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Stories Before 1850. 0201: J. Roach (ed.), Roach's Beautiful Extracts of Prosaic Writers No.s 9-12

Author: Roach, J. (ed.)
Title: Roach's Beautiful Extracts of Prosaic Writers No.9 including: The History of Fair Rosamund. The Disadvantages of a Bad Education by Johnson. The History of Jane Shore. The Importance of Time to Youth. [In the same binding:] No.10 including: The Reward of Virtue by Walsh Jnr. Emilia, or, the Unforced Repentance by Griffith. The Complaints of the Five Senses by Trifler. On the Beauty of Happiness of an Open Behaviour and Ingenious Disposition by Knox. The Importance of Time to Youth by Chesterfield. The Two Bees, a Fable. [In the same binding:] No.11 including: The Ramble of a Benevolent Man by Know. The Village Lovers, a Tale On Enjoyments in Early Times by Goldsmith. The Thunderstorm, a Moral Tale. A Poetical and Prose View of Rural Life by Pratt. Female Adventures by Spectator. On the Advantage of a Chearful Tempter by Spectator. On Gratitude by Spectator. Benevolence and Humanity by Blair. [In the same binding:] No.12 including: The History of Louisa by Griffith. The Triumph of Constancy by Griffith. The Dead Ass by Sterne.
Cat. Number: 0201
Date: 1796
1st Edition: 1796
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: J. Roach
Price: Unknown
Pages: 1 vol., 240pp.
Size: 15.5 x 9 cm
Note: For numbers 5 to 8 see 0200

Images of all pages of this book

Page 002 of item 0201

Introductory essay

J. Roach issued his Beautiful Extracts in three volumes during 1795 and 1796. Each volume contained four 'numbers', and it is possible that these parts were made available individually, perhaps being issued monthly over the course of a year. There is, however, no internal evidence that this was the case. The Hockliffe Collection possesses volumes two (0200) and three (0201), which contain numbers five to twelve. As the preface to volume one (not in the Hockliffe Collection) makes clear, Beautiful Extracts was conceived of as a sequel to Roach's Beauties of British Poets which had appeared in multiple volumes in 1794.

The extracts are drawn from various sources, but they are mostly derived from the classics of mid-eighteenth century polite literature, or, as the preface to the first volume puts it, 'from the revival of letters in this kingdom to the present period' (p.v). The Spectator provides many articles, as does the Monthly Review, edited by Ralph Griffith (under whose name these pieces appear). Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, Lawrence Sterne, Hugh Blair, John Dryden and Vicesimus Knox provide most of the rest. The full contents of the two volumes in the Hockliffe Collection is as follows:

Volume II:
1. Story of Valmore and Julia. [Ralph] Griffith: p.3
2. Story of Inkle and Yarico. Spectator. p.19
3. General reflections on what is called good taste. Rollo: p.23
4. The vision of Mirza, exhibiting a picture of human life. Spectator: p.38
5. The voyage of life. An allegory. [Samuel] Johnson: p.44
6. A letter from a successful adventurer in the lottery. B[onnell?]. Thornton: p.51
7. Characters of Camilla and Flora. [Sir Fulke?] Greville: p.55
8. Pleasant scenes of anger, and the disappointment of it. Spectator: p.59
9. Julia: or, adventures of a curate's daughter. Macmillan: p.61
10. On the Iliad of Homer. [Hugh] Blair: p.116
11. On the Oddyssy of Homer. [Hugh] Blair: p.118
12. On the beauties of Virgil. [Hugh] Blair: p.119
13. Abridgement of Charlotte and Werther. [Goethe]: p.121
14. The story of Miss Williams. [Ralph] Griffith: p.151
15. On the love of life. [Oliver] Goldsmith: p.168
16. Maria. [Lawrence] Sterne: p.173
17. Tears not unworthy of an hero. [John] Dryden: p.178
18. Attention to the best models recommended to the students in eloquence. [Hugh] Blair: p.180
19. The story of Miss Warner. [Ralph] Griffith: p.181
20. The story of Sir William Sidney. [Ralph] Griffith: p.188
21. The story of Lady Jane Grey. [Oliver] Goldsmith: p.200
22. Life of Mary Queen of Scots. [Oliver] Goldsmith: p.205
23. The unfortunate wife; or, the history of Desdemona. Spectator: p.216
24. The dervise. Spectator: p.231
25. On reading works of taste. [William] Enfield: p.232
Volume III:
1. The story of fair Rosamond: p.3
2. The history of Jane Shore: p.38
3. Disadvantages of a bad education. [Samuel] Johnson: p.53
4. Importance of time to youth: p.59
5. Reward of virtue. Walsh: p.61
6. Emilia; or the unforced repentance. [Ralph] Griffith: p.71
7. Complaints of the five senses. Trifler: p.100
8. On the beauty and happiness of an open behaviour. [Vicesimus] Knox: p.111
9. The two bees: p.121
10. Ramble of a benevolent man. [Vicesimus] Knox: p.121
11. On contentment with competency. [Vicesimus] Knox: p.127
12. The village lovers: p.135
13. On enjoyments of early times. [Oliver] Goldsmith: p.138
14. The thunder storm: p.144
15. View of rural life. [S.J.?] Pratt: p.156
16. Female adventures. [S.J.?] Pratt: p.168
17. On the advantages of a chearful temper. Spectator: p.171
18. On gratitude. Spectator: p.177
19. Benevolence and humanity. [Hugh] Blair: p.179
20. History of Louisa. [Ralph] Griffith: p.181
21. The z. [Ralph] Griffith: p.211
22. The dead ass. [Ralph] Griffith: p.232

The editor's preface makes it clear that nothing that is profane, however witty, and nothing that is obscene, however refined, will find its way into the anthology, and nor will any writing which is narrowly religious.

Of course all the essays in the anthology were originally published with an adult audience in mind. That this selection is aimed at children is clear from the title-page - the pieces have been 'carefully selected for the young and the rising generation' - and from the editor's preface to volume one. Here, the proposed market of the work is made plain. The book will naturally recommend itself 'to the patronage of parents and masters, especially to the governors of public schools, and polite places of education', the aim being 'to inspire their children, domestics, and pupils, with sublime sentiments of virtue,' and to 'raise in their minds an ardent desire to emulate those great characters who have adorned their country by their labours in the extended field of science, and humanized the race of man by their superior understanding' (p.iv). Essentially, then, Beautiful Extracts was designed as a text-book to be used in school, or at least as a gift-book to be presented to children - or servants - by their superiors. It was, in other words, not a book to be chosen by the child him or herself and read for pleasure.

The illustrations to Beautiful Extracts are signed by Isaac Cruikshank.