *       *       *

The Heroine of this Piece shews, that she has well considered this great
Point, when she says--"What is even the long Life, which in high Health
we wish for? What but, as we go along, a Life of Apprehension, sometimes
for our Friends, oftener for ourselves? And at last, when arrived at the
old Age we covet, one heavy Loss or Deprivation having succeeded
another, we see ourselves stript, as I may say, of every one we loved;
and find ourselves exposed, as uncompaniable poor Creatures, to the
Slights, the Contempts, of jostling Youth, who want to push us off the
Stage, in Hopes to possess what we have. And, superadded to all, our own
Infirmities every Day increasing; of themselves enough to make the Life
we wished for, the greatest Disease of all."

Such are the Doctrines, such the Lessons, which are endeavoured to be
inculcated in the following Sheets by an Example in natural Life. The
more unfashionable, the more irksome, these Doctrines, these Lessons,
are to the Young, the Gay, and the Healthy, the more necessary are they
to be inculcated. Religion never since the Reformation was at so low an
Ebb as at present: And if there be those, who suppose this Work to be of
the Novel Kind, it may not be amiss, even in the Opinion of such, to
try whether, by an Accommodation to the light Taste of the Age a
Religious Novel will do Good.

But altho' the Work, according to the Account thus far given of it, may
be thought to wear a solemn Aspect, and is indeed intended to be of the
Tragic Species, it will not be amiss to acquaint our youthful Readers,
that they will find in the Letters of the Gentlemen, and even in many of
those of one of the Ladies, Scenes and Subjects of a diverting Turn; one
of the Men humorously, yet not uninstructively, glorying in his Talents
for Stratagem and Invention, as he communicates to the other, in
Confidence, all the secret Purposes of his Heart.

Not uninstructively, we repeat; for it is proper to apprise the serious
Reader, and such as may apprehend Hurt to the Morals of Youth from their
Perusal of the more freely written Letters, that the Gentlemen, tho'
professed Libertines as to the Fair Sex, are not, however, Infidels or
Scoffers; nor yet such as think themselves freed from the Observance of
those other moral Obligations which bind Man to Man. / /


The Reader is referred to the Postscript, at the End of the last Volume,
for what may be further necessary to be observed in relation to this

Judges will see, that, long as the Work is, there is not one Digression,
not one Episode, not one Reflection, but what arises naturally from the
Subject, and makes for it, and to carry it on.

Variety of Styles and Circumstances.

  The Two first Volumes chiefly written by the Two Ladies.
  Two next....................................by Lovelace.
  Three last.....................by the reforming Belford.

Whence different Styles, Manners, &c. that make Episodes useless.

~_Clarissa an Example to the Reader: The Example not to be taken from the

The vicious Characters in this History are more pure, Images more
chaste, than in the most virtuous of the Dramatic Poets.

Clarissa is so ready to find fault with herself on every Occasion, that
we cannot consent, that a Character so exemplary in the greater Points
should suffer merely from the Inattention of the hasty Reader. Let us
therefore consider of some of the Objections made against her Story: And
yet we may venture to assert, that there is not an Objection that is
come to Knowlege [sic], but is either answered or anticipated in the

Obj. I. _Clarissa has been thought by some to want Love_--To be
prudish--To be over-delicate.

Those who blame Clarissa for Over-niceness, would most probably have
been an easy Prey to a Lovelace.

One Design in her Character is to shew, that Love ought to be overcome,
when it has not Virtue or Reformation for its Object.

Many Persons readier to find fault with a supposed perfect Character,
than to try to imitate it: To bring it down to their Level, rather than
to rise to it.

Clarissa an Example _to_ the Reader: The Example not to be taken _from_
the Reader.

Obj. II. _Lovelace could not be so generous, and so wicked._ Common
Experience confutes this Objection.

Obj. III. _There could not be such a Tyrant of a Father: Such an
insolent and brutal Brother: Such an unrelenting Sister: Such a passive
Mother_--Every-body is not of this Opinion. It were to be wished, that
this Objection were unanswerable.

Obj. IV. _The History is too minute._ Its Minuteness one of its


Attentive Readers have found, and will find, that the Probability of all
Stories told, or of Narrations given, depends upon small Circumstances;
as may be observed, that in all Tryals for Life and Property, the/ /Merits
of the Cause are more determinable by such, than by the greater Facts;
which usually are so laid, and taken care of, as to seem to authenticate

Cannot consent, that the History of Clarissa should be looked upon as a
mere Novel or Amusement--since it is rather a History of Life and
Manners; the principal View of which, by an Accommodation to the present
light Taste of an Age immersed in Diversions, that engage the Eye and
the Ear only, and not the Understanding, aims to investigate the great
Doctrines of Christianity, and to teach the Reader how to die, as well
as how to live.

Step by Step, Difficulties varied and enumerated, that young Creatures
may know, that tho' they may not have all her Trials, how to comport

If provoked and induced as she was, yet so loth to leave her Friends,
and go off with her Lover, what Blame must those incur, who take such a
Step, and have not her Provocations and Inducements!

Obj. V. _Why did she not throw herself into Lady Betty's Protection?_

For Answer, see Vol. III, p. 152, and before: Also p. 158, 159, that
Lady's writing to her, and not inviting her to her. See also their
Debate, p. 159, 160.--Miss Montague wishes to see her at M. Hall; but it
is after she should be married. See further, her Observations on Miss
Montague's not excusing her self for not meeting her on the Road; yet
Clarissa's Willingness to say something for L. / /

       *       *       *       *       *


On the contrary, it will be found, that they every-where disclaim the
Impiety of such as endeavour to make a Religion to their Practices; and
                                                each upon himself, and
very often make such Reflections upon each other, and, / upon his Actions,
as reasonable Beings, who disbelieve not a future State of Rewards and
Punishments (and who one Day propose to reform) must sometimes make--one
of them actually reforming, and antidoting the Poison spread by the
gayer Pen, and lighter Heart, of the other.

And yet that other (altho', in unbosoming himself to a select Friend, he
discover Wickedness enough to intitle him to general Hatred) preserves a
Decency as well in his Images, as in his Language, which is not always
to be found in the Works of some of the most celebrated modern Writers,
whose Subjects and Characters have less warranted the Liberties they
have taken.

The Writer chose to tell his Tale in a Series of Letters, supposed to be
written by the Parties concerned, as the Circumstances related passed:
For this Juncture afforded him the only natural Opportunity that could
be had, of representing with any Grace those lively and delicate
Impressions, which _Things present_ are known to make upon the Minds of
those affected by them. And he apprehends, that in the Study of human
Nature the Knowlege [sic] of those Apprehensions leads us farther into
the Recesses of the human Mind, than the colder and more general
Reflections suited to a continued and more contracted Narrative.

On the Contents.

Obj. _Contents will anticipate the Reader's Curiosity._

The Curiosity not so much the View to excite, as the Attention to the
Instruction. When the Curiosity is partly gratified, there will be the
more room for the Attention. Rather instruct, than divert or amuse.

The Reader will remember, that the Instructions, Lessons, and Warnings,
both to Parents and Children, for the sake of which the Whole was
published, cannot appear in a Table of Contents, that means only to
point out the principal Facts, the Connexion of the Whole, and to set
before the Reader as well the blameable as the laudable Conduct of the
principal Characters, and to teach them what to pursue, and what to
avoid, in a Piece that is not to be considered as an Amusement only, but
rather as a History of Life and Manners. / /


Drawn up with a View to obviate such of the Objections as have been made
to particular Characters and Passages, thro' want of Attention to the

--In such as have pursued the Story with too much Rapidity to attend to
the Connexion, and to the Instruction aimed to be given, and to the
Example proposed to be set.

So many important Lessons, as to Life and Manners, in the Work, that the
Reader may be intrusted with the Contents. / /

       *       *       *       *       *


Rev. Mr. Skelton.

They who read Romances and Novels, being accustomed to a Variety of
Intrigues and Adventures, thro' which they are hurried to the
Catastrophe; when they take up Clarissa, not considering that it is
another kind of Work, or rather a new Species of Novel, are apt to think
it tedious, towards the Beginning especially, because they have not the
same Palate for natural Incidents, as for imaginary Adventures; for the
Workings of private and domestic Passions, as for those of Kings,
Heroes, Heroines; for a Story English as to its Scenes, Names, Manners,
as for one that is foreign: But a Reader of true Taste and Judgment will
like it infinitely better, because it comes home to the Heart, and to
common Life, in every Line; because it abounds with a surprising Variety
of Strokes and Paintings, that seem to be taken from real Life, and of
Maxims and Reflections too just, and too useful, to be passed over
unnoticed or unremembred [sic] by a Reader of Experience. These,
together with the masterly Management of the Characters, serve better to
entertain, while they instruct, a judicious Reader, than a Croud of mere
imaginary Amours, Duels, and such-like Events, which abound with Leaves
and Flowers, but no Fruits; and therefore cannot be relished but by a
vitiated Taste, by the Taste of a Chameleon, not of a Man. Two or three
Hours furnish Matter for an excellent Play: Why may not Two or Three
Months supply Materials for as many Volumes? Is the History of
Thucydides less entertaining or instructive, because its Subject is
confined to narrow Bounds, than that of Raleigh, which hath the World
for its Subject? Is Clarissa a mere Novel? Whoever considers it as such,
does not understand it. It is a System of religious and moral Precepts
and Examples, planned on an entertaining Story, which stands or goes
forward, as the excellent Design of the Author requires; but never
stands without pouring in Incidents, Descriptions, Maxims, that keep
Attention alive, that engage and mend the Heart, that play with the
Imagination, while they inform the Understanding. / /

       *       *       *       *       *


Rev. Mr. Spence.

It is the more necessary to say something, by way of Preface, of the
following Work; because it is a Work of a new kind among us.

The Writers of _Novels_ and _Romances_ have generally endeavoured to
pick out the most pleasing Stories; to pass over the dry Parts in them;
and to hurry the Reader on from one striking Event to another. Their
_only_ Aim seems to be that of making a Tissue of Adventures, which by
their Strangeness and Variety are meant only to surprise and please.
Nature they have not much in View; and Morality is often quite out of
the Question with them.

Instead of following this way of writing, the Author of Clarissa has
attempted to give a plain and natural Account of an Affair that happened
in a private Family, just in the manner that it did happen. He has aimed
solely at following Nature; and giving the Sentiments of the Persons
concerned, just as they flowed warm from their Hearts.

The best way to do this he thought was to carry on the Story, not in the
narrative way, as usual; but by making them write their own Thoughts to
Friends, soon after each Incident happened; with all that Naturalness
and Warmth, with which they felt them, at that time, in their own Minds.

This must necessarily lead the Work into a great Length: For as his Aim
was to give a true and full Picture of Nature, the whole Course of the
Affair is represented; frequently, even to the most minute Particulars:
And as they are related by Persons concerned, you have not only the
Particulars, but what they felt in their own Minds at the time, and
their Reflections upon them afterwards: Beside, that Letters always give
a Liberty of little Excursions; and when between Intimate Friends,
require an Opening of the Heart, and consequently a Diffuseness, that
the narrative Style would not admit of.

The chief Intent of the Work was, to draw off the Ladies, if possible,
from the distinguishing Fondness many of them are too apt to entertain
for Rakes; and to shew them, that if they put themselves into the Power
of a Rake, they are sure of being ill used by him.


To this End the Author has chosen out a Story, which is as strong a
Proof of it as can well be. A Lady of particular good Sense, Breeding,
and Morals, is so ill used by her Family, in order to oblige her to
marry a Man she cannot like, that they drive her at last into the Hands
of a Rake, who professes the most honourable Passion for her. From the
Moment she is in his Hands, he is plotting how to ruin her: Her
Innocence is above all his Art and Temtations [sic]; so that he is
forced to use other, and yet viler Means. In spite/ /of all her
Virtue, her Person is abused. She resents it, as she ought; and escapes
from him: But, worn out with a continued Series of ill Usage (from her
own Family, as well as from the Villain, and his Adherents), she
continues languishing; and at last dies forgiving all her Enemies.

To give this the greater Strength, the Lady is represented as superior
to all her Sex; and the Rake of a mixt Character, and not so bad as
several of his. She likes the Man; but has no violent Passion for him:
He loves her above all Women; and yet is resolved most steadily to
pursue her Ruin. All her Calamities with him are occasioned, at
first,[34] by going scarce sensibly out of the Bounds of her Duty; and
afterwards, by being betrayed into an Action[35], which she did not
intend; and which, had she intended [it] [sic], under her Circumstances,
was scarce to be blamed. When in his Hands, her Virtue is invincible:
She is perpetually alarmed, and her Prudence is ever on the Watch. And
yet she falls a Prey to his Villainy; and from being the Glory of her
Sex, becomes an Object of our Compassion. If a Clarissa thus fell, what
must the rest of Women expect, if they give greater Encouragements to
yet more abandoned Men?

There are other Side-Morals (and particularly that very instructive one
to Parents, not to insist too rigidly on forcing their Childrens
Inclinations); but this is the direct Moral of the whole Story: "That a
Woman, even of the greatest Abilities, should not enter into any, even
the most guarded, Correspondence with a Rake; and that if she once falls
into his Power, she is undone."

To enforce this Moral, it was necessary to Paint out all the Distresses
of the Sufferer; and to make her suffer to the End: In doing which, the
Author, I dare say, has given several Pangs to his own Heart, as well as
to the Hearts of his Readers. But these should be looked upon like the
Incisions made by a kind Surgeon; who feels himself for every Stroke
that he gives; and who gives them only out of Humanity, and to save his

Indeed, as the Patients here are the Ladies, the Suffering must be the
greater; to the Author, as well as to them: But had they not better
suffer, from these generous Tendernesses of their own Hearts, than from
the Villainies of such Enemies, as they are here warned to avoid? Their
Tears look beautifully, when they are shed for a Clarissa; but they
would be a killing Sight to one, were they to be shed for themselves,
upon falling into Distresses like hers.


I do not wonder, that in reading this Story, many of them should wish,
that it might have ended less unfortunately. It is agreeable to the
Tenderness and Goodness of their Hearts. The Author, no doubt, wished so
too: But that could not be brought about, without taking away the Moral,
or, at least, very much weakening the Force of it. The Business of this
Work is to shew the Distresses of an almost innocent Sufferer, and the
Villainies of a debauched Man, who wanted chiefly to pride himself in
the Conquest of her. It/ /is all but one Story, with one Design; and
the making the Lady fortunate in the End, would have varied the Fact,
and undermined his Design. In a Picture that represents any melancholy
Story, a good Painter will make the Sky all dark and cloudy; and cast a
Gloom on every thing in it: If the Subject be gay, he gives a Brightness
to all his Sky; and an Enlivening to all the Objects: But he will never
confound these Characters; and give you a Picture that shall be sad in
one half of it, and gay in the other. In this Work the Design is as much
one, and the Colouring as much one, as they can be in a Picture; and to
confuse either, would be the most ready way to spoil both.

Clarissa takes but one false Step in the whole Piece. She is impelled
toward it, in general, by the strange Behaviour of her Family; and
betrayed into it, at the time, by the strange Contrivances of her
Deceiver. But this single Step was of the utmost Consequence. It flings
her into the Power of the most dangerous of Men; and that makes all the
Remainder of her Life melancholy and distressed. This is the Lesson:
And if it be a good one, the Force of it ought not to be weakened by her
Recovering from all her Distresses, and growing quite happy again; which
indeed would not only weaken, but intirely take away, all the Force that
was intended to be given to it.

Yet if Clarissa be unfortunate, she is not miserable. She preserved her
Innocence thro' all her Trials, after that one false Step: When she had
no Comfort to expect in this World, she turns her Hopes and Confidence
toward Heaven: Her Afflictions are soon ended, for the Course of this
whole Affair (taking it from the very Beginning) is included within the
Bounds of one Year: And she departs with Pleasure from a Life full of
Trouble, to be rewarded without End. So that, tho' we are warned by
Clarissa's Example, we have no Reason to be concerned at her
Dissolution: Much more noble, and more to be admired, in her Steadiness,
and just Conduct, then, than when she was caressed by all her Relations,
in the Bloom of her unviolated Innocence, and busied in all the little
endearing Offices of her good Nature, and good Sense. / /

       *       *       *       *       *


All the Objections to the Design and Conduct of the History of =Clarissa=,
which have seemed to carry any Weight in them, being, we presume,
obviated in the PS. to this Work, we apprehend it will be only expected
from us, on this Second Publication, that we exhibit some Particulars,
which may help to shew the superiority of its Moral to any of the Morals
of those Works of Invention, which have been offered to the Public under
the Name of =Novel=, or =Romance=.

Now what a Romance usually professes to entertain us with, may be
considered under Three General Heads; _Ridicule_; or, _Serious
Adventures_; or, lastly, a _Mixture of both_.

It must be owned, that there are some Works under the First of these
Heads, which have their Excellencies; Tho' we may be permitted to doubt,
whether _Ridicule_ is a proper Basis (without the Help of more solid
Buttresses) whereon to build Instruction, whatever Delight it may
administer to the Reader.

As to those Authors who have given us the _Serious_; some of them make
use of a Style as horrid as their Matter: We may be excused mentioning
their Names, in this Place, since, without Self-flattery, we may say, we
disdain to appear on the same Page with them. We shall only observe in
general, that they are far from being clear of the strained Metaphors,
and unnatural Rants, of the old Romances, whose enormous Volumes would
be enough to terrify a Reader who sought only for Amusement, and not for
Employment of his better to be employed Hours.

Between these two Extremes that something useful to the Cause of
Religion and Virtue should be struck out, was the Author of Clarissa's
Intent. Such an Intent has Two manifest Advantages over all other Works
of Invention ~that~ have yet appeared.

The First of these is, That, by the Work now presented to our Fair
Readers, they may be instructed to render themselves superior to that
_extravagant_ Taste in Courtship, which was the prevailing Mode in Two
or Three preceding Centuries; and from which the present, we are sorry
to say, is not absolutely free.

The Second, That, by containing their Views _within the Bounds_ of
Nature and Reason, they may be sweetly, but insensibly, drawn to
preserve a proper Dignity of Behaviour, whereby to awe the Presumption
of the Bold and Forward: So that, while we behold them as Angels of
Light, they would be pleased not to give too convincing Evidence of
their _Fall_ from that to a lower Character; a detestable one too, which
will in a short time sink them as much in the Esteem of their flattering
Admirers, as those very Deceivers had before persuaded them, that they
were elevated above the common Lot of Mortality.

The Choice the Author has made, in this and a former Performance, of
delivering the Sentiments of his Characters in their own Words, by way
of Letters, has also Two principal Advantages, which we beg leave to
specify. / /


In the First place, By this means every one is enabled to judge at first
Sight, whether the respective Persons represented express themselves in
a Style suitable to their Characters, or not, and may thus become a
rational Critic on the Merit of the Piece.

Secondly, Those Characters sink deeper into the Mind of the Reader, and
stamp there a perfect Idea of the very Turn of Thought, by which the
Originals were actuated, and diversified from each other. This must
greatly add to the Pleasure of reading, when a Gentleman or Lady can
readily say, upon hearing a single Paragraph, "This is the accomplished
=Clarissa=; This the spirited and friendly Miss =Howe=; This the
supercilious Pedant =Brand=; This the humane and reclaiming =Belford=; This
the daring, learned, witty, and thence dangerous Libertine =Lovelace=:"
And so of the rest.

We need not insist on the evident Superiority of this Method to the dry
Narrative; where the _Novelist_ moves on, his own dull Pace, to the End
of his Chapter and Book, interweaving impertinent Digressions, for fear
the Reader's Patience should be exhausted by his tedious Dwelling on one
Subject, in the same Style: Which may not unfitly be compared to the
dead Tolling of a single Bell, in Opposition to the wonderful Variety of
Sounds, which constitute the Harmony of a Handel.

As the major Part of such Works as these might be _omitted_, to the
greater Emolument of the Reader, if not of the Writer; so we have the
Pleasure to acquaint the Public, that the contrary is true of the Work
before us: For the Author has in this Edition _restored_ several
Passages, which, for Brevity, were omitted in the former. Such are the
Instructions in Vol. III. p. ... given by Mr. Lovelace to his Four
Friends on their first Visit to his _Goddess_, as he justly calls her,
comparing her with the wretches he had so long been accustomed to: Which
instructions are highly humorous and characteristical, and by being laid
open may suggest proper Cautions to all who are likely to be engaged in
justly suspected Company. Several other Inlargements and Alterations
there are, which tend further to illustrate his Design, and to make it
more generally useful. And as these will be presented to the Public
without any additional Price, it is hoped they will come recommended on
that score also, as well as for their evident Importance, when
attentively perused; which it is presumed the whole Work should be, as
containing Documents of Religion and Morality, which will probably lie
hid to a careless or superficial Examiner: And this we speak of those
Parts principally, which have least _Entertainment_, in the vulgar sense
of the word.

An Objection remains to be answered; which is so minute, that it is
therefore condemned to this last and lowest Place. / /


"Clarissa is too delicate."--The Author readily acknowleges [sic], that
too delicate she is for the Hearts of such as, by Conformity to the
loose Manners of the present Age, have confounded Purity with Prudery.
But, for all this, it may be hoped, that the latter will rather
endeavour to raise their Affections to =Clarissa's= virtuous Standard,
than by striving to impeach her Character, effectually debase, if not
violently tear up, the decisive Standard of Right and Wrong.

The just Detestation that injured Lady had of Lovelace's vile Attempt to
corrupt her Mind as well as Person, was surely a sufficient Argument
against uniting her untainted Purity (surely we may say so, since the
Violation reached not her Soul) in Marriage with so gross a Violator;
and must for ever continue in Force, till the eternal Differences of
Vice and Virtue shall coalesce, and make one putrid Mass, a Chaos in the
Moral and Intellectual World.

We have a remarkable, and in some Degree a parallel Case in Scripture;
where we find, that the Rape of _Dinah_ was revenged, cruelly revenged,
by the Sons of Jacob. _Dinah_, like =Clarissa=, had Proposals of Marriage
made to her by the Ravisher. But these were not thought sufficient to
expunge the Stain upon a Person of that Family, from which was to
proceed the =Son= of Him whose eyes are purer than to behold Iniquity.
Therefore a Massacre was made of the King Hamor, and his son Shechem;
and their People were led into Captivity. The Answer of Simeon and Levi
to their Father's Complaint of Cruelty was only this: _Should he deal
with_ =our Sister=, _as with an_ =Harlot=?

The only Use we intend to make of this Passage is, to shew that it is no
new thing, that a Violation of this sort should be desperately resented,
as this was by the resolute =Morden=; however _new_ it may be, that a
young Lady should disdain the Villain, who had betrayed her Person, and
soon after laid her Hopes, and the Hopes of all her flourishing Family,
in the Dust of the Grave.


_Referred to in the Preface._


    Several Objections that have been made, as well to the Catastrophe
    as to different Parts of the preceding History, are briefly

The foregoing Work having been published at three different periods of
time, the Author, in the course of its publication, was favoured with
many anonymous Letters, in which the Writers differently expressed their
wishes with regard to the apprehended catastrophe.

Most of those directed to him by the gentler Sex, turned in favour of
what they called a _Fortunate Ending_. Some of the fair writers,
enamoured, as they declared, with the character of the Heroine, were
warmly solicitous to have her made happy:"And others, likewise of their
mind, _insisted that Poetical Justice_ required that it should be so.
And when, says one ingenious Lady, whose undoubted motive was
good-nature and humanity, it must be concluded, that it is in an
author's power to make his piece end as he pleases, why should he not
give pleasure rather than pain to the Reader whom he has interested in
favour of his principal characters?

"Others, and some Gentlemen, declared against Tragedies in general, and
in favour of Comedies, almost in the words of Lovelace, who was
supported in his taste by all the women at Mrs. Sinclair's, and by
Sinclair herself. 'I have too much _Feeling_, said he[36]. There is
enough in the world to make our hearts sad, without carrying grief into
our diversions, and making the distresses of others our own.'

"And how was this happy ending to be brought about? Why by this very
easy and trite expedient; to wit, by reforming Lovelace, and marrying
him to Clarissa--Not, however, abating her one of her tryals, nor any of
her sufferings [for the sake of the _sport_ her distresses would give to
the _tender-hearted_ reader as she went along] the last outrage
excepted: That indeed, partly in compliment to Lovelace himself, and
partly for delicacy-sake, they were willing to spare her.

"But whatever were the fate of his work, the Author was resolved to take
a different method. He always thought, that _sudden Conversions_, such
especially, as were left to the candour of the Reader to _suppose_ and
_make out_, had neither _Art_, nor _Nature_, nor even _Probability_, in
them; and that they were moreover of very _bad_ example. To have a
Lovelace for a series of years glory in his wickedness, and think that
he had nothing to do, but as an act of grace and favour to hold out his
hand to receive that of the best of women, whenever he pleased, and to
have it thought, that Marriage would be a sufficient amends for all his
enormities to others, as well as to her; he could not bear that. Nor is
Reformation, as he has shewn in another piece, to be secured by a fine
face; by a passion that has sense for its object; nor by the goodness of
a Wife's heart, or even example, if the heart of the Husband be not
graciously touched by the Divine Finger.

"It will be seen by this time, that the Author had a great end in view.
He has lived to see Scepticism and Infidelity openly avowed, and even
endeavoured to be propagated from the _Press_: The great doctrines of
the Gospel brought into question: Those of self-denial and
mortification blotted out of the catalogue of christian virtues: And a
taste even to wantonness for out-door pleasure and luxury, to the
general exclusion of domestic as well as public virtue, industriously
promoted among all ranks and degrees of people.

"In this general depravity, when even the Pulpit has lost great part of
its weight, and the Clergy are considered as a body of _interested_ men,
the Author thought he should be able to answer it to his own heart, be
the success what it would, if he threw in his mite towards introducing a
Reformation so much wanted: And he imagined, that if in an age given up
to diversion and entertainment, he could _steal in_, as may be said, and
investigate the great doctrines of Christianity under the fashionable
guise of an amusement; he should be most likely to serve his purpose;
remembring that of the Poet:

  "_A verse may find him who a sermon flies,
  "And turn delight into a sacrifice._

"He was resolved therefore to attempt something that never yet had been
done. He considered, that the Tragic poets have as seldom made their
heroes true objects of pity, as the Comic theirs laudable ones of
imitation: And still more rarely have made them in their deaths look
forward to a _future Hope_. And thus, when they die, they seem totally
to perish. Death, in such instances, must appear terrible. It must be
considered as the greatest evil. But why is Death set in shocking
lights, when it is the universal lot?

"He has indeed thought fit to paint the death of the wicked as terrible
as he could paint it. But he has endeavoured to draw that of the good in
such an amiable manner, that the very Balaams of the world should not
forbear to wish that their latter end might be like that of the Heroine.

"And after all, what is the _poetical justice_ so much contended for by
some, as the generality of writers have managed it," but another sort of
dispensation than that with which God, by Revelation, teaches us, He has
thought fit to exercise mankind; whom placing here only in a state of
probation, he hath so intermingled good and evil, as to necessitate us
to look forward for a more equal dispensation of both.

The author of the History (or rather Dramatic Narrative) of Clarissa, is
therefore well justified by the _Christian System_, in deferring to
extricate suffering Virtue to the time in which it will meet with the
_Completion_ of its Reward.

But not absolutely to shelter the conduct observed in it under the
sanction of Religion [an authority perhaps not of the greatest weight
with some of our modern critics] it must be observed, that the author is
justified in its Catastrophe by the greatest master of reason, and the
best judge of composition, that ever lived. The learned Reader knows we
must mean ARISTOTLE; whose sentiments in this matter we shall beg leave
to deliver in the words of a very amiable writer of our own Country.

'The English writers of Tragedy, _says Mr. Addison_[37], are possessed
with a notion, that when they represent a virtuous or innocent person in
distress, they ought not to leave him till they have delivered him out
of his troubles, or made him triumph over his enemies.

'This _error_ they have been led into by a _ridiculous_ doctrine in
_Modern Criticism_, that they are obliged to an _equal distribution_ of
_rewards_ and _punishments_, and an impartial execution of _poetical

'Who were the first that established this rule, I know not; but I am
sure it has no foundation in NATURE, in REASON, or in the PRACTICE OF

'We find, that good and evil happen alike unto ALL MEN on this side the
grave: And as the principal design of Tragedy is to raise commiseration
and terror in the minds of the audience, we shall defeat this great end,
if we always make Virtue and Innocence happy and successful.

'Whatever crosses and disappointments a good man suffers in the _Body_
of the Tragedy, they will make but small impression on our minds, when
we know, that, in the _last Act_, he is to arrive at the end of his
wishes and desires.

'When we see him engaged in the depth of his afflictions, we are apt to
comfort ourselves, because we are sure he will find his way out of them,
and that his grief, how great soever it may be at present, will soon
terminate in gladness.

'For this reason, the antient Writers of Tragedy treated men in their
_Plays_, as they are dealt with in the _World_, by making Virtue
sometimes happy and sometimes miserable, as they found it in the Fable
which they made choice of, or as it might affect their Audience in the
most agreeable manner.

'Aristotle considers the Tragedies that were written in either of those
kinds; and observes, that those which ended unhappily had always pleased
the people, and carried away the Prize, in the public disputes of the
Stage, from those that ended happily.

'Terror and Commiseration leave a _pleasing anguish_ in the mind, and
fix the Audience in such a serious composure of thought, as is much more
lasting and delightful, than any little transient Starts of Joy and

'Accordingly we find, that more of our English Tragedies have succeeded,
in which the Favourites of the Audience sink under their calamities,
than those in which they recover themselves out of them.

'The best Plays of this kind are _The Orphan_, _Venice Preserved_,
_Alexander the Great_, _Theodosius_, _All for Love_, _Oedipus_,
_Oroonoko_, _Othello_, &c.

'King _Lear_ is an admirable Tragedy of the same kind, as Shakespeare
wrote it: But as it is reformed according to the _chimerical notion_ of
POETICAL JUSTICE, in my humble opinion it has lost half its beauty.

'At the same time I must allow, that there are very noble Tragedies,
which have been framed upon the other Plan, and have ended happily; as
indeed most of the good Tragedies which have been written since the
starting of the above-mentioned Criticism, have taken this turn: As _The
Mourning Bride_, _Tamerlane_[38], _Ulysses_, _Phædra and Hippolytus_,
with most of Mr. Dryden's. I must also allow, that many of
Shakespeare's, and several of the celebrated Tragedies of Antiquity, are
cast in the same form. I do not therefore dispute against this way of
writing Tragedies; but against the Criticism that would establish This
as the _only_ method; and by that means would very much cramp the
English Tragedy, and perhaps give a wrong bent to the genius of our

'This subject is further considered in a Letter to the Spectator[39].

"I find your opinion, says the author of it, concerning the
_late-invented_ term called _Poetical Justice_, is controverted by some
eminent critics. I have drawn up some additional arguments to strengthen
the opinion which you have there delivered; having endeavoured to go to
the bottom of that matter....

"The most perfect man has vices enough to draw down punishments upon his
head, and to justify Providence in regard to any miseries that may befal
him. For this reason I cannot think but that the instruction and moral
are much finer, where a man who is virtuous in the main of his character
falls into distress, and sinks under the blows of fortune, at the end of
a Tragedy, than when he is represented as happy and triumphant. Such an
example corrects the insolence of human nature, softens the mind of the
beholder with sentiments of pity and compassion, comforts him under his
own private affliction, and teaches him not to judge of mens virtues by
their successes[40]. I cannot think of one real hero in all antiquity so
far raised above human infirmities, that he might not be very naturally
represented in a Tragedy as plunged in misfortunes and calamities. The
Poet may still find out some prevailing passion or indiscretion in his
character, and shew it in such a manner as will sufficiently acquit
Providence of any injustice in his sufferings: For, as Horace observes,
the best man is faulty, tho' not in so great a degree as those whom we
generally call vicious men[41].

"If such a strict _Poetical Justice_ (_proceeds the Letter-writer_), as
some gentlemen insist upon, were to be observed in this art, there is no
manner of reason why it should not extend to heroic Poetry, as well as
Tragedy. But we find it so little observed in Homer, that his Achilles
is placed in the greatest point of glory and success, tho' his Character
is morally vicious, and only _poetically_ good, if I may use the phrase
of our modern Critics. The _Æneid_ is filled with innocent unhappy
persons. Nisus and Euryalus, Lausus and Pallas, come all to unfortunate
ends. The Poet takes notice in particular, that, in the sacking of Troy,
Ripheus fell, who was the most just man among the Trojans:

  "----_Cadit & Ripheus justissimus unus
  Qui fuit in Teucris, & servantissimus æqui.
  Diis aliter visum est.----_

  "The gods thought fit.--So blameless Ripheus fell,
  Who lov'd fair Justice, and observ'd it well.

"And that Pantheus could neither be preserved by his transcendent piety,
nor by the holy fillets of Apollo, whose priest he was:

  "----_Nec te tua plurima, Pantheu,
  Labentem pietas, nec Apollinis infula texit._ Æn. II.

  "Nor could thy piety thee, Pantheus, save,
  Nor ev'n thy priesthood, from an early grave.

"I might here mention the practice of antient Tragic Poets, both Greek
and Latin; but as this particular is touched upon in the Paper
above-mentioned, I shall pass it over in silence. I could produce
passages out of Aristotle in favour of my opinion: And if in one place
he says, that an absolutely virtuous man should not be represented as
unhappy, this does not justify any one who shall think fit to bring in
an absolutely virtuous man upon the stage. Those who are acquainted with
that author's way of writing, know very well, that to take the whole
extent of his subject into his divisions of it, he often makes use of
such cases as are imaginary, and not reducible to practice....

"I shall conclude, _says this gentleman_, with observing, that tho' the
_Spectator_ above-mentioned is so far against the rule of _Poetical
Justice_, as to affirm, that good men may meet with an unhappy
Catastrophe in Tragedy, it does not say, that ill men may go off
unpunished. The reason for this distinction is very plain; namely,
because the best of men [as is said above] have faults enough to justify
Providence for any misfortunes and afflictions which may befal them; but
there are many men so criminal, that they can have no claim or pretence
to happiness. The _best_ of men may deserve punishment; but the _worst_
of men cannot deserve happiness."

Mr. Addison, as we have seen above, tells us, that Aristotle, in
considering the Tragedies that were written in either of the kinds,
observes, that those which ended unhappily had always pleased the
people, and carried away the prize, in the public disputes of the Stage,
from those that ended happily. And we shall take leave to add, that this
preference was given at a time when the entertainments of the Stage were
committed to the care of the magistrates; when the prizes contended for
were given by the State; when, of consequence, the emulation among
writers was ardent; and when learning was at the highest pitch of glory
in that renowned commonwealth.

It cannot be supposed, that the Athenians, in this their highest age of
taste and politeness, were less humane, less tender-hearted, than we of
the present. But they were not _afraid_ of being moved, nor _ashamed_ of
shewing themselves to be so, at the distresses they saw well painted and
represented. In short, they were of the opinion, with the wisest of men,
_That it was better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of
mirth_; and had fortitude enough to trust themselves with their own
generous grief, because they found their hearts mended by it.

Thus also Horace, and the politest Romans in the Augustan age, wished to
be affected:

  _Ac ne forte putes me, quæ facere ipse recusem,
  Cum recte tractant alii, laudare maligne;
  Ille per extentum funem mihi posse videtur
  Ire poeta, meum qui pectus inaniter angit,
  Irritat, mulcet; falsis terroribus implet,
  Ut magus; & modo me Thebis, modo ponit Athenis_.

Thus Englished by Mr. Pope:

  Yet, lest you think I railly more than teach,
  Or praise malignly _Arts_ I cannot reach,
  Let me, for once, presume t'instruct the times
  To know the _Poet_ from the _Man of Rhymes_.
  'Tis He who gives my breast a thousand pains,
  Can make me _feel_ each passion that he feigns;
  Enrage--compose--with more than magic art,
  With _pity_ and with _terror_ tear my heart;
  And snatch me o'er the earth, or thro' the air,
  To Thebes, to Athens, when he will, and where.

Our fair readers are also desired to attend to what a celebrated
Critic[42] of a neighbouring nation says on the nature and design of
Tragedy, from the rules laid down by the same great Antient.

'Tragedy, says he, makes man _modest_, by representing the great masters
of the earth humbled; and it makes him _tender_ and _merciful_, by
shewing him the _strange accidents of life_, and the _unforeseen
disgraces_ to which the most important persons are subject.

'But because Man is naturally timorous and compassionate, he may fall
into other extremes. Too much fear may shake his constancy of mind, and
too much compassion may enfeeble his equity. 'Tis the business of
Tragedy to regulate these two weaknesses. It prepares and arms him
against _disgraces_, by shewing them so frequent in the most
considerable persons; and he will cease to fear extraordinary accidents,
when he sees them happen to the _highest_ part of Mankind. And still
more efficacious, we may add, the example will be, when he sees them
happen to the _best_.

'But as the end of Tragedy is to teach men not to fear too weakly
_common misfortunes_, it proposes also to teach them to spare their
compassion for objects that _deserve it_. For there is an _injustice_ in
being moved at the afflictions of those who _deserve to be miserable_.
We may see, without pity, Clytemnestra slain by her son Orestes in
Æschylus, because she had murdered Agamemnon her husband; yet we cannot
see Hippolytus die by the plot of his Stepmother Phædra, in Euripides,
without compassion, because he died not, but for being chaste and

'These are the great authorities so favourable to the stories that end
unhappily. And we beg leave to reinforce this inference from them, That
if the temporary sufferings of the Virtuous and the Good can be
accounted for and justified on Pagan principles, many more and
infinitely stronger reasons will occur to a Christian Reader in behalf
of what are called unhappy Catastrophes from the consideration of the
doctrine of _future rewards_; which is every-where strongly inforced in
the History of Clarissa.

'Of this (to give but one instance) an ingenious Modern, distinguished
by his rank, but much more for his excellent defence of some of the most
important doctrines of Christianity, appears convinced in the conclusion
of a pathetic _Monody_, lately published; in which, after he had
deplored, as a man _without hope_, (expressing ourselves in the
Scripture phrase) the loss of an excellent Wife; he thus consoles

    '_Yet, O my soul! thy rising murmurs stay,
    Nor dare th' All-wise Disposer to arraign,
        Or against his supreme decree
          With impious grief complain.
  That all thy full-blown joys at once should fade,
  Was his most righteous Will: And be that Will obey'd._

    '_Would thy fond love his grace to her controul,
    And in these low abodes of sin and pain
          Her pure, exalted soul,
    Unjustly, for thy partial good, detain?
    No--rather strive thy groveling mind to raise
      Up to that unclouded blaze,
    That heav'nly radiance of eternal light,
    In which enthroned she now with pity sees
      How frail, how insecure, how slight
          Is ev'ry mortal bliss._

'But of infinitely greater weight than all that has been above produced
on this subject, are the words of the Psalmist.

"As for me, says he[43], my feet were almost gone, my step had well-nigh
slipt: For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of
the wicked. For their strength is firm: They are not in trouble as other
men; neither are they plagued like other men--Their eyes stand out with
fatness: They have more than their heart could wish--Verily I have
cleansed mine heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence; for all
the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. When I
thought to know this, it was too painful for me. Until I went into the
sanctuary of God; then understood I their end--Thou shalt guide me with
thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.'

'This is the Psalmist's comfort and dependence. And shall man, presuming
to alter the common course of nature, and, so far as he is able, to
elude the tenure by which frail mortality indispensibly holds, imagine,
that he can make a better dispensation; and by calling it _Poetical
Justice_, indirectly reflect on the _Divine_?

The more pains have been taken to obviate the objections arising from
the notion of _Poetical Justice_, as the doctrine built upon it had
obtained general credit among us; and as it must be confessed to have
the appearance of _humanity_ and _good-nature_ for its supports. And yet
the writer of the History of Clarissa is humbly of opinion, that he
might have been excused referring to them for the vindication of _his_
Catastrophe, even by those who are advocates for the contrary opinion;
since the notion of _Poetical Justice_, founded on the _modern rules_,
has hardly ever been more strictly observed in works of this nature,
than in the present performance.

For, Is not Mr. Lovelace, who could persevere in his villainous views,
against the strongest and most frequent convictions and remorses that
ever were sent to awaken and reclaim a wicked man--Is not this great,
this _wilful_ transgressor, condignly _punished_; and his punishment
brought on thro' the intelligence of the very Joseph Leman whom he had
corrupted[44]; and by means of the very women whom he had
debauched[45]--Is not Mr. Belton, who has an Uncle's _hastened_ death to
answer for[46]--Are not the _whole_ Harlowe-family--Is not the vile
Tomlinson--Are not the infamous Sinclair, and her _wretched
partners_--And even the wicked _Servants_, who, with their eyes open,
contributed their parts to the carrying on of the vile schemes of their
respective principals--_Are they not All likewise exemplarily punished?_

On the other hand, Is not Miss HOWE, for her noble friendship to the
exalted Lady in her calamities--Is not Mr. HICKMAN, for his
unexceptionable morals, and integrity of life--Is not the repentant and
not ungenerous BELFORD--Is not the worthy NORTON--_made signally happy_?

And who that are in earnest in their profession of Christianity, but
will rather envy than regret the triumphant death of CLARISSA; whose
piety, from her _early childhood_; whose diffusive charity; whose steady
virtue; whose Christian humility; whose forgiving spirit; whose
meekness, and resignation, HEAVEN _only_ could reward[47]?

"We shall now, according to expectation given in the _Preface_ to this
Edition, proceed to take brief notice of such other objections as have
come to our knowlege: For as is there said, 'This Work being addressed
to the Public as an History of _Life_ and _Manners_, those parts of it
which are proposed to carry with them the force of Example, ought to be
as unobjectible as is consistent with the _design of the whole_, and
with _human Nature_.'

"Several persons have censured the Heroine as too cold in her love, too
haughty, and even sometimes provoking. But we may presume to say, that
this objection has arisen from want of attention to the Story, to the
Character of Clarissa, and to her particular situation.

"It was not intended that she should be _in Love_, but _in Liking_ only,
if that expression may be admitted. It is meant to be every-where
inculcated in the Story, for _Example-sake_, that she never would have
married Mr. Lovelace, because of his immoralities, had she been left to
herself; and that her ruin was principally owing to the persecutions of
her friends.

"What is too generally called _Love_, ought (perhaps _as_ generally) to
be called by another name. _Cupidity_, or a _Paphian Stimulus_, as some
women, even of condition, have acted, are not words too harsh to be
substituted on the occasion, however grating they may be to delicate
ears. But take the word _Love_ in the gentlest and most honourable
sense, it would have been thought by some highly improbable, that
Clarissa should have been able to shew such a command of her passions,
as makes so distinguishing a part of her Character, had she been as
violently in Love, as certain warm and fierce spirits would have had her
to be. A few Observations are thrown in by way of Note in the present
Edition, at proper places, to obviate this Objection, or rather to
bespeak the _Attention_ of hasty Readers to what lies obviously before
them. For thus the Heroine anticipates this very Objection,
expostulating with Miss Howe, on her contemptuous treatment of Mr.
Hickman; which [far from being guilty of the same fault herself] she did
on all occasions, and declares she would do, whenever Miss Howe forgot
herself, altho' she had not a day to live:

"'O my dear, says she, that it had been my Lot (as I was not permitted
to live single) to have met with a man, by whom I _could_ have acted
generously and unreservedly!

"'Mr. Lovelace, it is now plain, in order to have a pretence against me,
taxed my behaviour to him with stiffness and distance. You, at one time,
thought me guilty of some degree of Prudery. Difficult situations should
be allowed for; which often make seeming occasions for censure unavoidable.
I deserved not blame from _him_, who made mine difficult. And if I had
had any other man to deal with than Mr. Lovelace, or had he had but half
the merit which Mr Hickman has, you, my Dear, should have found, that my
Doctrine, on this Subject, should have governed my Practice.' See this
whole Letter[48]; See also Mr. Lovelace's Letter Nº lxxvii. Vol. VII.
p. 310. _& seq._ where, just before his Death, he entirely acquits her
conduct on this head.

"It has been thought by some worthy and ingenious persons, that if
Lovelace had been drawn an _Infidel_ or _Scoffer_, his Character,
according to the Taste of the present worse than Sceptical Age, would
have been more natural. It is, however, too well known, that there are
very many persons, of his Cast, whose actions discredit their belief.
And are not the very Devils, in Scripture, said to _believe_ and

"But the Reader must have observed, that great, and, it is hoped, good
Use, has been made throughout the Work, by drawing Lovelace an Infidel
only in _Practice_; and this as well in the arguments of his friend
Belford, as in his own frequent Remorses, when touched with temporary
Compunction, and in his last Scenes; which could not have been made, had
either of them been painted as _sentimental_ Unbelievers. Not to say,
that Clarissa, whose great Objection to Mr. Wyerly was, that he was a
Scoffer, must have been inexcusable had she known Lovelace to be so, and
had given the least attention to his Addresses. On the contrary, thus
she comforts herself, when she thinks she must be his--'This one
consolation, however, remains: He is not an Infidel, an Unbeliever. Had
he been an Infidel, there would have been no room at all for hope of
him; but (priding himself as he does in his fertile invention) he would
have been utterly abandoned, irreclaimable, and a Savage[49].' And it
must be observed, that Scoffers are too witty in their own opinion; in
other words, value themselves too much upon their profligacy, to aim at
concealing it.

"Besides, had Lovelace added ribbald jests upon Religion, to his other
liberties, the freedoms which would then have passed between him and his
friend, must have been of a nature truly infernal. And this farther hint
was meant to be given, by way of inference, that the man who allowed
himself in those liberties either of speech or action, which Lovelace
thought shameful, was so far a worse man than Lovelace. For this reason
is he every-where made to treat jests on sacred things and subjects,
even down to the Mythology of the Pagans, among Pagans, as undoubted
marks of the ill-breeding of the jesters; obscene images and talk, as
liberties too shameful for even Rakes to allow themselves in; and
injustice to creditors, and in matters of _Meum_ and _Tuum_, as what it
was beneath him to be guilty of.

"Some have objected to the meekness, to the tameness, as they will have
it to be, of the character of Mr. Hickman. And yet Lovelace owns, that
he rose upon him with great spirit in the interview between them; once,
when he thought a reflection was but implied on _Miss Howe_[50]; and
another time, when he imagined _himself_ treated contemptuously[51].
Miss Howe, it must be owned (tho' not to the credit of her own
character) treats him ludicrously on several occasions. But so she does
her Mother. And perhaps a Lady of her lively turn would have treated as
whimsically any man but a Lovelace. Mr. Belford speaks of him with
honour and respect[52]. So does Colonel Morden[53]. And so does Clarissa
on every occasion. And all that Miss Howe herself says of him, tends
more to his reputation than discredit[54], as Clarissa indeed tells

"And as to Lovelace's treatment of him, the Reader must have observed,
that it was his way to treat every man with contempt, partly by way of
self exaltation, and partly to gratify the natural gaiety of his
disposition. He says himself to Belford[56], 'Thou knowest I love him
not, Jack; and whom we love not, we cannot allow a merit to; perhaps not
the merit they should be granted.' 'Modest and diffident men,' writes
Belford, to Lovelace, in praise of Mr. Hickman, 'wear not soon off those
little precisenesses, which the confident, if ever they had them,
presently get over[57].'

"But, as Miss Howe treats her Mother as freely as she does her Lover; so
does Mr. Lovelace take still greater liberties with Mr. Belford, than he
does with Mr. Hickman, with respect to his person, air, and address, as
Mr. Belford himself hints to Mr. Hickman[58]. And yet he is not so
readily believed to the discredit of Mr. Belford, by the Ladies in
general, as he is when he disparages Mr. Hickman. Whence can this
partiality arise?--

"_Mr. Belford had been a Rake: But was in a way of reformation._

"_Mr. Hickman had always been a good man._

"_And Lovelace_ confidently says, _That the women love a man whose
    regard for them is founded in the knowlege of them_[59].

"Nevertheless, it must be owned, that it was not proposed to draw Mr.
Hickman, as the man of whom the Ladies in general were likely to be very
fond. Had it been so, _Goodness of heart_, and _Gentleness of manners_,
_great Assiduity_, and _inviolable_ and _modest_ Love, would not of
themselves have been supposed sufficient recommendations. He would not
have been allowed the least share of _preciseness_ or _formality_,
altho' those defects might have been imputed to his reverence for the
object of his passion: But in his character it was designed to shew,
that the same man could not be every-thing; and to intimate to Ladies,
that in chusing companions for life, they should rather prefer the
honest heart of a Hickman, which would be all their own, than to risque
the chance of sharing, perhaps with scores, (and some of those probably
the most profligate of the Sex) the volatile mischievous one of a
Lovelace: In short, that they should chuse, if they wished for durable
happiness, for rectitude of mind, and not for speciousness of person or
address: Nor make a jest of a good man in favour of a bad one, who would
make a jest of them and of their whole Sex.

"Two Letters, however, by way of accommodation, are inserted in this
edition, which perhaps will give Mr. Hickman's character some
heightening with such Ladies, as love spirit in a man; and had rather
suffer by it, than not meet with it.--

  _Women, born to be controul'd,
  Stoop to the Forward and the Bold,_

Says Waller--And Lovelace too!

"Some have wished that the Story had been told in the usual narrative
way of telling Stories designed to amuse and divert, and not in Letters
written by the respective persons whose history is given in them. The
author thinks he ought not to prescribe to the taste of others; but
imagined himself at liberty to follow his own. He perhaps mistrusted his
talents for the narrative kind of writing. He had the good fortune to
succeed in the Epistolary way once before. A Story in which so many
persons were concerned either principally or collaterally, and of
characters and dispositions so various, carried on with tolerable
connexion and perspicuity, in a series of Letters from different
persons, without the aid of digressions and episodes foreign to the
principal end and design, he thought had novelty to be pleaded for it:
And that, in the present age, he supposed would not be a slight

"But besides what has been said above, and in the _Preface_, on this
head, the following opinion of an ingenious and candid Foreigner, on
this manner of writing, may not be improperly inserted here.

"'The method which the Author has pursued in the History of Clarissa, is
the same as in the Life of Pamela: Both are related in familiar Letters
by the parties themselves, at the very time in which the events
happened: And this method has given the author great advantages, which
he could not have drawn from any other species of narration. The minute
particulars of events, the sentiments and conversation of the parties,
are, upon this plan, exhibited with all the warmth and spirit, that the
passion supposed to be predominant at the very time, could produce, and
with all the distinguishing characteristics which memory can supply in a
History of recent transactions.

"'Romances in general, and Marivaux's amongst others, are wholly
improbable; because they suppose the History to be written after the
series of events is closed by the catastrophe: A circumstance which
implies a strength of memory beyond all example and probability in the
persons concerned, enabling them, at the distance of several years, to
relate all the particulars of a transient conversation: Or rather, it
implies a yet more improbable confidence and familiarity between all
these persons and the author.

"'There is, however, one difficulty attending the Epistolary method; for
it is necessary, that all the characters should have an uncommon taste
for this kind of conversation, and that they should suffer no event, nor
even a remarkable conversation, to pass, without immediately committing
it to writing. But for the preservation of the Letters _once written_,
the author has provided with great judgment, so as to render this
circumstance highly probable[60].'

"It is presumed that what this gentleman says of the difficulties
attending a Story thus given in the Epistolary manner of writing, will
not be found to reach the History before us. It is very well accounted
for in it, how the two principal Female characters come to take so great
a delight in writing. Their subjects are not merely subjects of
amusement; but greatly interesting to both: Yet many Ladies there are
who now laudably correspond, when at distance from each other, on
occasions that far less affect their mutual welfare and friendships,
than those treated of by these Ladies. The two principal gentlemen had
motives of gaiety and vain-glory for their inducements. It will
generally be found, that persons who have talents for familiar writeing,
as these correspondents are presumed to have, will not forbear amusing
themselves with their pens, on less arduous occasions than what offer to
these. These Four (whose Stories have a connexion with each other) out
of a great number of characters which are introduced in this History,
are only eminent in the Epistolary way: The rest appear but as
occasional writers, and as drawn in rather by necessity than choice,
from the different relations in which they stand with the four principal

The Length of the piece has been objected to by some, who perhaps looked
upon it as a mere _Novel_ or _Romance_; and yet of _these_ there are not
wanting works of equal length.

They were of opinion, that the Story moved too slowly, particularly in
the first and second Volumes, which are chiefly taken up with the
Altercations between Clarissa and the several persons of her Family.

But is it not true, that those Altercations are the Foundation of the
whole, and therefore a necessary part of the work? The Letters and
Conversations, where the Story makes the slowest progress, are presumed
to be _characteristic_. They give occasion likewise to suggest many
interesting _Personalities_, in which a good deal of the instruction
essential to a work of this nature is conveyed. And it will, moreover,
be remembered, that the Author, at his first setting out, apprised the
Reader, that the Story (interesting as it is generally allowed to be)
was to be principally looked upon as the Vehicle to the Instruction.

To all which we may add, that there was frequently a necessity to be
very circumstantial and minute, in order to preserve and maintain that
Air of Probability, which is necessary to be maintained in a Story
designed to represent real Life; and which is rendered extremely busy
and active by the plots and contrivances formed and carried on by one of
the principal Characters.

'Some there are, and Ladies too! who have supposed that the excellencies
of the Heroine are carried to an improbable, and even to an
impracticable height, in this History. But the education of Clarissa
from _early childhood_ ought to be considered, as one of her very great
advantages; as, indeed, the foundation of _all_ her excellencies: And it
is hoped, for the sake of the doctrine designed to be inculcated by it,
that it will.

'She had a pious, a well-read, a not meanly descended woman for her
Nurse, who with her milk, as Mrs. Harlowe says[61], gave her that
nurture which no other Nurse could give her. She was very early happy in
the conversation-visits of her learned and worthy Dr. Lewen, and in her
correspondencies, not with him only, but with other Divines mentioned in
her last Will. Her Mother was, upon the whole, a good woman; who did
credit to her birth and her fortune, and was able to instruct her in her
early youth: Her Father was not a free-living, or free-principled man;
in the conversation-visits of her learned and worthy Dr. Lewen, and in
her correspondencies, not with him only, but with other Divines
mentioned in her lat Will. Her _Mother_ was, upon the whole, a good
woman, who did credit to her birth and her fortune; and _both_ delighted
in her for those improvements and attainments, which gave her, _and them
in her_, a distinction that caused it to be said, that when she was out
of the family, it was considered but as a common family[62]. She was
moreover a Country Lady; and, as we have seen in Miss Howe's character
of her[63], took great delight in rural and houshold employments; tho'
qualified to adorn the brightest circle.

'It must be confessed, that we are not to look for _Clarissa's_ among
the _constant frequenters_ of Ranelagh and Vaux-hall, nor among those
who may be called _Daughters of the Card-table_. If we do, the character
of our Heroine may then indeed be justly thought not only improbable,
but unattainable. But we have neither room in this place, nor
inclination, to pursue a subject so invidious. We quit it therefore,
after we have _repeated_, that we _know_ there are _some_, and we _hope_
there are _many_, in the British dominions [or they are hardly any-where
in the European world] who, as far as _occasion_ has called upon them to
exert the like _humble_ and _modest_, yet _steady_ and _useful_,
virtues, have reached the perfections of a Clarissa.

       *       *       *       *       *

'Having thus briefly taken notice of the most material objections that
have been made to different parts of this History, it is hoped we may be
allowed to add, That had we thought ourselves at liberty to give copies
of some of the many Letters that have been written on the other side of
the question, that is to say, in approbation of the Catastrophe, and of
the general Conduct and Execution of the work, by some of the most
eminent judges of composition in every branch of Literature; most of
what has been written in this Postscript might have been spared.

'But as the principal objection with many has lain against the length of
the piece, we shall add to what we have said above on that subject, in
the words of one of those eminent writers: 'That, _If_, in the History
before us, it shall be found, that the Spirit is _duly diffused
throughout_; that the Characters are _various and natural_; _well
distinguished_ and _uniformly supported_ and _maintained_: _If_ there be
a _variety of incidents_ sufficient to excite Attention, and those so
conducted, as to keep the Reader always awake; the Length then must add
proportionably to the pleasure that every Person of Taste receives from
a well-drawn Picture of Nature. But where the contrary of all these
qualities shock the understanding, the extravagant performance will be
judged tedious, tho' no longer than a Fairy-Tale.'


[34] Writing on to him.

[35] Her Flight.

[36] See Vol. III. p. 358.

[37] Spectator, Vol I. Nº XL.

[38] Yet in Tamerlane, two of the most amiable characters, Moneses and
Arpasia, suffer death.

[39] See Spect. Vol. VII. Nº 548.

[40] A caution that our Blessed Saviour himself gives in the case of the
Eighteen persons killed by the fall of the tower of Siloam, Luke xiii. 4.

    _Vitiis nemo sine nascitur: optimus ille
    Qui minimis urgetur----._

[42] Rapin, on Aristotle's Poetics.

[43] Psalm lxxiii.

[44] See Vol. VII. p. 301, 302.

[45] Ibid. p. 315.

[46] See Vol. VI. p. 268.

[47] And here it may not be amiss to remind the Reader, that so early in
the Work as Vol. II. p. 159, 160, the dispensations of Providence are
justified by herself. And thus she ends her Reflections--"I shall not
live always--May my Closing Scene be happy!"

She had her wish. It was happy.

[48] Vol. VII. p. 64, 65, of the First Edition; and Vol. VI. p. 305 of

[49] Vol. IV. p. 122.

[50] Vol. VI. p. 10.

[51] Vol. VI. p. 14.

[52] Vol. VI. p. 71.

[53] Vol. VII. p. 244.

[54] See Vol. I. p. 314-319, and Vol. III. p. 44, 45.

[55] Vol. I. p. 363.

[56] Vol. VI. p. 1.

[57] Vol. VI. p. 71.

[58] Vol. VII. p. 197.

[59] Vol. IV. p. 302.

[60] This quotation is translated from a Critique on the History of
CLARISSA, written in French, and published at Amsterdam. The whole
Critique is rendered into English, and inserted in the Gentleman's
Magazine of June and August 1749. The author has done great honour in it
to the History of Clarissa; and as there are Remarks published with it,
answering several objections made to different passages by that candid
Foreigner, the Reader is referred to the aforesaid Magazines, for both.

[61] See Vol. III. p 287, 288.

[62] See Vol. VI. p. 274. See also her Mother's praises of her to Mrs.
Norton, Vol. I. p. 251.

[63] See Vol. VII. p. 278-280.


_Publications in Print_


16. Nevil Payne's _Fatal Jealousy_ (1673).

17. Nicholas Rowe's _Some Account of the Life of Mr. William
Shakespeare_ (1709).

18. "Of Genius," in _The Occasional Paper_, Vol. III, No. 10 (1719); and
Aaron Hill's Preface to _The Creation_ (1720).


22. Samuel Johnson's _The Vanity of Human Wishes_ (1749) and Two Rambler
papers (1750).

23. John Dryden's _His Majesties Declaration Defended_ (1681).


26. Charles Macklin's _The Man of the World_ (1792).


31. Thomas Gray's _An Elegy Wrote in a Country Church Yard_ (1751); and
_The Eton College Manuscript_.


41. Bernard Mandeville's _A Letter to Dion_ (1732).


45. John Robert Scott's _Dissertation on the Progress of the Fine


49. Two St. Cecilia's Day Sermons (1696-1697).

51. Lewis Maidwell's _An Essay upon the Necessity and Excellency of
Education_ (1705).

52. Pappity Stampoy's _A Collection of Scotch Proverbs_ (1663).


75. John Joyne, _A Journal_ (1679).

76. André Dacier, _Preface to Aristotle's Art of Poetry_ (1705).


80. [P. Whalley's] _An Essay on the Manner of Writing History_ (1746).

83. _Sawney and Colley (1742) and other Pope Pamphlets._

84. Richard Savage's _An Author to be lett_ (1729).


85-6. _Essays on the Theatre from Eighteenth-Century Periodicals._

87. Daniel Defoe, _Of Captain Mission and his Crew_ (1728).

90. Henry Needler, _Works_ (1728).


93. John Norris, _Cursory Reflections Upon a Book Call'd. An Essay
Concerning Human Understanding_ (1690).

94. An Collins, _Divine Songs and Meditacions_ (1653).

95. _An Essay on the New Species of Writing Founded by Mr. Fielding_

96. _Hanoverian Ballads._


97. Myles Davies, _Athenae Britannicae_ (1716-1719).

98. _Select Hymns Taken Out of Mr. Herbert's Temple_ (1697).

99. Thomas Augustine Arne, _Artaxerxes_ (1761).

100. Simon Patrick, _A Brief Account of the New Sect of Latitude-Men_

101-2. Richard Hurd, _Letters on Chivalry and Romance_ (1762).

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library: University of California, Los


  R. C. BOYS
  University of Michigan

  University of California, Los Angeles

  University of California, Los Angeles

  Wm. Andrews Clark Memorial Library

  _Corresponding Secretary:_ Mrs. Edna C. Davis, Wm. Andrews Clark
    Memorial Library

The Society's purpose is to publish reprints (usually facsimile
reproductions) of rare seventeenth and eighteenth century works. All
income of the Society is devoted to defraying costs of publication and

Correspondence concerning subscriptions in the United States and Canada
should be addressed to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, 2205
West Adams Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Correspondence concerning
editorial matters may be addressed to any of the general editors. The
membership fee is $5.00 a year for subscribers in the United States and
Canada and 30/- for subscribers in Great Britain and Europe. British and
European subscribers should address B. H. Blackwell, Broad Street,
Oxford, England. Copies of back issues in print may be obtained from the
Corresponding Secretary.

The publications for 1963-1964 are in part subsidized by funds
generously given to the Society in memory of the late Professor Edward
N. Hooker, one of its co-founders.

Publications for 1963-1964

SAMUEL RICHARDSON, _Clarissa_: Preface, Hints of Prefaces, and
Postscript. Introduction by R. F. Brissenden.

THOMAS D'URFEY, _Wonders in the Sun, or the Kingdom of the Birds_
(1706). Introduction by William W. Appleton.

DANIEL DEFOE, _A Brief History of the Poor Palatine Refugees_ (1709).
Introduction by John Robert Moore.

BERNARD MANDEVILLE, _An Enquiry into the Causes of the Frequent
Executions at Tyburn_ (1725). Introduction by Malvin R. Zirker, Jr.

JOHN OLDMIXON, _An Essay on Criticism_ (1728). Introduction by R. J.
Madden, C.S.B.


William Andrews Clark Memorial Library


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

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.

Passages in bold are indicated by =bold=.

Overstruck passages are indicated by ~overstrike~.

Long "s" has been modernized.

The following misprints have been corrected:
  "Postcsript" corrected to "Postscript" (page iv)
  "1947" corrected to "1747" (page x)
  "were were" corrected to "were" (page 14)

The original text includes several blank spaces. These are represented by
_____ in this text version.

Additional spacing after some of the quotes is intentional to indicate
both the end of a quotation and the beginning of a new paragraph as
presented in the original text.

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