Thackeray, from two letters, February and March 1840
Labouring under such ideas, Mr. Isaac Solomons, junior, produced the romance of Mrs. Cat, and confesses himself completely happy to have brought it to a conclusion. His poem may be dull-aye, and probably is. The great Blackmore, the great Dennis, the great Sprat, the great Pomfret,1 not to mention great men of our own time-have they not also been dull, and had pretty reputations, too? Be it granted Solomons is dull, but don’t attack his morality; he humbly submits that, in his poem, no man shall mistake virtue for vice, no man shall allow a single sentiment of pity or admiration to enter his bosom for any character of the piece; it being, from beginning to end, a scene of unmixed rascality performed by persons who never deviate into good feeling; and, although he doth not pretend to equal the great modern authors whom he hath mentioned, in wit or descriptive power, yet, in the point of moral, he meekly believes that he has been their superior; feeling the greatest disgust for the characters he describes, and using his humble endeavour to cause the public also to hate them.