Illustrations of Lying in All its Branches (1825): Reviews

The Literary Gazette, vol. 9, 1825, p. 134.

No one for a moment can seriously advocate the cause of falsehood; no one but must regret the too extensive prevalence of the meanest of all vices: but while we admire and admit the excellence of truth, we more than doubt the possibility of its entire ascendancy in the present state of society. Unadorned truth would require a far higher state of perfection than mortal life is likely to attain; and however beneficent Mrs. Opie’s intentions may be, we fear they will be more beautiful in theory than successful in practice. The moral principles maintained in these volumes are doubtless admirable; but the tales that accompany them are not by any means equal to former productions of the same genus, and from the same pen: they are trivial –often deficient in interest –and occasionally even militate against their own precepts. For example, in the tale called “The Lie of Flattery,” Lady Delaval sets about curing her young friend of falsehood, by practising a very gross deception herself, so difficult it is in this wicked world to carry even virtues to excess. Mrs. Opie is such an old and deserved favourite, that our critical conscience would have dozed a little for her; but with such heavy denunciations against the sin we might have been tempted to commit, we must state our candid opinion –that thought these volumes may add to the moral, they can contribute but little to the literary, reputation of Mrs. Opie.

Ladies’ Monthly Museum, ns, vol. 21, 1825, pp. 164-5. ,

No work from the pen of Mrs. Opie can be destitute of recommendations to the admirers of elegance, and simple pathos in literary productions; this publication, notwithstanding its somewhat repulsive title, belongs to the same class with The Father and Daughter, Adaline Mowbray, &c. It is, in fact, a series of stories, connected by a train of observations, on one of the meanest and most common of human vices. The design is good, and if the execution is not equal to what might have been expected from the taste and genius of the fair authoress, it is at least highly respectable. –Owing to some oversight, a passage from Sewell’s History of the Quakers, of some length, is quoted in a note, p. 123, &c. of vol. 2 ,and again in the text p.245, &c. of the same volume.