Monthly Review (1804)


Monthly Review, 2nd Series 45 (November 1804), 314-15.

Harry Clinton. A Tale for Youth. 12mo. pp. 450. 4s. 6d. Boards. Johnson. 

  All the materials of this interesting and instructive tale are selected from that celebrated production of Mr. Brooke, "The Fool of Quality," omitting those parts which are too wild and extravagant to entitle the original work to general attention. Mrs. Mary Hays, the editor (as appears from the Dedication) has attempted, by compressing the narrative to its present form, to exhibit for the instruction of youth a history of the practical education and culture of the heart. The volume certainly contains various and important lessons of virtue and benevolence; and several of the scenes make a powerful appeal to the sensibility of the reader: but whether some traits in the character of Mr. Fenton and his pupil Harry will not still be considered as bordering on excess in point of generosity, we shall leave to others to determine; as there appears little danger of stimulating youth to [315] transgress the bounds of moderation in the active duties of charity. Perhaps, however, a more useful lesson might be inculcated, by furnishing an example which the ability of young readers in general might enable them to copy.

    One passage occurs in this volume, which we wished had either been altered or omitted. We allude to the account of an English court of justice, where the Judge is represented as prejudiced against the innocent prisoner, and attempting to influence the jury to find her guilty. On the contrary, our youth should be taught to look up with reverence and profound respect to those venerable, learned, and uncorrupt characters, who preside over and adorn our courts of justice.