Title Page, Dedication, and Preface

 Family Annals, 


The Sisters. 



By Mary Hays, 

      “Author of the Brothers, FemaleBiography, 

     Historical Dialogues for Young Persons, Harry 

Clinton, a Tale of Youth, &c. &c.”      




      Printed for W. Simpkins and R. Marshall, 

Stationers Court, Ludgate Street.



    While the Atlantic rolls between us, allow me, dear friend,1 to gratify my feelings, by addressing to you this little volume, as a testimony of that friendship which nearly twenty summers have ripened; and which, founded on a parity of mind and principle, and a sympathy of feeling, neither time nor distance will, I trust, weaken or destroy.

“Is it ought so fair,

In the birth eye of Hesper, in the morn,'

In Nature’s fairest forms—Is ought so fair

As virtuous friendship?”

1 Eliza Fenwick. 

    To Miss Edgeworth, whose name ought never to be pronounced without gratitude and respect, the public is indebted for a revolution in works of imagination. Delineations of real characters and manners, pictures of the age and times in which we live, (to which future historians and philosophers will be glad to refer) good sense, sound principle and unaffected feeling, have, in these lighter productions of literature, been substituted for the wonders of ancient romance, for the intricate incidents inflated descriptions, and still more inflated sentiments, of the modern novel. Amusement and instruction are thus happily and inseparably blended; and, form their connexion, more widely and generally diffused.

         I have been induced to resume a pen long thrown aside, by no other view or solicitude than that of co-operating, in some degree, with the admirable writer before mentioned, and others o my own sex who have entitled themselves to a portion of the same grateful respect. Though only one talent should have been untrusted to me; we are taught by the purest of moralists, that one cannot, with impunity, be folded in a napkin, or suffered to rust disused.