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The Young Philosopher
    (Review / The Young Philosopher: a Novel, by Charlotte Smith)
  Monthly Magazine and British Register /JAS, Dec 1798
  vol 6 p516
Miss Charlotte Smith’s 'Young Philosopher' is a novel which will not impair the reputation which that lady has already earned: the story is interesting, the incidents are well managed, and the characters are drawn with spirit. We are sorry to add, that her attack upon lawyers is vulgar and illiberal: we have more than once observed that Mrs Smith brings her private quarrels - or we will rather say her private sufferings, before the public in her writings. She unquestionable feels consolation in thus giving vent to her feelings, and the public for a time would sympathize in her sorrows: but such reiterated mournings and complaints are tiresome and repulsive; where the language of complaint too degenerates into that of resentment, its appeal is totally and deservedly inefficacious. Mrs Smith has suffered by professional chicanery - be it so; is it logical to draw a general inference from particular premises? is it liberal to utter abuse against a profession - a learned and scientific profession - because there are some members in it of disreputable character and profligate principles! The second volume of the ‘Young Philosopher’ (there are four) is almost wholly filled with the history of Glenmorris; occasional and short digressions keep alive the attention, but a digression so unmercifully long as this is, interrupts the narrator so much as to weaken our interest in it. Notwithstanding these faults, however, the ‘Young Philosopher’ is a novel, which as we before observed, will not lessen the reputation which Mrs Smith has deservedly acquired in this style of composition.

[complete] Provided by Julie A. Shaffer, September 1999.