We have been induced to enter this strong protest, and to express ourselves thus warmly against this and the former publications of this author, both from what we hear of the circulation which they have already obtained, and from our conviction that they are calculated, if not strongly denounced to the public, to produce, at this moment, peculiar and irremediable mischief. The style of composition, as we have already hinted, is almost new in this country: it is less offensive than the old fashion of obscenity; and for these reasons, perhaps, is less likely to excite the suspicion of the moralist, or to become the object of precaution to those who watch over the morals of the young and inexperienced. We certainly have known it a permitted study, where performances, infinitely less pernicious, were rigidly interdicted.
There can be no time in which the purity of the female character can fail to be of the first importance to every community; but it appears to us, that it requires at this moment to be more carefully watched over than at any other; and that the constitution of society has arrived among us to a sort of crisis, the issue of which may be powerfully influenced by our present neglect or solicitude. From the increasing diffusion of opulence, enlightened or polite society is greatly enlarged, and necessarily becomes more promiscuous and corruptible; and women are now beginning to receive a more extended education, to venture more freely and largely into the fields of literature, and to become more of intellectual and independent creatures, than they have yet been in these islands. In these circumstances, it seems to be of incalculable importance, that no attaint should be given to the delicacy and purity of their expanding minds; that their increasing knowledge should be of good chiefly, and not of evil; that they should not consider modesty as one of the prejudices from which they are now to be emancipated; nor found any part of their new influence upon the licentiousness of which Mr. Moore invites them to be partakers. The character and the morality of women exercises already a mighty influence upon the happiness and the respectability of the nation; and it is destined, we believe, to exercise a still higher one: But if they should ever cease to be the pure, the delicate, and timid creatures that they now are—if they should cease to overawe profligacy, and to win and to shame men into decency, fidelity, and love of unsullied virtue—it is easy to see that this influence, which has hitherto been exerted to strengthen and refine our society, will operate entirely to its corruption and debasement; that domestic happiness and private honour will be extinguished, and public spirit and national industry most probably annihilated along with them.