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"THE present work ought not to have appeared for the next fifty years:"-such is the general remark made on this publication. Granted: but it has been so harshly and so unjustly dealt with by critics and reviewers, and they have conveyed so totally false an impression of it to all who pin their faith on the dictum of those literary autocrats, that if the book could have been suppressed, or consigned to the "contempt" and "oblivion” which they affirm to be its desert, it must have met that fate long ago; whereas the reverse is the case.
It is a curious circumstance, that not one of the clever pamphlets and reviews which this work, so "insignificant" and "contemptible," has elicited from some of the most distinguished writers of the day, has given the lie to one single fact stated in its pages. A few errors in dates, a few discrepancies of time and place, (which do not impugn the authenticity of the matter,) are the only blunders those critics have substantiated; and not one of them, from the Quarterly down to Sir Herbert Taylor's "Remarks on the Edinburgh Review," has been able to defend the cause which he espoused.
There is one circumstance worthy of notice in Lord Brougham's criticisms on the work in the Edinburgh Review,—namely, that the passages which refer personally to the supposed author of the Diary, are feeble compared with the rest, and assume the expression of mere female malice,-in a style, too, quite unworthy of his lordship's vigorous pen, and strangely at variance with that of the rest of the article.
All the vituperation which has been lavished on the Diary has, however, served to give the book a marked consequence, which leads us to consider it dispassionately, both in a literary and moral point of view.