In fact, novels are at the top of the list of the many things (this religious tract is nearly 350 pages long) that distress this unknown pastor. He writes, "The minds of novel readers are intoxicated, their rest is broken, their health shattered, and their prospect of usefulness blighted."
"Childishness in boys even of good ability seems to be a growing fault; and I do not know what to ascribe it, except to the great number of exciting books of amusement, like Pickwick, Nickleby, Bentley's Magazine, etc...that leave [a boy] totally palled, not only for his regular work, but for literature of all sorts."
"Listen to the evidence given by a physician in Massachusetts: 'I have seen a young lady with her table loaded with volumes of fictitious trash, poring day after day and night after night over highly wrought scenes and skillfully portrayed pictures of romance, until her cheeks grew pale, her eyes became wild and restless, and her mind wandered and was lost – the light of intelligence passed behind a cloud, and her soul was forever benighted. She was insane, incurably insane from reading novels."
"Not very long since, a double suicide was committed...by a young married couple from Ohio, who were clearly proved to be led to ruin and death by these most pernicious books.... some of our own large cities, have given mournful evidence of the results of some of these novels when dramatized and performed on the stage, as leading to burglaries and murder."