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In a former publication, I endeavoured to inculcate an important lesson, by exemplifying the errors of sensibility, or the pernicious consequences of indulged passion, even in a mind of no common worth and powers. To avoid, as I conceived, the possibility of misconstruction, I spoke of my heroine, in the preface, not as an example, but as a warning: yet the cry of slander was raised against me; I was accused of recommending those excesses, of which I laboured to paint the disastrous effects. Lest dullness or malignity should again wrest my purpose, it may be necessary to premise, that, in delineating, in the following pages, the mischiefs which have ensued the too-great stress laid on the reputation for chastity in woman, no disrespect is intended to this most important brand of temperance, the cement, the support, and the bond, of social-virtue: it is the means only, which are used to ensure it, that I presume to call in question. Man has hitherto been solicitous at once to indulge his own voluptuousness and to counteract its baneful tendencies: not less tragical than absurd have been the consequences! They may be traced in the corruption of our youth; in the dissoluteness which, like a flood, has overspread the land; in the sacrifice of hecatombs of victims. Let man revert to the source of these evils; let him be chaste himself, nor seek to reconcile contradictions. –– Can the streams run pure while the fountain is polluted?